mainstream press

anonymous asked:

i know you meant well when you said 30 isnt ancient, but im nb so my life expectancy is actually 30 :(

Hey anon, I’m so sorry that that’s a fear you’ve had to live with. I know that trans people are at greater risk of violence and suicide, and I’ve heard people say many times that the life expectancy of trans people (or trans women, or trans women of color, depending on who you ask) is anywhere from 23 to 35. Your ask troubled me, so I’ve dug deep looking for solid evidence of any of these, and I don’t believe that these statistics are true.

A trans woman, Helen, looked into the “23 years” claim and traced it back to someone’s notes on two workshops at a 2007 conference, which stated that trans people’s life expectancy is “believed to be around 23” (emphasis mine) but cites no actual source. This claim has been presented as fact in many news articles since then, but as far as I can tell, no one seems to know where this figure came from.

Another claim is often sourced to an Argentine psychologist quoted in this NPR article

Psychologist Graciela Balestra, who works closely with the transgender community, says it’s an especially vulnerable population.

“Transgender people have an average life expectancy of about 30 to 32 years,” Balestra says. “They don’t live any longer; I think that statistic alone says so much.”

But again, the article gives no source for this figure

I found an article claiming that a 2014 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) “concludes the average life expectancy of trans people in the Western Hemisphere is between 30-35 years.” However, when I tracked down the report, An Overview of Violence Against LGBTI Persons (pdf), its only reference to this is (emphasis mine): “[T]he IACHR has received information that the life expectancy of trans women in the Americas is between 30 and 35 years of age.” Again, this is no source.

Someone said on my post that these statistics may have come from the NCTE/NGLTF report Injustice at Every Turn (pdf), but I can’t find any reference to any such claim in the report.

Thinking about these claims, they seem unlikely for some basic reasons. Consider that we simply don’t have a long enough span of data on trans people, and that what data we do have is extremely limited because we can’t always know who is trans and who isn’t. Consider also that, although obviously the murder rates for trans people are extremely high, the number of deaths of 20-something trans people would have to be ENORMOUS to offset the existence of older trans people and bring the average down to 30. Especially since, unlike with racial groups for example, the data on trans people would likely include almost no childhood deaths, simply because it would be much more difficult (and in many cases impossible) to identify these children as trans. And since we know that trans women of color are extremely disproportionately affected by violence, statistics that include white people and/or trans men would be especially unlikely to be so low.

And as to your specific situation anon, again given that trans women of color are most at risk, I don’t think we have reason to believe that being non-binary specifically puts a person at anywhere near this level of increased risk of dying young.

I don’t say any of this to question anyone’s experiences or to deny the state of emergency that trans women face with regard to violence. That is very real. But I think it can be harmful, even dangerous to trans people to spread claims like this around, especially without evidence. Expecting to die by 30 would take an extreme emotional toll on anyone, and trans people deserve better.

But don’t take my word for it: FORGE, a national transgender anti-violence organization that works with trans survivors of sexual assault, wrote the following in its 2016 publication “First Do No Harm: 8 Tips for Addressing Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Binary People” (pdf) (I have moved two footnotes into the main text and provided links to some endnote sources; italicized emphasis is theirs while bold is mine.): 

Promote Hope for the Future

It certainly is not the same as a murder, but publicizing a low “life expectancy” rate for transwomen of color is another way to steal away their future, a “crime” that has been committed repeatedly by trans, LGBQ, and mainstream press. Think about the people you know or have heard of who have been diagnosed with a fatal illness and given a short time to live: how many of them have enrolled in college, undertaken lengthy training for a new occupation, had a new child, or tried to establish a new non-profit? A few do, certainly, but many more focus on their bucket list, arrange for their good-byes, or simply give up entirely, essentially relinquishing whatever time they have left to depression and regrets. When we tell transwomen of color they cannot expect to live very long, we rob them of hope. We rob them of any motivation to invest in themselves, their relationships, and their communities. We rob them, in short, of their lives even while they are still living. (This statement in no way negates the need to systemically work to improve and increase the life expectancy of trans people through working to end transphobia, racism, poverty, pervasive violence, and health and healthcare inequities, and more.)

One trans woman of color was trying to come to grips with an estimated lifespan figure more than ten years shorter than the one that has been published most often. (We are not repeating any of the (incorrect) estimated lifetime figures that are circulating, to avoid even inadvertent reinforcement.) Faced with the report of yet another attack on another trans woman, she wrote:

These days, I look at the latest reports of stabbed, shot, beaten trans women, search myself for tears, and I cannot find a thing. I want to mourn and rage. I want to honor all of our sisters — the hundreds each year who are ripped, namelessly and without fanfare, from this life — who are taken so young before their time. But the grief and anger — even empathy — do not come. I don’t feel anything but numbness and fatigue, and somewhere far below that, fear.

The terrible irony of the life expectancy “fact” is that it is based on an impossibility. The only ways to determine a given population’s life expectancy are to: examine decades or more of death certificates or census data containing the information being studied, or follow a specific set of individuals for around 100 years and record every single death. There is not and never has been a census of transgender people. Our death certificates do not mark us as transgender. There has been no 100-year-long study of a representative group of trans people. So where are the estimated lifespan figures coming from?

FORGE tracked the most commonly-cited figure back to what was most likely the 2014 Philadelphia Transgender Health Conference, where a workshop presenter gave the figure and explained she had calculated it by averaging the age of death for all of those listed on the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) website. This means the figure is actually the average age of those trans people who were both murdered and came to the attention of someone who added them to the TDOR list. Interestingly, this average is very close to the average age of everyone who is murdered in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Justice statistics. [I’m not seeing an average age given in the cited source but you can see on page 5 of this Bureau of Justice Statistics report (pdf) that the average age of homicide victims in the U.S. was between 30 and 35 from 1980 to 2008.]

But not everyone is murdered.

Despite how many there may appear to be, only a tiny, tiny fraction of transpeople are killed by other people. Most of us, transwomen of color included, live average lifespans and die of the most common U.S. killers — heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injuries (accidents).

Please don’t add to fear and hopelessness by spreading inaccurate and profoundly disempowering data.

Since I can’t respond to everyone directly, I’m @ing some people who’ve brought this up on my post and may be interested: (urls removed after posting for their privacy). I appreciate your thoughtfulness in bringing this to my attention. If you or anyone else has a source on any of these figures that can provide specific methodology, I’d be very grateful to see that.

In closing, here are some resources that provide a more hopeful view of trans aging. They are well known but I hope they will be helpful to someone.

I’m a black woman of a certain age, a divorced mom of two teenagers who has no choice but to focus daily on the challenges of keeping a home, my family and myself on track. I’m college-educated, work in media communications, am precariously middle-class — and I am tired of what I witness of today’s feminism.

I’d hoped that the Women’s March might help me update my perception of feminism, at least as it is commonly portrayed and disseminated of late.

I’d followed the back and forth in the alternative and mainstream press during its hurried, urgent formation, and chalked up reports about internal squabbles over the race and class makeup of the group’s leadership to the same kind of growing pains that beset every activist group that I’ve ever followed or covered during my years in newsrooms. But now, a month after the Women’s March masterfully pulled off a massive protest in D.C. that also inspired similar ones in major American and global cities, my nascent investigation of the March 8 ‘general strike’ and 'day without women’ raised only more concerns, and a few questions, all located in what I see as a big void in today’s marketing-driven expression of 'feminism.’

At this moment, whether expressed by the second-wave, Gloria Steinem wing, or the third-wave corporatist Sheryl Sandberg arm, or the rowdy, genitalia-obsessed Lena Dunham arm, it seems that 'feminism’ in 2017 is more concerned with promoting superficial trappings of genuine equality than with doing the tough work required to address the hard, cold facts of gender and racial inequality.

Today’s Feminism: Too Much Marketing, Not Enough Reality

Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Three Terrifying Reasons for Trump’s Latest Rant

Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of  tweets that former president Barack Obama orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap Trump’s phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election. Trump concluded that the former president is a “Bad (or sick) guy!”

Sunday morning, Trump called for a congressional investigation.

Trump cited no evidence for his accusation.

Folks, we’ve got a huge problem on our hands. Either:

1. Trump is more nuts than we suspected – a true delusional paranoid. Trump’s outburst was triggered by commentary in the “alt-right” publication, Breitbart News, on Friday, which reported an assertion made Thursday night by right-wing talk-radio host Mark Levin suggesting Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team’s dealings with Russian operatives.

If this is what triggered Trump’s tantrum, we’ve got a president willing to put the prestige and power of his office behind baseless claims emanating from well-known right-wing purveyors of lies.

Which means Trump shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear codes that could obliterate the planet, or near anything else that could determine the fate of America or the world.

2. The second possibility is the Obama administration did in fact tap his phones. But if this was the case, before the tap could occur it’s highly likely Trump committed a very serious crime, including treason.

No president can order a wiretap on his own. For federal agents to obtain a wiretap on Trump, the Justice Department would first have had to convince a federal judge that it had gathered sufficient evidence of probable cause to believe Trump had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal or foreign intelligence wiretap.

In which case we have someone in the White House who shouldn’t be making decisions that could endanger America or the world.

3. The third possible explanation for Trump’s rant is he was trying to divert public attention from the Jeff Sessions imbroglio and multiple investigations of Trump associates already found to have been in contact with Russian agents during the election, when Russian operatives interfered with the election on Trump’s behalf.

Maybe he’s trying to build a case that the entire Russian story is a plot concocted by the Obama Administration – along with the intelligence agencies and the mainstream press – to bring Trump down. This way, he can inoculate himself against more damaging evidence to come.

But if it’s all a big show to divert attention and undermine the credibility of the intelligence agencies and the press, Trump is willing to do anything to keep his job – even if that means further dividing America, undermining trust in our governing institutions, and destroying the fabric of our democracy.

So there you have it. We have a president who is either a dangerous paranoid who’s making judgments based on right-wing crackpots, or has in all likelihood committed treason, or is willing to sacrifice public trust in our basic institutions to further his selfish goals.

Each of these possible reasons is as terrifying as the other.

For Democrats to be the only ones sounding the alarm risks turning it into the new normal of partisanship. For Obama himself to respond would only dignify it.

So the responsibility falls to Republican leaders to stand up and call this what it is: Dangerous demagoguery.

Former Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Republican senators and members of Congress, and current Republican senators and members of Congress, must have the courage and decency to stop this outrage.

We are in a serious crisis of governance, and their voices are critical.

Mob Psycho 100 Fanfiction Masterpost: Gen Edition

Fanfics with no sexual or romantic relationships. 

They are all for either teen and up or general audiences.

If you feel like there is a work that belongs on this list that isn’t on it, please let me know. If there is a work on this list that makes you uncomfortable for any reason, please let me know and I’ll take it off the list.

This one got really long, but there’s a lot of good fics on it, so give it a look! Featering Lulatic, dyingplatypus, warfare, and honestly these are all good authors and good fics. Make sure to leave kudos and reviews!

Keep reading

If you ever need evidence of how profoundly sexist the mainstream gaming press is, you don’t need to look any further than the alleged rise and fall of point-and-click adventure games.

Everybody knows what a point-and-click adventure game is, right? You walk around pre-rendered environments looking for hidden objects and talking to quirky NPCs, then use those objects to solve inventory-based puzzles. They’re usually colorful, often comedic, and tend to have little or nothing in the way of twitch gameplay - fun for the whole family.

Now, the narrative the gaming press would have us believe is that, following the golden age of Sierra and LucasArts back in the late 80s and early to mid 90s, point-and-click adventure games suffered a sharp and seemingly irreversible commercial decline, essentially vanishing from the gaming scene until they were revived by the heroic efforts of outfits like Telltale Games and guys like Tim Schafer in the late 00s.

The trouble is, that never actually happened.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: point-and-click adventure games are enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment, and the names I just dropped deserve a lot of credit for that.

No, the part I have trouble with is the alleged interregnum between the reigns of LucasArts and Telltale. The fact of the matter is that point-and-click adventure games never died.

The chronology just doesn’t add up. To pose a few obvious examples:

  • The Nancy Drew series, a point-and-click adventure franchise as old-school as they come, put out over a dozen titles during the early 00s.
  • Funcom’s Dreamfall: The Longest Journey was enormously successful, both critically and commercially, during a period when the gaming press would have us believe the genre was almost wholly moribund.
  • Likewise, the Dream Chronicles series managed three sequels during a period when point-and-click adventure games allegedly weren’t a thing.

Sure, a lot of these games weren’t sold via specialty gaming stores, instead appearing primarily on the discount software shelves at Target and similar stores - but then, that’s a matter of how you frame it, isn’t it? With a slight change in perspective, being relegated to the Target discount shelf becomes maintaining a strong presence in mainstream retail channels during a span when virtually all other games were increasingly confined to specialist hobby outlets.

So the question becomes: why was the gaming press claiming that point-and-click adventure games were dead when the genre was clearly alive and kicking?

I strongly suspect that the answer to that question lies in what the Nancy Drew franchise, the Dream Chronicles series and Dreamfall all have in common: female viewpoint characters and an explicitly female target audience.

None of that stuff counts because it’s for girls. When the gaming press talks about the revival of the old-school adventure game, they’re specifically talking about point-and-click adventure games for boys.

When FPSes began to dominate the young male gaming audience in the mid 90s, point-and-click adventure games saw the writing on the wall, and shifted their target audience en masse to young girls. And it worked fantastically - but as far as the gaming press was concerned, that was high treason.

There was a problem, though. You see, being a fan of point-and-click adventure games - particularly the kind with really obtuse puzzles - was once trumpeted as the badge of a “serious” gamer. There was far too much male gamer identity invested in the genre to simply turn around and say “well, they’re not real games anyway”, which is what usually happens when a genre finds a strong female audience.

And so the great myth of The Death of the Adventure Game was founded. That way, the gaming press could continue to lionise the point-and-click adventure games of the past while straight-up refusing to acknowledge the existence of the genre in its new, girl-targeted form.

These people are so sexist that they literally spent over a decade grandly eulogising a genre of games that was, in fact, alive and well rather than accept the blindingly obvious truth: that adventure games didn’t need male gamers to survive and thrive.

It’s brilliant actually. The mainstream media tries to do their job; calling out lies, illustrating potential conflicts of interest, and exposing the past of his nominees. But he declares it “fake news,” even while demanding the press do their job. Regrettably, the ignorant and The Deplorables blindly accept – even rabidly parrot – this.

The only official news has become that spouted by Big Brother. The only truth is the “truth” from Big Brother. He threatens that contradiction will be punished. “Alternative facts” quickly become the norm. We are to pay no attention to what was said last week; the “truth” is what they say now. It is true, and has always been true.

Joseph Goebbels would be proud, and George Orwell would be impressed.

- The Mad Sonneteer

An Open Letter from British Fighters Against the Islamic State:

“We are some of an increasing number of British nationals fighting in Syria and Iraq as volunteers with local forces against the Islamic State.

We wish first and foremost to express our sorrow and anger at the recent terrorist attack in Westminster, London, and to convey our sincerest and most heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. We know only too well what is to lose friends, to treat those horrendously wounded, to pull the dead and dying from the rubble.

We also wish to express sympathy and solidarity with the many ordinary Muslims going to work and school today feeling that they are under special scrutiny, and fearful of what this might mean for them. We share their fear, and we urge anyone who might be tempted to take against ordinary Muslim people to think again. If you associate them with the Islamic State, you are giving such groups exactly what they want: a greater and more violent gap between the Muslim world and ours.

The familiar sounds of hate and bigotry are sounding again – on social media, and in the more guarded mainstream press - where the intent is nonetheless clear. Hate crimes will spike again. There are calls to demolish mosques. The fact that local Muslims raised thousands for victim support, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, is easily drowned out by the bandwagon. The EDL have called a snap demonstration, eager to make hay from the suffering of innocent people.

For all the sound and fury, we don’t remember seeing anyone from Britain First, EDL, UKIP, or their like, by our side in battle. Which is a good thing, because we wouldn’t have tolerated them.

Our ranks are made up of Kurds, Arabs, Yezidis, Brits, Yanks, Canadians, Aussies, Asians, Europeans - Muslims, Christians, Alevis, atheists - too many faiths and races to list. A multi-ethnic, multi-faith entity, standing united against hate and extremism.

The majority are, in fact, Muslims, and not only are we proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them - the truth is, we can’t do this without them.

The only way to defeat the Islamic State, and groups like it, is with ordinary, moderate Muslims on side. The only way to defeat hate and extremism is to not give in to it.

Don’t stand with Britain First, the EDL, UKIP or those who talk and think like them. Stand with us.”

Signed, British fighters of the YPG:

Joe Akerman

Aiden Aslin

Mark Ayres

Botan England

Michael Enright

Macer Gifford

John Harding

Jac Holmes

Steve Kerr

Jim Matthews

Tom Mawdsley

Ozkan Ozdil

Shaun Pinner

Joe Robinson

Josh Walker.

anonymous asked:

Flock you don't seem as shell shocked or sucker punched sick as the rest of us. What is your secret? I know that you ship and believed that Sam and Cait were together but just hiding so how come I'm such a mess and you're so calm/stress free? Is it seeing so many crazy celeb relationships play out in your previous job? In your heart of hearts do you think this was Sam's reveal of his gf without it going to mainstream press? That's all I got. Oh, and I want to punch wanker in the balls.

I think it’s 50/50 zen and a by-product of being ingrained in and working within celebrity gossip culture. I know for a fact that celebrities’ personal lives are often manipulated, manufactured or downplayed for public consumption. I know for a fact that multiple celebrity couples bald-face lie about their connection when asked about it. As personal a connection as we all feel to celebrities, we are a by-product of their professional lives. As such, each decides for themselves (sometimes through hard-learned lessons) how much of the personal they want to give away to us. For some celebs, it’s every damn thing. For others, it’s just about next to nothing. I think because I’ve seen celeb personal and professional lives as business for so long, I separate the two pretty starkly. It’s where my interest in it collides with the knowledge that it’s also none of my fucking business. 

I’ve often said I don’t begrudge Sam and Cait for wanting their privacy. Hell, I want mine, too, and there are about five people on the planet who have half an ant’s ass crack of interest in my personal life, but that doesn’t mean I won’t defend it with everything I have. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to navigate the waters of public scrutiny when the number of people knocking on the proverbial door and asking to be let in is in the hundreds of thousands. I can’t say I’d do any better than they are, although from a gossipy standpoint, they could be way more canny and less obvious about the things that magically, accidentally and with no planning *wink, wink* just so happen to slip by the gates.

So, yeah. Long story short, I’m zen and I’m always gonna be zen. The rest is just lacking the ability to be caught off guard.

the national rifle association loves russia (more than the united states of america)

another piece of the russian assault on the united states hasn’t been getting a lot of mainstream press: the increasingly close relationship between russia and the national rifle association.

this isn’t new. russia began laying the groundwork with the nra way back in the year of our lord two thousand eleven when rich white tenesseean attorney g. kline preston iv introduced aleksander porfiryevich torshin to david a. keene, president at the time of the national rifle association.

mr. torshin is a former member and one-time acting chairman of the federation council of russia, analogous to the united states senate or the united kingdom’s house of lords (mr. preston refers to him as “senator”). he has known ties to the federal security service of the russian federation, the intelligence agency formerly known as the committee for state security, the kgb, employer of russian president vladimir vladimirovich putin for sixteen years. mr. torshin also is associated with the taganskaya russian criminal organization and wanted on money laundering and racketeering charges in spain since 2013. (according to the spanish guardia civil, convicted spanish taganskaya syndicate leader alexander romanov referred to him as “godfather” and “boss” in intercepted communications.)

mr. torshin is a lifetime member of the national rifle association.

the national rifle association downplayed their russian connections for years, even for months after endorsing then-candidate donald j. trump on may 20, 2016 at their annual convention in louisville kentucky. mr. torshin was present at that convention and seated with trump’s eldest son, donald j. trump jr. at a private nra dinner at a louisville restaurant.

the nra went on to spend over thirty million us dollars in support of mr. trump’s election campaign through political action committees. they also spent nearly twenty million dollars on the senate campaigns of republicans richard burr of north carolina, marco rubio of florida, roy blunt of missouri, todd young of indiana, joe heck of nevada, and rob portman of ohio.

all seven white men were successful in their campaigns except mr. heck, who lost to democratic senator harry reid.

only after wikileaks published thousands of emails stolen from the democratic national committee by russian intelligence on july 22, 2016 did the nra’s public stance toward russia begin to change.

notably, on january 2, 2017, former nra president david keene published an opinion piece in the conservative washington times titled “confusing putin with the old soviet threat,” writing

We seem prepared to believe any evil of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which has with its second-rate military establishment and failing economy somehow morphed in the minds of many Americans into a greater threat than the old Soviet Union. Hillary Clinton and [Clinton campaign chair] John Podesta are convinced Mr. Putin cost her the White House and that President-elect Donald Trump might as well be working for the Kremlin … [Putin] is an internally popular Russian nationalist who runs what is, by U.S. standards, a crony capitalist autocracy and has acted internationally in ways that deserve condemnation, but he is neither Hitler nor Stalin … It would be a mistake to conclude that Moscow’s historically typical meddling in its own neighborhood makes it as great a threat to us and our interests as the old Soviet Union.

this is a prominent, powerful american political figure writing about the corrupt, murderous dictator of a hostile foreign power and highly decorated intelligence operative, gentle folk. mr. keene’s opinion piece was published well after american intelligence agencies stated publicly that russia had intervened in the 2016 presidential election, at mr. putin’s direction, with the intent of aiding mr. trump’s campaign, harming ms. clinton’s campaign, and undermining the american political system, succeeding wildly on all three counts.

a meeting with mr. torshin, russian gun rights activist maria butina (russia has no grassroots gun rights movement beyond ms. butina’s organization, the right to bear arms, which has no clear funding sources and close ties to mr. putin and mr. torshin, and little apparent purpose beyond its close relationship with the nra) and president trump at the february 2, 2017 national prayer breakfast was cancelled due to mr. torshin’s “baggage,” according to an unnamed trump administration official.

ms. butina had been present at mr. trump’s january 20, 2017 invitation-only freedom ball celebrating his inauguration with republican strategist paul erickson.

there is a fair amount of good reporting on the nra-russia relationship, including this comprehensive timeline from the medium. there just hasn’t been much from what we are pleased to call the mainstream news.

it is, frankly, beyond disgusting that an organization whose public statements portray them as defenders of american freedoms would be so comfortable with a corrupt, authoritarian, hostile foreign power. though considering the nra’s insistence that private ownership of military firearms is needed to oppose the united states government, it comes as little surprise.

We need to talk about how fucking homophobic and misogynist the mainstream motorsport press (and a couple of drivers/teams tbh) reactional lols about the new Force India livery is. UUUUUUUUUUUGH.

“lol what if the drivers also have to wear it????” ok lads ok.

anonymous asked:

Why are people against Jeremy Corbyn? He seems like the Bernie Sanders of the UK, he seems like a decent politician.

Well, the rich and powerful and mainstream media are against him for that very reason - they’re the ones who have most to lose with him in power, just like Bernie Sanders. That’s also obviously true of the Conservative Party as well. The mainstream media in particular has spent the last two years smearing Corbyn with everything they’ve got - before the election the Daily Mail gave us absolutely no good reasons to vote for Theresa May and instead devoted thirteen whole pages to pulling out all the out-of-context quotes, half-truths, distortions, exaggerations and rumours they could to prove why the Marxist, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating, economy-ruining hippie Jeremy Corbyn would ruin Britain if elected. Even they couldn’t think of a single good reason to vote Conservative - their message was simply “May isn’t Corbyn, and Corbyn is terrifying.”

For the Labour Party establishment, that feeling of being threatened may be part of the reason - Corbyn’s different ideology threatening their political careers, the same way the rise of Sanders scared a lot of people in the Democratic Party establishment. But another reason is that Corbyn was seen as unelectable - too radical, too left-wing, too extreme. That meant a lot of Labour politicians, even if they had good intentions, were against him because they thought he would never be able to get them into power. Some of them may have liked him personally or liked his ideas, but feared that such a left-wing leader would be enough to keep them out of power indefinitely. That became a self-fulfilling prophecy - the Parliamentary Labour Party’s constant attempts to get rid of their leader led to divisions, a split Labour party and a “Corbyn is unelectable” narrative. Labour’s standing plummeted in the polls, as people thought the party was so fractured - people thought “if Corbyn can’t even lead his own party, how can he lead the country?” And that led to a further downward spiral - people who had previously liked Corbyn’s ideas began to lose their trust in him as he looked more and more like an electoral liability for Labour. Even I began to doubt Corbyn at one point and wanted him gone, simply because I couldn’t stand the thought of another Tory victory and wanted someone - anyone - to the left of them to kick them out, even if they were just a little to the left of them (and therefore still to the right of Genghis Khan).

But the election was looming. At first, Labour candidates only talked about themselves, and never mentioned their leader - the Labour leaflet I got simply said “re-elect [my MP’s name]” with very little mention of the Labour Party and no mention of Corbyn. But then the manifesto came out and people began to realise -
“hey, these policies aren’t so extreme and Marxist after all!” Corbyn appeared on TV debates where May chickened out. And the Tories lurched from unpopular policy to unpopular policy. As the Tory vote share slowly plunged and Labour’s slowly rose, more and more Labour politicians began to unite around Corbyn’s leadership, sensing he was no longer an electoral liability. Young people registered to vote in droves and many of them were driven by the optimistic spirit of Corbyn’s ideas.

At the election, Labour ended up increasing their vote share and gained seats. So now Labour are united around him, seeing that he can lead, and the Tories are split against their leader. And - bigger surprise! - Labour are now ahead of the Tories in the opinion polls. (Too late for the election, but still!)

Finally, there are a lot of people who just bought the mainstream media smears, lies, half-truths, out-of-context quotes and exaggerations - Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser, Corbyn is a left-wing extremist, Corbyn is unelectable, Corbyn wants to leave us defenceless, Corbyn will borrow loads and bankrupt the country and there’s no magic money tree, etc. Thankfully with the rise of the Internet it now seems the mainstream press are losing their power and politically or economically rubbish smears can be exposed for what they are. This is the first election that the big papers like the Sun and the Daily Mail didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Things are changing!

In the same way Sanders now seems to be one of the most popular politicians in America, Corbyn now seems to be one of the most popular politicians in Britain. I genuinely think he’ll become Prime Minister next election!

(By the way, Corbyn and Sanders supported each other in their respective campaigns! Imagine it - a UK-USA partnership with Prime Minister Corbyn and President Sanders…)

(image source)

Some worried doubts about Life is Strange: Before the Storm

I was a little taken aback about the news that we’d be seeing a new Life is Strange as early as this, and I was even more taken aback to see we’d be returning to Arcadia Bay. On the one hand, I’m happy to see that the world of Max and Chloe isn’t being entirely ditched after the first game, True Detective style. On the other hand, I hate prequels, the almost never win me over, but that’s the least of my worries…

(Spoilers from here on out)

1. Ashley Burch won’t be returning to voice Chloe due to the VA strike.

This is problem priority 1 for me here. LiS’s success was easily 80% Burch’s  charismatic vocal performance. I’m not saying the new VA won’t do a good job, but damn it’s a tough act to follow.

Compounding matters is that this is ONE OF THE VERY REASONS A VA STRIKE IS HAPPENING. The fact that voice actors in video games are so interchangeable despite playing such a critical role in many a games success, shows they still don’t get the respect they deserve.

Also, I had no idea the strike was still going on. Shame on the mainstream gaming press for the severe lack of coverage it’s getting.

2. What mystery, exactly, is the game to have?

We already know how Rachel is going to die, we know all the circumstances surrounding it. What left, truly, is there to cover. It sounds like the game is going to explore more of Chloe’s past, but again, is this really necessary?

This is one of the main reasons I have a problem with prequels, If any of this is really necessary then the first entry would have already given us all this information. That makes the story little more than a DVD extra, a curio for fans. Sure there may be an equally compelling story to be told, but to what extent will this enhance the story, rather than diminish it? Again, either we already know all the twists or its going to pull something out of it’s arse that makes the first story look incomplete.

3. How exactly are we going to get around double-bury your gays?

One of the main criticisms of the first game was it ultimately ending in another gay tragedy. This time, either the game’s going to end with Rachel’s death, or Rachel’s death then Chloe’s death. Not a good response to the criticisms of the first game’s ending. Unless…

4. Is this game basically going to be a fix fic?

All this talk about how Max is definitely not going to be in the game smells a little fishy to me. This is a series that involves time travel, so I would not be surprised if it turns out they’re deliberately concealing a twist that involves Max going back in time and saving everyone. While I’d like to see Max and Chloe get a happy ending, overwriting the ending of the first game seems a little insulting to the audience, and does kind of defeat the point of the original story.

5. “But Jack, Fire Walk With Me was a prequel to Twin Peaks, which is a part inspiration for Life is Strange, and that’s an underrated classic.

Fire Walk With Me was not an underrated classic, It took one of the most disturbing events in the series and diminished it through dramatisation. This is why I have a problem with prequels. Fire Walk With Me could never live up to the version of Laura Palmer’s death that our own minds had created. Revenge of the Sith could never live up to the version of Anakin Skywalker’s fall that our own minds had created. The Horus Heresy could never live up to the version of Horus’s betrayal that our own minds had created, and Before the Storm will never be able to live up to the version of Rachel Amber’s death that our minds have already created.

6. It’s not in the hands of Dontnod.

It’s perfectly possible for a game to change developers and live up to expectation, but the entire optics surrounding Before the Storm (not least the optional ‘Farewell’ DLC) smacks of cynically cashing in on an audience desperate for more. I’ll reserve judgement, but right now the odds are stacked against it.

7. I don’t like prequels.

Did I mention I don’t like prequels.

I hope the game is good.

Learning to Ask Why

Except from Blackshirts and Reds by Michael Parenti

“When we think without Marx’s perspective, that is, without considering class interests and class power, we seldom ask why certain things happen. Many things are reported in the news but few are explained. Little is said about how the social order is organized and whose interests prevail. Devoid of a framework that explains why things happen, we are left to see the world as do mainstream media pundits: as a flow of events, a scatter of particular developments and personalities unrelated to a larger set of social relations—propelled by happenstance, circumstance, confused intentions, and individual ambition, never by powerful class interests—and yet producing effects that serve such interests with impressive regularity.

Thus we fail to associate social problems with the socio-economic forces that create them and we learn to truncate our own critical thinking. Imagine if we attempted something different; for example, if we tried to explain that wealth and poverty exist together not in accidental juxtaposition, but because wealth causes poverty, an inevitable outcome of economic exploitation both at home and abroad. How could such an analysis gain any exposure in the capitalist media or in mainstream political life?

Suppose we started with a particular story about how child labor in Indonesia is contracted by multinational corporations at near starvation wage levels. This information probably would not be carried in rightwing publications, but in 1996 it did appear—after decades of effort by some activists—in the centrist mainstream press. What if we then crossed a line and said that these exploitative employer-employee relations were backed by the full might of the Indonesian military government. Fewer media would carry this story but it still might get mentioned in an inside page of the New York Times or Washington Post.

Then suppose we crossed another line and said that these repressive arrangements would not prevail were it not for generous military aid from the United States, and that for almost thirty years the homicidal Indonesian military has been financed, armed, advised, and trained by the U.S. national security state. Such a story would be even more unlikely to appear in the liberal press but it is still issuespecific and safely without an overall class analysis, so it might well make its way into left-liberal opinion publications like the Nation and the Progressive.

Now suppose we pointed out that the conditions found in Indonesia—the heartless economic exploitation, brutal military repression, and lavish U.S. support—exist in scores of other countries. Suppose we then crossed that most serious line of all and instead of just deploring this fact we also asked why successive U.S. administrations involve themselves in such unsavory pursuits throughout the world. And what if then we tried to explain that the whole phenomenon is consistent with the U.S. dedication to making the world safe for the free market and the giant multinational corporations, and that the intended goals are (a) to maximize opportunities to accumulate wealth by depressing the wage levels of workers throughout the world and preventing them from organizing on behalf of their own interests, and (b) to protect the overall global system of free-market capital accumulation.

Then what if, from all this, we concluded that U.S. foreign policy is neither timid, as the conservatives say, nor foolish, as the liberals say, but is remarkably successful in rolling back just about all governments and social movements that attempt to serve popular needs rather than private corporate greed.
Such an analysis, hurriedly sketched here, would take some effort to lay out and would amount to a Marxist critique—a correct critique-of capitalist imperialism. Though Marxists are not the only ones that might arrive at it, it almost certainly would not be published anywhere except in a Marxist publication. We crossed too many lines. Because we tried to explain the particular situation (child labor) in terms of a larger set of social relations (corporate class power), our presentation would be rejected out of hand as “ideological.” The perceptual taboos imposed by the dominant powers teach people to avoid thinking critically about such powers. In contrast, Marxism gets us into the habit of asking why, of seeing the linkage between political events and class power.”

Irony amended post.....

The irony of trying to promote this fake relationship as real to a general audience is that her behavior is going to turn those people off. D is going to receive so much crap in the media about her. Audiences are not going to think the way she presents herself is edgy; her look is going to be seen as a hot mess. People have no problem criticizing celebs and their significant others. Unless a MAJOR style and lifestyle intervention takes place, she will be an embarrassment to him. Not to mention that all the juvenile antics she and the people she calls friends post on social media will be seen as immature because they are adults. Nobody wants to see her licking people’s faces or hear her talking about using her pants as a bathroom.

Not to mention he doesn’t come across as being even remotely attracted to her as his girlfriend when they are pictured together. When he receives mainstream attention during the press release for ACS (and probably nominations during the award season), we know she is going to be planted right next to him and based on his facial expressions/body language when he’s with her, no one is going to believe she’s his girlfriend or he’s going to look like a shitty boyfriend. Either way this is bad for him with a general audience - the very people his “team” wants him to connect with.

Darren is a big fish in a little pond in regards to his particular fandom. The PR BS has been going on for so long that we can shake our heads because we know it’s fake. But a general audience is a great big ocean compared to this fandom. When, not if, the PR BS is fed to this general audience, it’s going to back-fire big time. We already know how incredibly talented D is in many areas. Which is why we stick it out through every stunt. But people who are just being introduced to D may not. Which is the big shame in all of this. Because one day M will a distant memory, leeching off of B or whoever. Hopefully the damage she is doing is long gone too.

If an entire industry isn’t legitimate, as Trump has argued of the media, then its criticisms by definition are not legitimate either. Trump has similarly ranted (with meth-head-on-their-27th-day-of-sleeplessness level of intense paranoia) that the media hates him. Which is mostly true, both because he is continually antagonizing them and because of the kind of man he is and the kind of campaign he has run.

Juggalos have similarly discovered that the media continuously anoints Insane Clown Posse the world’s worst group, and Juggalos the worst fans. These claims often come out of a toxic brew of laziness and the cynical conviction that articles making fun of Juggalos are going to get hits from people who enjoy the empty, addictive feeling of looking down on other people on the internet. They know that there isn’t anything of substance to these snarky hit pieces, that they only encourage class-based mockery.

Trump and Insane Clown Posse have done such an effective job of delegitimizing the critical mainstream press to their fans that they have become, almost by default, primary sources of information on their activities. I know Trump would prefer if his Twitter account was society’s central, if not exclusive, source of information on the activities of Donald J. Trump. I make sure to go to Insane Clown Posse’s yearly “seminar” at the Gathering of the Juggalos to get news of the next 12 months of Juggalo life directly from the duo themselves. I know I’m not the only one. The world is full of anti-Trump and anti-ICP rhetoric, but for better or worse, Trump and ICP have conditioned their fans to not only reject that criticism, but also to write off the industries behind them as hopelessly biased.

6 Things Juggalo Culture Teaches Us About Trump