The next installment of Star Wars saga has graced our screens, and I’d heard favourable comparisons to the most acclaimed film of the saga, The Empire Strikes Back. Is this comparison merited? And how does Disney’s second Star Wars effort measure up to 2015’s The Force Awakens? 

Rogue One is a very different film to The Force Awakens so it’s as simple as saying one film is better than the other. Rogue One is a dirty, gritty take on the fight between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, that paints the Rebels – some of them at least – as ruthless and cold as any agent of the Empire. The battles are brutal, depicting warfare in a manner never before seen in a Star Wars movie. The characters are less inclined to quip witty remarks and whilst there is a little comic relief, it’s not as prevalent as in other films. I dare say this is the most realistic of the Star Wars films so far, in terms of both the action and the behaviour of the characters. As is to be expected, the CGI work for the ships and battles is incredible, and there is the appearance of a classic character (not Vader) that definitely triggers nostalgia. There is poignancy too, given the connection to A New Hope and the tragic passing of Carrie Fisher.

Vader’s cameo is exactly that, a cameo, but it reaffirms his status as a badass. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. 9/10.

2016 is the year that just keeps punching us. It doesn’t care where, or when, or why, it just keeps coming back to torment us. Today, it has robbed us of the legendary Carrie Fisher.

For many, Carrie Fisher is defined by the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars. This was her most iconic role, but it doesn’t define her. Carrie’s life is one of battles against drugs, depression and the pitfalls of fame, and despite the turbulent experiences she went through, she did not stop battling, and she did not stop making time for the fans. I cannot do justice to her remarkable life here, so I will pay tribute to her in the most fitting way I know. Voyage to the stars Carrie, may the Force always be with you, and rest in peace.

CarrieFisher

Originally I started writing this post all the way back in November. I wanted to prep it early, but as I wrote it and re-read it, something just didn’t feel right. It felt focused on the wrong things, so I’ve obliterated that version and started again, this time, with what really matters.

Family

My family got bigger in 2016, with the arrival of my nephew – that’s right, I became an uncle for the first time! Their little boy is as cute as a button and my daughter is already smitten! She is very happy to have a new cousin to fuss over, and I have to admit, I am very happy too! It’s brought memories flooding back of my little girl at that age – the sleepless nights, the bath-time fun, the nappies (all I can say is WOW to some that my daughter produced), and the sleepy cuddles in daddy’s arms. It’s a remarkable journey, and a learning process, and one that doesn’t end. Nor would I have it any other way. My brother and sister-in-law are fantastic parents and my little nephew is going to be spoilt rotten!

Speaking of which, my daughter got to see The Lion King musical in February. This was a delightful moment, and one that brought back a lot of memories for me. The very first birthday present my wife got me was tickets to see it, all the way back in 2004. 12 years later, we were retracing our steps, this time with our little girl, and she loved it. Experiencing the majesty of The Lion King (see what I did there?) through her eyes was a real joy.

Thanks to the generosity of my parents, my wife and I got a trip to Birmingham in October, to go to Destination Star Trek 50, and among other things, I got to shake hands with George Takei and get my photo taken with the amazing Marina Sirtis, whilst my wife got her photo with William Shatner and got Christopher Lloyd’s autograph! I cannot thank my mum and dad enough for making this happen, and I will always be grateful for the love and kindness they show us.

What I must mention – for to do otherwise would be to do her a disservice – is a word on our beloved cat, Trinity, who left us for the rainbow bridge in October. I have never known a friendlier, happier cat – if you had a lap she would sit on it, and she loved a cuddle. Always good-natured, right to the very end, Trinity will be sorely missed.

Family keeps me grounded, as always, and in what’s been a turbulent year in many ways, family helps me keep perspective.

Sport

Without going into lengthy detail, this year has been a momentous one for Leicester City football club, who pulled off one of the biggest shocks in sporting history when they went from being nearly relegated the year before, to league champions 12 months later. It’s still a ‘pinch me so I’ll believe it’ sort of thing. Less surprising was England’s tame defeat to minnows Iceland in the European Championships – le sigh.

The Olympics were a magnificent contrast, with Team GB doing themselves proud, whilst Lewis Hamilton was narrowly beaten to the 2016 F1 title. My beloved Liverpool FC are resurgent this season – we’ll see how they go in 2017!

Politics

I don’t want to dwell too much on this, save to say that between Brexit and Trump I fear we have taken a huge stride backwards. Time will tell, and for the sake of the world I hope both succeed, but I fear we have set ourselves down a collective path of misfortune.

Weird

If I had to highlight the most surreal and unusual experience I’ve had in 2016, it would be this. Click the link, read the post, and you’ll understand why.

Web

This year I started up something, a project that, whilst not without knocks, is one I feel is worth pursuing. The Coalition of the Brave is an attempt to take a stand against injustice, and is a group project that will hopefully continue to grow in 2017.

I also joined The Nudge Wink Report – another group site, devoted to satirical observations about life. Expect to see more posts from me on there next year!

Celebrities

It’s impossible to talk about 2016 without mentioning the long list of famous names who have left us this year. It seems every time you check out the news, someone else is gone. As I write this, news of George Michael’s death has recently broke, and I dread to think if 2016 has any other deaths left in it. Every one of these famous faces means something to someone, and they all left their mark on the world in remarkable ways. I’ll be charging a glass to them on New Year’s Eve.

So that’s it – 2016 in a nutshell. 2017 holds a lot of uncertainty, but if we face it together, we’ll get through it. I know it.

 

 

 

 

Well, I mentioned the other day that I hadn’t seen this dystopian sci-fi epic, and now I have. Is it everything it was made out to be? Read on and find out!

The version in question was ‘The Final Cut’, which is important to mention because there are several cuts of this film, just to confuse things.

Was it enjoyable? Yes. Was it the amazing film I’ve had people tell me it is? No.

You can’t say that! Think of the children!

Ah, but I can say it, and just did. It was a reasonably good film, and it entertained, but it wasn’t the in-depth exploration of what it means to be human, with serious questions raised about the characters, that I expected it to be. There was the question over who (or what) certain characters were, and for me, it was obvious. Maybe I need to see a different cut, but I can’t say Blade Runner is a classic.

7/10.

Welcome to a rather introspective post. Any of you who follow the Coalition of the Brave will know that I’ve recently had reasons to stop and think about how I approach debate and discussion, and about the nature of open discussion. There are questions here that I have no easy answers to – what is the Coalition intended to be, a safe space for like-minded people, a forum for honest yet respectful conversation between people with opposing points of view, or some sort of weird amalgamation of the two? Can one be both honest and sensitive to opposing positions? 

I strive to be mindful of how my words can impact others. A statement which is harmless to one person can be hurtful to another, so how a point is conveyed can be as important as what that point is. This doesn’t mean I’m not capable of arguing passionately and forcefully, though even then I try hard to avoid descending into outright aggression or rude behaviour. Even here I don’t always succeed, because I am a human being, flawed beyond measure.

So was I right to hint that another site is something of an echo chamber, given the charge made against the Coalition? Am I a hypocrite? 

Yes, I am. You want to know something? I think we all are, in some way shape or form, at various stages in our lives. It’s human nature. We try to protect our own. 

So with that in mind, are my observations about this tweet, and the subsequent points raised in the discussion, valid? I invite you, the reader, to judge:

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the question Paul asks, but the salient detail for me is that the tweet to Lambeth Palace wasn’t made altruisticly. It was (to use the expression I used during the discussion), ‘poking the bear’. If you’ve followed any posts on Blogging Theology (and if you check parts onetwo and three of my dialogue regarding bakers and rights) then you may understand a bit more as to why I raise this point. 

The key thing I wish to stress here is that what Paul did is no different to an experience I had in town a few months ago. I was looking for a particular building and asked a guy (chosen at random) where it was. He started to talk about God and was preaching to me. It was unsolicited and uninvited, and not appreciated. Paul’s question (based on his personal religious position as a Muslim) had nothing to do with the question raised (which was about encouraging job applications). The only genuine connection between the Palace tweet and Paul’s reply is the name Jesus. 

I called Paul out on this, and it didn’t take long before he steered the conversation away from the subject and onto questions about why I hate religion and why I post on his blogs if I hate religion (basically, classic examples of leading questions). I asked him whether he wanted genuine discussion on his site, or whether he just wants people to agree with him. Paul has now decided to put my comments into a moderation queue and the last couple haven’t been published. 

On my own blog, and on the Coalition, I try to let comments through at every opportunity. I don’t like blocking comments or people and try to avoid it, though sometimes it can’t be helped. Nevertheless, my own comments to Paul regarding the apparent ‘echo chamber’ nature of the discussion he appears to want to cultivate there has forced me to look in the mirror. Does this invalidate what I had to say on Blogging Theology? I don’t think so. Nor do I feel I have been rude to him. Then again, I am not him, and I cannot therefore judge what he finds to be rude.

All in all, the conversation has been interesting and enlightening, in more ways than one.

Meerkats are used to the sun and heat of Africa, so you can probably imagine what they think of winter. 

Cold?! Please, anything but cold!

Are we due a white Christmas? I don’t know. Whether we get a dusting of icy powder depends upon who you speak to. I for one wouldn’t completely reject the idea – but this idyllic landscape:

L

Is a far cry from the reality:

Snow is cold. Snow is wet, and it is dirty. It’s nice to look at from a distance, but I for one have to go out in it. It’s not as much fun when you’re running about in it. Can it snow for maybe a day please, then melt?

It’s that time again. That time where I take a deep dive into the internet’s underbelly, to take yet another look at the murky world of MRAs/MGTOWs. Yay.

wp-1475571032670.jpg

Hmm, I have to conclude you’re a glutton for punishment.

Yes, yes I am. It’s why I support Liverpool FC. Moving on…

This article concerns the rise of feminism in Thailand, and how this apparently bad. Their comments will be in pink, anything he quotes will be in blue:

No sooner than masculinity and sexuality have been destroyed by feminism and liberalism in America do the elites who run the The Anglo-American Matrix, purveyors of New World Order propaganda, who are hell-bent on consolidating its power worldwide, set their evil eyes on the sexually un-repressed Land of a Million Smiles.

An Establishment media hit piece on Thai men just came out shaming them for everything from having multiple sex partners, to expecting sex from their wives, to drinking, and expecting their wives to look after the family.

Think its harmless? This type of culturally imperialistic propaganda was astronomically successful at destroying the Western male beginning in the 1960s. And now it’s spreading around the world. Look out, gender equality (a Matrix code phrase which really means female superiority) is set to infect the rest of the world’s traditional cultures if the Elite have their way.

I wasn’t aware that masculinity has been destroyed, unless your concept of masculinity is very fragile and involves demeaning women (and even that warped interpretation of masculinity isn’t dead, though it should be). And how exactly has sexuality been destroyed? What does that sentence even mean?!

Let’s dissect the Establishment media article promoting the same brand of feminist insanity that has turned the West into a demographically moribund basket case of sexual shaming and repression.

The Bangkok Times recently published this feminist propaganda piece, which oddly reads as if it could have been published in the Establishment’s own New York Times.

A survey has found that over 70% of Thai men have secret sexual relationships with women while almost half of them commit violence against their partners.

Tying secret sexual relationships in with “domestic violence” (women can beat the shit out of men, but men can’t smack a bitch) is a psychological tactic designed to paint normal male sexual behavior in a bad light.

Emphasis mine. Actually, the Bangkok Times isn’t tying anything to anything, it makes a statement, one it can hopefully back up, that describes two different means through which men in Thailand are hurting women. Later in his rant, they will parade their double-standard quite happily, but for now, let’s focus on the most disturbing part of his final paragraph…

It isn’t acceptable for anyone to beat the ‘shit’ out of anyone. Note that he doesn’t actually criticise the statistics here – if the survey’s results are accurate, nearly 50% of Thai men have carried some form of attack on their partners – and he dismisses this. This particular point will come up again during the article, and he remains silent on the issue.

The survey was carried out by the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) among 1,617 men aged between 20-35 in Bangkok and selected provinces.

The left is methodical and surgical in their marginalization of normal male behavior and normal heterosexual mores. They do “studies” which only get government funding if the outcome is already known – i.e. if the outcome of such studies paints men in a bad light. In this case, it’s no doubt to measure whether their propaganda techniques have been successful at emasculating a specific population subset.

The results showed that almost 72% admitted to having several secret sexual partners. In addition,  57% were liable to throw objects when angry and 69% went out on drinking sessions, according to a gender equality staff member of the foundation.

Anglo American women now openly brag about desiring and bedding multiple sexual partners, often while their “husbands” or boyfriends play the role of cuckold for them, while men around the world are now shamed for banging multiple chicks. The crucial difference is, for men banging multiple partners has been a genetic necessity since human beings climbed out of the slime due to the innate dishonestly, manipulation, and infidelity of females.

Riiiiight. So it’s perfectly ok for men to sleep around (apparently it’s a biological imperative), but wrong for women to do it?

The thing is, his ‘point’ here completely misses the point. If you’re single, then have as many sexual partners as you want (and this should apply to both men and women). If you are in a committed relationship, is that behaviour fair on your partner? I can’t work out if he’s critical of women sleeping around, of married women sleeping around, or both, but he is awfully quick to condone men sleeping around as somehow necessary, and once again doesn’t utter a word of condemnation about the violence.

Cliff’s Notes: Women love to cuck Beta males. Men evolved to have multiple sexual partners to ensure they made a genetic contribution to the next generation. Women do it because they want the seed of a bad boy and the financial resources of Old Reliable, Mr. Beta male.

What a load of rubbish (much like the whole Alpha/Beta thing). Not to mention hypocrisy. He is rallying in support of ‘Alpha’ behaviour and sleeping around, but this sort of man is hardly the sort of the man who will be able to provide a stable environment to raise children. Meanwhile, he attacks women for seeking out partners who can provide very same! Well guess what, maybe that’s because women are rejecting the idea that a ‘bad boy’ who sleeps around and doesn’t give a damn about them is a demonstration of masculinity. Maybe women want commitment and a stable, secure environment to raise children in (assuming they want children at all). Maybe what women want is for the double-standard in regards to sleeping around to be dropped.

Some of the talking points we are going over should sound frighteningly familiar to you. Feminists may slightly alter their tactics when targeting a population, but the boilerplate language stays pretty much the same, even when reported in foreign newspapers.

A great number of the men believed that birth control is the sole responsibility of the woman.

So, enlighten us, feminists. My body, My Choice only applies to killing an unborn fetus, it doesn’t apply to preventing that pregnancy in the first place? And believe us when we say My body, My Choice will soon apply to the male utility value you now take for granted.

Hang on – the point the article makes is that women are to be considered solely responsible for birth control – apparently this is not an issue to the men that want to spread their seed freely and without impediment, despite the situation it might land the woman in. ‘Fire and forget’ is an expression which comes to mind, and damn the consequences. His rant about body and choice misses the point completely – why should men have no responsibility when it comes to birth control? It’s men in America who seem to believe they can set the rules on abortion – one might argue they’re taking that responsibility – yet they aren’t responsible for whether they slip on a condom? Riiiiight.

Oh, that sentence in bold? I’ll be returning to that later.

One-third of those polled accepted that married women were “owned” by their husbands and they must be responsible for household chores and looking after the family.

See how feminist boilerplate twists and distorts traditional sex roles that have worked for eons? Feminists want male resources and utility value to be owned by the collective but don’t want women to have any responsibilities to men or family.

I refer back to that bolded text, and I feel the need to yet again point the base hypocrisy here. He has no objection to women being regarded as property, and zero objection to women being reduced to utilities (clean the house, look after the kids, don’t have any other ambitions). He’s flat out stated men should be free to sleep around, as a matter of biology – well, how can a man look after his family in those circumstances?

He ought to figure what exactly it is that he wants to argue for – a strong ‘Alpha’ male who can be the head of the family and look after it and support it – or a strong ‘Alpha’ male who sleeps around because biology tells him to, and hang the consequences.

It also emerged that 45% owned up to physically hurting their partners when they were drunk and around 42% said that they pressured them to have sex with them.

Again, we see Establishment media attempting to tie together two disparate themes. One has nothing to do with the other, and yet physical violence is tied to men wanting sex from their partners. When the media does this, they’re manipulating the audience. Also, notice the language setting up the narrative that women control sex and men are just dogs who have to be thrown a bone once in a while. This is the same garbage that destroyed the flower of youth and sexuality in the West.

Once again there is zero condemnation of hurting women. There is also zero respect for a woman’s right to determine how she uses her body. The existing narrative (the one the article is critical of) is that men are free to regard women as objects to use and enjoy, not the other way around, despite his argument. Should either men or women ‘control’ sex? What does that even mean? If it means people make their own choices about who, when and how, then that is what’s best for everyone.

The survey results were issued on Monday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This year’s “what men can do to stop violence” theme is set to raise public awareness to address the problem.

How about a “what women can do to stop financial exploitation of men” theme to address that problem? A “what women can do to stop being degenerate whores” theme is way overdue to come along in Anglo America, as well.

Once again he has the opportunity to voice support for movements to reduce violence against women, and he doesn’t. Instead, he tries to shift the focus to the behaviour of women, and doesn’t back that up either.

This is not the first time Thai men have been shown in a bad light. A survey by Durex in 2012 found Thai men to be the most unfaithful lovers in the world with 54% admitting to having affairs, followed by South Korea at 34% and Malaysia 33%.

Translation: Thai men have been repeatedly targeted for assimilation into the feminist collective. This a a collective that claims to worship at the altar of diversity while it destroys true cultural diversity. It assails men for being unfaithful while promoting female infidelity.

It’s as if a matriarchy that will turn human beings into the equivalent of a swarm of bees, with one queen and countless Betas toiling for her attention is the end goal of the propagandists who push this insanity.

Actual translation – women don’t want to be treated as second-class citizens and they have the right to want to move away from practices that do that. They have the right to not be harassed into sex. They have the right to not be beaten by their husbands. They have the right to want their partners to be faithful (after all, He cries so much about women being unfaithful, perhaps he should understand how it feels when the roles are reversed).

Feminists want men the world over to behave like the effeminate Western males they hate so much, rather than being accepting of the fact that traditional cultures with traditional sex roles have as much a right to exist as they do. They’re cultural imperialists who are everything they claim to hate, and are the very antithesis of diversity.

Hopefully, feminism killing the vitality of the West will cause the rest of the world to take note and learn a lesson before it’s too late and we all become One with the feminist Borg.

What is a traditional sex role? One where women are expected to be subordinate to male desires and never speak up? One where as part of that expectation men are free to beat their wives and sleep around? Traditional culture can co-exist with equality, but sadly this idea seems to be beyond his grasp.