Just like Justin Bieber – I am but dust and ashes

No, I will not use his picture justin-bieber-look-alike
to get traffic.*

This Bieber guy gets so much fandom and publicity that he makes a great example of why “fame”, if anything, makes you more lightweight dust and ashes than its opposite…

I have heard that his twitter “mentions feed”, mostly consisting of, “I lUV U PLS FOLLO ME!”, flows past on his phone at a completely unreadable 50 miles an hour…
From this he might deduce that he is in some way one of the most important people on the planet. Many others are in this same fame club, and many, nay, MOST younger people in the west aspire to join that club, believing that this is not only the best measure of success but also a source of some version of happiness.
It’s not. It’s an inverse Groucho Marx club – in that it should reject all those who want to be a member.

Worse than that it is a club that cements your inability to be real in public in such a way that older celebrities have discovered is actually pretty damn horrible. I personally hate it when waiters ask,”How is your meal?”, even once, while I’m eating out – but having random strangers interrupt your juice laden private space to prod your pictorial company with a selfie stick…That is so very shudder -worthy.

If you manage to gain an overview of the world of humanity in all its ghastly glory, you can see that it mostly consists of groups of people whose fun and sense of purpose come from remarkably few other people with whom they are in contact. There are millions of these, separate, groups. Of the billions of people alive on the planet fewer than 0.0000001% will ever have any clue who you are, or were – and Bieber-like fame ironically proves this.

People always say they “Want to leave their mark on the world”, all well and good if that ambition is about societal change for the better…though most learn the hard way that the laws of unintended consequences and one’s own ego make for almost universal failure in this field.
Is your ambition to die with millions grieving, not because you have died, but because a fictional persona that you have seen created about you, and distorted entirely beyond your control, is gone?
If it is then you may not be as disappointed with fame as real people who become famous are.
If the flashing of cameras and people bellowing for signatures when they don’t recognise your name will keep you thrilled, then fame maybe IS for you.
But once your tiny sojourn on this world is over, you will still be the same unknown dust and ashes as the peasant in the Gambia – who may have had a happier life for just being loved by their family,
for who they really were.

 

*This look-a-like wants fame, even if its via adopting the persona of some fiction more shallow than they are…

 

 

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Two imagined parallel interviews: Al Qaeda & Charlie Hebdo

StephaneRIP Stéphane Charbonnier – 1967 – 2015
Long live freedom of speech

Following the latest murderous assault upon Western publishers of cartoons …that appear to be beyond controversial to some elements of the international fraternity of humankind…Bob Bracket, special correspondent, tried to tease out the logic behind both side’s actions:

Firstly, with a spokesperson from the magazine, Charlie Hebdo:

BB: “Let me express my sympathy at the tragic loss of life at your offices, can I begin by asking, why do you think this happened?”

CH: “Well, as you know, we are in the business of satirising all organisations and powerful bodies that we feel say ridiculous things – and do irrational things – this is our mission as a satirical but serious paper.”

BB: “The foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, publicly criticised your magazine’s actions after the ‘Sharia Hebdo‘ edition, asking: ‘Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour fuel on the fire?’ – are these deaths really worth carrying on this mission against Islamic symbols and so on?”

CH: “The whole point of freedom of speech and the laws, which we have to protect, is that they must include the freedom to offend. Short of shouting “FIRE” in a  crowded theatre, we believe anyone should be free to say whatever they like in any public forum”

BB: “I presume you mean, within the law, which if course includes slander and libel.”

CH: “Yes, you will remember we were sued for “Defamation”,  two French Muslim organisations, the Great Mosque of Paris and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, took a lawsuit against us for “public insults against a group of people because they belong to a religion”. But the courts found that we were attacking ideas, not those people and so we were well within the law”

BB: “That was in 2007 and I believe the court ruled that freedom of speech was not without its limitations?”.

CH: “True – The judges said in finding us not guilty of libel/defamation: Freedom of expression may be restricted if “it is exercised in a manner which is gratuitously offensive to others without contributing in any way to a public debate which may encourage the progress of humankind”. I ask you, what is gratuitously offensive in this world and what helps humankind progress… Murdering people who beat your false logic in court, or defending free speech?”

BB: “Thank you, I turn now to Mr Ali Akhbar (name changed to protect the guilty) and put to you that last point:
Surely murdering people who attack your ideas in words is against all the guidance of your holy prophet?”

AA: “Alu-ah Akhbar!”

BB: “Sorry, Mr Aluaha Akhbar…”

AA: “NO, GOD is the greatest, I am Ali”

BB: “Well Ali certainly was the greatest in my lifetime but back to the point:
Murdering people. It’s not good is it?”

AA: “Those who insult the prophet must be put to death, it says so in our holy law and we are but the messengers of Allah doing his holy work”

BB: “Well, we could go into great debates about the essential meanings of the Qu’ran, including the overriding instruction to be merciful that many states with the largest populations of Muslims find to be a truth, but…”

AA: “ALLAH -U-AKHBAR”

BB: “Yes – you made that point already, my question is:- How does killing some French cartoonists increase the chances of the successful spread of your religion across the world, when it is clear that killing only brings about more killing?”.

AA: “We have seen laid out, God’s law, and people can now see that those who disobey this law will suffer the ultimate punishment, Allah Akhbar!”

BB:”This punishment of death seems to have been going on massively, over many centuries, in many forms, including those who hold only slightly different beliefs to your own – which are what exactly, Wahabist?”

AA: “We Are Sunni – the one true form of Islam, The Shia were founded by squabbling warlords who wished to pervert the message of Allah”

BB: “Did your father abuse you as a child? I ask because your logic is so clearly biased towards revenging imaginary wrongs and killing people that one wonders if…”

- interview suddenly ends there ~ Editor

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The Ched Evans affair illustrates our rape law’s idiocy.

ched evansNo one has had a rational come back in my campaign to eliminate the law of rape…
plenty of casual irate dismissals, ironically illustrating my point rather well, but no rational argument against it.

Ched Evans is a convicted rapist – the circumstances of his offence make it very clear to me that there is a massive educational job at hand, teaching young men what is abuse and what is not, and why forms of abuse require graded punishment to fit the crime. His encouraged attempts to move smoothly back into his highly paid, high profile, role are achieving the opposite of this necessary education.

He (among many others) clearly fails to understand the meaning of “consent” Both his supporters and critics fail to understand the reason the law fails all of us and encourages bad misogynistic attitudes.
As it stands, the law of rape is irrational and an emotive trigger that prevents rational discussion on the better, more 21st century, approach to what the law should be.

In my campaigns to change this law to favour justice for victims over defence counsel odds of success, few have realised that rape is a law about damaging (male) property – akin to theft, and in other cultures it is more explicitly the “theft of the father’s honour”.

The key points:

Rape, in law, has to be committed with a penis. (a broken bottle, fist or dildo of any sort cannot form part of the crime of rape)
Rape is a part of the burglary law. (In that entering a property with intent to rape is as much burglary as entering with intent to steal)

This ancient property based law of rape has become such a farce that it has the net effect of further shaming, humiliating and destroying any victim, who, as the only witness in most cases, is now subject to self-defending attackers being allowed to destroy their fragile integrity in a court room.
Is it at all surprising that 90% of victims would never consider pressing charges?
The fairly recent introduction of equality of men as potential rape victims has further muddied the waters rather than created a better law. The weapon of domination having to be a penis is a matter still not addressed. It is ridiculous that an anal assault with a bottle is not classifiable as a similarly heavy duty attack when you take on board the effect upon a victim.
But of course the criminal justice system is concerned with crimes against the state, what happens to the victim has very little place in deciding the nature of the law.

Ched Evans “fans” have managed to terrorise the victim in his case, forcing her to move and change her name to avoid their illegal – but most likely unprosecutable – harassment of her. The lad/gang culture is part of the problem here but it lies much deeper in cultural misogyny as well.

His compulsory rehabilitation (he is out under licence) should include repeated abject apologies for his crime, and working with women and other young men to radically alter their attitudes to women – which will take at least 5 more years. This should continue until everyone who saw themselves as a fan is humbled into understanding what the horror of sexual assault means.

When we have a law that does not include “rape”, but instead has “sexual assault with exacerbating factors”: – degrees of degradation, abuse and violence being the triggers that extend a jail sentence, then perhaps we can begin to get some successful prosecutions. We might also see a welcome reduction in the stigma victims suffer, and better education programmes. The current lack of emotional intelligence that dominates chauvinistic culture inevitably scuppers justice when the concept of rape is on the table.

Ched Evans was found guilty – of a law that shows the guilt of a patriarchal society unable to conceive of what a victim of assault suffers.

 

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Why Cricket?

lords batsThe worldwide trending #Putoutyourbats – which, as I write, is still gaining 5 posts a second in my twitter feed – makes me cry.

Why, cricket? why are so many grown men and women in the UK and far afield flooding out their emotions as if the death of a cricketer, who most barely knew of, is a major bereavement?

I was always told, “Never try to explain cricket to the unbeliever”.  Well, that was mainly referring to the rules, which of course remain unexplainable to all but players, but I shall endeavour to explain why this sporting death is somehow different from others.

“What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”

CLR James was quoted by John Arlott in answer to those who recognised his worldly wisdom as well as his encyclopaedic cricketing knowledge, and he eloquently summed up why he loved the game. My view is based on my “nearly fatal” experience.

I took up cricket for the 2nd time at the age of 25 – bowling for St James, the local Sunday league and midweek evening matches in Cardiff. The camaraderie was better than any I felt when playing football and there was that marvellous first game when I took 3 wickets and an amazing catch to earn my permanent  place in the side. We never wanted to take it too seriously and were often deliberately losing a couple of games to avoid being promoted to the first division where it was treated as a matter of life and death.

It shouldn’t be a matter of life and death, no sport should, but motor sports, mountaineering, and several others have seen more deaths than cricket, which has had a few at all levels. In one game we had a member of the opposition who loudly made loud sexist comments at a woman jogging around the boundary edge, he was also a loud and arrogant mouth on the field as we batted.
It came his turn to bat and I got plenty of, but didn’t need any, advice from my team-mates to “Let him have your fastest”.

As it happened I found a great spot just short of a length with real zip, and, our midweek pitches being of the poor quality they were, this ball happened to rear up and smack the batsman right under the sternum. He staggered backwards and fell onto his stumps, “HOWZAT!” the whole team shouted with glee…

As it turned out he was helped off the field with only a bruise for his trouble, and I felt no guilt whatsoever, indeed I happily accepted the massive kudos I got from my friends for silencing him. However, had he ducked, and turned his eyes away from that ball, he could, just as easily and freakishly as Philip Hughes, have caught a fatal blow. How would I be feeling now, had that happened those 30 years ago?

Perhaps the love of the game that unites players and fans alike is the knowledge that serious competition in cricket is a matter of importance, but that we are all respectful of this tribal interaction as a way of bonding whilst encouraging individual excellence. The pleasure of taking the final wicket to win a game is immense but the main pleasure was merely taking the field – the cliché of the green expanse and the sound of willow on leather is further enhanced when you have heard the thunder of the paceman coming up behind you as you prepare to back up the facing batsman – (or are the umpire). The thrill of out-thinking an opponent so he makes a wrong move to fall into your trap is immense… but the longer games gave me a sense of both tranquillity and excitement that cannot be matched in any other sport.

I feel for Sean Abbot – and all those who have put out their bats, literally or metaphorically, as we have what is almost a Princess Diana moment, not in this case for a mass celebrated individual – but for what that individual represented. This is what we see in this great fellowship of the game. #putoutyourbats.

 

 

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Prostate cancer and sex – not a joking matter

The latest news headlines are a lazy male sub-editor’s dream :sex headline

 

prostate cancer story

Oddly, none of the news I can Google includes links to the, so called, serious study.

The nuts and bolts of it seem to suggest that virgins have double the average risk, while sleeping with lots of women - but not men, which also increases the risk - significantly reduces the risk of getting the disease.

All the many newspaper articles then go on to say what appears to be the drift of the press release – that the theory is that this is about increased number of ejaculations…
immediately I spot the (most obvious) flaw in this research.

This was a survey conducted via interview. With men.
It is true that in interviews you can show that 70% of men masturbate and 30% lie.  i.e. all men masturbate, including virgins. (the figure for women is apparently more like 52% – 48% ), and seeing as masturbation is statistically more likely to end in ejaculation, then that theory is blown straight out of the water since virgins might well have a better chance of survival than macho women chasing dickheads with potency problems…

What would be interesting would be if this research was done more thoroughly and compared with the already established facts about promiscuity and disease. is an increased number of partners somehow creating a better immunity through cellular transfer – such as happens in reverse for women with their risk of cervical cancer going up dependent on the number of women their partner has had sex with…
Similarly, having multiple partners works out badly for chlamydia, HIV, herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis, – all of which favour virginity very much more strongly over promiscuity than this tabloid headlined study suggests the opposite…

My only advice for fellow men over 55 is:
be happy with a wife, or on your own, but… – if you are having any difficulty peeing – go to the doctor and get the finger up the bum check… no need to die for having missed out on this simple pleasure…

 

 

 

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The dilution “joke” is worse than Jim Davidson: boring

dawkinsHow many jokes on Twitter do I see about Homeopathy?
– maybe a hundred a month?
There are some powerful leaders in this field: Tim Minchin, Dara O’Briain, virtually every stand up comic ever…
and what do these jokes consist of? – “it’s so weak it can’t possibly work”

Well that applies to the joke – much more than the treatment.
Maybe one or two of these people have bothered to dig deeper into how succussion makes for a mysterious, but measurable, “Quantum effect” (for want of a better description) but in the main, no… they are basing their cheap jibes on what they have read other hostile reductionists say… or Tim Minchin’s Storm (which is fun)
and have comfortably agreed with the dogma on the basis of the ever dangerous phenomenon of  the obedience to authority, or conformity tendency 

I have my own critique of the large number of “alternate” therapists and their jumping unquestioningly to conclusions based on bogus papers and results – (the crystal healing astrologists leave me cold), – just as I have a similar critique of “Accepted medicine” doing the same thing.

Sometimes, the falacious arguments that Minchin and others use are the same ones they attack, when in the mood –
The idea that medicine that has been found to work is “scientifically proven to work” – that is a dangerous statement, Mr Minchin – seeing as there is a very long list of “scientifically proven” treatments that have later been dismissed as wrong, as retrospectively based on bad science, – normally after many people have been killed by or badly affected by such treatments…
Then, of course, there is ECT – (Electro-Convulsive Therapy) still used, (successfully 50% of the time) for extreme depression and yet scientifically unproven, with an unknown rationale, yet extremely dangerous to cognitive function…
No jokes about ECT and western medicine, you masters of comedy?
– why not?
And the placebo issue, not even wondered about as amazing?
No mention of how revealed placebo knee cartilage surgery – where the cut is made under anaesthetic but no real surgery undertaken -sometimes works. ?

We (me included) joke about Dawkins’ arrogance on Twitter – yet not his deliberate obfuscation and denial of genuinely scientific testing that doesn’t suit his, and the wider conformist, mechanistic, reductionist worldview.
He lied repeatedly about Rupert Sheldrake‘s excellent and independently repeated experiments showing, “Dogs can know when their masters are on their way home”, because it didn’t suit his reductionist dogma.
And Sheldrake’s Ted talk was removed for a long while because it frightened way too many scientists who hate to be challenged where it matters (the possible loss of their funding sourced from other mechanistic fundamentalists).

Rupert dares to point out how many scientific “facts” are no such thing – So before you decide to “joke” about homeopathy (whose worst exponents are indeed worthy of ridicule) try and see which of these common dogmas you wrongly accept as given:-

1. Everything is essentially mechanical. Dogs, for example, are complex mechanisms, rather than living organisms with goals of their own. Even people are machines, ‘lumbering robots’, in Richard Dawkins’s vivid phrase, with brains that are like genetically programmed computers.

2. All matter is unconscious. It has no inner life or subjectivity or point of view. Even human consciousness is an illusion produced by the material activities of brains.

3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared),

4. The laws of nature are fixed. They are the same today as they were at the beginning, and they will stay the same for ever.

5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.

6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures.

7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. When you look at a tree, the image of the tree you are seeing is not ‘out there’, where it seems to be, but inside your brain.

8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death.

9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.

10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.

To understand exactly how these are demonstrably false – you would need to read The Science Delusion (available at some good bookshops) – or watch the Ted Talk above, or this longer talk by genuinely exploratory scientist, Rupert Sheldrake, who talks about the new science we need, free from dogma…

Come on scientists! – your comments are welcomed.

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Contrary to my better nature… a negative list

This blog was always supposed to be relentlessly positive, supporting my faith in laughter as a great healer but also positivity and seeing the best in people.

Therefore it would seem contrary of me to cite negative things about real people that might give the impression I am into bashing public figures without truly knowing much about them, because… well they are public figures.
However, I feel a need to expurgate, to vomit out, to cleanse myself of a toxic awareness…No, not a machine gun spree or infliction of pain…it’s just that I do believe that there are some individuals, messing about in the public viewpoint, who we really would be better off sending to a desert island where they can play their discs, congratulate themselves on their long since lost luxury items and decline into old age without the oxygen of public awareness…

I shall decline to use all their photos since I had a nice breakfast.
Besides – this is not a controversial list, I am betting that even the Dalai Lama would silently agree that most of these people need to vanish to a long lost Ashram
As a list it starts:
K Hopkins – no explanation needed,
Piers Morgan – smug feather duster and partly responsible for the decline of journalism in the UK.
Morrissey – Oh, please! frequent offender of masturbating to a mirror in public? Anyone unknown would have been in front of the magistrates regularly, but would have stopped wanking then.
Jeremy Clarkson – Red Top buckwheats* for him
Donald Trump – like a combination of the two above.
Toby Young – fermented giraffe dribble.
Nick Robinson – A former Young Conservative leader who thinks he IS the news.
Anne Atkins – for forcing a dangerous mass rush to switch off the Today programme
Just about every RushHannityOFuckwit involved in Fox News – for trying to hard to take humanity back to primordial slime.
Anyone who has EVER been a member of “The Bullingdon Club” (new cabinet needed)
Simon Cowell – who needs to be prevented from returning to Planet Borg and wielding his horror somewhere else in the universe.
Jim Davidson – “Who?” you may ask, I’m doing what he would have wanted by including him and he can make life worse for all the others.
The Koch brothers – love to see what they manage with no money and no personality with the above crew.
Tony Blair – for betrayal of humanity
Nigel Farage – ditto, but from a lower base.
Ted Heath – dig up his body and leave the rotting paedophile anchored on the only beach for the others to contemplate.
Paul Dacre – and all past and present Sun editors too – the tabloid chiefs who have so successfully turned a major part of the population into a satire of dumbed-down, lowest common denominator, bigots: – buckwheats* the lot of them.
Vladimir Putin – as the only non English speaker he will make it “interesting”.

I am sure there are several more that may deserve this isolation treatment – but the good news is that there are thousands that others who may have been put on the list that I feel quite OK about.
In fact in drawing up this list it has helped me realise that a majority of the people I can think of in public life are really OK people – and I am happy to see them interacting with my country…IDS HANDS

So there’s your positive.

NB *Buckwheats refers to a fate from the  film, “Things to do in Denver when you’re dead”

(But this guy needs to be drowned on the way to the island.)

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Top Agencies are still killing vulnerable young women.

Anorexia-Nervosa-02 I and many other people, thought that we had started to move away from the horrific trend in Fashion circles, for the promotion of anorexia and the degradation of women.
Not so, it seems.

A young and vulnerable but tall girl I have news of, I shall call her Julie, aged 18 going on 12, is illustrating to me just what is wrong, and how it is still going on.
She was told she should use her quirky good looks to make a career in modelling and applied to several top London agencies. They immediately got back and she was snapped up by one of the biggest. The first thing she experienced was the boss lady “teaching her” the 2 most important skills of a model:
These were –
1) How to take cocaine
2) Diet, caffeine, and how to eat cotton wool to defeat the appetite.

When she decided to pull out of the contract due to shocked friends suggesting this was a nightmare, the agency boss poured scorn on them as provincial know-nothings and said she would call the police and enforce the penalty clause on her contract. Friends said, “Fine, you do that and we will detail to the police all your drug pushing and obscene habits” – so she dropped the contract like a hot potato.

This isn’t a gender issue per se, but the ideas and culture around what women should look like are still the major problem, and that is something we can all contribute to changing. As for these agencies, I would be most pleased if others would come forward to confirm or deny this ongoing state of obscenity – and if confirmed, take action before more girls die as a direct result.

The ages in this Wikipedia list of deaths from anorexia are telling:

Since the latest problems with modelling and parents – Julie has made 2 suicide attempts…

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Good News v Bad News: Optimism as a choice

As you absorb the news,goodbadnews
from the BBC,
or the press,
or searching the internet,
It can be only too easy to feed your expectations with what appears to be a reflection of the world as it is…

The BBC’s news agenda is set by the press, still, and it will do its weekend good news stories “and finally” etc. So you, the people, will enjoy your weekend a bit more. Relax – “the world will never end on a Friday or Saturday night!”

You have to be a determined Polyanna to miss the fact that the majority of the news has something of a heavy negative aspect – deaths, destruction, the threat of war, disease, climate change, and so on…

On the other hand you can fool yourself that the bad news we now hear and see every day means that the world is getting worse. I hear people saying this all the time, and what is more they can be amazingly sure of this fact.

But I know it is not a fact…
So when I tell them about Stephen Pinker’s research revealing that we have seen a steady fall in “man-on-man” violence since the caveman days, steady over years, decades, centuries, millennia, they dismiss it.
Whereas they don’t as easily dismiss the news that the CIA deliberately uses labyrinthine conspiracies to kill its own side to justify attacks on fake enemies.

Cognitive bias is one thing – but the notion that the world may actually, at least in some ways, be getting better is NOT something people want to hear.
I am fully aware of the many aspects of the human influenced world that may in fact not be getting better, but I choose to be an optimist despite this awareness – not by avoiding knowing about bad things.

An optimist is someone determined to work for, and set an example of, the best in humanity, because by doing so, you help it become more real.
A pessimist is someone who has deluded themselves that it is better to be right about how bad things might be, and therefore contributes to that worsening of life becoming a reality.
It is not “realism”.
Realism is knowing that optimists on average live 5 years longer, and much happier lives than pessimists, and that the maths of how violence is reducing, just like UK crime figures is a reality.
The big lies are swallowed and then regurgitated ad nauseam by people who fall for sad Daily Mail “nostalgia“, and no quantity of factual information can deny them their negative self fulfilling prophecies…

 

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Women – you know you’re feeling shit, let’s do drugs

I don’t mean illegal drugs silly! – no, those are fun. I mean these drugs:

womans mag

…as in the magazine itself and everything contained in it.
(cover by Twitter’s @TechnicallyRon, give him a #ff)
The content of your ̶ d̶r̶u̶g̶, I mean magazine, is as bad as the cover suggests: adverts that confirm the lies you have ingested since primary school, articles designed to create alienation, the overall message that within consumerism lie all your personalised solutions to…
consumerism.
Features and articles seem to be as if written by the more verbose arm of the advertisers PR firm staff.

That piece on how the widows of Gaza are really getting into L’Oreal’s moisturizing, dead hair-regenerating formula, is that really cool?
and The Dior scent that really does cover the smell of ISIS beheaded Christian teenager must be a SOOOOPer product…

NATO underarm deodorant is this magazine’s Autumn best buy – called “OverArm” (geddit) it means you can emerge feeling fresh and alive from your tank on the lawn, (just minus your arms).

Every product, every designed piece of nuclear waste, every sentence, every photo, these are the drugs that suppress your auto-humane system. Like sugar, you know this shit is making you fat and hopeless but you cannot resist,
– or maybe you can –
simply don’t spend any money on them
and they may disappear…

(unlike the Metro which has to be burned upon discovery)

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