H&M’s hoodie is not racist

I’m a bit left wing, I support gay marriage, I don’t believe I am racist (apart from the natural racism that most of us white Western folk exhibit without realising it) and I would never judge anyone on the basis of a religious belief.


I do not believe, however, that H&M posted a racist photo on its website and was disappointed to see such an explosion of ‘offended’ from the usual social media snowflakes who like to be offended.

I hate the term snowflake because it is something that very right-wing people often throw at the rest of society to backup their extreme views, but in this case it sort of applies.

We do seem to be in a period where almost anything can be construed as offensive if it is not 100% down the centre line. The people who get offended like to believe that they embrace difference yet they often fail to understand that we are all different and that there will be things posted publicly that could ‘very slightly’ be offensive.

In this case H&M posted a photo of a black child wearing a hoodie with the words ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’ written on it. If those who purport to be offended are above racism why can they not see it for what it is? The word ‘monkey’ in the context of the hoodie is obviously not meant to signify a derogatory slang description of a black person. ‘Monkey’ has been used to describe children for some time and if I am honest, had I seen the image without the sensationalism next to it I would likely have thought nothing of it.

Sure, it could be argued that someone in H&M should have thought about the possible connotations, but the backlash is ridiculous and surely most reasonable people would not see it is racist or deliberate.

Look at the image above and the tweet from The Weeknd. The tweet may as well have read ‘I hear that many people are upset so I will jump on the bandwagon and publicise myself as a great person’.

Am I seeing this too lightly or have we gone past a point where almost anything could be classed as offensive?


I don’t think middle aged white dudes get to safely declare something “not racist” even more than I doubt the virtue-signaling snowflake brigade get to declare something as “clearly racist” Kirk

A Concise History Of The Smartwatch

The watches that had caught my attention were a Seiko wrist computer called MessageWatch and a prototype of a phone watch developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. in Japan that would ultimately be called Wristomo. “The ‘new quartz’ trend hasn’t gotten a lot of attention,” I wrote. “But the hunch here is that the new technology is an important, if under-reported story. My guess is that it marks the beginning of the fourth major market shift of the quartz era. Each of the first three was a major revolution which dramatically altered the watch market. Whether the new-technology trend develops into the fourth revolution is impossible to know, but it could.” More at Hodinkee.

Not the newest of articles, but some fascinating devices included.

Did the big Fitbit Ionic update fix anything?

I got some time recently to test the big Fitbit Ionic update and must say that the 100 watch faces are useful because they give you as many options as you could possibly need. The fact that they cover a wide range of tastes means that for most people only a few will suit, but you do get enough to change the look and functionality of the Ionic every day if you so choose.

File 31-12-2017, 21 27 33

The new apps are OK I guess and offer some basic functionality, but they do suffer from the inherent problem that the majority of watch apps do very little that works better than on the phone that you likely have with you as well. The problem on the Ionic, however, goes much deeper than that.

This is a fundamentally flawed smart watch which comes with significant faults.

Changing the watch face will cause your phone to pop repeating messages stating that connection has been lost between the phone and the watch. It did this for me anyway and the only other person I know with an Ionic has the same problem. Eventually the face will change, but it literally takes minutes. Minutes!

Opening apps also results in serious delays which feel like forever when trying to do simple things. It’s apparent throughout the product experience and makes me not want to bother using any apps at all.

The Ionic is a decent fitness tracker, no better than the Charge 2, but it is an ugly smart watch that is too big for most women and it is, as I said earlier, flawed in the most important areas. Fitbit’s update added fluff to the experience and completely ignored the flaws. This does not bode well for what is to come next.

I do not like tradition

This is the time of year when many people struggle. Christmas is hard for those who are lonely and the New Year is even harder. It’s sad that people have to go through this every year, but I wonder if many more people suffer to a much lesser degree.

I am lucky. I have 2 children and a wife who love me, at least they say they do, and so I should be looking forward to the above 2 events with gusto and with positive anticipation. But I don’t. I do not like them at all and the same applies to Easter and Halloween as well. I like birthdays because they do not feel as though the whole world is joining in, but not the regularity and conformity of annual events that we all ‘celebrate’.

It is not the events themselves, but the fact that they occur each year without fail and that they feel largely the same regardless of who you are with or what you are doing. We meet up with family and friends and find ourselves thinking back to what has happened over the past year, and in my case I always feel as though I have not achieved enough. It’s a reminder of failings and my own self doubt that I would rather avoid.

Maybe it is a desire for something new to happen all of the time. I see people I work with take comfort in the mundane repetitiveness of their jobs. They don’t like change and would be happy with almost the exact same things happening every day. Of course this does not apply to everyone I work with, but I am in a place where the majority display that tendency to hide and be left to do nothing extraordinary every day.

Some of these people seemed to also enjoy their Christmas celebrations which sounded awfully dull to me, and this is what made me think about writing this piece. I don’t mean to sound like a miserable old sod, I am reasonably happy under the surface, but as I get older I become more aware of events that repeat every year and how they do not fundamentally change.

The desire for new things to happen often is likely not unusual. I try to speak to someone each day whom I have not spoken to before, I search out new reading material and I am always thinking of new projects that will be interesting and fulfilling. But ultimately I remain wondering why so many people enjoy the traditions we celebrate every year and why that does not bother them.

Happy New Year.

Thanks to Tom for the above video.

I, Pencil

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.” More here.

The most powerful tool we have today? Thanks to Kirk.