Smitten by neutrality

Recently, Youtube had been suggesting a video how American news used to be less biased, made by Youtuber Ryan Chapman.

Inexplicably, I was hesitant to click despite my interest in such topic; for some reasons, I had a bad feeling about the video. But, after a few days, I set aside my judgement and clicked.

He elaborated on how olden days American journalists tried their best to be unbiased by avoiding emotionally-charged language and speaking tone. He also acknowledged that, while the practice was almost universally upheld, there were rare exceptions.

At a glance, it sounds like a flawless content. He methodically and neutrally explained the situation while also acknowledging the nuances. But, it becomes infuriating when his conclusion is that neutral presentation is the only thing it takes to be unbiased.

Yes, restraining our presentation style does encourage us taking heed of our own beliefs. But, before we make the reports, we still have to choose which stories to cover and which angles to use. In case you don’t notice, this process is even more prone to human biases.

Correct me if I am wrong. But, there is no formula for choosing the stories and the angles; we have to be reliant on our own judgements. And we know damn well that even the most intelligent and well-intentioned individuals can still have a lapse in judgements.

He also claims that neutral presentation means the audience won’t know what your and/or your bosses’ stances are. It is true…. to an extent. If they only observe your reports individually, no one would be able to guess. But, if they start compiling your works side by side, observant people would start noticing what kind of stories and angles you prefer to cover; the patterns would emerge.

For the sake of the argument, let’s assume there is an Indonesia-based international news outlet, filled with Indonesian-Muslim journalists, owned by an Indonesian-Muslim (I am one myself, for your information). Now, imagine it extensively covers many cases of bigotry – especially anti-Muslim one – which occur in western countries. They interview only the victims, never interview the anti-bigotry white Christian westerners

Meanwhile, it barely reports cases of Islamic extremism and racism in Indonesia. When it does, it only reports ones that attract international attention and, instead of interviewing the victims, it interviews the anti-bigotry Indonesian Muslims of indigenous lineage.

No matter how neutral the journalists’ language and speaking tone are, it is still obvious what kind of biases they and/or their bosses possess. They want to portray the west as a hotbed of bigotry, where virtually every white Christian is hateful, neo-nazi-wannabe. They want to portray Indonesia as a place where bigotry is nothing but a handful of isolated incidents which we shouldn’t be obsessed about.

We need to realise that the cultural aspects of human lives are fundamentally intangible. Less about the physicality of the objects, more about what they represent and how they affect our grasp of reality. Less about the explicit messages, more about the implicit ones.

How can you truly understand the “artefacts” when you take things at face value and refuse to read between the lines?

I studied media and communication for my BA. I took a variety of courses. Apart from the theories, I also learned practical skills, like the basics of PR, marketing, advertising, press release writing and, of course, journalism.

Those practical skills teach me how to broadcast self-serving messages without lying through my teeth; all I need is to find the right angles and be meticulous or creative with my “language”. Even though it was far less explicit with journalism, it is also up to my judgment to determine which details to omit and which angles to use.

In essence, the practical skills corroborate the theories.

I have yet to watch his other videos. But, I am disappointed that he bungles potentially good content with skin-deep analysis.

Oh, and he forgets one thing: people have abused the term “neutrality”.

Some people – like him and I – champion neutral presentation because we want the integrity of fact-reporting institution to stay intact. Others champion it because they don’t like being challenged; they love neutrality because they want their beliefs to be seen as valid as any other, regardless of how factually-incorrect, unreasonable or hateful they are. .

From what I observe, Chapman does not attract that kind of audience, thankfully. But, I still think their existence is worth mentioning.

.

.

.

.

.

Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

We should hand it to warmongers

No, I am not being facetious.

A war is a conflict which not only results in destructions of human properties, but also the brutal, violent deaths of innocent human beings, physical and psychological trauma of the survivors and the possibility of long-term geo-political instability, which may lead to even more violence.

To describe it as hell on earth is an understatement.

And yet, despite what we know about wars, warmongers have successfully convinced the world that killing innocent human lives, physically and/or psychologically scarring the survivors and destabilising the entire region are a must. Why? Because the hypothetical liberation promised by the so-called freedom-loving invaders.

What I just described does not make any fucking sense. And yet, warmongers have successfully convinced people to embrace that nonsensical belief.

One may argue I am giving them too much credit. Some people are so gullible, it does not take much to persuade them. In some cases, that is definitely the case: all you need to do is to say things, no techniques needed. But, the more I interact with people, the more I see the complexity.

Not all of the people who fall for the warmongering are stupid. In fact, I have seen some whose intelligence is above average, who are capable to process complex thoughts with great ease.

It is infuriating how warmongers can convince even the most intelligent people to believe nonsensical bullshit, while war-opponents are unable to persuade even the most gullible people.

This is just another reminder that simply knowing the truths and having the morality isn’t enough. If we want to spread our values, we must have the skills to do so and we must be great at them.

Obviously, this judgement of mine has been clouded by cynicism. But, I cannot help noticing how the more immoral and/or reactionary people are, the more likely they are to be accomplished in organisational and communication skills.

.

.

.

.

.

Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

Moderates, they are not

From time to time, when Muslims are mentioned in online discourses, I see comments like this:

“If Muslim extremists want to behead you, the moderates want the extremists to behead you!”

This obviously scorn-worthy opinion reminds me of a recent blogpost I made, which talks about how reluctant people are to call a physically non-aggressive person a bigot, even when they explicitly call for discriminations and violence against the “others”.

Both cases are similar in that they want to brush off the harsh labels. But, their motivations couldn’t be more stark.

Some people are opposed to calling certain others “bigots” because they want to make the situation looks nicer than it really is. Either they idolise the bigots, or they just want to feel positive all the time because they are too spineless to confront reality.

Meanwhile, those who call some Muslim extremists “moderates” want to make Islamic extremism looks mundane. They want to depict us as the most degenerate creatures, so degenerate that even the supposedly most peaceful among us are still violent. They want to depict the world – at least, a part of it – to be more evil than it really is.

This used to bewilder me. How can anyone do such blatantly dishonest fuckery and think they can get away with it?

Well, that’s because they can.

Yes, there are times when we need to be highly technical with our lies. But, we live in a world where so many people hear what they want to hear, where identity politics trumps truth.

If what you say is what people want to hear, it will spread like the Indonesian wildfire which palm companies started. Your zealous fellow ideologues will also take every single one of your words as the gospels, not to be desecrated by facts.

Unfortunately, if you want to spread lies, simply spewing them is more than enough.

From all of the anti-Muslim bigotry expressions I have encountered, this is one of the most effective; it is very empowering to bigots while also looking very harmless for morons.

I wonder if this kind of bigoted rhetoric has also applied to other groups. From what I observe, bigots either lump their targets as giant monolithic organisations or blatantly depict them as non-humans with deceptively human appearances. I have yet to find expression of bigotry comparable to “moderates being extremists”.

Maybe such thing is common and I am not paying attention. But, I hope this is a rarity. I already have too many reasons to be cynical of humanity.

.

.

.

.

.

Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

The overtly-polished Casey Neistat style

I call it the Casey Neistat style because that’s how others call it (even though some people think the style predated him) and I don’t have an alternative name for it.

From the title, you can easily tell I am not a fan.

Okay, I am not saying I hate the aesthetic. I actually think it looks beautiful and proves every image can look pretty when captured by the right person. But, that’s also my problem with it: it looks TOO beautiful.

Before I was immersed in Youtube cultures, I had already watched arthouse films like Andrei Tarkovsky’s and Ingmar Bergman’s. They are visually stunning and narratively compelling (for me), exposing me to cinematic art works.

Also resulting in my high expectations of vloggers like Neistat.

It is already ingrained in my mind that good cinematography HAS to be accompanied by compelling stories. But, vlogs don’t tell ‘profound’ stories (mind the quotation marks), even when they showcase out of the ordinary events or the lives of perpetual travellers.

If anything, those vlogs feel pretentious. The polished cinematography seems to do nothing but overcompensating the passable narratives.

Oh, and when I said that vlogs are not narratively profound, I meant it as a compliment. Because they are supposed to narrate Youtubers’ semi-personal lives, I always expect raw and mundane storytellings; that is what I find attractive about vlogs in the first place!

I actually do enjoy some Neistat-esque vlogs, like the ones of Evan Edinger, Terry Song and Adam Neely. The difference is theirs are more stylistically restrained, allowing a greater presence of rawness and mundanity.

Thanks to its participatory nature, Youtube has opposites for almost everything. For Casey Neistat style and the likes, there are content described by Nerd City as post-ironic.

I cannot make myself enjoy the works of Youtubers like Filthy Frank, MaxMoeFoe and IDubbz (his Content Cop videos are an exception). Apart from the crassness which I find extreme (even for a relatively crass person like me), I am also anxious about the blurred lines between irony and sincerity.

But still, despite my inability to relish such content, I cannot help but respecting those creators for their unsuppressed mockery of the insincere and synthetic charm endorsed by the establishment. While I admittedly do embrace some of the establishment’s ideals, I also despise the idea of venerating them.

Thankfully, despite the increasing pressure of uniformity, the platform still has a sizeable freedom to dissent, something those employed in the ‘traditional’ media can only dream of. Therefore, almost every imaginable type of content has a place on Youtube*.

Whether it is aesthetically and thematically extreme** or middle-of-the-road, you will definitely find it.

.

.

*Obviously, there are restrictions to what can and cannot be uploaded. But, it is no secret Youtube content policing is both ineffective and misguided. ‘Lawful’ videos can get taken down and ‘unlawful’ ones stay. Supposedly, people have found porn on the site; while I do have found softcore films, I have yet found hardcore ones.

**Post-irony is extreme due to its depictions of life as an inherently ugly entity. But, I would argue overtly-polished aesthetic is also extreme for its overtly beautiful depictions of life; once one is accustomed to it, acknowledgement of the ugly reality feels taboo.

A bit of tangent here:

Andrei Tarkovsky said he utilised both colour and monochrome scenes in his films because those shot entirely in colour felt like animated paintings for him and therefore, felt ‘too beautiful’ to be realistic.

I never thought that I would reference Tarkovsky’s philosophy while discussing Youtube.

.

.

.

.

.

Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

How NOT to praise Baby Boomers

 

Praise them for boosting the prosperity

Obviously, this has been brought up many times before and it only applies to modern countries which economic booms happened almost right after the second world war.

If you want to credit anyone who created the booms, credit the Boomers’ parents and grandparents. They were the ones in charge.

In my home country Indonesia, I would not say they ruined the economy. They did improve it. But, our country has yet to become an economic powerhouse with extremely low poverty rate and high rate of ease of doing business. The improvement is meagre and unimpressive.

If anything, many joined forces with Soeharto in making the country a more sectarian, more anti-intellectual and more brutal place to live. Many were already adults in the early years of his regime; therefore, they had the option to not get brainwashed. I am sure those who participated in the still-glorified anti-Communist purge were also Boomers.

Praise them for having great taste

Well, admittedly, Boomers do have a great taste in music. But, I cannot fully praise them for having so.

Why? Because their taste was mainstream. Therefore, they were not special. That’s like praising someone who was raised among English speakers for being fluent in the language.

I prefer to credit the pre-war generations for influencing the Boomers’ musical taste. I mean, they were the recording studio bosses! They were the ones who decided what kind of music the youngsters at the time should listen to!

Oh, and don’t forget that Boomers are also among the current music producers who churn out craps, sacrificing artistic integrity for profit’s sake.

If I want to go further with American Boomers, not many of them had a good taste in cinema as well.

The Hollywood Renaissance, which was marked by directorial independence and respect of artistry, would not exist without the university-educated young Americans who loved watching the more aesthetic European and Japanese cinemas and formed the majority of moviegoers in the 1960’s America.

That’s a very specific demographic. Unless a boomer was among the moviegoers studio executives tried to pander to, we cannot credit him/her for a having a good taste in films.

Praise them for their great personalities

Some Boomers are known for overplaying their greatness and accusing Millennials and Gen Z for being entitled snowflakes, even though they themselves were raised in a significantly more prosperous era (again, in some countries), demand absolute respect just because they are old and get offended by OK Boomer, one of the mildest memes ever.

When they do admit their roles in wrecking the prosperity (which they enjoyed immensely), they shamelessly and openly wash their hands of their sins and act like old age and near-death are to be regarded as absolution.

To sum things up, they are conceited, delusional, fragile, hypocritical and irresponsible. Only donkeys think any of those traits are wonderful in any ways.

Oh, and even if I am willing to pretend military enlistment makes one an inherently heroic and courageous person (it inherently does not), you cannot use the American war in Vietnam to make the Boomers look heroic and courageous.

Why? Because conscription.

Able-bodied young men were obligated to enlist, whether they wanted to or not. If they were indeed heroic and courageous, they would have enlisted voluntarily without being forced to. They would have to enlist simply because they loved the idea of serving their countries (or, to be more accurate, their countries’ political establishments).

We can also use this argument to debunk the myth of the ‘heroic’ and ‘courageous’ generations of both world wars.

Praise them for their progressiveness

Some Boomers claim they are the bastion of progressiveness, supposedly due to many of them being Hippies in the olden days. So, let’s just pretend the Hippie movement was indeed all about peace and freedom (sceptical about it).

I may acknowledge that Boomers did lead a sexual revolution in the west. But, that’s the extent of their progressiveness.

Even the resulting sexual liberty was still very heteronormative. The west started to become widely pro-LGBT rights just mere two decades ago; even as late as the 90’s, gay Hollywood actors were forced to stay closeted.

If anything, many Boomers in the US and UK ended up voting for conservative governments in the 1980’s. And you cannot convince me there are none of them in the reactionary and war-mongering establishments.

War-mongering…

Never mind the Afghan and Iraq wars. How can one defend a generation for being peace-loving while at the same time lauding them for participating in a war?

“You are a hateful, ageist Millennial!”

No, I am not.

My words are expressions of frustrations against the ageist Boomers who try to convince everyone about their generation’s absolute supremacy. If I am a hateful ageist, wouldn’t I use their old age as an argument of how pieces of shit they are?

Obviously, if you really want to defend the Boomers, you would need facts and refrain from dramatising them. In order to do so, you need to be a reasonable and truth-loving person.

If you are a Boomer who believe in your generation’s divine greatness or a younger person who believes we must always respect ALL older people regardless of their actual respectability, then you are neither reasonable nor truth-loving.

If you belong to either category, then I can easily dismiss your argument. You cannot prove anyone wrong by using falsehoods and overstatements.

.

.

.

.

.

Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

 

 

 

How to report problem countries

Obviously, every country is a problem country. And yes, including the so-called number one country, the so-called United States of America.

In this context, I am referring to countries like Iran and North Korea which are known for their severe human rights violations and have been extensively and negatively covered by foreign (mostly western) media.

  • I hate sugar-coating. I believe exposing the factual negative aspects of certain countries is not inherently hateful; there is nothing wrong about sticking to the truth.
  • But, it can be hateful when we insist the coverage must be entirely negative and are offended by the idea of showcasing genuine positivity because we want to keep affirming any prevailing preconceived notions.
  • I first noticed this when I watched the North Korean episodes of Departure, a traveling TV show which focuses less on the destinations and more on the journeys; they received backlashes for allegedly spewing pro-North Korea propaganda.

    Correct me if I am wrong. But, from my knowledge, a country’s propaganda should brag about its non-existing divine perfection and work as the ruling government’s ideological mouthpiece.

    Departure does none of those things.

    While the hosts did not mention the human rights violations of the countries they visited, they also never tried to paint them in an entirely positive light.

    The show is entirely non-political. The hosts only care about exploring nature and interacting with the locals; the latter is the theme of the North Korean episodes.

    If anything, I believe the show does the ordinary and unprivileged ordinary North Koreans a great favour.

    Because of the lack of political agenda, the white Anglo-Canadian hosts had no problems interacting with a group of East Asians who grew up isolated from the rest of the world. The resulting interactions were wonderfully wholesome.

    The episodes do not depict cultural clashes, they depict people who enjoy each other’s presence despite the linguistic and cultural barriers.

    They depict humans who see each other as fellow human beings.

    But, some people didn’t like it. They believed the only way to give the North Koreans a favour was to focus entirely on the system that oppressed them.

    I disagree with that belief.

    North Korea is not just an obscure country that most people haven’t heard of; they have, albeit sometimes mistaking it for its sibling down south. Because of that, negative media coverage is not only common, it is over-saturated.

    The over-saturation results in the dehumanisation of the North Korean people. Let’s face it: most of us don’t see North Korea as a country where fellow humans live, they see it as a giant oppressive machine that must be destroyed at all cost.

    And, whether you believe or not, this kind of dehumanisation already has a negative effect on the state of humanity.

    It is not a secret that many people, especially neoconservative westerners, support invasions of repressive countries like North Korea without any regards of innocent casualties; I mean, if they really care, they would not get aroused by the idea of violent invasions and would not perceive any innocent casualties as mere “collateral damage”.

    While I don’t pay as much attention to it, I also notice the same thing with how western media treats Iran.

    The humanisation of the Iranian people is way more well-received. But, unfortunately, the demand for dehumanisation prevails among the politically-outspoken degenerates.

    Many still refuse to see Iran as a place where humans live… which is why, just like in the case of North Korea, they are not hesitant to support violent military interventions against it.

    I do have my own solution to deal with this problem. But, not only it is made by a non-expert, it is also rather tricky to implement.

    If a country has been almost entirely negatively reported by foreign media and you want to make a documentary (or something similar) about it instead of a normal news report, there are two things you can do.

    The first thing you can do is to cover positive things about said country and tell the world its previously unknown faces.

    And when I say “positive”, I mean genuinely so. They should be based on facts instead of the political establishments’ rhetorics. You have to make sure the presentation of positivity does not paint the country in an entirely positive light.

    Youtuber Louis Cole AKA FunForLouis made a series of vlogs of him and his friends visiting North Korea. Even though I was never subscriber, I was intrigued…. and was quickly disappointed.

    Obviously, I should watch the sequels as well. But, in the end of the first video, he said North Korea was not as bad as people claimed simply because he and his friends were greeted with a touristy welcome; at that moment, he seemed to perceive a choreographed performance as an excellent representation of the reality.

    I was already repulsed about those overtly-polished Youtube vlogs. Cole’s ignorant comment only intensified my repulsion.

    Departures has proven that, if you use your brain a bit more and don’t easily fall for deceptive veneers, you can shed a positive light on an oppressive country without becoming its government’s propaganda tool.

    But, if you are reasonable iffy about making positive coverage and still prefer to do a negative one, I have a second tip: find a fresh angle.

    If you keep repeating the same real life horror stories, the only thing you would be good at is affirming simplistic prejudgements about North Korea and discouraging outsiders from humanising the victims due to the lack of nuances.

    I think the Youtube channel Asian Boss does a great job in getting the fresh angles. Instead of treating their North Korean interviewees as propaganda tools to exploit, they treat them as individuals with human stories to tell.

    As a result, not only it results in ethically-dignified documentaries, it also unearths surprising facts about the country they are defecting from.

    For instance, even though the consumption of foreign media is prohibited in general, I did not know that consumption of South Korean media will result in more severe punishments than the consumption of western one. It confirms one of our preconceived notions…. but, in a rather complex way.

    I specifically said this tip is only for those who make documentaries and the likes and NOT for journalists who solely make daily and relatively short reports.

    Why? Because it is obvious that my tips, especially the second one, require in-depth analyses and cannot be simply done in less than a day or even a week.

    Well, they can. But, the results would be sloppy.

    Okay, I am aware of how horrible my suggestions are; not only I have zero experiences in the media industry, my words are not precise and technical enough to be practically useful. Heck, even if I am a highly-experienced professional, my suggestions would not be the be-all and end-all.

    But, even then, the unreliability of my tips does not mean the media industry is perfect as it is. Every person with functioning brain cells knows mediocrity and lacking integrity are embraced as virtues.

    Public discourses about the ethics of depicting authoritarian countries are almost non-existent and, for reasons I have mentioned in this essay, it is something to be reasonably angry about.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

  • The Swede’s rhetoric

    I have made a few articles about Felix Kjellberg AKA Pewdiepie and one contains my arguments about how he is actually a reckless edgelord instead of an actual far-right ideologue.

    I mention how he never makes excuses for the bigotry of some of his fans, how he was (and still is) slandered by the media and how he only invited one right-wing pundit just to review memes instead of letting him spill verbal diarrhea.

    But, for some reasons, I forgot to talk about his own rhetoric.

    Below, I am going to list the common talking points of contemporary western conservatives:

    1. Equal rights are the same as special rights for women and the minorities

    2. Women are happier when they are treated as the “lesser sex”.

    3. The Southern Strategy never happened and American Democratic party is still the racist party.

    4. Taking down Confederate statues equals erasure of history.

    5. The Bell Curve is scientifically legitimate.

    6. Any violence committed by Christians of European descent, including the Holocaust, the Trail of Tears, and the Crusades, were either justified, exaggerated or fictional.

    7. All Muslims are sleeper cells.

    8. The world is controlled by globalist Jewish elites.

    9. Sexual violence is a trivial matter, unless they are committed by brown Muslims.

    I am sure there are more recurring talking points than I mentioned above. But, those will do.

    Disturbingly, I have seen how they often they are “discussed” by conservatives, especially by those who make Youtube videos,some of whom prefer to call themselves classical liberals.

    But, from all online personalities who have been perceived as far-right, Pewdiepie is the only one who has never talked about those things.

    Seriously, I have never heard him openly or discreetly espousing any of those lies. In fact, he barely touches politics and he never talks about history; his commentaries mostly revolve around the non-political aspects of Youtube culture.

    The thing about our bigotry is it cannot be hidden completely, no matter how hard we try, no matter how hard we deny its existence. Even if we are not prone to Freudian slips, our bigotry will appear subtextually in our messages.

    I have encountered so many people online who claim to not be bigoted… and yet, if you read their words between the lines, you will notice how hateful they are.

    You cannot say you are not a racist when you believe the mere presence of non-whites is the evidence of white genocide. You cannot say you are not a homophobe or a transphobe when you believe LGBT rights discriminate against cisgender and heterosexual people.

    But, with Felix, I haven’t seen any far-right subtexts from his online content.

    His commentaries are indeed laced with subtexts… classical liberal subtexts; he is all about freeing humans from any excessive constraints, both in social and legal forms. He disapproved of the “policing” of any kind of activities, as long as they are not violent.

    Basically, he is the complete opposite of those far-right individuals who are supposedly all about liberty while advocating for taking it away from those who are different from them.

    He, the person who never calls himself a classical liberal, is way more classical liberal than the reactionaries who claim to be ones.

    About the Christchurch mosque massacre…

    Both his name and Candace Owens’s were implicated because they were mentioned by the shooter. The shooter said “subscribe to Pewdiepie”, a meme created by Felix himself, during the live streamed violence while she was cited as his number one ideological inspiration.

    And both public figures reacted differently.

    Felix was never cited as an inspiration; the shooter mentioned the name of the most popular Youtuber because he wanted more attention.

    But, not only Felix immediately condemned the massacre, he pleaded to his fans to end the meme. After his many controversies, after years of being a reckless edgelord, he has realised he has a responsibility as a public figure for every single one of his public actions… and that includes his inherently harmless meme which he created as a tongue-in-cheek response to his rivalry with T-Series.

    Owens, on other hand, responded immediately by laughing it off in her dismissive tweet, despite the fact that she is the shooter’s number one inspiration!

    I don’t know about her now. But, at that time, it was obvious she did not have any sense of responsibility as a public figure, even though she was famous in the first place because of her politically charged and definitely-not-trivial messages.

    She was not that different from Trump who took days to condemn the Charlottesville Neo-Nazi rally attended by his own supporters.

    She was not that different from other right-wing public figures who constantly incite bigotry and yet refusing to acknowledge they might have inspired atrocities like the Christchurch massacre.

    But, she and her peers are definitely different from Felix Kjellberg.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

    My own museum ideas

  • I hate how I grew up in a country where we have an extremely weak museum culture. Most of the museums I have visited are abroad.
  • As an adult, I am no longer into having shopping malls and theme parks as my sources of leisure. If there are no cultural attractions that intrigue in the slightest, I would rather stay at home and watch Youtube videos…
  • ….And browse Wikipedia in where I have spent a significant amount time searching for every article about any museums.

    Being a major time-waster that I am, I now have a few ideas for museums which are not even original. But, if I have the financial means (and the skill and will), I would definitely establish them.

    Museums of hot sauces and fermented seafood.

    That’s my Indonesian tastebud talking.

    I grew up eating dishes which use fermented seafood as ingredients and were often accompanied by chili sauces, or sambal as we call them.

    I have always loved the taste of dried and salted fish. I used to hate hot foods. But now, even though my heat tolerance is still low for Indonesian standard, I am addicted to the hot flavours.

    It would not be a problem if the museums are Indonesia-centric. As the country is gifted with biological and cultural diversity, the museums’ collections would always be huge, assuming they are well-funded and well-managed.

    I am also open to the ideas of making the museums more international either by making a section dedicated to foreign content or making the entire collection international.

    But, my goals for each version differ from one another.

    If the collection is entirely Indonesian, I would want to remind Indonesians about the biological and cultural richness of their country and how the richness should be appreciated and NOT taken for granted.

    If the collection is international, I would want to remind everyone that despite our differences, we still have many things in common and our cuisines are not that different once we take a deeper look.

    I choose foods because every human eats. We can survive without the ability to play music, to dance or to show any forms of craftsmanship. But, we can’t survive without foods. Eating is universal.

    And because I personally love to eat.

    I don’t know where I should locate the museums, though. If they are Indonesia-centric, should I locate them in Jakarta, university cities like Bandung or Jogjakarta, or places with low cultural appreciations like my hometown?

    If they are international, I would definitely locate them in various countries. But, which countries I also don’t know.

    And no, I am not going to think about “maintaining” the perishable collections.

    Museums of Hollywood propaganda

    I think the name explains it and I don’t have to elaborate on why it is needed in the first place and I am focusing on propaganda in American entertainment.

    When it comes to locations, I would definitely establish one in Los Angeles, the headquarters of the industry. Of course, as it is the lions’ den, there will be lots of backlashes. Not to mention that studio executives might have connections in the government.

    Very risky. But, worth the shot.

    But, I am not satisfied about LA is its only location. The question is where else should we locate them?

    Should we choose other major, big cities like NYC, Chicago and Houston? Should we choose the nation’s capital? Should we choose certain university towns where anti-establishment attitude are rampant? Or should we choose urban areas known for unquestioning and zealous patriotism?

    If we want to branch out to other countries, which ones should we choose? Should they be America’s closest allies like Canada and the UK? Do the international locations even matter?

    Museums of human rights violations

    I am not talking about any human rights violations. I am talking about ones that are still controversial due to the persisting historical denialism and whitewashing.

    I am talking about cases like Armenian genocide, the Jewish Holocaust, the expulsion of Palestinians from their own lands, the atrocities committed by Japan in WWII, the 1965 violent anti-Communist purge in Indonesia, history of racism in Australia and the Americas and the coups committed by the US against democratically-elected governments in Iran and Latin America which were replaced with dictatorships.

    You know, topics of light conversations.

    When it comes to locations, I have to make sure they are not in countries where such museums can get shut down by the authorities.

    But, even if censorship is not a problem, I have to make sure at least one case from the host country is included in the exhibition. I want to give the impression to visitors that there is no such thing as angelic countries.

    It is also the reason why I want the museum to be dedicated to many cases instead of just one. It is a lot harder than dedicating to a single case. But, it is worth it.

    I also have to make sure it is located in localities which have lots of foreign tourists and residents. Those localities may include cities like NYC, Sydney, London and even world-famous university towns like Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford and Grenoble.

    I don’t want the learning immersion being mostly exclusive to citizens of one country. Every person, regardless of their national backgrounds, must have the opportunity to experience it.

    Yadda yadda yadda

    It is obvious that my ideas are not only unoriginal, they are also fantastical. I will never create a small museum, let alone a few big ones.

    But, I just can’t help churning my own ideas, even in fields where I don’t have any expertise in. Basically, every field in existence.

    It is fun to write down my fantastical ideas.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

    The real American power…

    … Is actually soft.

    I am referring to the concept of “soft power”, by the way. And no, I am not sorry for that shitty introduction.

    I keep seeing and hearing comments made by zealously patriotic Americans about how their beloved country is respected by the world because of its hard power.

    It is true to a certain extent. If you are one of those non-Americans who easily fall for American exceptionalism and who love jerking off to images of real life violence which America is responsible for while simultaneously getting unprotected, rough butt sex from America, you would drool over its hard power.

    But, most non-Americans aren’t like that. When their governments do bow down to the US, they do so out of not wanting to get screwed on the world stage and NOT out of genuine respect.

    Basically, projections of hard power, more of than not, are a form of bullying. Bullying with dire global consequences.

    But, do you know what people all over the world love? American culture.

    Experts of international relations have been arguing how affinity to foreign cultures will lead us to have more positive views of their countries of origin.

    And because of my own life experiences (which I have to assert as entirely mine), this is something I am not surprised about.

    Despite their constant criticism (bashing) of the USA, many of my fellow non-Americans (in this case, they are mostly Indonesians) can’t get themselves to wish literal death upon the country.

    And they all have one thing in common: they openly enjoy American culture.

    Apart from buying foods from American fast food restaurants and cafes, they go to cinemas mostly for Hollywood flicks, pay for cable TV to Hollywood TV shows and pay to attend concerts of American musicians.

    How about the propaganda present in Hollywood films?

    From what I notice, even some of the most dimwitted folks I know can easily acknowledge the propagandistic content of their sources of entertainment.

    They know that they don’t easily fall for the infamously shameless American propaganda and they also feel Americans can entertain the world like no others. That’s why they are relatively unperturbed about it.

    Me personally? A bulk of my favourite entertainers and artists are Americans; without them, I would have nothing but contempt for the United States of America.

    Oh, and I should say ordinary Americans also contribute to their country’s positive image.

    The last time I was surrounded by Americans, it was almost two decades ago when I visited the US as a young boy. I don’t remember interacting much with the locals.

    But, if one sees the anecdotes posted by many non-Americans online, they frequently perceive the Americans as friendly, easy-going, open-minded, educated and charitable people and often seen as the antitheses of the US government (somewhat debatable).

    The more negative anecdotes are often the results of interacting with the stereotypically jingoistic, war-mongering, fear-mongering, bubble-dwelling and proudly anti-intellectual Americans.

    You know, Americans like Donald “Make America Great Again” Trump.

    Americans who think their Godawful, alpha-wannabe attitudes will gain them genuine respect from the world.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.

    “Youtube’s not good enough!”

    Disregard of privacy. Hatred of change. Entitled attitude. Immaturity.

    Those are the dark traits that people familiar with Youtube cultures associate with Youtube fandoms. They are common knowledges.

    But, I am surprised most people (seemingly) have yet to notice another frustrating trait about the fandoms: obsession with giant corporate media networks.

    On some occasions, you can see fans wondering why their beloved idols are not signing up to those corporations.

    And that irks me every time.

    One thing for sure is they don’t know how the media works. They probably think those giant entities provide creators with not only big platforms and big funding, but also complete creative freedom.

    You know, a make-believe.

    They don’t know how creators are also responsible to the network executives. If they deem the creations unprofitable or ideologically “deviant”, those creations would not even survive the pre-production stage.

    As bad as Youtube can be, its content creators have freedom that many of theirs counterparts in other platforms can only dream of.

    Your videos can be taken down for violating guidelines (or falsely and/or unfairly accused of doing so). But, they can never be taken down solely for low viewerships or ideological deviance.

    In fact, Youtube is full of creators who espouse controversial opinions regarding humanity and who scathingly condemn the establishments. Not to mention there is an abundance of creators like Filthy Frank whose style described by Nerd City as “post-ironic” (Click and go straight to 16:45).

    But, this is not even the most frustrating about the fandoms’ wish. Their elitist attitude is.

    Why is Youtube not good enough?

    Of course, if a more stable source of income is the argument, then I am all for it. Youtubers have been struggling gaining profits from their videos in recent years.

    But, that’s not what fans want; from all of the ones who have expressed such desire, I only encountered one that mentioned income. One.

    In fact, not only it is the only clearly-elucidated reason that I encountered, fans also know Youtubers can either get direct sponsorships, donations through Patreon, or both. Seemingly, they don’t have any reasons to make such demand.

    While I cannot have make any concrete (and objective) conclusions, I can tell you about the mentality of Youtube fandoms.

    They suffer from inferiority complex.

    I am not talking about how their idols are talentless or something; just like fans of traditional idols, many Youtube fans certainly see theirs as talented. I am talking about how they see Youtube as a career: for them, it is not a real job.

    Admittedly, it is extremely rare for me to see those comments. But, I do have encountered fans who genuinely believe the jobs of their idols are not “real jobs”. In fact, they seem happy if their idols have jobs other than making Youtube videos.

    What are “real jobs”, anyway?

  • If a job gives us complete or near independence, is considered a novelty and disregarded by the establishment, and/or does not offer a stable source of income, then it would not be considered as “real”.
  • I reach to such conclusion because, from what I observe, the jobs labelled as “not real” often possess some or all of those characteristics. I have never heard people calling blue collar jobs and most white ones as “not real”.

    From this observation, I already have a clear imagination of what some Youtube fans are thinking:

    Yes, we know our favourite Youtubers are creators who rise to the top despite the independence from the old-age establishment. And that what makes them unique.

    But, because of that same reason, we fans feel insecure about ourselves because there is no prestige in admiring those who are not parts of the establishment.

    Therefore, it would be selfish of our idols to stay independent and refuse to become corporate slaves.

    Yes, I know my assumption is plagued with meanness and exaggeration… and also dishonesty considering how Youtube also has its own (younger and less powerful) establishments which are divided into different linguistic and/or national categories.

    But, whether those fans are aware of how the media works or not, you have to admit the feeling of inferiority is there.

    If it isn’t, why would they be aroused by the prospect of their favourite Youtubers branching out to the more conventional yet not-always-rewarding realms?

    If it isn’t, why aren’t they content about idolising those who make a living solely out of Youtube?

    I am on the opinion that believes Youtubers need to mature in order to bring their communities forward.

    But, I believe the fandoms’ lack of self-assurance is also a major hindrance to the progress as they refuse to uncover the platform’s fullest potentials.

    It is not far-fetched to say the collective feeling of insecurity is one of Youtube’s biggest enemies.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.