Have we Just Witnessed the End of Human Culture? Civilization? Evolution?


Make a note of the date:

Thursday 25th September 2014

For this is the date that human civilization ceased. From this moment nothing meaningful, creative or new can be achieved, even our evolution as a species may have ceased. If we are all honest with ourselves we’ve seen it coming for some time, a dumbing down of society, entertainment becoming ever more trite and puerile. But, on Thursday 25th September, I saw human civilization tip beyond the point of no return. The bar lowered itself to such depths, that it will be forever beyond the grasp of man.

I can’t remember where it all went wrong. The 90’s were still good, at least what I can remember of them. So how did we get here? How did things come to this point in time, where we’re watching a 45 year old mother of two wobble her buttocks in the name of entertainment? Is this some twisted side effect of a generation brought up on prozac? Or have we deteriorated to the level of dumb beasts, too far gone to discern between entertainment and morality?

The incident to which I am referring is the new music video, I use both the terms music and video loosely, of Jennifer Lopez. Now I remember Miss Lopez being on the scene back in the 90’s, so she has some staying power. I had however, imagined that her career would have developed from the raunchy act of the 90’s. I was only right in one respect, her act has developed, only to become far raunchier than what she produced when she was in her late 20’s. Miss Lopez is now a 45 year old mother of two, not that her age nor her being a mother in any way makes her unattractive. What it does do however, is carry the  responsibility of being a mother to two six year old children and I struggle to imagine what they make of mommy’s new song. Let us just take a look at scene from the video.

It is clear for all to see, a 45 year old Miss Lopez dancing with a blonde woman, who goes by the name of Iggy Azalea. Miss Azalea, who hails from Australia and is also known for the capacious nature of her buttocks, at just 24 years old is young enough to be Miss Lopez’s daughter. Just how does she explain to her kids what she does for a job?

The video continues with Miss Lopez writhing her way through a number of the Karma Sutra’s more fashionable positions. And performing what I have recently learned to be ‘twerking’. Twerking is a dance move, that can be best described as the rapid oscillation of one’s hips in a back and forth motion, with the knees bent. Visually it provides the effect of a woman with a very uncomfortable urinary tract infection, trying to rub her affected area on any surface she can find for relief. Not all that appealing, but then I am getting old.

The video is banal and the song even more so. After watching it one time I felt it my duty to express my anger at the video and wrote the following comment on YouTube.

In the 38 years I have inhabited this putrid filled planet, this is without shadow of a doubt the most banal and tasteless crap I have ever seen. At 45 I would hope she might have developed some dignity, it appears not. Sick, vile and perverse, a video that sums up all that is wrong in the world.

What astounded me was the volume and variety of the replies. My favourite response so far being:

Edgar Macias

 By the grammar used in your comment you seem to not be the type to watch these kind of videos. So why would you waste your time on video that you knew you weren’t going to enjoy. Oh wait your still a man despite the usage of proper grammar. You still wanted to get your rocks off looking at some booty video. But in the end it seems your intelligence got the best of you and you had to be all intelligent in your comment. GTFOH with that bullshit and go read an encyclopedia or something with your smartass!
I really appreciated the tone of Edgar’s response but felt it necessary to correct him that I had never let my intelligence come between me and masturbation. I felt I must also apologize for my flagrant adherence to the conventions of grammar. To which Edgar responded: 

Edgar Macias

+james roberts you’re really something else lol! You seem to be a smart guy, one day you’ll figure it out. Hell even Einstein enjoyed a little shaking of one’s ass! Loosen up a little and you just might get over the whole, the world is fukd up and I hate everyone’s ignorance attitude. And the watching of a 55 year perform naked is just crazy. You have problems why would you think that you sick lil puppy lol. It was fun catching your attention and busting your balls for a bit but I’m done with your ass. You remind me too much of my professor and I’d rather not continue with you because I could do this all damn day. So in parting I say Vete A La Verga Puto y Come Mierda Pendejo! 😉
I was saddened by Edgar terminating our discourse as I felt we were really starting to develop a rapport. I thanked him for his kind words and wished him well (can anyone translate that Spanish bit?)
So I have learned that we live in a world where using standard, common English is considered a weakness to be mocked, and where telling someone to read an encyclopedia is an insult. While watching 45 year old women with UTI seek out comfort is normal. Now I am starting to appreciate why I don’t understand ‘twerking’.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video.

Oh Walt! Oh Whittman!

From day to day

Prescription to prescription

Consuming a concoction of chemicals

From tablet to tablet,

Dose to dose

Waiting, hoping that one day will be better

Keeping, sustaining, preventing, enabling and prolonging an existence

What existence? For what purpose?

To absurdly assume a purpose?

To do as Walt wants us to do?

For the sordid crowds do plod around me now

And through the cities of the foolish

flow the endless trains of the faithless

Terminating at the same destination for all of us

A destination that medication puts a little further out of reach

prolonging the path to shuffle off this mortal coil,

to what end do we lengthen our journey, because we can?

Is it the length of the journey or the route that we take?

Is Whittman’s play so truly powerful?

Is it worthy of my verse?

Am I unworthy of his play?

Teaching English as an Additional Language – A 10 Year Odyssey in Search of a Correctly Conjugated Verb


It all started a long time ago in a land far far away. Like minded people gathered asking questions, they would seek out teachers who would help them to better understand the world and their lives. From Socrates to Pericles, to Plato and Aristotle education began with the noblest and purest of intentions. Socrates refused payment for his teaching as he believed that knowledge should not only be given just to those who could afford it.

What follows are my thoughts following ten years of prostituting off my mother tongue to the highest bidder around Southeast Asia. For many of my experiences the setting has almost always been in schools, but sadly the subject has seldom been education.

Native English Speaking Teachers – A Soldier in an Army of Linguistic Missionaries

The teachers you get coming to Southeast Asia are some of life’s most unique individuals. 95% of them fall in to one of the two following categories. Type ones come to teach in Southeast Asia to avoid debt or custodial sentences, they are too far gone to hang on to the coattails of social acceptability in their native countries, too introverted, too extroverted or just too perverted to fit in anywhere else. They wander through the countries of Southeast Asia with a head full of confused grammar and loose morals. Then you get those poor bastards who come here unaware as to just how depraved and twisted this place is. They leave behind good jobs, with good prospects, and find themselves teaching in an educational vacuum, desperately trying to cling on to the values they know to be true, but they dare not utter. Right away these people know they have entered an environment where knowledge is not just ignored but aggressively attacked. It is a place where black can be white, where sometimes two plus two does equal five and where it can be considered just too damn dangerous to have fire drills.

In ten years I have seen many different types of teachers pass through schools, I’ve seen a few passed out in classrooms too. At first being an expat and working in a school was weird, it was like mixing the most mind bending twisted holiday at night, with a responsible job during daylight hours. Needless to say such compartmentalization of these two disparate worlds was not always possible. On one occasion I recall a teacher turning up for work at three o’clock in the afternoon because they had an appointment with the principal about the renewal of his contract. Exactly when he’d started drinking and if indeed he had actually stopped, it was impossible to tell, he had to look for work elsewhere.  Ten years ago you were unlikely to find a teacher sober before lunchtime, indeed you would be lucky to find many teachers in school prior to lunchtime. A decade ago you could and did do anything, drinking until three in the morning when you started teaching at eight was nothing unusual.

Times have changed, things have become more serious. Maybe I’ve just changed and become sober.

Globalization, Indoctrination and Linguistic Imperialism

Why is there such a need for English to be taught around the world? Why is English the lingua franca? Why is it  that these countries must have native English speakers teaching their children, after all when I learned French I did so from an English person? Could it be that it is all bullshit?

There has been a long held belief that a western education is better. In turn there is that western teachers must also be better. These are beliefs that are consistently reinforced through linguistic imperialism,  defined as:

the dominance asserted and retained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages.

Phillipson, Robert (1992), p 47.

English is the language of capitalism and a vital tool of the global hegemony. The ceaseless reinforcement of the importance of the English language through the pervasive international marketing of American brands, and rhetoric used by institutions like the British Council. English is accepted by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as the common language. It is reasonable to expect that in a world of such international trade that there must be a common language, in this case English, but that in no way means that native English speaking countries provide the best education nor necessarily the best teachers to teach the English language.

Last years report by the  Organization for Economic and Cultural Diversity (OECD) showed how these five countries fared against one another:


Literacy Maths Science
Singapore 3 2 3
Japan 4 7 4
Korea 5 5 7
United Kingdom 23 26 21
United States 24 36 28

For the full list see the link below:                     


Obviously these results  are unflattering to the two major English speaking countries, even more so when you consider that Singapore’s language of instruction is English and they severely out performed both the United States and the United Kingdom in literacy. This raises the question would Singaporean English teachers be more effective teachers of English to Southeast Asian children? Simply the answer is yes but they would command huge salaries.

So why are native English speaking teachers still in so much demand throughout Southeast Asia? There remains a belief, that still carries some truth, that a degree from the west is of greater value than a degree from a Southeast Asian country. Whilst this may be true the only thing that prevents Southeast Asian students from getting a degree from a western university is the cash. Nowadays having the financial resources is more important than having the academic ability. Western Universities are run like businesses and they charge a premium for foreign students. This brings us back to where we started and Socrates refusing to be paid as knowledge should not only be given to those that can afford it. Truth be told though no knowledge has to be given, nor often is, just a degree certificate that proved you paid to attend a university for three years.

Education, in particular English Language education in foreign countries has become an industry, which feeds off of, and reinforces the beliefs of linguistic imperialism. What must be held as most important is what a student is capable of learning, not what language they are capable of learning it in.

The truth is nobody but the students should profit from education.

Looking upon my 10 years in Southeast Asia I can state categorically that Linguistic imperialism rocks, it has allowed me to live for a decade, the first half of which was spent indulging in such hedonistic debauchery it would have made Nero blush, comfortably in Southeast Asia. Yes there might be some moral questions that remain unanswered, but so long as I’m alright I’ll just keep turning a blind eye and a deaf ear.


Nude Celebrities inside an Apple Cloud?

1307581545_apple_icloud_logo___icon__psd_by_zandog-d3ie24v This week an American reporter brutally had his head hacked off, but what has garnered even more press coverage has been the brutal hacking of an Apple cloud to see nude celebrities. It sounds like a bizarre challenge from a Japanese game show, but it really happened. A hacker by the name of “originalguy”, hacked into Apple’s cloud storage and accessed nude, sexual, personal photos of a number of female celebrities. 4Chan-Leaked-Photos-Hacker-Revealed-Will-Apple-iCloud-And-Reddit-Be-Held-Accountable-For-Nude-Scandal-665x385When I first heard the story I really did not care, in fact my initial thought was stupid, dumb celebrities. Having looked into it a little more and given it time, I am now left thinking stupid, dumb celebrities, but I have managed to develop some sympathy as well.

I see this situation in the following three ways:

  1. Stupid, dumb celebrities;
  2. An inexcusable violation of privacy;
  3. The hypocrisy of seeking justice through the Federal legal system.

Stupid, Dumb Celebrities


These were not just celebrities, they were celebrities that almost exclusively owe their careers to how they look. I was quick to notice Rosanne Bar, Oprah Winfrey, Sandra Bernhard and Cher were not among the victims of this attack, and I’m pretty sure that they’re up there in the Apple cloud also. These celebrities should have been a little more savvy, other than their aesthetic beauty they offer very little else to this world, it stands to reason that their nude pictures would be highly coveted. Now I know that probably somewhere in the Bill of Rights it protects an American’s liberty to take photos of themselves naked, it also grants them the liberty to be and do stupid things. And we can’t punish people for being stupid and dumb because we need someone to run our countries. I myself have done a plethora of idiotic things that I would rather the world didn’t know about (so I’ve not put them on cloud storage). These women were stupid, I’m sure most of them realize this, I’m also sure most of their careers will be more prosperous for this. Ultimately you have to be responsible for the pictures you take and how you store them.

An Inexcusable Violation of Privacy

So the women are to blame a little bit. “originalguy” who hacked the pictures is the villain of the piece, even though he was driven by the same forces that drives his victims, fame, notoriety and publicity, and he’s succeeded. What he did was a gross violation of an individuals privacy which is difficult to defend but I will attempt to do so later. What he has done would be considered abhorrent to any civilized society, but the truth is that our society is driven by this perverse, twisted dynamic. At face value the news is reporting the story for its gross violation of privacy, but what it ends up doing is promoting the fact that this material is out there on the net, “see it quick, before it’s deleted”. A fact that I found particularly interesting  is that one of the celebrities had deleted their pictures but they remained stored in the cloud. Apparently once you have sent an image to a remote storage facility you basically lose the right to control what happens to it, and that I find to be damned scary. This leads to my next point.

The hypocrisy of seeking justice through the Federal legal system


Lawyers representing several of the celebrities effected have suggested they intend to pursue criminal cases under federal laws protecting a citizen’s rights to privacy. This does not seem unreasonable, there has to be some legal redress for what has happened. In a similar instance in 2012, Christopher Chaney was sentenced by a federal judge to serve 10 years in federal prison. Chaney’s crimes were a federal offence and so are “originalguy’s” as the FBI has already begun an investigation. That is all well and good until you cast your mind back and remember a certain Mr. Edward Snowdon.  Snowdon leaked documents revealing details of the global surveillance apparatus of the United States, NSA. The fact is that the same Federal government that prosecutes people for violating privacy via the internet is the same Federal government that goes and does this for a job. The government is able to go through any cloud storage facility, with perhaps the exception of SpiderOak who have made efforts to make it more difficult, with complete impunity, no warrants or need of suspicion, nothing. This surely puts the Federal government in a tenuous position when punishing citizens for an activity they use public funds to do everyday.

To conclude, the celebrities were dumb and stupid, but people should not have to suffer for being dumb and stupid, being dumb and stupid thankfully does not constitute being a crime, it’s a god given right for many of us. The act of hacking personal files is wrong, then to publish them to the world without consent is the work of a deranged mind. The greatest problem in all this is that in our society there is a growing lack of respect for people’s privacy, especially where the internet is concerned. And privacy is privacy, it needs to be respected between citizens and especially between governments and their citizens.

A remarkable week in which the internet was headline news twice, ISIS beheading another American and broadcasting it on the internet, and then naked celebrities popped up. When I stand back to try and appreciate the scale of the internet, how this invention has and continues to shape our lives and societies, I am left feeling unsure as to whether it is worth the benefits we believe it bestows upon us.