Yes, like it or not, that time of year is almost upon us again. Fox News will soon be rallying a call to arms to fight an imagined war on an imagined deity. And Christians that are unfamiliar with the word ‘Paganism’ will take to social media to vent their displeasure at the fear that nonbelievers may be enjoying a holiday that isn’t ‘theirs’. Delicious irony. Ho ho ho.
Personally, I love Christmas. For me, it’s a time to catch up with family. Great company, mixed with laughter, too much food and drink, terrible sweaters and worse socks. What’s not to like? I’ll pass on the sprouts however, thanks.
This got me wondering (see Oprah? See?). I’d very much like to hear what Christmas means to other nonbelievers with similar or completely different cultural backgrounds to me.
What do you do at Christmas? Do you hate it? Do you love it? Do you refuse to celebrate it? Are you forced to endure the religious convictions of your family? Do you insist on calling it Xmas? Has a recent loss of faith spoiled what was once a meaningful time of year for you? And why the hell didn’t Santa bring you that Megadrive you asked for when you were 7? You were really good that year. And you wrote him a nice letter. A nice letter specifically asking for the console complete with two controllers and a copy Streets Of Rage so that you could play with your best friend, Paul. Yet nothing! Nothing!
I want to hear as many varied viewpoints as possible, from as many countries as possible. So, throughout the coming weeks, I hope to reach out to a number of those who fill in the below form.
The intention is to take up two minutes of your time via Skype voice chat (free download/Also available on smartphones) to ask you to vocalise/expand on your answers given below.
After the recent confusion caused by a statement heard on BBC Newsnight that “Men are raised to hate women” I decided to ask the journalist responsible for an explanation.
The outcome was unexpected and inspired me to pen this blog post, which in turn led to in my view, unfairly, hours of bizarre accusations from a tiny number of individuals
Although the overwhelming majority of (I realise this is not indicative of being right) people seemed to agree that clarification was necessary, and the initial statement was too much of a generalisation to be helpful to say the least, the very small number who did take issue with me seemed to fall in to two camps.
Some argued that the statement was perfectly reasonable and not deserving of question. And that it was actually my lack of understanding that was the real problem, or the manner in which I questioned.
Others seemingly fell afoul of a catastrophic inability to differentiate between the following two statements, (one genuine, one imagined):
“What exactly do you mean by that? Please explain”
“Sexism and misogyny are not genuine problems in society”.
I could not attempt a defence of the second statement, even if I were stupid enough to actually believe it, or want to.
Obviously there are a lot of good people who feel incredibly passionate about sexism and misogyny for incredibly valid reasons (captain obvious) and may have felt I was somehow denying the importance or existence of these issues. As explainable as this perception may be on some level, it is not even remotely accurate to anything I have said, implied or argued.
Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function. I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.
Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable. I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.
My only concern is: how will this be regulated? Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned, automated process? An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.
‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late. The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition. I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it, a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.
I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.
A big thank you to those who have voted for me in The Shorty Awards so far.
I tried my hand at short “Campaign Video”:
Before making the video I called for fellow Twitter comrades to submit designs for a “Godless Spellchecker” type logo. I got a handful of submissions, which is amazing. Thank you.
I eventually chose the below design for my video:
Design by @mgoodingartist
Please see below the further excellent designs I received. I hope to use these in future projects:
As I’m currently “campaigning” for a Shorty Award (everyone likes a pat on the back), the organisation encourages nominees to create a campaign video to promote their “cause”.
I have a few ideas rattling around and hope to have something edited together for the Weekend of Jan 19th . I may also fail miserably and not bother.
This is where you come in.
I would love to have a logo/wallpaper/and or banner that I can use as a graphic in my campaign video. Something that reflects the activity of the @GSpellchecker account, and contains either “@GSpellchecker” or “Godless Spellchecker” if possible. Perhaps incorporating stop signs, perhaps not if you have a better idea. Be creative!
I will then incorporate it into my video, then upload the video to this blog when/if it is completed. I will also display all the designs, including those that were unused (if any are actually received!) and their creator’s details, along with a link to a social network/website of their choice on my blog, along with a thank you of course.
I’m excited to hear from you and thank you.
Please email graphics to [email protected]*. Please ensure you include your name, and a link of your choice for credit.
*By emailing your designs to me, you grant me permission to use it across various media formats, however desired. I will never claim artistic responsibility for your work.