Monday, 18 October 2010

The Hobbit - How To Fuck It Up

Give it a budget of $500million. And make that a central point of your early PR. A big budget can't make a good film, but it can damn sure breaks one (isn't that right Avatar).

I also find it mildly offensive for a film company that was just bailed out with taxpayer money is now crowing about spending half a billion dollars on - of all things - a movie that isn't even cast yet.

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Truth About Islamic Militants

So some genius in the depths of the Christian USA (Florida to be precise) has come up with the bright idea of having this year's anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks be the first annual 'Burn A Qur'an Day'. In any rational world this would reflect worse on the antagonist than it doesn't on its target, but we all well know that we don't live in a rational world (it's also hard for the Christian Right in America to fall any further in the eyes of the global public anyway).

But it is what Burn A Qur'an Day reveals about Islamic militants that is most interesting. Cast your minds back to earlier this year, when South Park had it's 200th show anniversary. The plot centred in a large part around Muhammad; they wanted to show him, but couldn't so he spent the episode in a bear costume. And people got worked up about it. That's right, Islamic militants got worked up about the idea that Muhammad might be wearing a bear costume and that that bear costume is bring shown on television. In a cartoon. Next episode it is revelaed that it was Santa Claus inside the bear costume, not Muhammad, thus exposing the ridiculousness of the argument against the show.

But the damage had already been done.

A group of rather vocal self christened Islamic militants insinuated that if Comedy Central (the network on which the show airs) showed Muhammad then there would be serious repurcutions. They published addresses of Comedy Central offices, as well as the home addresses of Parker and Stone (South Park's creators), and warned that they could not be held accountable for what might happen.

The stunt worked, they got airtime on all the major news networks, and Comedy Central bowed its head and heavily censored the following episode (it was a 2 parter), to the point where they bleeped every utterance of Muhammad's name (way to stand up for those freedoms you believe in by the way). The bullies won. Again.

Fast forward to now, with Burn A Qur'an Day fast approaching. Where are the voices of dissent? Where are the threats of violence? Where is the publishing of home addresses? Nowhere to be seen. What Burn A Qur'an Day - for all its bigoted ugliness - has done, is expose the true face of Western Islamic militancy.

They're attention seeking media whores. Nothing more.

Burn A Qur'an Day is something - it's safe to say - that is deeply offensive to Muslims and non Muslims alike (hence the pre sure from various religious leaders and the White House to call it off) and something that is far more reactionary and provocative than showing a cartoon of Santa, who's pretending to be Muhammad, in a bear suit. But it is not being jump on by Islamic militants to claim to fight for Allah. Why is that?

Because, quite frankly, there is no news story attached to it. Attacking - verbally or otherwise - the organisers of a small church in Florida would not garner headiness like threatening celebrities and major media networks would. Attacking those participating in the event, an event that most sane people agree is ugly and wrong, will not galvanise public opinion against you, your motives could be understood. And - unlike Liberals - attacking these people involved in Burn. A Qur'an Day would not stop them; they wouldn't back down and they wouldn't give up.

Muslim militants like to fight battles that they know they can win, that will galvanise opinion against them and that will give them a lot of media coverage. Starting a fight with the organisers of Burn A Qur'an would accomplish none of these things.

Media outlets are not really interested in the event. Glenn Beck is holding a mega rally in Alaska on the same day, purported to be the event where Sarah Palin will announce her 2012 presidential bid. Compared to that, a bunch of racist, intolerant Southern Christians are not exactly newsworthy (they're hardly doing anything different than usual).

For the same reason - the fact that they're racist, intolerant, Southern Christians - a fight is unwinnable. The usual suspects of Islamic militancy know that they won't be able to get the organisers and supporters to back down, so it isn't a battle they could crow about winning in the name of Islam; in fact it would only prove that the resolve of the Christians was greater than that of the Muslims, as they refused to back down in the face of threatened violence because of their faith in their God. So our Islamic friends are 0 for 2.

The final point is that it doesn't turn people against them. This is very important. The heart of Islamic Fundamentalism is not about 'winning should for Allah' it's about killing everyone who isn't a believer, and subjugating the survivors to the iron rule of the Islamic caliphate. They are a lot like the Westboro Baptist Church (the God Hates Fags crew) in this respect.

The WBC originally started picketing abortion clinics, but this did not set them out from the crowd. Then they started attacking homosexuals. This was a bit better, but still didn't net them the notoriety they craved. In attacking dead soldiers they were able to galvanise everyone against them. They're finally hated the way they want to be.

Islamic fundamentalists are the same. They need to be hated. They need to be loathed. Attacking something like a mass Qur'an burning is somewhat understandable. Threatening to attack a cartoon show isn't. One will get people on your side, the other won't. And it's the won't that they crave.

The won't gets them more airtime, the won't gets them more angst, the won't confirms that they are the righteous few in their fight against the unbelievers. It's the need to be seen, be hated and be heard. All the time. If you can't get on the air with something, it's not worth the battle. For this reason it proves that the actual cause of these people has nothing to do with their faith. What offends their faith is not what motivates them, it's what offends everyone else and how publicity they can get for it that drives them.

Offend the unbelievers, get the news headlines, win the battles, and when Allah sees the papers, he'll know how good a Muslim you are.

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Friday, 20 August 2010

Religious Hypocrisy

Just a little thought; why is it that the religious and the Conservative always think that the freedoms of society that are offered to them as rights are negotiable when it comes to people that don't think like they do? Go look for consistency in Conservatism or religion.

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Afghan War Logs

What is so important about the Wikileaks release of the 92'000 classified American documents is the light that they shine on the true nature of the Afghan war. What quickly becomes apparent, even from looking at the brief details, is what a lost cause the Afghan incursion really is. Maybe if War Criminals Bush and Blair hadn't bungled into their illegal war in Iraq, things may have been remained stable. But history is what it is, and Afghanistan is a lost cause.

We see that our 'ally' Pakistan appears to be funding the Taliban, we see that a paranoid US force are resulting to more and more desperate and reckless methods in an effort to fight back.

Is it not yet clear that the war is lost? The media has been dutifully reporting the talking points handed done to it by the military, without question, but it is now unable to ignore the truth of the situation; Afghanistan is a mess.

That is what is so important about this event; the truth is out. Governments can spin, cover up or deny the facts any more. They have to be bought to account and made to answer for them. Do not be fooled by the immediate Pentagon response; revealing that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban or that drone strikes are becoming more frequent endangers no one on the ground. It only damages the military in charge.

What, it could be argued, is damaging is the revelation that US troops have been more or less killing indiscriminately whenever they've felt threatened. This is the same as the attempted cover up of torture. It makes America look bad. If the nations leaders cared at all about the safety of their troops then they wouldn't be in Afghanistan, no what their concerned about is how it makes the, look in the eyes of their own people. It makes them and the American story look like hypocritical crap that it is, and they don't like it.

The question now falls to the media. To what level will they cover it? I have little doubt that the British media will feature it, but to what level will pressure be applied to our leaders? On the other side of the pond, I have much graver doubts. There will be nothing but desperation to silence this issue as quickly and with little fuss as possible.

The fact that the information is now out, uncensored and raw is important. It falls to the media to actually do their job of journalism and make our leaders answer for the raw facts of what is happening. Make them answer for the hundreds of unnecessary deaths that are down to a war of their choosing that cannot be won. And maybe we can also now get someone to seriously address the issue of Pakistan for once.

The genie is out of the bottle and the public knows the truth. Let's see if OUR media will let them put it back in again.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Thursday, 22 July 2010

David Cameron And World War 2

David Cameron, are you fucking kidding me? Britain was a 'junior partner' in WW2 in 1940? Really? Now I'm not crazy for patriotism but fuck you. In 1940 Britain was the only thing between the Nazi's and all of fucking Europe you asshole. In 1940 America, the country whose cock you currently seem so keen to suck, still couldn't decide if it would be worth entering into a war that had nothing to do with them (how times change). In 1940, Churchill and the British populace were living the nation's finest hour. And you have the insane audacity to call our role at that time that of the 'junior partner'?! Unbelievable. If you can say something like that, out of ignorance or on purpose, you are not fit to be Prime Minister.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom

Friday, 16 July 2010

Apple's Press Conference

Only Apple could take a problem that has been staggeringly unique to their product and try to shift the blame onto the entire industry. RIM haven't had any reports of signal problem in any of thrill phones, neither have Samsung, HTC, Motorola or Nokia. Even Apple didn't have reports it with the iPhone 3G or 3GS. You can't release 'the best phone ever' and say it's light years ahead of everything else and then whine and bitch and try to blame anything else humanly possible when it comes to light that you knew about the problem, weren't interested in fixing it and it bites you (deservedly) on the ass. Still, at least they've offered free cases, and they gave the correct response (in the end).

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Location:Coventry,United Kingdom

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Tea Party: A European Perspective

The phenomenon that is the Tea Party has swept across America like a bizarre epidemic of all that is internationally fascinating and shocking about the country.

We from across the pond and around the world hear some of the more stunning examples of their influence in political circles. Very few actually know who they are and what their purpose is. And I suppose they have something in common with the Tea Party themselves as a result; because the members of Tea Party don't seem to know either.

We hear talk of 'Taking our country back!' Something that is rarely asked in the American media is 'From what?' What do these people want to take their country back from? 'The socialists!' 'The Liberals!' And so on. Anyone from a European country can tell you though, the current Democratic power base across the country is nowhere near socialist, and barley liberal (indeed, the actual liberals in the House and Senate all seemed to be viewed in the media as some kind of anomaly).

See, the members of the Tea Party, the alleged grass roots of the movement, don't seem to understand many of the subjects that it is they are screaming about. They shout of socialism, fascism, communism, liberalism. We hear charges of the President being a 'fascist communist', the shouters of which seem incapable of understanding the amazing deficit of political intelligence it requires to make that statement.

And that it is where we hit on something is so important about the Tea Party. Possibly the most important thing. So many of its members seem absolutely bereft of the very basics of political though. As highlighted in Chris Matthews' excellent documentary 'The Rise Of The New Right' recently, so many of the members of the Tea Party freely admit to being complete political newcomers. Now, where there is nothing wrong with people who have previously never been involved with politics getting involved - rather it is a good thing - it does become a problem when they revel in their ignorance and have no desire to expand their political knowledge.

This is where the crux of the problem lies with the Tea Party. You have vast swathes of people who have heard so many different things through the news media and who have made no effort to understand what these statements mean. They hear them from various sources, but their method of explanation is not research, it is not reasoned, balanced political debate, it is whatever explains the idea easiest. And, I'm afraid, those ideas are explained easiest by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Fox News.

Glenn, Rush et al. actually have a very different agenda. They are personalities known across the United States, but they are not known for reasoned commentary. They do not explain things, they give their own very partisan opinions on them. They portray themselves as the bastions of freedom, truth and liberty, though they are anything but. Rush and Fox are spokesmen for the extremes of the Conservative movement and Glenn Beck is the most easily manipulated, paranoid, woefully ignorant figure with a messiah complex I have seen in recent years.

They are the spokespeople for this movement, they are the figureheads, and the new uninitiated, who come to the Tea Party with curious ears and unfounded worries lap up the words of Beck, Rush and their ilk without question. They have never been interested in politics, and now they hear easy, clear answers to seemingly complex political issues they think they have found a home. They quickly think themselves experts because they hear so many opinions on so many different subjects that they take as fact.

And thus the machine grows, the distortions permeate. It is accepted without question by people who do not and have not ever strived to grasp the complexities of political discourse. While someone like George Will may not be the most bipartisan member of the political commentary machine, one could not argue that he is not an intelligent man. Far from it. But George Will does not speak to the likes of the Tea Party. He is rarely listened to by them. The answers he has to their questions may be along the lines of what they want to hear, but they are not given in the easily digestible chunks that the likes of Beck may throw out.

Even Republicans are no longer safe. Senator Lyndsey Graham, a longtime bastion of conservative values, has been turned upon by the Tea Party, for he has refused to bow to their demand to simple answers to complex questions. He has refused to toe the line of outright obstructionism. And he has refused to bow to simplistic political solutions to massive problems. Graham in turn, has revelled in turning on them. Indeed, he seems to be enjoying his new found 'maverick' status.

And it has been Graham that has been so keen to point out the question that we asked at the beginning of this article. What do the Tea Party want to take their country back from? We know it is not socialists because there are none - they are imagined. We know it is not communists or liberals. They are not the people in power right now. The people in power are merely seeking to end the corporate lobby's stranglehold on America. It should come as no shock that the Tea Party is funded by so many very rich people with very close ties to the corporate machine.

But do the grassroots members of the Tea Party brigade question this? Do they even acknowledge it? No. They brush it off, as with so many things, as a smear attack by the 'liberal media', a charge that is as ridiculous as it is false. They are told it is a smear attack, usually by the biggest name in news - a conservative news network (so much for liberal media) and they believe it. They do not question it, they do not even attempt to look at it from another angle. They just accept it.

So it becomes clear that the Tea Party doesn't really know what they want to take their country back from. They are being told that it is time to take their country back and they repeat it. No questions, no challenges, just repeat.

And once they have their country back, what do they do with it? The people that control the Tea Party have no further plan other than destroying those who wish to put checks on their interests, influence and power. So the grassroots don't know what it is that they are going to do.

What it seems that they (the grassroots) want to move into is a Christian state, where corporations have unfettered power and no regulation. They want a world without Government intrusion into their lives, where the media is allowed to broadcast only what they agree with and the liberal scum that they believe infect their society are banished. The will not have to put up with a secular agenda, they will not have to put up with a gay agenda, they will not have to put up with a liberal agenda. History can be distorted to fit their patriotic agenda, and the ugly truth of America's history will be whitewashed with a coat several coats of red, white and blue.

So what they seem to be wanting is the very definition of a fascist state. The fascist state that they seem so keen to tell the rest of the world that they are worried they are heading towards.

They just aren't interested in understanding that it I'd their movement that is heading there.

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Location:Sutton Court Rd,Hounslow,United Kingdom