Archive for Offence

Nice Christmas Party

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Friends, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17/12/2010 by arabrhizome

So after two review posts, which says more about my ability to procrastinate then about my reviewing skills, I thought I will use this post to talk about something else. However, before I get there I need to finish my review of Caprica, because I did finish the series. The series was pulled and there will be no other season, which is frankly silly from SyFy. They are also pulling Star Gate Universe, which finally got its voice. They’re both very good series that are heavy on writing and characterisation. It’s a shame that SyFy didn’t give these two series much chance. If Caprica was cancelled after only one series and SGU after 2 then there is very little chance we will see some great series being made in the future. Remember that many of the Star Treks didn’t really take off, in their ratings, until the third and fourth seasons. I feel sorry for the writers of both shows who have gone out of their way to make something special and interesting rather then the generic crap that makes quick money.

Anyway, enough of a rant about the way tv programs are commissioned and recommissioned. Caprica is, as I said before and will probably say again and again, very very good. It ends on a sequence of scenes called the shape of things to come, in which we see the world of the twelve colonies before the great Cylon war and with the Cylons fully integrated into society. There is also a very strong indication of where the first war, and subsequently the second one, come from. I mean that in the ideological sense. It’s very very good, and I would have liked to see it developed over a season or two, at least, however the gods of television decided against it. On a positive note, there is a new backdoor pilot, planned for next year, that follows Bill Adama in the first year of the great Cylon war, hopefully that will lead to a series that won’t be cancelled straight away. I am a little angry about this, can you tell?

Anyway, that’s all for the review/rant about tv section of the post. So on Thursday, I was invited to M and B’s flat for a small christmas party. I was looking forward to it, as I really like them. I have said this before and will say it again, they are very good people. So before going there I passed by a pub to meet a friend and had a Southern Comfort on ice. I haven’t had that drink in a very very long time. I like bourbon I think. Last time I was at M and B’s, I discovered that I could tolerate Whisky. So I might endeavour into trying them out more often. I don’t have a freezer to make ice, but as I understand it, it’s a bit of a blasphemous thing to do. So I will explore that bit of my drinking experience in the future.

Anyway, we made our way there and had a lovely time. We had some mulled wine and some mince pies. I don’t usually like mince pies that much but those were excellent (I had two, when I usually have a bite of one and then surreptitiously throw the rest out). It was nice to congratulate them on their engagement, as well as B’s new job. I’m going to stop fawning over them too much, as that might come out as creepy (I think they read my blog so shhh). Anyway, the evening was great and I went back home to finish off Caprica and get angry at SyFy for cancelling the show (I know I said I wasn’t going to mention it but they’re fucking idiots at that channel).

Speaking of angry rants. So do you remember when I talked about the outrageous interview on the BBC of Jody McIntyre by Ben Brown. Well I complained and then we got redirected to a pathetic little blog by an editor called Kevin Bakhurst. The blog completely misrepresented what the outrage was about, and dismissed most of it as generated by a web campaign. Now if it was in fact a web campaign that wouldn’t make it less important to deal with. But the truth is this wasn’t a web campaign. The video of the interview went viral, and there was a ground swell around the issue (look at my great geek speak). People were rightly outraged by the victim blaming that has become a little bit of a hallmark of the BBC when it comes to certain subjects. But then Kevin Bakhurst wrote a blog where he tries, very badly, to justify himself and Ben Brown. The blog had 1065 replies in three days, I think less then 10 were not negative. Kenvin Bakhurst (@kevinbakhurst on twitter if you want to let him know how you feel) went into hiding, his twitter account was left for about 48 hours without a tweet.

This clearly shows that people aren’t happy and most of them were very eloquent and expressed their outrage very well. The claims of Bakhurst that people were angry because Brown was too challenging were shown to be ridiculous. Anyway, today the blog was shut, no one can post a comment anymore, and Bakhurst is back on twitter talking about other stuff. It’s clear that the BBC and Bakhurst have decided to bury their heads in the ground and ignore the public outrage hoping it will go away. This is very very bad for the BBC. Remember those of us who pay the license fee pay these people’s wages and we deserve more respect. I can’t believe that rather than own up to their mistakes and actually defend themselves, maybe the thousands of people who complained are all wrong, but by ignoring the issue and belittling the viewers who are angry, Bakhurst and the BBC are making a mistake. Anyway, that’s about all the outrage I can muster today. I don’t think this story will die, or at least it will resurface when the BBC inevitably makes another mistake, and I don’t think ignoring people will be enough to get them out of it.

A Lazy Day

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 15/12/2010 by arabrhizome

Well Tuesday was a very lazy and unproductive day. I did nothing but watched a bunch of stuff online. It was nice doing that. I watched a bunch of stuff, but mainly I watched the second series of Star Gate Universe. It’s a very good series. I like that there isn’t really a character that is completely likeable, except maybe one. But this fact is integral to the story line and is one of the major plot points. We have three or four characters that are fighting for the leader spot. Each one has his or her weaknesses and dark side. It’s really a very good show.

The basic plot revolves around people being stranded on an Ancient ship that is making its way in the universe. I put a capital on Ancient, because it refers to a species (Alien species in a sense). They have no way of going back home and have to figure out a way to live together and survive and ultimately come back to earth. The series is really very powerful.

I thought that the first series was a little weak. It was clearly having difficulties finding its feet but the second series seems to have remedied these minor problems. You can see that the writers have found their voice and the narrative advances quite a lot. But more importantly we finally get to start the exploration of the technology/divinity tension that is a staple of the series.

As you might know, the film and much of the first series Star Gate SG1 revolved around the fight between the human race and a highly advanced alien species that used technology in order to masquerade as gods. This was developed quite a lot in that series. But the main point of all the Star Gate franchises is that this tension was always there. The first series of SGU had only one passing mention of what seemed to be very advanced aliens. But that was sorely missed.

However, this series is finally getting to that. We’re also encountering a possible intelligence buried in the fabric of reality itself. It would be nice if this doesn’t turn out to be an introduction of a god, but of a highly advanced alien race. Well the second series is now in hiatus until spring 2011 and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

While doing all of that I was aware that Tuesday night was the third episode of Frankie Boyle’s show. I had decided that I wasn’t going to watch it because, well frankly because it was shit. It was unfunny and unoriginal. The only thing that it tried to do was push the envelope of disgust and offence as far as it could, while forgetting to be funny. As I’ve said before, I don’t mind offensive material. In fact I believe that I have defended Frankie Boyle in the past on this very blog. But he always seemed to have a point before. It was never simple offence, or if it was at least it was funny. This show is just disgusting.

Between rape, borderline racist, homophobic, disableist, and sexist jokes the show had little to no redeeming features. The stand up bits sometimes brought the shadow of a smile to my face, but nothing more. So I decided not to watch it. However, after I was done with SGU, I was left there with nothing to do. So I watched the third episode on 4OD (the internet watch again service from channel 4). I wasn’t disappointed it was a s awful as I imagined it would be. Just crass unfunny rude stuff. I didn’t watch Morgana though since that god awful first show and never will. I don’t know what’s wrong with Channel 4 comedy. They really need to rethink what they’re doing. They were a beacon that brought alternative comedy to the mainstream. Now they seem to be bringing back the 1970s, only with a lot more bullying and swear words.

Student Protests, Bad Comedy, and Beautiful Snow

Posted in Culture, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/12/2010 by arabrhizome

Well Tuesday was quite an interesting day. I woke up quite late, this was the first time my late nights had an effect on my waking up in a while. I knew that today was a national day of action by students against the new cuts and hikes in tuition fees. I turned on the tv to see what’s going on, I also had my twitter in front of me. The students in London were a lot more proactive this time around. When they started making their way to the houses of parliament and saw that the police were going to probably kettle them, they started running around the London streets making the police chase them.

It was fantastic to watch the police having trouble catching up with the students. There were protests and marches all over the country, including here in Nottingham. In fact, on Tuesday Nottingham uni went into occupation. The students are occupying the great hall. Here is their website, here’s their twitter account, and here;s their facebook page. They need the following items: we need washing up liquid & cloths, bedding, dongles for internet, electric heaters, food, art materials (paint/cloth/card/pens), 1st aid kit, music, films, money, books, games. If you’re around go visit them and donate what you can. Their in the great hall in the trent building. The management has cut off their internet as well as their heating. I think this is outrageous as we are experiencing extremely cold temperatures. In fact, the forecast for Thursday night is of -7.

I was so proud to see that students all over the country were willing to brave the very heavy snow and very cold weather to make themselves heard. Nick Clegg had sent a letter saying that these protests will dissuade poor kids from going to uni. It is very strange to see someone so self deluded and who has insured that his party will never get in power again. He is accusing the students of being the reason why poor kids won’t want to go to uni, rather than the trebling of fees and the fear of being in debt from so early on in their lives.

Anyway, the day ended with the police kettling students at Trafalgar square. It is quite disturbing to see how the police reacts to peaceful students standing up for their rights. I am very proud of these kids who are proving all the scheptics wrong by actually being politicised and caring about their future. A great number of universities are being occupied and the social networks have become the modern tools of rebellion and protest.

Throughout the day I had my curtains open and was watching the beautiful snow falling. I love snow. I can’t express how much I love it. It’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. It is one of the greatest things to experience. I know that it can be annoying for people who need to use their cars, etc. But it’s still lovely.

Anyway, later that evening I watched the new channel 4 comedy offerings. First on was Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights. Now I really liked him on Mock the Week, and I always felt that even though his comedy was often quite offensive, it always felt like it had some point to it. However, that show was horrible. He was clearly so intent on being edgy and pushing the envelop as far as possible that he forgot that he needed to be funny. There was a particularly horrible sketch in which he uses the F word to talk about gay people. There was no point to the sketch except to mock homosexuality and make it sound like it is wrong to be gay. I was really annoyed by it.

After that I watched the Morgana show. She basically has a series of characters and they’re supposed to be funny. I have to say that I didn’t laugh once, I didn’t even manage to smile. Most of characters were so cartoonish that there was absolutely no subtlety to the comedy. The laughter track, which was supposed to prompt us into laughing made it even worse. But the most horrible bit about is a character called Guilbert. Guilbert is a young boy who suffers from learning disabilities and that’s the joke. I was appalled.

For fuck’s sake we’re in the twenty first century and some channel 4 producers thought that it was okay to broadcast a homophobic sketch and a sketch mocking learning disability. As some of you remember, I was very critical of stand up for the week because it didn’t involve any real subtlety and seemed to be full of misogynistic and borderline racist comedy. Well stand up for the week is the epitome of subtlety compared to these two quite poor offerings by channel 4 comedy. I was very angry about what I had just witnessed and will not watch these shows again.

Bad Day of Tiredness

Posted in Me, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 01/11/2010 by arabrhizome

So I had a very bad sleep last night, even by my standards. I couldn’t sleep until an ungodly hour. By the way all hours are all ungodly since there is no god, just thought I’d point that out. Obviously I’m joking, I’m not there is no god or heaven or hell, when you die you die grow up. I’m of course only doing this for comic effect. No I’m not. Anyway, as you can tell I am in a bit of a mood today. The main reason was, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by an inaccurate turn of phrase, that I slept very late and for very little time. Also, the little bit of sleep I got was so unsatisfactory and unsettled that I woke up feeling very tired and cranky.

I went to uni in time to have lunch there and then felt so tired that I had to come back home to rest. I wasn’t going to be able to do any work at uni. I was so tired that I considered calling a cab to pick me up, but then I realised how completely ridiculous that would have been and so walked home. It took me a very long time to get home. I stayed home and rested. I slept a little bit in the afternoon and then went to sleep again rather early at 19:30, hoping to sleep until the morning. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and here I am typing this now. The thing is, if I had slept then I would have missed my daily post. So really waking up now is a blessing in disguise, especially for the tens, well ten, fans of this blog. That’s right you are fans whether you like it or not. I am not insecure.

So all this means that my sleeping pattern has been thrown out of whack again. Look at me using all this fancy language. I am probably not going to sleep before 5 or 6 tomorrow morning, although I have to be in uni by 12 since I have a supervision. I hate my stupid crazy body clock. I should be able to get it to work properly. Although it hasn’t worked properly since 1998. I am old. I don’t know what to do to get it fixed again. Maybe I should talk to my doctor again. I am seeing him on Wednesday, so I might as well bring it up with him. I just really don’t feel like taking sleeping pills, as I’m usually stoned all day because of them. I can’t be stoned all day, I have a thesis to write.

So these are the tales of my bad day of tiredness. They mainly involve me rambling on about stuff, offending religious people while I’m at it. It’s only because I’m sleepy really, I respect your right to believe anything you like. Even if it is a complete set of bullocks. I believe in bullocks as well. Everyone does, so chill. So that’s my word limit hit right there. Now, if you don’t mind, I will go and have a series of unsuccessful attempts at having a good night’s sleep. Bye.

Liverpool Part 3

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Food, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 20/08/2010 by arabrhizome

So I’m going to write this now rather than later. I have a lot of work to do you see and I need to get back to it after this. I thought that if I write it on the earlier side, then I’ll have the rest of the evening to finish my work. I have been writing all day today, but I’m not happy with what I’ve written so far. I’ll probably ditch it and rewrite it after this, I have a few ideas on how to improve it. Anyway, I promised you more from Liverpool, so here it comes. Although I have to say from now that this post will definitely be shorter than yesterday’s one.

After we got back to the hostel from Jamie’s restaurant I got online and wrote Liverpool Part 1. Wow, did you see how I incorporated writing the blog into writing the blog, I am so post-modern. Then I went straight to my bed and slept almost straight away. I woke up after a restful sleep and had breakfast with Z. It was alright, not excellent but not bad. Then I decided that I didn’t really feel like going to The Beatles Story after all. I think that The Beatles are great but I thought I’d rather pay to go into the special exhibition at the Tate.

So while A went there, Z and I walked around town and had coffee in the town centre. We decided to go to the maritime museum and the slavery museum. The basement at the maritime museum is amazing, especially if you are or have a kid. It’s all interactive stuff that make you really understand how things worked on the boats that took Europeans all over the world conquering and spreading disease and stuff. That’s right, I am satirising the colonisation of the new world, I am quite the topical satirist. Anyway, as Z and I go crazy for this kind of stuff, because really we are kids, we really enjoyed playing with all the stuff.

Then we went to the slavery museum, which is actually the last floor of the maritime museum. It was very interesting to see. Although I know most of the stuff there, Z is by far the more knowledgeable person as she taught this several times. It was very well done I thought. I found that it wasn’t condescending or silly. There was a proper clear moral judgement there and no pussy footing around the issue. There is one bit about racism in the UK today and they had pictures of the protests against political asylum seekers as an example of that racism. It is good to see that they were brave enough to call it what it is, racism. One bit was quite unbearable, and rightfully so. It’s a dark circular room with a movie being projected on all the walls. The movie is a recreation of what happened on the boats that forcefully moved people from Africa to the americas. You only see bound faces and figures vomiting and moaning. The sound was very disturbing. The images would shake and sway as if one is on the boat. It was very well done I thought.

Then we went to the Tate and visited the Special exhibition which was titled: Picasso: Peace and Freedom. It was incredible. To be walking around and looking at originals right there in front of your face was quite moving. The curating was very well done as well, as Z noted. The walls were coloured differently in each room, from light to dark shades, and you follow the paintings in this way, from light to dark. The idea of the exhibition was to expose Picasso as a political artist. It was focussed on his engagement with various anti-fascist and anti-colonialist struggles, as well as his engagement with peace movements. Anyway, all in all it was an excellent exhibit. The gift shop was a little bit of a disappointment though. But hey you can’t get everything.

Anyway, after that we went to the funky street in Liverpool and had a very nice noodle lunch. Also, we had them in those funky boxes that they eat Chinese from in American sitcoms and films. We’ve never eaten from these before and Z and I really wanted to. So that was nice. We bought a few things and then went into Waterstone’s because it started to rain and waited for the right time to go to the train station and get back to Nottingham. That’s pretty much my trip to Liverpool which was really very enjoyable, mostly. I really liked the city and think it could be a good place to live, if I find a job there.

Anyway, before I finish this post I want to talk about two things. First, I intentionally didn’t mention yesterday that the men with shaved heads were white before I explained that they were skinheads. I was making a point about the fact that whiteness is the norm, I know look at me again with my topical very cutting edge satire. It’s not like this point has been made since at least the 1960s. Second, and this is a bit more serious, on the first day we were in Liverpool we passed next to an army surplus store and looked from the outside at what they were selling. We were surprised to find a t-shirt that had in mock arabic script something like ‘beer drinking, pork eating, something something, infidel’. It was quite clearly made to offend Muslims. Now, there are plenty of offensive and annoying t-shirts around, also I don’t mind offending religious people. However, this was the army surplus store. So this t-shirt comes from the british army. That is very different, because it is doubly exclusionary. It means that the Muslims who serve in the army are not seen as proper brits because they don’t do all these things. And it is offensive to the Iraqi and Afghan people. Anyway, Z and I were very disturbed by that.

So that’s it. That’s my trip to Liverpool. I highly recommend visiting it if you get the chance. It is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, with a lot of culture around. I will go back at some point soon. I loved it. Now to go back to work.

Liverpool Part 2

Posted in about the blog, Culture, Food, Me, Silly Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19/08/2010 by arabrhizome

Well I am starting to write this post on my laptop in the train back from Liverpool. Since I don’t have internet access I’m writing it on Word and then will copy and paste it onto wordpress. I know! Don’t you love admin details? I will be sprinkling my posts with such fascinating info from now on, it’s important I think to introduce a bit of boring detail in order to counteract the excitement created by the new trailer feature that I have introduced. The point is I don’t want you all to burst too much with excitement, otherwise you might die of a heart attack and I’ll have one less hit on my blog. Anyway, later on today’s post: skinheads in a graveyard, untouchable participative art, Great food, all of that was done yesterday, and stay tuned to find out weather I’ll get to talk about what we did today as well or will there be a Liverpool part 3? You’ll have to wait and see, there will be a Liverpool Part 3, I will not tell you if there will be or not, there will be one, just wait to find out.

So I’m back on wordpress and at home now. So I talked about the cathedral yesterday and how nice it was, although I was pissed off at the fact that they get more money then they should. I didn’t talk about two things that happened: One, I pooped in a cathedral… In the loo not on the altar or anything! I am an atheist but not that militant! Second, there was an appeal thing from a group called ‘families fighting for justice‘. Now, I’ve never lost a family member or a loved one to a homicide, so I am talking from the outside (I must also mention that I have never committed any homicide of any sort, just to be clear). I was disturbed by their slogan ‘Life should mean life’. I don’t really know what that means. Is it a call for capital punishment or for life imprisonment? I am hoping it is the latter as that would be less disturbing. However I’m still not sure I would agree with a life sentence. I’ll probably blog about it in more detail at a latter time, but the main reason is that I hope prison would be rehabilitating rather than punishment. I am aware that it isn’t at the moment and that the whole institution should be rethought and restructured. Of course that would go hand in hand with a proper social critique and rearrangement that would deal with the reasons and causes of violence rather than the symptoms. But as I said this is supposed to be a light hearted-ish post so I’ll revisit this issue latter.

Anyway, when we got out of the cathedral we noticed that there was a nice looking and peaceful looking graveyard right next to it. So we thought we’d go down and look at the old gravestones, something Z and I really enjoy doing. I know it sounds a bit morbid, but it’s very interesting to see gravestones that date back to olden times. It’s a cheap and not real way of time travelling. Anyway, as we were going down the small footpath that leads to the graveyard, admiring the gravestones that were put on the sides we were passed by three emo looking teenagers and a man with a shaved head who had a dog. I remember thinking that when we were kids we used to think that going to drink at the cemetery was very cool, I thought the shaved head man was a little scary but I didn’t stick to it too much. I wonder what will happen? I didn’t give it away with the trailer… oh wait I did.

So as we got to the end of the winding footpath we saw two very drunk men (also with shaved heads) staggering up the footpath with a huge bottle of something (cider or beer I didn’t look too closely as drunk men with shaved head can become stabby in this country). Then we saw that what we though was a nice and calm graveyard was in fact full of men with shaved heads getting drunk and probably shooting up, there were some weird looking women as well. At this point we realised that this was a large group, or smaller individual groups, of skinheads who were using the graveyard for their inebriation. We quickly turned around, although not in a very obvious way as if we were running away from them, and slowly started going up the footpath back to civilisation and away from skinheads.

As we were going up there was a bit of commotion behind us. I had a quick look and saw that a man was shouting while a woman was egging him on. He started to walk quickly up the footpath, and I almost touched cloth (if you don’t know what touching cloth is google it and be prepared for a nice surprise). Then I heard what he was saying ‘if (someone’s name) drank that bottle I’ll fucking kick his head in the fucking bastard’ or words to that effect. I felt a bit better as his ire was clearly directed at someone else, probably one of the two men we saw staggering up. At the top of the footpath we saw him and the lady who was with him join the two men and have a laugh with them. We considered following them for a bit to see what wacky adventures they would have, but then thought that these adventures might end up with our photos in the paper next to a headline reading ‘Three fatal stabbing’.

After that we thought of going to the Beatles story, but the last entry was at 5 and I had to pee, so we missed it. We decided to go to the Tate instead. We were too late to go to the special exhibition, but had time to check out the actual permanent exhibit. The stuff that they have there is very very nice. But, and it’s a big but (and you know that I love big buts and I cannot lie… hahaha, I am funny), there were many pieces that were clearly meant to be interacted with they were behind glass or surrounded by rope with signs that say please do not touch. I was very cross about it. There was a door, that was clearly meant for the spectator to pass through, close and open, and generally interact with. However, we couldn’t even get near it, I passed through it a couple of times while the guard person was looking away. She was none the wiser. Haha I stuck it to authority, look at me and my anarchist rebellious acts.

One of the pieces that was behind glass (or plexi-glass) is a metal object that was created to be handled and made into different shapes by the audience. I was very cross that it was behind plexi-glass, especially when the description of the artist and piece made it clear that this was meant to be participative art. There were also two or three more pieces that should have been touched and interacted with, yet were behind glass or rope. That is just wrong. When this art was created, it was interesting and important because it was questioning the relationship of the artist, the art, and the audience. Yet by putting them in a traditional context of exposition behind glass the whole point is lost. I wanted to ask why they did that, and maybe even write a letter, but then decided not to do it. I think that writing about it here is nice, but I don’t know if it is enough. I still might write them a letter to complain.

After the Tate, we went to have a drink and then went to eat. We ate at the Jamie Oliver restaurant. Z and I are big fans of Jamie, as we love his approach to food and his engagement with various worthy political efforts. His quest to make school food better is a very worthy cause I think. Also, the fact that he gets the people who work in his restaurants from deprived areas and teach them useful skills is fantastic. The atmosphere at the restaurant was great. The staff looked like they were having the time of their lives working. They all had smiles on their faces and were joking around with each other. They kept dancing around and playing around when they were waiting for something or doing nothing. It felt like a great group of friends who happen to work together.

Then came the food… It was excellent. We had the selection of Italian breads and the wild boar salami at first. The breads were drizzled with olive oil and had some rosemary thrown on, a wonderful touch. The salami was more like saucisson sec and was full of flavour. Then, I had the lamb chops, they were gorgeous. The lamb itself was magnificent and it was cooked to perfection. Z had the fish in a bag, it was one of the best things I have ever tasted. The most interesting thing about this whole experience is that all of these foods are doable at home. They are all from his tv programs and books. I will try to recreate that fish in a bag because it was just unbelievable. I then had some ice cream at the end, and that was great as well. The ice cream was clearly made without any artificial colouring as the strawberry was barely pink, yet tasted just like the fruit. In the end, this lovely meal came out to 50-ish £. I think that’s absolutely fair enough. I would have been happy to pay more for such high quality of food and service.

Well, that went on for longer then I expected. No one can complain that I phone these posts in. Now that I’m thinking about it. I don’t think I have enough stuff to talk about in the next post. Oh no I’ve given it away there will be a Liverpool Part 3. Well I guess we’ll have to wait and see if I can manage to wriggle out a story or two about the whole day we spent in Liverpool. To be honest I don’t think I’ll be able to, yes I will, I guess you’ll have to tune in tomorrow to arabrhizome and find out. In the mean time I hope you all have a good night as I am getting ready to go to bed and have a rest from the very busy day I’ve had. Oh no I gave it away, it was a busy day, so a lot of things have happened, so I will be able to write a good post tomorrow. Anyway, good night.

Parental Rant

Posted in about the blog, Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 05/08/2010 by arabrhizome

Sorry I don’t think this will be a very long post as I am quite on edge. My mom is really making my life difficult. It’s nothing major, but she’s just getting on my nerves. She isn’t being straight with me about what she wants to do and what she doesn’t want to do. She clearly has something in mind to do but then pretends to be accommodating. However, she clearly gets pissed off when we don;t do what she wants. Also, everything is a struggle. She questions everything I say even when the evidence shows that I am right. For example, she wanted to have a beer with lunch but didn’t want to sit in a restaurant. I explained to her that cafes and small food places like pret-a-manger and others, where she wanted to sit and eat, don’t sell beer. She then started to explain to me that I was wrong. So I took her to a cafe and showed her that I was right. However, this only meant that this particular cafe didn’t have beer. So I decided to play along and dragged her around showing her a bunch of them. She finally accepted that I was right, even though clearly she still didn’t believe me.

As I said before, I love her she is my mother, but as a person I don’t think I like her. Also, I think I don’t have patience for stupidity anymore. I remember my mother as a smart independent woman. I don’t know if it’s age, but she has become a whiny, lazy, silly woman. She repeats the same thing over and over and over again. She refuses to accept that what is acceptable back in Lebanon is unacceptable here. Also, for a few years now she has developed a bigoted side to her that I really don’t have the patience for. I can’t accept it because I can’t accept bigotry in general, but more importantly because she is the one, along with my father, that taught me to fight these evil impulses.

I remember growing up in a house that used to be visited by artists, communists, Muslims, Christians, Jewish people, Atheists, feminists, and leftists of all forms and persuasions. So it is very hard for me to understand how she has lost that acceptance of difference that she has taught me to have. First, it was the classic arab trope of blaming the ‘Jews’. While it is unacceptable, I used to find the explanation for it, not the justification, in the horrible way in which israel behaves in Lebanon and Palestine. I used to sit and explain to her that it is wrong to say that it is the ‘Jews’ who are the problem, and that she needs to distinguish between Jewish people, and even israelis, and zionists. I used to spend hours using reasonable arguments to express the fact that zionism as a racist, colonial, and imperialist ideology is the thing we need to fight. However, clearly it all served absolutely no purpose.

Her stay in Lebanon amongst very racist and bigoted people has clearly had an effect on her. She now says horrible things without thinking about them. The main problem I have ascertained is that she seems to have lost the ability to think about what she is going to say before she says it. So she says things that are clearly bigoted and horrible, but without malice, it is sheerly out of silliness and lack of thought. The problem is I don’t have the energy to sit and give rational arguments anymore, especially since they have had no effect what so ever. But on the other hand, I will not agree with a racist or bigoted statement out of politeness. I will call her out on it every time she says anything that is wrong.

As an example, in the cab today the conversation got to whether a certain actress was gay or not. And she said ‘you know who turned out to be gay? That funny actress Ellen…’. To which I replied ‘yeah Ellen DeGeneres. She is gay’. She then said ‘well since I learned this I stopped liking her’. I first tried to be intelligent about it and started ironically stating racist stereotypes as truths. I said ‘yeah and black people are all lazy. Arabs just want to blow everyone up. Jewish people are cheap. Women are stupid and are only good for staying at home’. But that strategy didn’t seem to work as she replied ‘it’s not the same thing’. Again I was stunned as she is one of the first people to teach me that all oppression is the same. So I started getting angry and said ‘of course it’s the same. Hating someone for their colour or gender or sexual orientation are equally wrong. Otherwise it is nothing more than bigotry’, and I left it at that so as not to lecture her.

I just feel sometimes that she has regressed and is now a teenager. The problem is she’s a petulant, spoilt, annoying know-it-all, even though she’s got most of it wrong, teenager. I have to tell her things that would be obvious to anyone who is not completely new to social life. I keep having to tell her not to point at people, or speak loudly on the phone in public spaces, or a million other things, and I am tired. I have realised that 2 weeks is too long. Next time she should come for a week or 10 days at most. I can put up with most of her bad behaviour for that long, because my missing her allows me to do that. However, more than that and I can’t anymore. The thing that bothers me most is that I know she is better than this. She has been through hell and has given me all the opportunities that have led me here. So seeing her loose all those characteristics that for most of my life I have admired about her is really hard to stomach. I only hope that now that she is retired, she might stop acting so badly and pull herself together, although I’m not holding my breath either.

Oh look, it ended up being quite a long rant. This blog is really useful, if only as a venting space. I should rant a bit more often. I like ranting. It’s good for the soul I think, even though there is no such thing as the soul of course. It helps because it avoids bottling up things and turning them into resentment and hatred. I shall try to rant more often, although I will try to introduce a bit more comedy into them, if I can. Having said that, I just re-read what I wrote and I think I can put in some jokes in that and turn it into a decent routine. I can’t wait to try out some open mic nights next year. I think it will be good for me to know if I am cut out for it or not. I believe I am, but it would be good to know for sure.