Wednesday, 9 October 2013

M is for... Miley (for twerk's sake) Spare-us


Okaaaaay... Has everyone officially gone mental? What's going on? Seriously? What is wrong with you? I have broken my blog silence to give you all the following news:

NEWS: MILEY CYRUS ISN'T NEWS.

For real, I will break down in small steps the way I have interpreted her recent goings on:

1. She releases a song that's absolute gash

2. She embarrasses herself by weirdly "twerking" all over Robin Thicke at the VMAs

3. The world is shocked

4. Hilarious photos like this arise:


5. She proves she's a (petulant) child and attempts to justify her VMAs embarrassment with further embarrassing escapades, most of which involve nudity (particularly of her coated drug-tongue) and admitting to being totally cool, man, for taking drugs and sh*t

6. Clips from her second (equally sh*t) video "Wrecking Ball" are released, which show Miley gyrating naked on a wrecking ball and licking a hammer (?!)

7. One clip shows her crying, which she explains was inspired by Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares to You" video

8. Sinead O'Connor writes Miley an open letter - telling her she's being exploited and what she thinks is feminism and empowering to women is, in fact, simply degrading

9. Miley proves (via Twitter) that she's just a (clueless) child who actually has no professional (or other) respect for Sinead O'Connor by tweeting this:



10. Sinead O'Connor no longer wants to play Mrs-Nice-Woman and threatens Miley with legal action (if she does not remove the tweet and apologise) for bringing up her past battle with mental illness

11. Miley proves that she's just a (stubborn) child by keeping the tweet

12. Sinead writes some more letters

13. Some other people write letters

14. Miley makes a ridiculous statement that the reason she sticks her tongue out is because that's how she smells

15. I dispair of the WHOLE WORLD

For real, though? All you can do is laugh at this. Can someone please tell me why people are attempting to have even remotely intellectual discussions about this?

It's very clear: Miley is a child, she's not being exploited by anyone, she's simply making some awful, inevitably regrettable decisions; and Sinead O'Connor? Well, probably needn't have got so involved (Nb. This is an unpopular opinion).

People loved Sinead's letter, but to be honest, I found it quite self indulgent and actually just condescending. It certainly wasn't the way to get through to a child - evidently - and actually, Sinead should have just laughed at Miley like the rest of the (sane) world.

To be completely honest, I have literally no idea where all this drama has come from. Why is everyone so shocked by Miley?

Miley Cyrus in a thong. Ke$ha in a thong. Rihanna in a thong. Lady Gaga in a thong. Nicki Minaj in a thong.... Replace the phrase 'in a thong' with 'topless' and we've still heard it all before.

This generation's 'role models' are all the same, and you know what? It's not very interesting.

A recent pandemic that I will call "Hot Naked Girl Fatigue" has descended upon us. We're surrounded by them. Female pop stars, Victoria's Secret models, women's magazines, fashion week shows, porn. Where can't you find hot naked girls? Can someone please explain to me what's news?

I mean, if Miley had done a 'Madonna' and actually used her sexuality to voice a strong message, she might have earned her little twerking bottom some respect. But, no. There's absolutely no substance to her, and if I'm honest, I've seen way hotter naked girls just reading Cosmopolitan. All she's done is demolish any possible respect as a credible artist. Shame.

She could check herself into rehab tomorrow and no one would think on it for a second.

She's just one in a long list of child stars who Disney have dumped and they now have absolutely no idea how to act as free adults. I.e. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato and... Miley Cyrus. Can you see a pattern?

And, if I were to mention that whilst all this is going on, Syria still have a stockpile of chemical weapons... Would you still want to talk about Miley Cyrus?

Probably.

Jesus Christ.

L.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

C is for... Christian Domestic Discipline(/Violence)

Sorry I've been AWOL again. Busy with work and that. But I have decided that talking about messed up stuff is way more fun, so here I am folks; back with another excellent religious topic: Christian Domestic Discipline.



And yes, that IS to be confused with Christian Domestic Violence.

In a nutshell, it's a way of life that promotes wife beating in the Christian community...

Detailed in the Beginning Domestic Discipline's "Beginner's Packet," a 54-page document that lays out the basic principles and practices of CDD, is the following explanation:

"Domestic discipline is the practice between two consenting life partners in which the head of the household (HoH) takes the necessary measures to achieve a healthy relationship dynamic; the necessary measure to create a healthy home environmental and the necessary measures to protect all members of the family from dangerous or detrimental outcomes by punishing the contributing, and thus unwanted, behaviors for the greater good of the family."

That roughly translates to the man of the household (HoH) administering spanking, privilege withdrawal and time outs to his wife when she misbehaves.

The Christian Domestic Discipline Yahoo! group, opens with a quote from Hebrews 12:11:

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

And, whom are we to train into righteousness and peace? Women only (duh)! The group's description goes on to say:

"We offer a LOVING approach to all who wish to learn and grow in a traditional Male, head of household, female submissive, Christian Domestic Discipline relationship."

But please be clear...

"This is not a typical "spank" site. We are NOT a dating service, a list for personal ads, bratting, erotic stories, or alternate lifestyles. We do not discuss Sadomasochism, the disciplining of children, same gender relationships, or Fem domination/male submission."

Got it.

So how does one handle the situation if the need for punishment arises? Beginning Domestic Discipline "Beginner's Packet" lays out a few rules to live by:

Lecturing

According to the pamphlet, there are three components to the punishment process: the lecture, the punishment itself, and the subsequent comforting.

"If the submissive partner asks, “What’s my punishment going to be?” it’s recommended the HoH say something along the lines of, “Don’t worry about that too much right now, dear. Let’s just go into the bedroom and talk about what happened. I want to hear your side of the story. I just want to get to the bottom of what happened.”... It’s recommended that the HoH essentially “walk” the submissive partner through the conversation and let them do most of the talking/thinking."

Removing Privileges

The list of privileges that "can be removed" include credit card privileges, driving privileges, "going out with friends" privileges, computer privileges, phone privileges, and cosmetic privileges.

"This punishment is generally used when the privilege is being misused or abused, but it can also be a punishment for specific behaviors. It can be used as motivation as well. For example, "Before I left for work you said you'd get all the laundry done, but it sounds like you've watched TV all day instead. No more TV until the laundry is finished. It's up to you as to when you get your TV privilege back." That sort of thing."

Corner Time/Bedroom Time

These are fairly typical "time outs," the sort of punishment a parent administers to a child in primary school.

"Corner time is considered to be a reasonable and appropriate punishment to address behaviors such as a poor attitude, failure to listen, nagging, light back talking, or any other minor behavior deemed immature, annoying, or completely uncalled for and unnecessary by the head of the household."

Spanking

This is, predictably, the longest section of the packet - it constantly reaffirms that the head of household "MUST be under control when administering a spanking,"which is administered when "a mistake is made, or poor judgment is exhibited by the submissive partner."

"Rubbing the buttocks after the spanking, or providing ice/lotion/aloe vera is not recommended. Rubbing or providing a soothing pain reliever essentially defeats the purpose of a spanking. The spanking must be painful to act as a strong deterrent to repeating the unwanted, dangerous, or detrimental behavior in the future."

They actually give you loads of handy tips, for example, if you're unsure what equipment to use to spank your wife, why not use a hairbrush? It's just "excellent for achieving the desired sting", but it can break easily. So perhaps a ping pong paddle would be better? It is quiet and sturdy, but may not sting as much as is required to get the message across. 

It's a toughy.

According to Jim Alsdurf, a forensic psychologist who has written a book on abuse in Christian homes, CDD is "an outlet for emotionally disturbed men with intimacy deficits".

One look at the Christian DD Group Advice blog confirms this. Although it only dates back to 2008, it's filled with entries from women who no longer enjoy the practice because it's transformed into a method of intimidation and control.

In one post, an anonymous woman wrote that "spanking [has] worked too well. It's gone from something that brings us together to something that I am really afraid of. So afraid that I will do anything I can to avoid one."

According to the Daily Beast, another woman wrote on a different popular CDD blog:

"I wanted the spankings to stop and my husband told me it was either DD and marriage or divorce....I chose divorce. I couldn’t handle the pain of spankings anymore, emotionally or physically."

A woman named April took to the CDD advice blog to complain that that she'd assumed that DD "would be just what [she] was looking for"; however, the lack of communication between herself and her husband had begun to infuriate her. "Where do my feelings and needs fall within his leadership though?... How am I supposed to respond when he thinks that a spanking will fix everything and reset things between us yet there's no discussion involved?"

And what about when a man makes a mistake? Vera, a CDD practitioner, explains that it's not the woman's job to point that out. "[My husband] self corrects," she tells the Daily Beast.

According to the Beginning Domestic Discipline packet, the husband's means of addressing his own mistakes is to give his wife a "very heart-felt and sincere apology", and then to "make a genuine, conscious effort to prevent the mistake from happening again." After all, "if the submissive partner is expected to follow the rules, the head of the household is as well." The only difference is that the submissive partner has no power at all to decide what the rules should be.

And in case you're wondering how legit it is, there are actually thousands of couples that subscribe to this way of life...

Clint and Chelsea, another couple from a CDD forum, appear to portray CDD as a positive lifestyle choice made between consenting adults. XOJane blogger Laura Rubino, too, notes that during her own investigation of the community, most posts from the women are positive.

"Many of them report feeling extremely calm and relaxed after being disciplined, and believe it is an expression of their husband caring about them and their marriage, enough to help them modify their behaviour," Rubino writes. "After the spanking, they are granted a clean slate. They don’t need to endure the days of tension and shittiness that can follow an argument unresolved through discipline."

Jim Alsdurf is adamant of it's detrimental effect, however. “No fool in his right mind would buy this as a legitimate way to have a relationship,” He told the Daily Beast. “A relationship that infantilises a woman is one that clearly draws a more pathological group of people.

(Anyone watch that Channel 4 Adult Baby documentary? ;) )

The community's stated basis in Christianity is also murky, according to some.

Bryan Fischer, a controversial conservative Christian radio host, has claimed in the past that the Bible teaches Christians that men are the breadwinners and heads of the household, but when reached by The Huffington Post, Fischer dismissed any connection between the Bible and the basic principles of CDD.

"This is a horrifying trend - bizarre, twisted, unbiblical and un-Christian," says Fischer, a former pastor. "Christian husbands are taught to lay down their lives for their wives (Ephesians 5:25) and to treat them with honor as fellow-heirs of the gift of eternal life (1 Peter 3:7)."

"God in the New Testament clearly asks wives to arrange themselves under the leadership of their husbands (in Greek, the word “submit” means “to arrange under”)," Fischer continued. "But there is no place where husbands are instructed to make their wives do it or punish them if they don’t."

In 2009, Jennifer Macon-Steele wrote a column for Yahoo! Voices that suggested CDD was a growing trend among some conservative Christians in the United States. Acknowledging the questions and criticisms leveled at the lifestyle, she said CDD practitioners she had spoken with looked at it as an extension of their spirituality.

"They argue that they deserve to practice their religion in any way they see fit and to interpret the Bible in their own way. They also make it clear that women in these relationships have accepted and consented to the discipline," Macon-Steele wrote, concluding, however, that "the answers to the questions surrounding this lifestyle remain unclear... the effects of this remain to be seen."

The issue I am facing with the whole CDD thing is that I haven't reacted to it in the way one might expect. I am neither outraged nor shocked. I quite literally look at the whole thing with ambivalence, and actually, all I can think is, "here's another example of mental Christianity."

Perhaps I am desensitised to religious bullshit. I mean, my view, in no uncertain terms is that religion is now completely redundant, so isn't this just another example of the dangers of it?

I guess what I'm saying is that I want to be angry about this, but I don't seem to be able to summon the energy!

Anyone else?

L.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

M is for... Mother (F***er) Teresa

Alright? So, I've been absent. Sorry. Had LOTS going on these past few weeks... But I'm back (back, again), and I thought I'd take some time to slag of Mother Teresa.



Someone referred to me the other day as Mother Teresa. Now, you know, I am good. Unfortunately, this supposed compliment actually left me MORTALLY OFFENDED. And then I remembered: not everyone's aware of MT's horrendous-ness!

In all the universe of religious experience, few figures are so beloved as the Catholic nun known to the world as Mother Teresa. The official biography holds that she selflessly devoted her life to ministering to the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta, suffering through poverty and deprivation nearly as great as that of her patients without complaint, and asking no reward except the knowledge of doing God’s will. She was a beloved figure to millions and a trusted counselor to powerful leaders and celebrities worldwide; was showered with rewards and honours during her life, and attracted huge crowds as she lay in state after her death.

As I said, that is the official story. But atheists and freethinkers, more than any other group, should recognise how manipulative words can be. Teresa’s story is perhaps the supreme example of this. In this post, I intend to look at evidence that suggests MT wasn't all she's cracked up to be. Starting with a study, conducted by Canadian researchers, which has dubbed Mother Teresa "anything but a saint"...

The study showed how Mother Teresa was actually just a creation of an orchestrated and effective media campaign. Sure, she was generous with her prayers; but ridiculously miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering.

The controversial study, published in the journal of studies in religion/sciences called 'Religieuses' (great read - look it up), says that Teresa — known across the world as the apostle of the dying and the downtrodden — actually felt it was beautiful to see the poor suffer.

According to the study, the Vatican overlooked the crucial human side of Teresa — her dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it.

Instead, the Vatican went ahead with her beatification followed by canonisation "to revitalise the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline".

Researchers Serge Larivee and Genevieve Chenard from the University of Montreal's department of psychoeducation, and Carole Senechal of the University of Ottawa's faculty of education, analysed published writings about Mother Teresa and concluded that her hallowed image, "which does not stand up to analysis of the facts" was constructed, and that her beatification was "orchestrated by an effective media campaign".

According to Larivee, facts debunk Teresa's myth. He says that the Vatican, before deciding on Teresa's beatification, did not take into account "her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding ... abortion, contraception, and divorce."

At the time of her death, Teresa had 517 missions or "homes for the dying" as described by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Kolkata. They welcomed the poor and sick in more than 100 countries.

According to the study, the doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions and a shortage of actual care, food and painkillers. Down to lack of funding? I think not. The Order of he Missionaries of Charity successfully raised HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars!

Volunteers such as Loudon, and Western doctors such as Robin Fox of the Lancet, wrote with shock of what they found in MT’s clinics. No tests were performed to determine the patients’ ailments. No modern medical equipment was available. Even people dying of cancer, suffering terrible agony, were given no painkillers other than aspirin. Needles were rinsed and reused, without proper sterilisation. No one was ever sent to the hospital; even people in clear need of emergency surgery or other treatment.

Again, it is important to note that these conditions were not the unavoidable result of triage. MT’s organisation routinely received multimillion-dollar donations which were squirreled away in bank accounts, while volunteers were told to beg donors for more money and plead extreme poverty and desperate need. The money she received could easily have built half a dozen fully-equipped modern hospitals and clinics, but was never used for that purpose. No, this negligent and rudimentary care was deliberate. However, despite her praise for poverty, MT hypocritically sought out the most advanced care possible in the Western world when she herself was in need of it. When it came to her own treatment, MT " received it in a modern American hospital"... Of course she did.

The three researchers from the study also dug into records of her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge who had strong views against abortion and shared Mother Teresa's right-wing Catholic values.

The researchers say Muggeridge had decided to promote MT. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film on the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the "first photographic miracle", when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak.

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. According to the researchers, one of the miracles attributed to Mother Theresa is the healing of Monica Besra, who suffered from intense abdominal pain, after a medallion blessed by her was placed on Besra's abdomen.

Larivee said, "Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa's popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint."

Moving on to her personal life, it's common knowledge that MT was a friend to vicious dictators, criminals and con men. As Christopher Hitchens documents in his book The Missionary Position, MT was acquainted with a startling number of unsavory characters. Two such were the Duvaliers, Jean-Claude and Michelle, who you'll know off of ruling Haiti as a police state from 1971, until they were overthrown in a popular uprising in 1986. (They looted the country of most of its dollar when they fled.) MT visited them in person in 1981 and praised the Duvaliers and their regime as “friends” of the poor, and her testimony on their behalf was shown on state-owned television for weeks. Bizarrely, she also visited the grave of brutal Communist dictator Enver Hoxha in 1990, laying a wreath of flowers on the tomb of a man who had viciously suppressed religion in MT’s native Albania. The list also includes the Nicaraguan contras, a Catholic terrorist group who unleashed death squads on the civilian population in their bid to conquer the country.

MT was also a friend to Charles Keating, a conservative Catholic fundamentalist who served on an anti-pornography commission under President Nixon. Keating would later become infamous for his role in the Savings & Loan scandal, where he was convicted of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy for his involvement in a scam where customers were deceived into buying worthless junk bonds, resulting in many of them losing their life savings. Keating had donated $1.25 million to Mother Teresa in the 1980s, and as he was awaiting sentencing, she wrote a letter to the court on his behalf asking for clemency.

The prosecuting attorney, Paul Turley, wrote a reply to this letter. In his reply, he explained what Keating had been convicted of, and observed, “No church… should allow itself to be used as salve for the conscience of the criminal.” He also pointed out that the $1.25 million Keating had donated to her was stolen money, and suggested that the appropriate course of action would be for her to give it back: “You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the ‘indulgence’ he desires. Do not keep the money. Return it to those who worked for it and earned it!”

MT never replied to this letter.

MT cloaked a reactionary right-wing political outlook in false protestations of innocence and naïveté. Although she insisted on several occasions that her mission was resolutely apolitical, MT’s true interests were anything but. Like the right-wing conservative Catholic she was, she traveled the world to lobby against the legality of abortion, contraception, and even divorce.

When the International Health Organsation honoured MT in 1989, she spoke at length against abortion and contraception and called AIDS a “just retribution for improper sexual conduct”. Similarly, when MT was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she proclaimed in her acceptance speech that abortion was the greatest threat to peace in the world. (Hitchens cuttingly notes that when the award was announced, “few people had the poor taste to ask what she had ever done, or even claimed to do, for the cause of peace”. Lolz.). In 1992, she appeared at an open-air Mass in Ireland and said, “Let us promise Our Lady who loves Ireland so much that we will never allow in this country a single abortion. And no contraceptives.” She also campaigned in Ireland to oppose the successful 1995 referendum to legalise divorce in that predominantly Catholic country.

The connection between overpopulation and poverty seemed never to occur to MT, who said on another occasion that she was not concerned about it because “God always provides”. (The very existence of her mission would seem to cast doubt on that.) In upholding the irrational dogmas of Catholicism, she failed to recognise – or perhaps chose to disregard – the obvious conclusion that inadequate access to family planning services was and is one of the greatest causes of human destitution.

Going back to her malpractice, MT considered converting the sick and the poor to be a higher priority than providing for their actual needs, and believed that human suffering was beneficial and even “beautiful”. The following quote from MT says it all:

“I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”

On another occasion, MT told a terminal cancer patient, who was dying in extreme pain, that he should consider himself fortunate: “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (She freely related his reply, which she seemed not to realise was meant as a putdown: “Then please tell him to stop kissing me.”)

Despite the widespread perception that MT sought to relieve the suffering of the poor, the truth was anything but. As Hitchens documents, she actually considered suffering to be beneficial. This is why she kept her clinics so rudimentary – not so that sick people could be cured, but so they could get closer to God through their suffering. As critics like Michael Hakeem put it: “Mother Teresa is thoroughly saturated with a primitive fundamentalist religious worldview that sees pain, hardship, and suffering as ennobling experiences and a beautiful expression of affiliation with Jesus Christ and his ordeal on the cross.” To her mind, they were not evils to be relieved, but blessings to be glorified.

But, of course, suffering like Christ was of no benefit if the sufferer did not actually accept Christ. To this end, MT’s clinics were run as conversion factories. Ex-volunteers have testified that MT taught her followers to secretly baptise the dying – people who could not resist, or were not aware of what was happening to them – without their consent. As ex-volunteer Susan Shields wrote, “Material aid was a means of reaching their souls, of showing the poor that God loved them… Secrecy was important so that it would not come to be known that Mother Teresa’s sisters were baptising Hindus and Muslims”.

It seems that MT’s true ambition was to found a Catholic religious order on a par with the Franciscans and the Benedictines. (Her Nobel prize money was used to this end.) She may well get her wish; her Missionaries of Charity organisation numbers as many as 44,000. If she wished to create a convent whose mission is to glorify human suffering, then it is for Catholics to decide whether they want to support that mission. Secularists and humanists, however, should have a little think about whether they wanna support an effort that is so manifestly at odds with what they stand for...


In fairness, I agree with how Larivee however signs off the study, although somewhat surprisingly positive: "If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice".

Fair.

If this is news to you, just remember to be more selective as to who you refer to as Mother Teresa in the future.

It's good to be back.

L.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

P is for... Playaa Slayers!

Got pointed in the direction of this book last night:


...And couldn't put it down. It's interesting.

Challenging Casanova: Beyond the Stereotype of the Promiscuous Young Male, suggests we’re missing the big picture. “Romantic” young men who feel “great affection” for the women they bed outnumber the tosser; but they’ve been drowned out by a toxic cultural message, argues Andrew P. Smiler.

I've been thinking about this for a while now... The idea that guys aren't really as bad as girls make out. Take Valentine's Day, for instance. The amount of effort that my male friends willingly put in for their girlfriends took me aback. But why did it? How very rude of me! It got me thinking that perhaps girls are fed vicious rumours about boys that generally aren't true...

Andre P. Smiler is a research psychologist and Wake Forest University professor. In his book he pulls together reams of data – including his own interviews with nearly 1,700 men – to reveal that actual Casanovas are few and far between these days, and don’t see much action. In one pair of large-scale studies, just 15% of young men boasted three or more partners in any 12-month span, and only 5% sustained those numbers annually over three years.

But... Guys only want one thing, right? That's what's ingrained into our brains. The media says it.



For decades, the dominant direction in popular science has been towards a dim view of male self-control. This science is reinforced by a relentless barrage of stories about philandering public figures. Men and women alike end up buying into a myth of male weakness, deploying suspicion and cynicism to try and dull the pain of betrayal.

Now, Andrew Smiler is arguing that most young men would actually rather have emotional and physical intimacy with one partner than rack up a tally on the bedpost.

If there's one mistake we consistently make about men, Smiler argues, it's that they aspire to be "Casanovas" (promiscuous men). Whether motivated by a hunger for status in the eyes of other men, or driven by the evolutionary imperative to spread their seed, most men want one thing - but never with just one person... So goes the myth.

In Challenging Casanova, Smiler notes that heterosexual young men these days actually tend to fall into three categories: a small percentage of "players" with a high number of sexual partners; an equally small percentage of young (almost always devoutly religious) guys who are determined to remain abstinent until marriage, and a much larger third group whom he argues want to follow "a reasonably traditional, romantic approach to dating." Even when they're "hooking up" these guys are engaging in the gateway behavior into what they hope will be a relationship.

These ideas contradict everything we've been told about men.

Even to the point where critics of Smiler don't blieve him. "I'm constantly told that the ‘boys are lying' to me about what they really want," Smiler says in a phone interview. "The Casanova myth is so deeply ingrained that people are convinced that boys who claim to want relationships rather than casual sex are either incredibly rare or full of crap."

The small number of genuinely promiscuous boys is explained away by absence of opportunity rather than absence of desire. There seem to be few other aspects of human sexual behavior where the disconnect between reality and perception is so vast.

Smiler blames older generations for giving modern guys a bad name. He argues that guys today are genuinely different in their attitudes towards sex than their elders. A substantial part of that evolution he puts down to a much more widespread acceptance of cross-sex friendship. "Today, most boys have at least one friend who happens to be female – a ‘girl friend' but not a ‘girlfriend,'" Smiler writes; until recently, "that was incredibly rare." The mainstreaming of platonic friendships with the other sex has transformed young men's attitudes towards sex, for the better; as guys are no longer solely looking at girls for sex.

Greater emotional depth, or at least the willingness to articulate that depth is what sociology professor Amy Schalet asserts sets contemporary teen boys apart from their fathers' generation. Schalet found that the American teen boys she interviewed "used strong, hyper-romantic language to talk about love." Her findings fit with those of a major 2010 study that shattered stereotypes about what boys want: "Two-thirds (66%) said they would rather have a girlfriend but no sex compared to only one-third (34%) who say they would prefer to have sex but no girlfriend. Similarly, two out of three (66%) agree that they could be happy in a relationship that doesn't include sex."

Schalet asserts that in terms of their emotional dexterity, boys today are "more like girls" than ever before. Perhaps that's because girls today are more like boys? In the past 25 years, girls have made undeniable progress educationally, athletically, financially – and sexually. As more and more girls have made steps to escape the straitjacket of classic feminine expectations, they've given permission to guys to start to do the same. The end result is that in terms of what they want from sex, boys and girls may be more alike than ever before.

Perhaps one the most poignant part of Smiler's work for me was the idea that actually, a man's sexual choices are just that, choices. Physiology and evolution may influence desires, but they don't override any man's capacity to reflect before acting. The myth of male weakness and the Casanova Complex suggest that men are ultimately powerless in the face of their sexual impulses, and that it is the responsibility of those who are less horny - women — to cover their bodies, set healthy boundaries, and generally prevent civilisation from collapsing into orgiastic chaos. Young men today don't have any less testosterone than did their dads, but when it comes to sex, they're thinking and acting differently. Biology hasn't changed, but boys have, and for the better. May they teach their parents well.

Aside from monogamy, desire is another interesting issue that I think guys get a bad rep about. The idea that men are unable to control their sexual urges.

Girls are often given the responsibility; even recently I had a conversation with an older woman who insisted that girls dress for men and should be more careful and modest. Modesty culture slutshames women, but it does something else almost as destructive: it tells boys a lie about what it means to live in a male body. What boys need to hear from their teenage years is that while erections may not have a conscience or the capacity to cogitate, their owners still do.

Modesty culture places an unreasonable burden on girls; but what gets missed is that it also sets men up for a lifetime of believing that they aren't responsible for their own sexual urges. Boys don't need to be protected from their own horniness, they need tools to learn to manage it. Lust is a biological reality, but the socially-constructed assumption that it is only truly overwhelming for boys is destructive in two ways: It shames girls for being horny (because sexual desire is framed as exclusively masculine) and it teaches boys that they are at the mercy of urges they can't be reasonable expected to control.

It's a tricky one though, eh boys? Because on the one hand you might be winning over society's perspective on the male of the species, on the other, you're losing your ability to blame those slip ups and wandering eyes on your testosterone...

Gutted.

Let me know your thoughts; have guys really changed?

L.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

P is for... Pope ain't Dope.


So, the Pope resigned. Did you hear? Oh, he's tired and poorly (from blessing Ferraris, denying women birth control and carrying all that gold around his neck)? How awful!

No.

This was one headline I read: "World Reacts with Shock and Grief as Pope Resigns”... For real?

When he leaves at the end of this month, Pope Benedict XVI will be leaving behind a Church broken by sex abuse scandals and a personal legacy dirtied by his cover-ups of that abuse. He'll just walk away from it. Am I shocked and grieving? Are you?

Sure, he was the first pope to meet personally with victims, and he did offer repeated public apologies for the Vatican's decades of inaction against priests who abused their congregants. So, everyone's just meant to accept that his PR campaign lip-service was sincere regret?

"No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse. It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention." - that whole last sentence creeps me (the funk) out.

He could have stopped it.

For 25 YEARS, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the Vatican office RESPONSIBLE for investigating claims of sex abuse.

In 1980, as Archbishop of Munich, Ratzinger approved plans for a priest to move to a different German parish and return to pastoral work only days after the priest began therapy for paedophilia. The priest was later convicted of sexually abusing boys.

In 1981, Cardinal Ratzinger became head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the office once known as the Inquisition - making him responsible for upholding church doctrine, and for investigating claims of sexual abuse against clergy. THOUSANDS of letters detailing allegations of abuse were forwarded to Ratzinger's office. Nothing was done.

In the 1990s, former members of the Legion of Christ sent a letter to Ratzinger alleging that the founder and head of the Catholic order, Father Marcial Maciel, had molested them while they were teen seminarians. Maciel was allowed to continue as head of the order. (Later, after becoming pope, Benedict did order Maciel to do penance and removed him from the active priesthood; but he had been instrumental in the cover-up previously?!)

In 1996, Ratzinger didn't respond to letters from Milwaukee's archbishop about a priest accused of abusing students at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

In 2001, Pope John Paul II issued a letter urging the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to pursue allegations of child abuse in response to calls from bishops around the world. Ratzinger wrote a letter asserting the church's authority to investigate claims of abuse and emphasising that church investigators had the right to KEEP EVIDENCE CONFIDENTIAL for up to 10 YEARS AFTER the alleged victims reached adulthood.

In April 2010, Benedict and other officials were accused by members of BishopAccountability.org of covering up alleged child abuse by 19 bishops.

At the time, the Pope told reporters he was "deeply ashamed" of the allegations of sex abuse by his subordinates and reportedly said, "We will absolutely exclude pedophiles from the sacred ministry."

Several other accusations followed from alleged victims around the world, prompting Benedict to make a public statement later that month from St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. In his speech, he said the Catholic Church would take action against alleged sexual abusers.

In 2010, he personally apologised to Irish victims of abuse. And that was pretty much the last we heard of it.

So, Benedict covers everything up and then when he's FORCED to acknowledge the problem, he apologises and gets credit for talking publicly about the crisis?

The whole time, he only ever addressed the crimes and NEVER the cover-ups.

Also, he spoke of it in the past tense? Sex crimes and cover-ups within the Catholic church are STILL happening.

So, is the whole world shocked and grieving that the pope has resigned? Well, I for one am not grieving. I am shocked. But only that he isn't in prison.

In view of fair argument, I will say this for him: He was outspoken in his support of universal access to health care, for stronger anti-poverty programs, against the death penalty and for more open immigration policies. I’ll give credit where credit is due on those things (even whilst slating him for nearly everything else).

I still think he should be in prison.

But religion loves a good sex abuse scandal, right? Recently I heard about this guy:


Joshu Sasaki Roshi, the founder and Abbot of Rinzai-ji is now 105 years old!! According to a recent investigation by an independent council of Buddhist leaders — and many of his former disciples who've tried to speak out for decades but were shushed up — he's used his stature as a famous roshi (master) to get away with groping and sexually harassing countless female students.

In the council's report, three members wrote of "Sasaki asking women to show him their breasts, as part of ‘answering' a koan" (a Zen riddle) "or to demonstrate ‘non-attachment.'"

One former student said Mr. Sasaki would fondle her breasts during sanzen, or private meeting; he also asked her to massage his penis. She would wonder, she said, "Was this teaching?"

Susanna Stewart began studying with Mr. Sasaki about 40 years ago. Within six months, she said, Mr. Sasaki began to touch her during sanzen. This sexualizing of their relationship "led to years of confusion and pain," Ms. Stewart said, "eventually resulting in my becoming unable to practice Zen." And when she married one of his priests, Mr. Sasaki tried to break them up, she said, even encouraging her husband to have an affair.

It would seem that sexual harassment in the Zen community is complicated by the relationship between Buddhist teachers and students, which they believe transcends (or at least can't always be judged by) Western standards of appropriate behavior, making the boundaries blurred. "Outside the sexual things that happened," one woman said, "my relationship with him was one of the most important I have had with anyone."

Can I understand it? No, not when one of the excuses Sasaki allegedly used to coerce women into touching him and being touched was that "true love is giving yourself to everything"! PLEASE. I think I heard that one back in sixth form.

Anyway, it's the dangerous perception that religion is above the law, and especially that religious leaders are completely infallible that allows for this abuse of power. These people are completely deplorable. I've made this point before in my previous post about religious cult leaders (G is for... "God told me to rape your daughter!"), so I won't rant about how I feel about it again.

In reality, the pope resigning, the Catholic sex abuse crisis being revealed and people finding out about Sasaki's harrassment will make no difference to anything. Whilst religion still holds the influence it does in the world, we will still have that inbalance of power and transcendence of law; and there will be sects and cults that will exploit that.

I will leave you with this link, which is funny, if you're into black comedy:

"I see your Tampa sex offender map, I raise you a Vatican."


...and now I'm going to get back to hating on the pope. It's been a long day...

L.

Friday, 1 February 2013

F is for... Feminazi.


Now, everyone who knows me knows I would not class myself as a feminist. But if there's anyone that riles me more than active feminists, it's active fundamentalist Christians. So naturally, when I heard about this story, I burned my bra...

Taking you back a step, one of my favourite days was when I found this website. A WHOLE SITE dedicated to slut-shaming women who think they're equal to men! This brought me a lot of lolz.

Here's a few extracts that, let me tell you, gave me some hot tips for if I ever decide to marry:

"I'm not going to sugarcoat this article in an attempt not to offend anyone. Feminism is rebellion against God's AUTHORITY! I don't know where the term "feminazi" originated, but it accurately describes the Feminist Movement. So many pastors today are afraid to preach against the evils of feminism. The truth needs to be told!"

Ok, feminists = Nazis. Got it.

"I don't mean to be unkind, but America is filled with foolish women, what the Bible calls “silly women,” who have destroyed their marriage and home. A wife is COMMANDED by God to submit to her husband. Many marriages today are two-headed monstrosities, because of a rebellious wife who refuses to submit to her husband's instruction. The end result is often the wife filing for divorce, which is a sin. Jesus said Matthew 5:32 that it is adultery for her to remarry."

Rebellious.... Right. Don't rebel. Submit.

"By the way, I'm not condoning domestic violence here, which is the first excuse every feminist clings to. A woman needs to leave if she feels threatened; however, this is NOT a Biblical ground for divorce. There are NO Biblical grounds for divorce! Say what you will, divorce is a sin! People nowadays have the attitude that divorce is ok, but it's surely not ok with God. For anyone to teach that Jesus permits divorce in the case of fornication, is to say that Jesus also approves of breaking lifetime commitments and sacred wedding vows made. This is not what the Bible teaches. There are NO Biblical grounds for divorce."

Ok, in the case of abuse I can leave, but I can't divorce my husband. (What about restraining orders...?)

"Tragically, many of today's judges are lesbians..."

OH, that well-known fact (?)

"...See the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. In San Francisco, 20% of all city appointments have been granted to homosexuals because of Affirmative Action laws. Where do you think the U.S. is headed? If you guessed "Hell," you are correct. Feminism and lesbianism are synonymous."

Synonymous. Right.

"A good wife will likely submit to a decent husband who loves her and provides for her. Unfortunately, some women can't be pleased. A man once told me once how unhappy he was because his wife bought a new living room set without his permission, placing them into more debt. She is rebellious. Another man told me that he was cutting the grass, and asked his wife for a glass of water, but she refused. She is rebellious. Feminism is rebellion. God hates feminism! I could tell you story after story. A wife's purpose in life is to be a "help meet" to her husband. Like it or not—a woman's place is IN THE HOME (1st Timothy 5:14). A man's wife is to help him (i.e., be a help meet)..."

Don't buy things without asking. Always fetch your husband water when he asks for it. Got it.

I wonder what the other terrible examples are?!

"I don't care what the Supreme Court says, the Word of God condemns homosexuality! America is filled with demented homosexuals and murderous abortionists who boast of being respectable citizens, who commit their sins with the government's permission; but, God will judge them for their wickedness (Romans 1:32). I am not trying to be unkind, I am taking a proper stand against a moral menace to society."

"Moral menace to society", now, this is when things stop being funny for me. Like, who is the actual menace to society here? Gay people who accept all different forms of love, and people who have an abortion because they are not in the right position to care for a child? THEY are a menace to society?

No, fundamentalist Christians; the only people who are a menace to society in this scenario are you. You are the ones spreading all the hate.

I thought God loved everyone? This sort of hating doesn't strike me as very Christian!

"No one is born “gay,” because God doesn't make mistakes."

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a Communist, anti-family, anti-Christian, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their babies, practice witchcraft, abandon homemaking, and become lesbians."

Insane.

Earlier this week, I was reminded of this rant, when I heard a ridiculous clip from radio show Generations with Vision...

The super-conservative radio show, hosted by Kevin Swanson and Dave Buehner, actually caught my attention a little while ago when I was writing my Chick-fil-A post. These idiots then declared, after the Muppets broke ties with Chick-fil-A (because Chick-a-Fil are right-wing pr*cks) that they "hated" the Muppets and "wanted to eat them". Err... right, ok. True story though.

(What is it with fundamentalist Christians being more comfortable having dialogues with imaginary creatures than with real people?)

Anyway, this pair of morons have caught my attention again, by airing their incredible (literally) view of feminism on Generations with Vision a few days ago.

Swanson and Buehner (who are obviously women's issues scholars) want you to know that giving your daughter the gift of upper schooling will launch her future in "selfish, narcissistic, family-destroying whoring." (Feminism. They mean feminism.)

They also inform listeners that there are actually two sects of these man-hating, Godless floozies to look out for:

"There are two forms of feminism, and it actually has to do with a division of how attractive a woman is."

Tell me more...

"So, you have the group that is very attractive, they're in the sororities, they're gonna be in the beauty contests. They're actually going to get the good jobs. They're going to leverage their attractiveness in the marketplace because it has a market value. Marketing. It helps market who you are. They're going to proceed, now they will probably some of them become the Sarah Palin-style feminists, they'll get themselves a husband, but they'll never be dependent on the husband, they'll never submit to the husband, in fact they will use their power probably to make their husband submit to them."

So that's... the good kind? Verdict: Whore (?) On the other hand, the second group is:

"Attractively challenged. Optically challenged. These are the kinds that will look for careers mostly likely in academia [and] they're generally very angry about it because their attractive… or their lack of attractiveness has not given them access to power that they wanted in the marketplace... Academia's actually the best place because you can be angry, ugly and you can also get tenure."

Which highlights the ugly academic women who go to the library when they're not in class mind-melting everyone. Verdict: SUPER Whore.

Which one are you?! Is there a test for this? Like the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter?

You can listen to the clip here (go on, it's brilliant. They even do that Christian sarcasm thing that gets me every time!):



This isn't really news, I mean we all know that this is how Christian conservatives really feel (though they usually play it cooler, with the angle of "God's design", and a sanctimonious smile). But with the Republican defeat last November, all pretence seems to have vanished. This isn't sugar-coated. This is just plain and simple hatred of women. Swanson and Buehner's shared loathing of women, who these two idiots have no control over, is a clear view of today's seething, frustrated Authoritarian.

Now, I appreciate I could be accused of being hypocritical. I know I haven't been shy in picking apart feminism in the past and, don't get me wrong, I do have a problem with feminists who make men feel as though they are the enemy. That they somehow are opressing women; because, largely, I think that's unfair.

This being said, feminism does seem to have its advantages. I mean, I rate the findings of a recent poll of 1,000 British parents, commissioned by the insurer Scottish Widows:

  • When asked whether their daughters thought their financial future was dependent on having a husband, only 31.9% agreed.
  • By contrast 37.7% of those with sons thought having a wife would make them financially secure.
  • Parents were also asked to choose what they thought their child would see as providing the greatest financial security from a list of options including matters like getting a good job or getting married.
  • Only 7% of parents with daughters chose "marrying well" as a top priority – with another 1% chosing "marrying a celebrity".
  • By contrast 57% thought that their daughters should prioritise getting a good job and 22% singled out the importance of doing well at school or university. Only 4% ranked starting a family as a top priority.
  • Among parents with sons almost 14% chose either marrying well or marrying a celebrity.
  • Meanwhile only 47% singled out getting a good job as the most important option for their son.
This is all positive, is it not? And a great leap for society who 200 years ago would have put "marrying well" at the top of the determining factors in their girls' longterm success.

So another brief conflict for me this week has been well and truly won by an unlikely group of people: Feminists.

I've changed.

Eat sh*t Swanson and Beuhner!

L.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

T is for... Tories and Tampons.


Been struggling this week with some British politics (for a change!). I'm guessing you've all heard about Claire Perry's attempts to get all parents invading the privacy of their teenagers?... Ok, that was hyperbolic, so let me fill you in...

Claire Perry, David Cameron’s new adviser on childhood (and the Tories’ answer to Harriet Harman) has stated that parents should insist on seeing their children’s texts and internet exchanges.

Claire Perry has said that in a world where youngsters are surrounded by online dangers, parents should challenge the ‘bizarre’ idea that their children have the right to keep their messages private. Parents should feel more empowered to challenge their children over their phone and internet usage and read their messages.

She reckons ‘sexting’ goes on in ‘pretty much every school in the country’(she's probably right). And that parents should feel ‘empowered’ to challenge their offspring about their use of mobile phones and social media sites such as Facebook, and demand to look at their messages if necessary.

This has caused quite a lot of controversy...

My initial response: Do one, Perry!

If it wasn't for conservative attitudes, society would be able drop its hangups and taboos about sex and tell children how the world works without stigma or embarrassment. Then children wouldn't want to hide it out of shame. Forcing this behaviour underground is what's made it so incredibly dangerous.

I mean, I do get it - the Internet can be a dangerous place for kids, and parents should take all necessary precautions to keep their children out of danger.

But it does beg the question: What about trust? Surely trusting your children and encouraging a more open relationship within the family should be the priority? If your child knows they can come to you about anything that they feel uncomforatble with, should that not be sufficient security?

Also, be real. Kids are always one step ahead of the game and potentially forcing them to take more drastic measures of privacy in the deepest, darkest Internet isn't really the best strategy? If a teenager wants to do something, they'll go to pretty much any length to do it.

Anyway, that argument aside, Perry's annoying. Try as she might (and she's tried hard) she has still yet to be reshuffled into government. Yeah, Dave's made her his adviser on childhood; but she's thrown herself into her new non-job, by telling people how to parent. That's her problem. She's crossed the line of advice and jumped straight into telling people how to raise their children. This is ultimately going to get people's backs up.

Previous to all this, I disliked her because she tried to make Internet porn opt-in (i.e. you would have to go to your ISP and ask to be allowed to view porn sites). Needless to say she didn't get that one passed (35% of the vote, I think it got?).

The ban on porn wasn't really my issue, if I'm honest. No, my problem was more with the fact that it was entitiled the 'Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection', and yet, this is the branding on the back of the report:


For the avoidance of all doubt, Safer Media’s charitable objects read as follows:

"The protection of good mental and physical health, in particular of children and young people, by working in accordance with Christian values to minimise the availability of potentially harmful media content displaying violence, pornography and explicit sex, bad language and anti-social behaviour and the portrayal of drugs, and with a view to the reduction of crime by;

A) raising awareness and increasing understanding of the impact of harmful media content among policy makers, service providers and the public.
B) educating the public and providing guidance and support to enable parents and carers to better protect children and young people.
C) monitoring media content for compliance with established national guidelines and standards required by the law and seeking strengthening of these guidelines and standards as necessary in the light of academic research.
D) commissioning and conducting research and disseminating the useful results thereof."


Oh, hello Christians! Not so ‘independent’ after all, eh?

What was even more worrying for me in the report was the panel’s final recommendation:

"8. Finally, the Government should consider the merits of a new regulatory structure for online content, with one regulator given a lead role in the oversight and monitoring of internet content and in improving the dissemination of existing internet safety education materials and resources such as ParentPort."

Lest we forget, Safe Media’s stating objectives don't stop at just pornography…

"...to minimise the availability of potentially harmful media content displaying violence, pornography and explicit sex, bad language and anti-social behaviour and the portrayal of drugs..."

Sounds a lot to me like Perry and her Christian mates are tring to censor the internet outright!

And, isn't it called an inquiry? Well, I couldn't find anything to indicate that an open call for submissions or evidence was ever issued.

ANYWAY, I've digressed...

Also this week, in a speech to the Fabian Society Women’s network yesterday, Labour shadow minister Diane Abbott called for better sex education in an attack on Britain’s “hyper-sexualised” and “striptease” culture.

"It’s a hyper-sexualised British culture in which women are objectified, objectify one another, and are encouraged to objectify themselves; where homophobic bullying is normalised; and young boys’ world view is shaped by hardcore American pornography and other dark corners of the internet."

Loosely, I tend to agree.

She's striving for better education and better tools for parents to control what sort of content their children can access. She proposed that it should be easier for parents and teachers to block adult and age-restricted material for kids.

Ok, so now we're back to internet censorship...

...But, is it about time?

The other thing that's got me going (vomming) this week is the story of Giovanna Plowman; otherwise known as Tampon Girl.



About Tampon Girl:

Giovanna Plowman, is just a teenager, a teenager who happened to upload a video of herself sucking on a used tampon to her Facebook page on Sunday. The video (apparently) shows her removing a tampon off camera and proceeding to put it in her mouth while listening to the song “212” by Azealia Banks.

I wouldn't know. I haven't watched it. I don't intend to watch it. Nor will I embed it here. You can click here if you want to watch it; but in the interest of being honest, I am judging you.

What happened to Tampon Girl:

Anyway, the video was re-uploaded to YouTube later that same day by YouTuber FizzyShizzles, where several viewers posted their reactions to Plowman’s video (in similar vein to the response videos associated with Two Girls One Cup and Interior Semiotics), but both copies were subsequently removed for violating the sites’ terms of services. Eventually, a mirrored copy was re-uploaded to LiveLeak and Redditor Madclown55 then submitted the LiveLeak video to the /r/cringe subreddit, where it received over 160 up votes and 160 comments within 24 hours.

By Monday, the “Giovanna Plowman” Facebook page received over 161,000 subscribers and the @ItsGiovannaP Twitter account received over 8,100 followers. Posts about the video could also be found on Tumblr under the tag “#giovanna plowman.”

Yes, it went viral.

And, she's still being widely discussed online. Milder discussions involve whether the video had been faked, and more vicious rumors were that she killed herself.... She hasn't, the girl is still alive.

But the video's anuthenticity is still questionable. Although I read somewhere that apparently the video "clearly shows clotting indicative of menses" (GRIMVOMGRIM) and it has been noted that if this video is a hoax then it was an extremely clever hoax with expert attention to detail. And to be fair, this poor kid doesn't seem bright enough to pull that off.

As indicated by her response...



Famous indeed babes, but at what cost? Whether she hoaxed the video or truly sucked on her own tampon, this kid is having to deal with people telling her to kill herself, one comment on the video even tells Giovanna to "drink bleach" (which is a reference to bullied suicide victim Amanda Todd).

My initial question: Where are her parents?

This week's been super conflicting for me! One minute I'm pissed off with British politics and how the Tories are (as Tories do) trying to enforce Government censorship to further contain society and moreover, dictating parenting styles...

And then the next minute, I see the extremes of internet freedom for teenagers, demonstrated by Tampon Girl, and I am hypocritically siding with the Tories, whilst indignantly berating and ridiculing Claire Perry in my head at the same time.

WHAT'S A LIBERAL GIRL WITH A LOVE OF THE INTERNET AND A MORAL CONSCIENCE TO THINK?!

Tampon Girl is never likely to live this down. For the rest of her life she's always going to be "the girl who ate her tampon", and presently she's being treated horribly and threatened beyond belief. Say she decides in a few years' time, when she's not reveling in the fame so much, that she wants to have a career. That information will never be erased from the internet; her future emlployers will be able to see that. Who let her ruin her own life like this? I would like to dictate some parenting styles to her parents....

Obviously this is a very extreme case of the dangers of internet freedom for young people, but there is a lot of disturbing things out there - pro anorexia and bulimia sites, self harm sites, suicide forums... It's a horrible place if you know where to look. And that's putting aside any internet trolls or preditors who take joy in ruining others' lives.

I think I am nearing the conclusion that perhaps I am a little more conservative than I would care to admit... The thought of having children in this day and age frightens me (check this previous post for my thoughts on having kids). We do live in an over-sexualised society where there is unlimited access to information. I'm definitely not qualified to have an opinion on parenting; but I am fully aware that if the time ever came, I would have to make some big decisions about the amount of freedom I allow my children to have. And is it as easy as providing an open relationship with your children? Or is censorship and monitoring the only way to guarantee their online safety?

In any case, this has led me to realise a gap in the market...

FREE BUSINESS IDEA:

Someone should develop some software for Tory parents that cc's them into their children's Facebook messages and emails them a report of the URLs they've visited after each computer sesh!

Think like a Tory. Make some dough.

Help me out with my internal conflict this week? Let me know what you think.

L.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

G is for... Gun Control.


The reason I haven't done this post sooner is firstly out of respect, I suppose. Probably my thoughts on this are likely to be quite controversial, perhaps insensitive, and given the tragic circumstances of the Newtown shooting, I didn't want this to be "too soon".

Secondly, things started kicking off with Piers Morgan, so I decided to take a back seat and see what came of that... Then I was going to do this post last week, but something bad happened to Bieber, so I had to pay my respects to him... Hence, the lateness of this post. But here it is: a focus on gun law in America.

I'm sure you're all horribly aware of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting on the 14th December 2012; in which 27 people died, 20 of whom were children. Horrible tragedy? Definitely (some would argue not, but we'll come to that). News? Not really.

In the past 30 years in America, there have been roughly 300 gun-related deaths on school campuses. Or about 10 each year. Gang fights. Crossfires. Suicides. Revenge killings. Accidents. Mass murders. It is by no means a new problem.

So what are they doing about it?

Well, after each "big" tragedy, this is generally what they do: Cry, shake their fists and wonder, "Why,(God)?!" It's as if, after each shooting, they're surprised all over again!

Then the blame happens...

Guns are the problem. Not enough guns are the problem. Lack of school security is the problem. Hollywood is the problem. Social media is the problem. Digital media is the problem. Broken families are the problem. Godlessness is (of course) the problem. Loners are the problem. Unarmed teachers are the problem. Glorified violence is the problem. Defenseless women are the problem. Video games are the problem. Autism is the problem. ADHD meds are the problem. Trench coats are the problem.

And, of course, as always, the gays are the problem.

Then they add some emotional theatre to the mix, cry publicly, try to distract from the obvious. Then say there's no easy answers - excusing the inevitable; that they're going to do very little about it.

Then, they suggest a solution! In steps the NRA (An impartial party with absolutely no political agenda, just a willingness to help America sort out their gun control... with more guns)...

The National Rifle Association says that the answer to gun violence is to place armed officers in schools. Also, less Hollywood and... more guns. Yeah. That should do it. Because if history is any guide, more guns should definitely solve this gun problem.

But, hold on... Doesn't common sense and science tell us the simplest way to end a lot of gun violence is to ban guns?

Oh no, wait... When did America as a nation ever agree on something as simple as science? Examples: Climate change, creationism, and evolution.

So yeah, they'll get angry for a bit, maybe march somewhere, call for big action and ultimately wind up with a compromise that will leave them shaking their heads in surprise after the next shooting.

"How did this happen?!", they'll wonder. Probably Hollywood. Or the gays...

There are valid arguments against a ban on guns, in the view of fair and honest debate.

Personal self defense — out of 31,000 gun-related deaths each year, there are 200 or so legally justifiable defence shootings.

(How we survive in England with no legal firearms to protect ourselves, I will never know.)

National defense — because if the country were to ever get invaded as a whole, Sally, George and Dwight would be able to lend a hand in sorting those baddies out!

Zombie apocalypse defense - Err...

I mean, of course, even I get that target shooting is fun... but I'm not sure it's completely necessary to bag a deer with a .45.


Sure, a gun ban could fail miserably like Prohibition... or, just maybe, America may end up living in a society in which their friends aren't caught in random crossfires, in which their family members aren't hosed down for petty parking disputes, in which they can send their kids off to school and hope somewhere deep down that they make it back alive.

Wouldn't that be a lovely time?

I actually agreed with a lot of points I read in an Esquire article written by Stephen Marche (credit George [@George_Huitson], who tweeted me the article), however controversial it is.

Here's an extract to give you the picture, but you should really read it:

"Why was President Obama crying when he gave his press conference about the Newtown massacre of twenty innocent children? My hope is that he was crying out of shame. Because if he was crying because the children of Newtown are "our children" and this is a "tragedy," if he was crying out of some worked-up sentimental empathy, then forget him. Really. The children of Newtown are not our children, not yours or mine or President Obama's. My children and your children and Obama's children are alive right now. The children who are dead were the children of real parents, and their suffering is not ours. It belongs entirely to them and it is unimaginable."

Marche states that America can't call Newtown a "tragedy", for reasons he goes into... I personally find that too hyperbolic; but I understand the general sentiment.

Anyway, I suppose I'm not the only British person to take this harsh view of American gun law, as recently, Piers Morgan took the floor.

Love or hate the guy, he's been very vocal about his strong advocacy for increased gun control in the United States, so vocal in fact, that he managed to rile up that (lovely fellow) Alex Jones...


If you don't have the time, or perhaps the inclination (I know, Jones is a prick), here's a brief run-down of what happened:

So, Jones and Piers went head-to-head on Piers' CNN show, where Jones called the comments Morgan made regarding gun control and gun ownership in the United States akin to treason, and went as far as to demand the U.S. government deport Morgan. Yes, there was a petition.

Specifically, Jones' petition stated that Morgan "engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment.", and requested that "…Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens."

(He's not being deported. Freedom of expression is welcomed in America. Which ironically is a shame, as without it, we would be idyllically unaware of Alex Jones.)

Jones' temper was just ridiculous throughout the show and lead to him making several embarrassingly bizarre comments, including, "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! It doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out on the street begging for them to have their guns taken! We will not relinquish them! Do you understand?" (Note: 1776 marked a pivotal year for Americans against the British during the American Revolution).

Jones' anger seems to stem from the idea that a Globalised World and International Government powers are deliberately attempting to disarm Americans to commit, as Jones put it, "world tyranny." He accused Morgan of being a part of the "New World Order" (lolz. Where's Icke when you need him?). Yes, he even exemplified dictators Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, who, according to Jones, were able to remove firearms from ordinary people.

Jones also remarked how the United States suffers from "mass murder pills," also known as prescription drugs, and claimed such drugs are responsible for the largest percentage of unnatural American deaths. He made the brief point that the ability of pharmaceutical companies to market and sell such high quantities of prescription drugs deserves greater attention than the gun control debate.

This was all before Morgan attempted to make a point about the difference in number of gun murders in England last year (35) being significantly less than the number of gun murders in America (1,100), whilst Jones shouted over him and attempted to belittle his figures by calling them "a little factoid". Comedy gold.

Throughout all this, it's notable that Morgan sat quietly and politely and nodded as Jones became increasingly passionate about his "world tyranny" theory. Jones' confrontation against Morgan ended with an invitation for Morgan to "become an American and join the Republic" by hunting with him. Sounds like a lovely time!

Anyway, the day after, Morgan said Jones' rant discredited his own argument against gun control: "I can't think of a better advertisement for gun control than Alex Jones' interview last night. It was startling. It was terrifying in parts. It was completely deluded. It was based on a premise of making Americans so fearful that they all rush out to buy even more guns."

(If you don't know much about Alex Jones, look him up; he's a hilarious conspiracist. In fact, don't worry, I'll do a post on him.)

So, yeah, that's the extent of it. Although Morgan wasn't deported off the back of Jones' petition, it doesn't mean anything. The US Government will speak out against criminal gun violence, and yet, when someone comes up with the sensible solution of banning fire arms, they speak out louder against that. A sentiment I am sure has nothing to do with the copious amounts of money the NRA pumps into American politics...

In any case, my fingers are crossed that America implements gun control before the next shooting happens. But if they don't, when it does happen again (which it will), I for one will be more angry with the lack of Government responisbility, than actually with the shooter themselves.

L.

Additional thought:

I hate the way Americans are like, "Why should I give up my rights to firearms because of a few psychos?!". NO. You are giving up your rights to fire arms so children can LIVE!.... Idiots.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

C is for... Cutting for Bieber.

Hadn’t really scheduled this post, but since it’s current…

I don’t know how many of you noticed the #Cut4Beiber or #cuttingforbeiber trend on Twitter on Monday? It seemed that following the release of photos suggesting that Justin Bieber was smoking marijuana at a party…


…the hashtag #cuttingforbieber started showing up all over Twitter suggesting a protest against the star's alleged drug use by way of self-injury.

Initially, it appeared as if teens were cutting themselves as a way to voice their disapproval of Bieber's stoner habit, but later the the hashtag's origins were traced to 4Chan and suggested the posts, and the photos (yes, there were photos) were all a hoax.


All kicked off though anyway… The hashtag began trending nationally within just a few hours, and the response was highly dramatic. Some tweeters who thought the trend was real made jokes about people who cut (hilarious?), while others deemed the act of fans cutting to protest Bieber's supposed actions disturbing (more normal).

Insensitivity aside, it’s not like this is 4Chan’s first absurd stunt, is it?

4Chan has messed with Bieber fans in the past. In October, users put out information suggesting the pop star had cancer so that fans would shave their heads in support. Which they did:


The hashtag #baldforbieber took off on Twitter after 4Chan sent out a Tweet from the verified Twitter account of Entertainment Weekly. Clever folks.

They also put “Justin Bieber Syphilis” on the Google’s Hot Trends list, redirected his YouTube videos to pornography, lead people to believe he had died in a car crash, and rigged a poll regarding his next tour destination to put North Korea in the number one spot.

But Bieber aside, let’s take a look at 4Chan in more detail…


4chan was started in 2003 by Christopher Poole — you may know him by his alias: ‘moot’ (he insists on the lower case ‘m’) — as an English language version of a Japanese imageboard. It's basically a forum where you can post images. It has many boards, most of which are more commonly known by their destinations than their names. Anime & Manga is /a/ and Otaku Culture is /jp/.

4Chan requires no registration and can be used completely anonymously.

So, most boards are cool; most boards... except board /b/

The site has become notorious for the random imageboard known as /b/, a place where users exchange foul language, violent images and sexual content freely, under the cover of anonymity. This is the board that was responsible for the Bieber pranks.

They don't just hate Bieber though... /b/ has been at the centre of some of the biggest controversies of the last decade.

Ever get your MySpace page hacked into? Probably 4Chan.

Surf YouTube and suddenly find yourself watching an old Rick Astley music video? You were "rickrolled" by 4chan.

Enjoy gandering Sarah Palin's personal e-mail? Yeah, 4chan.

Hear someone shout out the ending of the latest Harry Potter book while you're in line at Barnes and Noble? 4chan.

In a nutshell, /b/ is a place for people who lack a social conscience. Because of /b/ 4Chan has become a surreptitious cultural powerhouse.

I mean, /b/ has created some good stuff, i.e. the "lolcats"! Know those photos of cats accompanied by captions written in 4chan dialect, phonetically-spelled words using terrible grammar? Think: a hungry-looking feline with the words "I Can Haz Cheezburger?".

But niceties aside, the darker side is trolling, suicide threats and child pornography. Uses write the word "moar" which is a challenge to other users to post further loathsome material throughout the day and long into the night. MOAR!

Users refer to themselves as /b/tards. Lolz.

So, what have they done?

They've replaced people's MySpace profile photos with pornographic images. /b/tards have even gathered together to drive past bookstores with megaphones, shouting the ending of new Harry Potter books (personally, I think this is the worst)!

This was bad though… they invaded the hip-hop website SOHH.com in June 2008, and replaced much of the site's content with racist photos and slurs after a messageboard battle got out of hand. “Some Ni**** ft Some Nappy Headed Ho” and “Ni****and pals” were just two of the video titles. The battle started after members of SOHH’s Just Buggin’ Out community taunted 4chan users. The discussion quickly escalated and resulted /b/tards taking down SOHH for about a half hour and plastering swastikas around its homepage.

They like swastikas actually…

On July 12, 2008, /b/tards made the symbol of the Nazi regime hit the top of Google’s Hot Trends lists after simple post on 4chan told users to search for 卐 - a shortcode built into most operating systems. 4chan users played along, and a controversial symbol shot to the top of Google’s trending list and forced the company to issue a statement apologizing to anyone who may have been offended.


"moot" has made rules though, and if /b/tards stick to them, he makes sure they don't get in trouble with the outside world.

The rules are few and simple: Invasions of other sites are not tolerated, the SOHH incident notwithstanding, child pornography and illegal material are prohibited, and no one under 18 is allowed.

Users tend to push the boundaries as far as they can without breaking the site's rules — including a vague "rule" known on /b/ eloquently coined, "Don't mess with football."

That rule was made famous in 2005 when 23-year-old Jake Brahm posted bomb threats to major football stadiums across the country during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 4chan.““[T]he death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and countless other fatalities will later occur as result from radioactive fallout,” Brahm wrote
What resulted was a media storm — and what may have began as a practical joke turned into Homeland Security's arrest of Brahm. He was sentenced in June to six months of prison and $26,750 in restitution.

"If you want to post illegal things to 4chan, I would highly discourage it, unless you want to end up in federal prison," moot said at a Web conference.

Another controversy to hit 4chan was the "invasion" of the teen-centric online social site Habbo Hotel. At this online "hotel," users create avatars that walk into various virtual rooms and chat with other users.

In 2006, /b/tards swarmed the site, created avatars of men with Afros and Armani suits and blocked the hotel's swimming pool and shut it down, due to "AIDS in the water." That’s when moot added "no invasions" to the rules.

Also, in November 2010 a /b/tard plead guilty to threatening to shoot up a college… to avoid being charged with possession of child porn. I mean, if you’d been accused of distributing 25 images of child pornography and threatening to massacre a college, which one would you take the hit for? For 19-year-old Ali Saad, the choice was pretty simple. Saad took a plea deal in February for threatening on 4chan to shoot up a Michigan community college with an AK-47 he got at a gun show.

The list goes on…

In May 2012, a white supremacist hacker named Klanklannon hacked a black 17 year old who had been murdered as a result of racial hatred, and posted screengrabs of emails and Facebook messages to 4chan’s politics board to show that the guy “somehow deserved to be killed”. Err… right.

The incidents are endless… a Washington high school was shut down last September after a /b/tard promised to take his fathers submachine gun to school and “open fire on the people in the commons until I am taken down by our schools police officer, or until I run out of mags”.

I mean, the list is so horrid that I think I need to bring this post back to the ‘lolcats’….

But why cats?

"At the end of the day, /b/tards are still human," says moot. "Cute cat pictures appeal to most people." Awww!

And, apparently in an environment where anything goes, the only thing that really seems rile a /b/tard is the abuse of a cat…

In February 2009, a user documented abuse to his pet cat, Dusty, as a friend rolled tape. The video surfaced on YouTube and was viewed over 30,000 times.

In a rare 4chan moment, /b/tards created an alliance to do good and tracked down the cat abuser, Kenny Glenn, and alerted police!



Whilst we’re on good 4Chan news, remember Anonymous who I mentioned in my last post? Well yes, they originated on 4Chan, and they took on Scientology!

It all began in January of 2008 after the Church of Scientology tried and failed to purge the Web of a leaked Tom Cruise promotional Scientology video. Anonymous members, often wearing masks depicting the main character from "V for Vendetta," protested across the country, claiming the religion endorses Internet censorship. Which is really the least of my worries about Scientology, but I covered that in a previous post...

Anyway, it’s impossible to predict what the /b/tards may do next. I mean, as moot says, if he had an idea for the next idea, he certainly wouldn't tell the media.

"4chan, both the site and its memes, has touched the lives of tens of millions of people from around the world, in one way or another, for better or worse,' he says. "I'd say that's culturally powerful."

Being culturally powerful is great, but 4Chan again, not dissimilarly to Hunter Moore’s efforts, has created an environment where people with disturbing thoughts can collaborate and have a massively negative impact on other’s lives.

You can’t deny the intelligence of the /b/tards, but one can’t help but wonder about their social interaction issues. It actually seems to be indicative of Asperger's in my opinion, but is probably more likely to be herd mentality, hidden behind their anonymous alias.

In any case, Bieber’s still alive, does not have cancer, is no longer linking to porn and apparently he's just hanging around at parties smoking doobs; So, no need to cut yourself or shave your head,'kay?

...Anyone had any experiences with the /b/ board?

L.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

H is for... Hunter Moore.

Happy New Year, folks! I know I've been a bit AWOL of late, HOWEVER, I am officially BACK and have a whole schedule of posts coming up for you guys, so I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time with you! In 2013 my aim is to work harder than I play, so hopefully, we should have a productive year..!

Anyway, this post is obviously (title self-explanatory) about the "Most Hated Man on the Internet": Hunter Moore. Now, if you haven't heard of him (you must have been living under a rock), I think you're in for a treat - it's quite the story!



Hunter Moore owned the website isanyoneup.com, which was basically a revenge porn site - and that is what he's most famous(/hated) for. Any of you who are unclear as to what revenge porn is, let me refer you to Urban Dictionary:


But we'll come on to that a bit later. Let's start at the beginning....

So, Moore started out with a style website at the age of 12. He got kicked out of school in the eighth grade and started a t-shirt company. He also created an online community for the video game Diablo II as well as starting up a local party promotion business - this is where he established himself on the San Fransisco party scene... At age 18 he first dipped his toe into the sex industry, becoming an occasional hairstylist for a fetish porn website.

Hunter then went on to win a six-figure lawsuit after he was sexually assaulted at 19 years old while working a retail job. Recently, in reference to girls trying to sue him for uploading their sexually explicit images on isanyoneup.com, this is what Moore had to say about his lawsuit: “That’s some crazy shit you sue over. Not some shit like you fucking stuck your fingers in your ass and sent it to some cute boy you met on the Internet and then you wanna sue me for that?”. After travelling off the case money, he returned to the US and started a sex-party company, which he then sold when he became "worried because it was almost prostitution."

Ok, so let's get on to the good stuff...

Hunter founded the website isanyoneup.com in 2009 after a bad break-up. The site itself was fairly quiet for the first year, just him and his friends lol'ing over their naked picture conquests, before the site became a household name within the social networking community. At its peak the website made around $10,000 each month for advertisement revenue alone, getting over 30 million page views a month.

Anyway, to cut a long story short (we're not even halfway through), Hunter sold isanyoneup.com after an Anderson Cooper interview he did led to a lot of people sending him a lot of illegal material (underage girls, beastiality...)


He sold Is Anyone Up to James McGibney, the owner of Bullyville, an anti-bullying site, and wrote a letter claiming that he was a changed man, no longer interested in facilitating the proliferation of revenge porn. What you should know about Hunter Moore is that he's a provocative liar...

“I literally had a half pound of cocaine on a fucking table with like 16 of my friends and we were busting up laughing taking turns writing this stupid letter,” Mr. Moore said of writing the anti-bullying statement. “I think bullying is bullshit and it’s just a soccer-mom fad.”

You should go to isanyoneup.com now and read the statement written on there by James McGibney. He's basically used the statment to stand up to Hunter Moore. If I'm completely honest with you, the whole statement made me cringe; but I'll let you see for yourself...

Anyway, all this publicity led to Moore creating an army of Twitter fans, comprised primarily of young women who tweet him nude photos, and star-struck "bros" who wish they too could get paid to see girls naked. He now has over 100,000 Twitter followers eager to angrily and passionately defend him should anyone challenge his activities.

I think it was probably this level of support that encouraged Hunter to attempt to start up a new website - HunterMoore.TV, that was set to include all of the old content from Is Anyone Up, in addition to new material. Hunter said of the site: "I am creating something that will question if you will ever want to have kids."

In an interview with Betabeat, Moore said that his new site, HunterMoore.TV, would include an address submission field so that naked photos could be linked to a victim’s home address. “We’re going to introduce the mapping stuff so people are going to be able to stalk or do whatever they want to do – I know, it’s going to be scary as shit,” Moore said. “We’re just gonna add a new field and you can put their address in and then it will Google Map it.”

But don't worry, because he later went on to say that that feature's not going to happen and that he was so "coked out" he didn't even remember the interview...



Now, perhaps you're wondering where he stands legally, in terms of putting girls' naked pictures up on the Internet without their consent? Well, as it stands, he's not actually doing anything wrong...

Basically, he can rely on the Communications Decency Act of 1996, specifically section 230, which states:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Basically, to cut a long legal story short, if anyone can be held liable it's the third party (the people who submit the content), not Hunter. So, yeah, it's a grey area.

Anyway, Moore's made quite a few enemies! Funny that. He's unfortunately riled the Internet’s most notorious sleeping giant, the hacker collective "Anonymous", who have launched an operation to destroy his revenge porn empire. Along with a video and a call for all members to take Moore to task for his behavior, Anonymous published extensive personal information about Moore, including his home address and the names of his family members on Pastebin.

There's some irony in this... Anonymous are notoiously known to publish personal information about their targets, which is esentially what Hunter Moore is doing. So, why try to take down someone who is effectively guilty of the same crime? Well, a faction of the group have recently taken to avenging bullies, and helped to track down a ring of paedophiles that allegedly blackmailed 15 year old Amanda Todd, who committed suicide following the cyberharassment. KY Anonymous (@KYAnonymous), the Anonymous operative who launched the campaign with @jackherer20, reasoned that Moore’s willingness to harm the blameless makes him a worthy target. “We won’t stand by while someone uses the internet to victimize and capitalize off the misery of others,” said KY Anonymous. “We are all about free enterprise, but we are not about the things that Hunter Moore and other revenge porn sites are guilty of.”

So, KYAnonymous took control of Moore's huntermoore.tv site, nearly immediately. They gained access to files and photos, as well as access to all of the content he was going to release. Within the files, Anonymous identified credit card numbers “on his site in plain text,” as well as usernames and passwords. The plan? To “dump his databases,” meaning that they were to publish them to Pastebin, along with his FTP details. KYAnonymous also used Moore's card to sign him up for a premium version of the music hosting site Soundcloud.

Anonymous revealed its plans to take down the site via a Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) attack just before a live broadcast of the BBC radio show “World Have Your Say,” on which the two Anonymous operatives responsible for starting #OpHuntHunter were to appear to discuss the operation.

 
“December the 6th at approximately 2 am eastern time the team infiltrated the site and defaced it after a day of denial of service attacks on his servers, and his merchandise chain. We have backed up his entire archive to the web to preserve evidence. He has since restored an alternate version of his website with different text at the bottom. We will pursue access to his site and bring it down effectively. This is an update, a leak of proof and data that would otherwise be hidden from public view, of a team of anons who have worked day and night on this case, and who continue their vigilance even as this is written here today.”

Shortly after the program ended, KY Anonymous announced that the “DDOS against huntermoore.tv is ending, hope he enjoys those bandwidth costs.” He also tweeted what he claimed to be Mr. Moore’s social security number.

There was an incredible video that KYAnonymous posted showing the information on Pastebin and also step-by-step the hack taking place; but they removed the video a few days ago! Gutted.

Anyway, as it stands? The site appears to be back up now. However, the submit and advertising buttons were not functioning at the time of me posting this.

So, what does Hunter think about all this? Well, it would seem he remains unfazed. The revenge porn king has yet to acknowledge the leak of his site’s information on Twitter. Mr. Moore has made it clear in interviews that in the end, he’s just in it for the money and attention... Maybe he's just too "coked out" to care?

Anyway, the collective’s move raised the question: Is it possible to protect people from revenge porn while also supporting an open Internet, free from censorship and unnecessary government interference? Well, you can't stop it. The only answer would be to increase law enforcement and make people like Moore able to be held accountable. But that's complicated, and I claim not to be particularly well educated in Internet law...

What I can do, however, is provide my opinion and that, ladies and gentlemen, is this:

Hunter Moore is a jumped-up little prick. His ego is something else. But it's no surprise when he's constantly being sent images like this:


Women actually adore him.

Sure, he attracts the dumb ones... I saw a Tweet the other day that read, "I would send @Huntermoore a naked photo but I'd get judged on here lol." Err...

Anyway, my point is that he does what he does - some people love it and some people hate it. I'm all for free expression on the Internet - anyone who reads my tweets will know that. I have toyed with the idea of censoring myself, but really, I think free expression should be encouraged. And for this reason, I have no problem with his Twitter account.

The revenge porn thing? Well, that's kind of different. I don't think it's acceptable to facilitate scorned men, who women trusted, to upload explicit pictures of their exs. I mean, once an image is on the Internet, it's there for good. Get your picture uploaded to isanyoneup.com and even when the site's taken down, Google your name and it's there for all family members and future employers to see.

On the flip side... Don't be so stupid as to let it happen. Ultimately, you let that picture be taken of yourself and gave it to someone else. Legally, it's then their property... If you must send a slutty picture, everyone knows - don't include your face or any actual nudity. EVERYONE KNOWS THAT. And so, although I do feel sorry for the girls whose reputations have been ruined, they have to take some responsibility.

My dislike for Hunter as a person (arrogant little tosser), doesn't stop me thinking, "fair play." He's made money out of other people's stupidity and is living his absolute dream. Sure, he's getting some serious backlash and his blueprint for future relationships is somewhat ruined, but he's got all the attention he could ever want. The website's not currently making him any money, but he's doing party appearances and DJ'ing in the meantime... Dream. You can't say he's not entrepreneurial...

My feelings towards Anonymous are a little dubious. I admire their skills no end, and I especially appreciate the anti-bullying message. HOWEVER, do I think vigilante behaviour should be treated with vigilante behaviour? Not so much. Anonymous have partaken in some pretty shadey operations in the past (something I might cover in a future post), so although I think Moore should certainly be held accountable for some of his behaviour, ultimately, I think the best outcome is that it acts as a lesson to us all that the Internet can be a danger zone, and maybe it's time to re-think a few laws?

Let me know your thoughts...

L.