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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Do you take someone you've only known five minutes to be your lawfully wedded...

I have been hearing many stories recently about people getting engaged within only a short period of time knowing each other.

I wouldn't say that I find this wrong exactly, but I do find it worrying. As with any situation every case is a completely different scenario so it is difficult to prescribe guidelines or suggestions about such thing. In my case I think I find it worrying because when someone says the word 'marriage' to me, I immediately think of 'divorce'. We live in an age where there is an all time high for people getting divorced and having multiple marriages (not all at the same time... except maybe the Mormons...).

I hear of people getting engaged after only six months to a year of being together. I really do not think this is enough time to really get to know someone. Not fully anyway. You may then find in a couple of years you find yourself in a previously unknown situation. In this situation you may then see a side to your partner that you really do not like, or even cannot live knowing that side exists.

I am not against marriage itself, not at all, but I wouldn’t dream of getting married unless I had been in a relationship for at least 3-5 years and even then I would have to be very sure.

The trouble with early marriages is people are still in that spark stage of the romance. I often hear love described like a flame, starting bright and fiery then relaxing into a soft ember that burns forever. The trouble is sometimes the flame simply dies out completely, if you get married before you know what way the flame is going to go then you could end up with someone that in all reality you don't actually love.

As I said before this is a case by case situation, no doubt readers will immediately thinks of situations or circumstances and even examples of people whom it has worked for. My main point is if you are 'sure' that your partner is the one then there should be no problem in waiting a couple of years anyway.

I also take this to mean couples who meet and then immediately get together, rather than couples who were friends for years or in some way really knew each other for years before getting together then married. That is slightly different.

Surprisingly people seem to be getting married a lot younger now as well. I'm very curious to know why that might be. For some reason my first thought is insecurity. Soaps, gossip magazines and sadly everyday life is full of stories about people cheating and having affairs. Could early marriage almost be in response to this? Perhaps it is an act of setting up boundaries and signs telling others to back off or even putting your partner in their place. "We are married now. You need to commit" kind of thing.

I've also noticed this is quite common within church groups, particularly those who do not believe in sex before marriage. One of many reasons for these early marriages could be because waiting will just lead to more and more temptation that cannot be morally fulfilled.

People fall in and out of love. Realistically love is not guaranteed (although certainly can live up to be) a lifelong commitment, but really marriage should be, and I think this is the problem. People are less paranoid about doing 'immoral' acts so are not afraid to get divorced now. 

Having said all this, there are immense benefits to marriage, not only practically but emotionally. The idea of having one person who you really do share your entire life with, who know you in and out. Only the people themselves who are in love can ever know exactly how they feel.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011


We live in a world now where we cannot go anywhere nor do anything without a constant barrage of advertisements.

We live in an age of communication, making it ridiculously easy for businesses to fill our minds with ideas and hints usually relating to a product they are trying to sell us.

This is simply the way the world as we know it works and certainly will not be changing anytime soon, but some things do annoy me.

First of all... when are they going to make a cleaning product that kills that extra 0.1% that all the others seem to have a problem with...?

I picked up a leaflet about virgin media the other day which actually says that for an extra £3 a month you can have free TiVo activation.

This blatantly this not free. The activation of the box may be free but the product itself is not. Adverts know all too well what words trigger certain thoughts in our mind. Always be careful of something advertised as free. This simply is not true; the money for the product is coming from somewhere else, possibly something else they are trying to sell you.

The same thing applies with the print press. Journalists are very good at using buzz words that influence an emotional response in you. As long as people are cautious about this and think about what they read it is fine. It's when people believe everything they read or see that problems begin. This relates a lot to my previous post about prejudices. Often it’s through these careful uses of language that prejudices can emerge.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Is Family Guy actually racist?

I was having a random conversation with a man in Blockbuster yesterday. I was stood in the DVD isle checking out the new Christmas episode/film thing that Family Guy has brought out. Another man was stood nearby and started mumbling how Family Guy should be banned and is one of the most horrible programmes on the air.

I asked why he thought this and he said that clearly the creator Seth MacFarlane and all the producers and writers for the show must be racist. I pondered on this as I then headed home.

After watching every episode of Family Guy several times and being a fan, I was immediately concerned by his view, but then I begun to think about it in more depth.

Family Guy certainly takes advantage of every single modern taboo for it's comedy. Racism, Anti-Semitism, Rape, Murder, Paedophilia, Bestiality, Sexism, Incest and pretty much every kind of prejudices is featured on the programme in some kind of comical form.

Having said this, is it actually fair to say that the show itself is racist? I personally believe not.

The first important thing to note is that no individual minority of people is targeted solely. Racist jokes in the show are made about every single race: Africans, Mexicans, Jews, Asians, Gingers and Caucasians. Is something actually racist when no individual race is targeted and singled out? The fact that everyone has the micky taken out of them at some stage in the programme makes me feel that this is not actually racism.

The second thing is that really I think Family Guy is actually working towards eliminating racism. When jokes are made about particular races then the jokes are usually taking advantage of ridiculous and stupid stereotypes that people may have about a particular race.

The show is actually highlighting how unfounded and silly certain views of races are. Generally people who have open minds towards others will notice this straight away and hence see the funny side, but I believe that in some cases it may even make people laugh because they realise that they have held a similar view at some stage, and then realised how ridiculous they were being.

Obviously a programme like this cannot change someone who is deeply racist. Nothing can. Unfortunately people who have their mind set on a certain view is very rarely open to changing it. What can be done however is changing the views of those who have not really thought about their position. Some people hold a view simply because people around them do, or they have been brought up that way, or even media influence. These people can have their minds changed for the better, and showing how stupid and funny such racist views is certainly one way to combat ignorance.

On a slight side note, I am always very sceptical of people who are quick to declare someone or something racist. I find people who do this may (please note this obviously would not apply to all) actually just be covering up for the fact that they themselves have had racist thoughts. A typical "One Doth Protest Too Much" if you will.

I was met an individual who started getting very angry when we started discussing Priests. He said "All priests are paedophiles." and then started ranting about how the church is evil and should be destroyed as it is a school for paedophiles. This upset me and I admit I was too stunned at the time to argue with the guy.

It is an unbelievably unfounded and closed minded opinion of a certain group of people. I know many priests and do not believe for a moment that any of them are or even could be paedophiles. I think in reality this person has never really come into contact with a priest and just assumes that the unfortunate stereotype is true.

This man would be the first to yell and get angry at someone who makes a racist comment yet is technically himself a racist (or prejudice, depending on how strictly you use the term).

An alternative is the man could be an aggressive Atheist, who is taking out his views on religion on priests, looking for any excuse to put down and demean the church.

This is of course a very sensitive subject for many people, but the closed mindedness that some people have on the world needs to be combated.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Animals and the soul

I regularly have arguments with people over the assumption that religious establishments make over the soul and animals.

The church states that only man has a soul and animals do not. I firmly do not believe this for several reasons. The first question we must raise here is what actually is the soul? Many people whom I have asked say it is what gives us life and what gives us personality. We say things like "He has a kind soul" or even "She has a dark soul"

This is merely describing personality. In which case animals too must have a soul as animals often display personality traits. My own cats are a prime example. Tai is very timid and jumpy, where as Rio is aggressive and violent. My previous cat Zero was laid back and relaxed. Three completely different personality traits. Some people may say this is just the animal's instinct. If this was the case however then all animals would do the same thing, there would not be as much variety as there is.

Some people liken consciousness itself to the soul. Well animals are conscious beings so they too must have a soul. Often it brought up that their self awareness is not the same as ours, or their moral integrity. This is true but not soul related. This is merely to do with brain size, Chimps have self awareness so does this mean they too have a soul and no other animal does?

The size of the brain allows more cognitive thought so gives the ability for self awareness. Does this then mean that the soul is dependent on brain size? This certainly is not what religion would have us believe.

My other problem with animals and the soul is then at what point on the evolutionary scale does the soul magically enter?

               The evolution of man (Google images)

At what point on this scale does the God give man the soul? We have no way really of knowing, self awareness certainly becomes a factor early on in the scale, does that mean the soul is entered there? At what point then are we God's design?

Several people I have spoken too simply disregard this question as "Not being important" but to me it risks the entire theory of the soul and could undermine all of religion itself. 

Here we have a video of two foxes playing on a trampoline, to me they seem to be playing in the exact way children would, the only difference is the species.

Is it mans vanity that is the true creator of the soul?


Monday, 21 November 2011

Explaining DFTBA

All day I have had a stream of people asking me the meaning of DFTBA

I want to make it clear from the start that I am not the original creator of this phrase in any shape or form. The letters stand for Don't Forget To Be Awesome and originates from an American writer, John Green and a musician Hank Green.

These brothers, along with their normal careers, are popular Vloggers (a Vlog being a video Blog) on the self broadcasting website Youtube.

They begun their Vlogging as a more personal way of keeping in touch as they live a fair distance away from each other. This developed into the popular Vlogs that thousands of Youtube fans enjoy to this day.

The Vlog brothers developed their own online community which is affectionately known as 'Nerdfighteria'. Nerdfighter basically meaning a nerd who fights to 'increase world awesome' and 'decrease world suck'.

We currently seem to be living in an age where (particularly young people of around 16-30) are standing up and declaring themselves 'Nerds' with a sense of pride for the label rather than the negative connotations that originally developed with the phrase.

A Nerd by Nerdfighteria standard is anyone who chooses to be, not really having any set criteria although generally people who enjoy stereotypically nerdy things would be the prime candidates for this community. John Green once said in response to an enquiry about magazines and E-Book reading, "I don't care what you read, I just care whether you read".

The Vlog Brothers started using the terms of increasing awesome and decreasing suck as a way of life. In 2007 the Vlog Brothers created a Youtube and online charity event known as 'Project for Awesome' where all of the big names of Youtube would ask their viewers to donate money to that Youtubers' chosen charity. Project for awesome has grown in popularity over the past four years and has helped to raise thousands of dollars for charity.

The Vlog brothers have helped develop several online memes such as Nerdfighteria and the term DFTBA which is an encouraging catchphrase that they have printed on t-shirts and other merchandise. The Vlog Brothers recently increased their online presence even more by setting up a forum joking called 'Your Pants'. This has lead to much humour in their videos as they will often say things such as "More can be found in a thread in Your Pants" or "Look out for each other in Your Pants". The website was recently hacked so whilst repairs were being made to the website showed the error message "Oops Your Pants is down!"

As a fan and follower of the Vlog Brothers I consider myself a Nerdfighter so have chosen to pass on the community message of choosing to feel awesome. Hence why I have been finishing my posts with DFTBA. 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Thought trails

My father is often puzzled as to how we can be talking about one thing and a moment or so later I will come out with an idea that is seemingly completely unrelated to the original conversation.

Today I had one such moment with a couple of friends; we got from Cookie Dough to Family Guy in a matter of moments. This time however I kept a mental note of each stage in my mind to reach this point.

Cookie Dough - Doe, female deer - Doh! - The Simpsons - Cartoon Animation - Family Guy

It really is fascinating how fast our mind can connect apparently unrelated ideas very quickly!

I find this happens a lot when I am thinking of people too. I have a very wide circle of friends and I often think about them. Many have moved on to other places now or for various reasons I simply do not see them as much. Lots of random things I see throughout my day will make me think of one of these people, which in turn will make me think of someone else. 

I'd say that generally speaking I think of all of my friends and family at least one every day.

I often find that this does not seem to happen with everyone. Many people I have noticed to be 'Out of sight, out of mind' kind of people, and this saddens me. I think you should always have those you care about on your mind. Helps to refresh that relationship.


Saturday, 19 November 2011

A fine line...

Right so I've spent much of the day doing nothing.

But then I ended up chatting to a University friend about his romantic issues and it started off an interesting thought trail.

I have started to notice that acts of romance are only romantic if the receiver finds the giver attractive. Otherwise it is then considered 'creepy' or 'weird'.

For example if a guy serenades his girlfriend she is likely to find this act romantic because she has feelings for him. If, on the other hand, a shy guy from her class or work place, whom she does not have feelings for, does this she'd probably be on the phone to the police.

This annoys me. It just shows that there is no such thing as a romantic act in and of itself, there is only a romantic interpretation of an act.

I myself have had a fair few girlfriends so far in my time on this earth, so I know the agonising process of thinking of a brilliant romantic act, planning it, then carrying it out. Would I do this to a girl whom I have not already courted or at least learnt of an already existing romance? No probably not. Mostly because I am very shy when it comes to women so generally prefer not to shame myself. 

I have actually become shyer over the past few years when it comes to romantic feelings, even though I have become less shy generally. I think now I am older I can read situations better and know that 9 times out of 10, the girl doesn’t like you back.

This may sound like a pessimistic rant but it isn't. I just think people need to be careful and assess the situation fully. If, for example, I had a crush on the most popular and most beautiful girl on my course, I would know better than to ask her out because I simply am not on that level. I disagree with people who say "You can anyone you want!" rubbish. The real world just does not work like that. You can get away with it at first if you are new to a place but that is it.

I believe in compatibility. Some people just are not supposed to be together, which is why we feel attraction for some people and not others. Initial attraction can of course be over come when more important factors such as personality and beliefs come into the equation.

I seem to have gone off on a tangent there...

My main point is if you yourself find yourself being "creeped" out by someone's romantic actions towards you then just remember there has probably been a time when you have liked someone who didn’t feel the same way. and chances are you yourself have done something you thought was romantic but wasn’t taken that way.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Entering the world of Blogging

I'll be honest with you.

I have no idea how to Blog!

The reason I have set up this account is because of my desire to get into broadcasting. I left six form with very little idea of what I wanted to do for a career but I did know the only subject I was good at really was Philosophy and R.S.

Naturally I decided to follow up this cause and went to University to study this subject. Since I still was not specific as to which part of this broad topic I liked the most I took a very long named honours course in Philosophy and Ethics combined with Theology and Religious Studies. (Saying that out loud always leaves me breathless)

I enjoyed my course, made lots of good friends and enjoyed the many pleasures of student life.

More importantly I discovered something else I was particularly good at: Radio.

I'll admit I sucked big time when I first started, but soon I had developed a calm and relaxed presenting style and became very good at driving the desk as well. My first programme was called the 'That's Debatable' show and as the name suggests was a debate programme. My aim was to have regular debates on Philosophy, Politics, Ethics and anything else that could be debated.

I'll admit this didn’t go quite according to plan as these kind of programmes take a lot of time to prepare, so it became more of an interview program where I would choose a topic area and interview a guest about it. This worked well though.

After two years I was promoted to Assistant Manager so it became my duty to train the new recruits and help them prepare their shows. I even produced and drove the desk for my friend's programme on conservation.

Unfortunately with this being Student Radio I was faced with an issue when I graduated. I now had to find a way to enter the real world of Broadcasting. Alas in the current economic climate this is not easy, so various sources have encouraged me to begin this blog.

Let’s see how this goes!