Wednesday, 17 June 2015

I Am What I Am Not...

(20 internet points if you get that reference.)

I tweeted today... not an entirely new or unusual phenomenon but soon after I did I was challenged by a good friend to

"write a reasoned article to counter the cr@p and link to it in Twitter rather than simply comment."

As this is a friend who's opinion I value (particularly in the technology world) I thought I would oblige.

My tweet was thus:

I stand by what I tweeted on a base level as, when it comes down to brass tacks, both people are now choosing to portray themselves as something other than they were born. At the moment, Bruce's transformation into Caitlyn has been widely accepted this will be because of the de-stigmatisation of BGLT. The liberal left™ have been very keen to welcome this with open arms whereas the conservative right™ are obviously more reticent (granted there are a few nutjobs on both sides who frankly should be ignored).

To me, this is where things start to get a bit interesting.. Rachel has said that she now identifies with 'black people' and sees herself as black. She has also said that she has identified this way for a long time (whether you believe her or not is immaterial - this is her claim and her version of the truth). Bruce made the same claims albeit about his gender and words were used like hero and brave to describe him. My own view is that he is neither: He, like Rachel is a person skilled in exploitation. Bruce separated from the Kartrashian clan and realised that in order to stay 'relevant' he had to do something radical.. Welcome Caitlyn.. (Apparently one of his son's long-time girlfriend is called Kaitlynn).

Anyway, enough fluff.. What this issue has made me think about is identity and how we have an identity. One of the issues around Rachel is the fact that she lied on application forms and prevented 'real' African Americans getting a job that was due to them. This is very interesting as there are a number of issues that need to be addressed here:

  1. Positive discrimination or affirmative action
  2. The term African American
You will only get true equality when people are hired on pure ability and race, colour and creed are never considered.  I see no reason why job application forms  should even ask the question about ethnicity...

This guy:

You'd think that he'd be classed as African American right??? If you saw him you'd likely describe him as that..


"Growing up, I came up with this name: I'm a `Cablinasian,' " Woods said during a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." He said the name best captures his racial makeup: a blend of Caucasian, black, Indian and Asian.

I have always thought that the assumption that everyone in America with dark skin is African is a little bit racist in itself!

Jobs in the  public sector are allowed to ask you your sexuality at application stage - Where do you draw the line?? Are you allowed to declare that you are gay on your application but really be straight heterosexual? Apparently most people seem to have a 'feeling gay' phase - Could you be dismissed from your job if you just happened to be going through that at the time of application?

What about this scenario: You are a woman who works for M&S fitting bras... You suddenly decide to do a 'Reverse Jenner' and decide to identify as a man! What then? Do you lose your job? Could Bruce Caitlyn Jenner apply for woman only jobs?

Too many questions!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Divider Robbery...

Or 'taking offence' if you will.

It can't have failed to escape your notice that there are an awful lot of 'Charlies' around at the moment - Everyone is proudly proclaiming that 'they are Charlie'. This has got me thinking..

We currently live in a culture where it is almost fashionable to 'take offence'. You only need to have a quick scan of any national newspaper to see it littered with people moaning about what someone else has said. recently there was the Alan Sugar incident in which someone, uninvited, tweeted him with the opening missive "Evening sugar ;-) can I call you that... Lol". Alan Sugar replied thus: "yes no problem as long as I can call you fatty". He didn't actually call her 'fatty' he pretty much just said "if you call me sugar; I'm going to call you fatty"

This seemed to provoke a storm of epic proportions, some of the replies to him were comical in their hypocrisy - "miserable old goat", "arrogant b&%£$&*^".

The woman at the centre of the furore, accused Alan of 'cyber-bullying'. In the stakes of unwanted female attention (could loosely be described as sexual harassment) 'she shot first'. Sugar is used as a term of endearment - akin to him calling her sweetie, honey, babe, doll etc. She sees 'fatty' as an unwanted word having negative connotations.. Childish, immature and rude are also unwanted words having negative connotations, and they all came from her fingers - to him.. Is he crying about cyber-bullying? No.. and I am glad he's not apologising either. I was always taught 'if you can't take it; don't give it'. Maybe Elena should have subscribed to this.

I detest Big Brother™! Initially it started out as an interesting social experiment but after the first series, it became a competition for morons to see if they could make a name for themselves - some of them did.. Anyway... Celebrity Big Brother or 'a vehicle for z-list celebs and below to try and drag themselves up a notch by prostituting themselves', Ken Morley was removed from the CBB house recently for remarks he made, prompting 251 complaints to OFCOM... I wonder how many of these mortally offended people 'are Charlie'..

You only need to look at the way Charlie Hebdo portrays it's caricatures to see that there is indeed racism it them:

the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

Are the people complaining about Ken Morley (of whom I have no particular opinion  - I never watch Corrienders Close or whatever it was he was / is in) still Charlie?

One of the standout things in this debacle is that Morley's son deemed it appropriate to 'apologise for the offence his dad had caused'.. What a meaningless act...

And this:
Hundreds have taken to twitter in support of the decision to remove him from the house after the 'offensive' comments.

How is this any different to what the people complaining (with Guns) about Charlie Hebdo are saying. They, also are outraged. They are feeling offended. All the Je suis Charlie supporters are saying that you shouldn't be offended.. I don't get it..

I'm fully aware that freedom of speech and expression comes with the caveat that you may be universally thought of as 'a bit of a moron' and people are free to call you out on it but why this need to take offence so easily? Are we that weak that we cannot think for ourselves about what we deem to be acceptable? My opinion is that CBB should have left Morley in and let the public vote him out - If he was being as offensive as the complainants said; then he would have been voted out anyway!

Charlie Hebdo stands for itself - we are the ones who make the choice to be offended or not to be offended

I would argue that anyone claiming 'Je suis Charlie' who is taking offence at others' actions are basically hypocrites.

One man's humour is another man's Jihad! The Muslim terrorists tried to silence what they classed as offensive using AK47s.. Others try and achieve the same aims using twitter...

I will leave you with Stephen Fry:

Friday, 16 May 2014

Too busy reading to write....

John Dolan is a fabulous author! I would not hesitate to recommend his work!

A Poison Tree (Time, Blood and Karma, #3)A Poison Tree by John Dolan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book in two and a bit sittings. It would have just been one except that I realised that I needed at least some semblance of sleep before another day at the grindstone..

Having read the first two books in the series and having been gripped immediately by the quality and depth of the characters and the graceful prose oh and the plot(s) wow - the plot(s) the flow was amazing and you were taken from your armchair, or wherever you read, and cast with aplomb into the shady yet bright world of David Braddock, a man of many facets.. Anyway.. I'm getting a little carried away with myself - sorry

This third book in the series catapults you into the dreary heart of a Midlands city, Leicester, and here we learn all about what has made David Braddock the 'anti-hero' that he is... But the book is so much more than that; it is a beautifully written piece about many characters that are so interlinked that my mind instantly went back to an illustration in the first book in the series.
John has a mastery of writing that leaves you, when a connection between characters is made, actually saying "aaaaahhhhhhh!" out loud.

This book series seems to be going from strength to strength and I, for one, cannot wait until the next instalment!

View all my reviews

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Everyone matters?

Coronary care units are weird places! It has become apparent, during my dad's incarceration that heart attacks are no respecter of age, sex, weight or apparent health. In the bay that my dad was in there were four beds. One bed was occupied by my dad, a 63 year old with fantastic blood results and an amazing lipid profile - normal 'cholesterol'. He just happens to have genetic very high blood pressure. In another bed there was a man originally from Kenya who looked like he was in his mid forties and looked pretty muscular but certainly not fat. In another bed there was a man that looked like he was in his late forties and was morbidly obese and then there was Charlie.. *Not his real name

Charlie was a man who looked like he was in his 70s or 80s and was very ill. He had been passed from pillar to post in primary care and now found himself in the same CCU as my dad. What became apparent from spending time in the CCU was that Charlie had enjoyed no visitors. I thought that maybe I had just missed his visitors but my dad clarified that he had indeed had no visitors. This got me thinking. Surely he must matter to someone. Surely someone must know he was there. Someone must care about him.

He's old... maybe he was married, maybe he wasn't. Was his wife dead? Was she immobile and unable to visit him.

Did he have children? Why were they not visiting him? Had they had a falling out?

Is it possible to be alone in this world? Had all his friends died? Did he have no friends?

What would being alone in this world feel like?

Personally I cannot imagine being alone. I get so much support from my family and friends and I know that in a crisis I will always have friends I can count on. Having, what felt like, my support network yanked away from me yesterday left me feeling very vulnerable and helpless; I wasn't even in a crisis! Every day people are admitted to hospital who are in the situation of having no-one that will visit them. We have sleepwalked into a society that seems to have lost all sense of community. I'm 37 years old.. Was community more social years ago? Could an old person who lived alone and whose children (if any) had moved away be admitted to hospital and have no-one that cares enough about them to visit them during potentially one of the scariest moments of their life; whilst they are looking at their death and possibly re-living all of their life, replaying past glories, past mistakes, love's lost and love's won...

Everyone should matter.....

Does everyone matter? How much do we know about our neighbours that live alone and get no visitors? What should we do about this?

Crikey - this business with my dad has got me all existential and ponderous - Maybe it will make me less cynical!

Friends and family are vitally important. Maintaining friendships with both is critical.

My heart was breaking for Charlie - I feel so guilty for not sitting with him and spending time with him, talking to him - finding out about his life, his legacy.. Who is this man? Was he a war hero? What did he do for a living? For all I know, he could have been an international spy. All the time though, all I could think was "it is not the done thing, you don't know this man, what if he tells you to get lost?" Why has society made it so difficult to talk to people? We seem to be being ushered into a state where we can go through a whole life without ever having to interact with each other:

  • Drive through pay-at-the-pump fuel
  • Amazon
  • Tesco online
  • Internet banking
  • Working from home
We can easily live without having to ever really interact with anyone and then we could easily collapse in our home and, if we have no friends or family no-one would know!

Can society ever get back to that time when, apparently, we used to leave our doors open and we all knew everyone on our street? Has privacy gone so far that we are now afraid to make friends with strangers in no other context than they 'live on our street'...

Peace out!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

World turned upside down..

This is a weird blog post to be writing..

I'm currently sat in the main entrance at chesterfield royal having had 3 hours sleep.. And worried out of my mind.

Dad was taken by ambulance here last night suffering from chest pains and my mum and I followed and stayed in A&E with him until 0230 hrs.

Apparently all indications are that he's had a heart attack.. It feels so strange to type that. Mum and Richard are with him at the moment and I'm alone in the main entrance with my thoughts and hundreds of people milling around. I feel so disconnected and so isolated. Hoping for the best yet fearing the worst. Apparently the Heart attack, if it is indeed that (will be confirmed with blood test results later on) was caused by dangerously high blood pressure. He stopped taking his meds for this a few years ago as his BP was only borderline high.. Apparently he is genetically predisposed to it and there's nothing apart from drugs that will help it.

I hate being alone with my thoughts.. I'm missing Anna and the kids.. Trying to imagine telling people the worst isn't helping my state of mind.

It's my dad.. He's indestructible..

It's times like these when I realise what a total rock Anna is to me.. She really is a great security for me.

I know at times I've been guilty of not really caring about the sanctity of life.. Not now though. Life, all life is precious and fragile.

So many questions to be answered and so few answers.

I refuse to go to pieces. I'm going to be strong and trust God that he's got his hand on it. I refuse to give in to morbid thoughts.

It's strange.. I want to cry but also don't want to for some unknown as yet reason. I daresay at some point I'll crack and get it out of my system.

Tried to go outside to get some air but it was polluted by people smoking right next to the sign that tells the it is illegal to smoke... People eh!?

I should probably eat but my stomach is churning far too much.

Update: still very tired but have finally eaten and feel somewhat better for it.
The good news is that Dad was looking better after he managed to get some sleep. Mum and I had a walk around the hospital and gave him the chance to get some shut-eye.

I can only imagine the stress of being convinced that you're dying coupled with massive sleep deprivation and being in a place that is unfamiliar.. It is no wonder that people use it as a form of torture..

Really hoping that dad can come home on Friday..

One interesting part was when my brother turned up. I was relegated to the main waiting area by a very stern staff nurse which is where I wrote a majority of this 'stream of consciousness'. Richard came down to go home and I think he could see that I was barely holding it together so he put an arm around my shoulders and said some words I will never forget: "don't worry bro! I know dad will be just fine! He's getting better. I know you're tired; I'm not and I'm more detached from it all so if you need anything, I'm here for you."

If you knew the relationship my brother and I have; you would know how much those words meant to me. I have always been one to think that blood is no thicker than water but I will happily revise that. There was an unspoken bond there and I'm hoping and praying that we will become closer as brothers after this 'episode'.

Watching how my parents interact when there is an excrement / fan interface has been very humbling. They both plainly love each other so much and are so integrated into each other's life that it really is impossible to see where one finishes and the other begins. I so hope that Anna and I can emulate their love and devotion.

I'm not sure if this post will ever get published and I still haven't broken.. Maybe I'm too tired.. Hope so.. It is still only 2000 hrs and I refuse to go to bed until nine as I don't particularly want to mess up my body clock.

Peace out.

A very emotional and possibly irrational Mat.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Things I wish I'd been told earlier / Or that I'd listened to

1. Don't try to fix your wife - She is not broken! She is just wired differently to you. When she outlines what looks like a problem, it is just her way of sharing and processing - getting it off her chest if you will. When this happens, don't just jump in like a Neanderthal and give her a list of what she must do to solve this conundrum. Just listen and repeat back what she has said.

2. Pursue holiness - not happiness. I haven't found anywhere in the bible where it says "pursue happiness". Pursuing holiness and getting close to God may well result in happiness and contentment. It seems to me that the people who pursue happiness are some of the most miserable people on earth and the people who genuinely pursue holiness seem to be the happiest.

3. Don't date loads of girls. This at first glance, this seems like a weird one. Culturally, I would have to agree. When I look back and count the number of girls I went out with - I feel regret.. There is one girl that I really treated badly. For this I sincerely apologise. Looking back, the only reason I actually went out with so many girls was that 'it was the norm'. I didn't even tell my parents about most of them because I knew they would discourage it. They would have been right but I would have seen it as that they were old and out of touch. They weren't! They were sensible!
Taking that amount of baggage into a relationship with a good, godly woman who hadn't dated anyone before was such a bad thing to do. Despite all protestations to the contrary, I have been guilty as hell of comparing her!

4. Respect is more important than love! If your wife respects you, she will automatically love you. We have all seen women love real jerks in whom they have no respect

I still have so much to learn - Please God let me learn it well and soon....

Thursday, 13 February 2014


I know that Putin is a homophobic moron (please KGB, don't kill me with polonium 210) but having to explain to kids about homosexuality before they've shown any interest in sex at all isn't really on!

Please can we rise above the homophobia and just stick to the damn sport!?

It is turning into a propaganda war and the losers will be the innocents who are having sexuality forced upon them by homophobes and gay-rights activists at a sporting event!