Tag Archives: Facebook

Damien Hirst and the ignorance of journalists: a Facebook rant from July 2013

This is a bit old but (I thought) worth sharing. As the title suggests, I posted this on Facebook almost a year ago, but the sentiments are the same now. Obviously, when I mention something is ‘current’, I mean current in July 2013.

Here is the original article that I refer to:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2013/jul/17/damien-hirst-photograph-severed-head-censorship

 

This article has irritated me somewhat. Firstly, I hate that the thumbnail for the article has that picture on, but I can’t really comment without putting the article on that I am moaning about, and the picture won’t disappear. I missed this story when it was first in the news, but picked up on it thanks to a cartoon in the current issue of ‘Private Eye.’ Basically, two archaeologists from Leicester Uni have objected to Damien Hirst exhibiting a photo that shows him at the age of 16 posing next to the severed head of a man who donated his body to science. Fine. The picture is in ridiculous bad taste, and they have a point about the family of the dead man and the fact that he probably didn’t give permission for photos to be taken of his corpse (which needs to be given when bodies are donated). But the article irritates me due to the complete ignorance that the writer has. Apparently, it is “academic pomposity” for archaeologists to speak out about something they believe is wrong if it impinges on others. Right. Hmm. Also, “archaeological ethics” needs to be put in quotation marks in the original article, as though it is some sort of alien or laughable concept. It is not. It is an integral part of the practicing of modern archaeology that needs to be taken into account at every turn when excavating and when presenting the past to the public. Next-“Only in dictatorial regimes do university professors decide what does and does not belong in an art gallery.” Erm….nope. Surely many art gallery curators are also able to be lecturers, and academic opinion coupled with the sensitivities of the public are always to be taken into account when presenting art and archaeology. But archaeologists cannot comment on art, can they? I’m sure the writer also thinks that anthropologists can’t, either. Then there’s this bit, which I will quote at length- “Leicester University’s experts say it contravenes guidelines on the ethical treatment of the dead: the poor man whose head is in the picture, they say, would have been recognisable to his relatives. He left his body to science and it was used in a jokey work of art. As archaeologists, they claim expertise in this strange field of postmortem ethics. Perhaps they got carried away by the sentimentality that surrounded Leicester’s rediscovery of the bones of Richard III.” Oh come on. Richard III is not quite the same. And then, the final flourish of ignorance- “Archaeology is the scientific study of the past, and it has no business pronouncing on the ethics of modern art.” Give me strength. Of course archaeology has the right and the position to comment on the present as much as any historian, author, artist or religious leader. It just annoys me that such a woefully ignorant person can comment upon a discipline that they clearly do not understand, and can therefore present it any way they like in the media, biasing those who do not know the subject to think that it is something that it isn’t. Okay. Rant over now.

Image: siliconangle.com

Image: siliconangle.com

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2013- Electric Puppet’s first 5 months in review

2014

Well- it’s New Year’s Eve, and time to reflect on what has gone on over the past year. For my family, this has been a big year, as we left the comfort and splendour of Oxford to return to our home city of Stoke-on-Trent; I graduated from university; I got my first job; we decided where we want to go with our life in the near and more distant future, thanks to an American man and his family on YouTube; I completed my first book of poetry, which had been languishing prior to this summer; I took the plunge and begun this blog, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while; and have got back in contact with several family members that I haven’t seen for the best part of a decade thanks to Facebook. It has been eventful, and had also been emotional and tiring for all of us. Also, with any luck, next year should be just as eventful- beginning work; trying to get my book published; endeavouring to write the novel and short story collection that I’ve been planning for a month or so; and getting married. Yes: my partner and I are getting married next year!

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In terms of this blog, I will be getting up several ‘Thoughts on…’ posts for the books I have read recently- the first two Adrian Mole books, Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’, Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, and Tove Jansson’s ‘Finn Family Moomintroll’- in the new year, and hopefully will get the first few up on New Year’s Day. For now, though, I thought that I would highlight a selection of posts from this blog that have proved popular, may have been overlooked, or are of relative interest for me.

I think that’s enough links to my other posts to be getting on with for now. Anyway- check some of these out if you haven’t already, or have a browse of the blog and see what you come across. Also, you can follow Electric Puppet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

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Lastly, here are a few fellow bloggers that I’ve come across in the past few months that you may find of interest:

Don’t Bend, Ascend

These Bones of Mine

Bones Don’t Lie

A Corner Of Tenth-Century Europe (written by one of my Anglo-Saxon lecturers from Oxford; he has since moved on to work at Birmingham University)

Museum Postcard

Prehistories

Interesting Literature

I hope you have a very happy New Year, and that 2014 will be good for you.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

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Life update #4

It’s been a week since I last posted anything on here, and I am aware that I’ve been getting somewhat behind on my posts; there’s a backlog of 4 ‘Thoughts on…’ posts that I hope to complete, as well as several other things that have caught my eye over the past few days. It’s not even as though I’ve been particularly busy lately, either. I usually post things on here in an evening or in the early hours of the morning, and it’s simply been that I’ve been way too tired to sit up thinking strenuously about literature, archaeology or other such things. I’ve also been feeling rather miserable lately, in part due to the depressing state of the weather, and the uncertainty about my job, as the process of finding out about my hours and pay has seemed to drag on and on. However- I can now smile! I still don’t have a start date, but at least I now know (thanks to an email I picked up last night) that my hours and pay are sorted, and should start the week after next. I still feel quite lacklustre in general at the moment for no particular reason, but at least I know that I will be able to provide a Christmas for my family, and that we should be secure for the near future.

On another point, I am also very close to having edited and redrafted the book of poems that I announced the completion of in draft form in a previous post, and hope to have them completely finished by the new year. Then, I can try to get them published, but just have to pluck up the courage to actually submit. I will do, though. I just need a little faith in myself.

Lastly, not so much a life point, but this blog seems to be stuck at the moment on the number of followers I have, as no-one has followed it for quite a while now. PLEASE spread the word and tell people you know about it! Share my posts on Facebook, and ‘like’ the Facebook page facebook.com/electricpuppetblog. Thank you! And look out for a few new posts that I should be getting up soon!

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Electric Puppet going global!

Just a quick point- I was checking the stats for this blog earlier when I found that today I’ve had a visitor to my page in JAPAN. I know that this may seem like a daft thing for me to really get excited about, but I am genuinely surprised that this blog has been viewed on the other side of the world, and get excited every time it is seen outside of the UK. The majority of my views have come from the UK, followed closely by the USA, but I’ve also had a number of views from Germany and Switzerland, and the occasional view from Canada, France, Croatia and even Mauritius. See for yourself:

Views to this blog by country, as of 11/10/13

Views to this blog by country, as of 11/10/13. Click image for detail.

It’s probably stupid of me, but I never imagined that I might manage to reach a global audience with this. Granted, many of these are single views, and that might not count as a ‘global audience’, but… Anyhoo- please comment if you are viewing this blog from outside of the UK; it would be great to get feedback from you all! And thank you! If you are not doing so already, PLEASE FOLLOW THIS PAGE, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ‘like’ the Facebook page. So far, everyone on the Facebook page is a friend of mine, so it wold be great if my followers would like it too and spread the word!

https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

global_connections

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Political intolerance

Before I start this post, I will say that this is based on personal observation and opinion- so don’t moan at me for what I say!

The reason that I’m writing this is because yesterday I came across an interesting string of comments regarding a uni friend’s choice of political party, and found the whole episode irritating to say the least. This was for two reasons: 1) Their grasp of British politics was rather shaky, despite professing that they knew what they were talking about, and  2) I am now unsure how their staunch views affect my relationship with them, as I would be a prime example of someone their party wouldn’t like.  Now, let me explain.

I am a supporter of the UK’s Labour Party- I do not hide this fact. However, I can see that other parties leaders may have been decent in the past and done their jobs well. For example, I can see that for the most part, Churchill was a good leader and Prime Minister during WWII, but this would not make me instantly vote Tory or Liberal, even though he belonged to both of these parties at various points of his career.  I say this because the said Facebook rant seemed to take the line that because Margaret Thatcher had been an effectual leader and caused a change for the better in an Eastern Block country, then the party she belonged to would therefore be the best thing for the UK 20 years later. Just by reading that, you can probably see the flaw in the reasoning. It wasn’t that no knowledge of politics was exhibited per se, but it showed a lack of knowledge and regard for the country- any argument made against this view that tried to show the way people are worse off under the present Lib/Con coalition was ignored or attacked on personal grounds. Now, personal attacks are not okay in political debates or discussions and have no place in politics. However, the lack of seeming regard for the fact that many areas of the UK are in poverty, with families living on the ‘bread line’ and unable to find work or any form of help under the present government, seemed to me insulting. As I said above, the fact that a past Tory leader may have been good for another country does not mean that the present Tory party’s policies are good for the country now in the present. The cuts the coalition has made so far hit the people at the bottom of the social pile first and the hardest. Rather than cutting the bonuses that banks and the BBC are allowed to give to present and former, ineffectual and disgraced chiefs, the government would prefer to cut benefits to those worst off, or make people in council housing pay more rent by giving them less housing benefit if they are deemed to have too many bedrooms. They would prefer to pay several billion pounds on a high-speed rail network (‘HS2’) that is not needed and would only benefit a select few, and make it easier for big businesses to pay no tax through loopholes in the law than  give help to those millions of families who need it. For someone who has only ever seen the privileged, middle-class side of the UK and has only spent time with middle class individuals from the ‘Oxford Bubble’, the cuts by the government may seem to have no relevance or may not matter, but I can personally see the effect that such stupid policies have in an area such as Stoke-on-Trent. Which leads me on to the second point that I detailed at the beginning of this post.

As previous posts have alluded to, I have studied at Oxford, but come from a working class background in a dead city. It is frustrating that as a write this, I am currently without a job and my family is scraping by on several forms of benefit. I am not proud of this, and as I have said before, my partner and myself aim to make the most of our life for the sake of our own happiness and for our children’s future- we want to return to university at Oxford, and then write, lecture and be successful sociologists  and priests (my partner); archaeologists and poets (myself). However that is the state at present, and the current government are making the situation worse for us. Now, in posting the views regarding the Tories as mentioned above, and by ignoring the effect their policies are having on those less well off in society, I cannot help but feel as though my friend shares the Conservative view of people of benefits and those at the bottom of the heap. Am I in a situation of my own making? Should I have to carry out community service for every penny of my Jobseekers, which I could end up doing, instead of carrying out volunteer work at excavations to gain important skills that could give me the experience that allows me to apply for the jobs that I hope to do? I cannot help but feel that this is how they silently view me; as a chav with kids who’s arsing around instead of working, or as a scrounger who should help myself instead of being helped. Perhaps I shouldn’t have even been to Oxford, coming from a working class area. Here, I could start with the Labour propaganda, as it is thanks to them and their introduction of Student Loans that I was able to go to uni; in much the same way as the Facebook comments suggested Thatcher should be lauded for making it possible to reach the University of Oxford from Eastern Europe.* However, I had hoped that my friends knew my family and I better; taking us for who we are and not what the government may say we are. It saddens me, and frankly hurts.

I do not have a problem with people holding different views to mine, whether this be political or religious. I just don’t like it when it is ill-thought out and personally insulting. Anyhoo- feel free to comment on here or on the Electric Puppet Facebook page. I would love your input.

Thatcher cartoon

Image: Shooty/Caglecartoons.com

* I could also add that Labour’s Student Loans made it possible for foreign Tories to study here… but I won’t.

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Life update #2

This isn’t like the first update- I just wanted to say a few things without making a separate post about each of them.

  • In terms of reading updates, I have finished Seamus Heaney’s ‘North’, Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘The World’s Wife’ and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, and am currently half way through ‘Through the Looking-Glass.’ I will put on a review/post of thoughts about the two poetry collections in a few days, and then the two Lewis Carroll together as another post. I haven’t forgotten!
  • Tomorrow (20th September) is my GRADUATION, so we’re back down south for the day. I will post on this once it’s over to try and give you an insight into what one of these at Oxford is like.
  • In terms of my writing- I haven’t really posted on here anything about this yet, but I will say now that the book of poetry I am currently writing is only 2 poems off being completed in first draft form. Also, I have got several ideas for further poetry collections centred around several different themes, as well as a few ideas for novels/short stories that I hope to flesh out a little.
  • Again, please ‘like’ the Electric Puppet Facebook page. I haven’t set up a Twitter page yet, simply because I have absolutely no idea how Twitter works, but aim to within the next week. So far, I only have 4 likes! Please help this to increase and share profusely to get everyone you know to like it and to follow this blog too! I do appreciate every follower for deciding to follow me, and just wish I could reach more people. It’s not as though I have anything terribly important to say, but it is just nice to think that I am a part of some wider online community, and I like sharing my ideas and thoughts with you.
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Now on Facebook!

Well- I’ve finally got around to making the Facebook page for this blog, which can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/electricpuppetblog

Please like it, share it and do whatever with it to get me more followers! Thank you!

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The move to social media: ElectricPuppet on Twitter?

I’ve realised that this blog doesn’t seem to be growing in quite the exponential manner that I had first envisaged. After a month online, ElectricPuppet has gained 18 followers, and as of two days ago, has had 100 views. I’m guessing that this is because this blog is either too boring, or no-one can actually find it due to my lack of internet presence. As a result, I’ve been wondering whether to set up a Twitter page, and possibly a Facebook one too, to try and get more followers. I do already have a F/bk page, but it is one that I share with my partner and which we use to communicate to our friends and post images of our children on, and so I don’t want to link this page to that. I may set one up though, and just hope that people like it and follow and comment and share and etc ad infinitum. I also notice that I’ve had NO SHARES so far! Please share articles and posts! Please! Please! And please like and comment and follow and share and comment and follow and like and…and now I’ll stop begging.

Anyhoo- I may set up a Twitter page, and possibly Facebook after that. Watch this space!

twitter

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Egypt and the threat that won’t go away

https://www.facebook.com/StopTheHeritageDrain

I am currently in the process of looking up some information for another blog post when I came across the above page on Facebook. Following on from the vaguely optimistic post I published regarding the mess that Egypt is in at present, there is a Facebook page dedicated to disseminating images of stolen antiquities and artifacts from museums within the country in the hope that these can be tracked down and returned. All of these have been stolen since the start of the civil unrest, on a scale that seems ridiculous. And there is nothing that we can really do to stop it. It saddens me that transient political disagreements in the present should have such a fierce effect upon the past; we should be able to change the actions of the present.  Once the past is gone, though, this is irreversible.

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