corporate pressure

Stuff it, Hastings
Shaun Hastings/Rebecca Crane
Stuff it, Hastings

Shaun: Ah, hurray. It’s our old friend.

Rebecca: Hey there. I just got a call about picking up another transfer.

Shaun: Aw. You said you were here to see me.

Rebecca: Yes, that IS one of the perks. Let’s see it. 
Hm. A conference in Chicago. Very nice. Thanks for this. We’ll be in touch.

Shaun: Ciao, Rebecca. Text me!

Rebecca: Stuff it, Hastings.

A note to younger fans of Supergirl

I’ve seen a lot of the criticism of the karamel ship online has been that she is supergirl and she should be “independent” and she “doesn’t need anybody”. Like it somehow demeaning that she chose to date someone and it makes her less serious about her responsibilities as Supergirl?

This just hits close to home and reminds me so much of the current working world (corporate primarily) and the pressure that women are under recently. They essentially expect every woman be supergirl if they want to progress upwards. To work twice as hard as the men and to sacrifice personal lives, work around the clock, always be acessible, not have children, etc just to be taken seriously and be considered for promotion over a man etc… It’s family or career. You choose.

I just need to say this though, especially to the younger fans… I want you to know you can have it all! Or can at least go for it. Never let the years pass to where you look back and think of all the things you could have done but didn’t, all the friends and experiences you missed out on because you felt like Kara did last season… that you have to sacrifice your happiness and/or personal life to be successful and serious about your work life.

Be like Kara. You can have it all.

good ending: due to increasing political instability in america and corporate pressure on david karp, tumblr staff begins restricting anarchist/communist blogs and posts. in response, another tumblr copy pops up. instead of it dying off a week later, it becomes the center of the leftist revolution in america/europe, spearheaded by the remnants of the tumblr left. nu-tumblr becomes the new alt right/libertarian hotbed until the left destroys the servers throughout the raging war in the US

bad ending: one of the mcelroys does something problematique and the entire site erupts in civil war

true ending: myspace ending

TREAT TRAY {part 3 of SWEET HEART}

At 9am, you found yourself back at the café, you opened the locked front door and walked in. However, the sound from the kitchen was less than quiet. Going behind the counter and to the window into the kitchen, you looked in to find a group of guys hitting each other with dish rags and laughing vivaciously. Clearing your throat, you watched them separate.

Hello? You said in a confused tone and the look they gave you seemed to mirror your own.

Hi? A guy, shorter than the rest walked into the front of the store, followed by two others. Uhm, who are you? He asked, and you looked down at yourself.

Y/N, I’m helping Jin with the menu? You responded, and then looked at them. And you are? You questioned and they laughed.

I’m Jimin, this is Tae, and that’s Jungkook. He pointed at the two other guys and they bowed. We are here to help Jin out with the cakes and stuff. He said and you nodded. So what kind of help are you giving? Jimin asked and you shrugged.

Well I was thinking about various pairings we could offer here, maybe help make this place more marketable. You responded in a more business tone and Tae laughed.

Wait, Jin hyung actually wants help? He can take criticism? Tae asked with infectious laughter and Jungkook chuckled. But the smiles fell off their faces when Jin stood in the doorway of the café with a stern look.

I can take criticism just fine, thanks. I just don’t take it from you, imbeciles. He responded and Jimin shook his head with a laugh. Accompanying Jin was Namjoon, whom you had met the day before, and another man, clad in slacks and a simple button down with the first couple buttons undone. Namjoon gave you a small smile and bow.

Good to see you again, stranger. Jin hyung has told me all about your work troubles. Namjoon said and your eyes went wide.

I … Jin told me you own the Guide and uhm … There’s nothing wrong with the website! You tried to defend yourself as all of the guys stood there with looks of bemusement on their faces.

What happened with work? Jungkook piped up and before you could say anything Namjoon stepped in.

You know that stupid, trust fund baby, Derek? Namjoon asked and your eyes went wide at the mentioning of your ex-boss’s name. Jungkook nodded. Well Y/N told him off yesterday morning and he had her fired. Namjoon rolled his eyes. I’m surprised you didn’t explode on him earlier. He has gone through so many assistants because of his idiotic behavior, but I can’t fire him because his father is a huge investor in the company. Namjoon explained and the man next to him tsked.

If we would take up the deal to pair with certain companies, we wouldn’t have to rely on investors. The man said and Namjoon scoffed at him.

Yoongi hyung, we are not doing that. By pairing with companies that means we will have to give into the corporate pressures and our reviews will be shit. He explained and the guys groaned next to you.

Hyungs, shut up about business, it makes my head hurt. Tae whined and you laughed as you watched the three of them roll their eyes at the duo. Namjoon gave a small eye roll and looked at Tae.

Did I use too many big words? He asked and Tae narrowed his glare onto Namjoon.

Oh I’m sorry I don’t have the IQ of Einstein. Tae responded. But I can beat you into a pulp. He continued and Jin stood in between the two men.

Don’t I need my pastry chefs to remain calm, you can’t make a sweet treat angry. And Namjoon, no business talk, it’s boring and no one cares to listen to you drone on. Jin said and Namjoon shook his head.

Aren’t I helping you with the money? Namjoon asked and Jin quirked his eyebrow.

I asked if you could, but if you’re going to lord it over me, than I can find someone else. Jin said simply and Namjoon’s lips purse.

I’ll shut up. He said and you watched in amazement as Jin was able to completely silence the businessman.

So, shall we? Jin asked and looked at you expectantly. You nodded and he smiled. Would you mind making coffee? I would have them do it. He said as he pointed to the three younger guys. But I need them in the kitchen, and those two don’t know how to turn on a water faucet, let alone make coffee. He mumbled. You laughed and nodded.

Alright, I hope you guys don’t mind French press. You said over your shoulder and the two businessmen nodded their approval as they sat down and began sifting through their phones.

It wasn’t long before you started to hear the clanging of pots and pans, mixed with orders given by Jin’s commanding voice. The boys, once rowdy and unkempt, were now orderly and listening intently to their instructions. The smell of fresh coffee filled the air as it brought you back to your mother’s kitchen. She had taught you how to make French press as a young girl, and you would make cups of it for your family for brunch on Sundays. It had been a couple years since you had left your family home and moved to the city, and you realized just how much you missed the tradition that the weekly brunches brought. The sweet smell of cake and pastry filled the air and blended with the coffee aroma. The infused bouquet swirled in the air and brought life to the quiet little café.

Namjoon popped his head up as you brought the tray of coffee cups over. It had been a couple hours and Jin had given you the cue to make the rich coffee. Placing it down, you sat at the table with the two guys. Namjoon took a sip and sighed.

This is really good. You seem to have a knack for this. He murmured and you smiled. Being complimented by Jin yesterday and Namjoon today made you feel better even after losing your job.

She has a knack for making coffee, just like all the barristas at Starbucks. Yoongi muttered before putting the mug up to his lips. Namjoon rolled his eyes.

Don’t bitch until you try it, hyung. Namjoon said to the cranky businessman and looked at you. Don’t listen to him, that’s actually got an amazing flavor, you know what you’re doing. Namjoon pointed at you and you nodded.

Who wants cake? Tae asked as he triumphantly walked into the café with a tray of various cakes and pastries sitting delicately on it. Your mouth watered at the sheer sight of it. Raising your hand playfully, Tae smiled widely and sat down next to you while placing the tray in the middle of the table. Jin surveyed the scene as he sat down on the other side of Namjoon with a bit of a gaze at you. You looked intently at the tray that held 4 different types of pastries, each in bite sized form, one for each person at the table. The colors made you smile as you looked at a rainbow of desserts.

So we have a ton of different things that I want to test out. So here is a matcha scone with a light dark chocolate drizzle, a traditional French strawberry tart, a citrus flavored croissant, and finally, the crème de la crème, a miniature chocolate bundt cake with white chocolate frosting and a drizzle of salted caramel. Jin announced each one, point at each choice. I want all of your honest opinions, so please, be cruel. He murmured and the hands ravished the tray, taking one of each treat and popping it into their mouths.

I like the scone, it’s not too sweet and a good thing to grab on the go. Yoongi said in an analytical voice.

The French tart is amazing! Jimin exclaimed and Jungkook scoffed.

That’s because YOU made it, hyung. Jungkook added and there was a small flutter of laughter.

It’s still amazing. Jimin shrugged as he mumbled to himself.

I think adding the citrus to the croissant is interesting, but it doesn’t pair well with coffee. Namjoon said and you piped in.

Maybe suggest having a tea of some sort. Maybe English breakfast or Earl Grey? You suggested and Jin nodded, Namjoon looked over with a bit of a smile.

Good catch, maybe you can incorporate different pairings for various things. Namjoon said as he looked at the board of treats.

I think having a staff that is highly intelligent about notes and flavor pairings could be most beneficial. You replied and Jin smiled as you carried yourself confidently, bantering with the ever-business-like Namjoon. Oh and Jin! You exclaimed as you pointed at the bundt cake with your fork. This cake is amazing, not too dry, not too heavy and the white chocolate and caramel breaks up the rich chocolate perfectly. You said as you critiqued the dish. Jin nodded.

Sometimes chocolate can overpower a cake, so I wanted to make sure it was light enough that you could drink coffee with it. Jin replied and you nodded.

It’s perfect, I think if we market this to groups, maybe teenage girls or women meeting up for coffee during the day, they can sit have a little bit of cake and coffee, it could really be amazing for business. You responded and Yoongi nodded in approval.

You have a good business plan with that marketing. Namjoon and I can talk about it with some advertisers. Yoongi said and Jin looked over at Yoongi with a smile.

Great, well I want to add a few more things to the menu, but I think for today, this was a great start. Jin said and the group stood up, all grabbing their things to go, while Jin, still in his apron started to walk to the kitchen. The group said their goodbyes and filtered out, and you looked over your shoulder as you were about to grab your purse and saw Jin wiping up the counter in the back.

Jin? You called out and he looked up. Would you like a little help? You asked and the most beautiful smile graced his face.

That would be fantastic.

He said and you shrugged off your coat again, placing it on the chair and walking into the kitchen. Picking up a rag, you began washing down the counters.

Dear Starbucks: A Letter From An Employee

I began my career with Starbucks in 2006. It was an exciting time. I was hired on as a shift manager. At that time, hourly pay was competitive. Starbucks led the pack. I was nearly hired on the spot. I had just moved back from a five year stint in California. The midwest called me home. I answered. So did Starbucks. Upon my hiring I began the first leg of a two trip journey. I would stay in the role of shift supervisor for nearly 6 years before I departed for another company that hired me on as an assistant store manager. I would eventually find my way back to Starbucks in the role of a barista.

My first few years at Starbucks were exciting. When I came on, it was a couple of years before the financial collapse, before everything changed. In the early days, hours were plentiful, as was a complimentary personal day, every 6 months. We received raises twice a year. Tips were good. At one point, I was able to save nearly 10k on tips alone, over the course of a year.

When the financial collapse hit, it reverberated throughout the company. 900 stores were shuttered, many ASMs (assistant store managers) were either demoted or laid off. Despite what was happening, I was able to keep my position, transferring from 3 different states, ending up in Chicago, affording a decent living. During this time, I started noticing a trend. With the introduction of VIA, the water soluble coffee, there was a crazy push to sell it, unlike anything I had ever seen before. The pressure to move packages of this instant coffee was insane. It took a few months and the voices of many within the store ranks to get the word to corporate that the pressure was too much. As good companies do, they heard our voices, and backed off. But it didn’t stop.

As the fallout continued to march its way into all aspects of American life, Starbucks couldn’t sit still. Soon, our personal days were gone, bonuses, gone. The rate by which we accrued vacation days was slowed exponentially. It would take almost a year to accrue 5 days of paid vacation. Partner (employee) hours were cut to meet labor expectations. Naturally, Starbucks had to make hard decisions to keep business profitable. It hurt, some of it made sense, but it hurt.

It’s been 8 long years since the financial collapse. The economy has strengthened, job growth fortified, companies have seen growth, strong growth. Starbucks has also experienced growth and profits, unprecedented in its history. Starbucks, despite this growth, has continued to scale back, at an alarming pace. Partners who feel this the most are baristas, working in corporate stores. The labor situation has gone from tight to infuriating. Labor has been cut so much in corporate stores, that one call-off  (an employee calling in sick) impacts the entire day, as managers are directed to cut shifts to save on labor costs. Baristas trying to work more than 30 hours a week (myself included) find that a near impossible task. You end up taking it personally, when corporate directs your stores to understaff, and under schedule. You wonder if they realize how difficult it is to pay your bills when you work 25 hours a week?

Right now, the labor allowed to stores is so dire that it’s killing morale, companywide. Let it be stated that this job isn’t a hard one. It’s demanding, but it’s easy work, if trained properly. Customers want their coffee and they want it in a timely fashion. As labor continues to be cut, it creates an atmosphere where baristas are worn to the bone without being able to take a breath. Cleanliness suffers, speed of service suffers, partners suffer.

Many baristas are twenty-something college students, living at home. Many more are people like myself, artists, writers, breadwinners, who depend on their income.

The tip situation has also drastically changed. Before the implementation of a Starbucks Reward program (MSR), tips were higher. Now, with a growing percentage and majority of customers using the app, and their registered cards, tips are in major decline. When you factor that in with actual take home pay, it’s a scary place to be. The way Starbucks frames itself, is that it’s a company worth investing in, worth being loyal to. Because of the health care, the benefits, the 401K, the stock, on the outside, why wouldn’t you want to invest yourself, as an employee to a great company? (and it is a great company).

Realistically, investing in starbucks, as an employee, is becoming more difficult. Hours are becoming more elusive as store managers hire 10-20 employees at 20-25 hours a week, sacrificing tenured employees. At Starbucks, tenure makes no difference. These days, a 7 year employee makes as much as a new hire. Experience is given no merit. Right now, the labor climate keeps most baristas regularly underemployed, enough to qualify for benefits, but not enough to afford to pay for them. The most frustrating aspect lately is the pay, and having to commute to work for a 4.5 hour shift, while spending over an hours worth of pay to get yourself there.

Labor is the real bone of contention, in addition to the drinks that corporate continues to roll out, (absent the labor to support them, as in years past), baristas also continue to struggle in their stores, with more expectation, with less support staff. These days, baristas do the work for two to three people as labor isn’t just cut to save money, it’s under cut, so stores are intentionally understaffed.

I love Starbucks. As an artist, and a fan of process, it’s a job that plays into that love (and to my strengths), and a genuine connection to people and customers of all ages, races, genders, and expressions. The Starbucks culture is singular. I haven’t experienced it anywhere else. What’s happening is a slow extinction of that culture. As less and less people are staffed in stores the pressure mounts. THIS is what needs to change. Baristas are experiencing fewer hours, more pressure, and mounting expectations. What suffers the most, as a result of this, is the customer experience.

It’s very difficult to take pride in a company that purposefully understaffs the stores we work in, and cannot give you the kind of money to survive on. Starbucks was better than this. Starbucks can be better than this.

Things Not to do in a Corporate-Owned Retail Store

1. If you are upset about something that happened during your experience in the store that doesn’t have to do with a employee’s behavior, do not take it out on your cashier or a sales associate.  Chances are, they have no control over the situation at all.  Remember that Corporations are run by people who sit behind desks and make decisions about the business that they have no experience working in.  So yes, many of their decisions do not make sense, but do not take it out on the employees.

2. When you are at the check lanes, put the breaker in between your purchases and the individual’s in front of you.  A breaker is a small plastic bar that is usually on the side of the belt closest to the cashier.  This tells the cashier that there are two separate transactions.  Do not expect your cashier to automatically know where one transaction ends and another begins; they are not psychics. 

3. Do not talk on your phone while you are going through the check out.  I am emphasizing this one because seriously, there are few things in retail that is more demeaning than when a person comes through your lane and doesn’t even acknowledge your existence because they are too busy talking/texting on their phones.  It is incredibly rude; don’t do it. 

4. Do not put money/small jewelry/coupons or any other small objects on the check lane belt.  Money should be common sense, it will get sucked under if the cashier doesn’t stop the belt, because it is too small to automatically stop the belt like larger items do.  Also, most stores do not keep under their scanners cleaned because there are a lot of electrical equipment and cords, so digging the money out is disgusting.

5. If you decide that you don’t want an item, do not just leave it somewhere in the store.  Most stores have a bin somewhere beneath the registers for unwanted items.  Believe me, employees would much rather you give it to them than lay it somewhere.  People seem to think that they will be annoyed but what is actually annoying is when you have clothing on shelves in the chemical aisle.  On another note, if you knock something off a peg or shelf, put it back! It will seriously take you less than five seconds, and employees already have enough work to do without cleaning up after adults who should be old enough to clean up after themselves.

6. Yes, nearly all stores have a “the customer’s always right” policy, but this does not give you the right to abuse it.  Don’t be an asshole because you know that if you’re loud enough, you’ll get what you want.  This is so incredibly rude on so many levels, it’s not even funny.

7. Do not be rude when your cashier asks you if you want to sign up for the store’s credit/debit/rewards cards. Not only is it their job, they are often scored on how many cards they get.  Some companies put so much emphasis on cards that how many of them the cashier gets is literally the only thing that matters to Corporate. There is tremendous pressure on the cashiers to get customers to sign up for these cards.  If you are not interested in the card, simply wait until they are finished speaking and say “No thank you, but thanks for asking.” If they ask more than once, just say “No thank you” again. Don’t be rude about it.

Really, all it boils down to is just respecting those who work in retail.  Everyday they have to deal with impatient, angry, and upset people who take everything out on them.  They are underpaid and often understaffed.  And even for an extrovert, working a full shift surrounded by lots of people can be exhausting.  So please, next time you are in Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kohls, or any other retail store, please treat the employees with respect.  Give them a smile, thank them, and make sure they know how much you appreciate their help.  

You have the power to make someone’s day brighter. Use it.

nytimes.com
New Justice Dept. Rules Aimed at Prosecuting Corporate Executives
By Matt Apuzzo and Ben Protess

The New York Times: Stung by years of criticism that it has coddled Wall Street criminals, the Justice Department issued new policies on Wednesday that prioritize the prosecution of individual employees — not just their companies — and put pressure on corporations to turn over evidence against their executives. 

Thom Yorke transcript

TY: Rachel and I went to Cuba and we sat in the famous Hemingway Bar – and it was extraordinary, because when we went there we had this friend who lives in Cuba, and he said, “Look I can’t go in with you,” and we said, “Yeah you can, we’ll sort it out”, and it took ages to persuade them to let a Cuban into the Hemingway Bar, a normal Cuban – if he’d been one of the tourists…

MK: I’ve heard that begging there is illegal, as well…

TY: Yeah, I didn’t see anyone begging.

MK: Have you been anywhere else in Latin America?

TY: Nooooo.

MK: Is it somewhere that interests you?

TY: Yeah it’s just getting the time to go there.

MK: With your political activism…

TY: Or something. I wouldn’t call it that.

MK: What would you call it?

TY: Not being able to keep my mouth shut!

MK: OK, with your…

TY: Not being able to keep my mouth shut… yeah….

MK: In terms of how that links with your music. Some people say there should be a strict dividing line between line between aesthetics and politics…

TY: I wonder if you did a Ven diagram of how they coincided, or if you did a straw poll of their sympathies in terms of artists what you’d get back. I guess it depends on how broad you see you the definitions of politics, and how broad you see the definition of art or music. If you see art and music as something that extends beyond this little bit of plastic that goes in your CD machine, and if you see politics as something that’s happening not just in the House of Parliament and Portcullis House, then I think you can’t use that argument at all – it’s utter bollocks.

I was just thinking then about this when we did OK Computer where there were all these billboards for stuff – that was when the music industry first discovered the idea of billboards around then. And EMI were saying, “We could do some billboards”, and we were like, “OK – so can we put on what we want on the billboards?”… Yeah, Okaaaaaay. So we did all this Fitter Happier stuff for people driving down the M40 in fucking huge letters – and that was pretty cool, and that’s when I feel like, well maybe there is some sort of cross, you can put things up like that.

MK: Are there corporate pressures not to, have you felt them?

TY: To be fair to EMI, they never once said anything. Because I think we were never being overtly political – it was always within the realms of the words or the images that went with the music, so it was never polemical for its own sake, it was never out of the realms of the music itself.

MK: Why is that? Is it too crude when your less oblique about it? To have a very campaigning sort of song that you’ve never really done…

TY: Well it’s that thing – it just sounds like a sledgehammer, you can’t do it. Although people have done it, and it never ceases to amaze me how people have managed to do it. But I think the only way it really works is when whatever you are trying to say has become your life anyway, rather than being something that you pick up one day and you get angry about and write a song about it and put down.

MK: I know George Bush’s daughter, and David Cameron are fans of your work, in that sense politics seems to be trumped…

TY: And David Miliband!

MK: Is that weird for you?

TY: No, I just want to sort of take the piss, really.

MK: Because David Cameron asked you to play Fake Plastic Trees?

TY: Yeah, and I said, ‘Only if you sign the bill….’

MK: Are you tempted to use this popularity to change these people and lobby?

TY: You’ll never change them – they’re going to get more from you than you get from them generally speaking – unless they happen to coincide with what you’re trying to say; but even then I don’t really think it’s a good idea to use it like that, unless you’re taking the piss. I was kind of taking the piss when I invited them to the Friends of the Earth show that we did – it started off as a joke. I was thinking, “Well if he keeps banging on about like how he wants the Conservatives to be this environmental party, let’s try it out” – and he fucking turns up! And we thought we should invite everyone else as well – so I wrote to Gordon Brown as well, quite funny.

MK: Do you think there’s a danger of politicians using people like you as a PR stunt and then ignoring what you’re actually saying?

TY: Yeah, but that’s exactly what they do with the NGO’s as well. That’s what they do with everybody! I agree though, it’s better to keep ones distance.

MK: What do you think of Bono and Bob Geldof – you don’t have to get personally into them – but that idea of engaging with leaders. I’ve read before that you’ve said you’re not the type of person that can engage in that because you are too weary of them just using you….

TY: Too cynical as well. I mean that’s probably the difference really. Because whenever I talk to Bono about it, and I haven’t done for a long time – but the last conversation I had with him, he was like, “Well, I want to come from it from a positive point of view and work from within.” And for me I can’t really see that I would be able to do that.

MK: You’ve became politicized by the Iraq war, is that fair?

TY: I’d dearly love to not be interested in it at all. It is ultimately a very sterile, barren, place to spend your time thinking of things. Even back in college, you get involved in it initially and then you see all the petty wranglings going on, and you think, “This is so pathetic”, and you want to get the fuck out really. Although it was quite a laugh – when I was at Exeter we managed to kick the Tories out of the Union. And they did it again last year, it seems to be this recurring theme, because there’s so many of them at Exeter.

MK: [Laughs] We banned Jack Straw from our Union…

TY: What one was that?

MK: Leeds University…

TY: I had a really good friend of mine who went into politics behind the scenes. I used to go out with him all the time talking about it, but by the time I left college I was like, Fucking forget it. And the thing that got me back into it was Noam Chomsky…

MK: Really?

TY: Well I think it was a combination of what was happening to us at the time: we’d starting touring in America a lot, we were signed to this big corporate label, and touring America, and we’d had all this success and people were talking to us in a very peculiar way. We were spending a lot of time at the exposed end of the media – like almost being at the saturated side of it, you know – you go into the gym at the hotel and there you’d be on the MTV, it was just everywhere. And it was all a bit like, “What is this, what is going on here?” We’d suddenly become part of this cultural emblem that’s being used all over the world, you know, along with Nirvana and all that.

And in the midst of that going home and Rachel had recorded this Chomsky thing, Manufacturing Consent, and I watched it when I got home. So I started reading Chomsky and started getting back into it really.

MK: What is it about his work that appeals to you?

TY: I don’t know really… What appeals to me the most is that he always has these caveats like, “Look if you don’t believe me, you go find out for yourselves” – knowing that people probably won’t – they’ll take their judgements and whatever, and I think that’s a good thing.

I was really interested initially as well in his reference to anarchism and how that had been misrepresented. And obviously the foreign policy thing.

MK: Would you call yourself an anarchist?

TY: Well, no. I don’t think he would, would he really now?

MK: I think he does – he calls himself a libertarian socialist which some people say is an oxymoron…

TY: Whenever someone starts talking about taking power back into local communities and stuff – essentially as far as I can work the logical conclusion of what he’s saying is that local communities can govern themselves – but I just always think of trying to rally a different cross-section of people into agreement. If you’ve ever been to a Town Council meeting, you’d be like, “You’re fucking kidding, aren’t you?”

MK: So you’re not as optimistic as him… Would you say you have an optimistic view of human nature, because your songs are quite sad and melancholy, but yet you seem to retain some optimism about humanity….

TY: I think it’s just about if you give people the correct information, if you let them see, if things are open – I’m still thinking of the anarchist thing in a way – if you are open about your proceedings and honest with people about your mistakes, then human nature will go along with what people do. There’s a general will for everyone to avoid suffering and to avoid trouble and actually get along with each other. I think a lot of the time politicians use schisms between people to get their own power which is terrifying.

MK: I was reading on the Deadairspace blog, Colin had put a link to Nick Cohen’s book which basically dedicates pages and pages to how Chomsky is a nutter… I was thinking that is quite weird…

TY: Yeah we have many arguments about it…

MK: I thought you might…

TY: [Laughs] Yeah. It’s definitely a very, very sore point.

MK: I looked on Nick Cohen’s website and it said, “This has been recommended by Radiohead!”

TY: I was really furious about that. It was like, “Well, no, actually, I don’t necessarily agree with this book at all.” But Colin has discovered the land of the blog. And I don’t trust blogs – unless you have the nerve to put it on paper and print and publish, you should be weary of what’s being said. I think people write what they write on blogs with the luxury of knowing it won’t have any affect and therefore it can be more polemical.

What’s happening – people like Nick Cohen, he’s disillusioned with the left. I’ve been disillusioned with the left for years. There’s this thing about the luxury of making judgments about foreign policy from the left-wing liberal perspective – that terrible word liberal!

It just strikes me as intellectual catfighting amongst themselves and I find it deeply offensive. And I don’t, by any means, take everything that Chomsky says literally at all, and that’s surely the entire point. I don’t see Nick Cohen putting at the end of his essays, “If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself”. You know, he’s a polemicist, very much like Monbiot’s a polemicist, and I don’t necessarily believe everything that Monbiot writes, either.

MK: Yeah – the thing with Monbiot is that he is polemical but he backs up what he says with rafts of facts… Nick Cohen makes sweeping generalizations without any evidence…

TY: What you have there, as far as I’m concerned, is a man at the station of the disintegration of the Old Left, and the Old Left is lashing itself, which is like, fine let it kill itself stone dead.

I think that there is a point to be made about the luxury of demanding troops leave a country like Iraq – there’s an argument that says that’s irresponsible and you can argue that it’s very easy to take for granted the ability to have free speech in the West, which is the other big point. And it’s like, Yesssssssss…. But that actually doesn’t excuse Halliburton making billions of dollars from their contracts in there, it doesn’t excuse the fact that we went in there to protect our own interests. I mean, all this stuff is conveniently forgotten in this little catfight going on which I don’t give a fuck about.

MK: Basically intellectuals being self-important…

TY: Well, no, actually. I think what it is: what happens when you have a thing like Iraq, you have two types of intellectuals/commentators: you have the ones who essentially need to go along with it, and the ones who resist going along with it. And what’s happening within political commentators is what happened in Vietnam as well: you have people that can’t help being part of the status quo and there’s a general inertia – as within the rest of society – you go from the original anger at the idea of the war in Iraq to a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy of justifying it.

I guess it all went wrong when George Galloway turned up – that’s what George Monbiot says – he was at the original meeting and it went tits up after that and they should have kicked him out there and then.

MK: Are you talking about the Respect Party?

TY: Yeah. And Respect basically split the whole resistance to the war in Iraq in half and you’re in this very peculiar state where a large cross section of society was suddenly being high-jacked by this prat for his own ends.

I know your dads had trouble with this as well. You have this whole situation where actually I object to the war on these grounds but simply by saying I object to the war on these grounds I have to justify all these sad fucks. I’m not interested. I’m not part of the left in that way – I’ve never been part of the left in that way, and I’ve no interest in having mud slung at me just because of my resistance to this. And it’s deeply wrong to assume that my objections to the war in Iraq means I’m a liberal, it doesn’t mean that I’m part of this luxurious group of people serving their own old left-wing ends… You know, Fuck right off!…. That’s the constant row I’m having with the Colin…

MK: Yeah, that is the row over the Nick Cohen book – he’s tarring all the anti-war movement with the brush of Galloway, as it were….

TY: Yeah, ah liberals!

MK: You’ve spent a lot of time in America, what do you make of the country internally, not the foreign policy which you’ve criticised. I spent a year there and realised its people don’t really understand what their country does in the world…

TY: Oh no! They have no idea! I think the Iraq thing has been interesting – the mainstream press took a long time to come around, but when they did come round it was a big thing. When they did start exposing it for what it was.

On a day to day basis, yeah, it’s a very isolated place in a lot of way. But the upside of the US has always been for me that when they do find out about things they react a lot faster than people in this country, for example. They’re very animated, very quickly.

MK: Do you prescribe to Chomsky’s propaganda model where the media squeezes out inconvenient truth?.. Have you made comments that haven’t been reported?

TY: Oh it happens all the time. Watch Sky in the middle of the day, it’s like that times ten. There’s nothing. Although, occasionally if they think they can get some ratings out of it, they’ll pick up a story very fast, but they’ll pick it up and then they’ll drop it just at the point where it might go bang.

There isn’t really, in terms of television at least, there isn’t really a critical media, but in the press there is. Also, there’s that radio – the left-wing … The one that Chuck D was djing on at one point – the talkshow thing… I can’t believe I can’t remember what it’s called, that’s really bad… But that was having a big affect but, of course, they have trouble finding funding…

MK: Back to here, Blair’s reign is coming to an end…. What have made of his time in power, you’ve been quite acerbic about it…

TY: Yeah I have, I’m kind of sick of being acerbic about it now…

MK: Do you think Brown will be any different?

TY: Oh God help us. I mean, when people talk to me about Brown, I always start talking about the PFI thing, because that is a bomb waiting to go off right there. He’s managed because – I don’t know if you read Private Eye, I’m not like one of those people – but they’ve been running all this stuff about PFI for ages, and Brown’s ability to make the money disappear. But recently there was an audit of the whole PFI thing which is happening now, but he’s managed to basically move all the money off the books, he’s just moved it all away, which is absolutely extraordinary.

But, you know, you can only keep that whole thing quiet for so long and someone will dig it up before the election. And that’s why they are talking about David Miliband, because they know that Brown has all these fucking ghosts in the closet.

MK: What about Cameron?

TY: God help us! Maybe if they got rid of the one who thinks global warming isn’t happening – John Redwood – nutter! But interestingly they’re saying it’s going to be a hung parliament.

MK: Labour might do a deal with the Lib Dems in that situation… With the charismatic Ming Campbell!

TY: Yeah, but he’s great in debates… You wouldn’t want to go up against Ming Campbell in a debate — he would destroy you!

MK: Going back to your music… Do you feel like you have a voice personally? Some sort of power?

TY: No.

MK: Some people would argue with that…

TY: Yeah, I know. I recently had an argument with Jonathan Glazer about it – he did all our videos, well he did Karma Police and the other one, Street Spirit. We’ve kept in contact with him on and off over the years. This is my argument with him: I think there’s a danger of assuming that you have a voice in that way, but at the say time I can’t help commenting on things I feel strongly about, but I think that’s my prerogative as a member of the human race, rather than, I’m a star, and I’ve discovered this!

MK: Do you think your political activism will continue into the future?

TY: No not necessarily. I don’t really see it as political activism, really. I can’t help responding to the world around me in a certain way, and I guess I’m fascinated about the huge chasm between how we see power and how power is actually used. And the extraordinary gap in our knowledge about what is really going on, generally speaking. The most obvious example I can think of is when we did the launch of the Big Ask thing, we managed to secure a room in Portcullis House – I think that was courtesy of Michael Meacher actually, bizarrely. So we were hanging around Portcullis House and I’d never been there before and I was standing in the lobby area, and it really is the Lobby Area, and everyone’s drinking coffee and there was lobbyist there, like all the fucking time, that’s what they do.

And how many of these are NGOs and how many are paid corporate lobbyists. People don’t know this shit. Recently there’s been this thing about carbon emissions – the EU wanting to commit car companies to reduce carbon emissions.

But there’s been an absolutely enormous lobbying of the EU by the German car manufacturers, because obviously they see the high end of the car market being their thing. And they do the normal thing where they threaten to move jobs to Malaysia. They say, “Ah well if you do this we’ll be forced to make this decision.” Well, where’s your social responsibility? You’re a huge company, you make fuck loads of money, you’ve made sure that the public transport system disintegrates – you are part of the problem, yet you assume you have the moral right to override the general safety of our future for the future of your company.

And obviously it’s very naïve to assume they’d do anything else, I know. But if you’re an EU minister then you should be justifying to me why you’ve even talking to these people, because you serve us, not them. Yes, you can argue that the jobs might go, that’s called blackmail.

MK: But these problems are going to get more acute. You say you’re not going to stay interested, but once you’ve seen it can you turn away?

TY: No, absolutely, but I don’t necessarily see that as politics – although it is…. If the left could actually stop tearing itself apart it would actually see that the manifestation of globalisation, the results of globalisation are these things that started to happen in the 1990s. It would be impossible for any self-respecting socialist-leaning person to not start to argue that there are downsides to the global marketplace. At the moment you’ve got a really interesting thing in France – you’ve for two leaders now running, one of them…

MK: Royal, yeah…

TY: Yeah, she’s very soft and saying, “I think we can work our way through this and make it ok with our reforms”, and the other guy is saying, “No we have to reform and that’s it, otherwise this country is going to disintegrate.” And they’re both right. One of the most amazing thing about France is it’s managed to protect itself so much, but it can’t do it anymore – but why can’t it protect itself anymore? What’s wrong with that? But we get the arse of that with the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

But generally there is going to be a debate about globalisation, and it’s being brought on as well by the climate change issue. I’ve got a friend of a friend who has just bought this huge fishing company – well he’s not a friend, he’s an acquaintance rather – and he made a packet out of basically taking the processing of the fish away from the Scottish borders where it has always been for like a hundred years, and flying the

fish when they come of the boat to Thailand processing it in Thailand and then flying it back. And he’s made millions out of it, because he can, because the freights really cheap. And with all this stuff, OK so all these people have lost jobs, nobody really wins out, the people in Thailand get paid fuck all – but you can stand and say you’re this brilliant entrepeneur, but you should be fucking locked up!

MK: Definitely. But humans have this tendency to self-destruction. Take global warming – the economic imperatives of how our system work means green issues don’t impinge even though we know we’re heading for a catastrophe…

TY: Which is why I guess… the realms of the political debate have to change. The best way I’ve heard it put is that there has to be another economic factor and that’s the ecological one. There needs to be a parallel economy which runs with, and how you make that work fuck knows how…

MK: Do you think your children have made you more political?

TY: Yeah, every night I wake up. I don’t often sleep through the night now because I wake up worrying about it, I should probably go and see someone about it…

MK: Oh don’t worry, it’s natural considering the world’s going to end in about a hundred years!

TY: Ah, less!

MK: What about music do you see yourself doing that for the rest of your life?

TY: Yeah, I don’t have any choice about that. I wish that… well, it’s sort of happening now, we’re sort of going through a transition period really, where we used to have a big contract and things worked a certain way, and that way that things used to work has basically almost dissolved. So working out how you put music out and all that stuff is a big issue now, and that affects how you see making music, it’s all very cloudy at the moment that whole thing, which is cool, you know, it’s quite exciting really because I still have this sort of old baggage about finishing things and then having to justify them for a year-and-a-half for all these Sunday paper column inches analyzing what I’ve said in the words… Bollocks!

So the idea of somehow being able to get away from that whole world would be good.

MK: In terms of Eraser, the solo album, did you feel that, after being in a group, the pressure was more acute as what was written was solely about you?

TY: I didn’t read any of it. I don’t read any of it now anyway. It happened really fast. The finishing of it was like, “Oh it’s done, better put it out then!” And then I didn’t really think about it at all until the week it was out. I was like, “Oh shit!” I mean I did do a few interviews but not a lot, and I was on tour with the band anyway, so it wasn’t stressful at all actually, it was really interesting…

MK: I saw you in Berkeley when you were out there last summer…

TY: Oh really?

MK: Yeah, it was great stuff…

TY: The summer before that I think…

MK: No last summer!

TY: Was it?

MK: Yeah…

TY: We were in Berkeley last summer?

MK: Yeah! You remember the open air one?

TY: Oh yeah, that was with Dearhoof wasn’t it?

MK: Yeah, they were pretty intense…

TY: They were amazing…

MK: How do you find touring and the adulation you get?

TY: I don’t think we have adulation like that now, generally, I think, which is good…

MK: I saw a lot of open jawed kids

TY: I think that’s because they’re stoned!

MK: Maybe. You’ve been in the spotlight for a lot of years, do you find that difficult?

TY: Interesting. I haven’t thought about that before. But it would be if I lived in Primrose Hill. I don’t feel in the spotlight, every now and then the moll comes out of his hole, that’s the way I see it.

MK: Did you enjoy touring?

TY: I did but I actually wanted to be in the studio more at the time really. But it was like a good way of getting us back together psychologically to go on the road.

MK: Can I ask about the new album?

TY: Well there’s not a lot to say really. We’ve got a vow of silence!

MK: OK I’ll finish on your lyrics. Do you think they’ve got more indirect and oblique and strange?

TY: See I don’t think they have – I think they were always a bit like that! I always thought Karma Police was pretty strange and very oblique; I thought Paranoid Android was pretty weird. You know, my biggest lyrical hero has always been Michael Stipe, so I think I’ve always been imitating that anyway….

MK: What sort of cultural figures are you into?

TY: Have you heard of that Cloud Atlas book? I thought that was fucking amazing.

MK: Do you read poetry?

TY: Yeah, T.S. Eliot. I’ve been reading it since school, I really enjoy reading him at the moment, I go to sit and have pints in the pub and read T.S. Eliot…. I live in Oxford, that’s what you do! You’ve got to fit in, you know what I mean? But I gave up the roll-ups a long time ago…

MK: I gave up two years ago as well…

TY: So you’ve still got the urge presumably?

MK: Yeah, horrible! It’s bad when I’m really stressed. I read the Allen Carr book though… You heard of that?

TY: Is that the giving up smoking book?

MK: Yeah, and he died recently of lung cancer…

TY: Yeah, they say that if you smoke even just for a few years you are still at a big risk of getting cancer later. And when I smoked, I really fucking smoked. I used to break the filters off the Silk Cut because I couldn’t be bothered to roll up properly.

I’m going to once again require that people understand what censorship really is. Censorship is the government taking steps to prevent speech.

A corporation choosing to delay publication of a work is not censorship.

A corporation pulling a work and deciding not to publish a work is not censorship.

Other private citizens disagreeing with you is not censorship.

A corporation responding to public pressure is not censorship.

Private citizens shaping standards of what is and is not acceptable speech is not censorship, because there are no legal ramifications.

Decrying hate speech is not censorship.

Disagreement is not censorship.

You are entitled to speech. You are not entitled to platform or publication. You are not entitled to people’s agreement just because you have something to say. Other people’s disagreement with what you have to say is not censorship. 

Letting people know that a work is racist (or otherwise reinforcing oppressive ideologies) so that private citizens can make informed personal decisions as to whether they want to fiscally support an author is not censorship.

Watch on ndnknowledgeispower.tumblr.com

THE NEXT PROJECT FROM THE WALKING DEAD’S EXEC PRODUCER IS CALLED “MANKILLER,” BUT IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK

Mankiller sounds like the kind of movie title you’d expect from the The Walking Dead’s executive producer—a filmmaker who, long before her post-apocalyptic smash hit, was already known as the “First Lady of Sci-Fi” for her writing and producing credits on Terminator and Aliens. But the arresting title of Gale Anne Hurd’s new documentary-in-progress is not a symbol of dystopia or even violence. Mankiller is the last name of a remarkable person—Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. But though Mankiller made tremendous social and economic strides for her people and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, today, only five years after her death, she risks being lost to history. Most people have never heard of her or know little about her accomplishments.

Hurd now hopes to cement Mankiller’s place as a 20th-century American heroine, though she’s taking an unlikely approach, especially for someone who has a record-breaking television show to her credit: she’s launched a Kickstarter. “Documentarians need to be able to tell the truth, without bias or pressure from corporate sponsors who might have a particular agenda,” says Hurd. “Kickstarter supporters want the real story to be told, not one that is manufactured.”

In addition to ensuring that the project maintains narrative autonomy, the Kickstarter campaign is also a way of publicizing the film before it’s even finished. Selling a documentary is always a struggle, even for the producer of The Walking Dead. “The documentary as a medium is one that very often misses out on mainstream attention,” says Hurd. “Even the documentary films nominated for Academy Awards are unknown to many people, so building up a community that cares about real stores, not just scripted ones, is so very important.”

The documentary has already received half of its funding from Vision Maker Media for PBS, but it does not have a distributor. Understandably, then, Hurd is drawing on The Walking Dead’s success to help fuel interest in the project. A number of Walking Dead actors appear in the doc’s promo video, including Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene), who has Native American heritage. Backers will receive a plethora of Walking Dead memorabilia from comic books to season box sets, signed by the show’s creators.

Hurd has long been interested in telling Native American stories. With director Valerie Red-Horse, she co-produced True Whispers and Choctaw Code Talkers, two films about Native Americans who were conscripted to help the U.S. military create coded messages during both world wars. “Native Americans, sadly, are perhaps the most overlooked and marginalized minority in America, and yet they were indeed the original Americans,” says Hurd. In the U.S., we tend to view the country’s indigenous peoples with fascination and discomfort. We glorify them in films like Dances With Wolves and Windtalkers. But as Hurd points out, “how many of those films have been about Native American women—and not just Native American women who helped white settlers or explorers to survive? Far too few.”

The Mankiller campaign runs for 30 days, starting March 9. The documentary will be co-produced by Gale Anne Hurd via Valhalla Entertainment, and Valerie Red-Horse, a director of Cherokee ancestry and founder of Red-Horse Native Productions, Inc.

At approximately 6:30PM on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Loyola University Chicago, the largest Jesuit University in the nation, voted to divest from the Israeli Occupation with a vote of 26-0-2.

The piece of legislation, introduced by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), asks that Loyola withdraw investments from the following corporations if currently invested in them: Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlitt-Packard Company, Group 4 Securicor, Raytheon, Elbit Systems, SodaStream, and Veolia. With signed support from over 800 undergraduate students, SJP asks that Loyola’s assets for investment be further examined beyond these 8 specific companies to ensure that the university does not profit from companies that play significant roles in structural violence enacted against the Palestinian people.

In passing Divestment, Loyola University Chicago is upholding the Jesuit traditions and values that it represents. Divestment is a non-violent strategy that is aimed to pressure corporations to withdraw from businesses violating human rights. SJP LUC hopes that this success signals the beginning of future successes for other universities and Jesuit institutions in the United States. As members of an institute of higher education, it is our [the students’] responsibility to draw attention to these social justice abuses. SJP LUC stands in solidarity with Palestine and continues to stress the severity of the Conflict.

—  Students for Justice in Palestine, Loyola University Chicago

anonymous asked:

So I was a little confused why you were against PETA, so I went through your tags (thanks for using tags btw) and I never even realized that they were fatphobic, sexist and racist. Any other organizations I could show support for?

All of the bigger animal rights charities have their problems unfortunately, PETA are one of the worst though. Mercy For Animals are better, as are Viva! and Animal Aid, but none of them are abolitionists, and consistently push for and celebrate minor, pretty meaningless welfare reforms. That just comes with the territory of being a large organisation unfortunately; they all want to be able to publish those “success” stories when a particular corporation agrees to treat their animals slightly less horrifically. These essentially amount to backroom deals, where these organisations pressure corporations into really minor welfare changes that won’t cost them much (or anything) to action, the animal charity gets to tell everyone how effective they are to get more support, and the animal abusers get to tell everyone they’re approved by an animal rights charity so they can sell more products. You’d be better off supporting vegan advocacy groups or sanctuaries in my opinion. 

Private industry did not adopt quality initiatives, customer-focused business processes, and more efficient information technology merely because it is private.  Corporate organizations can be as bureaucratic and averse to innovation as government.  But corporations face competitive pressure.  Under the threat of losing business to competitors, even a bureaucracy can overcome its resistance to innovation.
—  Arnold Kling, Unchecked and Unbalanced, pg. 80