On terrorism

There have been some frankly awful analyses of the attacks in Paris a week ago, and the fallout from them. Either from surprisingly from my side, the left and anarchists seemingly serving our masters by wanting to take freedom of speech away like desperate young Tankies also doing a very good impression of hand-wringing liberals, or the sadly inevitable Islamaphobia, attacks and rhetoric that’s lead to the frankly silly proposal from David Cameron to try and spy on us all. Security theatre and unworkable solutions mixed in with xenophobia and fear. Which unsurprisingly those supposed watchmen of the left are completely ignoring. No surprise there, because I suspect they secretly like the idea of terrorism or totalitarianism? And don’t get me started on that staged ‘walk’ and the hypocrisy within.

This is why the few good responses are so important, especially in the fact of the ludicrous and financially involved Fox News, that blithely puts out the #foxnewsfacts that Britain and France are full of Islamic no-go zones, shariah law and police enforced Muslim dress codes and in fact Birmingham is completely muslim (as someone who actually has been to a Muslim country unlike seemingly Steven Emerson I can emphatically say this is NOT the case). Cue much-needed pisstakes from Brummies and Brits….but Fox doesn’t care, the necessary lies have gotten out.

Russell Brand does a good job in these videos of debunking Fox and the prevalent ideology…I’ve had so many arguments over the last week it’s not true (and invented the maxim that ‘All Facebook groups attract the exact opposite of the group title’ in the process because it seems those in Gay groups are hardly evern queers, and those in left/Anarchist groups are anything but.), since it seems on both sides the shutters have gone down. You have the non-ironic religious talking about ‘radical Islam’ being all about blood thirsty war, then the progressives bleating on about free speech being somehow lesser if you don’t agree with it, because ‘Charlie Hedbo was a right-wing paper’. I see very little proof of this, but I see a lot of people jumping to conclusions just seeing a single cartoon, just like the terrorists did in Paris. In fact if you bother to look up the work of one of the victims Cabu you see a different story, and if you bother to find out what those ‘obviously’ racist/misogynist/anti-immigration/anti-semitic covers were about, you might find out that they weren’t what you thought. But that’s harder than jumping to a conclusion isn’t it?

And there are a few other good analyses from The Guardian and FirstLook which are well worth checking out for giving a nuanced persective, rather than preaching to the choir – especially Glenn Greenwald’s article, which points at some of the real criticisms that are worth pointing out, that Charlie Hebdo along with all the other press seem to think it’s fine to criticise or mock Islam, but other faiths are not OK. Charlie Hebdo did mock others, and in fact fired one of it’s employees over ‘anti-semitism’ tellingly, so certainly not to the same degree or relish. That is a problem, but rather than shutting down speech as those at say, Jacobin want in a strange reversal of ‘I’m not racist but…’ to ‘I’m not defending terrorism but’, speech should be extended to ALL religions and ALL politics, to be truly an ‘equal opportunity offender’. Nothing should be sacrosanct, and people should stop constantly looking for offence, and only measure the things that are definitely hurting them…I don’t think a silly cartoon is ever one.

And anyway, satirical magazines like CH are nowhere near as terrifying or as outwardly evil as the Fox News piece mentioned in this, where Judge Jeanine Pirro tells people to go kill and bomb:

All of this is a sideshow, even the bleating about the obvious ‘new’ cover (what were they going to do, put out a blank cover? I did laugh at the grimly ironic the guy quoted from the Paris mosque saying ‘It’s not funny, and unpleasantly provocative considering all we’ve been through the last few days’ – ah poor lamb, so hard for you, not being shot in the head. Bless.) The important thing to remember is the right to free speech, even if that free speech isn’t what you agree with, and that free speech also doesn’t mean it’s speech without consequences or response. Hate speech and calls to violence are still wrong (classic fire/theatre example) but that’s already enshrined in law in most places.

Free speech works not just both way, every way – and I find it odd when groups from the left and LGBTQ blindly criticise such speech (a good question is to ask Why? Why are you criticising this? Are you secretly happy these people were killed? Does it make your ‘radical’ wannabe-terrorist genitals secretly tingle like some hanging judge? What’s your point?) when they are benefactors of such freedoms too. Or have y’all forgotten Gay News being banned? That we had to fight for our publications in the fact of ‘it’s offensive, it’s obscene, it’s blasphemous’ too? (in fact the Mary Whitehouse Gay News court case was about blasphemy, about a fairly mild poem.)

The other thing to remember is the true causes of this terrorism, and not to ascribe, blame or ask all muslims to ‘fix’ it. I made that mistake early on, although I do find the silence of many slightly odd, I think many are scared in the way the neighbours of the killers were scared into silence?

Uderzo - Charlie Hebdo response
(Albert Uderzo is a childhood hero of mine, spending days copying Asterix and Obelix, so I shed a tear over his response, you can see his upset and anger. Perfect.)

It is something we all need to fix together. All the terrorists come from poor backgrounds, people who have little to lose and have forsaken society or been forsaken by it, that have experienced discrimination and racism. Lack of opportunity is classic breeding grounds for extremism, be it Islamic terrorists or fascists. And as Russell says, the wars and drone attacks that most just ignore, as well as not feeling like you’re part of society (and probably a dash of second or third generation immigrant cultural dystopia/disenfranchisement to boot) lead to people getting radicalised. Give the youth of all backgrounds opportunities, makes people feel party of society, make people feel loved and not feared, and stop killing people in the Muslim/Arab world for pointless wars over oil – these are how you fix this. Not scare legislation that won’t actually change anything, or attacking people for who they are.

Gentrification: The Horror Movie

Doesn’t this look like some Ballardian dystopian horror fiction? Something out of American Psycho? So much so, someone has recut it with that footage:

The real horror is the vapid emptiness of the vision, and the pure naked greed, like the reviled yuppies in the 80’s, but that was a local phenomenon. And the fact these gated estates in the sky do nothing for the local community apart from possibly employ the odd doorman or cleaner (doubtful, more likely imported like the owners from the Far East or Eastern Europe). That’s if they even live there – most of these places still have the proverbial shrink-wrap plastic on because they are empty, they are junk bond investments from abroad, oilygarchs and Far Eastern investors wanting a bolt hole when things go wrong in their own country, usually.

But the soul is slowly being sucked from London by developments like these – ‘a new addition to London’s world-famous skyline’ indeed. Like we need more? And like CentrePoint, when the markets or fashions change, these will be completely empty towers in the sky. Not before they have consumed the local nightlife due to spiralling rents, though, and lack of customers. I wandered past the Covent Garden Apple store recently, massive and more like an art gallery, and suddenly realised I’d been to the Gardening Club that used to be under it…full of hooray henrys, was there for someone’s birthday and it was deeply odd – but strange that even such a posh club gets the heave-ho. That’s not recent (looks like it went 4 years ago) but kind of endemic of the sort of social shift J.G. Ballard was talking about – glossy shops, expensive gated communities, Patrick Bateman land. (videos via The Guardian/Ian Fondue)

This Charming Charlie

I love The Charming Charlie blog for two reasons – the first Charlie Brown and Morrissey lyrics? Genius!

The second is more appropriate to the copyleft issues I usually cover here: they’ve gotten legals from Universal in 2013, and have defended it through lawyering up and enforcing fair use and the man himself approving of the blog, I noticed they subtly slipped Smiths quotes in the letters themselves! Nice ;-)

Shame they had to go that far though, for what is a obviously transformative ‘mashup’ and parody and thus covered by fair use, and as the letter points out, part of that case law is Lenz vs Universal, so they should be aware of it!

Oh well, it seemed to have ended well!

This Charming Charlie 2

Bitter Sound Foundation & Podcast

Firstly to keep on theme, here are some mashups! Yeah I know, spook but it’s party time tonight and nothing better than classic bootlegger and long-time Radio Clash fave Bitter Sound Foundation remastering their mashup collection. Listen and learn! And pssst, you might be able to download it somewhere around here, but you didn’t see anything, right? *finger on nose*

And it turns out Davian (aka BSF) has a great podcast called Bitter Sound, which I’m subscribed to now (and you know how bad I am at actually listening to podcasts – yeah I know). Very dark humour, very NSFW, but more sketch based like the old Who Boys podcast, but much higher production values. Recommended, especially for those RC listeners looking for something to fill their iPods now ;-)

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