You’re the most annoying dude I ever seen brah

Could you please move, you’re right in front of the quinoa.

If we pretend it’s not a total mick-take, and that this is a genuine song about the lived experience of middle class angst, then it certainly ticks the ‘authentic’ box, so is this hip-hpp? I mean is it ‘true’ to the roots of the movement? (As represented by the likes of NWA.)  This is a serious question that I’ll be asking at some point during the crime and deviance course.

This, incidentally, is yet another great reason to join Twitter – I stumbled upon this by browsing the tweets of David Harvey’s followers….Now that simply wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago!

Crime stats revision video

Hi – Today I’ve been messing about with technology – I think if you ‘click and save as’ the link below – you get this on yer hard drive – which you can then drag across to yer android, this drag and drop process won’t work with apple products however. Oh it’s not a very exciting video – It’s really just my attempt to drag myself into the 21st century….

crime stats video revision

Enjoy now!

Is the media responsible for our ‘unhinged sense of entitlement’?

I just found the whole of Charlie Brookers ‘how T’V ruined your life’ – the aspiration video on youtube.

I think this is my new favourite teaching resource of the year by a long way – great for teaching media effects, relative deprivation, and for demonstrating to the students just how utterly absured the mainstream media and our culture dominated by status actually is.

I also thought I’d better plug it because it’s had less than 200 000 views on youtube and I think it needs a wider audience – especially relevant to anyone in the US might be the section on ‘my super sweet 16’ – about 14 minutes in…

Is Nicola Roberts the ultimate Female Eunuch?

Nicola Roberts - naturally skinny?
Nicola Roberts - naturally skinny?

Even though she’s a lesbian? Well look, actually I don’t know if she’s a lesbian or bisexual or what and frankly I don’t care – whatever – and I mean ‘whatever’ – her sexuality is – she is obviously obsessed with her looks and judging by the photos below it appears that she actually wants wants to be a seen as a mannequin, and so her sexuality, whatever way she swings, is obviously very tightly woven into her body image – hence why I think we can call her a female eunuch… It’s all about the display and apparently not much else.

If you listen to the lyrics of her latest song ‘beat of my drum’ – which seems to be about how she’s going to tempt girls away from men – there is no content whatsoever, and I mean none at al,l other than ‘I’m sexy, I’ll have you eventually’ -the chorus…

girl imma make you march to the beat of my drum
want to put it on ya baby you’ll be in love
if you got a man i’ll make you forget him
playin hard to get , i aint even gon sweat it
girl make you march to the beat of my drum
i will have your heart the second we touch .
if you got a man ill make you forget him
right here on the floor, imma tell you how to march to the beat of my drum’

Nicola Roberts - no just kidding I found this mannequin in a local skip
Nicola Roberts - no just kidding I found this mannequin in a local skip

Nicola Roberts – if you want to be seen as a mannequin, congratulations, you’ve won me over – you are truly, madly, deeply vacuous beyond compare.

What makes something criminal?

Thought I’d upload this discussion point before the lesson…..a post that’s actually directly related to the A2 Crime and Deviance syllabus for once… On what is crime – relating to lesson one of the SCLY4 Crime and Deviance Module – this is just an extract from one of the class handouts we’ve used, lovingly published in Adobe format and available on the college Moodle system for those fortunate enough to have access…

What makes an act criminal?

A brief analysis of the types of crime and the maximum penalties judges can award for these crimes suggests that there are some general principles that make an act criminal, and that make one particular act ‘more criminal’ than another and thus potentially open to more severe form of punishment.

Firstly, and absolutely central to the notion of criminality is the concept of harm. It seems that the law supports a generally held view (a consensus view) that it is basically wrong to harm to other people, especially vulnerable people in society. Generally speaking, the greater the degree of harm that is done to victims and the wider community, society – the greater the sentence – personal physical harm is seen to be the worst kind – worse than threats of violence and intimidation; on a par with these are crimes of child abuse, even if not physical – the thought of the drawn out manipulation of the vulnerable individual for self-gain is seen as wrong by nearly everyone. Having one’s property stolen (burglary, robbery, theft) isn’t generally regarded as traumatic as being the victim of violent crime – but someone who steals from us is doing us harm – there are emotional as well as economic consequences of  property crime. People are also punished in our society for harming the environment – there are thousands of prosecutions each year for vandalism and increasing attention is being paid to environmental crimes (dumping waste, air pollution), although such crimes often don’t carry as severe penalties as violent crimes directly against people.

Secondly, and importantly, the degree of malicious focused intent to do harm to people influences how bad we think a crime is – and the severity of the penalty one could potentially receive. Acts that are purely and deliberately done to harm others have tougher penalties than acts that might harm others but where the primary motive wasn’t just to hurt someone. Having said this you can still be prosecuted for harming someone unintentionally – those who commit deaths by drunk driving sometimes get harsh penalties.

Thirdly, if you are the immediate perpetrator, the person wielding the knife, or the head of the organized criminal gang pulling the strings, you can probably expect a harsher sentence if prosecuted than if you are lower down the criminal pecking order. However, you don’t have to be immediately and directly involved in a socially harmful act directly to be prosecuted either – you can be prosecuted for carrying a knife, even if it’s for someone else, or handling stolen goods – so you can be prosecuted for helping others to harm other people. The law seems to prevent us from engaging in socially harmful acts even as a third party.

Fourthly and finally, there is also a general conception that crimes are worse when a victim is vulnerable or helpless – crimes against children or the elderly are typically seen as appalling – suggesting that we don’t like it when the powerful exploit the powerless for their own gain.

Now think about this question -Are there any exceptions to the general rule that the intent to harm others, especially the weak and powerless is wrong (and hence criminal) and that such acts should be punished? You think as globally as you like!

We will discuss this in the first lesson of the Crime and Deviance course in a few days time! Advanced comments welcome below…..

I don’t know what happened just then..

Westwood – Akala & MC Marechal freestyle 1Xtra

Me neither – but I’d  agree with the general consensus that the Brazilian guy is a legend.

This is also a pretty good example of grass roots counter-hegemonic praxis and also a good example of  and cultural gloablisation and cultural hybridity -as well as some  intelligent lyrics in part 1 and just general all round awesomeness in part 2, whatever he’s saying!

How to raise £5000 for charity with a 67 word text message

New form of crowdsourced microfinance – has the feelgood factor, sort of, although I’m left feeling slightly uncomfortable about the totally uncritical nature of it – also by the naked truth of the human pysche in late capitalist society – i.e. do we really only give because we feel good and get recognised for it? Still, it’s a nice idea for all you doers out there – and certainly an interesting counterpoint to ODA…


Personally I’d innovate the idea by linking it into criticisms of the EU and World Trade Organisation!

Cyber-Utopianism and its critics

The perfect video for teaching an aspect of the the cultural optimism vs cultural pessimism within the globalisation debate – summarised below

Ygveny Morozov criticises the widespread assumption that the spread of the internet will  automatically lead to more democracy and fewer human rights abuses – the basic optimist assumption is that the spread of the internet and mobile technologies allows for such rapid spread of information and such a platform for informed dissent that things such as the Rwandan Genocide can no longer happen. This view does appear to be widespread, with numerous voices celebrating the role of new media in recent elections and people’s uprisings, such as those in the North of Africa and The Middle East. If we go with this assumption, then all we need to do to spread democracy is give more ipods to people in China and western values will automatically spread….

Of course this view is deterministic – we may get the impression that dictators are terrified of the internet, but this isn’t true – for dictators social networking sites, blogs and the like are useful tools to gather information – and for just straight forward social control.

For example in Thailand a site called ‘protect the King’ encourages people to report sites and blogs that they think will offend the king – which has lead to over 3000 sites being blocked; while in Saudi Arabia people are encouraged to surf the internet for sites that may offend ‘Saudi sensibilities’ and complain about them – if youtube gets a certain amount of criticisms then it will remove a video. (This later reminds me of a relatively recent Monbiot article in which he talks about organised campaigns, run by such groups as the tea party, to negatively evaluate left wing books on Amazon, giving them a poor rating). Morozov also points out that if you do get involved with a protest movement on twitter or FB then you are very traceable, more traceable than in the past…

Finally Morozov criticises the idea that young people online are all potential revolutionaries – we here a lot about cyber activism, but just remember that most of the internet is about entertainment and porn – it could be the case that young people are ‘digital captives’ rather than ‘digital renegades’.

Global Development – Globalisation – Optimism vs Pessimism

Profit before People – Madagascan Tar Sands Extraction

Madagascar - Unlike RBS and Total, they didn't go there for the oil
Madagascar - Unlike RBS and Total, they didn't go there for the oil

This could be the worst case of Corporate exploitation I’ve ever seen….

Jeremy Williams from Make Wealth History reports that  the contracts for the country’s oil sands lie with a conglomerate called Madagascar Oil. This company co- founded by the notorious Alan Bond, a man who was convicted and jailed for Australia’s biggest ever corporate fraud. Madagascar Oil is administered out of an office in Texas, and registered in the tax haven of Bermuda.

Funders include Credit Suisse, and French oil giant Total will be assisting on the ground and have recieved finance from our very own RBS. Profits will accrue anywhere but Madagascar itself.

Madagascar Oil has negotiated a deal that sees them keep 99% of profits for the first decade, leaving just 1% for the government’s coffers. That increases to a 80/20 split for the second decade, and a 70/30 share for the third.

As is that wasn’t bad enough –  Holly Rakotondralambo, an environmental campaigner from Madagascar, talking to numerous journalists this week says that

“There is growing concern among local communities about the effects that tar sands mining might have on agricultural land, water sources and the unique biodiversity of Madagascar; particularly since we have seen the devastation that has occurred in the Canadian tar sands mining areas.  There is great poverty in Madagascar.  Many people in the tar sands areas in Madagascar are small scale subsistence farmers who have had their land passed down through their families.  They are afraid that they will lose their land or that it will get poisoned.  There are also fears about the machinery and the huge lorries that will pass through this area to get to the mining sites. There are also concerns that water supplies may be contaminated with toxic pollution”