“Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!
"We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in…
"We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
"There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.
"We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.
"ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?”
Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!
When you want to attract something into your life, make sure your actions don’t contradict your desires.. Think about what you have asked for, and make sure that your actions are mirroring what you expect to receive, and that they’re not contradicting what you‘ve asked for. Act as if you are receiving it. Do exactly what you would do if you were receiving it today, and take actions in your life to reflect that powerful expectation. Make room to receive your desires, and as you do, you are sending out that powerful signal of expectation.
Rhonda Byrne, The Secret
Lately, I’ve been surprised by the law of attraction on a daily basis.
Once your mindset has been shifted and you are open to new things, you attract those with the same mindset as you. And you forgot who you were. You feel brand-new in this whole new world. You feel excited to discover what the new world has to offer.
Don’t ever change yourself to conform or get appreciated. You will attract people with the same soul if you’re open to let that come in. The law of attraction really works.
It had been a very odd few days for Eddie. He had just moved to this new town, and he couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched; all day, every day. Everywhere he went, he had to check over his shoulder repeatedly, hyper-aware of everyone around him. He knew being in a new city was weird, but it should never be this weird.
Everything got substantially weirder the night that Eddie was taking a late-night drive, and almost hit a very attractive stranger with his car. There was something off about the man, when Eddie got out of his car to see why he was in the middle of the street. It was like he was in his own world, not seeing what was in front of him. Eddie placed a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Mate? Hey? Are you all right?” He questioned.
For weeks, the corporate media has spouted a stern prediction: Canadians will flee in horror from the Leap Manifesto. We are a “modest shift people,” not “big shift people”. The New Democratic Party, merely by endorsing to debate the document, would court “irrelevance.”
A new poll shows just how wrong they were: far from recoiling from the Leap Manifesto, people are embracing it. Among the large and growing number of Canadians who have heard about the Leap Manifesto, half support it. That includes a majority of New Democrats and Greens, half of Liberal voters, and even twenty percent of Conservatives.
Considering the relentless smears by the media, these figures are astonishing. What they demonstrate is that Canadians are hungry for dramatic government action on climate change and inequality—and are ready to ignore the huffing and puffing of the pundits. Little wonder that not a single major outlet has reported the poll’s results.
Here’s a fact the media cannot stomach reporting: Canadians may be more in touch with the reality and implications of climate change than they are. Turns out they understand widely that the Leap Manifesto’s call for a full transition from fossil fuels to green energy by 2050 is not just based on science and technologically possible—it is necessary and beneficial.
Imagine a sisterhood—across all creeds and cultures. An unspoken agreement that we, as women, will support and encourage one another. That we will remember we don’t know what struggles each of us may be facing elsewhere in our lives and so we will assume that each of us is doing our best…
So begins WE: an inspiring, empowering, and provocative manifesto for change. Change that we can all effect, one woman at a time. Change that provides a crucial and timely antidote to the “have-it-all” superwoman culture and instead focuses on what will make each and every one of us happier and more free. Change that provides an answer to the nagging sense of “is that it?” that almost all of us can succumb to when we wake in the dead of night.
Written by actress Gillian Anderson and journalist Jennifer Nadel—two friends who for the last decade have stumbled along together, learning, failing, crying, laughing, and trying again—WE is a not a theoretical treatise but instead a rallying cry to create a life that has greater meaning and purpose. Combining tools that are practical, psychological and spiritual, WE is both a process and a vision for a more fulfilling way of living. And a truly inspiring vision of a happier, more emotionally rewarding future we can all create together…
Everyday Sexism began as a social media project, when the author shared her experiences with street harassment. Soon, she was getting millions of tweets and retweets from other women around the world sharing their stories of sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault. Bates shares some of these stories in the book but also offers inspiration toward a real change in the normalization of sexism in our world.
“Often shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant, everyday sexism is a protest against inequality and a manifesto for change.” (Barnes and Noble)
“You may think you’re familiar with the facts in Everyday Sexism. But nothing can prepare you for the emotional punch of hearing the stories of so many real women, from so many backgrounds, each struggling in a world that refuses to see them as fully human. Laura Bates deftly makes visible the spider web of oppression that holds us back and binds us all together.” (Jaclyn Friedman, co-author of Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape)
Demythologizing ‘Love Story’ (A study in post eventum narratives in the context of 1989)
Part I: A New Era
I apologise for the length of this; I got rather carried away. I clearly have too much time on my hands.
Also I realise the title is rather pretentious, sorry.
(NB: if you are specifically interested in Love Story, you might just want to wait for Part 2.)
‘1989’ is a manifesto for change; its release effectively consolidated a largely successful attempt to regain control of and, subsequently, redirect (but not entirely replace) the authorised narrative on ‘Taylor Swift.’ Sonic ®evolution thus represents just one element in a wider brand re-model; the transition to pop both facilitates and re-enforces the emergence of a new ‘Taylor’ who is able to broaden her demographic by appealing to more adult/alternative audiences, but simultaneously maintains the integrity of the old ‘Taylor’ (and thereby the loyalty of her core fan-base, who trade in ‘authenticity.’) This public metamorphosis has been well documented in the media; a more personal change has been alluded to by Taylor herself, both explicitly in her newly vocal support for feminism and implicitly in the psychology of ‘Shake it off’ and ‘Blank Space.’
The process of re-invention might have reached its apogee in the immediate context of 1989’s release (October-December 2014) but we should not imagine either that it has reached its natural conclusion or that 1989, because it is the most obvious example, is also the only example, of controlled messaging; closer examination reveals demonstrable inconsistencies in the way in which previous albums/tracks have been publicised. Most notable are the various contradictory accounts of the inspiration for ‘Breathe,’ discussed here - http://jennyboom21.tumblr.com/post/121046079846/what-makes-you-think-that-her-and-emily-poe-dated
Of particular interest to me however, are the contradictions in the ‘mythology’ of Love Story, both because it remains one of Taylor’s best loved/known hits and because it is a song whose legend is still being revised: it thus usefully links past and present. (I find it interesting that this connection is one that has been made by Taylor too, if only in so far as it is one of the only pre-1989 tracks that has been remixed to fit her new sound).
It is important to acknowledge of course that it is perfectly possible, perhaps even inevitable, that the narrative should become confused or be embellished over time; particularly if the way it is communicated is largely oral. I would suggest however that the nature of these revisions is such as to indicate a deliberate manipulation.
1989: Three case studies
That the re-invention of Taylor Swift is an on-going process should not be surprising – it is unreasonable to expect that a single album could completely eradicate prejudices which have been re-enforced and successively exploited by various parties over several years. What is interesting, however, is the subtle shift in emphasis evident in the marketing strategy from early 2014 to the present, particularly as regards individual tracks. This suggests a change in priorities; it is no longer simply a case of re-invention per se, but rather re-invention directed towards a distinct, albeit as yet mysterious, end.
*Please note that many of these points have been raised (and expanded on) by others, to whom I am very much indebted. Links are included.*
Style - First mention of Style is (as far as I am aware) made in John Eells’ Rolling Stone Article ‘The Reinvention of Taylor Swift’ (September 2014):
“Then there’s the song that sets a new high watermark for Swiftian faux secrecy – a sexy Miami Vice-sounding throwback about a guy with slicked-back hair and a white t-shirt and a girl in a tight little skirt that is called-no joke- ‘Style.’ (She allows herself a satisfied grin. “We should have just called it ‘I’m Not Even Sorry.’”)
It seems reasonable to conclude from this that a crucial factor in the early marketing of ‘Style’ was its easy association with Harry Styles; the inclusion of a certain necklace in the music video seems to support this. How then to explain the fact that no further attempt was made to exploit or advertise the connection on release of the video? Still more startling is the almost complete lack of promotion of any kind for Style (compare the attention given to Bad Blood). Taylor’s interview with Jimmy Fallon (February 17th) concentrates instead on SNL, the upcoming Tour and the Kaylor Vogue shoot. (It remains a matter of some concern to me that the Vogue release coincided so exactly with the Style video, thus dividing media coverage. Whether this was deliberate or not, no attempt was made to divert attention away from Vogue and back towards Style.)
The obvious conclusion to draw is simply that circumstances changed between the video’s conception (circa August 2014) and its debut (Feb. 13th 2015); for some reason it was no longer desirable to publicise the Harry Styles connection. I do not know enough about the One Direction fandom/ Larry to speculate with any authority about the reasons for this sudden reversal. Nevertheless, I find it somewhat intriguing that the Daily Mail has insinuated in recent weeks that ‘Haylor’ was a mirage- it is now only rumoured that Harry and Taylor dated.
Out of the Woods – This is another song which is immediately (and has been intentionally) associated with ‘Haylor.’ The bridge references a snowmobile accident, in which TS/HS were (apparently) involved:
“Seemingly inspired by her break up with Harry Styles, the last verse even references the snowmobile accident the pair reportedly suffered on a ski trip a few years back.” (Anna Silman ‘Listen to Taylor Swift’s ‘Out of the Woods’ (Vulture, October 14th 2014).
Taylor has stated further that the lyrics have a metaphorical dimension; she singles out in particular “hit the brakes too soon.” Is it significant that she chose these lines, which are most consistently related to Haylor, to illustrate this? (‘Anything That Connects:’ A conversation with Taylor Swift, October 31st 2014)
In light of this it is again interesting to note the subsequent promotion of the song has tended to distance itself from the Haylor narrative; instead a new connection has been made – one which has special resonance in light of the on-going Kaylor debate.
The fact that ‘Out of the Woods’ is v. easy to read as an extended metaphor for closeting, despite or perhaps precisely because of the Haylor connection, adds yet another complication to an already confused tradition. Note that Taylor herself has described the song as a “very strange, subtle clue to the media that they don’t know…everything that happens in my life.” (‘Anything That Connects’ (as above))
(A good lyrical analysis in support of this interpretation can be found here –http://at-you-liberty.tumblr.com./post/100075370182/out-of-the-woods-a-pr-mutual-bearding-analysis )
The sheer body suit worn by Taylor during the tour performances of ‘Out of the Woods’ is easily understood as a reference to the outfit worn by Karlie at the 2013 VSFS; the connection with Karlie does not end here however, as this recent post illustrates:
It appears that this is another example of misdirection.
I know places – Since ‘I know places’ has not been released as single or promotional track, there is less evidence to go on here. It is however another song that has been associated both with Haylor (Vulture draws attention to the fox sweater worn by Taylor on a ‘date’ with Harry) and the closet – the lyric ‘I can hear them whisper as we pass by/ It’s a bad sign, bad sign/Something happens when everybody finds out/see the vultures circling dark clouds’ certainly imparts a sense of fear/vulnerability. (Bustle actually called I Know Places the most vulnerable song on 1989 –
This interpretation is preserved in the corresponding voice note on the deluxe edition of 1989 – “[it’s] like a dark, really dark like lyric, like bridge thing and it’s about like…Everybody’s like…is trying to get into and like ruin a love or whatever….”
When asked specifically about this song in a recent interview with Elle (June 2015) Taylor said (somewhat absurdly):
“I figured the way that they’d be able to relate to “I Know Places” is like when you’re in high school and start dating someone and you really like him. And you go to your friends, “Oh my God, I like this guy!” And they’re like, “Who?” And you’re like, “Trevor.” And they’re like, “Trevor’s, like, a weirdo emo kid, I heard his parents are swingers… Oh my God, why are you talking to Trevor? Trevor paints his nails with a Sharpie…” And you’re like, “But I like Trevor.” And then all of a sudden, people tell everybody, “Oh my God, Stacy likes Trevor! Oh my God, that’s so weird—maybe we shouldn’t hang out with Stacy anymore.”
“And I always wanted to write about foxes, to be honest. When I came up with that line—”They are the hunters, we are the foxes and we run”—I was just like, “This is going on the album no matter what. Foxes? Check.” And they like that line, so I’m happy about that.”
Significantly this is the same interview in which she said:
“I’d never been in a relationship when I wrote my first couple of albums, so these were all projections of what I thought they might be like. They were based on movies and books and songs and literature that tell us that a relationship is the most magical thing that can ever happen to you.”
This will be of some importance, when I come to examine ‘Love Story’ in part 2. Taylor seems to want to distance herself from the ‘diary entry’ authenticity, which has been her main selling point for so long, while remaining relatable to her younger fan-base. While this can be connected with the motivation for the initial publicity drive behind 1989 i.e. the presentation of a more mature, independent ‘Taylor Swift,’ re-writing such a significant portion of her back catalogue appears to me a little excessive. Nor as far as I can see is it something that current circumstances demand – the media has for the most part already embraced the new Taylor Swift and increasingly so have the public at large. It is tempting to imagine therefore that this blanket revision is being carried out, not so much retroactively as pre-emptively. In other words, it is in preparation for some event that might invite greater scrutiny in the future.
I hope this all makes sense and is interesting/ helpful. Part 2, looking specifically at Love Story, should be done soon (hopefully tomorrow), but in the meantime here’s some highly recommended further reading, if you haven’t read it already that is: