Oi you! Think yer hard, eh? Think yer hard, you effing muppet?!

April 30, 2012

There’s a lot of so-called “hard men” around who actually are just bigger and stronger than average, and who like to throw their weight around to “impress” their so-called “mates”. Well in my book, beating on smaller, weaker people doesn’t make you hard – it makes you a bully, trying to make up for your teeny dick by hitting people you know ain’t gonna do you over.

Ad it ain’t just me who thinks this. Read what an OSE officer wrote on the subject – that’s a guy who parachuted into Nazi-controlled Europe during the Second World War, to kill Nazis and organize resistance. That’s right: let’s see what a truly brave man has to say about you beefy bully-boys.

I am a good enough shot. But when it comes to physical violence I am repelled. I wish it were still an age when a man could carry a sword or a rapier without attracting attention. I am no true-blue Britisher. I believe that fists are the most uncouth, the most unsatisfactory, and the most cowardly of weapons. A Corsican whom I had known and admired in Lyons, had shown me a foreigner’s viewpoint regarding the absurd British or Anglo-Saxon boast that we are the cleanest fighters because we use our fists.

“Two men are enemies,” the Corsican said. “They decide to kill each other. One is big. The other is small. They fight with fists. The small man cannot get near the big man. The small man is the most nimble. But the big man chases him. Eventually, he should catch him, and kill him. Now give to each man a knife. The small man is still at a disadvantage. The big man has more reach. It’s difficult to penetrate his wide guard. But the small man is the more nimble. His thrusts are the quicker. And knife-fighting is a question of courage. Perhaps the big one feels faint when he thinks he may die. Or when he sees blood. The battle is more even. It is more dirty to fight with fists than with knives. To attack another man with fists is a dirty trick, requiring little courage, but only bestial strength.” This Corsican was biased, being an expert with the knife he carried and ate and shaved with. It was a long curving blade, with a delicately curved, black bone handle, I recall. But I thoroughly agreed, and agree with his sentiments. To hell with adventure novelists who decry every man who draws a knife and lionise honest John who fights with his fists.

~from Maquis, by George Millar

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting we should all go round tooled up with blades, ready to stab each other at a moment’s notice. I’m using Millar’s words here because Millar was a truly brave man. He volunteered to parachute into Nazi-controlled France and who accepted the fact that each day might be his last. But the bully… he’s less than nothing. The kind of stuff I wipe off my shoe before going indoors. “Hard men”? I shit ’em.

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Police shoot unarmed Aboriginal teenagers in Sydney – New South Wales police minister, Mike Gallacher, defends the action

April 25, 2012

The Guardian tells us: “Civil liberties groups have called for an independent inquiry into the shooting of two Aboriginal teenagers in Sydney’s busy Kings Cross nightlife area at the weekend.”  They’d been joyriding, and mounted a crowded pavement in the early hours of Saturday morning, hitting two women.  But they were unarmed, surrounded by cops with guns, they weren’t going anywhere.  So why shoot them?  Well-known Aboriginal figure, Anthony Mundine, said: “I feel that it’s brutality at its best. Who shoots teenage kids, unarmed, cornered, trapped, ready to be arrested?”  But the New South Wales police minister, Mike Gallacher, retorted:

“Cops had seconds to make a decision. If someone’s not going to stop the car … and you’ve got a young woman on the front of the vehicle, you know, until such times as shown otherwise, I’m going to back the cops.”

Australia is one of the most racist countries in the world.  Even the USA try to appear as if they’re sorry about what they did to their indigenous population.  But Oz politicians seem to regard “black fellas” as legitimate targets for full-on violent tactics.  And the white Australian population as a whole aren’t much better, treating Aboriginal people as second or even third-class citizens, making them feel like illegal immigrants in their own country.

Okay, you can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  But you can change what you do about the past.  And you can learn from your mistakes, quit treating Aboriginals as somehow less than human.  If Australia doesn’t sort its act out pronto, they’re gonna reap the whirlwind.

Image

A demonstrator at a rally outside the New South Wales parliament protesting against the shooting of two teenagers in Sydney. Photograph: William West/AFP/Getty Images

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“Just say no” – UK government’s drugs policy went out of fashion with Nancy Reagan

April 24, 2012

The British government seem committed to a “new” strategy to combat the menace of drug addiction: abstinence rather than harm-reduction.  Basically, this means that addicts who want to get off harmful street drugs such as heroin should do a quick “cold turkey” then, once they’re no longer using they should “just say no”.  A brilliant, innovative idea, right?  Well, actually no: Nancy Reagan, First Lady to 1980s prez Ronald Reagan, pushed this very policy in the 80s and early 90s – and we can all see how well that worked out.

But the ConDems are now pushing for a very similar policy.  And a number of charities are united in opposition.  The group, which includes leading HIV/Aids charities Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) and the National Aids Trust (Nat), and the drugs and human rights charity Release, have delivered a highly critical letter to drugs minister Lord Henley and the prime minister, David Cameron, warning that the “recovery roadmap” in the government’s document Putting Full Recovery First would be “disastrous” for drug-dependent people.

For some time now, a “harm-reduction” approach has been taken in drugs care: it’s better to have an addict taking pharmaceutically safer substances such as methadone or Subutex rather than using possibly dirty needles to inject heroin of unknown potency which has very possibly been cut with harmful substances like bleach.  The addict who is offered methadone can safely stabilize his addiction, and then when ready he can reduce his use, hopefully to zero.

It isn’t possible to force someone to stop taking drugs – an addict can quit only when he wants to.  But the government’s plans ignore this fundamental fact. So we will  have addicts repeatedly relapsing, and our prison system will be even more clogged with drugs offenders than already.  Plus, the abstinence policy will signal the end of funding for needle exchanges, meaning the heroin addicts out there on the streets will be more at risk of blood-borne viruses like hepatitis and HIV.  And this isn’t going to deter people from taking drugs, any more than Nancy’s “Just Say No” did twenty-odd years ago.

Of course, the ConDems already know all this – they’re just looking for kindly headlines in the Daily Mail and its ilk.  Politics is everything, screw the poor fuckers whose lives you’re destroying.

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charideee…

April 18, 2012

Interesting comment here about charity:

“Be rich, by all means, but throwing a bone to a dog is not charity, as Jack London said. Sharing a bone when you are hungry is. You have to give until it hurts for it to be charity – spare cash doesn’t count – though I daresay spare cash will do if there’s insufficient justice in society to look after those in need.”


Who’s afraid of the big bad troll? Grow up, you pathetic child!

April 12, 2012

As our lives increasingly take place online, we are more and more likely to encounter a troll.  For those not in the know, a troll is

someone who posts inflammatory,[2]extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion [from the Font Of All Human Knowledge, oops, I mean Wikipedia].

Note that: the troll’s primary motive is to get an emotional response or disrupt normal on-topic discussion.  He doesn’t know what colour you are, how much money you earn or if you’re an obese thirty-something who lives in his mom’s basement (unless you’ve already put that info out there for him to discover) – he’s just pushing buttons, hoping for an outraged reaction.

Trollface -this is what they look like. All of 'em, honest!

This is what pisses me off about the Patrice Muamba Twitter troll, When Liam Stacey made a nasty tweet about footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsing a match, he attracted a number of bad tweets himself – to which he reacted with a few more abusive messages.  Am I defending Stacey?  No.  I am defending his right to say what he said.  The fact he was jailed for those tweets is shocking, and does not bode well for those among us who dreamt fleetingly that the internet might be a last bastion for freedom of expression.

So how do we deal with trolls?  Wikihow’s somewhat aged advice  is  still valid: ignore the dickhead.  If no one had bothered with Stacey’s crap, he would’ve soon enough moved on to something else.  It’s only because Muamba’s faithful following leapt in to defend their idol that Stacey made his vulgar follow-up tweets.  Fer Krist’s sake, ain’t  you Muamba-lovers got anything better to do?  Ignore the dicks, they’ll go away soon enough.

Of course, some kinds of trolling are worse than others.  I’m thinking particularly about Facebook bullying. There’s a piece on Facebook bullying on www.bullying.co.uk. But we need to remember that bullying existed before the internet, and will no doubt continue to go on when human beings become extinct and dolphins on skateboards rule the earth.  I experienced bullying at school long before the World Wide Web came into being, and I was advised “Ignore it.”  Of course, I thought that was crap advice and used OTT violence instead.  But now I look back, I can see that ignoring the bullies did help somewhat.  So come on, FFS – stop throwing fuel on the fire.  And grow up!

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You have the right to free speech… as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it

April 10, 2012

Free speech on the internet, right?  Bzzz, wrong answer.  And I’m not just talking about the Great Red Wall of China or Burma or some other overtly evil dictatorship here.  I’m talking about Merrie Olde England here.  A member state of the European Union and the home of “the Mother of all Parliaments”.  I’m talking about Liam Stacey, the guy sent to jail for tweeting nasty stuff about Fabrice Muamba.

Now, I could tell you about the case and what I think about it, but I’m not going to bother.  Because I think the Guardian “Comment is Free” blogger Victoria Coren has already said it, and I’d largely be paraphrasing her.  So Im gonna just advise you to go read her post about it.  Here’s the link.  Cheers Victoria.

Oh, and cheers to The Clash for this post’s title (lyrics to their song “Know Your Rights”).  RIP Joe Strummer.  😦

 

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