Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

At first, I decided against writing anything about That Fucking Cross, but this morning, as I was racking my brain for new and shiny things to do while procrastinating, I thought to myself, oh well, self.

Alors, on to the news from the land of cold, drizzling and unholy:

The most unfortunate of you might have had heard about the fairly recent fundie meltdown in Poland. Directly connected to the plane crash in which the president and a bunch of officials died, it’s a bastard child of misbegotten spin doctors, power-hungry politicians eager to exploit the alienated, the mentally ill and the marginalised for their own political agenda, and a bunch of creepy and/or mentally ill hate-mongers who actually believe in the bullshit they’re spouting.

In short, after the crash the Catholic scouts(1) put a cross in front of the presidential palace. Nobody minded(2) then because people were leaving all sorts of things in front of the presidential palace then: flowers, votive candles, and journalists. However, after everything went back to normal(3), a certain feeling of WTFery began to set in the cold little hearts of the Polish people, as they watched their telly and thought:

What the fucking fuck is this fucking cross doing in front of the fucking presidential palace? For fuck’s sake(4).

Or even the dreaded:

What the fuck, I thought this was a fucking secular fucking country? Fuck(4).

As a result of various considerations of this and similar nature, the local authorities decided they have to remove the cross from where the scouts had so thoughtlessly left it(5), and mow it down with a steamroller, and stab it several times for good measure, and maybe even stake it so Jesus never rises from the dead again.

Actually, no. They wanted to move it to a church, and they even had a procession of priests and scouts(6) eager to accompany it, but this is not what happened at all.

(Really, watch it. It has an old lady who tied herself to the cross. Seriously)

What happened is that the entire fucking state is apparently completely powerless when faced with the completely unmanageable rage of ~*a few dozen old ladies*~ (well, and maybe a couple of Neo-Nazis, too).

The cross is still standing, the completely crazy fundies cum Holocaust deniers cum NWO conspiracy theorists have been swarming around it day and night for several weeks.

This has caused several things:

1) on average, the Polish are crankier than usual; this is strongly correlated with the increased use of the word “fuck”, which is frequently triggered by the sight of crossroads, crosswords, cross-stitching and cross-examination,

2) on average, the Polish are more angry at the government than usual,

3) on average, internet memes are finding this environment to be very easy to flourish in.

On Monday, a crowd of reportedly 5000 anti-cross activists (sceptics, hipsters, anti-theists, pro separation of church and state, and trolls) who had been gathering on Facebook in the course of a few days went to make fun of the fundies. Photos!

signs: 1) Moscow pays me, 2) Demolish the presidential palace, it's blocking out the cross

They started at 23:00 AFAIR:

Lots of angry hipsters:

Hipster footage

They’re screaming:

– remove the presidential palace

– back to church

– take the cross back to church

– remove the cross

Another:

(The guy with the megaphone says that the law in Poland is being broken right in front of the presidential palace, which makes the whole country an international laughingstock(8). They are demonstrating, the guy says, to make fun of the fundies who are appropriating the public space. At roughly 1:53 a guy in a pope custume appears on a balcony FTW)

Hipster remix, apparently played in some clubs already (lyrics = “where’s the cross”)

One flash game parody, two flash game parodies.

You can put a cross on your website here.

And finally, today a random guy decided that he will sue the government because of the clear violation of the separation of church and state laws(9).

The thing is, this is not going to change anything at all. Not only the most conservative politicians, but usually even the self-proclaimed left-wing ones are coddling and accommodating the fundies no matter what crazy thing they decide to do, even though they’re an obvious (if loud and crazy) minority. The fundies are appropriating the public and symbolic space, bit after bit, and the public discourse, with the result that anybody who opposes them or criticizes them in any way is presented as a public enemy, traitor and possibly also a member of one (or more) of the many conspiracies the fundies believe in. The worst thing is that this sort of thinking has been slowly sneaking into mainstream media; most people will preface their criticisms of not even religion but religious fundamentalism with “I’M A CATHOLIC BUT” or “CATHOLIC VALUES ARE VERY IMPORTANT BUT”, and so on.

It’s cool that there’s a bit of rage, finally, instead of  the usual apathy, and hopefully in ten-twenty years, this rage might actually accomplish something. Meanwhile, as ever, the fundies can do what they wanna.

(1) There are also the regular, non-Catholic scouts so.

(2) I would have, but I’m observing this stuff from a safe distance, you see.

(3) It would perhaps be useful to point out that the Polish “normal” might be vastly different from what you’ve grown accustomed to classify as “normal”, JSYK.

(4) The Polish people like to swear a lot to show the sincerity and depth of their feelings. Also, in Polish the above sentences would display much more variation of profanity, respectively:

Co do kurwy nędzy robi kurwa pierdolony krzyż przed jebany pałacem kurwa prezydenckim? Żesz kurwa jego pierdolona.

Do kurwy nędzy, świeckie kurwa państwo.

Guys, I turned the diacritics on just for you. This is serious stuff.

(5) I think the time has come to finally say it: fucking scouts.

(6) Fucking scouts.

(7) Fucking scouts.

(8) Fucking late to be self-conscious now.

(9) Constitutional lawyers say he will most likely lose, because Polish law sucks like that, so it’s mostly about making a gesture.

I’ve been in Germany for two days. I was mostly busy reading, so I didn’t bother going online, except today I thought I might have important e-mails or something, so I decided to check my e-mail accounts.

There was an e-mail from my mum saying ‘so, do you know about the crash yet?’.

And I thought, whaa, what crash??? So I checked the news and, bloody fucking hell, the presidential plane with 96 people on board, including the president Kaczynski, his wife, his guests, six generals, one vice-admiral, nine priests of various religions and denominations, fourteen MPs (including Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka who was a nice MP and a supporter of women’s rights movement), ona national bank president, one civil rights commissioner,  aides, guests, security guys, and the crew, crashed, and everybody died.

What is this I don’t even O_O

ETA: OK, I sort of almost believe now that it actually happened o_O Almost.

Much better coverage of the crash can be read here. They’re now saying there were 98 persons, not 96 on the plane (I mean, not on Beebs, on telly).

The thing is, many of the people who died in the crash were, sort of, a permanent fixture in the media. Many of them were a common laughing-stock, basically, and their death makes them serious and real, possibly for the first (and certainly last) time in their career. This is sad.

The thing about the plane being too old. Well. I distinctly remember one of the previous government’s plans to replace it, which were followed by a tabloid campaign against politicians spending their indolent lives surrounded by undeserved luxury, cue the enraged unwashed masses. The government finally gave in. I don’t remember which government it was; either the one formed by the late president’s brother, or the social democratic one before. I’ll look for links later.

ETA2: To all those people who are totes happy that “the standards of Polish political life will improve now that Kaczynski is dead”.

Yeah, he was crazy nationalist wacko. I didn’t like him either. But, you know, civilised people “get rid of” politicians bybloody voting against them and NOT by wishing they die/enjoying it when they do indeed die.

And this isn’t just about Kaczynski. There were many other people on that plane. Kaczynski’s wife was on that plane. She was a nice person, pro-feminist, at least as much as she could be while being married to a right wing nationalist politician. Several politicians from the opposition were on that plane. There were the crew. There were the families of people who were killed in the Katyn massacre.

Saying that you’re happy about the plane crashing is in bad taste, appalling, pathetic, and stupid, and even if you want to pose as the sort of edgy arshole who enjoys the death of his or her political opponent, you could at least refrain from doing so in public for the sake of other victims and their families.

TL;DR: DIAF.

Apologise to us for being abused by us and our friends

Brb, gotta go to a doctor who is 100% sponsored by my taxes, so that I have to pay nothing for the visit.

OH THE HUMANITY

Japan’s way of coping with history is not, and has never been the healthiest one. Just a couple of years ago, a bunch of MPs from the Liberal Democratic Party (<— in Japan, the LDP is *the* crazy right-wing party full of batshit, and also the most successful one) questioned the veracity of the Nanking massacre, while proposing charmingly that:

The group said the fact that the League of Nations in 1938 voted down a Chinese resolution condemning Japan, a resolution which claimed Japanese soldiers slaughtered 20,000 people in Nanjing, was one piece of evidence that no “massacre” took place. (source)

Truth: much like science, it seems indeed to be a popularity contest. NOT.

(Was the US inspired by that when they started voting on civil liberties? We will never know)

Also:

“We believe that by China removing them, we can push ahead with true Japan-China friendship for the 21st century.” (source)

Ouch. The LDP’s definition of “friendship” is very Gorean. Somehow. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be friends with them, really.

Anyway, all things considered, it should come as no surprise that the portrayal of Chinese people in the media tends from time to time to be not exactly positive, or, to put it bluntly dehumanizing. I’ll just focus on one thing – the language – because to write about everything (like the stereotype of fat Chinese mafioso-cum-businessman) would take too much time, and also most likely several hundred thousand words, and also because it’s the easiest for me, as a linguist.

Anyway, it seems that at least since the first Sino-Japanese war, Chinese people have been frequently portrayed in the popular media, such as manga, B-class novels, anime, etc as speaking a ridiculous pidgin. At first, it seems, Western people would also be portrayed as speaking a  simplified form of Japanese, but this very soon changed (well, mostly). The stereotyped “Chinese”-Japanese has two main characteristics:

1) The use of the plain form of the verb “aru” at the end of every sentence that is not interrogative (which is grammatically incorrect, and also, grammatically incorrect)

2) The use of the adjective “yoroshii/yoroshi” at the end of every interrogative sentence. It can be translated as “OK?” or “right?”, and also in absolutely incorrect.

Exhibit 1, Dr Suranpu v. 5 page 173 (first written in early eighties, meaning, this is relatively fresh):

(All pidgin-like grammatical forms are underlined)

(right to left)

1. Ko- konchiwa. Watachitachi-

(Hu-hullo. We… <— plus, all “chi” should be “shi”s)

2. Kondo hikkochite kita Tsun-ikke aru. Yoroshiku ne.

(Family Tsun, just moved be. Nice to meet you <— plus the “chi” in “hikkochite” should be “shi”)

3. Hikkoshi pan aru ne.

(Just-moved-bread be, right?)

A very very old, and also doubly racist (blackface, anyone?) example from a really terrible, and also really popular manga, Norakuro. According to my sources(1) the manga started innocuously enough, but soon progressed to more militaristic topics, with the main character, the dog called Norakuro, serving in the army in a “fierce dog brigade” (mouken-tai) and fighting with pigs, which are clearly meant to represent the Chinese.

The following page depicts Norakuro accidentally stumbling upon smugglers selling weapons to native pirates (who also speak a pidgin-like Japanese):

(right to left, top-down)

1. (Norakuro, the main character, speaks correct Japanese)

Hahaa, buki ya danyaku o dojin ni uru no dana. Furachi na yatsura da.

(Huuuh, they’re selling guns and ammo to the locals. Dirty scoundrels!)

2. Zenbu de nijuuman en da. (Together, 200 000 yen <— note how the white smugglers actually speak proper Japanese)

3. Takai aru. Makeru aru. (Expensive be. Lose be)

4. Makaran yo. (You won’t lose)

5. Teppou bakudan takusan aru na. (That’s a lot of bullets)

6. Shuuchou, katte kimashita ze. (We bought it <— to the chieftain, uses the title)

7. Kayakuko he shimatte oke. (Put in the powder magazine <— the chieftain and “locals” use normal language when talking to each other)

Below, the interactions of the pig army, disorganised and cowardly.

(right to left, top to bottom)

1. Moukengun ha tetsudoumou wo norikoete kita. Mou sugu koko he kuru aru zo. (The Fierce Dog Brigade took over the railway network. They here soon be.)

2. Yarareta. (We’re in trouble)

3. Yatsu bari se no takai no hatama ga yoku ataru aru yo. (It easy to shoot tall people like them be, though <— backhanded compliment = tall = a very good thing)

4. Nigehajimetara dare ga tomete mo dame aru yo. (If we start to escape someone might stop us, wrong be)

5. Moukengun ha tetudoumou wo norikoete kita kara- (Because the Fierce Dog Brigade took over the railway…)

6. Norikoete kuru tokoro [print too tiny to read] de utsu yoroshi. Naze nigeru ka. (Shoot them with [too hard to read] while they’re there, right? Why escape?)

7. Kono gunchi toraretara make aru zo. Modore. (If the capture this place, we lose be. Go back)

8. Utte mo makeru ni kimatteru. (Even if we shoot we’ll lose)

9. Sonna wakaranai taichou ha yattsukeru yoroshi. (We beat up a dumb captain like that, right?)

10. Kora taichou no iu koto kikan ka? (Haven’t heard what the captain said?)

11. Kono aida ni nigedase. (We’ll escape soon)

12. Mukou no gunchi ga anzen aru yo. (The land over there safe be)

Charming, really. And, for the coup de grace, the freshest example, from 2000. Axis Powers Hetalia is a mind-numbingly dumb, racist manga chock-full of racist/xenophobic stereotypes featuring a bunch of anthropomorphized countries, and, basically, while my sentiments towards it can succinctly summed up with a  BURN IT WITH FIRE, it also unsurprisingly contains the racist Chinese pidgin. Below, the interactions os Russia (the blond guy) and China (the not-blond guy), pidgin-like forms underlined:

Classy, really classy.

(Most of this material is from the Satoshi Kinsui’s book. The Hetalia strip was recovered online)

(1) Satoshi Kinsui, Baacharu nihongo. Yakuwarigo no nazo.

1. If at 14 you believe you’re ready to have children, you are of course wrong.

However, if ten or even twenty years later you persist in your delusion  belief  that you were ready to have children at 14? You are totes not ready to have children still.

Hilary Mantel thinks you should be popping out children at 14, which is, like, absolutely not influenced by her being infertile and unhappy about it. Oh, I do realise it must be a terrible tragedy for her, but for some people? Getting pregnant at the age 14 is, too.

(Pity she’s such a douche, her books seem like something I could pick up when my brain needs several days in a semi-enjoyable stand-by mode)

***

2. How (Not) to Write About Africa. (Un?)surprisingly some of those boring, offensive, ridiculous, dehumanizing tropes still persist. Also, an audiovisual aid for those less willing to read (there’re no Morning Musume in there, I promise!):

***

3. NHK website about hikikomori (wiki on hikikomori). I just want to say, at first I snickered at the irony of NHK of all places having a website about hikikomori stuff, then I got sucked in and spent about two hours reading through the FAQ (STATISTICS!!!!!!!!11!1!!).

It’s in Japanese, though.

***

4. Shakesville post about rape culture. I just want to say, I’m sooooooo happy I don’t have to write it.

***

5. How to sell your snake oil thing, or any kind of woo, really. Should be read together with any of Orac’s excellent posts about woomeisters always blaming the patient.

***

6. I’ll freely and nonchalantly admit I only discovered it about a week ago: English without non-Germanic words, aka Uncleftish Beholding. I will also admit that my brain tells me to visualise “uncleftish” every time I hear/see the (non) word.

Suffering ensues.

***

7. An interesting article about the cancer that is killing vampire fiction like you could kill the cancer that is vampire fiction with a different cancer hurr durr Twilight and cultural appropriation. What it lacks is a mention of the problematic portrayal of Quileute in the books (ahahahahaha, BOOKS AHAHAHAHA) in the first place, but this can be easily found with the help of Google and some resourceful typing.

***

8. The crazy terrorist anti-tax guy who crashed into an IRS office is being white-washed by his daughter thus:

Asked whether she considered her father a hero, Stack’s adult daughter, Samantha Dawn Bell, said during a telephone interview broadcast Monday on ABC’s “Good Morning America”: “Yes. Because now maybe people will listen.” But she stressed that his actions were “inappropriate.”

The catch: the daughter lives in Norway. NORWAY! One would think a greedy sociopath tax protester could find a better place to live than Norway:

– The basic tax rate is 28 % of the net income. The social security contribution is 7,8 % of the gross income. Therefore, the total tax rate rarely exceeds 36 %. However, on gross income exceeding NOK 456.400 (relevant as of salary grade 60) a surtax (toppskatt) of 9 % is levied. On gross income exceeding NOK 741.700 (relevant as of salary grade 82) a surtax of 12 % is levied. (source)

Seriously.

(Btw, the income tax is not all the tax that an individual has to pay in Norway. There’s also the so-called wealth tax, so in many cases you’d have to pay much moar)

(Mmmm, taxes  <3)

***

9. I discovered Vox Day(1), the most odious person and at the same time the most pretentious cretin on the internets. Seriously. I expect to have time to make fun of him properly soon.

***

In other news, I’ve been hearing rumours about late (as in, in June) spring in Poland this year. I might have to reconsider my spring break plans.

Also, wisdom tooth is a whore.

(1) Bad pun is  bad, especially as “dei” is totes not pronounced like that.

So, whenever you think that woomeisters  couldn’t possibly stoop as low as to do something really really horrible, they always disappoint you. I mean:

There are concerns the detectors have failed to stop bomb attacks which have killed hundreds of people.

What sort of detector would that be? And why would anybody buy it in the first place? And for 40000$/piece, no less?

Ah:

The device consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. It does not operate by battery, instead promotional material says it is powered only by the user’s static electricity.

Ouch. Also:

Mr McCormick has said the device, sold from offices in Sparkford, Somerset, used special electronic cards slotted into it to detect explosives.

But a BBC Newsnight investigation reported that a computer laboratory said the card it examined contained only a tag used by shops to prevent theft.

Mr McCormick is the original scammer, I believe.

Personally, I also believe, he should walk through a minefield or something equally explosive  to prove the efficacy of his contraption. I mean, it’s only fair. Since he still insists it’s working.

The device was sold, apart from Iraq, to 20 other mostly Far Eastern countries.

It’s a bit hard to tell what’s most appalling part about the entire incident; the deaths that were indubitably caused by evidently useless equipment, the racist neocolonialist behaviour of the scammer (LOL LET’S SELL THIS SHINY MAGICAL BEADS WANDS TO THOSE STUPID BROWN PEOPLE IT’S NOT LIKE THEY COULD EVER NOTICE ANYWAY, LOLOLOL!!!1!!), or the fact that nobody noticed it until now.

Some more ridiculous claims about the purported efficacy of the device were listed here.

ETA: via #ttdkn, of course <3

Because the yes, sir/no, sir mentality is perhaps starting to get slightly unhealthy? For all involved?

So, by now everybody must have heard about what happened to Peter Watts, a Canadian s-f author who was beaten up by USian border patrol when he was going back to Canada. Whatever you might think about the incident (and it would be sort of, perhaps, crazy to believe it was Peter Watts who provoked them, and even so, would that constitute a valid excuse for such a ridiculous abuse of power? Nuh-huh) the dumbest thing is this:

When an enforcement professional pulls you over, it is known as a “stop.” The proper behavior at a stop … is to stop and await further instructions. This is for your safety … AND theirs. Getting out and demanding a reason is construed as a “lack of compliance” (see above).

Somehow, all I got while reading this paragraph was a group of Daleks screeching “OBEY! YOU WILL OBEY!” at the hapless imprisoned Doctor.

Also, WOW, does someone have a hard-on for a creepy authoritarian state in which people in uniforms can do whatever they feel like BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A PERMANENT STATE OF WAR DON’T YOU SEE oh wait-

Folks, this is the real world. Cops, borders guards, security officers get attacked routinely. They have the right to defend themselves. And defending yourself as a security professional means taking pre-emptive action.

Yeaaaaah, sure. So, they get attacked routinely (which might as well be bullshit, I’ve no idea), which means they can bully and attack other, possibly innocent  people preemptively? Ohoho, somehow, this doesn’t make any sense?

I mean, on Earth, and as long as you apply Earth logic, and so on?

So, what should Peter Watts do?

My advice: go before the judge, be contrite and respectful, apologize in the most sincere and forceful language available to you and GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Fighting this battle on principle is a losing proposition. You’ll face defeat and prove nothing. Accept the way things are, admit you made a mistake and learn from it. And give the security guys a break next time. The Sixties ended on September 11th, pal. Get used to it.

Koff koff, suuuuuuure! He should apologise to the armed men who assaulted him for 1.  not being sufficiently obedient and 2. provoking them, because, let’s face it, he was just asking for it.

The whore.

In the comments, the maverick author of the charming piece of pathetic authoritarian drivel divulges also that:

In a previous draft of this post, I was going to mention Israel and the check-points (so of course I thought of you and Danny). Failure to comply at an IDF check-point no doubt leads to immediate use of overwhelming force (and for good reason)

Uh-huh. Israel/Palestine war. US/Canadian border. COMPLETELY THE SAME THING oh wait-

So, where are the libertarians nao? Somewhere else, bitching about taxes?

Typical.

(But then, what do I know. I’m just a typical Euro commie)

(And thanks Cthulhu for the Schengen Agreement)