Friday, 27 March 2015

Coded Designs

I was much struck with a photograph taken in Moscow 1990, by photographer David Hlynsky who visited the communist bloc before it collapsed. His mission was to capture the urban landscapes he found, and amongst them was the the shops of the communist East which he said "hid as much as they revealed, about the real economy".

Moscow - 1990 - Lipstick

..... amongst his pictures was one that captured the moment when a very inventive shop window dresser, managed to make a one brand and one colour delivery of lipstick, into something really attractive to look at.

It reminded me as much as anything of the works of Polish writer Stanislaw Lem and the Soviet Robotic style of design .....  

Robots - Stanislaw Lem
A style that was peculiar to the Soviet era .....

Hello - I’m a Robot!

.... and was often a coded reference to the coldness of the Soviet system and regimes ... often it was the only criticism that passed by the censors, who failed to see it for what it was. Now of course, despite our ongoing political differences both East and West are united in consumerism.

The Plain and Unvarnished Truth

Some people can take the plain and unvarnished truth, and others can't ..... for decades, fans of Manchester United and Manchester City football clubs, have argued over who has the most fans inside the City of Manchester .... no argument outside of Manchester, as Manchester United are the best supported team in the world (allegedly).

Well the question has been answered in the only possible way, by how many put their money where their loyalties are.

The sports chain Sports Direct have used their shop sales to determine the truth of the matter and settle the argument forever.

Man Utd and Man City Shirt Sales

First Fact: If you add up the all City and United shirts that were sold inside Manchester last year, an enormous 95% were Manchester United and  just 5% were Manchester City ..... end of discussion. 

Second Fact: Only 10% of Manchester United shirts are sold inside Manchester, but even that's far better than Manchester City, whose fans have claimed for decades that they are the team who are supported by real Mancunians - where that figure drops to under 5%.

Last Fact: Almost 45% of Manchester United shirt sales occur in London (Second Place Dublin), and Manchester actually comes in just 3rd on the list. But City also sell the majority of their shirts in London (with Glasgow second) and for them Manchester comes in a very poor 10th for their shirt sales.

Oh and for the Liverpool Fans out there, more than half your shirt sales come from London, with Dublin second .... Liverpool is just 4th in the list.

Man Utd v Man City

These are facts, not bullshit .... man up lads, and just accept the plain and unvarnished truth.  

One Man's Freedom Is Another's Bondage

Why is that ones man's freedom always seems to be at the price of another man's bondage?

Homosexuals have campaigned for decades, not just for the right to enact the sexual congress they desire in the privacy of their own bedrooms, but also for no one to be able to 'discriminate' against them under any grounds in the workplace, or social life. This is all well and good of course, but what if these  'rights' comes at the cost of someone else's inalienable (or not so inalienable) rights? Do we have to compromise the freedom of both, or just one group in order to achieve justice?

In the case of homosexuals, their 'freedom' and 'rights', have seemingly been won at the cost of the 'rights' of other groups, noticeably the Christians (other religious groups such as Muslims, have seemingly not been impacted ... this despite their own vehement objections to homosexuality).

In the UK, peoples as diverse as Christian cake makers, and Bed and Breakfast hotel owners, have been subjected to the full rigours of the law, all for trying to exercise their rights to practise their religion and freedom of conscience, and not fully service requests that contravene their genuinely held beliefs that prohibit homosexual behaviour, or the promoting of homosexual behaviour. In these cases the courts have upheld the rights of practising homosexuals against those of practising Christians rights.

In the US, there followed a similar course of events vis a vis 'gay rights' legislation, but the robustness of the US citizens constitutional state rights has led to each state, and the religious groups in those states, being able to challenge the whole hearted acceptance of the idea that the practises of one group, can overturn the convictions of other groups over those practices. This has led to something of a legal tug of war between those deemed as 'liberal' and 'progressive', and who insist that homosexual and lesbian rights are sacrosanct, and those deemed as 'conservative' or 'illiberal', and who defend the rights of those whose religious convictions are against the practises, to not promote or support 'gay' activities.

The battles over this fundamental issue of rights rages across the land .... in the state of Arizona the governor, last year eventually vetoed a "religious freedom" law, but only after intense pressure from major US companies like Apple and American Airlines. The bill was intended to prevent the state from forcing people to provide services contrary to their religious convictions e.g. Not promoting homosexuality. Another similar bill of law is in the wings in the state of Indiana, with the governor apparently inclined to approve it, and bills are also being considered across the US, mainly in response to court rulings which have made gay marriage legal in more states.

It appears that both sides argue that, in order to grant the other their 'rights', then they are forced to curtail their own rights .... as one lawmaker described it "Everybody wants the opportunity for people to practice the rights they're supposed to have in this country." So should homosexuals be able to demand rights from others that deny them theirs, or should religious convictions be able to resist in some circumstances?

Contradictory Rights Demands

Surely much of these arguments hinge on the aggressive overreach of some gay groups? After all homosexuality is legal, the 'gay' age of consent is equal, in general they can't be discriminated against, they can't be prevented from practising their lifestyle, they can 'marry' (in one form or another ~ Civil or even religious ceremonies depending upon churches), and they can adopt children.

So do they really have to force the churches and their practitioners to administer to gay marriages or do they have to force small businesses to 'promote a homosexual lifestyle' against the owners convictions? After all, they could just set up their own religious establishments rather than coerce an existing one. They could also take their business elsewhere, rather than force small businesses into closure if they don't want to support gay rights because of religious convictions ... so why do they have to enforce their rights over the top of others?

Are not the 'equal rights' they have won not enough, or do they just keep going until there is a backlash? .... Do the rights of others always have to give way in this instance? Its a conundrum that needs to be solved soon, because if push comes to shove, homosexuals could easily find their rights being rolled back, in a reactive backlash against the aggressive manner in which they try to enforce 'equality' via 'inequality'.

Now apart from the 'gay rights' issue, this debate has also raised another fundamental matter of concern. States versus Federal Democratic rights in the US. In each case where the governor steps in and stops the laws, he will do so in the direct opposition to the local elected law makers of that state, and thus thwart the majority will of the population. Can democracy survive a metro-centric elite, enforcing 'homosexual rights' over those laws or rights, which the local population want to uphold?

The principal of local democracy, dictates that its the local wishes that should win, and yet in the US and elsewhere, such as the UK, this is not the case. Homosexual rights that supersede those of other groups were never the intentions of lawmakers when the first steps towards decriminalising homosexuality were taken in the 1960's ... in fact it was often said that it would be another lifetime before we got anywhere near doing more than legalising the act. Yet here we are, inside 40yrs with 'gay' rights overruling others religious convictions, and being wielded like a weapon by the strident supporters or advocates of those rights.
 

You can't do right for doing wrong, and in this case we are in danger of doing wrong while trying to do right.

Cruisin For A Bruisin

Ted Cruz is the first Republican candidate to officially announce his intention to stand for US President in 2026.

Mr Cruz is a darling of the far right 'Tea Party' wing of the Republican Party, so probably can't actually win the country or the Presidency ... although who am I to second guess that?

Ted Cruz .... Hmm, Has He Got A Secret?

But what makes him remotely interesting to me is that he was born in Canada to a Cuban father and US mother. Now forgive me for bringing this up, but didn't the far right Tea Party wing scream blue murder about claims that Barack Obama was ineligible to run for US President, because they suspected that he was born outside the US to a Kenyan father and US mother?

Just asking .... no doubt I won't be the first or last to note this.

Friday, 20 March 2015

What A Jerk

As I have mentioned in the past on this blog, sometimes a story just tells itself ....

On 21st September 2014, 56-year-old Calvin E Wank was arrested for the misdemeanour of 'Public Lewdness'. This was after state troopers attended the area of Kirkwood, New York State, after members of the truck drivers community complained about a man, who reportedly committed a series of sexually lewd acts in a New York car lot, next to a 'Love's Travel Stop' chain . He is also alleged to have carried out the same acts in a field next to the motel chain.

Wank By Name But Jerk By Nature ....

According to a New York State Police press release, Mr Wank from Deposit, Delaware, in upstate New York, was issued with a ticket, and ordered to return to the Town of Kirkwood Court on 7 October. In his mugshot he was still wearing his smudged eye makeup and lipstick ... and apparently a bra.

Presumably he couldn't give a toss, however in a similar case of an 'apt surname' arrested story, in April 2014, the police arrested a Fort Lauderdale man named Edward Cocaine on suspicion of drug possession but the charges against Mr Cocaine were later dropped.

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A middle aged orange male ... So 'un' PC it's not true....