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Sunday, November 11, 2012

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anthony Bloody Mundine

Anthony Mundine has definitely done it again - made a complete dickhead of himself.

Mundine's latest stunt is making himself the arbiter of what it means to be Aboriginal in Australia. His definition clearly means you must have sufficient darkness of your skin - like him - and most definitely do not dare to have a 'white' wife and kids. And God help you if you don't measure up to his standards. Or perhaps it should be Allah help you - after all, Mundine did not just convert to Islam (I don't give a damn about what his chosen religion is) but declared himself to be 'The Chosen One' ie chosen by Allah (which I definitely do give a damn about - what phenomenal arrogance).

In the wake of terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, Mundine defended the act, claiming "it’s not about terrorism. It’s about fighting for God’s law." I wonder if it ever occurred to him that faithful fellow Muslims also died in that attack?

This is the same clown that when getting his professional boxing career off the ground, tried to make a Big Man out of himself by challenging fighters from the past. I watched the televised bout between he and Lester Ellis. Ellis had been retired for some years, was considerably older than Mundine, shorter, fought in a much lighter weight category and was by then clearly well out of shape. Judging by some footage of Ellis in the change room before the fight, I was also left with the feeling that he had finished his career without all his marbles still in place. But Mundine did not just challenge Ellis, he publicly taunted Ellis into agreeing to the bout.

The fight was stopped early in the first round with Ellis's corner throwing in the towel. Mundine celebrated this 'win' by leaping around like a madman, punching the air and doing standing somersaults. For what? Beating a much older, long retired, out-of-shape retired fighter that Mundine towered over?

After that, Mundine started a long-running campaign, challenging retired world champion, Jeff Fenech, to get into the ring with him. Yet more media carrying on, building himself up. Fenech responded by saying rather than Mundine challenging a retired fighter from several weight classes below him, that he instead do the same thing by stepping up weight classes to challenge Mike Tyson. And as Fenech is friends with Tyson, he said he was pretty sure he could organise it. No meaningful response from Mundine. Which is a pity. I have no doubt that even the retired 'Iron Mike' could have wiped the floor with Mundine.

This was part of Mundine's way of making himself out to be such a Big Man. I half-expected him to throw down the challenge to the retired Johnny Famechon who was in his fifties and crippled by a car accident.

Mundine has previously put himself forward as a representative and spokesperson for Australian indigenous people. Except now he is not just a self-appointed spokesperson, he is a self-appointed tyrannical dictator. If you do not measure up to his expectations then expect to be on the receiving end of his rants that would be more at home in a training manual for the Ku Klux Klan or a neo-Nazi gang. The current target of that vitriol is Daniel Geale.

Geale identifies himself as a Tasmanian aboriginal, wears an icon of the Indigenous Australian flag on his shorts and is to face off against Mundine in a title fight. But according to Mundine, Geale is not black enough, that his having a white wife and children is somehow proof that Geale should not be able to call himself aboriginal. Mundine even resorted to the long-disproved theory that all the Tasmanian aboriginals were killed off long ago. For crying out loud - what is this? 1963?

I am not an indigenous Australia. If I were, I would be highly embarrassed to have the likes of Mundine claiming to represent me and my interests.

At the end of the day, this is typical Dickhead Mundine behaviour which goes well with his dressing like a pimp and talking 'street' (which suddenly appeared later in his life) - just a pretense at being a Gangsta Badass. The only purpose it serves is to give him more media attention which I expect shows him off as a media whore rather than any other legitimate purpose.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

And so it still continues with Alan Jones.

Let us take a step back for a moment.

Lebanese Muslims are rapists - according to Alan Jones.

Julie Gillard is only fit to be sewn up in a chaff bag and tossed into the sea - according to Alan Jones.

Julia Gillard killed her father - according to Alan Jones.

Those are only three of the many outrageous statements he has made over the years. He has repeatedly been in trouble with the Australian Communications and Broadcasting Authority for, to quote Monica Attard, failing to meet pretty basic broadcast standards.

Now Jones and his employers at radio 2GB are calling foul because there are campaigns running online against him.

As recent episodes with Charlotte Dawson have demonstrated, there are arseholes and idiots out there who get their rocks off by making nasty threats etc behind the assumed anonymity of social media such as Twitter. But given Jones's repeated offensive behaviour over the years, I would have thought he would be quite used to angry responses to him.That said, I do not support threats of violence or anything like that. And if there are people out there who are using the current controversy over Jones as an excuse to respond in kind to Jones, then they do not have my support. But that does not mean that everyone who supports the campaign to have Jones held accountable for his continuing abuse of his position with incitement of hatred and other similar socially unacceptable stunts, is automatically a bully as both Jones and his station have claimed today.

To hold the opinion that Alan Jones is a piece of filth is not bullying. To express the opinion that he is a piece of filth who should be held properly accountable is not bullying. To call on the sponsors who have been throwing megabucks at Jones for years to cease supporting his behaviour is an expression of social outrage. To expect 2GB to pull him into line is not bullying.

In contrast, to use a radio broadcasting position and other events such as speaking opportunities that are a direct result of that broadcasting position, to then disseminate hatred and vile abuse, is most definitely being a bully.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always.

The Jones saga worsens

Alan Jones is finally really coming under the hammer for his behaviour.

Radio 2GB has announced that it is pulling all sponsorship from the Jones timeslot. That may seem to be something of a victory for those who have been demanded that Jones be held accountable. But have a closer read. Macquarie Radio Network executive chairman Russell Tate stated "There is almost universal agreement that Jones' remarks were unacceptable, wrong and inexcusable. Alan himself acknowledged that from the moment he first advised me of them. He immediately arranged a media conference to state that publicly and apologise to the Prime Minister." Tate is essentially arguing that the baddies in this matter are not Jones or the station that has employed him for so long and supported all of his outrageous behaviour, but those who are now calling for him to be held accountable. They have had years in which do something about it but have failed to do so. Why? Quite obviously because they have been making money out of it.
Clearly Tate is taking the stance that Jones issued an apology via a press conference. There is a problem with that view. Go and listen to that press conference. There are copies of it online. Jones does not actually say "I am sorry" to Prime Minister Gillard.

There is a bigger issue here that is being overlooked. This is not just a matter of a single, accidental outburst by Jones.

Alan Jones has a history of using his position to push disgusting and deliberately hateful and hurtful positions. He has been directly profiting from these. Allow me to recap some again:
  • cash for comment scandal where he was pocketing large sums of money for making positive comments on air about products and organisations but hiding the fact they were actually paid advertisements - by deliberately hiding the truth, in my opinion he was nothing but a liar;
  • being found guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims immediately prior to the 2005 race riot in Sydney - in my opinion he was damned lucky to escape being found guilty of worse things considering he was reading out text messages which to all intents and purposes advertised the planned, violent attacks on Muslims, being organised and pushed by white supremicists (the leader of which publicly called for police protection after the riot) - please note I am not claiming Jones to be a white supremacist, but merely whoring himself to make a buck;
  • Jones's appeal against the above finding being dismissed for being largely irrelevant ie he could not come up with a decent excuse for or defense of his actions;
  • a continuing, deliberate and hurtful campaign against Julie Gillard which went way beyond any reasoned political stance, including his using his airtime to call for Gillard to be sewn up in a chaff bag and thrown into the sea - this was not just a bit of satire or goofing around but was delivered in his hostile and inflammatory manner.
The fact that Alan Jones has retained his lucratively paid position means that he has been consistently rewarded for his behaviour.

The extent of his sponsorship deals is demonstrated by the fact that he has been driving around in a new Mercedes worth $250,000, that was given to him by Mercedes Benz. Mercedes Benz have cancelled their sponsorship, having had enough of the Jones behaviour and are demanded their car back. Good.

In Australia we have been damned fortunate to not have the extent of social troubles experienced elsewhere. But we still have some. And the sort of stunts pulled by Alan Jones merely add to those. He has a long history of deceitful, deceptive and socially unacceptable behaviour. And enough is enough. Like everyone else, he has to be held accountable for his actions.

A small update - I have just discovered that I am in agreement with Peter FitzSimons. I feel unclean.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Keep flushing the dunny and get rid of the turd!

the petition calling for sacking of Jones
There are some things in life that are really unpleasant and annoying. Like the stray turd that refuses to be flushed away, stubbornly floating on top of the water in the dunny bowl until eventually being forced off down into the sewer where it belongs.

That analogy could also be applied to people such as, oh I don’t know – perhaps radio broadcaster, Alan Jones. Make that definitely Alan Jones.

Controversy surrounds Jones like a foul smell which refuses to go away. Probably because Jones is the source of the stench.

Alan Jones’s latest stunt was to use his speaking appearance at a recent event to launch a viscous attack on Australian Prime Minister, Julie Gillard. But this was no attack against her polices or her government. Oh no. This was an obviously planned and intended diatribe that Ms Gillard was the cause of her father’s death, that he literally died of shame, that he had lived in shame for years every time she stood in an election.

True to form, Jones did not let the facts get in the way of a good rant. The fact that Mr Gillard was in his eighties and already hospitalised did not have anything to do with his passing. According to Jones, Gillard Senior literally died of shame.

What a load of crap.

The event in question was a fund-raising event by a branch of the Young Liberals (for my North American friends, for ‘liberal’ read ‘republican’) with Jones as the featured speaker. Unfortunately for Jones, a reporter was present, having purchased their own ticket and presumably hoping for something newsworthy dripping from Jonesy’s lips. And pretty much all hell has broken loose on Jones after the story was released.

Controversy in highly questionable circumstances is hardly new to Jones. For example, he was caught up in the nasty ‘cash for comment’ scandal where he was pocketing lucrative payments to make positive statements about particular products and organisations. You may be asking ‘so what?’ – isn’t that what advertising is? No, it isn’t the same. Jones was pocketing the money, whoring himself out but pretending it was independent commentary, quite deliberately hiding the fact that it was in fact paid comment. But he still claims to be an independent broadcaster. Yeah. Right. Better keep an eye out for those flying pigs as well.

Back in 2005, there was nothing short of a race riot in Sydney. Being openly pushed by a white supremacist group among others, this started as a brawl on the beach before spilling out into the streets and public transport. Just having the appearance of someone from the Middle East was enough to cop a beating as CCT footage amply demonstrated.

Just prior to that riot, Alan Jones was talking it up on his radio program. He was reading out alleged text messages which advertised it. He openly referred to Lebanese Muslims as "vermin" who "rape and pillage a nation that's taken them in".

Not surprisingly, a complaint was made to the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal. In 2009, the Tribunal found that he” incited hatred and vilified Lebanese Muslims.” He was fined, forced to publicly apologise and his employer condemned for their practices in allowing this behaviour to go ahead. Jones appealed. Just as the furore over his ‘death by shame’ comments burst, the Tribunal finally ruled on his appeal, dismissing it.

This is someone caught out using his broadcasting time to disseminate racial hatred. In my opinion he was quite lucky to escape even more serious punishment for a perception of a role in inciting racial riot.

Yet again, Alan Jones was way over the line. Yet again, Alan Jones managed to apologise but without actually saying ‘I’m sorry,’ instead turning into an opportunity for yet another rant. Yet again, Alan Jones is essentially getting away with simply unacceptable behaviour. His radio station has loved him because he has been bringing in big bucks, thereby justifying his own big bucks salary.

It has been reported that sponsors have been pulling out. If that is a complete withdrawal from funding sponsorship at the radio station, then beaut – hit them in their pockets. But if it were just moving the sponsorship to another timeslot, then it is a pretty empty action, not actually causing the station any loss.

I was happier to learn that regional radio stations have dropped their subscriptions to take Jones’s broadcast. Now that is definitely a monetary loss to the station – and good news it is. Causing them actual real financial loss is clearly the only way to get the message across.

A petition is now circulating around courtesy of the Internet, calling for boycotts of Jones, his program and his station, further calling for his sacking. Naturally enough, Jonesy didn’t like that either, having a blast against it on-air. Clearly in his world’s view, he is the only one who should be allowed an opinion, nobody else. As for people daring to disagree with him, watch out you scum suckers! Well, I signed it happily enough and have included a link to it at the head of this post. As I type this, the petition has 108,038 'signatories'.

In all of this, Prime Minister Gillard has shown a distinct quiet dignity. She has declined to give comment against Jones other than to state she refuses to ever appear on his program again, as well as thanking the many Australians who have made contact to express their sympathy. She has also declined to accept calls from Jones.

Let's be honest about things. Jones has only backed off because he was caught out. His attempted defense that he thought it was a private event is nonsense - it was an event that anyone could have bought a ticket to. Would he be making such a public stance if he hadn't been so publicly caught out? No bloody way.

In contrast, pretty much the only comment from her opposite number, Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, has been to refuse to boycott appearances on Jones’s program. Fair enough – he has the right to appear there or not. But am I the only one who thinks Abbott should be making comment on someone using a Liberal Party-affiliated event for such an appalling, over the top attack? Especially if it was a paid appearance and I sincerely doubt Jonesy would be turning up as a featured speaker as a freebie. Or is it really just a case of Tony Abbott’s usual stance that in his opinion, pretty much anything goes. One cannot help but wonder just what class taught that world view back at the seminary he studied at?

In the meantime, Alan Jones is now in the midst of a real stink. Perhaps, with a bit of luck, we shall see the ultimate flush that sees Jones off swimming down in the sewer with the rest of the turds where he belongs.

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always. Or even follow the blog by email. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

When to shut up - please!

The death of ABC employee, Jill Meagher, has had a very sorry ending with the discovery of her raped and murdered body. The good news, if there is such a thing in these circumstances, has been the charging of Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, for those offenses, provided that he is the actual rapist and murderer.

Where matters have a distinct possibility of coming unstuck is the amount of anti-Bayley social media commentary that has been so prevalent that it has lead to Victorian police calling for people to basically shut up. And I agree with them.

All of us have a fundamental right to a fair trial. A foundation stone of a fair trial is that a jury hears your case, free from prior mental contamination. Once something has become seen widely enough in a negative sense against the party facing trial, the process can become contaminated to the point that the courts decide a fair trial cannot occur and matters are dropped.

Possibly the most infamous case of this was when Derryn Hinch used his then-television program to publicly name and shame a pedophile who was facing a trial for abuse of minors. Hinch was clearly warned by the Court not to do so. But he shot his mouth off andwas  subsequently found guilty of contempt of court, serving weekend detention. Hinch has made plenty of mileage out of that episode over the years, insisting it demonstrated his personal conviction etc. But what was the real outcome? An apparently known pedophile, facing a pretty strong case against him, had his charges dropped because of the contamination of potential process. I fail to see how Hinch's actions were anything more than a PR stunt that saw all sense of justice denied to all concerned.

The truly guilty should never be able to walk free simply because people refuse to shut their mouths. Are we entitled to our opinion? Yes. But if we really want the guilty to face the consequences of their actions, then we need to be careful how and where and when we express such opinion if it could provide a means of cases being dropped. If Adrian Ernest Bayley is guilty of the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, then while he deserves a fair trial, Meagher deserves to be remembered by her assailant paying for his crimes. Her family and friends deserve the degree of closure that a guilty verdict may provide. But should her rapist and murderer, Bayley or otherwise, walk free because people cannot shut their mouths, then it would be incredibly deceitful to her memory and an insult to her family and other loved ones.

So please, people, please - just shut the hell up about what you might want to do to Bayley and let judicial process take its course.

Monday, September 24, 2012

SOS! Save Our Shoes!

I am a day early this week. Does that make up for being late last week?

Now I am all for history and preservation of items of historical significance and/or interest. But there really does come a point of lunacy.

Remember Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos? Phillipines dictator and his wife who lived in luxurious splendour while ever so many of their nation struggled to even eat? Imelda's collection of at least 1,225 pairs of shoes, left behind when she and Ferdy had to do a sprint ahead of a revolt?

Shock. Horror. It has just been announced that Imelda's shoe collection, part of a stock of "precious mementoes from the Marcoses" was not properly stored by the museum that was given the task of looking after them. And now it has been discovered that they are rotting, infested with termites.

Imelda Marcos's shoe collection pictured in 1987, the year after she and her husband fled the Philippines. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features
According to the museum curator Orlando Abinion, "Imelda may have worn some of these clothes in major official events and as such they have an important place in our history."

Oh give me a break. The bloody shoes she wore to an event are somehow an important part of history? Was justice ever truly served on the Marcoses? Nope. The literally billions believed to have been squirrelled away by them ever properly recovered? Nope.

I have some friends in the Philippines. And life is still pretty damned hard there for the average Filipino. Work is damned hard to find. Welfare services that so many of the rest of us take for granted are virtually non-existent. Yet this museum has the funding and resources to undertake conservation work to rescue and repair Imelda's bloody shoe collection.

Could it be that as Imelda has wormed her way back into Phillipines society and even into Parliament (the same ruling body that she helped Ferdinand quash), suddenly it is deemed wise to look after this nonsensical part of their past? Sure these symbols of extravagance and waste would be better remembered as a lesson, not as historic symbols to be valued in this way, seemingly more important than ensuring the average Filipino can actually eat.

 How completely and utterly ridiculous!

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always. Or even follow the blog by email.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

And now for something completely different...

This is my first blog about cricket for a long time now. Ages ago I switched cricket posts to another blog which has been allowed to go dormant. However last night I saw some an example of decision making by the Australian hierarchy that is simply nothing short of nonsensical so this week's primary Rant returns to the cricket field.

If you know anything about Australian cricket, you will be well aware that one of our most dangerous players in the short versions of the game is David Hussey. He can come in during the second half of an innings and drop a very heavy foot onto the accelerator. In the 20-20 version of the game, this ability is even more valuable and he can brutalise a bowling attack. Yet Hussey, D is more or less out of the current line-up, being pushed into a position of rotation for an available slot. And why? Because of the appointment of the captain.

The current captain is George Bailey. I am aware of Bailey's existence but not much else. Yet, rather inexplicably, he has scored the captaincy ahead of much more experienced players. His appointment as captain gives him an assured place in the batting order. And if that place is in the middle of said batting line-up, then someone else has to go. Hence Hussey, D onto a rotation list of players hoping to get at least an occasional slot.

The only acceptable justification for this situation is if Bailey is justifying his place there ahead of Hussey, D. So let us look at some statistics.



Highest Score

Highest Score
Total runs

Total runs



Balls faced

Balls faced
Total innings

Total innings

Strike rate

Strike rate

Here is a reality check. A far less experienced player has been made captain out of the blue and despite his lack of results behind him, his presence has seen one of the real destroyers shoved onto the outer, despite the latter's average being much the same as Bailey’s but with a noticeably higher strike rate and stronger proven record.

I know virtually nothing about George Bailey. For I know, he is a male equivalent of reincarnated Mother Theresa in which case I would sincerely apologise to him. But regardless of how good a bloke he may or may not be, his position in this team is simply not justified ahead of David Hussey yet the ability of the Australian team to lift its current ranking from a very dismal tenth position in the world rankings depends on the team's overall strength. And more than any other version of the game, the 20-20 game is more a batters game than any other. Yet one of our strongest middle-order batsmen has had his effective career put pretty much on hold for a captaincy appointment that defies any of Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Did we win our first game by defeating Ireland? Yes. But, with all respect to my distant Irish kindred, so what? And please don't go getting excited and point out that Ireland defeated Pakistan in a World Cup match. When the Pakistani's have an off game (and despite their continuing stream of talented players, they have a lot more off days than ones when they're on) the local pub's eleven could beat them. After the beer has been flowing for a while. And don't forget that, rightly or wrongly, the spectre of match fixing and throwing games etc still hangs heavily over the collective heads of the Pakistani team. So we can pretty much take that Irish win out of consideration for beating Australia. Don’t get me wrong Ireland possibly has more fight in them, shot for shot, ball for ball, than anyone else in international cricket. The extent of their improvement in only a few short years is nothing short of remarkable. But they still should not have a realistic chance against Australia at this tiem. The captaincy of the Australian team played no meaningful role. I could have come out of my decade's retirement from low-level club cricket and captained that Australian team to a win in those circumstances. So George Bailey is yet to be actually tested. And meanwhile David Hussey must wondering just whose toes he trod on to be treated as he has been.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Today is R U OK? Day This is an Australia national day of action on the second Thursday of September (13 September 2012), dedicated to inspiring all people of all backgrounds to regularly ask each other ‘Are you ok?'

So why has this venture been put in place? As it explains on their website, by raising awareness about the importance of connection and providing resources throughout the year the R U OK? Foundation aims to prevent isolation by empowering people to support each other through life's ups and downs.

The end result of the sort of isolation being considered here, all too often can end in suicide. I know. Been there, done that twice. First time I simply didn't know what I was doing and it didn't work. Second time is still hazy but someone found out what I had done and called an ambulance. All I knew was that I came to in the local hospital Emergency ward, being copiously sick.

I was fortunate in that my attempts, for whatever reason, did not work. The great love of my life was not so fortunate as she took her own life back in 2004. I won't go into all the details but frankly I was not in any shape to be able to do anything meaningful, being pretty much a mental jellyfish at the time. My bastard employer sent me that way and I still consider them responsible for it all, including her death.

R U OK? is about simply being nice to people. Even if they say they are fine when they aren't, the right approach can mean more than you realise. That little positive can mean the difference between being depressed and in need of help, and that of doing yourself in.

Depression is a form of mental illness. And that is what it is - an illness. Just like a cold or the flu but unfortunately with greater ramifications for treatment.

In a previous post I reflected about bullying and someone I had once bullied, turning that around toward the end of my high school years to make sure I just gave him a friendly greeting when I saw him. That teenager had been depressed and previously counseled for a suicidal mindstate. Just to have someone give him a friendly 'g'day', calling him by name as they walked past gave him a visible boost. Admittedly I started doing so because of guilt over my treatment of him several years earlier. But in my advancing years I realise that it really can be that simple - be friendly, show some friendly concern.

You might just be saving someone's life.

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always. Or even follow the blog by email.

Condemned to the attic - why?

I made myself a promise to blog here every Wednesday. Unfortunately I am a day late in posting this time but as I was fixing up some edits on a soon-to-be-released small book, I forgive myself.

It is hardly unusual for me to be l letting rip against Australian television. But this time I actually have some positive things to say in plugging a couple of programs.

30 Rock is a great little comedy. Created by Tina Fey and loosely reflecting her time writing for and then performing on the US comedic icon, Saturday Night Live, this is genuinely funny viewing. The characters in the show have been wonderfully cast in creating a diverse range of comedic conflicts and contrasts as it makes fun of television and big business. I had no idea how good a comic actor Alec Baldwin is in a role such as the one he has here and his casting was quite a gem. And how could you not like and appreciate Fey’s Liz Lemon?

This program should have excellent ratings but that is unlikely. Why? Because it is broadcast at a ridiculously hour on Australian television.

Parks and Recreation  features another graduate of SNL, Amy Poehler. Her depiction of a local-government-obsessed public servant in a mockumentary style of program is another little gem. And the diversity of the cast behind her is just as well put together as that of 30 Rock. And they have their Big Name in there as well with Rob Lowe playing a beaut, quirky role.

Just like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation should be going gangbusters but sadly it is broadcast even later than 30 Rock in Australia.

Interestingly, Fey and Poehler are friends as well as co-performers together on SNL. This may be why there are some similarities between the two programs but more than enough differences to avoid any ‘me too’ comparisons, although Parks and Gardens has come under a little fire in the past for being too similar in technique to The Office.

These are genuinely funny television programs. So why on earth are they condemned to such late night slots? Not everyone has the flexibility of hours that I have these days and so can often afford to sit up that late to watch things that have been hidden away in the attic of late night viewing.

Hey television networks – do you have something against genuinely entertaining people? Why on earth are two of the most entertaining programs on Australian public television, condemned to the late shift without any real audience? And what are they losing out too in the programming stakes? So-called ‘reality’ garbage like The Shire, GC, the repacked-but-still-the-same-crap Big Brother?

Here’s another thought. Both of those programs feature a strong cast, good writing and the experience of two well-credentialed leads, all from North America. But we have some damned good writers and performers Down Under. So why on earth doesn’t Australian television make the most of some of them by encouraging and supporting local development of more than just ‘me too’ ‘reality’ garbage? As I have said before, that means jobs, economic production, creative opportunities, revenue streams and potential export dollars.

Wake up, Australia! Please!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gutless bastard cyber-bullies

There are times when humanity simply disgusts me. And right now, this is one of them.

The host of the Australian version of the Next Top Model franchise, Charlotte Dawson, has been the target of an incredible amount of simply vile tweeting attacks. Ms Dawson has had a practice of exposing these by retweeting them so others can see what is going on. Then when one of her followers on Twitter reacted angrily to a hate tweet that had advised Ms Dawson to go hang herself, pointing out that the follower's husband had hung himself and she did not appreciate that sort of tweet, the hater responded with "you go hang yourself too."

This matter went viral with Ms Dawson blogging about it. But since then it seems her twitter feed has been exploding with simply disgusting filth - here are some examples courtesy of Marieke Hardy's Twitter feed.

As noted in Ms Dawson's blog post, one of the perpetrators was identified and it was followed up with them at their workplace only for more abuse to follow. So it was brought to the attention of the employer and probably fair enough too, seeing it was on work time and with work equipment that the specific hate mail was being disseminated. As noted in that post, said employer, Monash University, did not seem to be doing much about it, including a distinct lack of apologies from anyone. However it transpires that this disgusting troll has now been exposed to the world and suspended from work - Ms Tanya Heti. Although I cannot help but wonder if the suspension would have occurred unless the matter had gone viral as it had.

What really gets me steaming at the ears is just how bloody gutless these bastards are. Would they act like that to a person's face? Of course not. Because they are gutless bastard bullies hiding behind the anonymity they think that they have online. If they went around doing that in person, they know damned well that sooner or later someone would be given them a friendly punch or three in the face.

I know what is like to have harassment and persecution drive you literally into the nut house. Been there, done that, got the invalidity to show for it. But at least I knew who the perpetrators were, even though they did a pretty good job of keeping the lid on things, to my detriment.  I wasn't being subjected to quasi-anonymous crap from names such as Testi McTest or Seig Heil (see the image above courtesy of Ms Hardy).

If you don't like someone, then fine. Naturally you have a freedom of speech to say so. But that does NOT mean you have any form of right to get your pathetic juvenile rocks off by cyber-screaming hate-filled abuse.

I sincerely and genuinely hope that this all backfires on these pieces of shit, driving them to the point of needing help. I also hope that they get said help. Then perhaps they might have some sort of idea of what their gutless behaviour has done to someone else.

Charlotte Dawson - hang in there. Don't let those bastards win. And whatever happens, do not lose sight of the fact that there others out here who support you.

And a small update: here's a good piece by Corrine Grant about this episode. How about we all send Charlotte a bit of cyber-love-best-wishes to her Twitter feed - @MsCharlotteD - let her know that there's more than cyber-bully cowards out there.

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always.

Friday, August 24, 2012

No fun hobbits in this Shire!

Alrighty then - time for another spot of analysis of the decision making capabilities within Australian television.

We are all supposed to be entertained by watching that reality program, The Shire. This is supposedly a form of reality that we all are just dying to know about. Surely it is true that we all want to watch phenomenally shallow minded young women, more concerned with botox and booby-implants than anything else. And young guys who are just interested in having a fun time but are pretty harmless - really. And thus as the television has told us, so it must be true.

So just who came up with the idea of casting these individuals? The cast's behaviour in front of the camera gives us a pretty good idea what they are like - pathetic. But how about some evidence of off-camera stunts? This one takes some beating. It reads like something that Lindsay Lohan and her mates would have done.

Yeah - this lot are such a good example and role model to be showing off on tv, aren't they. And we all are just so desperate to see more of them - NOT!

Wake Up Australia!

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wake up, Australia!

I am afraid that it is time for another rant against Australian television.

For some reason, in the US there was a 'reality' program that had several seasons of success, Jersey Shore, with 'success' being defined as the program having multiple seasons. The program's basic hook was it exploring the lives of a series of frankly quite unlikeable, young, stupid empty-heads in the Jersey area. It worked over there so it was only a matter of time before there was a 'me too' version produced in Australia. And so we have The Shire, yet more empty-headed, shallow, vacuous individuals. If they actually had any brains at all, they wouldn't be caught dead doing that rubbish. But I have a feeling that these idiots think this is some sort of short-cut to fame and a career. As Gough famously said "wake up, Australia."

Big Brother disappeared from Australian television several years ago, to the relief of many. The behaviour of some of their 'contestants' was becoming increasingly worse. And a contact inside the industry did assure me that it had caused Channel Ten increasing problems. But just like a bad smell, it's back again, now on Channel Nine. And it was going to be all new, all different. I forced myself to sit through a bit of it the other night. Nothing new. Nothing different. The only possible saving grace was that of Sonja Kruger as host, who, at age 47, still looks decidedly yummy. But the lovely Ms Kruger's attractions aside, there ain't much there to be any sort of real attraction to viewers.

Wake up, Australia!

Following on from The Shire, we now have yet another 'me too', this time about a group of New Zealanders living on the Gold Coast. Except apparently we're not supposed to call it the Gold Coast any longer. It's the G.C. "All the girls love me on G.C." announced one of the male contestants, while posing his sculptured body. Looks like the same formula of badly-behaved empty-heads whose contribution to society is to laze around pools and beaches.

Wake up, Australia!

A slightly different slant comes with Don't Tell the Bride, hosted by the ever-cute Kate Ritchie. Each episode features a couple about to get married and given $25,000 to throw the wedding but on the proviso that the groom does everything and is banned from contact about it with the bride. And from the promos it seems yet another carefully selected couple are appearing, with what is now the apparent requirement for 'reality' television - empty-heads. Assuming (and a big assumption it is too) that it isn't all scripted, we see one of the thickest blokes I've ever seen, supposedly running the planning of the wedding. And his bright idea of invites - a session on the mobile phone, telling people about it. And that's probably the highlight. His bride seems to be a prime specimen for the female 'reality' role using the 'me too' program role models.

Wake up, Australia!

Channel Nine have added something else to the mix - another mini-series in the Underbelly franchise. I have refrained from previously commenting much on that franchise as one of their script writers is someone I know and admire greatly. But c'mon - isn't the same format over and over getting just a bit tired?

Wake up, Australia!

Pretty much as long as I can remember, I have heard people complaining that Australian television is rubbish. Well right now 'rubbish' as a derogatory term is looking pretty positive compared to the insults running through my mind. Talk about damned pathetic.

Here's a thought (or two or three) for all the television networks. Do you remember the concept of 'entertainment'? Is this stream of junk really that 'entertaining'? Do we always have to suffer through the 'me too' b.s.?

We have all sorts of wonderful and talented people in the creative side of the entertainment fields in Australia. So why restrict them by pretty much dumping anything actually creative? How about introducing something like more comedy and it doesn't have to be things like the tiresome Hey Dad back in the day (and presumably alleged pedophile actors are merely an optional extra). In the US there was a quite interesting thing called Last Comic Standing which saw stand-up comedians competing for the viewing audience vote. Why not try an Australian format for that? Just give us something worth turning the idiot box on to watch. Please.

Wake up, Australia!

Now if you have an opinion on what I'm blathering about or even just feel like saying hi, then don't be afraid to leave a comment or post something to me via Twitter or Facebook. I don't bite - at least not always.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Facebook saga continues

In response to my grizzle to the Human Rights Commission yesterday about my apparent inability to instigation action against either Facebook or the Facebook pages of Abo-Memes, I received a detailed response today.

Dear Ross

I appreciate your comments.

It may be helpful if I clarify the various ways the Commission seeks to protect and promote human rights. One option provided in federal discrimination law is for aggrieved people or groups to make complaints about racial discrimination and racial hatred. I clarified the requirements in the law regarding this in my previous email. 

Additionally, the Commission and its specific Commissioners have a policy and advocacy role which includes drawing attention to human rights issues, raising community awareness and encouraging positive action by governments, service providers and others. 

As you may be aware, Ms Helen Szoke, Race Discrimination Commissioner is aware of the issues raised by the Facebook page and has commented publicly on this. She has advocated strongly for the removal of the page and continues to monitor the situation closely. I have provided a link to information on our website regarding this.

The above link makes interesting reading although I am prepared to dispute the accuracy of some of the statements. For example the content allegedly removed on Wednesday August 7th, was in fact still present the following day as I was making liberal use of it in my blogging etc.

The statements by Commissioner Szoke include advice to Facebook that:
  • now was a good opportunity for the site to revisit its guidelines and test if they are in tune with community opinion;
  • [there was a need to ensure] that social media such as Facebook have standards which... comply with legal requirements [emphasis added]
I believe the outcry over this matter should amply demonstrate that Facebook's attitudes are most definitely not in tune with 'community opinion'. The disrespectful attitudes of a limited number of red-necked fools should not be permitted to remain when they are so clearly out of line with the rest of the community in a manner that is intentionally hurtful and incredibly inappropriate. Freedom of speech is a widely held civic 'right' that is in fact a privileged earned by our democratic forebears and a concept that should not be subject to protection of abuse such as racial vilification and hate speech. Legitimate dissent or protest is one thing. Straight out abuse of that protection afforded by Facebook is another matter entirely. Again I refer to statements made on the Abo-Memes pages that they were 'untouchable.'

Even more important is the concern that Facebook may be acting in a manner that does not comply with legal requirements. This should not have been a surprise to Facebook. They have operations within Australia and therefore are required to act in a manner that is lawful within this jurisdiction. I have no doubt that I was not the only complainant to draw Facebook's attention to Race Discrimination legal concerns but that did not stop them quite blithely dismissing complaints. Facebook are still yet to respond to my repeated complaints and requests for further information.

Now if Facebook cannot afford to pay for legal support to explain these matters to them, the Human Rights Commission have a fact sheet on their website which explains matters quite clearly:

I suggest Facebook staff start acquainting themselves with that information.

The statement by Commissioner Szoke also notes that the "Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has confirmed that it is currently investigating the page on the site." I am unable to locate any specific information on the ACMA's website concerning this. However a simple perusal of the ACMA's website make it pretty darned clear that the behaviour in question is definitely questionable at best under the Authority's remit.

Facebook's blindingly obvious double-standards in application of its Community Standards make me seriously question just how much attention it shall actually pay to what amounts to nothing more than 'concerns' expressed by the Commissioner. Nothing seems to be in place to force Facebook to actually do anything to bring its behaviour into accord not just with the 'community opinion' but actually accord with the law within Australian jurisdictions. So long as matters may only be addressed one case at a time, with Facebook's seemingly automatic rejection of genuine and serious complaints, then this behaviour would seem to be able to continue. Note how quickly Abo-Memes appeared in the wake of a similar collection of Facebook pages being removed.

My advice to anyone else similarly concerned as I am, especially if of indigenous descent, is to lodge complaints with both the Human Rights Commission and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Once again, Mark Zuckerberg, is this what you expected or wanted Facebook to be? Hey Mr Billionaire – how about taking a break from kicking around with the glitterati and your mates and do something about this mess!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Does Facebook defend racial hatred?

Some interesting developments have emerged from the continuing disgrace that was Facebook allowing and implicitly defending racial vilification.

I referred matters to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Today I received the following advice from the Commission:

Racial hatred is
·        an act that is done in public;
·        which is done because of the race, colour, or national or ethnic origin of a person or group; and which is
·        reasonably likely in all the circumstances to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate that person or group.

1. The Abo-Memes account on Facebook and its predecessor were by definition 'public'
2. It was expressly targeting indigenous Australians by virtue of their "race, colour, or national or ethnic origin"
3. I have obtained opinion from Indigenous Australians that I know and it was 100% offense (and most definitely not, as one of Abo-Meme's public supporters claimed in those pages, that 98% of Aboriginals would not have a problem with the content!).

So it appears to be pretty much a textbook case that this material fits the legal definition of 'racial hatred' in Australian legal jurisdictions. So the question that Facebook are still yet to answer is why they elected to defend those acts of racial hatred?  Remember that Facebook dismissed my complaint against the Abo-Memes Facebook pages on the basis that it did not breach Facebook's Community Standards. And those Community Standards include acts of:
- Bullying and Harassment; and
- Hate Speech.

Quite clearly the actions of Abo-Memes were both racial harassment and hate speech. Under the Australian Human Rights legislation, the actions of Abo-Memes were in breach of the legislation and thus sure to be found to be illegal. But Facebook apparently deem themselves  to be above a nation's own laws. By claiming there was no evidence of any breach of Community Standards, impso facto, Facebook would appear to be defending those actions despite quite clear legislative restraints.. And they are still yet to respond to me on these matters.

Now the downside of things. I am not of Indigenous Australian descent. I wouldn't have thought that to be terribly relevant. However under the same Human Rights legislation, I am not able to lodge a complaint relating to indigenous matters as blatant as those of Abo-Memes because I am not of indigenous descent, not matter how offended and upset I may have been. By that same logic, John F Kennedy would not have been able to enact his Civil Rights reforms in the USA because he was (as far as I am aware) not of African American descent and those reforms did not represent any specific party but overall social and civic reform. 

So no matter how many of us are offended by those acts of racial vilification that are a textbook example of breaching Australian Human Rights  legislation, it is only a small minority of persons who are actually allowed to take action against it. 

Am I the only one who thinks this is complete garbage?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just when is acceptable actually acceptable?

Before reading further, be warned - some of the following IS offensive.  VERY OFFENSIVE.

Facebook is a quite remarkable thing. It seems to have become an almost indispensable part of modern life. And being such a huge part of modern life, like any responsible organisation Facebook has its very own Community Standards that users are required to abide by. Breach these and die the death of a thousand isp failures! All such serious stuff.

So just how do Facebook apply this? Well let us look at some samples.

Breastfeeding. Oh gosh. Just writing that word has given me the shivers of dread. According to Facebook, an image of breastfeeding is something that MUST be taken seriously. Any such image must be subjected to careful scrutiny. Afterall, Facebook takes everything so very seriously. Supposedly. Their justification is that as the minimum age for Facebook users is 13 years of age, they have an obligation to ensure minors are not subjected to what Facebook deems to be inappropriate material. And in this response to a query, Facebook clarified things even further. For a breastfeeding picture to be permissable, the baby must be in the act of actually feeding. Anything other than that is quite obviously going to poison the minds of impressionable young minds all over the world. And as Facebook have thus decreed, thus it must apparently be.

Here is a breastfeeding picture. The baby is well and truly busy feeding. This is beautiful. This is natural. This is suited for an audience that may include as young as age 13.

Here is a breastfeeding picture. This is EVIL. This shalt corrupt the minds of young all over the world. Facebook must deny any such access or face world domination by adolescents sent crazy by the sight of a nipple that is not being suckled on by that baby.

So just when do Facebook actually remove those items they determine to be 'inappropriate'. Simple. This requires another user to lodge a complaint against a particular Facebook page. The Facebook staff then examine the page in question, comparing it to the Facebook Community Standards and if any breach of these is found to have occurred, then the content or even the account shall be removed.

Aren't we all just so glad that Facebook is there to determine just when breastfeeding is an offensive evil that must be stamped out from any visualisation.  Even better, Facebook are there to tell us what is considered acceptable to the wider community of users. Well silly me - I had not realised that the sight of a nipple was so terrible unacceptable. May the Good Lord bless Facebook for protecting me in this manner. But where were they when I was a youngster and my mother was breastfeeding my younger brothers? Oh no - all that is bad, wrong and evil that has happened to me ever since - why that must have occurred because I may have seen Mother's nipple at some point during that breastfeeding in the privacy of the family home. Bless you Facebook for enlightening me thusly!

Let us examine another example. A recent addition to the world of Facebook was an account called Abo-Memes. And this user was on a mission. They were going to allow us all to see what was really happening within the world of Indigenous Australians.

Here are some examples of this great benefit to the world, supplied to us by Abo-Memes via Facebook.

Note - do a Google search for images with the tag Abo-Memes and the above may be located along with the statement 'Abo Memes shared Abo Memes's photo.'

So the question becomes - is this 'acceptable'?

I didn't think so. I lodged a complaint with Facebook against this activity. And soon enough, Facebook completed their review of this content and its comparison with the Holy Creed that is the Facebook Community Standards. And here, word for word, is Facebook's response to me.

"After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the
specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and

Learn more about what we do and don't allow by reviewing the Facebook

Community Standards:


So I had a closer look at the Holy Creed. And lo, it has two particular verses of interest - thou shalt not engage in activity that is:
- Harassing or Bullying
- Hate Speech

Oh Blessed Be, Holy Facebook. In my poor ignorance, I was foolish enough to think that the activity engaged in by Abo-Memes was both Harassing Indigenous Australians and engendering Hate Speech. Oh thank you, dear Facebook, for educating me that this is in fact entirely adequate and appropriate for the Facebook universe including those 13 year-old minds that were in such danger of being permanently corrupted by that sight of an engorged nipple!

OK, I am getting sick of writing that nonsense. This activity was very clearly in breach of those aspects of the Facebook Community Standards. And for 'Viki' to defend this activity on behalf of Facebook was nothing short of outrageous.

Then as I was looking into things more closely, something struck me. By a simple reading of the times of various media reports and  press statements, by the time Viki on behalf of Facebook had decided to deny anything inappropriate about that Abo-Memes filth, it seems that Facebook:
  • had already been informed by the Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner that the material in question was potentially in breach of Australian Race Discrimination laws;
  • had publicly stated it was 'in dialogue' with the Commissioner over the matter; and
  • had been advised that the material was under legal investigation.
Despite these serious developments and Facebook's admission it was in discussions to clarify matters, Facebook staff were still claiming nothing was wrong and blithely dismissing complaints by claiming there was no breach of their Community Standards.

At the time of writing this post, Facebook have so far declined to respond to my further complaint which expressly cited the specific points within their Community Standards that I believe were breached by that user.

Earlier this evening, that Abo-Memes Facebook account suddenly disappeared. Earlier in the day the user and some of their supporters were using the the account to openly boast of their activity and claiming they were 'untouchable'. With that attitude, I find it hard to believe that said user had willing removed it themselves. I have just paused in writing to check some news websites seeing if there was any 'breaking news' about this matter. Nope.

Perhaps Facebook have indeed seen sense and removed the item. But some far bigger questions still remain.
  1. Why do Facebook deem an image of an engorged nipple to be such a threat to minors but this Abo-Memes garbage was just fine and dandy with complaints against it seemingly subjected to automatic rejection?
  2. Why did Facebook continue to dismiss legitimate complaints about this filth apparently AFTER they had been warned of the potential legal ramifications, apparently AFTER they had allegedly commenced 'dialogue' with the the Race Discrimination Commissioner on the subject and apparently AFTER legal investigations had commenced?
  3. As the Abo-Memes account appeared very swiftly after another similar, possibly worse, account was removed in the wake of public outcry, why did Facebook continue to allow such filth to be perpetuated apparently AFTER receiving formal warnings?
  4. What is to stop yet more copy-cat accounts springing up and Facebook continuing its implicit defense of those activities?
Hey Mark Zuckerburg - is this really what you meant Facebook to be?

I doubt this matter is over just yet.