Monday, November 29, 2010

Rafael Correa you are endlessly entertaining!

Ecuador offers WikiLeak's founder Assange residency, no questions asked

AFP - Read all

 QUITO - Ecuador on Monday offered Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has enraged Washington by releasing masses of classified U.S. documents, residency with no questions asked.
"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told the Internet site Ecuadorinmediato.
"We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums," he said.

Privilege Denying Dude: New Incarnation

“Privilege Denying Dude” and the Fight for the Right to Snark

 by Channing Kennedy

Sites like the massive anonymized bulletin board 4chan and the image-captioning Web utility Memegenerator are popular examples of an online community that’s open to everyone in theory, that’s admirably participatory in many ways, and that’s accomplished some amazing things. 4chan says it draws more than 10 million users globally a month. And in all seriousness, no thinking person should dismiss the community systems that invented LOLcats.
Dig deeper, though, and such sites are bursting with Southparkian “ironic” bigotry, rape humor, and other jokes that are easier to laugh at when you aren’t the butt of them. The humor isn’t entirely without precedent; in many ways, it’s the same targeted offensiveness of now-embraced comedians like Richard Pryor and George Carlin—saying the nastiest thing you can think of, so you can feel relieved that it isn’t true and prove it has no foothold in you. Old-standby jokes—“there are no black people on the Internet [so say whatever you want about them]”—exaggerate real inconsistencies in the medium itself. However, when looking at a hundred black-people-eating-fried-chicken photos on the same page, one wonders if those noble intentions haven’t gotten lost along the path to funny.

Which brings us to last week’s hottest and most hated new image meme, Privilege Denying Dude, and his creator, 20-year-old SoCal Web developer and vegan feminist Diana Lopez.
For the uninitiated, think of a meme (rhymes with gene) as a running joke that cross-pollinates and mutates as it circulates the Web; memes are those things that “go viral” in popular culture. And millions of microbloggers are trying to produce next week’s most retold cyber-gag.
Lopez’s Privilege Denying Dude follows the aesthetic signifiers of the long-popular Advice Dog-style image memes—a photo cutout (in this case, of an iconic hip young white dude) and colorful background, with the joke’s setup at the top and punchline at the bottom. What made PDD, as he’s abbreviated, stand out is that he directly, and strikingly, parodied the frat-boy culture that fuels much Internet comedy in the first place—privileged, incurious, and ready to educate you about what your problem is.
In short, PDD is hilarious. And it hit a nerve.
“I was only trying to create something enjoyable,” says Lopez. “I began realizing I hijacked something when I got my first rude messages. Eventually, I felt like blasting a ‘Whoops, sorry for molding your outlet for rape, ‘retard,’ child molestation, and (men’s) masturbation jokes into something useful, guys.’ That’s a grand frustration, isn’t it?”
“The Internet has carried over the ‘neutral’ we’ve always seen, meaning that if it’s online, it better appeal to straight white men before and above anyone else. A lot of us hate it. We find humor in other memes, but sometimes we see a misogynist or homophobic joke in the bunch… and we just scroll on past it. It’s disappointing how used to that we are.”
Within a week of releasing her image template into the wild, Lopez saw PDD get featured on Jezebel and Tiger Beatdown. Traffic skyrocketed on the Tumblr blog she’d set up to showcase the best submissions, and feedback poured in; people were thrilled and grateful to see a meme of their own. Over 1,500 PDDs were made by folks around the world.
The backlash came swiftly from privilege-denying dudes and dudettes who suspected that they were being mocked by their own Internet.
“I decided to stay away from places where privilege denying dudes spent time discussing Privilege Denying Dude, for my own mind’s safety,” says Lopez. “Some straight white men, on the contrary, did try to do me the favor of validating my work by associating with it, to which I wanted to say, ‘Thanks. (But I got this.)’ Another form of feedback, which was my favorite, was when people asked why PDD saying a certain something was bad, and boom, extensive discussion [followed]. It was great.”

Lopez notes the hypocrisy in the reaction from many of the straight white men who felt burned by PDD.  “The result [of a previous feminist pushback against a rape joke] was one of those ‘sorry if you got offended’ mock apologies. That was it. Life went on. What I saw with PDD was straight white men specifically displeased, speaking out about [the joke being on them], and demanding results,” Lopez says. “They felt entitled to their space, the Web.”

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Excellent Idea Margaret Atwood!

EDMONTON — Margaret Atwood thinks Canada needs to set up a dictat-o-meter.
Similar to the famous clock that counted down the seconds to nuclear Armageddon, this clock would grade how close Canada creeps toward a dictatorship, said the famous Canadian author Friday in a speech to an audience at the Myer Horowitz Theatre.
A public debate would be needed to judge how much closer the meter would tick after parliament is prorogued, not just once, but twice, she said...

And she did not spare the current government any pointed criticism, saying they had turned into one that’s all about “airplanes and jails. “The airplanes are useless against the real foes we face, which are scarcity and inequality.”
As for the jails, who will fill them? she asked. “Is it a case of build it and they will come?”
She suspects what they’ll do to fill those jails is just lower the criminal bar so they will have enough people to fill the jails. And then they can say, we told you so.
“Is the big idea really to bankrupt the social welfare system … by spending all of our money on planes and jails?”
Gordon Laxer, director of the Parkland Institute, said at the beginning of the talk that many of us used to proudly wear a Canadian flag on our backpack when we travelled abroad. But no more.
“Canada is on the wrong side of almost every international issue,” he said.
Among the many issues he listed were climate change, recognizing aboriginal rights, and killing deep oceans and river systems with toxic waste and tailings ponds.

Privilege Denying Dude Rises from the Dead! (Fair Use b/c commentary)

Check out the evolution of PDD! He will not be stopped by mere lawyers!

Privilege Denying Dude Fights Back!

PPD has been shut down after a complaint by the photographer of the above image. Although the creator of Privilege Denying Dude mentioned several times she bought the rights to the stock photo, there are apparently contractual implications regarding usage of images in a meme, to put it bluntly.

A Jezebel commenter takes us to school:


"I license images for my job (and often use iStock), so maybe I can help explain what is going on here. I assume it is this prohibition in the iStock license that is causing a problem:

incorporate the Content in any product that results in a re-distribution or re-use of the Content (such as electronic greeting card web sites, web templates and the like) or is otherwise made available in a manner such that a person can extract or access or reproduce the Content as an electronic file

The copyright holder is probably arguing that since it is being reproduced on memegenerator it is a violation of the iStock contract.

She does explicitly state that the person is a model and it is a stock photo, so a reasonable person wouldn't assume that the model is endorsing the views expressed, nor could it be considered libel."

Read the rest of the discussion here

Hope you make it back soon, Privilege Denying Dude. Of all the memes in all the internets, it seems a little suspicious that the feminist one garnered such blowback.

Friday, November 19, 2010

CBC News Proves Once Again How Canadians Misconstrue Haiti

The news article here is fine. Succinct, good reporting. The comments! Who are these people? Why do they feel qualified to pronounce on Haiti? I can't help but think a race issue is at play here. People who have no idea about Haitian history feel comfortable announcing that they are "sick" of all their "tax dollars" going to ungrateful Haitians who should be working to fix their country instead of protesting the UN mission that, in all likelihood, brought cholera to Haiti in the first place.  The media reporting around this is interesting - I caught a CBC Newsworld broadcast that implied the "rioters" - note the use of the term rioter, not protester, which already sets up in the reader's mind an expectation of legitimacy - were deluded by thinking that the UN had anything to do with the cholera outbreak. The Haitian rumour mill is an effective communication instrument. The UN steadfastly maintained that the Nepalese had nothing to do with the outbreak until the AP's Jonathan Katz physically inspected the septic system at the headquarters near the mouth of the Artibonite River. Instead of the contained tanks buried in the ground that he was assured existed, he found open pits of decomposing human waste, mere meters from the riverbank. It is possible that the two occurrences are merely coincidental. It seems a bit of a stretch - cholera not being seen in Haiti for at least two hundred years, the genetic typing narrowing the current strain to a South Asian strain, outbreaks this summer in Nepal, that humans can carry cholera in their guts and pass it into their excrement even if they didn't get sick... Is the possibility that this might be true so inconceivable that it warrants this outpouring of disdain for the Haitians protesting it? Is this an automatic writing-off of protesters? Why? Why is this so hard to believe? If Haitians were white, would people believe them?

This is also What a Feminist Looks Like

h/t bluebears

Privilege Denying Dude Epicly Misses the Point

Privilege Denying Dude!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Why Education Funding Always Matters

The 2010 midterm elections were a mandate for the new GOP sorta-but-not-really majority in Washington. The American voter has clearly demanded:

1. Social Security reform that guarantees my current level of benefits, alters someone else's, and cuts everyone's Social Security taxes to boot.
2. A world-class national infrastructure that can be built and maintained without tax dollars.
3. A balanced budget that doesn't sacrifice any of the government programs – especially the sacred military-industrial complex and the various old age benefits – that we like.
4. Clean air without pollution controls, clean water with a neutered and underfunded EPA, and businesses that do socially responsible things without any regulation whatsoever.
5. Consumer goods at Made in China prices that create high-paying jobs in America.
6. Giant trucks and SUVs that drive like Formula One race cars, look cool, fit into small parking spaces, cost under $18,000, and get the fuel economy of a Toyota Prius.
7. Complete freedom and complete security at the same time.
8. An America that acts like a swaggering, sociopathic asshole on the global stage yet is beloved by all the nations of the world.
9. Wars against every enemy, real or imagined, all of the time, with no U.S. casualties and no effect on the budget.
10. Incredibly rich and rewarding professional lives while supporting our employers' right to do whatever they want to us without recourse.
11. A vibrant, consumption-based U.S. economy with good jobs for anyone willing to look for one resulting from free trade policies that encourage money and capital flows to cheap labor markets.
12. A highly educated workforce produced by a school system that requires no tax dollars to achieve excellence, students who have no interest in learning, and a virulently anti-intellectual society.
13. Closed borders and an endless supply of cheap labor to keep prices low.
14. To buy whatever we want irrespective of what we can afford while maintaining the drumbeat of personal responsibility.
15. Health care that is cheap, superior, and readily available to me without the danger of the same being enjoyed by anyone I deem undeserving.
It couldn't be any clearer: we want a government that will resolve every problem we currently face with solutions that require no effort, no sacrifices, and no money. And I have no doubt that we have elected a group of people brave enough to promise exactly that.

- from ginandtacos

The Complex Topography of Hipster Taxonomy

Privilege Denying Dude!

Privilege Denying Dude!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Privilege Denying Dude - "It's Only Fair!"


Haitians protesting MINUSTAH presence in Cap Haitian fired upon, called "political"

"The way the events unfolded suggests that these incidents were politically motivated, aimed at creating a climate of insecurity on the eve of elections" MINUSTAH said in a statement, calling the population to remain vigilant and not being manipulated by enemies of stability and democracy." Read the article

Read the above again. This is an official statement by a ruling army in a country where 1.3 million citizens have no papers and live in crude tens, ten months after a major earthquake. A protest against the presence of peacekeepers who may have brought the cholera epidemic to Haiti is spun to look like a paid demonstration by the "enemies of stability and democracy". They aimed to create a climate of insecurity? They needn't work so hard! Whenever Haitians take to the street to protest the UN mission in Haiti, PR flacks work overtime to assure the mostly indifferent world that these are either paid operatives (presumably of Aristide, that troublemaker) or dangerous thugs trying to stop the good work of the UN. Firing into a crowd of protesters at breast height would seem to be the rules of engagement for MINUSTAH. It is interesting how any time people come to object to how their country is being run that they are paid malcontents interfering in the smooth administration of Haiti. Smooth? Stable? Democracy? Do these words have any meaning for UN officials? There is no democracy in Haiti! Holding an election does not mean there is freedom! There is an epidemic in the country that has killed 900 that was predicted by many months ago. Money pledged by the developed world is held up in congresses and escrow accounts. The Red Cross is getting into the business of natio-building - something it knows nothing about. 

To dismiss the protests of a group of Haitians peacefully assembled to tell the UN that they are failing at their job is the worst kind of spin. It makes it apparent that Haitians are not the target of any of the UN's communications - these messages are meant for the international community. There is no such thing as a legitimate protest in the eyes of MINUSTAH. Someone needs to educate these peacekeepers from such thriving democracies as Nepal and Jordan how peaceful protests work.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Privilege Denying Dude

Privilege Denying Dude

Privilege Denying Dude

Privilege Denying Dude

Meme of the year

New York Times: Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says

WASHINGTON — A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.
The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.
It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.

The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.
Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi √©migr√©s. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.
The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.
The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.

Read more

Privilege Denying Dude