Some time ago I blogged on the news that the Australian nannies had recognised that the majority of people in Australia are adults and that many of those adults like to play computer games, and finally persuaded the Australian censors that bringing videogame classifications into line with other media was overdue. This was to be achieved with the addition of an R18+ classification by the end of 2011, although to no great surprise (though my general blogging neglect meant I didn’t write about it) it ended up being delayed again. But at the beginning of this year Australia finally allowed adults to buy adult themed computer games, with more than half a dozen games given R18+ ratings in the first two months of 2013.
Great, you might think. Okay, so there’s a few games that have been classified for adults when the content seems pretty much the same level as games that got MA15 ratings in the past, but since one of the objections to the absence of the R18+ category was that some games were being classified too low that’s probably not a real problem. Besides, if parents decide their younger teens are mature enough to play something that involves lots of gore and splatter and/or occasional tits and ass then they can just go buy the game for them and allow them to play under whatever supervision they feel appropriate.
Unfortunately the censor hasn’t been given its marching orders and is still able to refuse classification, and since all media must be classified anything that’s refused has been given a de facto ban. According to Wikipedia…
Content which may be Refused Classification include:
- Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.
- The promotion or provision of instruction in pedophile activity.
- Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.
- Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
- (i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;
- (ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have an extremely high impact;
- (iii) sexual violence
- Depictions of practices such as bestiality, necrophilia or other practices that are revolting or abhorrent.
- Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:
- (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices that are offensive or abhorrent;
- (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies that are offensive or abhorrent
Which is mostly pretty cut and dried, not to mention reasonable, but appears to give them a number of relatively subjective outs. Top of the list there is the term “offensive”, a meaninglessly subjective criterion since what offends me may not offend you and vice versa – I find it offensive that there are still laws being written in any nominally free nation that include concepts as fucking vague as “offensive”. “Gratuitous”, “exploitative” and “abhorrent” aren’t a lot better.
So I’m kicking myself slightly for feeling at all shocked that in the last week – within the same 24 hour period, in fact – two games aimed squarely at adults, Saints Row IV and State of Decay, have been refused classification and thus effectively banned in Australia.
The Saints Row 4 video game has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board due to the appearance of an anal probe weapon and “alien narcotics” in the game.
“The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an ‘Alien Anal Probe’. The Applicant states that this weapon can be ‘shoved into enemy’s backsides’,” wrote the Board.
“The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon.
“When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air.
“After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians.
“In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.”
The Board also took a dim view of the game’s drug use, especially as it gives the player character extra abilities.
Or as the Board itself put it in a PR:
In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.
Okay, it’s pretty weird even for a computer game weapon and certainly not something suitable for the Candy Crush brigade, but it’s also cartoonish violence, isn’t it? And I can recall at least one alien anal probe based cartoon gag on the small screen.
I’m assuming this episode of South Park wasn’t banned in Oz, and if not I have to wonder how Cartman, with his gratuitous effing and blinding plus the fire farts and alien communications antenna unfolding itself from his arse, got a pass and the equally ridiculous alien anal dildo launcher weapon in Saints Row IV didn’t. Yes, drug use was mentioned, but even without getting into the case for legality there’s been plenty of drug use in movies and TV over the years. The Wire, Trainspotting, Pulp Fiction – did all these and others all not get an Australian classification? Don’t even bother to answer since I have them on DVD.
And then there’s the reasons for State of Decay, which I though sounded like a straightforward zombie shooter but is apparently also a non-stop drug fuelled haze.
The Classification Board’s report, obtained by news.com.au explained that it banned the game because it contains the option of self-administered drugs throughout, in order to restore players’ health or boost their stamina.
“These ‘medications’ include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, ‘trucker pills’, painkillers and tussen,” the report reads.
“Of these, methadone, morphine and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term ‘stimulant’ is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.”
/sarc How can I have been so silly? Of course an open world zombie survival game is going to reward players whose characters in game spend their whole time ripped off their tits rather than running from, hiding from and hacking up zombies. And naturally whenever this happens the player themselves feels the effect by the magic of, er, game magic. Come on, we’ve all puked in our own laps after making Shepard get shitfaced to the point of passing out in that bar in Mass Effect 2, haven’t we?
You didn’t? You know what, neither did I.
So we’re back where we were a few years ago: adult gamers in Australia having to wait around for the game to be specially ruined for the Australia market because the censors didn’t like something in it that in terms of the whole game was a really trivial point.
“State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board (ACB). We’ve run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We’re working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it’s going to take a bit.”
Or, as several commenters wrote on both of The Age’s articles, people will just buy Refused Classification games abroad or online. And we shouldn’t be surprised if at least a few take the path of least resistance and get a pirated version instead of paying. But if the government and its regulators are going to make doing the decent thing too hard that will be the inevitable result.
All of which makes me think that if the censor refuses, for sometimes quite subjective reasons, to pass games that people want to play but, for obvious practical reasons, can’t stop people getting them elsewhere there isn’t much point in having a censor at all.
The dead of Newtown, CT, have only just begun to be buried but certain parts of the media are doing their damnedest to make sure the story stays unburied for as long as humanly possible. Readers, I give you the a report from Nine News and also the take of their print brethren at Melbourne Herald Sun and a piece of froth flecked outrage that has passed their respective in-house test for balanced journalism, factual errors and partisan language notwithstanding. In case the video on that link isn’t viewable from outside Australia here’s a screencap of part of it – you’ll see why in a minute.
Now let’s get straight into the lip foaming copy, shall we?
Two Victorian high schools sent students as young as 12 on an excursion to a shooting range just two days after a US gunman killed 20 children and six educators in the Sandy Hook massacre.
And if Victoria was anywhere near Connecticut or if the head had seen the news and been inspired to organise the shooting trip because of it that would be perhaps insensitive in the first case and more than a little fucking weird in the second. However, this took place more than 16,000km – over 10,000 miles for those of you working in old money – away, and, as Nine eventually get round to hinting, was organised and booked well before the appalling murders of last Friday.
“It crossed my mind (to cancel the trip after the US tragedy) … but do you stop teaching swimming because someone drowned?” Ballarat High School senior co-ordinator Michael Cook told the Herald Sun.
“We were really too far committed to it.”
Michael Cook makes a very good point, though if it were me I might have mentioned all those charity sausage sizzles in aid of the Black Saturday bushfires three years ago. I don’t recall anyone cracking the shits about people lighting up barbecues after a couple of towns erased from the map, hundreds or thousands of homes destroyed and 174 left dead by bushfires that occurred right fucking here in this state. Tad hypocritical? Don’t answer yet – I’m not done.
This is Harold Holt, Prime Minister of Australia from Januray 1966 to December the following year, when he disappeared and drowned (presumably – his body was never recovered and so there are various entertaining alternative theories) while swimming off Portsea, south of Melbourne.
This is… well, it kind of speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
In case you’re wondering the Harold Holt Swim Centre was named couple of years after the event. And nobody seems to have any kind of problem with that, instead pointing out that Holt was a keen swimmer when non Aussies ask why the hell they named a swimming pool after a drowning victim.
But I digress, because having dealt with the schlock journalism of emotional shit stirring we get to the slack journalism of getting things fucking wrong.
More than 50 students from Ballarat High School and Beaufort Secondary College were taught to fire up to 20 rounds each at the Beaufort Gun Club yesterday.
Rounds? Look at that screencap at the top again. Look more like the kind of guns that fire cartridges of shot to me, but perhaps I’m just being pedantic. Rounds, cartridges, bullets, shot – kinda sorta all the same thing to some people, including some journos who seem to pick up most of what they know about guns from Hollywood. Which would explain the next sentence.
The students, aged between 12 and 15, were heard talking about the Connecticut school shooting during the excursion while their classmates learnt to use the rifles.
RIFLES? Look, Nine, a gun that is too long to be a pistol isn’t necessarily a rifle. Do you really have no staff at all who are know the difference between rifles and shotguns and are capable of spotting it before you go to air/web? Christ’s sakes, I’m not saying you should be able to recognise it as a shotgun event just from what’s going on in the picture (looks like some kind of trap discipline to me, which I’d say is a great way to start newcomers since everything – shot and targets – is going away and you can set things up to throw fairly easy ones to give everyone a good chance of breaking a few clays), but surely you’d, oh, not being a journalist I wouldn’t know, but maybe phone the fucking club and ask?
However, Nine weren’t the only ones to say it was rifles, though they were still using the term while showing close-ups of break action over/under shotties on the early evening news. I’d heard rifles mentioned on the car radio earlier, and although my own first experience of shooting was with rifles I suspected it might actually be shotguns because the school’s in rural Victoria and shotguns probably aren’t uncommon in farming towns. There’s a zillion sodding rabbits out there, after all.
So Nine’s real sin might in fact be not doing their own story and just re-writing someone else’s. Hmm, who could that be?
…told the Herald Sun.
Source: Herald Sun
The Herald Sun, where we read:
A VICTORIAN high school has defended its decision to take students as young as 12 on a shooting expedition two days after the Sandy Hook massacre.
Journalism or churnalism on Nine’s (and others’) part? I’ll leave that for you to decide, but I find it interesting that the Herald Sun piece, time stamped 3:23pm, actually mentions shotguns rather than rifles. Whether that was a hasty correction after everyone else had jumped aboard the outrage bus and was screaming about rifles, because the creature responsible for the murders in America used a rifle too you know, I have no idea, but it just means the story is slightly more factual (it still talks about rounds). It’s still not exactly what you’d call balanced when it contains phrases like this (my bold):
More than 50 students, aged between 12 and 15, from Ballarat High School and Beaufort Secondary College attended the Beaufort Gun Club yesterday where they were taught to wield shotguns and fire up to 20 rounds each.
I’ll tell you now and for free, those students were not taught to wield a shotgun or anything else. Wielding is what you do with a weapon (do please check your dictionaries for the definition of wield, Herald Sun journos) and while like practically anything else it can be used as one a shotgun of the type designed for trap shooting is not a weapon. It’s just a gun. I could bore you with details of why it’s not even a weapon, or is at best sub-optimal as a weapon, from the point of view of the fluffy bunnykins, but if you’re interested you can Google the differences between trap and field guns along with the differences in gun design for different clay target disciplines. Or you could trust me on this: it’s just a gun and not a weapon in the same way that a carving knife is just a knife and not a dagger. Dangerous? Yes, that goes without saying. But not a weapon, only a gun.
And not being a weapon the kids would sure as hell not have been taught to wield one. They’d have been taught to handle and shoot one safely and responsibly so that they’re not a danger to themselves or others, which may be the reason they didn’t come back dead or scared half to death but, well, like this.
Students participating in the outing at the shooting range yesterday were heard discussing the Sandy Hook massacre while their classmates fired.
A 14-year-old Year 8 student described her first experience holding a shotgun as “fun”.
“I was a little nervous, but I’d definitely do it again,” she said.
And despite the predictable whining from the state Education Minister and a gun control lobby talking head (why do we even have a gun control lobby here – they’ve already won) about the timing of the trip, protests from the school about it having been booked long before notwithstanding, I personally think it’s entirely appropriate to teach responsible and safe firearms handling when the fallout from irresponsible, dangerous and downright murderous firearms handling is in people’s minds.
Or would you not want to teach kids interested in swimming how to stay afloat because Harold Holt drowned?
P.S. Just out of interest I wonder will the left suddenly learn to love Murdoch now his publications are reminding us that he is – and I have a vague recollection always was – opposed to private citizens owning effective means of defence? Seems odd that he chose to give up citizenship of one country to become a citizen of one of the few, perhaps the only, nation on the planet that recognises that right.
It seems that the Australian Hoplophobia and Victimless Crimes and Non-Offences Department has been merged with the Australian Olympic Committee, if this is anything to go by.
CONTROVERSIAL swimmers Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk could face sanctions from the Australian Olympic Committee after posting photos of themselves posing with high-powered guns.
D’Arcy and Monk posed with the weapons in a gun shop in the US where the Australian swimming team has been training and competing before the Olympics which start next month.
Swimming Australia (SA) ordered the pair to remove the photos from their Facebook and Twitter accounts under their social media policy.
The AOC said it will await SA’s investigation before considering sanctions.
“We think it’s foolish and inappropriate and we are awaiting an investigation by Swimming Australia, then we’ll look at it,” AOC spokesman Mike Tancred said.
Well, I’d agree it looks pretty retarded and not the most mature thing ever photographed (though a little credit can be given for at least keeping fingers out of the trigger guards – that really winds me up when I see that), but is it a big deal? Really? I mean, let’s just take a look at a photo of another Australian Olympian, confirmed only today as being in the team for the London Games.
So what’s the logic here? If sportsmen being pictured with guns is somehow wrong because it’s the gun that’s the problem then how is it okay to photograph those who compete in shooting events with what, for the sake of those who might find the word G-U-N intimidating, I shall simply call an essential item in their sport? It’s no less of a gun, is it? Okay, maybe to hoplophobes and nannies there’s a big difference between a double barrelled O/U and a pump action, and certainly to those who drafted Australia’s gun laws there is. And yes, at a push I’ll agree that there are lots of little differences, but if it’s being misused – and by misused I don’t mean posing like a wanker in a gun shop – then a clay shooters gun is just as lethal. Or to put it another way, if it’s being handled correctly then a pump action shotgun is no more dangerous than a clay pigeon shooter’s gun.
So if it’s not necessarily guns in photos that’s the problem I wonder if it’s just guns in the hands of non-shooting sports people that makes the photo somehow wrong. And if it is that then I wonder how the AOC feel about shooters appearing in swimwear in general, and in particular, as I mentioned last month, the bet that Russell Mark lost on the Carlton vs St Kilda footy game which means him wearing a Borat mankini. Except of course we already know how the AOC feel about it because they said it at the time.
“Age is the problem here. Russell is no spring chicken, his days of being a model are long gone, and we don’t think it would be a good look for the team to have Russell in a mankini,” Mr Tancred said.
“Besides, this will be his sixth Olympics and he is a chance to be named as flag bearer. Imagine the flag bearer out in front of our Team in a mankini. And a big butch shooter at that.”
‘Not a good look’ is hardly a damning indictment, is it? And on top of that it seems likely that Russell Mark’s wife Lauryn is going to stand in for him and be photographed instead for a lads’ mag (for an undisclosed fee payable to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital) which I imagine will mean her showing a fair bit of skin and could mean pictures of her in her bathers. And since Lauryn is also an Olympic shooter… I don’t have to explain where I’m going with this, do I? There’s talk about Monk and D’Arcy glamourising guns but if Lauryn Marks photo shoot includes so much as one picture of her in a bikini with her Beretta that would be gold medal winning hypocrisy. Time will tell but you’d think there’d be noises about the idea already. Instead it seems like shooters in swimwear are okay, even if it’s the moderately horrifying thought of a 48 year old man wearing a Borat thong, but as soon as we swimmers with guns we’re supposed to all cry ‘Oh, the humanity!’*
But being realistic it’s not even as logical as having anything to do with what sport you compete in, as evidenced by this comment.
Nick Green, the chef de mission for the Australian Olympic team, said: “These postings today are foolish and clearly inappropriate for members of the 2012 Australian Olympic Team.
And reading between the lines I take that simply to mean ‘Oh noes, it’s teh guns’ coupled with these two individuals having a poor record when it comes to generating bad press. Foolish and inappropriate? Wasn’t betting that you’d wear a mankini in public if Carlton lost to St Kilda foolish (at least in hindsight – Russell Mark wasn’t the only one who thought Carlton were a dead cert)? And isn’t it just inevitable that someone somewhere, some tedious joyless arsehole, is going to say that Lauryn Mark’s photoshoot for a lads’ mag is inappropriate unless she’s pictured sans gun to keep the lefties happy and, somewhat implausibly for a mum of two, avec chastity belt to saitsfy the religious nuts who think a glimpse of an ankle is porn? I think the only reason the feminists aren’t frothing about that already is because they’re too busy with the Americans for sending the Lingerie Football League over here.
Look, I don’t think that the photo of the swimmers suggests the kind of attitude I’d like to see around firearms, but they’re in a gun store and not only is it likely that someone who knows what they’re doing was never far away but it’s highly unlikely that the stock is kept loaded and ready to fire. And for all we know right after the picture was taken the staff told them to stop dicking about and leave. If D’Arcy and Monk have a contract with Swimming Australia that says all social media pictures have to be approved by SA first in case someone embarrasses the team then that’s one thing, but since nobody went crazy at Russell Mark for making a silly bet and putting himself in the position where he might end up embarrassing men everywhere I’d say it’s still a little hypocritical. This isn’t even a victimless crime, it’s a victimless non-crime non-event that unless SA has training sessions in gun stores would have taken place in their free time. If they’d done a stupid posed Facebook photo with a million things that weren’t guns nobody would have said a thing. But just because it’s scary bang sticks involved half the nation, including SA and the AOC, have shit themselves over it.
As the man said: harden the fuck up, Australia.
* It could also be said that with hoplophobia being so widespread short of winning medals having the sport’s more photogenic females start taking some of their kit off is almost the only way shooting disciplines get any media attention anyway.
The gay marriage debate rumbles and grumbles on, and while I’m not on the side of those who want to continue to use the state’s monopoly on force to maintain their preferred definition in law I have just as big a problem with those who don’t want this ended so much as to be given their turn at the controls. And what really gets my goat about this is their apparent enthusiasm for the kind of tactics they’d deplore, and rightly so, if used against the gay community.
As James mentioned at the Orphanage the other day and as I blogged here yesterday, Archbishop Cranmer has been taken to task by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for including on his blog an ad in favour of the current definition. It was, natch, ‘offensive’ and ‘homophobic’, though whether this is the ad or the act of carrying it isn’t all that clear, and the ASA have told him that they’re investigating and given him a time limit for response. I’d say this is pretty chickenshit of them because, as His Grace points out in his reply to the ASA, Guido and Conservative Home are apparently not being investigated despite carrying the offending ad as well. Helloooo, equality before the law? Where are you? Perhaps it’s worth approaching Muslim bloggers to see if they’d like to carry the ad as well, because I rate the chances of the ASA growing the balls needed to lean on the Muslims to embrace gay marriage as being so close to zero as makes no difference. Or maybe not since some of them would want the definition expanded in the other direction to mean man and ≤ 4 wives. and the ASA might just be capable of the kind of doublethink needed to deal with that. In any case His Grace has penned an excellent reply to the ASA and still has the ad up on his blog, and while I don’t agree with him long may it stay there. I don’t want his definition of marriage to have the force of law behind it but if his freedom to say what he thinks can be limited then anyone else in Britain can be similarly silenced, and that includes, if they’d only stop to think about it for a minute, the gay equality lobby.
And then we come to something else James mentioned, and actually what’s prompted this post. Here in Oz the Deputy Chief Trick Cyclist of Victoria (and I have to admit I had no idea we even had a Chief one – something else taxpayers are being squeezed for despite the state having some money troubles) and one time Christian missionary , Professor Kuruvilla George, co-signed a letter to a Senate inquiry into marriage equality.
Twenty-two Victorian GPs, anaesthetists, obstetricians, palliative care specialists and psychiatrists, including Prof Kuravilla George, have joined 150 colleagues interstate to argue gay marriage poses a health risk to society.
In a letter to the Senate’s inquiry into marriage equality, the group wrote that it was “important for the future health of our nation” to retain the definition of marriage as being between a man and woman.
“We submit the evidence is clear that children who grow up in a family with a mother and father do better in all parameters than children without,” they wrote.
Leaving aside whether there’s merits in the argument it should be noted that Prof George signed that letter as a private citizen, not in his capacity as the No. 2 Official Brain Drainer of the state of Victoria or as a member of the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission. So why this?
… former national AMA president and gay rights activist Kerryn Phelps said the doctors should “hang their heads in shame” and that Prof George’s position on the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission should be reviewed.
Or this (from a letter to The Age)?
… Professor George is no ordinary citizen. He has used his standing as a medical practitioner to support claims that are not only scientifically false but seriously undermine any objective assessment of equality or support for good mental health.
Attorney-General Robert Clark cannot pick and choose which laws he wishes upheld or not [referring here to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights – AE]. Professor George’s private views have demonstrated his unsuitability for both offices he holds. His positions are now untenable, and he should be immediately stood down.
That same freedom of expression that means someone can write to the papers and say that someone’s publicly expressed opinions should get him the sack also means that those opinions can be expressed publicly in the first place, and if lost it applies to potentially everyone. Sadly for free speech, though I imagine happily for Melbourne’s population of trendy Fitzroy lefties who I expect were all fashionably outraged by his views, Prof George has today resigned from the Equal Opportunities Commission.
I might agree with the Fitzroy lefties that Prof George’s argument is bollocks but it worries me deeply that someone can be successfully driven from a job merely for saying something others, whether representing a majority or just a powerfully vocal minority (which here can mean Christians as often as it means the gay rights mob), dislike or disagree with. As I said earlier, if this can be done to one person it can be done to anyone at all once political fashions change and a once accepted opinion becomes the Thought That Dare Not Speak Its Name.
Today it’s homophobic (whether actually homophobic or merely allegedly homophobic) views being frowned on and those who voice them being hounded, but what’s stopping a future in which it’s the other way round or an equally right-on contemporary view being declared unacceptable and attracting punishment? If freedom to criticise the goose is good for the gander then it’s just as important for the goose to be able to say something worth criticising. Without that they’re both mute. And cooked.
I still have lots on my plate but I can’t let this pass without comment.
Boris Johnson faces being drawn into a bitter dispute over homosexuality after banning advertisements on London buses promoting the idea that gay people can be “cured”.
Transport chiefs stepped in on the Mayor’s orders to block the posters, faced with a the prospect of the argument being played on the streets of the capital next week with rival advertisments.
Two Christian groups announced on Thursday that they had booked advertising space promoting the idea that people can become “post-gay” through therapy.
Anglican Mainstream, a traditionalist Christian coalition, and Core Issues Trust – a counselling group which practices controversial “reorientation” therapy – wanted to place full-length banners reading: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get Over It!”
They are a direct response to advertisements taken out by the gay rights group Stonewall earlier this month as part of the campaign for same-sex marriage reading: “Some people are Gay. Get over it!”
So Stonewall get to place their advert sending a message I don’t particularly care about one way or the other, yet the god squad groups are banned from responding with their claim that gayness is something that can be (not, it would seem, necessarily should be) cured. Personally I think it’s a stretch to claim that someone can be prayed straight or whatever the details are and I’m not sure how you’d distinguish between someone who’s gay and been cured and someone who’s gay and been inspired, persuaded or brainwashed into sticking a crucifix on the closet door and climbing inside. Seriously, how would you test that, and even more seriously why would you even bother? I don’t care that if someone is gay and I equally don’t care whether they were and have been cured through prayer or if faith is leading them to live a lie. As long as neither one is proselytising and/or shagging me their sexuality and religious beliefs are a matter of supreme indifference.
I also don’t care if they talk about it. I don’t have to read what they write and I don’t have to listen to what they say. I can walk away from either of them at any time so as far as I’m concerned there’s no reason why they shouldn’t both be free to say their piece. The Christians’ may be saying something that sounds like complete horseshit to me but if we silenced everyone for spouting horseshit politicians would be silenced almost forever. And no, even that’s not a good reason for doing it because freedom of speech is an absolute – if saying even just one thing is off limits then ipso facto speech is restricted and everyone is fair game. This is the reality, and I fucking hate it, and I hate it that fuckwit right-on politwats like Boris ‘The Ban’ Johnson – he has form in this area, remember – take huge, steaming shits on liberty in the name of fairness and sucking up to minorities.
“It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.”
So it’s offensive? And what, Boris? That I think these Christians are deluding themselves and that their gay cure is at best mind games and at worst purest snake oil would probably offend them, so can I say it or not? That you’ve decided they can’t say it almost certainly offends them, so can you say that they were being offensive or would that cause enough offensive for you to have to censor yourself? Or is it simply a case of offending them is okay because fuck Christians, but not the gay rights groups? I rather suspect it’s the last one.
Look, if they’re selling a cure, as in for money, then by all means ban it on trade descriptions grounds for claiming something that’s fundamentally unverifiable, but it sounds rather like the usual kind of religious claim that we all accept as stating beliefs rather than making actual claims. I mean, nobody has verified eternal life after death, but we don’t have mayors of major international cities in the supposedly free world demanding that all those churches with John 5:24 on big boards outside take them down.
So, Boris, here’s my suggestion: let the gay groups say their bit and the religious groups say theirs, and let both of them get as offended by the other as they fucking please. There is no right to go through life not being offended by anything, and if you suggested that there should be I for one would be extremely upset, and deeply offended, by the implied loss of the liberty to speak one’s mind.
When it’s being used to attack an endangered species. Not a biological kind of species, because they usually have a queue of people trying to save them. This is a pub, and so the great and good are mostly absent with the exception of Stephen Fry.
Actor Stephen Fry, who’s in the cast of The Hobbit films, has accused their American copyright holder of bullying an English theme pub called The Hobbit.
Lawyers for California-based Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) have written to the landlady of the Southampton pub, demanding it changes its name and remove all references to author JRR Tolkien’s classic by the end of May or face legal action for copyright infringement.
Fry, who plays the Master of Laketown in The Hobbit being filmed in New Zealand, says he’s ashamed of being in the film business.
His tweet helped boost the cause of the Save the Hobbit, Southampton Facebook page, which quickly attracted more than 13,000 followers.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) March 13, 2012
He’s a funny bloke, Stephen Fry. Not funny ha-ha, though he certainly can be, but funny in that I really don’t know what to think about the guy. I once called him names because he defended political expense fiddling, but I’ve also blogged at how ridiculous it was that he had to cancel travel plans to Japan because of what someone else on QI said about one of the few double A-bomb survivors. In this instance, though, it’s very easy: I think Fry is absolutely right and I’d be fucking ashamed as well. What else can you think when a company who did not create the original works but have simply bought the rights is setting lawyers on to a member of a dying trade who’s highly unlikely to be able to afford to defend herself.
SZC are doubtless looking forward to a nice cheque from the movie studio behind the upcoming film, and this isn’t exactly promoting ‘The Hobbit’ (am I allowed to say that?) as a good brand. It’s tempting to suggest boycotting the film just so SZC, who are making money from doing fuck all I can see apart from buying the rights years ago – they’re not even making the fucking movie, for Christ’s sake – get less. I won’t because this isn’t the studio’s fault, but seriously, fuck Hollywood, fuck copyright abuse and fuck the parasites who live of this kind of thing. If a #BoycottTheHobbitmovie hashtag starts appearing regularly on Twitter I reckon it’ll be SZC who deserve the credit for it.
The conservation group Sea Shepherd has accused Japanese whalers of trying to sabotage one of its ships which is pursing the whaling fleet in the Antarctic.
Sea Shepherd’s long-range ship Bob Barker is in pursuit of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters 2,500 kilometres south of Tasmania.
In the most recent clash, Sea Shepherd accuses the two Japanese harpoon ships of trying to foul the propeller of the Bob Barker with thick cables and of training its spotlights on the ship’s bridge in an effort to blind the crew.
I don’t particularly care for whalers but I’m not a fan of Sea Shepherd either, and I find it pretty weak of them to complain about whalers using the same kind of tactics (not for the first time) against their vessel as they do against the whalers. No doubt the whalers will claim Sea Shepherd began this kind of thing and Sea Shepherd will claim it was the other way round. Don’t know the truth and don’t care – the point is that whining that what you do to others is being done to you doesn’t invoke much sympathy in me.
“The harpoon ships trained their spotlights on the bridge of the Bob Barker in an effort to blind the crew but backed off when the Bob Barker crew retaliated with lasers.”
Lasers. Which they just happened to have aboard. For absolutely no particular reason, I’m sure.
Fuck all of them.
On Sunday I talked about offence seeking and mentioned that something I find particularly weird is this fashion of being offended on behalf of someone else, particularly when they’re not all that bothered themselves, the example being the fuss made over comments by a couple of daytime TV hosts about VC recipient and SAS member Ben Roberts-Smith when he clearly doesn’t think it worth getting worked up about himself. This happens a lot these days, and its zenith (or nadir, depending on your point of view) is generally found when some well intentioned right-on type, generally white, gets offended about something on behalf of a group who are not white and begins talking about patronising these people without noticing how patronising it is to act as if they can’t decide whether to be offended for themselves but need some PC obsessed wanker to do it for them.
However, there’s another depth it can sink to, and that’s when actual threats of violent retaliation are made, which is about where we are now with the level of frothing outrage over the remarks of those two TV airheads.
Two more companies have pulled their sponsorship from the morning television show The Circle as Channel 10 today condemned a number of “extreme comments” and threats on social media sites targeting co-host Yumi Stynes.
The latest company to cut ties with The Circle was Mirvac Hotels and Resorts, which posted on its Facebook page that it had cancelled all sponsorship due to the “abhorrent comments” made on the show last week about Australian war hero Ben Roberts-Smith.
Yoplait has also reportedly withdrawn its advertising within the morning television show. Yoplait has been contacted for comment.
It follows news yesterday that Swisse Vitamins, coffee chain Jamaica Blue and Big 4 Holiday Parks had cut their ties with The Circle after Stynes, along with and veteran journalist and guest co-host George Negus, mocked the Victoria Cross recipient.
Stynes has since become the target of an online hate campaign, including physical threats against her and her children, and racial vilification.
If companies want to ditch advertising during or sponsorship of the show then that’s up to them, and if people want to boycott the show or the products of companies who – how very dare they – don’t think such puerile comments are worth changing their advertising strategies over then likewise. But threatening someone over it? Threatening their children? Seriously? Why, what did her kids do?
What the fuck is wrong with people?