He Had Won The Victory Over Himself

Police arresting nine people a day in fight against web trolls

It is good that they are concentrating on name calling because its ‘Not practical’ to investigate all crime

Oh, hang on a minute, we’ve found some more cash…

Online hate crime to be tackled by new national police hub

“Hate crime” the biggest Orwellian doublespeak nightmare made reality.

Still, you know, private companies can do what they want…

Twitter’s Dorsey: Site to get ‘more aggressive’ policing tweets

Even if they aren’t making any money and are losing revenue.

After the constant state spying on location, email and even encrypted conversations your only chance of a private and free conversation will be in your own home.

With all your technology and gadgets switched off…while perhaps making sure you they can’t lip read either

 

Thanks for reading.

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Stick & Stones May Break My Bones But Names…

…Get you reported to the police…

Then again…there is this

Which is what happens when you conflate free speech with abuse and couple it with the ill-defined Orwellian phrases like “hate speech” and “hate crime”

 

It’s a short post, you know where I stand, its part of a larger problem and something I might dig into over time like so many others but for now.

 

Reals before Feels…

 

A cunt is a cunt regardless…

 

Thanks for reading.

Wes Craven – A Projectionist’s Tribute

I’m writing this piece having just got back from FrightFest 2015 

It seemed apt that following the news of the death of Wes Craven that the final film of the night – the entertaining Tales of Halloween should be a horror anthology featuring 10 individual stories directed by current protégés of Wes Craven and was dedicated to his memory.

For those of us that grew up during the 80’s we were to be intrigued by a new bogeyman – his name was Freddy Kruger and he came into being in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”   Now it wasn’t just the creatures under the bed or in the closet that would frighten you but you now couldn’t even escape when you fell asleep.

I watched that particular film as a child of about 13 while recovering from my first dental filling – it still scared me watching it in the daylight and filled me with dread come night-time.

As I grew up I became fascinated by Video Nasties and the bods behind FrightFest have done two quite excellent documentaries about this censorious Spanish Inquisition-like moral panic that came about in the early 80’s in the UK.

One of the films on the list was Last House on the Left – a film that was only fully released uncut in the UK in 2008.  I was fortunate enough to meet the now sadly late lead villain of the piece (David Hess; along with Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface from another banned movie “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) at a horror all-day event in Welwyn Garden City some time around 1999.  That film itself set a standard of the “home invasion” genre that is popular these days while also being a fore-runner of the “torture porn” subdivision.

But before that I had become a film projectionist at my student cinema.  I saw Scream there for the first time as a punter (on a day off) and it was a very effective horror thriller.  The open set-piece with Drew Barrymore having quite a most profound effect on me.  It proved so popular that we regularly screened the film and I projected it twice.

On my first projecting mission of Scream I not only the spliced the film together (this is way before DVD’s) but also had to set-up the screen, the sound and do various technical checks.  The cinema was a big hall with a stage and it was built in a wind trap.

Stupidly I hooked up the sound and the speakers first and while testing projecting the first 30 minutes scared myself shitless as the torment of Barrymore’s character played out this was accompanied by the emergency exits opening and banging closed, the various ropes and pulleys clanging in the rafters and then, once the screen was down, being blinded by the light from the projector and having to run like a mad man out of the wide open hall hoping I wasn’t set upon by some unseen fiend lurking being a seat or the various curtains.

I never made that mistake again.

The second projecting mission of Scream requires a bit of Projecting 101:

The films which I projected came in reels.  These could either come “head” or “foot” first.  Head is the start of a reel, foot is the end of it.  You may have seen old countdowns like this:

We take out these but there is a test frame to let you know you the reel is the correct way around so they can be spliced together in the correct order.

See also Fight Club

 

I state now I have never edited any genitalia into any film I projected.

This time I had left some trainees in charge of the splicing and they’d informed me that there were no test cells, so it was blind luck if it was edited together correctly.  A quick test projection showed the first 3 reels were OK so it should be assumed everything else was going to run smoothly….

Everything was going fine during the screening, audiences were jumping out of their seats, screaming and laughing in the right places then, just as the anxiousness of every cigarette burn signifying a new reel has subsided, of course the last reel had to be the problem.

No sound and Courtney Cox’s feet were where on top of her head.

A loud “FUCK” echoed around the hall as I ran into the projection booth, shut down the projector, ran the film back and re-spliced it together.  The hopefully now corrected film was re-looped onto the projector and the film was restarted after about a 10 minute break, but then something even more strange happened and a very important lesson was learned…

This little break and return “to reality” had not impacted on the audience one iota, the still jumped and screamed and laughed as the last act of the film played out and the end credits rolled.

That is the magic of film.

That is the beauty of horror movies.

That was the genius of Wes Craven.

Pump Clip Parade – Putrid Puritanism

This post was caused by some funny timelines; I saw this post on the Allgates Blog last week, but it is from May of 2014.

Allgates, by the way, apart from doing very good beers, write some excellent blog pieces so I was quite annoyed with myself that I’d missed this one on its original publishing.

For those who don’t know Pump Clip Parade, which itself started as a blog and has recently updated to its own .com is a website that, well I’ll let their spiel tell you:

Why, when there is the continual background murmur “we want more people to try cask ale”, do brewers keep giving their beers cringeingly bad, wince-inducing names and wilfully amateurish artwork?

It makes us, the drinkers, reluctant to drink the beer, however good it is.

It must stop!

Only by naming and shaming the culprits can we encourage brewers to improve the presentation of cask ale.
The focus is on British real ale, but occasionally foreign beers deserve the humiliation of a post on Pumpclip Parade.

This blog is not motivated by political correctness or anti-sexism. It is about bad marketing.

Mary Whitehouse could not come up with better subterfuge for her campaign of moralistic outrage.

 

What got me was the final line in the Allgates post:

“Just checked the site to make sure we weren’t appearing! We do, but only for awful clunking wordplay on our Caskablanca clip! But hands up as I think we had a few dodgy clips in our early days.”

Sure, if they wish to make some odd sort of apology because they’ve been “named-and-shamed” about a pun then by all means have at it…I just hope Pump Clip Parade doesn’t see their Twitter Banner picture or they’ll be for it…

 

Now the subject matter of the Allgates post above and what oddly Pump Clip parade denies it is mainly about is the issue of sexist pump clips.

I’m not going to talk about those in this post as that whole subject labelled as #beersexism is worthy of many posts and is far too intricate to debate about now.*

One aspect about Pump Clip Parade is that it is user-generated.

The campaign not only relies on the moralist need to nudge people into “good behaviour” but to keep a growing army of the perpetually offended on the look-out for anything else that can possibly raise the hackles of the fellow pseudo-virtuous.  The online version of the lynch-mob, pitchfork days of old.

The puritanical nature of this website is as patronising as every bit of health “advice” we receive on a daily basis for self-appointed “experts.”

The nannying associated with curbs on free speech is a thin end to the control of thought and the fear of seeing something that might offend leads to the closed mind and brain death from a lack of ideas, critical thinking and cognotive reasoning.

The final thing about the site is that it is a personification of everything that is currently wrong with the gentrification and snobbery associated with beer.  Heaven help the working-class bloke that gets a chuckle from a bad pun, some crap art or a bit of smut; the middle-class liberals are here to purge you of your soiled mind and clothes and invite you to join in the beer utopia of a world full of clean corporatism, where each pump clip as relentlessly dull and sterile as the other and drunk in a place filled with IKEA’s finest offerings.

Vive la différence.

Choosing to buy (or not) a beer because it has an image on it that can be seen to be derogatory is one thing, but not buying one because of language is just as silly and as immature as the puns used on the pump clips.

What is funny is that the justification for some of these pump clips, apparently (as the tag cloud helps you with) is “it’s just a larf innit?”or “a bit of fun.”

Which I’m sure would be the defence for the faux-violence in the website tag-line “…but bloody hell, some brewers should be tied up in hop pockets and beaten with malt-shovels.

But that is the problem with self-appointed moralists…they are full of bullshit.

There is one thing I like more than beer and that is free speech.  Of course this piece itself is full of hyperbole and faux-outrage which may lead to some sort of Streisand effect but it’s good to go down to someone else’s level once in a while and play the hypocrite.

 

“And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

 

*I suppose somewhere in that sentence I was meant to, at the very least denounce sexism…

You Don’t Need Guns To Massacre Free Speech

After the murders comes the debate about satire, free speech, free thought, censorship.

Last night and this morning #JeSuisCharlie was trending as a way of showing apparent solidarity for the victims and by inference free speech and as some oddly misappropriated “Western values” – which are a big an anathema as “religious values.”

But I’m not writing about religions or the religious, I’m writing about people’s proclaimed intent for upholding freedom of speech.  Though seeing the dead illustrators near deified by some (which must be odd if you were one of the atheists amongst them) was typical over sentimentalism.  By all means mourn the passings, but honour what they stood for more…

Freedom of Speech is an absolute.

Words can and do inspire people to do acts of good and acts of, for want of a better word, evil.  But the words aren’t to blame for the actions, even if the outcome is positive.

The image below represents some of the front covers used in Charlie Hebdo…

charlie

I’m not French so I have no idea what the words roughly translate as for each article, or the context for their use, but as you see by the pictures, the art of satire at the magazine didn’t just solely lie with “attacking” Muslims.

Some of the front covers were republished all over Europe apparently – except in the UK.

On Wednesday’s Channel 4 News reporting on the deaths, their story was marked by the on-air admittance “It is Channel 4 policy not to show previous cartoons of the Prophet.

There is nothing brave or noble in self-censorship.

Today’s (Thursday’s) UK newspapers led mainly with the traumatic image of the injured Muslim cop about to be executed by one of the gunmen.  Yes violence sells and newspapers love terror-porn but they missed a trick; about the absolute requirement in an open society to have a free press.

This actually comes as no shock.  When violence about pictures of Muhammad first occurred, the seemingly obviously pact between newspapers not to print the offending cartoons was formed.

There was seldom any outcry from the UK press when Salman Rushdie had a fatwa put on his head for his book The Satanic Verses.  There was more outcry when, after Rushdie was knighted in 2007 (regardless of what you think about royalty), that this was wrong and an antagonistic thing to do.

But this should contrast with speech that doesn’t even feature Muslims as a “target.”

A Sky News (Murdoch Press) poll was trending today – last I saw 70% said “Yes” to the question “Should the media publish satirical religious cartoons?”

The worry is – and this is the crux about free speech – some will see that as a reason to publish only the pictures related to Islam.

Free Speech isn’t selective, but sadly people are.

If that ends up being the case then that is all on whatever person or publication does that.

This is what people are bothered about, that extremists also get to say what they want, but free speech isn’t only there for those with, shall we say “regular moral compasses.”

There are people who get offended at the burning of flags or armistice day Poppies, calling for arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

There are people now arrested and jailed for posting views online that are also deemed offence, because offence is taken whenever something goes against the status quo.

Last night BBC1 screened detective series Silent Witness, the plot revolving around a sniper.  Cue those taking to social media harping on about the offence caused that it was screened on the day of the shootings.

Thing is, to paint with very broad strokes; we would have it that those “offended” by portrayals of Muhammad, those that aren’t Muslim, are wet-liberals of the left; whereas those offended by poppy burnings are knuckle-dragging nationalists of the right.

We live in a world where a virtual lynch mob can be arranged in minutes because someone said something that people found offensive.  This is met with an equal response by those laughing and questioning the reasons of the offence.

The Sun (Murdoch Press) was vilified for phone hacking a few years back, with calls to curb press freedom led by many famous celebrities.  And because the Murdoch rag is viewed as right-wing by liberals (of which the celebs were many) and their acolytes, then the sound of the press losing their freedom was music to their ears, because giving Murdoch a bloody nose was more important that the possible long term impacts.

Of course, that the Sun decries its own persecution for spying on people, but actively supports state spying acts like RIPA and DRIP, highlights the human hypocrisy of free speech and free thought.

The flip side (again more broad strokes) is that an attack against art, music, films, etc. is viewed as a pursuit of the right against the left.

We are only human; prone not only to hypocrisy but to inconsistency and Schadenfreude.

But these things should always be trumped by the freedom to think and the freedom to say what you feel and what you like.

And if something does offend you, don’t shoot people, or threaten people, or ring the police and hope for an arrest, or start an online petition to get the offender removed from you comfortable little world.  Either debate with that person or put it behind you and go for a pint in the pub…or another pub.

The Interview – A Guide to Free Speech Hypocrisy

I woke on this Christmas Eve to the news that Sony will show The Interview in some cinemas and was receiving praise from numerous quarters.

For those who have missed this news story, which has been a wonderful exercise for all involved in both censorship, propaganda, publicity and hypocrisy I can summerise it like this.

Sony made a film called The Interview, featuring the generally above average James Franco and the massively over-rated Seth Rogan in a story about an assasination attempt (apparently successful if that matters) on the life of Kim Jong-un, the living ruler (though not actual ruler, those titles still lie with his dead father, Kim Jong-il and grandfather, Kim Il-sung) of North Korea.

Sony apparently fell victim to a cyber-crime in which a lot of “embarrassing” emails were leaked and a lot of films were made available online.

The hackers made threats, pertaining to attacks on the scale of September the 11th, if The Interview was shown – what followed was the biggest hypocritial nonsense by both politicians and the media seen all year – and that is saying something.

First of all, I’m no big fan of North Korea, but like most I’m only really know what I read about it, but I’ll take it as face value that it is a dictatorship, its people live in abject poverty and the leadership are lunatics with nuclear weapons capabilities.

The media, fully milking the teet of 9/11 threat references then proceed to round-up “cinema-goers” for on the spot interviews.  Most seemed unmoved, even more had never heard of the film – but this didn’t stop the media pushing the “movie-goers are frightened” headline.

Cinemas didn’t want to take the risk of showing the film, not probably from the threats, but that showing a film to an empty cinema is a money loser.

Sony, now with a dwindling numer of screens to release it on, “pulled the film” from general release.  From a business point-of-view  I actually don’t blame them, they need to make money, they don’t have control over cinemas so why lose money too?

They were then pillored (rightly) by both the “righ-wing” press and the Hollywood “liberal elite” and everyone inbetween for them apparently bowing to “terrorist demands”.

So the media, culpable of raising the panic and the fear then can perpatuate their own banner news story to then rally more voices about how great and free America really is (it is better than most).

At the same time many smaller cinemas said they would show it, or screen Team America: World Police instead, a film whose antagonist is the aforementioned Kim Jong-il, a film that didn’t spark anything from North Korea when that was released in 2004.  Though the internet and cyber stuff has come on light years in the decade since then.

These screenings never happened either.

So as it stands, at the time of year “when family is most important,” some smaller arthouse theatres, benefitting from a shed load of hype, will screen The Interview; mainly because security is probably easier, not only from North Korean terrorists, but from the more likely source of an American with their arsenal of weaponary not limited to an Uzi 9mm and a phased-plama rifle in the 40-watt range.

The thing about censorship and free speech is it is not supposed to be a fluid thing, it should be an absolute.

But we live in a world where we are conditioned to be upset and outraged via a social media network wanting only free speech so long as they agree with you, and an old media desparate to still seem relevant by drumming everything up to hysteria levels.

Fox News naturally went nuclear when they heard about a 2006 film pondering the assassination of 43rd US President George W. Bush.  The Daily Mail in the UK went similarly bat-shit crazy over a recent book by Hilary Mantel where she fantasised about killing former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Bush and Thatcher are icons to the right-wing, especially the antagonists; equally bemused and entertained at the pure hatred from “the left” that is felt for these two people.

But liberals are no more “for” free speech than those on the right.  I wrote about some of this a while ago

In fact the “liberal elite” of the UK have spent most of 2013/2014 trying to get the press regulated.

Not only that but on numerous occasions they’ve become bullies trying to bully perceived bullies from speaking out about anything, mainly on the pretence that what might get said or all ready has been, will “hurt someone’s feelings.”

To be critical of someone online can get you labelled “a troll” solely because your opinion might not fit the status quo.

What is certain is that speech is not only being restricted but also dumbed down and with it any sense of the ability to think for yourself.

Think on that in 2015.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

If Paddington Bear got Myleene Klass pregnant could he discuss abortion with his Sleuth while singing anti-terrorist songs?

A sleuth is the collective name for a group of bears.

This post is about censorship – not some weird sex scenario.

So in the past few days we’ve been treated to various forms of censorship, by a what I myself would see as all sides of the political spectrum.

Paddington Bear

Paddington film: BBFC changes advice about ‘sex references’

The British Board of Film Classification (C formerly stood for Censorship) have given a PG certificate to Paddington Bear, originally based on ‘sex references’, which in this case is the tried-and-tested comedic scenario of a man dressing as a woman and an unsuspecting male flirting with said cross-dressing male.

After a bit of a backlash they’ve changed said “sex” to “innuendo.”

Of course innuendo is a personal thing, that is the nature of it, you either get it or you don’t.  Much has been said about previous cartoons which are praised for being accessible to both adults and children because the perceived adult jokes would be too oblique for children.

Of course a state approved censors job is to provide (and I agree) helpful guidelines via certification of films (though mission creep is trying to extend it to video games and internet videos) for parents to decide what is suitable for their children to see.

What is apparent in this case is the upgrade of certification because of its risqué nature of said scene.

Having said that I’m sure there are sections of society that thinks cross-dressing, even for comedy effect should never be allowed to ever be viewed by children.

Myleene Klass

I work, I don’t see afternoon TV, but ITV seem to have a debate show where talking heads air their views with increasingly state supporting indoctrinated views.

Myleene Klass (a talent show winner who has reinvented herself as numerous things over the years to stay in the spotlight) coached to high heaven took Labour Leader Ed Miliband, surprised at this verbal assault and clearly wishing to employ Klass’s (to many s?) coach,  to task about his mansion tax proposals.

I’m not hear to discuss the pro’s and con’s of this proposal, but what has followed is a change.org petition to have Klass removed as the face of Littlewoods because of her stance against increased taxes of what is generally assumed to be ‘the rich’.

Yes, because having an opinion is a reason to lose a job.

Abortion (the debating of it)

Oxford Abortion Debate Between Two Male Journalists Cancelled Due To “Security Concerns”

The censor – Niamh McIntyre – makes her case

I like to think I’m “pro-choice” – what a woman does with her body is her business alone.

But to be against free-speech and open debate because only men are involved is a truly pathetic stance to take.

It also sets a precedent that if you aren’t of a specific ‘group’ then you aren’t allowed to discuss any issue as it apparently “doesn’t affect you” – so fuck you Plato, Socrates and your ilk, your philosophising and debating is a poison you’ve introduced to the world and must be eradicated.

Fan Chants

English FA apologise for anti-IRA singing during Scotland game

The gentrification of football continues unabated as the FA apologises to terrorists offended by a few songs.

Wouldn’t want to offend those that murder civilians with words now would we, let alone words set to a catchy tune.

So whether you are an animated bear, a talentless talent show winner, a man, or a moron who watches soft millionaires kick a round ball let it be known that I, as a member of only 1 of the 4 listed categories will not deny you you’re right to have an opinion and to broadcast it.

Beer reviews will follow….