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rezzeJ




I often don't know what I'm talking about.


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rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 4, 2019

I finally got to go to the UBC Japanese Garden that kleinbl00 lamented me missing out on during my 2014 trip to Canada.

You could earn the money back by doing kids' parties.

Paint yourself and dress up as a Klein Smurf.

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: The Rhythms of Tigran Hamasyan

Damn, how did you end up having dinner with him?

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: A brief primer on Brexit and trade

I had no intention of talking down anyone. I of course do not believe that social class has any standing on how practical/smart/hard-working/etc. a person is.

Yes, in this case a dumb decision was made. But most importantly I wanted to highlight that it's far from their fault that they made this dumb decision.

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: A brief primer on Brexit and trade

You say that my comment is elitist and derogatory in the way it treats adults like children. I’m not sure how it’s elitist or derogatory to claim that the average person struggling in relative poverty probably doesn’t care to read up on geopolitics. I don’t blame them for it or think it makes them worse people. I don’t think it makes them intrinsically stupid or somehow worse than me. It’s simply a observation. The whole point of it was to fight against your claim that not knowing about the world makes you a pathetic schoolchild.

I mean, forget anything about relative poverty, just consider the average person. Me included. I am just as guilty of the ignorance that I'm accusing others of. I said it to kb in a PM and I'll say it again: I voted 'Remain' because... the status-quo was pretty good for me. On the face of it, I saw no reason for things to change so drastically. But there was no conscious geopolitical or economical basis behind my vote. And that’s coming from someone with a masters degree (though it's in music, so go figure) living a cushy middle-class lifestyle. If the people who swung the referendum are assholes, then so am I. I am the same as them, just with a more advantageous upbringing.

Did you watch the ‘Anywhere But Westminster’ video? I realise that the link was wrong for a while, so I don’t blame you if you didn’t. That notwithstanding, all the leave voters who talk to the host never actually say anything about the EU, geopolitics, or trade. It’s all about how their hometown has gone to shit. How they are unemployed and can’t get a job. Or how they are employed but effectively take home less than the minimum wage.

You talk about the ‘social contract’ and the responsibility one has as a member of a society. Fundamentally I agree with you. But someone whose disability benefits have been denied and has to get their meals from a foodbank probably doesn’t care much for the ‘social contract’. Where’s their benefit from it?

It’s all there in the figures. Out of those polled, the most likely people to vote leave were:

    - Those with no formal education qualifications (78%) or whose highest qualifications are CSEs or O-levels (61%) [rezzeJ note: These are the old form of GCSEs which are exams that you take at 16.]

    - Those with an income of less than £1,200 per month (66%)

    - Those in social housing provided by a local authority (70%) or housing association (68%)

    - Those finding it difficult to manage financially (70%) or just about getting by (60%)

    - Those who believed Britain has got a lot worse in the last ten years (73%)

    - Those who think things have got worse for them rather than other people (76%)

    - Those who perceive themselves as working class (59%)

    - Those who see themselves as English rather than British (74%) or more English than British (62%)

This is particularly telling:

    The NatCen Panel post-Referendum survey asked what people thought the current priority for government should be… It is worth noting that Europe and the EU was significantly less likely to be selected overall than every issue other than unemployment, and less likely to be selected than education, the NHS, and immigration for those who voted Leave. This suggests that people were more focused on the domestic issues, rather than the detailed arguments about European relations… Around one in five, even though their underlying preference was to stay in the EU, voted Leave.

And this is reflected by an observation from the host in another of the ‘Anywhere but Westminster’ videos:

    [There’s] a hell of a lot of other people who thought that [Brexit] was something that happened 2 years ago. And, for very understandable reasons, they can’t quite fathom why it’s dragging on

That’s the overarching point here. In a lot of ways, the result of the referendum has nothing to do with the EU. A lot of voters didn’t really have a clue about the nature of our relationship with EU. This is highlighted by the fact that even though the true impact of their decision has come to the surface and Vote Leave's lies exposed during the process of trying to leave, most of them still would vote leave again.

So what they were voting for? To fix what they perceive as a broken country. They were voting for: “we’re in the shit over here and if you’re not going to help us then fuck you too.” People tried to raise their voice before through the general elections, but the FPTP system negated the impact of their votes. The referendum gave the voters a voice. A straight choice where safe seats, FPTP, and all that made no difference. So unfortunately, leaving the EU became collateral damage in a process of these people finally being able to raise their voice.

    ...participants who agreed that ‘politicians don’t listen to people like me’ were significantly more likely to vote Leave (58%) than those who did not (37%)

Yes, some people who voted leave are racist assholes. And others are well-informed or well-off people with selfish agendas. But by pointing out all the things I have in this post, I am not attempting to “ absolves the assholes of their responsibility for this mess”, nor am I saying that it is the darn unwashed masses fault we’ve ended up here. I am saying that we need to be certain that we're pointing the finger at the right people. This is ultimately the fault of government, not that of the people who swung the vote. By blaming the people, you are doing exactly what Pie describes as populism in his video: masking the political failings by blaming others.

Edit: I have a sneaking feeling that we're actually on the same page and that we've just misunderstood each other. Is that correct?

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: A brief primer on Brexit and trade

    Leavers are like fucking schoolchildren... just no clue how the world works. It's just so ... pathetic. You watch the kid tie a sheet around his neck like a cape, climb up onto the roof, and he smiling and so excited as he runs to the edge of the roof and...

A lot of the people who voted leave are in relative poverty. Barely living paycheck to paycheck in rundown ex-industrial towns where half the shops on the high-street are boarded up. No opportunities, no prospects, having to use food-banks and community projects just so they don't go hungry. Since 2010 there's been 8% cut in education, an almost 3000% rise in the amount of necessary foodbanks, and a 169% increase in homelessness. The government 'broke the contract'.

It's a bit rich to expect a person who may be wondering where their next meal is going to come from to be clued up on geopolitics and the intricacies of economy and trade. To expect them to understand a process which has reduced the UK parliament into chaos and a laughing-stock. It serves no purpose to liken them to school children and call them pathetic.

All recent history has shown them is that the rich get richer and nothing improves for the working class. Then the 'Vote Leave' campaign comes along and is the first thing in a long time to speak directly to them. To directly address their problems and struggle. It doesn't matter that it's all bullshit and populism; you'll grab onto any ledge you can when you're in free-fall, even if it's just to bring the person who pushed you down with you.

The Guardian has been doing a great video series called 'Anywhere but Westminster'. It's certainly helped me with empathise with those I had no understanding of back when this all started:

Spoilers ahead.

Essentialism - Greg McKeown

The main thing I got from this book is that I happen already embody its core precepts. It was interesting to get some soundbites and outside thinking on my previously subconscious behavior though.

----

Fiasco - Stanislaw Lem

I read Solaris. It was my favourite book of last year. Then I read The Invincible. It didn't quite reach the greatness of Solaris, but it's still good. Then I went for Fiasco.

There's still elements of what I love about Lem's writing in this the book. The creeping atmosphere, true consideration for what it might mean to be 'alien', and mysteries that are creatively untangled.

However, as the first part ends and we're propelled a century into the future, Lem seems to get bored of telling an engaging story and instead descends into 10 page, 'scientific' explanations of how all the technology in the book works.

He did this to some extent in the aforementioned books too, but they were less frequent and revolved around fundamental themes/events of the story. In Fiasco, he too often goes down mundane rabbit holes of little interest or importance. In doing so, he ruins the pacing of the book and atmosphere. It was like there was a section of science text book spliced into every chapter.

When, in the final chapter, you finally get to the event the whole book has been building up to, it's all over almost as soon as it begins and it blows up in the protagonist's face because... he's dumb basically. To summarise, he needs to check in with the mothership at an exact time lest they obliterate the alien planet he's currently on. He's told this with crystal clarity. And he reminds himself that it's almost time to do so just before he decides to jog a mile away from his radio. Guess what happens?

I do think it was clever how the first part of book metaphorically outlined how the main narrative would play out. The same foibles that plagued the protagonist in the first part come back to haunt him and cause his ultimate demise. And the exploration of people's nature to try to achieve, at any cost, a goal that has long since become fruitless or even perilous was interesting. But overall, it just didn't come together as well as I hoped.

----

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said - Phillip K. Dick

I was listing my issues about Fiasco to a friend and, on finding out I hadn't read any Phillip K. Dick, he suggested I read some of his work. After the last book, it was refreshing to read something that was all character and narrative with little to no fluff.

Our protagonist is a famous tonight show-esque host/singer/actor type. After a targeted attack, he wakes up in world where no-one know who he is and all traces of his physical and digital identity have evaporated. Whilst this a relatively engaging premise by itself, what gives it its real weight and tension is Dick's well realised, police state dystopia. In this world, who you are is everything. As a result, the protagonist goes from being interesting to the world because he's famous, to because he's a nobody.

My main criticism would be that whilst the central plot reveal was interesting, it was completely unpredictable not foreshadowed in any way. This makes it less satisfying to me. This was also a problem with the next book of Dick's I read.

----

Ubik - Phillip K. Dick

Great concept, underwhelming execution. Everything felt a little unfocused, like it was a draft rather than the final copy.

The book starts by making a big deal about a new psychic who has a never-before-seen power to change the past and thus the present. Despite her introductory fanfare, she is soon relegated to brief appearances/mentions and plays no role other than being a cheap red herring. As one of the most interesting characters, it's bit of a shame.

And interesting characters is what this book needs as almost all of them are under-developed. The reveal this time was at least minimally foreshadowed, but the end still felt rushed and underwhelming.

Thanks for clarifying/expanding.

So your issue is not with the central result result of the study (regardless of whether it's a novel conclusion), but rather that the study itself is overly simplistic and leads to the results rather than reveals them?

By asking participants to stop at the 'very first point when they make up their minds', you're predisposing them to make a decision on as small amount of information as possible. It doesn't matter that they have to see the whole set of judgement criteria anyway. The study simply instructs the subjects to make a decision, not necessarily an accurate one. And all this leads to an inevitable conclusion that doesn't actually do anything to expand on the why or how of our decision making.

Is that correct? I'm not questioning your views, just rewording them back at you to solidify my own understanding. Maybe it would've been interesting to ask the subjects whether they still stuck to their original decision after seeing the rest of the data.

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: HIPSTER HATE II: SOUR GRAPES BOOGALOO

I admire that a small interaction can trigger this much reflection. Also, as an aside, I still often think of you whenever I buy a Macchiato. "I wonder if kb would think this one tastes like battery acid."

I once read an article that argued that the difference between people who aren't good with money and those that are comes down to how they perceive it.

The former view it as fuel for their lifestyle. They get paid and can get takeaway food again, go out drinking multiple times a week, and buy that PS4 game. And when the tank is empty they live on ramen until the next paycheck fills it up again.

The latter view it as building blocks to the kind of life they want to live. So if they want to be the kind of person who can buy a quality $400 backpack, they budget, save, and live modestly. Eventually, the time comes when they afford the backpack without worrying whether it means they're going to get scurvy.

I think this difference in perception feeds into how the former view the latter when they buy an expensive item. All the person who's bad with money sees some is out-of-touch, bougie asshole frittering $400 worth of premium life fuel on a bag. "If I can salvage a ratty old bag off the floor and replace the parts that keep breaking, why can't they?" And the resentment builds. Never mind the fact that any normal person has to carefully build their life in order to safely afford such an item. Never mind the fact that they bought it for its quality craftsmanship and ethics and not purely as a status symbol. Never mind that it will last a lifetime and still be in as good a condition as the day it was bought. There's just a fundamental perception gap which becomes filled with negativity.

I'm not sure if I'm completely committed to this point of view yet. I know it generalises and misses out on some nuance. But I think it stands up to some scrutiny.

rezzeJ  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Who Is Left on Hubski?

Name: Jez

Location: Brexit

Age: An expensive bottle of whiskey

Current Preoccupation: Trying to distill some sort of personal essence into music; challenging and bettering myself through kayaking, yoga, and strength workouts; creating and implementing new processes at work to improve things for both customers and employees; mostly lurking on Hubski.

Previous Preoccupation: Anxiety and panic attacks, getting high all the time, student, more music

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