Friday, 14 February 2014

Love, acceptance and compromise:

Love, acceptance and compromise (as many people more qualified than me will tell you) are pretty vital ingredients to any healthy relationship, whether it's with your Mother or your boyfriend.  

Today (Valentine's Day) I was planning to write a very different, more trivial post, but somehow something more hard hitting (and, admittedly, ranty) came out.

Source: here

It will never cease to amaze me how much energy and time people put into hatred.  You only have to read the bulk of comments on any online article, YouTube video or shared Facebook photo to witness the brutal crucifixion of both its subject and its creator.  Away from the internet, mobs of people march and protest daily to contest atheism, homosexuality, abortion and pretty much anything else you can think of.

The only thing that I could ever get THAT angry and THAT passionate about is inequality and discrimination, on every level.  Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach.

It’s been said many times now that future generations will view this era in the same way that we now look back on slavery and racial segregation.  With shame and regret.  Nobody should suffer or be held accountable for something that is a) not their choice and b) not harming anyone else whatsoever.  

So what if an individual is black, lesbian, old, transgender, disabled, female or anything else?  They are, first and foremost, a human being, and I will relentlessly stand up for every last one of them and their right to live as happy and fulfilling a life as anyone else.

Again, it comes back to the power of hatred, but I cannot comprehend why anyone would choose to persecute and ridicule someone else over the gamble that is genetics.  Who are they to decide what is right and wrong?  Does it really make them feel superior to deny a fellow human being their happiness?  Because it makes me feel desperately sad, and I can’t be the only one.

In fact, I know I’m not.

Leaving the Neck Nominations and Beliebers aside for just one short moment, today I feel proud to be a part of my particular generation.  I feel proud to say that I, like the majority of my peers, accept my fellow human beings for not only who they are, but who they want to be.  I might be biased, but (in general) I truly believe that we are the most forward thinking and understanding people in today's society.

On that note, I feel extremely proud that my parents (despite any personal beliefs, political leanings or pressure from their generation) raised a child who knows right from wrong, and who also simultaneously understands that race, sexuality and gender are not ‘right or wrong answer’ questions.

Love who you want to love, world, and be who you want to be.  I’ve got your back.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Be nice to each other today (and every day).

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Inferior Inspiration #11: Valentine's Day edition!

Love it or loathe it, Valentine's Day is just around the corner again.  Here are some homely (mostly heart shaped) things that have got my ticker all a flutter:

1. Normally I wouldn't jump on the overly popular pug/French bulldog accessory bandwagon, but this Ben de Lisi cushion from Debenhams is freaking adorable. (£22)

2. Pretty and practical is my favourite combination, and these colourful Paperchase heart measuring spoons would be a cheery addition to any kitchen. (£3)

3. There's nothing nicer than novelty Le Creuset dishes.  You could bake a nice romantic pie in this heart dish from John Lewis, couldn't you? (£49)

4. Arguably the most romantic novel in literary history, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is worth a read if you've never tried it.  The Mr Boddington's Penguin Classic version (which you can find at Anthropologie) has a lovely cover so you can keep it on display when you aren't reading about good old Cathy and Heathcliff. (£9.99)

5. I mentioned my admiration for the Listography diaries in a recent post, but hadn't seen the Love Listography before.  Who knows?  It might be very therapeutic to list all of your thoughts about love - past, present and future.  You can grab a copy at Urban Outfitters. (£11.99)

6. Nothing says Valentine's Day like a new bathmat, right?  If you agree, this pop art inspired speech bubble mat from H&M will be perfect for beside your tub! (£7.99)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Instagram #19:

1. Reviewing delicious food at Edinburgh Larder Bistro with the lovely Nicola. (You can read my review here.) 
2. I celebrated my first printed byline in The Scotsman.  The online version of the article is here, if you're curious!
3. My amazingly talented friend Marianne made me a Lil' Sebastian figurine.  Shout out to any Parks and Rec fans who get the reference.

4. Marianne channelling Laura Prepon in my glasses.
5. Celebrating our fake engagement.
6. Documenting our annual sushi date at Yes Sushi.

7. Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip having a wee dance at the Liquid Rooms.
8. More sushi (at Yo! this time) with the family.  We ate a lot of it.
9. Prosecco with some journo friends (AKA dutch courage before a networking event).

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Inferior Book Group #5:

I'm both ashamed and disappointed that this Inferior Book Group post is going up late, but at least I actually finished reading the book before writing my review.  Dial M for Murdoch by Tom Watson and Martin Hickman is one of the more challenging books I've read recently, but I'm glad I got there in the end.  I now feel much more informed on a topic that (as a student journalist) there is no escape from.

Dial M for Murdoch is essentially a 'what not to do' guide for aspiring journalists, or - alternatively - 'signs the newspaper you work for is up to no good'.  If you're living in the UK, you're probably somewhat aware of the News of the World phone hacking trial that has been  all over the news in recent months.  This book is a fairly comprehensive explanation of the events that lead up to what has arguably become the most infamous case in media history.

Source: here

The 2012 account was written by Watson (a Labour Party MP) and Hickman (a former reporter for The Independent), who were at times quite deeply involved in exposing the phone hacking scandal.  The authors do not just implicate media tycoon and title character Rupert Murdoch (former owner of the News of the World) but also a staggering number of journalists, lawyers, law enforcement and politicians.  I was absolutely astounded by the number of powerful and influential people who turned out to be at the heart of this worldwide cover up.

To be completely open, it took a fair bit of perseverance for me to get into Dial M for Murdoch.  Although it was sold to me as a thriller, the book is - of course - first and foremost a work of non fiction.  There were a lot of unfamiliar names, a sizeable chunk of legal jargon and a great deal of backstory to get through before the juicy action started.  Still, once I grew used to Watson and Hickman's factual writing style, I got caught up in their unravelling exposé.

I would definitely recommend this read to anyone looking to learn more about the hacking trials.  It may have taken me a while to get through, but I'd say Dial M for Murdoch is the closest thing to a dummies' guide.  And, honestly, the truths you'll discover in this book are shocking, sickening and absolutely unimaginable.

To give my brain a bit of a break, I've decided to read the famous children's story Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie during February.  I'm looking forward to reading this classic for the first time finding out what Disney changed!