Tag Archives: WTF

Spam comments

I can’t approve this spam comment because I don’t want to pass traffic through to the spam blog, but I thought I’d share because its funny

Thank you to your words of purpose even though this information is likely to placed some sort of damper around the selling associated with tinfoil hats.

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Bad Journalism – The Age (12 Jan 2012)

Two articles in today’s Age (online) were so jaw-droppingly bad I thought I’d draw everyone’s attention to them.  The first is an article sourced from AFP, and appears to have been just been pasted in without any consideration of the AWFUL language included.

The article is titled, “Outrage as naked women dance for tourists in ‘human zoo‘”, seems just from the title, to be an article on tourism exploiting women – and then you read further in, not too much further in, just the first paragraph:

Rights campaigners and politicians have condemned a video showing women from a protected and primitive tribe dancing for tourists in exchange for food on India’s far-flung Andaman Islands.

Primitive?  Primitive?  According to who?  Is there any way that sentence could be any more racist?  The women are part of the  Jarawa people, an group of people indigenous to the Andaman Islands.  How hard is that to say versus “primitive”?

The second article is titled, “Court in same sex tennis furore” is in relation to Margaret Court and her issues with an equal marriage protest/action at the Australian Open.  Hoyden About Town blogged very nicely about the issue here.

Part way through the article…

Court, a 24-times grand slam singles champion and a pastor at the Victory Life Centre church in Perth, has long opposed same-sex marriage but sparked a fierce backlash from retired women’s champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, both homosexuals, when she reiterated her views in a Western Australian newspaper recently.

“both homosexuals”?????  I don’t know how Martina Navratilove and Billie Jean King actually identify, but the correct terms most commonly used to describe women in same sex relationships, are lesbian or bisexual.  The term homosexual has a negative history from being classed as a mental disorder.  Steve Williams has a great blog on the issue here.

To my mind, the word “homosexual” has a very clinical cadence to it, and the emotions it seems to invoke appear to stem from the not too distant past when homosexuality was still thought of as an affliction and a mental disorder. There’s also an inherently androcentric core to the word “homosexual.” Of course, it can be used to refer to both gay and lesbian people, but I’d wager that the word “homosexual” is mostly used in reference to gay men, especially when utilized by social and religious conservatives. Moreover, it probably carries notions of sex and, by extension, anal sex or sodomy, which is usually one of the central pillars of disgust threaded throughout most prejudiced material.

 

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The post that was eaten by a goat

Well I did write a post on being angry, and the related emotional journey I have had with anger, but it has been eaten, I can only assume by the internet goat.

I can’t find a cached copy of it anywhere, and hadn’t backed up my site immediately after posting, so it’s gone.

Normal service will resume shortly.

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Dear Google (again)

Hi there, you seem to have not noticed my first letter to you, which I found a bit disappointing.  Perhaps you did notice it, and thought “well we’ve got all these secret plans which will resolve this issue, but since they’re secret we’re not going to say anything”, which still sucks, because you could have at least said, “Yes, we’re aware that this is a problem and we’re working on a solution”.  I would have been much cooler with that… since I wasn’t the only person who had raised this as an issue, something I discovered after checking your google feedback and issues page.

So you didn’t notice, and life moved on.  You created Googe Plus (G+), a rival to Facebook, something that looked interesting and inviting until the Nymwars began, and I quit.  I didn’t quit all my other google products.  I still have my calendar, my email and my RSS feed with Google, it’s annoying (though not impossible) to move them all.

I didn’t complain when you changed the way that Google Calendar looks, although I think it looks sterile and ugly.  When there was mention that Google Buzz was going to be shut down, I wasn’t particularly concerned – afterall, most of that stuff was on Google Reader anyway, and Buzz wasn’t all that popular.

When I heard that Google Reader might be rolled into G+ I was concerned.  I use Reader a lot.  I share articles with friends and people with similar interests to me.  I read articles shared by friends and people with similar interests.  I have a decent investment in Reader, but I thought to myself (clearly blithely) that most of the existing functionality of Reader would remain, because not every Google client is able to use G+ (particularly those with nyms, and/or a need for anonymity).

Clearly I couldn’t’ve been more wrong.  Google, you broke Reader.  You broke everything that made it a product that I enjoyed using, and that my friends enjoyed using, and that was actually useful.  You broke communities of people who shared stuff with one another, in the hope of improving your G+ product.  I don’t understand why we can’t have both G+ and Reader.

Now, if I want to see what my friends have read and are interested in sharing, I have to rejoin G+, something I’m not interested in doing until you’ve fixed the nymwar issues.  I know that you are working hard on this, you’ve had your VP of Social wassname come out and say that pseudonyms will be allowed, but without a time-frame.  I’m not willing to rejoin until that happens, so for me, and all of those who can’t or won’t use G+ until that time?  You’ve taken away communities from us.  That sucks.

The other issue, the one you appear to have completely failed to take into account, is about how much people want to share, and who they want to share it with, as well as how people use Reader and the items that people share with them.  In moving Reader to only share on G+, you’re effectively making people spam the feeds of their friends, and not allowing those who don’t have time every day to check the items that someone has shared, to stockpile those and read them when they have time.

I know you can create circles on G+ so that you only share things with people you want to share things with, but do I, or anyone else I know, want to flood a friend’s feed with a whole range of blog posts that interest me, when they can’t pick and choose the time to go and read them?  That was one of the best things with Reader.  I could leave it for a couple of days if I was really busy, and then spend some time to catch up.  There have been months when I’ve had very little time to read posts shared by people who read some very fascinating stuff, and letting it stockpile until I had time meant that I didn’t miss out on anything, and that I knew it would be there for me to read when I found that time.

I know I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness about this.  I know that I’m not alone in being very upset that you’ve killed off a community building function so that you could focus entirely on G+.  I urge everyone else who is reading this, and who is upset at the removal of sharing functionality from Reader, to sign the petition.

 

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Bad slogan number 4,598,765,197,984,651 (no really)

Pain is temporary.  Quitting is forever

No and no… and no and no and no and no

Neither of those two statements are true.  Pain is not always temporary, and to suggest it is makes those who live with chronic pain either non-existent, or delusional.  Some pain is temporary, and some pain is not.

Quitting is not forever.  Quitting is just a thing.  Sometimes it can be about personal boundaries, abilities, or coping capacity.  Sometimes it can just be because you are done and don’t want to continue.  Sometimes it can be because you’ve changed your mind.  None of these things are necessarily permanent – though of course they could be, but that doesn’t mean that all things you quit are.

So, poster on the wall at my gym, kindly take your offensive slogan away and sod off – because fire… the effects of that can be permanent.

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The Pope is in Spain

Yes, this is likely to be another post trashing the Vatican and the institution of Catholicism.  If you have problems with this, I suggest you go and look a cute kittens or other baby animals of your choice and come back when I blog about something else.

Continue reading The Pope is in Spain

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The beauty standard

For those of  you who don’t know, I’m heading off to Malaysia for a week starting tonight (yay!).  The oddest thing about planning this holiday has been dealing with one of my work colleagues who has bought into the whole beauty standard ideal.

She’d had a holiday about a month and a bit ago to Thailand with her partner, and we’d been sharing holiday aspirations since before she had planned that trip, so once my husband had gotten his passport organised I told her that we’d set dates and bought tickets.  She told that of course I was going to get waxed before my holidays and told me that she hadn’t been waxed since and… stuff.  Then earlier this week she came up to me and asked if I had been waxed yet (I had, but only because I wanted to be, not because I should), and then asked when I was going to get my toenails done.

I was baffled, because toes are toes… and I certainly don’t see the need to paint my toenails to make my feet something other than they are – well more colourful.  I do, very rarely, paint my toenails because it amuses me to have colours on my feet, but I don’t see it as some social obligation, or even something that is done (apparently I’m wrong in this regard).

I said, to end the conversation – which it sadly didn’t, that I might get mine done in Malaysia.  This suggestion was met with horror… because apparently they may use inferior polish which might stain (which I thought was the point), and because the hygiene standards for their tools would probably be lower than in Australia.

Apparently feet are ugly, and painting your toenails somehow makes your feet less ugly, or your feet’s ugliness less noticeable.  I actually think my feet are pretty and that my toes are cute.  What you believe about feet in general is not my concern, and I’d much rather look after my own feet without interference from other people.

After the topic changed from feet, my colleague told me a story about another work place she’d been in where she’d worked with a “not-girly-girl” who was going away on a holiday with her newish boyfriend.  My colleague asked her if she’d “groomed” herself (meaning waxed), or was she going to get groomed prior to leaving.  When the “non-girly” colleague figured out the innuendo, she said she hadn’t yet, and my colleague and another colleague explained that is was very important to be appropriately groomed and that everything had to be in the right place.  After that they then suggested to this woman that she needed to pain her toenails, and when she bought the wrong colour nailpolish (green – something I assume that she thought was attractive), they got a friend of hers to take her shopping for a better colour.

My previous (Federal Government) workplace did not have conversations in it like this.  I don’t actually have the tools for these conversations other than, “uh-huh”, “yes” and “oh really?”.  I don’t know how to challenge someone who believes that dictating how I should groom, especially when they’re not going to see it.  I know I can lie (and not even feel remotely guilty for doing so) here to a) make her happy that I’ve done something which I may or may not have; and b) get her to go to something else.

I’d much rather gently suggest to her that what she’s doing is wrong, rude, and incredibly judgemental.  This colleague is senior to me (both in time spent in the organisation and in level), so I’m not sure how I’d start such a conversation.  My current responses also involve a level of “HAH” when she goes away or I come home from work and tell the husbands about it.

It’s weird.

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For my exes

*Trigger warning for discussion of rape and relationship abuse*

 

So, dear exes… these songs are all for you.

For the pain, heartache, and torture you put me through during and after our relationship by being a complete and utter arsehat.  For dumping me so you could be monogamous with your other girlfriend because she’d earlier dumped you and you’d never been dumped before.  For so completely misunderstanding me and never asking me why I did something or what I was thinking.  For emotionally abusing me for years, treating me like dirt, because the power got you off.  For raping me and not listening to me say “no” and then being faux apologetic afterwards, “Let’s not do that again”, and then at the next opportunity pressuring me into having sex with you again.  For failing to communicate effectively with me and instead just dumping announcements and changes on me, expecting that I’d be completely fine with them.

These are the breakup songs which speak to me and help me keep going on, the songs that help me know that I did nothing to deserve the pain that I went through, and that I sing with the other strong women (lyrics linked to in song titles).

The first is by Paul Mac, featuring Ngaiire, called, “It’s not me, it’s you“.  I hadn’t actually seen the film clip to this song until tonight, and it’s awesome.

  

The second is by a relatively unknown (at least in Australia) indy band called Elizabeth and the Catapults – called “Momma’s Boy“.  Because I relate to this song so much (and I like this song but it isn’t specifically breakup related).

 

The third is by Goyte, “Somebody that I used to know” featuring Kimbra, because I relate quite strongly to Kimbra’s part.

 

 

The fourth is Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula, “Good Luck“, which is a great “FUCK YOU” song.

The fifth is Kelis with her song, “Caught Out There” (Trigger warning for abelism and depictions of violence).

And the final song is Vassy’s “Wanna Fly“.

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David van Gend – arsehat of the week!

It’s not his hysterical and easily disproved comments about the social ills of equal marriage that earn him this award, it is not the fact that he disappears single parents in his hysterical rant about how children need parents of both genders to be proper human beings, it is not the fact that he claims that conversion therapy for queer people is successful, it is in fact the usage of the phrase “stolen generations” that he deserves beating about the head and body with a large object for.

Brace for a new stolen generation

[title of the article]

The phrase “Stolen Generations” is an emotional phrase and he’s hoping to play on the emotions it raises and repurpose them for his own asinine “cause”.  Van Gend uses a phrase that has particular meaning to those of Indigenous heritage in Australia, in a context which has nothing to do with the forcible removal of children from loving families and communities to be brought up by others away from their culture and community and identity.

The Stolen Generations (also known as Stolen children) is a term used to describe the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken in the 1970s.

The extent of the removal of children, and the reasoning behind their removal, are contested. Documentary evidence, such as newspaper articles and reports to parliamentary committees, suggest a range of rationales. Motivations evident include child protection, beliefs that given their catastrophic population decline after white contact that black people would “die out”, a fear of miscegenation by full blooded aboriginal people. Terms such as “stolen” were used in the context of taking children from their families – the Hon P. McGarry, a member of the Parliament of New South Wales, objected to the Aborigines Protection Amending Act 1915 which then enabled the Aborigines’ Protection Board to remove Aboriginal children from their parents without having to establish that they were in any way neglected or mistreated; McGarry described the policy as “steal[ing] the child away from its parents”. In 1924, in the Adelaide Sun an article stated “The word ‘stole’ may sound a bit far-fetched but by the time we have told the story of the heart-broken Aboriginal mother we are sure the word will not be considered out of place.” (Wikipedia)

Van Gend’s usage is clearly appropriating other people’s history for a spurious cause, which is a big problem.  It reinforces the cultural narrative of privileged straight (white?) man only paying attention to the history of the marginalised (and a history he would, the rest of the time, probably deny or defend) when it suits his purpose.  He clearly did not consider the impact that his use of the phrase “stolen generation” would have on those that it directly applies to.

So van Gend, you’re the arsehat of the week – well done.

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Swear Jar

Fucking hell, the Victorian Liberal Party, in their grand “law and order” plan, have decided that instead of having people who are charged with using:

language deemed to be indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening. (The Age)

go to court, a process which is time consuming and rarely successful (on the point of the prosecutors), that police will now be able to issue an on-the-spot fine of up to $240.

The Age article continues:

The crackdown — which extends the Baillieu government’s ever-growing law-and-order agenda — means police will be able to issue infringement notices for offensive behaviour and indecent language similar to parking and speeding fines.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the idea was to lower the police workload by allowing them to issue fines instead of tackling bad language using the court system.

“It frees up police time for other law enforcement activities and enables them to more readily issue penalties against those offenders who deserve them,” Mr Clark said.

“By providing police with as many enforcement tools as possible, Parliament is sending a strong signal that people who engage in criminal behaviour can expect to be dealt with under the law.”

Offensive language has been an offence in Victoria since 1966. Swearing — if it is deemed serious enough — can carry a penalty of up to two years’ jail, and is even considered an offence if no one is present to hear it.

In truth, they’ve all been out of bounds since the Act was introduced in 1966, but until 2008 anyone thus charged had to have their case heard in court. That took time and effort and got in the way of more pressing cases. Frankly, who could blame the legal system if it collectively decided it really couldn’t be arsed to hear such matters – matters that Ross Garnaut might feasibly have described as “pissant”? (The Age -another article)

Because saying “FUCK” (and other swears) is clearly criminal behaviour.  I didn’t know, until now, that “offensive language” was actually a real offence, and only had been since 1966.  I’d also like to know what “offensive language” actually means.  Sure it’s almost described with “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language, but what does that really mean?

How will police define “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening” language?  Will some groups, as I suspect they will, receive far more leniency from police in relation to swearing than others?  Will some groups who have threatening language used towards them (those who are not white, the homeless, the LBGTIQ community, etc) really have an effective response from the police if they report the language used against them?

It has been suggested that this is just an attempt at revenue raising by the Victorian State Government, and I’m inclined to agree.  Instead of ensuring that minority groups who already have existing issues with police are protected adequately, this will be further power for some police to put the boot in even more.

Then there is the cultural impact – the fact that people can (and probably will) be fined for swearing at sporting events, live music concerts (Yeah, how is Cee-Lo (warning for NSFW swears) ever going to perform his song in Victoria?), comedy, or the theatre?  The Melbourne International Comedy Festival (one of the biggest comedy festivals in Australia -possibly the third biggest in the English speaking world), is worried that the new laws will impact on the festival next year.

Comedian Wil Anderson yesterday tweeted in response to the news. “Victoria announced on-the-spot fines of $240 for indecent language. Suddenly my [comedy festival] show is going to cost me a lot more next year.”

Melbourne International Comedy Festival director Susan Provan said she was taking a wait-and-see approach. “We at the Comedy Festival will be waiting with bated breath for news on what does and does not constitute swearing,” she said. However, she added that the festival may need to consider hiring people “with bleepers in all areas of our activity”.

The Baillieu government is pitching this as part of its ever-expanding law-and-order agenda, but the cynically inclined might wonder if it is not also a blatant revenue-raising exercise. Given the difficulty of successfully prosecuting someone for swearing (or, more broadly, offensive language) in court, this is by and large money the government would not otherwise have had. (The Age)

The Age article the excerpt above is from also defines all the places in which it will be illegal to swear – and about the only place you will be able to swear will be in the privacy of your own home – provided that the public is not gathering there – so not when you’re having a party probably.

In fact, there is little agreement even on what constitutes “offensive” language in 2011, as distinct from 1966. One man’s meat is another man’s cruelly harvested animal flesh, as it were.

In a much-noted ruling in 2002, NSW magistrate David Heilpern observed of the F word that “one would have to live an excessively cloistered existence not to come into regular contact with the word, and not to have become somewhat immune to its suggested previously legally offensive status”. (The Age)

With no fucking clue as to what constitutes offensive language, the potential for this new police power to be massively misused is very high.  Personally I’d take the fine to court and ask that the 2002 NSW ruling be taken into account, if I was fined by the police for swearing.  I have that luxury and privilege.  Those who have minimal incomes, minimal support, and/or an unfamiliarity with the Australian Justice System are going to struggle to have the fine waived, and in many cases struggle to pay the fine.

This is not a law which does anyone any favours if all the attention is put on “offensive” and none on “threatening”.  I’d like to see “threatening” strengthened, and a real discussion about whether or not we need to be protected from swears when we’re out in public these days.

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