Things Worth Your Attention: Week Ending 4/12/16
Never in human history have we been privy to so much information. It would be redundant to say, Because of the Internet, because the internet ceased being so much a thing and is more of a sort of everything. I get my information from news-aggregate services like Apple News and Google News, both permanently available to me in my pocket, so that I might put holes in the echo chamber with the occasional Daily Mail or News Corpse article. I find that a ratio of one right-wing-sensationalism for every dozen The Guardians is just enough to keep you socially conscious without going full inner-city trust-fund potter poet who smells like pot-pourri.
But with great access to information comes an even greater responsibility to make sure you’re engaging with outlets and issues worth your ever-dwindling time. Recently, Macedonian teens preyed upon a general willingness to absorb fake news, profiteering on our lack of scepticism while affecting the US election. Social media’s desire to keep you on their platform means that you’re fed news according to their interpretation of your interests, thus keeping your preconceived prejudices and already-held opinions bolstered and unwavering.
That’s why your favourite know-all/do-nothings at Global Hobo figure that you need a weekly current affairs hot take, a little curation of the things I found important, that deserve greater analysis, and that worry me and/or piss me off. Things Worth Your Attention is by no means an exhaustive list, and my opinions are not meant to be definitive, so be sure to voice your dissent in the comments here and tell me why I’m wrong, and I’ll be sure to retort like a precious butt-hurt baby.
Liberté, egalité, fascism
The frogs are due to go to the polls next year, and things are looking grim for progressives, Europhiles, anybody who doesn’t appreciate Russian meddling, the decimation of the Syrian resistance, anti-Muslim hysteria, an erosion of gay rights, etc. Following a disgusting global surge towards the populist right (Brexit, Trump, the resurrection of One Nation, et al), the 2017 French election looks like it will be contested by right-wing xenophobic Russian puppet, Marine Le Pen, and right-wing Catholoic conservative Russian puppet, François Fillon.
This is concerning, because both candidates’ pro-Kremlin agenda will mean a weakening of NATO, a potential dissolution of the European free market, and doom and disaster for the Syrian opposition to barrel-bombing Bashar. Here at Global Hobo we have a particular affinity for a strong, and united, Europe. Fuck changing your liras to francs and again into pesos, fuck having your dubious European legality challenged every time you want to duck across to Portugal for some tarts, and doubly triple fuck a world that is moving away from borderless unity and cooperation and devolving into a hodgepodge of competing national interests. Whatever it is that you think of the European Union, it has prevented war on the continent for the longest time yet, and ol’ KGB Vlad would like nothing more than to see the union broken, so the supposed glory of the USSR can be restored in a post-war land grab.
Not to mention that both likely Presidential candidates are running on an anti-Muslim platform that plays straight into ISIS’ hands and will have a devastating effect on global security. Let’s just hope that the French socialists can get their shit together before the first round of elections, buoyed by grossly unpopular President François Hollande’s announcement that he won’t be contesting, and losing, the elections next year).
Australian politics are fucked
…but that’s not really news. While the humanity is seemingly on a collision course with oblivion, down in Australia we’re furiously debating how much backpackers are taxed, with every day further highlighting how tenuous Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is, how desperate the Labor Party is for a point of difference other than Turnbull’s political impotence, the rabid opportunism of the Greens, and how much a tumultuous shit show Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party is.
On that last point, what did you expect? Like all xenophobic populists, Pauline and her party are merely vessels for more sinister Machiavellian interests, a means by which to appropriate a larger share of influence without the intention to actually deliver on the platforms they run on. There’s a certain swathe of Australia that claims to put their thirst for “change” in Hanson and her motley cronies’ openly racist and deeply irrational policies, despite being let-down and burned time and time again by this very party.
If you think that Pauline Hanson is going to make your life better you’re either a fucking idiot or a goddamn racist who’s willing to watch the world burn just in the hope that a brown family won’t sully your redneck wonderland. Fuck you.
Fidel Castro is dead
Seriously, we thought he’d been dead for years. Doesn’t his younger brother, Raul, look sprightly! And while there is a certain romanticism in Fidel’s life and achievements, and a tendency for lazy lefties to appropriate a fondness for his anti-Americanism, let’s not beat around the bush that was fertilised with a dictatorship, watered with nepotism and had the aphids blasted off by firing squads.
Fidel was bad, Batista might have been worse, and apparently Communism didn’t work out, but that may have been because of American sanctions. You probably shouldn’t have strong feelings about Fidel Castro, either for or against him, unless you or your family are Cubans. Everything else is too wound up in propaganda and is really just going to act as a mascot for your pre-existing ideological and geopolitical predilections.
Did we miss anything? What are we wrong about? Do you feel the need to chastise our uneven interest in first-world events at the expense of developing world tragedies? You’re probably a wanker! Light up the comments board.
Ex-editor of Australia’s Surfing Life, current producer and host of 50 Fiestas, Barcelona resident and drinker of all the wine, every last drop of it.