Monthly Archives: October 2009

Behold – the Angry Tie!

I’ve become slightly obsessed with designing items on the Zazzle website recently. Like most people who have decided to pursue the idea of selling merchandise online, I experimented with CafePress first. The site isn’t very flexible (unless you pay them) and a lot of people give them bad reviews for the quality of their products. To tell the truth, I have no objective evidence to support the bad word of mouth but it influenced me anyway.

After some advice from a friend I tried Australian-based RedBubble (and even ordered a few shirts I designed for myself). RedBubble do very high quality screen printing but they are a little expensive (not surprising given the quality).

Then, after another recommendation, I tried Zazzle. This site is much more flexible than CafePress and offers some cheap options. As an experiment, I ordered their cheapest t-shirt option (reasoning that it would be the most likely to be a dodgy product) and I was quite impressed with the quality.

Doing the t-shirts has always been a “just in case anybody wants one” thing rather than some master plan to get fabulously wealthy. Who knows, I might become an overnight media sensation and it would be nice to be ready to cash in on that.

More recently I had the idea of cashing in on the fact that so many people say they like the t-shirts I wear in videos and ask where they can get one. It isn’t as though the slogans are particularly original. Even though I buy most of them from shops I see the same (or similar) slogans replicated time after time in online shops. So why not do the same?

So I’m going to experiment with doing a version of each t-shirt I wear in a video with a link to buy it and see if that proves popular.

It was while working on this that I became intrigued with some of the more diverse offerings in Zazzle’s range and started playing with some designs. I did what I thought was a very ugly design on a shoe just because I could. A few people on Twitter said they liked it but I didn’t save it because the shoes are fairly expensive ($60 and up). I may go back and do another shoe design for fun but I can’t imagine anyone buying them.

Then I got into ties. In my day job I am known for sporting quite a variety of fairly flamboyant ties. Many people assume this is because I like ties. They are wrong. I FUCKING HATE TIES. But I like cartoon-y ties more than I like boring design ties. Seeing as Zazzle gives you a free hand with the design, and my YouTube friend DrakeMagnum has done a series of awesome designs for me I thought, why not go to town.

Which brings me to the whole point of this blog post. I’d like you to vote for your favourite from the following designs and then I will buy the winner and actually wear it to work. You’ll have to take my word for that (unless you happen to work with me) but I will model the tie when it arrives.

The first one is from the Shepherd Fairy inspired “ANGRY” design. I like the way this one abstracted when the strip of tie material shows only a fragment of the design.

Tie 1

Go to the site to see a close up view.

This second one has tiles of the AA mask design with a prominent central image.

Tie 2

Visit the site for a close up view.

The third one is tiled again but with a much larger tiled image.

Tie 3

Visit the site for a close up view.

Vote using the buttons.

My sartorial future is in your hands.

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It’s funny – you just don’t get it

The thing about comedy is it’s completely subjective. What’s funny to me may not be funny to you. What’s acceptable to me might not be acceptable to you. And vice versa. It’s pretty much pointless arguing these issues with someone who disagrees because it’s opinion, not objective fact. So if you disagree with my opinion, clearly you’re wrong and I’m right but I’m not going to waste time arguing opinions.

You’re free to disagree but I won’t engage with anyone who wants to argue via comments because it’s pointless. It’s pointless because it’s the wrong medium for a discussion, I don’t have the time to keep replying to people who just go on and on and on and can’t just make their point and be done with it. These people who simply will not shut the fuck up. And they have no real interest in discussion they just want to grind people down by droning on and on and on because they think getting the last word is equivalent to winning and they will not shut the fuck up, why won’t they shut the fuck up? If there really was a god he would strike these fuckers down with lightning that’s what I want to happen I want them dead I want them to die painfully and horribly that is not a figure of speech I want them to DIE like something out of Happy Tree Friends, I want them to slip in their own drool and smash their face into their keyboard so hard the keys pop out and burst their eyeballs and the keys get driven right into their brain AND THEY DIE!

OK, that went off track. A little. The point is, I’m used to people who don’t want to debate, they just want to be shouting the loudest. I refuse to waste time with these people. You want to say your piece then say it and move on. Don’t expect any tolerance from me if you won’t shut the fuck up. In fact, if you want to engage with me you have to put in as much effort as me. If you think you’re right and I’m wrong you have to make a video going into at least as much depth as I do or I DON’T FUCKING CARE!

So… the theory of comedy. There are many forms of comedy. My favourite form is satire of the type that dates back to the European Medieval tradition of the fool or the court jester. The fool was the stupidest person, the lowest rank so he could say anything without fear of retribution. The job of the jester is to entertain but what the jester can do that nobody else can do is speak truth to power. He can point out the king is an idiot because what harm is there is someone so low insulting someone so high? You could argue that the idea of playing dumb to expose someone who thinks they are smarter goes back further. For instance, Sascha Baron Cohen is basically using Socratic Irony (oh yes, I’m bringing up Socrates and ancient Greek philosophy), particularly with characters like Ali G and Borat, to get people to expose their inconsistencies and prejudices. But I prefer the tradition of the fool that you often see in Shakespeare plays.

You see that? I’m a fucking intellectual. Don’t fuck with me.

Essentially, this sort of satire is making fun of things. Rather than making up jokes, the satirist is looking at people, or things, or situations, or social conventions and saying “OK, here’s what I think is stupid about that.” Now you might have noticed I’m not into playing it safe. I like to push people’s buttons. I don’t think there’s any topic that is off limits if you’re funny enough. For me, funny enough means having enough skill as a comedian, actually having a point to what you’re doing and hitting a target that deserves to be hit.

This is why the tradition of the fool is meaningful because to me the difference between being funny and being a prick is who’s telling the joke and who’s the target? The little guy gets away with ripping on the big guy because that’s all the little guy has and how does it really hurt the big guy? At the end of the day, the fool is still a fool and the king is still a king. But when the one in power is making jokes at the expense of someone weaker than them, that’s being a prick.

This is why I’m stunned by white people who will say things like a black person doing white face is the same as a white person doing black face. Do you not see the power imbalance there? Do you not get the difference between implicitly saying “stay in your place darkie” and trying to challenge the power structure? And do you not get that ignorance of a long history of racism that you’ve never been on the receiving end of is not a fucking excuse?

Another reason I feel it’s important to think about these sorts of things is for personal integrity. First, I think it simply makes this sort of joke funnier if you’ve put some thought into it. Second, not everyone’s going to agree with you, not everyone’s going to get it. If you’re comfortable in yourself with what you’re doing then it isn’t going to matter as much when people attack you (and people will, inevitably, attack you.) Let’s be honest, saying “aw, c’mon, it’s a fucking joke, lighten up” is a pretty fucking lame defence.

I’ve been called everything from a soft, uptight PC liberal to a white supremacist. In the last week. About the same video. I know stupid. I deal with stupid every day. The secret to not giving a fuck about stupid people is having enough integrity in what you’re doing that stupid people don’t matter. People are always going to find different things funny and be offended by different things but if you’re telling someone they don’t get it and the truth is you’re being an ignorant prick, the real truth is, you’re the one who doesn’t get it.

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Daz the Bogan and Hey Hey it’s racist blackface Saturday

This is essentially a script I will be using for a YouTube video. It will be done by my long haired bogan character, Daz. So you have to imagine it being delivered in my bogan voice. This was suggested by one of my Twitter followers (yay Twitter!) and is a reaction to  some of the white Australians who are tying themselves in knots justifying how a blackface performance isn’t racist. It’s an attempt to get them to wake up to themselves.

It probably won’t work, but fuck ‘em. Hopefully it’s funny as well.

So what I want to talk to you about today is why the blackface sketch on Hey Hey it’s Saturday wasn’t racist. First, with so many white people saying it isn’t racist to black people, I don’t know how there could be any doubt. It’s as if people are suggesting there’s some sort of history of white people saying they know what’s best for black fellahs while they’re actually fucking them over. That just doesn’t make sense.

If people were hypocrites like that you’d see plenty of cases. Like all those conservative religious leaders and political types with their anti-gay, pro-morality talk. If they were hypocrites you’d see heaps of cases where they were caught having anonymous gay sex in public toilets, or using church money to pay for male prostitutes and crack cocaine in hotel rooms, or having sex with underage kiddies. That’s crazy talk.

So the way I see it, we’ve got one group of people who say you’re not being racist against black people unless you’re wearing a Klan hood and burning a cross and another group you’re still being racist if you do something that’s obnoxiously offensive even if you’re too fucking ignorant to know how racist it is.

All I’ve got to say to people who reckon you can be racist through ignorance is: are you shitting me? That’s a big fucking call. You actually want people to think? You want people to consider someone who exists outside their tiny little self centred bubble of awareness? Good luck with that.

Have you seen how people are? It’s like they’re living in this tiny little bubble and nothing exists outside the bubble. If something comes close enough to them that it gets inside the bubble they might see it for that one moment. But only if it’s right in front of them. And then it’s only for as long as it stays there. As soon as it’s outside the bubble again they’ve forgotten it ever existed.

But I guess if you put it right in front of someone and said whether you know it or not, blackface has a long history of being racist mockery of black people, it’s offensive to black people and doing it in ignorance doesn’t mean it isn’t racist, it means you’re ignorant – I guess that would make them see what’s wrong with blackface, yeah? Unless it doesn’t.

To be fair, I think if someone says over and over and over again that they aren’t racist that proves they aren’t racist, no matter what their actions are. What sort of crazy world would it be if people were judged by what they actually did rather than what they said they did? I’ve seen enough politicians and loudmouths on TV to know this is how it works. And what’s wrong with that, I say.

It’s as if some people are saying that shitting all over someone who’s in a weaker position than you is a bad thing. So long as you say you’re not being offensive while you’re fucking them over and humiliating them, how can you be doing anything wrong? And if you can get one non-white person to agree then that proves you aren’t being racist.

But it’s important to use the racial rule the right way. You see, one black person saying that black face isn’t racist means it definitely isn’t racist. And I’ve seen heaps of anonymous people online who swear their best friend is black and they said blackface definitely isn’t racist. How could you possibly need more proof than an unverifiable comment made anonymously on the internet?

But if a million black people say black face is racist then they just need to get over it. If a million white people say black face is racist they just don’t get the joke. Or, to avoid confusion, if white people say they aren’t racist then they aren’t racist, no matter what’s going on.

Look, I know this is a confusing topic so Uncle Daz will make it simple for you. If you’re confused on the topic of race relations, don’t ask someone on the receiving end because they’ll be upset and they won’t be thinking clearly. Ask the nice, objective white person who says it isn’t racist because they’re balanced enough to see the big picture. Don’t listen to white people who say it is racist because they’re just being PC and they need to lighten up a bit. But if you can find one non-white person who says the white people aren’t being racist then definitely listen to them no matter how many non-white people tell you you’re racist as fuck.

I hope that’s cleared things up.

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STFU – The Musical

Having spent time helping in the show “Robot vs World” at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, I feel inspired to develop my own show. The biggest thing I want to do is write a show, possibly for someone else to perform but obviously I have more than enough ego to perform myself. While a solo show is less hassle in lots of ways, the idea of writing for an ensemble cast and possibly directing the show too is appealing.

I think I’ve hit on a winning idea – STFU The Musical. Well, maybe not a musical. If you’d ever heard me sing you’d know why that was a bad idea. Also, I’m completely unmusical. So a musical is a pretty bad idea. I felt like adding “the musical” because there have been so many bizarre topics for musicals in recent years; Keating the musical, Shane Warne the musical, Beaconsfield the musical. So maybe I’ll go with STFU the stage show.

For a while I’ve thought a narrative about my experiences online was the obvious way to go and STFU gives me and idea of how to structure it. It starts with my entry onto YouTube, continues to how it took about 5 minutes for the first hater to show up and then tracks my adventures. STFU summarises what I’ve learned about interacting with idiots.

Internet wisdom about dealing with trouble makers comes in a few flavours: Don’t feed the trolls. Wrestling in the mud with a pig is pointless – no matter what the outcome you both end up covered in mud and the pig enjoys it. Arguing on the internet is like competing in the special Olympics – even if you win, you’re still retarded. But my own favoured method of dealing with the endless stream of morons online is STFU!

There are a couple of varieties of online moron. The common troll or griefer really is best ignored. For this type, the act of pissing someone off is an end in itself. They don’t actually have a point (no matter how much they claim to). For a troll, the more innocent their target, the more “fun” it is to cause grief. This is the sort of loser who posts rape porn to a forum dedicated to knitting and thinks they are being funny. Any engagement and even public denouncing of a troll is worse than pointless, it is giving them the attention they crave. Block them from commenting, delete their posts and move on.

The ones who cause a lot of trouble for a lot of people are the ones who seem to be making a structured argument and demand their right to be heard. These braying morons very quickly leap to declaring that their free speech “rights” have been breached if anyone tries to get rid of them. This makes a lot of people uncomfortable because they don’t want to be seen to be stifling free speech. Feeling this way is a mistake because this isn’t a free speech issue – the people making this claim are no better than trolls, all they are doing is framing their approach slightly differently.

To limit the explanation to YouTube: it might be a free speech issue if you were trying to shut down someone’s ability to post videos of their own but blocking someone’s access to your channel isn’t limiting their ability to express themselves at all. It’s just telling them to get the fuck out of your face. We all have the right to live our lives without fuckwits screaming their bullshit in our faces. That’s why houses have doors.

An equally important point is these idiots are not interested in having a discussion or debate. That’s what they scream over and over but it’s a simple lie. Maybe they’re even lying to themselves. All they want to do is browbeat everyone else with their views and they have zero interest in having a reasoned debate. In short, they will not stop. The YouTube comment system is an appallingly inadequate medium in which to conduct a debate even with someone who’s being reasonable. It’s nothing short of agonising to try and deal with a screaming fuckwit one disjointed comment at a time.

And it’s pointless. Not only is this the wrong medium in which to try and change someone’s mind, these people refuse to change their mind no matter how clearly you demonstrate they are wrong. I’m not simply talking about opinion here, you can present these people with an overwhelming body of scientific or objective evidence that disproves their insane theory and that will make them dig in harder. So don’t waste time with them. And literally any time spent with these morons is wasted. You gain nothing from subjecting yourself to the ravings of a zealot and they certainly aren’t listening to you.

Now, anyone who’s been paying attention will know I’m in favour of ranting. I don’t have a problem with people who disagree with me, I’ll even actively encourage them to do their own rants. In their own space. Hell, they can even rant about me if they want. But I don’t need them in my channel. I have zero interest in providing a platform for fuckwits like this. If they want attention they can fuck off and earn it on their own. I won’t waste time having endless arguments in comments with these idiots but I do enjoy telling them what I think of them.

This is where my preferred method of STFU comes in. The STFU videos target various types who exhibit this behaviour. They obsess over a given topic and simply will not shut up about it. They might be racists, religious zealots, atheist zealots, global warming deniers, 9/11 truthers or any of the rainbow of crazy that makes up conspiracy theorists. But the one thing they have in common is they live to harass anyone who dares to not share their delusion.

So I let them know I’m onto them. I know their game. I can see through the lie that they want to “debate”. And I’m calling the weaselly little fuckers out. They want to foam at the mouth about their paranoid delusions? I don’t fucking care. They aren’t going to listen to any reasoned response I give them so they aren’t going to get one. All they’ll get from me is STFU. I refuse to “engage”. I refuse to be cowed by their bluster. All these drooling freaks deserve is STFU and that’s all they’ll get from me.

Some people say this is trolling but the simple difference is I don’t chase people. Ever. I post these in my own channel and if someone doesn’t like it they have the simple option of not watching. Mind you, I am very evil. I deliberately pick targets that I know are too obsessed to help themselves. I do find it hysterically funny that they are convinced they are being reasonable and if only the rest of the world were reasonable everyone would see things their way. And they really can’t cope when all you give them is a bald faced STFU!

They try everything. They whine that you’re not being fair. They criticise your intelligence. They say you have no arguments. And all the get from me is STFU. Because I know their poorly hidden secret. No amount of well thought out and cogently reasoned arguments will reach them. Any intelligence used is wasted on them. All they do is berate people and try to manipulate them. Taking that away from them is like shooting out their kneecaps. Only less messy. And slightly less satisfying.

So that’s my STFU philosophy that I think is going to form the basis of a live show.  It’s almost 12 months until the next Fring Festival so I have a while to work out the details.

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