Posts with #sociology tag

Published on June 17 2013

In the opening seminar of an advertising unit I did last year, we as a class were asked why we'd chosen the subject. Most answered "Well, I want to work in advertising...", which is funny considering the first thing we learnt was how toxic a degree is to getting an advertising job, where senior employees prefer to mould their mindmoulders from scratch. 

 

My answer to the question was simple: "I hate advertising, and I want to learn more about it." That's my philosophy when it comes to most things I dislike in life. The best way to find the subjects people know (or claim to know) the most about is to speak over a pint, and drinking with me will reveal my vast range of knowledge on reality shows, creationism, The Daily Mail and polystyrene cups. But unlike all the formers, knowing a lot about advertising actually requires knowing something

 

And yet no matter how much you've learnt bout the advertising business, brands and public awareness, once in a while a little enigma comes along that sends your worldview into spirals. I give you the new Cadbury's Crispello ad:

 


 

If you have taken a vow of blindness against anything trying to sell to you, the advert can be summed up thusly:

 

DILF

 

I won't even attempt a full synopsis of this advert, which brings the words 'chocolate' and 'saucey' together in a totally unprecedented manner, as Andrew Falkous of The Guardian already nailed that. But I will immediately acknowledge the most unifying problem people had with the advertisement, and why it's the reason I love it so.

 

What exactly does shagging swagboys Dad have to do with chocolate?


OK, I see what you were driving at; trying to sell a chocolate product as 'naughty', one that sadly can't be worn around your genitals. But whereas most logical writers might go with chocolate being a guilty treat or doing naughty things with chocolate, we somehow ended up with an attempt to undress a middle aged father.

 

It wouldn't surprise me if this was the answer: a gifted writer had been storing this golden idea away for when their shining moment, but when simultaneously thrusted with the threat of student loans swapping pieces of his/her tongue for fingers, and the opportunity of writing a cadburys advert, they sold out.

 

Of course we've all come to expect advertising to be as far removed from the product as possible. What is aimed for is a loose concept designed to humour/annoy/annoy/annoy/annoy, with the slightest chance that the fools might recognize some elements of the brand. It's the shot in the dark approach that led to those YouTube winning, inspirational Asian family of the year adverts...the ones so good that no one even remembers what was being sold. 

 

The other big talking point about Cadbury's finest few minutes was whether or not it was offensive. Oh that's not a question by the way, it clearly isn't. Rather, what this glorious piece of marketing has accidentally revealed is the greatest way to offend the snobs of Britain is to take their foundations (roast dinners, over careful driving, not-yet-vintage clothing), and confront them with it somehow becoming sexually appealing to liberal son snatchers who travel the woods with their own travelling bands - the embodiment of all conservative nightmares.

 

In my previous blog post on advertising, I considered that the solution to the adblock problem for online video makers was to start making their own adverts, ones that would be fun to watch, at least to a certain level. One objection to this idea is Jon Lajoie, who in the past has made horribly horrible and funny adverts for companies that you'd think wouldn't give a shit...


 

 ...but ironically did give a shit, as when Wal-mart asked it to be removed from YouTube. 

 

It's a shame we can't be a bit more risque with TV adverts. Everytime a new one shows up and gets a few laughs, it's branded a new Marmite monster and complained about constantly for just less than a week. Yet adverts like the Crispello one are actually a total win win. If I lived in the 80's I would never buy 'Life Call', but if it's slogan was "I've fallen and I can't get IT up" then I would remember it fondly..

 

If more adverts could strive for higher levels of uncomfortablness (particuarly on internet platforms with audiences who'll lap this shit up), then companies could exploit the hype, debate and external humour from their campaign to implant their product into our minds, and we will stop reaching for the remote, or maybe even the adblock. 

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Sociology

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Published on April 10 2012

Bully MPAA With text

 

I hate swearing. Not profanity itself; I curse like a sailor. I mean the inane concept that we can brand certain words as inappropriate and use them to censor, control and condemn. When you take into account the root of racism, sexism, homophobia and bullying, how much emphasis should we be putting on the ‘bad words’? Why are words that simply add emphasis, colour and character considered 'offensive'?

 

Having stood up to the big, bad and frankly useless MPAA, Lee Hirsch has successfully gained the PG-13 rating he desired for his lauded documentary Bully. In order to achieve this he had to trim a couple of swears out, but the film’s key bus scene remained intact despite the Associations objections.
I can’t say I’m quite into the approach of the film, and the thought that it could have been released unrated got me excited, but its new rating has been touted as an achievement in breaking boundaries in free speech and artist expression. I guess everyone forgot about the documentary Gunner Palace, released, PG-13 with 42 uses of fuck, after an intense appeal. I guess if your film has a constant back drop of war, death and danger, getting in an uproar about soldiers mouthing off is a bit fucking silly.

 

I don’t see Bully’s victory as much of an achievement to be honest. Art was still censored, creative control was still lost, and the needs of people with wildly disproportionate moral concerns were appeased over highlighting a severe social issue.

 

Profanity is inevitably present within all languages, though mine stands as the one most chalked full of rude words, and is arguably the most regulated. Whether you’re a UK’er or American, the obsession with swearing in English speaking countries is directly related to our prudish nature. Our profanity is mostly related to ‘obscene’ bodily functions and, of course, sex. No way can we get over policing words when we’re unable to get over the shit that comes out of us (both literally and figuratively).


Did my last sentence bother you? Good, because at least the words were being used to depict something disgusting. If I were to allow any kind of censorship of words, it would be visceral or grotesque language. If you want an example of what I mean, read Chuck Palahnuik’s short story Guts. The hardest parts to read of that story were free of swearing; they used elaborate metaphors, in depth description and fucked up ways to jerk off.  It’s still dumb whether it offends you or not, as I found it hilarious once I could read it from start to finish, and it’s a lot harder for me to not read it.

 

Sheeep eduted

 

I don’t wish swearing didn’t exist; it serves a good purpose. I’m sure we’ve all felt that tiny bit better after yelling “lord of fuck!” after stubbing a toe. According to researchers at the University of Keele, being profane does relieve the pain.

 

But beyond that It just carries my point across easier. If I see a shitty movie (and I mean really shitty), saying “that movie was horrible” doesn’t carry quite the punch that “that movie was fucking terrible” has. You could argue that I’m too angry about this awful movie. No, then I’d be shouting, and if I shouted the phrase then it’s the volume that’s making it excessive, not the word. More power behind the words, better emphasis on the meaning, and who did it offend exactly? You? Fuck off.

 

As someone who wants to sit behind a radio mike for a career, I’ll admit it’s a double standard I won’t say certain words on air or play out in music. But I got to feed myself somehow, and I’m just some lowly unemployed disk jockey. Miramax chairman Harvey Weinstein, whose company produced Bully, is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Did he argue against the archaic standard by which the MPAA judge films? Quite the opposite.

 

I’ve always wondered why the religious take swearing so much more seriously than the non. Anti-swearing campaigns are always run by Bob or Sally Christian; the loathed by me Parents Television Council have somewhat of a religious agenda, and Republican internet joke Chuck Norris's no tolerance to bad language is the reason The Expendables 2 is yet another PG-13 rated action movie.

I understand getting a little ticked off by blasphemy, but where in the Bible did it say swearing was a problem? And given how languages have evolved and developed since the book was written, I really doubt whatever construed passage you found applies to modern times.

 

The question that I as a social libertarian and free speech supporter struggles to answer most is would I let my children swear? Naturally I fear them becoming like my local Portsmouth youths, wedging fuck after fuck in every other sentence, ultimately killing its meaning. Really I can’t comment honestly right now; my views could change by the time my sprog is born. But what I can say is if he/she came home and told me they called someone they knew to be homosexual a ‘faggot’, I’d punish him not for using the word, but for discriminating someone on their sexuality.

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Sociology

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Published on April 1 2012

When I was younger I watched every episode of Recess (an American animated series set in a strange if not overly familiar school playground) with such frequency that each could have been a ten-minute season in of themselves. And yet the reason I still watch one or two/a few/all of them on occasion is because, as an 'adult', I've become aware to their inherent genius.

In another life the show's creators Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere would have been some of the world's greatest sociologists, but in this Universe they chose to use their brilliant understanding of human behaviour and society and use it to subliminally project freethinking ideas to children everywhere. 

Now the two are probably just as, if not more, well known for creating Rugrats, but I personally think Recess was the smarter show. The way it built an entire society within a school playground, complete with economy, social hierarchy and, of course, a monarchy is something I very much intend to write a book on one day.

Five episodes in particular struck me out as particlarly profound for the real messages hidden behind their goofy child antics. They are, in no particular order, listed below: 

 

Economics of Recess

Economics-DONE.jpg

The plot: When T.J. returns after an extended absence from school, he finds that a new sticker craze has become the playground's new currency.
 

What it's really about: Capitalism
 

Here's why: So we've probably all, at some point in our school careers, had some collectible dominate the playground. This episode stretches it to an extreme cautionary tale of how dangerous economic prosperity can be to an individual and society on a micro scale.

As balls are auctioned off and the school's number one teacher's tool is up to his neck in friends after becoming rich through inheritance, T.J. finds himself without a sticker to his name.

The episode marks his progression from working stiff, to business savvy entrepreneur and finally to an all powerful magnate, ultimately crippled by the economy he helped to expand.

Every secondary character represents some unwanted facet of economic liberalism; Menlo ultimately becomes as poor as T.J. was after he throws stickers left and right, whilst Randall and his aforementioned sale of dodgeballs becomes a small business reduced to nothing by a money hungry tycoon.

But of course T.J. is our episode's simultaneous protagonist and threat. When he begins earning his own stickers he ignores the requests of his friends (who represent the well off middle class) to go play, which was the very thing he lamented not being able to do, and when he finds the amount of stickers he's earning isn't sufficient he works out a way to exploit workers and trick customers.

His wealth becomes so vast that the rich and poor divide is literally between him and everyone else. Having bankrupted the economy, it is forced to change its exchange base to another brand of stickers; highlighting that what makes you valuable is only valuable until you're the only one who owns it.

The episode's final scene, in which T.J. is forced to sign a contract forbidding him from securing so much capital ever again, argues that inflation is not something that just 'happens'. T.J. sold his hat for 5 stickers, he bought it back for 1. He controlled the prices, the market and, near the end, the products themselvs.

If anyone knows of a good study where kids at a playground are given a collectible and observed on how they trade and exchange it, who becomes rich and how, then please let me know. If there isn't one, are any psychology/business students foaming at the mouth right now?

 

Swing on Thru to the Other Side

Swing-on-thru-DONE.jpg

The plot: After Spinelli thinks she sees the 'swinger-girl' swing over the bar and into another plane of existence, she organizes a movement to worship and, eventually, join her.
 

What it's really about: Religion
 

Here's why: I actually had to do a double take on this one when I really thought about it, given the country of origin and the company that produced it.

Spinelli's actions bear all the markers of a pseudo-religious cult; an impossible event of supernatural description, unverified eye witness accounts, defiance of the laws of science and absolute faith and conviction in one's position irrespective of logic and rational thinking.

Just like the previous episode, every character serves a purpose. Spinelli herself is the enigmatic preacher, changing her previous violent demeanour to an overly peaceful and caring tone when she becomes a 'born again swinger'. Mikey is the sheep; the easily converted and susceptible to wondrous and superstitious claims peddled by a confident authority figure. Every other kid in the playground is sold by the social inclusion, the miniscule possibiity that it might be true...and the free hats.

Some scenes exclusively seemed aimed at particular religious myths. I'm sure even the most hardened nay sayer against what I'm typing will raise an eyebrow when Spinelli tries to 're-recreate Swingergirl's lunch' last supper style, the way all the children line up to touch the holy relic that is the swing and Mikey's chanting in the opening scene to make him a better basketball player. If you don't feel these are undeniably an attack on such idiocy then wait till they form circles and, well, pray.

At the end the myth is expelled; Swingergirl returns, Spinelli is proved wrong, life continues. I feel this is a sour note, as in reality most of the world's most popular religions continue to indoctrinate despite being totally disproved, and even then the preachers don't abandon their faith - they attempt to bend and distort reality to fit their archaic view. They become apologists, or suffer serious psychological damage.

I don't feel that those who are convinced in theistic beliefs are liars. I feel they genuinely invest themselves in what they believe, but its when they ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary then they are being dishonest. The episode's final scene does touch on the fact that even Christianity and Islam have some nice things to say, but the words of people are separate to the untrue supernatural claims they accompany.

 

The Rules 

The Rules DONE

The plot: A playground rule book written by the revered 'King Morty' is found, but when they are reinstated they conflict with the modern playground's ideologies.
 

What it's really about: Anarchism
 

Here's why: There are actually a few issues underlying this particularly brilliant episode, not limited to but including modernity, totalitarianism and anti-theocracy, but this one sticks out the most for me. It's a big subject and I've read far too little to be totally correct, but I hope you'll give me legroom.

When the rules are put into effect, there is excitement from the older and younger kids simply due to the fact they were written by a ruler who, it is assumed, actually accomplished something in his time. It's only when they are actually put into practice, and kids find themselves washing rags, playing with stumps and being taken to 'the cabbage field' do they piece together that this way of doing recess was pertinent only to the time the rules were laid down, namely during The Great Depression. By then of course it's too late, as King Bob''s two advisors, now nicknamed 'The Fun Police' and charged with enforcing the rules have absolute power.

The depiction of a society in which the rules themselves carry such esteem, irrespective of their actual application to moral or social functions, is truly fascinating, but more so that they are forced upon the children after they're proven to be outdated. Again, I had to clean out my ears when more Big Brother styled security are brought out and called 'The Secret Fun Police'.

When T.J. and his lot have had enough of living under an archaic set of commands, they find an area free of the Big Brother styled 'fun police' and just play the way that makes sense to them. This is the key part of the episode for me, where simply playing kickball (with a ball) is considered illegal even though it was what they were doing mere hours ago. I have varying opinions of what should be legalised and what shouldn't, but I do feel many of the negative perceptions we have to things such as drugs, prostitution and gambling come because of whether or not they are forbidden.

Now some have said this episode is an outright attack on the bible and other holy texts. That certainly is hard to argue against when King Bob says:

"Morty's rules are old, therefore, they are wise"

to which Swinger girl replies:

"Makes sense to me!"

But I see this extending to any rules written long ago by an authority figure, whether they be the Q'uaran or the constitution. The latter for example, which I don't profess to know at all, may have been a remarkable document written by true geniuses, but its right 'to bear arms' didn't include uzis, and now its author's ideas of free speech and separation of church and state are being distorted, and they're not there to defend them.

Unlike the previous two episodes this one isn't an outright criticism of rules, leadership and the state. In the final scene, the old rules are reinstated, and its decreed they will be continually modified until they work best. If this episode isn't an arguement against conservatism then I don't know what is. It does make me wonder why there was never an episode about the kindergarteners seeking a referendum for independence on the playground though... 

 

The Story of Whomps

The-story-of-DONE.jpg

The plot: T.J. gets in trouble when his word 'whomps' is branded a swear word.
 

What it's really about: Freedom of Speech
 

Here's why: Let's keep it going with the liberalism. This is also the first episode on my list to actually bring adults into this. Oh yeah, they actually go to a school in this show...

As someone who wants a career in radio yet also can't abide with our no swearing culture, I thoroughly enjoy this episode. Well, that and for the Pulp Fiction reference.

Unlike the others I'm going to start from the end, with the Super Intendent's line that no one can control what goes on in someone's mind. How do we denote a word to be 'vile', or even just 'bad'? The majority of words we consider taboo in western society generally accompany bodily functions that are themselves taboo. Ignoring why we can't talk about poo, T.J.'s word carries no meaning.

The only reason the word becomes out of bounds is because the teacher's declare it so. After that it's usage increases hugely and it becomes a real issue; a great demonstration on how criminalizing something makes it more desirable.

But sticking to one topic, the perfect progression of how a simple act of free speech can be mislabelled as swearing in a single day is just beautiful. When the word becomes banned, T.J. encourages its usage to the point where it carries so many meanings a dictionary entry for the word would take up an entire page.

Look at so many of our worst words and how their meaning has changed. Nigger was first a racial slur, now it's gained some acceptance in intergroup usage. Gay was originally used to describe the 'carefree' or 'happy', but by the 19th century it was already describing homosexuals, and in playgrounds its used an insult with varying reference to...well, gays.

The point is the word is harmless. Like any weapon it only serves the purpose given by the user. Calling someone a faggot is no different to calling them a degenerate. You could be shouting gibberish and the tone and volume of your voice would still carry the meaning. To insult is to insult. Hate the player not the game.

 

The Fifth and Sixth Graders Club

fifth and sixth DONE

The plot: T.J. and pals are invited to an exclusive playground club, but forbidden to speak of it to the younger years.
 

What it's really about: Social elitism
 

Here's why: So this is my curveball final choice. If you grew up with Recess you may not even have seen this episode; it came as part of a three part TV special that followed the theatrical film. Now everyone has reached the next year, and whilst the episode features largely recast voice actors (including T.J...) it's actually rather enjoyable, with the same explorative writing and humour.

In this second part, the gang are invited to the lucrative 'fifth and sixth graders club', kept secret from them until now. Though at first overjoyed at the invitation, they show hesitation when they realize all their old rivals and assholes are members too. This disapears soon however, as all those who were extended a membership feel such esteem that they also have mutual respect for other members.

Unfortunately this playground country club doesn't hold much respect for non-members. In fact, Gus and Mikey, who enjoy the new found attention and respect they previously were denied, out right dismiss and insult their younger peers, including the former kindergarteners who look up to them.

In one instance the big guy refers to the club as a 'utopian experiment in niceness and equality'. Well yes, but only to those within the club. Dividing yourself from a sect of society may bring you repsect from the division, but you're still divided.

As the group get involved in hot tup parties, racket ball games and a steam room (yeah...who's funding this club house exactly?) there's no denying they are the social upper-class. I do like how Lawson says he's worked to be a 'big kid' all his life, and though T.J's explanation of the moral is very heavy handed, it still makes the case that hanging out with those who accept you makes you lose track of those they don't. I mean the Ashleys were in this club; the living embodiment of snobbery.

Speaking of which, some may argue that the episode 'The Ratings Game' would be more appropriate for this topic, but I think that episode largely speaks for itself, and I like to dig deeper.

 

Whether they’re for feedback or discussion, comments are always appreciated!

Find out when The Urban Shepherd goes on his next diatribe by following him on Twitter!

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

Published on #Sociology

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Published on March 23 2012

TROLOLOLOL

Though pleased with the warm reception to my particularly verbose first post, I was a little taken back by an instance of trolldom that accompanied it.

 

A mate on facebook got the frapes, and his frapist commented on my blog post with the usual 'same bro' rhetoric. I've had this done to me before, yet I always confuse it for genuine interest, as a troll would hope. Notice that it always happens when someone commits honest effort into something creative or sincere, and that's my main problem with trolls.

 

Just yesterday, when Team Four Star released their long overdue new episode 28, my compy was having trouble playing it, so I looked around YouTube to see if some desperate person had already mirrored it. However the desperation was on another level; all I could find were fake videos, normally with a still image and nonsensical background music.

 

I remember when people first started making these for Little Kuriboh's videos, but this was the first time I just sat down and watched one. Whilst I can't say real effort goes into them, I'm struck at the sheer wasted amount of time just to grab a few thousand YouTube hits.

 

Call me mad bro but I for one am sick of the acceptance and toleration we give these people who aren't just incapable of contributing, but contribute negativity.

 

And rather than write a shitty letter to an even worse news paper, I thought I'd blog it. Bitches.

 

I'm no stranger to trolls: I lived with one. Last year was a constant onslaught of shit jokes and insults, pre-packaged to avoid actual impact. And it's not just that, as a stand up, I abhor canned humour, and if you're reading this mate I bear no ill will (after all most of the time the joke was on you), but the troll seems to know little else but what he does, and I'm just trying to figure out why.

 

Troll-psychiartirisit.png

 

I'd love a psychologist to examine a troll, to get behind the reliance on outdated references and catchphrases said at such verbatim that you wonder if he has a pull string at the back. Or the front. :)

 

There's no doubt some serious shit going on in the back-story for some trolls. Take Shock of God, an internet religious nut who posted some logically incoherent question to all non-believers, then, instead of responding rationally, posted their videos context-free so he could claim some shallow victory over them. As he censors comments and produces the same drivel constantly, his YouTube hits hardly ever rise above 10,000...so what was he trying to accomplish? Was he deep down insecure about his faith, and felt drawing miniscule attention and rage helped soothe the wound?

 

It's likely a de-individuation thing. There's the infamous Penny Arcade cartoon explaining the mathematics of the troll, and I think they're right on the money. You have a total sense of anonymity, coupled with a large community who not only share your facelessness, but who also brand themselves with it, and  you have your website as your dominant authority figure.

 

Maybe it's a cult thing. Maybe if I went into my old house mate's room and looked at his bare ass (would probably have to explain myself first...) I'd find the troll/cool face tattooed on one cheek. Suddenly I'd find myself surrounded by robed figures, who, for uncovering their thousand year order, would now decide my fate, which could potentially be worse than death.

 

I hate to pull the classic 'I don't hate you I pity you' card, but I could pull it out of Penn Jilette's ass. When an entire sect defines themselves as copypasta chefs, or keeps a golden folder full of faces to suit the mood, I can only use the word tool. Hell, add and subtract some letters and you're not far off.

 

I'm gonna play reverse psychologist and bait trolls who read this to respond with 'problem?' or 'you mad bro?'. Do so, and accept your lack of originality as the internet's rent boy. Don't, and prove that you're an actual human being.

 

 

 

 

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

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Published on March 20 2012

GOT-Colder-copy-1.jpg

 

Keeping things light, my first post will touch the subtle farce that is normailty within modernity, and how societal changes are a thing of the past, and future.

 

I wish I could say that this subject was inspired by my lecture on 'Identity in Media Ethics' given by Dr. Sophia Wood, who cited the works of sociologists Zyugmant Bauman, Jean-Francois Bayart and Peter Beilharz in her view that as humanity has floated further down the stream of liquid modernity since the Nazis used propaganda to fuel 'allosemitism', the media has been ever so diligent in alerting us to the current 'other' in our society, whether it be Muslims after 9/11 and 7/7 or British white trash after the England riots. But it wasn't.

 

I wish I could say that it was brought about by the story of Amina al-Filali, the Moroccan girl who committed suicide after a Tigerian judge forced her to marry her rapist...that the unwelcoming of one's sexual assaulter as a forced husband is not only a practice of rural times, it's one sanctioned by the bible, a passage loved by many of the New Atheists. But it wasn't.

 

It actually came from watching the first season of Game of Thrones.

 

I love the acclaimed HBO fantasy drama. I love it not for its superb acting, stellar writing, unique marketing and incredible direction (though the colourful adjectives suggest that I do), but for how many conflicts stem from disparate cultures and dynasties being forced to mingle and tolerate each other's customs, rather than just the basic need to place one's ass on the Iron Throne.

 

Despite it's overplayed tagline as 'the grown up Lord of The Rings' (I prefer 'Tolkein with boobs'), the original books by George R. R. Martin took their setting straight out of Norse history. A step forward and a step back, then and in GoT, women are either sold, betrothed or treated like whores. Or they were just whores, with a very lucrative industry behind them too.

 

The rampant criticism of the series' overt (and frankly unsexy) sex scenes intrigues me, but how the characters themselves develop this kind of culture shock towards each other does so even more. I'll avoid spoilers as much as possible, though I will say Dany Targaryen's plight of not only being forced to marry her Dothrakian rapist but actually falling in love with him leaves uncomfortable comparisons with the Morrocan case that I nor you want to make. 

 

GOT Dany

 

It really does really highlight the futility of our modern day identity politics and socio-economic plights though. Before watching GoT, I wondered whether, being an I-pad owner to be, I was going to be considered cool or elitist. Now I'm deciding if in the seven kingdoms being a bastard or dwarf is part of a hipster fad.

 

I think the reason GoT has struck such a chord with me and the rest of its audience is because we as a country, ney, a western world, are terrified of multiculturalism. And by that I don't mean foreign food making us thank Mcdonalds for being a global name, I mean in the evolution of civilization, of our culture versus those long gone.

 

So obsessed are we with the broken parts of our society, the abnormal and the obscene, that we lose sight of just how everything has changed in the last few thousand years, and how its likely to change even more. The icky parts of the houses of GoT, i.e. incest, arranged marriages and breast feeding ten year olds don't exactly go down like good ale in the series itself, but the level of tolerance they are given has made them the most talked about aspects.

 

What I see is a loss of perspective. It's astounding how difficuilt it is to grasp just how used we are to the world and customs we grow up in. How can we, in our age of brands, convinience and ease, even fathom a man executed minutes after his sentence is laid down? Do we forget that men not only used to die in front of crowds of thousands, they did so for entertainment?

 

I'll be the first to thank secular morality for raising the value of human life, and I only use these examples to pry at all those who criticize ideologies they know nothing of, whether it be David Cameron and his tired and nonsensical 'Broken Britain' rhetoric, or the EDL masking their racism by ascribing an identity of lost nationalism. My gear to grind is that whilst we can judge certain customs and behaviours in GoT as right or wrong through modern day ethical practices, the uncomfortable feeling we get watching a boy uncomfortably watching a man beheaded stems only from the niggling question of whether this can be considered 'normal'.

 

We as humans are constantly divided into sub-categories, based on our ethnicity, behaviour and beliefs. Whilst I uphold the free liberties and rights of all human beings, and would cite them as a just cause for change, I don't agree with singling out those we classify in what anthropologists have reffered to as a 're-invention of difference'.

 

Things weren't always the way they are, and they won't always be. Deal with it.

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Written by The Urban Shepherd

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