sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Apparently I am not completely desensitized to horror, which comes as a relief in a strange way. I'm just full of rage—at the acquittal of Philando Castile's murderer, at the barring of Black Lives Matter activists from testifying about the impact of cops in schools, and, most acutely, at the completely preventable tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The latter is, to me, the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action. The residents called for repairs. Labour called for tighter safety regulations. Boris Johnson literally told them to go stuff themselves. The cladding, which was probably a major factor in the deaths of 100 or so people, was installed not to protect the building's tenants—low-income, many of them racialized, many of them Syrian refugees—but to hide the unsightly nature of the tower from wealthy neighbours.

I kind of get why people lose their shit over terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but this gets me more. There's a lot we can do as a culture to reduce terrorism and mass shootings, and of course we tend to do the opposite of that, but even in a perfect world, not every act of senseless violence would be preventable. Norway still produced Anders Breivik—even a utopia would have its madmen.

But a situation where you have people saying, "this tragedy is going to happen if you don't fix the thing," and those in charge do not fix the thing, because money is more important than human lives—that is totally preventable and entirely foreseeable. There was an obvious, simple way to prevent those 100 deaths, if our civilization valued people as much as it valued profits.

There are death tolls to tell you how many people died because of communism. There are no tallies of deaths under capitalism, as if starvation because of collectivization is somehow less preferable to starvation because of austerity, or a firing squad is worse than a fire.

This is the very heart of my politics. This is why I fight, even though it doesn't affect me, even though I don't really know how to, even though I'm exhausted. Sometimes fury is the only thing that keeps me going.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (raccoons of the resistance)
Want to write a long analysis post and such but I just got up after supervising prom all night, so you're not going to get that right now. I expected a lot worse and am experiencing some schadenfreude over a) Theresa May having an exceptionally bad night, and b) Corbyn not looking so unelectable now, amirite?

Hope feels kind of weird. I mean, you still have a shitty government in power, but it's a shitty government without a sweeping mandate, and for the UK, that's saying a lot. It's too soon to say that the tide is starting to turn against global reaction, but it's something.
sabotabby: (furiosa)
I'm feeling pretty fucked up over the assassination of Jo Cox by fascist scum. I didn't know her, I'm not British, but by all accounts she was the rarest of unicorns, a politician who didn't suck.

But specifically, I'm unnerved because it's brazen. Britain went from silly flotilla battles to actual murder of a person in a heartbeat. Unlike Orlando, the motives are obvious—the killer was a fascist and Cox was killed for opposing fascism. Charles Stross has a harrowing post up about it.

It's a reminder that we're always, always, a heartbeat away from barbarism. Actual, literal fascism—not Godwin's Law-violating disagreements on the intertubes—is an ascendant force in the world right now. It's kind of restrained where I live, at the moment, compared to Europe and the U.S. But I haven't forgotten that everyone was nodding along to Harper's niqab ban bullshit until Trudeau gave a pretty face to opposing it.

We are teetering on the brink of a global economic collapse. And much as the earnest radicals among us seem to believe this will lead to something fun and egalitarian, the far-right is best posed to take over in that kind of scenario, and it won't go well for any of us.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (harper = evil)
If, a decade ago, you would have said to me, "the British Prime Minister will be publicly accused of having fucked a dead pig's head," I would assume this sentence would be followed up by, "and he resigned in a cloud of scandal the following day."

(Certainly, my favourite comedy of all time, once praised for its accuracy in depicting Whitehall politics, seems adorably quaint, with ministers being forced to resign over all sorts of lesser scandals that do not involve porcine fellatio. Though, in fairness, that was a Labour government, even if it was the worst possible Labour government, so maybe it is still accurate and it's just times that have changed.)

Then again, if you'd said, "the mayor of Toronto will have been proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, to have smoked crack, driven drunk, and beaten his wife, and he will not lose his job or even put much of a dent in his political career over this," I wouldn't have believed you either.

Or, "the Prime Minister of Canada can turn a blind eye to Senate expense scandals, trash the economy, impose such ridiculous policies that scientists and librarians rise up in protest, and shrug his shoulders at the tragic drowning death of a 3-year-old boy and still ride high in the polls," I'd have accused you of a cynicism even I don't possess.

And yet.

The way to deal with scandal, these days, is to just shrug your shoulders and say, "so?" It's like they've realized that they're not accountable—it doesn't matter how many people think they're scum. They don't need the majority of the populace on their side—just a very committed minority of bigots who vote. That's it. Whereas the left falls apart at the slightest verbal fumble. It's mindboggling.

Don't get me wrong; I still derive an immense amount of pleasure knowing that David Cameron's sausage slid between the mandibles of a dead pig. And I enjoy, perhaps even more, his cronies and supporters tripping over themselves excusing said behaviour as normal teenage shenanigans. I've even come, in these past few days, to enjoy Twitter, which was invented for situations like this.

But I bristle at impunity. I don't want to live in a world where someone gets away with doing a thing that, were an ordinary person to do it, that person would have to hide their face in shame for all eternity. It's chutzpah to say, "So?" and walk on, and yet I keep seeing it.

And it terrifies me, because we have an election coming up. And we have one guy who is okay with drowning children, and one guy who thinks it's okay for the government to spy on you, and one guy who pretends to have a conscience but doesn't really but is still less bad than the other two. I want to think people are not okay with the child-drowner saying, "Eh, so?" and winning a fucking majority, but one has never gone broke underestimating the bigotry, cowardice, and selfishness of the Canadian people. Or at least the fraction of the Canadian people who bother to vote.

Harper could fuck a pig and get away with it, I'm sure. I'd guess that he has but I don't know that robots are capable of such acts.

The ability to laugh in the face of power is strong, but not as strong as the ability of the powerful to shrug it off.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (monocleyay)
David Cameron, metaphorical pigfucker, is also apparently a literal pigfucker. (Bless the British press—you won't often hear me say that—for immediately supplying the internet with lots of pictures of Cameron holding pigs.)

[An alleged eyewitness] even claimed another member of the group has photographic evidence of the alleged act.

But the individual who is said to own the picture did not respond to approaches by the authors.


Oh hey, fortunately there's video! NSFW, obviously.

Hats off to you, Britain. Your Prime Minister fucked a dead pig. You beat our crack-smoking mayor and Peegate. I now feel secure in the knowledge that nothing that happens in Canadian politics will ever live up to how fucking insane that is.



Meanwhile, lovely Corbyn, alas, is set for a reenactment of one of my other favourite British political dramas. Although apparently he's a vegetarian and so if he doesn't win the next election with the slogan, "at least we don't fuck pigs," he needs better advisors.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (pretty princess party)
Unemployed lady marries into welfare family, gives birth to child that will live off the public dime for the rest of its life.

Meanwhile, here's an article on food banks in Britain. (H/T: [livejournal.com profile] nihilistic_kid.)
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (cat teacher)
(Via [livejournal.com profile] hano.)

This one hit home.

Schools are full of middle-management types. They like to take "learning walks" around the school and "quality control". They sit at the back of my class and want to know if the students have been told their "learning objectives" and if they are sat in a "seating plan". They believe that learning simply cannot take place if the students haven't been told what to do and where to sit. What you might consider real work: comprehension, creative writing, silent reading or a class questioning the teacher about the topic being studied is considered hopelessly old-fashioned and slightly abusive by my superiors. Instead they like almost anything involving power-points, scissors and glue. All work for students needs to be scaffolded. That means be done for them. The very notion of giving a student a task they might fail is considered child abuse. Every task must be completable within about ten minutes.


See, the thing is, every few years, someone up in the bureaucracy gets paid to make an incredible breakthrough in pedagogical methods, which involves shifting some jargon around and forcing everyone to incorporate it. If you play along, you are a progressive educator. If you don't, you're a reactionary, old-fashioned, stick-in-the-mud who won't evolve. What the bureaucrats don't seem to understand is the very skills we're supposed to teach children—critical thinking, creativity, logic—are not necessarily newfangled things, and they can't necessarily be scaffolded. It's not that every new development is bollocks. But most are. And the time it takes to differentiate learning that doesn't need to be differentiated is robbed from somewhere. I'm sure there are still teachers out there relying on rote learning, but probably not most. It's often the creative, young, energetic teachers who get sucked into the timewasters. The actual stick-in-the-muds remain stick-in-the-muds regardless of what jargon is in fashion.

I'd add "standardization" to this list of the ways we're failing our students, as well as neoliberal "reforms" that have cut the number of EAs, child psychologists, and other useful non-teacher professionals and downloaded their duties onto classroom teachers.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (socialism with a human face)
It’s history, you guys. Everyone dies at the end.

When last we left our antiheroes, everyone was pretty broken, but at least Blunt’s relationship with the scum-sucking parasites had made them safe. All it would take was one hint of an accusation of less then complete loyalty, and Blunt could produce the photos demonstrating that the beloved Royal Family tree was harbouring some Nazis in its twisted and inbred branches.

But how safe are they? Obviously they didn’t completely get away with it, or you wouldn’t be watching/reading about this miniseries.

the thrilling conclusion )

Final verdict: Actually better than I remembered and you should all watch it. Now it's back to watching Babylon 5 and perhaps blogging about some things that aren't TV for a change.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (socialism with a human face)
After the sobfest that was the last episode, you’ll be happy to know that this one’s a little more cheerful. There’s only a miscarriage, an assassination, the complete loss of all innocence, and lots and lots of dead Russians.

Mawwiage )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (socialism with a human face)
Previously on Cambridge Spies, there was a waiter strike and romances and running around in dark alleys wearing fedoras, and a bit of lying and heartbreak, but all for a good cause. And then everyone overthrew Hitler and Franco and global capitalism and lived happily every after with their respective partner(s), the end.

Oh, right, this is based on actual things that happened. Dammit! Why you gotta harsh my squee, history?

In which Burgess is awesome even when he’s sad, and Philby is in bed with fascists. Literally. )
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (socialism with a human face)
I saw most of Cambridge Spies years ago, but for various reasons never caught the last episode. Thanks to internet piracy, I now have the whole series.

From what I remember of it, I am kind of surprised that it doesn’t have an enormous fandom, and I was hoping that this wasn’t because it wasn’t as good as I remembered it being. The first episode confirmed that hope—it’s just as good as I remember it being.

Brief summary for those who haven’t heard anything about it: In the 1930s, four (probably five) upper-class British Cambridge students were recruited by the Soviet Union to spy on the UK, and would have gotten away with it were it not for those meddling kids. What am I saying? They got away with it until the 50s and then defected to the Soviet Union. Yes, this is a real thing that happened. No, John LeCarré is not exaggerating in his books, or at least, not very much. They included Kim Philby, a high-ranking member of British intelligence, Guy Burgess, secretary to the British Foreign Minister of State, Anthony Blunt, art historian, professor, and knight until they found out about the spying thing, and Donald Maclean, the guy who wrote that “American Pie” song. Sorry, no, not that one. This one was a member of M16.

Also, they were all smoking hot, at least if the miniseries is to be believed.



Anyway, Episode 1, with one NSFW screencap )

Linkdump

Aug. 15th, 2011 05:14 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
Presented for your edification, a series of links illustrating the state of the world.

I feel remiss in not blogging more about the UK riots, but I am neither the most qualified to talk on the matter, nor have I been doing a great job in keeping up with the details. This story, however, should chill you to the bone even if you know very little about what's going on. Cameron is talking censorship of social media and other online communications, to the approval of the Chinese government, which has been doing this for quite some time because it isn't a massive fan of free speech. Apparently, you can also now get evicted if you have a family member accused (not convicted) of taking part in the riots. Awesome! I can't fucking believe this is happening.

I think this is a parody, but Iran proposes sending peacekeepers to Britain.

Hahahaha

hahaha

haha

*sob*

Newsflash! The rich actually are different! And by "different," we mean "sociopathic."

Yeah, Cracked.com, I know, but this article on the 6 dumbest things schools are doing in the name of safety really struck home as I approach another no-doubt absurdedly overpoliced school year.

Man, that's depressing. Have an HDR experiment:

seattle,landscape,hdr
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (guy fawkes)
I'm not sure how people manage not to riot after the introduction of austerity measures. Not that rioting is the most constructive response, just the most intuitive.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (guy fawkes)
There are few things, to my mind, so blatantly offensive as monarchism. I simply cannot get my head around it as a concept. It is intellectually unjustifiable to the point of being almost surreal, a blight that, every so often, stands stark against the noble, if flawed, ideals of progression, reason, and secular humanism. I ought to be reminded of it every time I pay for something, but it takes a media spectacle for the offense to truly hit home.

The wedding of the scum-sucking parasites is just a clusterfuck of everything distasteful, politically and aesthetically: wealth disparity, inherited prestige and income, imperialism, patriarchy, celebrity culture. The police, paid overtime by hardworking taxpayers, protect the bloated lordlings from the rage of young people deprived by austerity measures of the future they'd expected. Wastefulness, pure wastefulness. It's disgusting. Every time I turn on the news, I feel like I need to take a long shower afterward.

Were I a different sort of person, I would ask if there were some sort of Firefox add-on I could get to screen mentions of the spectacle like the Charlie Sheen blocker. But that would not spare me from newspapers or the CBC. And, admittedly, there's a part of me that just thrives on the outrage, as though the burning wrongness of a worldview that allows the remnants of feudalism to persist even in this supposedly enlightened age becomes a white-hot, perpetual fire crumbling any remaining vestiges of tolerance or compromise in my worldview.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (eat flaming death)
It's not like I don't read the newspaper every day, but if I didn't read LJ/my feeds, I wouldn't know about...

The Georgia Prisoners' Strike.

On Thursday morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners refused to work, stopped all other activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights.
...
· A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK
· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
· DECENT HEALTH CARE
· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS
· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS
· NUTRITIONAL MEALS
· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
· ACCESS TO FAMILIES
· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS
...
The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246


Or about Jody McIntyre, a student protester who was dragged from his wheelchair by police during the London protests. China Miéville is at his scathing best on the way the media covered it.

Or this story, brought to my attention by [livejournal.com profile] springheel_jack:

"One individual had two boxes attached, one box taped to his leg and one box seemingly taped to his forehead," he said.

"There were what seemed to be wires attached to them," he added.


Go on, guess what it was.

ETA: All this is SRS BUSINESS, so here's one that [livejournal.com profile] radiumhead found.

Wil Wheaton playing D&D with the Golden Girls, framed by bacon )

Dear UK

May. 11th, 2010 06:20 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (guy fawkes)
Sorry to hear that.

Tea?
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (ignorance)
Here are the five stupidest stories to make the headlines in my five-minute scan of today's news.

5. A French parliamentary commission proposes banning niqabs and burqas
Presenting conclusions after six months of hearings, the panel also suggested barring foreign women from obtaining French visas or citizenship if they insisted on veiling their faces. I've already blogged before about why I think this is moronic, but to reiterate: Men deciding what women can and cannot wear is fucking sexist, regardless of whether the motivation is patronizing pseudo-feminism, post-911 paranoia, or a misguided interpretation of Muslim dress codes.

4. Nashville censors tell a Toronto theatre group to "tone down" Romeo and Juliet
"If Mercutio doesn't offend the Nurse with his line about the bawdy hand of the dial being upon the prick of noon and she doesn't try to exit in protest, then what happens to the rest of the play?" When I was in 9th grade, we had to study this play. Okay. I think it's not the greatest choice for high schoolers, but whatever. Our English teacher showed us the Zeffirelli film and censored the sex scene by holding a white piece of paper in front of it. This is probably the root of my Victorian porn fetish or something.

3. Children's TV show hosts detained by London police for terrorism.
"We were stopped, not arrested, but they had to say 'we are holding you under the Anti-Terrorism Act because you're running around in flak jackets and a utility belt', and I said 'and please put spangly blue hairdryer' and he was, like, 'all right'." Really, London? Really?

2. Tofu cream pies are terrorism.
A Liberal MP says he believes the federal government should investigate whether the pieing of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea by a woman opposed to the seal hunt constitutes an act of terrorism. Never mind that this story creates a weird mash-up in my head that involves Osama bin Laden starring in a Marx Brothers movie. This story gave me an intense craving for pie. Plz to be serving up more of this sort of terrorism and less of the blowing-stuff-up sort, kthnx.

And the stupidest story of the day...

Get ready...

Drum roll...

1. SoCal school district bans the dictionary.
A Southern California school board has pulled the Merriam-Webster dictionary off its shelves after a parent complained about the entry “oral sex.”

Okay, so you, like everyone else in the world, looked up dirty words in the dictionary and tittered. In fairness, we were all in fifth grade, when "poo-poo" stopped being the funniest thing ever*, to be replaced by "self-abuse" (what?). Maybe it even, well, made you a little hot. You can admit it, I won't judge.

But did you ever encounter a dictionary that defined "oral sex" in such detail that you would know how to do it? I'm pretty sure Merriam-Webster doesn't.

Poll-time!

[Poll #1516926]

Comment with your rants about descriptive versus prescriptive dictionaries.

* I jest, of course. "Poo-poo" is still funniest.
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
Here are the five stupidest stories to make the headlines in my five-minute scan of today's news.

5. A French parliamentary commission proposes banning niqabs and burqas
Presenting conclusions after six months of hearings, the panel also suggested barring foreign women from obtaining French visas or citizenship if they insisted on veiling their faces. I've already blogged before about why I think this is moronic, but to reiterate: Men deciding what women can and cannot wear is fucking sexist, regardless of whether the motivation is patronizing pseudo-feminism, post-911 paranoia, or a misguided interpretation of Muslim dress codes.

4. Nashville censors tell a Toronto theatre group to "tone down" Romeo and Juliet
"If Mercutio doesn't offend the Nurse with his line about the bawdy hand of the dial being upon the prick of noon and she doesn't try to exit in protest, then what happens to the rest of the play?" When I was in 9th grade, we had to study this play. Okay. I think it's not the greatest choice for high schoolers, but whatever. Our English teacher showed us the Zeffirelli film and censored the sex scene by holding a white piece of paper in front of it. This is probably the root of my Victorian porn fetish or something.

3. Children's TV show hosts detained by London police for terrorism.
"We were stopped, not arrested, but they had to say 'we are holding you under the Anti-Terrorism Act because you're running around in flak jackets and a utility belt', and I said 'and please put spangly blue hairdryer' and he was, like, 'all right'." Really, London? Really?

2. Tofu cream pies are terrorism.
A Liberal MP says he believes the federal government should investigate whether the pieing of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea by a woman opposed to the seal hunt constitutes an act of terrorism. Never mind that this story creates a weird mash-up in my head that involves Osama bin Laden starring in a Marx Brothers movie. This story gave me an intense craving for pie. Plz to be serving up more of this sort of terrorism and less of the blowing-stuff-up sort, kthnx.

And the stupidest story of the day...

Get ready...

Drum roll...

1. SoCal school district bans the dictionary.
A Southern California school board has pulled the Merriam-Webster dictionary off its shelves after a parent complained about the entry “oral sex.”

Okay, so you, like everyone else in the world, looked up dirty words in the dictionary and tittered. In fairness, we were all in fifth grade, when "poo-poo" stopped being the funniest thing ever*, to be replaced by "self-abuse" (what?). Maybe it even, well, made you a little hot. You can admit it, I won't judge.

But did you ever encounter a dictionary that defined "oral sex" in such detail that you would know how to do it? I'm pretty sure Merriam-Webster doesn't.

Poll-time!

[Poll #1516926]

Comment with your rants about descriptive versus prescriptive dictionaries.

* I jest, of course. "Poo-poo" is still funniest.

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