Jason Najum is a freelance writer and editor at HeadSpace www.headspacepress.com. His work has been featured in the Montreal Gazette and he is author of Delusion of Grandeur, a personal essay and cultural critique available on Amazon. His goal is to bring a fresh perspective and deeper look to today's issues.
I write this with the crippling cries of a small child playing in my earphones, nerve gas choking him literally to death, his desperate rasping gasps for breath ringing in my ears and unnerving my insides, his agony repeating over and over in the background as a foaming espresso machine steams beside me at the counter.
Sure, Nazi references or comparisons to past atrocities are the cheapest of allegories, rendered embarrassing and powerless by exaggeration and overuse. But take a moment, look at what's happening.
01/30/2017 12:04 EST
It seems that a dangerous brew has been boiling. A national origin-story based on "making it", mixed with a constructed and prideful sense of Us, as a separate and often superior entity from Them. It's everywhere. A lifetime of God Bless America and American Exceptionalism and Leader of the Free World. A media and culture forever sprinkled with waving flags and geocentric self-regard. A hell-yeah awesomeness that you just can't find anywhere else but in the good ol' US of A.
01/20/2017 04:04 EST
Over the last few years there has been a steady stream of disturbing videos showing minorities being gunned down by the people meant to protect them, most without any sort of criminal consequences for the shooter. Add all this to the horrible history of racism in America and it's no wonder that someone from that community would want to take a stand. Yet it happens so rarely.
09/01/2016 12:41 EDT
Free speech, we say, is a principle we will defend to the death. Until perhaps we don't agree with what has been said. Then, suddenly, we are able to find very valid reasons to rationalize ourselves away from a supposed absolute value. Cases like Yiannopoulos' push our proclaimed moral positions up against the wall, compelling us to confront our human tendency towards personal bias. And that's why they are so interesting.
07/25/2016 12:41 EDT
Our world is a capitalist one, in more than just its economics. This supply and demand model not only drives our commerce but also spreads into our ethos, even dictating what we receive from our supposedly more altruistic fountainheads, influencing our cultural production and our news, deciding what gets made, seen, consumed.
05/19/2016 11:40 EDT
Companies with long histories of not giving a shit suddenly taking the high-road gives me the creeps. Reminds me of a guy volunteering at UNICEF just to get laid. For decades you bombard us with impossible standards and superficiality, making us believe that we need to be thinner, poutier, sexier, helping push our culture to historic levels eating disorders and social anxiety, saddling our women with insecurities and our men with jaded expectations. And now you care?
02/18/2016 05:37 EST
When was the exact moment that Christmas became synonymous with buying stuff I do not know, but it seems that we've reached a point of gifting no-return. The idea of simply spending Christmas with your family without the obligatory spending and consumption is not even a possibility. If you're an average person living in a Western nation you can be pretty confident that your intended gift-receiver already has everything he or she needs and most likely lives a year where their other superfluous wants are often met.
12/23/2015 11:16 EST
When something terrible continues to happen, over and over, all of us are to blame. By allowing news outlets to turn these seminal events into cheap sensationalism, by believing that changing your profile pic equals action, by not resisting old ways of thinking nor doing whatever you can to open eyes, by not demanding better of your country or culture.
11/23/2015 12:39 EST
Yes the Syrian refugees that briefly broke our hearts are real people living a nightmare, but let's see even more, let us "think with history". Their situation, as any situation, was borne of consequence. They are a living mass of real life repercussions.
10/13/2015 12:10 EDT
We didn't want to believe it. Not him. Politicians. Athletes. But not Dr. Huxtable. Please. Bill Cosby meant a lot to so many of us, a big part of why we were so slow to pass judgement. For those growing up in the 1960s and 1970s he was a clean cut comedian doing things the right way.
08/13/2015 05:36 EDT
Like all non-separatist Quebecers, I have lived and suffered through a lifetime of sovereignty-fatigue. So at what point of obsession, at what level of almost complete disregard, are you obliged to say, unequivocally and without apology, that what was done was wasteful and therefore unacceptable?
06/05/2015 05:12 EDT
My mother missed her children's weddings. Missed the birth of her grandchild. In that grand balance up in the sky, measuring who gave and who took, my mother's ledger is a study of injustice. I doubt there has ever been an adult soul who took less, whose footprint was lighter. She never harmed or blasphemed or burdened; she was not perfect, but her faults were small and were her own, never imposing them on others. She deserved more. A lot more.
05/10/2015 07:46 EDT
The Vice you may have once known has left the world of online hipster magazine and slowly transformed themselves into Vice Media, a brash and brave news organization with 30 offices worldwide and staff of 1,500.
04/09/2015 05:43 EDT
The overwhelming majority of commentary regarding Tidal's launch has been negative, focused narrowly on the over-the-top melodrama of the press conference, and the fact that the artist-owners are already rich.
04/02/2015 08:31 EDT
Despite feeling forced to mention how the following may be a cliché, that faraway grass does often seem greener and most things do indeed have both pros and cons. Some days it's going to suck, whichever is your personal lot. And on other days your situation will shine bright.
02/14/2015 11:38 EST
Let's take a moment to think about why the industry decided to go in this positive and thoughtful direction. And there, I'm done. Marketing grads, I'm sorry to say this aloud but it was not because the powers that be suddenly realized that they should use their influence for good. It's because the industry realized -- and by realize I mean spent millions of dollars studying how the public is reacting to their constant stream of marketing tactics -- that as a culture we are tired of the same old fluffy tricks. We pay for HBO. We recycle. We need more.
02/05/2015 08:40 EST
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Martin Luther King is famed for using this quote during the civil rights movement. I love it. But more than justice which can sometimes never be had, I think it bends towards progress. Things eventually do change. So ask difficult questions. Have uncomfortable conversations. Things can and will change, but not on their own. Every step forward was made of million tiny struggles. The arc bends towards progress, but it's us that must bend it.
01/16/2015 05:25 EST
As the days inch closer to the holidays, plans are being made and schedules are being set. I'm replying to Christmas party invites, and going shopping for gifts, and organizing who I'll visit on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But wait a second, I'm Jewish.
12/12/2014 12:46 EST
My newsfeed is littered with concerns of body image, equal pay for equal work, and why women are still underrepresented in books and film. When someone pulls a cheap publicity stunt they may indeed receive the attention they so badly desire, but the net result to society is no longer necessarily a negative. We have come far enough that with every empty and ridiculous action you actually help push things along.
11/20/2014 08:09 EST
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