A plea to the few remaining good progressives

solidarity

Let this image illustrate what progressives think they’re doing.

Following the recent victory of Donald Trump, I’d like to talk yet again about the progressives, but this time, I want to take a different approach. In my more recent posts, I have been absolutely cruel towards progressives (with good reason, namely I’m an ex-leftist who got sick of all the nonsense). In university I’ve met good people who consider themselves progressives, and surprisingly enough, are actually willing to hear my case.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I disagree with progressive ideology, and as I’ve demonstrated previously, I’m still a strong, vociferous critic of feminism in its current form, but I care less about the ideology and more about the people act. Of course, I’ve called progressives and feminists out in this site for basically treating ordinary people like absolute crap because they disagree with them.

Thankfully I haven’t found any of those characters on campus (for now at least, I’ve been sort of steeling myself for the past two months), but it remains crystal clear to me that these “good progressives” and “good feminists” aren’t making their voices heard loudly enough. I don’t doubt that they have good intentions. Of course they do. But the problem is that the movement is clearly dominated by the reprehensible social justice warriors, and many of the mainstream progressives (celebrities, politicians, artists, etc.) aren’t even trying to distance themselves from the bad actors, often because they’re trying to pander to them.

This and the many other failures of the progressives practically ensured Trump’s victory, and now even other progressives (the one’s who aren’t still pouting and pooping their diapers over a Trump presidency) are starting to realise that it’s partly their fault, along with the media, and which point we’re finally on the same page. Realising that there’s a problem in the movement is a good start, but I think it’s going to take a lot more than to get the public back on their side, and if you’re one of the good progressives, like the ones I know in real life, I’m willing to help, if that is you’re willing to listen. Let’s break this down into a few points.

1) Don’t shut down the conversation by calling the opponent “racist”, “sexist”, or any other “-ist” or “-phobe” you feel like.

Seriously, that’s one of the biggest gripes people have with progressives right now. They’re not willing to have a conversation on meaty issues such as immigration, black-on-black crime, radical Islam, or the biased family courts, probably because doing so would mean taking off the ideological lens, if only for a while.

If you didn’t want Donald Trump to win because you thought he was a racist, or a sexist, or a xenophobe (neither claim holds up to scrutiny by the way), then that’s too bad. Calling him those things didn’t work, and trying to shame his supporters with the same tactic definitely didn’t work. You can’t persuade people to side by telling them they’re bad people if they aren’t. It didn’t work when conservative Christians tried it, and it isn’t working today.

Besides, by abusing these very words, you effectively reduce their value. If every trivial thing is racist, it means nothing because the word “racist” has lost meaning, and it’s nothing other than a disservice to people suffering from actual racism around the world. Same with sexism and sexual harassment. It’s only baffling how a dad joke can now be considered “sexual harassment”, but the consequence is that it might end up being harder for people to take genuine sexual harassment claims seriously.

2) – Kick Marxism out of the movement

Today’s progressives get much of their ideas from Marxist theory, as well as critical theory as prescribed by the Frankfurt School. Such nonsense must be purged from progressivism if you have any hope of winning back public acceptance, and possibly winning elections. Marxism is not only illiberal at its core, but it has repeatedly demonstrated itself as a failing ideology. Every country that has tried Marxist ideals ultimately becomes an impoverished dictatorship where all the wealth, power and resources are concentrated in the hands of the ruling class.

Critical theory is also pure nonsense. All it teaches you is to deconstruct everything you see, while offering no positive alternative. Today’s modern social justice warriors think almost entirely with critical theory (they’re practically breast-fed with it in universities), and that’s why they see the bedrocks of society – marriage, capitalism, the family unit, – as problematic at best, and enslavement at worst.

Also, in what way does Marxism, or indeed socialism, represent the best interests of the working class? In the 1980’s, the Labour Party began to tilt extremely to far to left, and went full Marxist under Michael Foot. The end result was Labour being kept out of power until 1997. I can see the same thing happening to Jeremy Corbyn. He’s already turned the party into a living joke, and as long he’s continuing down his current path, Labour will be virtually unelectable. To me, it seems as if today’s progressives, by embracing Marxist ideals (to the extent that racism and sexism are redefined through the Marxist framework of “oppressor vs. oppressed”), have isolated themselves from the working class, to the point that progressivism is now an ideal home for champagne socialists like Russell Brand or Owen Jones.

What I’m trying to say is that capitalism doesn’t have to be your enemy. In fact, capitalism is arguably the fairest economic system we have because you’re rewarded based on the effort you put into your work, whereas in a socialist system, everyone would be paid the same no matter how hard they worked, assuming they work at all. Instead of trying to get rid of capitalism entirely, why not focus on reforming the existing system so that it is harder for poor people to be exploited? I’m not saying that I’m advocating this, I’m just suggesting a possible route progressives can take.

3) – Censorship is never justified, no matter who’s been offended

One thing that appals me about today’s progressives is that they find themselves justifying, and sometimes advocating for what is effectively censorship. Usually this takes the form of a progressive arguing that a Christian preacher shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public. Any progressive can make that argument, but that doesn’t make it a morally justifiable one.

The problem with modern progressives when it comes to censorship is that when you take away anybody’s right to free speech, for any reason, it sets an uncomfortable precedent. If the fundamentalist Christian is silenced, then it’s only a matter of time before anyone else can be silenced as well, and for any given reason.

That’s why I think progressives should abandon the whole concept of “hate speech” (which is essentially a secular equivalent to the concept of “blasphemy”), as it is invariably used to justify censorship. In a truly free and equal society, all speech is protected, without exception. The concept of hate speech serves only to demonstrate how authoritarian the progressive ideology has become.

4) – Stop thinking in terms of race and gender

What’s the most effective why to combat sexism and racism? Stop judging people based on race and gender. It’s really that simple, unless you’re a social justice warrior who can’t help but think in terms of race and gender. A consistent problem that many progressives are having today is that they’re thinking of men, women and ethnicities as collective groups, wherein everyone in that box is supposed to think the same way. This is how today’s progressives have been convinced that insulting one woman means that you hate all women, or that only white men vote Republican.

Identity politics, once the preserve of nationalists during the 1930’s, has become a hallmark of the contemporary left, and this has to stop. Nobody is buying into this identity politics crap anymore, because people don’t want to be judged by what they were born as. Most people can see straight away that the identitarian train of thought exhibited by progressives is no different to the very racist thinking that they claim to oppose.

Some progressives and social justice warriors are actually convinced that being colour blind (read: not paying attention to one’s skin colour) contributes to racism, if it’s not a form of racism. This, of course, is nonsense. I would argue that it is more progressive to be colour blind than to continue focusing on race, and therein lies the problem. In today’s world, most people are colour blind when it comes to race, and that’s a good thing because it means most people don’t give a crap about race. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about when he dreamed of a world where people would be judged based on the content of their character, rather than the colour of their skin. What today’s progressives do, however, is slap to Dr. King’s face.

5) Globalism is not your friend

In today’s world, the overarching conflict in politics is not simply a matter of left vs. right. It is now a matter of globalism vs. nationalism, and nationalism isn’t as bad most people think (it’s only when you have extreme nationalists who think in terms of race that you start getting problems). It’s no coincidence that the progressives have been on the losing side in 2016. In Britain, they sided with the Remain camp, because the EU represents their dream of a borderless Europe. In America, they sided with Hillary Clinton, the epitome of 90’s-era globalist, neoliberal politics, despite the fact that she is overwhelmingly corrupt.

Coincidence? I think not. Today’s progressives are globalists, whether they want to admit it or not. The problem is that the globalist elites don’t give a damn about progressive ideals. It may sound like it because they are centrists, but really, all the globalists care about is enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of the population. The irony is stunning because progressives often claim they are helping the working class, and like to think that they’re going against the establishment. The reality is that globalism is the establishment, and the people on the top don’t care about the working class. They don’t care about the progressives either. To them, you’re useful idiots who can help them propel their agenda.

By selling out to globalism (which I assume they only did because they don’t like the sound of nationalism), the progressives have alienated themselves from the working class, thus ensuring that they will be defeated in the elections and referendums to come, just as they have been defeated this year.

I know this might be a lot to swallow, but if you’re a progressive and you care about the future of your ideology, and if you don’t want to see a whole decade of right-wing governments dominating the west, then the onus is on you to be the change you wish to see. I know there are good progressives who are tired of the antics of those social justice warriors, and if you’re one of them, take my advice to heart. I’m trying to help you get your groove back. All you have to do is talk to people who disagree with you, listen to their criticisms, maybe challenging them. You can either take my advice, and the advice of other good-hearted liberals, or you can continue doubling down on the failures of progressivism, and ensure your continued failure for years to come.

 

Why we don’t need feminism

While in university, I found a somewhat cringeworthy poster presumably written up by art students (I found this in the fine art area, it’s not hard to connect the dots) which basically attempts to convince the viewer of why the modern world would “need” feminism. What I get is that they’re obviously misinformed, having drunken the feminist Kool-Aid from a keg. That said, I think of it as an opportunity to break down each statement, showing the obvious holes in the ideology, and why we don’t need feminism.

imag0303

Statement #1 – “Because society does not accept vulnerability in men, or strength in women”

I have a question – why do you have to care what other people think of you? It always seems to me like feminists and other assorted leftists place an unhealthy emphasis on society, and that’s because leftists believe that a person’s problems come from society, and that to fix them requires changing society. If a woman wants to be strong, that’s fine. In fact, from my experience, strong women tend to be praised in mainstream culture, and nobody I know seems to have a problem with more vulnerable (translation: less assertive) men.

Statement #2 – “We need to teach our children that they are in charge of their bodies, and not force them to give affection.”

And how do you feminists propose to do that? Do you plan on teaching sex education in primary school, or lower? Because if so I would have some serious problems. This isn’t the sort of subject that should be taught to children, and certainly not in the way feminists have in mind. As for “force them to give affection”, what on Earth have they been reading? I swear that whenever you wear the feminist lens you always see problems wherever you go, and whoever wrote it hasn’t bothered to explain this position. Not that I would expect one from something that’s meant to appeal solely to people within their echo chamber.

Statement #3 – “Because all over the world, there are people who don’t understand that NO means NO.”

Yes, you are absolutely going to get people like that, and if they are breaking the law then they should be punished. That’s all it has to be. You don’t need feminism just because there are assholes in this world. At any rate, most people already accept that no means no, and you’ll always get people who don’t, just as you’ll always have murderers even though murder is illegal. I fail to see how feminism is necessary in this sense.

Statement #4 – “Because women and men still become victims of domestic violence everyday.”

Gee, I didn’t know feminists suddenly cared when men are abused.

Anyway, you don’t need feminism to address domestic violence. Of course, any feminists interested in helping to tackle the issue are welcome, but domestic violence is not an inherently feminist issue, especially if, as whoever wrote this pointed out, it’s not just women being affected. The most useful thing feminists could do is to empower women to break their silence, and hopefully call the police. Other than that, you don’t need feminism for this.

Statement #5 – “Women are seen as second class citizens.”

That’s definitely true in Saudi Arabia, along with the other countries in the Islamic world, but not here in Britain.

Statement #6 – “Feminism has become synonymous with man-hating – this further emphasises the gender divide that feminism was created to break down.”

At least there’s some self-awareness in this crowd, but I would argue that feminism has done much more damage than simply emphasising a gender divide. The reason feminism has become synonymous with man-hating is because most feminists don’t care about men. Not all of them are misandrists, but there are enough misandrists in the movement that people can see feminism for what it is – a movement that primarily benefits women, and advocates for the supremacy of the female gender. As I’ve written about before, the actions of modern feminists have served to damage relations between men and women, mainly because if you keep beating men with the “sexist” and “misogynist” labels all the time, they’re going to get sick of it. Also, what positive thing did they think treating men like a privileged overclass to be overthrown would do?

The fact of the matter is that misandry has become a normal thing in modern feminism, and none of the mainstream feminists are challenging this.

Statement #7 – “Because fathers are not considered as important in their child’s development as mothers.”

I thought that’s what you feminists wanted. Make up your minds already!

Even if the feminists wanted to address this, how do they plan on doing this? I would argue that the men’s rights activists would be more qualified to handle this, but the thing is, feminists refuse to work with them. They view men’s rights as nothing, because for them, why would privileged patriarchs have problems in the first place?

If they want to address this issue, maybe they should stop constantly demonising men, and maybe they’ll get some results.

Statement #8 – “Donald Trump believes women are slaves! He will put an end to feminism.”

Well this sounds very bizarre, because I’ve never heard Donald Trump say anything of the sort. It’s another wild claim that sounds like the writer pulled out of Raw Story, or Salon, or some other progressive propaganda outlet.

As for whether or not he’ll end feminism, I severely doubt that Trump himself cares about feminism at all, but I believe him being elected represents the beginning of a cultural shift away from political correctness. A Trump presidency wouldn’t mean the end of feminism (you can’t really kill an idea after all). All that would be dead is the power and influence feminism has to shame people with, and in a way the feminists deserve it. The movement has clearly been corrupted by power, and has completely lost touch with ordinary people. Trump getting elected is the kick in the ass that they so desperately need.

Statement #9 – “Because women are denied the right to make decisions concerning their own bodies.”

No they aren’t, not here in Britain, and certainly not over in America. This is bold claim that, while it would be accurate in the Islamic world, doesn’t fly here.

Statement #10 – “Because men and women are the same at their core – we are all human and deserve to be treated as such.”

There are biological difference between men and women, and those should not be overlooked, but I agree that in terms of character and what we are capable of, men and women are equals, and here in the West we are treated as equals. We’re all treated based on the choices we make and our character as individuals, and that’s great. The problem is that feminism is not an egalitarian movement. They want equality of outcome, rather than equality of opportunity, so they won’t be happy anyway so long as we live in a free and open society.

Statement #11 – “Because no country in the world can say it has achieved equality of the sexes.”

Britain has. America has. Sweden has. In any Western country, men and women are equal under the law. But that’s not what feminists mean isn’t it? No, they want gender quotas to force companies, governments, schools and other establishments to make sure that 50% of all employees are female. That is not what I would call an egalitarian society. Feminists don’t want gender equality. They want gender parity, just that equality sounds like a much better word to most people.

Statement #12 – “Grab them by the pussy.”

Oh give it a rest already! It was no more than locker room banter, that was recorded eleven years ago. It sounds unpleasant to a lot of people, but it doesn’t justify feminism. That you feminists are so concerned with men saying things that sound unpleasant to you tells me that you are more focused on policing other people’s speech than actual equality.

Statement #13 – “Because feminism can create a better world – for ALL the sexes.”

No it can’t. In fact, in its current form, all feminism can do is make the world a much worse place for both the sexes. You have men who are so afraid of how women will treat them that they are checking out of society to avoid any sort of risk, and you have women who actually decide to pursue a career in the same way as men do, and it turns out they are more likely to suffer from depression. Also, marriage rates are declining, more men are committing suicide, and we now live in a world where you can’t address any of those and more issues without having your reputation tarnished by some shrill social justice warriors who may want to get you fired. Is that what you might call a better world for all the sexes? I would think not.

Also, shouldn’t that be for both the sexes? There’s only two.

Statement #14 – “We are still stuck in the way of blaming the women/victim when they are raped or harassed. ‘What were they wearing?'”

Some people do this, but not everybody does this. Feminists seem to have the habit of sweeping everything and everyone with the same brush.

Statement #15 – “Because I still do not feel safe walking home at night as a woman.”

Probably because you’ve been fed lies by the news media. Trust me. I used to think I wouldn’t be safe at night on my own as well, but I was wrong. In fact, it turns out that women are safer out at night than they think, and that men are more likely to be a victim of violent crime than women. I’m so sick of this narrative that women aren’t safe at night just because of widely publicised incidents on the news. All it does is scare people into not having a life, and it seems to me like feminism is scaring women into thinking solely about how vulnerable they are. That’s the total opposite of empowering women.

Statement #16 – “Women in developing countries are still being discriminated against and are at a disadvantage regarding their education and their bodies. Being forced into marriage or having their genitals mutilated.”

Finally, a feminist talking point that is actually on point. I agree wholeheartedly that feminism might be needed in the developing world, and that’s partly why I’m concerned that most feminists aren’t interested in that at all. Maybe if you spent less time on safe spaces and trigger warnings, you might actually be able to get something done in those other countries. It’s too bad that’s the only statement that makes any sense.

Statement #17 – “It needs to be understood that ‘cat-calling’ is NOT flattering.”

Some people might find it flattering, and others might not, but I think it’s mostly considered rude nowadays. If you don’t like being cat-called, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t force everyone to think the same way as you. That feminists are so adamant that everyone think the same as them is precisely why feminism has become such a bad word in the first place. That most feminists aren’t aware of this is truly astonishing.

And yet people wonder why I don’t like feminism.

Honestly, I shouldn’t be too surprised, but it’s genuinely concerning what people in my generation are buying into. I know there are good feminists out there (and I sense that I will have to constantly point this out), but these good feminists aren’t being given enough of a voice. It’s the bad feminists who are commanding the dialogue through the mainstream media, and even though some people can say “they aren’t feminists” or “they aren’t what feminism is about”, but the sad truth is that a rotten egg is still ultimately an egg. The bad feminists are still ultimately part of the movement, and it’s because the moderate feminists allowed them to take over the movement that feminism has taken on its current shape.

In the end, we don’t need feminism. What we need is egalitarianism, which is superior principally because when you’re an egalitarian you don’t care about what gender, colour or creed you are. Feminism has failed because it wants to have all the power and influence it can get, and in the process, it has ultimately tarnished itself.

The return of the moral busybodies

stop funding hate

It appears that in today’s world, the home of persistent, self-appointed moral guardians is in the left, and this is evident in a divisive new campaign called “Stop Funding Hate”. What is it? It’s a campaign that aims to pressure major companies into withdrawing ads from right-wing tabloids such as The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Daily Express. In other words, it’s a thinly disguised attempt at censoring newspapers they disagree with. They made news this month when they released a John Lewis style mock advert calling on them to stop funding right-wing papers. Sadly they’ve already gotten one company to cave in, as Lego announced that they will stop advertising in The Daily Mail. The Co-op Group (for those who don’t know, they’re a British supermarket chain) has also announced that they are “reviewing their policies”, and Waitrose and M&S are also being urged by the group.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but this campaign sounds exactly like the self-appointed moral crusaders of the 1980’s, and it’s sickening. It seems as if today’s progressives are obsessed with silencing opposing opinions, and to be fair, that’s all the left can do nowadays. They’re losing elections, their propaganda is being rejected, and their ideas are being proven wrong in the face of reality. Incidentally, the main targets of this campaign – The Sun, The Daily Express, and The Daily Mail – are all right-wing, populist and most importantly Eurosceptic publications, and all of them backed Brexit. Taking that into account, it’s no surprise that they’re targeting those publications in particular.

Even more baffling is the fact that somebody is actually giving these moral busy-bodies what they want. My question to Lego is this – are you insane? The first rule of handling social justice warriors is that you shouldn’t give them what they want. If you do, then they know that they will have power over you, and they can demand more from you, and they will because they are never happy. This is why you never apologise to a social justice warrior, it shows them that you are weak, and that’s exactly what Lego has done in this situation. At least John Lewis, the company being targeted by the group’s latest ad, has shown some sense, having stated that they “never make an editorial judgement on a particular newspaper”.

I had a quick look at their Facebook page, and according to their about page, they claim to stand for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of choice, impartiality, inclusiveness, consistency and universality, and at this point, I know they’re full of shit. They are not in favour of free speech or freedom of the press, or freedom of choice for that matter. They cannot be if the point of their campaign is to stop companies from advertising on newspapers they disapprove of. That is not the goal of a group that values freedom of speech. It is in fact censorship, and it’s wrong when anybody calls for it, no matter how noble you think your goal may be.

Their claim to stand for impartiality is also bullshit, mainly because they’re deliberately targeting newspapers that supported Brexit, and oppose mass immigration. As for inclusiveness, I’m definitely sure that’s what an SJW would stand for, but I’m pretty sure that they’re the kind of people who would ostracise you if you expressed any opinions that differed from theirs (for example, feminism). The only two principles I can say they do hold sincerely are consistency and universality, given that they are consistent in their petulant, self-righteous moralism.

Given that the focus of their campaign is coverage involving immigration, Stop Funding Hate exemplifies the reason why nationalism is coming back into vogue here in Europe, because the left refuses to allow an honest discussion on immigration to take place, preferring instead to talk down to the common man, labelling anyone who opposes immigration at all as a “racist”, “xenophobe” or an “Islamophobe” (more common than ever due to the Syrian migrant crisis). To me, this campaign is yet another symptom of just how terribly simplified political discussion has become. We live in a time where the left has turned any discussion on immigration or almost anything else political into a matter of “love versus hate”, which is complete nonsense. It reminds me of San Angeles in the movie Demolition Man (which is a classic I would recommend to everyone reading this), in which the rules of society are geared toward engineering a world where people aren’t assholes.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily like the sensationalist rhetoric of these right-wing newspapers, and I’ve always criticised them because of it, but that doesn’t make it right to pressure companies into withdrawing ads from those papers. To me, that fundamentally contradicts the right to a free press, goes against a company’s right to freedom of association, and could very much set a dangerous precedent. In the future, maybe a Christian pressure group could force a company to pull their ads from a paper that constantly criticises their religion. If that happened, we would basically have a scenario where the censorship that the left demands so much is used on them.

What now?

donald trumpAfter weeks of hibernating, I’ve decided to come back to my post, and in this tumultuous of all days, it looks like I’m having to talk about the election, or rather, President Trump (I still can’t believe I’m writing this, but here we are). As you can expect, the left-wing media and the social justice warriors are all in full panic mode, and why wouldn’t they be? The masses have disobeyed them at every turn, because they’ve decided that they’d rather have Trump, with his moderate nationalism, than the most corrupt politician we’ve seen in years.

I should reiterate that I’m not a Trump supporter, but I can see how we got to this point (and tried to explain it myself in real life, but I didn’t want tensions to inflame too much), and remain sympathetic to the average American who voted Trump, so before I continue, I think I should briefly clear up why most of America voted Trump, since you’re most likely in a state of utter disbelief. The whole reason America voted Trump is because the average working class has been disenfranchised by the political establishment, and tarred and feathered as scum of the earth by the media and cultural establishment.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, represented all that Americans hated about the political establishment – the crony capitalism, the hawkish foreign policy, the ignoring and shaming of the working class. They’re fed up with the nonsense they’ve had to put up with from the cultural and political overclass, fed up with the grandstanding from left-wing celebrities like John Oliver and Amy Schumer, and fed up with the lack of political will for reform in America, and so it’s no wonder that, in their desire for change (on which Obama did not deliver for the most part), they have chosen to elect Trump. After all, he has positioned himself as the only candidate willing to hear the voices of the working class, and it worked. Trump’s victory is the inevitable result of the establishment’s devaluing and demonising of the working class, just as Brexit was in the UK. If you ask me, the Democrats had it coming.

Personally, I feel that the most disappointing aspect of the election is Gary Johnson’s dismal failure of a campaign. I knew he wasn’t going to win, but I thought that the Libertarian Party would have more of a future if he had at least gotten 5% of the popular vote, and he failed to do that. He got 3% of the vote, meaning that a serious challenge to the two-party system is still a pipe dream, at least for now. I think it wouldn’t have been so bad if Gary Johnson didn’t screw up so much. But then, Gary was never going to be an effective challenge to someone as charismatic as Trump evidently was.

What can we expect next? Who knows, but one thing is clear. Whether you were pro-Trump or anti-Trump, whether you think he is a good businessman or an incompetent, brazen bigot, the election of Donald Trump represents a clear rejection of the political and cultural establishment, and whatever the outcome could have been, the Trump campaign has exposed the elites for the hollow, empty shells of people that they are. They have failed to make a positive case for Hillary, or their ideology, and have instead tried to tarnish the character of both Trump and the ordinary people who may have supported him. This is exactly like what the Remain camp was doing in Brexit, instead of trying to persuade Americans of a positive future in the EU (which they couldn’t), they instead smeared all Leave voters as “racist” or “xenophobic”, or whatever word they felt like.

Either way, Trump’s victory will live on as a major defeat for the progressive (sorry, regressive) left. They’ve taken it extremely personally, and now I see young people and leftists proclaiming that America is officially “stupider than the UK”.

disdain for plebs

This was found in the fine art department in my campus.

First of all, the text is woefully inaccurate. Only 48% of Americans voted for Trump, but less than that voted for Clinton. Second of all, the disdain coming from whoever made this is surely self-evident, as if suddenly Americans are morons just for voting Trump into power, and I think that’s disgusting. If you don’t like Trump, that’s fine. If you think he would make a bad president, that’s also fine, but it’s not okay to just bash ordinary people for their differences, and you certainly shouldn’t just trash the land that I love just because of it. Most of the people who voted Trump also voted for Obama, and they voted Republican because they feel that Obama’s administration screwed them over. I don’t think that’s stupid at all. I don’t give a damn who people vote for as long as you don’t bully, mistreat or alienate people just because they voted differently to how you would.

If this is the culture that is being challenged by Trump’s candidacy, then I think we are on the way towards seeing the defeat of the left, and the signs are everywhere. The liberal media is panicking like crazy, their policies are failing, their propaganda is being unanimously rejected, and their attempts to silence dissenting opinions are failing. As for Trump himself, I think I ought to congratulate him (I know I don’t agree with him entirely, but I think it’s the last honourable thing I can do). After all, Trump’s campaign from the word go has been met by all manner of opposition. He’s withstood all the slings and arrows from the controlled media, the current government, popular culture, and his political opponents. Nearly everyone tried to stop him, and yet hear he is. If anything about him impresses me at all, it’s that he had the balls to keep going despite all of that, and against the most powerful insider in American politics no less.

I must say that this election cycle has been ceaselessly interesting, but now that Trump’s elected, and once he’s sworn in, he has to not fuck up. He made a lot of promises throughout the campaign, some of them I dare say are bigger than any other politician’s promises to date. Winning the election is only half the battle for Trump. If he fails to deliver on his promises after all this, he will go down in history as the biggest loser in history. I say this not as someone who didn’t support Trump, but as someone who is watching America, and wondering what will become of it. If as he says he is interested in peaceful relations with Russia, then naturally I will look forward to that, but if he screws up, then we can enter the 2020’s with grim expectations.

Signing off…at least for a while

It would seem that my days in university are almost starting. Starting this Saturday I’ll begin the pursuit of a better life through university, and after that, I simply won’t have as much time to write for this site. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go on hiatus, effective immediately. I don’t intend to say when I’ll be back on Stef’s Cave, though I might drop a new post at any given moment.

University life is of course the main reason that I’m doing this, but that’s not the only reason I have. At some point, I began to feel that I couldn’t focus on writing the article, and this has led to articles that I had wanted to write becoming the victims of procrastination, and they would often be either benched or scrapped entirely, and I can’t help but think that it was a terrible way for me to work. This doesn’t mean that I intend to stop writing. Stefan Grasso’s Game Reviews and Movies for Earthlings will continue as normal, with Movies for Earthlings being on a short break, and the game review site publishing at the normal rate. However, I think that Stef’s Cave in particular would interfere with the kind of life I want to live in university by adding another writing commitment I would have to worry about, something that I would have to juggle with the other things in my life.

I’m aware that this might disappoint some of my committed readers, but I ultimately can’t see myself taking any other course of action. I would actually like to see this as an opportunity rather than something negative, as every good writer should go out into the world and experience it as it is, willing to be shaped by reality as much he or she is willing to shape it. Since this isn’t the first time I’ve posted notices like these, once again I must stress that I’m not quitting completely, but after this, I will not be writing anymore posts for a good long while. I simple don’t have the energy to keep doing it, and I predict that to keep trying would cause me some problems when I start getting into the really heavy coursework. I’ll still reply to comments that are posted on the site, but for an as yet undetermined amount of time, I’m basically signing off, but I may start writing on this site again before you know it.

What happens when musicians tilt at windmills

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Last year, I wrote a post lambasting Jay-Z’s alternative to services like Spotify and iTunes. Tidal is basically Spotify if it were an exclusive club of all the worst personalities the music industry has to offer, and at twice the price of Spotify’s premium membership. After a tirade about the vanity, vacuity and arrogance of the music industry, I concluded that the Tidal venture would be failure, and it turns out I was right. Recently, it was reported that Tidal’s parent company, the Aspiro group, had lost $28 million within the past year, and despite being the exclusive digital home of the latest albums by its top musicians, Tidal is apparently having trouble making payments.

This basically confirms what I had thought a year ago, and I think it’s fairly obvious why. Jay-Z and the artists who promoted were fully aware that the game they way (namely the mainstream music industry) is now hopelessly irrelevant, given that you can download theirs or superior music for free on the internet clearly, and these self-proclaimed “artists” had contempt for the fact that ordinary people aren’t giving them money and funding their extravagant lifestyles. That contempt was completely obvious during their unveiling ceremony, which came across as a bunch of wealthy musicians asking for more money, whilst proclaiming that they were going to change the course of history in the process.

Naturally, the reaction on Twitter was vicious, and when the news broke that Tidal had lost millions of dollars over the last year, I think all of Tidal’s critics, myself included, feel some sort of sense of vindication. After all, why would anyone pay $20 a month for sterile, plastic pop music (which, in all fairness, you can just get for free) just to stroke the egos of its creators, when you can peruse the internet and treat yourself to a galaxy of better music from a variety of different genres, and from any point in music history. Also, if you like the music enough to pay for it, you can support the artists you like by buying their albums, and newer artists have found fans and income through sites like Bandcamp (which, sadly, doesn’t have the amount of exposure I feel it deserves). Therefore, I’m not surprised that Tidal has lost so much money in its futile quest for supremacy over Spotify.

Another big problem is the very intention of the Tidal service – to create a high-quality streaming service owned by musicians. Approximately three-quarters of Tidal’s revenue has gone to royalty payments for the artists on it. For them, it sounds great, but for me, it sounds like that’s the reason Tidal has been struggling to make payments, despite benefiting from high-profile releases from the artists backing it. I know it’s terrible that musicians don’t make enough money in the industry, but Tidal seems to me like the other extreme – paying artists through the nose at the expense of its profits, which everyone knows is a good way of making sure your business fails. Worse still, Tidal’s penchant for funnelling the bulk of its profits as royalties is actually hurting the very artists who have equity stakes in Tidal. Any self-respecting streaming service can’t expect to deliver music to its audience if it can’t sustain itself.

Indeed, Tidal has been a disaster, as I knew it would be. I also accurately predicted that Tidal’s higher prices would lead to more piracy, but in that respect any increased music piracy was actually due to the half-brained decision by certain artists to release their albums exclusively on Tidal. For example, Kanye West decided to release his latest album “The Life of Pablo” exclusively on Tidal, much to the chagrin of whatever fans he still has. In fact, within a few days of the album’s release, the album had been pirated around 500,000 times, prompting its release on competing platforms. I’m sure other artists who decided to drop their music exclusively on Tidal have had their music pirated more often as well (I remember at some point hearing that Taylor Swift decided to be a Tidal-exclusive artist).

Of course, it’s obvious what’s happening. Tidal tried and failed to make a dent in the habits of music listeners, and that’s because nobody wanted to buy into it in the first place. The biggest problem is that Jay-Z (and by extension every other mainstream musician involved) were basically acting like Don Quixote trying to fight the windmills, believing they were giants. For them, music piracy was a dragon to slay, and anyone who didn’t support them were part of the problem, and that’s precisely how the Tidal venture failed. It hasn’t destroyed the music industry as I thought it would, but the way things are going the music industry, at least in the way that we know it, may as well be a lumbering dinosaur.

The main thing that hasn’t changed is that downloading music off the Internet is still as common and normal as washing your hands. Tidal alone only has 4.2 million subscribers compared to Apple Music’s 17 million subscribers. Even Spotify, the largest music streaming service there is to offer, only has 30 million subscribers, which obviously means that the majority of people aren’t even paying for the music anymore. What I’m trying to say is that people like Jay-Z might as well accept it. The old business model of music is dead, and music fans already moved on years ago. At this point, the big musicians and record labels have two choices – they can either adapt to the times, or continue ignoring reality, thereby distancing itself further from music consumers, who will no doubt continue getting music for free, and ensuring that the music industry as we know it gets consigned to the dustbin of history.

The feminist war on Japanese pop culture

tsunderstorm

Ever since Gamergate, and perhaps before then, feminists, progressives and social justice warriors have been embarking on a vain and ultimately futile quest to stick their nose in all aspects of popular culture, wagging their fingers at people who just want to be entertained. Of course, when they realised that they couldn’t get gamers to bend the knee to the religion of social justice, they moved on to a new target – cute anime characters. This new zeal for finger-wagging comes fresh from The Mary Sue, an agenda-pushing feminist site that wags its finger at anything in geek culture they find “problematic”, who wrote an article called “Moé, Misogyny and Masculinity: Anime’s Cuteness Problem–and How to Fix It“.

The premise of the article is pure hogwash. It claims that moé characters, those little sister type characters in anime who are meant to be seen as adorable, are “problematic” and represent an “undercurrent of misogyny” (note: whenever someone says there’s an undercurrent of something, there’s a good chance that he or she can’t provide any evidence to back up their claim). The author, Amelia Cook, goes on a meandering sermon about how moé characters are bad because they’re “unrealistic” and “initialised”, before ultimately discrediting her own argument in the last paragraph, which effectively reads as her saying “moé should be fixed because I don’t like it”. Whether or not you don’t like something about anime (and there are things I find questionable), that’s no reason to demand that it should be changed according to your whims. In the same article she cites the My Little Pony fandom as an example of “grown men challenging perceptions of masculinity through cute pop culture”. In other words, otakus who like moé are evil perverts, but grown men watching a cartoon for six-year-old girls is a good thing? Only in feminism people. Personally I don’t know what part of the article is more contemptible, the fact that she can’t tell fantasy from reality, or the fact that she wants Westerners to “fix it”. Sounds a lot like imperialism to me.

That itself is rather baffling because usually the social justice warriors are big fans of cultural relativism (the belief that one’s beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that person’s culture). They’re more than willing to turn a blind eye to the most viscerally unsavoury cultural practices that can be found in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa, but for some reason they’re offended by Japanese cartoon characters. In fact, the same author seems to have a particular beef with otaku culture, having written an article bashing fanservice over a month ago, declaring that is “normalises the objectification of women”. Nevermind the fact that fanservice featuring male anime characters exists as well. Would Amelia care to mention that? Oh wait, she won’t, or if she brings it up she’ll deny it, because the concept of men being objectified in the same way as women goes against her feminist dogma. I’m honestly sick to death of the whole “objectification” argument, mainly because its only an excuse that feminists and religious conservatives alike can lean on to demand the censorship of art and entertainment. Also, fanservice can be used for comedy. I’ve heard of plenty of anime series’ that do this. Maybe Amelia Cook should check them out.

Of course, the legions of anime fans on Twitter responded swiftly, with the hashtag #OperationMoe having been doing the rounds all week. However, it’s not just anime the SJW’s are after. The Mary Sue is the same sight that accused Final Fantasy XV of being sexist for having an all-male main cast, denouncing its fans as pigs. In fact, social justice warriors have developed a special kind of hatred for Japanese games. I’ve always noticed that Western critics tend to look down on Japanese games and anime with a certain kind of supremacist snobbery, and Japanese developers take notice of this, so they try as hard as they can to make sure their games can appeal to the Western market, and sadly, that leads them to the tragedy of self-censorship. Games like Tokyo Mirage Sessions, which would be completely innocuous over in Japan, often get brutally censored when being released in the West, and sometimes it’s completely pointless.

Of course, if we want to see Japanese works uncensored, we can peruse the internet in all its glory, but my problem is this: they shouldn’t have to censor themselves at all. I think certain Japanese developers are starting to take notice of the kind of pathetic PC culture we are engaged in. When asked by a fan about the bikini costumes in Tekken 7, Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada replied: “ask your country’s SJW’s”, calling out the self-professed culture critics who are so fragile that they get offended by swimsuits.

There is another dimension to the SJWs’ new war on anime, one that makes the “progressive” label that they brandish so much seem bitterly ironic. I think that the Western critics who bash anime so much do this because they think lowly of Japanese culture, or at least their attitudes towards sex. What we have to remember is that Japanese culture is very different to ours. They’re attitude towards gender roles are distinctly more conservative than those in the West, and they perceive sexuality differently. Namely, the Japanese have historically had more permissive attitudes to sex and nudity, and in some ways they persist to this day. Of course, Western critics are entrenched in their own culture, and Japanese attitudes towards sex and/or erotic material is an affront to what feminism has taught them, hence they find it acceptable to avoid an opponent’s argument by mocking his/her anime avatar (if an avatar is present). The ethnocentric bias is present in today’s “culture critics”, which is ironic because they consider themselves diametrically opposed to racism (yet their repeated emphasis on race has all the hallmarks of a racist). If anything, the fact that they treat anime with particular disdain because of Japanese attitudes towards sex makes them the bigots.

To me, this is perhaps an example of the hypocrisy of progressives, as their belief in cultural relativism stops at the borders of Japan, a country that doesn’t seem to be having the same problem with social justice warriors that we’re having. Anime appears to be next front that social justice warriors are fighting, but it’s not a fight that they can nor should win. If I have any advice for Japanese game developers and anime producers who are thinking about the West’s social justice warriors, I think they should ignore them. The SJW’s will always look for new targets, and they will never be satisfied. As for the anime fans, I say keep fighting. The social justice advocates will try and subjugate everything in their midst until everything conforms to their ideological agenda. If you love anime, keep fighting the good fight against social justice warriors who want to police everything you love. The gamers will be at your side, having fought their own battle against agenda-pushing feminists in video games industry (as a side note, most of the games Anita Sarkeesian condemns as “sexist” happen to have been made in Japan). If there are any social justice warriors perusing my site, this message from Twitter is for them.

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