insular

A glimpse of hell - mean nicknames created  by the Chinese Gymternet

NDISCLAIMER: 

1. Do not read this if you are easily offended by mean names, satirical jokes or dark humour. 

2. The Chinese gymternet culture, and its internet culture as a whole, is very different from the ones on tumblr. Partly due to its insularity, certain terms used in the Chinese gymternet could come across to you as too rude or brass or unacceptable. However, please also take into account the difference in the cultural aspect as well. As a common dweller in the Chinese gymternet community, I can promise that 95% of the satirical teasings or mean names created by the Chinese has no derogatory intention. The truly degrading, racist or sexist nicknames have also been filtered out by me, so rest assured. 

So now, if you are ready, please read on: 

——————————————–The line to hell——————————————-

Part 1. Basic terminology to nickname-creation

A. 野鸡 (ye-ji) noun./adj.  - pheasant; wild chicken (direct translation)

“Before anyone is worthy of being bestowed upon a nickname by the Chinese gymternet god, they are all wild chickens.”

The term “wild chicken” is not limited to the gymternet community - it is the umbrella term for all athletes who are either 1.not well known 2.not very good at the sport 3.both. Wild chicken can be used both as a noun and an adjective. Though initially carrying a negative and even derogatory connotation, the tone now is much more neutral. An example for the use of “wild chicken” with a neutral connotation would be - 

“Who is that wild chicken on bars? She’s pretty good.”

When used as an adjective, it is normally used to describe a routine that is underwhelming. For example “Songsong’s vault is quite 野鸡.”

When used to describe man, use 野鸭, or wild duck, instead of chicken. 

B. 女士/小姐 noun. - Ms/Mdm/Miss

Using an overly formal term to address an athlete is one of the most basic satirical trick used by the Chinese community. I’m not sure when and who first created this but oh boy does this thing spread fast! Similar to wild chicken, this term first carries a negative connotation, but some people liked it so much they start to call everybody, including the ones they love, with a Ms something something. More often than not though this term still carries a mocking tone to it.

Example: “Oh what a spectacular performance by Mdm____, she could have scored full marks in the 10-points scoring system!”

C. 好粉丝 noun. - Good fans

With its true meaning being “biased fans”, this word is often used to mock comments or other netizens for being…well…too biased. 

Example: “Good lord, those good fans are saying ____ is capable of winning gold again, what a joke!”

With the 3 most basic terminology in mind, lets move to more specific nicknames for gymnasts and countries. 

Part 2 - specific nicknames and its origin (names not written in any order, just writing them down as I remember them)

1. Victoria Komova - 擦擦,擦地,擦四步 (scratchy,ground-wiper, wipe-4-steps) 

Origin: 擦 (pronounced as tsah), means “to wipe” or “to scratch”. The name 擦擦 came after YOG in 2010 when Komova scratched her feet on the ground during bars final and then backed 4 steps during floor final - the Chinese netizens then begin saying that Komova is wiping the floor with her feet and there goes the “wipe-4-steps” and the “ground-wiper”. While used as a mocking nickname initially, most people now, even her fans, still refer to her as “scratchy” or “擦擦“. 

2. Kyla Ross - 敦煌飞仙 (Buddha’s heavenly leap)

Origin: It is extremely hard to translate the proverb 敦煌飞仙. The term “敦煌” is related to Buddism whereas 飞仙 means something like “flying to heaven”? It’s a buddist term and I’m not able to capture the exact meaning as well… anyway, the term came after Kyla’s super awkward fell during her 2015 Jesolo floor routine, and then one of the netizens who didn’t really like her wrote “OH MY HOW BEAUTIFUL, ITS LIKE A BUDDHA’S HEAVENLY LEAP”, and then suddenly everybody started to use it lmao. It is initially used to address Kyla Ross’s fall, but has now extended to all kinds of lurching kind of fall on floors. It definitely is still used to mock people though.

3.  Riley McCusker - 鸡翅膀 - Chicken Wing

Origin: Her 2016 floor choreography is just really weird and has hand movements like a “flapping wild chicken”, and if you have read the things I wrote above you will know being related to a “wild chicken” is NOT good for your image on the gymternet lmao. 

4. Nastia Liukin - 青蛙,娃娃 - frog, froggy

Origin: It’s due to the cowboying on her double front. One of the disgusted netizen commented that her posture during the double front is like a “leadping frog” and thats it lol. It is also notable that Nastia is a pretty controversial figure in the chinese gymternet, with large groups of fans and haters. The haters all address her as froggy and the fans will call her 公主 - princess. 

5. Deng Yalan - 种地小姐 - Miss peasant

Origin: So last year it became clear to the fans that Deng got addicted to a K-pop star and ended up semi-quitting her gymnastics career. Then there is this huge whooha regarding what she’s gonna do dropping gymnastics and her education at such a young age in the future. Then somebody digged out her family’s background and realized that her family is not very well-off in the first place and they live in the rural areas. So disappointed fans begin calling her Miss peasant to mock how she somehow ruined her own fledgling gymnastics career. 

6. Huang Qiushuang - 面膜小姐/黄面膜 - Miss Face mask/Facemask Huang

Origin: When Huang retired from gymnastics she opened a micro online shop to sell face masks. Such micro online shop in China is known for their dubious quality as many products are made without proper channels and regulation, and so yep people begin to call her Miss face mask for selling “fake products”. Whether the products are truly fake is unknown til today. 

7. Zeng Siqi & Chen Siyi - 旅游小姐/拍手小姐/提包小姐 - Miss vacation/Miss hand-clapper/Miss bag-carrier

Origin: Siqi only did beam (and fell) during the 2013 individual world championship, whereas Siyi didn’t do a single apparatus during the 2015 team final, so mean netizens begin mocking that “all Siyi did is to hold others’ tea cup and clap her hands and carry bags”, and then they became Miss hand-clappers. Dowell is also sometimes addressed as such too due to her lack of participation in 2013′s WC. 

8. Liu Jinru - 搞笑艺人 - Comedian

Origin: Because her dance and wobbles and fell are all quite…clumsy looking? Then some people said she looked like a comedian trying to make people laugh with all her wobbles and mistakes and now everybody begin calling her that.

9. Larisa Iordache - 影后 - movie queen

Origin: Prior of Olympics in 2012 rumour has it that Larisa is injured or something like that, and then she showed up to the competition almost fine (she fell on beam and floor but her difficulties are all back), and Chinese netizens were like “WASN’T SHE INJURED” when she showed up with a crazy difficulty beam routines, and there you’ve got the name!

10. Diana Bulimar - 布尼玛老太婆 - Witch Bulimar

Origin: This and the next one is probably the most offensive out of all terms SO PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED. Its also kind of hard to explain… so it all started with a superrrrrrrrrrrr Bulimar hater who also happens to be super active in the Chinese gymternet. Boy did he HATE Bulimar. And then since Romania’s struggling with the depth of talent pool the renowned hater started the “Bulimar is a witch and she cast a cremation spell on team Romania so that the entire gym program will be cremated” thing, and he talked about it in like every single fucking post lol, and it gradually got picked up. Bulimar is also known for having a “floor music of curse” back in 2012, as whoever is doing beam when Bulimar is using the 2012 floor music will either wobble or fall on beam. 

11. Romanian team - 火葬国 - Cremnation

Origin: Its the same as above, 火葬国 sounds super offensive as it means “country of cremation”, it’s a very bad joke and I apologize if anyone is offended… So anyway according to this hater Didi cast a cremation spell on the country’s gymnastics program so that it will all burn to ashes, and because hes so active everybody got brainwashed and start to address the team as “cremation team”. 

12. Other Romanian gymnasts cept Didi, Lari and Cata - 字母女士,Miss Alphabets

Origin: So it goes like the Romanian fans are super upset about how the new comers are unable to match the ability of Didi, Lari and Cata, or even do something that is memorable. And so in the cruel world of Chinese gymternet community such gymnasts do not deserve a distinctive nickname - they ended being called Miss H, Miss I, Miss O and Miss G, things like that. 

13. Team China - 宙国 - Team Universe

Origin: This may sounds nice but it is not - it is used to mock overly nationalistic chinese fans who thinks team China deserve to win everything and anything, so much so they own the universe lmao, so they instead call these fans as “fans of team universe”. 

14. Maria Paseka - 845

Origin: The degree that Paseka is able to turn on her Amanar in 2012. She got better afterwards but the name sticked with her for life. 

15. Mattie Larson - 冷宫怨妇 - Unwanted bitter women

Origin: Not a very good translation, but its hard to be translated :/. 冷宫 is a place in ancient China where the emperor’s least popular mistress are kept, whereas 怨妇 means very bitter women. The term started after her falls on floor in the 2007 team final, and rumours had it that Marta had enough of her and is never gonna use her ever. So in that sense I guess the nickname captured what happened pretty well :/. 

16. Zhang Nan - 巨星 - Super star/Icon

Origin: Netizens just don’t understand why Zhang Nan is so well-liked by the judges, even when the fans think she did her skills poorly in some cases. And then somebody said the famous line that “because she’s a super star” and then KABOOM everybody used it to mock her. There are also variant terms such as Zhang Nan’s late-as-always Ono on bars, called the “star turn”, and a falling LOSO mount on beam, called the “star mount”. 

BONUS: 

Deng Linlin - noun. - a unit used to measure the extent of one’s leg separation. 

Example: Liukin’s cowboying on her double front is so bad its like 1.5 Deng Linlin. 


And….thats about all that I can think of, against, please don’t be offended if some of your favs are on the list, most of these terms are meant as bad jokes, and some of them have shifted in their connotations so much even the fans start to use it. To conclude, I wish all of you have a nice laugh after reading this!  I mayyyy do a second issue of this if I have more :)

I love any argument about anything that says ‘but this internet thing impacts real life spaces! groups of insular academicians at liberal arts unis in the US care about it now’

like oh shit, that changes everything lmao

anonymous asked:

honestly 80% of american media is pretty fucking xenophobe, and it doesn't make it ok at all, and it bothers me as a non-us citizen but honestly u adapt (specially with old shows, like there's nothing u can do abt it lmao???)

Yeah. It sucks. And the insular paranoid patriotism of TXF definitely provided a frame for a lot of racist or xenophobic or sexist narrative, because it’s all about “discovering” or investigating the Other and the Unknown and a lot of it is reactionary or feels kind of neocolonial in terms of these mythical Unexplored Lands and Undiscovered Peoples and phenomena. The Other in TXF is almost always inherently dangerous or scary, and though it’s certainly present in white men and women, it’s definitely set up as anomalous against the purported normality of straight white cis people. Episodes like Genderbender showed some compassion, but still made the Kindred criminals. The 90s were a weird time. TXF was somewhat refreshing and revolutionary at the time, or at least transgressive in its portrayals, but we’ve come so far since then that it doesn’t work well now and we cringe a bit.

Those who grew up to be Post-conceptual poets are those who missed the protopunk anarchy of the 70s and the revolutionary politics of the late 60s. Rather they were born in the 80s, during the deadening Reagonomic period in art (the Picture show generation and later in Britain, the YBAs) in which previously political postmodern tactics were frozen into monumentally valorized works of blank irony with global celebrities at the wheel. Then they came of age during the 90s, a time when riot girl feminism and Deleuze (minor literature spawning micropolitcs and microcinemas) and Judith Butler’s subversion and queer theory and Zizek’s Hegelian Marxism became prominent. And then they started working in the 00s: finding ways to combine the empty symbolic art of the 80s with the ‘subversive’ affective cyborg-utopian feminist tactics of the 90s. This Post-conceptual combo meant letting go of the splintered punk and separatist politics found in the late 60s, within hippie culture, but also within lower east side art culture. Suddenly, in the 00s punk seemed as romantically insular and individualistically hedonistic and complacent as modernism and romanticism looked to the radicals of the 1970s. Nonetheless, it was compelling and felt good to be punk! So in order to maintain this ‘good feeling’ punk became permissible only through and after neurotic apologies and academic dissertations and ironic quotations. And in order to maintain the political potential of punk, its movements were reformulated into a universally applicable (rather than individualistic) party politics for-all, epitomized by the universalized particular and academically ‘counterhegemonic’ emblem marked by the word ‘queer.’
—  Note 36 from “Notes on Conceptual Poetry” by Felix Bernstein

INSULAR - (in-suh-ler) - adjective, noun

Definition (adjective):

  • detached; standing alone; isolated
  • of or related to an island or islands
  • dwelling on or situated on an island; forming an island
  • of, relating to, or characteristic of islanders
  • narrow-minded or illiberal; provincial

Definition (noun):

  • an inhabitant of an island; islander

Related forms:

  • noun - insularity, insularism
  • adverb - insularly

Example sentences:

  • She was an open book, but he was an insular man.

Stovenly thinks:

  • poor ditto :(
  • also someone asked for example sentences
  • so rejoice

Sometimes Tumblr is a great way to find community, share knowledge and experiences and perspectives and see the world in radically new ways.

But most times Tumblr is just a bunch of sad (not in an insulting way. Just really sad and depressed) angry people who are so beaten down by the world that they can no longer see difference without threat, triggering each other, refusing to acknowledge each other’s humanity and basically whipping each other into an exhausting froth for no real reason. We’re not communities, we’re mobs with pitchforks aimed at each other.

When I joined Tumblr, it was the only place where my anger as a result of trauma and oppression was valid and powerful. Seeing the inequalities happening in the world, my minority status validated but forced into a self-examination of privilege changed me as a person and my worldview. But Tumblr culture also fails to acknowledge that anger is only good as a catalyst, that holding onto it for too long is dangerous and can warp you. Anger is exactly like fire; if it is not carefully doused and contained it will burn everything in its path including you.

I have grown more educated but but I have not grown wiser, I have not grown more patient and tolerant and I don’t know if I’ve become less of a toxic, overreactive bully. I think I’m still toxic, overreactive and bully-prone, only from a different political viewpoint. And yeah, a lot of that is trauma and mental illness, but I’ve never made that an excuse for anything and I can’t start now.

I can’t see people for ideology anymore, I dismiss and dehumanize entire swathes of people for their politics, I lose sight of the fact that people are more than their politics and every time I lose my shit at people and call them names on here, my behaviour is validated as warranted. I’m feeding a horribly toxic, purist morality culture that uses whataboutism and identity as weapons, I encourage isolation and insularity under the guise of self-care. I’m actually yelling into an echo chamber and expecting it to do anything for either my personal growth or anyone else’s, my politics are to me are what religion is to other people except without the emphasis on spiritual nourishment. It would actually be more beneficial to my agnostic atheist ass at this point to get religion.

I’m thirty, what the entire fuck am I doing.

Film Analysis: The Themes of Wonder Woman

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

I know I pretty much never deviate from SU but I really loved the latest Wonder Woman film. I just wanted to do a brief analysis because I feel like there are so many themes to unpack in the film (so there’ll be spoilers) and I was pleasantly surprised by the way things turned out. 

I’ll be using images only from the official trailer WB posted on their YouTube channel though, in case you happen to scroll past and don’t want to see anything yet.

This post doesn’t feel like the appropriate avenue to talk about the cast, the sets, music, and colours, so I’ll be focusing on the film itself, particularly on the story. I enjoyed all the other things about the movie but won’t go into them here.

1. Diana of Themyscira 

Source: WBP

Before any other character in DC and now the DCEU, I read and watched Wonder Woman. One thing I’d like to point out is how the story doesn’t shy away from her god-heritage and how that dictates her interactions with others. In fact, one pertinent lens to view this film is that of self-discovery.

Diana doesn’t know she’s god. Throughout the story she believes that she is as capable as any other Amazon (I really liked the Amazons, but maybe another post). She believes she’s equal in capacity and potential. I think this is an important thing to note. Diana didn’t go into war, looking for Ares, certain she was stronger than any other member of Themyscira. She left her home not because of a conviction that only she could do the task but because she believed it was the right thing to do. In her eyes, her mother and the other Amazons just didn’t see the value in entering human affairs the way she did. That was all. 

What I appreciated was that she went on her “hero’s journey” not out of a sense of duty as the only one who could do it, but precisely because anyone could go and help put a stop to the fighting. It then was not a question of who was most worthy, which is a question that excludes, but a question of who believed in this cause.

That agency is important in the story, as many heroes’ journeys often begin with a powerful force that pushes the hero to step up. In this case, she could have remained in her insular life, but she decided to step out of the comfort of the island and into a world she’s repeatedly been told does not deserve her.

In that regard, Diana knows what’s waiting for her will be difficult and fulfilling her objective will be a struggle. That struggle extends beyond the fighting, as even walking down the street is an issue for her.

And these “issues” are laden with our concept of heteronormativity. We’re talking about the early 1900s and perceptions of women at the time were brought up again and again. How she should act, speak, and dress are all moments that were presented with a tension that rubs up against our current understanding of equality. For instance, that a session could no longer be held because a woman entered the room is the kind of dissonance that I feel was intended to come off as laughable, because decades later the idea of perpetuating the same attitude is absurd (and very inefficient). In the same way, I feel it calls to attention present and more subtle forms of bias that the film hopes we grow to see as equally absurd to perpetuate.

Source: WBP

Diana is presented as a character of depth. She is exceptionally strong, learned, and yet feels like a believable character because she is also prideful, flawed, funny, and naive. It’s a good proof as to why realistic movies don’t have to be “gritty” per se. Grit isn’t the magical ingredient; it’s grounding. And in her struggles to understand those around her as well as understand herself, the movements of the micro story are embedded and woven into a huge historical narrative, that of the Great War. 

And I think that’s where we feel all our individual stories are. We are at once absorbed in the primacy of our own lives while living in the tumult of the world at large. Navigating both the personal and the global is the daily struggle. 

Despite all of these struggles, both the physical fighting and the social tension, Diana stays true to her convictions about who she is and what she aims to do. Those beliefs can change, especially in light of new knowledge, which is what does happen in the film as she learns more about Sameer, Charlie, and Chief, but there is a Diana who remains. 

“I am Diana, Princess of Themyscira,” she says in the film. Her commitment to an identity of which she isn’t even fully aware is striking, and that message is empowering to any viewer. 

Because of this, the “reveal” of her godhood does not seem like an upheaval of her character. It is a part of Diana, but it doesn’t exclusively define her. In fact, as she knows more about herself, of which being a god is only a part, the more she is able to succeed. At the climax of the film, it is when Diana declares she fights for love and peace that she is able to muster up the strength to defeat Ares. 

2. Her relationship with Steve

Source: WBP

From the onset, Diana is presented as the protagonist of the film. There is no question. Her first interaction with Steve is her saving him from drowning. Then, she walks in on him immediately after he bathes. Then after they leave the island, she makes it clear that she knows about “the pleasures of the flesh” and just doesn’t believe that having two people sleep beside each other is going to lead to anything if they don’t want it to.

In the earlier parts of the film, their interactions were presented with vulnerability on Steve’s part (danger, nakedness, fear), but we begin to see it in all the characters as the movie progresses. Moreover, we see how they deal with their vulnerability. Steve is a cynic, and this underlies the way he acts.

Steve isn’t a one-note character though. He is complex and has stories implied about him. He is able to think quickly and hold his own in all the situations they’ve been placed. And his occupation as a spy does seem to hit very close to the theme of self-discovery taken by Diana’s character. As a spy, Steve holds on to his core identity and plays with the characters he assumes, never losing sight of who he is. As such, we have two characters very different, but also very similar. 

On the other hand, Diana isn’t presented as a character with gaps to fill (in the form of Steve). Rather, she’s a complete individual on her own, which is what makes her decision to love Steve more significant. It isn’t a decision of necessity, but similar to her deciding on taking the hero’s journey, it is a matter of choice.

The romance in the film feels organic in progression. I think it should be noted that the threat of death and the war ahead may have provided an adrenaline rush that propelled their romance forward, but even without taking it into consideration, they had a very intimate platonic relationship prior that could have believably developed towards the romantic. And again, for Steve’s character as well, it was a choice.

I enjoyed the contrast of Diana’s frankness and Steve’s truly trying to be inconspicuous and subtle in all his affairs. By the end of the film, both had begun to take up the better traits in the other. It is especially marked in Steve as he’d begun to trust Diana and open up about himself a little more.

3. The “Villain” 

Source: WBP

A lot of people I know found the “villain” Ares to be lacklustre, and the ending cheesy. I disagree because systemic issues and human nature are my favourite things to explore in media, particularly media created for popular consumption. 

Very explicitly it’s said in the film that we can’t all point our fingers to one “bad guy.” There is no one reason for war, inequality, poverty, and all of the injustice that we see in the world. There are many people who, and entire societies that orchestrate, execute, and then perpetuate the injustices that plague people even today. Tyrants don’t rise overnight (and they hadn’t in history either). This isn’t the first film to show this, and I hope it isn’t the last. 

I really liked how the film pointed out that systemic and systematic injustice exists. There are specific people who do things that are deplorable, but there are also systems that enable them, and I think that is the takeaway from this theme.

I also applaud the look that was given Ares. Instead of the stereotypical villain, who is bigger, more violent, and appears more physically powerful than the protagonist, we have someone who looks unassuming but is infinitely powerful. We don’t see the usual male villain who is really muscular and that becomes the focal point of his villainy. Instead, we have someone manipulative and powerful in a different way. Instead of the traditional god of war who brawls, we have someone equally powerful but more tempered in that power, and it’s the mark of someone who really has lost everything and everyone and now just wants to start over.

Striking also is how all of the characters talk about the war as “The war to end all wars.” That was the honest sentiment of people during the First World War. Operative term here being “first.” That there were more wars that followed really speaks of how those systems and ideologies lived on after the people who instigated the conflict. And situated in the context of all those who died and lost everything, it seems callous that we would keep fighting one another and causing more destruction. But it is something that’s been done and is now etched forever in history. 

The non-violent message features rather heavily in the film’s climax. When Diana fights Ares, the first thing to go is her sword, the one she believed was the god-killer. The sword is a classic symbol of violence, conflict, and war, and it was destroyed almost immediately. It’s interesting because she clung to that weapon throughout the film, and it gave her faith in her own abilities.

In the end, it is not brute force that will stop the existing brute force. Diana herself put a stop to Ares. It was what emanated from her that destroyed the embodiment of violence. 

In that regard, it is the individual who has to decide not to give in to the temptation of furthering violence and injustice. After all, Ares’ main role in the film was to tempt. That was exactly what he did to Diana and she resisted.

4. The role of Dr. Poison

Source: WBP

Isabel Maru had such a presence in the film, even though she didn’t feature on the screen as often as did the other characters. Back in London, they deemed her the greatest threat. They were setting out specifically to destroy her laboratory. 

I find her character very interesting because we get the faintest sign of a backstory from her and it’s still all very coherent. Her file reveals that she didn’t always have an injury on her face, and based on her interactions with Ludendorff and later, Steve, she’s searching for acceptance and affirmation. There is a subtle manipulation that goes into convincing her to continue creating poisons and chemical weapons.

Even among enemy lines, there is a struggle for her not to be infantilised and patronised, or to be viewed only as a woman in the case of her interaction with Steve. Especially in the latter scene, Isabel is fully aware of this and explicitly tells him she knows. She may not have been pulling all the strings, but she was presented from the beginning as a strong secondary character to the main enemy.

Diana was able to defeat Ludendorff relatively easily, but Maru had survived until the end of the film and was in the climax. What Ares tempted Diana to do was destroy Dr. Poison, and Diana let her go.

In depth: Throughout the movie, Diana was never directly pitted against her. The former’s goal was always to remove Ares in the form of Ludendorff. Then suddenly, close to the end, Ares pits the two women against each other (It’s all a very familiar story). Diana chooses not to perpetuate the cycle of killing and violence that characterises the pasts of so many of the other characters.

5. What it leaves us

Source: WBP

One emergent theme from the film that we get is a loss of innocence. At first, Diana is idealistic and feels her beliefs are clear-cut. Liars are bad. Ares is responsible for everything. Being strong is enough to save the day.

Gradually, we see her belief in these things erode, eventually replaced by an understanding that the world is more complex than it was made out to be. At the same time, there are moments when world doesn’t want to be saved.

It culminates when Steve sacrifices himself at the climax of the film. At this point, it appears as though there is no use in fighting Ares, and it seems as though Ares was proven correct all along. Human beings are cruel and violent and selfish. It becomes so easy to assume apathy. What does it matter what one person does if there are all these people and systems that perpetuate injustice? It becomes easy to give up and do nothing or give up and join in.

At the same time, though, Steve’s loss presents the other side of the story. Human beings are empathetic and altruistic; they try to see the good in others and are moved to change by others’ suffering. It is true that a lot of the systemic issues we see in the movie, particularly for equality and peace, are still present today, but we’re making progress.

Diana emerges with a realistic working understanding of human beings. They aren’t perfect, and they are capable of great harm, but also great good. As she said, she’s realised it wasn’t up to her to save the world for them, but she’d be there when they did make the decision.

In our current socio-political climate, it is almost the default to affect the same hopelessness and apathy. But that’s why the message of love, justice, and peace was anything but “cheesy.” It’s precisely what we can do in the environment we’re put in. It’s something that is in our control, and like all things the movie presents, it is a choice.


I really love Wonder Woman. Before there was Harley Quinn in my life, there was and will always be Wonder Woman. I loved the way Jenkins told the story and I really hope for more like it in the DCEU. So much could be written specifically about the character as a woman, and all the imagery that comes with it. And the Amazons. Countless posts could be dedicated only to analysing their social structure, values, and dynamics. The film was great and it did justice to a lot of what made Wonder Woman so appealing when I was growing up.

A really fun client project gave me the push I needed to pick up a broad-edge pen again. I can’t share the final piece, but part of it included a hybrid script strongly influenced by Insular Majuscule. This is a little alphabet I did while working out how to adjust the letter forms… I started with the Agedage Insular font because it was fast and easy for the basic forms, but afterwards I may have stayed up all night looking through every single page of the Book of Kells on the Trinity College of Dublin’s site, figuring out all the nuances of the different letterforms, the ligatures and looking at how they were used in context…. 🤓 I think it’s a gorgeous script. I want to start bringing it in to some of my own work.

when i introduce myself, if i’m in a space where it’s comfortable and appropriate to append pronouns to your name, i have a little spiel that goes “they/them, or she/her if you’re in a possibly unsafe situation”. and you know what, i’m legitimately alarmed by the number of people from hyperliberal urban or academic environments who respond with some variation on “or, yknow, i could just use your pronouns”.

having different pronouns in different situations, or being out to varying degrees in different situations, is completely valid. in specifically queer circles, i’m transfemme and nonbinary and my pronouns are they/them, thanks. it would be misgendering me to use she/her in that space. in pretty much every other situation, i’m still out as trans, though maybe not so much nonbinary. they/them might be appropriate, but in some academic spaces, she/her is. while my preferred pronouns are they/them, if someone had used those in front of, say, a professor, or a client, it wouldn’t necessarily out me—i mean, i’m still vocally, loudly trans—or something dangerous, but it might very well fuck up my day. using she/her in these situations, within reason and with common courtesy, is not misgendering me. in actively unsafe spaces, especially for you; if you’re from the can of alphabet soup and you’re talking to, say, transphobic parents, using explicitly gender-neutral pronouns for someone you know can very quickly turn into a bad situation that puts your mental and/or physical health and safety at risk. using she/her for me in these and similar situations is not misgendering me. they are pronouns i am using that are no less valid for the fact that they’re situational.

i’m sick of people from insular, relatively safe queer communities policing when and where i’m allowed to be implicitly closeted or partially closeted, policing what language i feel comfortable using in certain situations. because i prefer they/them in safe spaces doesn’t mean i prefer those pronouns somewhere where something as simple as that might get someone hurt. hell, it doesn’t even mean that i’d prefer those pronouns in a situation where that means arguing with someone over the validity of singular they and having them use something binary anyway: maybe she/her. maybe not. maybe ‘it’, “if you don’t want to have a gender anyway”. there are spaces where it’s easier, where it’s safer, where it’s more comfortable to use a pronoun set i might not otherwise prefer — for myself or for someone else. i would never in the world want someone to have to put what they perceive as my comfort over their safety. and anyway, i’m the only goddamn one who gets to decide what is and isn’t misgendering me. thanks.

Track-By-Track Guide to 'How To Be A Human Being'

“Life Itself”
This one actually started off as a dark, slow, moody track. Quite insular. But eventually we realized there was a cheekiness to the lyrics that we hadn’t really explored, so we injected a sense of optimism into the music. The character that this track is about is a sci-fi obsessed dude who spends most of his time alone inventing strange things and writing stories about ray guns or looking for aliens on Google maps. We made him a website. But that’s what the chords and sound effects were inspired by. Old sci-fi films/series. I also got a bit obsessed with Lollywood music (music from Pakistani films), and thats where the idea for the drums came from.

“Youth”
The idea for this one came from a story someone told me once. They were telling me about their child, and something awful had happened to them. She was crying—but at the same time the memories that they had from that previous life made her so happy—so she was also smiling. That combination of emotions kind of made me feel like my heart was being ripped apart but also optimistic in a weird way. She had found a way to see happiness in this awful thing that had happened to her. That combination of emotions is what this song is getting at. Have a look at this character’s website, too.

“Season 2 Episode 3”
Everyone knows someone like the character from this song. If you don’t, then it’s you. But there are lots of references to different psychedelic cartoons in this one—sonically and lyrically—including Adventure Time. That show is crazy.

“Pork Soda”
I heard a homeless man talking to someone once and say ‘pineapples are in my head.’ In retrospect, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t actually those words, but I thought it was at the time, and it kind of stuck with me. The opening of the song is meant to sound like you’re outside on the street, and you can hear a group of people chanting this song. The drum sounds are made from old bins and trash pieces of metal I found around the studio. Kind of like those street drummers use. All that is meant to set the scene for the story.

“Mama’s Gun”
I don’t use samples very often. I only like using them if they bring something to the table, aside from just music—a context and a further depth to the actual meaning of the song. This song is mainly about mental health, and I remembered this song by The Carpenters called “Mr. Guder.” It fit the atmosphere musically, while the song “Mr. Guder” itself was about an odd character of sorts, and then on top of that, Karen Carpenter’s story added another dimension to the lyrics. if you don’t know the story, you should look it up. It’s important and very sad, and it started a general social dialogue about mental illness which is to this day still a subject matter that we avoid far too much.

“Cane Shuga”
This is the only track on the record that didn’t start with lyrics and vocal melody. It started with the beat and the heavy drums. I let the beat spin and wrote stream of consciousness lyrics through a vocoder for this one to try to capture a certain mentality you might have when you’re a bit fucked up. When you start speaking what seems like gibberish—but maybe that gibberish is actually quite revealing.

”[Premade Sandwiches]”
This is a spoken word interlude. My favorite word in the album is in this: “McFuck.” It’s something that someone’s gotten at McDonald’s. Here it is used in a sentence: “What the McFuck are you eating?”

“The Other Side Of Paradise”
This is musically my favorite track on the record, I think. The chords are quite bizarre, and there are some mad arrangement and structural things going on. And the beat was super fun to make. It’s gonna be fun live!

“Take A Slice”
This track is about someone with a lot of lust. It’s as sleazy as I’ll ever get in lyrics. But everyone has that inside them somewhere, even if it’s only a tiny bit. And it comes out from time to time. For some people, it’s out all the time.

“Poplar St”
This song is meant to open with a kind of musical/lyrical image of a place. A little guitar hook and a floating vocal line that all seems quite peaceful, but things get more and more twisted as the song goes on. The guitar starts doing weirder things, the music builds tension, and then the whole thing flips on it’s head at the end. And you find that maybe that place isn’t what you first expected it was.

“Agnes”
As soon as I started writing it, I knew it would be the album closer. This is my favorite song on the record. And the saddest song I will ever write.