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annwfyn: (mood - dragonish warning)
Random and interesting theory.

Human beings are not motivated by being good, or being bad, or being greedy.

Human beings are largely motivated by habit and short cuts. Read more... )
annwfyn: (Mood - owl raised brow)
Goodness. One obnoxiously smug article refuted by another. Actually, I think the second article annoys me more. Mostly because people being happy is generally less irritating than being bitter. But both seem pretty certain that everyone wants the same things.

How about we take away from this the following life lessons.

Read more... )
annwfyn: (Misc - hedgehog & fox)
So, I was on a course on communication yesterday. As I’m a charity fundraiser, my course was all about how to communicate with people until they give you money, but as I sat there it occurred to me that I probably ought to be trying to learn more about how to communicate with people the rest of the time too.


And then I thought the rest of you might be interested in it, particularly the stuff about persuading people and bringing them over to your point of view, as I know a lot of you guys are activist types.

1)      Don’t overwhelm with facts. This is definitely my flaw in all online debates. If in doubt, I find a lot of numbers and throw them at the screen. I think this ought to work, but apparently, it actually doesn’t. There have been various studies suggesting that people tend to make an emotional decision first and then look to facts to support that viewpoint. And a quote for you – ‘logic makes people think, emotion makes them act’. So you need a narrative first that clicks with people and then use your facts sparingly to back that up.


2)      A positive narrative has more impact than a negative narrative. There are also studies which show that the bigger and nastier and more overwhelming a problem, the more likely it is that someone will ignore it. Telling anyone that the world is awful is statistically unlikely to get people to stand up and fight and more likely to make them feel a bit crappy and decide to give up on everything and have cake. You need to provide a positive narrative – the normal charity narrative is ‘there is this bad thing. We did the good thing. Now we are on the way to happy ever after’.


3)      Give people a call to action. Generally, 90% of people out there would like to make the world a better place but aren’t quite sure how. This, randomly, is why clicktivism and the like tends to be very successful – it’s a very clearly defined and attainable call to action. And while clicktivism isn’t necessarily hugely successful in terms of impact per person, there are some examples of how it’s achieved an awful lot just through weight of numbers. In financial terms, 10 people giving £100 each are doing a lot more than 10,000 giving £1 each in terms of the cost to each donor. But the £1 donors can sometimes produce more money just through weight of numbers. See – ice bucket challenge, the advertisers pulling out from the Daily Mail etc. So if you can find a call to action every time you engage with someone, even if it’s little, it’s not a bad thing.


4)      No one starts out a major donor. I think this is the same with activism in all its forms. Pretty much no one goes from ‘blindly unexamined privilege and voting for Teresa May’ to ‘manning the barricades’ after one fierce argument on facebook followed up by solitary googling. In fundraising we talk about the donor journey – from suspect (doesn’t really know much about the cause, might be open to hearing it exists) to prospect (isn’t donating, but is interested in finding out more, knows about what we do and supports us in theory) to donor (is donating, usually small and affordable amounts that won’t affect them hugely, may or may not talk about the cause to their friends, but understands our cause and supports us) to major donor (gives significant amounts that may impact on their own finances. Has made a commitment, has made us a priority) to advocate (gives significant amounts of time and money, reaches out to many people in their community on our behalf, has made us a major priority and is a leading figure in the cause). The thing we remember is that we need all of those people in our community – people at every stage of the donor journey. This means that when people fall back or drop off the journey (as is normal) others can step up. And some people will never progress that far and that’s OK – they are all contributing. I think that’s needed in activism too. Some people need to spend time as a prospect – not going on Black Lives Matter marches, but wearing a safety pin. Some people need to settle at donor – they might give some of their time and money to a cause, by donating food to a food bank to combat poverty, for example, but they won’t push. And that’s also OK. I think there is a tendency in social justice movements to constantly shame people for not doing enough and that is actually super counterproductive. Yes, some people may be inspired by that and fight on to do more, but that isn’t a normal human response.


5)      Don’t argue to the death. Make a point and leave people to think about it. Changing someone’s mind is a slow process and normally occurs over a number of encounters. Another reason why internet dog piles are so useless – overwhelming conversation over a short period of time isn’t helpful. A drip drip approach is much more likely to work.


6)      Listen as well as talk. If you can’t find anything to agree with in what someone says, you’re probably not the right person to be talking to them. Leave them be and find someone else to engage. Unless you have common ground you are very unlikely to get anywhere.


7)      Use examples and case studies. Use personal stories. People respond much more to them than they do to numbers – it’s called ‘the identifiable victim effect’. But you need to make these stories relatable. One of the case studies we looked at was a woman suffering from very complex mental health problems. The case study barely mentioned them. It just talked about how the charity had helped her reconnect with her children. It didn’t ask us to look at her as a patient. It asked us to identify with her as a mother and I think that’s really important. It’s also why I think campaigns like the LGBT campaign for equal marriage rights has been so successful – ultimately, most people can identify with a narrative that says “I met someone I really love and wants to get married” and it’s very hard to argue against that without looking like a horrible person. It’s a really common (if not universal) story. It’s far harder if you start off by saying “these people are totally different to you, but you have to support them anyway”. People don’t emotionally engage with the alien and if they aren’t emotionally engaged, they are far less likely to act. I also don’t think it’s true – everyone has a human story. Focus on that.


8)      Bring the issue as close to home as possible. Remind people that you aren’t talking about aliens – an Oxfam campaign about women farmers took off massively after they found a young female farmer in the Hebrides to act as the face for their campaign in Scotland. She went to the Scottish parliament with Oxfam reps and brought in £8million of funding for women farmers worldwide. A young woman from Bangladesh would have been unlikely to have that impact. If you’re talking about racism to people in the UK, don’t just talk about police brutality in South Central LA. Talk about the Met police, for example. And, again, remember that no one will do anything to support the Other.


9)      Assess your audience and objective. And there’s nothing wrong with going for a quick win. The WWF know this. That’s why they put pictures of the panda everywhere. No one cares if a bug goes extinct. This is also my massive flaw in argument. I become enraged by simplification and try and explain, at length, complex and contradictory and messy nuance. But it’s far less persuasive. Sometimes you need to give a streamlined message.


10)   Put your audience in the story. Sometimes you can be broad with this – one campaign tagline was ‘calling all former children’. It sounds silly, but it works. Remind them ‘this could happen to you’. Humans care, but humans are ultimately selfish. You need to harness this to your advantage.


And this stuff works everywhere – if you’re talking about Black Lives Matter, or Jeremy Corbyn, or Scottish Independence. Because really, it’s about persuasion. And people’s brains work the same all over. Obviously, sometimes you might get into a fight that isn’t about persuading – it’s about stigmatising certain kinds of behaviour, certain lines of speech – and I get that. Sometimes it’s just that you’re hurt and angry and fed up and want to let people know. I get that too. But we need to be honest about what is genuinely effective and what isn’t. I don’t promise that any of this will work. But I can say this is the stuff that has science behind it. And I like science. 
annwfyn: (Mood - Sally fits)
Oh Guardian. Oh, Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/12/millennial-baby-boomer-trade-places-stab-envy

1) I'm not entirely sure that life in the 1950s and 1960s was actually all that awesome. Yes, there was free university education. And around 25,000 young people per year took that up, the vast majority of which came from a private school background. There were a number of bright kids from council estates who passed the 11+ and went to Oxford, but they were always a small minority, who's voices have been massively over-represented. And yes, house prices were a lot cheaper, but for most of that time period, that only helped men, as married woman, in particular, weren't even allowed a mortgage for most of that period. I'd also suggest that for a lot of people, the 1950s and 1960s were pretty shitty. If you were queer and your sexuality was illegal. If you weren't white. If you were a woman who had got pregnant unexpectedly before 1967, or a woman who wanted to say "no" to sex with her husband, as marital rape actually only became a crime in 1991.

Oh, and people had MH problems in the 1950s and 1960s too. Only back then, there wasn't much in the way of decent treatment. Lithium, the oldest and clunkiest of the bipolar treatments, wasn't approved for psychiatric use until 1970. Until then, you could stay at home and your family could do their best to look after you, or, if you had a major episode, you could be institutionalized, possibly for a very long time. Most anti-depressants weren't about and if you had hallucinations or delusions you got a blanket diagnosis of schizophrenia and long term incarceration. Yes, millennials suffer from high levels of anxiety. But they have WAY more options when it comes to dealing with them.

2) I'm also unconvinced that artistic and not-techie people are confined to the over-60s now. There are young people running stalls in craft markets. I've met them. There are young people working as teachers, as artists, as writers. And there are points which can be made about job insecurity/comparative salaries/cost of living etc but I don't think this article makes them. It just says "the baby boomers could be artistic. We can't". Well, actually, a lot of people do. Also, Lucy writer person, you are a journalist. You have a creative job. Stop citing your friend who works in customer service.

3) This article is achingly London centric and I think it is massively undercutting the entire point. London isn't the whole of the UK. What is true in London is not a deeply profound point about the state of the generations. I bow to no one in my deep seated affection for our capital. I think it's an awesome city and also not populated by puppy kickers. But I do think the narrative that is pushed about housing/wages etc is massively skewed by London. London housing prices are insane. And yes, they screw everything up. But that's not a comment on baby boomer vs millennial. It's a comment on the fucked up London housing market. Lucy and her boyfriend have to pay £1500 per month for a room in a shared flat? THAT DOES NOT EXIST IN HUGE SWATHES OF THE COUNTRY! IT IS NOT A GENERATIONAL ISSUE! IT IS A LONDON ISSUE! BE HONEST ABOUT THIS FACT!

The housing market in London is scary. That it is causing a ripple effect throughout the south east is scarier and it is something that should be discussed. But discuss it for what it is. Don't say "millennials can't buy houses because they have to pay £1500 per month for rent". The rent on my last flat (which was a lovely three bed in a perfectly nice bit of Glasgow) was £620 per month.

4) Why are the Guardian incapable of writing these articles comparing the lives of people from different demographics who aren't, you know, also middle class London dwelling Guardian journalists? It is always two of their columnists who compare lives and that surely is a pretty rarefied demographic to begin with.

5) University fees and housing costs are a massive issue and I think are going to contribute massively to increasing class immobility. I do think that. Please don't think I am not. But writing stupid articles about how everything was lovely and easy for the happy Bohemian types who went to university in 1955 compared to the put upon and oppressed kids born after 1985 is annoying. Each generation has its own crosses to bear, its own mountains to climb. And that doesn't mean that those problems aren't problems, and should be addressed, but address them for what they are. I like accuracy in my journalism, not emotional manipulation.

(That was rather long. Sorry. You may now all tell me why I'm wrong.)
annwfyn: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard at If you only do one thing today...

Dear UK Flisters,

I know I'm preaching to the choir with you guys when it comes to LGBT equality, but believing something is fair and actually doing something about it doesn't always follow like it should. Besides, sometimes it's kinda hard to know what to do which would be helpful. So here's a little (and slightly preachy) reminder!!

Three things I'd like you all to do at some point over the day today (if you haven't already)

1/ Go here and sign the C4EM's petition for marriage equality. This is the simplest and probably most visible way to show your support. It currently has 60,000 signatures -- the petition against (by C4M) has over 500,000!!!

2/ Go here and fill out the government's consultation. It might take a little bit longer, but you can bet that for every pro-person who doesn't find the time, there will be dozens of 'anti' people who will.

3/ Email your MP. There's a handy template there for you to use so you don't even have to think of what to say. Also, you can go here to see where your MP stands on the issue. A hugely important thing to do because the majority of MPs will be voting with their conscience rather than following the party line, so make sure you let yours know your feelings.

4/ Okay, so I lied. There's actually a fourth thing. And that is simply spread the word. The consultation ends in two days - it's our last chance to get as many people mobilised as possible. So tweet it, Facebook, blog it, beat your friends and family around the head with it until they give in!!! And if you want to repost to your own journal (and please feel free to edit), here's an ever-so helpful button

annwfyn: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] seph_hazard at If you only do one thing today...

Dear UK Flisters,

I know I'm preaching to the choir with you guys when it comes to LGBT equality, but believing something is fair and actually doing something about it doesn't always follow like it should. Besides, sometimes it's kinda hard to know what to do which would be helpful. So here's a little (and slightly preachy) reminder!!

Three things I'd like you all to do at some point over the day today (if you haven't already)

1/ Go here and sign the C4EM's petition for marriage equality. This is the simplest and probably most visible way to show your support. It currently has 60,000 signatures -- the petition against (by C4M) has over 500,000!!!

2/ Go here and fill out the government's consultation. It might take a little bit longer, but you can bet that for every pro-person who doesn't find the time, there will be dozens of 'anti' people who will.

3/ Email your MP. There's a handy template there for you to use so you don't even have to think of what to say. Also, you can go here to see where your MP stands on the issue. A hugely important thing to do because the majority of MPs will be voting with their conscience rather than following the party line, so make sure you let yours know your feelings.

4/ Okay, so I lied. There's actually a fourth thing. And that is simply spread the word. The consultation ends in two days - it's our last chance to get as many people mobilised as possible. So tweet it, Facebook, blog it, beat your friends and family around the head with it until they give in!!! And if you want to repost to your own journal (and please feel free to edit), here's an ever-so helpful button

annwfyn: (Mood - pondering fox)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2012/apr/02/michael-mansfield-miscarriages-of-justice-video

A quite uncomfortable video about miscarriages of justice, and, specifically, what the government is doing to make them more likely.
annwfyn: (Mood - pondering fox)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2012/apr/02/michael-mansfield-miscarriages-of-justice-video

A quite uncomfortable video about miscarriages of justice, and, specifically, what the government is doing to make them more likely.
annwfyn: (Mood - owl raised brow)


This is really really interesting. Do watch it.
annwfyn: (Mood - owl raised brow)


This is really really interesting. Do watch it.
annwfyn: (seasonal - october)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.


annwfyn: (seasonal - october)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.


annwfyn: (tarot - the devil)
I have realized now that one of my A levels, all of my degree, and a great deal of my academic reading has actually been a total waste of time.

All those essays could have been boiled down as follows:


    The French Revolution

    Once again, we see how generations of soft touch monarchs spoilt the youth of France, meaning that a bunch of entitled young yobs had no respect for law and order. The Comte de Mirabeau should have felt ashamed of himself for trying to make excuses for these thugs. Clearly the best solution would have been to send in the Musketeers.

    (Maybe with an extra side essay on Marie Antoinette’s fabulous 1789 wardrobe, with a quick debate on whether or not it was showing a little too much cleavage, and an appendix on ‘Great Cake Recipes of the 1780s’)

    The Russian Revolution

    Frankly, there is no need to explain or understand the mindset of that bunch of Bolshevik thugs. Lots of people have their brothers executed and don’t decide to start communist revolutions. The Cossacks were doing their best under very difficult circumstances and should have received a great deal more public support.

    (I could have added some extra pictures on those lovely lace frocks that the Grand Duchesses used to wear to balls, and maybe a little bit more on the 1916 Fabergé collection. It was filled with Must Haves that year, and no mistake!)

    The New York Draft Riots

    There was no psychology at play here at all. Instead, we simply see a bunch of criminals doing what criminals do. Lincoln should have drafted them all into the army.


Any more? I am now feeling inspired by the press to really get started on this new common sense, voice of the people, version of history. I really don’t know why I wasted my time on all this total nonsense about reaction, and reform, and economic pressures and wider social change in the past, when I could have been focusing instead on a simple Manichean struggle (with extra pictures of pretty dresses) all along.
annwfyn: (tarot - the devil)
I have realized now that one of my A levels, all of my degree, and a great deal of my academic reading has actually been a total waste of time.

All those essays could have been boiled down as follows:


    The French Revolution

    Once again, we see how generations of soft touch monarchs spoilt the youth of France, meaning that a bunch of entitled young yobs had no respect for law and order. The Comte de Mirabeau should have felt ashamed of himself for trying to make excuses for these thugs. Clearly the best solution would have been to send in the Musketeers.

    (Maybe with an extra side essay on Marie Antoinette’s fabulous 1789 wardrobe, with a quick debate on whether or not it was showing a little too much cleavage, and an appendix on ‘Great Cake Recipes of the 1780s’)

    The Russian Revolution

    Frankly, there is no need to explain or understand the mindset of that bunch of Bolshevik thugs. Lots of people have their brothers executed and don’t decide to start communist revolutions. The Cossacks were doing their best under very difficult circumstances and should have received a great deal more public support.

    (I could have added some extra pictures on those lovely lace frocks that the Grand Duchesses used to wear to balls, and maybe a little bit more on the 1916 Fabergé collection. It was filled with Must Haves that year, and no mistake!)

    The New York Draft Riots

    There was no psychology at play here at all. Instead, we simply see a bunch of criminals doing what criminals do. Lincoln should have drafted them all into the army.


Any more? I am now feeling inspired by the press to really get started on this new common sense, voice of the people, version of history. I really don’t know why I wasted my time on all this total nonsense about reaction, and reform, and economic pressures and wider social change in the past, when I could have been focusing instead on a simple Manichean struggle (with extra pictures of pretty dresses) all along.
annwfyn: (Mood - pottering hedgehog)
I have two semi-connected rambles to post, which seem to have taken totally different directions and will probably make me look like a stinking hypocrite.

The international response to the London riots.

I find it darkly amusing that Iran and Pakistan are expressing concerns about human rights and the government’s need to listen and understand.

I'm also raising an eyebrow at the Daily Mail's insistence that it is actively irresponsible to, in any way, suggest that the riots may have anything to do with the cuts. Half of the Guardian's CiF seem to agree. I can't help but feel the urge to comment that whilst the kids in hoodies who are looting for Nike trainers probably aren't doing it as a part of a complex and well thought through political strategy, there were no mass riots in London prior to the cuts. And, in fact, the last lot of riots on this scale were, in fact, in London in 1981, when there was also a recession and a Tory government.

I also believe that if you tell poor people constantly that they are scum, that they don't deserve homes, or jobs, or any kind of safety net, and that things will not get better, then they might actually listen.

And yes, Daily Mail. I am talking to you.

Elsewhere, I have also stumbled across all the drama surrounding a US couple’s ’Hobo’ themed wedding.

For those who want a quick summary, a couple of people in the US were getting married, and decided to have a theme wedding (which, as a note, I have been totally a fan of, ever since I encountered the first ‘Harry Potter’ wedding where guests got wands instead of favours. Friends in committed relationships, please take note!) and as their theme took some kind of pseudo-1930s setting, whereby they and their guests apparently turned up to re-enact the Great Depression as portrayed in The Journey of Natty Gann. The groom wore dungarees, the guests feasted on 'moonshine', and had a giant big BBQ and there were cute vintage clothes all round.

Afterwards, flushed with contentment, they posted their wedding pictures on Etsy, only to find that not everyone found their wedding really as cute as they did. In fact, it featured in on a snark blog, and was thoroughly bitched about for having a wedding which took 'poor people' as its theme when the bride and groom weren't really poor, and, in fact, spent $15,000 on their wedding when there were people leaving comments on the blog who only earn $2.99 per year, and who's grandmother was a hobo who had to eat her own children to survive and they crawled over broken glass to leave those internet comments and don't they see how offensive it all is! (or something like that).

As you may be able to tell, my sympathy wasn't entirely with these outraged commentators. First of all, Weddings cost a lot of money. Like...a lot. This couple spent around £9k on their wedding, which, in all honesty, is pretty small for a proper big wedding. And I don't care if you got married for £50 wearing a dress you bought from Oxfam on the way there, shortly before eating a Gregg's pasty for your reception dinner. Congratulations! You had a small cheap wedding. I'm sure someone out there can tell you that they got married for £2.99, wearing a dress made out of broken glass and with a reception dinner made up of cyanide. And all of you (including those spendthrift hobos) will have paid less than Paul McCartney and Heather Mills who spent £3million on their nuptials, and then proceeded to get divorced in acrimony however many years later.

And, yeah, it was a slightly random choice, but it isn't like they weren't doing something that hasn't been done a million times before. We've been glamourizing miserable bits of history forever. History is not sacrosanct. History is full of nasty miserable bits (and by the way, all you people with your cute celtic weddings, you're aware that the people who made all those lovely knotwork designed also liked to sacrifice people?) and it's full of heartwarming, hopeful, beautiful bits which speak to people in some way or another.

I mean, was I the only child who used to bounce around her living room cheerily singing "Down Down Down" in sonourous tones along to Bugsy Malone? Did anyone else watch and re-watch Disney's plucky Depression era heroine, Natty Gann, snog John Cusack and quietly wish that they would get that bit over and done with so the film could go back to showing me more of her dog?

One fairly sensible website offered up this take on it. I think my sympathies went a little closer to the couple getting married. Indeed, I think the main lesson I took from this is that the internet is full of judgemental pricks. And, to be fair, no one looks good in dungarees.
annwfyn: (Mood - pottering hedgehog)
I have two semi-connected rambles to post, which seem to have taken totally different directions and will probably make me look like a stinking hypocrite.

The international response to the London riots.

I find it darkly amusing that Iran and Pakistan are expressing concerns about human rights and the government’s need to listen and understand.

I'm also raising an eyebrow at the Daily Mail's insistence that it is actively irresponsible to, in any way, suggest that the riots may have anything to do with the cuts. Half of the Guardian's CiF seem to agree. I can't help but feel the urge to comment that whilst the kids in hoodies who are looting for Nike trainers probably aren't doing it as a part of a complex and well thought through political strategy, there were no mass riots in London prior to the cuts. And, in fact, the last lot of riots on this scale were, in fact, in London in 1981, when there was also a recession and a Tory government.

I also believe that if you tell poor people constantly that they are scum, that they don't deserve homes, or jobs, or any kind of safety net, and that things will not get better, then they might actually listen.

And yes, Daily Mail. I am talking to you.

Elsewhere, I have also stumbled across all the drama surrounding a US couple’s ’Hobo’ themed wedding.

For those who want a quick summary, a couple of people in the US were getting married, and decided to have a theme wedding (which, as a note, I have been totally a fan of, ever since I encountered the first ‘Harry Potter’ wedding where guests got wands instead of favours. Friends in committed relationships, please take note!) and as their theme took some kind of pseudo-1930s setting, whereby they and their guests apparently turned up to re-enact the Great Depression as portrayed in The Journey of Natty Gann. The groom wore dungarees, the guests feasted on 'moonshine', and had a giant big BBQ and there were cute vintage clothes all round.

Afterwards, flushed with contentment, they posted their wedding pictures on Etsy, only to find that not everyone found their wedding really as cute as they did. In fact, it featured in on a snark blog, and was thoroughly bitched about for having a wedding which took 'poor people' as its theme when the bride and groom weren't really poor, and, in fact, spent $15,000 on their wedding when there were people leaving comments on the blog who only earn $2.99 per year, and who's grandmother was a hobo who had to eat her own children to survive and they crawled over broken glass to leave those internet comments and don't they see how offensive it all is! (or something like that).

As you may be able to tell, my sympathy wasn't entirely with these outraged commentators. First of all, Weddings cost a lot of money. Like...a lot. This couple spent around £9k on their wedding, which, in all honesty, is pretty small for a proper big wedding. And I don't care if you got married for £50 wearing a dress you bought from Oxfam on the way there, shortly before eating a Gregg's pasty for your reception dinner. Congratulations! You had a small cheap wedding. I'm sure someone out there can tell you that they got married for £2.99, wearing a dress made out of broken glass and with a reception dinner made up of cyanide. And all of you (including those spendthrift hobos) will have paid less than Paul McCartney and Heather Mills who spent £3million on their nuptials, and then proceeded to get divorced in acrimony however many years later.

And, yeah, it was a slightly random choice, but it isn't like they weren't doing something that hasn't been done a million times before. We've been glamourizing miserable bits of history forever. History is not sacrosanct. History is full of nasty miserable bits (and by the way, all you people with your cute celtic weddings, you're aware that the people who made all those lovely knotwork designed also liked to sacrifice people?) and it's full of heartwarming, hopeful, beautiful bits which speak to people in some way or another.

I mean, was I the only child who used to bounce around her living room cheerily singing "Down Down Down" in sonourous tones along to Bugsy Malone? Did anyone else watch and re-watch Disney's plucky Depression era heroine, Natty Gann, snog John Cusack and quietly wish that they would get that bit over and done with so the film could go back to showing me more of her dog?

One fairly sensible website offered up this take on it. I think my sympathies went a little closer to the couple getting married. Indeed, I think the main lesson I took from this is that the internet is full of judgemental pricks. And, to be fair, no one looks good in dungarees.

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annwfyn

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