TRANS WOODSTOCK

by Zoe Harding

This is the face of a man who’s entirely unsure if what he’s experiencing is real.

It started with this. Well, okay, it started with this, which itself was just the latest flex of the UK’s weirdly obsessive and powerful transphobia lobby, personified by eh-alright-but-his-work-is-aging-fast comedy writer Graham Linehan. Plenty of people were annoyed or upset by the campaign of email-writing and general loud airing of concerns that led to the National Lottery pulling £500,000 worth of funding from Mermaids, especially given that the reporting of the issue in the Great British Press was… kinda shite.Continue Reading

CULTURAL CRITICISM AND YOUTUBE RANTS – PART 2

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by Eli Lambe

In Part One, I looked at how right-wing Youtubers use and abuse the idea of freedom of speech in constructing their worldview, and the connection between their celebration of abusive behaviour and feelings of humiliation. I used Adorno’s Cultural Criticism and Society to frame my observations. In this part, I will look at divisions within the workforce and how this creates vulnerabilities to right wing punditry – still using Adorno as a frame.

Adorno argues that labour is divided into “manual” and “intellectual” labour. However “manual” labour encompasses a lot more than working with your hands. It’s probably more accurate to use “menial” labour, which includes factory, construction, custodial and agricultural labour (what is usually covered by manual) as well as the huge number of exploitative customer service, food service and sales jobs. These distinctions are sometimes blurry, and stink of classist value judgements, but can still provide a useful way of addressing structural divisions and how those divisions impact on solidarity and belief.

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CULTURAL CRITICISM AND YOUTUBE RANTS: THE DIALECTIC OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

by Eli Lambe

Part One of Two

Given the revelations in the Darren Osborne trial, and the general spread of Alt-Right, Far-Right and, bluntly, Nazi and White Supremacist discourse online, it is vitally important that we use the tools we have to understand how such ideological horrors are able to spread, what they look like, and what this spread says about the methods and platforms they use.

In Blog Theory, Joni Dean describes a phenomenon that she labels “Communicative Capitalism” whereby “Contemporary communications media capture their users in intensive and extensive networks of enjoyment, production and surveillance… Just as industrial capitalism relied on the exploitation of labour, so does communicative capitalism rely on the exploitation of communication”.

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BLACK ERASURE IN ART

by Candice Nembhard

In the niche space we call the ‘art world’, the discrediting or downplaying of black artists has not gone unnoticed as it has undocumented. That’s not to say critical discussion of African/African diaspora art has not been made; it is to suggest however that favourable and more accessible criticism is blessed upon the dominant sphere of white, European Art. For many black artists, including the likes of Kerry James Marshall, publicising the potential racist nature of art history opens up the narrative of what really goes on in the art world.  

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MONEY AND MONA LISA – THE VALUE OF ART

by Jess Howard

My younger brother is 14, and with that is coming all manner of traditional 14 year old behaviours. Sulking, door slamming, wearing a can of Lynx per day, and spending eternity glued to his Xbox. In addition to this, he has also discovered the wonderful world of procrastinating on YouTube, and so we are being treated to a delightful array of narration on a daily basis.

During one particular conversation revolving around a group of people who seem to sit and chat rubbish for hours, with one relevant fact thrown in for good measure, he asked why the Mona Lisa was such a valuable painting. An interested and insightful question, but one we only arrived upon after he asked if Leonardo DiCaprio was around during the Renaissance period.Continue Reading