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PewDiePie using words – or how local are our moral codes?

So, if you are even mildly active on the internet, you might have seen that PewDiePie is under attack again*. Why? He said the “N”-word in a live stream.

 

It is fascinating to see all the reactions – barely 24 hours have passed, and already you could write several books about the case. People either protect him, saying it happened in a moment of rage – or are really upset about everyone who would let this pass as an excuse. So far, so forseeable.

Controversy?! – $$$let’s get the traffic$$$

Of course, media outlets do what they get money from. They write about it, awaiting people from both sides to make videos about their articles and starting comment wars below the articles. It’s an easy topic to have an opinion on (or at least declare that you should not have an opinion on because of your ethnicity, which is an opinion in itself). That’s why controversy hits Felix Kjellberg the hardest – his name generates a lot of search traffic which translates to money for media outlets. (This also explains how all the articles above are only cookie-cutter copies of one another without adding any other thoughts. You only need the keywords, original thought is basically worthless.)

Why are people’s reactions so strong?

But the media outrage can only live thanks to the many, many little wars going on all over the blogosphere. Many creators on YouTube have blamed PewDiePie for the so-called “Adpocalypse”, where advertisers started to withdraw from YouTube. A lot of people who had achieved their dreams of living off YouTube had to give up on this dream – or at least have it a lot harder now. Some might fear it getting even worse now.

Other than these very personal reasons, the underlying war between Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and the opposing “red-pilled” Anti-SJWs has been a big topic and common theme for many weeks now. We have a chicken and egg problem here – did people care first or are their reactions only fueled by the media? Or, do all actors in this debate actually fight to settle a bigger question:

Who owns morals on the internet?

Since the internet is mainly English-speaking, it makes sense that a lot of it is rather americanised. PewDiePie, however, is from Sweden and lives in the UK. Of course, Europeans do not proudly go around throwing this word in everyone’s face. It does, however, definitely not bare the same gravity as in America here. Firstly, the whole discussion “hard r” vs “soft r” seems kind of bizarre to evaluate morality from my standpoint. Secondly, race is a way bigger issue in the USA than anywhere on my continent. The whole debate about it is rather alienating for Europeans.

That is why all articles and videos are centered around the whole race topic and opens up the discussion whether your language alone actually makes you a “bad person” or racist. I’m a hobby-linguist and believe in the power of language -yet, to me, it seems that this belief be stronger and more polarized in the US than anywhere else – as the sheer debate about those words is lead quite radically.

 

Either, you are on the moral high ground, never having said them – or you think that this overly tough policing on language is harmful in itself. Maybe, as an American, the word would not simply slip out. It did happen to PewDiePie – and if you re-watch the video, you’ll see that he apologises right away. You can see this attempted balancing act between both moral codes playing out within him.

The internet brings all people together and our local moral codes blur into this very multi-faceted debate with very little attention on the point that in the USA, this word probably means more than in Europe. That’s why this debate is even more heated. It is not simply about the race war – it is about morals themselves.

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*I wrote this article after watching Sargon of Akkad’s video on the issue who provided these links in his caption.

Санкт-Петербург

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Photography from my trip to Russia’s gateway to the west. Saint Petersburg had a lot to offer in terms of views, attractions, and food. Or, in other words, everything your traveling heart desires. All in all, you can feel the boiling of culture and scenes more than you would expect before visiting Russia for the first time.

Where to stay? Rubinstein StreetIMG_7593

The street with the dreamy name of the Polish pianist boasts with a lot of gems in terms of bars, breakfast places and a fair share of hostels and hotels. Only a few steps from Nevsky Prospect, St Petersburg’s main street, it’s an ideal place to start exploring everyday.

Winter Palace/ HermitageIMG_8374

Got eight years? Then you can look at each and every artwork inside for one whole minute. For everyone else, focusing on some exhibits could make more sense. Special tip for all sights in Russia: use the ticket machines to avoid queues.

St Petersburg by nightIMG_7677

Just look at the wonderful lights of the city and enjoy a little vodka (or gin cocktail, for those who care less about tradition) in one of the numerous bars.

Museum of Soviet Arcade MachinesIMG_8396You pay your museum entry fee, get some coins and go! At least that’s the idea, most machines sadly were broken and the good ones were being overtaken by kids. But if you are interested how the Soviets spent their spare time, give it a shot!

http://www.15kop.ru/en/

Don’t miss: Street Art MuseumIMG_8156

No matter if you have Banksy tattoos on your ankle or just generally like creativity, don’t miss out on the Street Art Museum. You can see here a replica of the Winter Palace with a Lenin statue in front. There are more installations all around, a dream for every Instagrammer.

http://streetartmuseum.ru/

I’ll try to tell you more about Moscow and food in Russia next week…

malta – things to do

I spent my birthday in Malta and had an awesome time with awesome people. Here are some of the things you should not miss in between the balconies, water and narrow alleyways.

Some facts:

  • population: 431.333 (Malta is small, yet very densely)
  • currency: €
  • language: English and Maltese
  • fun fact: Britney Spears’ great-grandfather was born in Malta

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1. Ferry Ride to the Blue Lagoon

Even though this is quite the tourist trap, I’d still recommend a boat ride to the Blue Lagoon. Sure enough, your view might be blocked by drunk tourists but it is still calming to sit in the sun and dip your feet in the crystal clear water. Maybe you’ve also guessed it, I’m quite the pineapple addict and they do cocktails served in hollowed-out ones here – called “Blue Lagoon” and quite instagrammable. 😉

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2. Stroll around Valletta

This will be on your list anyways, but just to mention it again. If you miss the green in the sandstone area, the capital of Malta boasts some amazing parks. It’s easy to explore the entirety of it within a few hours and you should definitely check out Soul Food for fresh and tasty Buddha Bowls!

 

IMG_4794-Recovered3. See Mdina

One of the highlights definitely was this little gem of a fortified city. A definite must see is the movie about its history which will give you some background info. It’s well-made, despite being 3D. If you choose to eat here definitely pay the extra money to sit on a rooftop and enjoy the view over the island.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the smallest country of the EU as much as I did! Let me know what your favourite spots were.

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香港 The Best and Worst Vegetarian Restaurants in Hong Kong 香港

Going to a new country as a vegetarian always makes you a bit anxious – will the friends you meet tolerate the search for vegetarian food? Will you be able to enjoy food stalls and find restaurants where you like the food?

If you go out with friends, the sharing culture of the Chinese makes it very easy to just get a bowl of rice and convince them to order some veggie dishes. Alone, however, it will be a bit harder.

However, through some research I found out about one nunnery and one monastery that offer vegetarian food.

The Best – Chi Lin Vegetarian

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Next to the beautiful wooden Chi Lin Nunnery there is Nan Lian Garden – including a golden pagoda, a waterfall and – behind said waterfall – a vegetarian restaurant.

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Dim Sum from Heaven – great vegetarian food in Hong Kong

After a week in Hong Kong I could finally enjoye some steamed buns. Other than accidentally ordering a desert as pre-course, I really enjoyed the variety of Dim Sum, Fried Rice and amazing fruit shakes. I did not understand what half of the ingredients were – so here’s a little overview:

The Worst – Big Buddha

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After the aforementioned good experience I thought it were a good idea to check out another restaurant next to a holy place. But of course, just next to the Big Buddha this one was for the masses of tourists going there. After buying a normal or premium meal ticket, you are lead into a huge food hall where food is served rather roughly, the taste is not refined at all. I would definitely invest in the tad bit more expensive ticket next time, as at least the room looked nicer.

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I won’t even show you the food, here’s the garden instead

As an alternative, I’d recommend you take a picnic in the way calmer Wisdom Path area and enjoy the calmness it offers. And then, when you return, go to Branto Pure Veg and enjoy some delicious Indian Food instead.

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Bonus: Broccoli Trees as seen from the glassed flood of the Cable car to Big Buddha

 

6 things learnt in Poland

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near main square, Krakow

1. There is a ton of nuns. I’ve tried to figure out why the country is still so catholic despite its oppression during the Communist regime. Of course, to do with Poland’s history and the church replacing governmental structures, being a place of coming together. Judaism is on the rise, however, as many people find back to their routes.

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Schindler’s Factory, Krakow

2. Schindler in real life: wasn’t just like in the movie but there were pots involved. The factory is one of the best museums with interactive installations makes history feel alive for you.

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Park Chopin, Warsaw

3. There is a free Chopin Concert in Warsaw every Sunday. Go there. It’s super cool. Don’t try the waffles sold in the small stall located centrally in the park.

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Cloth Hall, Krakow

4. You can meet a lot of amazing people in Poland. Despite the population not being overly international, people are open-minded and lots of travellers pass through. Couchsurfing’s new Hangout-feature really helped finding amazing people in the area.

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5. You’ll always end up in one place when in Warsaw: Pawilony. It’s basically like the same bar over and over again with hallways inbetween. It’s amazing. I especially recommend Comix Bar (super-hero themed shots)!

6. Political opinions: I learnt that the Communist Party is forbidden there and young people are less prone to feeling left-wing.

P.S.: Contrary to its reputation Poland’s cities are a Paradise for vegan food!