I was on my way to work. It was a typical March morning in Stockholm, which meant the weather could be snow, or blazing sun, or icy gales, or all three at once.
On trains, I am peculiar, especially in the mornings. Things annoy me and they annoy me five times more than normal. These things include (but are not limited to):
• People eating their messy breakfast on the train • People having loud conversations on the train • People shoving their massive luggage into other people’s way • People putting on makeup on the train • People with awfully leaky headphones
Of these, the headphone leakers are the worse. Yes, I’m sure your music is fun to listen to, but if you insist upon playing it so fucking LOUDLY then use good headphones and not those pieces of cheap shit they gave you when you bought your mobile telephone.
But no. People will play the most appallingly annoying music at full tinny volume, in total disregard for those around them (meaning, of course, me).
So on this particular March day, I was noodling about on my phone, reading news, playing a game, the usual sort of thing, when a man got on the train and sat close to me, wearing headphones. And the air suddenly filled with jazz.
Not good jazz either. Shite jazz, with the same piece repeated over and over. I did my usual scowling but the man didn’t notice or care. Then I wasn’t sure it was him, so I scowled at some other likely leakers in my vicinity, and shook my head, and muttered to myself.
The music kept on going, becoming more and more annoying. So finally, I moved. At which point I noticed that the music, oddly, was now coming from ahead of me, and not from behind.
And it clicked.The music was coming from my own mobile, from a game I had been playing. Luckily I was spared any embarrassment as pretty much everyone around me had headphones on and couldn’t hear a damn thing. The sweet and awful irony.
Note that I didn’t mention dogs on the train being a thing I dislike. I’m trying quite hard to like dogs and so far it seems to be working.
Until someone invents leaky dog headphones and I am forced to go postal.
It follows our hero Ted as he goes to a tattoo removal clinic. The doctor is female and “hot” and Ted feels a “vibe” between them. So he asks her out and she says no. She can’t date him as he’s her patient. Ted asks if she will date him after the treatment. She tells him sorry, but no.
And then THIS happens.
Ted goes to his friends (mixed male and female) to get their advice on how to convince this lady to go out with him. As they discuss it, not one of them says, “Um, Ted, she said no, dude”. Her answer is not allowed to be absolute. Ted is a “nice guy” so the lady doctor must be mistaken. Or married. Or lesbian. Or confused. Hell, there must be SOMETHING wrong with her.
So over the course of Ted’s ten removal sessions, he and his friends plot wacky and hilarious ways to get her to say “yes” to Ted. But they all fail and the bewilderment from Ted just grows. Why doesn’t she want to date him, damn it?
(I could take a very long aside here on Ted’s friend Barney, the loveable misogynist and player, who you just want to stab with an ice-pick. He’s arrogant, sexist and petty and yet they all love him anyway. Good old Barney. You massive, suit-wearing shit.)
Anyway, at the last session, Ted asks the doctor out again and finds the reason she won’t date him. It’s not that she just DOESN’T FUCKING WANT TO, it’s that she is a single mom and has no free time. So Ted manufactures a quick 2-minute date where they dash around town and do some fun stuff. And finally, for Ted’s persistence, she kisses him. Conquest is ON.
This right fucking here, THIS, is the problem with the view of women in culture, media, television, all of it. A woman simply can’t say “no” to a man and mean it. She must be wrong. She must be “convinced”. And this aggressive, objectifying and shitty behaviour slides right by in a “normal” sitcom. It’s everyday stuff. Nothing out of the way. Even the women in the sitcom agree it’s fine to do it.
What sort of a generation of men are we making, feeding them this behaviour as normal? Jesus Christ.
In order to avoid a stroke, I shall now sign out. But first, here’s the closing line of the episode. Hang on to your hats. Ted says to camera, in a voiceover: “And that, kids, is how you turn a no into a yes.”
So I just watched that episode of Big Bang Theory about the One Ring. While it was fun, the description of the male characters’ behaviour as “geeky” came up several times. And it made me realise that this whole “I’m proud to be a geek” movement is really starting to annoy the tits off me. I’ll now tell you why.
A geek is basically a fan of things that aren’t cool. And who decides what is cool? Cool people do and always have done. By calling yourself a geek to somehow “reclaim” that word you are just adding to the idea that there are different kinds of interests – cool ones and geeky ones. And some are more important than others.
When I was in school I got shoved around for liking “stupid” things like fantasy and science fiction. Whereas my thuggish peers who liked football had no such problems. They knew piles of stats, they collected sticker albums, they treated football like it mattered. They even dressed up as the players, cosplay if ever I saw it. For some reason that was all okay. But making a joke about Star Wars was grounds for a thumpin’. Which was odd, as discussing in massive depth some men kicking a sphere around a field was fine.
Football isn’t the only thing. There’s music. Sport. Cars. Soap operas. Movies. Classical Music. Wine. Very rarely if ever do you hear fans of these activities described as “geeks”. Most usually they are “fans” or sometimes “experts” or even “connoisseurs” even when the level of pointless trivia involved is mind-blowing.
A geek is simply a person with a burning interest and unreasonable level of knowledge in some area. That makes you a “something” geek, whatever the thing in question is. You cannot be just “a geek” in the same way that you cannot be “a fan” without first saying what you are a fan of. By buying into this current usage, you are essentially saying – “yes I agree with you that my interest is of less worth than yours but I’m anyway still okay with that, if it’s alright with you and the cool people, sir.”
Well fuck that shit. All interests are just as valid, be they tattoos, curling or Pokemon. If you want to show “pride” then stand up for yourself instead and demand that all interests are taken just as seriously. They are, when it comes down to it, all equally disposable and useless.
From now on, I will call every geek a geek. Sports geeks, wine geeks, opera geeks. Geekery, all of it, and nobody should be offended by it. And if they are, well, tough. I think it’s also time to remove that desperately proud and apologetic “I’m a geek and proud of it!” from your various online profiles. It says precisely nothing. Because we’re all geeks, every one.
(Except for, you know, the poor and hungry. Although they might still like football.)
I’ve always been vaguely irritated by the phrase “vanilla sex” and now I’ve worked out why.
For those of you who don’t ever read anything ever, vanilla sex means “normal” sex. You know, the whole act of putting it in and out and shaking it all about. Making the beast with the two backs. Shagging. Bouncing on the naughty trampoline. And so on.
More precisely though, it means “normal” sex when talked about by people who would really like to point out that what they do isn’t “normal” sex. That the basic act just doesn’t get them off as they are complicated and edgy. Hence vanilla, supposedly the most boring of ice-cream flavours, although personally I find chocolate more boring.
Now everyone may do whatever the hell they like in the bedroom, as long as it’s done between one or more consenting adults. I have no protest there. What bugs me is the vaguely disguised snobbery, the insinuation that my sex is boring whereas your sex is dark and interesting. I bloody hate snobbery. I don’t like wine “experts” telling me how their drink is superior to beer. Or literary book snobs who look down on science fiction because it’s “far-fetched” while reading every unlikely detective story or magic realism novel that exists. Or music snobs who look down their noses at what other people are enjoying, totally convinced those others are “wrong” but don’t yet realise it.
But sex is sex. If some people get off sufficiently on “normal” sex – and there’s a hell of a lot to do in that area – that’s fine. But if your senses have become so dulled, and your excitement pathways so hard-triggered that you can only get off if somebody is dressed like a latex horse, then I think the problem is yours and not mine. (Although, it must be admitted, latex is very nice.)
If you think I’m being too sensitive, think about this. Have you even heard the phrase “vanilla sex” being used by a person who isn’t into kinky sex, or used in a way that isn’t sneery or condescending? I haven’t. People who say “vanilla sex” almost always do it with a slight edge of superiority. They may not say it flat-out, but to them I am boring, and they are not.
Well, if you claim I’m boring, I claim the opposite. I claim my mind is expansive and creative enough to enjoy the feelings and act of sex without accessories, whereas your poor deprived noggin requires props and a lot of effort to feel what I feel. Just because I can get off on the basic act of copulation, and you need props or mindsets, that doesn’t make you more “complicated” than me. It just makes you different.
So enough of the “vanilla”. What I enjoy is sex. What you enjoy is sex with an added layer of mind-games, scenarios and props. So fuck away, just don’t look down on how I do. And let’s all try to live in sticky slippery salty harmony.
Today there’s been a storm in the Swedish media (and most others too) about Ikea. Apparently they’ve been airbrushing women out of their catalog for the Saudi Arabian market. The Saudis don’t like looking at photos of women. Especially not women hanging out at home and having the audacity to WEAR PYJAMAS. The filthy tramps. Pyjamas! What will the children think? Or maybe they’re not allowed to think at all? Phew, close one.
So, anyway, Ikea doesn’t feel it should take any responsibility for the way their oil-rish customers would very much like to shit on human rights. They’re just there to sell furniture, they say. Very nice, Ikea. How useful that your corporate “ideals” are exactly the same ideals that will earn you lots of money. What a very happy accident. Let’s suck money out of a country that oppresses half of its population, while rabbiting on about “female empowerment” in other areas. Areas, by another amazing co-incidence, that will ALSO earn Ikea lots of money. Wow!
Screw you Ikea, you corporate slug with your shitty furniture and your high opinion of yourself, using your power and influence for nothing good whatsoever. Take your carefully constructed “we care” bullshit, insert it firmly into slot B and turn it a full revolution. Either direction is fine.
Click through the photos in the Swedish newspaper (first link above). There’s a photo showing some Ikea designers, and the same one in the Saudi catalog but with the single woman removed. I bet she’s happy about that and can’t wait to work for Ikea again.
But I have a solution for Ikea. Just release the catalog without women or men or any people at all, and instead put all the people on separate stickers. Then we can have a jolly old time putting in people of whatever race, sex, or flavour into any situation we desire. Imagine it! Grinning babies in ovens. A line of men’s heads on the top shelf of a Billy. A woman showing her hair. A scary man hiding under the children’s bed.
And presto – suddenly nobody is offended! Endless fun and chuckling for all! Except for the ones who have to suffer for it, in a country Ikea will do nothing whatsoever to improve. Unless, of course, there’s a profit in it for Mr. Kamprad. Then it’s all steam ahead, and corporate bullshit to maximum. Cash ahoy, mateys!
This enormous cockwallop is the “artistic leader” at Stockholm’s culture centre (big building, middle of town, can’t miss it). And he has decided, in his beardy wisom, to remove all books that have “racist or homophobic” bits. Starting with Tintin.
Well, regardless of your view of Tintin and colonial literature, here’s some news for the sideways-cap wearing wonder. Which, as a “culture leader”, he damn well ought to know. You can’t ban books. I repeat. YOU CAN’T FUCKING BAN BOOKS. This is the one golden rule that we may never forget. You ban books, you’re a fucking dictator, or a fanatic.
However, this dopey-eyed git thinks he can, because it’s all in a “good cause”. He’s doing “the right thing”. Yeah right, like nobody has ever thought that before. And now he’s got his staff running around like his little minions and scouring the shelves for books that don’t fit his fucking defintion of “okay”.
Sure there are racist bits in old books. But surely they have to be written with racist intent in mind to be really racist? And perhaps instead of banning them, we could use these books to start a discussion? Explain to kids: “here’s how things were back then but now we see it like this. What do YOU think?”
But God forbid that people would be asked to decide for themselves. Instead this little hispster emperor will fix it so that no children or parents without money can make up their minds for themselves. Nice one, your majesty.
I have a serious plan to get a bunch of people together, buy all these “forbidden books” and sneak them back onto the shelves, one by one. Because we DON’T FUCKING BAN BOOKS to protect the poor innocent woman and children from their evil ideas. We just fucking don’t. Not now, and not ever.
And, let me add, none of this has anything at all to do with this cock getting exposure for his “music career”. He is a “rap artist” apparently. And I bet he’s just excellent. Really, I do.
My special lady (I hesitate to call her “girlfriend” as she’s not a girl, nor just a friend) is in a bind right now. She’s been renting a flat for 22 years. She’s seen her kids grow up there. Her entire adult life was spent there, every giggle and tear. And now the morons in her building want to buy it out.
Here’s how. By some strange magic, rental tenants in Sweden can sometimes buy the building from the landlords (usually only from the state-owned rental companies). Basically, instead of owning a flat, you now own a share in a building (as nobody ever really owns a flat in Sweden). And those who don’t want to buy, or just can’t, will have to move the fuck out or stay on as a tenant of their previous neighbours.
The plus in buying a flat like this is that you get it well below the market price and make a bucket of money when you sell it. The minus (besides losing a piece of your soul) is that you are now partly responsible for everything going wrong in the building. Every water leak and rat infestation is suddenly your problem. And you get to have lots of meetings with your neighbours. Which, as you can imagine, is a wheelbarrow full of joy.
Personally I would pay good money to NOT have to go to meetings with my neighbours and endlessly discuss washing machines. But that’s just me
People in favour of this process always want to do it for the money, to get a start in the property market. Oh, they’ll give a raft of other reasons when asked. They’ll go on about having more of a say, of getting a better feeling of community and blah fucking arse blah. But we all know the truth, and so do they. They’re doing it for the profit.
This buying-out process is pushed forward, and usually started, by real-estate agents. They’ll convince the saps about how much they’ll save, when in fact only one group is guaranteed to make money during one of these buy-outs – them. The real-estate bottom-feeders make their promises, take their cut, and disappear.
Does anybody really think real-estate agents do ANYTHING for any other reason than lining their own pockets? They couldn’t give a flying fuck if these people pay more per month after the buy-out or not. They want their cut, and then they’ll fuck off, back under their fucking rocks where they belong.
What stuns me about this process (besides the fact that anybody actually believes anything a real-estate agent says) is the following:
People sign rental contracts, knowing them to be rental contracts. It’s not exactly a secret. The rental system had given you, and thousands like you, a place to live when you need it. A chance to start a life in your own apartment. Since private rentals are very hard to find in Sweden, getting a flat through the official queue is often the only solution besides buying. (Or sharing, which Swedes are very reluctant to do.)
And then, having signed a RENTAL CONTRACT on a flat, what do you do? You buy it up and remove it from the rental market. You deny the same possibility to other people that was given to you. And do you know what that makes you? A selfish prick.
I’ve nothing against buying apartments. I bought one once myself, and I sold it again for a profit. The only thing I dislike about the process is giving money to real-estate agents, who should be soundly whipped and rolled in dog-shit at every opportunity.
People in favour of this will go on and on about “buying out my apartment”. And what, surely, can I have against somebody just buying own their own apartment? Hang on, though – YOUR apartment? In what way, shape or form is a rental apartment YOUR apartment? It’s a rental, you dumb shit. You pay the rent, you live there. What in this deal makes it YOURS?
I never want to do this and I don’t fucking care how much I earn. There are a bunch of people who say this too, that they “don’t believe in it” but then go ahead and do it anyway when the chance pops up. Newsflash, people: if you believe in something ONLY IN THEORY then you don’t fucking believe in it at all. Just take the money and run and wipe your arse with it forever.
If people want to buy and sell apartments, fine. It’s a worthwhile investment, I get that. And it’s nice to paint the kitchen whatever colour you like. So by all means, fire away. But if you go into the rental system with the ambition of removing flats from the rental system, to your own benefit, then you are a dishonourable scumbag. You are destroying opportunities for future generations who have one less rental flat at their disposal. People just like you were when a rental flat came along and saved YOUR ass.
Now my special lady is forced to move, while her neighbours face paying the same as they paid before, but suddenly have a pile of responsibility to go along with it. While real-estate agents grow fat, sticky and flatulent on their grimy little profits. Win-win. Except for the rest of us.
Many people appear to think that owning absolutely everything in the world is a solution. While others like me think it might very well be the problem. And I could be wrong here, but at least I’m not a scumbag.