Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Suicide Is Painless

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this article from The Independent.

There's an unwritten rule about being respectful of the recently deceased. With, it seems, 2 exceptions: When the deceased is "evil" in which case their corpse can be paraded around like the FA Cup filled with blood, or when the deceased committed suicide.

The general reaction to the death of Wales football manager Gary Speed has been genuinely touching, yet there remains a largely insensitive attitude to suicide. Phillip Hodson's article in today's Independent is basically well handled, until the very end; if someone commits suicide, "they got it wrong."

This blog probably isn't the appropriate forum for a considered debate about the morality of suicide, prone as it is to descend into THINGS LIKE THISSASJKHADJHASjklsdsfa. But to look at someone who killed themselves 2 days ago and declare it "wrong" seems utterly jarring.

The argument is that suicide is selfish because you leave behind a guilt-ridden group of friends and family. But if you, upon hearing the news of someone's suicide, respond "well that's selfish", surely you are the selfish one. What right do you have to tell them when they're allowed to die? A right to life means autonomy over one's own life. And while I recognise the pain that the family must feel, they must recognise the pain that the deceased felt; their pain was so profoundly intense that they would literally rather be dead than alive. But anyway, regardless of your views on suicide, surely there is something insensitive about labelling Gary Speed's actions as WRONGjkhasdhgashgjasaaa. Told you.

This blog doesn't exactly have a reading list, but I'd urge anyone to read David Hume's 'On Suicide', a defence of suicide so strong that apparently a friend of Hume's killed himself as soon as he'd read it. I can only hope that this blog has such an effect.

I'll leave you with the song that this blog is named after, which is the brilliant theme tune from the brilliant M*A*S*H. Enjoy!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Canned Tweet

As you know, I love everything in the world, with the exception of three things. One of those things that I love is Twitter.

However, because I love it, people have to go out of their way to ruin it. Here are 5 contributions to the self-destruction of Twitter.

5. Who to follow - Recently, the genius that is Twitter's 'Who to follow' feature, has recommended that I follow Kim Kardashian, Gary Barlow and worst of all, 30 Seconds To Mars. I wouldn't follow them if I saw them in the street covered in chocolate. Whatever way Twitter works out these things, it should do it better, or not do it at all. How do I know who to follow? A tweeter I like will RT or #FF someone, and if I approve, I will follow. Meanwhile, 'Who to follow' is currently recommending Elton John.

4. 'Promoted' trending topics - I know Twitter has to make money somehow, and just having a promoted hashtag at the top of the trending column is a relatively unobtrusive way of doing so. But when that promoted topic is Coldplay's new album, as it was a few weeks ago, they can fuck off.

3. X Factor tweets - Every Saturday, Twitter has a demonic way of turning people I normally hugely respect and admire into brainwashed Cowell zombies, tweeting away about X Factor like it's normal. Complaining about the content of Twitter is generally ridiculous; you follow who you like and if you're annoyed by them, unfollow them. But I can't unfollow these people, because they're all brilliant and insightful and hilarious. Except for on Saturday night. And then more and more nights as the series goes on. Until it feels like it's every single second. Still, I'm always tweeting about The Apprentice so I'm an awful hypocrite and human. Moving on.

2. TwitLonger - If I ever use TwitLonger, the service that lets you tweet more than 140 characters, kill me. Seriously, if you see that I've used it, come to my house and empty out my insides with a spoon. Because I will never use TwitLonger, because it defeats the entire point of Twitter. If I wanted people's thoughts in more than 140 characters, I'd have conversations. But conversations are long and you can't just shout "block!" if you're bored. Believe me, you can't. Twitter is using no more than 140 characters. You know what we call Twitter where we can put more than 140 characters? Facebook. *Shudders*

1. TV shows giving themselves hashtags - What's the worst thing about Question Time? It could be the fact that they insist on putting Baroness Warsi on the panel every fucking week. It could be the unequivocally terrible audience. But actually, it's the way '#bbcqt' appears at the start of every episode. This self-enforced hashtagging yet again misunderstands the point of Twitter. Hashtags should emerge organically; if enough people are talking about something, Twitter will collectively form a way of referring to it. That's one of the many beautiful things about Twitter, the way it can move as a single hive mind. Before TV shows dictated their own hashtags, Twitter came up with them. No one ever said "this is the hashtag for Question Time", it was unspoken, and it just happened. If multiple hashtags for the same thing were floating around, the less-used ones would gradulally drop off until one was used uniformally. That's how it worked and it was genuinely impressive. But now shows smugly deem themselves worthy of sticking their fucking #HIGNFYs and #NMTBs up inside beautiful, innocent Twitter.

Sorry about the rant, but Twitter is one of the best things ever, and these things entirely miss the point of it. The title of this blog is a clever (brilliantly clever) play on the Jamiroquai song Canned Heat, with which I will leave you. Enjoy!