Monday, February 15, 2016

Lawrence Mooney review spat reveals the shifting sands of social justice

Up until now, social justice warrior (SJW) attacks have followed a pretty clear pattern. A tiny-minded feminist, say, decides to falsely accuse a prominent white male of misogyny. Then all her shrieking frightbat mates join the ambush on social media. Fellow travelling journos report on the issue in an outrageously biased way. The victim is painted as an abuser and he just can't get his side of the story across. His reputation in ruins, he ends up grovelling for forgiveness for a wrong he never committed!

This is of course a bad strategy for him to choose because it just confirms the attackers' narrative. Rather than saying all (or even some) is forgiven, they go in harder and demand his resignation -- if he hasn't been sacked by his spooked organization already, that is. With no support behind him and no other options available, he usually complies. Pumped from their victory, and with another bloody scalp to wave at other potential targets, the odds of his victors' launching another, more brazen attack are greater still...

But this kinda bloodsport has been going on for so long, and rampaging thought police have destroyed so many careers, that people are starting to resist them. Some are actually lefties themselves who have been unfairly targeted, or who have come to the defence of friends who were attacked. So the whole paradigm of social justice war seems to be shifting somewhat...

And here's a current local example involving Aussie comedian Lawrence Mooney that seems to confirm this development. As a prominent white male, he's a potential target. (Though he is a leftie himself, decreasing the odds of an attack.)

Now he's been given a pretty ordinary review of one of his recent comedy shows by an Adelaide journo. While the write-up included a bit of right-on hand-wringing about domestic violence it didn't qualify as an outright accusation of "thought crime" IMO.

In any case it provoked an outraged response from the comic on Twitter. My personal feeling is that he overreacted. But he does have the right to fire back. Critics have got to learn to take criticism too -- even if it's roughly worded.

But because of her gender and his tone he's now upped the ante. Sob sister SJWs have a likely candidate for their next target. There's a chance that the clash will result in a stupid, extended frightbat campaign to severely damage his career. If this does occur, and he does apologize down the track, well, I won't be surprised. But if the Aussie frightbats do declare open season on him I hope he doesn't back down and keeps launching salvos at them.

I think that's what he'll do if that scenario develops because, while the issue trended on Twitter and has received MSM coverage, he hasn't yet apologized as far as I know. Not only that, but some other comics have lent their support. This is quite interesting given the gender and levels of influence of the two protagonists.

And I found this quote significant:

Mooney later told BuzzFeed: “What made me angry was her contention that I’m not a comedian just a funny guy under a spotlight,” he said.

“I’ve had much more brutal reviews. The quaint difference between a comedian and a funny guy. I’ll leave it there.”

It was almost as if he was being the SJW since he was practising a bit of, er, language policing. His accusation wasn't that she was politically incorrect, but professionally incorrect.

Well, whatever occurs subsequently it seems to me that the lines are blurring substantially. This episode, along with others, shows that the nature of the social justice war is changing. People are not just defending themselves against accusations, but launching pre-emptive strikes. If vicious PC bullies in social and mainstream media find this upsetting, it's all good as far as I'm concerned. Great to see them cop some of their own medicine -- particularly from those on their own side!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chet isn't the only faker. His feminist critics are too

Aussie performer Chet Faker's stage name is a play on the real name of the iconic tragic jazz great and is therefore meant to make him seem post-modernist and ironic and all. But frankly I think it's accurate in a WYSIWYG kinda way -- at least as it pertains to his political beliefs. He resembles so many sneering hipsters in the arts world these days in that he presents a right-on facade to stay in the good books with the meeja. To be fair, he doesn't really have that much of a choice, as a recent Twitter ruckus illustrates.

See, feminist journo Erin Riley, who spends most of her waking hours looking for things to be, er, lefteously indignant about, discovered that the private school "Chet" attended had produced an inordinate number of Triple J Hottest 1000 winners. This fun fact involved obvious white male privilege and gender disparity and was therefore gold for an SJW hoping to lift her profile. She must have been delighted when a twitstorm ensued after he fired back at her with tweets implying that he wasn't that privileged after all. She earned some free publicity for herself and got to play the victim, the twin goals of most feminist behaviour these days.

She also had a clear win before all her adoring frightbat fans because the eeevil white male backed down after his initial self-defence and offered the usual boilerplate BS about equality, etc. Seems pretty clear he was only saying it to put out the social media fire that resulted form his initial reaction.

Riley's response to the muso eating crow was interesting:

Ms Riley retweeted the apology on Wednesday morning.

She told Daily Mail Australia that his tweets were 'very gracious'.

'I was impressed by his willingness to admit his mistake. That being said, the torrent of abuse and vitriol that came from other people - which was clearly in no way his fault - at a simple fact was very concerning.'

Eh? So he's not to blame for the reaction of others. That's a direct contradiction of the usual PC line, which is to sheet home as much blame to influencers as possible. She might have to swot up on her tactics.

Also, was it really a "torrent of abuse and vitriol"? Maybe she got some snark in e-mails. But if you search her name and handle on Twitter there seems to be little if any of negative reaction to her. Try both kinds, and you'll see what I mean. Not saying that she didn't receive any at all. But her choice of words seems to be hugely OTT by any rational measure.

Also, on the subject of private school, did Erin attend one herself? She has a very entitled air about her. I suspect it's likely, although I'm happy to be corrected on this.

Seems to me both the muso and the, er, critic in this case should check their privilege -- not to mention ease up on the fakery.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Oscars racism controversy shows the absurdity of PC

So funny that a bunch of bloody movie stars, directors and other inordinately well-paid film professionals are claiming to be victims of racism. They've gotta be among the most privileged people on the planet! But as lefties are so fond of saying, "everything is relative". If they're in one of the groups that mostly white, privileged socialists define as historically oppressed, and they genuinely feel that they've been discriminated against, well they have. And who are you to say that they haven't been -- especially if you're an eeevil white male!

As well as showing the childish, selfish emotionalism of those running it, the #OscarsSoWhite campaign highlights their strange priorities. If they cared primarily about doing great work, rather than getting accolades for it, then not being handed them wouldn't be a problem. It could even be argued that choosing gigs and approaching them with the main intention of winning an Oscar is a self-defeating approach, since doing so would detract from the emotional, physical and intellectual effort of producing great work. I mean, that's what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is supposed to award -- great work, right?

This was well expressed by Ice Cube, who said that complaining about not getting an Oscar was like bitching that you didn't get enough icing on your cake.

“We don’t do movies for the industry. We do movies for the fans, for the people,” Ice Cube said Friday.

"The industry,” Cube continued, “if they give you a trophy or not or a pat on the back or not, it’s nice but it’s not something that you should dwell on.”

Here's another example, from days of yore: Woody Allen, whose motivation has always been solely to keep cranking out excellent movies until he pops his clogs, didn't even show up to the Oscars when his classic Annie Hall won several Academy Awards including Best Picture. He was playing jazz at his favourite club, just as he always did. Good on him for that.

In fact, the movie itself has this brilliant line about the ultimate meaninglessness of giving out little statues of golden blokes:

Alvy Singer: Awards! They always give out awards! I can't believe it. Greatest Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.

Another toxic aspect of campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite is that rather than just running out of steam, they tend to precipitate more of the same. When one group starts playing victim, others pile on. This provokes snark from those who don't think these claims are as deserving of attention. Numerous rich Hollywood egomaniacs end up shitty with the others because they've had their dewicate wittle feewings hurt.

It's blindingly obvious to any sane, rational adult observing such an unedifying spectacle that total -- perhaps even partial -- equality is impossible. The goals of today's diversity crusaders will never be realized. They'll just keep getting increasingly indignant, and everyone else will become ever more exasperated with them.

Something's gotta give, though. There has to be a point where the powers that be stop acceding to SJWs' shrill, unreasonable demands and tell 'em to take a flying f**k at a rolling donut. Probably a long way off in Tinsel Town, but it is happening elsewhere, thankfully.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is Charlie Hebdo's Aylun Kurdi "groper" cartoon more PC than provocative?

Many so-called satirists like to think of themselves as edgy and provocative. But they're usually anything but. Take the lame "satirical" smartarses on the ABC. Their "comedy" is drearily politically correct, very careful to only mock Christians, conservatives and the like -- and usually very badly at that.

They tend to do this because there's a set template for this kind of stuff, so they don't have to be creative or original. Also, it will keep them in the good books with the PC powers that be (thereby ensuring long term employment) and they won't suffer any negative consequences at all bar a few outraged e-mails from viewers.

These clowns (and I use the term loosely) were always pretty gutless of course. But after the slaughter of a bunch of cartoonists at French magazine Charlie Hebdo a year ago they're even more so.

Speaking of which: The magazine has gone and done it again! This time half the bloody planet is in uproar over a new cartoon that seems to suggest that if drowned toddler Aylun Kurdi had lived he would have grown up to become a sex pest like one of the group gropers in Cologne. 

But you could also read its message in the opposite way. Rather than mocking Muslims, it could be seen as a parody of the politically incorrect "Islamophobic" stereotype of them. 

This kind of thing often happens with satire -- even when the writer thinks he's being crystal clear with it. A personal example: I used to perform a right-on leftie character who was clearly the joke, not the joker. He was meant to be laughed at, not with.

After 9/11, he would say how sad he felt for the "innocent victims" of that terrible day, "all nineteen of them". Almost everyone saw what I, through the character, was getting at. But at least one audience member didn't. After the gig he paid out on me because he thought that I agreed with the character and was thereby condoning what the terrorists did! I tried to explain that I was mocking that very attitude. He didn't buy it. You see what you want to see, as the saying goes ... 

So, it's easy to grab the wrong end of the satirical stick. And it looks like this is what is happening with this latest Charlie Hebdo "outrage". As this tweep points out, the offending "Aylun as groper" cartoon was placed in a context that should be considered.

If you're going to ignore that context you completely distort the message. I think this tweet sums it up well:
Getting all outraged about it therefore becomes a massive own goal. Needless to say, there are heaps of them being scored all over the world.

And even if Charlie Hebdo is trying to offend Muslims with their most recent offering, their cartoonists certainly don't deserve to die for it. Yet this is what a lot of people are wishing for. "These fascists deserve a repeat of what happened a year ago!" is a very popular sentiment.

Of course you'd expect lots of Muslims to believe this. But heaps of those caring sharing, compassionate and "pro-freedom of speech" liberals and lefties do too. Depressing that so many of them don't see where all this is leading us.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ray Badran rape joke furore reveals comedy scene's PC culture

One of the reasons I really like blogging as a medium is that you can actually say what you want to say. If people don't agree with it, fine. If they're deeply offended and even hate your guts for what you said, then they'll snark at you in comments. Also fine.

This is definitely not the case in standup comedy. The culture is heavily, drearily PC. Sheesh, you're treading on egg-shells the whole time in that joint!

That right-on and very selective outrage is mind-stunting, creativity-killing poison for all the arts, of course. But it's particularly toxic (and sad) when it dominates a genre like standup which should be anarchic, rebellious and disrespectful to all po-faced finger-waggers across the political spectrum.

A good illustration of how depressingly childish and nasty it can get involves a comic called Ray Badran. See, at a recent gig for The Melbourne International Comedy Festival he told a joke that some idiot in the audience didn't comprehend. Seizing an opportunity to advertise her spurious sense of moral superiority she basically heckled him (in a rather unique way). He lost his cool and now all hell's broken loose.

The offended audience member, a woman called Cecilia Devlin, claims to have staged a silent protest by sliding under the table. Her malignant pettiness comes through loud and clear. She wasn't staging a protest. She was trying to wreck his act by drawing attention to her own! And she succeeded.

That said, you gotta give her some cool points for inventiveness. Most twits who are too literal-minded to actually get a gag and instead get all offended just yell stuff out or storm off in a huff. But this sustained display of passive aggression certainly subverted that dominant paradigm. It was a kind of anti-performance performance art, really. It was culture jamming of the highest order. She could prolly even get a grant for it ...

Hmm. You never know, it might even become an official artistic genre in its own right! Knowing how many sour-faced, witless, whining hand-wringers there are pumping their pompous poison into the performing arts here there may even be a Festival of Faux-Feminist Table Sliding before too long. We shall see.

But back to Badran's proscribed behaviour: Depressingly, quite a few comics have sided with the sinister forces of censorious sanctimony. And predictably the festival's big enchilada mouthed the requisite PC cant:

This week Comedy Festival director Susan Provan said organisers did not support racist or misogynistic material.

"We would never censor anyone but usually when inexperienced comedians attempt big topics, they tend to fall flat. People will vote with their feet."

That line about censorship is bollocks. Provan declared a fatwa on jokes about Islam remember. And saying people vote with their feet just begs the question: Why didn't Ms Devlin walk out if she was so offended?

Seems remarkably malicious -- not to mention weirdly masochistic -- to hang around under a table, poisoning the atmosphere like a fetid fart in a jammed elevator. For Provan, whose purported position is to promote comedy and encourage creativity, it's quite remarkable to implicitly side with an obnoxious arsehat whose clear aim was to ruin a performance, don't ya think?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fictional drug smugglers usually evil. Odd, considering who creates them

Have been watching the latest Rebecca Gibney mystery-thriller called Winter. Actually enjoying it quite a bit. I love this kind of TV show, and not just because of the whodunnit aspect. Being a fusty old conservative the moral polarization appeals to me. While the good guys are far from perfect, they are very clearly on the right side of the conflict. And the bad guys -- be they serial killing psychos, ruthless terrorists or other sinister subspecies of low-life -- are most definitely bad. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer that kind of clarity to the moral equivalence and ambiguity you see in so many edgy, hip productions in other genres. 

In Winter, as in many similar shows, the bad guys masterminding the murderous mayhem are making squillions out of the illicit drug trade, among other things. Without a doubt drug smuggling is one of the unequivocally evil occupations in this genre. If you're a drug king pin, well, you're the scum de la scum of society. And if you're one of his goons or salespeople you're not quite that bad, but you're still seen as an irredeemable waste of skin.

Given the pervasiveness of this televisual stereotype it seems quite odd that so many arty wankers in the industry are outraged over the impending executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

You've got to ask: If they don't think smuggling drugs is such an evil thing, then why do they participate in productions that invoke that perception, and very strongly? So strongly, in fact, that in many cases murder is often seen as completely justified, with the hero or heroine ultimately sending the villain to hellfire and damnation in a hail of bullets!

This contradiction doesn't apply so much to actors, of course. Evil characters can be the most memorable and fun to perform, after all. And the surest way to a crap performance is to telegraph your personal judgement of the character as you play him. But scriptwriters, producers, directors and the like must be quite conflicted over this issue, surely. They tell stories, and stories make statements -- even if they're in genres not seen as primarily political.

If they think drug traffickers are not the apotheosis of evil, then why do they keep presenting them in this way? They couldn't be working only for the money, surely! Or maybe their near unanimous condemnation of Indonesia's punishment of drug traffickers is not as sincere as it is presented to be ...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rolf Harris's epic abuse of public trust

Have been fascinated by this whole Rolf Harris scandal. I've found myself being deeply unsettled by it, actually. And I'm sure many other people feel the same way.

Not that I was a big fan or anything ... It's just that I have a few very early memories of Harris's songs, and saw him perform once live when I was only 7 or 8 years old. These recollections are so redolent of that whole time. They are like mental cornerstones, foundational memories.

To think that he was preying on innocent, defenceless fans at the time, before and since really sends a shudder through my spine and jolts my childhood recollections. It's like a sinister cloud moving backwards over the past. I think a lot of people feel this way.

The thing that makes these revelations particularly disturbing is that he presented such an affable, trustworthy persona. And that's exactly what he used to gain opportunities to prey on girls and young women, and then get away with these attacks afterwards. It was actually diabolical.

It's one thing to have the urges he had. Creepy and wrong to start with. But to act on them, and repeatedly? Even worse. To top it all off he did so without compunction, confident in the knowledge that no one would believe his accusers. After all, he was the one and only Rolf Harris, surely one of the most widely loved and famous children's entertainers in the entire world.

That was a truly epic betrayal of trust. And that surely must have compounded the suffering of his victims. To be sexually assaulted is obviously an awful thing. But to constantly see the perpetrator's grinning mug on the TV, knowing that everyone from the Queen down thinks he's the bee's knees? Well, that must be utterly soul-crushing. How could you not think the world was an evil place?