Fuck Millennials

For context, this is what I hear every time I hear the word “millennial”.


Fuck the millennial generation! Screw them. They’re what’s wrong with the world right now, they’re the root cause of everything.

Of course, I mean, well… it’s not like they’re old enough to ever hold serious political office. But, it’s definitely their fault that laws are messed up. It’s the young peoples’ fault, definitely. Laws, the EU, the country! Young people today, that’s the fault!

And their voting record is terrible… they just… okay, fine, so anyone under the age of 23 has only been able to vote in one election in their entire lifetime so far, but it’s definitely how they vote and their lack of voting that’s screwing the world up. Damn their entitlement. If they wanted to vote they should have been born ten years earlier!

And they just screw the economy… I mean, none of them are old enough to buy and sell a house, hell, most kids barely can afford a car, but they’re definitely the cause of the economy flustering. Because. They are. Aren’t they? Just useless, the lot of them.

But what really hacks me off about Millennials is jobs. I mean, sure, sure… they don’t, by and large, have any hiring or firing experience…  They don’t run big companies or trade shares because people fresh out of school and college don’t do that sort of thing… they just… it’s clearly just their fault because. Because Millennials.

They’re just too self obsessed with themselves! They should be worrying about my problems, like my pension and whether my house price will go down and whether I’m allowed to call a coon a coon and not trampling my right to say how I want Muzzie-foreigners deported or shot. Because me, me, me… not the me-me-me generation!

Fuck their entitlement. I need my high house prices, I need my cheap fuel and cheap cars, I need my pension and to retire at 65. Why should I care that they won’t get that, the entitled whiny bitches…? What about me and my needs and wants? I’m entitled to things, they aren’t.

And screw their “activism”. If they were really anti-war or whatever, they’d have the good sense of doing something about it by being older and having actual political power rather than having to do their lazy protests and reading and sharing… I mean, come on, how pathetic is that? Why don’t they form their own opinions instead , and quit being so young and just do what I tell them because I’m right and they’re just stupid.

Okay, so they don’t have political power, they don’t vote because they legally couldn’t until recently, they don’t run big companies, they occasionally care about people other than themselves, they don’t sell houses for a profit because they’re literally not old enough to have had one for long enough, and they don’t get high powered jobs because they’re not old enough…

…but it’s still all their fault. Obviously.

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Freedom, Responsibility and Privilege – the Trichotomy of Speech

Pretty much everywhere we hear the word “freedom“, we see it balanced by the concept of “responsibility“.

We have the freedom to own a car. But at the same time we have the responsibility to pass a driving test, learn to manoeuvre the vehicle, and not to knock anyone over. Across in the United States, the freedom to own a firearm is hotly defended by people who emphasise, above all else, their responsibility in owning one. Sometimes it’s a difficult balancing act; we pledge to use our freedoms, but to not cause harm to others in doing so. Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins, etc. etc.

But we hardly ever hear this talked about with one freedom: speech.

That freedom seems absolute. You can say whatever you want, whenever you want to, and it shouldn’t be impeached. Even when people say the most despicable things, outright wrong things, or lie, cheat and bludgeon their ways through facts, someone will come along and defend them because of “freedom of speech”. Criticism is responded to with “well, it’s their freedom of speech”. Or, at worst, the irony-busting version of “it’s their freedom of speech so you should shut up”.

Why is that? After all, freedom of speech is a principle to uphold, it’s not exactly an argument for something.

It would be as if someone had knocked over a pedestrian in a car, and they were defended because it was their right to drive. As if a gun owner shot an unarmed civilian, in cold blood, knowingly, and with zero provocation, and they were defended (and then went unprosecuted)  on the basis that it was their right to own a gun.

With freedom of speech comes responsibility to use it well, to avoid undue harm, and make the world better. It’s a responsibility to take your liberty without damaging the liberty of others. Not to, as one particular National Treasure™ did, to tell child abuse victims to grow up and stop seeking pity. Not to, as one National Disgrace™ said, to call for refugees to be gunned down by helicopters. Not to, one National Attention Seeker™ said, tell victims of rape that their suffering totally didn’t really count because they weren’t raped properly.

But to understand the importance of responsibility in exercising freedom, we need to look at a third angle ; privilege.

Everyone has the freedom to drive; not everyone has the privilege to drive a Bugatti. Everyone has the freedom to buy a house; not everyone has the privilege to live in a mansion, and many have to deal with a one-bed flat, a two hour commute away from where they work. Few begrudge privilege (earned or otherwise), but many do begrudge irresponsible privilege. Privilege on its own causes no problems – denial of it, blindness to it, and the inability to recognise under-privilege in others, certainly does. Because privilege-blindness drives irresponsibility, recognising privilege is a form of responsibility. A Bugatti driver needs to understand why the family in the Skoda simply can’t “drive a bit faster and get out of my way”. Someone living in a central-London mansion needs to understand that someone commuting in from a flat in the outskirts every day can’t simply “work a bit harder to afford a better house”. A wealthy boss who claims all her travel expenses on the company account might know the price, but fail to recognise the value of a car, fuel, a travelcard, rail fares… and fail to realise that her employees are disheartened, incapable of arriving to work on time and awake, and malnourished because their money all goes to commuting. Privilege-blindness stops her seeing that “work a little harder and manage your money better” is not a solution.

And while the majority of people recognise privilege when put into terms of wealth, and an increasing number actually understand privilege in other contexts, it also must be applied to how abstract freedoms are used.

Everyone has freedom of speech, but less than a percent of a percent have the privilege of being truly heard. They have platforms, they have newspaper columns, TV shows, and the wealth to ride out the rest of their lives in relative comfort even if, may the gods forbid, their careers are “ruined” by one hateful remark. Freedom of speech is entwined with both the responsibility when heard, and the privilege to be heard. And again, privilege-blindness drives irresponsibility. Someone with a newspaper column, a popular web page, and regular invites to talk on television needs to understand that their freedoms are absolutely not under threat because someone with all of 10 Twitter followers said something critical about them. If they’re blind to their position, they don’t realise how much they stamp on the freedoms and liberties of others when they push back. Their blindness to this will fuel their oppression of others. They view themselves as equally persecuted when someone criticises them, but their position is far from equal in reality.

And this is perhaps why we don’t hear too much about responsibility of speech in popular culture or the wider media – because we only hear from the privileged few who can be heard, and they’re so used to being heard that they can no longer recognise their responsibility.

I can write this down on a backwater blog, and someone else can write the exact thing down but have it published in the Independent, the Guardian, the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Cracked… we would both exercise the same freedom, we’d both exercise the same degree of responsibility, but only one gets the privilege of an audience. Free speech is dominated only by those who can be heard – and the meta discussion about free speech is equally dominated by the few. That means it’s almost certainly in their best interest to not talk, at least not too much, about their own responsibility or their own privilege. Such things might be a little too self-critical, and might damage their position.

It’s these three things together, make up what we should talk about: a trichotomy of speech. Because freedom of speech on its own is just an abstraction, and such abstractions rarely survive a collision with the real world with actual people. When actual people are thrown into the mix, the need for responsibility arises – just like throwing pedestrians at the abstract concept of “freedom to drive” generates the responsibility not to mow them down indiscriminately. The need to consider privilege arises – just like throwing house prices at the abstract concept of “freedom to own a house” generates the privilege of being able to afford a bigger one.

There is freedom.

There is privilege.

There is responsibility.

Perhaps we should really start to see all three in action for a change.

free_trichotomy

The Educational Literature As Explained to a 5 Year Old

Below are the small beginning parts of papers I’ve taken from the big group of papers about teaching you can find written by teachers who don’t actually teach, but with the words changed to be more simple using the same thing that was used to write Up Goer Five / Thing Explainer with only simple words. I did this because I think when you take their big words away, they don’t really say anything interesting or important, and because I’m not a nice person.

Personal Ways I Think About Teaching

This paper shows how I think about teaching and learning because I asked teachers what they meant by the word teaching. There’s four things that came from this. There’s the ‘Transfer’ idea, which means the stuff we know is a special thing that moves from one person to another. There is the ‘Shaping’ idea, which means teaching is like shaping or changing the shape of students into something we came up with earlier. Then there is a the ‘Travelling’ idea, which means that the thing we want to talk about is like the ground with hills to be climbed for better places to see it from with the teacher acting as the travelling friend or as a person who knows the place well. Finally, there is the ‘Growing’ idea, which means we look more at the feelings and thoughts of the people who are learning the stuff we want to teach. These ideas work with bits of what students think of the learning that they do. Whatever idea a teacher uses to help him/her think about the learning that they do will change the way he/she teaches and will change the way he/she looks at his/her students and changes anything he/she wants to do with those students. It is suggested that the ideas talked about here will help stop teachers who work together not understanding each other.

Person Who Helps Things Happen, Person Who Tells Others What To Do or Friend Who Tells You When You’re Wrong?: Way Things Don’t Work Together and Ways Things Come Together in In The Way We Look After and Keep an Eye on Students Who Do Work For Us

I want to talk about how we get and keep an eye on and look after some students we have, especially since they pay a lot of money for it and want to their time to be good for how much money they spend, and like to keep an eye on our teaching through things set by the people who run the country. I will talk about how students wanting to show off how good they are at finishing the things we set them, how this might change how we act toward them when we keep an eye on them, and how this stops us keeping an eye on them better. This paper looks at what we know already about keeping an eye on and looking after them and what they need from us when we keep an eye on them, and I also want to look at how this changes how we teach lots of people, and I want to show you some times that my friends did this.

Changes in The Way We Talk To Big Rooms of People

Many things change the way a talk to a big room full of people is thought about and done. Some of these are our ideas and beliefs about teaching, what we know of the easy-to-know bits about teaching, how much stuff like money we have to do it with, and the place you do your teaching in. In this paper, three different of ways of teaching to a big room are talked about and the things that make them different are talked about a lot, looking at them along with the ideas we have now of teaching and teaching ideas. The three talks to big rooms are then grouped together as the-stuff-we-want-to-teach-driven, all-the-stuff-around-us-driven, and learning-ideas-driven. The things we got together to prove this suggest that the more like learning-ideas the talk to a big room is, the more students like it.

See, once you take the big words out it’s not that hard.

Putting Britain First… well, fifth.

In which I thought it’d be clever to catalogue two-days of Britain First posts to see what they talk about – the answer won’t shock you.


 

If you’re like me (and I grant this isn’t entirely likely as the majority of the English-speaking internet is American), you’ve probably spent the last week concerned about two major events. They’re two events of extremely insular national self-interest.

  1. Almost the entire NHS is on strike over working contracts being imposed by the government.
  2. Some leaked documents confirm what we’ve always known – rich people avoid tax by parking it out of the country, and our Prime Minister is amongst them.

You may have also been following issues with the UK steel industry, and at this point I throw my hands in the air and say that’s just one of those things I haven’t had the brain-space for. I know it’s a thing, I know not the intimate details.

Anyway, these are stories of insular, national self-interest. So the US election and the rise (and, may the gods be willing, eventual fall) of Donald Trump and the on-going refugee crisis across Europe and whatever shit Daesh have done this time aren’t things I’m counting. Why? Because of a little quasi-political organisation known as Britain First.

They don’t need an introduction, really. We know what they’re like. At best, concerned citizens who are disheartened, disenfranchised and unfortunately misinformed; and at worst, violent, nasty, illiterate, “send-all-the-nig-nog-towelheads-back-to-bongo-bongo-land” hardcore racialists.

Anyway, in light of these 2-3 stories of, I reiterate, national self-interest, I wondered if Britain First did indeed, and as advertised, put Britain first?

Do they show interest in what is happening in this country? Do they show interest in our politics? Our leaders? Our health service? Our education?

At this point, you probably won’t express surprise that the answer is “do they fuck“. I went to their Facebook page, scrolled down, and started categorising fairly broadly. Here’s the post breakdown from the last 48 hours, April 7th and 8th:

BF-2

First observation: they post a lot. It works out as a post every half-hour or so.

Second observation: they mostly post about themselves and Muslims, and after that almost entirely about other countries. They want to take our country back; and while they seem to have plenty of idea who they want to take it back from, they aren’t too clear on where they want to take it back to.

A few explanations of the categories.

  • Self promotion: Britain First do a lot of this, as you can tell. They advertise their protests, put up vlogs by their figureheads, and post pictures about how you should vote for them in London. Buried in these stories might be things relevant to the United Kingdom, but it’s encapsulated and subsumed entirely within their brand.
  • Muslims: This includes any story about a Muslim that was posted only because they were Muslim. Man raped woman? Only counts if they were brown! White Muslim found? Well, that proves it’s not racist! You know, that sort of thing. Two of these posts could be considered “British” as they feature Winston Churchill.
  • European events: Indeed, their major source of news is stuff happening overseas. A lot of these were about the Dutch vote on the EU, and a lot were about Muslims in Europe – making it hard to distinguish between this category and the one above.
  • US Politics: Yes, the United States were a big thing due to a massive surge across one of these days (see below). They have quite literally said “VOTE TRUMP” more times than they’ve said “SAVE UK STEEL”. Because Britain should come first.
  • EU Referendum: And this is the first category that might be considered about Britain. As far as importance go, Britain seems to be fifth in line for their priorities.
  • ISIS: I originally had this as “middle east events” to make it as generic as the “European events” category – but, let’s be honest, these are their “brown people make big boomy bang-bangs in sandy faraway land” stories.
  • Im’grints: It was hard to split things between this and “the towelheads are coming”, but this is anything that’s a bit more general and aimed any migrants of any ethno-religious grouping.
  • Clickbait: Britain First are famous for this. They’ve put up misleading “donate to save the animals!” posters to attract attention, but in this sample they haven’t done much of it.

The rest are effectively “misc”. I will point out the “Fucking commies!” section. One of these stories is about Jeremy Corbyn getting The Morning Star delivered to him.

I broke it down by two days. This shows that their God Bless America fetish was a bit of a one-day spike, so perhaps not representative. As you can also see from this one, their posts about the Panama Papers came in day 2 (April 8th), and only in the last few hours – so they’re a little late to a party that’s been going on all week.

BF-1

Now, in fairness, they have actually used one of these Panama Papers posts to call for David Cameron to resign – in line with a lot of liberal thought on this.”Wait, Britain First and the UK left agreeing? Surely not!” I hear you cry. And you’d be right. Given the details of their posts on the EU referendum, a lot from the last day have objected to Cameron being on the pro-EU (the “in” campaign) side, and seek to punish him for it. After all, if anyone can sway the UK right to stay in the EU it will be Cameron, and it’s probably in our selfish interest to support him on that, rather than call for him to resign over something comparatively minor. You can also back through Britain First’s comments on the Panama papers, where many resort to the “but it’s legal” defence, suggesting they really aren’t too bothered about the wealthy fleecing them, but are happy to see a Left-wing Socialist Communist Liberal like David Cameron fall on his sword regardless.

Anyway… why, again?

Britain First is followed by over a million people, and are slowly becoming what counts as mainstream thought in the UK – regardless of what they claim about the ‘mainstream media’ they are not as far onto the fringes as they claim. They’ve grown from obscurity to having quite a voice amongst real, actual people, with actual voting powers.

And remember, this is 48 hours where the major events of national self-interest have been the NHS going on strike and the Prime Minister’s involvement in a tax scandal. These are not stories that only affect Guardianistas who are snorting their third line of avodaco, either – the entire country relies on the health service for emergency care, ambulances, accident and emergency, and most medical training. We rely on its scale and purchasing power to negotiate better rates for medical drugs and treatments. We rely on its doctors for cutting edge research. Meanwhile, tax avoidance by the wealthy accumulates into the Tax Gap, which is one of the largest government expenditures and a firm contributor to the government deficit – and it’s the working class, average person, not the millionaire, that gets punished in their attempt to close this gap. They are definitely important and, as I’ve said, very much within our insular national self-interest.

These are big things ignored in favour of posts about how all Pakistanis are rapists.

For anyone who really wants to put this country first, and put the people who live here first, these are major stories. For anyone who doesn’t care about those particular things, this is a country of 64 million people and so it can’t be hard to find some relevant news about us if we want to be selfish. Why is a page that puts Britain, supposedly, first, hardly talking about us? Why are they talking about a “foreign” religious group more than their own religion? Why are they talking about a non-EU county more than they’re talking about the upcoming EU referendum?

So it’s time to stop pretending this is even remotely about “patriotism”.