The Cancer of Safe Spaces

The Cancer of Safe Spaces

This’ll be a long one folks. Buckle up.
As I become ever so slightly more mature, I find myself noticing more and more trends and trivialities in our society. Gone were the days of youthful ignorance, where nothing in the news would bother me, mainly because everything I loved and held dear was relatively unaffected by all the political or social upheaval going on at the time. And my biggest loves at the time were anime/manga, comics and gaming. I may have mentioned briefly that I am a huge geek. That would be the understatement of the century. Asking me to choose between my favourite character in any of the three would be like asking me which child I would rather kill. My escapades began with a PS One my dad got for my sisters, but which they obviously didn’t care for. We also had a SNES and Saga Genesis, all of which I would play often with my older brother whenever we were at my dad’s place. However, the first time I truly loved playing a videogame was when my dad bought me the PS4 for my fourth birthday. Playing the Ratchet and Clank Demo brought me unfathomable joy, but that was nothing compared to the utter elation I felt when I popped in Jak 3. It was a beautiful “open world” action adventure game with amazing humour, and a daring and dark main character. The art was cartoony, but at the same time, you could see the levels of detail and appreciation that went into the levels, and gameplay elements that the game had to offer. This, arguably could have kickstarted my love of the arts, as videogames, the best tend to meld the best of the arts into a playable package, design, music, dialogue, themes, and more. It’s hard to emphasise the level of detail and commitment that goes into games and I could say that it’s one of the most artistically free mediums of expression. You have almost every genre, every trope, every representation of culture and so many new ideas being generated that there’s something for everyone, and that’s not counting the existing legendary franchises already existing like The Legend of Zelda, The Witcher, Fallout and more, but I’ll be talking about them another time.

That being said though, my favourite mediums and sources of enjoyment have been hijacked by the dreaded Social Justice Warriors. Imbeciles that become indignant at anything they feel might offend them in any way. They are usually feminazis, or ignorant virtue signallers who think bashing something just because their favourite youtuber or blogger complained about them will get them “good citizen” points. What do I mean by this? Well my strongest gripe has been with one Anita Sarkeesian, a woman who has made it her personal mission to denounce, and change sexism in videogames. This, is a value which I find admirable. The equality that should be found in both sexes, and good representation which should be given to women. However, Anita Sarkeesian, whilst having a fundamental understanding of videogames, has done very little to appeal to the very mixed and diverse gaming community. She has continued to alienate and insult the community, displaying her lack of knowledge and biased opinions on videogames, failing to name games that have done amazing things for the series. For years now, purer RPGs have given players the choice between a male and female character. There are many videogames with a female main character such as Tomb Raider, which was released more than a decade ago, The Last of Us and more recently, the amazing Horizon Zero Dawn. More recently, she has criticised the amazing Breath of the Wild for portraying the princess Zelda as a “damsel in distress”. An unbased accusation to say the least. For someone who looks at things from one perspective, and doesn’t record her own gameplay, meaning that she doesn’t even play the games that she critiques, she is simply an unwanted scavenger leeching off one of the most versatile and egalitarian form of entertainment around.

Now, switching to comics. I developed a love of comics from the time that my cousin showed me a Namor comic. And as I’ve grown and read many comics growing up, more mature and more diverse I am exposed to many ideas. Notable mentions are V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Blackest Night, The Sandman series, Death of a Family and Marvel’s Civil War. I truly love the writing and different art that goes into the pages of the comics. The story can be told from dialogue, as well as the art, and the impression it can leave on you can be emotionally shocking. Especially if you read amazing graphic novels. And thus, the comic book industry has prided itself in its consistent and sharp writing. Something that keeps readers coming back from more. Now, due to the current state of the media, comic books are being filled with utter trash. A good example would be the cancellation of the Killing Joke variant comic book cover for Batgirl. Which was a huge blow to the comic book community as it showed blatant disrespect for the fans, and free speech. And while DC reeled from the hijacking of its comics by SJWs, they have recovered with their Rebirth series. However, Marvel, which is my personal favourite publication company is falling behind in sales due to its SJW swivel. The writing has become abhorrent, the characters are being replaced left and right, and it is clear to see how Marvel is marketing their comics. “Our readers are misogynistic, racist and cisphobic white privileged males who need trashy comics and more diversity whether they like it or not.” My mum taught me how to respect women, and anyone else for that matter, and I don’t need you to tell me how to do that.

And that’s the thing, this leftist crowd is acting  like there has never been diversity in comics. There always has. Has tit always been handled well…? No, the 70s were particularly bad, however, comics have never been a single shade. And neither have games, or anime, or manga, as each form of entertainment is shaped by its culture, and many cultures have advanced significantly. Trust me, some Englishmen could sell their wives up to the 1700s. I enjoy the things I love. And I love to talk about them. These people screaming from their safe spaces, denying people the opportunity to express their ideas, and denying free speech are encroaching upon my hobbies and passions, and I hate that more than anything. Filling the media with their conceited bullshit and having their heads so far up their asses, they can’t even hear the nonsense they spew. Society has always benefitted from the exchange of ideas. The discussion and the debate that allows us to become better as people, and create  better things. And from these safe spaces and banners, riots and demonstrations, they hide from the truth and spread their lies and skewed ideas of society to you, screaming as loud as they can.

And I write this to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. That your favourite forms of entertainment aren’s hijacked and rewritten. Always be mindful of what you read and watch, especially on social media. Some agendas are worse than ever, and fake news will always be prevalent *cough cough, BLM*, however it is up to us to  challenge the ideas we hear everyday. Be skeptical, and stay enlightened. Expand your knowledge, and beware the cancer of safe spaces


Hip-Hop: The Art of Storytelling

Hip-Hop: The Art of Storytelling

Hip-Hop and Rap, are perhaps the most diverse and intricate forms of music around today. Rap itself, originated in the late 1970s, poverty stricken Bronx area of New York. Poetry met music, and spread across the US like wildfire, before becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In fact, Hip-Hop has such a wide and influential history that I could sit and write a full essay about its origins, controversies and influence, but that would leave us here till the next semester rolls through. We are currently in the “Hip-Hop” era, and that much is undisputed. At this time, Hip-Hop outsells any other form of music, and while I have an immense love for all music, in particular, it would be foolish to underplay the value of Hip-Hop in today’s society. From the great faces it has brought to the light, to the culture that has spanned generations and influenced teens and music scenes across the world.

Some of the best rappers in the past 2 decades have spread their message and stories to many avid listeners across the world. For anyone doubting me, you’re reading the blog of a Malawian who’s listening to the Wu Tang Clan, and has almost every rapper from Ab-Soul to Yelawolf. My personal favourites include Earl Sweatshirt, Mac Miller, Tyler the Creator, Kendrick Lamar, Flatbush Zombies, Kanye West, Tech N9ne, J. Cole, Method Man, Nas and Mike Shinoda, just to name a few. As you can probably tell from that list, I love the storytelling aspect that rap gives, as well as the less mainstream aspects of Rap. I feel like I lean towards underground, non-mainstream rap, because as the years go by, Rap moves further away from the original movement of inspiration, innovation and change. You see, because while in Rap’s long and weathered history, the music has, strangely, been immensely diverse, with perhaps more sub-genres than even Rock. As long as I can remember growing up, even if two rappers were similar, they were never ever the same. They had their own nuances and differences that allowed the Hip-Hop Scene to grow even bigger than it already was.

Storytelling Rap touched my heart quite strongly, especially after I first listened  to Stan, by Eminem. His Magnum Opus according to many people, myself included. And as I grew older, and more involved with writing, documentaries, and the common man’s story, rap became a very strong source of inspiration. Hearing how your favourite rapper truly made it to the top from the bottom through skill, luck and a hefty amount of commitment really hits a nerve. and listening to Kendrick Lamar go into depth throughout Good Kid MaaD City really got my imagination running. And lets not talk about how deep J. Cole went in 4 Your Eyez Only. Whilst many stories have been told throughout other genres, Hip-Hop’s stories manage to go to the core. And why may that be some ask? It may because of the clever wordplay and punchlines. The sublime rhyme and cadence as well as the masterfully crafted beats. But, I think it may be because of the variety of stories told, and the numerous ways they’ve been told. From the linear narratives, to the disjointed tales that span albums, simply to the brief hints placed throughout albums. A lot can be told about an artist and his story from what he sings, and the personal touch bleeds through hip-hop profusely. A good example of this could be Mac Miller, who doesn’t exactly narrate his raps like a story, but gives many hints of his life and his struggles through his music, all while keeping to the themes of his music.

Now that we’ve covered that, its time to bite into the heart of the matter. The so called wave of Mumble Rap. This is entirely my opinion, and I won’t hesitate to say just how distasteful I find the stuff. It’s an amalgamation of the recent trends of finding a catchy beat to make some fourth grade rhymes to. Fine, I’m not saying you can’t listen to it, in fact, I admit that some tracks make for good club bangers. I can bump to Panda and Broccoli in the heat of the moment. But that’s about it for me, the heat of the moment. I’ve almost never gone into my playlist to sit down and listen to some Lil Uzi or, (god forbid), Kodak Black. Do not come to me with some trash like, “Oh, they’re just as good as Kendrick or Kanye.) Respect your fucking self. It lacks the heart and soul that makes Hip-Hop what it truly is. The intuitive flow and wit that compels people to sit down and listen. A comprehensive look into the history and culture of African Americans, and their long struggle. The true soul, is what Mumble Rap lacks.

Now, I still say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, as I am to mine. I am not barring anyone from listening to the music that they prefer. That, to me, is as sacrosanct as any of your holy books are to you. Perhaps I am more inclined to speak out in light of President Trump’s rise to presidency and growing race tensions in the US, and another country that is quite close to my heart, South Africa. Hip Hop has the power to move hearts and spread powerful message. Many artists have managed to make money spreading a message that encourages black on black violence and gang affiliation, and that should never be forgotten. others, have made it clear to tell the story of their lives and the struggles that they saw growing up. People like Kendrick Lamar and Logic, who have experienced drugs and violence, but have nonetheless risen above their pasts and are still spreading positive vibrations in their music. Far too few artists in Hip Hop have promoted peace and love, which is a shame, because it is something the genre, and culture sorely needs.

My admiration for Hip Hop goes deep, with many of my friends and peers being involved in the genre in one way or another. I have grown to love the diversity and history of the Hip Hop culture as I have grown and my musical tastes have expanded. The influence it holds as well as the power and allure that keeps many young people flocking to its boughs. As for me, I will continue to be enthralled by music, and its healing nature. My parting words are to continue to explore the hidden facets of your interests. Never be deterred or overwhelmed by the amount of content, because you’ll never know if you’ll find a diamond in a rhinestone unless you search. As Nas said, “Let the music diffuse all the tension”.