Tag Archives: Society

International Mens Day

Yesterday was International Mens Day.  Google had 13 important Men who have made contributions to the world and to society in a special Google Doodle.  The TV had some short shows throughout the day celebrating several Men who stand out in the world for having made tremendous contributions to western society.  People were talking about the day at work and taking an interest in the people highlighted, some of them were long dead but still respected over 100 years later.

It would have been very nice.  Except it didn’t happen!  International Mens Day happened but in a deathly silence.

There was a podcast that got released though.  It pretty much covers it.

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Is society going to change what has been accepted for millennia?

 

There are people who for whatever reason feel that they are born in the wrong body.  At some point in their life they might go through operations to change their genitals from male to female or vice versa.  They might use hormones to alter the way that their body behaves, they might grow breasts or body hair depending on the sex they want to change from.  There are people who are born with both sets of male and female genitals and a bone structure somewhere between what is generally considered to be normal for both sexes.  This over my lifetime at least has generally come to be accepted by the majority of society.  This I think is a good thing.

There appears to be a movement developing to give Gender identity more importance than the Sex identity.  The people in the movement want to create changes in society to “allow them freedom of expression” in terms of their gender.

This manifests itself in the desire to have third toilets in all public establishments or allow people who identify as a sex other than what they physically are to use the toilet that they wish to use.  Target managed to become embroiled in this recently.  The people involved in this movement appear to be generally under 25, have the opinion that the world is against their freedom of expression and that everyone else needs to shut-up and they should come first.   Things that people within this movement believe include:

“My gender depends how I feel on the day”
“We are trying to find ways to live outside the Binary (male/female)”
“My pronouns” use of we/they singular pronouns as a way to avoid he or she in speech – with explicit desire to own the pronouns personally.
“Doctors looking at a babies genitalia when they are born and deciding what sex/gender they are from that point is an act of violence”
We are “living outside the norm and having different experiences than the norm”
Saying anything contrary to what we feel is to “miss-gender”

Apparently one person has committed suicide because they were being miss-gendered by the very people trying to help them while in psychiatric care.  Obviously this is very sad.  Anyone who attempts to get help should obviously be treated with every respect.

I remember being in class one day and being told that we should use the word Gender rather than Sex when designing questionnaires and discussing the responses in our essays.  I asked what the difference was between Sex and Gender and the response I was given was that it was difficult to explain but gender is to do with your identity and how you identify yourself in the world and sex is to do with the sexual organs that you were born with.  A reasonable response from someone who at the time was the Head of Education and is now the Dean of Education in the school.  So your Sex and your Gender are two different things.  One is the way the doctor identifies you at birth for the most part Male or Female or where there is physical differences from the norm the doctor makes an educated guess based on what they see.  This has resulted in people growing up and feeling that they are in the wrong body and requiring assistance often to have physical alterations carried out to make them feel more able to go about their lives.  The secondary aspect of this is that it conversely helps society accept them too.

This movement to use (Non-Binary) Gender as the primary way to identify people over the (Binary) Sex method of identification seems to be giving people license to live in a fantasy world where they get to tell people that they are neither male nor female.  The videos I have seen on YouTube show people who appear to be attempting to mix how they feel with their Sex.  In many examples they are so young that their bodies haven’t fully developed yet.  There are several people on you tube who are claiming to be Non-Binary yet clearly show the tell-tale signs of being either a man or a woman.

I think it is very sad that people feel the need to politicize their “Gender” and entangle it with their actual “Sex” to the point of denying their sex openly to the world, in most cases even though the world watching can easily figure out what sex they are.

The thing that bothers me the most about this is that these people are crying out for attention.  It’s appalling and offensive to those who have a genuine physical problem that needs addressing and to those who feel that they have been born in the wrong body who may wish to go through sex re-assignment surgery.

 

(As an aside I do not feel the need for gender lables in my life and I find people who need them strange.  However, I have taken every step to write this article in a manner that gets my message across clearly, explores the differences between sex and gender succinctly and in no way attempts to be offensive.  The quotes are from TV interviews and YouTube videos spoken by people active in the movement.)

 

 

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Generation Y

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There has been a lot of articles in the press recently about the latest generation who are coming of age and entering the workforce at this point in time.  Most of the comments being made are negative in nature and are composed of stereotyped statements such as:

They are entitled to it all
They expect to have their cake and eat it
They want less hours and more pay
Lots of leisure time (or at least a balance)
They reject overtime
They are clock watchers
Work is just a way to get money to pay the bills with
They believe high salary and status is important
They don’t wish to dress smartly
They lack discipline in all aspects of their life
The desire to do meaningful work is not important

These things I have picked out from an article from the UK’s notorious Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1257083/Hard-work-No-thanks-Meet-Generation-Y.html

It’s an interesting list to review.  As someone who works in education I am one of the many who have experienced the change in attitudes first hand.  When I started teaching I found that students would bring a folder, paper, pens and everything they might need.  Some still do.  But the majority do not.  Even in classes where most things are learnt digitally, expecting a student to bring their USB drive is a high expectation.  Expecting students to take handouts away with them or even take their own notes with them is a simple expectation that has fallen by the wayside.  Yet the students want the highest grades for the smallest amount of work done in the poorest quality.  Tardiness is standard too.  

My personal concern is that if you mix just a few of these suggested traits together and think about this generation financially then storm clouds appear on the horizon. What happens when someone who has a poor work ethic gets a job where they feel they can afford a mortgage – a house is a strong status symbol in many countries. They are likely to be high users of credit because they will feel entitled to use it because they have a job.  They are likely to rack up their debts quickly as they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle that they knew all along they should have.  Unfortunately their employer sees them as expendable Human Resources rather than people, isn’t this true of all generations now, and at some point they will lose their job.  They might be able to quickly gain new employment.  They may not.  But fret they won’t! Bankruptcy is there to save them.  Mum and Dad are there to save them.

I know that these are very sweeping statements that won’t apply to everyone, hopefully very few.  But isn’t this a time bomb waiting to go off?  The economy is already struggling under the weight of the mismanagement of debt by the banking system.  Maybe this generation has witnessed this and realised that integrity and personal responsibility mean nothing as there is always someone there to bail them out?

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I Love The Internet

This week many UK Internet Service Providers blocked access to a range of Torrent sites because a court order requesting that they block the sites finally came through.
I googled: “How to access Kick Ass Torrents through Virgin Media” and got to this article:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-to-Access-KickassTorrents-and-Other-Censored-Sites-in-the-UK-339313.shtml

Now, the “come.in” link is a bit touch and go as to whether it works on my first use, but it does load the site eventually making a complete mockery of the court system.  The secondary effect of this court order is that it pushes the users of these sites further underground, all be it slightly.  It means that there are many more access points to places like Kick Ass Torrents that will actually get traffic.  Rendering the court order totally ineffective other than blocking the main entrance URL.

Totally pointless!  I’m sure the judges think that they just need to be keeping everyone thinking that they are doing their job and upholding the law.  I’m glad that the way the internet works means that peoples freedoms will remain intact even if a piece of paper with someones forced wish upon you arrives in the mail.

I used to curse the Internet Service Providers, not anymore.

A lot of people still access all sorts of sites that someone else says they shouldn’t.  It’s the Nanny State!  Mr Judge – we are not your kids!

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The ultimate question?

Is life worth living?

According to Nietzsche our lord(s) and saviour(s); our God(s) are dead.  Dead in that their originating source is undefined and Religion(s) appear to be systems that provide a social structure for the continuation of our species.  Interesting stuff!  He points out that if indeed God(s) is dead this isn’t necessarily a negative thing.  Our horizons will have been opened up by the lack of moral boundary.  Anything is possible; at last.  However, if there are no Gods, then what makes life worth living?  If life is not a period in which to attempt to satisfy all Karmic debts, then what value does life have in and of itself?  Procreation and maintaining human numbers is one potential offering, but there are already probably way too many people on this planet so this seems like a very weak argument.

Baudrillard coined a wonderful term “Desert of the real” to describe the mere fragments of our experience that are actually sourced in true authenticity.  In the west we are surrounded by imagery which is used to construct our reality.  Only the other day did I realise the depth to which I had been conditioned by TV.  I was at a friends house (hi Jono!) and he put his TV on as background noise as people do.  The BAFTA awards were in their early stages.  People who I mostly did not recognise due to lack of exposure to the entertainment media over the last five years or so appeared in smart attire and were furiosly photographed by photographers.  As I watched with new eyes.  As if I hadn’t seen this kind of thing before, I saw one section of the media photographing another section of the media, to be published in a different form of media; the whole event being televised which obviously is another form of media.  TV was displaying its own child.  I think this is a simulacra or simulacrum?? (Answers on a post card please!)  Anyway, I remembered “The desert of the real” and as I watched actors and actresses be treated incredibly specially I wondered what they had done?  Have they saved lives?  Have they prevented wars?  Have they solved world poverty and starvation?  No, they have entertained those of us who are lucky enough not to be starving.  There are awards for this kind of thing.

So in the potentially godless desert of the real, is life worth living?  If not should it be ended?  If it is worthy of our effort how do we know?  What benefits do we reap?  In my experience the death of a loved one is an interuption to the precession of simulacra presented to us as reality on an everyday basis.  Maybe those who acknowledge and accept in their own mind that life isn’t of any value and act on this personal reality bring a moment of reality to the lives of their nearest and dearest?  Those who I have lost most certainly have brought a moment of reality and clarity to my experience.  I am grateful.

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Free Internet

I’m not a thief!  If its in my home naturally and I haven’t taken it from anywhere else then its mine to use!  Well thats my excuse.  I’ve been reading several websites about receiving wifi signals from a far through make shift parabolic shaped sieves and USB wifi receivers. Yesterday I decided to actually try it out.  I went to my local Chinese Supermarket and spent 12.95 on a 12″ brass dumpling sieve.  I Borrowed a USB wifi dongle and grabbed a USB extension lead from my small collection of gadget leads.   After picking a hole in the middle of the sieve I placed the end of the lead through the hole and plugged in the dongle, after initial testing in various places of my home I can confirm that there are lots of people “on my block” that have broadband and wireless.  out of about 10 different connections only 1 didn’t have WEP or PSK encryption.  I got the following page through this connection:    Illegal ?I have probably incriminated myself here, but you know what?  I pay for my own internet connection and I use that all the time.  The exercise was to see it the sieve worked and it did.  I found it interesting that there were loads of SKY connections around my home.  They have recently spent loads on a massive advertising campaign to get people to have their internet / tv / phone (and probably their water, heating and air) through them, it must have worked at least 5 of the connections were being served by sky.  I wonder if they changed the default password on installation?Reference: http://www.instructables.com/id/%22Poorman_s-WiFi%22–USB-adapters-%26-DIY-cookware-refl/

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