About the Guardian’s horribly sneery HMV article

The other day The Guardian printed an opinion piece by Penny Anderson about the death of HMV; an event which is going to cost over 2000 people their job. Anderson, a writer and artist (nope, not heard of her either til now) makes the case that the death of HMV means that smaller record shops can serve ‘true’ music fans as if the death of HMV means all those ‘real’ music fans can stop being held back.

This sneering pish can be summed up as well, sneering pish. Yes, HMV made huge mistakes and yes, they’ve failed to deal with the changing times, but to claim HMV was never about ‘true’ music fans speaks more about Anderson’s desperate urge to paint themselves as a hip, edgy outsider than a requiem for a business which in fact has been helping new music develop over the years.

I used to spent lots of time in HMV over the years and ever dabbled with the idea of applying to work there at one point in the 80’s.

HMV helped nurture me. Without it I’d have had the sketchier Virgin or the masses of indie shops which were great but utterly unforgiving in terms of customer service. I shopped there for decades til around four or five years ago I got a high speed internet connection and found I could stick all those DVD’s on external hard drives the size of a boxset DVD. Sure, I buy BluRay’s but physical media is something I buy less and less but I’ll miss the deals or the collectors items HMV used to produce and of course, I’m sorry for the thousands being laid off in uncertain times. I’m not going to be essentially a cunt celebrating it as a good thing for ‘real’ music fans.

But this is the Guardian of the 21st century where clickbait bullshit from wankers is their business model…

Calling Scottish independence supporters ‘racist’ is depressing and pathetic

The last few days has seen some serious ramping up of rhetoric in the debate over Scottish independence with Saddiq Khan’s comments about Scottish independence supporters being racists. As has been pointed out, Labour don’t get to occupy the moral high ground here and yesterday saw a remarkable article published in the Guardian written by Clare Heuchan which stated that there was clear links between Scottish independence and racism who has flounced off Twitter after ‘fearing for her safety’.

Truth is she was exposed online as a Better Together supporter and a very devout British nationalist.

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Now if Heuchan is being abused that’s to be condemned and those who fire racist and sexist abuse need to be prosecuted, but that’s a different thing from the article which she wrote which isn’t objective, plays into Khan’s frankly cowardly rhetoric (and he should know better) and seems to clearly be part of how bad things have got where at least people who supported independence were love-bombed rather than called ‘racists’ for wanting self-determination and a better place to live.

Heuchan is however right to say Scotland has a history of racism. Scots of Irish descent over the centuries have had to deal with that (not that Heuchan even touches on that as you’d expect from someone defending the British state) but as Paul Kavanagh points out here, Scots come from a position of coloniser and colonised. It was not just morally dishonest for the Guardian not to divulge her political intelligences but it makes it clear that the ‘Nats are racist’ angle is being played up now in an attempt to not just alienate potential independence supporters, but in the case independence is actually won it’s an attempt to leave social divisions that future Scottish governments may have to face.

Yet here we are. It is clear a positive case for the Union will not be delivered and people like me will be painted as drooling English-hating racists who want some sort of Rhineland of Northern Europe. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I never used to think Scottish independence viable, or desirable. I thought that although the UK was a corrupt state with a terrible imperial past, the union was the best way to protect the most vulnerable. Upon closer study of what was happening in Scotland while I was still living in Bristol showed me that independence wasn’t about ‘flag-waving nationalists hating the English’ but something else more akin to a movement for self-determination and gaining political power for people in Scotland. The fact it’d land a mortal blow on the British state which, hopefully, change things for people across the UK. Independence for Scotland for me is about a political solution to people’s problems as well as ending something I think is broken and that serves nobody but the few. I remain of the opinion the independence movement is a rich and diverse one.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t bigots and arseholes there who do hate the English. As in any movement there are extremes, but it seems the extremes of the independence movement are generally people likes the Scottish Resistance; a loopy fringe. The extremes of Unionism are the Orange Order, the EDL/SDL, Britain First and every blood and soil nationalist fit to wave a Union Jack. The latter is barely reported in the Scottish or UK media in terms of the abuse they fire out in this argument. People like Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and various other figures in the independence movement (while the Claire Heauchan story broke an SNP councillor has been talking about the abuse her and her children have been receiving) and SNP are regularly abused and threatened with rape and death but there’s a lack in equivocal reporting.

Of course many people outwith Scotland do look past the bullshit and make their own minds up. Here’s and example from Barney Farmer, the writer of The Drunken Bakers in Viz Comic.

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The EU referendum saw an MP murdered by a member of the far right. The Scottish independence referendum saw isolated incidents ranging from the egg thrown at Jim Murphy to far right thugs rioting in George Square on the 19/9/14.

Last November I moved back to Glasgow after 28 years of living in England to recover from a stroke and finish my fight against cancer, so I’m here in Glasgow recuperating for a few months. I’ve fine-tuned my opinions on Scottish independence to the extent where I firmly believe it offers a final last chance to save the people of Scotland from the insanity of Brexit, but at the same time I’m going to pull up any Indy supporters being racist or sexist arseholes. I also don’t have time for those wanting UDI as that isn’t going to convince those reluctant to become independent that we’re democratic and I refuse to believe every Unionist is a flag-waving lunatic spitting out hate as that’s just as bad as what we’re accused of as Indy supporters. I just want a better Scotland for people living here and I don’t care where you’re from or what race or religion you are.

As we get nearer Brexit actually happening the stakes are ramping up. Unionists will be using every single dirty tactic under the sun and those firing out accusations of ‘racist’ while they themselves can’t recognise what they are is a depressing development as it diminishes actual victims of racism, and indeed, skims over the real issues Scotland has to deal with in regards religious bigotry and the racism that sadly lives everywhere.

We’re at a crucial phase in history. Brexit takes the UK down a hard right path where human rights become a thing of the past and the most vulnerable (and for now, that includes people like me) are having their lives threatened by a cruel Tory government and there won’t be a left wing paradise coming from Corbyn’s Labour who seems to glory more in ‘The Struggle‘ than actually wanting things to be done. I want a better world, and for that to happen we have to start small and convince other countries it can be done and for me, the only way to do that in these islands is Scottish independence breaking the British state and not just providing Scotland with self-determination but hopefully people across the UK realise the issue and themselves demand real change rather than a soundbite.

However calling people who believe in a better world ‘racist’ for wanting where they live to be better is a pathetically low, not to mention, cowardly, tactic. It’s a tactic designed to provoke as we’re at the stage where the British state will quite literally do anything to preserve it, which with no campaign actually started as yet is worrying as to how low this will go.Independence supporters need to not take the bait and remain above this, but at the same time we shouldn’t let it pass without comment and this for me is about putting this into my own personal context. I’m not a racist. I want Scottish independence. I find those equating both to be cowards and liars but I want to speak to people either unconvinced, undecided and even Unionists in debate rather than sit there spitting out hate which solves nothing apart from giving these diehard extremists exactly what they want. We need to rise above that and carry on positively or we’ll not get that glimmer of a better Scotland for all of us living here.

Stewart Lee talks to Alan Moore about Brexit, Scottish Independence and dead cats

Stewart Lee has a new book out titled Content Provider, a collection of his columns for the Observer and Guardian over the last five or so years. In this interview with writer Alan Moore, he discusses what he’s doing with these columns, the ridiculously inane phrase ‘content provider’, Brexit, his regret over a column he did during the Scottish independence campaign, and a dead cat.

It’s a cracking quarter of an hour or so. Have a look.

Jonathan Jones is a sneering priggish snob shocka!

Jonathan Jones is the Guardian’s art critic. Today he’s written an article about Terry Pratchett where he manages to sneer at his final book but he lays his position out at the start.

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At this point any respecting editor should tell Jones to fuck off, but this is the supa, soaraway all-clickbait Guardian and an article of Jones sneering at someone as amazingly popular as Pratchett is easy hits for the advertisers.

But this is one of those articles that wallows in it’s snobbishness but is so amazingly stupid it beggars belief. After all if you’re a critic, then you have to know what you’re actually talking about so you can dismiss it, even if you think it’s utterly fucking shite? For example, I know a Michael Bay film is going to be shite because I’ve endured a few of them. I know I’m going to hate Eastenders because I’ve seen enough of them. I know I don’t like Harry Potter because I forced myself to finish the first book, and I’m not a great fan of Pratchett’s work though I think it maybe more to do with my general contempt for fantasy than Pratchett’s work himself.

In all of this I gave it a chance. Then again this is Jonathan Jones, the man that ‘knew’ Rolf Harris was a pedophile by looking at his crap art and sneering at it.

Essentially all this article is doing is drawing clicks for advertisers to be happy. So here’s a wee tip. Go to the article using Firefox, but make sure you’ve downloaded an app called Lightbeam which will tell you what third party website the Guardian is mining your data for. I guarantee you’ll be shocked and you’ll also realise just  why people like Jones are allowed to have crap articles where he’s not read something he’s criticising is allowed to be published by a paper like the Guardian.

Why does Steve Bell hate Scotland and Scots so much?

Today in the Guardian, there was this cartoon from Steve Bell.

Steve Bell's If … 13.11.2014

 

That’s right. Steve Bell is suggesting Nicola Sturgeon is a Nazi in the last panel, or at least is suggesting the Independence movement/SNP are National Socialists. Now Bell was very firmly against the SNP during the Scottish referendum to a degree where he at times was just borderline prejudiced against Scotland, but that was the Guardian line during the referendum. This isn’t even satire. It’s just pushing a line used by Labour mainly, that the SNP are ‘fascist’ or of the right when in fact, that’s a load of nonsense as anyone who bothered to actually follow the referendum could see. I

Of course Bell is old Labour and this is about attacking the enemy. It’s tribal politics of the old kind splashed out against the new politics growing out of the referendum that many based in the closeted London media are missing out on. Now there are juicy things Bell could go for, like say Jim Murphy of  Labour bringing up their opposition to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 in order to pander to the Orange Order and Green Brigade.

It’s sad to see a cartoonist I loved resort to calling a party full now of former Labour supporters fed up with a right wing Labour party pretending to be of the left, not to mention supporting the policies of austerity as bunch of Nazis like some spotty onanist trolling internet forums.  Ah well, it’s a shame when your heroes show their true side…

Why the people behind the Vagenda shouldn’t have apologised for a dog burnt to death

This is the Vagenda. It’s Wikipedia article describes itself as this:

 The editors stated: “the women’s press is a large hadron collider of bullshit and that something needed to be done”. Cosslett describes The Vagenda as “a media watchdog with a feminist angle”

Yesterday the pair behind the Vagenda, Holly Baxter and Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett had a pair of articles in The Guardian. Cosslett wrote a piece where she discussed how career advisors were useless and she agreed with Micheal Gove, while Baxter wrote a piece saying that a rich man can happily use Kickstarter to fund their vanity project, but a musician,Dev Hynes, who saw his home burn down which included his work, most of his possessions and his puppy and saw his girlfriend’s mother start a crowdfund to help him was essentially a step too far.

Both articles are hateful, despicable examples of the worst sort of vile clickbait journalism that sites like Vagenda use, and papers desperate for clicks (as The Guardian is) pump out. This has been the case for the last few years, but yesterday saw a double whammy which dragged the reputation of The Guardian well and truly in the gutter as not only is the position of mocking crowdfunding a tad hypocritical from people who benefited from it themselves, but it makes the position of ‘journalist’ trival.

Cosslett could have researched her piece. She instead decided to use anecdotal evidence to say it was the case for everyone. Baxter could have Tweeted or contacted Hynes to find out what was going on. She didn’t as that would have involved spending some time researching the piece and also, that might have challenged her opinions, which she clearly feels outweigh anything else.

The problem is that it’s all fine and well getting bloggers to fill in for journalists, but when bloggers who only know how to get clicks suddenly talk about issues that involves research, or even a little bit of decency then it fails to be anything but essentially trolling the public.I do think however they don’t need to apologise because any apology is utterly worthless as they mean what they say, otherwise they wouldn’t have written it in the first place.

You do have to question why The Guardian continues to employ the pair, but then again they get the clicks but when you have Cheryl Cole being on the moral high ground then you’ve got to question their future.

There’s a lot online about this, especially on Twitter but the best summary of it is Holy Moly’s (and yes, when they have the moral high ground you’re really fucked) account here.

More of David Cameron’s War on Porn..

I wrote last week about David Cameron’s proposed ”War on Porn” and how it wasn’t actually anything to do with porn, and compared it to the Video Nasty fiasco. Well, just like the Nasty era we’re seeing Cameron’s idea defended not only by the usual suspects at The Sun or the Daily Mail, but by Guardian hacks as can be seen in this truly amazing piece by Deborah Orr.

Had this been written in the Mail then the Guardian would have rightly went mental over it, but the fact it’s in their own pages shows how far the paper has fallen. Let’s take a few minutes to point out the flaws and point out why this is a dangerous piece of ‘journalism’ that’s actually nothing of the sort.

From the beginning…

A roar of libertarian outrage greeted David Cameron’s announcement this week that the government was going to talk to internet service providers about installing opt-in rather than opt-out filters for pornography, as if computer access to hot and cold running arousal aids was some kind of basic human right. Is this really such a big deal?

Well from the off it’s full of specious thinking and instantly sets up anyone against the plans as either a nutty Libertarian or some porn-obsessed misogynist freak. It does however take a step off the Plank of Stupidity from the next paragraph…

A lot of the criticism has focused on the practical impossibility of developing adequate filters.

Yes it has for bloody good reason as it’s technically impossible to do what Cameron proposes and he probably knows this as it’s not about blocking porn or ‘thinking about the children’ at all. A bit of research would have shown this to be the case but Orr, like many hacks these days, isn’t interested in the truth rather than pushing her own agenda and if that makes her look hypocritical, then so be it because it’s for the greater good!

The most shrill complaint against Cameron’s wheeze is that it’s “censorship“.

This is the point where the reader aware of the history of the Video Nasty scare (and if you’re not may I suggest searching out Jake West’s excellent documentary, or even look at this splendid Youtube documentary) will spot the exact same reasoning used then by the ‘quality’ press to excuse that bit of censorship.

I won’t go through the rest of Orr’s piece as the flaws speak for themselves, but it’s an argument for censorship while being ignorant of the facts which is a pretty shocking thing for a journalist to be.

A little bit of digging brings this page up and what the ISP’s are being told will be blocked.

☑ pornography
☑ violent material
☑ extremist and terrorist related content
☑ anorexia and eating disorder websites
☑ suicide related websites
☑ alcohol
☑ smoking
☑ web forums
☑ esoteric material

☑ web blocking circumvention tools

This shows what Cameron’s plan really is which is an attempt to control the internet and what people say and do on it.  All the usual old strawmen are being dragged out to defend the plan but the more people like Orr try to stifle or ridicule dissent like this the more we head towards a society where we make China look free.

It really is worth looking back at the Nasties for a lesson as to where this is going in terms of debate and it’s not helpful for the Guardian to print what Orr wrote as it’s the same old bollocks.

The less we learn from history, the more it’s likely to happen again and I don’t know about you, I don’t want a government who can ban ‘esoteric material’ and control my access to the web.