July 26, 2011
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“It’s too long.” I get that often, about things I write. And I do think about it. I do try to shorten stuff, cut away things that aren’t relevant, just keep the essentials. Take the criticism to heart as they say. And yes, sometimes it’s true, the texts do need to be shortened, but sometimes it’s just a load of bullshit. A thing people say because they are too lazy to make the effort it would take to get through the whole text. I hear it about books too: “No, I haven’t read Dostoyevsky, his books are too long.” And no, I’m not comparing myself with Dostoyevsky, I’m just saying that by being lazy, you’re most definitely missing out. Sure, some things can be said in just a few sentences, but some things really need a longer and more elaborate type of argumentation. Some things are too complex to allow themselves for brief summarized types of presentations. It all depends on what the theme and the topic is. For instance, it’s really easy to define the meaning of life, in fact all it takes is one word: enjoy. But if you want to dig a bit deeper and really examine what that would mean you will need a lot more words. It all depends on the objective.
But I suppose the objective is indeed the issue. If you really want to give readers an opportunity to think for themselves you have to give them a bigger set of facts and/or arguments. I was reading a humungously long essay by Arundhati Roy in India Online about the Maoist guerilla in central India (here) and even though it took me well over an hour to read it I guarantee that this essay couldn’t have been any shorter because that’s exactly how complicated this situation really is. And if the objective is to provide your readers with an understanding of the level of complexity in this situation, which I’m pretty sure is the case, you have to give them the fully story. If you don’t you’ll just be another voice in the choir of ignorance. And as a reader, my obligation is to take this information in and draw my own conclusions. To use my own intellectual capabilities to try to make sense of it all in my own head. That’s the whole point; to actually think. It’s what we’re supposed to do with information; process it. Use our brains. Read more of this post
March 8, 2011
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Today is the International Women’s Day. In a lot of countries this day has lost its political meaning and has become a bizarre mixture of valentine’s day and mother’s day where men are supposed to give women gifts. Nothing wrong with gifts, but I think finally awarding women basic human rights would be a better bargain. And equal representation. I.e. real gender equality. As in 50/50. In all areas all the time everywhere. But unfortunately that’s not even nearly the case. Far from it. And there’s so much statistics to back this up that there’s absolutely no room, none, zero, for doubt – Our world has a serious issue with gender equality. As in there is none to be found. Anywhere. Not even is our so-called “civilized western world”. We suck at it too. Massively.
One of the things that’s constantly being debated in our part of the world is the lack of female representation in parliament as well as in the corporate world. And a lot of possible solutions on how to attack this tremendous eye-sore of an issue have been discussed. Some pledge for a sort of self-regulation approach. As if it was somehow a pure knowledge issue. That people just need to be informed that hey, women aren’t retarded, and then everything will be ok. Eventually. Well, seems like we’ve been trying that for quite a while now and not a whole lot has happened so far. And in light of that very blatant fact, voices are being raised for affirmative action. Read more of this post
February 1, 2011
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There’s about 8 of us. A motley crew of unemployed academics shuffled together in a room to participate in a course on how to successfully apply for jobs. We are here to find the way out of unemployment and get our lives back on track as it were. Today we will be taught how to get through the job interview.
“So why did you study philosophy?” she asks me.
“Because I thought it was interesting.” Not the most elaborate answer, I know, but it’s the short version of the truth.
She smiles a condoning smile: “Yes, that’s the way it is when you’re young and don’t know about the labour market.”
And for a second I feel stupid. Clueless. Because in a way this career consultant woman is right, studying philosophy is not a very smart career move. But then logic and reason return and I realize that what she just said is actually a perfect testimony to everything that’s wrong with our famous western civilization. It’s all about making yourself attractive on the job market. To get ahead of the competition. Adapt to what the almighty Market wants. The greed game. Consumerism. All bottled up in that one remark. Studying philosophy, yes the follies of youth… Read more of this post
January 28, 2011
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I don’t like prejudices. I know have plenty of my own, but I do my best to challenge them. And I am not saying that just because it’s the politically correct thing to say, I actually mean it. Because I really hate prejudices. And the reason is very simple: plenty have been expressed about me. Based on my gender, nationality, hair color, breast size, tattoos, piercings, opinions, lifestyle choices etc, etc ad infinitum. And I hate it. And don’t care that much what people think about me, but never the less I would very much like it if their opinions were based on me and not the things they associate with certain attributes I have. Because that limits my possibilities. Or rather, I don’t get the possibilities I would get if the things people thought about me were actually a true reflection of my person. Essentially it’s all about accuracy. That’s the problem with prejudices, they are seriously lacking in accuracy. And that annoys the hell out of me.
Most people would probably agree, I hope, that prejudices are a bad thing and that you should strive to challenge them. Like I said it’s the politically correct thing to do, but there seems to be an exception from this idea when it comes to the Romani. When it comes to this group of people it all of a sudden seems ok to state complete an utter bullshit that’s based on nothing but ignorant, racist, prejudice. I may be wrong, but I don’t really recall that type of opinions being aired quite that openly just 15 years ago. Sure racism aired it’s ugly face from time to time, but I don’t really recall it being that frequent. Or was I just too blind to notice? I’m really not sure. But I have been discussing this so many times in the past few months that I feel a serious need to put it all into writing. That way I can just refer people to here when the topic comes up again. Yeah, maybe I am lazy, but I am just so sick of having the same conversation over and over again. Sure I will still say “yes, I think you are a fucking racist for thinking that all Romani are thieves”, but at least I can spare myself the remaining hours of trying to explain why I say that. But I will still say “you’re a fucking racist”. Naturally I’m really sick of having to say that all the time too, but at least it’s short and efficient. Read more of this post
January 26, 2011
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Today has been one of those days when everything sort of almost works but not quite. Not one of those days that seem to be dedicated to in-depth explorations of the deepest dimensions of Murphy’s Law, just one of those days when everything, and I do mean everything, turns into a hassle. No matter what you do it ends up being more time-consuming, more stressful and not at all as easy as you anticipated. Things don’t go really wrong, but they don’t really go right either. Like a light version of Murphy’s Law. Read more of this post
January 24, 2011
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I was talking to my dad yesterday and somehow we landed in the topic of things that are wrong with this world. We often do that. This particular time we were dwelling on the topic of equality. He was going on about all the things that were wrong in the world, about gender inequality and how that was still such a major issue globally, and he ended with saying that he was not convinced that it was even possible to reach a state of total equality. I was listening to his rant, feeling a certain sense of pride because my father hasn’t always had these views, ten or so years ago he would never have talked about this, let alone in the kind of fairly nuanced way he was doing now, but that finishing statement made me think. Is it possible to reach a state of total equality?
Equality is of course a term that needs some definition, as is the case with most concepts that are used in a political context. A dictionary will tell you that equality means “the state or quality of being equal”. But in a political context there’s a bit more attached to it than that. Different aspects of equality if you will. The most common being gender, race and social. Essentially it has to do with perspective, what you see as the bigger issue. But does that really make sense? Can you really grade it like that? I am fully aware that this has been discussed at length on various arenas and that there have been countless texts written on the topic, but if equality really means the state or quality of being equal there are a few things we must assume regardless of what perspective we choose. Read more of this post
November 17, 2010
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For the past two weeks I have been participating, involuntarily, in a course about how to apply for jobs. I already know how to apply for a job, so that part of the course is a complete waste of time, but I am getting loads of insights to the wonder that is the human psyche. Just now I had following conversation down in the lobby by the elevators:
“Hi I’m the janitor. Where are you going?”
“To the 4th floor.”
“Are you a participant in the course?”
“Then you have to take the stairs.”
“Because that’s the way it is. It’s the rule. Says so on the sign there.”
I looked at him in disbelief and then I looked at the completely deserted lobby. There was really no one else around. The course is taking place in a high-rise building with a multitude of activities happening on the various floors. Office space, a kindergarten, various school type activities etc, so there are times when the elevators are very busy. At those times it does of course make sense to have a rule that says that the people higher up in the building, or the parents with their kids, have right of way to the elevator. But at this particular time the lobby was deserted. No one in sight. But the janitor was still sticking to his point – I should take the stairs. He even went as far as to say that he wanted to see me do that. I contemplated telling him that wouldn’t really be possible since he was actually standing in the elevator as we were having this conversation and the stairs are located in a separate entrance, but then I decided against it seeing as the likelihood of it being a very fruitful discussion was virtually zero. I waited him out and then took the elevator. Read more of this post
November 5, 2010
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“Oh, please don’t make me despise you.” I find myself thinking that more often than I would like. About men I thought I liked. Men I though were cool. Men where I saw friendship potential.
“Oh, please don’t make me despise you.” But he does. They almost always do. Why is that? You see an advance coming, you decline in a nice and polite way. A respectful way, a way that let’s them save face. You give them a really nice,hassle free exit, but they don’t take it. Why is that? I just don’t get it. Why do nice, sensible, intelligent, socially capable, intellectual men turn into irrational, despicable troglodytes? How does that happen? I really don’t get it. Men who are able to make intelligent and rational decisions and who are capable of highly sophisticated argumentation and analysis all of a sudden lose all capability of critical thinking and reason. How is that even possible? Or rather: how can you be so nice and still be an asshole? Read more of this post
October 4, 2010
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“Riot – worthwhile work for everyone.” I have a t-shirt that says that. I bought it because I thought the message made sense. It was back in 2001, just after the riots at the EU summit in the Swedish city Gothenburg had happened, and I was appalled by the reactions from the general public. First there were lots of very violent demonstrations and clashes between the protesters and the police, and then a guy was shot by the police, in Sweden that’s not something that happens every day. In fact, it was pretty much unheard of. But the strange thing was that it was the protests themselves that were questioned, not what the police did. Suddenly the “fight for your right” credo seemed to belong more to the police than to the people. I thought that was scary. And i think that’s why I bought that t-shirt. To make some sort of statement about the right to protest.
So does it help? To protest and challenge the establishment? Is there a point? Yes, I hope so. I hope it helps to raise your voice when you think something is wrong. After all, that is one of the fundamental rights in a democracy, to speak your mind. As citizens we do have a right to protest. And that right should be exercised. Thankfully most of the political establishment realizes and recognizes this. But what strikes me is how few conclusions are drawn from this realization. Read more of this post
September 23, 2010
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Foreigners. Immigrants. There’s a lot of talk about that these days. About how problematic it is. And sure, it is problematic, but not half as problematic as the ugly, brown stained, so-called far right movement that’s emerging from the sewers all over Europe right now. That’s far more problematic. These people who call themselves nationalists and are all about preserving the purity of the race and culture, they are more than problematic. They are actually becoming quite a significant pain in the ass. They are really fucking annoying. Racist, homophobic, xenophobic, paranoid loudmouths that just never shut up about how the immigrants are ruining Europe. As if they themselves weren’t…
I was watching a comedy show the other night and one of the guys was saying: “with all this talk about immigrants and second-generation immigrants, I’m just wondering, when do you actually get there? When are you done with the whole immigration business and just fucking arrive?” Yeah, when indeed. Let’s face it, we’re all immigrants. One way or another. It’s not like there has never been any inflow in the gene pool, otherwise we’d be a world full of really awesome banjo players by now. Mating with close relatives isn’t good, we all know that and we have known it for a very log time. Read more of this post