The Art of Suppression: Please think of the ‘Adults’!

It starting to look more and more apparent that we’re culturally progressing off a cliff as even works of fiction become progressively more sanitised beyond recognition. I say this as the Guardian recently reported that;

‘Several schools across Barcelona are considering purging their libraries of stereotypical and sexist children’s books, after one removed around 200 titles, including Little Red Riding Hood and the story of the legend of Saint George, from its library.’

Furthermore this decision comes from an organisation, Associació Espai i Lleure. The project aims to highlight hidden sexist content present within works of fiction. I know I heard audible gasps of absolute horror as people only just realised that these stories are filled with content that might shock and offend. But in my opinion (if I’m even allowed to have one anymore) fairy tales and their darker counter parts are an important part of our world especially when looking at the history of Europe.  Also regardless of the interpretation be it the original works, or spin offs, to retroactively take them off the shelves suggests to me that you underestimate the intelligence of children.

The further illustrate this point;

 The group reviewed the characters in each book, whether or not they speak and what roles they perform, finding that 30% of the books were highly sexist, had strong stereotypes and were, in its opinion, of no pedagogical value.

First of all, who gets to decide the value of these stories. And second of all, why does it always boil down to the inescapable truth that the people that complain the most about depictions in fiction have a real hard time separating that fiction from reality. A text’s value as a resource is down how the teacher approaches the subject. There’s a lesson in everything after all. A good teacher can figure how to approach any story and context even if the depictions are apparently negative.

Also it doesn’t take long for the problem to be directed against the real original sin that is masculinity.

Anna Tutzó, a parent who is on the commission, told El País that “society is changing and is more aware of the issue of gender, but this is not being reflected in stories”.  Masculinity is associated with competitiveness and courage, and “in violent situations, even though they are just small pranks, it is the boy who acts against the girl”, which “sends a message about who can be violent and against whom”.

The determined emphasis on killing competitiveness really concerns me. The idea that even courage could be considered negative is also surprising but not unexpected. But it all boils down to the message about who can be violent and against whom. You could argue this same logic applies to video games. The notion that children are willing to act on stories or perceive them as anything but fiction is as irrational as it gets. It worries me more that the parent can’t take responsibility in these cases. When it’s their imperative to raise a child well. What’s even more concerning is that this may move beyond just fairytales. We all know how the spectrum of colours is being more politicised with every waking minute, I can’t wait for the alphabet to fall to a similar fate.

The real tragedy is that the story of Saint George has to fall on this sword and all because it falls under the damsel in the distress trope;

The legend of Saint George has also been taken off the shelves of Tàber’s infant-school library. Books about this legend are commonly read at Catalonia’s Sant Jordi book-giving festival, the Diada de Sant Jordi (St George’s Day) on April 23, but most perpetuate sexist stereotypes, where a man is the courageous hero, slaughtering dragons, and a woman is the scared princess. New children’s books, however, such as Santa Jordina (Saint Georgia) and La revolta de Santa Jordina(The revolt of Saint Georgina), are putting a twist on this legend and placing a girl in the role of the hero.

As a point of aside, I often wonder if what I’m reading is cleverly worded satire but sadly it’s not. These people think they act for the good of us all. All they’re doing really is satisfying an urge to control everyone else. And there’s nothing good about that. They could quite easily have the original and inspired work exist side by side but often it seems that if a man has a lead role they have to be punished for it. It’s becoming harder to see why some see this as okay. Are boys not allowed to see Saint George as a hero? It’s not think of the children but the adults that just can’t leave fiction well enough alone.

“If boys get the starring roles in books – both as the good and bad protagonists – and girls are the sidekicks, it confirms that’s how the world is and how it should be. It’s very hard to feel equal then.”

I don’t think any reader feels this way about a story be it a child, teenager or adults. Do I really need to refute such an illogical statement but the real nail to the coffin of anything remotely academic is the final part of the El Pais article. I won’t respond to it but let you decide your feelings;

Ester Murillo, a mother of the parents association at Montseny school, adds that this awareness of sexist content “needs to be shared by both the families and the teachers, who must internalize it and transmit it in the classroom.”

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Why Context Matters?

The Covington controversy is a lesson for us in patience and why context above all else can change the initial perspective on events. By now most of you will have seen the short two-minute video depicting an elder Native American confronting a Covington student on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was shared around faster than the T-Virus turning Racoon City into a zombie-infested hell hole.

It created a mob of sheep that assumed evil intent without first understanding the situation. It has recently come out that there is in fact approximately two hours of footage that may in fact cast the boys in a better light. But it has already been too late. In my own personal experience, I became a sceptic of the mainstream media after observing a coordinated effort by spineless journalists to turn the identity of gamers into something akin to a bogeyman. The Gamergate controversy whether you be for or against it saw to the demise of caution and integrity. The Wikipedia article speaks for itself about how vindictive game journalists and their supporters really are when it comes to a simple matter of ethical journalism.

The situation involving the Covington students gets exacerbated further when you read the initial comments. People who should know better may as well have called for Nick Sandmann’s head. A lot of sites ran stories ahead of time and even managed to interview Philips.

Until stated otherwise, there is currently no evidence the boys chanted anything close to what Philips claimed. It’s true they may have been a tad over the top in response to him but that can be boiled down to them reacting to him banging a drum in Sandmann’s face. A situation we can all agree would leave you either wanting a way out or having to grin and bear it. It should also be noted that Nathan Phillips marched into the group of his own volition and went as close to Sandmann as possible it seems.

Of course, Sandmann was not the first target for an unrestrained mob egged on by Twitter check marks and an unforgiving media. Michael Hodge bore the brunt of it initially with a series of tweets being released indicating an attempt to damage his culinary future before it had a chance to start.

No matter how you cut it or view Trump. Loathe or love the President, his ascendancy to that position is born from this same mentality that caused Clinton to lose. Assume the opposition is deplorable and you will never get them back. No amount of blaming your Russian bogeymen will change the result. That same logic applies to Brexit. It’s convenient to focus your ire on Russia because it ignores introspection and a chance to grow.

There have been a few retractions now that the two-hour clip is readily available but many can’t see past the Maga hat. The hat itself is harmless, but projecting hatred of a President onto a someone else is as damning as it gets. When the ‘free’ press can’t be arsed to fact check and just eagerly watches as its audience pulls someone else apart it comes as no surprise when people use hashtags like #LearntoCode. It hurts to be given a taste of your own medicine. And truthfully tolerance means facing your opposition in good faith. And if these people truly opposed harassment this story would not be what it is today.

As the title says, context matters. Journalists need to learn quickly that their reporting can be seen as an incentive and as radical activism is on the rise, this can lead to even more division as eggshells finally break underfoot.

Nick is innocent, he has committed no crime and didn’t deserve to endure slander by the mainstream press.

Now in regards to the other group present. Who I have neglected to mention so far, has managed to dodge all criticism. The Black Israelites are arguably one of the most hateful groups I’ve seen in recent memory, whether it is being homophobic to a couple of school students or chastising the traditions of native Americans. Not one publication criticised them. Instead, you see a MAGA hat and white man. And in the minds of many on the left side of the political spectrum. That truly is the original sin. The lesson to take away here is to treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s not rocket science.

The lesson to take away here is to treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s not rocket science.

(Note: the footage appears to show the boys defending homosexuality. Ironic considering how much the media has doubled on them being the bigots in all this)

Branching out

I’ve created world a anvil page in order to keep track of all things happening on Infinitum Earth. I’ll be updating it as time goes by. You will also find a few stories dotted around there too following the escapades of those that may only make a small appearance in the main set of stories.

The Infinitum Earth

My patreon is more of an experiment. I’m considering of using it to reveal content early to those interested in the universe as well as providing support for those who may be sitting on an idea and don’t quite know where to take it.

Mr Mad Writer