#TrademarkWars: Have you no shame, Disney?

I know this is an older story, but I just have to talk about it.

I apologize if this issue is getting old especially for those in the aniblogger community, but holy crap…did Disney have to steal something else especially in regards to The Lion King? Ripping off Kimba the White Lion wasn’t enough for them?

Basically, Disney owns a trademark for the words “Hakuna Matata” which is stupid on so many levels for a common phrase in the Swahili-speaking community in Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Uganda, etc.). I also didn’t know that there was a popular song in the 70s that used the phrase in it’s chorus.

Sure, some of you are rolling your eyes to me bashing Disney since I am a former fan of The Lion King. Besides the shameless stealing of Kimba, I couldn’t stand some of the plot holes, the protagonist centered morality of Mufasa, and the racist implications of the hyenas (come on, you don’t think they sounded like ethnic stereotypes?). Not to mention the whole Elephant Graveyard situation is much more disturbing in hindsight when you research things like the Congolese genocide, the Namibian genocide, or the genocides against Native Americans to name a few where people where exiled and starved out at punishment. Makes me wonder if Disney fans see the hyenas as proxies for Black people to be punished at all costs while claiming that company isn’t racist for hiring minorities as some rhetorical dodge for it not being racist (strawman defeated). Please, that’s like saying the porn industry can’t be sexist because they hire women.

The thing isn’t just about trademarking a common Swahili phrase or for me ragging on Disney for their business practices. The bigger picture is cultural appropriation. One other example that Dr. Mumbi gave in the video was Louis Vuitton capitalizing on traditional Masai cloth by giving it the luxury treatment which is idiotic and offensive to me. Culture isn’t some free for all object for people to steal. I would bet you money if someone were to steal stuff from Louis Vuitton or any other big company, then lawsuits would be handed like candy on Halloween. Screw that double standard. If you want to incorporate something like someone’s culture then do it respectfully and pay the price for it.

This trademarking is so shameful on many levels. If you want to sign the petition about this matter, then here’s the link: https://www.change.org/p/the-walt-disney-company-get-disney-to-reverse-their-trademark-of-hakuna-matata

Video is property of Dr. Mumbi Seraki.

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71 thoughts on “#TrademarkWars: Have you no shame, Disney?

  1. Pingback: Is the UN pressuring Belgium to pay off for what they did to the DRC? | Ospreyshire's Realm

  2. Pingback: #TrademarkWars Pt. II: Drop the Hakuna Matata trademark because cultural appropriation sucks! | Ospreyshire's Realm

  3. Disney should be up there with the GAFAs if it isn’t already. They have a trademark on everything. My publisher had to add a whole list of © notices at the beginning of my first book. I queried some of them, like why do I have to thank Disney for letting me use the expression Snow White? They don’t own it. Disney didn’t write the fairy story. But that doesn’t matter. They have appropriated all those names like Aladdin, Cinderella, even the ridiculous names they stuck on minor characters. Grotesque.

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    • Yeah, and it really makes you think with all the trademarks and copyrights they own. I’m really sorry to hear about you having to but so many copyright symbols in your first book. The Snow White example was just stupid since she’s a public domain character, but they trademarked the name. There’s a reason why the rapper Snow the Product changed her name from Snow White the Product for example. Disney (the company) doesn’t even write most of the screenplays they’ve made in the animated canon. It’s either public domain stories (several of the fairy tales), buying the rights to adapt them (101 Dalmatians, Aristocats, The Black Cauldron, etc.), or ripping off Japanese animation (The Lion King and Atlantis [see Kimba the White Lion and Nadia: Secret of Blue Water]). It’s just so bogus how much they’ve gotten away with things and it is infuriating how they’re banking on a phrase, language, and culture they didn’t create. I’m glad you understand.

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      • I do, but I find it depressing that so many millions just go with the flow. Call me a killjoy, but this Dumbo saccharine makes me want to scream, why doesn’t Disney donate some of its earnings to stopping the poaching of elephants in the wild, and join the campaign to get animals out of circuses. If they only lent their voice to these campaigns they’d make a huge difference, but they’d rather keep schtum and keep the cash.

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      • No disagreements there. Don’t worry about me calling you a killjoy about Dumbo let alone anything about Disney. When I saw the original movie as an adult after not seeing it for ages, I was shocked at how bigoted it was. At that time, I was running the projector at the kid’s portion of a now-defunct film festival years ago and we had an old-school Disney night and Dumbo was one of the movies. There were faceless Black men singing about how they never learned to read or write yet they’re fine slaving away at the circus. Then came the crows…UGH! They talked in such stereotypical dialects and I found out that the lead crow’s name was Jim which I facepalmed.

        Besides that issue with Dumbo, you bring up a very excellent point about Disney having the power to stop poaching and animal abuse at circuses (or at the very least advocating to get it curbed), but they do nothing. They certainly would have more than enough sway to pull that off. You would think that with all the movies they’ve made with several animal characters, they would care, but I guess the almighty dollar means more to them than actual lives.

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      • Ouch! I didn’t know that about Jim (Crow). People see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear and believe any fantastical lies that suit their nasty little selves. If people really are so stupid that they don’t understand the subplots, they should maybe be deprived of the vote, or something else radical like the power of speech…

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      • Yeah, it was so offensive once I found out about that issue when I was an adult. I saw that movie as a child multiple times and it never crossed my mind. Even my parents were surprised and righteously offended when I told them that fact since the name was only in the credits and not spoken in the movie, so this went under the radar.

        Exactly! So many people take that information so selectively especially if it doesn’t fit their likes or worldview. It’s a shame how so many don’t get things like the subplots, subtext, or cultural context about matters such as these. If people want to bash a Disney movie like Song of the South for it’s racism (as it should be bashed in that regard), then you have to go all the way with Dumbo and other films made before, during, and long after that movie was made when it comes to the animated canon.

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      • While I get annoyed with tokenism, I get the distinct impression with Disney that there was a lot of nastiness purposely written into the scripts. As fashion changes and people start shouting about various rights, they stick in some token to make the public with the dollars think how progressive they are. Purely cynical.

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      • I get annoyed with tokenism, too. Disney (the man and company) wasn’t as innocent as much as their G/PG-rated properties would seem with just malicious undercurrents and subtext. I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices it whenever Disney tries to shoehorn one or multiple ethnic minority characters in their movies as lip service to claim that they can’t be racist. That is an obvious strawman argument on their part and from their fans. Just because Disney has minority characters or hire non-Caucasian actors to play roles doesn’t mean they are racially progressive. By that logic on the latter (not mine, but theirs), slave owners couldn’t be racist because they have Black people working for them, right? SMH. I can’t believe that there are people who still use that logic to this day. Totally cynical and fallacious.

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      • I agree completely. But do they really believe, or does it just suit their own ideas, make them more comfortable with their own prejudices? As I say, either people are congenitally stupid and really believe it, or they are completely cynical and hypocritical.

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      • Thanks. You raise some good questions on the subject. Either or makes sense when it comes to believing such a statement. I’ve probably seen both sides of that coin when it comes to people arguing that Disney (or any company for that matter) can’t be bigoted because they hire minorities and/or have ethnic characters.

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      • I think we have to be grown up about questions of motivation. No multi billion dollar company is going to do exactly what will make it lose money. They have the means to pay the best publicity agencies and the best lawyers. If a few token blacks or women makes the punters happy, of course they’re going to write them into the script. If no ethnic minorities means a PC backlash, there’ll be ethnic minorities.

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      • That’s right since businesses are supposed to make money. I don’t begrudge companies for trying to make a profit, but if it’s exploitative, illegal, or amoral, then that’s what I have an issue with. They certainly have enough cheddar to have an army of publicists to deal with damage control and to put the best possible image for anything. These companies aren’t stupid and know what they’re doing. Especially in this day and age where racism is getting more into the forefront with soaring hate crimes and with activists calling people out, they’re going to face backlash if they don’t have ethnic minority characters or actors. Although on the flipside, you have certain segments of the public that sadly thought the existence of Finn in the newer Star Wars movies and Black Panther was White genocide which is just laughable. There was a great rebuttal I saw on another blog post that said “If that’s White genocide [for having Finn in the movie], then what genocides did YOU support in other movies?”. I’m not giving Disney a pat on the back given that they own LucasFilm and Marvel, but they can’t rest on their laurels because of those movies. This is the same company who made two movies taking place in Africa in the Disney animated canon where one had no humans and the other had no Black people at all. Yes, I’m talking about The Lion King and Tarzan respectively. One could make a case that genocide DID happen in those movies if we use their logic just to appease their comfort zones while watching those films. I didn’t see that many people complaining about those movies (no, I’m not counting Queen of Katwe since it was live action only).

        Jane, I’m thankful for having this intelligent discourse with you. It’s refreshing to see someone who doesn’t take media at face value and I feel that I rarely have these conversations with most movie or animation fans.

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      • To be honest, I rarely watch films. I have a hard time keeping focused. I’m the person in the cinema who keeps whispering, ‘who’s she?’ or ‘What happened to the horse?’ I also get bogged down in the kind of issues we’ve been talking about. Suspending disbelief is one thing, but watching propaganda is another. I’ve never seen the Lion King a) because I’m a grown up b) because I hate stuff that implies hereditary primogeniture monarchy is a good thing. c) I hate cutesie anthropomorphism. I know, I’m probably in a minority of one, but there you are. The idea of there being black actors in it because it was supposed to be in Africa never occurred to me. They’re animals, so….

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      • I see. I do appreciate films, but most of them aren’t mainstream. Most of the stuff I actively watch usually involves indie movies, international cinema, documentaries, and non-mainstream animation. I do have a film background, so I have an appreciation for it as an art form when done right, but I understand if that’s not your thing. I do agree with you when it comes to suspending disbelief and dealing with propaganda veiled as entertainment.

        About The Lion King…you’re not missing much. Granted, I first saw it when it came out in theaters when I was very young and I used to like that movie, but I grew to despise it in recent years because of the blatant stealing of Kimba when I researched that controversy, the racist/genocidal implications with how the hyenas were portrayed, and it’s nowhere near as deep as people (especially in my generation) claim it to be. Good point about how that and other Disney movies assume hereditary primogeniture monarchy is the best thing for government (it never ends well in real life). I see where you’re coming from with cutesie anthropomorphism. It’s no wonder furries love that movie (YEAH, I SAID IT!). Trust me, I’ve gotten crap from people when I tell them I’m not a Disney fan. You’re not alone, Jane.

        I’m not against people playing animal characters, but it’s quite suspicious how there’s no human characters who would look like they’d be in a movie like that. Then again, the fact that Rafiki the baboon is played by a Black man or how the hyenas talk in stereotypical Ebonics while living in a proxy food desert ghetto really doesn’t help matters at all especially with the aforementioned Congolese and Namibian Genocides where starvation was a method among others to slaughter the Africans. The fact that so many people like this movie even to this day frustrates me, but I do know some people have been seeing how problematic it is.

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      • The Lion King has had a lot of criticism, I know about stereotyping and the voices used. I haven’t seen it so I can’t comment. I have seen the Jungle Book and loved it (I was very young :)) but I don’t think I’d object to Louis Armstrong playing the monkey king just because he was black. You can take PC too far.
        The point you make about the complete insensitivity of Disney/Hollywood/the rich West in general to the lives of anyone outside their comfortable suburbia is a good one. There’s a lot of ignorance and self-satisfaction in our culture. The US doesn’t have the monopoly on ignorance, we’re all guilty, but the self-satisfaction factor is pretty strong over the Atlantic!
        I’d watch more art and indie films if there was a cinema around showing them. I live in the sticks, another word for cultural desert…

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      • I’ve heard some of that criticism, but some Disney fans freak out if you bring it up about that movie from my personal experience. The Jungle Book? Yeah, King Louie had criticism. It was actually Louie Prima (an Italian-American jazz singer) who played Louis instead of Louis Armstrong. It wasn’t just about the connotations, but also how with how Louie talked and how he sang about wanting to be a real human which can add to the subhuman narrative. I’m really not as PC as I came across even with how selective the term PC is (story for another day though).

        Thank you. I’ve certainly noticed more and more of that insensitivity as I’ve grown older. I’ve gotten better at figuring out dog whistle language and coded meanings. There’s certainly a ton of ignorance stateside. Sorry to hear how it also happens in Europe, too. Don’t feel bad. Where I live, we rarely have film festivals or theaters that play the indie stuff. We used the term “sticks” in that context sometimes in America, too. Do you have any favorite movies made from directors from your home country?

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      • There’s a lot more interaction between different cultures here. You don’t have to go very far to be in a very foreign place, foreign language, customs, food, so people generally have more experience of what it means to be ‘different’ than Americans do. We never really understand how you find a difference between black and white Americans. You all seem to have the same culture, language and aspirations from where we stand. We have real Africans, real black Africans who speak African languages, wear traditional tribal costume and eat African food. Your African Americans just don’t even look the same. You (I mean the collective you obviously) really ought to open your eyes to your similarities rather than harping on about differences.
        Films I’ve seen and enjoyed… Once is a film I loved, but can’t say I’ve been that thrilled with anything else particularly. I’m a big fan of the French cinema of the 50s and 60s, Jacques Tati, Louis de Funes and Le Ballon Rouge is one of my all time favourites.

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      • I’m not saying there isn’t any interactions with multiple cultures here in America. Granted, it depends on where you go, but where I grew up I lived in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in a very diverse city. It’s not far from where I currently live and I go there for one job, but I don’t see it as much in my current town (long story). There have been differences even if they’ve been imposed on us for centuries. A lot of the culture especially art and music did come the African-American community, but it was appropriated and part of the nation’s lexicon. One major difference is equality, but it’s certainly not the case here in the US even long after the Civil Rights movement.

        It’s great that you live in/near a diverse area which I certainly applaud you for, but to be honest with you the comments about African-Americans having to open our (collectively speaking) eyes and not looking the same is very condescending. I’m open to these similarities and I don’t bicker about differences with other African-Americans even though I’m of mixed descent myself. Are there some arguments here and there? Yes, but not as much as the media would let you believe. One of the reasons why so many (not all) African Americans don’t have all the traditional cultural elements, food, or languages is because it was stripped away from us for centuries. Africans were renamed, separated, and tortured for wanting to know about which countries they were from since the slave trade. Since I took my DNA test, I found out which ethnic groups are on my maternal (Black) side of the family and it’s been amazing researching all these cultures knowing which specific places they came from.

        I remember seeing Once a long time ago. I liked the music even though “Falling Slowly” got overplayed so much. So many Hollywood films are just boring or creatively stagnant to me, but the indie stuff has been good more often than not from other countries. That’s good. I do like some French movies, but I haven’t seen any from those time periods.

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      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that there was anything demeaning about not being exactly like Africans in Africa, Colour, ethnicity, nationality, all those superficial tags don’t mean much to me. I live with people of such mixed origins I’ve stopped wondering what went into the mix. All that matters is the humanity of the individual.
        I meant that it’s diifficult for Europeans to understand what causes the big divisions in American society since from the outside, all Americans share a culture, a country, and a language. The physical differences wouldn’t be noticeable here at all with the number of different ethnicities that are intermingled. We only see how it looks, that you share a common way of life.
        I understand about slavery and the robbing of identity. It happened to the Irish under English rule. The big difference is that when colonial domination ended and the troops left, Ireland was its own country. The Africans taken as slaves to America might have been freed, but they are still living in the former oppressor’s country, and they’re made to feel it.
        It’s great that you’ve been able to find out where you come from. It’s important to know that. We are all a part of our ancestors and when we have a history of oppression and slavery, we have to live up to the gift they gave us of simply refusing to lie down and die.

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      • Thank you for clarifying that issue. I’m happy that you’re fine being around people of other ethnicities/nationalities/races/etc while seeing the humanity in others.

        Is it the case in Europe? I wasn’t aware of that perception on how they view America in that way.

        Thank you for understanding that issue. I’ve wondered about that how some Irish people directly in that country have English or at the very least have anglicized names from the original Gaelic like Aisling becoming Ashlyn or Aodhan becoming Conchur becoming Connor for example. It’s certainly true with America. Sure, slavery as a private institution is illegal, but the prison-industrial complex is a major loophole with the 13th Amendment. Going back to your talk on colonizing, the aftereffects are there in multiple nations. Several African and Caribbean nations are independent on paper, but a good chunk of them still use European central banks with Francophone nations such as Senegal, Cameroon, or Chad for example having their money siphoned back to France.

        It has been a huge flood of knowledge over the past few months and it’s been fun learning about the rich heritage that was hidden away from me. One thing I want to try to is to learn how to cook some of the local foods from those cultures. As a descendant of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I hope that I can connect with my ancestor’s cultures and to make them proud. I don’t want to see my heritage appropriated, diminished, and/or demonized since it’s happened for centuries.

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      • Ha ha! Happy being around different ethnicities isn’t exactly how I’d describe it. My sister married a black Zimbabwean, my son’s longest standing girlfriend is from Benin, one daughter’s longest relationship has been with a Senegalese and another has just about managed to finish with a violent dead beat who’s also half-West Indian half-Algerian. The girl from Benin is the only one of the bunch who we actually like (a lot). There’s an extremely macho ethos in a lot of African and Muslim cultures that I dislike intensely. The boys who don’t have it come close to manly perfection though.
        The name thing is interesting. Names were forcibly changed by the English from Cromwell onwards. Cousins of my maternal grandfather were called Smith and changed it back to Mac Gabhain after Independence. Gabha means a smith in Irish. All the Mac Gabhain were registered as Smith. For given names the reason they fell out of favour was because the Catholic church refused to baptise babies with a ‘heathen’ Irish name. They could only have saints’ names. The Irish speakers used Irish versions of Christian names like Pádraig, Seán, Siobhán and Sinead which aren’t old Irish names. It’s only quite recently that they have gone back to using the old ‘heathen’ names.
        I haven’t heard that money comes to France from the former African colonies. There are cosy arrangements made with the ruling families in various countries, like you sell us mining rights that don’t belong to you, but to your people, and we’ll give you a safe account to squirrel the money away in. You buy weapons from us and there’ll be a personal kickback for you. It’s called corruption and it’s everywhere. Ordinary Senegalese who live in France tend to send money back home. The Caribbean islands aren’t independent, they are part of France in the same way that the Loire and Alsace are part of France. They are departments with the same administrative status as any other, sending deputés (like congressmen and women) to the French parliament.

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      • Jesus, I’m tired. I realise that my last comment sounds weird. I do have a really mixed ethnic bag of people who are close to me and I like them or dislike them depending on how they behave not what size shoes they take or how much melanin they have in their skin pigmentation. I’m going to bed now. Hope I sleep tonight!

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      • I hoped that was the case. It would be sad to see people shoehorning cultures in one uniform box. Thank you for telling me about the history of Irish names. The issue with France siphoning money from their former colonies is still a talking point and it is predatory. When Haiti got independence during their revolution, France put sanctions on them and stole their finances as “reparations” for lost property (the Haitians who were freed slaves). There are certainly puppet presidents who are a part of those shady deals which I’m aware of. Here’s a video that talks about neo-colonialist lending that I just saw thanks to Dr. Y. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hfFxTbLFWs

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      • The slaves in the French colonies were freed by the Revolution and enslaved again by Napoleon. The freeing was a point of principle, so credit there. Enslaving them again was what you’d expect from Napoleon.
        The despotic Haitian presidents were certainly backed by France for decades, and successive US administrations it has to be said. Bébé Doc (a complete monster) was given asylum in Monaco, and never judged for his crimes against humanity even when he went back to Haiti. Those people have suffered so much and all they’ve ever had are criminals to govern them.

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      • That’s quite true and thanks for bringing up the Napolean aspect.

        Yes, and it’s not limited to just Haiti. one story I’ve been following is the situation in Cameroon. Their president Paul Biya won reelection late last year and he’s been president for over 35 years. Only 5 of those years were spent in his home country while the rest were in a luxury hotel in Switzerland while his cabinet would run the country. He is backed by the French government and there’s been conflict with Francophone and Anglophone Cameroonians which is just sad. It’s as if the former colonial powers still have sway over so many countries and it’s cerebral slavery to say the least. That’s what neo-colonialism is all about as cultures are under watch and can be bought for a price.

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      • There is certainly neo-colonialism operating in the same way powerful countries prey on smaller ones. The US does it all over the world, do what we say or we’ll destroy your economy. In Africa the problem of rich nations sticking their fingers in the pie and corrupt leaders selling the family jewels, is compounded by the tribal loyalties aspect. In a lot of elections we’ve seen recently, corrupt politicians are returned by popular vote because the people have voted on ethnic lines. You had explosions of joy for example, in Ivory Coast when that criminal Laurent Gbaghbo was acquitted of crimes against humanity, on a technicality by the sounds of it.
        Africa’s problems can’t all be laid at the feet of the ex-colonial powers. Look at Benin. They were given independence in 1960 and after a rocky Marxist start are considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa. It doesn’t have to be always war and conflict. Western companies have to keep their hands off the natural resources of African countries, African leaders need to stop selling what isn’t theirs to sell, and tribal conflicts have to stop. Tall order, I know, and I think we have to stop considering the problems of poverty and ignorance as a consequence of neo-colonialism and think of it more in terms of inevitable capitalist expansion. It’s what capitalism does, swallows the poor and spits out the pips. Capitalism relies on the existence of poverty, and in a capitalist society what business wants, it gets. It isn’t a doctrine I subscribe to.

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      • You’re certainly right about the richest nations taking advantage of those with lower GDPs. Corruption certainly plays a big part of that. Are there African leaders who’ve been doing this? Of course, but lets not act like there isn’t blood on the hands of those stateside or Europe though.

        Benin was a good example which I give you that as it’s a stable nation and I heard it’s one of those underrated tourist destinations that’s safe to visit. Western companies shouldn’t be exploiting the minerals unless they pay for them at a fair market price. Look at the DRC. They are the most mineral-rich nation on the planet and everyone with some kind of technology such as computers, smartphones, and tablets contain cobalt which is plentiful in that country. Interestingly enough, I just saw a video before responding to your comment by Dr. Mumbi Seraki (an independent news YouTuber from Kenya) who talked about this issue today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa-xpURwrj0

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      • I don’t find this style of news reporting very convincing. Do you think it’s possible to talk about a whole continent as if it’s a united entity? I’m not sure you can when so many of the countries are fighting either civil wars or at war with their neighbours. So Dr Seraki thinks there shouldn’t be aid? I bet there are plenty of organisations who would disagree with her there.
        One thing I would like to see us all get over and that is clumping people into groups and talking in generalities. Like the people who define themselves as ‘Christian’ ‘Muslim’ ‘American’ ‘African’ as if that’s your most important characteristic. Nationalism and religion have only ever led to war and bloodshed. We have to start thinking of ourselves as individual human beings.
        I don’t know how it benefits anyone to keep Africa poor. It means emigration and it means aid. It’s in everyone’s interest for the African countries to be economically strong. Maybe we could start by stopping arms sales that fuel their wars. But the Chinese would fill that gap. Maybe they could stop fighting? I don’t know anything about African politics, why there are so many wars, but I do know that a nation at war is a poor nation and an uneducated nation will never be anything but fodder to be exploited by technologically more advanced nations.

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      • Dr. Seraki is an individual who wants a united Africa which she’s been open about in multiple videos, so her optimism on that matter more often than not. I personally wouldn’t mind aid if it isn’t predatory or aiding corruption. This reminds me of the documentary Black Gold which deals with the coffee industry. One scene involves some representatives from multiple African nations who stressed about “trade not aid” where the coffee farmers in their respective nations can get a fair price for their goods without being (over)dependent on aid and handouts to have sustainability going on. What also annoys me is this “bootstraps” argument when the people who preach about that had handouts because of their advantages in society and inherited it from their ancestors, but when those perceived to be lower on the sociopolitical totem pole try to succeed with their own means only to be hurt (see: Black Wall Street or Rosewood, FL).

        While I do agree that generalities can lead to trouble, I will have to politely disagree with the aspect about individual human beings. I would like to be seen as an individual, but the media blames everything on people who look like me or darker whenever something bad happens, yet never do that to any Caucasian put there. Just look at any case of mass shooters and school shooters with how they humanize them on the news and playing the “mental illness” and “lone wolf” card. I’m tired of millions of others and I being scapegoats for everything. I do believe that people can form communities without resorting to generalities which is certainly idealistic, but it can be done. They don’t necessarily be about race or religion, but my ideals or common goals.

        I certainly don’t want to see any civil war or war in general going on. There’s been enough of that. These wars and conflicts are ramifications of neo-colonialism as they are aftereffects of self-hate and the logical conclusion of the “divide and conquer” strategy. Some progress has been made like the Eritrea/Ethiopia peace deal last year which is HUGE for both countries for example in their relationship with each other. I’m no expert on African politics either, but I have been doing my best to research various aspects of what’s going on. Granted, there’s over 50 countries on that continent, so there’s so much to cover. Perhaps this instability is a unifying factor for the West to prevent these nations from fighting against each other or for having to compete (economically) on an even playing field. Looks like both my optimistic and pessimistic aspects came out at once in this comment.

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      • I wish Dr Seraki the very best of luck. It’s a huge undertaking to try and get even two relatively friendly countries to agree to open their frontiers and work in tandem.
        There is obviously a lot of overt racism in the US and the fact that half the country voted for Trump (and will quite possibly re-elect him) is very disturbing. What you say about also wanting to feel part of a group reminds me of the way we felt up to the 1990s or so when even if we didn’t want anything to do with the Catholic Church we stuck with it, and the Catholic schools and the whole community thing because we weren’t accepted in the English community. There’s no need for it now in England since being Catholic has become trendy and the Irish have stopped setting off bombs in English high streets. How the US is going to get over its prejudices I have no idea. Maybe you’re still at the stage of ostracism when there’s safety in numbers. I’m sure that must be true in many areas.

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      • I hope so, too. Any kind of unity is a huge undertaking. You’re right about overt racism in the US, but it’s been there long before Trump even considered running for president. There has been a huge history of it, but there’s also covert racism with dog whistle language, only showing crimes from minorities as leading headlines, or using non-human characters as proxies to heap their bigotry like apes, aliens (Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars prequels), robots (Skidz and Mudflap from those awful Transformers movies), or like the aforementioned crows from Dumbo and the hyenas from The Lion King. The overt and covert racism isn’t just the only thing. It’s the apathy or denial of people to these heinous acts of hatred.

        Thank you for telling me about your experiences about community in the context of both Ireland and England. I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t accepted in the latter country while you tried to fit in. I didn’t realize Catholicism was trendy in England which is surprising to me.

        Even as an American, I still wonder how the US will get over it’s racism when it’s woven into the fabric of the society. African-Americans built this country without getting credit for it, served in every major war while a bunch of them were lynched in uniform, and crafted a culture with music and art, but they get appropriated. It’s quite frustrating when no one believes you whenever someone does something bad to you, seeing women grab their purses tight when I walk by as if I was born a criminal, and especially having to work harder to get the same kind of respect that I may never attain while those with less experience than me get promoted faster. This demonization causes me to have so much disdain for humanity.

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      • Nothing surprises me really when you’re talking about hatred and bigotry. It’s everywhere, takes different forms in every culture, but it seems as though no society is immune to it. You get marches for equality for one group and that group is beating up another group, and in the end, women, all women get the worst deal. The only thing that gets you out of a ghetto is money. If you don’t have money, you can be white as the driven snow and you won’t get anywhere.
        I don’t have much faith in human nature either.

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      • Bigotry certainly is everywhere. Funny you mention marches and movements. I’ve had a few posts in the past that talk about sex crimes that #MeToo and #TimesUp won’t talk about because they only focus on alleged perpetrators of men and especially men with melanin. I’m glad there are some people pointing out the hypocrisy of those movements. Also, #FirstThem. Going back on topic here, money certainly has an advantage, but I don’t see it as an end all be all although certain individuals become untouchable when they have enough of it, so I do partially agree with you there. I guess we have something in common then. It’s a miracle I’m not a misanthrope given the things I’ve seen, research, and experienced.

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      • Money does factor into things which I won’t argue with. However, Obama or any Black politician with presidential aspirations wouldn’t even be a contender in any primaries if they came from a lower or even middle-class background to compete with the rest. Even then, how they get money also matters, too. If they happen to come from a rich family or get paid in a way that is “allowed” (music, sports, entertainment, political donations to name a few), then it’s no big deal. If they were self-made, then that would be considered a threat. Funny enough, those are the same people who claim that Black people should do for themselves. Such hypocrites.

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      • It’s one reason I’ve stopped arguing with bigoted people. I refuse to get involved in complacent agreement about one person’s (justified) grievances when they go on to blame everything on some other group. Prejudice is never justified. We each stand or fall on our personal actions and words, not by the banner we stand behind.

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      • I know the feeling about not arguing with bigoted people. To be honest, I’ve been tempted on intellectually destroying them whenever I have the chance, but I have to pick my battles assuming if they listen to the facts I bring up. It’s not healthy blaming everyone from one group or the other. Just because I talk about systemic privileges and psychic benefits or call out racism doesn’t mean I’m anti-white (I loathe that strawman that gets thrown around a ton). If that were the case, I wouldn’t be talking to you, blogs I currently follow, or even my paternal family members. It’s systemic and not because of one’s race no matter how much they benefit from society or not.

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      • I don’t think you can destroy the arguments of people who are overtly racist/sexist/xenophobic any more than you can destroy the arguments of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Or any other religious people for that matter. They KNOW they are right and they have their arguments off by heart. It’s a waste of effort.

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      • I sort of see what you’re saying about the people thinking that they are right in their own eyes. While those emotions are true and I’ve seen it firsthand, I will do what I can to dispel misconceptions and propaganda especially if I know the facts about certain things. I’m aware not everyone is going to repent (I don’t mean that with a religious undercurrent) of their ways, yet I need to bring the evidence about various social isues to people.

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      • The thing is, I don’t believe in the intrinsic ‘goodness’ of people. I don’t believe that every arsehole is simply misguided and there’s nothing they’d like more than to have their eyes open. Most people do know, deep down that it’s wrong to kill and maim, that a child is a child is a child, and when they cheer on some demagogue who says it’s okay to kill and maim some people and some children aren’t really as human as others, they know they are being evil. You can’t open their eyes because they are purposely closed. Sad but true. Many many people are a disgrace to this planet.

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      • Funny enough, I’m slowly starting not to believe in intrinsic goodness with all of these atrocities that have been exposed or with things I’ve researched lately. I do believe people do know, but don’t care when it comes to evil especially if “their team” is doing it. Call it moral relativism or real life protagonist centered morality, it’s all the same. It has been cathartic calling that stuff out like my Fandom Hypocrisy article I wrote months ago on here or even my more controversial reviews of movies with dark subject matter in them to situations like the #TrademarkWars or un(der)reported crimes.

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      • It seems to be very difficult in the US to be overtly irreligious. In God we trust etc etc. If you believe God is on your side you can do anything, every atrocity is excused. Same mindset as the Crusades. Modern, intelligent people with the benefit of all that science has shown ought to be capable of inventing a better moral guide than the kind of garbage that primitive people thousands of years ago swallowed.

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      • That’s what it seems like in America from what open atheists have told me and I can see where they are coming from. Believing in any god let alone any worldview as carte Blanche to commit heinous crimes sickens me. Some of the most amoral people out there are the ones who claim to be moral guardians of sorts as they think their way is the best. Fundamentalism gets people nowhere besides destruction.

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      • I’ve had my eyes opened by comments from bloggers who’ve said they wouldn’t dare ‘come out’ and admit to being atheist for fear of recriminations! It seems incredible from a European standpoint where even people in officially Catholic countries often have overt atheists in prominent positions and left wing political parties. I totally agree about the pious often being the most evil. They do it in God’s name.

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      • Oh, yes. I’ve been realizing that recently. They could face backlash depending on which part of America they’re in. I’m from the Midwest where it can go either way, but in the South, the backlash would be more severe. That part of America is nicknamed the Bible Belt because of how many people attend church and/or self-identifying as Christian. I was curious what the European view would be on that matter because I know irreligion/atheism/agnosticism is more prominent in some countries compared to others. The left wing political aspect doesn’t surprise me in Europe, but in Catholic-majority countries is a bit eye opening for me. Thanks. Those people are modern day Pharisees on so many levels. It does frustrate me how people who force their moral guidelines onto others or believe their worldview is the best can do horrible things. From King Leopold II to Pol Pot as examples, I really wonder how brutal humans can be to keep their status quo.

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      • It’s scary how something as ludicrous (that’s the way it seems to me anyway) as religion still has relevance today. Whenever something horrible happens, some church person gives their two cents worth and we’re supposed to listen to them.

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      • To be honest, I’ve sometimes wondered that, too. I’ve noticed that church people do talk about whatever happens especially if it’s a big attack. Although ironically, whenever it’s a Christian who does something like bomb an abortion clinic for example, they are either silent or say they don’t endorse that behavior in about a second. Over the past couple of years, I’m seeing why some people become irreligious and/or even the ones who still retain theistic beliefs leave churches.

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      • There are just too many obvious contradictions in every religious argument and too much obvious nonsense that it’s not even worth arguing about it. Which religious soup you get depends on where and when you were born. Each one says it’s the true and only one, each one is split into factions that claim to be the true and only version, and all of them were invented in the last few thousand years, many of them in the last few hundred years. The earth is 4.5 billion years old….

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      • I do apologize if I came across as argumentative because that was not my intention with you. It bothers me how people get into all these pointless arguments as it’s an exercise in self-righteousness which turns me off no matter how much I agree or disagree with someone. I’ve seen decent people and jerks alike whether they believe in a deity or not. As cliche as it sounds, I do wish people would just get along, but I know how impossible that is especially in this day and age.

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      • Not at all. Sorry to have given you that impression. It’s one of the problems of communicating through short messages without any ‘real’ contact. I think you’ve nailed it there though. If people would talk and listen without the baggage of prejudice they’ve inherited from their parents and their background, or just picked up from FB maybe we’d all be able to get along as fellow human beings and not members of group x y or z.
        You’re not argumentative you just have opinions. I really despise people who don’t have opinions or who refuse to let anyone know in case they cause ‘offence’ so keep on arguing 🙂

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      • Gotcha and thanks for clearing that up. I know online messaging can lose subtlety and context depending on what is typed out (sarcasm can be tough to detect unless one is explicitly says so, but that’s a story for another day). People do need to talk and listen to each other without the drama which I do agree with you let alone checking the information that one finds. As ironic as it is by mentioning the actor Jeremy Irons in acomment thread like this given what we’ve been talking about, but he was right when he said “Social media is one of the most frightening things ever.” in one interview he did a few years ago.

        That’s good to know even though I wasn’t trying to be so in our discussion. I think you’re the first person (online and real life) who’s said anything like that to me before. I’ve had lots of opinions, but I rarely expressed them since I’ve had a past of being bullied into silence. Blogging has certainly helped that whether it involves talking about serious issues, making creative stories, or even giving my various opinions on certain movies, documentaries, and anime. Thank you for actually encouraging me to speak up more let alone being willing to argue if necessary.

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      • It’s hard to be brought up with an Irish background and not be keen for an argument. Disputatious is what the old people would call it rather than argumentative. It takes guts to say what you think, even in these days of so-called freedom. I’ve been lucky so far not to have been trolled too much. I did have some German Hitlerian Muslim (yup, explosive combination) who used to have a go at me but I blocked him. We just have to be careful not to be insulting to specific people and polemical about sensitive issues. It’s hard sometimes. Today is Muslim Women’s Day for example and I’m having difficulty saying what I think about the women living comfortably in the west calling themselves liberated and progressive and feminist from behind their headscarves.

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      • I wasn’t aware of that when it came to Irish culture. It does take courage. I was discouraged when I would speak my mind when I was much younger and get punished for it. There are times where I thought I would get trolled or get death threats on my film review blog like how mentioned Japanese media that Hollywood plagiarized while showing evidence (Kimba the White Lion, Battle Royale, and Paprika in that case) or when I mention films that deal with uncomfortable truths in America (Hate Crimes in the Heartland with Black Wall Street and Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation film which inverts the themes of the original in the context of the Nat Turner Rebellion).

        How does that combination work? Okay, in all seriousness here, it is sad that you dealt with that much harassment with someone like that. I certainly don’t want to insult people or be insensitive to different issues especially those I’m not well-versed in. I actually wasn’t aware of that holiday.

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  4. In France it’s say no to plastics day, a much more sensible thing to celebrate than aren’t I great for hiding my sinful hair from the male gaze? Oh and by the way, it’s my choice (because I don’t live in Afghanistan where I wouldn’t have any choice) so that makes me a feminist—ballocks.
    The Hitlerian Muslim was, I think, just a Hitlerian anti-Semite who found it went down better if he claimed Muslim credentials. Toxic anyway.
    The whole idea of Hunger Games, the book was lifted from Battle Royale. I thought it was a pretty crap story, with some really silly stuff in it that made me laugh (shooting squirrels through the eye with home made bow and arrows). Why would anyone get personally angry if you pointed plagiarism out in a film? Keep on pointing out the absurdities and distasteful aspects of films. When you’re right, you have nothing to be afraid of.

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    • Say no to plastics day? That’s a strange, yet surprisingly useful holiday in practice come to think of it. To be fair, we’ve had random holidays here in America like Hug a Minnesotan Day which was a thing because of social media even though it’s obviously not a federal/public holiday. I understand how a country like Afghanistan wouldn’t allow a choice, but I’m sure a few other Muslim-majority nations don’t have an issue with it such as Bosnia, Malaysia, or Azerbaijan from what I know since they have secular governments as I understand it. I do get your frustrations on the matter though.

      Gotcha. Toxicity certainly wouldn’t be warranted anywhere.

      You know about Battle Royale and the plagiarism controversy, too? YES! I’m glad you’ve heard about that. I haven’t read the THG books, but I’ve seen the first movie and it really is a Hollywood watered-down PG-13 expensive rip-off of Battle Royale. I guess the reasons why I think people would be angry is because these are popular movies with good-sized fanbases that will defend their fandom at all cost. Paprika and especially Kimba were the ones I was concerned about even when I used evidence on those reviews for example. In case you didn’t know, Inception stole the plot, concept, and has identical scenes to Paprika and it came out 4 years after that anime movie. With Kimba, I’ve seen Lion King fans in real life and online legitimately freak out and deny the obvious similarities (plot points, characters, and scenes), the fact that Disney STILL hasn’t given credit to Tezuka Productions to this day, and/or claim that it’s a giant conspiracy theory. Although conversely, I’ve seen people whom I’ve exposed Kimba to who end up hating what Disney did in that matter and want justice to be done with the original 60s anime series. I certainly will keep on doing so with absurdities and distasteful aspects no matter how controversial something is or not. That’s a good quote to follow about being right. Of course, I don’t want to be self-righteous in any way though.

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      • Turkey is a secular state too, but a woman who tries to go out of the house without a veil will see how little that matters. Bosnia was certainly different. I don’t know what it’s like now. After the war, my sister worked with Bosnian refugees in England who had been sent up where she lived because of the big Muslim population. The Bosnian Muslims begged to be sent somewhere else because the Pakistani Muslims were so hard line the Bosnians were being harrassed by them to conform.

        You have to keep mentioning the racist, xenophobic and sexist slurs in these kiddie friendly films. It’s wrong that they should be given the idea that it’s okay.

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      • Good point about Turkey. I heard they weren’t always like that, but more of those mores have been showing up as of recently. I wasn’t aware about that when it came to Bosnian refugees in other parts of Europe. I heard Bosnia is far more stable compared to the Yugoslav Wars back in the 90s, but there have been protests here and there, but it was about unemployment and not religion. I’m sorry to hear about the Bosnian immigrants getting harassed.

        Yes, and I’ll keep on doing that. It’s something I’m very passionate about and not just on principle because of my heritage. These implications certainly are fodder to people believing stereotypes whether they know it or not. It’s wrong on so many levels whether a film is for kids or adults.

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      • It’s since the fundamentalists got a hold on the religion that it’s gone down the tubes everywhere. We have Uncle Sam to thank in part for that, backing up any religious nut in preference to a Communist. The Ayatollahs in Iran, Afghanistan etc. Ataturk’s country was far more progressive than modern Turkey.

        Religious fanatics always find some group to denigrate. Often it’s just another branch of the same religion.

        I entirely agree with you. Stereotyping is the same as thinking as a part of a group. We put ‘the others’ in a box and assume they all behave in exactly the same way, and we define ourselves too often as one of a group instead of having the guts to say, I am me, no one else, accept what you find.

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      • Exactly. All these major world powers prefer hardliners when it comes to religions as opposed to even those who are moderates in leadership positions. Good references. It also reminds me of the movie/comic book Persepolis where it deals with the autobiography of Marjane Satrapi’s life in Iran and then escaping to Europe. They briefly mention what life was like before during and after The Shah in that story.

        I see. That’s where sectarianism really creeps in.

        Thank you and I wished more people would believe that. I’ve felt that way with news stories and fictional stories where it felt like I was on trial like others where so many people say “No, we’re not like that!”. With blogging, I felt the need to counterprogram people when I bring up these stories, do my film reviews, or even with my fiction depending on the topic. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that way if anyone stereotyped your Irish heritage wherever you went, but it’s something that is so hurtful and it has lead to much harsher things in real life whether it’s racial profiling or bodily harm.

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      • Persepolis went down really big here. Both the BD and the film. Which is good because there’s a strong anti- anything remotely like Arab feeling in France. They did fight a very nasty war in Algeria at the same time the US were in Vietnam. I wonder how people in the States would react to having massive (relative) immigration of ex Viet Cong? Not too well, I bet.

        There is no obvious anti-Irish any more in the UK. Partly, I think because the Irish just sucked it up, did consistently better than the English kids at school, and gradually crept into politics and the media. It’s the only way. Integrate then beat them at their own game.

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      • Oh, really? That’s good. I liked Persepolis and it was such a great film (I’ve also read the graphic novel, too.). I’m a bit surprised about France because it was animated there and Marjane Satrapi is still in that country to this day. Actually, that’s right about the Algerian War of Independence and I forgot it happened around the same time as the Vietnam War. Then again, Algeria and Vietnam are former French colonies, but I digress. I do know a few Vietnamese-Americans and most of them live in California though. There are unfortunately still stereotypes about Vietnamese people although I heard it’s nowhere near as bad as it was decades ago. Also, pho is getting mainstream appeal in American cuisine as of recently.

        That’s good to know about anti-Irish sentiments going away. I wasn’t aware of those things when it came to recent history with UK/Irish relations.

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      • There’s usually a lot more to oppression than prejudice or dehumanisation. As far as I can see it is about 95% economics, and it’s not on a national level but at the level of corporations. Business has no ethics and no humanity. That’s why letting the world of business run countries is as bad as letting religious fanatics run them.

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      • Yes, since finance does intersect with dehumanization. You have aspects with buyouts, gentrification, redlining, refusal of loans, and many other maladies which add to financial abuse/neglect in a sociological way. I certainly agree with businesses running countries is a horrible idea and that’s not even getting into PACs, donation lobbyists, and funding legislation. In the documentary The Corporation, the concept of such a company didn’t really exist until the 19th century. After the 13th and 14th Amendments were signed which ended slavery as a private institution, the various companies wanted to have “inalienable rights”, too which lead to the archetype of corporate personhood.

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      • A company is a but like the army. There’s a chain of command, so the order gets passed through so many hands diluted by being sent out in fragmented form to different departments, that none of the order-givers feel they’re doing more than passing on an abstract bit of information. Nobody feels guilty and nobody feels to blame when the plant blows up or burns down, or the mine caves in.

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      • Absolutely. Instead of generals or captains, you have CEOs or CFOs to help lead the charge of their company. One major example that ties into what you’re saying is that huge scam Wells Fargo did a couple of years ago where the only people who got punished were the branch employees and not the higher ups who instructed them to swindle all of that money. They always believe it’s never their fault.

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