Browsing Category Personal

Here We Go, Again.

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The first semester of 2017 started last Monday, so I’m getting back into the swing of study + life in general. My first impression of the new course is that there are a couple of rather impressive lecturers and tutors, and things seem reasonably well-organised and interesting enough. Horror of horrors, though, one of the first assessments is a TEAM task! We have to choose one of six topics, divide ourselves into groups of 4-5 people, and work TOGETHER on a project. This is my idea of total hell, but I guess I’ll have to deal with it. It would be good if I could slap an INTJ sticker on my forehead, so that the extraverts and chatterers could just avoid me and save us both the trouble.

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For a bit of light relief, I’ve started reading Danielewski’s The Familiar. I’ve been buying each volume as soon as it was released, and I started reading volume one a while ago but got distracted. I started re-reading it from the beginning and I’m really liking it so far. I’m being driven slightly crazy by trying to figure out what the marks in the centre margins represent – a timeline, a code, an image? At this stage, I think that maybe it’s some sort of timeline or songline, but who knows. Perhaps I’ll have to wait for volume 26 for all to be revealed!

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Things in the USA seem to be lurching towards *something*, but who knows what? This level of dysfunction and craziness can’t be allowed to continue, can it? I still can’t believe that anyone voted for Trump. He just seems so unhinged, and his enablers, manipulators and minions are terrifying. I hope that the US constitution is robust enough to thwart them, if not haul them into line before too long.

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I don’t know how often I’ll get around to blogging in the coming weeks and months. I have a lot of course related reading to do, and essays to write, which will take up most of my free time. And then there’s the thesis lurking in the background, but I’m not thinking about that yet. Sometimes, I wonder why I do this to myself, when I could be reading for pleasure and napping instead. I guess it’s got a lot to do with proving to myself that I can. The thought that “young me” would one day be doing this is so outlandish, and sometimes I wonder how I got here at all. This is not the life I was meant to have, and that is exactly my point. We don’t have to live the script written for us by our parents and our society, and I guess I’m still proving that to myself.

Testing Times

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I’ve been watching the crazy circus that is US politics these days, but I don’t have anything to add to the oceans of words that have been spoken and written about it all. It’s just so bizarre that this stuff is happening in the USA. And the whole POTUS vs Mr Trumble (they couldn’t even get our PM’s name right) is more than weird, considering that Australia has been the USA’s most faithful sycophant ally for the longest time. We’re treating it as a huge joke, of course, because that’s what Australians do, although secretly we probably don’t like it that our PM was so brazenly humiliated. It all just goes to show that we’re not really the USA’s “special friend”, after all. It’s a wonder POTUS didn’t remark that Mr Trumble spoke pretty good English for an Austrian (George W Bush once got Oz mixed up with Austria), but I doubt that in a verbal battle POTUS would get the better of our prolix ex-barrister PM. And for the record, Mr Turnbull is actually the Prime Minister of Australia; we don’t have a President. However, we do have a completely shameful record of mistreating asylum seekers who arrive here by boat. Our current refugee policy is the cause of much dissent and impotent rage amongst those of us who give a damn, but sadly, the majority of Australians support the government’s warehousing of  “boat people” on pestilent tropical gulag-islands. We can’t say a single thing about the USA’s recent foray into racist immigration policy, because we’ve had our very own for years now. :/

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So, I’ve been trying to find a more efficient note taking system, but I have to admit defeat. I tried reading PDFs on my iPad and taking digital notes with a variety of apps, but I simply couldn’t come to grips with all the digital text. For whatever reason, my brain doesn’t process digital text in the same way as it does text on paper, so I ended up reading a lot of PDFs and typing a lot of notes, but the next day I’d realise that I couldn’t remember much about what I’d read or noted.

Next, I tried the Cornell Notes system and got total writer’s block! It felt too structured, and it took too much mental effort to condense entire paragraphs of academic-speak into a few words. I started procrastinating about sitting down to study, which is something I seldom do, so I decided to give myself a break and go back to my old index cards, and free-form summarising (waffling to myself) in a notebook method, and hey presto! I got some worthwhile work done, finally.

This is so typical of me, this second-guessing myself. I had a system that had served me well for years, and I still thought I should try to get with the “digital programme”. I’ve never been able to do anything more than skim-read eBooks, and I always outline and mind-map with a pen and paper before I start typing anything important, so yeah, I should have just left myself alone to get on with it.

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I finished a book the other day – A Touch of Love, by Jonathan Coe. I liked it a lot, although it probably won’t be everyone’s idea of a good read. It was poignant and sad and witty, and I’d quite like to read more of his stuff one day. I was doing well with my fiction reading for the first few weeks of the year, and then all the POTUS stuff exploded and, suddenly, I didn’t feel in the mood for novels. Mostly, I’ve been reading about human rights and international relations, and the theory and philosophy of human rights. Seeing as how I’m situated on the far-left of the political spectrum, I’m finding quite a lot to interest me in the idea that “universal human rights” is a really a continuation of the imperialist, colonising project. It will be interesting to see if my thoughts change over time.

I read an article about human rights and FGM in which the author objected to the word “mutilation” being used and argued that Westerners opposing FMG fail to recognise the cultural and social significance of the practice. I can understand that point of view, but on the other hand, surely FGM is “mutilation”, and there are some cultural practices that simply cause too much pain and suffering to be allowed to continue? And then I thought about the growing phenomenon of labiaplasty, which is not only socially sanctioned, but is also legal in Western countries and carried out by doctors who swear the Hippocratic Oath. FGM is also considered a cosmetic procedure in some cultures, and although I totally oppose it because of the pain and suffering involved, and because girls have no choice in the matter, I do think that if we’re going to talk about universal human rights, our discourse probably needs to be less hypocritical and more considerate of cultural diversity.

In general, when it comes to human rights, it seems to me that in many ways we want to make all cultures in the world adhere to the tenets of  Western liberal democracy, whether they want to or not. Maybe we don’t take into consideration the possibility that other people actually prefer to live within another system of belief, and if they do want change, then change needs to come from within, rather than being imposed from without. Maybe our attempts to “do good” are not actually helpful. I read somewhere that human rights advocates should be aiming to support a “multicultural mosaic”, rather than create a series of “Western clones”. I like this idea, and it’s something I want to explore further.

I can see that studying human rights is going to be a LOT more interesting than studying DWM philosophers, or (it’s-acutally-fiction) history. I hope I get along alright with the other students, because my interest in human rights is probably a bit more academic than some of the others who are keen on “making a difference” in the world. I feel a bit too world-weary to gallop off on a crusade, and I certainly don’t have aspirations to “save” anyone. Primarily, I’m interested in asylum seeker and refugee rights, and the rights of children incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. Also, I’m interested in the rights of mentally ill people, disabled people, the rights of LBGTI people, the rights of Indigenous people, and women’s reproductive rights. Those are at the top of my list, anyway. An issue such as women being supposedly “forced” to wear certain clothing and headwear just doesn’t interest me at all, because I think there are more pressing problems in the world. HRH the Queen wears a headscarf, and no one gets upset about it, so I don’t know why people get so het up about Muslim womens’ attire. Also, men wear turbans, yarmulkes, homburgs, kufis, and all manner of other headwear that signify their religious faith, and  jubbas, thobes, kurtas, and all sorts of robes. No one says a thing about mens’ attire, but some people want to police what women wear. Truthfully, I would prefer Western women to dress more modestly, and I really don’t like the way clothing is used to sexualise young girls. In my daily life, I don’t want men “sizing me up”, so I don’t give them anything to look at, and I think that’s how the Muslim women I’ve spoken to feel as well. Not all women want to be the target of “the male gaze”, although many do, and that’s their choice. I think we need to be aware that not everyone thinks in the same way, and that “freedom” means different things to different people.

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Today, I spent four hours doing a weirdly intensive online academic integrity module. I had to watch a number of videos and read a ton of stuff about plagiarism, collusion, proper citation and referencing, and all manner of university rules, and read about and digest information on the wide range of penalties if you fail to meet the stringent requirements. Then I took a test, and scored higher than the pass mark, although I didn’t get 100% and the Perfectionist Imp that sits on my shoulder was not happy. Everyone at my new-to-me university has to pass this test or else their course results are not released and they automatically fail the semester. I was more than a bit disappointed with myself that I still seem to “need” to get 100% on everything. “Normal” people would have just have thought, “Whew, passed that, what’s for dinner?” The Perfectionist Imp is still nagging away in my ear. Near enough is never good enough for that bastard.

 

Life Swerve

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Ha! So much for reducing my spending on books this year. After much consideration (in a brain-fog of indecision!) I decided to apply to do a Master of Human Rights and see what happened. I got an offer the next day, and as the enrolment cut-off date was looming, I only had a few days to think about accepting or not. I’m totally over all this switching between universities and degrees, and I don’t know if human rights will be a better fit for me, but I guess I’ll find out. And then there were all the textbooks to buy. :/

If Donald Trump wasn’t about to become one of the most powerful men on the planet, I probably would have stuck with my history masters. But. The world has gone f***ing mad, if you ask me, and I feel there’s a genuine need to be more politically active, and to stand up for more things that I believe in. It seems to me that human rights issues are going to become even bigger than they are already, and that if I’m going to be involved in lobbying and campaigning and whatnot, then I should probably know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t really just sit back and study 19th century history, not with all the stuff going on the world right now.

I feel pretty sad about the state of the planet, but I also feel that if we don’t do something, then we’re part of the problem. This is no time for apathy and hand-wringing, although I’ve been doing a fair bit of that over the past couple of months. However, it’s time to act, and it’s clear that a lot of other people feel this way, too:

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“A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $130,000 to get a photograph of two young girls wearing hijabs at an Australia Day event on billboards across the country, and surplus funds will now go to Indigenous organisations.

Last week the photograph of the two girls – taken at the Docklands celebration last year – was removed from a Melbourne freeway billboard after the billboard company allegedly received threats. The image of the two young girls – one of a series of photographs advertising a nearby Australia Day event – had been posted to a far right group’s social media page and prompted hundreds of bigoted comments and complaints, many directed at the girls.

In response, a crowdfunding campaign by the Campaign Edge advertising agency called for the girls’ photograph to be reprinted on posters and in an Australia Day campaign. After more than $120,000 was donated in 24 hours, the campaign expanded, proposing to erect dozens of billboards across Australian capital cities.” The Guardian

 

White supremacist racist bigots are not going to win.

Hard right-wing conservatives are not going to win.

Xenophobes, religious extremists, and ignorant people are not going to win.

And, those who want to trample our human rights are not going to win, either.

 

Up the Revolution, Comrades! 🙂

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Another Post about Buying Fewer Books

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intentI’ve been trying to a write a post for the past week about my need to buy fewer books in 2017, but my brain hasn’t wanted to think about it. Anyway, at the end of 2016 I was sorting out my Filofax, and as I removed the old pages and inserted new ones, I came across all the book lists I’d compiled. The lists got me wondering about how many books I’d actually bought throughout the year, so I consulted Booxter, the trusty old database app I’ve been using for years, and was rather surprised at the number it turned up. I became curious about how much money I’d spent on acquiring those books, and was pretty shocked to find myself staring at a not inconsequential figure. Multiplying that by 5 – because I’ve been on a book buying bender for at least that many years – made me sit back in my chair and draw in my breath rather sharply. Really!? It wouldn’t have been so bad if I’d actually read the books I’d bought, but most of them are languishing in piles, unread and mostly forgotten.

After that unwelcome revelation, I decided I needed to get serious about my ongoing battle with my unread book mountain. I’ve written here so many times about reading projects and plans that were supposed to motivate me to reduce the piles, and I even started a new website in an effort to force myself to read my own damn books, but nothing has worked. I decided to give it another try, so I set myself a perfectly reasonable monthly amount to spend on books and vowed to stick to the budget. However, on New Year’s Day I was feeling a tad stressed and I ended up going on a bit of a binge and spent three times my monthly allocation in one day. Yup. Since then I’ve been feeling quite disappointed with myself. I know I often use online book buying as a displacement activity when I’m feeling stressed – it’s a distraction from what’s bothering me and a way to escape my thoughts for a while. And, although book shopping isn’t exactly a self-destructive and dangerous addiction, I do feel that I need to quit indulging the part of me that still wants to find a way out of dealing with what is.

As regular readers know, I have an OCD/depression/anxiety thing going on. I’ve been off meds for over three years now and am doing ok. I no longer see doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, because quite frankly, they made me feel worse about myself; they made me feel as if everything about me was very wrong and totally broken and that the best I could hope for was to find a combination of medications that would correct the chemical imbalance in my brain. I got tired of the ‘suck it and see’ approach of psychotropic medication, the way that prescribing is more of a black art than a science, and the way that doctors discount the horrible side-effects of some drugs. I got tired of all the waiting rooms and being asked questions and being labelled by people who had only met me half an hour previously. I got tired of the whole thing, really, and decided to quit the system and see what happened. Sure, it can be a bit tough sometimes to be with my crazy brain, but I seem to have developed some coping strategies and so far I’m doing alright. I don’t discount the idea of taking medication again at some point, if I think I need to, but at the moment I feel as though I’m dealing ok with my thoughts and impulses, except for the excessive book buying thing, and it’s time for me to deal with that, too.

After my shopping binge on New Year’s Day, I’ve not felt inclined to buy any more books. I’m feeling alright about trying to stick to a monthly book buying allowance. Instead of making lists of books I need to buy, I’m writing about the things I could do with the money I save. I could do something about the travel plans that have been brewing in the back of my mind for a while, or I could buy the top-of-the-range motorcycle I’ve been hankering after. I could spend money on the house, or buy furniture, or just leave the money in the bank and watch it grow. I know that I need to avoid reading book reviews and trawling websites looking for out of print editions. I’ll have to try to get over my fear of missing out: on a bargain, on a great read, on learning something new. I need to turn away from the internet as a source of distraction, and instead invest more of my spare time and energy in real life activities – such as reading, making art, and writing.

Yesterday, I went to the metropolis and wandered into a book shop and looked around, and I didn’t feel in the least bit tempted to buy anything. Instead, I felt a kind of revulsion at the idea of acquiring more books, and I felt very tired all of a sudden. I just didn’t want to be there, so I left empty-handed, which has to be a first for me! I didn’t have any sense of prohibition; I just didn’t want to break my promise to myself.

It’s not as though I’m going cold turkey with a book buying ban, because that never works for me in the long-term. Gradual reduction and resetting the want-o-meter is the way to go. Setting reasonable goals instead of setting myself up for failure. Stepping off the conspicuous consumption roller-coaster. In the end, I’m accountable to myself. I need to stick to the plan, stick to the promise, defer action, and let it go, whatever it is. I’ve been here a time or two in the past. I know how this goes. If I can stay clean and sober and vegan and sane(ish), hopefully I can apply the same principles and stick to my book buying budget.

I’m determined to do it. It’s time.

Year’s End = Decision Time

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It comes around so quickly, this annual need to make decisions about what I’m going to do in the coming year. The 2017 academic year begins in March, and I need to make a decision about whether I shall continue with the MA in history, not study at all, or apply to switch to a Master in Human Rights. I’m not feeling the joy with my current course. It’s a very familiar feeling and sometimes I think that I’m just totally over the whole university thing, yes, really and truly over it this time. Maybe my days as a perennial student are finally done.

In the past number of years I’ve switched from doing a Master in Psychoanalytic Studies (I bailed out 3/4 of the way through because if I had to read one more of Freud’s whacked-out theories I would have died from apolexy. The dude was snorting a ton of cocaine and he was off his tree a lot of the time) to three different postgrad lit studies or English courses (I loathed those courses because I’d been there and done that in my lit studies honours year) to philosophy (I loathed that course because it was all DWM philosophers), to history (I loathe this course because the units available to me are mostly Australian history, which bores me to tears, really). Ah, the annual quandary. I’m attracted to the issues surrounding human rights, but yeah, a whole postgrad course on the subject might reveal itself to be a bit, hmmm, loathsome! I don’t know. I wish I could make decisions and not second-guess myself and experience massive buyer’s remorse. AND, the tuition fees are quite steep these days, and studying tends to ramp up my anxiety, and sometimes I think I’d like to stop being so hard on myself all the time.

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Speaking of buyer’s remorse, I bought the Delicious Library 3 book catalogue app the other day, and am regretting spending $60 on it. I had the bright idea of replacing Booxter, which I’ve been using for years to keep a (somewhat haphazard) record of the embarrassment of books lurking throughout our house. It’s an ok app, but it’s pretty old and the UI is kind of last decade, really. It’s basically a database with tiny book cover images, and I wanted something more, something with more bling, I suppose. Delicious Library is quite nice to look it, but it’s pretty much just a conduit to the Amazon website, much like a personal version of GoodReads without reviews, but complete with recommendations based on books in your collection, if you care to click on the recommendations pane. However, DL3 quite often recommends books already in my collection, so it’s more annoying than helpful or useful. There isn’t any way to disable that feature, unfortunately. In fact, there are no preferences in the app at all: what you see is what you’re stuck with. I did download the trial version and have a play with it before I bought the full version, but I wasn’t paying attention, obviously, and hit the BUY button before I’d really thought it through.

I tried importing my Booxter database, and the titles and authors showed up alright, but then I needed to download each individual item’s details and cover art from Amazon using the ‘refresh’ feature, and who has the time or patience to do that? Book covers do look pretty on the pretend shelves, though, and if you’re a visual person like me, that is much more enticing than looking at Booxter’s drab interface. So, I think that beginning in 2017, I’m going to use DL3 to display lists/shelves of books I want to read, acquire, have read, etc. That might work for me. Otherwise, I guess Delicious Library will be consigned to the ether, along with all the other crap apps I’ve forked out for over the years.

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I can’t even begin to articulate my rage about how various layers of Australian government has treated/is treating Indigenous children in the (alleged) juvenile justice system. Yesterday, Dylan Voller gave his testimony before the royal commission into youth detention and child protection in the Northern Territory. He has been failed by so many people, and by a system that treated him in the most appalling manner.

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And, in a completely different vein, I have to say that the reading slump I’ve been in for the longest time shows no sign of going anywhere. I think I’m too preoccupied with Trumpism and the ghastly people he’s selecting for key posts and the Russian espionage angle and the fact that it’s all even happening. The whole situation is bizarre and surreal and too weird for words.

Broadband, Malaise, Whatever

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What’s the broadband situation like where you are?

I’ve been moaning incessantly for years about the lack of broadband options where I live. Although our house is now considered to be situated in a suburb of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, we still only have access to three ruinously expensive wireless broadband services. Two of those are so flaky that it’s a bit of a gamble as to whether they will co-0perate at all on any given day, and the third service is so congested that trying to use it at nights or on weekends is often a total of waste of time. We live too far from the exchange to get ADSL – ADSL2 isn’t available – and there is no cable service in my street. So, it’s either satellite – and who can afford that – or wireless.

Currently, I’m on a plan with a monthly allowance of 8GB, for which I pay $65. Also, I have a prepaid modem that I use as a top-up when I desperately need more data, which is most of the time, really. I’m about to take out a new contract, and I’ll get a whopping 10GB of data a month and pay $55. Prices have dropped a little in the two years since I signed up for the previous contract, but the monthly allowance is still pathetic.

If I lived elsewhere, I could get 1000GB for $99 a month, including all phone calls and a subscription to a couple of streaming media networks. The fact that I can’t gain access to that service makes me feel very sad. Besides not being able to watch any video content, updating the operating systems of a few computers or downloading some software updates can end up being quite expensive, because prepaid data is $10/GB. Yes, it would could me $10,000 for the same amount of data that people in other places can get for $99.

Often, I think about the inequity of living in an outer, outer suburb of a capital city. Public transport is practically non-existent, and we don’t have a public swimming pool, tennis court, decent sports field, skate park, library, community centre, etc. There are quite a few people in public housing in the area, because the government bought up the majority of houses in a newly built development and dumped people there, without thinking about how the lack of transport and infrastructure would make it hard for them to do everyday things. There are a lot of bored kids with no money and nothing to do, so they wander around and tag stuff, or steal stuff, or get into fights. The local high school only caters for students to Year 10 level, and then they have to travel 30km to the nearest public high school. A lot of kids drop out, because it’s hard to change schools at that age. The school itself is ancient and falling apart, and despite many promises from many levels of government, nothing is done to upgrade it.

Where I live used to be a little ex-fishing village and we used to have to drive 30kms to the nearest shop or petrol station, but now we have a McDonalds and a Woolworths supermarket, a couple of dentists and doctors, and a vet. There are two large bottle shops and a tiny chemist shop. There is a real estate agent and a travel agent, and a Red Dot, which sells all manner of plastic crap. There is a bakery and a newly opened Subway. There’s a coffee shop and a butcher, and a fake nail/massage place, and a bank. That’s about it as far as commerce goes. We used to have kilometres of pristine beaches, but the sand hills have been bulldozed, and the trees all smashed and wood chipped. The birds have all gone, as have the kangaroos and echindnas. I miss seeing the eagles and the emus, and the little joey’s faces peeking out of their mum’s pouches. I miss my favourite trees. The access road to the beach near our house was closed for months and months, and then the council revealed the new ‘waterfront’. They built a tall limestone wall that completely blocks the view from the car park where people used to sit and watch the waves. Now all you can see from the car park is the wall. There’s a walkway down to the beach and a plethora of signs banning everything but breathing. It’s a shambles, like everything else they’ve done here. There are a lot of cars on new roads that seem to be springing up overnight out of nowhere, and new roundabouts and speed restrictions. This was a beautiful place before the influx of people, but it looks like any other outer, outer Perth suburb now. Interestingly, the new housing estates had fibre optic cable laid as they were being developed, so people who live there do have access to fast broadband, which is probably another reason to resent them. Every now and then I look at the NBN map to see if work has commenced in our street, but it always says, ‘The rollout of the nbn™ network has not started in this area’.

Quite a few of the ‘old-timers’ are moving on. There are four houses for sale near us, and others talk of selling up. I don’t know what we’ll end up doing. The other day I came home to find that one of the few remaining stands of Marri trees had been ripped out of the ground and piled in a heap, and the next day they were reduced to wood chips. They’re going to build apartments where the trees had lived for maybe a couple of hundred years.

The lack of broadband access is only a very minor cause of my sadness about where I live. Sometimes, I feel angry about the lack of equity with other places in Perth, and other cities in Australia. There wasn’t anything that could have been done to save our area, because long ago the land was sold cheaply to a Japanese corporation, and as Perth sprawled and sprawled, development eventually came our way. I can’t think of one good thing to come out of it, except maybe I don’t have to drive so far to do the grocery shopping. I’d really like to move, but then I think about the dogs and the rabbit buried in the back yard, and I’m not so sure that moving anywhere else would really change things, because no matter where I go, I will be there, and yeah, if there’s one thing I have learnt in life, it’s that you can’t leave yourself behind, no matter how much you want to. Wherever you go, there you are.

Anyway, I started out to write about how I brought home the the annual ‘Christmas bonus’ computer I bought for myself, but it has been sitting in its box and acting as a door stop for the past week because I didn’t have any data left on my plan to set it up and do the necessary updates and app downloads. Usually, I feel quite excited about getting a new computer, but this time I’m feeling totally over it before the box is even opened. I think it’s because of Brexit/Trump election/refugees/war/Oz politics/tree killing/land wrecking/it’s nearly bloody Christmas again/feeling very tired/I have no ability to concentrate any more/the world has gone crazy…

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No to ‘Normalisation’

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It’s all a bit confusing, this attempt by certain pundits and commentators to normalise discriminatory invective and political chicanery. We might live in a world where ‘post-truth’ facts are considered to be a thing, or where political rhetoric can smash all boundaries of common decency, or where  an ignorant buffoon can be elected by 25% of a country’s population to the highest office in the land. We might live in such a world, but I don’t have to believe that any of this is in any way NORMAL.

I’m a bit tired of hearing all the blah blah about why people voted for Mr Trump. Australian politics has now become ‘Trumpified’, and politicians, the media, and keyboard warriors on social media are going at it, trying to score points and gain attention. You would think that Australia is the fifty-first state of the USA, the way they’re carrying on. Never mind about the very real problems we have here; let’s all sling mud and shout at one another about racial discrimination, immigration, and women ‘double dipping’ with their parental leave entitlements.*  This race to the bottom has gotten out of hand and people need to quit being so self-interested and think about the social consequences of what they’re doing.

Anyway, I started out to say that despite all the attempts to ‘normalise’ Mr Trump’s behaviour, I’m not buying it. As Maya Angelou wrote, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ Mr Trump has shown us who he is, so let’s not excuse his behaviour or pretend that it was all an act and that he’s really different ‘underneath it all.’ Likewise, when our own political representatives show us who they are, we should believe them and call them out on their behaviour. We should not be apologists for people who behave badly: some of them are narcissistic psychopaths whose modus operandi is lying and manipulation, and we need to stand up to such people. We know right from wrong, and we know bullshit when we see and hear it.

 

*I reckon that if men menstruated and were capable of conceiving and giving birth to babies, there would be paid sick days galore, free abortion clinics everywhere, and VERY generous parental leave provisions. No offence intended, but men don’t have the first clue what it’s like to be female, and I’m sick to death of men making decisions about things that are only relevant to women. You’ve had a fair crack at it, but it’s time to give it up and leave us to make decisions about our own bodies and our own issues. Sometimes, I think that some men expect women to just go away to a quiet corner, pop out the baby and then get back to work immediately, because being pregnant and giving birth to children is no big deal, obviously. 🙁

Vale Leonard Cohen

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There was this one time, during one of my frequent sojourns down the Black Abyss, when the only thing that kept me tethered was sitting with Leonard Cohen’s words from his song, Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

I know that a lot of other people have had a similar experience. He touched many broken hearts with the light of his wise words.

I was sad to hear of his death today. He was an original. May he be at peace.

 

Lost For Words

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I don’t have any proper words right now. I still feel numb and stunned about the US election results. I just don’t understand some people. Why would you hand total power to a fascist? Why would you vote for a demagogue? Why would you want a leader who is a racist, xenophobic, misogynist sexual predator? Why would you support someone who wants to deny people their human rights? Why would you elect someone who doesn’t care about the environment and climate change? Why would you give the nuclear codes to someone who wants to undermine NATO? Why would you want a Commander-in-Chief who thinks South Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons?

Why are some people so hateful, spiteful, and so wilfully ignorant that they would throw away their vote in exchange for empty rhetoric?

Trump will not fix anything. He does not have a magic wand. Trump will look after Donald and his friends, and the rich will get richer and the disadvantaged will get shafted, AGAIN.

Sometimes, I feel beyond disappointed with (some) people.