Do Not Touch The Celebrities

For us regular Joes encounters with celebrities can be a bit overwhelming. We’re used to seeing these people on screen or stage, so for these larger than life to be in Tesco or whatever is a bit of a shock.

Reality TV has changed the nature of celebrity and opened up what was an exclusive club to a wider group but TOWIE, Teen Moms and Big Brother housemates aside most celebs exist on an elevated platform and can be viewed as modern day royalty or the subject of almost religious devotion and idolisation.

I think this is why people can be idiots around celebrities. In my limited interactions with celebrities I’ve managed to keep my head although I do regret bothering Stewart Lee in a Swansea comic shop.

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You can feel the awkwardness

But others seem to not manage this, and I’ve read about two celebrities who have had fans cross the line of manners and personal space.

First up is Norman Reedus who plays crossbow wielding badass Daryl in The Walking Dead. During a photo op at a TWD convention (I must now begin begging MWF to go to one), Reedus was posing with a female fan who admits she “lost her mind”. Turning she bit the actor on the chest and was tossed out of the convention.

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Reedus was naturally freaked out, but seems to have taken it well and won’t press charges, although may be more defensive if/when he poses with a fan again.

The second celebrity to have fans cross a line is Amber Rose, who stated in an interview that she is regularly groped by fans who seem not to realise that’s not cool.

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Rose

Rose said that she thinks people think it’s okay because she’s quite “cool” with fans and takes photos with them. Of course, a photo isn’t permission to cop a feel, and it’s worrying that it even needs to be stated.

Rose’s admission prompted a predictably dimwitted response as people attempted to blame her clothing, as if she has nobody to blame but herself for showing a little bit of skin. I hope these people don’t go to beaches or they’ll probably end up in jail, as they seem to think it’s fine to grab on someone.

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Skimpy clothing is not an invitation, or permission to get busy hands. It’s just what a woman has chosen to wear. Similarly because of Rose’s job as a model and stripper, people think it’s fine. Nope, regardless of job a woman’s body is her own and you don’t touch her without her being okay with it.

I just think folks need to remember that celebrities are still people and that just because they’re in the public eye doesn’t make them public property. Maybe there should be a celebrities commandments or something:

1. Thou shalt not touch without permission.

2. Thou shalt be polite.

3. Thou shalt not take a photo without asking. For it be Creepy.

4. If a celeb is eating, leave them alone.

5. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

6. They may not be massively cheerful or friendly, but remember you are a stranger to them and they have their own stuff going on.

7. Even if they make their living getting naked you still don’t get to touch without them saying it’s okay.

8. Make sure you have the right celebrity.

9. As always, don’t be a d**k.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


So, here’s the story from A-Z

Writing prompt: Make a list of alphabetical advice.

Ask when you don’t know something.
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Be excellent to each other.

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Call out unacceptable things. Staying silent only helps them continue. If you know something is wrong, do something about it.

Don’t be a d**k.

Everything looks better after a cup of tea.

Find whatever makes you happy and embrace it, even if it’s not cool. (Unless what you like harms others, in which case stop doing it.

Get rid of anyone who treats you badly. Life is hard enough without having people dragging you down.

Help whenever you can. A minor act of kindness from you might mean the world to someone else.

If you’re in a hole, stop digging.

Jokes should always go up. Mock the powerful and successful, not the downtrodden.

Keep your opinions to yourself sometimes. You don’t need to voice them all, and sometimes it’s better to remain silent.

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Let it go. Very few things are worth carrying a grudge or resentment over, it’s a lot better to just move on.

Making mistakes is fine, not learning from them isn’t.

Never give up.

Observe other people. You could learn something, or pick up something others have missed.

People deserve second chances, don’t condemn because of who they used to be.

Quit putting yourself down. If you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to?

Respect that people are different.

Socks don’t have to match. I saw a post about throwing out a sock because it’s no longer a pair. Wasteful.

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Treat people how you want to be treated.

Under no circumstances should you compare yourself to celebs or models. They have make up, assistants and Photoshop to help them. You don’t, and you’re doing fine by yourself. Love that haircut, by the way.

Vote when you can. It shows you care and it can make a difference.

Watch The Princess Bride, seriously, it’s a great movie and you’ll feel better for it.

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Xpect to face challenges, like coming up with advice that starts with “x”.

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”- Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Always try to see where someone else is coming from, don’t just dismiss them because you disagree.

Zombies could happen, have a plan and remember to go for the head.

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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Aaaaaalvin! Or why Bournemouth council suck

There are some stories that just get your back up. Moments where someone acts with such a degree of unpleasantness that you find yourself swearing at the newspaper/TV/computer you heard about it from.

The other day I got mad at a whole town council. The council of Bournemouth on the South coast of England. I don’t think I’ve ever been to the town, or if I have it didn’t make much of an impression.

So what had the representatives of the town done?

Well, at the bus station they play Alvin and the Chipmunks at full blast. All night.

I used to watch the Chipmunks as a kid, but even then I got that they were kind of annoying. But having to listen to them while waiting for a bus? That would suck.

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What makes it worse is the reason for the decision, as Bournemouth have chosen the vocal vermin in order to stop homeless people sleeping at the bus station.

Now, I can appreciate that their may be concerns over public safety or crime, or whatever, but this still seems rather callous. It’s the middle of winter for pity’s sake! The bus station offers shelter from the elements and safety for these vulnerable people and the council have taken that away from them. Well, unless they want Guantanamo style torments.

If they wanted to get homeless people to stop going to the bus station there were kinder solutions. They could have opened new shelters, which would have been far more helpful and utilised empty buildings (for more about empty buildings being used for the homeless read this). This could have also provided jobs for the staff at the shelters and given those using them some stability and access to services which could help them.

But Bournemouth council seemed to have opted for a crueller and easier option, which they should be ashamed of. They have turned their back on vulnerable people, and deprived them of somewhere they could get a bit of sleep in relative safety. Instead they have been left at the mercy of the elements.

Shape up, Bournemouth!

Story here.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Crew cuts for all

As we sat watching Ghost Rider the other night MWF was on Facebook when she exclaimed “You’re gonna flip!”
She then preceded to show me a story, or rather comments on a story that had annoyed her and she guessed would push my buttons. She knows me so well.
The story was about a 13 year old girl who was sent home from school because her hair didn’t fit school rules on uniform (here). The girl had got leopard print dye on her hair and on her first day she was sent home.
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Now, first of all I don’t think your school has any right to tell you to wear your hair. As a teenager I has long, scruffy hair and I think had my school told me to cut it I think I would have told them “hell no”. Bad enough they made me wear a tie every day and an itchy jumper, but that was their call. My hair? That’s mine and I have that all the time, outside of school as well, so frankly the school has no right to dictate how I wore it.
MWF agrees, being someone who dyes her hair regularly and believing in the basic principles of choice, individuality and self-expression. The school has over stepped and let’s face it can a haircut really stop you (or others) from working and succeeding?
What MWF knew would really work me up were majority ents from various Facebook users.
Good grief.
What an outpouring of vile, narrow minded drivel that was.
The vast majority seemed to think that the school was right and didn’t hold back from attacking the girl or her mother. Yes, they went in hard on a 13 year old girl, insulting her, calling her ugly and even trotting a bit of homophobia for good measure. Classy folks.
Here’s a selection:
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A quick response to these two. First commenter, is it really the responsibility of a kid to be an example to other kids? Shouldn’t parents be setting the example, in which case I hope you don’t have kids as you’re teaching them to blindly follow pointless rules and that it’s okay to insult a random stranger based on looks. Stay classy.
Commenter two, wow what a an inspiring story, but I put it to you that just because you were a spineless little wimp who cracked at the first sign of disapproval doesn’t mean everyone is.
It seemed that a school stripping their students of any individuality was fine by them. Perhaps they fancy a system in the style of North Korea where there’s an approved list of hairstyles and you have to pick from that list.
Or maybe that’s still too much freedom of choice and room to be different, let’s just shave everybody’s heads.
What these people failed to grasp that the school was punishing a student for being different, for trying something out. She’s thirteen for crying out loud! Let her try out a different look, what harm does it do anyone else?
I feel the school was heavy handed and in the wrong and I firmly believe that no organisation should be able to dictate how you choose to look. It’s an infringement of personal freedom and the ability to be yourself, and I can’t help feel that most of the people posting comments would kick up if their boss announced that it was skinheads all around one Monday morning. Unless they’re in the military, in which case they’ve already surrendered quite a bit of their individuality.
Even at a basic level the lack of sympathy shown for a young girl who was clearly upset by events was grim reading. What is it about keyboards or screens that makes some folks turn into callous, mean spirited little twerps?
Rant over, I’ll let you get back to whatever you’re up to and may your hair grow free, in the style you want. Unless you’re rocking a man-bun in which case, cut it off, you’re only gonna regret the photos in a few years time.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Campaign name inspired by whaling? Yeah, you’re probably in the wrong: Thoughts on Project Harpoon

Sometimes it’s really hard to maintain my cheerful, “people are basically good” attitude. Most folks are just trying to get through their day to day and not harm or bother anyone if they can help it.
But often you get these outbursts of nastiness and cruelty. This happens on a large scale and in smaller, petty ways, and both get to me.
I just wish more people paused before acting and followed the golden rule (treat others as you want to be treated).
The internet, which can be used for great things, is often a breeding ground for petty cruelty. The latest online unpleasantness is an odious campaign called “Project Harpoon”.
Like many campaigns it targets women, particularly the larger ladies. Hence it’s nasty name, the kind of thing a particularly obnoxious teenage boy would find hilarious.
The whole campaign, hiding behind the banner of “skinny acceptance” sees photos of plumper women photoshopped to make them thinner. This has been done to celebrities like Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy and Meghan Trainor (see below), but more distressingly to regular women who post pictures of themselves and online.
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Some of these women post their pictures as part of their process of becoming comfortable with their bodies and expressing themselves. A process helps the viewers as well, inspiring women to realize that people of the same size can be attractive.
That these pictures are being used in this hateful campaign is cruel, these women have found the confidence to put themselves out there, often after years of the media telling them that sexy means skinny. Just as they gain confidence it is attacked and undermined.
This is fat shaming and bullying, with nothing to do with “skinny acceptance” if that’s what you want, post pictures of skinny women or leave positive comments on the pictures that are already out there.
We don’t need fat or skinny acceptance, we need acceptance of the variety that exists in human appearance and that beauty doesn’t have anything to do with clothes size or weight.
You hope these idiots grow out of it, and in years to come look back in shame at their actions. It’s just not cool, and I’d hazard a guess that we’re not dealing with ideal specimens here, and they would not appreciate someone retouching and being sarky about them, especially in photos they were happy and proud of.
Project Harpoon represents the worse kind of petty cruelty and thoughtlessness we are capable of. I pray the women who fall victim to it rise above and realize that these sad losers are the minority and that all body shapes can be beautiful. And what matters most is how they feel about their body. Love yourself folks.
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Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


An ugly glimpse at the gutter

It’s been a year since Robin Williams died, an event which highlighted that even someone who brings joy to millions can suffer from depression. Although it pales into insignificance next to the heartbreak his family must have experienced, it was a death which hit his fans hard as well.

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For many people, including myself, Robin Williams was a massive part of my childhood and films like Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire, Jack and Jumanji meant a lot to us. As I grew up more films joined the list (Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting and The Birdcage), and off screen he always seemed like a good dude.
At 30 celebrity deaths have lost their ability to truly upset me. A few have been shocks, and in all cases I feel sympathy for the families, but none have wrecked me. When my Mum was younger she cried over the death of her rock idol, Marc Bolan, which unfortunately fell on her birthday.

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For me, Williams’ death is the closest I’ve come. The circumstances, the connection with my youth, the realisation that he had clearly been suffering for quite some time, all of it was upsetting. I wasn’t alone in this, and every Williams movie we’ve watched since has upset MWF.
A year has passed and it’s still hard to think that such a talented, successful and well loved person could be brought so low. But that’s the thing with depression, it doesn’t give a damn who you are, it’s a remorseless, destructive disease that chips away at who you are and removes all hope from your life.
Sorry, that was rather bleak.
What made me want to write this blog was anger. Pure anger.
At work I saw a trashy magazine which had splashed across its cover a story about Williams’ suicide note being revealed.
I looked at this rag and seethed. This is not news, this is gutter journalism at its very worse. Who goes digging for something like that? The last words left by a man suffering from depression, clearly meant for his loved ones.
It’s an intensely personal thing and one that the rest of the world has no business knowing.
Even by the low, low standards of celebrity journalism this is shameful.
I’ve wanted to be a journalist since my early teems (part of the reason I started blogging), but I can’t imagine ever sitting there and typing out what someone left as a suicide note, especially to put it forward as entertainment. How can you justify that? How can you look at yourself in the mirror after that?
You’re not exposing corruption or bringing wrongdoers to justice, you’re just trading on people’s morbid curiosity and invading someone’s privacy. Worse, you’re dredging up a family’s pain and grief, and opening that up to the world.
And that’s not cool.
Why don’t these people exercise a bit of compassion? A little bit of decency and respect for another human being and their privacy. Just pause for a second and wonder how they’d feel if it was their loved one who’s personal life was being shared with everyone.
Robin Williams deserves to be treated with respect, and who we should remember for his talent and achievements. I don’t know why anyone would want to read a stranger’s suicide note, or buy the kind of shameless mag that would run it.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Annoying cinema idiots: I blame the parents. And the kids.

Today MWG and I went to see Jurassic World (review to follow), and while the new Premiere cinema is quite nice (reclining seats!) and the movie ticked a lot of boxes the whole experience was slightly ruined by other members of the audience.
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Before the movie started a woman entered with three young children. And I mean very young, under 7s. What the hell is she thinking? I said to  myself. Those kids are way too young for this flick. I know it’s a 12A and they have an adult with them, but exercise some common sense!
Luckily, aside from one incident where one of the nippers needed a break from the dino-carnage, not a peep was heard from them.
Of course, it might just have been drowned out by the obnoxious kids seated around me.
A group of boys aged between 10 and 13 were sitting, split in two, half in the back row over my right shoulder and three right in front of MWG and I.
I don’t want to go on a “kids today…” rant because these pint sized prats might just be exceptions, but my gods they were infuriating.
The ones in the back row were just loud. I get making the odd, hushed comment to a friend, but they were jabbering away and laughing, making stupid jokes and generally being annoying.
I shot them a glare, but was forced to actually tell them to shut up after a while. Luckily MWG went and had a word with the staff and they were dragged out for a warning, returning sheepishly and they were relatively quiet after this.
The ones in front of us, however, were insufferable brats from beginning to end. They jabbered a bit, but their major problem was the fact that they began tossing popcorn at each other, which they found hilarious.
It annoyed me immensely because (a) it was distracting (b) it was childish and their dimwitted enjoyment grated and (c) some poor cinema employee was going to have to pick up after them.
The popcorn throwing intensified near the end of the movie, and I managed to restrain myself from telling them to pack it in.
All I needed was to see was someone using their phone and I’d have won annoying audience bingo.
I thought back to my teenage cinema visits. My friends and I would make little gags to each other, but we weren’t loud enough to disturb anyone else.
And yes we occasionally left a mess, but always as a result of clumsiness, not acting like we were at a chimp’s tea party.
What the hell is wrong with people? Why would they think it was acceptable, didn’t they think about the poor schmo who has to clean up later?
Have they never been to the cinema before? Or if they have what the hell were their parents doing?
I loved going to the cinema as a kid, but my sisters and I knew the basic rules- stay seated, don’t make a mess and be quiet, because other people were trying to watch the film. All of us grasped this concept, so why do others not?
I think it boils down to parents not bothering. I went to a film once where a little boy ran around for much of the film, which was really annoying, and his parents did sod all to so sort it.
As a parent you’re responsible for teaching your kid how to behave in different situations, and the cinema is different from watching a film in your house because it’s not your house and there are other people there.
I swear when I have kids I’m bringing them up to follow the cinema code of conduct created by Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, reprinted below.
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Yes, they’ll know how to behave and if they don’t, well, they’ll be dragged out of screenings early.
Seriously, parents teach your kids how to behave. When the act up, tell them off, because it’s not my job to tell your kids to shut the hell up half way through a film.
And kids, don’t throw popcorn in the cinema, it’s not funny, it makes more work for someone and it makes everyone think you’re an idiot who shouldn’t be going to the cinema unless Mummy’s there with you. Basically, in the cinema, like everywhere else remember these words of wisodm- don’t be a d**k.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


UKIP are wrong about Foreign Aid

UKIP launched their manifesto today and one of their policies is to reduce foreign aid spending.

This is exactly the kind of policy that ‘Kippers will like because they probably assume that a massive was flies out every year so that Johnny Foreigner gets a pool or something, when it really should be used on reintroducing national service or building a giant wall around the UK.

For me it was just depressing to think that this is what might be a deciding factor in how some people vote.

“Send money to victims of natural disasters or the developing world? Bah! Not on my watch.”

You must be one callous dude or dudette to think like that.

And before anyone chips in with “charity begins at home”, tell me exactly how UKIP are sticking up for our poorest and most vulnerable?

The thing is on issues like this the general public will, sadly listen. This is because they are pessimists or morons, sometimes both. A study a few years back (link) revealed that the general public tend to think things are worse (subjectively) than they actually are.

Foreign aid is one of these.

In 2013 the UK hit its foreign aid target. That target was 0.7% of the gross national income.

0.7%.

That’s pretty damn low already.

The Guardian (link) worked out this was £180 per person. Or £15 a month.

That’s not a lot.

UKIP would argue that its wrong for each UK citizen to be deprived of £180 a year. Well, that’s not the issue. The government would find somewhere else to spend it, and probably somewhere less moral than foreign aid.

Personally I’m glad and proud that the UK aids other nations. But maybe I’m just soft or, you know, possessing compassion.

Not only are UKIP wrong, but contradictory. They should embrace foreign aid spending.

UKIP are extremely anti-immigrant (unless they’ve married them) and this xenophobic nature lurks behind the “cheery bloke with a pint” photo ops. It’s little wonder the party is repeatedly hit with racism scandals, racism being xenophobia’s nastier big brother.

The thing is if you don’t want immigrants the sending money abroad is a good idea. It’ll improve the situation there, and the nicer it is there the less likely they’ll want to come over here.

Nige and co. should want to spend more- a theme park in every Polish town, ponies for all Nigerians and free WiFi coverage for every inch of Romania.

Of course, that’d be a harder sell. Far easier to ignore the facts and scare a bunch of heartless, pessimistic morons.

The kind of people who have ensured that Comic Relief has to point out they help UK causes too.

When did we get so heartless, Britain?

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


It’s not the strangers he had to worry about

Disclaimer: I’m writing this on Saturday, because I’m going to be away for a few days this week, so if anything massive happens between now and Tuesday, or a news story comes up that relates to this post, I apologize for it appearing tactless or like I’m ignoring a major event/story. Thanks.

Raising kids can be hard, especially when it comes to making them aware of the dangers in the world around them. On the one hand, you need them to be aware that they can’t be too trusting and of “stranger danger”, but at the same time you don’t want to utterly destroy their innocence and turn them into terrified, nervous people who are afraid to leave their house.

Of course, back in the 80s parents had help, He-Man would tell your kids not to talk to strangers after defeating Skeletor or you could go to the font of wisdom and good advice that was Mr T, and ,speaking as a child of the 80s, let me just say if Mr T tells you not to do something, you don’t do it, fool.

mr t's commandments

So, how do you broach the subject with a kid who’s maybe a bit too friendly and trusting? Well, call me old fashioned, but surely the way to teach your kids about something is to sit them down, have a chat and explain things to them? Yeah? I mean, that’s how Atticus Finch worked, and he’s the kind of parent we should all aspire to.

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But to some the “actually talking to your child” approach can seem too difficult, and what’s far better to do is to stage a fake kidnapping of the child, threaten him with a gun and the potential of “sex slavery” and tie him up for a bit. I mean, there’s no way that could possibly have a negative effect on a 6 year old, right?

To be honest, if that had happened to me, I probably wouldn’t trust strangers, but I can guaran-damn-te that I definitely wouldn’t trust my family again.

This story, crazy as it sounds, is actually what a bunch of dumbasses did over in the States. The family from Missouri decided that their six year old relative, was “too nice, too open, too polite”. Before I crack on, can someone be too polite?

Anyway, the family enlisted a friend to stage the kidnapping and then proceeded to terrorize the kid for four hours. The kid was probably a total mess at the end when he was sent upstairs to have a lecture about “stranger danger”. Here’s the thing you blithering idiots, you could just have had the lectures and not scared and traumatized your child!

The kid understandably talked about it after, mentioning it at school, where staff decided to get in touch with the cops, who arrested the players in this bizarre tale and moved the kid to protective custody, going on to send him to another relative, hopefully one who’s a little bit more sensible.

What truly boggles the mind is that the family apparently still don’t think they did anything wrong and they were just trying to educate the child, which sounds like the blind leading the blind. Hopefully they’ll be punished and the kid can grow up and live a normal life with folks who aren’t utter nutbars.

Seriously, not one of the four people involved had the sense to stop and think, “You know what, this is all sounding a bit stupid. Let’s just sit him down and have a chat. Or buy him a Mr T album.”

Having a child is a massive responsibility, and these idiots don’t seem to be up to that.

Story.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Nudes?

When I was single I dabbled in online dating, but thankfully I found MWG and I’ve escaped that confusing, nerve wracking world for the better (even if she has belched spectacularly, right in my face).

One site I never got involved with was Tinder, because it seemed totally bizarre that you’d make a judgment based on a single photo. Yeah, that’s totally why, not some massive fear that everyone would swipe left when confronted by my face. It took a long time to win MWG over, and wear down her defences, love at first sight might exist, but not when you have a mug like mine.

Anyway, while I’ve never joined Tinder I’ve “played” on it a lot. Playing on Tinder involves using your friend’s account and involves using one or more of these strategies for approving profiles:

  1. People you think your friend would go for
  2. People you think your friend would never go for
  3. The flat out weirdos (by this I mean people who have interesting photos where they’re dressed bizarrely not the ones who seem properly scary)

You then see the responses. I’ve played this for a few friends and I’m not alone, as I’ve seen MWG play for friends too. Although she avoids the weirdos because she’s a lot nicer than me.

Anyway, the other day I was playing for a female friend, and actually going for guys that might actually work out for her.

A few guys sent messages, and I typed for my friend, in a mainly jokey fashion. Most of them were okay but one guy instantly annoyed me. His opening gambit was “Nudes?”

That’s all it said. No run up, no attempt to make even a minor connection just straight to asking for nude photos. I mean, dude, come on.

Who does that? (Now is when lots of girls will be going, “Duh, men!” At their screen but I thought even internet pervs would lay some groundwork first)

I’ve been with MWG for six months now, and I’d still ask a bit more politely for a naked picture. In fact the only time I’d send the message “Nudes?” Is if their display name was Nudes and it’d be more “Seriously, your name is Nudes?” And even then I’d probably use the longer sentence.

I know Tinder’s used a lot for hookups, but even then show some damn respect. Just because someone’s looking for casual sex doesn’t mean you can be rude to them.

My friend wasn’t looking for casual sex, and if I’m being honest doesn’t look like someone who’s likely to send nude photos to a complete stranger.

I guess that’s a judgment on my behalf, and I’m not sure what a nude photo sender would look like, I think it’s safe to assume that nobody is opening their conversation by sending a nude photo and I doubt the guy has much success with this approach.

I hope not, and I also hope that when the rejections pile up he at least has the self-awareness to acknowledge the fault probably lies with his approach and not the women he’s approached.

For one thing he’s coming off as a total creep and secondly, surely everyone’s a bit more careful about sending nudes nowadays, thanks to the Jennifer Lawrence scandal and stuff. I mean, you hear about “revenge porn” and that’s from people who have some emotional connection, or at least had, to the subject of the photos. Why would you trust a total stranger with a naked photo?

Especially some rude douche off Tinder. Seriously, guy, not cool.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.