How To Respond To Hate Of Any Kind – Airbnb Style

“I don’t hate you.. I just don’t like that you exist” – Gena Showalter

Everyone knows someone. You know the type. They’re the person who spreads venomous language through the veins of society, pushing their agenda onto anyone.  They speak over the top of you, drowning any chance for you to fight back. They’re the belligerents, the bigots and the haters. The ones whose opinions rise to the top of the hierarchy like oil in water.

Recently the Australian Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite was crushed by Labor for fears that it would incite hate speech from the vocal minorities. Airbnb is also enforcing a ‘Community Commitment’, banning anyone from the site who cannot commit to treating everyone with respect, without judgement or bias, “regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age”.

This is how you cope with those vicious individuals – ignore them and wherever possible, eradicate them from your life. There’s no point in engaging in long, serious discussions, attempting to reason with tactless people. They’re married to their beliefs. Concentrate your energy on something worthwhile, because eventually it will drown out the pointlessness of belligerents.

But, sometimes that’s not possible. Sometimes it’s someone you’ve grown up with and can’t avoid. And sometimes that person seeks you out, steering their focus directly onto your own belief system.

I knew from very early on that this was someone I would never get along with. Their immaturity was staggering given their age, and their disrespect for others was beyond shocking. But childhood gave me short term immunity. For years I just watched, rather than falling subject to this individuals (excuse my french), bull shit.

But time prevailed, and my belief system developed. One, which differed to that of the person in question. I started to respond to them, and was met with their signature condescension. Eventually, this process became a tradition, and in their eyes a game. Any and every chance they got, they would pick the same fight.

Last week was no different. On Thursday at 5:19 PM I received an image of an anorexic woman sitting on the ground, surrounded by garbage that she had torn out of the bin. The text read “Available to start straight away – medical reception nurse. Good at sorting all torn up medical records”.

Admittedly I replied, I was too furious to think clearly. But I shouldn’t have because the text that followed was worse. They went on to detail how their friend “wanted to put her in the bin but the seven police and ambulance workers who were unjustifiably in attendance probably would not have liked that”.

After several people talked me down, I ended up not hitting send on my reply. Progress Report: Blissful silence ever since. You’re probably wondering at this point what the fight is about, but all I will say is its about ethnicity. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, it is etiquette to not assault people with yours.

Remember, hating is easy to do, and so is responding to it. The hard part is restraint. In life you have to pick your battles, and be able to spot a lost cause when you see one. The world is becoming a nastier place, so take Airbnb’s advice and don’t make room for people like that.

2016 In Review- The Worst Year in the 21st Century?

After two consecutive disappointing seasons of the Bachelorette and the Bachelor I’m just about done with 2016. This has been an absolute nightmare. Don’t you worry, I’m going to prove my case.

For starters, the fallen legends.

David Bowie. A hero in every right.

Alan Rickman. How dare you take our Snape away.

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Prince. Crying purple tears.

Harper Lee. To kill our souls even more.

Gene Wilder. Took us beyond our imagination.

Muhammad Ali. Delivered one last punch.

Second up, Politics.

Brexit. Proving that British bigotry is still alive and well.

Trump becomes the Republican Nominee. Start building your bomb shelter now.

Pauline Hanson takes the Australian Senate. The red-headed mongrel is back.

Turkey Coup. Turkey’s armed forces attempted to bring down President Tayyip Erdogan.

*Disclaimer. I could be here all day, so these are my top 4.

Three, Terror.

ISIS forces attack Deir ez-Zor, Syria. Killing between 130-300 Syrian army members as well as women and children.

ISIS executes 300 activists, police and military personnel in Mosul, Iraq. Rot in hell you unholy scum.

Brussels Bombing. 32 killed, 340 injured.

Seventy-two people, including 29 children, killed in a suicide bombing at the largest public park in Lahore, Pakistan. Seriously?

Orlando Shooting. 50 shot dead in a gay nightclub. In a year of full of hate, this was the last thing we needed.

Trio of suicide bombs at Istanbul Airport. 45 killed, 200 injured. 

US Police kill 193 African Americans. Black lives matter.

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Bastille Day Attack, Nice. 77 people killed after a truck drives through a crowd.

That’s up to July, but I don’t have the strength to continue.

A Few Other Highlights

Zika Virus Goes International. It was a guest star at the Olympics. The pool was green with envy.

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North Korea develops a nuclear warhead. Greaaaaaaaaaat.

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Georgia Love Picks Lee Over Matty. Love is dead and I’m done.

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Admittedly, the last one isn’t even a spec on the disastrous record of this year. But, much like my attachment to Drake and Rihanna, and Calvin Harris and Taylor – they were the shreds keeping my hope alive. Honestly, this year has truly been feral and it’s not even close to being over! 2017 couldn’t get here soon enough.

How This US Election Could Actually Improve Democracy

Admittedly, the United States is teetering on the edge of having a potentially authoritarian President, however the fear of Donald Trump may actually be the kick in the ass that millennials need. Of course they are easy to dismiss, given their voting history, but the fear of Trump is powerful.

In the 2012, election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, only 49% of people under the age of 30 voted. Low participation has aways been common amongst millennials in the United States, but reaching out to them has never been more important. Having just surpassed baby-boomers as the largest living generation, they could potentially be a powerful secret weapon.

This fact has not gone unrecognised in the lead-up to the election, with news streams calling Gen Y out, urging them to vote. Buzzfeed came forward with a 15 minute video, explaining the differences between both major parties; Vox has been running in depth analyses on the debates; Casey Neistat along with a string of YouTubers have announced who they will be voting for; and the never ending social media cycles are churning out more political hashtags than ever before.

The ramifications of low participation are immense and can be seen by the the shock result of the EU Referendum in the UK. 73% of young people were in favour of staying, but only 36% of millennials turned up on voting day. Many claimed they couldn’t decide what to vote for, or simply that they forgot when it was. There is no place for these excuses. If you’re unsure of anything – a parties policies, or the date of an election – just Google it.

Low participation rates however are understandable. Politics can be disheartening, particularly for Generation Y. When do politicians do anything for them? Whilst this is a valid point,the reason politicians don’t do anything for millennials is that it doesn’t earn them votes. Politicians provide policies for those who elect them, and older people vote!

But this election goes beyond the merits of a party, which is often the driving factor for voting. It has become a gamble of choosing the lesser of two evils; Hillary or Trump. This election could definitely be a turning point for US politics, but it could arguably strengthen democracy. Perhaps this atypical election was what was needed to bring the youth into the fold?

Dear Republicans (Be sensible)

Dear Republicans,

Subject: An open letter, a final plea.

There are so many things I could say. We could talk about how Trump wants to activate the use of nuclear weapons in the US. We could talk about the Wall. We could talk about how he wants to fight gun violence with guns. We could talk about his views on abortion, foreign policy, immigration and on climate change. But the thing is, all these conversations would lead to the same conclusion, he is unfit to lead a country.

Let me introduce myself, I’m a 22 year old from Australia. I grew up in what was an era of renewed hope in the United States. That was all because of one man, Barack Obama. It’s amazing what one man can do to a country, and inspire globally.  I fear that Trump could have the same level of impact, just in the opposite way.

I’m not writing this to tell anyone to vote for Hillary Clinton. It’s not my place to do that. Instead, I believe the Republican party needs a new candidate. To be seen as a legitimate party, this is the only way. Many have spoken out this week, including former Presidential candidate John McCain, withdrawing their support for ‘the Donald’. Surely, that is a sign.

Trump and his supporters have been a laughing stock worldwide, but it’s high time you and I take this problem seriously. This verbal floundering maniac can’t even pay his taxes, so what makes you think he would make a capable head of state.

Please don’t let hindsight be the chord that pulls in rationality. He is going to cost you the election or the respectability your country, so act swiftly.

Sincerely –

The Intersection of Politics and Music

This unlikely pairing has had an ongoing fling for centuries, with music often reflecting the lifestyle of its flamboyant partner, politics. So when in 2016 have the two had a rendezvous?

First cab off the rank is the Black Eyed Peas with their remake of their 2003 anthem Where Is The Love. The track itself is an ode to this absolute disaster of a year, commemorating the collapse of global affairs, whilst targeting gun violence.  The video features images from the Syrian war, the migrant crisis (including three-year-old Alan Kurdi on the beach) and Black Lives Matter protests. The most distressing part of the video is the appearances from Sandra Sterling, the aunt of Alton who was killed by police earlier this year, Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando who was controversially shot, and David O’Brown, the Dallas Police Chief.

Beyoncé’s Formation has also been dubbed a public declaration of her support of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whilst there are no explicit ties to the organisation, powerful images within the video tell the whole story. The video shows a child dancing in front of a police riot and a wall spray painted with the words “stop shooting us”. Beyoncé also sinks a New Orleans police car.

Axis Of Awesome’s Jordan has recently come out publicly as transgender and gives some insight into her experience in their cover of Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Since Caitlin Jenner came onto the scene, transgender has become a topical subject on the media agenda. Finally a dialogue was brought to the fore and promoted a new strain of acceptance. This has been vital for lobbyist groups promoting puberty blockers, and to protecting the rights of transgender parents.

Macklemore’s Kevin highlights a lesser known epidemic in America, drug addiction. The rapper tells the tale of a young musician who lost his life under the influence of prescription medication. Many are focussed on gun violence, but in 2014 47,000 people were killed by overdoses – more than were killed by guns, or in traffic accidents. In a year where the news cycle has been dominated by trivial Trump quotes, songs like these are an important reminder that important political issues can be sidelined. Irrespective of a crises gravity.

The last and possibly the largest connection between politics and music in 2016 is Beyoncé’s  entire album, ‘Lemonade’, which was released conveniently in the same year as the US election. The concept album describes the inner torment of a jilted wife, whose husband has had sexual extra curricular activities. After working through the stages of depression and anger, the protagonist finds herself at the point of forgiveness, willing to uphold her wedding vows despite her partners indiscretions. Sound familiar? Oh yes, Hillary and Lewinsky a.k.a. Bey and Becky. One of the biggest stains on Clinton’s campaign was her decision to stay with Bill. People have perceived her as weak because of it. However, Beyoncé is a trendsetter, with many seeing her as one of the most powerful women in the world. If Bey stayed with Jay, then maybe people will stop judging Hillary for her choices.

The Demonetization of Youtube Videos


sfasfTo me YouTube is the most engaging platform on the internet. In fact the quality of my day is contingent on whether or not Joe Sugg uploaded a vlog. There is something for everyone – travel guides, how-to’s, music, comedy, personal stories, advice, impressions, cinematography and more. But it looks like the YouTube era may come to an end.

Firstly you need to understand how YouTubers make money. Disregarding sponsorships, YouTube networks and advertising, a significant portion of a YouTuber’s income is via views. CPM, aka cost per thousand views, determines how much a content creator makes per video.

Now back to the story.

In 2012, YouTube established an algorithm that would systematically demonetize videos if they were deemed unfit by advertising-friendly guidelines. Metadata from the videos was gathered and used to determine whether or not an advertiser would want to be associated with its content. Since then, the algorithm has regularly removed videos from its pool of advertised content, meaning that the YouTuber’s are no longer paid for those videos despite the number of views.

Now it’s no secret that the world is becoming an increasingly terrifying domain with the internet being a catalyst for the trafficking of savage information. So it was only natural that YouTube had to make stricter guidelines and a bullet proof algorithm in an attempt to prevent certain videos from rising to the surface. As a result the algorithm’s parameters expanded in 2015 with the specific target of catching content relating to terrorism.

However, the guidelines are too broad and have led to unduly removal of videos. The guidelines stipulate that a video will be demonitised if there is:

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity or sexual humour
  • Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown

This sounds like censorship to me.

Going off these guidelines we can count on Louis Cole’s North Korea videos to be demonetized, pretty much every Dave DeFranco video ever made, and even Jenna Marbles – arguably the most successful YouTuber of all time – will lose money over swearing. Fuck that.

The truth is video has become the most integral element of media. This is why at least 80% of my posts have a video attached. With a much more digestible framework than other mediums, such as blocks of text (like this one), it has become the preferable choice. In a strange way video allows you to connect on a deeper level, and gives a heightened clarity that no other platform offers. What’s worse is that YouTube was instrumental in making this happen.

By demonetizing content however, YouTube will fall like Myspace. Creators will disperse onto other platforms with more profitable and flexible guidelines, such as Facebook, leaving the site in the early 21st century. This will make content harder to find, dividing the internet into even greater niches.

BORN JOY DEAD DISS THE CORPORATE GRIND IN VIDEO “SOURDOUGH”

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Work seems to be a central theme of the 2016 music canvas, although when lead singer Ben Dalton croons “work work work”, he means it in a slightly different way to Rihanna. The track itself articulates the reality of most creative types, the formidable day job. It’s all about what you have to do to bring home the [sour]dough.

Set in an 80’s workplace, the band is decked out in paisley ties and slicked barnetts. With their ironed eyebrows and suits in tow, they take us through the do’s and don’ts of office life. Saying no to food fights, roller-chair races and indoor cricket in a series of role play scenarios, it highlights the truly beige nature of the corporate grind.

Despite being office rapscallions, the band has created a truly charming summery indie tune. Swirling guitars over an airy vocal melody kick off the track, giving way to Dalton’s vocals. It’s perfect for a trip to the beach; a place the band would much rather be by the sounds of it.

If you’re an indie fiend, or confused about how to behave in front of your colleagues, flick it a play!

Article can also be found at AAA Backstage.

 

I’m Still Mad

Today was one of those days where I wanted to throw gasoline onto a burning house. Completely irrational I know, but I want to see something get enveloped by a spectacular fury. I wish I could say I’m a zen person, but I’m not. I hold grudges from over a decade ago, and nine times out of ten things fester until I explode. So without lashing out at anyone, or exposing anyone, or upsetting anyone – I’m going to try and vent strategically and anonymously.

Things I’m still mad AF about.

To the one who thought they could tell me what to do. The way I arranged the displays looked a thousand times better than your high waisted trousers.

To the one who called me fat seven years ago, I remember that day vividly. The clothes you wore and the tone of your voice. You might be a nice person now, but I’ll never forgive you.

To the one in a hurry to grow up. In your race against the clock you left behind your friends and your moral compass. Your appearances became as patchy as your beard.

To the all-talkers. You live a lovely life of hypotheticals and near misses. I don’t exist to stand in the background of your picture perfect life. Stick to plans or bugger off.

To the malcontent. Each encounter felt like a blood test, I was left pale and drained. You happily destroy things if they’re within your best interests, and to this day you are the most selfish person I’ve ever known.

To the ones who took me for a stroll up the garden path. You promised me hope and fed me sand. But at least I know what’s for me now.

I guess the moral of this story is, don’t fuck with a writer because well… we’ll write about it.

 

Sleep No More

Sleep No More

Creep. Whisper. Seek. In the darkness, look my darling. May the dancers hold your gaze as I slither by. No questions now, that comes later. Drops of blood will spill, and you’ll get your fill. But first, be patient.

Let the muffled phonograph guide you, the jazz is all consuming. Watch as the hearts fly, and the ghosts follow. Hollow is their mission, but if you don’t run you will decay. Her soul is now consumed, as her flailing limbs takeover. But her journey is far from over.

You won’t hear the screams of some, they will just disappear under the covers. While others will perish violently, as the contents of their veins desert them. You may wear your mask, but don’t think for a second I won’t find you.

I’ll hold your wrists while she cradles your face. Inspection is important, especially in the presence of something fresh. Who are you? Why are you here? Pale complexion, with unblinking eyes. You’re terrifying. Curse this disorder.

I stole his wife’s last breath, vengeance is nigh. Twist and pull tight, let the coiled strands guide me into the light. There will be no sleep for you tonight.

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I don’t know when I wrote this, but I’m assuming it was on the cab ride back to the hotel after seeing Sleep No More. I just stumbled across it in my iPhone Notes. Forgive me for the lack of context, and purpose. But this blog has never really had one.

This play was truly remarkable and transcending. It makes you think in twisted ways as the terminal madness overcomes the characters. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it’s also something you shouldn’t miss.