Greetings to 2015 and Critically Acknowledging 2014


‘No sarcasm at the Beeb’ Sketchbook work by osian grifford

Greetings to 2015 and Acknowledging 2014

This year was filled with middle-eastern wars, famine, human rights violations, and more locally there have been  clampdowns on social freedoms as well as a public voter shift to the reactionary right-wing, more evidences of the power of big businesses and their drive for profit at the expense of individuals, and more homeless people begging on the streets of britain than ever before (cuts to Welfare/housing and the Citizens Advice Bureau are big deals to people struggling at the bottom at this time).

BUT on the bright side, I’ve had a year of better knowing my interests, experiencing and working at european festivals, co-organising and taking part in an unusual art exhibition event and learning a bit better how to cope with a family tragedy which occurred in 2013. I’ve had ups and downs concerning personal relationships which are all teaching me to know myself a bit better which for better or for worse have all contributed to my jotting down my first ever new-year’s-based self assessment blog post.

Assessing friends’ reactions to the new year, I find they’re mostly feeling the same vibe concerning their personal lives as myself; grateful for what they’ve learnt and done with their year whilst hopeful for the year to come.  For the most part, my friends are early twenties to thirty years of age so it would make sense that they carry a bit of optimism with them, still having the bulk of their life ahead whilst also having shed the horrible teenage angst behind them. But I feel it’s slightly illogical (as well as emotionally understandable) that the effect of the new year self-reflection fad is to gloss over the ever-growing cynicism that I know a lot of people have come to feel about the organisation of the world (lawmakers, business tactics, local politics, foreign affairs, mass-media uses and tactics). I think what I can deduct from this, predictably is that most people are good-hearted and optimistic, but they’re not leaders, herders and organisers. Leaders are a bit sociopathic and so the people using bureaucracy to politically/militarily manage populations are able to deny to themselves the suffering their systems cause.

SO, if i can pinpoint some shifts towards cynicism in my attitude this year:

Personal dealings: For the last few years i’ve expected some kind of backlash against Letting Agents’ demands. This year I’ve found it harder then ever to meet all their requirements ;my usual guarantor was rejected, because whilst she is a homeowner, they figured her income wasn’t enough. This starts getting humiliating after having handed over roughly six hundred pounds to meet the requirements of deposit, first month’s rent in advance, and extra in-case-of-damages fees. After being told my guarantor wasn’t appropriate, I had to ask other people if they were willing to put their name to such a horrible contract and understandably after reading them, one friend would not (because the smallest mistake by myself could result in unreasonable charges by the letting agents).  I understand that people who rent houses that are well-situated for students are usually expected to have family that are perfect guarantor’s (university being seen as a sort-of middle-class option). But coming from a low income background and meeting these standards is very frustrating and anger-inducing. My letting Agency from last year quietly used my guarantor as guarantor for the whole flat and so when a housemate disappeared and stopped paying rent, I found out that I was liable. This was the case even though the other housemates had offered their own guarantors. From the letting agent’s perspective, one guarantor covers their asses even if that guarantor has no relation to the other tenants. When frustrated and discussing this piece-of-shit policy with the agents at their office, they asserted that it was in the contract with the humiliated confidence of someone forced to wear a filled nappy during sex whilst their mouths were stuffed with £20 notes.

Media observations: Another slide towards cynicism in myself is towards popular media biases. It’s always been obvious and inescapable that a media outlet will cover what it wants in the only way that it knows, so it’s biases become apparent quite quickly and all of that is understandable to a point. But the BBC’s lack of coverage on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is difficult to comprehend. For the last couple of years I have been connected online to journalists reporting from Gaza (one is a friend). The human rights violations as recognised by amnesty international are a daily occurrence there, and the only intention of the Israel government that makes any sense given what their behaviour and tactics have been is to essentially wipe out/starve/burn and crush and shoot to death/dismantle any kind of Palestinian society. And I’ve attended some protests at BBC offices which had the sole purpose of getting the BBC to acknowledge that it is being accused of heavily controlled biases. Instead it reports a kind of tit for tat fighting that doesn’t allude at all to what the death figures are showing. The use of the word ‘Terrorist’ to describe anything involving politics is always a bad move, I find and the descriptions of Palestinian fighters as terrorists and the Israel fighters as soldiers is a horrible double-speak that seems stupider and stupider every time I read it. There’s plenty of media outlets doing this kind of thing but with the BBC I believe that most of the journalists there know that there is something suspect about their company’s reporting of events in that side of the globe. When I read the differences between different coverages of the same events, I feel like the world is a psychedelic, liquid place that is completely subjective and anyone who is trying to make sense of it is ruining some massive elaborate joke.

Another cynicism I’ve gained concerns Cancer research, which is hard to try and learn the facts of. I’ve had it explained to me that Cancer Research asks the public to fund it as a charity, whilst it looks for a patentable cure, which will earn drugs companies billions of pounds because they will sell it back to the public who who funded it when the drugs companies can obviously afford to fund such research themselves. I would like to be corrected by anyone who can tell me whether Cancer Research have ever given any interest to discovering un-patentable cures or preventative measures for cancer. I’ve tried to find out myself and it looks to me like they don’t but the only internet sources I could find that talked about it weren’t ones that I could swear were trustworthy.

Again on a more personal note; Mostly things are looking up. Happy new Year.


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