I recently created the Slave theme for Textpattern CMS and it has been suggested I change the name and header image. The theme is the same one used by this very website you are reading now, which has no connotations of slavery at all. So why did I choose Slave and use that image, and did I make a poor choice? Please bear with me as my preface to the answer is quite long.
The theme was made so that someone could not unknowingly create duplicate content (which is a no-no with G**gle). At present Canonical URLs perform this function, telling search engines what to index and what not to index. So this theme is an extra precaution to defend against the power of the gargoyle. Unnecessary then?
Gargoyle’s power is extensive
- It governs a surveillance state without us even knowing it
- It is unelected and accountable to nobody
- It does not have a help desk or customer service department
- It has been given access to millions of medical records, bank accounts and DNA records
- Its platforms such as Wallet, Docs, Drive and YouTube provide them with your information because…
- Surveillance is what they do
- They censor and block access to websites (and even countries) across the internet
- They can manipulate public opinion with search results and ranking
- They can shift your perception without your knowledge
- They mask search bias with simple tricks
- They can swing elections with an algorithm
- Their search suggestions and YouTube Up Next suggestions lead the undecided along the path they want for them
- “Who gave this private company, which is not accountable to any of us, the ability to determine what billions of people around the world will see or will not see?”
If you think that’s over the top, please read the evidence here.
People with power have enslaved human beings since Mesopotamian times. The developed countries were built on slavery. Greedy people who could not appreciate what they already had, forced slaves to bring them land, resources and services that they could show off to their rivals and counterparts. I think we all know something about the transatlantic slave trade 400 years ago and it was truly horrific. That countries still have statues to “great men” who were instrumental in the slave trade shows just how ingrained slavery, class and racism is in the fabric of our countries.
None of us should ever forget this. And one day we might all understand that slavery is in our genes. We all have that same superior/inferior, better/worse, yours/mine gene. We need to understand it and use it to make ourselves better but not at the expense of others. Everyone needs to understand that life is a gift and none of us can take any of this world with us when we die. We open the gift with our hearts, we get the most from it through our love. If we try and take it all for ourselves, we take away the most precious goodness from ourselves, so we can no longer appreciate what we have been given.
Why I chose the name Slave
I wanted to draw attention to how people with power are still exploiting others and becoming even more powerful.
Our suffering is nothing compared with slaves described above, it is nothing compared with modern day slaves trying to escape oppression and poverty and lured into rich countries’ sweatshops and sex work with the promise of the happy-ever-after depicted on TV and films. In fact many people perceive no suffering at all at present — that’s how cleverly this type of slave is being trapped.
So am I trivialising real slavery?
I certainly don’t mean to but, as a white British male, I am comparatively privileged. Although I don’t own a house, a car or have a job, the state pension is plenty for my needs. I may not eat out, take holidays, attend cinemas, theatres, concerts or other popular events, but I’m happy without any of those things. Statistically I am poor, but I feel rich and very fortunate.
So yes, I’ve probably trivialised slavery without even knowing it. I’ve watched and read things online but I don’t live at the sharp end so will never truly understand the reality of those that do. And I don’t want to go there.
Change of name
So instead of naming the theme after the way web designers jump through hoops to appease the gargoyle, and the way most people are surrendering personal power by readily giving away more personal details every time they go online, I’ve decided to name it Slim. It’s quite a slim theme without extra clutter with a focus on making reading and writing a pleasure. No bells and whistles with the appearance easy to change by swapping an image and changing a few colours.
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