“The Greatest Nation on Earth”: Does it exist?

“The Greatest Nation on Earth”: Does it exist?

Good morning/afternoon/evening (circle whichever one applies to you).

As you will know if you are a politically aware resident of the United Kingdom, the Conservative party have recently been having a leadership contest. The remaining contestants are Michael Gove, Theresa May, and Andrea Leadsom. Now, I’ve always known Mr. Gove to be a bit questionable tosser, who (somewhat worryingly) backs up the hypothesis that the government are lizard people.

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As for Ms. May, I have disagreements with parts of her policy but she seems alright otherwise. Well, compared to the other two. At least she seems more like a human being than Gove. However, I don’t really know much about Ms. Leadsom apart from the fact she supported Brexit. Some may say this alone is enough to write her off as anyone who supported Brexit is a freedom-hating fascist, but I would tell these people to kindly go and hide in a ditch for a very long time until they learn to accept that maybe they don’t know everything and that a lot of people who voted for Brexit are not imbeciles. What did write off Ms. Leadsom as a viable candidate in my opinion, is when she was quoted recently as saying “I believe this nation can become the greatest nation on Earth.”.

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“The Greatest Nation on Earth”. Yes, I know you can apply this to literally every country in the world but that’s the point, every country has its shit bits, and thus nationalism is an idiotic concept.

Now this is (hopefully) simply fatuous rhetoric which Ms. Leadsom probably doesn’t believe in herself, unless she is actually mentally unstable. Do I say this because I am an unpatriotic (is that a word? I hope it is) traitor who wants to replace the Union Jack with the red flag of the workers and believes that the USSR was the greatest nation on Earth that was just spoiled by a few bad apples и пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь et cetera et cetera? No, I say this because, put simply, there is no such thing as “the greatest nation on Earth”. It is a ridiculous concept that encourages stupid amounts of nationalism and, subsequently, death and destruction.

There is no doubt that some countries are better than others in terms of living standards, social equality etc. If you can sit there and honestly say you’d rather have been brought up in the Central African Republic (the country with the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) in the world) rather than in the United Kingdom just because you’re a bit disillusioned with it all, then I think it’s time we call the carers to take you back to your padded cell. We should be thankful that we live in a country which is in the minority of those that offer such a high standard of living. Being thankful is good. Being patriotic is fine too, there is nothing wrong with being proud of the good things your nation has achieved over the years. Being nationalistic and claiming that your country has done no wrong ever and that all other countries are shit-tier excuses for nation states that should bow down to the almighty power of your country, is not good. That is called being a jebend.

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But remember, Nationalism and Patriotism are two different things. Patriotism should not be a bad thing. Nationalism is.

No country is perfect. Every country has its flaws which will always prevent the existence of the “greatest nation on Earth”. One nation which seems to claim this title a lot is the United States. I’ve always found this quite funny because the US is probably the only country in the developed world to have as many flaws as it does. Gun control, stupid healthcare, huge amounts of poverty, crippling debt, and massive racial divides (I would provide articles that back these up but I mean come on, do you really need them?). Any American with half a brain would be able to tell you that they are not the greatest country on Earth. Unfortunately, a worrying amount of Americans don’t seem to be in possession of half a brain. Hank from Bumfucknowhereville in Missouri (who owns approximately 1/5th of a brain) may agree that America is not the greatest at the moment, but his raging nationalism will lead to his support for Supreme Overlord Donald Trump, purely because the saggy-faced oligarch promises to “Make America Great Again”.

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It’s like someone held a candle under a waxwork.

Enough ranting about America, let’s talk about another country which seems to be effected by a terrifying amount of nationalism and the belief that they are/will again become the greatest country on Earth. Russia. The reason why Putin is so popular, retaking the Crimea and waging war in Eastern Ukraine, is because nationalist Russians want to see Russia ‘become great again’. Nationalism why a far-right party (which somewhat humorously pretends to be politically centrist) is one of the four main parties in the State Duma (parliament).  Hank’s Russian cousin, Igor from Nesushestvuyushiygrad in Yakutia, will maintain that Putin is doing a stellar job, despite the fact that although Big Vlad may be making Russia look like a big scary bear on the international stage, the economy’s gone to pot, the population is declining, and political freedoms are severely restricted compared to Western nations. And let’s not even get started on civil rights.

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I’ve got to put in nice pictures of Putin otherwise they might not let me into the country.

Now it may sound like I’m trying to put these two nations down. And you’d be right. But I still think they’re awesome countries. I’ve visited both and I loved both of them. Hell, I’m going to be living in Moscow for a year from September and I can’t wait. If anything, I prefer Russia to the USA. Because I’m weird.

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This has been an incredibly rambly (that’s definitely not a word, Microsoft Word’s underlined it) and probably incoherent post, so I’m going to try and summarise my thoughts in brief: There is nothing wrong with liking your own country. There is nothing wrong with liking other countries. There is something wrong with not recognising that your country has been a bellend to other countries in the past. There is something wrong with looking down on other countries and maintaining that no other country can compare to your country.

Got that? Good. I’m probably preaching to the choir here anyway but I felt like talking about this stuff so get stuffed.

Tune in next time to hear me ramble more. Yes. Tune in to my written blog. Makes perfect sense. Don’t argue.

James

Edit 13/11/2016:
I would like to retract my statement that Theresa May “seems alright”, and also would like to say that I have now lumped her in with the lizard people politicians. Because she is a lizard.

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The Demographics Debate

The Demographics Debate

Hello again.

So the EU referendum’s been and gone (finally), and I have to say I’m disappointed with the result. However, that is not the main subject of today’s blog, mainly because I can’t be arsed and I feel everyone’s covered that to a good extent (i.e. they won’t stop banging on about it). All that’s left to do now is to get on with it. No, there won’t be a second referendum, no matter how many petitions you sign. We have no choice, so even if you’re angry, just try and calm down. Please.

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The referendum did bring up an interesting issue outside of the matter of the EU though. Many young people felt rather shafted by the oldies voting for leave, as ‘they [the older population] are the ones who will have to live with their decision for the shortest time’ and are apparently all raving racists and general nutters. I do not agree with this. Likewise, I do not agree with the viewpoint that all old people are basically Gandalf and have all knowledge of many things. Old people are people. They are different from each other. All demographics will have their tendencies, such as oldies being more conservative, but that does not mean they are all neo-Nazis. To illustrate my point, I will now write four (entirely fictional) biographies of people who are allowed to vote.

Our first case study is 21-year-old Rob. Rob is a final year English Lit and Politics student at the University of Bristol. He is the first person in his family to go to university. He is an above-average student, predicted to get a high 2:1. Rob takes a great interest in the local politics of the Bristol area, and always goes to the Student Union when a notable political figure is due to give a speech there. However, he avoids student politics, rightly so, because he thinks student politics is bollocks. Rob is correct. Rob usually reads the Guardian, and occasionally the Independent. He voted Labour in the last general election.

Rob voted to remain in the EU.

I am happy that people like Rob are able to vote.

Our second case study is 68-year-old Dave. Dave is a semi-retired van driver. Dave is very angry at the moment, as he has found out his youngest son has started dating an Asian woman. Dave does not want any ‘towelheads’ running about his Britain, let alone his house! He plans on disowning his son as soon as possible. Dave goes to the local Tesco to get the paper. His face drops as he walks in and sees that the woman at the till is of Asian descent. Dave would use the self-service checkout but he doesn’t understand how touchscreens work. He believes they’re an invention by the EU to control us. After doing his best to buy his paper without speaking to or looking at the friendly checkout lady, he scurries out of the shop.

He regularly reads the Daily Mail. This morning, he becomes absolutely infuriated at the news reported in the Mail: 300 MIL. TURBOCHARGED IMMIGRANTS TO COME TO THE UK AND STEAL OUR BAKED BEANS: WATCH OUT BRITS! (ALSO: PICTURES OF A B-LIST CELEB’S ARSE ON PAGE 5). Dave likes his beans. He is enraged that the foreigners are coming over here and stealing everything British. However, he calms down after page 5. Dave likes page 5. He is a simple man. Dave’s hatred of immigrants has not stopped him hiring a Polish plumber to come fix his toilet. However, he only did this because he thought ‘Grzegorz Lewicki’ was a bad misspelling of ‘Gregor Lewis’. Dave goes to check on Grzegorz. You know. Make sure he doesn’t nick anything.

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Don’t read this garbage.

“Y’know, you can stay. I like you. You fix my toilet. But the rest of you Polish vermin need to sod off.”

Boże mój…” Grzegorz thinks to himself.

“Why don’t you just go to Russia anyway? You’re all basically the same thing, y’know, Communists and that.”

Grzegorz resists the urge to cave Dave’s head in with his spanner whilst telling him that Poles and Russians don’t usually…uh…’get on particularly well’, and that the Eastern Bloc collapsed 25 years ago.

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RU:”Ahaha! I drew my gun first, I win!” PL:”Sir please we are engaging in serious political discussion.”

Dave voted for UKIP in the last election. He voted to leave the EU.

I am not happy that people like Dave are able to vote.

Our third case study is 74-year-old widow Sue. Sue is a retired primary school teacher. Since she retired, she’s been taking more of an interest in political matters. She regularly reads the Times and always goes to meet with her local councillor whenever he presents to the public. Her granddaughter taught her how to use her smartphone and now Sue can keep in touch with family and friends and do multiple other useful things. Sue used to be quite wary of immigrants but when an Indian family moved in next door she has become more open. She regularly goes round for a cup of tea and invites them over at least once a month for dinner. Sue is fed up of the bureaucracy that seems to obstruct any process undertaken in government, local or national. She voted Conservative in the last general election.

Sue voted to leave the EU.

I am happy that people like Sue are able to vote.

Our final case study is 20-year-old student Tigerlily O’BangBang. Her original name was Alice Johnson, but she changed her name on the basis that a ‘normal’ name is an example of oppression by an ultra-capitalistic, neo-liberal, fascist government. She added the “O’” due to her 1/98th Irish heritage. Tigerlily studies Marketing at the University of Aberdeen. She regularly attends talks at the student union, much like Rob, but unlike Rob, if the speaker says something she disagrees with, she will shout and scream like a 4 year old. However her questionable facial piercings can sometimes distract people from the racket.

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These have never been a good idea.

In a debate, Tigerlily’s beliefs are often questioned. Instead of offering a valid counter-argument, Tigerlily will instead crawl into her safe space and throw copies of the Communist Manifesto at her opponent whilst screaming about how Marx was right all along, completely ignoring the over 100 years of economic research undertaken since the publication of Das Kapital. She will rage about the worker’s struggle despite being born an only child to an extremely wealthy couple and having never wanted for anything in her life. Tigerlily also believes that Daesh are simply misunderstood freedom-fighters and that we should be understanding of their struggle.

One time in a marketing seminar, Tigerlily proudly ranted on about how she identified as a polymorphous pixie-kin, simultaneously asexual and pansexual, when fellow student Rachel questioned what this had to do with the common market, the topic at hand. At this, Tigerlily screamed, stood up, and threw her chair at Rachel, concussing her. Tigerlily had to be led away by university security. The next time Rachel saw Tigerlily, she slapped her round the face. Good on you, Rachel. Good on you.

Tigerlily voted for the Green party in the last general election, after nearly going for the British Communist Party. She voted to remain in the EU.

I am not happy that people like Tigerlily are able to vote.

I realise that the negative caricatures are much more detailed and exaggerated, but that’s because they’re easier and more fun to write. If I wrote a detailed biography of someone who was sensible, it wouldn’t be as interesting.

Now, as we can see, each demographic has their tossers, and each demographic has their sensible people. Is this a flaw in democracy? That the uninformed have the same say as the informed. I would say so. And the ideal thing would be to have to take a test before you could vote. However, this will never happen, as the backlash would most likely be immense.

So instead, just recognise that all demographics have different people within them. Not all people over the age of 60 will kiss Nigel Farage’s arse, and not all people under the age of 25 will be praying at their shrine to Jeremy Corbyn.

Also, Nigel Farage can piss off. Him and his big, smug, lying face. Git.

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I really want to hit him.

Auf Wiedersehen.

James.

P.S. Please, please, recognise that the negative caricatures are extremely exaggerated and people who match those portrayals are probably not too numerous. They are used to illustrate a point.

The Refugee Crisis: Oh God I probably shouldn’t talk about this

The Refugee Crisis: Oh God I probably shouldn’t talk about this

 

Welcome back. You know how I said last time that I would try and do a slightly more light-hearted post? Yeah, well, I lied. Sorry. I promise I’ll try to be funnier next time.

Anyway let’s get into it. I’m quite nervous actually. Help.

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My face whilst writing all of this

It seems that these days, if you want to be taken seriously, there is no compromise when it comes to deciding your place on any major global issue. Everyone seems to either be a leftist or rightist, being very vocal on social media, plastering their views on the matter all over the place, and constantly sharing news articles that support their opinion. To these people, there is only one correct standpoint on a matter, and that is their standpoint. Anyone who disagrees with them is either a cold-hearted, idiotic, neo-Nazi bigot or an overly-sensitive, naïve, traitorous socialist. Now I’m going to disagree with both of them. Here are my views on this topic. Please don’t hate me.

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“LA-LA-LA MY OPINION IS THE ONLY CORRECT ONE I’M NOT GOING TO LISTEN TO ANY REASON WHATSOEVER”

The war in Syria, Iraq and the surrounding areas is a tragedy, it truly is, and there are lots and lots of people fleeing there who have come to Europe. Most of these are the refugees, seeking a better life, and I say we should do our best to accommodate them. People with a leftist standpoint on this issue at this point will be in full agreement, I would think. Their only query might be, “why only most of them? All of them have suffered, and we should let them all in as soon as possible”. It’s at this point in the discussion that I don’t particularly want to voice the next part of my view, but I’m going to anyway.

Not all of these people are refugees. Amongst them will definitely be those who sympathise with Daesh (if you want to know why I’m going to call ISIS by this name, read this article).

“But that’s ridiculous! Are you racist? Just because they’re Muslim that doesn’t mean they’re going to sympathise with Daesh!”

Well if you were listening earlier, you mug, I said that most of those who do come to Europe will be actual refugees. But let me detail why Daesh sympathisers are coming to Europe, hiding amongst refugees. Daesh are, unfortunately, quite a clever organisation. They would have to be stupid to not try and sneak a few of their people in with a massive group of refugees. They are practically untraceable, and would be able to perhaps convince those that they travel with, plus disillusioned Muslims in the European country they end up in, to take up the extremist cause. This is a sad fact.

Moving away from the issue of Daesh, it is a fact that crime (particularly sexual assault) has been on the rise in countries that have accepted large amounts of refugees (especially Germany), and that officials have actually tried to cover this up. An increase crime is to be expected with any large influx of immigrants, and no, that’s not ‘racist’. This happens because refugees will generally be deprived, poor and homeless, and it is people of this socio-economic status, whether they are refugees or natives, who will be more likely to turn to crime. If you can offer credible statistics/articles that can disprove this, I’d actually be quite relieved and glad, but unfortunately I don’t think that such things exist. It’s a crying shame, but it’s the truth. Sorry if you think that’s discriminatory. Actually, no, I’m not, because it’s your fault if you’re thinking like that. This has nothing to do with race or xenophobia or whatever the hell else.

At this point now, rightists will be saying “Exactly! Refugees cause an increase in crime, they have a negative effect on our country, we need to enforce extremely rigid restrictions on those we do let in!”

Right, and how do you suppose we go about doing that? What are we going to do with those thousands upon thousands of people waiting at the border?

“Tell them to go back to where they came from!”

Yes, because they will be so willing to go back to the place they just spent weeks/months escaping from. And no, we can’t just force them to.

“Why’s that? You liberal pussy!”

Well sorry for caring about human life, but that’s not the only reason why we can’t. It’s a completely bonkers idea even if you look at it from a practical standpoint. How are you going to force them to go back? Threaten them? They’ve got nothing to lose, if they go back they will most likely end up dying, so there’s not really much you can threaten them with. You can’t put them on a big ol’ plane/boat back to the Middle East, because that’s impossible. You won’t be able to transport hundreds of thousands of people back to an incredibly dangerous region without spending incredible amounts of money and risking countless lives.

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Yes I’m sure they’d love to go back here.

 

So what do we do? On the one hand, you have a huge amount of desperate people, seeking a new life, escaping from the utter bastards that are Daesh, but on the other hand, if we let everyone in, there will be a rise in crime and Islamic extremism.

I believe that we should try to accommodate as many refugees as possible, as no matter which way you look at it, it is impossible to turn them away. However we should introduce drastic measures to help them integrate into the culture of the country they enter as quickly as possible, and to reduce crime amongst the refugee population. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having pride in the culture of one’s home country, but if you move to another country, you have to learn to respect the facets of their culture. One example of such a measure which I found to be a good idea is a class for refugees in Norway that aims to teach male refugees ‘Western sexual norms’, as they will be coming from a part of the world in which a very sexist culture is still prevalent (even in the more developed countries in the region, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia).

I hope this article has proved that it is possible to have a decisive centrist viewpoint on major issues. I’m not a “bigoted rightist” and I’m not a “naïve leftist”, but neither am I just “sitting on the fence”. I just think we need to look at issues with a modicum of common sense (easier said than done).

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Unfortunately true.

If you disagree with anything I’ve said and have evidence to back your view up, please tell me and I will be happy to engage in a discussion (but not a shit-flinging contest, which is unfortunately what so many people do on the internet these days).

I hope you enjoyed reading this, or at least found it interesting. I’m going to try and be funnier next time. Honest. I’m just bad at thinking of light-hearted stuff to talk about.

Thanks for reading!

James

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 2

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 2

Welcome to part two of my long rant about the Tab, if you missed part one you can find it here.

This part will probably be a fair bit shorter than the first, just a heads up, so let’s get right into it.

So in this part I’ll be discussing examples of the two other main elements of why the Tab isn’t very good, to put it mildly. These are: the overly self-important authors who write terrible ‘opinion articles’ and the Buzzfeed-style ‘listicles’ and quizzes.

This article is literally the author (Bob Palmer, who is the #1 read author on the Tab this month) ragging on ‘negroni’, a cocktail that’s recently become very popular, for a whole 723 words (yes, I counted). Let me repeat that, this man has written a whole article about a drink he’s not particularly fond of. What even. Palmer’s point is that he doubts whether people really enjoy it because he doesn’t like it. That is the whole point. Seriously.

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You can’t make this stuff up.

I can’t even construct a proper sentence to describe how silly this is. Has Mr. Palmer ever considered that perhaps different people have a different palate to him? I’m not particularly fond of beer, but I’m not going to write hundreds of words detailing why everyone else is wrong for enjoying it.

Palmer goes on to say how it’s the bartenders’ fault that people drink Negroni, claiming that there’s some sort of pressure to enjoy it. Is he serious? If you’ve not got the balls to just go up to the bar and order what you actually want, rather than be ‘pressured’ to drink something you don’t like, then you probably shouldn’t be allowed to drink alcohol you big pansy. He also states that ‘personal preference comes second’ when people choose their drink in this case, wanting to be stylish and buy a Negroni. However, he then later goes on to say that the ‘majority of people here are happy to part with their hard-earned money’ for one. Well then, obviously personal preference isn’t coming second. You mug.

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“Look at me, I’m better than you because I have an ‘edgy’ opinion!”

That’s enough of that, now let’s move into the laziest rubbish the Tab has to offer, ‘listicles’ and the sort, and this is the easiest stuff to take the mick out of. Why’s that? Because I don’t even need to say anything, I just need to tell you the names of some of these shite pieces of work:

I could go on and dissect so many more articles from this…thing (I hesitate to call it a news site) but I can’t really be bothered. The Tab attempts to be a jack of all trades, but it really is a master of none. Outdated news, irrelevant ‘news’, terrible attempts at opinion articles, and crap Buzzfeed rubbish. It’s very hard to take them seriously.

However, there are some good articles on the Tab, which is a shame because you have to really look for them. These cover vitally important issues for students including, but not limited to: mental health (there are quite a few on that subject), opinions on things that aren’t completely meaningless, and controversies within the student population (that maybe would not be covered to the same extent in mainstream news). If only there was some way to filter out all the crap, eh? Shame. Maybe the chief staff will realise soon that most of their content is garbage and try to promote what good stuff there is. Probably not though, as they’ll be busy sticking their own heads up their arses.

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“What on earth is that man doing?” Oh don’t worry about him, he’s just one of the editors for the Tab that’s all.

I’ll try and talk about something a bit more light-hearted and less rant-y next time, because I could imagine constant rants getting tiring after a while.

Until next time, adiós.

James

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 1

Students Can’t Do Journalism: Part 1

Hello again.

Today I thought I’d talk about what, for me, is one of the most annoying aspects of university, student journalism. In particular, the Tab. If you don’t know what the Tab is, it’s a student ‘news’ site composed of a weird mish-mash of stupid articles trying to be taken seriously, stupid articles being stupid, self-important garbage, and Buzzfeed-style ‘listicles’ (lists posing as articles) and quizzes that link back to universities in some way. It’s pure rubbish (although there are some good articles, they are very few and far between).

In each section of this blog, I’ll attempt to dissect one example of each type of trash. All the following articles are taken from the Tab’s national branch i.e. the stuff that is meant to appeal to students all over the country.

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How the Tab views its audience.

Let’s talk about the first thing I mentioned in that long list of awfulness and that is the crap articles trying to present themselves as proper journalism. This article is about the newly-elected president of the NUS (an organisation I will most likely be writing about in the near future), Malia Bouattia, declaring that university should be free for students. Yeah, no shit she’d say that! This is simply not news. Anyone with half a brain would’ve been able to assume that the leftist leader of an organisation, which, if it was any more left-leaning, would fall over, is behind the idea of subsidised higher education.

So this is merely the headline, and it’d be unfair to judge the article solely on this alone, so we must look beyond it, and see if any additional insight or interesting points are provided by the author.

Helpfully, the author, Tom Jenkin (who is deputy editor of this god-forsaken organ) has included a link to Bouattia’s Guardian article very early on in the article. However, he may as well not have bothered because he seems to have taken out a significant chunk of it and put it in his own article. This would perhaps be fair game if it hadn’t taken up half the article. Half the article is not the Jenkin’s own words. What kind of journalism is this!? That’s a rhetorical question because we already know that it’s the really bad kind. Seriously, just link Bouattia’s article and tell people to go read it, rather than using it to pad out your distinctly lacking attempt at journalism.

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Standard journalistic practice for the Tab. Source: https://codepen.io/wbarlow/post/i-made-this-on-codepen

 

Now let’s have a look at what Jenkin himself has actually managed to write. He mentions that it was recently announced that universities could soon be able to charge more than the ‘already ridiculous’ £9000-a-year. I would agree that this is a bad thing, and most students would also agree. However, this was already reported all over the media days before this article was published. The Tab article was published on the 18th May, whereas most major news outlets reported the anticipated rise of tuition fees on the 15th or 16th. So it’s not really news, Jenkin hardly provides any real opinion, and there’s no proper insight provided into the whole issue.

But Jenkin then actually succeeds in providing us with additional information that is not derived from Bouattia’s article, that the NUS has boycotted the National Student Survey. Apparently it’s an irritating survey which students are prompted about repeatedly and makes students feel more like ‘customers’ than ‘learners’. I, personally, have not experienced this, maybe because I haven’t signed up for NUS extra, but I’m focussing more on the style and content rather than the actual argument here. This point actually isn’t terrible, as it leads on from Bouattia’s argument and also shows Jenkin’s own opinion on the matter. Yet it’s the only (very brief) part of the article which really showcases these qualities. The rest is just quoting/paraphrasing Glorious Supreme Leader Bouattia.

Basically, all Jenkin achieves in this article is providing a condensed version of a much more professional article from a much more respectable outlet. What is the point of its existence? To try and make the Tab look more like a real newspaper that caters for students and their political standpoints. In all honesty, just read the Guardian if you want more student-orientated actual news (or better yet, read multiple news sources so you can gain different insights into an argument, rather than restricting yourself to one viewpoint).

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And I’m meant to read what this man writes with a straight face.

Now let’s get on to the type of article that’s a bit more fun to take the absolute mick out of, and that is the moronic articles about stuff no-one really cares about.

This article comes to us from the chief reporter of the Tab, Jack Cummings. As you can see, it’s really hard hitting stuff, detailing the story of a dog which learnt how to skateboard. The trials and tribulations that this furry, four-legged version of Tony Hawk went through must have been so difficult. I can’t even imagine.

This is bollocks.

The only thing I’ll give this article is that the dog’s pretty cute, but if I wanted to look at cute dogs doing funny things, I’d google it, not read the bloody paper. The sad thing is, that this article is much better presented and written than the previous ‘serious’ article we discussed. However, that means that the chief sodding reporter has actually spent a certain amount of time and effort writing this article, especially as he’s gone out and actually interviewed the dog’s owners. Jesus Christ.

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He may as well have interviewed the dog too.

Now, the counter-argument to my cynicism is, that not all articles should be serious, and we need some light-relief, which mainstream news outlets don’t provide (even though they do). I’m not sure if I can totally get behind that point of view. If you want light relief, go on websites like Facebook or Imgur. If you want news, go to a news website. It’s all well and good trying to cater to multiple audiences, some people want puppy stories, others want news, but the problem with that is, that you actually have to be quite good journalists to do it properly.

If you are going to do articles like this, leave it to any random student, because they could easily manage it to the same standard. Get your chief bloody reporter (who I assume is either full-time or paid a decent amount for his services) to try and report on stories that actually mean something to students. Don’t waste your time and money on doing journalistic research on a story that basically boils down to cute pictures, because that’s what people are going to be looking at. The text content of the article itself will come a distant second in terms of drawing interest.

Now, although I’ve covered primary reasons for why the Tab is cack, there is still plenty to discuss in terms of the other elements which make it truly terrible. I’m going to leave that for a part two, continuing on from this post, which will come out very soon.

Hope you enjoyed, and please feel free to leave any feedback. Remember to stick around for part two!

See ya!

James

NB: Throughout these two posts, please bear in mind I’m not ripping on those who have written one-off articles for the Tab. I’m criticising those who run the organisation and their misguided attempts at providing news and entertainment.

 

The Language of Music

The Language of Music

Y’alright. I’m James.

Welcome to a blog where I ramble on (coherently and incoherently) for an indeterminate amount of time about either a) a random topic about which I feel very strongly or b) the less likely option, something that’s happened in my life recently that’s interesting enough to talk about. I’m mainly doing this because I wanted to have a platform on which it would be possible to give some opinions on things but it’s too much effort to start a YouTube channel. Like, seriously. YouTube costs money. Buying a camera and stuff is expensive and you have to learn how to edit and urgh. Basically, I just can’t be arsed.

I’ll introduce myself now I suppose. Is this how blogs work? I don’t know. Blog’s a funny word when you think about it. Blog, blog, blog. Sounds like the name of a troll who lives under a bridge.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, me.

I’m 18 years old, studying German and Russian at the University of Leeds. I’m just finishing my first year and will be going on my year abroad in Moscow in September. My permanent residence is in the village of Bum-fuck-nowhere in Kent, as southern as can be, to where I’m going back soon for the summer. I’m 6’ 3”, have green eyes, like long walks on the beach, have a penchant for custard creams and…wait am I going into too much detail here?

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Me, “studying”.

I think that’ll do it for my introduction, now let’s get into the actual blog bit.

One thing that’s very important to me is music. Whatever mood I’m in, wherever I am, I’m probably listening to music. And it doesn’t matter what genre either, I can go from listening to Eminem to obscure Russian techno to Rammstein quite easily. This leads on to my next point, that, as a linguist, I’m a massive fan of foreign music.

Yet my multilingual love for music is not commonly shared by my friends.

I am rarely put in charge of the Spotify playlist at any party, even if it’s my own party (true story), because, for some reason, 90% of my friends just don’t go for grimy Russian gangster rap and shit German dance music. Unbelievable I know. The only time I’m let loose with the music is when everyone, myself included, has had a bit (see: a lot) to drink and couldn’t care less what’s playing in the background because they’re too busy being absolutely spannered.

But this begs the question, why don’t more people enjoy music that’s in a different language?

The only foreign music that’s been super popular in the English-speaking world is absolute shit stuff like Gangnam Style and the Macarena, which were passing fads and were only popular because they went along with some god awful dance move, plus in the case of Gangnam Style, a ‘quirky’ music video. Anything else that’s in a different language seems to be shunned by most people. But I have to ask myself: why?

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We let this happen.

I don’t know why I’m asking myself because I don’t have a clue.

In my opinion, the language can vastly improve a song depending on the genre. German metal is fantastic, mainly because German, being a fairly harsh and blunt language, works well with a genre that’s generally going for the same sort of vibe. The same goes for Russian and rap. Russian, spoken in a certain way, can sound like the scariest language in the world, even if you’re just asking where the train station is, and that’s the style that gangster rap goes for. They want to sound harsh and unforgiving like a Siberian winter, and the Russian language can capture that essence perfectly. That is not to say that these languages don’t work in other genres, of course they can (Russian pop in particular is gloriously cheesy), but they work particularly well in the ones I’ve mentioned.

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Terrifying.

“But I can’t understand what they’re saying! WAAA!”

Boo-hoo, suck it up.

For me, the meaning of a song’s lyrics is just a bonus. Sure, some lyrics, no matter what the language, can have really deep and emotional meanings, there’s no denying that. However, I feel that the majority of the feeling in a song is conveyed by the sound of the song itself (and the music video on occasion), rather than the content. I have a song in my library that’s in Turkmen, which is spoken almost exclusively in Turkmenistan (yeah you might need to look that one up on a map, I had to) and I can’t understand any of what the singer’s banging on about, but it’s one of my go-to songs when I’m in a good mood because it’s so upbeat and just goddamned pleasant to listen to. Call me weird but hey, what can I say. Ha, that rhymed.

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It’s basically in Narnia.

Overall, a piece of music could be in the most obscure language ever but if the singer’s got a nice voice and the music’s good, I’ll listen to it. And you should too. But you don’t have to. You have a right to your opinion. Even if your opinion is WRONG. Just kidding, your opinion isn’t wrong. But it isn’t right either. Or it might be. I don’t know. I told you some of my rambling would be incoherent.

Anyway, that’ll do it for my first blog post thing. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and if you have any feedback, positive or negative, let me know! Make sure you join me next time when I’ll be discussing…something. I don’t think that far ahead. I live for the moment don’t you know.

See ya ’round.

James