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Shameless plug time!

Feist
Have you ever wanted to combine your passion for angrily tearing apart badly written fan-fiction BDSM porn with the British democratic process? Look no further!

Ed Miliband reviews 50 Shades of Grey!

I need to go hide my Labour membership card so nobody tries to cut it up now. Enjoy!

Why I am done with Keith Olbermann.

Feist
I can't believe I'm even bothering to address this but here it goes. Last night, I live-tweeted Countdown with Keith Olbermann, something I have done on and off for roughly 2 1/2 years. Countdown is the show that inspired my passion for politics. Olbermann's commentary was what lead me to discover Rachel Maddow. It made me want to know more about the injustices of the world. I dare say it was one of the driving forces behind me becoming so heavily involved in the politics of my own country, going so far as to join a part and hope to actively campaign. I can't deny the impact it's had on me. It's also given me the best group of friends I could ever hope to have. I haven't always agreed with Olbermann. Sometimes I've been actively angry at him. However, even during those times, I saw him as someone willing to engage with his audience and learn from his mistakes. Once, me and some of my friends managed to get him to apologise for using transphobic attitudes towards Ann Coulter, something he has not done since then. I try to be vocal about my criticisms of people I respect because I think it's important to hold them accountable when they make mistakes. They're supposed to be better than pettiness. They're the vocal voice of a movement or opinion and they must be articulate. It's a big job but he's been doing it so well for so long. The jokes about his ego and such are all well known but I firmly believe in his message and defended him for many things.

Then he blocked me on twitter today.

I understand the sheer teacup storm nature of this topic and I know how silly it is to be so upset over something as insignificant as a twitter block, but when someone you've practically idolised for years, someone you can say genuinely had an indelible impact on your life, actively decides to push you aside, it bloody hurts. My friends consoled me and wondered if it was a technical glitch, as twitter is so fond of falling victim to. Some friends, and other people who I have never spoken to before, asked about it, and the answer was confusing:

"you don't insult my friends - by last name - on twitter."

I honestly had no idea what he was referring to. I checked my tweets and wondered if he was referring to a tweet where I'd commented on former congressman Alan Grayson's hair (which was never intended as an insult), or possibly my discomfort over using Olbermann's show as a platform to ask for political donations. Then more tweets revealed this:

"she addressed him as "Lewis""

The Lewis in question is Richard Lewis, the comedian. My tweet being mentioned here is this:

"What do Bachmann's looks have to do with it, Lewis? #Countdown"

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's physical appearance was mentioned in one of Lewis's comments, which I found unfair since it's unfair and extremely misplaced to emphasise style over substance in politics, especially in regards to women, who have faced such discrimination for so long. I never followed up on this tweet except for a couple replies to friends, and my tweet wasn't meant as some malicious insult to Lewis. Olbermann's justification for blocking me came here again in another reply to a friend of mine:

"Just the last name is far more insulting than just the first. We're done here."

This is new to me. I've always been told that it's ruder to refer to someone you don't know by their first name, since it adds an edge of condescension to the equation, and with twitter, tone is so hard to grasp sometimes. Countdown is a political show and it's commonplace, or at least it is in UK, to refer to political figures by their surnames. I do it all the time and I know I'm not the only one. 140 characters requires brevity. The choice of surname wasn't meant as some damning critique of Lewis, nor was it meant as the insult of the century. Besides, Olbermann refers to someone by their surname a few tweets earlier. Maybe it's only rude if you're British:

https://twitter.com/#!/KeithOlbermann/status/141677694415937537

So what do I have to say to this all? Honestly, I'm more confused than anything else right now, but there's some undeniable sadness and anger. Mr Olbermann, I think what you did was extremely petty. Not just blocking me but blocking anyone who you construe as disagreeing with you or daring to question you. I understand that you must get a lot of extremely insulting and possibly threatening messages every day and I can't imagine what it's like to deal with that, but your actions here are downright confusing at best. I've supported you and your show for so long, even during times when you were heavily criticised, because I stood firm in my belief that you stood up for what was right. But I'm done now. I'm not going to creep around on egg-shells for you or anyone else. I believe in the power of words and the responsibility that comes with them. If you think I'm being some sort of bully for using someone's surname then maybe you should think about the impact you have when you refer to a network as a "political whorehouse" or a female commentator as "a mashed up bag of meat with lipstick" or when one of your guests calls a rape accusation "hooey" or when a frequent guest on your show says, in reply to GOP's false equivalences over violent rhetoric "Well, I think that's what they said about the burning of the Reichstag, if I recall correctly." Practice what you preach, Mr Olbermann. I call you that because it's polite. So I'm done.

I also vote.

Do you want an Xmas card?

Mock the Week
Of course you do! Snail-mail is amazing because you can't put stickers on an e-card!

Comments will be screened so please leave your name and address in the comments below and wait patiently by your door for a lovely card with my semi-presentable handwriting and some non-Xmas themed stickers. 

Also, completely unrelated to snail-mail and such but I've got a lot of free space on this entry to fill and nobody comments here anyway, but I'm thinking about giving political writing a try, just to amuse myself at first but maybe trying to submit it to a few blogs later. This will inevitably end badly since my political tweets are rambling at best and my own confidence in my writing skills has declined recently due to getting only 64% on my latest essay (and not being able to read my tutor's handwritten notes) but I'm getting sick of Blairites clogging up the field and my vengeful side wants to even things out a little. Anyone know how the hell I'd go about researching how to do this properly? 

That was a stupid comment, wasn't it? Here's some painfully early Xmas music.


It's been one of those days.

Torchwood
First, the positives.

I finished my contract with QMU on Friday then went out with my now former co-workers. It was a great night only slightly marred by being refused entry into the casino with everyone else because they don't accept invalid passports. The bouncer looked at me like I was a weirdo when I said I hadn't renewed my passport because I hadn't been abroad since 2008. Apparently the bouncer business is paying well enough to make foriegn travel a frequent occurence in his life. Still, the night was a lot of fun and there was much headbanging to be had in the bar to the live band. I'll miss them all a lot. 

Then yesterday I went to the recruitment day for the Edinburgh uni student association (EUSA). It's a strange thing for me to get a job interview so quickly after leaving another job. Usually there's a much bigger time gap between the two events, which makes me increasingly panicky. The event was like a team building exercise crossed with speed dating style interviews. I must have done okay because a few hours later they e-mailed to offer me a job! I was so excited I almost keeled over. This was exacerbated by my having found out moments after giving blood. Acecakes! My training day is tomorrow and I start on Saturday, the beginning of Fresher's Week. The Term begins on 19th. I'm actually really looking forward to going back to uni. It'll be nice to have a sense of normalcy after an erratic summer. I'm also rather itching to get going on my dissertation. I've been buying and reading a lot of plays in preparation, which isn't doing my bank account any favours (seriously, plays are so expensive!) I've never tackled anything quite like a 10000 word dissertation before so it's going to be one hell of a learning curve. I do get the feeling my choice of topic - post-Thatcher era British political theatre - will leave me feeling a tad depressed.

Then again, it seems that nothing leaves me feeling quite as depressed and hopeless as politics does. Yeah, yeah, I know you're all bloody sick of me talking about it on twitter and it feels like every 2nd entry on this LJ is me wangsting away like a tween with hormones on overdrive, but it is something I spend far too much of my time thinking about, and the vast majority of that time is me spent being angry, sad, confused, hopeless or a crazy mixture of the whole lot. I wrote about the age of hope being dead during the riots and while I may have been a tad quick to jump to such feelings, most of that still rings true for me and it feels like it's never going to get any better. It's all so seedy and bitchy, it's worse than high school. At least with high school, millions of people didn't get fucked over in the process. We talk about hope and change but where is it? There's so much smugness and behind the sickening smiles and self congratulatory backslaps, it all basically amounts to "We're shit but we're not as shit as them" from all sides. Denial, finger pointing, outright lies, smears... it's fucking stupid! I know it's fucking stupid and I know it's never going to change, so why am I so invested in it all? Is it really worth it? 

Maybe I'll just hang up my political socks and focus on something that makes me happy for a change. It's not as if I'm some beacon of insightful political commentary in the vein of Olbermann and Maddow anyway. I don't bring new shit to the table, just shit. I think it's something I need to outright cut out of my life. I tried taking breaks from it all, one day free from it all every now and then, but it's no good. I just get roped back in and the cycle continues. 

Having said all this, you'll probably see me getting angry about some Tory or something on twitter about 5 minutes after this goes up.

Shit. 
Feist
 Like many people, I have been watching the coverage of the riots in London over the past few days. There's been a gamut of emotions going through my mind since this all started - anger, fear, confusion - but the overriding feeling I've had, especially in the past few hours, is that of disappointment. 

3 years ago, Obama was campaigning to be the US President. Like many non Americans, I was enraptured with this charismatic figure who seemed to embody the hope and change emblazoned across those now iconic Shepard Fairey posters. I, an 18 year old student still green to the world of politics, my opinions raw blobs of stubbornness and half-formed opinions waiting to be moulded, was inspired by what we all saw as a new age of hope, one that was ready for my generation to take the reins and change the world. 

Now it's 2011. The GOP held Congress hostage until Obama bowed to 98% of John Boehner's demands, sending the DOW plummeting and the country's AAA status downwards, the UK is witnessing the dismantling of public services, the NHS, massive rises in tuition fees and the evident corruption that makes the cogs of power turn, and the streets of Croydon are ablaze. It already feels like a different age, one many have compared to the Thatcher years. The rioters (predominantly labelled quickly by the press and officials as youths) are tearing apart their own streets, burning down the homes and premises of people they may know. Anger is definitely in the air but it's chaotic anger full of sound and fury signifying nothing. The death of a man at the hands of the police is being seen as the instigator of much of this but we can't be certain it's the sole source of anger. What these thugs are doing is contemptible - it's fury directed in the wrongest way possible, hurting those who have done nothing wrong and in the end, nothing will change. 

The same people will still be in power; ineffectively deploying far too little police to sort out the problem, more worried about Olympics PR than homes and livelihoods of those they are supposed to protect and represent. Political cards are played to no real solution. The people who are in charge, those who seem to forget that they work to serve us, seem to disappear and have no grasp of the situation. Cuts will still be made, police numbers will be slashed, public services will disappear and young people, my generation, will continue to be punished. The Croydon council leader who was on BBC News earlier said these riots had nothing to do with the lack of adequate youth services in the area, and while such a thing may not be the cause of the riots, in the long term it is something we must give our attention to. How can we end the vicious cycle that this generation is in if we aren't given the proper tools to make the changes we desperately want and need? These rioters aren't fighting for any specific cause - many are just so sick and tired of the same old shit and want to start something. It's wrong, and when this is all over and arrests are made, will anything really change? Nothing will change, except there will be a few more people without homes, a few more people in prisons and some men in suits condemning these actions with the most PR friendly messages possible. 

I had to turn off the news earlier. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was told by someone a long time ago that I could change the world. But if I, in my extremely privileged position of being a university student with a job and family support, feel helpless, how do the people in London feel? The age of hope is dead, but to be honest, I doubt it ever existed to begin with. 

Tags:

Milk
 * duckgirlie   visited me with one of her friends and we went for drinks at the Pear Tree and chatted about lots of silly, interesting and random things. Then duckgirlie  and I went off to the Brass Monkey (coolest pub in Edinburgh) where we chatted about fandom, Dan Savage, pundit musicals, the misogyny in Sex & the City and many other cool things. I got to hear her use the phrase "ALMIGHTY COCKPUNCHINGS!" out loud. It was epic. Then she slept on my floor and I had to abandon her the next morning for work. Sadly didn't get any pictures but rest assured we looked fabulous, although my top buttons kept coming undone. 
 
* Work's kind of a shambles. The bosses are completely incompetent, couldn't manage a piss up in a brewery and the guests are rude and accuse us of being incompetent and filthy. Luckily my co-workers are all really cool and we manage to keep spirits up throughout the day. 
 
* I received confirmation on a few press passes I managed to attain for the Edinburgh Book Festival - Sarah Brown (*squee*), Alexander McCall Smith, Marcus Sedgwick, Eoin Colfer, Mark Kermode, Grant Morrison and a couple others. The only ones I was rejected for were China Mieville and Caitlin Moran, the latter of which is probably for the best since her book sort of pissed me off. 
 
* The reason Moran's book pissed me off is the same reason P.C. Cast pissed me off and I ended up writing my latest for the Book Lantern. So far I've gotten back a lot of responses and opinions, the most of any entry I've ever written for the site so thanks for that! You can read it here: http://www.thebooklantern.com/2011/07/c-word-on-pc-cast-incendiary-language.html#disqus_thread (for some reason LJ won't let me link it properly.)
 
* I've spent a lot of time getting too excited and outraged over recent political developments. I've been tweeting #hackgate with the same fangirl style zeal usually reserved for reality TV show finals. I'm also thinking of joining a certain political party...
 
* I've been listening to a lot of David Bowie lately so here's a song to end this entry abruptly: 
 
 

My very first protest...

Milk

I was there a grand total of an hour, I didn't do or say much and I fell one my arse once.

It was glorious.

"They say cut back, we say fight back!"Collapse )So how was it all? I may not have done much in comparison to others but it felt good to be a part of something where my voice was being heard, even if it was my voice in a crowd of people crying out "Nick Clegg, we know you, you're a fucking Tory too!" I think the tuition fees protests are a great thing, the start of a political movement amongst a generation where common assumption sees us as a bunch of apathetic slackers. As one sign so eloquently put it - "Nick Clegg, it's not just about money, you patronising git!" It's about not wanting education to become a marker of the elite, those who can pay for it. It's about giving what should be a basic human right to everyone. In a time of serious economic decline, where unemployment is high (especially in Scotland where it's higher than the national average) and the working class are going to be hit the hardest, we need to invest in education, not take away from it. Seeing the protestors around the UK being kettled, beaten down and generally treated like scum is terrifying but goes to show how cowardly the coalition is. I hope I can do more to help this cause in the future, snow or no snow.
 


Mixed bag info dump.

Milk

I was going to do a random info dump earlier but I got too excited by the Prop 8 news and had to celebrate that instead. Of course, Twitter was where all the action was:




It was a good day to celebrate and as good an excuse as any for Keith Olbermann to repeat his Special Comment from 2008 when the law was first passed and yes, I got teary yet again. It's impossible for me to watch this thing and not do so.
 


Outside of this news, it's been a fun few days. Mum and dad are back from Benidorm. They had a good time even though the food was terrible, there wasn't much to do beyond getting pissed 24/7 and the fact that the place was, as they said, like Blackpool in the sun. It's nice to have them back, despite my love of the peace and quiet, because I did miss them. I'm a big kid sometimes. It was nice to get hugs from my mum too because I had a strange set of constant stabbing pains in the middle of the night that woke me up. They did go away after we called NHS 24 but we still don't know what it was. My mum's guess is it was a grumbling appendix. Oh well, as long as it just grumbles and doesn't burst.

We finally got to see the crime episode of You Have Been Watching. I've missed that quiff in high definition and I put my full support behind the Josie Long/Armando Iannucci coalition. It's Crime-ageddon baby!

And in final fangirl flailing news, OMG John Sessions is gonna be in Sherlock, this is the greatest thing ever, as if I wasn't squealing over this show enough already! Makes sense that he's in it, he is a complete Holmes fanboy. Good man. So yeah, I'll be squealing more than usual on Sunday night. Damn you BBC for only giving us 3 episodes! 
 


Celebration time!

Milk
@KeithOlbermann Per Reuters: FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT JUDGE RULES CALIFORNIA GAY MARRIAGE BAN UNCONSTITUTIONAL - COURT DOCUMENTS

SUCK IT NOM! LOVE WINS! 

Party post! 


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