Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider

There's been masses and masses of fuss over the last couple of days about the implementation of opt-out content filtering for porn in the UK. As everyone sensible argued in great detail at the time the PM promised it following a Massive Stupid Media Panic, content filtering is pointless: it's easy to bypass, provides a … Continue reading Content filtering is stupid, but you are stupider

Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

The death of Great Train Robber (which, rather like the Holy Roman Empire, is a descriptive phrase that falls down on all possible counts) Ronnie Biggs has led to some predictable, polarised reactions: the geezer-ish "he was a fackin' legend!", and the handwringing "but he was a violent cwiminal!". Both are fairly stupid. Ronnie Biggs … Continue reading Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

High Court did the best it could on same-sex marriage

The fact that marriage isn't yet equal in Australia is saddening, depressing and annoying. But, given John Howard's 2004 anti-equal-marriage amendment to federal marriage law and the fact that the Constitution explicitly reserves marriage to the federal government, the High Court made the right decision. For the Australian Capital Territory's Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act … Continue reading High Court did the best it could on same-sex marriage

Did globalisation kill satire? And is that for the best?

How should we judge someone's words? By intent, by effect, or what? How much does unintended offence matter? Also, LILY ALLEN and TWERKING and EATING IRISH BABIES. I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only … Continue reading Did globalisation kill satire? And is that for the best?

Globalisation and the death of literary Australiana

Anne Treasure has written an excellent piece on the impact of digitisation and globalisation on the publishing industry. The piece is global in scope, and works well in the context of UK and US publishers and writers. The picture is more complicated in Australia, where the global shift creates an additional problem. Traditionally books by … Continue reading Globalisation and the death of literary Australiana

Locals are from Earth; migrants are from Venus, Mars, Alpha Centauri, wherever

THINGS MIGRANTS SAY IN POLITE CONVERSATION (WHICH ARE TRUE): "Hello, new friend-of-friend. [if person notes ethnicity in conversation] Yes, I do like it here, thank you. Yes, I’m intending to stay here. Yup, the weather is great and the people are friendly. No, haha, fair, I’m probably still gonna support my home country team against … Continue reading Locals are from Earth; migrants are from Venus, Mars, Alpha Centauri, wherever

The importance of framing

In the lead-up to the 2010 UK general election, many civil libertarians of my acquaintance (not solely Screaming Loony Privatise The Army Libertarians, but people of all economic stripes who believe that broadly, trials are a good thing and torture is a bad thing) were suggesting that for all a putative Tory government's likely failings, … Continue reading The importance of framing