sunken ship

Who Gets to Stay Afloat?

Alright, let’s get this straight. We’ve got five business dudes who thought it would be a hoot to drop $250,000 each to get up close and personal with the Titanic wreck. You heard that right. A quarter of a million bucks to see a sunken ship. Now, they’re lost at sea and the world is on the edge of its seat, biting its nails, waiting for news. And don’t get me wrong, I feel for them. I really do. And for their loved ones waiting in agony for any shred of news. It’s a fsitucked up and rather sad situation, no doubt about it.

Meanwhile, hundreds of refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean and it’s like everyone collectively decided to play a giant game of ‘see no evil, hear no evil’. Why? Because they aren’t rich? Because their journey wasn’t some luxury adventure, but a desperate escape from war and poverty?

Here’s the thing. Both these groups of people are (one even literally) in deep shit. But for entirely different reasons. The adventurers are in trouble because they chose to be, because they wanted a thrill, a story to tell. The refugees? They’re in trouble because they had no other choice. Because staying where they were was even more dangerous than the perilous journey they embarked on.

And yet, we’re more invested in the fate of five rich guys who willingly put themselves in danger than in the lives of thousands of people who had no other choice.

So, what can we do? We can start by shifting our attention and compassion to those who need it most. And that’s not the rich adventurers in their luxury submarine, but the thousands of refugees who risk their lives every day in search of a better life.

But hey, who am I kidding? That’s not nearly as exciting as following the saga of five rich guys in a submarine, right?

Before we go any further, let’s clear up one thing. This isn’t about playing the ‘whataboutism’ card. You know, that tactic where you deflect criticism by pointing out flaws in your opponent’s argument? That’s not what I’m doing here.

I’m not saying, “Hey, forget about the rich guys in the submarine, what about the refugees?” No, I’m saying, “Hey, why is there such a disparity in our reactions to these two situations?”

This isn’t about comparing apples and oranges. It’s about examining our collective response to human suffering and questioning why we seem to value some lives more than others.

It’s about recognizing that our empathy shouldn’t be a luxury item, doled out only to those who can afford to embark on daring adventures. It should be a basic human response, extended to all those in need, regardless of their circumstances.

So, no, this isn’t whataboutism. It’s a call to check our biases, broaden our perspectives, and remember that no life is worth more than any other (I’d make very few exceptions, though). But then again, that’s not as catchy as following the saga of five rich guys in a submarine, is it?

Update 23 June 2023

Here we are again. The five thrill-seekers who paid a fortune to visit the Titanic wreck met a tragic end. The world mourns ‘true explorers’ lost to a catastrophic implosion.

When a submersible implodes, it’s a brutal end. The pressure at those depths crushes the vessel into fragments in an instant. The people inside meet the same fate, subjected to the same crushing pressure.

At 3300 meters below the surface, the pressure is approximately 330 times greater than at sea level. This is equivalent to having about 3300 kilograms (or about 3.3 tons) pressing down on each square centimeter of a body or object.

In the first millisecond of an implosion, the hull of the submersible would fail, and water would rush in at an incredibly high speed. The interior of the submersible would go from a habitable environment to a high-pressure water jet in an instant.

By the end of the first second, the body would be subjected to the full pressure of the deep sea. The extreme pressure could cause the body to compress and deform, leading to catastrophic injuries.

That’s a real tragedy that has happened there, but it was a very sudden death that none of them noticed happening. It was a quicker death than being shot in the head with a bullet.

Meanwhile, the refugees’ desperate struggle for survival continues, largely unnoticed. They didn’t choose their danger. They’re not seeking thrills, they’re seeking safety.

Let’s remember: every human life should matter equally. The adventurers, the refugees, all of them. Empathy shouldn’t be a luxury item. It’s a basic human response, and it’s high time we extended it to everyone in need.

A Personal Take On Rammstein

I’ve always been one to appreciate a wide range of music, but there’s one band that I’ve never been able to get on board with: Rammstein. The German metal band has long been a source of controversy, and for me, their actions and representations have always been a step too far.

Let’s start with their performances. Rammstein is known for their grandiose shows, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic theatrics. Generally, not really my thing. Plus, beneath the spectacle, there’s an element that’s deeply unsettling. The band’s use of Nazi propaganda aesthetics and right-wing iconography is, in my opinion, a blatant disregard for the historical trauma associated with these symbols.

As the taz article “Verharmlosung von Rammstein: Eiertanz ums Eiserne Kreuz” aptly points out, their shows “[deliver] a celebration of flame-encircled masses as updated staging strategies of the NS propagandists Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer and imitate these models under the insignia of the musical shock troop, an Iron Cross.”

Some might argue that this is all part of their artistic expression. But let’s cut the crap here. This isn’t just about pushing boundaries or being edgy. This is about using loaded symbols for shock value and, as some suggest, as a marketing strategy. And that, my friends, is where I draw the line.

But the controversy doesn’t end there. The band’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, is currently embroiled in a MeToo scandal, facing allegations of sexual assaults against young female fans. This, coupled with Lindemann’s past lyrics that fantasize about the rape of a drugged woman, paints a troubling picture.

The taz article states, “If the just exploding scandal gains further substance in the face of the alleged pattern of sexual assaults by frontman Till Lindemann against young female fans, Rammstein would again be number one in Germany, but in the biggest MeToo case.” This is a stark reminder that we need to hold our idols accountable, regardless of their artistic contributions.

And then there’s the academic trivialization of Rammstein’s actions. A book titled “Rammstein’s ‘Deutschland’. Pop – Politics – Provokation” presents the band’s controversial actions as “complex works of art”. The taz article criticizes this perspective, stating, “The reader ‘Rammstein’s ‘Germany’. Pop – Politics – Provokation’… presents the result of cultural science research on Rammstein’s pop-cultural total work of art permeated with fascist aesthetics, right-wing iconography, and sexual violence fantasies.”

To me, this feels like a dangerous oversimplification that overlooks the potential harm such portrayals can cause. It’s like saying, “Sure, they’re playing with fire, but look at how pretty the flames are!” It’s a way of avoiding the hard questions, of sidestepping the uncomfortable truths.

While some may appreciate Rammstein’s boldness and refusal to conform, I find their actions deeply problematic. The controversy surrounding Rammstein serves as a reminder that as consumers of art, we need to keep our eyes open and our minds critical. We need to hold artists accountable for their actions, especially when they exploit historical trauma and personal boundaries for shock value.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about the music. It’s also about the message. And when that message is wrapped up in controversy and exploitation, it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves: is this the kind of art we want to support?

people, emotions, feelings

The Exasperating Trilogy of Modern Speech: Upspeak, Vocal Fry, and the ‘Like’ Epidemic

Modern communication – a brilliant, marvelous tapestry weaved with an array of eloquent sounds, linguistic acrobatics, and… upspeak, vocal fry, and the incessant use of “like”. The grand opera of language has been hijacked by these three renegade stars, ensuring every sentence sounds like a question, a dying engine, or a Facebook algorithm’s dream.

Upspeak: The Question that Never Ends

Upspeak is fascinating in its ability to leave listeners in a perpetual state of suspense. Imagine listening to a thrilling murder mystery where every sentence ends on a cliffhanger. Now, apply that to every conversation in your life. Every declarative statement, every assertion is turned into an open-ended question. The suspense, initially thrilling, soon becomes like a song stuck on loop – it’s fun at first, then it starts to grate on your nerves.

Moreover, upspeak can undermine the speaker’s authority and credibility. In professional settings, constant questioning inflections can signal uncertainty or a lack of confidence. It’s as if the speaker is continually seeking validation, which can be quite irksome when you’re looking for decisive, assertive communication.

Example:

This linguistic accident has become pretty popular among the younger demographic. Gone are the days of confident, assertive statements. Instead, we’re now serenaded by a constant stream of interrogatives. Whether you’re ordering coffee or presenting a groundbreaking scientific discovery, with upspeak, everything sounds like you’re asking for directions to the nearest surf shop.

Vocal Fry: The Groan that Grows on You

Vocal fry is the audio equivalent of nails on a chalkboard for some. That low, creaky vibration that has become extremely popular is grating to the ear, especially when it’s used excessively. It makes conversations sound tedious and monotonous, sucking the energy out of interactions.

Furthermore, the overuse of vocal fry can come across as affectation, an attempt to emulate celebrities or fit into a certain image. This pretense is quite irritating, especially when it masks genuine emotion and intonation. It also impacts the clarity of speech, making it challenging to follow a conversation.

Example:

I find this also extremely well and funny acted.

Vocal fry is fabulous for those who want to add a touch of mystery to their persona. Why sound enthusiastic or lively when you can emulate a bored crocodile, right? Nothing screams ‘I’m interested in this conversation’ quite like making every word sound like an effort.

The Everlasting “Like”

Finally, we come to the pièce de résistance of modern linguistic quirks: the excessive use of “like.” No longer satisfied with its humble origins as a preposition or a verb, “like” has metamorphosed into a filler word, a verbal crutch that has lodged itself firmly in the lexicon of the masses.

And why not? Why say, “I went to the store,” when you can say, “I was like, going to the store”? Why describe things as they are when you can add a few extra “likes” to ensure your listener has the time to zone out, make a sandwich, and plan their weekend getaway in the time it takes for you to finish your sentence?

Example:

They do this in every episode. “Like” … “like” … “like” … “like” … “like” … “like” …

Perhaps the most charming aspect of this trend is how “like” robs sentences of their impact. “I’m scared” is a clear, powerful statement. “I’m, like, scared?” Well, that just leaves room for doubt. Are you scared, or are you “like” scared? Is this a genuine emotion or are we in simile territory?

So?

Upspeak, vocal fry, and the overuse of “like” are less of charming idiosyncrasies and more of constant tests to our auditory endurance. They are the linguistic equivalent of running nails across a chalkboard, an endless loop of linguistic calamities that prickle our nerves and boggle our minds.

Upspeak, with its insistent questioning, shreds the fabric of assertive communication, leaving in its wake a trail of needless uncertainty. Vocal fry, on the other hand, grates against the harmony of conversation, replacing the musicality of varied intonations with a monotonous drone that could bore even the most patient listeners.

And then we have “like,” the reigning monarch of verbal fillers. Its relentless presence in every sentence, every phrase, is a testament to our collective inability to utter a single coherent thought without resorting to linguistic crutches. It’s a constant, gnawing distraction that turns even the simplest of narratives into a labyrinth of superfluous words.

These linguistic trends, in their unyielding persistence, have managed to take the art of conversation, a dance of words and meanings, and turn it into an obstacle course of irritation and frustration. They’ve proven that language, in all its dynamic glory, is not immune to trends that test the limits of our patience and our fondness for effective communication.

So, here’s a plea to the speakers of the world: Let’s reclaim the beauty of language, the clarity of thought, and the assertiveness of well-formed sentences. Let’s bid adieu to the eternal question mark of upspeak, the sizzling ennui of vocal fry, and the relentless filler that is “like.” After all, isn’t it high time our conversations mirrored the richness and precision of our thoughts, instead of sounding like a broken record of linguistic annoyances?