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.

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“When you collect everything, you understand nothing”

The problem is that nobody really cares. We think we have nothing to hide. But that is where we go wrong.

We have seen the dystopia in the circle; we have heard John Oliver talk about it and beautifully describe and analyze people’s ataraxia.

Why do people not react? Here’s a theory.

We are used to full transparency. Or at least what we think it may imply. We watch farmers fall in love and mentally not fully gifted people thrown together in fancy living rooms just to do in front of a camera what really, really does not belong there.

We know this world as a rather crazy one. And if those people can be broadcast and ridiculed, what is the risk in entering your data everywhere? A picture on facebook here, a ranty tweet about your last fast food experience there. And all these cute cats you emailed at work. Still better than any of the people you see exposing their darkest sides on TV.

How bad can it really be if they read all your mail, listen to your phone calls or see your private collection of, well, private videos? You do not care if the government can ask for anything, as it is only to protect you?

German Blogger Sascha Lobo pointed out that this unconditional obedience is basically defeat and says nothing but: I do what I am told to.

We are deafened by thinking we have “control” over the data we enter. That we can control what we upload, what is known about us.

But the problem is what we do not have control over.

elections are a funny thing

So, finally I get to vote. Good thing it is not complicated – Germany have developed the habit of either not caring of voting what the Wahl-o-mat (you just click your views on issues and the internet will make a decision for you) tells them to vote.

I try to keep an overview from here, but it is not easy. But when I unpacked my postal election material, I was a bit shocked. A pile of what felt like 700 colourful papers fell out.

The reason for that is that I am voting for the general and federal election. Such a challenge right at the beginning? And, what also adds up to it are the 6 referendums that Bavarians are deciding about – our consitution will probably be changed.

All of this adds up to like 3 hours for me. I wouldn’t say I’m the most political person in the world, but I am a member of a party and read news every day. But what about the people who do not? I will take them even longer – wherefore I could understand being too lazy to vote.

Whatever, I’m grabbing my non-existent reading glasses and a pen now and will dig in then…

Elections are a funny thing.

What does my ID say about me?

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Hello, stranger. Or friend. Whoever is reading this.

I am afraid these days. My adventure began a year ago, and here I am. Not much smarter than before, but I definitely made a lot of experiences. I met interesting people and stupid ones. (Not saying one excludes the other)

One question I heard a lot in the last year was “Do all Germans like/do/have/….[insert random stereotype here]?”

So, I want you to do something. Get out your ID. Look at it and think what it says about you. It is only a piece of plastic with some letters and probably a bad picture on it. Yet it determines a lot of things.

It gives you the rights and privileges of living in the country that issued your ID, it makes it possible for you to travel and possibly makes it possible to buy alcohol. It may make people hateful towards you, it may make you interesting to them.

The nationality itself is printed on it. People will assume that I like beer, blasmusik and the Oktoverfest because I was born in Munich – even though I may hate all of it. They will say I am efficient even though I may be the laziest and most unorganized person on earth. Can this little credit card really tell you that much about me?

In some, if not many, countries people will suffer because there is a “F” instead of a “M” in the column for “sex”. Women are not allowed to vote, drive or leave the house alone in some states. Moreover, it will raise expectations on how you look, dress and behave. A “M” makes it socially unacceptable to wear a skirt or dress in public.

Do we want a little piece of plastic to get so much into our personal space, influence our choices? I don’t think so, and hope this helps you think about the role of that little letter. Germany is the first European country that finally stopped this random assignment of expectations by introducing a “undefined” option.

Don’t let your ID define you. Don’t define others by what you read on their ID. The only way to know a person is to talk to them.

Was Hitler a nice guy? or Curing things that are not to be cured.

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It happened again – you were at a party and you see who your friends are on the photographs.

But what was the deepest conversation you ever had? How hard would it be for the average shrink to tear you all apart? You share hobbies, tastes in music and maybe some political views. Maybe you just started talking while making fun of someone, maybe you wore some clothes that made the other one interested and then somehow you became friends.

And before you know it, you are close. You have feelings for one another. This happens so fast that it scares me at times. I mean, do I really want to become friends with someone just because they are vegetarians? How much does this say about our compability? I know, you have to start on some common ground – or a controverse where both of you discuss respectfully.

But there is a limit. Serious issues that move you a lot are quite personal. So if people attack your statements you make on these topics, it makes you feel attacked in your personality. The world is made of many different opinions and of course nobody will ever agree 100% – but does that mean we have to accept everything we hear of someone else? The YouTuber MrRepzion made a real interesting video on this.

We live in a free world and therefore I do not have to tolerate or even accept your point of view. Especially if we are friends I will care about convincing you that my view is the right one – or experience why you see it differently. I mean, there is a reason for the things I do – so we should talk about it. It is not shoving my opinion up one’s throat – it is discussion and exchange of information. I will tell you why I like the Big Bang Theory, why I became a vegetarian or why I fight for equal rights regardless of sex(uality). And if you disagree, I want to know why. If your reason is just “it has always been like that” or, even worse,you have read it in a 2000 year old book, I just can’t consider you a reasonable discussion partner. I know that I can’t change your taste in TV series – but especially when it comes to the other two it is important for me that – as a friend – you understand and kind of agree.Because otherwise you might be an asshole.

Of course I will try to convince you – because I try to be the best person I can and therefore consider my choices as the right ones. OF COURSE I will be shocked if you say something that goes completely agains everything I believe in. And then I will consider whether we want to, or can stay friends.

I will try to illustrate my point with an example. Joopi Heesters said: Hitler was a nice person – I mean, he was nice to me. This, obviously, caused quite some upstir in the media.

Can we completely ignore something that is so bothersome about a human being? Is that a double standard? I mean, I don’t only want to hang out with the people who are like me. Whoever said opposites attract. But I don’t want to share my cookies with racists or other criminals either.

Looks like a very human dilemma.

“Feminist Jokes”

“Why are jokes about blondes so short?” – So men can remember them

Jokes like these are used by quite a few women show that humor can work the other way round. Their claim is that feminism has made it possible for women to joke about men. Of course, I welcome that. Women having a new kind of self-confidence; being more present in the business world; opening their mouths when they have ideas and standing up for themselves; not being opressed by men anymore. It is great to see that humor can take place around feminism, but despite all the facts there are still people critizising the ideas of feminism. Why does a confidence about men not make us all equal?

Problem 1: Men feel threatened

Actually, this goes against the point I want to make about generalisation. But still, men do not like to have women laugh with them about discriminating jokes. And many can not carry the burden of being made fun of by a woman. There are tensions that a re yet to be relieved.

Of course, it is not the feminist job to take care of sensitive chauvinists. But we have the problem that exactly these people keep discrimination up – and they are the first ones to stop listening to valuable ideas.

And of course, we steal their precious comic book poses!!!!111

Problem 2: A new dominating group?

There are several men saying that feminism has already gone too far. That men have to go to prison longer, that men get custody over children harder, that men are being opressed.

Arguing with that against feminism does not make any sense to me. The numbers still stand against women, concerning payment, crime victim rate and leading positions. It will take time to intrude into male networks.

Of course, there are  problems for men. But that is not an argument against feminism – it rather suggests tackling these problems with a male kind of empowerment. I suggest supporting the good points of feminism and tackling the unfair sides for men –  those are two completely different things after all.

Problem 3:  The strive for revenge

Because: why is it given that there has to be a winning side? WE ARE ALL EQUAL has been said so many times, yet many women mistake their empowerment and advantages as a redemption for all the years of opression. But shouldn’t emancipated women stand above it all?

Joking about men doesn’t bring equality. It just makes generalisations about men happen – from the female side. There are just as many different men as women, many of them want equality even though it can cause them harm. So why do women attack them constantly?

The mentality of humans may derive from their fear of losing to one another, we always have to find someone we can make responsible for problems. Women these days can be a bigger threat to equality than ever before.

Forgetting vs Forgiving

So I read this article, and apparently history isn’t taught well in Japan.

It explains how there’s too little space in history lessons to go through Japan’s role in the world stage and pupils are asked to finish a book in their spare time – my guess is that even the more hardworking pupils will rather focus on anything that’s related to their grades rather than dusty history which seems not to concern them now. I’ve felt that way for quite some time now, since many people from Asia hold a grudge against each another, without being able to explain why. But that’s true for many people my age.

One the one hand it can be a good thing to forget. Hatred for other nations, minorities and genders IS a cultural construct. In my opinion children would ask why someone looks or behaves different instead of bullying them – but that’s what life’s teaching them. We learn to have our biases against other nations – sometimes even about our own (when I think of a Bavarian I have to think of Lederhosen, meat and all that stuff – even though I’m a vegetarian). So actually the sentence

Japanese people often fail to understand why neighbouring countries harbour a grudge over events that happened in the 1930s and 40s.

makes me think that they are innocent as children – not knowing basic parts of their history. Of course, as a German you are constantly reminded of your heritage. But that doesn’t mean I know all the contexts – and I won’t even get started on people who “have a grudge” against Germans or still make Hitler-jokes. How can history lessons fail so much to communicate actual knowledge?

I have felt the same thing in my own curriculum. Of course, there was enough (I mean. ENOUGH) time to explain the rise and fall of the Nazi reign – but only little parts of what I know now are from there. In my high school years I tended to hate history classes. Ever since my interest in politics is higher, I deeply regret all the tests I prepared for half-heartedly.

But where should it come from? Germans can’t vote until they’re 18 – I’ll have the first opportunity for giving my opinion this year’s general election. At the age of 20. My parents do vote – but never tried to actively put me onto any track (which I’m actually thankful for). Of course, there are organizations for young people – but my interest only began with Social Studies – introduced at the age of 16.

I think this is too late. Recent topics, politics that they can read in the newspaper headlines, are the things that get young people hooked for history. Because as nice it may seem to consider historical topics as over and done with – you can’t do politics without knowing about the causes of current conflicts. And only as soon as you understand how past events are still alive in everyday life you can study history for the right reasons.

Stop Wasting EU money. Or why I don’t speak TSCHERMAN here.

I hang out with awesome guys. Special Thanks to Julia for inspiring this.

So, when I came here, most people seemed to be aware of the fact that the EU is running out of money for this. Here. Our financial “ERGASMUS”. There are enough articles showing the numbers. So, since this happens to be MY Blog I’ll just write my impressions.

I had to go through a very tough application process for going here. I had to write motivational letters, pass personal talks, justifying my dream to come to England that I have had for 10 years now. This was my opportunity and I was happy to get it, and not even in the first round. Yes, I am the successor of someone who didn’t accept his place in Birmingham (don’t judge a book by it’s cover, but that’s another story).

But wha’ever, I am here now. And I love it. I am so happy, because everything I wrote in those letters was true. Sadly, most people may have meant it when writing “I want to make many English friends” but now they do not realize how to live up to that. Why are you not trying ANYTHING new? Don’t tell me that’s because of finances; I only get 150 € monthly. That’s the smallest amount of all the people I’ve talked to so far (despite my application process being so hard). Of course, my parents do support me and I work. Just to make this the greatest time in my life. If I had only come here for watching series on my laptop, there would be no point in doing it.

 I am sure everyone can find something in the University of Birmingham he or she likes. And still study and go to parties. There’s plenty time on a day (and you can cut the sleep. It is almost free to do sports. You can use some of your credits to learn a new language. And it’s perfectly fine if you just watch series, movies and 9GAG. But  then at least understand the meme jokes that I keep on making.

I don’t mean to attack anyone here. If you’re happy with what you’re doing, go on – this is just my life and thoughts. But I for myself want to be attacked less when I tell Germans that I prefer speaking English. Every second, no excuses. If you don’t know a word, look it up. We live in an age where that is no more effort than asking Siri. You think it is pretentious? I learnt from Sara (tho who I – yes, even in Germany – speak English 24/7):

“Where else should we get such a good practice.”

 That’s basically the reason. But after being asked over and over again WARUM I won’t speak German to German people, I even created a toplist of possible answers (if any come up to you, please comment).

1. My soul hurts everytime someone says “I am from Tschermani. (Replacable with ITALI, FRÄNCE, SPEEN)” . Please, at least say the name of your nation in proper English.

2. I want to lose my accent.

3. I hate it to leave all the other people in a room out of the conversation.

4.  I am studying it and I love it.

5. German is too hard for me.

6. Why. The heck. Not.

Please don’t see this as a question of national pride. Don’t think I hate German (Actually, I especially love the word “Zimtstern”) . Don’t see this as offense. Just think about it, you asked after all. Cheers!

Merkel, Greece and the Euro Crisis. A German Perspective?

The European Union is crumbling, a “German Perspective” on the current situation of protests in Greece is ought to be interesting. So, what do I know about all these German and European, if not global issues? 

I come from Bavaria, which is sometimes not even said to be a part of Germany. But still, I would consider myself a politically interested person.  For Instance, my Minor is all about the mass media and I am engaged in the Green Party. I try not to swallow everything I read in a cheap (if not free) Newspaper and be well-informed on what’s going on. Nevertheless, I could not possibly know everything about these global issues, all these words haunting newspaper headlines. The basic question is: should Greece spend money, or should they save money?

So, let’s start with my home base. Even since France’s Sarkozy is gone as a tower of strength, our first female Chancellor Mrs. Merkel doesn’t let off the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) working, meaning to save money.  She may be acting like this because she is mocked for being an opportunist occasionally. Proof for that may be that the strong woman, who fought for the energy turnaround, used to say things like: „It’s like baking a cake – here and there something can go wrong”[i] about nuclear power.But then, that was 14 years ago.

Let’s go further to Greece. What I could see in German TV were some sensational documentaries about corruption and workless people ravaging on the streets. Hidden cameras should show how everything there is going wrong. I found that worrying about German Journalism.  Just as worrying as I find pictures of Merkel dressed up as Nazi in Greek newspapers. Concluding neither country does too well regarding media coverage. No surprise that in a survey only 39 per cent[ii] of Germans think that Greece shall stay in the Eurozone.

To sum it up: media coverage, impressions, and personal situation will change each individual views. As for “my German perspective”: I solely know what I wrote in this very article. Because many people ask me that: I’d like to clarify that I cannot sense any negative energy, neither against Greece nor its population within my social contacts. But I believe everyone has his own ideas regardless background; as I am from Bavaria and don’t like beer.

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