Quokkas are unfair to white men

There are a lot of problems in the world but thankfully, a men’s Rights Activist has alerted me to the worst problem of all: quokkas being unfair to straight white men. This is a quokka.
quokka
Do you see the way it smiles? That’s because it’s so glad it’s destroying the privilege of white men.
This came to light after Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie suggested 3% of senate seats should be reserved for indigenous Australians so they can be assured of proportional representation in the lawmaking process. It turns out quokkas are behind this and I find the idea of these smug marsupials controlling our legislative bodies to be totally unacceptable.
A particularly insightful letter to the editor in a Murdoch paper pointed out if you followed this nefarious quokka plan to its logical conclusion you’d have to acknowledge that considering about half the population are women, about half the people representing the population should be women as well. That sounds all well and good but no quokka is going to tell me what to do.
quota
To quote from the letter… oh, wait. He meant quotas. Quotas are unfair. I got confused between quotas and quokkas. I thought he was concerned about oversized grinning rats but he is literally saying that if white men were only represented proportionally in public life rather than utterly dominating it and actively excluding anybody who isn’t white and male like they have for centuries that would be wrong. Hmmmmm.
My quokka argument makes more sense.

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The mathematics of trolls

There are many reasons I prefer to block/delete moron commenters rather than “engage” with them. I put engage in quotation marks because although it’s what these trolls often say they want, what they actually want is to bludgeon anyone with an opposing point of view into silence. And before any low-rent moron jumps in thinking they’re being clever by saying that’s what I’m doing – no it isn’t. I’m perfectly happy with these losers having free speech. Somewhere else. Where they aren’t wasting my time.
Also, if that’s what you leapt to, go fuck yourself. You think saying things like that is clever or insightful? I’ve seen your shtick before and you’re boring. And a waste of time.
And that’s the key point about these vermin. It isn’t so much that they’re trolls or bullies, they’re boring and an utter waste of time. Worse still, I’ve learned that the ones with the least to offer make the most noise and demand more of the time and attention of people who are actually doing something. If we lived in a world where even the bitterest hater would simply spit out their insulting comment then go away, I’d probably let them do it. But unfortunately, we live in a world where Bertrand Russell famously observed that idiots are full of certainty and wiser people are full of doubt.
I’ve decided the simplest way to show how worthless these losers are is with a mathematical equation, namely:
v = 1/n
Where v is the value these losers offer to a given conversation and n is the amount of useless noise they make demanding you pay attention to them. For the slow learners (i.e. the people I’m talking about) this means the volume of your incessant blathering is inversely proportional to the amount of attention you’re actually worth. The more you bleat, the less I give a shit about you.
And a final note to the trolls stupid enough to say “if you don’t care, why are you going on about it?” This isn’t for you. You’re not worth addressing. This is for people who genuinely want an understanding of my motivations. By the way, do you trolls see how I know what you’re going to say before you say it? That’s because you’re boring and predictable. And I’m better than you. You notice how you’re reading my blog but I’m not reading yours? That’s because you have nothing to offer.
ATTENTION
Brief “your mileage may vary” disclaimer: I’m not dictating how anyone else should react to comments from haters and trolls. This is what works for me. If a different approach works for you, then you go with that.

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Palmer United Party – good thing or bad thing?

Clive Palmer appears to have surprised some people by doing exactly what he intended to do all along. I’m more than a little confused by people who express any sort of surprise or disappointment in Palmer United Party getting rid of the carbon price and/or the mining tax. Personally I think these actions are both mistakes but they were pretty much core promises from PUP in the lead up to the last federal election. If they hadn’t gone through with them that would have been a pretty major broken election promise.
Palmer’s decision to mess around with Abbott for shits and giggles has been funny to see but it was never anything more than a sideshow. On those major policy points PUP was always going to give the LNP coalition what they wanted. Palmer just decided to bend Abbott over, repeatedly thwack his arse and make him say “Thank you sir, may I have another?” each time. And if this government is going to destroy the lives and futures of the majority of the country, we at least deserve some entertainment to go with it.
Clive’s a “character”. Which is to say that virtually everything he says and does publicly is scripted as opposed to being the real him. Some of his PUP cohorts however, seem far more interesting. Jacqui Lambie is someone I’d like an opportunity to talk to and see how open she is to exploring issues. She seems to fancy herself as “down to earth” and I have no reason to suspect she’s anything but the ordinary person she projects. I feel inclined to defend her a bit when people call her a bogan because (a) I grew up in the country and (b) I’m more than a little disturbed when people who consider themselves progressive use classist insults.
It’s perfectly possible Lambie is a horrible regressive bigoted person and I wouldn’t like her. I don’t know her so I have no idea what she is really like. While her discussing her preference for big dicks on a radio station was less than edifying, I don’t think that episode means something should be done to change her behaviour. I’d much prefer it if something was done about the absolute dreck pumped out by commercial radio stations. The most interesting thing to me about her is she’s recently been speaking out about Palmer acting like an idiot.
When Palmer was supposed to tip a bucket of water over Lambie on a TV show called The Project (as part of the ubiquitous Ice Bucket Challenge) he saw a second bucket and apparently thought they were going to spring a surprise on him and challenge him to have the same done to him. He took exception to this and stormed off and has honestly looked a complete tool whenever he has been asked to explain his reaction. Lambie’s simple response of “Welcome to my world” seems rather telling.
More than once Lambie has publicly said she wishes Palmer would be less of a clown which seems like quite a promising sign. She essentially relied on Palmer’s profile and bankroll to get elected but doesn’t seem bothered about speaking out and criticising his poor behaviour when she thinks it’s warranted. It’s far too early to see what sort of lasting impact (if any) PUP will have on Australian politics. But they seem to not like Abbott and take some delight in torturing him and that’s enough for now.

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Amanda Fucking Palmer and The Art of Asking

 

Amanda Palmer is about to release a book called “The Art of Asking” which came out of her TED talk which in large part came from her experience of raising over a million dollars to make an album via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. I follow Palmer on Twitter so I’ve seen her agonising over the process of making the book for many months so my first reaction to the “it’s done, here’s the cover” posts was “well, that must be a relief”.
Straight after that was the thought “here comes the hate”. Anyone in the public eye attracts hate. As soon as you have something someone else doesn’t (talent, success, money) you get jealousy and hate directed at you. Amanda Palmer is a personality type that can (and often does) polarise people and both the pro- and anti-Palmer crowds can be zealous to a degree that seems quite out of scale for what she does. She has said plenty of things I don’t agree with but I’m definitely in the “pro” camp.
I was aware of her band The Dresden Dolls and her solo work, I liked the music although I never bought any of it. Then a few years ago The Dresden Dolls did a reunion tour and when they were in Melbourne I helped video the show. It was one of the most amazing live experiences I’ve ever had and I definitely counted myself a fan after that.
A little later, Palmer decided to use the Kickstarter platform to crowdfund a new album. The project was insanely successful – she set a target of $100,000 and ended up raising nearly twelve times that amount. It’s still the most successful music-based Kickstarter and it attracted a huge amount of attention. While her fanbase was hugely excited by the project (made obvious when the target was reached within a couple of hours) the backlash came quickly with a lot of people seeming to think this was some sort of scam.
I didn’t support the Kickstarter (I ended up buying a physical copy of the album later) but the negativity made me quite angry because it combined two of my least favourite things – jealousy and ignorance. I’ll never get over people saying crowdfunding is some sort of a scam, when someone well known does it they are somehow tricking their fans into giving them money. The pure ignorance required to make this comment is staggering.
Palmer’s campaign had a diverse range of rewards at different levels, starting with a $1 pledge got you a digital download of the album. How the hell do you call something a scam when a supporter can get the album for $1? The thing with crowdfunding campaigns is contributors are told what they will get for their money AHEAD OF TIME! Nobody is forcing anyone to contribute. People see something they want and think the cost is acceptable. That’s it. The only way it could be a scam is if the campaign doesn’t deliver what they promised. And that certainly wasn’t the case with Palmer.
I saw some criticisms when she gave a breakdown of where the money would go from people saying her figures for costs were “extravagant”. My first response would be fuck you, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Trying to compare an arts-related project to a bog standard commercial CD release is ridiculous. The bitterness and jealousy fairly dripped from the writing of these people. I imagine they are very unpleasant to be around in general.
My second response is those assertions of extravagance are completely irrelevant. That way of looking at the project is completely backwards! Supporters didn’t pledge on the proviso “you will only make x % profit from this transaction”. They saw an offer, agreed with the price and went for it. It wouldn’t matter if Palmer was lying through her teeth and pocketed 90% of the money in pure profit. Supporters got what they paid for and were happy. End of story. Unless your story is that you’re a bitter “journalist” who has never created any original artistic work and is insanely jealous of people who can do things you can’t. That story will never end.
I’m not going to link to any criticism of Palmer’s campaign (I don’t feel like giving them the attention) but there were a lot of jealous nobodies and some particularly clueless well-known somebodies who piled on. The twin themes of (unacknowledged) jealousy and wilful ignorance ran through all of the criticisms. Seeing the backlash made me think of that saying beloved by mothers everywhere that has more recently become quite popular on the internet: “this is why we can’t have nice things”.  I’ll never stop being amazed at human capacity to see the negative in any good thing that happens.
I’ve never actually run a crowdfunding campaign myself although I’ve considered it and I might do it in the future if I think I have a compelling project. In short, I’ve never asked people online for money at all. In the early years of YouTube there was a rash of what was called “e-begging”. Essentially, this was YouTubers asking their viewers for money in a way that meant (in most cases) the contributors got nothing out of it apart from feeling they helped someone they liked.
While nobody forced anyone to give money in these cases either, there were definitely some scams pulled and e-begging was a pretty accurate term for what was happening. Amanda Palmer’s “Art of Asking” story goes right back to when she was a human statue street performer and carries right through her music career to the Kickstarter campaign and beyond. It isn’t as though she’s perfect or even handled the Kickstarter aftermath perfectly – probably her worst mistake was not realising how perceptions had changed about her standard practice of inviting local musicians to join in on shows without paying them. But when I think about the wave of hate that is almost inevitably coming with the release of the book, I feel more than a little sick.
A lot of people don’t seem to realise that I’m essentially an idealist. I like to see people do good/creative things and try to look for positives in successful ventures even if I don’t like them myself. I wish more people would look at someone else’s success and think “they proved it’s possible” rather than “why did that rubbish succeed when nobody supports what I want to do?” I hope I get proved wrong about this but I don’t think I will be. For those people who have a thing against Amanda Palmer, I’m not saying you’re necessarily wrong in your grievances (she’s human and has human failings), but surely there’s a more deserving target for your hatred. I just wish people could be better.

 

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Cardinal George Pell is a trucking terrible person

 

A late entry and the outright winner for arsehole of the week is without doubt Cardinal George Pell. While appearing (via video link) at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse he said blaming the catholic church for the widespread child abuse committed by priests was like blaming a trucking company if one of their drivers did it.

 

Well George, let me make a few points. First, you truly are a disgusting pile of festering excrement. I mean it. You are absolutely disgusting.

 

Now to your trucking company analogy. It’s impossible to tell if you’re deliberately lying and distorting the truth or if you’re so deeply evil that you genuinely don’t recognise your own culpability and that of the wider church hierarchy. If you want your analogy to be a little more accurate it would have to be a trucking company that is specifically responsible for the well-being of the children abused by its drivers and when the company discovers the widespread abuse being perpetrated by many of their drivers they actively suppress the truth and instead of punishing the drivers they send them to drive trucks in a different city where nobody knows them but they’re still responsible for protecting children but they abuse children again and you repeat this cycle for decades without ever accepting responsibility for the abuse that wouldn’t have been possible without your direct actions.

 

And that is why so many people are utterly disgusted with you. You presided over this abuse for decades and have repeatedly shown more interest in protecting the reputation of the church over protecting children being abused by priests. And that continues right to this day. The clear refusal to accept responsibility is unacceptable and hopefully the royal commission will finally call Pell and his cohorts to account.

 

It’s obvious how deeply in denial Pell is, so much so that he went on to make statements that may well come back to haunt him. Many people are rightly outraged by the callous trucking company analogy but right after this his statements included “If in fact the authority figure has been remiss through bad preparation, bad procedures or been warned and done nothing or [done something] insufficient, then certainly the church official would be responsible.” I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the point a lot of people are making. That’s why there’s a royal commission – because of the appalling reaction of the catholic church and others to decades of abuse.

 

And when I look at Pell’s comments about a trucking company I can’t work out exactly how he would come to say something so terrible. Surely he would have prepared for something as serious as appearing before a Royal Commission? Surely the church takes it seriously enough to prepare? How awful would a group of people have to be to think making the trucker analogy was a good thing? How did that go? You as an organisation have been exposed for sheltering child abusers for decades, protecting them and your reputation over the children in your care, you’ve repeatedly attacked victims and their families instead of supporting them. And somehow you are so completely lacking in empathy you decide a completely ridiculous, insensitive and inaccurate analogy is the best way for you to refuse to accept responsibility for your appalling failings.

 

PELL: OK, what should I say to the Royal Commission?

 

ADVISOR: How about “It wasn’t us, it was some random truck driver that did all that kiddie fiddling”?

 

PELL: I don’t think anyone will go for that but you’ve given me an idea. I’ll use an analogy.

 

ADVISOR: Wow, that sounds insightful. How does an analogy work?

 

PELL: I don’t say truck drivers committed all the abuse that catholic priests are responsible for but I say blaming the church itself for the priests committing abuse is like holding a trucking company responsible for individual truck drivers who assault people.

 

ADVISOR: And the fact that any responsible trucking company that knew it had drivers committing that sort of abuse would sack the drivers, turn them over to the police and do everything in their power to support and compensate the victims doesn’t undermine your point at all?

 

PELL: I don’t think so. The public’s anger at rampant abuse within the church has be growing for years but I think all we’ve needed to do all this time is to use a gratuitously insulting and inaccurate analogy to say we refuse to accept any responsibility.

 

ADVISOR: Well I can’t see any flaw in that plan but then again I couldn’t see any flaw in the plan to protect priests who were known child abusers.

 

PELL: When you consider how ridiculous the whole magic man in the sky thing is, it should be a doddle to get the suckers to believe the church isn’t to blame for the abuse.

 

ADVISOR: I am so glad none of that stuff we tell them is true, otherwise we’d be going straight to hell.

 

PELL: Word.

 

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YouTube musings

 

It’s been a while since I did a video that’s just talking so I’m writing down some thoughts to use for such a video. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but a few things have happened recently that I want to talk about. YouTube has always had a reputation for having the worst commenters and it seems like the most unhinged people on the internet are still thriving on YouTube.
 
So far the winners are Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) and people pushing the lie that cannabis cures cancer (let’s call them CCCs). I predicted Richard Dawkins fanboys would be as bad but it appears I owe an apology here because while there were a couple of idiots they pale in comparison to those other groups. In fact, one of the biggest idiots to respond to my Dawkins video was anti-Dawkins. It’s important to acknowledge when you’re wrong and I was largely wrong about the Dawkins supporters.
 
I feel like explaining why I’m so brutal with stupid commenters. YouTube is a brilliant medium for sharing your views, video is a really effective way to engage with people and make it feel like a conversation. Conversely, a comment thread is a terrible way to have an argument. If you want to make one point and get my response, that can work. But when people disagree with me that’s rarely the way they behave. They simply won’t shut up. And 9 times out of 10 what they comment is utter rubbish. Four categories in particular that I won’t waste time on: 

 

  • People who state the complete opposite of the truth as a “fact” (e.g. climate change deniers). There is absolutely no point in engaging with people like this. When someone can aggressively assert an easily provable lie as the “truth” there is no way forward. Conspiracy nutbags fall into this category as well.
  • Really hateful commenters (bigots of any stripe). I simply refuse to give these vermin a platform.
  • People bringing up something I have directly answered in the video as if I hadn’t answered it. Repeating the answer never gets through to them.
  • People who assert that I said something I clearly didn’t (or people who want to tell me what I think or what I am – reality be damned). I know what I said, what I think and who I am. I don’t need some random idiot who knows nothing about me spouting rubbish driven by their own prejudices.

 

In short, it’s a waste of my time and creative energy. Every minute that one of these emotional black holes sucks up is one more minute I don’t have to develop entertainment for everyone else. How tolerant/intolerant I am of idiot commenters tends to swing back and forth like a pendulum depending on my mood but my response is always about preserving my own sanity. Nobody else gets to dictate how I live my life and how I choose to protect my sanity. No amount of petulant (and incorrect) whining about “censorship” will change that.
 
In a different setting (say, face to face) I’m willing to engage in a conversation with someone who has radically different views to mine *if* they’re willing to treat it as a conversation. If all somebody is going to do is dig their heels in and keep shouting their opinion without taking in anything that’s said in response then it’s waste of time talking to them. And that’s the problem with comments threads – they lack the subtlety of an actual conversation and trying to develop an extended discourse this way is far too time consuming and all too often a complete waste of time.
 
My recent exposure to MRAs made me feel like it was the “old days” on YouTube again. I hadn’t attracted that much hate from worthless losers since I used to go after racists and self-proclaimed Nazis. I didn’t realise there was still that much troll activism on YouTube (hooray for sheltered hetero white guy experience). Then came the CCCs. They are so tied up with selling snake oil cures that they remind me more of a cult. MRAs might be losers but I really, really hate these vermin seeking to profit from the suffering of others with their totally bogus “cures”.
 
Seeing the cult like behaviour of CCCs reminded me I’ve always thought it would be really easy to start a cult on YouTube. The cult of personality definitely exists but I mean a full blown cult, with a leader and slavish followers. I remember a guy from the early days of YouTube who I thought was on course to do this (not going to name him). He was basically immature, self-absorbed, and had that annoying trait some drug users have of deluding themselves that they are deep and original thinkers while talking rubbish. Unfortunately he was good looking and could speak in a way that was quite compelling to some impressionable people. He started to get quite dangerous as he was talking people into not taking their medication (for everything from mental health to cancer).
 
He ultimately faded away but he was the first YouTuber I saw that made me consider how easy it would be to move from being popular to actually exerting control over people and starting your own cult. I’ve consciously shied away from this sort of behaviour (telling people what to do) but all it would take to start building a cult is to speak with a compelling voice and lure people in by saying things they want to hear. Oh, and a complete lack of human decency.
 
Of course I could push the conflict with people like MRAs and CCCs for my own gain. Now I’ve found how easily they take the bait I could rage on them regularly just for notoriety. Or maybe go for some old school YouTube Drama and start a beef with a well-known neckbeard who isn’t nearly as smart as he thinks he is. But honestly, I don’t think I can be bothered. That’s never been my motivation. When I’ve gone after particular groups of people it’s been to get something off my chest and provide a bit of entertainment while I do it.
 
The biggest challenge to me has always been to be internally consistent or to put it another way, to stay true to myself. I’m quite conscious that some people would have trouble seeing that and accuse me of being a hypocrite but I can’t bring myself to compromise my own ethics to make other people happy. I always think very carefully about what I say before I say it (even if some people would argue I don’t) and I’ve never regretted anything I’ve said in a blog or a video. Well, not much.
 
It can be quite a challenge to keep to that standard but I’ll keep trying.

 

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Even angrier about bogus cancer cures

 

I feel like yesterday’s post wasn’t angry enough or direct enough and I intend to remedy that right fucking now. Let’s ignore the utter charlatans whose only motivation in spreading the “cannabis cures cancer” lie is to exploit desperate and dying people and steal their money by selling them utterly bogus “cures”. These people are disgusting and if I think too much about them I’ll go into a murderous rage and start making actual plans to hunt them down. I mean it, people who see the suffering and misery of others as an opportunity for exploitation and money making deserve to be dragged into the street and kicked to death.
 
I just want to say to people who keep posting links online saying cannabis cures cancer: stop being so stupid! I posted a link for calm and reasoned explanations yesterday but right now is my time to say fuck this bullshit! Any sensible person who takes five seconds to think about it will realise that the concept that cannabis cures cancer, but the truth is being suppressed by “them” is fucking ridiculous. It simply doesn’t stand up to even the mildest scrutiny.
 
First and foremost, you know it’s dead easy to buy dope, right? There are a lot of desperate people dying from cancer and I’m pretty sure they’d be getting cured in droves if this ridiculous concept was true. This isn’t even an abstract concept as a lot of cancer patients use cannabis because it can help reduce nausea cause by chemo, it can help with pain relief when other drugs fail and it can help with appetite which is often taken away by chemo. But it isn’t curing their cancer. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
 
If you have the urge to post a link to an article saying cannabis can kill cancer cells take a deep breath and wrap your head around the fact that doesn’t mean it cures cancer. It just doesn’t. Stop being so stupid. This is why cannabis is actually being researched, because it has interesting properties and it’s worth exploring whether it can boost existing treatments or become a treatment on its own. But right now, it is in  no way shape or form a cure for cancer.
 
And if the link you want to post leads to “and you too can buy this miracle cure” you’re pretty fucking lucky that I haven’t yet worked out how to electrocute people through the internet.
 
If you want to rush to “big pharma” is suppressing the truth please stop being so stupid. There is significant research into cannabis because if it turns out there’s any validity to using as a treatment big pharma will be all over that. They’ll release lab developed synthetic cannabinoids and make billions. That tired old line of “they make more money with a treatment than a cure” simply doesn’t hold up with cancer. The sad fact is there’s a pretty much never ending supply of cancer patients.
 
And you can give it a rest with any “legalise it” rhetoric as well.  I agree but it’s utterly irrelevant to my point. cannabis doesn’t cure cancer and people need to stop posting stupid articles that say it does.
 
So, in short, cannabis doesn’t cure cancer and posting links that says it does is really, really stupid. Shut the fuck up with any side issues, I’m not wasting time with side issues. Cannabis. Does. Not. Cure. Cancer. If you can’t accept that simple fact without babbling about meaningless side issues I can’t be bothered responding to you with any more than “get off the weed, hippy”. Perpetuating the idea cannabis cures cancer is perpetuating a lie and there’s no excuse for it.
 
Stop being so stupid.

 

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