No apology necessary… this time

My old boss Ezra Levant (former publisher of The Western Standard, where I worked as a senior writer) can be really on-again, off-again with his show The Source. Recently, he went overboard-off-the-deep-end with criticism of Justin Trudeau and his family after Trudeau kissed brides or babies at some wedding. But Ezra hits a home run with this Oct. 13 item; The Media Party’s secret deal. If any of you out there in the wider world want to know why some of us in Canada consider the Canadian mainstream media to be one super-gigantic joke this should answer it nicely. All that “brain power” and highly paid legal advice, and they can’t even get their collective bleating heads around the idea of fair dealing.

I caught the item while catching up with news aggregators and was scrolling through Small Dead Animals. One comment to their post attracted my attention, particularly the last sentence;

I watched this again this morning. This is a huge mistake by the Media Party. They have tried to hide their bias, but now it is out in the open. This collusion should be talked about in legal and political science circles for decades to come.

Actually, I was thinking it should become a component of journalism courses. There is an obvious need for it, demonstrated by the misplaced “outrage” in so many media outlets across the country. Also, I think it would be wise to tip young journalism students to fact that there is a very good chance they will be working for peter-principled fools, promoted way past the point of incompetence blah rant rant blah okay I’m done.

To all the girls I’ve loved before, but didn’t stereotype

This post at Chateau Heartiste is being bookmarked because its subject is a video with Nana Mouskouri in it, who by complete coincidence I mentioned in my previous post. Can’t say exactly why I like small coincidences like this, but I do. Two Nanas in two days. So there’s that.

More importantly, the article contains links to the CH’s invaluable 2008 posts on How To Handle Femmes Fatales, which should be mandatory reading for all males when they turn 16.

The first article in the Femmes Fatales series covers The Gold-digger and The Waif/Neurotic. Then there are separate entries for The Eternal Ingénue and The Amazonian Alpha.

For old guys like me these aren’t very helpful anymore. But they are a fun read because it’s nice to reminisce about all the girls I’ve loved before, and it can be soothing to sort out one’s messy past into neat little categories.

Stick it to the man

Breaking Bad spin-off gets an eponymous song promo/jingle with Junior Brown crooning “Better Call Saul”:

Saul, Saul, you better call Saul,
He’ll fight for your rights
when your back’s to the wall.
Stick it to the man,
Justice for all,
You better call Saul.

h/t The Ambler (via email)

“Hold on… you’re a bit drunk here”

It’s starts off with a guy swigging from a bottle of vodka and slowly develops into a great free-wheeling discussion about journalistic ethics. I’m referring to the latest Google Chat posted on YouTube by Internet Aristocrat: Lazy Thursday Stream – 10/09/14. The audience gets warmed up with the usual BS about penis size. Then the drunk aristocrat guy lets an anime guy into the chat. Eventually Eric Kain from Forbes and Milo Yiannopoulos from Brietbart join in. A panda named Lo-Ping gets appointed as the moderator (lol!) and the discussion steps up a notch. btw Here’s a couple of recent articles by the aforementioned writers:

Oct. 9, 2014, Eric Kain in Forbes: #gamergate Is Not A Hate Group, It’s A Consumer Movement

Oct. 10, 2014, Milo Yiannopoulos in Brietbart: How to Lose a Public Relations Battle on the Internet

There’s just so many different angles to #gamergate and it’s bringing a lot of different voices into the mix. I’ll say it again as a disclosure: I’m not a gamer. I’m following this story primarily because of the journalistic ethics angle.

The yakfest is over 5 hours long, so I’ll just drop you in the middle of it here, at 3 hours 5 minutes and 5 seconds (garnished with about three minutes worth of of transcription, a meagre contribution, below):

Eric Kain: YouTube is just going to keep growing. We’re going to get more and more serious critics doing video and if we want that to be quality, if we want people to have trust there, like they don’t in traditional games media right now, then we’d better pay attention to what’s going on. And if we don’t, the same problems, the same issues that we’re facing now in games journalism, it’s just going to carry right over.

Milo Yiannopoulos: Don’t you think they’re doing quite a good job of policing themselves because TotalBiscuit covered this weeks ago and everyone had that conversation then. And don’t you think that, you know, by and large, this stuff because of the greater degree of transparency and conversation and scrutiny that already exists with these big YouTubers, don’t you think the market is dealing with this in a way that it can’t address journalism because journalists are so distant and so opaque in a way that YouTubers generally are not.

Eric Kain: It depends.

Milo Yiannopoulos: They are–for a burgeoning, young, you might say not yet professionalized, not yet institutionalized industry–policing themselves a hell of a lot better than journalists ever have.

Eric Kain: Well, some of them are, we know, because they’ve been very upfront about it. Boogie2988 and Francis whatever, he had a video, and I thought his video was really good, I just disagree with him doing the paid deal for Shadow of Mordor. I disagree with that. But he also pointed out something really important there, that in the US we have a legal obligation to disclose, but that’s not the case everywhere. So we can say, oh great that TotalBiscuit and boogie came out and were very upfront. That’s great. That’s a couple of guys. But there’s a lot of YouTubers, and there’s going to be a lot more.

Internet Aristocrat: But Eric…

Eric Kain: That’s my point. It’s not that, sure, in this instance.

Internet Aristocrat: [attempts to interrupt again]

Moderator [Lo-Ping]: Let him finish.

ShortFatOtaku: If I could jump in after as well.

Eric Kain: There was great… there was some very good disclosure from a couple of very prominent YouTubers, but that does not simply erase the problem with these kind of deals. And if this kind of deal was going on in print it would also be a very big deal. The response I’ve gotten from #gamergate has been, “We can only focus on one thing at a time.” Well, I just think it’s the same thing. The problem is, people who are helping consumers decide how to purchase something, in this case video games, being too close with the people who are selling that product. Whether you’re a YouTuber or a critic online or whatever, if you are helping the industry sell your [sic] product before you’re thinking about the consumer, then it’s a fucking problem.

Internet Artist: And I agree with that. And I will let ShortFatOtaku go on in a second. Two points really quick. I think Milo is right. I mean, TotalBiscuit did disclose this, but even more than that, if you look at somebody like I believe it’s Jesse Cox on YouTube. At the start of their videos when they’re doing a preview or review of a game they’re talking about where they got it. They’re totally disclosing the source that they got the material from, how they got it, the connections that were involved. It seems to be a community that does self-regulate. But you’re talking about YouTubers stepping up to the plate and doing something they don’t have a degree or an ethical obligation to do. And again, I agree with you at heart. It is shit that they’re doing it and they should be called out on it.

But look at Grayson, look at Patricia Hernandez, look at any of these people that write for actual journalism websites. None of them stepped up to the plate. They only admitted wrongdoing once it was called out. So when you are talking about the enthusiasts press, when you’re talking about—I don’t know what you want to call it, the sixth estate? or however you want to coin it—they’re doing a fucking much better job than online media has. Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, all of these have failed to ever disclose any information. And I think when you look at this recent thing with Shadows of Mordor or Middle Earth, what you’re seeing is YouTubers stepping up to the plate in a way that Kotaku and Polygon and the others never would have stepped up to the plate. They only responded when they got called out.

Eric Kain: There is a legal obligation to disclose financial ties…

Internet Aristocrat: [talking over] So why isn’t that in journalism?

Eric Kain: But most journalism does, I mean, most of it does. If you go to a website that does a review of a game there’s a disclosure…

Internet Aristocrat: But wait wait, Eric. If there’s legal disclosure, why wasn’t Patricia Hernandez speaking about this up front? If there was this legal disclosure… that’s not right.

Eric Kain: But the thing is, you’re pointing out something that’s not right. I wasn’t saying it’s right either. But again, it’s the two wrongs make a right thing. I’m not disagreeing.

Internet Aristocrat: No no no Eric, what I’m saying is… to the earlier question, when I said, ‘Should Patricia Hernandez be fired?’ you said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t have the information.’ But if you’re saying there’s a legal obligation to disclose a relationship before doing a review, if it is a legal obligation to do so and they are refusing to do so and they only do it after they are called out, why the fuck would they NOT be fired?

Eric Kain: I’m not in HR. I don’t know.

Internet Aristocrat: That’s not an HR question.

Eric Kain: It is.

Internet Aristocrat: That’s a simple ethics question. That’s a legal question. Why would they not be fired for failing to disclose…

Eric Kain: Because breaking the law does not get you fired.

Internet Aristocrat: Are you fucking kidding me?

ShortFatOtaku: I think what he’s trying to…

Moderator [Lo-Ping]: Hold on, hold on. [to Internet Aristocrat] You’re a bit drunk here. Give it a second.

Then a few minutes later there is this;

Eric Kain: The thing is there’s so much grey you miss when you decide to take a really hard stance on something. You may think she needs to be fired, but there may be a lot more things going on that you don’t know about.

Milos Yiannopoulos: This is an important point because one of the things you have to bear in mind is that a really important part of the journalist’s job, if they are doing their job properly, is probably to skirt very close to breaking the law in all sorts of ways. The fourth estate is there to hold power to account. Sometimes that power is the law. Sometimes it’s politicians. Sometimes it’s the police. Now, you could argue with some justification that very few members of the games journalism industry are doing anything of such size or significance that warrant a blind eye being turned. Eric is right that many of these things are guidelines and regulations rather than sort of statutory instruments. He’s right, but the more important thing is that journalists are there to break the law in some circumstances. They are there to do what ordinary members of the public can’t. Journalists do it because they have lawyers and platforms and power to hold other powers to account. Now, when that goes wrong, and journalists fail in their responsibilities… and their primary responsibilities are to expose wrongdoing by the way, not to be, as Eric put it perfectly correctly, an extension of the marketing arm of very large, very rich companies; a journalist’s primary responsibility is to expose wrongdoing. When they fail in that task, when there is as we have had in #gamergate an industry-wide ethical failure, then precisely the kind of consumer action that we seen in #gamergate is a proportionate, reasonable and appropriate response to that. But I do have to say, when we are really doing our jobs properly, it does very often put us in a really tricky position, which is why newspapers spend so much money on lawyers and why all journalists are worried about going to prison if they are ever working on any interesting stories. If you ever write about anything remotely significant, first of all you’re going to get a lot of people upset, and second of all, you’re going to get yourself into some degree of legal trouble somewhere. And factor in the possibility that editors are complicit in an ideological mission, as we have seen happen with video games journalists, and you start to understand why it’s not quite as clear cut, if I may be bold enough to disagree with Jim on this one…

Terror and resistance

It is a question that had to be asked.

Oct. 9, 2014 Daily Mail: Could terrorists turn themselves into Ebola suicide ‘bombs’? Experts fear ISIS jihadists may infect themselves to spread virus in West

It’s also a question this publication had unwittingly answered elsewhere the same day. Different motivation, different side, different war, different era, but the same idea–spread disease among the enemy:

Oct. 9, 2014 Daily Mail: Honor for secret French resistance heroine who slept with Nazis to give them STDs in ‘vengeance’ after she was raped

Hang in there until we fire you

“Daddy, what are spapers? It says here that new spapers are dying. Are old ones dying, too? I googled it and it asks, ‘Do you mean papers?'”

Heh. Just practicing writing dialogue. Gonna need a new writing career because there aren’t many left in journalism these days. Today we have this: Winnipeg Sun: Postmedia buys Sun Media for $316M

Quebecor today announced the sale of its English-language operations, consisting of 175 publications including the Sun chain of dailies, its community dailies and weeklies, its Canoe portal in English Canada and its Islington printing plant, to Postmedia Network Canada.

The quotes in the story are just typical business boilerplate bullshit and there’s more of it in the tweets below the main article, used to update the story.

Antonella Artuso, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief for Sun Media, offers this: “We have no plan to close anything,” CEO Paul Godfrey says, when asked about jobs.

There’s something of a disconnect here. Either Godfrey didn’t answer the question, or the question wasn’t about jobs. If the question was about jobs, then it should have been something like, “Is anyone going to be fired or laid-off?” And if that’s what Godfrey dodged, she should have reported that. You can keep an office open with only one employee where there used to be 100 and you can claim you haven’t closed anything.

A previous tweet: “Sun newspapers will live side-by-side with Postmedia papers in major markets but no question digital is the future, CEO Paul Godfrey says.”

Translation for employees: “Hang in there until we organize a clickbait department of twentysomethings who can hunt down funny videos of cats and dogs in clothing and then we’re going to can your ass. It’s not like you have other options.”

I have been practicing my clickbait writing; “OMG! You won’t believe what happens next” though I see that bait like this is getting old, unsophisticated, over-used. People are catching on, so we have to move on. It’s probably better if I aim higher for language more precise, complicated but still cute and bait-y on many levels, like this: Rescued Pit Bull Vies for Taylor Swift’s Job in New Video.


That Facebook feeling

You’ve lost that Facebook feelin’
Whoa, that Facebook feelin’,
You’ve lost that Facebook feelin’
Now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa

I realize now I prefer to post things on a blog rather than in a social media setting. I like the control. It’s like working in my own shed as opposed to performing tasks out in public. Maybe it’s a generation thing. I don’t know. I just don’t like the way Facebook makes me feel. Does that sound millennial enough? Flakey? Yeah, it does. I’m not a millennial but it can’t be helped.

How does Facebook make me feel? It’s complicated but I’ll try to explain. Facebook makes me feel like a person who volunteered to go door-to-door seeking charitable donations and gets invited into some woman’s home. Here I sit on her living room sofa while she’s off somewhere preparing me “a drink,” a non-specific liquid she insists that I look like I need, though I hadn’t asked for anything and I’m not thirsty. So there I sit, gawking around at this and that, pictures of her family, a tiger skin patterned pillow, a functional looking lamp etc. feeling slightly uncomfortable, hoping I can remain polite while I convey the notion that I should be going because you know it’s not that I have better things to do but… And then the doorbell rings, and rings again, and again, and all her friends start showing up and they want to be my friend, too, and some of them know some people I knew a long time ago, so hey! why not? But this is not the type of get-together where anybody can say what they think about anything important. It’s one of those ‘see if you can get along with anybody and everybody because you know it takes a village yadda yadda.’ You gotta go along to get along. Come here, come look at Rosemary’s baby. And then someone pulls you aside and whispers that it’s not just this apartment; this whole building is like this and that’s because it’s owned by a rich asshole named Zuckerberg who keeps arbitrarily changing everyone’s lease agreement and everybody’s walking on eggshells and…

…that’s how Facebook makes me feel.

Grey areas in this cautionary tale

Daily Mail: Scientists warn reading Fifty Shades of Grey can turn you into a binge drinker with multiple sex partners

Would it be fair to say that these scientists are not “getting it”? I don’t think so. They get it (but scientists are no longer the new clergy; they’re now the old clergy, grown corrupt).

“We recognize that the depiction of violence against women in and of itself is not problematic, especially if the depiction attempts to shed serious light on the problem,’ Bonomi said.

‘The problem comes when the depiction reinforces the acceptance of the status quo, rather than challenging it.’

I get the sense they are saying they would be fine with all this if only the series had been dishonestly marketed as a “cautionary tale.” “You see,” says the super-cute twentysomething blonde female professor of sexorgasmgynocosmology that I’m imagining, “It would be a good thing for women to read this trash IF it teaches them how to avoid it.” That way the (insert massive sales figure here) women who like this sort of thing could go on reading it without anyone pointing to the fact that, um, a lot of women seem to like this sort of thing and we seem to have some conflicting social narratives running simultaneously beep bop boop does not compute. (What? Nearly 100 million copies sold worldwide? Fuck off, no way.)

It’s just a version of the “you-can-go-ahead-and-paint-naked-women-just-make-sure-you-put-them-in-a-setting-from-classical-literature” thing all over again. You know, progress.

Come, “…learn a lot about tolerance”

Can we adjust the definition of “racist” for a day or two? Hold on, maybe not. Maybe we’ll just print a column with…

According to Mary Elizabeth Williams (hmmm… sounds like a white person’s name, am I racissss?) over in Salon: It’s not racist to sue over a mixed-race baby. However, that’s not really what Williams says, but maybe it is, or it isn’t. She ends with:

Payton’s moms have probably had to learn a lot about tolerance and acceptance already in life, and there’s no doubt she will teach them much more. All of that possible — and it still means the clinic made a big mistake and should be held accountable for it.

Yes, “moms” plural. Lesbian couple, which is why they are getting the kid gloves treatment here from the ever-inane Salon. “We’ve got a victimological conflict; 20 CC’s of desalinated obfuscation, STAT!” It’s not the fact that it’s a mixed race baby that’s the problem, it’s the fact that it’s not the baby they wanted and it’s going to cause them inconvenience because it’s not white and…

I recommend you just skip over the column and go straight to the comments where you will learn, among other things, that;

To have concerns and preferences about race need not be “racist”. It’s ok for chinese couples to want chinese babies, etc, etc. If this clinic screwed up, they should pay.

My my and lol! (Maybe I better screencap all this.)