Monday, December 8, 2008
Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the courts prove us wrong. Animated drawings are now people (legally).
The item that took my eye tody is entitled "Cartoon porn kids are people, judge says in Simpsons porn case" and it is a report from news.com.au.
To summarize, a man was caught with pornographic versions of "The Simpsons" characters on his computer. As the item reveals, the cartoons showed characters such as Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson having sex.
Now, perverted? Yes.
In need of help? Yes.
Potentially signs of pedophilia? Maybe.
But to claim, as the courts have done in this case, that "in respect of both the commonwealth and the NSW offences, the word 'person' included fictional or imaginary characters ...," is absolutely unacceptable. It opens up a frightening vista of almost unimited possibility.
Will sex-dolls be able to sue for rape?
Will Bugs-Bunny be able to sue Yosemite Sam for abuse?
If the famous author Christopher James writes a story about three aliens in search of Jesus, will they be entitled to a share of the profits (if any)?
There are three issues at stake here - that of child pornography, that of copyright and that of the rights of non-existant beings.
In terms of child pornography, whether a cartoon, a sketch, or an assembled collection of photographs to create an image, there is a need for intercession. No child or adult has been hurt by such 'artwork' however there is evidence that it could lead to 'real life' activities. For this reason it should perhaps require mandatory psycho analysis, counseling and treatment. However it is dubious whether criminal punishment is appropriate given that this type of solution will ultimately lead to exposure to more developed pedophiles and thus reinforcement of the perversion.
In terms of copyright, while I believe there is definately a place for fan-fiction, the owners of this particular Bart-el have just cause in taking legal action against the perpetrator(s).
But in terms of the rights of non-existant beings - they have none. In a world where people are subjected to genocide, where indigenous populations are made foreign in their own countries, where 3000 children needlessly die everyday, where animals are skinned alive or tortured for profit or science, there are many creatures (human and otherwise) that have or should have rights. But Bart Simpson is not one of them. Nor is Lisa Simpson. The same applies to Astroboy, the Incredible Hulk and Bugs Bunny.
The critical point of this rant is quite simple. Inanimate objects - including cartoon characters, sex dolls, imaginary characters from books, non-existant space aliens etc - do NOT have rights and are NOT people in any sense and this court decision is ludicrous.
Some common sense must stay in control of the legal system otherwise it will become a mockery.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I do not know the exact details of this case except to say that a man was shot and killed. Whether it was justified or not remains to be seen. But to direct the verdict in this way seems to me to be a violation not only of human rights and of the very legal system, but also of the truth.
What is the point of an inquest if not to determine the truth? If direction is given that any particular possible truth must be discounted - regardless of the facts - then this marks the biggest victory of the terrorist handed to them on a plate by those who should be protecting us.
Shortly after this occurrance, I created a short story based (very very loosely) on this case. It is not indicative of what happened in the case of Jean Charles de Menezesthat, because I do not have those facts. It is, however, a statement of possibility - something that the courts appear to not wish to know about.
I invite you all to read that story now. It's called Da'ud (Dave)
I feel it is even more relevant today than ever.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Deaf to the plight of Australia's indigenous population. Dumb if he thinks the solution to their problems is just to 'get off their arse'. Blind because he cannot see simple truths such as the truth that Australia's indigenous population's problems are the result of the invasion and subsequent cultural (and perhaps literal) genocide.
His advice to them is that it is Time to get off your arses
He does, though, apologise for the racist portions of his classic song 'Tie me kangaroo down, sport'.
The offending lines - as I understand it - run thus:
let me Abos go loose, sport,
let me Abos go loose
they're of no further use, sport,
they're of no further use
In most ways, though, I'd say those who should be most offended are not the 'Abos' of the song - i.e Australia's indigenous population - but rather the perpetrators and the supporters of the abusive treatment that our indigenous brothers and sisters have received since 'colonization'.
Because these lines are actually very accurate descriptions of the situation. The aboriginal population - the traditional and original occupiers of Australia - were esentially abandoned after they were deemed to be of no further value to the new, white owners. Initially, they were of value as they could be used (albeit immorally) as a means of claiming ownership of Australia though numerous unlawful and unsubstantiated 'fair exchanges'. Then they served as low (or even unpaid) servants. Eventually, having successfully destroyed much of their culture and their identity, they were abandoned - and still are.
When you take away someone's self-definition they are left a void and this void usually fills with inappropriate substitutes, such as drugs, alcohol, disfunctionalization and so forth. What was left after they were discarded - safely away from their traditional areas and all threat to the new Australian society - is not a collection of 'victims' but, in many cases, a people who have had not only a generation stolen from them, but also their very lives.
let me Abos go loose, sport,
let me Abos go loose
they're of no further use, sport,
they're of no further use
These words are a depressing reminder of what helped to cause the problems that so many indigenous people in Australia (and other countries) are facing.
So really, in a sense, they are truth.
And, in a way, so is Rolf's advice. From the mouths of babes and sucklings (and entertainers) comes wisdom. It's pointless expecting our government to solve any of the problems. (They are too busy inappropriately renaming mountains and destroying education). No, government will not help. Nor 'white' Australia - who have little ownership of the problems of people who have become aliens in their own land. No. These problems require a vested interest.
The only people who are ever going to solve the problems and challenges of our indigenous population ARE the indigenous population. And so they need to get off their arses and start doing so. Which is exactly what many are doing.
And the rest of Australia needs to get off of THEIR arses and start supporting them. Which means doing a bit more listening and less talking, a lot more tolerance and less interfering.
Which essentially means working together.
It's time to untie the kangaroo and see how it jumps.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
BUT Australia is about to launch into something that, just for once, fits well into George Orwells nightmare prophesy of our future. And just for once I think that we do need to be concerned. Very concerned.
It's the Great Aussie Firewall. Here's a quote from GetUp.org
Imagine a government proposing an internet censorship system that went further than any other democracy - one that made the internet up to 87% slower, more expensive, accidentally blocked up to one in 12 legitimate sites, and missed the vast majority of inappropriate content.
The system that Senator Conroy wants is a mandatory filter of all internet traffic, with the government of the day able to add any unwanted site to a secret blacklist. Already, the wrangling has begun for the inclusion of material relating to anorexia, euthanasia and gambling. It isn't difficult to see the scheme is open to abuse.
Even when it comes to preventing child p-rnography, the filter will not prevent peer-to-peer sharing and is very simple to sidestep. The protection of our children is vitally important - that's why we can't afford to waste funds on this deeply flawed system. We should be concentrating on solutions that are more effective and won't undermine our digital economy or our democratic freedoms.
Now I'll add my opinion to this. How sure are you that - in addition to blocking any site that the goverment considers 'inappropriate' - they won't also monitor accesses to sites (blocked or not) to keep information trails on your internet viewing, your internet interests and your internet use?
Some questions that come to my mind immediately are:
1. How does it handle information on subsites? E.g. blogger.com may contain information that the government doesn't want you to see (naked ladies or party political information leakages!) - so is all of blogger.com blocked? or only part?
2. How does it handle secure connections? That is, httpS. Will these be unencrypted by our government? If so then say goodbye to any private information. They'll have it all, bank account details, passwords - whatever. And such pages which are already slowed by the encryption/decryption process will be at least doubly slow. But if they dont then all the port you want will just be made available via encrypted connections..... so the stuff they want to control will be uncontrollable and the stuff they shouldn't know about will be laid bare.
3. Who decides what sites are inappropriate? I run a site called TowardsPeace.com which advocates World Peace and prayer. Will this be banned? What if I say I disagree with the government's (unjustifiable) stand on cluster bombs? On land mines? Will that get the terrorism box checked? Or the treason box? Or the 'inappropriate information' box? What appeals are there? Could any normal person afford such an appeal?
4. The best and worst of technology is it's power. You cannot restrict the technology because there will always be ways around it. It is impossible and naive to think that you can. In fact, as is my argument for Word Peace, you must change the people. Without the demand for 'unhealthy' websites, there would be none. As always, the government is trying to fix a problem with it's head stuck in a bucket of blacmange!
5. What guarentee can we receive that our internet trails will not be monitored, that we our tastes, shopping interests and so forth will not be captured and used for some 'reason'?
Visit the GetUp site and stop this lunacy!
Friday, November 21, 2008
It's not the technology that should disturb us here, but the ignorance with which it is a part. So many of those we know are having major problems in their lives, are fighting against problems too big for them and are close to collapse - whether through suicide as in this case or whether through stress induced illness. Yet we just project an image over them and relinquish responsibility. We label them as attention seekers, or as f*ckwits, or even as 'cope-rs' who'll 'be ok', who'll 'manage', who'll 'be fine'. Only sometimes they're not just attention seekers. Sometimes they won't cope. Sometimes we'll lose them to their despair.
We all have our limits. We all have our endings. In the 21st century it would be nice to imagine that we have learnt to understand, learnt to empathize, learnt to care. In reality we are more insulated than ever.
The technology is not to blame. Web cams are no more the cause of this problem than remote controls. No, the cause of the problem is actually not a creation of the 21st century at all. It dates back to the earliest of times.
The problem is actually that we don't really care. Until it's too late. We care about our bank balance, we care about our stomachs, we care about the things we want. But we don't care about anyone else.
Abraham K Biggs did not suddenly decide to end it all. And those who knew him - even all of his eFriends - are shocked at this. But in reality, the signs were there to be read. This would not have been a sudden decision because he had a big gas bill. Just like the many Abraham K Biggs who tonight contemplate their escapes, for whatever reason, there are signs and there are cries for help. Yet in today's world, we'd rather fill our minds with empty crap and pretend we don't hear.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Is this a case of xenophobia - foreigner fear? That continuation of indigenous language might be a threat because "we don't know what they might be saying about us?" Or is it simple stupidity?
I'm all for a common language and - despite it's peculiarities and history - it looks like English is it. But never at the expense of a person's own language surely.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In some sort of tribute to it's own lack of common sense, the Victorian Government is intending to rename a mountain! What the costs of this nonsense are, I shudder to think. No doubt it will cost the taxpayer something though also undoubtedly, we shall never know how much.
The mountain is currently, and insultingly, named Mount Niggerhead. So on that score, a change is probably well overdue. If, that is, the change is going to stop people from being offended. You could name it Mount Short-Fat-Bald-Man and I wouldn't be offended - after all, it's a mountain and the name is a testimony to those who originally named it. When I hear that name, I immediately think of the type of stupid, racist, cretins who did name it.
But, as I say, if the name change will stop people being offended, then there is merit. Only in this case, in it's infinite capacity for non-wisdom, the Victorian Government is electing to rename the mountain in such a manner as to offend the Dhudhuroa Native Title Group. According to Gary Murray, co-chair of the Dhudhuroa Native Title Group, "The name is linguistically and culturally inappropriate." He likens it to renaming 'Australia' as 'England'. So it's not going to be a fix to an offensive name, just the changing from one bad choice to another.
So how much consultation helped to form this decision?
In the 21st Century, it is clear that Australia's indigenous population are still not part of the management of their own country.
Which means, really, that our local indigenous are now being treated like the rest of Australia's population - i.e. with contempt, with apathy and with absolutely no respect.
Carers throughout Australia know what I mean. As do pensioners. And victims of crime. In fact, the list is longer than any blog I'm likely to create.
Isn't it time that governments really talked to their people rather than just making decisions on their behalf? Isn't it time that they learnt to walk the talk, rather than just squawk it?
Indigenous brothers require a little more out of the government than marketing ploys, segregation and quarantining or empty promises.
And so does everyone else.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The BUBBLE Telesnope has captured this view of the end of the world taken a couple of days ago. For the first time we are all witness to the destruction of our planet, the solar system and the universe.
Luckily, it got better.
See lots more Bubble Telesnope pictures.
So the Herald-Sun reports.
For $100 I would most happily have travelled to Melbourne, given a more than satisfactory account of poverty and the poor state of the world, and donated the other $99,900 to a number of deserving groups actively working to free the world from this particular scurge.
The remaining hundred dollars? After petrol, I'd invest the rest in the upkeep of a great site called Towards Peace which, in it's own small way, seeks to reduce ills of the world such as war, poverty and intolerance.
$100,000 for a lecture on poverty? And they say that talk is cheap .....