The 5 Narratives Of The 2016 Election

(I’ve considered deleting this post as it’s based on the presumption that Hillary Clinton would win the election, which was sadly wrong. However, I stand by everything I write even when I’m wrong, so I’m going to leave this up as a monument to hubris and a historical reminder of how people viewed the 2016 campaign at the time.)

Whenever people look back on elections, particularly Presidential elections, they always use a simple narrative to explain it. The 1964 and 1972 elections used the narrative that if you nominate an extremist, you’ll lose in a landslide. 2004 was about fear and the War on Terror, whereas 2008 was about hope and change. So what will be the narrative of 2016?

Continue reading “The 5 Narratives Of The 2016 Election”

Donald Trump Has Too Many Scandals To Keep Track Of

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post on Donald Trump for a while. However, I faced a major problem, in that there are just so many scandals that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I was simply overwhelmed by the enormous amount of horrendous things Trump has said and done, and that’s without even starting on his policies (although he seems to have very few of these). To give all his scandals the attention they deserve would require a ten part series, and each part alone would be disqualifying. But I don’t have the time to make such a list (I doubt anyone does) and even the professional media has trouble keeping up. Even this post took several days, and I more than likely missed something important. Continue reading “Donald Trump Has Too Many Scandals To Keep Track Of”

What I Learned From Failing To Learn Languages

The internet is full of advice for learning languages. There are numerous blogs, podcasts, discussion forums and YouTube channels where people share advice and experience. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that almost all the advice is given by people who have been extremely successful in learning languages, usually polyglots who can speak multiple languages.

But this isn’t the typical experience. For a great number of people, learning another language is something they wish they could do, but are unable to. Most attempts end in failure with people giving up with little to show for their efforts. Most students spend years studying a language in school yet are unable to speak it by the time they are finished. Failure has as much, if not more, to teach us as success. Why do so many people not succeed? Continue reading “What I Learned From Failing To Learn Languages”

5 Ways Esperanto Is Easier Than English

When people ask me why I speak Esperanto, my answer is simple; it’s really easy. I’ve always had difficulties learning languages and Esperanto is the only language I’ve ever succeeded in learning. The arbitrary pronunciation, random grammar rules, infuriating irregularities, endless exceptions that had to be memorised, silent letters, obscure tenses and half a dozen other rules in every language, drove me mad. I spent countless frustrating hours trying to decipher these Byzantine codes, usually without success. I would complain to my teacher (and anyone who would listen) about how these rules were unnecessary and added nothing to the language, couldn’t someone just remove the irregularities? Continue reading “5 Ways Esperanto Is Easier Than English”

How Fascism Takes Over

Have you ever watched a historical documentary or perhaps a Second World War movie and wondered how the fascists ever took over? How did they convince people to follow them? How did they reshape a nation in their mould? How could anyone support that kind of hatred? Why weren’t they stopped, why did more people not stand up to them? Have you ever wondered what you would have done if you were in that situation? Surely you would have stood up to them, right? Surely they would have no appeal to people like you? Continue reading “How Fascism Takes Over”

An Esperantist Reviews “Bridge of Words”

Esperanto isn’t a common discussion topic, certainly not in the English speaking world. There’s rarely articles and hardly any books about it, so naturally I was excited about the new history of the language, “Bridge of Words” by Esther Schor, which is billed as the first book about the whole history of Esperanto. The book narrates the history of the language, the ideas behind as well as the personal experience of the author who spent years in the Esperanto community.

Hopefully this will generate interest in the language and provide a valuable resource to people who want to learn more about the language. So far, there have been some reviews in leading journals which will introduce the language to many people for the first time. However, these reviews are written by outsiders who know little about Esperanto (so there is a lot of the inevitable ‘Esperanto failed’ nonsense) and in fact the author herself was an outsider before she wrote this book. So I decided to write a review from an insider’s perspective, from the view of a committed Esperantist. Continue reading “An Esperantist Reviews “Bridge of Words””

They Say Muslims Immigrants Are Threatening Western Values, But What Are Western Values?

A major issue nowadays is immigration and the refugee crisis, particularly the immigration of Muslims into Europe. Some people warn that they are a threat to Western Civilisation as they don’t have “Western values”. This is a strange argument for numerous reasons such as the assumption that none will assimilate and that it’s somehow impossible for two cultures to live side by side. However the strangest part is that no one seems to know what Western values are. Continue reading “They Say Muslims Immigrants Are Threatening Western Values, But What Are Western Values?”