The inauguration of Donald Trump

The 20th January 2017 is the inauguration of Donald Trump as American president. People around the world are depressed as after all, Trump’s very friendly with the ‘alt-right’ (or Neo Nazis to give them their proper name), not to mention the sort of people that’d made Roman Abramovich look skint. Rather than ‘drain the swamp’ it looks like Trump is building his own swamp with people friendly to him, or so desperate for a glimmer of power that they’ll sell their soul for a seat near Trump.

Protestors are in the streets of Washington D.C mingling with Trump supporters which is sparking off some tasty scenes which promise a glimpse of what we may see not just in the US, but around the world for the next four years.However how did we get here? Are people who voted for Trump just extremist bigots and who exactly is responsible for this man being elected?

Truth is we all share some bit of blame. Here’s Ben Goldacre making the point.

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Did you write Trump off as a joke? I did. I shared as many memes mocking him as many others; still do and will do, but Goldacre has a point. We all helped created the culture that spawned Trump, and people like Nigel Farage; his little yapping Lord Haw Haw.

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Yet liberals need to shoulder some blame for letting the debate slip into the hands of the right. Liberals have to break free of echo chambers, listen to concern about working class communities about jobs, and instead of caving into extremists views on immigration and immigrants; make the case for it.

It’ll take a lot of soul searching now the day where Trump’s presidency becomes real, but retreating into echo chambers isn’t the way forward. Protest in ways that’ll be effective, such as the empty spaces confronting Trump when he stepped up to take the oath and become president. For an egomaniac, that’ll hurt.

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So Donald Trump becomes president. It is now down to us to shape how the future goes because if we don’t things will not just get awful for us, it’ll be awful for those people Trump’s made promises he can’t keep and those people need to be guided back from falling for the next demagogue after Trump who’ll promise the unobtainable.

Good luck for all of us over the next four years…

What I thought of Monsters Unleashed #1

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I love big monsters. They’re wonderful. I love the old Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko monster comics of the pre-Marvel era of the early 60’s and 1950’s.This latest mini-series pits Marvel’s superheroes against the various big monsters in their universe which means big battle scenes.

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And big monsters.

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There’s nothing especially subtle going on here. Writer Cullen Bunn doesn’t force the reader to strain the grey matter, and frankly this isn’t the point as we only want to see big monsters twatting the hell out of each other or Marvel’s various superheroes.

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This is fairly standard superhero stuff, and while Steve McNiven’s art is nice, it isn’t anything but functional in places which is a pity as some of these monster designs are quite nice but this aside there’s some fun superheroics here which makes this a nice read, but utterly unsubstantial.

What I thought of Hook Jaw #2

hookjaw-2Turning a comic about a killer Great White Shark into something more than just a gloriously gory cavalcade of body parts and spurting red ocean spray is a massive task, but in issue 2 of Titan Comics Hook Jaw, Si Spurrier has pulled off a rather astonishing trick in making a comic ostensibly about people being eaten in interesting ways into one about folk myth and of course people being eaten in interesting ways.

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We pick this issue up after the first issue with the environmentalist crew and CIA operatives off the coast of Somalia trying to rescue a MacGuffin from the sea while an Amanda Waller secret service operative type barks orders to 2D military machismo stereotypes that are dropped in to provide a contrast to the lead character, Maggie, who in a throwback to the classic 1970’s Action strips, is a reluctant protagonist in a story where things are being set up to end very, very badly for all concerned.In some cases characters are there so we cheer for when Hook Jaw gets to do their worst to them and I love that.

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The other thing that’s a hard task is giving Hook Jaw a personality of her own, and that’s something Spurrier does menacingly well as we see how her appetite for flesh and blood is not just insatiable, but is all that drives her on to be the wild card in this stand-off between environmentalist hippies, the CIA and Somalian pirates.

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Spurrier’s script is splendid, but it is the meta aspect of the tale that raises this series beyond the predictable fun from the horror and gore we expect, and Connor Boyle’s art is excellent as he has to struggle with not just making people talking on boats seem interesting, but drawing lots of sharks in a way that gives them an individuality is an achievement. Overall this is building up to be a surprisingly fun, and even more intellectually challenging work than just watching people being eaten, though that too is something to look forward to for gore fans.

The Sunday Herald’s perfect listing for Donald Trump’s inauguration

The Sunday Herald is many things. It is a Sunday paper. It was the only newspaper in Scotland to come out in support of Scottish independence. It also is pretty much the best of the Scottish Sunday papers, which can be taken as a compliment or faint praise.

Donald Trump is the forthcoming American president and a cross between an orange and a Shredded Wheat. This week it’s his inauguration and Damien Love, the TV reviewer for the Sunday Herald wrote this piece of complete and utter comedy gold.

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If only the next four years was an episode of The Twilight Zone. If only…

I hear you’re a a racist now America?

With just a few days to go before Donald Trump becomes president it becomes clear that as bad as things are for minorities, and indeed, all who aren’t earning enough to keep themselves afloat, are facing an America which is going to be very, very different very soon indeed.

In fact I think we should look to Father Ted for where things are going…

What is the problem with Millennials?

There’s been a video featuring Simon Sinek (he does TED talks among other things) talking about Millennials doing the rounds on social media for a while now, but in the last month has been widely shared. Have a look at it if you’ve not seen it before…

It is a fascinating clip and one on the whole that rings with some sort of truth. Having worked with Millennials there are situations where people are unprepared for the working world, and there is an element of entitlement as if you have a life being told you can get ‘anything you want’ you think that’ll carry on when you find out how the world of work works. The whole ‘safe space’ thing also means that people growing up in echo chambers struggle to engage people face-to-face. There’s also this Cracked article in answer to this. Some of it is true, some of it is bollocks; much like some of Sinek’s comments but there’s truths in both the clip and article here. It’s worth noting that every generation since WW2 (because kids aged 18-30 were being killed and maimed in the tens of thousands back then, so any generation since complaining has got it good since then) has thought they were the next golden generation.

I get that people want to have an impact, and they want to find what they want to do but you may well end up going through life bouncing from job to job. Here’s a thing though; every generation since the 1970’s at least have had to do the same and there are no ‘golden generations, and the Cracked article makes this point. There’s an issue with things like home ownership, job satisfaction, social stresses, and generally, being unable to find a place in life across all age groups.

I’ve sat in meetings at work where Millennials pull out their phones and place them on the desk. Bad, right? There’s also been middle aged members of staff doing the same thing. The truth is everyone can be a prick in the workplace. Everyone suffers stress from work. Everyone wants to do better. Do some Millennials have an entitlement problem? Hell yes, they do. Are some arrogant wee shites? Yes. Are some wanting instant gratification? Yes. That also cuts across the age groups.

The elephant in the room is class. If you’re higher up the food chain then there’s more chance of you progressing forward in life, and with a system designed to set person against person hence why slotting every generation with a shiny label like ‘Baby Boomer’ or ‘Millennial’ reduces a complex set of arguments to marketing terms. Are there issues with Millennials? Yes, there are but there’s a larger problem in that people are overall getting poorer in terms of income and chances, and while we’re all scrapping bits off each other those who sail through life easily because of inherited wealth and/or class carry on getting away with it.