We have to look at several factors when deciding what makes a great athlete. These include explosiveness, which features speed and power; endurance; technical ability; charisma, which can include leadership and the X Factor; and their achievements in a calendar year. So somebody might have four out of five, such as the cyclist Chris Froome. He has everything when it comes to endurance but he doesn’t have anything in the charisma department.
There are contenders such as Andy Murray and Usain Bolt. But when looking at all of the requirements, the US basketball player LeBron James has to be the winner. He’s supremely gifted on the court, he’s blessed with height and strength. His decision-making is phenomenal and he has an amazing basketball IQ. And his charisma is key – the way he beat his chest during the national anthem in the NBA finals and got the whole stadium geed up was a real leadership moment. The Cleveland Cavaliers hadn’t won the NBA championship, so that was also a major achievement. He’s the epitome of the greatest athlete in the world.
This will be very modest advice, I don’t pretend to have a big answer. The first thing (although it’s not that positive yet, but would still be a great thing) would be for people to become aware, to lose this protective attitude where they say “let’s keep a little bit of happiness the way we are, let’s keep the system the way it is". And it can be done gradually, we can gradually show that the fault is in the system itself. And this is the biggest strategy of today’s ideology, to divide this.
Remember the financial crackdown of 2008. This is why I was deeply suspicious of this false anti-capitalism of you know, attacking those corrupted rich men. No, the problem is in the system. You know, individuals - I am an anthropological pessimist here - they were all the time corrupted and so on, but why is it that they are able to do it in the way they do it today? And then, the second thing - I am not such a big pessimist here - you know, all modest measures are not equal. There are some measures, political proposals and demands, which may appear modest, can really be too dramatic for the system. In the United States (though I am not naive when it comes to Obama), it was clear that his universal healthcare proposal, for the United States it was too much. Although it was possible in other countries (Canada has it, and most of Europe), but there it’s too much for their ideology.
So my idea is that we must be aware that the system as such is doomed, and we have to be ready for some big ecological, social crisis. But it doesn’t mean that you should just sit and watch pornography and masturbate till that point. The art is to pick up on specific struggles, and they are not the same in all countries. Like in the United States it was universal healthcare. We can be innocent about it and say that most developed capitalist countries have it, so what’s the problem? But really, the system cannot integrated it. Because the trick of democratic capitalism is crucial: apparently formally it gives you all the choices, but many choices are de-facto prohibited. You cannot do it. So with capitalist democracy it’s always that paradox. I give you the freedom to choose if you make the right choice. If we explore this space, many things can be done.
To round off a year defined by fake news, lies becoming truth and fiction masquerading as fact, we present the only awards that truly sum up 2016. What else could we call them but The Fakies? Pass the Golden Envelope, please…
The Golden Straightened Banana for Brexit Bollocks: Vote Leave’s £350m bus slogan.
If the promises of the Leave campaign were to be believed, the UK – six months after voting to leave the EU – should by now be rounding up the last remaining Latvians and enjoying a dazzling dawn of independent prosperity, as opposed to being regarded as a global village idiot with bulletholes in both feet. The emblematic whopper of the Leave campaign was the bus-borne £350 million per week (see above) which would be suddenly available once the drawbridge was raised. (That’s only about £293 million in “new” money, of course). The ‘pledge’ was quickly erased from the Leave campaign’s website right after the Referendum, and finally quietly abandoned in September.
The “it’s on the internet, it must be true” plaque for stupidest fake story with worst real-world consequences: Pizzagate
It could have been worse. On December 4th, only fixtures and fittings were damaged when a gunman opened fire in the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, DC. He turned out to have been one of many impressionable yokels who bought a bewilderingly persistent online legend that the restaurant was a front for a child sex trafficking operation run either by, or on behalf of, Hillary Clinton. If you wondered who the people were who believed anything Donald Trump told them, here’s your answer.
Flimsiest Incitement to Hatred: Katie Hopkins and The Daily Mail
To criticise a single Daily Mail article for being tendentious and mean-spirited is akin to criticising a single column from Horse & Hound for being principally focused on horses and/or hounds. However, the Mail’s pre-eminent thinker, Katie Hopkins, excelled herself when she falsely accused a British Muslim family, refused entry to the United States while attempting to visit Disneyland, of ties to al-Qa’ida. Hopkins’ vow that she would “never apologise” was overruled by a judge, who also ordered a damages payout of £150,000. When Hopkins no doubt mistakenly tweeted the apology at 2am rather than a busier time of day, helpful internet users ensured that it didn’t go unnoticed.
The “‘You can’t believe everything on the internet’ – George Washington” award for most-retweeted fake quote on a jpeg: #nevertrump campaigners
Many of the people who criticised the United States’ incoming president for his lack of interest in the verifiable proved happy enough to trade in nonsense themselves. Frequently gleefully forwarded was a jpeg-mounted quote (above) supposedly from a 1998 interview Trump that gave to People magazine. In it, he mused on the potentially electorally profitable gullibility of Fox News viewers. Outrageous, eh? The only problem is that Trump never said it – although, ironically, it may have been the most accurate line attached to his name all year.
The Captain Credulous epaulettes for tweeting first and asking questions later: Louise Mensch
The mercilessly prolific Twitter feed of former MP Louise Mensch has long read like the consequence of an experiment in living entirely on white wine and Skittles. Many doubted that she could equal such previous peaks as believing that Charlie Hebdo was an individual, rather than a magazine, and suspecting that Theodor Herzl might have been an anti-semite, as opposed to a Zionist pioneer. She triumphed, however, when inexplicably leveraging the death of Leonard Cohen to insult Russia, declaring that while Russia “has nothing”, Cohen reminds us of “America’s enduring greatness”. Cohen was Canadian.
The Brass Necklace for Audacious Sanctimony: The Canary
The Corbynista clickbait-farm was in many respects the media outlet that best embodied 2016 – which, given 2016, is far from a compliment. It found a ready audience among the kind of people who prefer their headlines to tell them how they’re going to feel about the ensuing story, and who also enjoy the spurious gratification of the conspiracy theory – perhaps, most notably, that a PR firm called Portland was responsible for a challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, as opposed to the MPs who actually challenged the hapless throwback. A peak was reached in July, when The Canary ran a deranged hagiography which compared Corbyn to John F. Kennedy. This has been deleted, though they appear to be standing by the one about a dummy transmission by a TV station in Chattanooga leaking results of the US election in advance (Clinton wins, apparently.)
The bronze troll statue for municipal services to idiocy: Veles, Macedonia
This hitherto little-heralded Balkan burg was revealed, towards the end of the US presidential election campaign, to be hosting a thriving industry of online bullshit factories catering for the appetites of American voters – largely, as these self-starting propagandists cheerfully admitted, Trump voters, who tended to be readier to believe the lurid nonsenses created and/or recycled by Veles’ inventive young folk, some of whom were clearing US$5,000 a month from internet advertising. And people said Trump couldn’t create jobs.
The Golden Sheeple fleece for poisoning public debate: Steve Bannon
It may be the most wretchedly illustrative career arc of our time: from naval officer to Goldman Sachs banker to Hollywood producer to hyper-conservative media mogul to chief strategist for the incoming president of the United States. Under Bannon’s leadership, the cranky right-wing fulmination Breitbart was cannily positioned as a pro-Trump propaganda channel – not entirely unmoored from reality, and able to present its denunciations of establishment media as implicit demonstration of its own righteousness. More than anyone else this year, Bannon was to blame for popularising the idea that reasonableness, thoughtfulness and willingness to consider other perspectives are all character faults.
The birth of campaigning organisations and the push for decriminalisation were both a result of an emerging LGBTQ community and a factor in further consolidating that community, but a backlash soon followed. The Nazi regime deliberately attempted to exterminate the queer population alongside Jewish people and other groups they deemed contrary to the supposed health of the nation. We must remember, however, that for queer people at the time, the Nazi regime’s attempt at extermination was not an isolated moment of homophobia: it was simply the apogee of a wave of anti-queer persecution by the state which was spreading across the Western world from the 1920s through the 1960s.
In many ways, the movement didn’t progress smoothly: the 20s were rather safer than the 50s for LGBTQ people, but in the 60s, the renewed post-war movement gathers speed.
Across the 1960s, tactics shifted. Large-scale protests strode out on to the streets. Riots against police brutality broke out at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco in 1966, and most famously at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969. In 1970, the first Pride marches started, and queers in a handful of U.S. cities paraded through the streets, refusing to be silent and demanding basic human rights. In the following 25 years, the tactic of Pride celebrations would spread to many cities around the world.
In 1981, AIDS hit, and killed hundreds of thousands of queers in the West and over 35 million people worldwide. Homophobes has previously regarded homosexuality itself as a disease; in the homophobic imaginary, AIDS again linked queerness to a fear of a disease. At the same time, the epidemic forced the queer issue into the public eye. That was the point where you had to get off the fence: you either had to respect us, or you had to reject us. Seeing the depth of love, solidarity and care in the face of apocalypse brought many people off the fence in our favour.
Those struggles over the course of the 20th century mobilised a movement that successfully fought for decriminalisation, then legislative protection, then marriage equality in a number of Western countries.
Jason Kessler a resident of Charlottesville planned "Unite the Right," an event held on Saturday, August, 12. You can read about the event here or the some of the groups in attendance here. On Friday night these groups held an unpermitted torchlit rally reminiscent of KKK rallies on the University of Virginia campus. You can read one UVA professor's account here. On Saturday, a number of counter protest actions were planned and executed by several activitst groups. A few of them are mentioned in this post. Later in the afternoon, a car rammed into a crowd of protesters and bystanders after the “Unite The Right” rally was deemed unlawful (due to the level of violence) and ordered to disperse. One woman, Heather Heyer was murderd in the attack; many were injured. For a general overview of the day check out this article. Articles also exist calling attention to police tactics and the relationship between the town, a culture of civility, and overt acts of racism.