Who am I?

On relationship and sexual identity

I’ve been toying with this article for a while. Never knowing quite where to start it and finding every time I put fingers to keys I stop. It is difficult to explain. We exist in a world where until relatively recently the idea of a relationship was two heterosexual, gender opposite individuals in a one on one monogamous relationship. And that is still the most common type. Recently we have seen great strides in equal marriage, and a more accepting culture around LGBT issues- though we still have a long way to go. But I have been struggling to find the best way to define who and what I am for quite some time. And one of the main aspects of my orientation has been one I’ve had to think a lot about because I too find it difficult at times to justify it. But then, why should I have to? And yet, here I am attempting to do so.

 

As we become a more accepting culture, we are starting to understand that for many people (though admittedly not all) things like sexuality and relationship structure are fluid. Now obviously there are some people who are 100% hetero or homo sexual, to ignore this is to shut off our critical thinking portions of our brain. It is nice to think that all sexuality is fluid but it isn’t – some people really do associate 100% one way. But I do think much of it is for many people. Because we still have a lot of bigotry and animosity around the world to people with alternative lifestyles (alternative to the hetero one man one woman most common type) it is going to be decades at least before we are in a situation where we can truly and objectively address our own orientations and see whether or not all sexuality can be fluid or if rigidity is indeed the “norm”. Whilst oppression and bigotry still exist, so does fear and a lack of proper communication.

 

It is common to think that sexuality is either hetero or homosexual with bisexual sitting in between the two. But for many people there are huge gaps between the three. The Kinsey scale uses 6 numbers ranging from completely hetero to completely homo, and in truth I’m not sure that scale is wide enough to truly encapsulate human sexuality. Recently I came across a phrase I’ve never heard before which just means we have yet more gaps created in this number chart- heteroromantic bisexual. This refers to someone who will only engage in romantic relationships with someone of the opposite gender.

 

Side note: I accept there are multiple ideas on gender, but for the sake of this blog I’m keeping it simple to just male/ female identifying. Apologies to any genderfluid or other types of gender identification. This isn’t to dismiss anyone, we just for the sake of this blog need to keep it simple because we’re about to get really complicated.

 

However, the heteroromantic bisexual, though only engaging in relationships with a gender opposite, is open to sexual encounters with those of the same gender. They aren’t entirely bisexual in the sense that they are equally attracted to both genders, nor that they are able to carry on relationships with both genders. Now if we were to add heteroromantic bisexual (HRB from now on!) to our chart, say ranging form 1 – 100 with hetero at 1, homo at 100 and truly bisexual at 50, I’d place HRB at around 25 (with its opposite- homoromantic bisexual at 75). This just creates more gaps. Ever heard the phrase heteroflexible? Usually used to refer to someone who is mostly straight but may have same sex attractions not always acted. Which may be placed at 15 on our chart.

 

I probably fall somewhere around 20 to 22. Closer to heteroromantic bisexual than heteroflexible, but still a few dozen jumps from bisexual as I can never imagine having a relationship with someone of the same sex.

 

Can we see now why I have been having a hard time defining who and what I am? I’m not entirely sure what label best applies, and in some regards it really can depend on the situation as I can find myself closer to 10 in some scenarios, closer to 25 in others and even hitting 35 in yet others.

 

So I don’t define as 100% straight, nor bi sexual, nor 100% heteroromantic, nor 100% heteroflexible. In a society that is so obsessed with labels and sexual identity it makes it difficult to really express my own identity. But wait, we’re about to go even further down the rabbit hole. Alice, are you with me?

 

See on top of all that I also identify, more strongly and directly, with another orientation. Not a sexual one but a romantic one – I say romantic as this one isn’t about sexual attraction per se.

 

Polyamory.

It is common to congratulate someone coming out as gay or bi, but how do you respond to someone like me who is an “incidentally heteroflexible polyamorous heteroromantic bisexual”? There aren’t enough letters free to add that to LGBT! I suppose “queer” might be a good description but… I don’t feel I can take that. I’m not close enough to even bisexual to feel comfortable claiming a word that has been used as a word of proud declaration by a much maligned portion of society. Especially as people of all sexual orientation have been known to look down on Polys.

But, what is poly? What do I mean by “relationship orientation”? Okay, this is where it gets tricky.

Polyamory is a bastardisation of Latin and Greek meaning “Many loves” and is an ethical form of non monogamy. It is probably comparable to an open relationship, the difference being that unlike an open relationship that generally means a partnership where the others can engage in sexual activities with those outside of the duo relationship, poly goes a little further in that it allows for full relationships outside of the core one. Sometimes these relationships take the form of hierarchies where the Prime couple will take priority with each other and have seconds that would to all intents and purposes be equal but should any rift occur it is likely to revert to just the original two. Another type is where all partners are equal with no primaries, and sometimes three or more people may all be dating each other, with three this is usually called a triad. I’m not overly keen on the primaries/ secondaries situation but it works for some. If I am dating people they are all equal. Or at least should be- new relationships naturally are not going to be as strong as existing ones.

I’m not selling this very well.

Basically a poly relationship allows for relationships with other people. Now how those relationships take shape is determined by those in the poly situation.   Some partnerships consist of one poly and one mono person, where the mono is not threatened by and accepts their partners additional relationships. If this sounds a lot like cheating, or not being happy with your partner, or they’re not enough to you then you are not alone, this is a very common reaction.

It is hard to explain unless you are poly, but being in one single relationship for life isn’t something that can make some people happy entirely. It doesn’t mean their partner doesn’t make them happy, simply that their relationship orientation makes them more content and happy if they can form bonds and relationships with others. Some people say they can’t imagine loving another person outside their partner, but I like to use the example of having children. Having a second child won’t diminish your love for the first and some people have a natural need for multiple children. We don’t call those people greedy or cheaters. We happily accept that some people cannot be completely fulfilled without a second or third child, and that this desire in no way diminishes the love of the previous children.

Some people just feel that certain lifestyles better suit them. Now I could argue that historically speaking we would have not always been mono, and that for most of our evolutionary life we would have been in multiple relationships of varying designs. I could argue that within recorded history it was common for, especially the wealthy, to have extra marital relationships. I could argue both of those points but I won’t as it would be insulting. And irrelevant. Just as meat eaters arguing that we required meat in order to develop somehow negates the vegetarian argument that we no longer need it.   Calling back to the past to support Poly makes it seem outdated, and we also can’t escape the fact that most of the historically Poly situations have been male lead and misogynistic at their core. I think the easiest way to address what is and isn’t Poly is to look at some of the criticisms and comments:

Poly is about cheating- it is not. The whole point of ethical non monogamy is that all parties are aware of and supportive of the decision to carry on additional relationships. Cheating can occur- if a couple has an agreement to be honest about things like one night stands and one person isn’t, then that can be cheating or at the very least betraying trust.

Poly is greedy – this is an argument also levelled at bi-sexuals, that somehow it is about wanting to have your cake and eat it. If I could be happy and content in a “normal” relationship I would. It isn’t about being greedy, it is about what feels right for the person/ people involved. Many Polys can go years or decades in one relationship, but knowing there is the freedom there to explore your own sexuality and attractions can make for very happy and content people

Poly is an excuse for lots of sex- Well, some polys also swing, have one night stands and have fuck buddies. But that is not the case for all. Many Polys find their triad of three or maybe a group of four and that’s it. No relationships outside of that, no one night stands, no swinging. In many relationships the same structures and requirements present in mono relationships also exist, and if one member of a triad were to have a one night stand this could be seen as just as big a betrayal as if a member of a mono couple did the same.

Polys can’t commit – well we need to start here with realising that to the majority of people “commit” means exclusivity between two people. The idea that you can commit to multiple people seems to destroy the meaning of the word, yet commit simply means “pledge or bind to a certain course or policy” according to a quick Google definition. We like our definitions, and we also like our definitions to mean what we want them to mean and once we have that idea set it is difficult to waver. But committing to more than one person is possible (see the children argument again) it simply means that the way in which Polys commit is seen differently. Committing to one person is not the same as committing in a general sense and Polys can commit, maybe they agree to certain rules in the relationship (as monos do) and this commitment restricts to one additional partner, maybe the commitment is to a romantic relationship with their primary but purely sexual elsewhere- though that isn’t strictly speaking poly, more a wider definition of ethical non monogamy.

Polys need to grow up – Actually Poly relationships require a high level of maturity, to be able to treat two people equally in a mature adult relationship takes work and time and communication. If you just want casual sex then there is swinging and one night stands.

I couldn’t do it- well I couldn’t be in a serious relationship with a man, but so what?

But that means you must want to sleep with me – Another one I know bis get. But no. I’m not jumping into bed with you just because I’m poly.

Even now I am still finding it hard to properly explain all of this. Basically, you know how you feel that a mono relationship is right and makes you content and happy? I feel that way about Poly. But now we must come to a very important part, and one that has some ties with the LGBT community (don’t worry, I’m not suggesting we amend it to LGBTP… well, not yet anyway).

Discrimination and choice.

No Poly can truly understand the fear and abuse that a homo or bi sexual person experiences. Polys aren’t at risk of being beaten to a bloody pulp, in fact I can’t find any examples of Poly related violence. There are however some links between them. Although Polys don’t face the same level of stigma, it does still exist. Many bisexuals report being criticised by both hetero and homo sexuals and ostracised. Within the gay and straight communities bisexuals are still seen by many as wrong and greedy, or people who are secretly gay and won’t admit it. Polys have also faced such derision. This is because it is not a sexual orientation but a romantic one. I am not here to start crying about how the orientation I align with is some trodden upon underclass but we still do risk backlash.

Do you think I want the backlash? Just look at the comments in this article about the entertainer Mo’Nique “allowing” her husband to “cheat” and see the comments such as:

Monique has low self esteem, she figures he’s the best man she can get so she’ll do whatever she has to do to keep him.

That marriage won’t last.

This is disappointing, there is no perfect person and there will never be a perfect marriage, why cant people learn to appreciate what they have instead of covet what they don’t, why did you get marriage in the first place if you didn’t want to live a content happy life with one person smh..

I see a lot of people saying using the term “marriage” when it’s really just an “arrangement”…the marriage ended at the time they decided to make this arrangement.

Its not a marriage if ur not committed to the person u share vows with. The whole purpose of marriage & any real commitment is good with bad , better or for worse. If u invest in anythin accept the role & responsability cheating shows no integrity. The world today sad …

Low self esteem… its not a real relationship… disappointing…no integrity… won’t last… and here is a Reddit discussion on whether it is “just a phase”. Does any of this sound familiar? But let’s go deeper.

Polys can also face discrimination by risking:

A lot of the times this might not come to pass, and these are of course extremes, but the fear that it might happen is genuine and there are examples. Grandparents threatening to take away children because of a poly lifestyle is a real fear for some. However many of the Poly discrimination stories I read are in private Facebook forums and the stories are frequent- lost family, lost work, threats about having kids removed. Join a forum if you can and read through the stories. They are alarming.

Again I am not wanting to say Polys have it as bad as those who are gay or bi (I really, really want to hammer that home and avoid any gay or bi people thinking I am trying to steal their struggle- though I feel uncomfortable constantly apologising seeing as the discrimination does exist even if not to the same level) , but there is discrimination out there and we aren’t playing oppression Olympics here- these are people’s lives and no one should face abuse or risk losing jobs and family members over their orientation be it sexual or relationship. Just look at this list of Google results for a snap shot.

And as with gay relationships and children there is criticism, we can even find examples of both children of gay parents and children of poly parents saying it is horrible for them such as this one, however these stories, as with the linked one, tend to be more about societies attitude and bigotry toward alternative lifestyles affecting the kid rather than the type of relationship being the issue. And of course there are arguments, as with gay parents, that poly parenting is bad for kids. But Poly as a mainstream thing is still probably too new to adequately answer that.

Finally there is the discussion about choice. Most people accept that being gay is not a choice, but an ingrained character trait. Is that so with Poly? Is poly simply a choice or is it ingrained? I would argue the latter for many, and at least for me. I could force myself to maintain a mono relationship for life but I would feel unhappy not having the ability to truly embrace my feelings and attitudes to relationships. I can’t switch it off, and suddenly be happy living in a “normal” style relationship. There is a lot of discussion on this topic, and this quote from this article is an interesting one:

Meanwhile, there are some people whose innate personality traits make it very difficult to live happily in a monogamous relationship but relatively easy to be happy in an open one. Given the persecution heaped on gays in most of the world in recent generations, and the relative difficulty of “passing,” there are probably few people who would choose that identity unless they could not find happiness in straight life. So, sure, there may be a larger fraction of non-monogamists for whom their unconventional relationship is “optional” or “a choice.” But there are almost certainly also some “obligate” non-monogamists who would never feel emotionally satisfied and healthy in a monogamous relationship, any more than a gay man would be satisfied and healthy in a straight marriage.

But ultimately does it matter? If being gay were a choice, should that mean gay people should be facing discrimination? Should poly people? Some polys may be able to switch it off which of course muddies the water. I hate comparing being poly to being gay, the struggles are not the same but there is some overlap. Basically, unless you are cis, in a monogamous relationship and straight you are going to face some discrimination because right now “cis straight mono” is the default and those of us who blur the lines and exist outside the “normal” frame work will face different problems. Trans people will face different bigotry to gay people, gay people will face different bigotry to bi people and yes Poly people will face their own bigotry and even then there will be overlaps to lesser or greater degress. Unless you tick all the right boxes of living a “normal” default lifestyle you will face some form of bigotry. Even atheists face losing jobs and friends (so we can probably throw “religious” into the default setting for some parts of the world).

And when you do identify as poly, good look finding even one relationship never mind multiple- with mono being the default, not many people are willing to partner someone who they may not see as faithful.

Our sexual, relationship, and philosophical identities are vital to our make up, and to dismiss them because they do not fit the default, because you fear retaliation, is something no one should face. I as a poly probably don’t face the risk of assault, but as discussed at the start of the article, poly is not the only thing I identify as. I cannot in good faith identify purely as 100% heterosexual, in fact the rather long winded “Incidentally heteroflexible polyamorous heteroromantic bisexual” (Christ, I’m really starting to think “queer” might have to do) pretty much sums me up. Admitting to that does worry me as some parts of that “label” certainly would leave me open to physical abuse which is one reason I don’t too openly discuss it – except here. Maybe we all, to some degree struggle with our identity, and as we start to open up more and as the internet is bringing diverse people together it is enabling us to find more and more varied types of people and orientations, in doing so it makes things like the Kinsey scale seem antiquated. My suggestion of increasing the scale from 1-6 to 1-100 is really just for this article, but already it is clear that although “cis hetero mono” is the default, it is shrinking as we become further aware of our own identities and open ourselves up to different ways of thinking and different styles of relationship and sexuality. The world is changing, people will still face discrimination and people will still not “get” others lifestyles. I guess ultimately this blog is more for me than for you. And I must scratch my head because I am not sure I am any closer to understanding “who I am” than I was when I first started typing.

 

 

 

 

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To Bodly Go… where?

So it has been announced that a new Star Trek television series will air in 2017. This marks the end of over a decade without new Trek on TV- the longest period of time since the gap between the Animated Series and the Next generation (14 years). Obviously the news has sent fans spinning with excitement- but also a sense of concern. Most comments coming out are worried it will be set in the same timeline as the Abrams movies. This is admittedly a concern- I am not a big fan of those movies. They do not really feel like Star Trek, just general sci-fi movies with the Trek name. Plus we have a wealth of history to draw on – or hey, even ignore if they chose – in the original time line. The other concern is that the later televised Star Treks weren’t that great.

There was a certain amount of fatigue thanks to nearly 20 years of continuously churning out episodes. There are well over 700 episodes of Star Trek and very few storylines and plots that haven’t been done. The first two seasons of Enterprise didn’t do very well, I believe, in part due to simply trying to do the same as ToS, TNG and Voyager- basically “ship explores” and really, the exploring had been done. We do have a new audience thanks to the Abrams films, but I still don’t think that would be enough to justify more of the same. Plus, late TNG and DS9, as well as the final season of Enterprise still hold up very well and new fans to the series would be advised to check them out.

But in order to flourish, Star Trek needs to try something new. So, here are some suggestions:

Renegades
There have been several suggestions for shows set in the TNG era, and although they don’t all stand up well, I think Renegades does as a concept. Now there has been a lot of talk about a Captain Worf series because OH MY GOD MICHAEL! LET IT GO! I can think of no worse idea than a Captain Worf show. Admittedly my bias is because I dislike Klingon centric stories and although Michael Dorn is great as Worf, I do not think the character is either strong enough to carry a series nor would such a series offer anything markedly different to what has come before. But Renegades is something different.

For those not in the know, Renegades was a fan film that took several years to come to fruition. It features many existing characters from the television cannon such as Tuvok, Lewis Zimmerman and even an elderly Pavel Chekov. But they are not the focus, they are just supporting characters in a story that follows a team of criminals used to go on dangerous undercover missions- think DCs The Suicide Squad in space.

This is a great idea, it allows for existing cannon to remain and characters to occasionally crop up but tells us a story Star Trek has never told before save for a smattering of episodes where the renegades are usually shown in a negative light. Following this story would allow for a completely different take on an existing franchise, a story Star Trek has never fully embraced because despite his passing in the early 90s Gene Roddenberry’s influence could still be felt right up until the end of Enterprises second season. And Roddenbury reminds me of George Lucas- great initial ideas but really needed someone around to reign him in- after all, he may have given us Star Trek but he also gave us Counsellor Troi and Wesley Crusher.

Renegades would offer a completely new viewing experience, playing up the idea of anti-heroes that are so popular on TV right now- Walter White, Jaime Lannister, Dexter, Hannibal etc – whilst still remaining close to the world of Star Trek. You also wouldn’t need to rely heavily on the existing continuity, even though it would be there in the background. Renegades would also allow for some ambiguity over whether this was the Prime universe or the altered timeline as it wouldn’t heavily rely on either timelines to tell its story. This could be the best possible decision- a show that could easily fit in either timeline and therefore please fans on both sides.

Time Travel
I have always loved Time Travel, sadly Enterprise pretty much screwed this up with it’s Temporal Cold War arc which never really worked. There were numerous problems with it, not least the fact that whoever wrote it had never watched any previous time travel related episodes of Trek as it pretty much ignores everything already set up in regards to what and when time travel is possible. We know time travel is possible within the Federation from the era of TNG yet Enterprise suggests that even 500 years after time travel is not possible for them. This also ignores the fact that by the 29th century Starfleet has branched out in to Time Ships. It is that storyline I think is worthy of picking up.

There are few good time travel shows on TV at the moment. Sure, Fringe had a time travel element but that was not the main thrust of the show. There are a couple of shows where characters from the future have to live in the past but again time travel was only the device to get them to that starting point. 12 Monkeys is probably the most recent and decent time travel show to hit the airwaves but that only travelled between two times. Then of course there is Doctor Who, but it really stands as the big exception.

Another show could easily ride its coat tails and by combining it with Trek create a beautiful hybrid. I would set the show in the 29th century and follow a Federation time ship as it attempts to fix changes in the time line. Think Quantum Leap with a bit more control of the jumps. Again, this premise would enable us to play around with time lines in such a way as to make both the Prime and Altered timelines exist easily side by side in television form. Ever since the Voyager episode “Relativity” where Seven of Nine travels back to various points in Voyagers journey, I have been eager to see more of this time travelling Star Fleet. It is also set far enough in the future that AGAIN it would allow for a blurring of different movie and television universes and the best thing is, it would also be giving us something new.

Sure, there have been a few time travel episodes, but in sci fi terms they barely scratched the surface. And here’s one last bit of beauty for you- the starship Relativity in the future was responsible for protecting the past from changes, well the Star Trek alternate timeline is the biggest change in the shows 50 years history, so a series focused on clearing up the damage caused by that change to the time line would be a wonderful premise- it has built in continuity with both timelines.

Future
There is another option of course- and that’s more of the same. Set the show another couple of generations in the future, maybe 60 years after the end of Voyager and follow a new crew and new ship as they… well, explore strange new worlds. Except I think this is the weakest idea of all. Sure we can see a new future with new ships, new tech, new relationships- maybe Romulans are part of the Federation now they have lost their home planet? An uneasy alliance between Romulan and Klingon would actually be fun to watch and maybe get rid of my Klingon hate. This would probably be something aimed more at new fans brought in thanks to the reboot movies rather than old fans which lets be honest isn’t a bad thing. The youngest generation today will have been very young when Enterprise ended and as it didn’t have the acclaim or popularity of what went before I can’t imagine many people growing up thinking of Enterprise as “their” Trek. As such many people will have been introduced to Star Trek via the new movies.

Although I would like to see continuity from the TV series, I must accept there is a growing fan base out there that has no interest in the cheesy and at times racist portrayals in early TNG, or the badly handled adventures of Voyager. So making a show set after the later TV shows, still in the same universe, but with little connection might work out the best for brining in newer fans. Trek fans are of all ages, but ultimately those who recall the original series aren’t going to be around forever, neither am I. For Star Trek to continue it rally needs to appeal to newer fans and not just the old guard. Enterprise tried too hard to appeal to the old fans by tying it in as tightly as possible to existing series and styles and it was only when it started trying something new with the serialised Xindi storyline that it began to flourish. And that’s one final comment- the new show HAS to be serialised. Episodic format turned Voyager from potentially the best Star Trek ever into a poor mans TNG.

Past
There may be some concern about setting it pre-TOS after the failure of Enterprise. But then Enterprise was just beginning to come in to it’s own. No Star Trek series save the original has been great during it’s first season. Neither TNG nor DS9 became great shows until well into their third years, but the nature of television has changed. A show needs to hit the ground running, there is no space for falling at the first hurdle, you can’t take 22 episodes to find your feet anymore, the show has to be fully formed by the closing credits of the pilot. This is one more reason Enterprise didn’t last, it followed the pattern of what had come before by having a mediocre first two seasons before picking up in the third, but the nature of television and viewing audiences had changed by this point meaning these changes were too little too late.

I cannot imagine today seeing TNG get past its first season, but definitely not its second. So considering Enterprise didn’t get a great shot, maybe another series set before the Original would work? This again would lift it out of the dangerous continuity pit- the bizarre thing about the new movies is that the only series that remains cannon and intact is Enterprise, the worst received series.

There were so many stories not told- we didn’t really see the birth of the Federation, nor did we get a chance to see the Romulan Wars. Although it would risk being too similar to DS9 , having a show focused on the Romulan Wars could be quite wonderful. Or maybe somewhere between TOS and TNG? There are still huge chunks missing from the Star Trek timeline- what happened during these missing decades? So little is alluded to in the shows that a story set 50 years after TOS but 50 before TNG is untested waters and a potential well full of stories yet to be tapped.

Section 31
Finally we have an idea that could really be the antithesis of Star Trek. Section 31 is a dark undercover MI6 style X-Files like creepy organisation that exists in the Star Trek world. Originally created for DS9 it is also glimpsed in both Enterprise and many of the spin off novels. It would give an entirely new look to Star Trek, and could maybe be tied in to the Renegades storyline.

Several years ago a spoof article did the rounds suggesting a new Star Trek show would follow the Starfleet Security personnel and although it was a red shirt themed joke, actually, that idea has not been touched upon. Because of Roddenberry we like to see Starfleet not as a military organisation but as an explorative one. Yet some of the best storylines have involved throwing these moral characters into murky grey areas. Look at DS9s In the Pale Moonlight to see a truly remarkable tale of heroics and deceit, for the first time giving us a truly complete and realistic human being, not the perfect prude of Picard, but a raw and real human being with the various shades of light and dark in Sisko.

A show following Section 31 could also tap into the revived interest in both the X Files and Twin Peaks with its investigation of surreal mystery. This could be the biggest departure from established Trek as it would show us a murky underside of the pristine cover. And if we can find a way to bring back the deceased Sloan, I am all for it!

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4 Awful Hallowe’en Costumes You Should NEVER Wear

It is almost Hallowe’en again. That time of year where people dress in silly costumes but aren’t Royalty. Despite originally being a religious event tied to Paganism, and later usurped by Christianity – because if there is one thing Christianity does well it’s look at other cultures and go “Mine”- the celebration of Hallowe’en has taken on a very secular form. Of course you will still find religious themed events such as the Edinurgh Samhuinn festival, but mostly it’s a chance to go out and get drunk whilst dressed as a Sexy Pluto the dog.

zf760

But aside from the Vampires, the zombies, the people who just throw on a Onsie and say “done” there are many other costumes that cross the line from cheap and tacky to downright awful. I’m not one for being easily offended, in fact these costumes don’t offend me per se, but they are seriously questionable and in many cases making a joke out of very serious illnesses and conditions. I’m not saying they should be banned, as I am getting a bit more Libertarian in my old age (Don’t worry, it’s Left Wing Libertarian) but I do think we should be pointing out these things are a problem and hope people realise it is a ridiculous and in some cases damaging thing to do. You have to sit and wonder at times how some of these were signed off. So let’s begin.

Twin Towers

sickos-Amber-Langford-and-Annie-Collinge-in-burning-tower-costumesThis picture did the rounds a few years back. The women in it received a torrent of abuse that was unacceptable. But coming just a few years after the worst terrorist attack in US history it understandably upset a lot of people. I am sure they thought the idea was edgy and clever – in fact we only need to look at their ages when this happened in 2013. They were both 19, meaning they were seven when the towers were attacked. Now that is still old enough to understand, but they will remember it in much the same way I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall or the death of Diana- something huge that happened but not something that particularly impacted my life as I was too young to really understand the importance. They were also British which gives a bit more distance. None of this at all excuses them, they are now old enough to have known full well the details of the attacks and how it still over a decade on impacts global politics. People are still mourning the death of loved ones, people are still dying as a direct result of the attacks. The pair issued a statement in response to the criticism:

“We never meant to be offensive, but we apologise if any offence was caused…The idea was to depict a modern-day horror that happened in our lifetime and was not intended as a joke”

I am not entirely sure how depicting a real life horror is what Hallowe’en is about. We don’t dress as Holocaust victims, we don’t dress as “Decapitated victim of ISIS” and if people do they get called out on it.

Sexy Ebola Containment Suit

enhanced-26162-1414336108-1The previous entry at least, in a very round about way, has something to do with Hallowe’en. As atrocious as it is, at least they are attempting to go for horror. This one is horrific, but it is also a little bit odd. Of course there have been doctor costumes, and there is even a plague doctor costume- though admittedly that is at least potentially scary. Its not that this is a containment suit, that in itself would at least have got a pass even if it has nothing Hallowe’eny about it. But the specifics of the suit are what brought it to my attention. Ebola is a deadly disease and this suit came out as a result of a mass pandemic in parts of Africa and later spread over seas. Someone sat down and decided to try and market a costume based on a current catastrophe. At least the 9/11 costume isn’t for sale, this costume attempts to monetize disaster. I’m not offended by this, I doubt anyone actually is, but it is certainly a costume that seems cheap and could only have been worse if the costume included Ebola makeup. Of all the costumes on this list it is the least awful, but is included as it is a lazy attempt to make money off of suffering.

Anna Rexia

anorexiaI cannot for a second imagine the thought process behind this. Was this designed at a meeting where no one was present and a squirrel accidentally okayed it? What were these people thinking? Was the intention behind it to offend? Was it a social experiment so we can weed out the shitty people? The website (still) selling it describes it thus

“You can never be too rich or too thin. Knit dress with glitter screenprint. Includes headband, choker neckband, removable “Anna Rexia” badge and ribbon tie belt”

1.6 million people in the UK deal with an eating disorder of some type. These aren’t all anorexia of course, but anorexia itself will affect around 2% of the population in any given year. And those who know someone with anorexia will be even higher. Anorexia is a serious and life threatening illness. The idea that someone decided it was a suitable sexy Hallowe’en costume and that “You can never be … too thin” speaks of a mentality that is callous. As with the Ebola suit it suggests a festishising of serious illness, that we have run out of the millions of other costume alternatives and need to focus on making ill people feel worse. And on the topic of illness for sport, we have this classic.

Mental Patient Costume

_70124027_asdacropThis costume created a humungous uproar when it was revealed Tesco were selling it. The company quickly responded and removed it from sale, but you can find alternatives everywhere. There have already been countless articles on this costume so I won’t labour the point. As someone who is a mental patient (seeing as I have a mental illness, mainly depression but with funky add ons like video game DLC) I can safely say I do not look like this. The costume contributes to the stigma of mental illness, much like with the anorexia costume above. We already have pretty bad attitudes to mental illness, telling depressives to just cheer up and assuming all schizophrenics are dangerous and violent. Costumes like this help to demonise those of us with mental health issues and continue the worrying trend of using life threatening illness as a cheap gimmick.

This Hallowe’en try not to dress like an uncaring ass. There are many costumes you can wear that aren’t going to be mocking serious illness, domestic abuse and terrorism. I am not calling for a legal ban, but I do think stores have to understand that what they are selling can be harmful.

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McCriticism

We as a society have decided two things:

  • to not work when you can do is lazy, abusive and damaging to society and
  • working at McDonalds means you are a failure and should be mocked

There are countless memes and images and comments and posts about how working at McDonalds is degrading. We frequently are told in our youth that we need to work hard or else we will end up serving fries at McDonalds. Those of us bullied are told our abuser will not amount to anything and end up serving burgers at, you guessed it, McDonalds.

I have never worked at McDonalds. I had an interview once but I would have had to shave off my beard and I was young and proud of the fact I could grow facial hair so I turned it down. But that is the reason I turned it down. Because I would have had to shave and I didn’t want to. Mainly because I was a dick. Though even now I would have an issue with it because lets face it my facial hair is awesome. Even when clean shaven. My refusal had nothing to do with it being McdDonalds.

But lets just spend a moment to look at this ridiculous notion. Yes, calling them “McJobs” is silly. Yes, trying to promote a salad when your burgers are probably healthier is daft. But none of this relates to the actual work.

People at McDonalds work fucking hard. You, as a customer, walk in there and order a burger and fries and get it within minutes or even seconds. I have never waited more than a few minutes to get my food at McDonalds. Those people are running around like Sonic the Hedgehog on crack to get you your tasty treat and they do not need your scorn.

If the food takes a little while to arrive, joking about how fast food isn’t that fast is a joke they have heard several times that day already. And looking down on these people who work hard and contribute to society is appalling.

I have done some bad jobs. I have done various things. I once spent a morning as a bin man when I was doing agency work. That is a physically demanding job, one that makes you get up at ungodly hours to run around and man handle waste. You will end up with beans down you at some point- I assumed it was beans, my disgust would not register anything else.. But it is an essential job and it should never be ridiculed. Have you ever considered what life would be like without bin men? Think about that before you mock them. They are more essential to society than your job at Big Marketing Firm Dot Com.

I do a lot of bar work- usually for companies making millions in profit but who only pay minimum wage. So why do I not get a better job? Well first of all, it is a buyers market. Recessions are great for big companies because there are so many people needing work that when one leaves there are a dozen more to take their place. If you are making tens of millions in profit you should not be paying your staff minimum wage, period. And lets not get into the ridiculousness of paying a 16 year old half of a 22 year old for the same job.

We talk about how we should better ourselves, but there is nothing dehumanising about working a job. You are working, you are contributing, you are slogging your guts out for a low wage so those earning 50K can tell you that you are nothing. And even if the stupid argument that you can do better is true (and what is “better”?) and even if everyone gets out of working at McDonalds… we are still always going to need people to serve us our burgers, to stack out shelves, to sweep our streets. You ridicule and attack those people who are providing services we need.

Maybe we don’t “need” McDonalds specifically. But we need something similar. Walk into the Edinburgh Princes Street McDonalds any lunch time and you will see many suited and booted people buying their lunch. Or how about Subway? They make great sandwiches.

We should never ridicule someone for doing a job. If a job exists it is because there is demand. And those ridiculing are those doing the demanding. Yes McDonalds could be run more ethically, yes it has problems. But none of those are the fault of the people working there.

There is nothing wrong with doing a job if you can do it. And we should stop ridiculing those who provide us with the service we demand. To eat a Big Mac and ridicule a McDonalds worker is vicious. These people, these human beings are doing a job. They are earning. They are paying in to society. They are the backbone of Britain.

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Why Star Trek is Objectively Better than Star Wars

With a new Star Wars film coming out this year and a new Star Trek next year, it might be time to once and for all settle the debate as to which is better- Star Wars or Star Trek.

It’s Star Trek.

I could leave it there and the argument would be just as watertight. But this is the internet where people get offended and angry by absolutely everything like there’s some sort of competition I am not aware of. The way things are going we’re going to evolve into a Youtube comment. Seriously, the internet gets angry so quickly even Bruce Banner is looking on and thinking “Dayum son”.

But nowhere else can it be seen better than in the conflict between Star Wars and Star Trek fans. Many wars have been fought, in fact rumour has it the only reason we went into Afghanistan was because Osama Bin Laden had a mix tape of Mark Hamill battle rapping William Shatner. Though to be fair, that’s just how Shatner speaks.

So I present to you five reasons why Star Trek is objectively (in a subjective way of course) better than Star Wars.

ONE: The story

Now I don’t necessarily mean it in terms of plot, but in a general sense. What are the themes at play here? Well Star Trek tells us of a better future for humanity, one of love, one of peace, one of knowledge and explanation. Star Wars on the other hand is about a family feud that would make Jeremy Kyle wince. Granted, Star Trek has some flaws in some of its characters. Geordie is basically that guy on the internet that complains women don’t like him so he stalks them and creeps on them and tries to seduce them with things he gathered from Spacebook. And William Riker is probably constantly in Sexual Harassment seminars. And Kirk probably has space AIDS and…. Sorry I think I lost my point, I mean there were a lot of guys in Star Trek whose action figures should come with Fedoras.

tumblr_m5zxhvmU9S1qg36bn

But Star Trek at least attempts to look at realistic inter personal relationships. Chakotay may be Commander Friend Zone, and Bashir that weird kid who pulled on girls pig tails and said it was love, but then we have the Tom Paris and Belanna Torres relationship. The Chakotay and Seven of Nine, The Doctors liaisons with Denara Pell. Sisko and Cassidy Yates, or Sisko and Jennifer- this man so loved his wife he couldn’t contemplate carrying on his normal life without her. These are deep loves and relationships. Trip and the difficult love of T’Pol. Kira and Odo. Kira and Bariel. Alt-Kira and Alt-Ezri. Kira and Shakar. Kira and, well I suppose the rest of the Federation. Data and Yar. Quark and money. Geordie and the holodeck (clean up on holodeck 3). Love and respect and romance are integral to Star Trek and it explores the ups, the downs and the realities of these relationships. And then Wesley gets his end away showing that love is possible even for the most degrading of individuals.

Even Doc Crusher fucked a candle.

But what type of love does Star Wars give us? Anakin and Padmes relationship seemed weird from the outset, they met when she was an adult and he was a child and ended with him killing younglings. Also, another reason Star Wars is inferior: younglings. We have Luke clearly having a crush on and then briefly snogging Leia and although they didn’t find out till later they were twins, neither seemed affected by their tryst. Solo and Leia are probably the strongest relationship of the saga and even they seem to be forced together purely for plot convenience, like they had to have a love story to get in the womenz because girlz don’t like sci fi. Though maybe the most powerful form of love is when Vader finally snaps out of his 30 year funk and throws the Emperor over the edge of a balcony, choosing to save his son. But lets not forget that Vader is responsible for millions maybe even billions of deaths. He was overseeing the empire on behalf of Palpatine when the Death Star destroyed Alderan, he helped in the torture of his own daughter, he killed and maimed and tortured. He made his own son handicapped. The sudden change of heart in Return of the Jedi doesn’t make up for this. It is a warped love, a series of warped relationships. Star Wars is not a story of love. Not that it has to be, but when it comes to realistic portrayals of relationships then Star Trek wins Hans down. And isn’t that what we want to see? Love? No? okay, so point one doesn’t convince. Lets move on to point two.

TWO: The Ships

Han Solo claims that the Millenium Falcon can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Which is like saying I can run a marathon in less than 26 miles. A parsec is a unit of distance not time. The Falcon is a rust bucket, it is falling apart. But lets look at the most dangerous vessel in the series. The Death Star. Yes, this can destroy a planet, but also a single rocket aimed at an exposed exhaust pipe can destroy it. As far as devastating devastators of devastation go, the Death Star is basically held together with sticky tape and papier mache, and was probably built by Anthea Turner after she finished Tracy Island.

After building Tracy Island, the the Death Star she went on to make a scale model of a Cadbury Flake.

After building Tracy Island, the the Death Star she went on to make a scale model of a Cadbury Flake.

If your most dangerous vessel can be destroyed by the intergalactic equivalent of a flick to the ear then you are doing something wrong. But what about Star Destroyers I hear you say? Well there have been multiple debates and basically the Enterprise would destroy one with ease. Star Destroyers don’t appear to have shields which means a well aimed photon torpedo signals game over. Now lets look at Star Trek. The Federation has a fleet of vessels, the Galaxy Class ship can fit on board over 1000 people including children, families, pets, bartenders and men in skirts that aren’t Scottish.

It is the height of luxury and can only be destroyed when you let Troi take the controls. Because women drivers, ammirite? No? Well Geordie and Riker laughed. But the ships in the Star Trek universe are so far advanced- they have teleporters manned by the most dedicated people in Starfleet who are all Miles O’Brien. Even Voyager which is operating on reserve power is able to keep vast worlds alive indefinitely on the holodeck because plot.

Deep Space Nine is a run down Cardassian outpost but still has so much luxury mainly thanks to Quarks lack of ethics. Basically the ships in the Star Trek universe can do pretty much anything whereas the Millenium Falcon is so shitty it doesn’t even know when it has landed in the mouth of a space worm. Or space penis. That was never clarified.

Then we have on board technology that can make anything out of the basic molecules that exist. No one goes hungry, no one goes bored or wanting. The biggest risk on board a Federation star ship is sitting next to a computer when in battle, at which point it is always bound to explode despite not really consisting of anything that should explode. The ships have carpets, they have recreation, they have immense speed, to such a degree that at one point they have to limit it because it is fucking up the very fabric of the universe. Even the runabouts in the show are luxurious, now granted the shuttlecrafts are a problem as they have no toilet but then we never really see toilets anyway so maybe it is all beamed out into space. Maybe that is what is damaging the fabric of the universe, a mix of Worf shit and Rikers used condoms.

THREE: Technology

Star Trek again wins hands down. Sure the light sabre is cool, but is it the Genesis Device? No it isn’t. All the Death Star can do is destroy a planet. Genesis changes a planets entire set up and then just to be even more fucking hard as nails, still blows up the planet. Then we have the aforementioned holodecks. A place where you can live out any fantasy you wish. Obviously the holodecks are used primarily for sex, but they do admittedly have draw backs. For a start anyone can enter quite easily at any time and find Picards pasty white ass balls deep in a Crusher hologram, which leads to another problem- the person you chose to sex. The holodeck malfunctions so much it is likely that when you are getting your end away with your dream pin up Bajoran there will be a glitch and you find yourself so deep in Worf he can’t even growl properly. Or maybe it turns into Will Riker which would be a nightmare for anyone but Will Riker who obvious uses the holodeck to (trom)bone himself. But that’s when things go wrong. When they go right you can have adventures anywhere you like and with anyone. You could spend your entire existence in a holodeck and never notice that’s where you are. Maybe in some St Elsewhere style twist, the next Star Trek series will end with some regular Joe saying “end program” and we learn everything that has happened over the last 50 years of television has be naught but one bored young mans fantasy.

Even in my own fantasy I can't get a woman to love me.

Even in my own fantasy I can’t get a woman to love me.

Then of course we have replicators- they can make anything. Need new boots? Replicator. Need some food? Replicator. Need a new replicator? Replicator. They can do anything. And if for some reason technology can’t do what you want, then there is always Q who is just an inferior Wesley Crusher if you ask me. In the Star Trek universe there exists a being so close to an actual God that he may well be the root cause of all religion on Earth.

And to weaponry, a light sabre may be no match for a good blaster but a good blaster surely can’t hold its own against a phaser set to wide beam? Han Solos blaster can only shoot like a gun, but with red beams of anger, whereas a phaser can be constantly on. Oh and you can set them to overload which will either destroy a ship or make a small black mess depending on what the screenwriter needs. Then we have transporters, and warp drive, and easy time travel, and fucking Data. C3PO is nothing compared to Data, and R2D2… what even the fuck is it? He’s like a Furby got drunk and shagged a Tamagotchi. Even the Borg laugh at Droids.

FOUR: Enemies that are actually a threat

Save for the Death Star destroying Alderan, we never really see a Star Wars villain that is much of a threat, and even that was technology. Though also Peter Cushing was there, which is a formidable combination. All Star Wars enemies are pretty easily dispatched, even Vader is toppled by the Power of Love (The Huey Lewis song, not the emotion). But villains in Star Trek are a very credible danger. Without the combined forces of the entire Federation, the Klingons and a tricked into fighting Romulans it is very likely the Dominion would have conquered the Alpha Quadrant (because fuck the Beta quadrant, not like the Romulans live there or anything). The Dominion lost through sheer strength of the opposition who had to work together in ways they never had before. The Empire was defeated by the Care Bears. Lets take Q. He started as an antagonist but later softened, but if he so chose he could wipe out existence in a click of his fingers. The Galactic Empire can’t even compete.

One of the most dangerous threats to the Enterprise is Wesley Crusher’s science experiment at the start of season 3. Fucking homework nearly toppled the most advanced ship in the fleet. That’s real power. And then there is the Borg. They wiped out a huge chunk of the Fleet at Wolf 359, and probably pissed in someone’s kettle just to rub it in. They might be defeated, but they are not defeated with ease. And the Borg queen simply cannot die, she just transfers her mind into some other drone. The Emperor is dead and gone in Star wars, but the Borg queen is like a man proud of his grey hair- she just won’t dye.

But what do we have in Star Wars? An Empire whose most advanced battle-station has so many flaws its like a Lewis’ Department Store. Did no one think to cover the exhaust vent? Or maybe not connect the vent directly to the one thing that can destroy the vessel? No one think to have a couple of twists and turns? Who designed the ship and thought “Well, this vent is fine, it can only be reached by small single manned ships and the rebels only have a few hundred of them so what could go wrong?”

The most badass character in the whole saga – Boba Fett –  is eaten by a giant sand anus after speaking less than a dozen words. The most badass enemy in Star Trek (Khan) goes on a rampage in two different timelines, and in one time his actions result in a planet being reborn and then destroyed without the help of a giant space laser. He also has a bitchin’ waxed chest. Eat that Vader.

And on the topic of Vader. A part man, part machine who is basically a puppet is fine when you have millions of them in a Collective. But on his own he is pretty useless. Does Darth Vader actually do anything villainously worthwhile in the whole saga? Sure he tortures Leia, but that didn’t need his presence. He is basically just an observer at his own shindig.  He walks around being all shiny and robotic but never really does anything useful nor anything that really couldn’t have been done without him. He might have thrown the Emperor down a vent shaft but that’s it, he picked up an old man and chucked him off a bridge. That’s his level of badassery there. Bullying seniors.

And finally, point number five:

FIVE: Jar Jar Binks.

That’s really all I have to say here. Oh, also, Younglings. And Midichlorians. And Han shot first. And Parsec. And… ya know what? Star Wars sucks. But I still enjoy it. Much like I enjoy watching Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Basically, Vader is Tommy Wiseau. “You’re tearing me apart Leia!”

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Why nostalgia is bullshit

I see a lot posted by friends on my Facebook page, there are always articles in Buzzfeed about “Modern kids just won’t understand” usually followed by another Buzzfeed article titled “312 things you’ll only understand if you lived in a bag of custard during a very specific period from November 1998 to December 1998”. Basically Buzzfeed is to journalism what Hitler was to Human Rights. That’s a little harsh, Hitler loved his friends. But the point remains, websites and pages and groups and magazines and all sorts are sharing the wonder of nostalgia. How great it was in the past and how kids today just can’t understand us and how they have smartphones and we had sticks or something.

1993

1993

Well sorry to break it to you fellow Millenials (and a few of you late stage Gen Xers riding our coattails) but the past wasn’t as great as you remember it, nor has technology burst onto the scene giving kids all the wonders we didn’t have. Sure, we didn’t have Smartphones with Angry birds loaded onto it but I bet you had at least a couple of those Tiger Handheld Games. Technology may have advanced, but we still had antisocial, mind dumbing things to distract us. They just had poorer graphics.

Call of Duty 1990

Call of Duty 1990

We have always found ways to distract ourselves, to not pay attention to things around us and to entertain ourselves. Throughout history we have had distractions. Shakespeares theatre was popular with all classes of people and was basically pop-theatre. Shakespeare was the Michael Bay of his day is what I’m saying. So what about the past is so appealing? Well I don’t think it is so much we miss the past but we miss our youth. We miss not having to pay bills, not having to deal with council tax, not having to be an adult. You can’t simply take three months off in summer and spend the time playing and having fun with no commitments. We have to work to earn a few days off when we can have those care free days.

We remember the positives. Like with psychic readings, we remember the good and mostly forget the bad. Sure, we remember the huge bad things like people we love dying, bullies harming us and Jurassic Park III, but ultimately we focus on the big fun aspects- the long summers, the holidays away. We forget the hours being dragged around shops with our parents, the times we just sat in our rooms whiling away the hours with a GameBoy because there was nothing to do. We may not have had the internet but we had television, we had video games, we had magazines. People look back fondly on their school days, but really they were a 9-3 slog of boredom for many. You might recall a favourite teacher, or a specific lesson that stuck out (such as the time that kid in Biology asked what a condom was) but really, would you actually like to go back? Do you not remember that two week period of going in every day to sit exams lasting up to four hours. I fell asleep in one it was so boring. The most exciting thing that happened was me and a friend had our bikes stolen during a French exam, further reminding us why French is a dangerous language.

And summer wasn’t all sun. It was not as bad as now due to increased climate change, but we still had shitty weather. We weren’t out with our friends every single day. And though Kids TV isn’t what it was because I’m 32 and it isn’t aimed at me, we remember sitting and watching the first episode of Power Rangers but forget the rest of the million episode long show because actually it was pretty shit. Our memories of our formative years are a patchwork, and the other thing to remember is, well, memory isn’t very good so those happy nostalgic memories are clouded in rose tinted flashback.

We forget that we went home after school, did homework and lounged around playing Sonic The Hedgehog day after day but remember the one day our friends came over and we had a massive game session where one of your friends decided to show off his fresh circumcision. No, just me? Alright then.

Basically, those years you long for were not that great and would you really want to relive them? The squeaky breaking voice, the acne, the constantly inflexible and stained crotch of your pyjama bottoms? Okay, the last one is kind of a guy thing. But the point is, would you want to relive it? No, you wouldn’t. Because for every good thing you remember, there are many more bad, and an almost infinite supply of nothing and dull you have wiped them from memory, like you tried to wipe your pyjama bottoms. Again. Guy thing.

Picture unrelated

Picture unrelated

Kids don’t really have it better today either despite those constant memes telling us otherwise. Now of course, in many ways they do. Way to go Ash, contradict yourself instantly. But here is the thing to remember: today’s iPhones and internet is our nostalgic Gameboy and Teletext. The generation before us made the same types of comments about us. Saying that we didn’t know we were born, that we were spoilt, that we had an infinite supply of things to distract us. We may not have fully immersive online game play, but we had Zelda, and Mario, and Sonic, and everything that went with it. I’ve had variations on game consoles as long as I can remember- as a kid I had a Commodore, a Master Systems, a Mega Drive, a NES, a SNES, a GameBoy, countless Tiger Games and even a walkman with a built in Tetris game. We may not have had as advanced technology, but we had it, and we were amongst the first generations to have such ways of wasting time. We can’t condemn modern kids for doing exactly what we did.

As to phones, yeah, sure, I couldn’t have got online and watched porn on the bus but I still had a phone at 16. I could still text and call my friends, I could still interact in ways similar to what kids can today. So to look at kids today and attack them for hiding in their room with the internet when we hid in our rooms with Gameboys and MTV when it played music doesn’t come across as nostalgic, it comes across as missing the fact things haven’t really changed. Technology has just advanced.

We could watch new movies, we could even get pirated films on VHS that weren’t substantially worse than today. But when we fondly remember going to the video shop to rent a movie it was still shit and not as great as we remember- did you forget about tracking? About chewed tapes? But at least we still had them. It is easier today than ever to watch movies, but it wasn’t difficult back in the 90s. So lets stop criticising kids today for having it easy when we had it just as easy, we just had different technology.

And lets not forget that the 90s was the time of the Matthew Sheppard murder and the Admiral Duncan bombing, two watershed moments in LGBT rights advancement. Nowadays we look with annoyed side eye at those using FAG as an insult, but 20 years ago it was common language. The 90s were not great for social equality.

I don’t feel nostalgic for the past, I enjoy the things I enjoyed- I still play Sonic the Hedgehog because it’s a great game, but do you still play Story of Thor, or Cool Spot, or Gauntlet, or the abundance of TV inspired games like Wheel of Fortune, or how about Bonanza Brothers? Again, back to remembering the positives. A lot of games on Mega Drive or SNES sucked and we forget them, rightly.

This. This game. Just. This.

This. This game. Just. This.

Ultimately nostalgia is bullshit because it remembers and longs for a time that didn’t exist. A time that is warped due to bad memory and an ease of forgetting the mundane. The 90s were fun- in the 90s. Today we don’t really long for the past, we long for a care free time when we had none of the commitments we now have, we remember the past because as we get older we become more out of touch, more confused and slip back in to a comforting memory that makes us feel better. But that memory is a lie. Its fun to look back and remember the positives, but ultimately we advance, because we get bored. If we still only had 8 bit games we would likely have given up on gaming, if music hadn’t changed we would not be able to fondly remember Aqua (you shut your mouth).

It’s fun to look back, but lets not pretend the glory days were glorious. I like remembering the fun things, but lets not allow our love of the past to overwhelm the future. We don’t need a Kickstarter for a Mega Drive console, we have emulators and we have the old consoles readily available. Nostalgia is fine, but it is also bullshit. It is a fantasy world that never existed and it blurs a future that might never be. And if this isn’t enough to convince you the past wasn’t all that- may I just remind you of Windows 3.1

My job here is done.

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The 5p bag and what you could buy instead

Since the five pence bag charge came in to effect in Scotland a while back, things have changed drastically. The once beautiful landscape is now a desolate wasteland where packs of vicious dogs stalk the streets, dragging down anyone foolish enough to venture out after dark. Bag Dealers offer children discounted carrier bags for just 2p, sending them into a spiral of bag addition that leads to harder bags such as Bags for Life and the deadly Tote Bag. This should act as a stark warning to England in its time of sorrow as it to must succumb to the power of Big Bag companies who exist purely for profit, exploiting workers and refusing to double bag your heavy shop unless you pay an additional bag tax. When you look at the stats, each person in England goes through 140 bags a year which will cost a whopping £7.00 a year, the equivalent of THREE AND A HALF bottles of Tesco Crofter’s Apple Cider. Each week alone you are losing out a huge 13p. I thought it only fair to have a look at how this cruel bag tax – the worst since Thatchers Poll Tax- will effect you the consumer and just what you are losing out on. So, let’s see what you could buy instead if it were not for the vicious tax.

PER WEEK (Items 13p or less – not including p&p)

13 Fruit Salads13 fruit salad

Ten Penny Mix
13 ten penny mix

This Men’s Thong
13 thing

This pair of ornamental badgers
13 badgers

Sexy Sailor Hallowe’en Costume
13 sailor

George Michael’s Autobiography
13 michael         

PER MONTH (Items 52p or less – not including p&p)

Access to the Edinburgh Waverley Train Station Toilets (30p plus one penny to spend)
52 loos

A sweet potato
52 potatoTwo Freddos
52 bar

This Iron Man Cape
52 cape

PER YEAR (Items £7.00 or less – not including p&p)

Three and a half bottles of Tesco Crofters Apple Cider
7 cider

A couple of minutes of phone Tarot
7 tarot

A hamster7 hamster

A Nicholas Cage Autograph
7 cage

Two Men’s Snowman Pouches
7 pouch

So there we have it.  Remember the next time that minimum wage worker who is only trying to do their job so they can eat asks you for five pence for a bag then you show them this article.  You will win that argument hands down.  Now go forth and fight the powers!

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