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Woke Witchfinder General Laurence Foxs new party could be the breath of fresh air UK politics needs – RT

Posted: September 28, 2020 at 11:56 pm


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Damian Wilson

is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.

is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street editor, financial industry consultant and political communications special advisor in the UK and EU.

Actor Laurence Fox is the unlikely leader of a new political movement looking to reclaim British values and pride in our heritage. Liberals are appalled, but its going to be fun watching him rattle the establishment.

You can already tell how the liberal establishment feel about a new political party when their bible, The Guardian, headlines itsstory Laurence Fox launching political party to reclaim British values, using the oh-so-knowing single quotes cuddling the infinitive to suggest a folly from the outset.

That punctuation device is often used when speaking, fingers wiggling around an imaginary word written in the air, to mock and dismiss the very idea with a tedious teenage sarcasm. Reclaim British values? Oh, of course, its that unreconstructed dinosaur Laurence Fox banging on with his young fogey attitudes.

The Guardian readers do not care for Mr Laurence Fox. They thought he was one of their own. After all, hes a luvvie actor, a singer, songwriter, cousin of the delightful Emilia and son of a dynasty of posh-speaking British actors. He was even in Lewis, the popular television detective series for heavens sake.

And when it became clear that Mr Fox was not actually on the same page as them politically, well, he needed to be told in no uncertain terms how beastly he had turned, what a disappointment he had turned out to be and then cast aside, to be shouted down in future or simply ignored like the rabble he had clearly become.

And his crimes?

Why, he said the treatment of Meghan Markle by the British public and the media did not amount to racism. Out loud! On BBC Question Time!

He also said it was odd to see a Sikh soldier in a scene in 1917, a film about World War I. And then, in the unforgivable act of turning fire on his own, he had a pop at black and working class actors for only criticising the showbiz industry once they had five million quid in the bank.

Never mind that a significant proportion of the population would agree entirely with these relatively uncontroversial sentiments, the social justice warriors are out for blood and will do everything they can to destroy him and the Laurence Fox Party.

They do not want Laurence Fox to succeed in his stated mission to reclaim a respectful nation where all are included and none are ashamed to have somewhere to call home. And why do his enemies wish him to fail? Well, hes a white, heterosexual male in his 40s. What else needs to be said?

But it will take more than an orchestrated Twitter trolling to deter father-of-two Fox, already dubbed the Woke Witchfinder General.

He told one interviewer earlier this year: If you want to eviscerate me for having an opinion, then theres something extremely wrong with our culture. And if it takes some k***bish d**khead, half-educated t**t like me (to point this out)... I can barely put a thought together, Im that ill-educated. I mean, I went to Harrow.

How infuriating for The Guardian that @LozzaFox even has some of that rare commodity in politics self-awareness.

The supernova-like birth of a new movement is always exciting, particularly when the cash starts pouring in, the media begins to pay attention and everyone you talk to is supportive and on board. No one, it seems, thinks youre chasing phantoms. But its also a time for caution. The snakes, the self-servers, the egotists and the saboteurs can also see whats going on.

The scent of success is already working on them. Theyll try to weasel up and claim space within the movement for their own self-aggrandisement, to satisfy an appetite for fame, power or money, and they need to be spotted and distanced very early on.

Theyll write a cheque for the cause and then think you are their personal plaything, ready to be trotted out like a dancing bear, at their command. And that, if it gets out of hand and believe me, it can happen without you even noticing is exhausting, draining, demoralising and ultimately self-defeating.

Ive seen this disturbing behaviour up close at a high level in British politics. I know the damage it can do to a political party and the cancerous effect that these narcissists and psychopaths can have on morale.

If the movement is to grow and Fox is to secure real buy-in, and not just from time-wasting political suck-ups, he needs to ensure a team of reliable lieutenants are on the ball and can articulate a shared vision before releasing them into the wilds of Westminster and beyond to spread the word.

He has attracted 5million in donor funding so far, he has his hands freshly inked with his new twin themes of Freedom and Space and the battle lines have been drawn in the sand.

It is certainly time for this Fox to run riot in the political henhouse. I can think of nothing more I will enjoy over the coming weeks than seeing the feathers fly.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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Woke Witchfinder General Laurence Foxs new party could be the breath of fresh air UK politics needs - RT

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September 28th, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness

Kids Are Spending More of Their Lives Online. Teachers Can Help Them Understand Why. – EdSurge

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American youth are spending an alarming amount of time online. According to a pre-pandemic report, the average American teen spends approximately seven hours online per day. With remote learning in full swing for a little over half of American elementary and high school schools, students are spending even more time in front of a screen: By some accounts, students are getting up to 5 or 6 hours of additional technology use per day.

Recently, both teachers and parents have started questioning the value in spending long stretches of the day in front of a screen participating in synchronous, online classes. And with the recent release of the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, there is lots of discussion around the inherently addictive characteristics of social media and its effect on teens. Now more than ever, conversations around how and why youth spend time online are paramount. Heres how teachers can kickstart those conversations with students.

For teachers working remotely, addressing this issue with their students may seem somewhat hypocritical: Get online, spend most of your school day on Zoom with me but then spend the rest of your day technology-free. A recently released statement regarding screen time from the American Academy of Pediatrics does not cite specific hours of screen use time per age group. But for many people, calculating the actual time spent online each day is eye-opening. Discussing this information can launch teachers and students into deeper conversations around self-awareness and time management.

For teachers, understanding how much time individual students spend online outside of school can inform more relationship-building discussions. Actively listening to student answers to questions such as What is your favorite game, website or app? or What do you find fun or interesting when online can spark better understanding of your students. These conversations serve a deeper purpose as well. For students, reflecting on their daily technology use is the first step in developing a sense of agency. Engaging in contemplative discussions around questions, such as Why am I spending this time on social media? instead of broad lectures (e.g., Dont spend too much time online) shifts the conversation towards self-reflection and away from simple adherence.

With the transition to remote and hybrid learning, educators are using many useful and engaging online tools for teaching and learning. Companies such as Edpuzzle and Flipgrid provide interactive tools to actively engage students with academic content. But when reviewing and planning, educators must reflect on the value such resources provide. Questions such as Does this tool significantly improve my students learning experience? or Does this technology engage my students in active learning? are important to consider when incorporating more technology into your teaching, especially when teaching remotely.

For students, guiding conversations around this same thinking can help them become more aware of their own technology use. Students should start to consider not only what they do online but why theyre reaching for their phone or laptop in the first place. The Center for Humane Technology provides a set of digital well-being guidelines that teachers can use to introduce this thinking. The goal is to have students view technology as a tool rather than an end in itself.

Rates of anxiety, depression and suicide among teens are growing at an alarming rate. Many experts point to the rise in smartphone/technology use as a major factor. For others, this correlation may not be so clear cut. Despite this debate, there are plenty of other daily practices that are shown to improve mental well-being. Exercise, time spent outside, developing positive relationships and engaging in activities that provide a sense of self-esteem and purpose are protective factors that improve mental well-being.

Honoring these various other protective factors is key for teachers and students alike. Simple prompts such as Can I replace my technology use with an activity that will aid my well-being? Did I spend time outside today? or What else can I do that brings joy to my day? can spark conversations in classrooms, in faculty meetings and at home. Starting with small changeseven just for 5 minutes a daywill help both teachers and students begin to take charge of both their time on technology and thinking more holistically about their overall well-being.

With the current state of the world, we are all are faced with an obligation to become more attuned to the increasing role technology use plays in our everyday lives. Providing tools and resources that teachers and students can use to both reflect and take action are key components in navigating this new norm.

Link:
Kids Are Spending More of Their Lives Online. Teachers Can Help Them Understand Why. - EdSurge

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September 28th, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness

Megan Gale: ‘I trusted the wrong people’ – Observer

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Australian supermodel Megan Gale has revealed in a candid post on Instagram that she is closing down her start-up business after she "trusted the wrong people".

The natural skincare brand for babies and children, Mindful Life, was six years in the making from concept to reality, and was launched 18 months ago.

"After a lot of consideration, I am making the hard call to close my online store," she said in the long video post.

Australian supermodel Megan Gale speaks on Instagram. Picture Supplied

The news comes after she emerged on social media last week with an update of how she was coping after the death of her brother, Jason Gale.

"Last week I posted a video and I touched on that I have been going through a fair bit of stuff this year - aside from what had happened with my brother, that stuff I was referring to has to do with my business," she said.

The supermodel blamed the business troubles on an unrevealed "third party".

"When you are a very small basic start-up and you don't have a lot of infrastructure and you don't have a lot of things done in-house, you have to outsource certain responsibilities and tasks to third parties, other businesses, which is what I had to do," she said.

"In short, I trusted the wrong people in some pretty major elements of the business."

The supermodel said she had been "super proud" of the business, which managed to withstand COVID as sales continued to come through.

"It's not been without its challenges, however. I knew going into a start-up it wouldn't be without its challenges. I was prepared for that. I was warned about that," she said.

"What I wasn't prepared for was that these teething issues would grow into big issues, that they would be ongoing and they would be just ceaseless, really.

"It's got to the point where these issues are quite insurmountable."

Gale said running the business solo has been "particularly challenging" and "a lonely path not having someone there in the trenches with you".

The supermodel said she trusted the wrong people in her business.

A clinch point was when she realised that the business wouldn't be able to deliver stock in time to customers.

"It wasn't until I got to about June this year when I realised how much time I'd lost and how I couldn't come back from it," she said.

"So at that point I was completely spent. I mean, I'm a pretty tough chick, I've got a lot of fight in me. I had used up all of my reserves of resilience and tenacity and just sheer determination."

Ms Gale said she didn't want to outsource to other people and start again because she was "physically, mentally and emotionally spent".

Megan Gale said she was completely spent from the experience.

"So I got to that point in June and said, 'That's it, I'm done'."

"If they were things that were in my control or stuff-ups that I had caused, I could at least own that and try to remedy it and fix it, but when it's something that someone else has done and it's out of your control, there's such an incredible amount of helplessness," she said.

Ms Gale spent two weeks in quarantine when she went to Perth for her brother's funeral after his sudden passing which she said gave her "a lot of time to think".

"There's nothing like the death of someone extremely close to you to make you stop and take stock and reassess what you're doing with your own life and underline the complete importance of how precious life is and what little time we really do have here."

Megan Gales brother Jason passed away in July this year in Perth. Picture: WA News

Fans poured in heartfelt messages including Australian fashion designer Alex Perry who commented: "Family is everything my beautiful friend EVERYTHING! The rest can wait."

Podcaster Samantha Gash wrote: "You have tenacity, strength and resilience in bucketloads - but I love how you know where you want to place it. Your self-awareness and reflection is extraordinary. Lots of hugs."

Founder and editor-in-chief of beauty site Gritty Pretty Eleanor Pendleton wrote: "Thank you for always being your most honest and authentic self, beautiful lady! You don't have to but we thank you - you're helping so many others going through the struggles of small business right now. Your decision would not have been easy to make - but you've made it with bravery, courage and learnings all the while experiencing deep loss and grief."

Ms Gale said she wants to focus her time on being around her children, River and Rosie, "rather than fighting and struggling and doing all this with the business".

"This is the first time that I've actually contemplated just stopping and just shutting one door and just leaving it open for whatever," she confided.

She said she is still going to continue to sell the stock that remains.

"It's a shame to close up the whole business, there is an online platform there, a very decent following and some amazing customers but I just need some time to sit," she said.

"Mindful Life 2.0 could come back in a different way, I don't know. If it doesn't I'm OK with that."

Originally published as Megan Gale: 'I trusted the wrong people'

Excerpt from:
Megan Gale: 'I trusted the wrong people' - Observer

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September 28th, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness

Bluebird chief on biotech’s usual excuse for being on low end of diversity: ‘I call bull- on that.’ – News – MM&M – Medical Marketing and Media

Posted: August 28, 2020 at 6:01 am


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Bluebird Bio chief Nick Leschly is a self-professed novice when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion, but his down-to-earth style is helping him make the right multicultural moves.

Leschly spent years as a partner at VC firm Third Rock Ventures before becoming Bluebirds president and chief executive or chief bluebird, as they call it in 2010. Having launched several biotech companies and products, hes earned a reputation for entrepreneurialism as well as informality. Under his leadership, Bluebird has a casual dress code and no-nonsense internal dialogue, and the company puts a premium on tolerance and individual expression.

One of a group of biotechs and big pharmas concentrating on one-time treatments for severe genetic maladies, Bluebirds gene therapy Zyntelgo is approved in the EU for the rare blood disorder beta thalassaemia. It has a pipeline of other cell and gene therapies on the horizon.

A hyper-focus on developing transformational medicine isnt naturally associated with diversity. Biopharma firms, by and large, lag behind in achieving gender and racial balance within their own ranks and in working toward health equity.

Thats exactly what Leschly is out to change. While admittedly not his fort, hes making D&I a priority, surrounding himself with executives knowledgeable in cultivating multiculturalism and publically engaging in the dialogue. Leschly, who serves on the board of the trade group Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), also stands out for the way hes planting a seed for the entire industry.

MM&M spoke with him about the importance of driving toward these objectives for the benefit of the company and the sector as a whole.

The following interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

MM&M: Bluebird Bio was one of the sponsors of a July 30 roundtable, whose specific objectives involved creating accelerated sustainable change for racial and gender equality and health equity within the pharma/life sciences industry. How would you assess Bluebirds progress in this regard? How does it compare to its peers?

Leschly: I love the word accelerated and I love the word sustainable. Thats been part of the issue. Wherein a lot of people have been trying, nothing has been sticking. And the circle of the people that not just care most human beings care, right? has been too small. The question is, do you move to action? And then how willing are you to challenge and get uncomfortable in the dialogue?

To the extent there is a silver lining in the [circumstances surrounding the COVID pandemic and Black Lives Matter], its galvanized a much broader circle to not just care, but to actually engage. Ill admit: Im personally disappointed with myself at the level of action, awareness and consciousness that is really important. Id characterize Bluebird in that same category. Bluebird is a pretty emotionally charged, very purpose-driven company, which I think sets us up well for this. At the same time, we also perhaps would freely acknowledge we have not done as well as we should have.

That doesnt mean were bad people or that we havent tried. It just means we can definitely do better. And the silver lining here has gotten us to the point where were saying, Okay, what more can we do? What things can we reassess and challenge and then create and be part of and ally with a movement thats incredibly important?

MM&M: Bluebird, having been founded in 2010, surely had a D&I plan in place before this. Talk about how its evolved.

Leschly: Absolutely, we have. As a biotech company, starting early on youre two people, and then youre 10 and then youre 50. Youre really focused on surviving. Youre trying to figure out. How do I live to next month or to the next six months? So it is difficult, the smaller you are, to balance priorities when youre basically experiencing a near-death experience as a company every day of every month. But as you get a little bigger, you can start to anchor a culture.

Since the beginning, Bluebird has been dealing largely with people dying from terrible diseases. The focus has not been on us or the people. Its about that mission. The third leg of that stool, which has become more visible recently, is that I think weve not done a great job on the diverse nature of that employee base, which will greatly enhance our ability to serve who were here to serve: the patient. And that third leg is a complicated one because it requires sophisticated appreciation and self-awareness to get it right and make it sustainable and embedded in the fabric of the company.

MM&M: Speaking of the diversity of the companys employee base, would you be willing to share how Bluebirds executive ranks or clinical trials currently stack up?

Leschly: Our clinical studies range from 10 to 50 people in some disease states. We also work in sickle cell disease, which largely affects African-Americans, so its 100% African-American, with few exceptions. The disease and disease severity governs that: We look at whos the most severe and who qualifies. Weve probably done a pretty good job as it relates to what we need to do from a diversity of clinical studies, but I need to look more into that, candidly.

On the company level, weve always been very focused on tolerance and on individuality of expression. We have no dress code. We have very informal dialogue and engagement on the inside and encourage people to be themselves. I have a tendency to curse a lot not at people, but as part of my dialogue. We like to say, We take what we do very seriously, but not each other or ourselves very seriously. That leads to a pretty lighthearted, tolerant culture.

Weve been quite good on gender diversity over 50% women in the company. That gets a little less impressive as you get to the upper upper ranks were in the 30%-40% category there. As it relates to sexual orientation, we have a very healthy LGBTQ community that has its own impressive numbers.

Where weve not done well and I was aware of the number but not how bad it is is in the number of Black employees. Were at 4% out of 1,200 employees. Thats not impressive. It might not be too far off from some of our peers in our industry, but you dont take solace in that; Im not going to compare myself to a low bar. So weve been looking very hard at the Latino and Black communities and saying, Whats going on there? Why are our results not good enough there? Is there something that were doing? There are a lot of unconscious things that we are doing that we need to look at, to see how theyre skewing our results and how we grow.

MM&M: A companys longstanding practices can serve to maintain the status quo, which can be counterproductive. What processes in the biopharma industry or in your company are perpetuating existing racial and gender imbalances?

Leschly: People have a tendency to look at people. They look at your board, your leadership team. That I agree is important, but you dont get sustainability. Because I have John Agwunobi, an African-American gentleman, on my board and because I just recently added Denice Torres, that doesnt make us such a diverse company. That is an important piece, but its just a ticket to the party. It does not absolve you of true diversity in the fabric of the company.

I have several women as members of my leadership team but no one of color. I do have a number of genders and sexual orientations on my leadership team. On our extended leadership team, we have all aspects of diversity. So therein lies an absolute challenge, which is: Are we not equally or consciously making sure that we promote and retain people of color or other forms of diversity? Thats where Im really hunting for opportunity.

Heres an example and Im not sure these are necessarily areas where were wrong, but theyre ones we need to really look at to make sure that its not perpetuating this. I used to be very proud that we hire a big percentage of our employees through our network. We even incent people financially to say, Hey, if you give us names that we hire, then youre rewarded for it.

And thats great, except if you have a lot of employees who are from, like myself, a non- oppressed, white, middle-aged demographic, who are most of my immediate network, its probably not diverse enough. We need to look at that to make sure we dont just hire constantly out of our networks and that were more conscious about making sure that every single search is not just the quickest. Im sure the people weve hired are super-qualified, but are they as diverse as they could be? Is that a process inhibiting diversity? Id venture to say almost certainly.

We have another one we call it the bar-raiser program where we appoint an individual who is not the hiring manager but who has the right to veto the hire if that person deems that this person is not a good fit. Its purely based on taking our culture, how we show up and the reason people are here, really seriously, and beyond just skill set.

But it might also very well be that if our bar-raisers are all non-diverse individuals, or people that have a success profile in their mind about what fit means at Bluebird, were now toast again because it is self-perpetuating. So were taking a look at what does fit mean? What does qualified mean?

I can slip into these institutions or that degree or this background, because you get immediate comfort in those areas. That doesnt make me bad, it just makes you say, Shoot, wake up, dude! That doesnt work. You need to get conscious, curious, much more thoughtful and outside your own natural inclinations.

I would be the first to say, Boy, I have a lot to learn in order to make my behavior one that truly creates a diverse workplace. Thats something were working on, too: How do we make sure that someones academic history or pedigree is not all that we look at? This is easy to say but hard to do, because youre also trying to hire people to do the really important job of saving the people were trying to save.

This is a grand excuse that I think our industry is a little too quick to use, which is, Im looking for this kind of degree with this type of background, with this kind of experience. So the pool of diverse candidates is just small. You cant hold me to the standard. And I call bullshit on that.

Every candidate you hire is not meant to be a diverse candidate. The point is, in aggregate you should hold yourself accountable. If there is a very specific degree, a very specific ask, you make a run at it. It doesnt mean youre successful every time. You need to hold yourself accountable versus going to this generic excuse of, Well, our industry just doesnt have a lot of diverse candidates, so we should be held to a different standard.

MM&M: According to the latest McKinsey figures, the healthcare and pharma industry is in the middle of the pack among other sectors when it comes to ethnic diversity in leadership teams. But when you look at just healthcare and you stack pharma and medical products companies up against health systems and payers, they do have the lowest share of women of color in line roles. So the industry definitely has a long way to go. Who among your peers is making good progress. What do you see as encouraging signs?

Leschly: Biotech is much tighter in the range of types of jobs, specs, et cetera, and that becomes the natural excuse for being on the low end. A bright spot is what we, along with many of our sister and brother companies, are doing in changing the objectives.

When we look back, not six months from now but one, two or three years from now, our goal in the context of diversity is to lead the pack. We think it is disproportionately going to benefit the company and our ability to achieve our mission. So we want to make sure that this is not just something that is a fad or a flash in the pan, but is a fundamental tenet of the company.

Were working on a plan, including goals and a mindset that gets it to that level. That is hard. But I think thats the bright spot, that some version of it is pretty much happening now across every aspect of the industry, and I think genuinely so. Im sure there are exceptions. There are some people who are just checking a box. Were trying to take the approach that diversity is actually a fundamental, sustainable element as a company. I want all of us to have this mindset and I think thats doable, but not in six months. We have to take the long view here.

MM&M: Lets go with that theme for a moment. D&I advocates argue that ownership of this transformation doesnt fall on the shoulders of people of color rather, its the responsibility of white people. Do you agree, and how would you say youre taking responsibility for building a more inclusive culture?

Leschly: Yes and no. And the reason is, its not any one of them, its all of us. We are one community. If you have that mindset, it is on the burden of continued positive energy out of the Black community, out of the Latino community, out of any diverse community. What is different and must happen in much greater numbers and with much greater intent is the non-oppressed, non-diverse have to participate and engage, not just in an, Oh, I care, too, way or an, Oh yeah, thats important. No. What are you doing about it? Whats your action? Thats where I would very much agree with the statement you just made.

And I think thats whats happening right now. Were trying to set goals, for example, to say, Okay, in three years, what is the percentage of Black employees? What is the percentage of diverse employees across all the dimensions? Whats the goal? And then you share that with the company and with the world, and then hold yourself accountable about where you are today against those numbers.

And then whos accountable for it? Is someone going to get promoted if they have not shown an ability to understand and/or navigate or succeed by building a diverse group or team? Did we promote a vice president if they havent fulfilled that goal? Those are important questions, because otherwise you get what you measure.

MM&M: And the part of the statement that you dont agree with?

Leschly: [Bluebirds director of diversity, equity and inclusion] Jordyne Blaise, who thank God we had prior to all this and really is responsible for our D&I, educated me and most of the company in this notion of, Its okay if youre not in an oppressed or non-diverse category to engage and have a misstep. Whats not okay is to not speak up, to not engage for fear of saying something wrong or a misstep or worse yet, if you dont actually care. You have to care or theres no place for you at Bluebird.

But whats really important is dont feel bad. You havent done anything wrong, Nick. Im a Northern European, middle-aged, bald, white guy. I cant control any of those things. What I can control is my behavior. I look at myself and say, I have not done this well enough. I need to change my behavior. That I can say, with 100% certainty, I need to do, and I need to take ownership of it. But thats not a guilt thing: Dont feel bad, Nick, do something about it. Guilt is not a productive emotion.

And thats where I think it is the responsibility of all people to make sure the emotion and action here is positive, and not one of, Youve done something wrong. Im not a big fan of that, because that leads to, Im doing this because I have to, not because I think its the right thing. That is not sustainable. The best way to develop medicines is to inspire people to do so, and you cant do that by diminishing diversity, input, thoughts or ideas.

MM&M: Weve seen a couple of companies establish goals for boosting representation of African American and Latino employees in the US and for achieving gender parity at the executive level, as well as for building supplier diversity and making their clinical trials more inclusive. Are you willing, at this time, to make a similar commitment to how your companys racial and gender diversity will shift over time and to strengthening health equity across the business?

Leschly: Yes, is the answer. Have we done it yet? No. Are we in the process of developing it? Weve done it in bits, but weve not done it in a public way yet, nor even in a sophisticated enough way. To hurry up and push something out there just because the time is energized right now, thats not helpful. I want to do something that is, for lack of a better word, really thoughtful and also something that we can deliver on and thats going to deliver the type of outcomes that we all want.

The dialogue is very active and were getting a lot closer to be able to do what you just described. But also this is not just about Black or Latino people. This is about saying, How do we get something here that gets us all energized in the right way?

Its also about other forms of diversity, whether thats on the sexual side, the international side, the gender side. There are all forms of diversity-with-a-capital-D here that we need to make sure dont suffer from this. There needs to be a consistency in how we approach it. And so thats what were trying to work on, and that does require sharing the data externally and holding ourselves accountable by putting some important objectives out there.

MM&M: Can you share a timeline for that?

Leschly: The goal is that, by the end of the year, were very explicit. I want to make sure our board is comfortable. I want it to be an objective that says, What does our board look like three years from now? What does our leadership team look like? What does our company look like? And have we succeeded in building this into our performance-based metrics? This didnt come up overnight. Its not going to get solved overnight. So lets make sure we galvanize and energize.

Im willing to be public about our dialogue, such as the WOCIP [Women of Color in Pharma] engagement. Im also looking to learn from Denice Torres and other members of our board on how we can participate. Were talking a lot to our investors, who care an awful lot about this, and were talking a boatload to our internal community to say, Listen, one of the tendencies is for CEOs to think they know whats going on.

Ill be the first to admit that on this dimension, Im a novice. I cant pretend to be an expert and I dont like to pretend, so Im making sure that we engage people in the company to truly make this our objective, not some CEO objective so Nick can go out to some investor conferences saying, Were diverse and were doing X. If its not ingrained, if its not rooted, then its a seasonal plant. Im not looking for a seasonal plant; Im looking for redwoods here that can grow for a hundred years. And thats a slightly different mindset. We tend not to come to quick things that you pop up on your website. We make our position very clear.

MM&M: You mentioned WOCIP. They are looking to the industrys two main trade associations, PhRMA and BIO, to standardize and lead these efforts. Do you think these organizations can inspire the industry to come out of their siloes and be more transparent about these goals?

Leschly: They have to engage. If they dont, that will be totally unacceptable and a huge missed opportunity. What those organizations do for just about any topic is they dont tell you what to do, but they make it pretty clear about whats an acceptable behavior within a range. And then you go figure it out. They cant tell us the how, but they certainly can say, Look, we as an industry believe this is important. So we want people to be public about what theyre doing and how theyre doing it.

Each of us are going to be different. The heartbeat of Bluebird is a little different than the heartbeat of Merck. The things that I can do at Bluebird are probably, in some cases, more adventurous and progressive than what maybe a giant cruise liner can do. Were a little bit more like a speedboat. That has its pros and cons.

At the same time, its all about being human and doing the right thing and then calling out people who dont. To me, people overcomplicate this sometimes. Inside the company, were saying, Look, its actually pretty simple. Its not okay to not care. And at the company level, all the way down to the individual level, you need to have an action plan. If you dont, thats going to become a problem for you at Bluebird, period.

Thats not a threat. Its just who we are. As a community, we have decided that. So I think BIO can help and encourage that kind of a mindset, but it has to be over a durable period of time. These companies are also developing medicines that save the sickle cell community from a terrible childhood disease. You cant drop all that in the face of this, but you have to be able to work toward it. Because everybody wins if you get this more right than wrong.

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Bluebird chief on biotech's usual excuse for being on low end of diversity: 'I call bull- on that.' - News - MM&M - Medical Marketing and Media

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Bill and Ted Face the Music reviews are in – digitalspy.com

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Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter's Wyld Stallyns are back for a third adventure in Bill & Ted Face the Music, but is it a welcome addition to the cult franchise?

Directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest), this one finds the titular slackers in middle age, dealing with the prospect of humanity's annihilation. To save the world, Bill (Winter) and Ted (Reeves) must create a song in exactly 78 minutes with the help of their families, iconic musicians and old friends.

Related: Bill and Ted writers explain why they swapped sons for daughters in final Face the Music script

The first reviews have started coming through via Rotten Tomatoes at time of writing, it has a score of 79% and you can take a look at a few of them below:

IGN

"No mere exercise in Gen X nostalgia, Bill & Ted Face the Music manages to recapture both the spirit and energy of the earlier films while still acknowledging the clear passage of time. The movie doesn't avoid the characters' ages but instead shows that, even in their fifties, Bill and Ted are man-children who are hopelessly codependent on each other.

"They are platonic soulmates. Their navet may have waned a tad but they're still just immature and dopey enough to lack the necessary self-awareness."

The Hollywood Reporter

"Dean Parisot's Bill & Ted Face the Music is almost exactly as good as its two big-screen predecessors make of that statement what you will while cleaning up some, but not all, of the things that might make an old fan of those films cringe today. Despite a dicey opening, the pic should please those looking forward to it, and, with the addition of a new generation (the duo's daughters), attract a new fan or two as well."

United Artists/Orion Pictures

Related: Bill & Ted creators share incredible coincidence in casting of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter

The AV Club

"The characters haven't changed much, but CGI technology definitely has. Bill & Ted Face The Music takes advantage of those improvements with a plethora of scenes set in the future and in Hell, both upgraded from relatively modest sets to epic green-screen environments.

"These are a welcome alternative to the utterly generic, cheap-looking suburban locations the characters otherwise occupy. But aside from the scene-stealing return of William Sadler, reprising his role as Death himself from Bogus Journey, the addition of characters from these fantasy realms doesn't bring all that much to the story."

The Wrap

"It's silly and occasionally a little slow, and it could use the kind of in-person audience that it won't get in these pandemic days. But if you felt any affection for Bill & Ted in the past, you'll feel it again here, because the movie rides on the same kind of goofy charm as its predecessors.

"Winter and Reeves, meanwhile, manage to make the years and the mileage show without losing that essential Billishness or Tediosity; maybe they weren't born to play these guys, but it's still a lot of fun when they do."

The Matrix's Keanu Reeves wanted Wolverine role

Collider

"There are moments when the pacing gets a bit slow and Bill and Ted fighting with their future selves get a little redundant. But there's no mistaking Face the Music for the previous two movies, especially as it reaches its lovely crescendo about the kind of future we not only leave to our children, but what those children give to us in return. Party on, dudes."

Bill & Ted Face the Music is now out in US cinemas and on VOD, while its UK cinema release date is currently September 23.

Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure [1989]

7.99

Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey [1991]

3.49

Bill & Ted Omnibus

18.53

Bill & Ted's Most Excellent Movie Book: The Official Companion

14.95

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Embracing the ‘Mamba Mentality’ to do better – News from southeastern Connecticut – theday.com

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So here it was, this past Sunday night, a time to decompress and watch the NBA playoffs. Totally unaware I was about to have a moment.

As in: No, I'm not crying. I just have something in my eyes.

TNT aired a wonderful video honoring the late Kobe Bryant, whose 42nd birthday would have been Sunday. It was Nike's tribute ad narrated by rapper Kendrick Lamar.

The theme: Kobe's "Mamba Mentality," which, in Kobe's words, "is to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. It's a constant quest to try to be better today than you were yesterday." Later, the video tells us, "while incremental change may feel small in the short term, those subtle shifts culminate to greater progress over time. This relentless drive for improvement is the legacy Kobe leaves."

Kendrick Lamar's words: "Better friend. Better fighter. Better rider. Better eater. Better leader. Better generation. Better nation. Just be better. Can you do that?"

The eyes welled.

More Lamar: "Better player. Better shooter. Better scorer. ... Better mentor. Better minor. Major. Mover. Shaker. Better skater. Better artist. Better teacher. Better preacher. Better believer. Better first. Better future. Better hero."

The faucets were fully on.

Why did this hit home? I could be snarky and detached here and ask how many people who preach such sadness over Kobe's death are actually honoring his everlasting wish to be better every day. I mean, look around. People seem to be a little more unhinged, negotiating the vagaries of COVID and our burgeoning political and ideological combat zones. With seemingly little hope.

But that would be disingenuous.

Because it starts with me.

It hit me because I haven't been much for the Mamba Mentality lately.

Without delving too deeply into the morass, I'll leave it here: I lied about something important to someone very close to me recently. It has damaged a relationship and shaken me to my core, causing me to reevaluate the things I say and how I say them. To practice better self-awareness in everyday life. To read a book about honestly and truth-telling. To learn that truth is concrete, but honesty is a way of life.

Liberating the eye-opening? Amazingly so. But I have much work left to do, believe me.

I don't share this for any other reason than to honor the old casting-stones-from-glass-houses thing. I'm as guilty as anyone else.

But I also believe that applying something productive from the loss of Kobe's life, especially given the poignancy of his do-better message, is worth consideration from everybody else, too.

I'm thinking many of us can be better and do better. Incrementally. In little, everyday things. Because it's all so easy now and understandable, too if we throw up our hands and surrender to the demons. People are losing patience and hope. Faith feels to be in shorter supply.

I needed to feel the sting to find my motivation to be better. Whatever your situation, I hope you use what I call the new abnormal to find your inner better, too.

The words of Geno Auriemma may help. Geno a friend of Kobe's, by the way said this during a virtual graduation speech in May at UConn:

"You can tell your kids and grandkids, 'you won't believe this, but I missed my graduation.' Why? 'Let me tell you.' And then you can tell them 'this is what I did in that time. I sat home in my pajamas.'

"Or maybe ... 'I started to figure things out, like what can I do to make it better? For who? Me? No, you can't make it better for you unless you work out more, or take piano lessons or learn how to play chess. No, you're gonna make it better for the other people that depend on you or that you depend on.'

"This is an uncomfortable time. These are uncomfortable things that have to be done right now. You are living in uncomfortable times. In some sense, you are living in the greatest time of your life. It's great to be uncomfortable. Because that's when you find out just how great you can really be."

Maybe you disagree with Auriemma. But I promise you: If you've ever been made uncomfortable especially because of your own indiscretion you learn that being uncomfortable is a great teacher. As Jason Gray's song goes, "the wound is where the light gets in."

I hope we all learn something from Kobe and Geno. Stay strong and safe.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Police and protesters clash again after fires outside East Precinct and march in solidarity with Kenosha UPDATE – CHS Capitol Hill Seattle News

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The crowd earlier in the night before the march and fires (Image: @MarcusKulik)

Multiple small fires were reported burning outside and around the area of the East Precinct and booms could be heard through the neighborhood as police clashed with protesters following a night of marching and demonstration in solidarity with Kenosha, Wisconsin after another police shooting in America.

Police issued a dispersal order and moved on groups of demonstrators after the reported fires around 12th and Pine just before 11:45 PM. Seattle Fire was called to the scene. An ambulance was also dispatched to the precinct building for a person injured during the melee. Private security hired to protect nearby buildings but increasingly also on patrol around Pike/Pine at night were also part of the fracas and helped police trying to extinguish the flames of a bonfire set in the driveway of the East Precinct and another set in the middle of E Pike.

Earlier starting around 9 PM, a crowd of more than 100 marched from Cal Anderson to the East Precinct where they rallied and police reported graffiti and vandalism before the group made its way downtown and to the West Precinct.

According to police radio reports, a group of around 20 attempted to break into the E Pike Amazon Go and left the property damaged. There was also reports of vandalism at the East Precinct and the West Precinct.

UPDATE 8/25/20 6:45 AM: SPD reports one arrest:

Police began monitoring a protest that marched from Cal Anderson Park just after 9 PM Monday. The group made their way to the West Precinct where some individuals began hurling objects at the building causing minor damage and broken windows as well as painting graffiti on the walls. A nearby coffee shop also sustained some damage as some people smashed the plate glass windows. The group then made their way back east and continued to protest outside the East Precinct. Some individuals there climbed over a chain-link fence and set a fire next to the building. Police moved in and began issuing commands for the crowd to disperse and took one person into custody for investigation of arson. The group returned to Cal Anderson Park around midnight and dispersed from there. One officer was injured during the course of the protests.

Police also say someone threw multiple incendiary devices outside the offices of the Seattle Police Officer Guild union offices on 4th Ave S but it is unclear at this time if this incident is tied to the protests.

The crowds were reported returning to the area of Cal Anderson when the fire and explosions were reported.

The park has continued to be a center of activism and protest even as it remains temporarily closed according to the city. Groups of tents have again filled parts of the part and groups continue to use the park as a meeting place and even a training ground. Last week, neighbors reported groups dressed in all black practicing maneuvers on the Bobby Morris sports field and carrying wood shields like those used in Monday nights protest.

Mondays unrest in Seattle was part of nationwide protests and riots. Sunday, Kenosha police shot Jacob Blake in another instance of police violence against a Black man.

Friday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan vetoed legislation that would have cut a small portion of the citys police budget in what many hoped would be the start of a full defunding effort in Seattle after months of protest in the city.

UPDATE 8/25/2020 11:30 AM: The daily Morning March targeted north Capitol Hill Tuesday morning with an energetic march through the Stevens neighborhood and onto 15th Ave E where demonstrators called on passersby to join the crowd of dozens and the brigade of several vehicles and bicyclists providing protection to the march as it filled streets and intersections.

CORRECTION: When first posted, we incorrectly reported that Jacob Blake had been shot and killed. CHS apologizes for the error.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Jointo become a subscriber at$1/$5/$10 a monthto help CHS provide community news withNO PAYWALL. You can also sign up fora one-time annual payment.

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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A third of over fifties with hearing loss could be undiagnosed say Manchester researchers – About Manchester

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Up to a-third of older adults with hearing loss in England could be undetected and untreated , according to a new study by University of Manchester researchers.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, might mean millions of people are not seeing ear specialists or given hearing aids, when their hearing has considerably deteriorated.

Women, older people, with fewer qualifications and living in more deprived areas were the at higher risk of not recognising their hearing had deteriorated and thus were less likely to seek help, found the researchers.

The findings reveal many hearing loss cases remain undiagnosed in primary care, since people very often cannot recognise their hearing has been affected, and highlight gaps in the continuity of hearing care pathways.

PhD Researcher Dalia Tsimpida, who led the study, said untreated hearing difficulty can have a negative impact on mental and physical health, and despite that, hearing loss among older people is underdiagnosed and undertreated.

The team examined patterns of health pathways among older adults in England, using hearing data of 8,529 participants aged 50-89 years old from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).

The researchers said that as the survey is representative of the English older population, the findings provide a good representation for England as a whole.

Although participants had objectively been identified as having hearing loss, they did not self-identify their own difficulties correctly and reported themselves as having normal hearing.

Action on Hearing Loss estimates thar hearing loss affects over 12 million people in the UK and costs the UK economy around 25 billion a year in productivity and unemployment.

There is no accurate figure for England because of the absence of a screening programme.

By 2035, it is estimated that there will be more than 15 million people with hearing loss in the UK a fifth of the population.

Diagnosis of hearing loss starts in primary care, where traditionally, people with hearing difficulties present to their GP to seek advice and investigation.

Ms Tsimpida, who is based at the Universitys Institute for Health Policy and Organisation (IHPO) said: It is crucial that those with hearing loss are detected in a timely way, referred to ear specialists and given access to hearing aids. The early identification of hearing difficulties in primary care may be the key to tackling this major public health issue.

However, more research is needed to understand why so many people are undiagnosed, though we feel making hearing loss part of a routine primary care examination among older adults would be beneficial.

The study was carried out during Ms Tsimpidas NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre PhD Studentship, co-authored by her supervisors Dr Maria Panagioti, Professor Evangelos Kontopantelis and Professor Darren Ashcroft.

She added: This lack of self awareness of hearing loss is a problem for many people.

Clinical research often relies on a self-report measure of hearing loss. Our study showed that self-report measurement of hearing loss had limited accuracy and was not sufficiently sensitive to detect hearing loss.

These findings may inform public health policies relevant to selection of appropriate and validated tools for detecting hearing problems among middle-aged and older adults.

The study also provides novel insights into the clinical practice and reinforces the importance of an effective and sustainable hearing loss screening strategy in primary care.

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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I Hate Suzie review: Billie Piper is back on the box in one of 2020s best new series – NME.com

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Billie Pipers new comedy-drama series, which she co-created with Succession writer-producer Lucy Prebble, is being billed as excruciatingly honest. Thats a bold claim, but anyone whos read Pipers incredibly candid 2006 memoir, Growing Pains, will be able to believe it. Piper plays Suzie Pickles, a singer-turned-actress who found fame as a teenager and went on to act in a popular sci-fi series. Its a role which consciously reminds us of Pipers own career trajectory (90s chart-topper and then Doctor Who star), but never becomes too on-the-nose or knowing. Suzie Pickles is such an exasperating mess of a human being that theres no reason to doubt Piper whose own acting career has continued to blossom when she says I Hate Suzie isnt really autobiographical at all.

Billie Piper and Leila Farzad in the new Sky drama. Credit: Sky

Episode one begins with good news Suzies landed a Disney role she thought she was too old for followed by bad. Her phones been hacked and intimate photos of her performing a sex act are pinging across the Internet. Worse still: the penis in the pictures clearly doesnt belong to her husband Cob (Lovesicks Daniel Ings). Suzie has no chance to process the bombshell because a small army of magazine staff are arriving at her plush country cottage for a photo shoot that she seems completely unprepared for. Prebble captures the trivial hysterics of the photo shoot perfectly its fine for Suzie to wear a fur coat, everyone decides, because its vintage but this show isnt really an Extras-style celebrity satire. Instead, its a fascinating and discomfiting portrait of a woman whose development was arrested when she became famous at a young age. Two decades on, she lacks the life skills and self-awareness to deal with a major personal and public crisis.

Billie Piper and Dexter Fletcher in I Hate Suzie. Credit: Sky

Piper and Prebble previously worked together on late-noughties hit Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Both have said while promoting I Hate Suzie that the showdidnt turn out quite as gritty as theyd hoped. Theres no similar sense of compromise here and no attempt to smooth off Suzies jagged edges. Episode two shows her making a bad situation worse by lying about the leaked photos when shes cornered by a reporter at a sci-fi convention. She then starts flirting with a fellow sci-fi actor (Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher in a fab cameo) and sends her put-upon bestie-slash-manager Naomi (Leila Farzad) to score some coke for them. I Hate Suzies daring storytelling is generally very gripping, but also results in the odd jarring moment: episode one ends with a weird song-and-dance number which Piper super-impressive throughout just about pulls off. Then again, maybe the odd jarring moment makes sense for a series as prickly as this one, which has no intention of slipping down easily. It might be too spiky for some viewers, but those who invest will find I Hate Suzie is one of 2020s most riveting new shows.

I Hate Suzie premieres on Sky Atlantic this Thursday August 27 at 9pm all episodes will arrive on Sky and NOW TV on the same day

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I Hate Suzie review: Billie Piper is back on the box in one of 2020s best new series - NME.com

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August 28th, 2020 at 6:01 am

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Finding Peace of Mind in Doom Metal – Treble

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At an early age, I was diagnosed with depression and OCD. I struggled with self-hatred, contemplating self-harm and suicidal thoughts when I was a teenager. I would envy the happiness of others and wonder to myself why was it so hard for me to find that sense of peace. Throughout many of those younger years, I felt alien among other kids, all too aware of this dark and tainted aspect of myself. I so desperately wanted to feel normal, to be happy.

Though I grew up with a powerful support system, I found a personal comfort through musicmy most intimate connection is with metal.

Ever since I was a kid, Ive derived strength from metal. Whether it has been Slipknot, Killswitch Engage or Cannibal Corpse, fast and heavy bands have provided me catharsis through the sheer rush of the sound; with just enough of an adrenaline kick, I have found an internal drive to take on the world. This is something Ive always loved about metalhow an art form built on power and aggression can lend itself to growth. Through this music, Ive always felt that I can overcome my struggles and be better than them. But alongside those feelings of perseverance, metal has also provided me the gift of contemplation.

Over the years as Ive worked on my mental health, the way I listen to music has taken on a meditative aspect. Nowadays, when working through rough patches, I gravitate toward music that provides me space to reflect on my emotions. Relatively speaking, it is easy to throw on some speedy grindcore and get lost in the frenzy (and to be fair, that sense of enjoyment has its place in self-care), but its doom metal that has forever changed my way of thinking.

An album that struck an emotional chord within me upon first hearing it was Bell Witchs 2017 album Mirror Reaper. Intrigued by the records chilling artwork, along with the notion of listening to an hour-long song, what caught me by surprise was my reaction to the material. My feelings of emotional and physical reactions to music sometimes intersect, creating experiences for me that come with a deeper sense of intimacy. For example, I have a difficult time listening to bright sounds; I find that certain high-pitched melodies stir an uncomfortable sadness in me, where as a steady progression of beats offers me a flow that my brain can follow and relax to. Yet When I first heard Mirror Reaper, the minimalist droning struck me in a profound way, providing me a sense of calm and wholeness. Each shade of distortion and tone felt as if it were touching upon a feeling within me. The records somber tones came across like sonic interpretations of dread and depression. Mirror Reaper is a contemplative experience, one both gentle and grand. It weaves its way around the subjects of life and death, encouraging the listener to take on their own introspective journey. It is only logical that the music would hit me in the way it did. For some of us with depression, mortality isnt far from our minds. In my case, growing up, I would mull over my worth and purpose, trying to consider my place in the universe.

When I first clicked with metal emotionally, it was because I was hearing someone speak to a pain I was living with. In having discovered doom, it was the musical presence that enamored me. Here was a piece of music that masterfully captured abstracts of emotion and feeling and was able to funnel such sadness into something meaningful and cathartic. Having discovered Bell Witch and similar bands, I found a new form of art that provided a vehicle to gently explore my mind and grasp a new strength.

In 2018 I came across Sumacs Love In Shadow. Though Sumac is vastly different than Bell Witch, I found myself drawn to similar elements in their sound. Love In Shadow contains moments of chaos inside a great serenity. It is a musical experience that requires one to be present. Structurally, its flow shifts from tranquil to sporadic, unleashing whirls, grinding and distortion. It sonically captures the sensation of anxiety. In following along to the records progression, my mind felt at ease in all the technical chaos. When anxiety takes you, it can feel impossible at times to function. In hearing this chaotic blend of instrumentation, however, I found something ironically relatableI was able to embrace the music and make sense of it. This abundance of sound proved to be something I could focus on, something I could immerse myself in and follow along to when overwhelmed.

Upon discovering Sunn O)))s It Took The Night To Believe (on 2005s Black One), I was immediately drawn into the haunting drones. Each time I listen to that track, it is sincere hypnotism. Sunn O))) are remarkable in how they create presence; the compositional structure of their music, along with their tremendous use of distortion, paints a grand atmosphere. In such loudness, I find a contemplative space to let myself flow and partake in introspective thought.

Though each of these bands are quite different from one another, they each offer a contemplative aura in their music. Growing up, I looked to bands that played a more frantically paced metal to tap into my adrenaline and provide me a pick-me-up; through doom, I found music that touches upon, even reflects, emotional and mental states of being. Doom has allowed me a positive light to critically view my mental health; not through harsh self-judgment, but to embrace a greater sense of self-awareness.

Doom metal certainly embraces more traditional verse-chorus-verse structures as much as any style of metal, but it is the droning aspect of it that most intrigues me. For while we can certainly talk about the mystical appeal of some black and folk metal bands, the structure and musical components of doom lend themselves to a meditative nature. This quality is also not without its most ironic twistthe heaviness. For as conventionally beautiful as a Sumac or Sunn O))) song is capable of being, youre going to eventually come across haunting wails and crushing distortion among their discographies. The balance in heavy and serene atmosphere found in doom is one of careful craft; the masters of this music understand when to pounce and when to draw back for effect. In that use of space, the right band can masterfully display an array of emotion. That said, what I also have to note is how doom has, at times, been a double-edged sword for me. As much as the music has allowed me to process my struggles, Ive also found myself indulging in them.

A band I absolutely adore is Primitive Man. I came across their 2017 LP Caustic and have been following them ever since. Ive heard my fair share of heavy bands, but Primitive Man have to be one of the most menacing acts around. Much of that comes from vocalist/guitarist Ethan McCarthy. McCarthy has a keen understanding of sonic chemistry; Primitive Man blends doom with sludge and noise, using elements of each to present a barrage of musical rage. McCarthys lyricism is also significant to the bands aggression, with subjects covering everything from depression to existential dread. Their music has a palpable, almost tactile feel. And I think thats why I have a complicated relationship to the musicas much as I love the bands ferocity, I am all too familiar with feelings of bottled up hopelessness. When I was much younger, I struggled with suicidal thoughts.Throughout my teens, these feelings would come in and out of my life. I was desperate to feel alive.

When I find myself in a rough place, it is easy to become absorbed by the musicto feed off the anger. In putting on a Primitive Man record, theres an odd duality of positive catharsis and stewing in negativity. The musics driving beat down is exciting and fuels me with energy, just as much as it enables me to dwell in my stress at times. This isnt every time I listen to the band of course, but its a perspective that has provided me further growth. Those experiences have allowed me to better understand my relationship to music, and doom specifically. Ive come to acknowledge the genre as a metaphor of sorts, one that speaks to kind of balance thats become important to me.

As much as I love listening to all the droning and exploring the contemplative atmospheres of doom, I also know that too much is not good for me. Its good to listen to cold tones if they help me process feelings; its good to work through stress while listening to brutal distortion. But constantly engaging in only relentless, dreary doom does nothing to help one grow. Moderation is a key to obtaining balance in life. Sometimes we need to indulge and sometimes we need to pump the brakes. When I go into this music, though I certainly have my times where Im just looking for something heavy and exciting, I also understand the impact it has on my mental health. Its the difference in knowing when to seek doom and confront my feelings at a given time, and when to best look for other music that isnt so intimately connected to my current state of mind.

In doom, I have found clarity. I think its sort of funny to find a calming component in something as loud and chaotic as metal. But in these bands, as well as other favorites like YOB and Vile Creature, there is a graceful element to be found. I am thankful that, over the course of my life, Ive grown stronger in how I cope with mental illness. At times when I feel that things are bleak, where my self-confidence is shaking, I like to throw on a record that carries me into its mass of sound; where Im drifting, feeling at one with myself, the world and the music. When I need it most, I look to doom.

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Aug 27, 2020Jeff Terich

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