fun links to keep the masses occupied

Gah, it looks like I may have called an end to my hiatus too early. But we did have a good couple of weeks up-til now, so I’ll count that as a blessing.

Until I have time to pull together all the notes scattered through my several Moleskines (I try to be organised, but I think I am a scatterbrain at heart) into real blog posts, here are some fun things for y’all to read:

If you think that’s special, then think about this. Pfotenhauer said that she lives in a place called Oakton, Va. Oakton is located in Fairfax County. Pfotenhauer implied that the country was part of “real America” because it was open to the possibility of electing John McCain. Here’s the problem: Fairfax County, like its neighbors, are in the process of turning colors. (We can detect this with a special version of a mass spectrometer called a “ballot box.”)

Like regular charges of left-wing bias against the ABC, the moral panic evident in submissions to the Senate inquiry rests on a certain implicit, though questionable, assumption – namely, that only deviation from prevailing orthodoxy constitutes bias.

Conventional views are presumed neutral, and the possibility is never entertained they may be invisibly, systematically biased in the other direction. It follows that the regular complaints of bias and proposed remedies are a form of harassment designed to maintain doctrinal conformity.

However, the highest educational ideals require precisely the reverse attitude – that is, encouraging the exploration of alternatives to preferred, taken-for-granted views. As Bertrand Russell remarked, education should make students think, not to think what their teacher (or government) thinks.

Found any good web-treats recently? Please share!

Love,
Sunili xoxo

Rupe’s Troops Rally for the Cause

So I gave up reading news.com.au because it is like 99.6% tabloid crap, but The Australian is starting to piss me off again.  I can’t remember why I quit it last time, and I don’t know why I went back again this morning. A ‘comment’ piece in the flashing Opinion widget at the top of the site got my attention, though:

To what extent is the Democratic presidential nominee still in thrall to extremist friends, asks Mervyn Bendle?

The online copy editors @ News Ltd really need to get off the crack and actually read the articles before writing the subhead/dek.

One assuming this piece is going to be a considered analysis of the totally ridiculous (and totally refuted) claims about Obes Pallin’ Around With Terrorists, which one should expect in a country in which there are unlikely to be many swing/undecided voters, would in all likelihood be confused to find themselves reading propagandist drivel that reads like a stump speech delivered to rednecks who will respond with “Terrorist!” and “Kill Him”.

Merv, who is apparently a “senior lecturer in history and communications at James Cook University”, apparently also wants a job as She Who Will Not Be Named’s speechwriter.

Because why else will some bogan from a Queensland uni care to spout out random facts and 40-year old soundbites about The Weathermen, select snippets from Obama’s books about his influences and then make ominous warnings about What American Voters Really Need to Think About (dun dun dun):

The question that the American people may have to ask themselves is how much this extremist milieu still drives Obama’s political outlook and how much it will guide his decisions, policies and appointments throughout the federal government system as the next president of the US.

Don’t it just fill you with fear and trepidation? Don’t you hear the call to arms to ring up your friends Nelly-May and Billy-John who live in some Red State and warn them of the imminent danger of That Radical Extremist*?

Aside from the lame/misleading technicalities, why the eff is this article even in The AUSTRALIAN?

Yeah, ok, people are allowed to have their opinions, and WTF-ever, Rupert’s editorial cronies are allowed to print whoever’s opinions they want, but seriously, how is propaganda for the US election worthy of publication in this country’s national paper?

Sigh. I don’t know why I even bother.

Aside: not to get too nit-picky, or nothin’, but do you think McCain knows that a press release listing big donors who support him includes Leonore Annenberg, chief of protocol in the Reagan White House, the president/chair of the Pennsylvania-based Annenberg Foundation and the widow of Walter H Annenberg, the late publisher, philanthropist, ambassador, and founder of the  Chicago Annenberg Challenge (that being the nasty “radical” organisation that indelibly taints Obama with horrible, evil, lefty-terrorist-scumness)? The Republicans are a fricking joke.

* From the Devil’s Republican’s Dictionary/Thesaurus

Radical Extremist“: (n) 1. generally, a coloured person; or a white person who may like coloured persons. 2. Terrorist. See also: Socialist; Gun-Hater (But Bombthrower); Baby Killer.

the media and timewarps

The Cookster wrote a post today about a journo at The Age who stretched the truth about a pic of Richie Benaud… there was this pic that was on The Perth Files and The Worst of Perth several weeks ago, right, but the colunmist thought no one would mind if he said the snap was co-inki-dinkly taken “a few days ago”, ie a few days before the old chap’s birthday (which is in another few days).

Well I’ve got another story ferr ya!

There was a raucous in the rags this morning (The Herald Sun, SMH, The Age, even the ABC!) about the OUTRAGE! (™ David Cohen) over the title of a play at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Beaconsfield: A Musical In A-Flat Minor is apparently a piss-take satire over the media circus around the fatal mine collapse in Tasmania couple of years ago (Kochy and Mel, Richard Carlton), and the fun-police were having quite the go over how insensitive the title choice is.

Creator Dan Ilic, one of the team behind the AWESOMENESS that is The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (full name The Ronnie Johns Good Times Campfire Jamboree Half Hour Show (Now on Television)), was quoted as saying he hoped the “offensive” title would gain media attention.

I wish he’d also said they should all “harden the fuck up“, but Ilic isn’t the guy behind Chopper, so I won’t hold the omission against him.

Anyway, later this afternoon, one of the headlines on ABC was Playwright caves on Beaconsfield musical title (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Especially since the inquest into the death at the mine is still on and stuff, it probably makes sense.

Good job, media! You changed the world!!!!!!!!!!!

Or did they?

On Ilic’s website, the “news” section lists the following [chronological order changed for dramatic effect]:

6th August 08
We haven’t even opened Beaconsfield, and we’re already getting bad press. Excellent!
Check out The Age article here. Beaconsfield; A musical in a-flat minor opens on wednesday night in workshop mode. It’s a pretty funny show, come see it before we patch it up and send it off to the Adelaide fringe.

7th August 08
In light of recent events, and in respect for Larry Knights family, we’ve the changed the name of the show to simply; Beaconsfield; The Musical.
I still maintain that it’s still “The feel-good piss-take event of the year!”

So wait. WHAT?

All the OUTRAGE! (™ David Cohen) happened TWO MONTHS AGO??

But the ABC is only reporting it NOW, the day before the show opens?

I guess that makes the following quote even more awesome:

“That title is purely there just to gain media interest in our musical,” [Dan Ilic] said. “So congratulations, you’ve done your job.” (ABC)

Hahaha SATIRICAL GOLD!! I want to go to Melbourne right now to see it.

No. Wait. Now I am even MORE confused: the link from the 6 August blog post on Ilic’s site (link to screen cap taken today) goes to a story dated 6 October in the URI but listed as 7 October (today). So wait. WHAT? It did all happen today?

That totally makes this whole post pointless.

DAMMIT. Damn you and your shoddy website skillz (dude also needs to work on apostrophes and Proper Noun Capitalisation), Dan Ilic, I thought you were leading me to post something awesome and observant about the sneakiness of the “meedya“.

Oh well. At least The Cookster got one up the bastards. That’s still one for the team.

Excuse me, Esquire

As well as their 75 Books thing, Esquire did a feature on the”The 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century“.

Now, DAME Magazine pointed out, only 8.5 entries on the list were women, but aside from that lameness, I have a bone to pick with contributor David Chang (or the relevant editor) about a couple of things mentioned in the entry for M.I.A. —

The first and only major artist in world music, 33. Everywhere

Earlier this year, Sri Lankan-British rapper M.I.A. announced she was giving up music for clothing design. Maybe it was the exhaustion talking, but get to know her story and the first thing that becomes apparent is that she’s not one for staying in one place for very long. Here, a country-by-country guide to her transnational life, which directly informs her unclassifiable and revolutionary music.

ENGLAND: Born in London.

SRI LANKA: Her father, Arul, a Tamil revolutionary, cofounded a militant Tamil group. Her debut album is named Arular after him. Album art features images of tanks, bombs, and tigers.

INDIA: Childhood residence, age six to nine. The song “Jimmy” is based on an early-’80s Bollywood disco hit. “Bamboo Banga” samples Indian Tamil film composer Ilaiyaraaja. “Birdflu” features Indian dhol drums.

AUSTRALIA: Recording location for the album Kala. Features a didgeridoo and the Wilcannia Mob, a gang of aboriginal child beat-boxers, in “Mango Pickle Down River.”

LIBERIA:Kala location. “Do you know the cost of AK’s up in Africa / $20 ain’t shit to you but that’s how much they are” (“20 Dollar”).

JAMAICA:Kala location. Dance-hall rhythms, steel drums. “Boyz” video features Kingston “rudies.”

NEW YORK: Resident since 2005. In the video for “Paper Planes,” she sings from inside a New York lunch truck. Modeled for a Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2008 campaign. Announced that she will launch a clothing line.

I agree her work makes her pretty influential. (From what I can gather, the hipsters these days totes heart her.) I have no qualms about most of the things about her in that piece. But that one particular section about her time in Sri Lanka, and, more specifically, her father?

Um.

I could just say it was a Choice of Words FAIL, but, you know, I am not known for brevity, and as much as I may try, I need to say a bit more.

My letter to the Editors of Esquire was as follows:

I write to express some concern about David Chang’s choice of words in his piece on M.I.A. in the “The 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century” feature.

I question the description of M.I.A’s father as “Tamil revolutionary, [who] cofounded a militant Tamil group”.

That Tamil group is not just a militant group, but has been listed as a banned terrorist organisation  under your country’s Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002.

That group pioneered the use of suicide bombing, has assassinated two heads of state, and has been linked to providing training and funding to Al Queda.

This information bulletin from the FBI provides even more details: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/jan08/tamil_tigers011008.html

M.I.A.’s father, the name sake of both her albums, is not a “revolutionary”, but a terrorist, and a lot of her lyrics have been suggested to support the work of the terrorist organisation he belongs to.

The cover-art for “Arular”, which, as noted in your publication, “features images of tanks, bombs, and tigers” links directly to that terrorist organisation.

I would suggest doing some research so as to make sure you call a spade a spade when writing about these people you describe as “influential”.

Sincerely
Sunili …

There are reports that a suicide bomber from the Tamil Tigers killed 22 people today.

When the FBI describes a group as “needless to say … among the most dangerous and deadly extremists in the world”, there is little room for the terrorist/freedom fighter debate.

By the way. M.I.A. has intrigued me for some time, and I have been planning to do a bit of research (you know, more than googling) to write a proper piece about her for a little while.  So watch this space.

(Pic via her MySpace page. Which makes my eyes bleed. Consider that a pre-click warning.)

Ooh goody! My fave!! Censoring anti-censorship material!

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck… It may well be a Peking duck. Or Beijing duck, as we say these days.

So says the ABC’s Media Watch on the issue of Chanel 7’s decision to not play GetUp’s ad about Tibet during the opening of that sporty-gathering-thingymibob on Friday night.

As mentioned here on 08-08-08, there was some warning that this would happen.

Having had some personal experience with people refusing to openly discuss censorship issues, you may be able to guess where I stand on this matter.

What about you? I encourage youse all to check out the Media Watch segment on it and come back to discuss.

080808

Today is going to be a good day.

Just quickly, though, I got this email from GetUp and I wanted to share…

Dear Sunili,

If you watched the news last night, you would have seen the lead story – a new GetUp TV ad has hit the headlines as Kevin Rudd arrives at the Beijing Olympics, urging him to speak out on Tibet.

The ad, made with the Australia Tibet Council, is going to air either side of the Opening Ceremony, click here to watch it:

www.getup.org.au/campaign/OlympicSilenceIsNotGolden

We sent the PM a copy of the ad, and he has pledged to raise human rights issues in Beijing. We know this sort of diplomacy works – only last week the PM condemned the media censorship around the Olympics – and the Chinese Government eased the restrictions.

But there is one hurdle left to clear – the Seven Network, in response to the media interest our ad has generated is now denying the fact that we’ve booked the ad space. Unfortunately for them we have on our desks a confirmed booking sheet suggesting otherwise!

Whether or not Channel 7 decide to uphold the values of free speech, you can watch the ad for yourself here:

www.getup.org.au/campaign/OlympicSilenceIsNotGolden

It’s vital that after the Olympics the world does not ‘switch off’ on Tibet – that’s why we’re planning more ads for the closing ceremony and beyond. Stay tuned for opportunities to help get the message out soon.

Thanks,
The GetUp team

PS – Let us know what you think about the Tibet issue and free speech on our blog.

Iiiiiiiinteresting.  WTF is up with that, Channel 7?

I’m boycotting the Olympics, btw, just ’cause I like to be fussy and shit. I was gonna go the the gyme tonight, but they’re all Olymaniacal over there at the moment, and no doubt all the fancy little treadmill TVs will be on the ‘Lympics, so I will sit at home all peacefully and read my Dali Lama book or sommink.

Why WA media sucks reason #8,530,269

Ok super quick rant but this just cannot go without mention.

We all know Teh West is the torchbearer for shit, sensationalist journalism, but TWAT “Chief Of Staff” Liam Phillips seems to have decided to step up to make a challenge to that title. Maybe it’s all the post-Tour de France, pre-Olympic competitive spirit coming out.

Young Phillips has posted a gem of a “opinion” piece highlighting the ignorance and just unbelievabe stupidness that makes this charming state well-known for being red-neck hicks who just love spouting their visceral knee-jerk affrontedness at the drop of a hat. (Lots of adjectives = Sunili is pissed off.)

On the coronial inquest into the suicide of Simon Rochford, the prisoner who topped himself after it was revealed he was the suspect in a 1994 murder (for which Andrew Mallard was wrongfully convicted and jailed), Phillips essentially wonders why we should cry for Rochford, when, frankly, he was just a roach:

… the most surprising aspect of the inquest’s coverage is the victimised way in which Rochford has often been presented.

Sure he committed suicide – a sad act. But let’s not forget, this man was no altar boy. He was a convicted killer serving a life jail term for the brutal murder of his girlfriend Brigitta Dickens in July 1994.

He became involved in the Pamela Lawrence case because he was suspected of bludgeoning her to death – a reasonable assumption, you would think, given his track record.

Uuuuuhhhh. Gee, well, um, I only did a law degree and now work at the Court and stuff, but I have a strange feeling that you’re not really supposed to make “reasonable assumptions” based on prior convictions, unless it’s in a very narrow set of circumstances. Or something. Heck, correct me if I’m wrong, eh?

See also:

For me, it’s all a bit of a moot point anyway. The ultimate aim of this exercise is to establish who killed Pamela Lawrence.

And committing suicide the day you have been named as a suspect is not the typical action of an innocent man.

Not only is that just totally effing offensive to anyone who knows the slightest thing about the principles of criminal justice (establishing who killed her kinda needs a trial and stuff, which we can’t have since the guy’s dead, but hey, I could be wrong again) … I have a feeling it takes the vitriole of “law and order” ranting in this state down to new lows.

Or maybe I’m just lucky to not have read anything worse in recent memory.

But what’s worse besides, that’s just the kinda moron attitude that gets the wrong person locked up for 12 years, isn’t it?

Twat.

I bloody hope my idol Patti Chong has a go at this knob on Thursday.

PS: Today’s iGoogle quote of the day is amusingly appropriate:

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.
AJ Liebling

I cannot believe these douchebags get away with publishing and justifying it as “opinion”.  How the hell do people get these gigs? Why are they not made to write “I will not tell lies” on the back of their hands with magical mean-quills? Fucktards. Sorry. This really irks me.

TWAT TWAT TWAT TWAT TWAT

I wonder if the title will increase my hit count at all?

Anyhoo, Frank pointed out that Team TWOP were continuing their amusing chat on the WAToday post in regards to “Sooky la la Sattler”.

For those fair readers who don’t have time to read all the comments there, it is with pleasure that I summarize the story thus far…

Yesterday Howard Sattler posted yet another outdated diatribe, this time bemoaning the fact the Government are holding police and nurses at ransom over pay because Carps et al know they won’t strike:

Were they to do the unthinkable, society as we know it would collapse.
Crime would proliferate and hospital patients would die in their thousands.

Leaving aside those amazingly statistically-accurate predictions for now, it was essentially laughable that the post was entitled “Government takes advantage of honest coppers“. (No, I won’t link to it, you poor readers suffer enough reading this blog, I do not wish any further harm upon your intellect.)

A TWOP regular, Sir Skink, as I now like to call him, posted a comment asking Mr Sattler why he only referred to the “honest” boys in blue and failed to mention the ratty ones who stuffed up the Mallard, Mickelburg and such cases and are stuffing up the Rayney investigation (as previously noted on this blog).

Surprisingly, Howard responded:

Skink,

or should I call you skank?

Oh, ouch, what a clever witty comeback. This guy is not to messed with, children. Also, don’t be mean to him on the “honest copper” comment. Because it was all the sub-editor’s fault — Howard Sattler would never have deigned to draft his own title, unlike the rest of us plebs.

The above quote has been taken from memory — specifically, my memory — and it may not be completely accurate, because Skink’s comment and Howard’s response have since been deleted by Roy Fleming, the Managing Editor of WAToday.  Skink reproduces correspondence with Mr Fleming in a comment on TWOP.

I too have had corresponded with Mr Fleming in previous weeks (I wanted to know if they happened to have plans for their site to actually be any good), but sadly, all he did was invite me out to coffee. I wish I was important enough to be banned.

Apparently Sir Skink only ever intends to be “malicious in tone and content”, unlike Howard Sattler, a prominent and respected citizen of this bright State who has never racially vilified indigenous people and breached the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) or anything. Not.

So until he’s sacked, I am just going to keep an eye on the happenings at http://howardsattlerisanidiot.wordpress.com/

WA Today

Fairfax hits with a powerful left-hook … Ding? Dong? Teh West is down for the count?

If only they’d listened to Kerry. If only, if only.

PerthNow is so lame; I’ve got high hopes for this baby.

PS: I wonder if they’re looking for writers??

read more | digg story

Update: well, like all parents (it seems), I am totally disappointed. It wasn’t a left hook. It was one of those crap slaps from the Mark Darcy v Daniel Cleaver fight in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Le sigh.

Please feel free to join the bitching re TWAToday at TWOP.

Update #2: didn’t even realise this was happening since I never read Teh West, ever, but they’re doing Perth’s Hottest Singles or something and the LOVELY Ian Repper is on the list! If anyone wants this Sweet, Sexy, Smart Sagitarius’ number, let me know 😉

Update #3: Hey wow. Look at what I said about crap online “news” reporting BACK IN 2004 (found it while I was doing a category-cleanup). Huh. How dumb is Fairfax? I wasn’t actually suggesting it to anyone. Sheesh.

The Perils of Politically un-Popular Publication

Hahaha so turns out the administration of my un-beloved Noter Dayme has more in common with dictatorial regimes than previously thought. As reported by news.com.au (the Woman’s Day of online “news”):

The closure of Moskovski Korrespondent, whose editor Grigori Nekhoroshev was forced to resign, was a sharp reminder of the perils of invoking Kremlin displeasure.

I thought we should run the story to help break the taboo,” said Nekhoroshev. He paid a swift penalty for his daring: the paper, owned by Alexander Lebedev, the billionaire tycoon, ceased publication immediately.

Its parent firm blamed “costs” and “conceptual disagreements with the newsroom” but insisted in a statement that “this has nothing to do with politics and is solely a business decision”.

Hrm, why does that sound so familiar? Because those Krazy Kats at Kremlin use the same lines to try and shut down press outlets for which they have no care as the Student Life Office gang!

Bless!

Update 22/4:
“So, the Uni learned it’s media-censorship tactics from the Kremlin?” a friend asked at dinner last night. “No,” replied Matt, “The Kremlin learned it’s media-censorship tactics from the Uni. Who’d’ve thunk it, eh?”