Aside
0

Since this blog was created intentionally at the height of my exam studying period and then abandoned during the vacation, it makes sense that I would come back to it again now that I have another set of exams looming.

One of the things that annoys me the most about the Edward Snowden debate is how a lot of allegedly professional and experienced journalists resort to Cold War lingo when referring to Russia. Another thing is the glee with which a lot of commentators seem to take in the fact that Mr Snowden will not be spending time in an “authoritarian” country, and how this fact of Russia somehow invalidates any claims he ever made of transparency or idealism. Lastly, he is not a ‘traitor’ per US law, even if people might “feel” like he is, but the term should not be thrown around like it is. There is a reason why the DoJ did not charge him with this crime – because he does not fit it. It is a crime defined by the US Constitution (very rare), that says you have to be aiding the enemy of a state that US Congress has declared war with. No “terrorism” is not a state and does not qualify here. So he is not a traitor. And the language that employs that he is is false, and undermines, I think, the legitimacy of his opposition. Learn your facts.

But what ever, the merits of that is more a personal grudge of mine with career “commentators” than anything. What truly bothers me is how, now that he has been granted asylum, the process of obtaining asylum and the status of refugees in general is now referred to in idiotic, ignorant and often hateful ways.

Some thoughts:

1. Refugees seldom get to cherry pick their country of refuge. Any fact of what country they end up in, should not be used against them or their claims. (This is something that infuriates me here in Australia as well, when asshole politicians make willfully ignorant and racist umbrella claims about refugees who risk their fucking lives to come here by boat.) A person fleeing civil war in Syria who runs across the border, literally, to Jordan wasn’t exactly researching the travel agency situation and then acting accordingly. Obviously the same conditions didn’t exactly apply to Mr Snowden, but there were certainly circumstances that limited his choices. My only point is that their country of destination should not be held against them.

2. Refugee status does not negate or cancel out the political activities you engaged in in your home country before fleeing. This is true for Ed Snowden and it is true for Syrian dissidents of Assad etc, just to list two very different examples.

3. Privilege drips from your salivating mouth when you spew hateful bullshit about refugees as ‘takers’ and bemoan the dent their presence will make in your welfare country’s budget. If you bother to at least look into budget allocation (for instance in the case of racist, refugee hating Australia) your presumptions will be immediately debunked. The scapegoating of refugees in rich countries pisses me off, especially when most of the “arguments” have no basis in reality.

Anyway, seems like I’m right back to where I was last semester, bitching about how criminal law is not for me. I am surprised by this. I would have thought that I would find it to be an interesting area of law. I find law to be such a restrictive, narrow and technical field of academia. It’s very stifling and not very intellectually stimulating. I miss more concrete analysis of both i) philosophical foundations, and ii) power dynamics in society in general. That’s why I’m so surprised about my dislike of the study of criminal law, which is a much more overtly political area of law, than commercial law which I SOMEHOW PREFER??? I don’t love that either though, but beggars can’t be choosers. (Even spoiled lawyers in the making doing 100k degrees because they can. Ahem.)

Aside
0

It’s not a good sign of passion or effort when you spend the last weeks/days/hours before your final exams thinking about all the trivial things you will do once they are over. They are NOT over yet! Stop thinking about it. But of course, I can’t, here are some things I plan on doing:

  • Try to illustrate again. I can get all the expensive Adobe software for free from my university, which is the first perk I have come across so far from this expensive as balls school, so I intend to download and install all of them over the break anyway even if I will never use them. I wonder if this will be the time to buy an external mouse. I hate external computer stuff, but I can get it very cheaply or even free, so I might go for it. When will they invent a cordless charger though, my landlord’s phone can be scrolled with the rolling of eyes??? #StupidQuestions
  • Read the complete work of Rick Pearlstein.
  • Drink the [expensive] wines I received as presents earlier this term.
  • Bake something nice that I would not be able to do in Norway due to ingredient¬† surplus import charges/lack of availability full stop. Candidates include: Blueberry pie with Gruy√®re crust (Like Chuck does on Pushing Daisies), honey short bread with organic honey, Biscoff mudd cake, peanut butter sandies with organic peanut butter and raw nuts. I haven’t had much time to think about this, but I’m sure I’ll spend the next few days thinking about it instead of studying…
  • Criminal law is on my agenda and also (coincidentally!) my final exam for the semester. I wonder if watching the HBO documentary Gideon’s Army will count as “studying”. The movie is about public defenders in some of the poorest high-crime areas in the US, I guess it does not, but I will definitely see it once the aforementioned vacation starts. (How come “questions of criminal justice” can be so philosophically interesting, engaging, complex and morally challenging though? Because studying criminal law is NOT; it is combing through legislation relating to police powers and court proceedings for leave etc.)
  • Walk through the entire CBD ad hoc. Just to see it from different angles. I used to do this in London and it was the best thing I ever did when it came to “learning” the city. I would get lost and then try to find my way back on my own. I would have done this in Tokyo as well, but getting lost there seemed to have more serious consequences such as ending up too far away and not meeting anyone who spoke English (before I knew Japanese), or just getting lost within one station trying to get out etc. Sydney probably won’t offer these troubles because the signs are in English (scarce as they are) and it’s not that big, and I already know how to get home.
  • Actually my ulterior aim is to get to know the city traffic/parking a little bit more so that I can go there by bike. I have a new bike now that I have yet to actually use because I’m scared of the traffic in my neighborhood, but I will get over it and I look forward to it. I walk everywhere, even if it takes me 3 hours. I suspect that once I experience getting from point A to B in less than 30 minutes without paying for it, there will be no turning back.

Unrelated: Are all music videos bad? I say this having just watched the video for OneRepublic’s “Counting Stars” (and I like the song), but that only provoked the thought, it didn’t give birth to it; I cannot think of one music video ever that has added anything, for me anyway. It is always ridiculous seeming? Long, short, serious, “funny”, “artistic” or simple, it always comes off as douchebag-y to me. It’s not an indictment on the songs, I just don’t get it.