Friday, 28 October 2016

That time a guy lured me into his Aston Martin and was all like 'Do you like it?'

Please relish my true story of which I am relating due to intense procrastination that will probably result in me failing at least one of my upcoming law exams. 

Last year, when my boss pressured asked me to assume the role of MC at the company's charity ball, I got to meet Aston Martin guy - my co-MC. When I walked into the office that day to meet him for the first time, he was already seated at the table, talking business on his phone. He was very young, greatly resembled Andy Lau in physiognomy but much shorter in stature, his voice and manner of speaking exuding the sort of charismatic joviality you'd expect from someone who closes multimillion dollar sales in property (I wasn't aware of his day-job until much later), and wearing an extremely expensive, well tailored suit. He had neatly styled hair that was spiked up in a very trendy early 2000s way, otherwise known as an anachronism, and which I thought perfectly suited the caricature of himself as a garish thirty-something year old upstart in the alpha position of CEO at his own real estate company.

After I walked in, I sat down at the table with my boss and two other female colleagues. He got off his phone a few minutes later and something incredible happened. As soon as he started speaking, compliments about our beauty/femininity were thrown at us left, right and centre. These were half-ironic statements about how young my boss was for her age, how he was flustered being surrounded by beautiful women etc. etc. They ate it up. He even asked me why I didn't enter the Miss Chinese Melbourne beauty pageant, to which I internally grimaced and wanted to say: 'because pageants are stupid, sexist and embarrassing tools perpetuating the objectification of women for commercial and patriarchal value'. I obviously didn't say anything as scarily feminist as that, but I still said 'I think pageants are stupid', to which he presciently and again half-jokingly added 'ahhh yes, well that makes sense as I wouldn't expect an ambitious law student like yourself to enter something like that'. I grimaced again.

Apart from that thing about beauty pageants, he was saying a lot of very flattering bs that I admit, did make me feel good about myself. And I could see how much my boss and colleagues were enjoying having a handsome young man swathe them with witty, well-timed compliments. I thought to myself - wow. This guy is amazing. I mean, yeah, he's a stereotype, but that's what makes him so great at his job. He works with a lot of Asian businesses here, and with people who must be much older than him. I don't doubt for one minute that his Mad Men-esque charisma, where he can at any time switch on that rare old-timey gallantry and joke around with 'the boys', makes him a likeable character in a male-dominated industry where trust, connection and relationships can make or break a deal. And honestly, I didn't judge him too hard for the things he said because I knew he operated frequently if not completely within Asian business circles, and Asian business and networking culture is very different to what we young people would expect in more progressive western environments. So I understood completely if this was the sort of personality it took to win over his clients.

Anyway. So the second time we met, I still had no idea exactly how 'accomplished' he was, and faced with the existential throes of taking the bus home, I unashamedly asked him where he lived and whether it would be convenient for him to give me a ride home. 'Yes! That's fine!" he said eagerly. He said his car was parked close by. 'Maybe a 10 minute walk if that's alright?' He asked. That was definitely okay with me, since I would have had to walk 10 minutes home after taking the bus anyhow.

It was deception. Trickery. A trap.

Since he told me his car was 'parked' close by, I naturally assumed that he lived somewhere else. NUP. He took me to this newly built apartment complex a short walk away from my office. I was like 'uh...what?' And he's like, 'oh yeah, I'll take you down to the underground car park later. I'll just go up to my apartment and get some stuff.'

Apartment? He lives here? The fuck is happening?

I was slightly horrified that he was then making such a huge effort to drive me home. Horrified - not that I was uncomfortable, but because I didn't want him to be inconvenienced. He kept smiling and reassuring me that it was absolutely fine, and that I should just 'wait there', down on ground level. So I stood at the foyer for what felt like forever, until he came back down, and was like 'okay, let's go'.

We took the elevator down to the underground carpark, and before we stepped out, he's like 'so I drive an Aston Martin' or something. I'm like 'yeah ok haha'. And he went 'No, I really do.' And now I was like, LOL?!?!

We walked pass an unmissable yellow Ferrari. He said, 'that's my friend's car. Sometimes he goes overseas and gives me the keys. It's fun. We race a lot.'

Okay, so these weren't his exact words. After all, it's been a year since this happened. But for the sake of story-telling, that was essentially what he said.

Then finally, he led me to this obnoxiously shiny, conifer green Aston Martin DBS.
At this point I was still like no.... 
But then he pressed his keys and the lights lit up.
Then I was like oh... 

Of course, he opened the door for me on my side. I crouched in, proceeded to fall with a thump into my seat (they're really low), for which he apologised for not warning me about, and then I'm like. Holy shit. I'm in an Aston Martin. Internally, I was like WOOOOOOOOOOO! But externally, I was like, 'um yeah this is cool lol thanks.'

I vowed to myself not to be one of those girls. Because that was OBVIOUSLY what he expected.

We're sitting in his two hundred thousand dollar supercar, and he started scrolling through music. He settled on some super loud RnB track with heavy as fuck bass, and asked me 'do you like this music?' I almost burst out laughing, how ridiculous this shit was, but I'm like 'yeah, this is fine', playing it ice cool.

As we made our first turn out of the carpark, he gave the car a few good hard revs. And it's extremely, ostentatiously, hilariously loud for a semi-suburban street. It also felt fucking good. You can feel your entire body vibrating. It's that sensation when you're out a club or concert, the music is just blasting so loud the entire floor quakes beneath you, and this heavy narcotic sensation envelops your entire physical and spiritual being. Yeah. For like five seconds, that's what it was like.

Then he's like, very very unsubtly, 'You like that?'
I'm like 'What's not to like about this?'
And he goes 'Girls love this stuff, don't they? The fast cars... the noise... the music'

Inside, I was fucking dying. Dying of laughter. I couldn't believe how cheesy and contrived this entire dialogue was. Obviously, he didn't know me well enough to understand that I'm way too sophisticated and hyper-aware to be swayed by this sort of fuccboi flirting (unless of course, I was actually into it). I tried not to smile so hard.

Even funnier, after we turn out of the carpark, he completely and illegally speeds down the entire 300 metre or so stretch of the street, revving like Jamie Whincup in a V8 Rally, but not really because this was actually a part of Australian suburbia lined with Asian groceries and inhabited by lots of old Chinese women with shopping trolleys. I said nothing. We kept going.

We had a relatively tame conversation about work, saving money and financial success. The whole time, I tried not to show any sign that I was even remotely impressed by his wealth or being in an Aston Martin, which just made everything about this really funny to me. I was just like, yeah cool, I'm just a person having this totally mature discussion with you i.e. ain't gonna fawn over yo shit.

At one point, he was implying that if you work young, start saving early, you too can be like me. And I was like, but I just spend all my money on food. And he tells me to stop having brunch and dining at expensive restaurants, which he just totally assumed I was doing. Inside, I was like - um, I literally never do brunch and when I mean 'buying food', I mean spending all my money on Hungry Jack's 6 chicken nuggets for $3.00 and my favourite KFC original tenders box, with a special large potato and gravy upgrade cos I fucking love potato and gravy. I really should have said that, now that I think about it. It would have destroyed any fantasy he had of me being an easily susceptible, uber superficial, uber fit, Heston Blumenthal-crazy, Michael Kors-toting, pretty girl.

While I was being completely cold to his attempts to impress me, I did do this one thing that I couldn't help - I'd look at the people in the cars next to us and see whether they were looking back at us with envy/aspiration. Because if I were sitting next to a car as sexy as his, I'd want to see what the person driving it looks like. Usually, it'd be some fifty something year old white dude wearing a branded cap of whatever car he was driving. Ferrari? Ferrari cap. BMW? BMW cap. But here we were, two Asian kids - me, 21 wearing tank top and jeans, and him, suited up and looking barely over 27.

Anyway, for the rest of the trip, he had deliberately rolled down all windows, with music blasting pretty loudly. It was hard not to notice us. And then he dropped me back home. The thing is, at the time, I had been holding down a couple of jobs, and most of my bosses had expensive cars. They all drove some recent model of Porsche and Mercedes SUVs/sedans, and so for the last two months or so, I had been continually dropped off at my front door in these super expensive obsidian black, metallic blue, glossy automobiles. But an Aston Martin DBS was a major step up.

I wondered what my nosy as fuck Asian neighbours thought of this (they once dobbed me in to my parents after seeing me with my Sri Lankan (ex) boyfriend).

Outside my house, I said 'thanks for the ride', keeping the effusiveness on the down-low (usually I'm extremely grateful for a ride home from anyone), and he was like 'no worries' etc. Then I went in, and he left, visibly disappointed by my down-to-earth attitude.

The end.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

We are currently in a Seldon Crisis

To all Isaac Asimov fans:

We are currently experiencing a global Seldon crisis. Trump. Conflict in the middle east. Physical cuffs between India and Pakistan. That whole thing in the South China Sea.

But it's okay. As with all Seldon crises, we need only let the course of nature run its predicted route. And that is to let Trump win the presidency so he can get his hands on America's nuclear launch codes and bomb the earth back into reset mode. Make America great again? No man, he'll make the world great again. Start afresh - except this time, without humans and sprawling megalopolises. Finally, all of our planet's forests and animals will be free from the violent yoke of humanity.

On the other hand, having such a blatant threat of mass mutually assured destruction (MAD) could also result in the unification of the rest of the world, a need to defeat the monster called Trump, who may as well be the alien squid monster from Watchmen. Toeing the line of human extinction will be the wake up call we all need. We'll get rid of Trump together, and establish world peace.

So really, whichever way this goes, earth wins. Oh and I forgot to mention, you and I (the rational ones), will already be on Asgardia setting up our new Foundation. Once earth convalesces from nuclear MAD (if it happens), we can come back down if we so desire, and set up a new technocracy. Until the next Seldon crisis, we'll all enjoy about 100 years of peace.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Can't sleep


Even though I say I hate people and that most people are generally dumb and lacking in basic introspective qualities (i.e. they're immature), it's only because of a few certain experiences I've had recently and Donald Trump. Apart from that, life had been pretty good because I was feeling really grateful about how many amazing new friends I've made this year. And I'm talking about friends you really click with. Friends you can have three hour conversations with about anything - life, politics, how dumb even 'smart' people are, (hating) law school, familial pressure, self-inflicted pressure, Trump, sex, romance, movies, books, science fiction, cyberpunk, 80s music, Snake Plissken, the history of hentai, astronomy, the singularity, AI, anime, feminism, drugs, money, marriage... we have a lot of shared interests/experiences. And I'm not kidding when I have had conversations where almost all of these topics have been covered within the time frame of an hour.

I love that I have these friends. In fact, I'm grateful that I have a lot of these friends. Sometimes it's not immediately obvious, but these are the people who keep you grounded. They're you're backbone. They bring a lot of joy and you know they'll be there for you, or more likely, weeping with you, when you start freaking out about life, careers, internships etc.

Probably like three people even read this blog. But still. Thanks guys.

The goddamn truth: people are f*****

I seriously might have to delete this post in the future. 

Every single fucking day for the past two months, I have been constantly disappointed by the sheer number of fucking retards that I've had to deal with. I'm not even angry. I'm just 

Every single fucking day I read any comment thread on the internet, it's like watching real-time retrogression of humanity, and the imminent end of our evolutionary vector, because god knows - Trump, a guy who advocates non-consensually grabbing women 'by the pussy', is that close to getting his hands on America's nuclear missile launch codes. But not just that, despite myself being aligned with left-wing principles, I am physically disgusted by the increasing aggressiveness of other left-wing activists ('social justice warriors') for yeah, living up to the stereotype of being absolutist and sanctimoniously shutting down any argument that doesn't adhere to their own superficial values. Some of the things vomited out by both the left and right wing have been... ridiculous. And it's fuelling each other.

You know what. At this point, having the earth bombed to a charred, ashen, marshmallow of a planet and toeing the line of human extinction might be the purgatory we all need. That earth needs. Fuck, I don't even care anymore.

I have a lot of sympathy with Adrian Veidt of Watchmen, and I have no problem sanctioning certain 'methods' against certain people that I know some of you more admirable and morally pure-hearted would never agree to, like downright assassination (but surreptitiously, of course).

I literally ranted about this in my previous post about how, because I've been exposed to a lot of shit (in life and in the news) when I was young, I am able to take the more realistic approach to certain issues. And of course, there are some issues so complex that I acknowledge it is impossible to take sides, but what we can do and should do is calm the fuck down and look at the facts. And here's a fact I want to reiterate: human nature is not a 'blank slate'. We're fucked. Admit it. Things like jealousy, insecurity, suspicion, anger, compulsiveness, truculence - these are the things that lead to conflict, potentially massive conflict. And frankly, these are fundamental human characteristics, and as with positive traits like altruism and empathy, they will always exist. You can never make it go away, except try and strike a balance. Unfortunately, however, it's the negative traits we all embody that result in greater consequence for society. Trust me, I'm not being cynical. I'm just being an adult. And it's why we all miss the blissful ignorance/innocence of our childhood.

And since I'm ranting....

Ever heard of Peter Scully? The Australian man who engineered a paedophile ring in the Philippines and for years trafficked young girls and raped babies in dungeons to produce content for his subscribers? I remember reading about this when I in high school, when some of the material he produced were merely 'urban legends' of the dark web.

Well, he deserves death. And not just death. But a slow, tortured, excruciating death. If I had the ability to carry this out myself, I fucking would. I would ... I shouldn't even type out the things I'm thinking because it is literally so despicable that I almost feel just as fucked up. But sometimes, I look at my friends, who have never experienced huge prejudice in their lives, or the friends who make cheesy posts about the Paris Attacks but ask them about what's happening in Istanbul or Pakistan, and they're like 'what?'... and you can't help but think - People. Don't know. Shit. 

Even me, ranting about problems like lack of Asian representation in the media. Yeah, I get frustrated at people who use the cop-out justification 'Hollywood is a business'. They clearly recognise there's a wrongness in whitewashing, or white saviour tropes (when you explain it to them), but because they've never felt it from YOUR point of view, they feel no need to speak up the way I do. So their automatic subconscious response is to kind of dismiss the petitions and rants they see popping up on Facebook, because it just doesn't affect them.

Now. Imagine. Being a black person in America. The problems they're facing. My problems almost seems like a goddamn privilege compared to the shit THEY deal with, and the dismissiveness THEY have to fight and have been fighting since they were goddamn shipped to America as slaves.

Anyway. Adulting. It's fun.

Friday, 7 October 2016

When people tell me Hollywood whitewashing is a commercial necessity...

This is basically me repeating the same arguments that I've made in the past few years towards anybody who says that:

jameseparsonsWhat are your thoughts on the new live-action remake of cult sci-fi anime classic Ghost in the shell? Have you seen the very short teaser trailers? Think Scarlett is right as lead?#ghostintheshell #anime#scarlettjohansson #manga#ghostintheshellmovie #scifimovies#MinervaCentury #scifi #movies #films

cincity2404Many comments on YouTube and from my friends show that people are generally very unimpressed with the aesthetics of the teaser trailer. One of the biggest complaints is that this window scene is extremely bland and completely lacks depth of field, losing the sense of awe conveyed by the anime. Most people are scared that it will come off as a cheap remake ala the Last Air bender or Dragonball Z. At this point, I am beyond ranting about opportunities to cast more Asian actors, or the fact that the studio tried making Scarlett's face look more Asian with CGI. Now I just hope Scarlett does a good job and that the movie turns out well

  • dora_the_explorer80Love the look of it. Looks creepy and more importantly it spiked people's interest who have no idea what GiTS is. Having a movie with a +$170 budget and a niche story - you NEED a big name to able to sell it globally. Unfortunately only a handful of actresses can sell a movie nowadays. So Johansson was the right choice imo.
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404 the studio tried CGI to alter extras/ people in the background appearance not Johansson's. You think that they paid $20million for a big start then they go and change her face? SJ's look is one of the keys for her success.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80wow. Please actually READ and make an empathetic attempt to understand what I say next. If by SJ's look being that she's basically a white person, then yes, she would be a 'key' to success. Superficial 'Financial' success. But are you seriously going to sit there and deny that in the film the Major actually looks more Asian as opposed to white? I know there is a debate about whether the Major's body is even Caucasian but that is beside the point, and nor is it an excuse. Here, there was an opportunity to cast someone with an Asian appearance and Hollywood took great lengths to avoid it. Us Asians-Americans or Asian-Australians will still have to be subject to the insulting defence of Hollywood's 'commercial reality'. For many other films, studios have bothered to hold world wide auditions to cast the right actors. If they didn't take that risk, we would not have Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in Harry Potter, who were unknowns with little to no previous acting experience. But suddenly, when it comes to Asians, Hollywood refuses to take the same risk. In maybe a decade, things may change. Yes, Hollywood is a business and they answer to consumer demand. And you know what? We're not going to take this bs anymore. Look at what happened to The Last Air bender. Dragonball Z. Even the new Bruce Lee biopic got fucked up. And we have a right to speak up about Ghost in the Shell precisely so Hollywood will not take the cop-out and circumlocutory justification of 'oh but casting an unkown Asian won't draw in audiences and make money'. Fuck that. I will virtually pistol-whip anyone who actually can't see how wrong that is. Do you have any Asian friends? Do you know what we've had to accept growing up? My friend and I, when we were young, would dream about dating some handsome actor or celebrity (e.g. Daniel Radcliffe). But in our ACTUAL subconscious dreams, we imagined ourselves as blonde white girls, as it became unthinkable to place us - as an Asian girl - in a scenario where we would be deemed attractive for the leading man, who would invariably also be a white guy. So don't give me bs about financial reality. This was and STILL is OUR reality.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80oh, and any quick googling of the CGI incident will tell you that sources very close to/within the studio were the ones who leaked its occurrence (and that it had been used on SJ). The Studio had to respond to this specific leak, and denied doing anything on SJ's face, yet admitted they did do it to background actors. How the fuck does this make it any better? The wrongness of it still stands. And I apologise to @jameseparsons for the cussing, but honestly, certain responses I and the entire Asian community have had to deal with have been, as you can imagine, infuriating.
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404Harry Potter took zero chance. They casts all british all white leads. The book was already a massive hit when they started the movie. The same with the new Star Wars - cast a white british woman for the main character. They could have choose anyone but they didn't. And these are the biggest franchises in the world. I'm not questioning how you feel that wasn't my intention. This is the ugly truth unfortunately. People need to go out and support smaller movies with diverse cast. Until then...😔 Also the Last Airbender and Dragonball Z was a piece of garbage that's why they bombed at the box office.
  • cincity2404@dora_the_explorer80well thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. We both admit that Hollywood movies are primarily in it for the business and I'm not going to force unreasonable expectations on the industry. I am a balanced person and it is why I acknowledge that the only reasonable way to get it to change is for us, as the audience and consumer, to demand change. This is why you and I should not just be like 'yeah ok financially it's the only way to work'. Or to take an otherwise complacent attitude. As your later comment illustrates, you also recognise that even what I think are 'risky' castings nowadays are still for white actors. At least Star Wars cast Boyega! Kudos to them cos we all saw the depressingly massive racist backlash/jokes on social media. Only when we start casting more non-white actors will 1. people get used to the idea and 2. actually have big name actors to cast in the first place!
  • cincity2404Big name non-white actors★
  • dora_the_explorer80@cincity2404 yes, Hollywood has been slow to catch up. American television has way more diversity for sure. But I have high hopes for Disney's new live action Mulan. It should give audiences / world a young talented asian actress. Just like Jungle Book found Neel Sethi. She could & should become a big star ⭐️! Known globally.
  • jameseparsons@cincity2404 and Dora thank you both for your own very personal and honest views about this film project. Sadly there can be many questionable issues with big films like this but yes positive change should happen with opinions put forward

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Well. It's 7.30am and I'm still awake - as in, I haven't gone to sleep since I woke up yesterday. The secret to my vampirish lifestyle? A golden chalice of Red Bull-fortified virgin blood every evening. I mean, obviously.

I just watched two episodes of Madam Secretary because I was procrastinating revising for Evidence Law. Damn, this show is great. It's so good I'd put it on par with The Good Wife, which was an excellent show (save for the terrible finale that caused richter scale waves of disappointment among the fanbase) and similarly featured a lot of contemporary social issues and dramatic office politics. So yeah, Madam Secretary is a smart and highly relevant show. It makes me instantly want to become a politician and just smack every opposing party member in the face with a charming smile hiding a cobra-like sting of coercion. I definitely recommend the show for anyone with better taste than Suits or Agents of Shield, the latter of which features such cheesy acting and can stoop to such unbelievable dumbassery that I was like - yeah, that's definitely Joss Whedon directing.

Can somebody invent a line of cocaine that will help you stay awake and prevent epithelial outbreaks resulting from unhealthy circadian rhythms?  I think L'Oreal needs to get on this shit. There's a huge market to be capitalised on and it's of way more social utility than the current trend of thick flagellum shaped eyebrows that have now progressively become:
Image result for angry birds

If I stay up any longer my skin is going to burn.

The effects of exposure to the dark web, 4chan and sex, violence, and gore

My ability to tolerate other people and their shitness is amazing. Actually, my ability to tolerate the stupidity and ignorance of worldwide society is amazing. If you've actually read my previous posts, you'll know I've had a lifetime of training for this. And not just because I've had to deal with atavistic adults in my personal and professional realm, but because I am also (or used to be) an avid commenter on contentious news articles and intrepid explorer of the dark web. You might laugh but the latter is mostly represented by 4chan (being the springboard to even darker material), which I used to check up on a lot to smirk at politically incorrect jokes, many of which would have broken provisions in the Racial Discrimination Act/your souls. But I also go on to analyse the fascinating psyche, attitudes, opinions and beliefs of this much derided and hormonally imbalanced community.

The reason why 4chan is interesting to me is because it is a no-holds barred communication platform. Under anonymity, people say what they really think and feel. And they can be as ragey as they want. Obviously, there's a lot of racism, sexism, homophobia etc. that's prevalent on the threads, but being aware of how ingrained these attitudes are among certain 'lowlifes' of our communities, and how secretly they hold onto these attitudes, is in itself a highly valuable sociological insight. If you can handle the porn and shitposting, sometimes you do come across some very serious and personal stories about family, romance, academia... usually, these are really sad stories from lonely and depressed people who have nobody else to talk to. Being able to look through this window into another person's most deeply held fears, insecurities, or experiences, is something that I think most of us would find interesting to read. And it does make you a little bit wiser when interacting with other people. You never know what sort of pain others are going through, and if you go into 4chan with full awareness of its nature, you (ironically) become more attuned to the effects of bullying, family violence, and depression.

Secondly, 4chan is the birthplace of many of the internet's greatest urban legends, catchphrases, memes and global online movements, including the now infamous hacktvisit group, Anonymous. I mean, how can you resist? Even if I weren't a journalist and an intensely curious/voyeuristic person, I'd still be like 'whoaaa, this is so cool, I'm actually watching people talk about how they're going to take down Sony'. And then days later, millions of Sony accounts get hacked, causing a worldwide shitstorm. The Sony hacks were stupid, but what was exhilarating was watching the progression of individual hackers and self-proclaimed shitlords come together online for the first time and hatch a global-scale rebellion, against a powerful corporation, a politician, or just some celebrity they don't like (e.g. Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift). It's not something you get to see every day within the peeling confines of your staid, quotidian lecture theatres - teenagers and college students manipulating big agendas. 

Apart from 4chan, I frequently browse LiveLeak, which is a video-hosting website for uncensored content that wouldn't be available to find anywhere else. LiveLeak is the sort of place you go to find the latest uncensored videos of police brutality against black people, the immediate aftermath of an airstrike hitting and maiming Syrian children, the wanton bashing of a woman to death inside a McDonald's located in a bad part of China, gang fights between members of different Colombian drug syndicates, scenes of people being shot during the Paris Attacks, a couple of cruel adolescents in Scotland pissing on a classmate in the schoolyard... It's where you go if you want to stare the cold hard truth of humanity in the face. And accept human nature as it is.

It would sound very sad and very pathetic if I were to just go up to a stranger, or even a friend, and be like 'yeah, I grew up surfing 4chan, LiveLeak, Encyclopedia Dramatica...'. 4chan in particular, obviously has a reputation for being 'the asshole of the internet' and a place where pubescent idiots congregate. But personally, and almost hilariously, I'm a better person for it. I know exactly how fucked up people can be. I know exactly the sort of suffering humans willingly inflict upon each other. And in knowing, seeing, and virtually sensing the full brunt of bigotry, pain and physical or sexual violence around the world, I know that I analyse things more clear-sightedly, and more pragmatically or realistically than other people. 

I see beyond the surface of mainstream media. I learn to question what I'm reading and not simply accept versions of the 'truth' espoused by outlets like The New York Times or The Guardian, which can be ridiculously leftist; CNN, which is journalism's sobriquet for 'international tabloid'; NowThis, whose popular Facebook videos are edited in ways that are often grossly and actively manipulative (please for the love of god treat NowThis as an editorial, not a news source); New Statesman and many other British news publications, (at least in the past) that are dominated by Eton and Harrow educated male editorialists; and well, every media publication because every writer comes with their own bias. Including me, though I try to be as balanced and self-aware as possible. 

Additionally, because I was exposed to a lot of violent imagery when I was young (e.g. my parents making me watch a film on The Nanking Massacre when I was 15 so I got to see dead babies on the street and women being raped by sticks and other foreign objects) is an absolutely pivotal reason why I feel so passionately about human rights and just generally, stories of injustice, and why I chose to pursue journalism and law. When you're so young, and you see a dead boy who was bashed so violently by KKK sympathisers that his entire front face had caved in (Emmett Till), or the puny hunched figure of an emaciated Sudanese baby crawling inches away from a lingering vulture (Kevin Carter's 1994 Pulitzer winning photo), you. Fucking. Change. There was no way I could fathom a future career in finance, banking, or some other blood-sucking industry that won't somehow allow me to address the wrongness I saw in society. Just by the way, I think the finance/banking industry is one giant corrupt as fuck dickhead that needs to be castrated or at least sterilised by some hard-hitting laws. I seriously wouldn't mind going all Saw 1 on some of Wall Street. And I can't help feeling physical disgust towards all my peers who worship Big Banks and Investment Bankers. 

Anyway, the last thing I have to say is that going on all these sites and witnessing or partaking in these brutally honest online exchanges - I've learnt to listen and be empathetic, and soft when I need to be, but savage as fuck when the time beckons. Or perhaps I don't need to be 'savage as fuck', but I've learnt a lot about how to approach people, to stand up for myself tactfully, to learn when to hold back from spraying somebody with expletives or vocabulary they don't understand, to embrace machiavellian social strategy (hitherto only in work life) like winning over the loyalties of your enemies' friends and subsequently overturning power dynamics (lawl), and just in general, being a more realistic and socially attuned person. Also, thanks to that one friend I have who, purely by me observing her, taught me how to be much more 'life smart'/street-smart. 

Having said that, this was just my personal experience, and more likely, those who surfed 4chan as adolescents turn out more immature than mature. But yes, it is certainly a fascinating world.