Summer Sport

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not the fat guy that supposedly breaks into our homes, watches when we’re sleeping, has done so for years and still has faced less charges than a Hollywood producer. No, I mean it’s the end of Spring in Australia, which means the start of the test cricket season in Australia.

A time of year which unites a population who hate each other for their winter footy allegiances, and a certain free to air TV channel earns three quarters of its ratings for the year. Radios dial in from the moment in the morning that we hit the office or the job site, and we celebrate inappropriately every time a visiting wicket falls.

Cricket brings something out in us down under. We’ve grown up with it from an early age so now we look forward to November when sport becomes a massive part of our culture.

Ignoring the fact that we live in security and our standard of life is significantly better off than half the global population, the cricket season is superficially exemplary of why we’re lucky as country. That we willing choose to put aside or forget about our immediate issues, and we escape. We escape to a cultural alternate reality and we enjoy the luxury that we have as a population.

We sit in nerves as our captain creeps to a score of 97, and lose ourselves in pride and euphoria as we watch him streak towards a match saving century. The sound of “come on!” becomes synonymous with an Australian bowler taking the first wicket of a test. And we sigh profanities when a batsman throws his wicket away cheaply.

This is us. This is Summer Cricket in Australia.

Guise

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Double Standards

I’ve previously shared my thoughts around the difference between equality and equity (The Myths of Equality), but I guess this is about one of those specific realities. A reality which says that despite all efforts to normalise their lives, sports stars and celebrities are different to you and me. The expectations, the scrutiny, the public presence, and the value they add to a large quantity of strangers lives. For this reason, we are not equal to that of a celebrity, sportstar, politicians, or other public figures.

There are benefits of this inequality and disadvantages, for both parties. Good and bad is a measure of perspective, it is simply a demonstration of opinion.

We forgive disgraced celebrities and sports stars because they offer something to our life. They provide art or entertainment, and help us escape from life’s daily challenges.

But there is a cost for this type of immunity, having every moment of consciousness scrutinised by the masses. A level of privacy comparable to a public gym change room.

Putting all that a little to the side, there is the final, more cynical approach to this imbalance between the ordinary and the famous… Money. And as we know, money talks.

Guise.

Politically Incorrect

The revolution against political correctness is coming.

You can feel it building, can’t you. Generations of humans who have grown up in a world where everything they say and everything they do is scrutinised and polished for fear offending someone. They’ve passed through some of life’s most fragile and uncertain phases always conscious of the eggshells they step upon.

What we can feel is that has become tired, and a generation so aware of the eggshells is starting to choose to ignore the sensitivity once thrust upon them.

If we look at how the PC revolution came about, we see a culture at an extreme to the one we currently reside. A world where racism was casual and common, indigenous Australians were statutely considered flora and fauna, women were out of the home only physically, and the physical assault of homosexuals was a social activity. This was a world filled with abused majorities, not just minorities. Where mental health was unheard of and “soft”, and asking for help was completely misunderstood.

Considering where we’ve come from, the last 30-40 years of the PC revolution has been monumental for our society and balancing the field, to some degree.

What I see, though, is that as this mindset has developed, it’s almost over-developed, and people are becoming tired of being told they are a bad person for the way their mind and belief system works. This is not to say that these people aren’t wrong, this is not a commentary of the merits of conservative, or even non-left wing views. No, rather this is commentary of the movement which will see us change the way we talk about sensitive societal and cultural issues.

Hopefully that change means we, as a society, are in a place where we can have proper discussions of issues, without branding the opponent as ignorant, or preaching about how offended you are.

Here’s to a world of discussion, not eggshells.

Guise.

Up for Discussion

For many of us, the art of discussion, of debate and disagreement, exists no more. Done away with by the ongoing discourse of being offensive to somebody’s ears. In an age where we’ve made these efforts to protect disadvantaged members of society, we have in turn created a pseudo-culture where offense brings with it a full stop on your conversation.

In this bubble wrapped society, even the most insignificant choices of words are enough to be brandish offensive. Your image is now of someone who is out to negatively impact everyone else.

What we’ve done is warped an effort which was intently good, and created a weapon in the disarming of conversations we now choose to be a part of. So much of the conversation rests now on symantics, and we often overlook the content.

The reason this problem is so important to us, is because in a world where we are never sure which news sources are on the straight, whether we are being lied to, or even with suspicions that the masses are being mind numbed for suppression, discussion and disagreement are our way to activate the truth finding parts of our brain. It is the sharing or discussion of ideas in order to learn, to grow, and to change.

Instead, we’re now too busy being offended to have a discussion, to willingly closing our minds off for fear of being wrong. As a collective, we must stop our fixation on winning the argument, and open ourself up to what somebody else is actually saying.

Who knows, maybe I’m just rambling for the sake of rambling, maybe I’ve proven a home truth. Prove to me otherwise.

Guise.

Small Talk

Something that I’m definitely not good at is small talk. It makes me uncomfortable, feel stupid, and offers a hollow feeling in pretending to connect with someone. It’s safe to say, I do not like small talk.

There is, however, a form of conversation that I enjoy even less than that, and that is gossip. As soon as my brain registers that we the conversation has transitioned to gossip, I’m checked out. My consciousness goes to a subconscious place, hiding itself from the incoming discord of rumour, innuendo, unsubstantiated assumptions, and biased conceptions of past experiences.

Quite simply, I’m aware of the benefits of this primal form of human collaboration. A primordial connection to others through the discussion of a third party and their habits and idiosyncrasies. I understand that everyone of us use it to build relationships, and that it is a safe ground away from the taboo topics of small talk, but I am curious where my instinctual aversion of the topic has developed.

And I wonder, knowing that this form of communication and social bonding is important to us, why do we spend so much more time on this, than we do on the discussion of ideas, thoughts, opinions and innovations. Why are we happy to accept that the dealings of the Kardashians can make the nightly news, reaching a mass audience in an instant, but in order to hear the discussion of real world people’s ideologies and challenges, we have to resort to the niche corners of Reddit and the rest of the internet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that we have this ability to connect and share with other individuals in the same mindset as myself, but for how long. With the looming threat towards net neutrality in the United States, do not be fooled to think that won’t affect the rest of the globe.

So the question I leave you with today is, what have you done this week to discuss something bigger? What information have you absorbed from sources other than your mainstream news organisations, Facebook feeds, and radio advertisements.

If we hope for a population of individuals, thinking for themselves, challenging the decisions of our leaders constructively, and pressuring the major news articles to raise the quality of reporting and removal of bias, then that starts with each of us.

Guise.

The Myths of Equality 

I implore you to accept that equality is not equivalent to equity. 

Equality is simply a possible element of, and not an appropriate measure of, fairness. 

You don’t measure the success of a fish on it’s ability to climb a tree. What’s fair for the chimp, is not fair for the fish. Is it fair to say that Men fight topless in combat sports, so Women must also? 

So what’s our fascination with equality. Is it just easier to fight for an equal standard than to justify and highlight the measure of fairness. I mean,  it’s easier to say that person A has this right, so person B should equally have this right, than it is to express where the imbalance of fairness lay. 

Or maybe it’s easier to make the discussion about equality, as opposed to defining our specific gripes. 

Either way, we are encouraging unhealthy social, and also internal, dialogues of comparison and injustice. Life is not equal, it does not exist in a fair and email realm. We often have one of the other.  But as people, if we are to find positive results for. As many as possible, we need to be willing to acknowledge that equality and equity are not one in the same. 

If we acknowledge this, we can control the emotional charge of many of these discussions and aim to be subjective. But I guess the key is, not asking for everything in this world. 

As a disclaimer, DO NOT assume this to be in commentary of any current or future social discussions about equality and fairness. Rather, this is commentary about how we go about discussing them. 

This Sunday thought is one which I hope to continue to explore in the future. Keep posted for more. 

Guise. 

Socially Expectable 

People piss us off, weird us out, make us see similarities to ourselves and make us question why they could possibly be the way they are. 

The problem is, though, that we overgratify the value of our own opinion from others. By using terms like “socially acceptable” we express a self indulgent connotation that it is okay for someone else to dress that way, or behave in that manner. In reality though, whether we accept or reject someone’s sense of acceptable dress means shit. We are not a qualifier in their. Whether we should be a qualifier though, is a question of morals And cultural norms, one that I’m not currently prepared to approach. 

And so it is a matter of our social expectations which we are truly capable of passing commentary on. We expect to see people dress either how we dress, how celebrities and other public figures dress, or how the greater populace dress. Perhaps that is the most disappointing part of this thought. 

We have teenagers wearing shorts that are shorter than short, yet this now appears to be the cultural norm. So when we see someone dishevelled, in a comical outfit, looking like they have just emerged from a three months hibernation in front of a computer screen on a diet of domino’s and Fanta, we are confronted with something that is different, something that we did not expect to see. But how different we would feel of that was the norm, if that was how the majority of the population groomed themselves. 

With that, I leave you with this week’s thought. Don’t let our expectations guide our connections, don’t let acceptance be self-inflated, and most importantly, don’t let me tell you what to do. 

Guise.