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.

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.

 

You realise Parent is just a contraction of “Pay rent” right?

I’m angry at other parents. Not all other parents I should point out just the ones who seem to hate their kids. I should elaborate.

Ok so if you have kids this’ll be easy if not imagine you have some. Your 8 year kid comes over to you and in their hands they have Hostel, that classic horror where there’s more blood and guts flying around than at a butcher’s filleting contest and a blowtorch scene that’ll make you never able to eat creme brulee again, they say “Mum/Dad/Person I love may I watch this movie, it looks like something I’ll enjoy” and because you’re too busy on social media or watching people eat testicles in a jungle you say “yeah sure just stop bothering me” and that makes you a bad parent. Ok stop imagining now.

The same with video games, if you’re letting your kid play games where they beat hookers to death or get tortured and eaten by robotic teddy bears you’re a bad parent. Studies have shown that while these forms of media do not inspire people to act them out, they would do that anyway because they’re psychopaths, what it does do instead is change a child’s brain chemistry so they now have a predisposition to mental health problems and potentially psychopathic tendencies. The reason these things have age limits is because your brain can literally not handle that kind of stuff without changing irrevocably, you’re forcing it to experience things it shouldn’t need to experience so it grows around them instead of building up to them.

People are always saying “nah my kid is mature for his/her age, she can handle it” THAT’S NOT A GOOD THING! Your kid being mature for their age doesn’t mean they should be exposed to murder, what’s wrong with you?! That’s like saying Syrian refugees can handle having missiles fired at them because they’re used to it. THEY SHOULDN’T BE USED TO IT!

Imagine a child’s brain as a tree, I know there’s a lot of imagining here but it’s necessary, normally it grows up towards the sunlight and down into the ground. Imagine adult movies/games/books/music/podcasts/magazines or whatever are a metal fence across the top of it, sure the tree still grows up and around the fence in a cool and interesting way but it’ll always have that thing inside of it and won’t be the tree it could have been. Ok that metaphor wasn’t the strongest but you get my point.

It’s always the same parents who do it too. The ones that think a red bull and a rice krispie square are a suitable breakfast, that shit is proven to cause cancer, increase anxiety and you wonder why your kid has behavioural problems? They don’t have a behavioural problem they have a parenting problem.

Look I get it you’re busy, you have a job, you have a house to clean, a dog to walk, you’ve got friends to keep in touch with and a million other things that need your attention but perhaps if you can’t look after your kids properly just don’t have kids. Either do the job right or don’t do it at all. If you have kids already this could be a problem, again I’m addressing the shitty parents here, so try harder shitty parents or be prepared to wake up in a room covered in sheet plastic while your kid stands over you with a blowtorch screaming “WHERE DID YOU HIDE IT?! WHERE’S MY WINGS?!” over and over.

The World’s paper bag

Well hasn’t 2016 been one massive panic attack. Everytime I get a “Breaking News” notification on my phone I panic that David Attenborough has died and we’re now living in a post Attenborough world. That’s a bit fucked up isn’t it? That I’m more worried that David Attenborough has died than nuclear war has been declared, I think I’m more prepared for Nuclear War like it’s been coming for so long now that I’ve watched so many doomsday prepper videos and bought so much bottled water that it could happen tomorrow and I’d just be glad I was using real skills for a change and making cupboard space.

But it has been. Ever since 2016 started the collective reaction has been one long horror movie jump scare waiting to happen, the most recent one being everyone waking up and Donald Trump’s face being an inch away from our own. Life is terrifying enough without knowing that at any moment you could be assaulted from your TV screen by Trump’s tiny mouth and hands.

However that’s not what this blog is about. I was pretty sick last week, you know that already, and I didn’t have much access to technology while I was being a human cream eclair. Looking at my phone meant stabbing pains behind my eyes and you know what I discovered? Happiness. I spend my life being one mean internet comment away from tearing all my clothes off and screaming at vegetables in a supermarket so imagine my surprise when, after turning myself inside out, I felt relaxed. I spent the rest of last week smiling and laughing, making jokes, writing loads and generally being a much more pleasant person to be around. This on the week Trump won.

Then gradually it’s crept back in. Every time my phone goes I get chest pains, reading the news makes me sweat, shortness of breath when I log into Facebook and I’m not the only one that gets this. People all over the world are on the knife’s edge of panic. This is the reason we voted for Trump and Brexit, this all pervading fear that gets into the corners of our lives like the smell when a cat shits in it’s litter tray while you’re eating breakfast and you know that’s all you’ll be tasting the whole day. That fear is what’s made people do crazy things most people didn’t think would happen because they want something to change and would do anything just to feel anything other than terrified. It’s hard not to reference Hitler when mentioning what’s going on in the world and you guys get it so Hitler, it’s all Hitler.

The important thing to remember that the one thing Hitler did do was kill Hitler and we’ve got a president elect who might be the first world leader to accidentally assassinate himself. The upside to Trump is that this will be an end to all state secrets, anything important happening will immediately be announced on Twitter then denied on live TV and confirmed again in secret filming during him judging a porn film award ceremony. Also he might be the first president to take back 100% of their campaign promises which at least makes him consistent.

I want you to understand that in order to feel better I bought myself a knitted jumper. That’s where I’m at right now.

You blew it up 

This is all I’ve got America. You really fucked up this time but at least we know why no time travellers go back to kill Hitler now it’s because they waste all their time travelling crystals trying to go back and kill Trump only to fail as they’re bombarded by bullshit. 2016 what’s next? Will Mugabe become Secretary-General of the UN? Kim Jung Un gets nominated for a Nobel (doesn’t matter what in he’s already won them all according to his country’s press)? 

What you did just there America is you legitimised every racist and every sex offender, every entitled white male who knew he was wrong about his misogyny has now been told he can touch whoever he likes wherever he likes, it’s just locker room talk after all and boys will be boys, also any LGBTQ or anyone who isn’t white isn’t welcome in America. America the land of the free white people, because everyone else is a freak or a criminal.

The only good thing about this is that England isn’t the World’s disappointing middle child anymore, we can go back to safely calling Americans idiots again without a hint of irony even though we believed a man who looks like a toad and uses buses as post it notes. 

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.