Murdoch media lying about the ABC again

It’s more than a tad superfluous to call out any Murdoch-owned media outlet for lying and being self-interested but every now and then they actually go far enough to stir my rage. Today it was an editorial in “The Australian” clamouring for the newly elected conservative government to interfere with the ABC and cut its budget (big fucking surprise). For those unfamiliar with the situation, the ABC in Australia (similar to the BBC in the UK) is a non-commercial taxpayer-funded broadcaster that provide a free service.

Traditionally the ABC TV ratings were well below the commercial networks as ratings was not the number one concern for the ABC – providing quality programming was. There should, of course, be ongoing discussions about what value this provides and what the ABC’s budget should be but when a media outlet publishes such self-serving lies as this editorial in the Australian (and as Murdoch scions have done regularly about the BBC) then I call bullshit.

Print media companies in particular have one overriding concern with the ABC. Their outdated business model is dying and they are desperate to find some way to recoup some lost revenue from the internet that is killing their existing cashflow. Despite the fact these companies are run by uber-capitalists, their arguments seem to be dominated by the idea that they deserve to make money because what they provide is so wonderful. Apparently competing in an open marketplace is for some other suckers.

The ABC publishes their news content online for free. Every time the geniuses at a commercial news organisation say “let’s put our content behind a paywall” there’s the spectre of the ABC and free content. Why pay for news when you can get it for free? This interests me because the ABC has always provided their news commercial free in competition with commercial outlets so what makes the internet so different?

Obviously I don’t know for sure but as an outside observer, the clear message I get from traditional media is the internet scares the shit out of them and they still don’t understand it. They make the same arguments against it as were made about every technological change in history and just as everyone who tried to stop advances in the past were wrong, they are wrong this time. They make pathetic attempts to argue that the internet is somehow different to everything that came before, oblivious to the fact that the same argument was made about every new technology in the past, including the pianola roll.

Or maybe they’re just hoping we don’t notice how full of shit they are.

My overwhelming problem with their bullshit is they have one problem and one problem only. They want to put up a paywall for their internet content. They know people will go to free ABC content in droves and ignore their paywalled content. They think if the free ABC content vanished then they would make money via subscriptions to their site. They refuse to come clean and admit this because they don’t want to make it blindingly obviously what lying, self-serving scumfucks they are. I’ve got news for you dickheads: it IS blindingly obviously what lying,self-serving scumfucks you are.

Oh, and also you’re wrong about paywalls being your future in any version of the internet. I don’t know who’s selling you this bullshit but you need to grow the fuck up and accept it simply isn’t real. Even if in some sick dystopian future you manage to kill off the ABC & BBC through the politicians you’ve bought and paid for your paywalls simply won’t work. There will always be a competitor without paywalls and that model will always fail for everything but niche interests. The internet simply doesn’t favour slow moving global media behemoths. 

And make no mistake about it, these media moguls combined with the telcos will wreck the internet in their attempts to force it to conform to how they imagine the world should be. Every bullshit law they push through in the name of copyright or “protecting the children” is aimed solely at giving them the control to only allow you to see what they want to give you when they want to give it to you. But to get to some specific from the Australian editorial that enraged me.

In the first paragraph they dare to invoke “struggling digital startups” as if they give a shit. The suggestion that these global behemoths considered anyone but themselves is nothing short of a bald faced lie. When these greedy fucks start with such an obvious lie, you know it’s only going to get worse.

Then they wander off into some bizarre fantasy land where the ABC’s expansion into digital media was completely unforseen and couldn’t possibly be part of the ABC mandate. They ask the bizarre rhetorical question “What is the ABC’s role?” then answer is completely falsely with the insane right wing rhetoric of “unchecked bureaucratic tendency to towards empire-building”. Seeing as you provided an answer that was so patently false, I’ll give you the real answer: ‘TO PROVIDE A FUCKING SERVICE TO THE PUBLIC YOU FUCKING FUCKS!”

I can’t get over how much this editorial answers itself. Newspaper publishes self-serving editorial aimed at nothing more than promoting the greed of its global empire and asks “What should the ABC be doing?” PROVIDING A FUCKING ALTERNATIVE TO YOUR FUCKING BULLSHIT YOU PIECES OF SHIT!

The Australian, like all Murdoch media, is shamelessly biased and treats any reporting that shows any views that differ to Murdoch’s as absolutely wrong-headed and biased. Once you get into this pathetic excuse for an editorial you realise it’s nothing more than schoolyard level name calling. “Everything I do is good and everything you do is dumb! So nerrrrrr.” If I want to see Twitter-level shitfights I’ll go to Twitter. These egotistical freaks regularly hold themselves up as champions of journalism like it’s some kind of golden virtue. This drivel isn’t journalism in the public good – it’s pathetic name calling and demonising of anyone you don’t agree with. And that’s what I do!

To be slightly more charitable, the rubbish printed in this editorial is nothing more than horrifically biased opinion parading as objective fact. And to anyone who wants to say “but it’s an editorial – by definition it’s opinion” I say “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” For too long these fucking hypocrites have gotten away with this veneer of “editorial” as separate from “news” even though they present them right alongside one another. They know full well that editorial content is barely differentiated from news by the public (if at all) and the Murdoch media in particular are shameless practitioners of presenting their biased politics as editorial then reporting the “news” that people are saying this.

Expect to see much more of this bullshit in the coming years. The evidence is apparent throughout the global Murdoch  empire that they will not hesitate to shamelessly lie to promote their own interests. They have zero concern for what is in the public interest and are concerned solely with their own revenue. I have nothing against making money – it’s something I try to do as well. But using a public platform to lie and undermine the public’s access to an alternative to their partisan fuckwittery is nothing short of evil.

Traditional media will become more and more desperate as the cash cow they thought would last forever continues to die. Their influence is undermined by the internet as well but that is a much lower priority to them than money. All of their current strategies are doomed to ultimately fail but they don’t give a shit how much damage they do on their road to ultimate failure. Any damage they do to institutions like the ABC and the wider internet will do nothing to help them but they will sure as hell hurt the rest of us.

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Racists upset that Miss America isn’t white enough

Not all racists are objectively stupid and not all stupid people are racists. But holy crap some racists are prone to saying skull-fuckingly stupid things. Then they compound their public racism and stupidity by being oblivious to how staggeringly racist their pronouncements are. Say what you will about the Aryan Brotherhood, at least they tend to be honest about who and what they are.

The latest expression of this racist stupidity came when the winner of the 2014 Miss America Pageant (yeah, that’s still a thing) turned out to be not white enough for a number of Americans. Miss New York, and now Miss America 2014, is Syracuse, NY born Nina Davuluri. Possibly worse than being brown, she had the audacity to be the offspring of people with a name that simply doesn’t sound white enough.

And fuck anyone who says the responses were anything but racist. If Miss New York had been a first generation American who was blonde, blue eyed and named Anderson with parents from Sweden none of these idiots would have batted an eyelid. The simple fact Nina Davuluri is brown-skinned with a surname they don’t recognise is all these morons need to justify saying she isn’t American.

Twitter fairly exploded with the indignation of these ignorant racists which doesn’t surprise me. What does blow my mind is these idiots live in such a self-absorbed bubble that they clearly didn’t realise there would be any negative response to their profoundly offensive racism being vomited across a public forum. Several sites have collected choice examples of their bigotry, collecting gems such as calling her, an Arab, a Muslim, al-qaeda, a camel jockey and a terrorist – none of which even have the dubious saving grace of being factually accurate.

At least some of the bigots accurately grasped Davuluri’s Indian heritage. It’s probably a matter of personal taste whether you are more disgusted by the bigots who think she’s Arabic or the bigots who realise her family is Indian. Myself, I find it too tough to call which group is more offensive.

While I’m not into witch-hunts myself I did get some amusement from seeing how many of the Twitter accounts that have been publicly shamed have been deleted or switched to protected mode. I’m sure they’re outraged at the fact that people actually disagreed with them and regard their public outing as bigots as an infringement of their civil liberties. Which it obviously isn’t. The right to free speech is NOT the same as not same avoiding any responsibility or consequences for the shit you dribble. And if they’re not claiming free speech they’re claiming anyone who criticises their bigotry is kowtowing to political correctness.

The same people who say they should be allowed to say whatever hateful thing they want to regarding any minority are invariably the same freaks who invoke “9/11″ as something holy that must not be sullied. In fact, several of these utter fucking morons said that allowing Nina Davuluri to win Miss America so close to 9/11 was some sort of horrific insult. This would be a moronic even if she was Muslim but we come back the she is, in fact, not Muslim. I’m sure these morons would mutter something along the lines of “same part of the world”. This glosses over the fact that Ms Davuluri was born in America, not India but even if she had been, it’s worth pointing out (seeing as the majority of these drooling idiots thing Iraq was responsible for 9/11) Paris is closer to Baghdad than New Delhi is.

Still, brown people – fuck ‘em, amirite?

At the end of this, I’m left with one question: why does it appear that the Miss America crown is being nailed into the winner’s skull? That shit looks painful.

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TitStare app is everything that’s wrong with Tech Industry

Over the weekend a couple of Australian developers presented their tastefully named “TitStare” app at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco. In case you’re having trouble imagining what the app is for, there is no hidden subtlety. The developers said the app would let you “take photos of yourself, looking at tits” and allow men to look at women’s breasts whenever they wanted. 

Because if there’s one thing women are always telling me it’s that men never stare directly at their breasts. And men are really deprived if they want to stare at some tits. The certainly aren’t displayed larger the life on every second billboard. And they’re almost impossible to find on the internet.

This is of course all just a joke and everyone should laugh it off. That’s right, at an extremely high profile conference for an industry that is plagued with negativity and outright hostility towards women, when someone presents an app called “TitStare” and provokes chuckles from the overwhelmingly male audience there’s no problem. It’s “a bit of a laugh”. Tongue in cheek. Not at all an indictment of the rampant sexism in the technology industry.

I call bullshit.

I particularly call bullshit on the pathetic “apologies” given by the developers. Saying “If we offended anybody it was unintentionally done” does not absolve you – it defines the fucking problem! I’d actually have more time for the developers if they aggressively defended the app and told people to get over themselves. At least they’d have some integrity then. They’d still be tools. But they’d be tools who stood behind their actions. Presenting something like “TitStare” and saying you didn’t know it was offensively sexist makes you a self absorbed moron, so secure in your privilege that you’re unaware of the level of privilege you enjoy.

To their credit, TechCrunch offered a direct and unequivocal apology, owning their failure in letting the presentation happen. But I call bullshit on them saying they would screen all ideas before they are presented from now on (which gives them the excuse that this app was only presented because there was no screening process in place). Are you telling me that if someone developed an app called “Lynch the Nigger” they wouldn’t be stopped from presenting? Or even if there truly was NO screening are you telling me nobody would have crash tackled them from the stage before they got halfway through presenting an app with a name like that?

But TitStare wasn’t that offensive. It was simply a bit of tongue in cheek fun. And totally demeaning to women. But that’s business as usual. And it’s everything that’s everything that’s wrong with the tech industry.

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The four worst communication errors you can make

I’ve had some truly frustrating communications failures this week so I thought I’d compile a list of things you shouldn’t do. Because the internet loves lists. And you shouldn’t do these things. Unless you want to piss me off. Probably other people too. But other people didn’t really figure into my thinking. I just get really pissed off when people do these things to me.

1. When you’re asked a yes/no question, don’t waffle on with some rubbish that is neither yes nor no.

“Are you coming out with us tonight or not?”

“Well, I’m just reading this article, then I have to make a phone call and there was a show I wanted to watch…”

“SO FUCKING WHAT? DOES THAT MEAN YES OR NO???”

2. When you’re asked for more information with an open question, don’t give a yes/no answer.

“Where were you when we were having a meeting?”

“No.”

“What?”

“No, I wasn’t at the meeting.”

“I know that. What was the reason?”

“Yes.”

“What?”

“Yes, there was a reason.”

“Just piss off.”

3. Don’t give an answer that doesn’t help with the question. Even if your “answer” is factually correct, if it isn’t actually answering the question it’s useless.

“Does anybody know a good Mexican restaurant near Melbourne?”

“There’s a Chinese place in Sydney I really like.”

“What’s that got to do with a Mexican place in Melbourne?”

“I don’t like Mexican food.”

“Fuck off.”

4. When someone is using abstractions or giving an illustrative example, don’t obsess about taking it literally.

“This would be like if we were going to have a roast lamb dinner, bought all the ingredients but didn’t have an oven to cook it in”*

“I’m a vegetarian.”

“What?”

“I can’t eat the flesh of a lamb corpse – I’m a vegetarian.”

“We’re not really having lamb.”

“You should plan to roast the flesh of murdered animals without consulting with the group.”

“You shouldn’t ever eat anything I offer you. Because it will have poison in it.”

 

So whether it’s a professional setting, a social setting or communicating in a relationship, try to avoid these mistake. I know I’m not the only one driven crazy by them. As a bonus, here’s an old video abusing another type of person I can’t stand being in a discussion with – the factard. This is the sort of person who insists on derailing a conversation with a point that may be factually true but adds absolutely nothing to the conversation and stops others from communicating in any meaningful way.

 

 

*I have no idea what this is an analogy for – I made it up. It’s an illustrative example of an illustrative example. It’s example-ception. Don’t think about it too long – it will asplode you brain.

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Confused trans teenager or callous liar?

The subject of gender identity is something I’ve been learning more about in recent years. As a straight white male I have the easiest time in regards to sexuality – everything in western society is geared to affirming that I’m making the right choices about my sexuality and gender identity. Maybe the whips & chain and creative use of condiments are slightly outside the vanilla spectrum but I have nothing to complain about.

I will admit to one of my enduring prejudices toward people whose gender identity fell outside the idea of a male/female binary was that they were being a bit self-indulgent, maybe they’re just a bit messed up and they’re taking things too far. The truth is, you only have to do a very small amount of research into the issue to realise that what’s really self-indulgent is thinking you can assign everyone a simple male/female identity.

Just the physical characteristics people can be born with go far beyond two options. Then there’s the loss/removal of body parts as a result of accident or illness. To say someone is less of a man or a woman simply because they don’t have the external (or internal) signifiers that define male/female for you is insulting and flat out stupid.

And let’s not even start on what defines your identity in the emotional or non-physical sense. Seriously, let’s not go too far down that road. I’m not an expert and I’d be bound to say something stupid. Nobody *knows* exactly what defines an individual’s identity and sexuality (anybody who says different is deluded or lying). There are a lot experts with their own hypotheses but as the dominant school of thought seems to change every decade or so, I take the idea of there being a definitive answer with a grain of salt. I try to accept people for how they see themselves and choose to lead their lives so long as they aren’t actively hurting someone else.

All of that was a lead up to talking about a story a friend shared with me recently. The story was headlined “Should trans people have to disclose their birth gender before sex?” It’s written from an activist viewpoint with a clear agenda and I always try to not take this type of article at face value, even if I agree with their standpoint. We all have a tendency to succumb to confirmation bias so I decided to tread carefully with this one and not automatically assume everything in the article was true.

The writer make some amusing points out of a quite serious court case. Namely, that you can lie about the size of your dick, or if anyone else has a claim on your dick but you better not lie about whether or not you actually have, or used to have, a dick. If your opinion of your gender identity doesn’t match the opinion of someone who has sex with you, you can face criminal prosecution.

The case involved the prosecution of a 17 year old whose birth name is Justine McNally but is more comfortable presenting himself as a boy, using the name Scott. Scott was convicted of sexual offences for “deceiving” his 16 year old partner into thinking he was a biological male. For an example of confirmation bias coming from the opposite direction, try reading the Huffington Post’s description of the same case: “Justine McNally, who pretended to be a boy to take 16 year old schoolgirl’s virginity, jailed

Just the choice of emotive terms in the headline gives you all you need to know about the article. Even though there is only a one year gap in the two parties’ ages, the report makes it clear they see this as a simple case of a malicious deceiver targeting an innocent virgin schoolgirl. The two had known each other since they were 12 and 13 and McNally waited until they were both of legal age before initiating sexual contact. I’d argue that hiding the central factor of your gender identity is unwise but it’s hardly evil. If every teenager who made poor choices as a result of romantic or sexual longing was jailed, that would make for some seriously overcrowded prison.

This article gives some considerable analysis of the actual judgement which makes it fairly clear that the Huffington Post article is not simply wrongheaded, it’s factually wrong. The HuffPo doesn’t limit itself to completely glossing over the gender identity issues, saying the person of Scott was a simple lie, not an attempt to express a true sense of self, but actually says “Promising the girl they would marry and have children, McNally had sex with her three times using the strap-on dildo.” This is simply not true.

One of the factors that led to McNally being “found out” was parental discovery of a sex toy and there was an allegation this was used on the 16 year old girl. McNally categorically denied this and the charge was never pursued. While the conviction was for “sexual assault by penetration” the penetration was with tongue and fingers. While that would still be a serious form of sexual assault, McNally asserts that the relationship was consensual and it really does seem that the conviction is based solely upon McNally’s identity not being what her partner thought it was – “I wanted a boy to do that to me, not a girl.”

The HuffPo article is so much worse than wrong – it is dishonest, bigoted and hateful. It helps no-one and anyone associated with its publication should be ashamed of themselves.

For people whose sexuality or gender identity makes them marginalised, it can be very difficult to know when to fully explain the situation to others. More than that, it can be life threatening. Trans and gay people are murdered far too often simply for who they are and the disgusting thing is that the perpetrator can use “gay panic” as a defence and it can work. In fact, this case is so similar to “Boys Don’t Cry” that it freaked me out a bit.

For myself (and I know this is coming from a position of privilege) I say as a hard and fast rule you should tell someone the whole truth BEFORE any intimate contact. But what’s the worst that could happen to me? Someone could get pissed off at me but I’m not going to face criminal charges. There is established case law that says I can’t be prosecuted if I lie about the size of my dick, how good I might be with it, my marital status, my wealth, my age.

But if you’re in a sexual situation where you don’t fully explain something that even you might not fully understand, it looks like you’re shit out of luck.

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Twitter troll doesn’t want you to tell his mum

I’ve always said internet trolls were typical bullies – utterly gutless when it comes to having to take responsibility for their words or actions. And stupid. More often than not, people who think it’s a good idea to troll or bully others online are really, really stupid.

Rarely have I seen these elements come together so perfectly as they did with one Oliver Rawlings this week. While Professor Mary Beard was talking on BBC Radio 2 about being upset at the level of trolling directed at her after appearing on another BBC show “Question Time”, Rawlings saw fit to tweet “Retweet this you filthy old slut. I bet your vagina is disgusting.”

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So he’s a vile little twerp who think being an idiot is funny. It seems elitist education doesn’t guarantee any sort of class as Rawlings is a 20 year old university student who went to a ridiculously expensive school. When he was called out by the radio host he refused to back down. Because he’s a proper hard man, he is.

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You see? He won’t be silenced! Twitter is his voice! And he’s not afraid to say it to your face either. Because look at his face! Apparently this will have some affect on you. If you think about it. Honestly, I’m not sure what his point is here.

Is there anything that could make such a fearless Twitter warrior back down? Well, turns out there is.

Threaten to tell his mum.

I’m serious. This absolute moron is posting this ridiculously needless and vile trash with his real name and real photo. Apparently completely unaware of the fact there could be any downside to this. Then this happened:

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And approximately nanoseconds late came the loser’s grovelling apology.

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I didn’t think is was possible for someone who would make that first tweet to come across as even more worthless and pathetic but turning into a blubbering mess because someone is going to tell your mummy you’ve been a bad boy?

Wow. Just… wow.

He also posted a longer justification for his miserable behaviour on Facebook.

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That rubbish is so self-serving and insincere I reckon your average politician would be green with envy. Saying he “apologised immediately” is a direct lie. Oh, unless he actually meant to type “as soon as I thought someone would tell my mum”. Fucking loser.

And he actually used the “out of context” line! This is the equivalent of “I’m not racist, but…” The cowardice needed to make the original tweet because you’re stupid enough to think you won’t have to face any consequences then make sad non-apologies when you do get blowback is extraordinary.

This guy’s a real catch. Privileged, obnoxious, bullying and cowardly. I’m sure there are some people saying he should be pursued and punished but I don’t agree. Having to live with the humiliation of the world knowing you’re such a sad little tosser is punishment enough.

And as it’s clear he only offered his empty apology when someone threatened to tell his mum, it must have been disappointing when he made the front page of the paper:

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So the next time you have to put up with someone attempting to troll or bully you online, comfort yourself with the knowledge that they are nothing more than a sad, cowardly loser.

And they’re scared of their mum.

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The stupidest comment ever

Q: How stupid can people get?

A: FUCKING STUPID! That is how stupid they can get.

Q: Are the stupidest commenters on the internet to be found on YouTube?

A: Yes. Yes they are. There is a lot of competition but a special sort of stupid can be found on YouTube.

I am trying to distill stupid YouTube commenters down to the most stupid they can possibly be. This is somewhat challenging. I think I need to somehow crystallise how some people demand I hold the exact opposite viewpoint to the one I have just expressed. I get that people can disagree with me but how can someone be so stupid as demand I completely reverse my point of view and think that is an even vaguely intelligent thing to say?

Seriously, they actually seem to think this will work. As if the only thing I have been missing my whole life is their dazzling insight and now I will completely change who I am because they have enlightened me.

Fucking morons.

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