Why it’s fashionable to blame the victim

Do you know how I personally know that society defaults to victim blaming rather than attitude adjustment? Because there’s a million adverts on TV for weight loss products but not a single advert for a self help book on tolerance.

Out of all the topics involved with victim blaming right now that is the least newsworthy but, as a fat white dude, it is the only one I’ve experienced personally. People shout things from cars, they make snide backhanded comments and they call me an “Unfunny fat fuck” which is both alliterative and accurate as I am more passionate and less hilarious in my lovemaking.

I realise that being overweight doesn’t necessarily make me a victim, doughnuts don’t hurl themselves into my mouth when I stroll down bakery aisles. I’m not assaulted in darkened alley ways by two men who hold me down and pour buttercream into my mouth. But people don’t know why I’m big, do I have a thyroid problem? Am I diabetic? Is this an allergic reaction to unexpected aggression? They don’t know.

bridge-troll-4e7123d-intro

(and they don’t want to come out from under their bridge long enough to find out)

Yesterday I asked what people thought was the cause in the rise of food bank use, I was looking for a reason beyond “The government”. What I was hoping for was a way we could look at it and say “it wasn’t this specific government, it would have happened under any government” what I got was justification for this article. Here’s my favourite answer:

18301157_10154318367826432_5494586025632166860_n

That’s right you heard it here first, the reason people use foodbanks more now is because more people donate food! ALTRUISM IS THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING! Last year I saw people commenting that the rise in social housing was causing the housing crisis, UKIP supporters were claiming that immigrants cause racism because without immigrants there wouldn’t be anyone to be racist to.

And who could forget the age old classic “Well what did you expect to happen going out dressed like that?!”

murder-451752

(Well if you’re going to walk around with your back to people, you’ve got to expect someone to put a few bullets in it haven’t you?)

It’s a strange way of thinking but the more I dwell on it the more I get it. People’s first reaction whenever anything bad happens is to find someone to blame for it. It’s a base evolutionary instinct adapted, inadequately, to modern day situations. As cave people we would see a problem and find a solution, the problem wouldn’t be with ourselves as that was something we could fix immediately. We die because we leave our cave, ok so it’s that tiger killing us as we leave, right we need to kill the tiger. Our ability to see problems and solve them accordingly is why we evolved into the virus like mammals we are.

So cut to today and people see problems in the world around them, problems they’re not directly responsible for causing. Take the rise in food banks, your average person hasn’t cut anyone’s wages or sanctioned anyone’s benefits, they haven’t shut down a hospital or personally forced a person into a life of addiction. What they see is a problem that they haven’t manufactured. They look at the people they do relate to and think “If I didn’t cause that problem they couldn’t have either because I didn’t” it’s a very straightforward way of thinking, almost computer like in it’s logical progression

I am like this

Those people are suffering

Those other people are like me

They aren’t causing the suffering because I am not causing the suffering

I don’t identify with the people who are suffering

The people who are suffering must be causing their own suffering or they wouldn’t be suffering

victim-3

And that’s how easy it is to blame a victim. All that needs to happen is for the person to not identify with the victim, that’s all it takes.

We all do it too. The examples I’ve used are extreme prejudices and situations but how many of us have seen someone get a parking ticket and thought “well you deserved that” not knowing the situation, how many of us have seen a mother screaming at her children in the street and thought “she’s a terrible mother” rather than “Maybe she just needs someone to help” we’ve all done it because as soon as we can’t identify with that person’s suffering we’re numb to it. We have to be, our inner caveperson screams at the tiger outside the cave.

It’s a terrible problem right now. I could go on and on about what’s happened in a Tory Britain, about injustices and horror stories but really I’d either be preaching to the choir or fuelling the fires of animosity. Either way you know the story. Working class people vote Tory because they WANT to identify with them, they want to be rich and successful and have everything. Rich people vote Tory because it’s in their best interest to. Both aspects of those two society cross sections don’t identify with the suffering they see on TV. Why would they? They haven’t experienced it and they’ve worked hard their whole life, everyone else must have had the same opportunity to have that same life right?

Victim blaming has become the sociological norm. No matter what we think we still, as a planet, vote in the people who have the potential to cause the most damage. Labour are suggesting free school meals for every child and the only thing the right can respond to it with is “where’s the money coming from for that?!” but the Conservatives have given tax cuts to corporations, in practise rather than just policy, and funded full on wars without the right so much as suggesting maybe spending £80,000 on one missile is a crazy expenditure and don’t you think we should clear down some of our credit cards before we go shopping again darling? I know you love those shoes but we really should think about making housing affordable again, oh you know what I could never say no to you, you can have second houses for every minister rather than just getting them to Skype into any important debates they should have a presence at, we don’t need free healthcare anyway.

The fact that this viewpoint is becoming more prolific shows a shift backwards, a survival instinct kicking in as we feel the world shifting. Maybe if we stopped worrying about the tiger outside the cave so much we’d notice the one inside here with us.

Advertisements

Dieting (and why it’s like politics)

First off I’d like to say I am overwhelmed by how supportive everyone is. I am losing weight and whenever someone says that to me I immediately roll my eyes, it’s the same as when someone asks if I want to see pictures of their new baby or that they’re undergoing chemo, I get it you’re trying to better yourself stop rubbing it in my face. But truly I am astounded at how many people are genuinely cheering me on to become, essentially, less of me. My friends, family and just people I meet are absolutely and completely, genuinely, excited and pleased that I am losing weight, which is lovely.

But now I totally get why governments fail horrendously even when they have the best advisors money can buy.

Boris-thumbs-up

 

The first thing that happens when you lose a bunch of weight (I’ve currently lost 36lbs or 16.3kg depending on whether you use the pre or post Brexit values) is people ask you how you did it. In my case I cut out sugar, carbs and processed rubbish. I also cut out sweeteners because sweeteners have been linked to raised risks of diabetes, cancer, dementia and strokes, my opinion being if someone hands you a gun and says “I’m pretty sure I loaded it with blanks, fire it into your mouth a couple of times to check” my reply will always be “I’ll just have a water thanks”.

So people asked and I said “I’ve cut out sugar, carbs, processed stuff and sweeteners and it seems to be helping me lose weight, I also let myself have a slice cake once a week or something similar and I’m not beating myself up about sticking to it. If I’m doing it the majority of the time that’s fine but I’m not going to ruin someone’s dinner party because they made pasta” and 100% of the time people have said “Ok I’m going to do most of that but I’m not going to do all of it, I couldn’t live without this thing you’ve given up”

Which is why I think government policies don’t work.

 

The government pays a bunch of advisors to tell them what to do. These advisors are, usually and hopefully, experts in their field having either decades of experience or an extensive education in the subject they are advising on (ideally both but I’ll take one over none). These advisors write reports that they then submit to the MPs that need to make all the decisions, obviously it’s not just one MP it’s usually a committee of MPs all sat around taking in reports from various different advisors. The policies they make are based on these reports.

But…

What actually happens is a bunch of unqualified people look at the findings from a bunch of qualified people and make changes based on their opinions. They’re not taking the advice directly, it’s filtered through a level of bureaucracy and bias first before making it’s way into the government’s remit. In fact the advisors might as well not be there in the first place,

If you just Google “Government advisor” the 2nd result under News is this – Government privacy advisor quits and slams Cabinet Office for lack of support that’s a story about Jerry Fishenden who was an advisor to the government on matters of online privacy and related issues, he quit as an advisor because of how they were treated when presenting advice (bearing in mind this is what they’re there to do), he said:

“Without such backing, those officials who find the group ‘challenging’ have found it easier to ignore it, attempting instead to smuggle their inadequate proposals past ministers without the benefit of the group’s independent expert assistance”

The thing is that, as an advisor, that falls right back on him. He’s part of an advisory board on privacy, a policy is made around online privacy around the findings of the board he is on, that policy fails to achieve anything or is detrimental to the thing it’s trying to stop, he gets blamed because everything was based on his findings but really NOTHING WAS BASED ON HIS FINDINGS.

eff3f24d6b52021813c819b79fcb2888

(mistyped Scapegoat)

And this is exactly what I’ve discovered through dieting. You do something and it works, you tell someone else to do exactly the same thing, they do similar but change a bits because they think they know better, IT DOESN’T WORK and they blame you because you gave them the advice in the first place.

This is why our government doesn’t work right now. More focus is put on opinion than it is on facts. Last year’s referendum was the most important decision the UK’s population has ever made and what facts were presented? Zero. Zero facts were presented. A lot of opinions were presented, oh yes big red buses covered in opinions were presented, billboards covered in the opinions of a single racist were posed in front of for publicity, social media was awash with opinions and not one of them agreed on anything other than the people who didn’t share their opinions were idiots.

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson speaks at the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro

(GIANT RED OPINIONS)

We have, as a country, started the Brexit process and yet we still don’t have any actual facts. We don’t know how trade is going to be affected, whether freedom of movement across the EU will still happen, what it’ll do to our economy etc etc. It’s all guesses and opinions.

The fact is we need a government based on facts, we need less opinions and bias, less selfish policy making to help ourselves and more to help the country. Less infighting, more experts and definitely a couple of scientists up making decisions rather than people who think you can ignore a portion of the facts if they don’t fit into your world view.

It’s strange how we’re quick to dismiss things that don’t fit into our opinions, like the fact that aspartame has been linked to melting your brain and growing tumours in your stomach because we like the taste and drinking it feels like we’re doing something to make things better without actually doing anything to make things better.

Basically what I’m saying is if you’re going to make a decision, look at the facts and only the facts. Alter your opinion based on those facts and don’t disregard things that have been proven just because you don’t feel like they fit in with how you think. Opinions are like nipples, everyone has at least two and no one needs to see them in a Starbucks.

 

The Trump/Clinton paradox

I’ve wanted to write this blog for a couple of days but I’ve been sick, like really really sick. When I say sick I mean from both ends while screaming sick, both ends while screaming and drafting my will sick. It’s been horrendous, graphic and emotionally haunting for all of my family and friends that had to use the bathroom after me. I thought it was a stomach virus but turns out it was an allergic reaction, I’m bullshit intolerant and there has been a lot of bullshit this year.

First David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Victoria Wood died. Bullshit.

Then we had Brexit where the main politicians behind it lied about what it would do for us as a country then quit the moment they won because they never expected to win. They even had the gaul to claim they’d never lied about any of it even though there were pictures of them in front of buses with the lies printed on them. Recently half of them have said we shouldn’t even have had Brexit. So much bullshit.

And now we have the US election where the choices are between a candidate who is qualified but has shown a tendency for warmongering and the host of a reality TV show who’s biggest quote of his entire campaign is “grab them by the pussy” which sounds like the quote from a made up reality TV show on another TV show mocking reality TV shows. Ultimate bullshit!

No wonder I’ve been so sick. I checked the label for 2016 and it doesn’t even mention bullshit on the packaging, not even a “this has been prepared in an area where we also manufacture bullshit”. No wonder I was so ill.

Look if you’re American vote for Hillary, even if you’re doing it as a joke because what won’t be funny is if Trump wins by one vote and you have to turn to your friends and say “I was only kidding” just as the nukes start to burn the flesh from your bones. I get that Hillary has had some problems but really her biggest problem has been “doing things presidents have to do” rather than “avoiding cases of rape against you from minors”. She’s qualified to do the job.

I get it Trump is funny and he’s a comedian’s wet dream. The guy writes other people’s jokes about him, what isn’t to love? I mean other than the racism, classism, fascism, misogeny, sexism and a total lack of regard for reality what’s not to love?

If you were hiring a new IT manager for your company and the choices were between a boring IT grad who’d worked in a couple of other companies and had had to purge an email server once to keep her company safe and a live tiger you’d take the IT grad. Sure the tiger would be exciting for a day or two but soon you’d have a problem and someone would have to go in there to ask for help and then the company is fucked. If this was a small company no one would care but this company is the World’s biggest company who just so happens to have several buttons that make a lot of other companies explode and turn the populace into mutants. I’m not saying that’s what the tiger would want to do but while it’s tearing apart it’s own IT staff and hunting anything with a vagina it might accidentally hit one of those buttons.

So I’m saying vote Hillary because otherwise you’re the one that has to go and ask the tiger to fix your email.

Poppies

Poppies. Wear a poppy, don’t wear a poppy, that’s up to you. If I don’t wear one assume it’s because:
 
– I had one and lost it
– Don’t have one and don’t want one
– Am afraid to align myself with people using it for racist political agendas
– Had an opium addiction that I beat and the sight of poppies reminds me of all the times I sucked a stranger’s dick in an alley for just one more hit
– My father was killed by a poppy and I still haven’t got my revenge
– It’s on another jacket
– It’s in my pocket because this is an expensive jacket
– I’m allergic
– I only give to charities who advertise with cute animals
 
Pick any one of those reasons, think it in your head then react accordingly, again in your head. Whatever you choose with poppies is your decision and much like same sex marriage no one else’s business.
 
Let people do what they want, it’s a poppy.

Being too social

First off sorry about the lack of blogging, there are now over 5000 (closer to 10,000 including all the other places this goes) of you and it’s ridiculous for me to leave it months without updating. I will be rectifying that. Thank you to everyone that’s hung on though, I’ll make sure it’s worth it.

13892047_1058058400937530_4019801816848736603_n

(worth it, right?)

Secondly a confession. I am a social media whore. I have a hole inside me that can only be filled by sharing my whole world with friends, family and complete strangers. What this has done is severely reduced my productivity (NO WAY! SPENDING TIME NOT WORKING IS REDUCING YOUR PRODUCTIVITY!? WHAT IN THE HELL?!). I’m not the only one, people the world over waste time on the countless forms of social media just clicking through the same 3 pages hoping for notifications to pop up of people interacting with their cat photos and undereducated semi political messages

13490732_1030684553674915_5466447253388976266_o

(#jesuislettuce)

There have been countless studies on it, many of them funded by the platforms themselves in order to find out how to keep people on those very sites, and they all come to the same conclusion: we are lonely.

loneliness

(nothing good happened in this picture, everything about this photo tells me the story ends with a phonecall and crying)

We want to reach out and find people who like the same things as us, people who can define us as individuals as well as providing us with the comfort of a herd. It’s hard to know who you really are in a vacuum (MAINLY DUE TO THE NOISE, AM I RIGHT?! *HIGH FIVES*) so to have a large group of people constantly able to tell you that yes you are right dirty foreigners should go home to their own country or no you shouldn’t have to work for a living, everything should be right there on a plate for you means that you can say “That’s who I am! I am a lazy, entitled, racist!” it’s not great but at least you know. No one likes uncertainty

Trump_0

(well some people do, some people use it to cement their position but then I’m using the term people loosely)

and that’s the main problem with social media, it can be a great tool for communication and spreading the word or getting behind a cause but mostly it’s a catalyst for narcissism and rampant paranoia.  Even this post is a massive display of arrogance and self importance, what do you care about a fat guy who’s trying to distance himself from social media? You don’t! Or rather you shouldn’t because really all we’re doing is creating little groups of people all thinking they’re right then being completely surprised that there’s other people with different ideas. We’re isolating ourselves.

215px-BioDomeposter

(and we all know how that turns out, Pauly Shore cries himself to sleep every night)

and that isolation is a terrible thing. Just days ago was the 2 year anniversary of Robin Williams suicide, as I’ve said on here before Robin is the reason I do comedy and it hit me hard. Whenever anyone takes their own life it’s a terrible thing, it means that person can see no other future ahead except pain and they don’t want it. I tried it once, spoiler alert: I failed, and only by talking about it did I get over it. Talking is a great tool for getting over depression so here’s a video of me talking about it so other people can feel like it’s ok to talk about it Talking about suicide but with jokes

But it can go the other way, people reach out and no one reaches back or even worse people think it’s ok to abuse other people because it makes them feel better, this in turn isolates the person being bullied further. Again this has become the majority of interaction over and above supportive messages on social media which just goes to prove that if you leave humans with any kind of wonderous new discovery they’ll find a way to be an asshole with it.

130343-004-CDD9D558

(hey guys I’ve got this thing that makes the food taste better and means we don’t get poisoned by it, it makes it hot, what are you doing guys? GUYS?!)

Really what I’m saying is I’m pulling out of most of social media unless it’s to interact with people who want to come to a show. That does mean I’ll have more time to make shit and update this so hurray to anyone who cares. It’s easy to get lost in the great echo chamber and as Jean-Paul Sartre gets famously misquoted on “Hell is other people”

Trump_0

(proof)

Brexit and other tasty breakfast treats

Brexit, the stupid name given to a decision we shouldn’t have to make. I know a lot of people will disagree with me and suggest that this is a great example of democracy and to those people I say “WE AS A COUNTRY CAN NOT BE TRUSTED! WE VOTED IN THE TORIES!”. I’m not saying we’re all stupid and don’t know what’s best for us, I’m saying there is solid evidence that we’re stupid and don’t know what’s best for us.

I’ve said this all before on a video so rather than reading words on a page watch and listen to them fall out of my mouth like cake crumbs at an 11 year old’s birthday party I managed to sneak in to:

Essentially I’m saying vote Remain but only because we don’t want to give any more power to people who have proven that the only thing they do with it is make their friends richer and the vulnerable deader.

Also to lighten the mood here’s some jokes I wrote to offer as a sacrifice to you guys for all the posts I haven’t made in the last year, this is being rectified and you can expect to see a regular blog here again.

13403355_10153481377266432_7190936579005135632_o13412083_10153483006746432_2637428087661824759_o13433309_10153480948166432_2771314990361366251_o

(Thanks to Richard Wood for taking those great photos of me at Cardiff Glee)

Dark Times

A few months ago I was starting to experiment with slightly darker comedy, as you guys will know, and I sent out a couple of jokes into the ether not really hoping for anything back but just seeing what everyone thought of my new direction. The response was phenomenal. My stuff got shared everywhere, tens of thousands shared my personal posts and millions copied it and shared it with me tagged. It even got translated into French, German, someone changed the currencies so it worked in America and Australia,  it was liberating and completely amazing. This wasn’t my usual stuff, this was stuff I thought was too dark for an audience.

11250078_10153068981121432_6392496412717326310_o

(here’s the most popular one, photo credit to Tyler Howlett)

It made me feel incredible, I was talking about stuff I believed in and people loved it.

I almost didn’t put this up. I’d put a few up before and the reaction from some peers had been so negative that it made me question myself. I started talking to a fantastic comic called Simon King (seriously check out this video – LINK) who encouraged me to stick up that meme. I did and now it’s everywhere.

Then he encouraged me to do a whole set based on this kind of stuff and then a show together.

So now we have a whole show we’re doing in London on Monday January 22nd at the Camden Head in Camden and we’d love you to come. Here’s the link to buy tickets – http://www.wegottickets.com/event/345133

It’s going to be something entirely different to what’s around now but also a bit old school, comedy with teeth and intelligence. Check out the link and if you’re reading this it’s probably for you.