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Friday, 1 March 2019

No Victories In The Culture War

These past three years - ever since the presidential campaign of Trump really took off - we've all been enshrined in a massive culture war. That's me just stating the obvious. And it isn't just a case of a few people arguing online anymore - it's something that is weaving itself into advertising campaigns, companies, relationships - all facets of social interaction are being affected by this culture war.

Writers are observers. We watch the world and we write down what's happening. My chief dream has always been to be a fiction writer and recording musician - I have no desire to become a political journalist or go on protests. Artists are always involved in politics be it explicitly or indirectly. Musicians like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Gil Scott Heron and Bob Marley have all taken socio-political stands within their music.

But politics is not the main thing in my life nor the main thing I want to push in my creative art. Right now my main 'issue of interest' if you like is mental illness and inner balance. My fiction (both published and in the works) is centering around these key ideas. I don't want to start a political revolution. It's not my place; too many people have already done and tried.

One thing I've learnt from blogging and voicing one's opinions in general, is that you need a thick skin. If you tread on the wrong toes, you can really get attacked. Even a small-time blogger like myself who doesn't have a massive following is feeling the burn. I've blogged about some controversial topics here; Islam, Trump, feminism - to name a few. I've had to look over my blog posts and edit and delete some stuff because I've been thinking: look girl. You want to be a successful fiction author, poet and musician. You want to spend these next few years getting yourself out there. What if some of the stuff you've said comes back to bite you on the ass?

Not that I'm ashamed or would deny having said something. For example, I've written a few posts on Islam. Why? Because of some fundamental principles: free speech, pragmatism, truth, and humanity. It's not to try and piss off anyone or start a riot. If people's lives are genuinely being threatened because of a governing ideology, shouldn't we be concerned? What's more concerning is that people would rather plug up their ears and ignore the terror around them by chanting 'nah, these people are innocent, their ideology promotes peace.'
Brave, intelligent woman. Utmost respect to her.
Simultaneously, why should I put myself in a position to be socially attacked? I'm a writer, not an activist. I'm just one person in a world of billions. Why do a disservice to my dreams and my recovery by putting myself in dangerous positions?

I think it's really sad that people would rather project what they think onto you, rather than listen to what you actually have to say. One of my friends has spend the past couple years thinking I voted for the Conservative government (I've always supported Labour) and fervently apologised to me. I wasn't upset, more fed up. How on earth does 'I support the NHS, free university and raising the minimum wage, but I also don't like the current over-emphasis on identity politics and social justice' translate to voting Tory?

A brainy person who wants to come along and shake the foundations of what is already presented is viewed as dangerous. Modern examples include Julian Asange, Edward Snowden and Salman Rushdie. This is why I think I need to take a step back and remember that I'm not some wannabe revolutionary or long-time political commentator. I'm an artist who blogs her opinions now and again. Some of those opinions are on movies and personal growth, and some are on religion and politics.
But the political discourse is getting so ludicrous that I no longer think it's worth making my life unnecessarily difficult. I'm not a teenager anymore; I went through my liberal-atheist-feminist stage aged 16-17, and ironically my depression peaked at that time.

Gotta remember who you are, man. Leave the shouting to those who are prepared to be heroes and go out and die for the world. I can channel my views into my art like Orwell did with his literature.

And for argument's sake, I think both the alt-right and militant left are as bad as each other. 

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I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: