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Professor Falken, If you’re bored with GeoGuessr or the Image Atari Breakout you can play a game of Global Thermonuclear War. Well see it played in a haunting video “1945-1998″ by Isao Hashimoto. Every nuclear explosion or test, 1945-1998. Scary and sometimes surprising stuff – I had no idea that Britain had detonated 44 nuclear explosions, or France and amazing 210 given it’s size.
There’s a lot of discussion about freedom of religion, what about freedom to have no religion? In many parts of the world that’s punishment by death or torture…I think that gets missed as people bleat about the right to discriminate, or that ‘atheism is a religion’ – well if you (wrongly) believe atheism or humanism is a religion why not respect it and afford the same protections?
Oh no, I didn’t think so.
This sort of thing is why I get angry at believers of any religion, because although a few are progressive and stand up against discrimination in their churches and mosques, the fact that people are allowed to discriminate within those same spaces suggest that the majority go for an easy life and turn a blind eye to what is going on. For if the majority in any group rise up and say ‘no, that’s not fair’ – as happened with racial prejudice – then things do change. But when you hear of Washington Republicans trying to change the law to defend homophobia (ie. prejudice against a ‘non-protected’ group) you realise that these people are drones in many senses (the kind of people who think drones are good, and also worker drones for their beliefs) and also incredibly stupid – as it would be really easy then for progressives to stop serving republicans and homophobes.
But as a commenter pointed out, this isn’t actually about the right to serve someone, businesses usually have the right to refuse service if they want apart from protected groups. It is about rubbing those LGBTQ couple’s noses in it, those ‘uppity faggots’ that dared defy them and win. That’s why moderates in any religion must resist these people – they are dragging you all through the dirt with them, if you turn a blind eye, or accept them or their churches into your ‘communion’ or group, then you are validating everything they believe in. And allowing them to propagate hate – which always ends up with people getting hurt or killed.
I’m far from a Dawkins-card carrying atheist, I hold some of these people with scepticism (a luxury they would appreciate) too. But I hear the tide turning for those who are right-wing, conservative, and religious and away from the freedom to choose. Some places never had it at all…and forcing those to believe seems the most horrible thing at all, and damages both humanity and any faith. Why not let people choose what they want to believe? Be it fluffy kittens or levitating saviours…until that freedom is truly there I don’t think any believer have a right to demand more respect from others, or even grant the little ol’heathen likes of me with the T for Tolerance card.
Sorry, I am not here to be ‘tolerated’, I demand the same basic respect that those with or without religion do, and you should too. That doesn’t mean devoid of criticism either, but that freedom to not be afraid of who you are is a basic human right, and telling people they are sinners or that they will be tortured or killed for not believing is not the way to gain any respect. And a dark mark will be on those who believe in any religion until the majority also believe – and actively support – such freedoms. In other words – sort your own house (of Religion, beief or just attitudes to others) out first before attending or attacking to anyone else’s.
First time I’ve heard the phrase ‘churnalism’ but I instinctively and immediately knew what it meant. The article in question about the coverage of Kim Gordon points out quite a few of the things I’ve been blathering on about here – apart from the important feminist point that why is a woman so multi-faceted and interesting as Kim Gordon defined by her soon-to-be-ex but also the kind of FIRST!ism and laziness that appears for most music blogging and writing today, especially online.
(And WTF is she doing in Elle? Not exactly the bastion of feminist critique, I have to say I did think that, although it is a good article. Like Vice & Buzzfeed doing serious journalism, in the post-blog mediascape there are some strange bedfellows in 2013).
I loved this quote in The Quietus which confirms everything I’ve been saying about music blogging recently. YES! I do like it when what people think are my crazy rantings get separately verified:
hungry for content, content, content, the music website community scrambled to reproduce a small part of it, as if it was some kind of scoop. This sort of thing is not reporting, it’s selective cutting and pasting.
Like the pieces it spawns, this practice is everywhere. When I first started writing for music websites, one of them offered to let me work on their news section. This opportunity excited me – not only was I being offered an outlet for my own writing, I was also being given an opportunity to exercise my journalistic muscles. A few minutes later, however, links to two existing news stories that had recently been published on other sites landed in my inbox. ‘Just rewrite these for us and send them back when you can,’ said the email. ‘Why?’ I thought – ‘What is the point?’
Elsewhere, editors send press releases to writers asking, “Will you write this up?”, the subsequent rewrites are then picked up by other editors, writers rewrite the rewrites and so it goes on until, barely transformed and rarely investigated further, a single snappily written press release has become news, featured on the front page of every website whose readership might have a vague interest in its contents.
Not only do I see this from the press releases that get punted my way (then pop up verbatim elsewhere, pre-written slices of promotional turd for your blog!), I also easily reverse-engineered this from the writing style. The voice of a blogger is like a fingerprint, if they write more than a few posts you get the style. So when someone starts basically doing the music blogging version of copying someone’s homework, it’s easy to spot because it doesn’t read as them, it reads as that awfully perky inoffensive bland pressreleasese. You know, the sort that says ‘Daddy Paid For My Politics And Humanities Degree You Know, But I’m Going To Slum It Here And Rave About Death Grips and Bon Iver To You!!!!’.
If this was relegated to music journalism it would be painful for me, but not earth shattering to the world…but sadly this ‘churnalism’ and tweetcycle is infecting all the news – look at what damage that sub-reddit did to the Boston bombing investigation. Sorry, you don’t get to call out Murdoch & co. for the horrors of Hackgate with Milly Dowler then sit happily behind your computer while you defame and upset the parents of another missing person, Sunil Tripathi? Who has now been found dead in a river for some time, so I hope you all feel real proud of yourselves, Reddit CID?
And then you have the AP hack on Twitter. I mean someone shouts FIRE! and everyone reaches for their cameraphones and tweets about it, it’s embarrassing. I suspect from my experience on Facebook where normally sane people are forwarding and sharing medically dangerous or wrong information just because it panders to their cognitive biases that the horse has not only bolted in that one, it’s become a new line of I Can Haz Cheezburgers.
Crowd-sourcing and this kind of churnalism is making people dumber, not smarter. Yes I think you could utilise the new technology and the mass of people, like the Mechanical Turk I’ve mentioned before, to help out an investigation, but I think it has to be more directed and contributors have to stop thinking they are suddenly in a special program of Reddit C.S.I. and leave the real conclusions to, you know, the trained experts.
And I don’t totally buy the sneering from the dead tree press either, the news cycle was rather cosy and sedate and social media has proved it’s worth during disasters and the news events like Trafigura or Rolf Harris where there was a complete legal blackout. But it does seem that mostly this is not a real desire for informed news, but a prurient nose-thumbing or online lynching, as the sad case of the Boston Sub-reddit has shown – or indeed the less serious but more subtly patriarchal case of press around Kim Gordon’s marriage.
That isn’t news, that’s spying on your neighbour over the fence with high-powered binoculars.
Not ignoring the sad news in Boston but have to concentrate on something else for obvious reasons and this great campaign by Moms Demand Action deserves not to be lost in the tidal wave of rubbernecking that will happen very shortly (oh yes, the centre of the storm is far from tranquil sadly).
And I love this campaign, because I didn’t know Little Red Riding Hood had been banned, unlike assault weapons which should not be on sale even in the Land of the Free. Sadly the UK learned that to it’s cost years ago in Hungerford and then Dunblane, I hope Newtown means that the mythical hunters that must pump many rounds per second into deer are sadly disappointed. I think they’ll get over it. Even though a few silly armchair heroes – especially now – will make ludicrous claims that guns stop such violence, or terrorism, when they actually do neither.