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Friday, 29 May 2015

So you say you want a revolution?

So You Say You Want A Revolution?

A Discussion Of Change

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

Part 1 - The Research

I do not believe in fate and destiny and karma. I cannot plan for toffee and I assure you I am not smart enough to have foreseen these events. As a fan of quantum physics though I know the improbable can happen and a lot of coincidences have happened.

First off after a friend recommended I try out the Discworld and I binge listened to it and while searching for podcasts on the subject stumbled across the Dissecting Worlds podcast and became a massive fan which meant I was there to hear their series on Revolutions in Genre Fiction. That is research point number 1.

Then the Dissecting Worlds podcast led me to Mike Duncan's History of Rome Podcast and I naturally followed Mike over to his new podcast on revolutions and listened to the history of the English Revolution, the American Revolution and now the French Revolution. That is research point number 2.

When I had caught up on the backlog of Mike Duncan's podcast episodes I naturally tried out different history podcasts but the one that really caught my attention was the British History Podcast and how it is chronicling the history of Britain from before the time of the Romans that is research point number 3.

This is not strict chronological order you understand, the podcasts are long and the relevant bits happened at different times, it is mostly an appropriate history of the order in which I discovered the podcasts. Now though we need to take a side step to 2013 and my second year at university. I had an optional module to pick so I chose to study the Enlightenment because it seemed interesting and I was not aware of how out of my depth I would be. I was a student in the school of social sciences studying a humanities module, I failed so hard that I didn't bother turning up to the last exam. It did however introduce me to the ideological revolution that happened in tandem with the political revolutions and I still retain the research material so that is research point number 4.

The next element of research is not the most on topic of revolution but it is important for having a wider perspective on the impact of revolution and I place it here on the basis of when the last piece of accidental research occurred. So lets start with the most obviously pertinent pieces of information. I watched the boxset of Hornblower and listened to Temeriere by Naomi Novak, this is important because of the filtered insight into the aftermath and impact of the botched French Revolution. I watched the first 4 seasons of Babylon 5 and the 4 seasons of Farscape. Babylon 5 delves into issues like striking, secret police and civil war. Farscape delves into the issue of a corrupt and dangerous government that is preferable to the insane one waiting for a chance to seize power. Finally I listened to the first Culture 9 books by Iain M Banks and saw the glorious post scarcity society I believe we should aim for. This is research point number 5.

Lastly I have not been blind to current events. The rising strength of Feminism, the growing social justice movement, the advances in technology and information delivery, the voter apathy the corruption in government and Russell Brand's movement for Revolution. I have been watching and learning, this is research point number 6.

Part 2 - Why Might A Revolution Happen?

Basically it's all Blair's fault. If he had not gone to war with Iraq, if he had been honest about his mistakes and nobly paid the price Labour might still stand. But no Labour went to war over inaccurate information then when Blair was no longer fit to be Prime minister instead of calling a General Election the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown became Prime Minister and the banks promptly caused a recession leading to a large amount of resentment for the Labour party. Not only did they go to war for unjust reasons, not only did Tony Blair escape justice for his crimes, not only were the British people denied a say in leader but the Prime Minister that was chosen for us was then seen as responsible for the banks fucking up the country when managing the banks was supposed to have been his job for the last 2 terms. That is a monumental clusterfuck.

Then the election happened, one I was too young to take part in and with Labour still loathed by many Nick Clegg promised lefties everywhere hope and good left wing policies then promptly shacked up with the Conservatives, a party last remembered for the Falklands War and the council housing disaster that was Right To Buy. Nick Clegg then served as David Cameron's shield against any hatred as right wing voters naturally blamed the leftie and left wing voters raged against the great traitor. This also meant that for the second time in a row we had a prime minister that the public did not vote for.

So the Tories are in power and people are dying as the economy is fucked over in the name of screwing the poor, surely that means Labour have to get in next election, regardless of their past clusterfuck? Well no because Labour decides to King-make a loser nobody who is literally related to the Labour cabinet that caused the clusterfuck then they proceed to have a number of PR disasters. Shaming people who are proud to fly the English flag, getting into bed with the Tories to convince the Scots to remain part of the United Kingdom, promising to make many of the same economy harming sadistic cuts as the Tories, showing shocking cluelessness with regards to gender politics and deciding that the best way to win back UKIP voters is validate their opinions and not go as far as them. Then just to really ram it in they decide to let someone crying for revolution who is declaring that the political system is corrupt, support them in their campaign. That may sound like good PR getting nonvoters to vote for you but these are people disillusioned with the corruption of politics and you have come into their safe space and corrupted the only person representing their world view so they now hate you and the right wing voters think you've signed up as a communist revolutionary so there is no way they are voting for you.

Then the final nail in the coffin, the election itself in which the Conservatives had a sweeping victory, eliminating all opposition, while only representing the will of less than a quarter of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And now we face the sadistic policies of an economy screwing, poor hating, climate destroying government and if we get the victory of encouraging them to stop their more ridiculously sadistic policies the Conservatives will have voted in a party that then broke its policies.

We have all lost under this corrupt and broken British politics and now with cuts to benefits, mental health and a screwed over economy there is a surplus of hungry mentally ill people with a lot of time on their hands.

Part 3 - If A Revolution Happens, How Do We Mitigate The Negative Effects?

Revolutions are scary. Revolutions are really fucking scary. Revolutions are caused by people rising up against their government out of fear and anger. These are not the people you want in charge of an online forum, let alone a country and France shows us just how badly a revolution can go. Do you want to see a guillotine in Westminster? I know I don't. I still have nightmares about two fish I killed as a kid. Plus, you know, the universal sanctity of human life.

So how are we to deal with a Revolution?

Step 1 is obviously prevention. We need the government to push through a discussion on political reform. I doubt it will happen but it needs to be tried and should buy time.

Step 2. Show how we are not in fact powerless. We can think and we have agency and we can act. We can ensure tax dodgers face justice. We can organise support for those with mental health problems. We can help councils feed band house the homeless. If you can donate your time and mind to helping those being shat upon by the government, do it. If you can save so much a penny regularly then in time together you can change the world.

Step 3. Organise revolution. This is not the same as advocating revolution. This is controlling how the energy is directed to do least harm. Provide a safe space for revolutionaries to talk and give them the research and information to avoid going off half cocked and hurting people. The American Revolution resolved peacefully because it was not just an angry mob but a bunch of enlighted people united by an ideology of political reform that was written down for all to see. The French Revolution failed because there were too many contradictory ideas and too much anger. You do not prevent a dangerous revolution by clamping down on rebels and letting their anger overwhelm you later, you prevent a dangerous revolution by ensuring that the revolution happens calmly with thought and care.

Step 4. End the revolution peacefully. Once the Revolution has gotten its results. The leaders of the Revolution need to transition peacefully into the new architecture of power. What this means is that once you're in power you treat the people who got you in power with respect and defend their human rights. If you can't do that your revolution has failed and you should accept it nobly. This is what English did in their revolution, they could have become a military dictatorship to impose republican rule but instead they realised the dangers of trying to force radical change on a people that just wanted rid of a bad egg. Contrast that with the French Revolution where trying to protect the revolution with capital punishment led to the revolution eating itself.

Step 5. Do not become the enemy you overthrew. Governing is hard and pragmatic immorality is easy. This is a trap, do not fall into it. You can't always pick the moral option but always remember that you got into power because the people revolted, if you can't do any better perhaps it's best that you admit your mistakes and stand down to let someone democratically elected make the mistakes.

Step 6. Accept the possibility that despite how glorious your revolution might have been the public may democratically decide to return to the system you overthrew. This is their choice, if you cannot respect it you did not deserve to succeed at your revolution.

Part 4 - What Would I Want Out of A Revolution? 

This is probably the most dangerous part of this blog as here I am not merely analysing why a revolutions might happen and suggesting how to minimize harm, I am actually implicitly and I suppose now I'm saying it explicitly endorsing revolution. I'm not going to hide that. I will note however that one pacifist writing shit on the internet does not make a revolution.

So anyway here is what I would want listed in order of importance:
1. Political reform - I would suggest that the Green party has the right idea but what's important is ensuring that A. All voters are counted equally, B. The government is representative. C. Voters can democratically elect a local MP. I would achieve this by having two voting slips. Slip 1 would contain all parties running in the election, including independents. Slip 2 would contain the candidates standing in your local area and there would also be a 'none of the above' option to express your interest and engagement with politics but also your dissatisfaction with the available parties in your local area. The results from slip 1 would then decide which party got to run the country with the various parties each able to be represented in parliament by order of the most votes. In this way a small party has the opportunity to influence politics if they prove persuasive enough. The results from slip 2 will decide the local representative. The local representative will manage the day to day running of the constituency and get to discuss any concerns or issues their constituencies have raised but not be able to vote in parliament. This way they have local control and can represent local issues by the party elected by proportional representation can still enforce their national policies.

2. Fight Climate Change and the Tyranny of fossil fuel megacorps - Saving humanity from Environmental apocalypse and democratizing Energy generation has to be a big issue. With the invention of the tesla battery there is no longer any excuse not to put solar panels on every roof and discreet stylish wind turbines in every windy garden or outside every windy flat. Even climate Denialists won't complain to being free of expensive oil.

3. A vote on Universal Basic Income - I won't force it on a populace that isn't ready but I really believe Universal Basic Income is the way forward and putting that to genersal public has to be sa good thing if only to know where we stand.

4. Safeguard the NHS - The NHS is so terribly vital and important that we need to stop desperate capitalists selling it off to commercialise and corrupt medical treatments.

5. A mandate on education reform that would then be put to the public vote - We need to improve how our kids are educated, we need to teach them about politics, issues affecting the various genders races and developmentally different. I understand however that unless the public has seen what is planned and approves of it education being reformed amid revolution will seem like brainwashing.

6. A vote on Trident - Let the people decide whether we should keep our weapons of mass destruction. I have no strong views one way or another but I recognise its importance as an issue.

Part 5 - What If There Is Not A Revolution And Things Do Not Improve? 

Everyone even thinking about the possibility of revolution needs to answer this question for themselves. Myself, I intend to move abroad to somewhere not too fundamentally different from Britain with a left wing government and try my best to live a good life and inspire positive change in Britain.

Now I bid adieu, so long and good luck.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The Choice

Before we begin I'd like to clarify a few things. Mainly what the fuck is this weird thing I've written. Well we all have different ways of coping with bad news. As a writer I use my skills to help see past the clutter of my own mind and tap into my subconscious. With consciousness comes reason and conscience and knowledge, all of which can be very distracting and unhelpful when trying to come to terms with how you really feel about a situation deep down. When write I can enter a flow state where I am not so much thinking as transcribing ideas that come to me based on the character, setting, scene and context. Thus when I need to figure out how I really feel about really big shit and act accordingly I will sometimes a write a piece of prose with myself as the subject, a suitably relevant setting and context and a mentor figure who asks the difficult questions and provides the answers the character who represent me can't give.

Where this gets metatextual is that I have spent the past three years learning to do textual analysis of fiction and equally I have written a lot of fiction. So by having the mentor figure be a character from my own fiction I can interrogate and be interrogated by the traces of myself and my insecurities in my own fiction. Which is an extremely pretentious thing to do but also very useful when you are as profoundly weird as I am. The character that is interrogating me in this instance is thus a character from a book I'm already writing that others will have already had a chance to "meet" in my other already available prose work.

I post this here partly because previous examples have proved popular and partly because this is by its very nature a very good explanation of how I feel about all the shit going on in my life at the moment. Anyway without further ado here is the - oh bugger I better think of a name for the genre of writing - the autoexposiprose.

The Choice:

An Example Of Autoexposiprose

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

A vast cliff. A 6foot fat fellow with unkempt hair, glasses and pyjamas, is standing at the edge, looking down to killer whales circle.

12 feet behind the morose man is a table and on it is a revolver loaded with a single bullet. The table blocks the morose man from the view of a different man in a suit carrying an AK47.

A woman appears, wearing a practical leather combat outfit, she is tall, thin and blonde.

“Alex, you don't want to do this” says the woman.

The man in the pyjamas shrugs “The ghost of christmass future. Figures”

Then he turns and addresses the woman, suddenly angry “Except it's not Christmas so fuck off.”

The woman frowns, biting her lip briefly before responding. “Alex, this is good news. You should be happy, not... well whatever the fuck this is.”

Alex runs his tongue over his teeth before replying “Lucy, you're the Unleasher. You are a shadow of the fate I could face. And you're telling me I should be happy? Er, yeah, that's just not possible. Mister lying egotistical cunt face over there is stifling the economy while cutting the support for the people who need it most. Our environment is fucked and getting more fucked all the time as weak willed stupid politicians place the present over the future. The political system itself is an utter fucking sham and I- I am a genetic aberration, a mistake that should never have been. There was never any hope for me. Oh yeah and I am very probably infertile so any hope of raising a family of my own is deader than the dodo. Tell me, why the fuck should I be happy?”

The Unleasher sighs, wanting to hug the young man but knowing better than that. She says “You're going to get cured in a couple of weeks”

Alex stares at the woman, allowing her to nice the lines of red etched onto the white of his eyes. “I'm not going to get cured. You don't cure genetic abnormalities, you treat the symptoms. No, I am not going to get cured, I am going to get a needle jabbed in my arse every 3 months for the rest of my life and, oh fucking joy, I am part of the lucky generation that will see people living longer and longer, meaning I will get the indignity of a needle up my arse for even longer.”

The Unleasher shrugged “Well that explains the cliff and the whales but what's that gun doing there?”

Alex chuckles darkly “Oh you'll love this.”

Alex walks to the table and hefts up the gun in both hands “That is the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and this, this oh great Unleasher, is all it would take to end the menace brought upon the people. One single bullet fired from one gun.”

Alex pulls the trigger.

Nothing happens.

“Of course even in a metaphorical dream you couldn't shoot a gun with a bullet in the chamber” said the Unleasher.

Alex kept the gun trained on the man in the suit as he turned his head to look in the Unleasher's eyes “You think I couldn't do it? You honestly think I couldn't do it? Not to save the people who will die under his regime, not to save the world from his short sighted policies?” said Alex “I am not the pacifist who refused to hit back at his bullies any more. I am the Anti-Critic, I wield the ban hammer and I am a moral pragmatist.”

The Unleasher stared into Alex's eyes “No. No, I don't believe this. You are not the Farsh-nuke and you are not the Anti-Critic any more. You are Alexander Gordon Jahans. You don't believe in binaries and pessimism. You are an optimist dreaming of a techno-utopia, picking the whitest path in a world of grey on grey morality and this is not you.”

Alex stared into the Unleasher's eyes and screamed desperately “People are dying!”

The Unleasher did not blink. “And that's why you will never fire an armed and dangerous gun, not even in a dream. So long as there is hope, so long as Cameron isn't outright murdering people in the street and climate change can be fought and limited you will remain the pacifist championing a peaceful revolution.”

Alex pleaded now “But it would be so easy”

The Unleasher shook her head, finally blinking. “He wants this. You said so yourself, he's doing this deliberately, like Leto II from God Emperor, he is oppressing the population to make them rise up but why? Look at what he's done. Rewriting the law of human rights in Britain, limiting the ability to strike, making peaceful protest result in up to ten years in prison, instituting a snoopers charter so he can spy on what we say on the internet, outright stating that being a law abiding citizen isn't enough to protect you any more? All of it is so the powder keg of left wing frustration that his party sits upon can be swiftly and effectively destroyed with full legality the moment someone is stupid enough to do as you suggest. Nothing is ever easy, Alex.”

Alex's jaw dropped “So that's why his cabinet is made up of right wing extremists. One false move and he can remove all our rights and take us back to the 18th century.”

Alex dropped the gun and it faded from existence.

The Unleasher nodded “Alex I know you fear that you're the Farsh-nuke, that you're destined to become the Unleasher but you chose to take up your real name again can you remember why?”

Alex nodded “Alex Jahans, the great survivor, he never acted and never hurt anyone. The boy who would rather be beaten up or commit suicide than hurt another. The problem is that I am reliably informed that I am a cunt, that I am rude, arrogant and an arse. I am not a saint, Unleasher, I am a techno hermit with no social life, no job, no voluntary position, no motivation, no tact and a band of sadists milking me on youtube.”

“You're still alive” said the Unleasher.

“I am aware of that” said Alex “But in the past year of my living purgatory I have achieved nothing of any importance.”

“You're still alive” repeated the Unleasher.

Alex glared at her “I fucking know that but that doesn't mean much when your life consists of letsplays, video games and rants into the void of the internet.”

The Unleasher tutted “You chose to take up your real name again because a name is like a promise, a name you choose anyway. You chose to become Alex again, you promised yourself you wouldn't kill yourself upon graduating university and you've succeeded. You have fought the hardest fight, a fight you were certain you would lose and that was before you knew just how bad the odds of you surviving would be. You didn't know your parents would separate but continue living together. You didn't know your cats would die. You didn't know your sister would turn out to be a victim blamer and emmigrate. You didn't know all this medical shit would hit the fan. You didn't know the fandom you called home would turn out to be transphobic just as gender politics became very important to you. You made a promise and you kept it despite the odds. That's a hell of a fucking success.”

Alex sighed “And what have I done with my time? I've written some fetish porn only I will get off to, I've played lots of video games, had my smart phone stolen at a Job Seeker's Seminar, been pickpocketed on the way home from a job interview, nearly fallen for two different pyramid schemes. I have watched a lot of lets plays, finished listening to the Culture series and discovered that Neil Gaiman is over rated fanfic that corrupts otherwise stellar urban fantasies. Oh and the great bastion of hope and common sense that is Cracked.com is fast becoming an up its own ass ridiculously irrelevant website. I haven't exactly written symphonies now have I?”

The Unleasher nodded “Good point, well made.”

The Unleasher walked to the edge of the cliff and stared down at the killer whales, clearly Alexander had learned that Orcas were the more terrifying threat than sharks.

Alex stared at the table where the gun had been. It was all so simple now. He supposed it always had been, he wasn't choosing between homicide and suicide. He had been choosing between martyrdom and being remembered as the weird guy who write stories about women being kept as pets and flashed his tits to the internet out of a misguided sense of weaponized self loathing.

The Unleasher said idly “I do have just one question though”

Alex shrugged “Ask away.”

“If you had committed suicide, what would you have done in the last year?”

Alex rolled his eyes and sighed.

The Unleasher turned “Do you really think this is just about you? You feel ashamed of your situation, you feel that peaceful revolution is impossible, that saving the Earth is too huge for you to do alone. You only care about yourself and so your way out only helps yourself. What about the billions of people on planet Earth?”

Alex snapped “So now I'm selfish for wanting to die, you fucking victim blamer!”

The Unleasher stared at him “Yes you're a victim but you're also an asset to humanity. This is why the Farsh-nuke is tolerated after all. People are powerful. Properly mobilized and utilized they can do anything. The world could use your help Alexander. You are a thinker, you consume knowledge, you think on it and you speak freely. The world could sure use that. You might just have a following of sadists on youtube but you have a following none the less. Think of what effect 5 years of your blogs and vlogs could do. They could sway the election, prevent the Tories getting back in, ensure whoever does get in will institute electoral reform and fight climate change and whose to say you couldn't sway the balance of power under this parliament? The Tories only have a majority of 8 after all. The left needs all the propaganda it can get and you can help provide it.”

Alex stared at her “You have got to be joking?”

“And what about your mother and your sister?” said the Unleasher “Your Mum is still under his influence and won't leave. You can lead by example. Your sister can't see the patterns or the very real danger. You would leave her like that, unaware of the time bomb waiting to go off?”

Alex's jaw dropped, unable to think of a response.

“And what of Ronnikin? You would leave him in the care of your mum? A woman who sees nothing wrong with castrating sentient animals she professes to love?” said the Unleasher.

Alex glared at her “Now, that's not fair. You know I can't fight this. The entire world thinks that because these animals are of a lesser order to man that they deserve practises too barbaric to inflict upon our own children.”

“A practise that you have effectively felt the consequences of because of your medical condition?” said the Unleasher “You might not be able to change the world and save all the cats but you can make sure Ronnikin gets treated properly as a being with will and agency.”

Alex sighed “You're right there”

“And that's why you're needed” said the Unleasher “Nobody else can look after Ronnikin like you can because everyone else thinks a half life as a castrato is better than the consequences of letting animals make their own mistakes.”

Alex kicked the table and it flipped over and vanished.

The man in the suit fired at him.

Alex screamed “Oh fuck off! You're not important any more!”

The man in the suit vanished.

Alex sighed heavily “I have someone to live for now don't I? Not just morality, letsplays and Skyrim but my pet.”

And then he started to laugh “The Great Farsh-nuke, all these times I've written about him and all these times I've written about the importance of his pets and here's me promising to live for my cat.”

The Unleasher smiled “You are not without hope Farsh-nuke and you are not alone in this. The Green Party is fighting for the future you want. The Labour party are natural Tory fighters. Even UKIP are campaigning for electoral reform. You may not have a shoulder to cry on but you do not fight alone. You are part of a wider revolution and you have allies. Never give up, never surrender, the good will win in time and you will be part of it.”

“And until I get out, what?” asked Alex “Watch letsplays, play video games, listen to podcasts?”

“If it didn't work you wouldn't be doing it” said the Unleasher “It's like school, the prison bars are in your own head. Your life feels like purgatory because the world tells you it's horrible. Because your dad fears that you will never leave if he doesn't put the fear into you. But what did ypou do at Wolverhampton? What was your life at University when you lived in student halls with your friends nearby and loan money in your wallet?”

“I watched letsplays, played videogames and listened to podcasts” said Alex, realizing.

“Your life feels like purgatory because you have so many different reasons to feel shit but you are smarter than that. Your life is okay. You just need to be patient.” said the Unleasher.

Alex took a deep breath then blew it out slowly before saying “I think you might be right there. So what now?”

The Unleasher stared at him, utterly serious “Now you finish the opening chapters of Paragon of Virtue. The Shark Trust needs the money that will be raised from the special charity edition of the Venus Trap and that means you need to finish the Value Added Material. Plus there is the small matter of you being the keystream of my reality, I need you to finish that book.”

Alex nodded “Gotcha.”

The Unleasher smiled and hugged Alex, pleased to have helped.

Then the Unleasher was gone as well.

Alex stood alone on the cliff now and he felt at peace.

The cliff vanished and Alex sat before his computer. He must have nodded off at the keyboard. He navigated to youtube and the open tab displaying Many a True Nerd's playthrough of Far Cry 4.

He clicked play.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

People aren't working and that's okay

People aren't working and that's okay

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

Before we begin I want you to answer a question for me, what do you consider the technology of the future?

Hoverboards?
http://hendohover.com/

Jetpacks?
http://www.martinjetpack.com/

Flying cars?
http://www.aeromobil.com/

Virtual Reality?
https://www.oculus.com/
http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-project-morpheus/
http://www.htcvr.com/
https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us

Replicators?
https://eu.makerbot.com/shop/en/?gclid=CKWawcb80sUCFTLLtAodrhUAbA

How about telepathy?
http://www.strangemag.com/anomalypages/telepathychip.html

Invisibility cloaks?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24867090

Lab Grown Organs?
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/aug/24/lab-grown-cells-create-functioning-organ

Robots?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

Or how about tractor beams?
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/20/optical-tractor-beam-laser-physicists

Teleportation?
http://www.iflscience.com/physics/physicists-achieve-quantum-teleportation-photon-over-25-kilometers

Great orbital weapons of mass destruction?
http://www.academia.edu/8568057/K-BOMB_Analysis_of_G_LEO_Kinetic_Bombardment_and_Application_to_National_Security_Strategies_for_Full-Spectrum_Military_Interoperability

Cyborgs?
http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/the-future-is-android/

L33t hackers who can do shit we'd regard as techno magic?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNPXoydz_zQ&index=42&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C9
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A9Iu-E80-w&index=35&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C9

Yeah we either can do all those things already or we're working on it.

For more than two thousand years humans have lived basically the same way. On the economy of scarce resources with an upper class who profited, a middle class who sort of broke even and didn't have it too bad and a lower class who were lucky if they got paid a pittance to work the land.

Then in the last 500 years the industrial revolution happened and in the last 100 years the industry and science escalated at an amazing pace until we could do or try to do all of the above. Which leaves us with a problem, we are a species that cannot comprehend not needing to work. From a purely dictionary sense not working means damaged. When the words we use state that to not work is to not be well we have a clear illustration of the hypocrisy in society. The Economy needs to use more and more robots as they are cheaper and at the same time there are more and more people alive to need jobs to function in society. 

What do you do then? If you are a person that is alive today and you need to find a job in a society where robot workers are just better, what do you do? Well many, including myself, find the pressure to find work too much to bare and contemplate, attempt or commit suicide.

We are so desperate for jobs and for the economy to let us function again that we vote in political parties who promote themselves as being for the economy but what that really means is more and more people who are out of work and less resources to support them. 

I will be honest I am not sure if I will make it through 5 more years of Cameron's ridiculously nonsensical and amoral government (Which makes his increasing power to crush opposition seem laughably pathetic. If I might kill myself then I have nothing to fear from Big Brother.), one thing I do know though is that millions won't. People have died under the Tory cuts and they will only continue to commit suicide as joblessness is demonised. What is more is that this is not a protest or a cult or terrorism. There is no structure to this. There are just millions of people deciding that death is preferable to life and we need to fix that.

Smarter people than I have written articles with actual statistics and evidence on this subject but I had to do my part to spread the message. People are more important than the economy. End the stigma against unemployment now. End the suicides.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How to make money from youtube or blogspot

How to make money from Youtube or Blogspot

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

Hi, I'm an idiot who has made precisely 2 dollars in the last month from youtube and that's before my Multi Channel Network takes its cut so I can actually receive those 2 dollars and not have to wait until I make £60 before money will be paid into my account.

I am not a youtube professional or guru of any sort. I am simply a university graduate who has spent the past year unemployed save for money I make from youtube.

Before I begin let me make clear that in my experience claiming Job Seeker's Allowance in Britain and doing more than 11 hours of youtube video production, blog writing or volunteering is impossible. I am fortunate enough to choose growing my youtube channel over claiming JSA, you may not be. Equally it should go without saying that this will very likely not make you enough money to live on, you will be lucky if you make a dollar. The reason I am writing this article is that I know that with enough perseverance, luck and skill you can actually make a dollar for very little.

So lets start with the cheapest way to make money, this requires having a bank account, the ability to read and write and access to a computer but nothing more. If you are in Britain you can do all of the following at a local library for free if you are careful with hour data.

Step 1. Create a blog. 

In theory you can use any number of free blogging tools that allow html to be embedded. Don't worry you don't need to be an elite programmer, just know how to copy and paste blocks of text, though taking advantage of the library books wouldn't be a bad thing.

I use blogger.com I find it simple and easy to use and get about 30 views per written blog entry.

Blogs can be on almost anything. The key is to upload on a somewhat regular basis.

Step 2. Monetise it.

Monetising your blog means putting ads on your blog that you will get a cut from when someone clicks on them. To do this I recommend joining Google Adsense ( http://www.google.com/adsense/start/ )

There are very particular rules about using Google Adsense that you should be aware of. Asking for people to click on ads is basically considered fraud for example.

Don't be downhearted if you aren't able to monetise your blog to begin with. For a long time my videos were basically considered too boring to be worth monetising but the moment google said yes it was worth it.

Step 3. Advertise your blog.

DO NOT PAY FOR ADVERTS

Sorry for shouting but this is important. I consider my youtube and blog a success because it is a hobby I have not invested in. You do not need nor want to pay for advertising.

Search engines find things by looking in the metadata or tags. Metadata is writing about information contained in something that is online and tags are the metadata that content creators typically obsess over for the simple reason that tags are how most people find your content.

People wonder why everything is so derivative nowadays being reboots or sequels or knockoffs but the answer lies in the humble metadata tag. People are not going to search for the Farsh-nuke, the god of chaos in my super original Intellectual Property, they will however search for Doctor Who or Spiderman or Orcs. Tags therefore are your way of getting your content noticed. The problem is that to prevent every blog or video being tagged with every word in the Oxford English Dictionary tags have to be relevant and therefore your content needs a reason to justifiably tag someone else's IP or whatever big thing everyone is talking about. This is where are so many reviews, news articles and letsplays. Being derivative of a bigger work in a transformative fashion is the way for nobodies to make money.

Of course making a blog and video about being unemployed and looking for work is the most cynical way to make money from other people's misfortune which is why I only did this because one of my best friends asked me to,

Youtube

Okay so you have a blog and maybe you're monetised but you're disappointed that you can't get at the money google says you've earned or maybe you just have a camera and want to double your ways to make money. In that case lets look at making money from youtube.

Before we begin let me make clear that while I love youtube and its excellent community of content creators the comments section is filled with spammers and trolls, Sadists from 4chan and Britpol whose only thought is to destroy you for kicks and giggles. If you ever wondered how the Joker could possibly function look in the youtube comment section. These are men who just want to watch the world burn and they will be valuable allies if you can withstand the relentless bombardment of grotesque politically incorrect insults, death and rape threats.

Step 1. Create a youtube account or more likely upgrade youtube watchers account into a youtube creators account.

Step 2. Get a webcam.
You want a plug and play webcam with a minimum 480p recording. I use a Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 and thoroughly recommends it as it doubles as a great microphone for recording letsplays ( http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Internet-Camera-2-0-Megapixel-Resolution/dp/B000RZQZM0 ) at the very least it can serve as a benchmark of quality.

Something I feel I should point out though is that I have not made back the money this webcam cost so please don't consider a webcam an investment. It is useful if given freely or if bought when money is plentiful but it is never worth more than the money that is spent on it.

Step 3. Start recording.
Youtube is brilliant for content creators because shorter videos are watched more but longer videos that are watched improve the rankings of your channel so make what you want to make and upload it.

Step 4. Understand youtube.
There is a strange quirk at the heart of youtube. Trolls are kingmakers. The people who flood your channel with death threats and dislikes boost your channels rating and so how it is presented to people who might stumble upon your video. The trolls call the people they elevate lolcows, the analogy being that us stupid content creators are cows who keep coming back to be milked for laughter. Except as content creators we have the real power.

As content creators we can block, we can censor, we can disable comments. We have the power in the relationship and the sadistic troll swarms are all about passive consumers exerting power over content creators. The transphobia, homophobia, sexism, racism and antisemitism is all about unsettling the content creator and granting the commenter control over the situation. They want you on your back foot, reacting instinctively on emotion so they can make a fool of you and prove themselves superior. The instinct is to fight back, to hurt them, to make them suffer. Fight this urge.

The swarm of sadistic trolls is akin to a feeding frenzy or a stampede it comes out of nowhere fucks everything up and disperses just as quickly but each time they stay longer and longer, determined to break you. You can't predict them, you can't stop them, what you can do though is exploit them when they hit. Every comment and dislike is after all a sign that people are engaging with your channel. So if you can, go down into the comments and joust with the trolls, try to get the better of them. You will fail and they will get under your skin but every failure means more comments, more dislikes, more subscribers and more experience handling trolls. The key thing is perseverance and a sense of normality. They want to break you after all so nothing will get them more riled like continuing to make videos even as you joust with them in the comments, this means that instead of one video getting a thousand views you can get 3 with 300 views, consistency is better than a single viral hit.

I loathe trolls, I hate them and I would love them to stop which is I think partly why they persist but that just means a bigger harvest when the swarm arrives and the harvest is what matters, Nobody likes trolls and nobody likes troll bait but the troll swarms will hit your channel sooner or later and when that happens you can batten down the hatches and try to ride it out or you can surf on the hatred and enjoy the harvest.

That is about all the advice I can give you at the moment but do your research by for instance looking at these videos by the Game Theorist:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgMqhEMhVV8&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C9&index=62
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLJQ0gFHM8s&list=PL35FE5C4B157509C9&index=22

Monday, 18 May 2015

Birthday Blues

Birthday Blues

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

I turn 23 in a month, the 20th June, the day of a protest before the bank of England. I kind of want to go.

I am 25421.94 pounds in debt, I have no job, I'm struggling to find a voluntary position, my friends live a fucking long way away, my testosterone is so low that I am outwardly turning into a woman, my sex drive is fucked and I am dependent upon the family home and charity of my separated and insane parents. My sister has emigrated and I have become a caretaker to two cats and a guinea pig, none of which I asked for. The one upside in my life at the moment is that I have become so eminently hateful that my youtube is booming with viewers who have come to milk my suffering for their own entertainment.

And yet today, having watched a shit film through the stupor of pain a migraine brings, I realise that the dull ache and desire to unsheathe the ornamental dagger that sits on a pedestal on a shelf beside me is gone. It would be so easy to kill myself. So very easy to go out in the melodramatic fashion that is so entirely me, just start a livestream, flash the tits that make me feel so wretched and bring such sadistic gawkers then stab downwards through the chest. I know because I've thought about it a lot and come quite close to committing the act, even eulogised the act in fiction as though expecting my hard drive to be scanned and significance found from what amounts to little more than fetish fuel.

I felt so trapped, so thoroughly condemned, but I see now that I am free. Free because I don't have anyone to care about. My sister is safe in Singapore, no matter what happens now she will be safe. My mum and dad have each proven themselves amoral to me, each screamed about my morality as though it was some great blight. How dare I not claim benefits that I don't need? How dare I not lie and cheat to get ahead? How dare I not exploit every opportunity available to me?

I sit here in a messy room, my arms patterned with claw marks, my head heavy like a lead balloon, my stomach filled with viscous bile, my future a bleak train track of youtube, video games, podcasts and audiobooks and I no longer despair, I no longer feel like a monster or a burden. I like my life. It's lonely, it is utterly boring, it does feel like my head is in a vice that is ever tightened as strangers beat upon my body with sledgehammers but I like it. Not enough to stay. Never enough to not flee at the first sign of a way out. Yet I like it. The feeling of success as I finish a letsplay series. The atavistic thrill of simulated death and destruction in skyrim, The ego stroke of podcasts that let me think I am better than the rest of the world.

So for the sake of it because I might as well dare to dream here is my birthday wishlist:
The Mass Effect Trilogy for PC.
Fall Out New Vegas for PC
The rest of the China Mieville audiobooks (I have Perdido Street Station)
Complete Star Trek box sets
A bottle or 6 of Wright's Original Dark Ginger.

I acknowledge that Star Trek boxsets are insanely expensive so it is barely a hope that I might get one of the Next Generation, Voyager or DS9 but there we go.

One way or another on the 20th June I plan on getting obscenely drunk. You are welcome to join me.

The Great Gatsby Review.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Revolution

It began with Betrayal

My dad had been growing more and more violent, increasingly desperate for control. Threatening to throw my stuff out, stopping the car in traffic, holding my social life hostage if I did not obey. Me and mum made plans to escape and run away, bought me a laptop so I could make a clean get away. Then as the money granddad left me finally gets ready to be moved into my bank account Mum tries to get the money from me, telling me that she needs to take 500 pounds from her son on principle. I tell her no, I'll make reparations some other way. Then when it comes time for the money to be moved into my account I catch her out, catch her lying and evading the truth behind privacy. Eventually she admits it. She stole 500 pounds from the money granddad left me  in broad daylight and hoped I would notice. I took the money off her but the trust was broken. She had allyed with my abuser, she had stolen for him. That's when it all went wrong.

The liberal democrats won the youth vote on a promise to not raise the tuition fee, we had a hung parliament and they sided with the tories, breaking their promise to students. In the grand scale of everything that happened thanks to the hung parliament a rise in tuition fees is such a small thing but it broke the trust in the liberal democrats.

Resentment turned to denial

My final year of university, writing my dissertation and I was losing my shit because next September I would be trapped in a house with my abusive father and a mother I no longer trusted. I ploughed myself into Farscape and Babylon 5, university work, letsplays and youtube. I was going to go to Nine Worlds Geek Fest in the summer, everything would be fine.

Voters fought for justice online. Enjoying places like tumblr, signing petitions and campaigning for greater equality. The feminist pressure group became a serious force for change and woe betide any that crossed their path.

Denial turned to concern as the restraining bolt on abuse was shattered

It was half term and my dad was popping up to see me. He was in a VW Camper van. Mum had left him, well technically they were separated but living together. The marriage was still legal but she'd ceased made her intentions clear. So now I had to finish my dissertation amid this crap.

The liberal democrats were a joke, an excuse the conservatives used to dodge criticisms. Still in coalition with the conservatives but it was clear who really ran the show.

Concern became depression when the force that usually dealt with the aggressor was clearly still not to be trusted

After handing in my dissertation I moved into my sister's old room and had to sleep in her expensive broken bed. After months of talking Mum finally agreed to by me a new bed. We went round several stores and were just buying the bed when I asked for one extra drawer and mum walked out of the store. I bought the bed with the last of my student loan, certain mum would see reason, I fell badly, went to A&E in pain, fractured bones in my hand, had to wear a cast for weeks  and my mum never paid me a penny for the 500 pound bed. It still makes me angry.

With UKIP gnashing at their heels shiny new Ed Milliband led Labour started promoting how they wanted to talk about immigration. Nothing like an appeal to the far right to win you voters and alienate Labour voters.

The abuser wielded their power to destroy the hope of defeating them

I was crushed under the weight of depression and dad was just making me more suicidal, I turned to mum for solace, if we could just move out. Dad put his foot down. He would never sell the house and he would have mum committed if she tried to take it from him. The house would pay off my student debt if we just waited until he died.

The Conservatives won with a majority vote in our broken political system. The liberal democrats were eviscerated. Labour lost significantly. UKIP was knocked back to square one.  Only the Green party rose in terms of voters.

Depression turned to Anger

My mother has now dumped two kittens me, a man who can barely look after himself he's so depressed, my sister left me with a crazy guinea pig. My dad's campaigning for Labour. Reaching out for help with my depression resulted in having drugs pushed on me harder than atheists push the nonexistence of god. Kallman's Syndrome keeps mutating my appearance into that of a fat ugly woman. And now I have a small cult of ukip voters staking me. I am pretty much done with being the victim. Mr Cameron I am a politically active moral pragmatist with very little to live for except my morality. Your rule will find itself challenged every step of the way.

It is rare to find an issue upon which Natalie Bennet and Nigel Farage agree. The public is crying out for proportional representation. Already there has been a riot against Cameron's rule. This is what happens when a corrupt political system allows a minority of the population to vote in the majority ruling government. Democracy is not just a fig leaf for moral decency it is an utterly pragmatic concession to the reality of trying to rule over people when most people don't want you ruling them. It is far easier to mistreat a population that actually wants you ruling that is to mistreat a populaytion that already thinks you're a cunt.

Anger turns to revolution

Misfortune creates sadness, sadness grows if not soon dealt with, it presses down on a person, making them feel useless and hateful, becoming depression but then the depression is stirred up by the catalyst of danger and the depression hardens, it starts hurting more and feels lighter, filling the person with toxic energy, corrosive inits acidicness but a powerful fuel for change.

Can you hear the people sing? Singing the song of the angry voters? It is the song of those who won't be depressed again. We are watching Mr Cameron. We are plotting and planning and gaining support. You have a tiny hold on the majority. It would be an awful shame if anything were to happen to it.

The Tories want to repeal your human rights

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Vote Green to stop Climate Change

Change

Look I'm feeling whimsical, maybe I've had too many mints or the fog of depression is lifting or I'm just really chuffed to read a not depressing Doctor Who fanfic essay. Whatever the case this one is going to be weird, blurring the lines of prose and conventional blog writing. I know people get stuck on similies and metaphor so this is fair warning.

Change

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

I am simultaneously the most patient and most impatient person. I will drink the same drink, eat the same food and play the same game time after time for years. Yet I will also wander off after five minutes waiting and my sense of time always seems faster than actual time. Why is one lack of change acceptable and not the other? Arguably it's control. Things under my control I can be patient about, things that aren't make me nervous because well I'm autistic and thus used to a certain level of dickishness but it's more than that.

Why is it that the hero who has come to define me, even in my rejection of it, is all about change? The Doctor, never cruel or cowardly except when he is because good men don't need rules and now is not the time to ask why he has so many. The man who falls out of the sky and tears down your world. The good wizard or wise man, a trickster figure that could never be reasoned with or stopped. He never sleeps, he never rests and he never for one moment gives up. He is humanity's saviour and watchful protector but also its staunchest critic. This is a man who manipulates others, wages terrible war with words and knowledge, has committed or tried commit genocide on so many occassions and still calls himself as a pacifist.

Even outside the show Doctor Who is made up of distinct stylistic eras, with continuity only vaguely checking out within those eras and yet there are no parallel universes. (well 2, 3 or maybe 4 but they only crop up for particular stories) This is a show that simultaneously cares not a bit about continuity and milks it for all its worth. Tomb of the Cybermen, Genesis of the Daleks, Remembrance of the Daleks, The Waters of Mars, The Eleventh Hour, all these stories hinge on the past being remembered and bought back. 

The terror of cybermen hatching. The Doctor asking the Creator of the Daleks if he would wipe out all life and finding himself unable to kill his most hated enemy. The Doctor many years later returning to where it all began so he can finish the job he botched in Genesis. The Doctor becoming the villain by virtue of becoming drunk on the reality of his power. Then not long after losing every last asset of his last incarnation to solve the problem of the week by becoming a positive manifestation of that same power.

Continuity through discontinuity. Harmony through chaos.

When I created my own scifi multiverse the villains I created were the ultimate pedants aiming to restore order to the multiverse by rendering it unto void. As an atheist that void, that eternal unchanging blackness is what I imagine awaits me when I die. The end of existence and thinking, changing so critically that you can no longer change or be changed by anything.

Hell, and I have a pretty good picture of it as I just read Surface Detail by Iain M Banks, hell is tame by comparison to the madness of the void. At least to me. 

I am a scifi writer, a cynic, reformed pessimist and autistic idiot. I am used to pain and sadism and gore. I used to have the most terrifying nightmares and had to learn to control them, to not be afraid of death and pain but sheer unending eternal black void is the most terrifying thing I can think of. My mind is an engine built to solve problems. In the void there is no problem and no solution. At least in the void of space there is death to save you. An eternity of void though, an eternity of no change, I'd go mad.

(and in some dark corner of the internet someone is taking notes and plotting how to make me immortal so I might suffer this torture says the cynic in me)

All life changes. If you slice through the Earth you can see the different eras of life on it. Evolution is all about change. Where Religion splinters off with change science remains the same but becomes different with new information. Politics is all about the revolution of change.

Change defines us all.

It certainly defines me. Being different, a change to the norm, has always caused me to be ostracised, unhappy and pigeon holed. I'm the shark boy, the Doctor Who fan and lately by virtue of the ukip voting trolls, the autist. 

Even to myself my life for so long was a struggle to achieve a change to the status quo. Runaway from home. Leave school. Make friends. Become a writer. Get a job.

I have flitted from passion to passion, learning just enough to feel like I could reasonably exist within a certain scene and moving on.

And each stage of my life has had an problem to solve. Bullying. Boredom and loneliness. Making the Farsh-nuke a legitimate media product. Having tits.

Indeed a large amount of my depression at the moment is caused by having several large problems it is not within my power to solve. Making my youtube videos, writing these blogs, hell even listening to podcasts and audiobooks and watching letsplays has all helped by in some way giving me a problem to solve, a thing to change. Hell maybe that explains why I'm so happy. I have a letsplay series again and I have a lots of problems that are within my power to solve.

Yeah actually that makes sense. I have a purpose in life again. Why am I living? Because I want to complete Skyrim and I owe it to my viewers to complete the letsplay series. And here's the best bit. I technically make money from this. Holy shit I have a living!

Change is good!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

To be or not to be.

Suicide and Depression:

One man's struggle to stay alive.

By

Alexander Gordon Jahans

So after struggling with depression for 7 months or so I finally see a Doctor about counselling, get referred to a phone counselling service and just let rip. I tell the person at the end of the line everything and am relieved to be getting help. Sometime later I get another call from a mental health clinic and she's pushing drugs like an atheist debating a fundamentalist Christian who believes homosexuals cause hurricanes. I hang up the phone sand feel more lost than ever.

This is not my first time feeling suicidal. When I was at school I felt trapped. I was condemned to do paperwork in a school where everybody picked on me for fun. Still the phrase "It's just a joke" can have me violently angry and I would go home to a mum who used my Asperger's Syndrome as an excuse to ignore my wishes, and a dad whose attempt to save me from getting beaten up for being weird was to terrify me.

I rallied for a moral legal solution to my problems. I sent two letters to the Prime Minister, I got on the school council so I could beg to be set free from the torment, I thought that if I did all the work well and was a good boy I would be more likely to be allowed to leave. I had a counsellor assigned to me and felt the extreme pointlessness of it. The counselling did not solve my problem. The pain continued, I was still trapped.

I survived school by distracting myself and pumping myself full of sweets and caffeine. I would watch TV all the time and eat pizzas every day but I survived. It was hellish but I survived, survived until the day I finally ceased to give a shit and just walked out of school. I still remember lying there and hearing the ridiculous bribes and threats. I had just abandoned my morality to save my life and they thought a hamster could make me go back into that hellish existence.

Now I've graduated university with a 2:1 in Creative and Professional Writing and Film Studies and I feel depressed. Like a great terror is gnawing at my soul, that there is a part of me that is screaming and yelling that it's all hopeless and pointless and I'm just a burden. It wasn't so long ago that I was completely consumed by that feeling. 

The difference between now and my childhood is that as a kid I was a victim. I was an innocent serving a sentence longer than you'd get for murder. Now I feel like this is some grand punishment, that I deserve it. I picked the wrong college course, the wrong university course and now I'm worthless. I screwed up character creation and I need a do-over. Also I have tits. I am a man with tits. A medical condition that also radically depletes the sex drive and attacks my masculinity in the worst ways. I am on youtube and I have a blog so I see trolls doing their best to break me and I am stuck between separated parents living in the same house, each fucking with my mind in their own ways. I have real fucking problems in other words.

When I tried to confront my sister about our Dad being abusive she turned it round on me to lecture me on why I'm such a shithead. Which was really the biggest slap in the face wake up call she could have given me. I have no-one. I tried venting on facebook and I was told to shut up because I was boring people. The reason I still live is my morality. It's all I have left and the one thing telling me "Don't be ridiculous of course you deserve to live and be happy" So naturally every member of my family and the employment advisor I was sent to has suggested that my morality is a massive problem that needs to go away. Just let go of the one thing that matters and is keeping you from commiting suicide, that's the answer to all your problems.

I have internalised so much hatred and ridicule I can have arguments with my predictions of how youtube or facebook or the different members of my family will react to anything. It takes a surreal amount of shameless bravado to keep doing anything vaguely productive in the face of that internalised greek chorus, especially when it's backed up from outside. I am a wreck just trying to keep busy and happy and see it to the next day. 

Hopefully soon I will be volunteering at a library and I will begin treatment for the whole man with tits thing but politics remains a great darkness in my life. The Greens and Russell Brand and the different technological advancements offer hope but there is a sense even outside my cloud of despair that politics is just completely fucked and with it social care, medical care and possibly, probably, the entirety of planet Earth. A sense not helped by the UKIP trolls trying to make me feel horrible about the one part of me I'm reasonably at ease with, my Asperger's Syndrome/Autism.

I don't want drugs. I've seen too many dystopias and heard too many fuckwits cry "Take a chill pill" to stomach that. The difference between taking painkillers for an arm and taking pain killers for the brain is that I am terrified that the pills might actually work. Because my life is shitty and I have depression as a result of environmental factors. If the pills work and suddenly I can cope with all this shit then like my mother I will probably end up staying in an abusive and dangerous situation because it's cheap. At the moment I am staying in this madhouse because the alternative is homelessness and a probable death in which case staying here and knifing myself is actually more merciful than slowly starving or freezing to death. I refuse to be mindfucked by drugs as well as my parents.

I'm not a scientist and I'm not a psychologist, I don't know if I have pure depression or if I even have depression at all. I may just be experiencing a perfectly normal reaction to developing tits, struggling to find a job and separated parents living in the same house. I just know that I lived this long without taking drugs, recreational or otherwise, for my issues and I'm not about to start now. At least not until the environmental factors have been dealt with. 

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to cook my dinner and watch Many A True Nerd kill a load of people in Fall Out New Vegas.