The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins. There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.
The first time I read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ I was sitting in 10th grade English class. But there is one image that stays with me. The description of crops going unharvested even as workers are eager and willing to pick the food. He writes:
The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the time, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit—and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
He wrote those words more than 70 years ago, yet the conditions he describes still ring true for 50 million Americans living in food insecure households today… . Hungry families do not have enough food… [but] not because of scarcity. Every year 40% of food produced goes uneaten. That’s 20 pounds of food per person per day. And that is the twisted irony of hunger in America today. What Steinbeck called that crime that goes beyond denunciation, landfills brimming with rotting food while 15% of households don’t have enough to eat.
I’m glad this exists.
Ezra Miller-Paper Magazine
For those of you who think that radical feminists exaggerate or cherry-pick the worst of the porn industry, I have an experiment for you. Type ‘porn’ into Google and click around the most well-travelled websites that appear. With mind-numbing repetition you will see gagging, slapping, verbal abuse, hair-pulling, pounding anal sex, women smeared in semen, sore anuses and vaginas, distended mouths, and more exhausted, depleted and shell-shocked women than you can count. You will not see two people having sex; you will see images depicting a level of physical cruelty that would not be out of place in an Amnesty International campaign.
One of the only studies of contemporary pornographic content found that the majority of scenes from fifty of the top-rented porn movies contained both physical and verbal abuse targeted against the female performers. Physical aggression – including spanking, open-hand slapping and gagging – occurred in over 88% of scenes, while expressions of verbal aggression – calling the woman names such as ‘bitch’ or ‘slut’ – were found in 48%. The researchers concluded that ‘if we combine both physical and verbal aggression, our findings indicate that nearly 90 per cent of scenes contained at least one aggressive act, with an average of nearly twelve acts of aggression per scene’. [x]
That this is the major form of sex education for men should be taken very seriously by the women’s movement. The same men who get off from women being brutalised and called cunts, sluts and cum-dumpsters are the ones who go on to become politicians, corporate executives, judges, media professionals, policy makers and bankers. In other words, they become the economic and cultural elite that shape the material and ideological world that determines how women – and their children – will live. Most of them will become partners and fathers. To assume that porn is mere fantasy and does not impact on the way men think and feel is to ignore decades of research on how images frame our social construction of reality.
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Researching health and nutrition is really terrifying once you appreciate the magnitude of the nutrition problems we are having, and how pervasive chemicals and additives are, but also so uplifting because I feel like this knowledge gives me power to begin to control what I put in my body, where it comes from and what it actually means to be healthy in a global context. To actually know what is in my food, what all those weird ingredients and chemicals are…to feel good about my choices to seriously limit my intake of food that comes in a package, and to know how to evaluate the packaged foods in my cupboard. It is a lot of shit to deal with, and there’s a lot of work to be done but knowing how far I already am on this path is very validating.
Of course no one can be healthy 24/7, and I feel no shame in indulging in occasional fast foods. Feeling guilt or fear about eating is not something I want to start doing. I think the real point here is to start making healthier choices overall, to scrutinize the food industry…. and to actually just eat real food ( fruits, veggies, nuts, grains in their organic form) because that’s what makes my and my body feel the best.
Tomie 富江 (1987) - Itou Junji
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