Tag Archives: censorship

Bad Winnipeg Politics

Tim_Hortons

A friend alerted me to news regarding Jamie Hall, someone we went to high school with. I don’t remember much about him, but I knew enough to be surprised that he tried to be a politician. It takes a certain amount of courage as well as an almost wide-eyed zeal to serve one’s community, and these positive virtues are quite commendable, regardless of the cynicism that comes hand in hand with the profession. So it is a shame that Jamie Hall’s political career barely lasted twenty-four hours when tweets degrading women resurfaced and put a stop to his campaign. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/busby-on-hall-tweets-1.3476086)

What’s even more unfortunate is that somehow, the Liberal party’s vetting process didn’t catch what seems to be glaring red flags: He worked as a bar promoter. He penned a novel titled 7 Deadly Women. He has an active Twitter and Youtube accounts. They’re not sins of themselves, but they could be mined for anything that could be useful for rival candidates. And lastly, he dresses like a magician. He looks more like a pick-up artist at the Manitoba Legislature than a person trying to run for political office.

First off, let’s look at the comment themselves. He refers to his girlfriend as a “skank.” This could be excused as a personal term on a personal message not meant for public consumption. But then again, this is politics, and regardless of how his girlfriend feels about the term, it is still quite offensive. I could call my wife the n-word and she might think it’s the sweetest, most endearing moniker in the world, but that doesn’t make it acceptable especially if I’m running for public office.

This also isn’t the first time he’s used such demeaning terms. One of his offensive tweets (and there are quite a few) says, “If a whore screams in the bedroom and no one is around to hear it, is she really a whore?” Now, the tweet doesn’t really make much sense since I’m sure there are “whores” that could be quiet and “proper women” that could be noisy in bed, but his rather casual use of the term suggests comfort with the idea of certain women being “whores” and “skanks.” Now, he tries to explain his actions by saying that as a liberal, he’s always been against the idea of censorship, but there’s nothing offensive in the tweet “if a whore screams…” that mere censorship could cure. It is the idea within the tweet that is offensive. You could replace the term “whore” with “loose woman” and still come off as a misogynist.

He also uses such terms from a position of power and I don’t think he fully realizes how it looks from a political perspective when a white male refers to women as “whores” and “skanks.” Again, from a political and social perspective, it looks like he is punching down. I realize that there are some men, especially those in the men’s rights movement, who think that certain women deserve the label “whore” and that in many mays minimizing and/or objectifying women is a means of punching up, but that’s not how many women see it. That’s not how people in politics see it. Doesn’t this guy have a political consultant or at least someone with common sense who reads the paper? He explains that a lot of people talk like him, that he is not perfect and no one is. And it’s true, crude language doesn’t disqualify someone’s abilities nor does it negate their willingness to do good for the community. But it’s not one comment that shows a callous and rather immature attitude towards women, it’s several. And also, as political creatures, one has to look at such comments pragmatically whether they’re on his side or running against him. They are bad politically.

His explanation wasn’t much help either. I find that his CBC interview was more explanation than an apology, which is really the only thing that could’ve saved him. If anything, some of his explanations were more of an insult to the people who were offended. “My girlfriend is a strong, independent woman. She would not be sitting here in the studio next to me if I called her a skank.” First off, he did refer to his girlfriend as a “skank.” Perhaps it was in jest, but it did happen. He’s asking people to believe him instead of their own lying eyes. Also, to say that his girlfriend is “strong and independent” implies that those who were offended are not. Again, I don’t fully subscribe to this logic, but politically, this is a pretty bad explanation which could be easily exploited should he have decided to move forward. I dislike professional politicians as much as the next person, but that comment was amateur hour.

Now, I don’t want to be the word police. I think people should be free to say anything they want. The right to offend, to add controversial ideas and rhetoric in the marketplace of ideas is one of the greatest rights in Canada. However, people are not free from the consequences of their words. Hall is free to use the word “whores” and “skanks,” he is free to demean women if he wants to. Heck, I’ve been accused of misogyny a couple of times before myself. But as a political creature, Hall is not free from the consequences of his words. He should’ve known better, perhaps cleaned up his history or done a better job apologizing for it. The Liberal party should’ve known better as well.

The use of the word “whore” and “skank,” as well as his history of tweets don’t offend me. I really couldn’t care less about them. I’m not sure if I can outright label him as a misogynist based on a small sample of his language. What annoyed me is the lack of political savviness exhibited in the whole episode.

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Messing Up My Fast Internet

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As a continuation of the Website rant last week, my site is now accessible on most PCs. Last week, I had to change DNS settings on my PC at home in order to access my site, but this morning I was pleased to discover that my site is now accessible without changing any settings.

Initially I thought it had something to do with my Web host or South Korea’s Internet censors, but I soon learned that it was my local ISP that was fiddling around with things.

I suspected South Korea’s Internet censors because the country is notorious for allowing Christian groups to look around for offensive Websites, report them to the police, and have the sites banned in the country. It is an extremely backwards policy especially when you consider that the country has one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. What’s even more ironic is that since Christian groups are the ones hunting down offensive sites, usually pornography, it is the hardcore Christians who get to see most pornography on a regular basis before they (cock) block everyone else’s access. Some other sites also banned in South Korea are political in nature, especially concerning North Korea.

This censorship, plus random fiddling of Korean ISPs make some rather benign Websites inaccessible in the country. For a while there, lululemon.com was inaccessible in the country. (Not that I was shopping for yoga pants!) What annoys me the most out of this censorship, including in other countries like China, is that the law makers and the morality zealots are idiotically unaware of VPNs and proxy servers. And even taking those options out of consideration, people will still be able to get their pornography and political subversion fix despite the constant censorship. More sites will replace the ones that are banned. It’s like a global whack-a-mole.

Anyway, that gets my gourd…

That, plus South Koreans use so much security on their sites using Active-X. The whole country is tied to Internet Explorer, which, after a year or so surfing the Internet and installing a bunch of security certification programs, can drag an average PC performance to a snail’s pace. It’s just more stuff to install and more passwords to remember and more e-mail to respond to, etc. A coworker of mine complains that it takes him forever to do Internet banking on Korean banks because of all the security and certificates he has to deal with. It’s probably less of a hassle to just go out to the bank and deal with a teller.

And in another ironic twist, while the intent of marrying Active-X was to bolster security, it would seem that Active-X actually poses a wide security risk for many Websites since many hackers can use it to gain access to computers. Ugh.

South Korea has amazingly fast Internet and I don’t have to pay premium for it. I guess that’s part of the reason why the country is a haven for online gaming. However, I could really do without the censorship and all the security BS.

 

 

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