Sunday, April 30, 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Vito brings the taste of a new generation to a violent protest. Can he bridge the divide and save our great nation!? http://twitter.com/vitogesualdi | https://www.patreon.com/gesualdi | http://twitch.tv/vitozone
Vito says: *DISCLAIMER* I am not affiliated with the alt-right / antifa / whatever. This video is not an endorsement of anyone or anything (except Pepsi)(though seriously fuck Pepsi for that dumbass ad)
Friday, April 28, 2017
Toxic people such as malignant narcissists, psychopaths and those with antisocial traits engage in maladaptive behaviors in relationships that ultimately exploit, demean and hurt their intimate partners, family members and friends. They use a plethora of diversionary tactics that distort the reality of their victims and deflect responsibility. Although those who are not narcissistic can employ these tactics as well, abusive narcissists use these to an excessive extent in an effort to escape accountability for their actions.
Here are the 20 diversionary tactics toxic people use to silence and degrade you.
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and inevitably disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.
When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance that might arise. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced? A manipulative person will convince you that the former is an inevitable truth while the latter is a sign of dysfunction on your end.
In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in your own reality – sometimes writing things down as they happened, telling a friend or reiterating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having a validating community is that it can redirect you from the distorted reality of a malignant person and back to your own inner guidance.
One sure sign of toxicity is when a person is chronically unwilling to see his or her own shortcomings and uses everything in their power to avoid being held accountable for them. This is known as projection. Projection is a defense mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behavior and traits by attributing them to someone else. It ultimately acts as a digression that avoids ownership and accountability.
While we all engage in projection to some extent, according to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, the projections of a narcissist are often psychologically abusive. Rather than acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings, malignant narcissists and sociopaths opt to dump their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and excessively cruel. Instead of admitting that self-improvement may be in order, they would prefer that their victims take responsibility for their behavior and feel ashamed of themselves. This is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.
For example, a person who engages in pathological lying may accuse their partner of fibbing; a needy spouse may call their husband “clingy” in an attempt to depict them as the one who is dependent; a rude employee may call their boss ineffective in an effort to escape the truth about their own productivity.
Narcissistic abusers love to play the “blameshifting game.” Objectives of the game: they win, you lose, and you or the world at large is blamed for everything that’s wrong with them. This way, you get to babysit their fragile ego while you’re thrust into a sea of self-doubt. Fun, right?
Solution? Don’t “project” your own sense of compassion or empathy onto a toxic person and don’t own any of the toxic person’s projections either. As manipulation expert and author Dr. George Simon (2010) notes in his book In Sheep’s Clothing, projecting our own conscience and value system onto others has the potential consequence of being met with further exploitation.
Narcissists on the extreme end of the spectrum usually have no interest in self-insight or change. It’s important to cut ties and end interactions with toxic people as soon as possible so you can get centered in your own reality and validate your own identity. You don’t have to live in someone else’s cesspool of dysfunction.
3. Nonsensical conversations from hell.
If you think you’re going to have a thoughtful discussion with someone who is toxic, be prepared for epic mindfuckery rather than conversational mindfulness.
Malignant narcissists and sociopaths use word salad, circular conversations, ad hominem arguments, projection and gaslighting to disorient you and get you off track should you ever disagree with them or challenge them in any way. They do this in order to discredit, confuse and frustrate you, distract you from the main problem and make you feel guilty for being a human being with actual thoughts and feelings that might differ from their own. In their eyes, you are the problem if you happen to exist.
Spend even ten minutes arguing with a toxic narcissist and you’ll find yourself wondering how the argument even began at all. You simply disagreed with them about their absurd claim that the sky is red and now your entire childhood, family, friends, career and lifestyle choices have come under attack. That is because your disagreement picked at their false belief that they are omnipotent and omniscient, resulting in a narcissistic injury.
Remember: toxic people don’t argue with you, they essentially argue with themselves and you become privy to their long, draining monologues. They thrive off the drama and they live for it. Each and every time you attempt to provide a point that counters their ridiculous assertions, you feed them supply. Don’t feed the narcissists supply – rather, supply yourself with the confirmation that their abusive behavior is the problem, not you. Cut the interaction short as soon as you anticipate it escalating and use your energy on some decadent self-care instead.
4. Blanket statements and generalizations.
Malignant narcissists aren’t always intellectual masterminds – many of them are intellectually lazy. Rather than taking the time to carefully consider a different perspective, they generalize anything and everything you say, making blanket statements that don’t acknowledge the nuances in your argument or take into account the multiple perspectives you’ve paid homage to. Better yet, why not put a label on you that dismisses your perspective altogether?
On a larger scale, generalizations and blanket statements invalidate experiences that don’t fit in the unsupported assumptions, schemas and stereotypes of society; they are also used to maintain the status quo. This form of digression exaggerates one perspective to the point where a social justice issue can become completely obscured. For example, rape accusations against well-liked figures are often met with the reminder that there are false reports of rape that occur. While those do occur, they are rare, and in this case, the actions of one become labeled the behavior of the majority while the specific report itself remains unaddressed.
These everyday microaggressions also happen in toxic relationships. If you bring up to a narcissistic abuser that their behavior is unacceptable for example, they will often make blanket generalizations about your hypersensitivity or make a generalization such as, “You are never satisfied,” or “You’re always too sensitive” rather than addressing the real issues at hand. It’s possible that you are oversensitive at times, but it is also possible that the abuser is also insensitive and cruel the majority of the time.
Hold onto your truth and resist generalizing statements by realizing that they are in fact forms of black and white illogical thinking. Toxic people wielding blanket statements do not represent the full richness of experience – they represent the limited one of their singular experience and overinflated sense of self.
5. Deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity.
In the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath, your differing opinions, legitimate emotions and lived experiences get translated into character flaws and evidence of your irrationality.
Narcissists weave tall tales to reframe what you’re actually saying as a way to make your opinions look absurd or heinous. Let’s say you bring up the fact that you’re unhappy with the way a toxic friend is speaking to you. In response, he or she may put words in your mouth, saying, “Oh, so now you’re perfect?” or “So I am a bad person, huh?” when you’ve done nothing but express your feelings. This enables them to invalidate your right to have thoughts and emotions about their inappropriate behavior and instills in you a sense of guilt when you attempt to establish boundaries.
This is also a popular form of diversion and cognitive distortion that is known as “mind reading.” Toxic people often presume they know what you’re thinking and feeling. They chronically jump to conclusions based on their own triggers rather than stepping back to evaluate the situation mindfully. They act accordingly based on their own delusions and fallacies and make no apologies for the harm they cause as a result. Notorious for putting words in your mouth, they depict you as having an intention or outlandish viewpoint you didn’t possess. They accuse you of thinking of them as toxic – even before you’ve gotten the chance to call them out on their behavior – and this also serves as a form of preemptive defense.
Simply stating, “I never said that,” and walking away should the person continue to accuse you of doing or saying something you didn’t can help to set a firm boundary in this type of interaction. So long as the toxic person can blameshift and digress from their own behavior, they have succeeded in convincing you that you should be “shamed” for giving them any sort of realistic feedback.
6. Nitpicking and moving the goal posts.
The difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism is the presence of a personal attack and impossible standards. These so-called “critics” often don’t want to help you improve, they just want to nitpick, pull you down and scapegoat you in any way they can. Abusive narcissists and sociopaths employ a logical fallacy known as “moving the goalposts” in order to ensure that they have every reason to be perpetually dissatisfied with you. This is when, even after you’ve provided all the evidence in the world to validate your argument or taken an action to meet their request, they set up another expectation of you or demand more proof.
Do you have a successful career? The narcissist will then start to pick on why you aren’t a multi-millionaire yet. Did you already fulfill their need to be excessively catered to? Now it’s time to prove that you can also remain “independent.” The goal posts will perpetually change and may not even be related to each other; they don’t have any other point besides making you vie for the narcissist’s approval and validation.
By raising the expectations higher and higher each time or switching them completely, highly manipulative and toxic people are able to instill in you a pervasive sense of unworthiness and of never feeling quite “enough.” By pointing out one irrelevant fact or one thing you did wrong and developing a hyperfocus on it, narcissists get to divert from your strengths and pull you into obsessing over any flaws or weaknesses instead. They get you thinking about the next expectation of theirs you’re going to have to meet – until eventually you’ve bent over backwards trying to fulfill their every need – only to realize it didn’t change the horrific way they treated you.
Don’t get sucked into nitpicking and changing goal posts – if someone chooses to rehash an irrelevant point over and over again to the point where they aren’t acknowledging the work you’ve done to validate your point or satisfy them, their motive isn’t to better understand. It’s to further provoke you into feeling as if you have to constantly prove yourself. Validate and approve of yourself. Know that you are enough and you don’t have to be made to feel constantly deficient or unworthy in some way.
7. Changing the subject to evade accountability.
This type of tactic is what I like to call the “What about me?” syndrome. It is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists don’t want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will reroute discussions to benefit them. Complaining about their neglectful parenting? They’ll point out a mistake you committed seven years ago. This type of diversion has no limits in terms of time or subject content, and often begins with a sentence like “What about the time when…”
On a macrolevel, these diversions work to derail discussions that challenge the status quo. A discussion about gay rights, for example, may be derailed quickly by someone who brings in another social justice issue just to distract people from the main argument.
As Tara Moss, author of Speaking Out: A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls, notes, specificity is needed in order to resolve and address issues appropriately – that doesn’t mean that the issues that are being brought up don’t matter, it just means that the specific time and place may not be the best context to discuss them.
Don’t be derailed – if someone pulls a switcheroo on you, you can exercise what I call the “broken record” method and continue stating the facts without giving in to their distractions. Redirect their redirection by saying, “That’s not what I am talking about. Let’s stay focused on the real issue.” If they’re not interested, disengage and spend your energy on something more constructive – like not having a debate with someone who has the mental age of a toddler.
8. Covert and overt threats.
Narcissistic abusers and otherwise toxic people feel very threatened when their excessive sense of entitlement, false sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self are challenged in any way. They are prone to making unreasonable demands on others – while punishing you for not living up to their impossible to reach expectations.
Rather than tackle disagreements or compromises maturely, they set out to divert you from your right to have your own identity and perspective by attempting to instill fear in you about the consequences of disagreeing or complying with their demands. To them, any challenge results in an ultimatum and “do this or I’ll do that” becomes their daily mantra.
If someone’s reaction to you setting boundaries or having a differing opinion from your own is to threaten you into submission, whether it’s a thinly veiled threat or an overt admission of what they plan to do, this is a red flag of someone who has a high degree of entitlement and has no plans of compromising. Take threats seriously and show the narcissist you mean business; document threats and report them whenever possible and legally feasible.
Narcissists preemptively blow anything they perceive as a threat to their superiority out of proportion. In their world, only they can ever be right and anyone who dares to say otherwise creates a narcissistic injury that results in narcissistic rage. As Mark Goulston, M.D. asserts, narcissistic rage does not result from low self-esteem but rather a high sense of entitlement and false sense of superiority.
The lowest of the low resort to narcissistic rage in the form of name-calling when they can’t think of a better way to manipulate your opinion or micromanage your emotions. Name-calling is a quick and easy way to put you down, degrade you and insult your intelligence, appearance or behavior while invalidating your right to be a separate person with a right to his or her perspective.
Name-calling can also be used to criticize your beliefs, opinions and insights. A well-researched perspective or informed opinion suddenly becomes “silly” or “idiotic” in the hands of a malignant narcissist or sociopath who feels threatened by it and cannot make a respectful, convincing rebuttal. Rather than target your argument, they target you as a person and seek to undermine your credibility and intelligence in any way they possibly can. It’s important to end any interaction that consists of name-calling and communicate that you won’t tolerate it. Don’t internalize it: realize that they are resorting to name-calling because they are deficient in higher level methods.
10. Destructive conditioning.
Toxic people condition you to associate your strengths, talents, and happy memories with abuse, frustration and disrespect. They do this by sneaking in covert and overt put-downs about the qualities and traits they once idealized as well as sabotaging your goals, ruining celebrations, vacations and holidays. They may even isolate you from your friends and family and make you financially dependent upon them. Like Pavlov’s dogs, you’re essentially “trained” over time to become afraid of doing the very things that once made your life fulfilling.
Narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths and otherwise toxic people do this because they wish to divert attention back to themselves and how you’re going to please them. If there is anything outside of them that may threaten their control over your life, they seek to destroy it. They need to be the center of attention at all times. In the idealization phase, you were once the center of a narcissist’s world – now the narcissist becomes the center of yours.
Narcissists are also naturally pathologically envious and don’t want anything to come in between them and their influence over you. Your happiness represents everything they feel they cannot have in their emotionally shallow lives. After all, if you learn that you can get validation, respect and love from other sources besides the toxic person, what’s to keep you from leaving them? To toxic people, a little conditioning can go a long way to keep you walking on eggshells and falling just short of your big dreams.
11. Smear campaigns and stalking.
When toxic types can’t control the way you see yourself, they start to control how others see you; they play the martyr while you’re labeled the toxic one. A smear campaign is a preemptive strike to sabotage your reputation and slander your name so that you won’t have a support network to fall back on lest you decide to detach and cut ties with this toxic person. They may even stalk and harass you or the people you know as a way to supposedly “expose” the truth about you; this exposure acts as a way to hide their own abusive behavior while projecting it onto you.
Some smear campaigns can even work to pit two people or two groups against each other. A victim in an abusive relationship with a narcissist often doesn’t know what’s being said about them during the relationship, but they eventually find out the falsehoods shortly after they’ve been discarded.
Toxic people will gossip behind your back (and in front of your face), slander you to your loved ones or their loved ones, create stories that depict you as the aggressor while they play the victim, and claim that you engaged in the same behaviors that they are afraid you will accuse them of engaging in. They will also methodically, covertly and deliberately abuse you so they can use your reactions as a way to prove that they are the so-called “victims” of your abuse.
The best way to handle a smear campaign is to stay mindful of your reactions and stick to the facts. This is especially pertinent for high-conflict divorces with narcissists who may use your reactions to their provocations against you. Document any form of harassment, cyberbullying or stalking incidents and always speak to your narcissist through a lawyer whenever possible. You may wish to take legal action if you feel the stalking and harassment is getting out of control; finding a lawyer who is well-versed in Narcissistic Personality Disorder is crucial if that’s the case. Your character and integrity will speak for itself when the narcissist’s false mask begins to slip.
12. Love-bombing and devaluation.
Toxic people put you through an idealization phase until you’re sufficiently hooked and invested in beginning a friendship or relationship with you. Then, they begin to devalue you while insulting the very things they admired in the first place. Another variation of this is when a toxic individual puts you on a pedestal while aggressively devaluing and attacking someone else who threatens their sense of superiority.
Narcissistic abusers do this all the time – they devalue their exes to their new partners, and eventually the new partner starts to receive the same sort of mistreatment as the narcissist’s ex-partner. Ultimately what will happen is that you will also be on the receiving end of the same abuse. You will one day be the ex-partner they degrade to their new source of supply. You just don’t know it yet. That’s why it’s important to stay mindful of the love-bombing technique whenever you witness behavior that doesn’t align with the saccharine sweetness a narcissist subjects you to.
As life coach Wendy Powell suggests, slowing things down with people you suspect may be toxic is an important way of combating the love-bombing technique. Be wary of the fact that how a person treats or speaks about someone else could potentially translate into the way they will treat you in the future.
13. Preemptive defense.
When someone stresses the fact that they are a “nice guy” or girl, that you should “trust them” right away or emphasizes their credibility without any provocation from you whatsoever, be wary.
Toxic and abusive people overstate their ability to be kind and compassionate. They often tell you that you should “trust” them without first building a solid foundation of trust. They may “perform” a high level of sympathy and empathy at the beginning of your relationship to dupe you, only to unveil their false mask later on. When you see their false mask begins to slip periodically during the devaluation phase of the abuse cycle, the true self is revealed to be terrifyingly cold, callous and contemptuous.
Genuinely nice people rarely have to persistently show off their positive qualities – they exude their warmth more than they talk about it and they know that actions speak volumes more than mere words. They know that trust and respect is a two-way street that requires reciprocity, not repetition.
To counter a preemptive defense, reevaluate why a person may be emphasizing their good qualities. Is it because they think you don’t trust them, or because they know you shouldn’t? Trust actions more than empty words and see how someone’s actions communicate who they are, not who they say they are.
Bringing in the opinion, perspective or suggested threat of another person into the dynamic of an interaction is known as “triangulation.” Often used to validate the toxic person’s abuse while invalidating the victim’s reactions to abuse, triangulation can also work to manufacture love triangles that leave you feeling unhinged and insecure.
Malignant narcissists love to triangulate their significant other with strangers, co-workers, ex-partners, friends and even family members in order to evoke jealousy and uncertainty in you. They also use the opinions of others to validate their point of view.
This is a diversionary tactic meant to pull your attention away from their abusive behavior and into a false image of them as a desirable, sought after person. It also leaves you questioning yourself – if Mary did agree with Tom, doesn’t that mean that you must be wrong? The truth is, narcissists love to “report back” falsehoods about others say about you, when in fact, they are the ones smearing you.
To resist triangulation tactics, realize that whoever the narcissist is triangulating with is also being triangulated by your relationship with the narcissist as well. Everyone is essentially being played by this one person. Reverse “triangulate” the narcissist by gaining support from a third party that is not under the narcissist’s influence – and also by seeking your own validation.
15. Bait and feign innocence.
Toxic individuals lure you into a false sense of security simply to have a platform to showcase their cruelty. Baiting you into a mindless, chaotic argument can escalate into a showdown rather quickly with someone who doesn’t know the meaning of respect. A simple disagreement may bait you into responding politely initially, until it becomes clear that the person has a malicious motive of tearing you down.
By “baiting” you with a seemingly innocuous comment disguised as a rational one, they can then begin to play with you. Remember: narcissistic abusers have learned about your insecurities, the unsettling catchphrases that interrupt your confidence, and the disturbing topics that reenact your wounds – and they use this knowledge maliciously to provoke you. After you’ve fallen for it, hook line and sinker, they’ll stand back and innocently ask whether you’re “okay” and talk about how they didn’t “mean” to agitate you. This faux innocence works to catch you off guard and make you believe that they truly didn’t intend to hurt you, until it happens so often you can’t deny the reality of their malice any longer.
It helps to realize when you’re being baited so you can avoid engaging altogether. Provocative statements, name-calling, hurtful accusations or unsupported generalizations, for example, are common baiting tactics. Your gut instinct can also tell you when you’re being baited – if you feel “off” about a certain comment and continue to feel this way even after it has been expanded on, that’s a sign you may need to take some space to reevaluate the situation before choosing to respond.
16. Boundary testing and hoovering.
Narcissists, sociopaths and otherwise toxic people continually try and test your boundaries to see which ones they can trespass. The more violations they’re able to commit without consequences, the more they’ll push the envelope.
That’s why survivors of emotional as well as physical abuse often experience even more severe incidents of abuse each and every time they go back to their abusers.
Abusers tend to “hoover” their victims back in with sweet promises, fake remorse and empty words of how they are going to change, only to abuse their victims even more horrifically. In the abuser’s sick mind, this boundary testing serves as a punishment for standing up to the abuse and also for being going back to it. When narcissists try to press the emotional reset button, reinforce your boundaries even more strongly rather than backtracking on them.
Remember – highly manipulative people don’t respond to empathy or compassion. They respond to consequences.
17. Aggressive jabs disguised as jokes.
Covert narcissists enjoy making malicious remarks at your expense. These are usually dressed up as “just jokes” so that they can get away with saying appalling things while still maintaining an innocent, cool demeanor. Yet any time you are outraged at an insensitive, harsh remark, you are accused of having no sense of humor. This is a tactic frequently used in verbal abuse.
The contemptuous smirk and sadistic gleam in their eyes gives it away, however – like a predator that plays with its food, a toxic person gains pleasure from hurting you and being able to get away with it. After all, it’s just a joke, right? Wrong. It’s a way to gaslight you into thinking their abuse is a joke – a way to divert from their cruelty and onto your perceived sensitivity. It is important that when this happens, you stand up for yourself and make it clear that you won’t tolerate this type of behavior.
Calling out manipulative people on their covert put-downs may result in further gaslighting from the abuser but maintain your stance that their behavior is not okay and end the interaction immediately if you have to.
18. Condescending sarcasm and patronizing tone.
Belittling and degrading a person is a toxic person’s forte and their tone of voice is only one tool in their toolbox. Sarcasm can be a fun mode of communication when both parties are engaged, but narcissists use it chronically as a way to manipulate you and degrade you. If you in any way react to it, you must be “too sensitive.”
Forget that the toxic person constantly has temper tantrums every time their big bad ego is faced with realistic feedback – the victim is the hypersensitive one, apparently. So long as you’re treated like a child and constantly challenged for expressing yourself, you’ll start to develop a sense of hypervigilance about voicing your thoughts and opinions without reprimand. This self-censorship enables the abuser to put in less work in silencing you, because you begin to silence yourself.
Whenever you are met with a condescending demeanor or tone, call it out firmly and assertively. You don’t deserve to be spoken down to like a child – nor should you ever silence yourself to meet the expectation of someone else’s superiority complex.
“You should be ashamed of yourself” is a favorite saying of toxic people. Though it can be used by someone who is non-toxic, in the realm of the narcissist or sociopath, shaming is an effective method that targets any behavior or belief that might challenge a toxic person’s power. It can also be used to destroy and whittle away at a victim’s self-esteem: if a victim dares to be proud of something, shaming the victim for that specific trait, quality or accomplishment can serve to diminish their sense of self and stifle any pride they may have.
Malignant narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths enjoy using your own wounds against you – so they will even shame you about any abuse or injustice you’ve suffered in your lifetime as a way to retraumatize you. Were you a childhood abuse survivor? A malignant narcissist or sociopath will claim that you must’ve done something to deserve it, or brag about their own happy childhood as a way to make you feel deficient and unworthy. What better way to injure you, after all, than to pick at the original wound? As surgeons of madness, they seek to exacerbate wounds, not help heal them.
If you suspect you’re dealing with a toxic person, avoid revealing any of your vulnerabilities or past traumas. Until they’ve proven their character to you, there is no point disclosing information that could be potentially used against you.
Most importantly, toxic abusers love to maintain control in whatever way they can. They isolate you, maintain control over your finances and social networks, and micromanage every facet of your life. Yet the most powerful mechanism they have for control is toying with your emotions.
That’s why abusive narcissists and sociopaths manufacture situations of conflict out of thin air to keep you feeling off center and off balanced. That’s why they chronically engage in disagreements about irrelevant things and rage over perceived slights. That’s why they emotionally withdraw, only to re-idealize you once they start to lose control. That’s why they vacillate between their false self and their true self, so you never get a sense of psychological safety or certainty about who your partner truly is.
The more power they have over your emotions, the less likely you’ll trust your own reality and the truth about the abuse you’re enduring. Knowing the manipulative tactics and how they work to erode your sense of self can arm you with the knowledge of what you’re facing and at the very least, develop a plan to regain control over your own life and away from toxic people. TC mark
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Gift Ngoepe first African to play in Major League Baseball.
It happened Last night with the Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Whenever Tom Gillespie meets a new Pirates employee, he tells them to look up the story of Gift Ngoepe. Gillespie didn't sign Ngoepe for Pittsburgh, but the Bucs' European scout has known the South African shortstop since he was 17 years old.
Learn his story, Gillespie said, "and you'll have a new favorite player with the Pirates."
Ngoepe's remarkable story added a historical new chapter on Wednesday. The Pirates recalled the slick-fielding infielder from Triple-A Indianapolis, making Ngoepe the Majors' first African-born player. To make room on the active roster, Pittsburgh optioned right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas -- who on Monday became the first native of Lithuania to pitch in a big league game -- to its Triple-A affiliate.
"It doesn't matter where you come from. No matter where you are, who you are, you can still make it," Ngoepe said. "It was a long road. It was a long journey. I kept with it. There were a few times I wanted to stop. It's the people that are behind you that keeps you going every single day. That kind of kept my fight. My ninth year, and I made it to the big leagues."
When Triple-A manager Andy Barkett informed his club of the move on Tuesday afternoon, Ngoepe said, he walked into the batting cage and announced, "We sent the European [Neverauskas], and now they're looking for the African." The whole team cheered, happy to see the hard-working Ngoepe get the call he spent parts of nine years in the Minors working for.
"It's a fabulous organizational win for everybody," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I would love for him to have $1 for everybody who's looked at him and said he'll never make it. … He's just continued to press on and play and probably many times believed when not a whole lot of other people did."
Ngoepe was born in South Africa and raised in a small room inside the Randburg Mets' clubhouse by his mother, Maureen, who passed away in 2013 after battling double pneumonia. Ngoepe had been thinking about Maureen on Sunday, spending 20 minutes in silence inside his Indianapolis apartment. Not long after he was introduced to baseball by the local club, Ngoepe promised his mother this moment would come.
"I know she's looking down on me," Ngoepe said, "and I know she's happy."
On Wednesday, 8 1/2 years after signing with the Pirates, Ngoepe found his No. 61 jersey in a big league clubhouse.
"What's going to be really rewarding? It's rewarding because they're good human beings," Gillespie said last spring, when Ngoepe's brother, Victor, joined the organization. "It's going to be exceptionally rewarding to see Gift, with all the hard work that he's put in over the years, when he finally steps onto the field at PNC Park."
Ngoepe, 27, was signed by former Pirates scout Tom Randolph in September 2008. The Bucs initially discovered Ngoepe at an MLB academy in Italy, where Ngoepe learned from Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. He picked up switch-hitting, only to drop it a few years ago. Still believing he could make it, Pittsburgh added Ngoepe to the 40-man roster in November 2015.
Considered the best defensive player in the Pirates' system, Ngoepe enjoyed a strong Spring Training offensively and worked to become more versatile in the field. The right-handed hitter batted .429/.500/.500 in 21 games and spent more time at second and third base, making him a more viable utility-infield option.
The Pirates were in need of an extra position player after essentially playing Tuesday with a three-man bench and an eight-man bullpen. Third baseman David Freese was unavailable due to right hamstring soreness. They prioritized defense, and Ngoepe emerged as their best option.
When Ngoepe got the news, the first person he called was Victor, and the 19-year-old "ran around the whole Pirate City [complex] telling everybody I was going to the big leagues," Ngoepe said. The impact of what he has accomplished hadn't quite sunk in when he settled into his locker Wednesday afternoon, his first day as a trailblazing Major Leaguer.
"I cannot describe the feeling right now," Ngoepe said. "I guess when Clint calls me onto the field … I think that's when everything will kind of come together and I'll probably burst into tears."
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
from the BBC:
Opening during the Spanish Civil War, the 1937 Paris Exhibition allowed artists to speak out against brutality. Fiona Macdonald looks at a moment when paintings became propaganda.
Opening during the Spanish Civil War, the 1937 Paris Exhibition allowed artists to speak out against brutality. Fiona Macdonald looks at a moment when paintings became propaganda.
By Fiona Macdonald
On 26 April 1937, Nazi German and Italian bombers attacked the Basque city of Guernica. Over the course of three hours, they destroyed three-quarters of the ancient town, killing and wounding hundreds. The raid was “unparalleled in military history”, according to reports at the time – and it inspired one of the most famous anti-war paintings in history. A new exhibition staged in London by Barcelona’s Mayoral Gallery honours a group of artists who responded to the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War.
These artists were brought together by the 1937 Paris Exhibition, which opened less than a month after the bombing and just 10 months after the Civil War began. The Exhibition is usually remembered for the competing bluster of two nations: Germany, with its monumental granite tower topped with a giant eagle and swastika, and the Soviet Union, whose marble-clad structure was capped by an even bigger statue of two figures clutching a hammer and a sickle. Yet it also played host to a humbler project that has outlasted either monolith. Mayoral’s exhibition commemorates the 80th anniversary of the Spanish pavilion, seen by the Second Spanish Republic as a way of revealing General Franco’s cruelty to the rest of the world against a backdrop of rising authoritarianism.
Its ambitions were far removed from Nazi and Soviet architectural one-upmanship. As Europe moved towards war, the situation in Spain took on significance around the world. It became a battleground for the forces of Fascism and Communism and inspired new works from some of the greatest artists of the time. Pablo Picasso, Julio González, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Alberto Sánchez, and José Gutiérrez Solan were all shown in the Spanish pavilion.
Picasso was commissioned to create a mural for the pavilion, and had started on a series of anti-Nationalist images called Dream and Lie of Franco earlier in 1937. After reading reports of the attack on Guernica by Franco’s allies, he began work on a painting that would come to symbolise the wider fight against Fascism. According to the art historian Fernando Martín Martín, “For the first time in the contemporary history of war, a town and its civilian population had been annihilated both as a scare tactic and a way of testing the war machine.” He says this was the “instant Picasso knew what would be the subject of his mural for the pavilion.”
His painting, Guernica, is not on display at Mayoral (it is exhibited at Madrid’s Reina Sofía Museum) – but there are insights into its creation, including photographs taken by Picasso’s girlfriend at the time, Dora Maar. The mural took him just over a month to complete. While painting, to combat rumours that he supported the Nationalists, Picasso issued a statement: “In the panel on which I am working, which I shall call Guernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death”.
The artists creating pieces for the pavilion were explicit in their aims. Mayoral’s exhibition curator Juan Manuel Bonet says that “all the major works at the pavilion were fruits of a commission. The special thing about this commission was that it was not intended to be a political commission; the artists took it upon themselves to react in such a way.”
It was a new outlook for some of them, says Bonet. “Before 1936, neither Picasso nor Miró were very political; but the Spanish Civil War changed this.” According to him, 1937’s Dream and Lie of Franco by Picasso and Aidez l’Espagne (Help Spain) by Miró are the artists’ first overtly political works. “Later on in their careers, Picasso joined the French Communist Party in 1944 and Miró continued to be very active against Franco’s regime into and during the 1960s and ‘70s.”
The American sculptor Alexander Calder’s contribution to the pavilion was also a piece of propaganda. A supporter of the Republican cause and great friend of Miró, Calder was initially refused permission to create an artwork because he wasn’t Spanish, but the organisers relented after a marble fountain from Spain had to be repurposed. It was filled with mercury that was poured through a series of sculptures created by Calder until it reached a mobile labelled ‘Almadén’.
The word resonated with Republicans. It was the name of a stronghold that held out against an offensive by Franco’s troops in March 1937, famous for its deposits of mercury, an element valued for its use in manufacturing weapons. Calder’s piece, The Mercury Fountain, doubled as a symbol for Republican resistance. “Nothing in the pavilion was free from intention,” writes Martín.
The exhibition has been put together with Joan Punyet Miró, historian and grandson of Joan. It includes a reconstruction of his grandfather’s El Segador (The Reaper) – a mural painted onto construction material in situ which was then lost or destroyed after the pavilion was dismantled. Showing a Catalan peasant with a huge misshapen head, it was a cry of outrage at the events in Spain. “Of course I intended it as a protest,” said Miró. “The Catalan peasant is a symbol of the strong, the independent, the resistant.”
Both The Reaper and Guernica were created as propaganda, in the manner of Soviet agitprop – “ephemeral art based on propaganda and agitation for a political cause aimed at stirring up the masses”, writes Joan Punyet Miró, arguing that the murals “looked like huge political propaganda posters”. The poet José Bergamín commented that “Guernica was not a picture but graffiti, though graffiti done by a genius”.
Painted on poor quality canvas, Guernica could easily have been destroyed as well. According to Punyet Miró, “Neither of them chose a tough, hard-wearing support, for they knew in advance that these were ephemeral works, designed to cause an impact and then disappear along with the pavilion… Guernica was spared the same fate as Miró’s mural because Picasso was asked to send it to London and later to the United States”.
As it turned out, the pavilion was only the beginning. Guernica toured around the UK in 1938, says Bonet. “Picasso later entrusted the painting to MoMA in New York, as it was his wish that the painting not return to Spain until democracy had been returned to the country. This was symbolically very important.”
Through a dark lens
Guernica took on a wider meaning in the years that followed. “It speaks about the Spanish Civil War, and the destiny of civilians in it, as well as the bombs that killed so many people in this Basque city,” says Bonet. “It also remarks on all wars.” The French writer Michel Leiris was moved to say of it: “On a black and white canvas that depicts ancient tragedy… Picasso also writes our letter of doom: all that we love is going to be lost.”
Yet there was hope in it too. Amid shrieking figures and corpses, Picasso left a beacon, according to Martín. “At the top, stretching out from a window, a woman with an oil lamp seems to want to illuminate the encroaching panic and darkness.”
Guernica tapped into an earlier tradition, echoing Goya’s works commemorating resistance to the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. According to curators at the Reina Sofía, “The grotesque vision that Goya brought to his political critique was not lost on artists as a powerful tool for crafting their own views of the present.” Picasso admired Goya’s “dark lens on Spain’s complex political and religious traditions”.
“Picasso, Miró, Calder and González taught us that sometimes major moments such as the Spanish Civil War force us to take sides,” says gallery director Jordi Mayoral. “The works created by these artists for the pavilion are still part of the Spanish collective memory; they represented a major turning point in the Civil War and the country’s struggle between democracy and fascism”.
Picasso himself summed up his decision, remarking in 1937: “I have always believed and still believe that artists who live and work with spiritual values cannot and should not remain indifferent to a conflict in which the highest values of humanity and civilisation are at stake.”
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
from Dangerous Minds:
There had been a killing. But no one was quite certain where it had happened or where the body was hidden. Maybe it was in the library bludgeoned with a lead pipe? Or sprawled across the conservatory floor throttled by some rope? The press carried snippets. People were shocked by the news. How could this happen on our streets? How could this happen to our children when Abba was still number one? There was outrage. There was fear. There was a dread that this was only the beginning of far greater horrors to come.
They were right.
In some ways, it was a mercy killing. It had to happen. It was inevitable. It was putting the poor beast out of its misery. The old horse was now lame and blind and in constant pain and could barely perform its act. Yet still, they wheeled it out for one more turn for the rich people to ride and clap and cheer while the old nag bravely tried to canter around the ring.
But the children turned away. They wanted something different.
There had been noises of strange new things going on for months. Small signs in venues all across London. A growing sense that something had to change. The old horse was dead and the business was out of touch with its audience. The kids wanted something to happen.
A band called the Sex Pistols were playing gigs in and around London. Promoter Ron Watts saw them rip up the joint at a gig in High Wycombe in early 1976. It was like nothing he’d ever seen before. This was the start of the future. This was what everyone was waiting for. He booked the band to appear at the legendary blues and jazz 100 Club in London. He organized a weekend festival called The 100 Club Punk Special for September 20th and 21st, 1976. The line-up was the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Damned, the Buzzcocks, Subway Sect, Stinky Toys and Chris Spedding & the Vibrators.
When the Sex Pistols hit the stage, everything changed. “In one night,” Watts later wrote in his autobiography Hundred Watts: A Life in Music, “punk went from an underground cult to a mass movement.”
The Sex Pistols had killed off one generation’s music and announced something new....[T]his was the big one, the first day of a new era. Nothing could compare with it either before or since.Onstage, Johnny Rotten was “insulting, cajoling everyone in the room, his eyes bulging dementedly as he made the audience as much a part of the show as the band.” The group tore through their set to a thrilled and enthusiastic audience. The Clash played their set, while Siouxsie and the Banshees had improvised a set around “The Lord’s Prayer.” A week later, a crowd 600 deep formed a line at the door of the 100 Club.
Smart enough to recognize the importance of what had happened, investigative reporter Janet Street-Porter fronted a half-hour feature on the Sex Pistols and co. called “Punk’ for local TV program The London Weekend Show . First broadcast on November 28th, 1976, “Punk” contained some of the very first if not the first television interviews with Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, and Paul Cook, as well as Siouxsie, Steven Severin (aka Steve Spunker) and Joe Strummer, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash. Here are the witness statements of the feelings and the facts. The whole show adds up to the reveal cards in Clue, as this small historic film discloses the who? what? when? and why? of the music that killed off the sixties.
Monday, April 24, 2017
It can be easy, in certain moods, to suspect that we can trust no one and to feel the temptation of conspiracy theories. But we’d be wiser learning the art of an intelligent form of scepticism.
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Friday, April 21, 2017
Yes I did the cover of the original album and the cover of this magazine that was just published with a never before seen photo from the same roll of film.
Go to Flood Magazine to download the full issue for free or buy the print issue.
Some cool stuff in there and an interview with me to close out the issue.
Go to Flood Magazine to download the full issue for free or buy the print issue.
Some cool stuff in there and an interview with me to close out the issue.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
via Boing Boing: