Life Codecs Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

January 21, 2012

Loudmouth SOPA Proponents & Hypocrisy

Filed under: general,gripe,politics — Tags: — Kamal Advani @ 01:22

It’s been several months since I stopped actively blogging with any real content (actively? real content? me? I know, "does not compute"), there had been nothing interesting to say, and overall I lost motivation.

Today, however, my blogging inertia has abated for a little while by virtue of coming across this article on BBC, discussing SOPA, One of the uniting traits of the world, for better or for worse, is the trait known as stupidity. Alas, there must be something most politicians and executives consume — their own steaming hot air aside — that inflicts this trait so readily in these poor (metaphorically speaking of course) humans.

The metaphor applies to both "poor" and "humans". In case you were wondering.

I read the article on the way home from work today. My anger (and thus, inertia cure) stems from statements made by the Grand Overlord of the MPAA, a certain US ex-senator Chris Dodd.

Dear audience (or lack thereof), the previous sentence translated to Swahili would be "mgongano wa maslahi" (at least that’s what Google Translate tells me). In Indonesian, we get a clearer indication, "benturan kepentingan" — well okay, clearer if you’re Indonesian. Finally, in Swede: "intressekonflikt".

To have initially worked for the people and then lobby for a broken corporation, that takes balls. Well, no, it takes very little effort for most politicians (ball bearings? Not even that heavy, sigh), you get the idea. Usually, Republicans are known for stunts like this; to my dismay, Monsieur Dodd is/was supposedly a Democrat. Perhaps, this is an instance of "I say to-may-toe, you say to-mah-toe".

Let’s examine some statements made by the MPAA (henceforth all quotes are from the linked article):

But backers of the legislation, led by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), described the action as an "irresponsible" publicity "stunt".

This "stunt" is referring to sites, especially Wikipedia, that went offline, or publicly displayed their anti-SOPA stance. There was nothing irresponsible about it, a huge internet-based protest occurred, no one (except the MPAA and related clowns) got hurt — compare that to almost any other massive protest — the worst thing that happened (for MPAA of course), is enlightenment. People seeing the blackout (notice the irony?) woke up to the mess that is SOPA — which by the way, is irresponsible considering it wastes tax payer money to essentially assist a very, very rich bunch get even richer. This happened according to Wikipedia (in the article):

"More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge," the site said. "You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. "From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defence of a free and open internet."

I am not a US citizen, however any bill that affects a global network needs to involve custodians and netizens of said network. I consider myself a netizen, so this matters to me.

The MPAA is neither a custodian, nor a netizen of the Internet.

It is a leech.

But pardon me, a leech has blood sucking as a natural instinct. Ergo the MPAA is a lot worse than a leech, incomparable even — please ignore my previous analogy.

The MPAA’s constituents happily use the Internet when it suits, then trash it when it doesn’t. In layperson terms, that’s akin to crapping in your community centre’s hall. That’s just how disgusted I am by this organisation. And if the organisation is not enough, let’s continue with Monsieur Dodd. Oh, boy… this is one broken toy… (woot, a rhyme):

Ex-Senator Chris Dodd, MPAA’s chief executive, described the blackouts as an "abuse of power"

One word: "intressekonflikt" (or is that two?). You’re talking about "abuse of power"? Really?

The above quote doesn’t take the cake though, next I reveal the real impetus behind my post. Check this Oscar-winning material out:

Ahead of the day’s action, Mr Dodd said: "It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests."

I wonder if Mr. Dodd was in a room full of mirrors when he said this. Or perhaps he just came out of some form of freaky MPAA-sponsored Cataract-Vipassana 15-day retreat. I mean, really.

Okay, more talk of Mr. Dodd and yours truly will need to go on that retreat. Let’s move on to good ol’ Rupert Murdoch:

News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, a vocal supporter of Sopa, continued to spar with users on Twitter. He tweeted: "Seems blogsphere has succeeded in terrorising many senators and congressmen who previously committed. Politicians all the same."

"Terrorising"? If ever there was a Hackneyed Word of the Decade competition, this would get my vote. So protesting these days is "terrorising"? Hmm. And the News of the World crackery bullshit was, I suppose, ethical journalism in comparison. The only shred of truth in his tweet, in as far as generalisations go, is the last sentence. And Mr. Murdoch, Wikipedia is not a blog, in case you haven’t been doing rudimentary fact-checking in recent times. The Internet is not just the "blogosphere" (his actual tweet spelt it correctly).

And yes, when I said "good ol’", it was sarcasm. In case you were wondering.

The sheer ease with which executives and politicians spout brobdingnagian volumes of pungent, diarrheic verbiage never ceases to both disgust and amaze me. I mean, that you can manage to stay in human form while expertly incanting turdspells like the above is nothing short of a miracle. The utter blindness to your own actions, the total inability to reflect on things as they are, the overreaching stupidity, the incomprehensible levels of arrogance… wow.

I need to do something about this naïveté of mine… one of these days.

As the Nihonjin say, well at least the Anime Nihonjin: yare yare…

November 29, 2008

Malaysian Council Attempted Ban on Yoga

Filed under: gripe,politics — Tags: , , , — Kamal Advani @ 03:52

People may have heard about this, it caused a fair bit of controversy within Malaysia, and Indonesia (because the Indonesian Ulema Council decided to consider the notion too… speak about aping). Anyway, all looks well, reason has been victorious, and the ban has been lifted since there was no unanimous agreement. I actually first became interested in the matter reading this article in the Jakarta Post, an English-language Indonesian newspaper. Since the topic of spirituality is dear to my heart, I wrote a letter to the editor which unfortunately did not get published (though I can see why… but I rock regardless ;-)). I thought I’d share the letter on my blog – ah the joys and power of self-publishing – sit back and enjoy the ride.. er read.

Dear Editor(s),

This is to comment on: November 23, p. 2, News Highlights: Malaysian Council bans yoga

Malaysian Council Ban on Yoga?

I read that article, and fell to my knees (metaphorically), thanking the Divine/Ishwar/Allah, that I live in Indonesia, where until great poverty struck, we had a very sensible, very moderate form of Islam (we still do for the most part). A place where people are united by intrinsic values such as respect and tolerance. The article reminded of the silly porn bill passed recently – amid the various things we have to deal with – what’s on our mind? Sex. Truly it is a strong primordial drive – mad as Freud was, he got stuff right – for or against, we can’t ignore it. But I digress. On this ban, a couple of points:

1. Hindu prayers: Actually they’re mostly mantras which have subtle effects on the body and psyche, much in the same way recitation of verses from the Quran do. By the way, the prayers develop love for God and the Divine’s various aspects, they’re not packages sent to the Great Jinn of Mount KinabaluTM. The prayers – like prayers from all religions – promote compassion, not division and hatred.

2. Blasphemous God Union: Gosh, that’s a mouthful. I am no expert on Islam, but I have spent time reading esoteric material, including Islamic texts (perhaps they were blasphemous?), at their very core religions do not disagree. Humans and their often half-baked (read: shallow) interpretations do. Discovery and realisation of the Self as being part of the Whole (== Yoga) is a theme and a goal common to all major religions. The relationship between a human – an emanation of the Divine – and the Divine, is a very personal one. So long as that emanation has not caused harm to others, what right does a council of just-as-fallible humans have to call that relationship blasphemous?

A plea perhaps to the hearts of those in the council who see the absurdity of this ban to lift it. In the long term it will do more harm than good for Malaysia as a member of a diverse World. Malaysia – Truly Asia. Last I checked India and it’s culture was very much a part of Asia. As was the notion of unity in diversity.

— Kamal

PS. Checked again, yep, still there folks.
PPS. Dear Editor(s), besides grammatical errors, or redundant sentences, if you intend to cut parts out, please either discuss it with me, or don’t bother printing it. I will understand – thanks to my oh-so-great degree of tolerance, even if our religions may differ :-).
PPPS. “==” is a bit of a computer programming thing, let it be an obscure joke.

When I wrote that, I did not realise that the ban was only applicable to Muslims, so perhaps I kind of understand the problem with Hindu prayers – anyway, still pretty silly overall.

— Kamal

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