The University of Reality

It seems that every expectation becomes diluted when reality reaps its poison onto it, rotting all your dreams, all your hopes and all your wishes into an abyss of decay.  The dream of University has entered this abyss, it has been tainted by reality, and what a revelation! University is just another part of that corporate journey, leading you onto the 9-5 which in fact actually “doesn’t exist any more, you’ll find you spend all day and night at your job, so enjoy your spare time now”(says my lecturer Stephen Morton, wouldn’t want to plagiarise now would we?)- and that’s what we have to look forward to after the 3 year struggle we have ahead to procure either a 1:1 or 2:1 (which I’ve been advised we must get otherwise we WILL be unemployed). And I question myself again, is that it? Is that all I have to look forward to?

Foolishly, perhaps, I thought University would be something different- an eye-opening experience, and it has been, it has revealed all the grim realities about life that I hoped were not true: we are born, we are raised, we make money, we contribute to ‘society’, we die. But I still hope for more, I scramble around in the darkness looking for some form of hope… some may say this is childish but I refuse to believe that this is all I have to live for.

I wanted to meet people with passion who cared about something, people like me. But all I am is isolated, questioning how people can settle for this, can think that this is good enough. I don’t want to be trained to be the perfect citizen, with transferable skills, lack of opinion and a willingness to do anything, charitable to some extent so that it looks good, but predominantly selfish: the idyllic robot of the corporate machine. I want to break free of this restraints and find myself not turn into another replica of the ideal.  I don’t want to be a base creature, living off pathetic pleasures, I want to be more than that.”It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied” after all. I’ll remain unsatisfied if that’s the cost- I just thought this would be different.

Nothing changes.

Being induced into University was more than reminiscent of the induction into A Level studies, and the induction into GCSEs before that and the induction into secondary school that preceded that. It’s getting a bit fucking repetitive, don’t you think?

I feel pretty sedated by it all right now.



Is everything just a means to an end?

Is life merely a succession of milestones that we pass and then die?

We all seem to be heading the same way. We start off with dreams and hopes and an idea that there’s something out there worth living for. Then we go to school, we’re fed ideas that we can be whatever we want to be: but can we? Can the 4 year old little girl who’s already had a difficult start in life really become prime minister? The reality is that she can’t and it doesn’t take long for even her to realise that.

We follow the current and find ourselves at university, studying a degree that someone else has told us will be useful, meeting someone else’s expectations but not our own. We graduate, resigned to the fact that our dreams have turned to ashes, with no flickering embers of hope left that we will somehow achieve greatness and we wonder ‘now what?’ We find someone, fall in love if we’re lucky or just settle. The resounding ticking noise in your head gets louder telling us it’s time to get married and start a family, or is that just the familiar noise of society pressuring us to follow the norm?

You plough on, you’re not an individual any more you’re a family, part of a unit. You’ve settled, ‘this will do’ says the voice in the back of your head whilst the 4 year old version of yourself screams that this is not enough.

Is that really it?

Money Never Sleeps

How much money something produces isn’t a measure of worth or success: it’s an indication of greed and consumerism, something that that shouldn’t be cared for, let alone respected. Talk of balanced budgets, deficits and recessions would be devoid without the concept of money.  Money is something that humanity has inflicted upon itself; it tortures, it kills, it destroys. Everything we do involves money, whether it is spending it, receiving it, waiting for it, counting it and always worrying about it. The obsession with balancing the budget, decreasing the deficit, working even at a surplus is ridiculous: this sacrifices our own happiness. Money is still used to enslave the lower classes (yes, I’m going to refer to classes, no use in pretending that they no longer exist), it’s used as bait to reel us all in and keep us in tow. The importance of money is fed to us throughout childhood so that by the time we reach adolescence we have that want, that desire for money.

What even is money in the first place? Is it just a piece of paper? A coin? It represents something but what exactly: oppression?

The idea that money is the ultimate goal is ingrained within our genome, childhood dreams obliterated and replaced with the image of riches, wealth and the power that this so unethically entails. But money isn’t real it’s nothing but an idea. This is illustrated by Gilbert Ryle’s theory of a ‘category mistake’, a mistake in the use of language, which is highlighted by the scenario in which someone requests ‘can you show me the money?’  and is inevitably presented with coins or notes, the statement ‘can you show me the money?’ is a category mistake as there’s no such thing as money, it’s just a representation of an idea, in a similar way to Russell’s example of a student visiting a university; looking around the buildings such as the halls of residence, lecture halls and library but then asking ‘but where’s the university?’ as if it is a separate entity, it clearly isn’t: the ‘university’ as an entity does not exist and neither does the ‘money’.

Economically, how does having a balanced budget, or functioning in a deficit impact the average person? Although it may be assumed that working in a deficit instantaneously entails cuts to healthcare, education and the like, contrastingly working in a deficit can permit increased expenditure on public works, health care and education: the main sectors that affect OUR lives, rather than cutting them to create balance and a neat little figure on a spreadsheet.

Who actually gives a fuck? Being in debt is shameful? As is taxing the old, leaving people homeless and denying people happiness.Get a fucking grip and live a little, don’t waste time worrying about how facts and figures measure up on a spreadsheet and care about what’s real.

Legitimate Rape?

How the term ‘legitimate rape’ can ever be uttered astounds me. ‘Legitimate’? How can rape be illegitimate? – Of course you get those rare scenarios where a woman claims rape where she is cheating, or for whatever reason: but really the term ‘legitimate rape’ should never be used. Rape is rape and that’s it. There’s no disputing that. What’s even more detrimental in this debate upon the term ‘legitimate rape’ is that it was coined by the Missouri appointed senate nominee and member of the House of Representatives, Todd Akin, who claims that ‘legitimate rape’ should never lead to pregnancy. Akin’s ‘theory’ is that during legitimate rape the female’s biological defences work to prevent pregnancy. Rape is sex- sex leads to pregnancy: simple. You can’t make these ridiculous excuses- I’m sorry but Mr Akin what the fuck would you know about female rape? It’s appalling that this pathetic excuse is being used to try and justify the pro-life attitude of many Republicans so that basically even if I’m beaten horrendously, raped savagely, and then fall pregnant this is not rape and therefore I cannot have an abortion. I am left with the memories and product of this savage attack: which benefits Mr Akin in no way, neither does the abortion of this foetus- so why does he, and other Republicans care so much? It’s a point of principle: controlling and restricting women is just what men love to do, this is a matter that has nothing to do with them, something that they can never understand. Us women would never prevent or make men have a vasectomy, I’m sure they’d find it pretty ludicrous if we did, so why should they try and impose on our rights? More importantly why should other women impose on our rights? This attitude is only pushing us backwards as a society rather than forwards. Equality and human rights should be cherished not opposed upon by Republicans and Conservatives and that is legitimate.

American Psycho

The coverage of the 20th of July cinema shooting was more than extensive. Almost everyone can recall the crazed look, orange hair and those eyes of 24 year old James Holmes; former neuroscience PhD student and murderer. But what about the even more recent Sikh temple shooting? The face of Wade Michael Page should haunt us too, but the media has not contrived him of the lunacy that James Holmes abhors; although each act equally cries lunatic, fanatic and pure evil. James Holmes was motivated by pure insanity, randomly killing innocent people with no particular reason. Maybe this is what makes us more scared? These are everyday people, visiting the cinema, just like us. No particular age, gender or race was targeted which in the media has fuelled more fear. However, Wade Michael Page is motivated by hatred and racism to an exclusive group: Sikhs. This kind of behaviour is not unbeknown to us, and for the majority we are not part of this group. In adherence to this, media coverage on the Cinema shooting completely outweighs that of the Sikh Temple shooting. But is this right?

America, a country never celebrated for it’s acceptance of other races simple disregards this shooting as another racist attack- nothing different from the lynchings of Black Americans in the 1920s, the mistreatment of Native Americans and the restrictions upon certain ‘types’ of immigrants also in the 1920s. When will they ever move onwards? Even our own media reflects this idea though; the notoriously right wing Daily Mail have put stories about fraudsters and benefit cheats above a serious and shocking incident: the Sikh Temple shooting. However, the Daily Mail had the story on the Cinema shooting as front page news and have followed it meticulously since. This difference in coverage is wrong. Both stories should be treated equally.

The only difference that I can highlight is that of race and this is something that we should be more scared of: 

this blasé attitude towards racist acts.

The Drugs Don’t Work

I remember a few years ago when I could affirm that I did not know anyone that did drugs, had never been offered drugs, or even seen them. A couple of years later and everyone’s a casual drug user. People who you thought had back bone and self respect are just another pill pusher. I find it hard to comprehend why someone would want to put an unidentified pill, powder, plant- whatever, into their bodies. For what? A high- a low? the kick that it gives you knowing that you’re just killing yourself? It makes no sense.

The worst part is that young drug users are too egotistical to even think that they might get addicted. Addiction is for low-lifes, the unemployed, the lower class. Addiction is only correlated to these stereotypes because this is a cause of drug abuse. Those who become addicted to drugs don’t start out as low-lifes; they start out as anybody and then dissolve into addictive turmoil leading to the loss of pretty much everything: family, home, health and even the use of vital organs.

On the other hand there’s the glossy glorification of drugs in the upper classes. The rich banker and cocaine snorter. But that’s okay, we as a society can accept that. As long as it doesn’t bother us or riddle our streets then everyone turns a blind eye. Someone who took drugs to be part of the ‘crowd’ to be ‘popular’ gets pushed aside by society as soon as this recreational use turns into the wrong type of addiction. So, that ket, weed, pill, powder, injection doesn’t seem as ‘fun’ or acceptable now, does it?

To be honest, it probably does, and this is too late for you: you’re addicted.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve: the drugs won’t fucking work.

‘Leftie Multi-Cultural Crap’

One can be as cynical as they want about the Olympic opening ceremony including the suitability of it’s expense in this ever deepening recession. However, perhaps a display of what is quintessentially British was what was needed to remind us that, although we’ve fucked up, we have a lot to be proud of. After all, money is money but happiness; that is something else. I’d like to think that the Olympic opening ceremony made people happy and if that costs 27million quid then so be it. Restoration of pride is what is needed in Britain to remind people that, although David Cameron wants to cut the NHS, we have something great going on here. Mr Cameron: take a look at the Olympic Ceremony and realise what makes US proud to be British and don’t attempt to sabotage something that is so defining of our country. Leftie multi-cultural pride.

Fifty Shades of Fucked Up

The frenzy surrounding the Fifty Shades Trilogy is saturating society. I myself, becoming entranced by such hype bought myself the first book: Fifty Shades of Grey. Now I see the frenzy. It is an easily accessible holiday book giving women the thrill they lack in reality. But does the plot not seem somewhat familiar? Fifty Shades of Grey is just a rewrite of Twilight. People may gasp at this comparison, but read between the lines (to be honest you don’t even need to go that far) and you’ll see it yourself. The socially awkward protagonist, propelled into a world previously unbeknown, be that S&M or Vampires- it’s all pretty arousing and violent either way. The role of both Christian Grey and Edward are very similar. They both want to protect Bella and Ana from their own demons and are portrayed as somewhat domineering throughout each book. Both female characters seem to ‘change’ the male, and bring him something that he has not experienced before. Although these examples may be deemed as common plot leads, there are more similarities. Christian’s dislike of Ana’s old beetle is somewhat reflective of Edward’s fear of Bella driving her own beaten truck and the eminence of love rivals is another similarity with Jose and Michael posing a threat to Christian and Edward’s efforts. All in all these are both stories about a woman giving up everything for a man- why is this so appealing to women?

I feel increasingly antagonised by this plot in Fifty Shades of Grey rather than in Twilight, after all the latter is simply a teen book; I expect a lot more from an adult novel. E L James’ attempts to portray Ana as some sort of heroine through reference to her subconscious or her “inner goddess” just makes me cringe with embarrassment at this literary faux pas- the term cliche springs to mind. I find it almost offensive that James attempts to justify the abuse that Ana is undergoing from and for Christian (yes, abuse- it is very clear that she does not enjoy half of the sexual acts including the spanking) by suggesting that this is pleasing Ana’s “inner goddess”. Is the term “inner goddess” just another form of female submission? This is something that female writers should be propelling us out of rather than into.

Overall the plot is poor- purely a sexed up, fucked up Twilight, the character’s are unrelatable and underdeveloped, and the creation of ‘darkness’ is weak (so his mother was a crack whore, how does that justify his obsession with S&M?). It is safe to say that I will not be reading more.