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Live Whacking Archive
click "Live Whacking" button for the latest entries

13 August 2003

Quote of the day

What is a dog? A loud, stupid shitting machine. Nobody needs that.

- Ken Layne

Self-defence in Old Blighty

David Carr at Samizdata looks at the historical erosion of self-defence in the UK.

Niall Cook and the Chewbacca defence

There was a classic episode of South Park, where a Johnny Cochranesque lawyer, faced with the impossible task of defending his client, mounts the 'Chewbacca defence', which took the form of....

- "these are the facts of the case"
- "but this is Chewbacca"
- "this Chewbacca argument does not make sense"
- "it does not make sense"
- "if it does not make sense, you must acquit"

Niall Cook's grumbling defences of the ABC (over the space of three painfully laboured posts) has taken the Chewbacca road. When confronted with a viewpoint asking why someone should be compelled to pay for a broadcasting service they don't watch, Niall rants about every issue other than this. Among them...

- commercial broadcasters are crap
- the ABC and SBS are really, really popular so they deserve the money
- public broadcasters are just as vulnerable to the market as everyone else, so their survival proves their costs are justified

All of which of course (apart from being wrong) completely avoid the issue.

Well it seems he realises he's run out of room to argue, so finally (after even more waffle), Niall mounts his justification for using taxpayer money for the ABC, and it's every bit as shallow as I expected:

All the choking & spluttering under the sun doesn't remove from the fact that broadcast media depends upon popularity of its programming for survival.

And in three posts, you still haven't shown how public broadcasters can be vulnerable to ratings when they are already getting the tax dollars of people who are not watching them.

There isn't a broadcaster which wants to be seen to be programming content which is unpopular.

Which doesn't change the fact that they are unpopular.

At least I made the effort to provide hard data on the ratings of SBS, which is more than Tex does in his pathetic attempts to discredit my arguments.

You've already provided it. In your bizarre attempt to show SBS's popularity, your link actually showed that outside of the World Cup coverage, it could only grab a 5.5% audience. Naturally, Niall blusters that 5.5% is one hell of an impressive audience, because - you know - it's higher than nothing.

I could have looked a lot further for definitive examples, but I figured the first two links on a quick Google would prove the point, which they do.

They prove a point all right, but it wasn't the one you were thinking of.

Of course, Tex makes no attempt to clarify his claims, simply tries to bluster his way ahead. 16% of 19 million is 3.04 million. That's a shitload of people in anyones language.

And it's still a small minority, and that the remaining 16 million is a lot bigger...a vast majority in fact. I couldn't find the Fairfax article with the 16% 2001 figure, but I just found another which paints an even worse picture for your beloved ABC: that the 15% audience share in 2002 was it's best ever performance. That's some popular network you got there.

On step forward, two back, eh Tex? The ABC is not immune to market forces. It must function in the same broadcast marketplace that commercial entities operate in.

Except it gets public money, regardless of bad ratings, which the commercial entities do not. The ABC gets Joe Bloggs' tax money, whether or not Joe Bloggs is watching it. It is not reliant on revenue derived from the market. Commercial broadcasters rely on revenue from advertisers hoping to sell products to their audience, and this is influenced by ratings. Which part of this don't you understand?

Yes, that's right, you pay for the ABC just like I do. $0.08/day or whatever it is now. So what? You pay for national highways, collins class submarines and pollies perks.....I don't see you screaming about those aspects of public spending.

Highways should be privatised, the Collins submarines are already universally regarded as lemons, and politicians should be paid a higher salary but have their superannuation and retirement perks slashed. By the way Niall, I noticed you're changing the subject again.

Oh, would you like to define "unpopular" and "terrible ratings", Tex, or would you just like to make a bland statement expecting all & sundry to believe you?

Well, here's the point in table form:

% of taxpayers funding the ABC 100%
% of taxpayers watching the ABC 16%
% of taxpayers funding SBS 100%
% of taxpayers watching SBS 5.5%

Niall - clearly not living in the real world with the rest of us - thinks 16% and 5.5% are healthy figures next to 100%.

Anyway, after obfuscating and talking about every issue other than why my money should be used to fund the ABC, he finally presents his big point:

The justification for the ABC's funding comes as a part of your citizenship of Australia.

Ye gods, he actually wrote that. You'll notice he's now ditched the argument that the ABC exists because we all love it, or that it serves some grand purpose. Now it's because we are morally obligated to fund this wonderful institution. And why? He seems to have two reasons: 1) because we are funding it already, 2) So a minority of Australians can enjoy their own entertainment preferences without having to pay the real cost of them. Wonderful.

It's part & parcel of living here, working here and paying tax here for the National Broadcaster and all the other services the Government provides. If you don't like it, then immigrate to someplace where you're allowed to opt out of different portions of society because you don't like it. You'll be looking around for somewhere to go for a long, long time.

In other words: you should fund the ABC because I like it and it's better than the crap you like. My tastes are better than yours. So what if I can't justify spending your money on it? You are going to have to pay for it whether you like it or not. How dare you complain about the way your money is being spent. Go move somewhere else if you don't like it!

How quickly the pretensions to cultural nobility fade away. In the end, you're left with some good old fashioned bludging.

Ross Gittens: capitalism-fearing wussbag

Capitalism gives us choices. Ross Gittens thinks this is really, really scary.

I particularly liked this stunning observation:

But though some choice is obviously better than none, I think choice isn't all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'm starting to think choice is one of the great cons of consumer capitalism. It's supposed to be a benefit to consumers, but more often it's a benefit to business.

My god, businesses exist for their own benefit?????

Attention stupid people: if consumer choice confuses or scares you, then don't choose. Don't shop. Move to Cuba. You'll lose nothing. Nobody is forcing you to engage in this frightening practice known as shopping.

Then, we have my vote for The Most Stupid Thing Anyone Has Written in 2003:

For a start, consumers often find the choices they're presented with quite confusing. You're being asked to compare an apple with an orange.

Yikes!! Who has ever been able to cope with the trauma of picking between an apple and an orange?

Psychologists tell us our brains are simply not capable of making rational choices between more than two options with differing features.

What the fuck?

It's not really possible to judge, so people divide between them pretty much 50/50.

This explains why Apple have a 50% share of the home computer market. Except they don't.

in their pursuit of higher sales and profits, businesses often use choice to manipulate their customers.

In other words: companies like to sell goods and services to customers. We can see why Gittens' economic skills are held in such high regards at the Fairfax empire. But wait, Ross reveals another shocking secret of the capitalist cabal:

A real estate salesperson, for instance, will often show you cheaper but nastier properties before they take you to the ones they think you'll like. Why? They are softening you up to pay a higher price.

Maximising the price of an asset they are trying to sell? Is there no end to the horror?

The phone companies' arrays of mobile phone "plans" are horrendously complicated and hard to compare.

Most people who buy mobile phones seem to manage it just fine, fatso.

Being able to choose gives customers the illusion of being in control. Against that, however, customers often find multi-faceted choices frustrating. No matter which way they jump, they're left with a sneaking suspicion they jumped the wrong way.

Amazing guy, he's figured out people can't afford everything they'd like.

I have a theory that so much choice is making us greedy. We rush from one thing to the next, trying to fit in as much as we can, while never getting to do all we'd hoped.

And then we wonder why we're feeling stressed and not particularly satisfied.

Part of the secret to a happy life may be less choice, not more.

Has Gittens been reading a bunch of Hugh Mackay and Richard Neville articles recently? He certainly shares their solipsistic pathetic insecurities and predictions of spiritual doom: I'm old and miserable, so the world is going to hell...... The existential ennui is crushing my spirit...... I see Pepsi where there should be Panda Bears, mobile phones where there should be leather-bound books...... Oh cruel world! If only we were more like North Korea, Sudan and Cuba, we wouldn't have all this horrible choice destroying the authenticity of our humanity.

And this arseclown is one of Australia's most respected economic commentators.

Tim Blair is gay!!

Tim is all excited about the Mini-Cooper he just grabbed, presumably to collect some fruit baskets or something.

So much for driving big manly vehicles.


If makers of alternative energy-source cars want to be taken seriously, why do they make their cars so hideously UGLY?

Sweet jesus, if you're smart enough to come up with a clean engine technology that actually works, can designing even an average-looking body be so difficult?

(via Darth)

The Paradise of Guantanamo Bay jail


Russian Mothers Plead for Sons to Stay in Guantanamo

The mothers of the eight Russians held with other prisoners from Afghanistan at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay have begged Washington not to extradite their sons to answer terror charges in Russia, fearing that conditions in their jails and judicial system are even worse than those at Camp Delta.

"In Guantanamo they treat him humanely and the conditions are fine," Amina Khasanova, the mother of Andrei Bakhitov, told the newspaper Gazeta. "I am terribly scared for my son in a Russian prison or court system."

She said her son wrote to her that conditions were so good in Camp Delta in Cuba that "there is no health resort in Russia that can compare".


Shameless grab for web traffic

Excuse me while I attract some google searches.......

Holly Valance pussy
Ann Coulter is a brainless cunt
Tim Blair is a nazi
John Howard racist fuck
Katherine Heigl tits
Avril Lavigne's ass
Kurt Cobain autopsy photos

Thank you for your time.

11 August 2003

The French go grovelling back to the evil Yanquis

Good piece by Steven Den Beste.

Useless product of the day

Say hello to the fabulous Octodog!!

Thanks to Carol for the link.

Some people have way too much time on their hands

Just what you've always wanted: a guide to making origami penises.

(via Darth)

A really bad choice of URL

The owners of this site really should have checked their english dictionary first, eh?

(Thanks to Zoopie for this one)

The Chronicles of George

We've all read those chain mails describing stupid help desk calls. But what happens when the help desk guy is dumber than the callers? Click here to see the full horror......

(Hat tip: Forge and Darth)

Tex and Sevens

This thing has been going around on the web, so here's my version....

Seven Things That Make You Laugh:

1. The scene in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot where the psycho car driver picks up Eastwood and Bridges, drives insanely and yells gibberish. I nearly died laughing the first 2-3 times I watched this.
2. Futurama
3. Yes Minister
4. My smallest niece Abbey. There's something about hearing a 4-year old suddenly saying "fuck this" that cracks me up.
5. Fat guys riding chrome-covered Harleys thinking how cool they look
6. The scene in The Life of Brian where Brian fell into the alien spaceship. I laughed so hard when I watched this my mother told me to shut up or else....
7. Roger Ramjet

Seven Things You Love:

1. Riding my ZX-9R very fast
2. My girlfriend
3. Travelling (except for the fucking flying)
4. Katherine Heigl
5. Shooting
6. Booze
7. Watching movies on my huge-ass home theatre

Seven Things You Hate:

1. Bob Brown
2. Getting up before 11am
3. Paying taxes
4. The entire federal Labor party
5. Safety nazis
6. Personal injury lawyers
7. Commies

Seven Things On Your Desk:

1. Iomega Predator external CD burner (finally working after two months)
2. Canon BJC-4310SP inkjet printer
3. Digital video camera
4. Digital still camera
5. A roll of garbage bags
6. This PC
7. My old '93-era Macintosh

Seven Facts About You:

1. I have travelled to Singapore twice, Japan twice, New Zealand once, USA once, Canada once, Hong Kong once
2. I only starting drinking beer at age 28
3. I own two motorcycles
4. I hate talking on the phone
5. I am not in contact with anyone I met at high school
6. I eat cereal before I go to bed
7. The first time I ever surfed the web was in 1995

Seven Things You Can Do:

1. ride motorcycles
2. use Dreamweaver
3. recite dialogue perfectly from any movie in my collection
4. look good in black
5. play Omega Chess
6. play cricket
7. make shotgun shells

Seven Things You Can't Do:

1. Sing
2. Draw
3. Sleep on my back
4. Eat pumpkin
5. Fly a plane
6. Speak another language
7. Organise my files at work

Seven Famous People You Want To Meet:

1. Katherine Heigl
2. Traci Lords
3. Eliza Dushku
4. Ann Wilson
5. Condi Rice
6. Peter Walsh
7. Mick Doohan

Seven Songs People Should Give A Listen:

1. Order of Death - PIL
2. Magic Man - Heart
3. Scarecrow - Ministry
4. Spiral Architect - Black Sabbath
5. Golden Brown - The Stranglers
6. Shame of Life - The Butthole Surfers
7. Tomorrow Wendy - Concrete Blonde


8 August 2003

One bullet for this scumbag

Joh Bjelke-Petersen - who presided over the most corrupt government in Australia's history - is suing the Queensland government for $300 million for 'pain and suffering' caused as a result of the crimes of his gangsters being brought to the public's attention. A great editorial in the Oz sums it up beautifully:

Perhaps Sir Joh was not a crook, but he was a friend of criminals – four of his ministers as well as his hand-picked police commissioner went to prison. Demanding payment now shows his hide is as thick as when he started. In 1959 he sold an oil search licence purchased for a nominal sum and made a huge profit after just five weeks. Two decades later he was accepting money – in brown paper bags – and a jury in a libel trial found he accepted bribes. And the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal ruled that businessman Alan Bond believed the then premier had subjected him to commercial blackmail. He barely escaped conviction for perjury when a jury, which had one of his political supporters as foreman, split on his guilt.

I just hope the current Queensland government can think of a creative way to send Sir Joh into financial ruin and misery. Him and his cunt wife.

Amrozi pleads for mercy

Well, well, well. It seems our brave little Asshole-For-Allah isn't as keen on martyrdom as he made out:

Convicted Bali bomber Amrozi bin Nurhasyim today instructed his lawyers to appeal against his death sentence.

Despite giving the Denpasar District Court the thumbs up when he was found guilty yesterday and sentenced to death for his part in the Bali blasts that killed 202 people, lawyer Wirawan Adnan said today Amrozi wanted to appeal.

Adnan said the defence team had visited Amrozi in jail today and he signed a document authorising them to appeal the conviction and sentence.

"He has signed and asked us to go ahead with the appeal," he said.

"I don't think any normal person would want to die."

I'm sure there's lots of readers at The Age willing to provide character references.

Life sucked in the good old days

Wind Rider asks an important question.

Reality distortion field

Niall is getting even more confused in his responses defending the ABC. He offers this howler:

If it's popular, it survives. If not, it dies. The exact same concept applies across the board, commercially or publicly funded, it makes no difference.


Niall then supports his argument by offering a link which shows SBS had a whopping 5.5% audience share. How impressive. That's means only 94.5% of the audience who are paying for SBS are not watching it. If 5.5% doesn't rate as "not popular", then Niall uses a different system of maths from the rest of us.

Here we have an entire network which is very unpopular, yet it has not died as Niall has promised. It has received taxpayer dollars despite these terrible ratings for over two decades. It is immune to the forces of the market. It doesn't have to perform or satisfy.

And the ABC plunged to a 16% share in 2001. They survived too.

I managed to find at first shot was a hell of a lot more conclusive than what Tex provided.....or didn't.

Yep, you showed links proving my point - almost noone watches it, yet it continues to get money. Guess you should have got your argument straight first eh?

Oh, by the way Tex, SBS is commercially as well as publicly funded. If you paid a little more attention to fact rather than grandstanding, you'd know these things.

Well, I'd figured that part out thanks to, you know, all those commercials it shows. And that still makes no difference: they are still using my money to broadcast a product I don't want.

Why do you think ratings are so important, Tex?

So commercial stations can attract advertising revenue through popular programs.

He agrees, then in the same breath, denies people who don't like the crap that he likes any kind of public broadcast information or entertainment.

No stupid, I said I don't want the government using my money to fund the network. If other people want to subscribe to it, good luck to them.

Because Tex dislikes having to pay for the public broadcaster through taxation, just like everyone else, he denies everyone their inalienable right to benefit for their taxation through this medium. Now that's egalitarian of you, Tex.

Their "inalienable right" to use my money for a service they want? These are the sort of "rights" that are popular in North Korea. The only "inalienable right" of the ABC viewer is to use their money to pay for it if they want.

Oh, yes.....another strawman here too. I didn't say murpack et al were brainless......I said they were aimed at the brainless.

Duh. That's what I getting at you klutz. The leftie elitist attitude that popular shows are there to amuse the stupid masses. Because when it comes down to it, lefties don't like popular opinion. The Great Unwashed tend to vote for the wrong politicians, watch the wrong TV shows, go to the wrong movies and basically don't know what's good for them. Rather than respecting people's choices and rights to choose, Niall - the big baby - calls them all "brainless".

- Again, just so long as your kind didn't continue with the bleating because you didn't have access to something the rest of us did. Likelihood? Absotively, posilutely, completely fucking zero.

Except you're wrong already. I don't have access to quite a few of Foxtel's channels. Go find me a place where I complained about that.

(...sound of crickets....)

It's because I couldn't care less that I don't have access to them, because I have chosen not to pay for them thanks to my total lack of interest in them. If I wanted them, I wouldn't complain that I didn't have it, or start whining about my ""inalienable right" to have other people buy a subscription for me. I'd just go ahead, find the money and subscribe to it.

Simple, no?

I can't stand blue heelers, or Neighbours, but I don't complain much about these, because noone is forcing me to pay for it.

This is, after all, my point that Niall has completely failed to address: that there is no justification for anyone to use my money to fund the ABC.

Freedom of choice, the will of the market, paying your way. Such simple concepts, yet they so confuse and frighten the ideologically righteous ones.

7 August 2003

Quote of the day

Could the real reason why social conservatives oppose gay marriage be much simpler? They oppose it because they hate gay people. They think it's disgusting what these faggots do. They think the state should punish them for their depravity.

If not, could they perhaps explain themselves?

- Alex Singleton, Samizdata

A battle of wits with an unarmed opponent

Niall has responded to my criticism of his lame ABC defence with this bizzaroworld interpretation of market forces:

Dear oh dear, it seems Tex just doesn't get it. Television, radio in fact practically any form of persistent public media depends on popularity ratings to survive.

Really? SBS has been surviving for over twenty years with near-zero ratings. And the ABC marches on, despite not being able to get anywhere near the commercial networks. In short: they aint popular, but they're surviving thanks to public funds.

Publicly funded broadcaster or not, Tex. Use your brains, if you have any, and wake up to the realities. If people like yourself stopped watching/listening and what's more, whinging about not getting something you have to pay for, then eventually, you wouldn't have to pay for it, because it would atrophy and die.

Talk about thinking with yer arse: if I stop complaining then people would make me not pay for it? How does that work? "Excuse me minister: we have had zero complaints about the ABC this month. We'd better shut it down or we'll be killed by indifferent voters at the next election!"

Public broadcasters rely on taxpayer dollars. As long as they get those dollars, they'll survive. And they continue to get them because people are forced to pay for the ABC whether they like it or not.

Having a national broadcaster is a means for government to deliver some of the services that broadcast technology offers.

Well, why do they have to?

Simply because it doesn't suit everyone's political ideologies is not a valid excuse to have the concept blackballed.

I agree. The ABC should be canned because the government has no right to extract money from people for a service they don't want.

Then again. you'd most likely prefer the murpack monopoly. It's aimed at the brainless.

I prefer the murpack "monopoly" (note dude: it can't be a "monopoly" of there's more than one supplier) because I don't have to pay for it.

And don't ya love leftie elitism? They're more popular, so they're "brainless". Nice going Niall, you egalitarian you.

There's far more of interest and edification on the ABC and SBS networks than ever appears on commercial or pay-to-view broadcast networks.

Great, you should have no problem getting private funds to run it then.

Cars, cars, cars......

Tim Blair is horrified by my potential four-wheeled purchases. As are most of his commentators (including Lileks). And I've gotten a ton of e-mail about this too.

Paul Bickford writes:

Blair's giving you a right good slagging off over your choice of four-wheeled transport, and rightly so; why would you want one of those horrible little buzz-boxes?

Coz they've got 4 wheels and they're cheap, dude. It's transport, you dig? That's the only reason I'm buying a car: transport. 4 wheels and a roof. It's to drive to work in, transport people and carry things, and that's it. Spending money on anything else is a waste of money. If I want speed thrills, I have my ZX-9, which can blow any car off the road. Why spend money I can't afford on something to get speed thrills I already get with my bike?

Jake D. sez

Before you make the worst decision in your life please take a moment to think. All those cars suck more than a $2000.00 hooker on speed. Perhaps consider an older Ute or station-wagon - both can carry heaps of stuff and no one will ask you if it's your girlfriend's/Mum's.

1. Anyone who buys a car on the basis of what other people think is a dick.
2. My mother is dead and my girlfriend doesn't drive.

The ute is a possibility though, They seem to be doing good deals on the Hilux. The bench seat can carry the driver + 2 passengers, so the giving-people-a-lift part is covered. And I can take my bikes in the back.


Another Richard Neville essay

As they're all pretty much unintelligible as a whole, here are excerpts from this one: "Slam Bam Thank You Frisco"..........

- Australia's policy toward (so-called) refugees is likened to the Nazis:

The architects of the Final Solution for refugees, our Prime Minister of Lying, John Howard, and the equally deceitful Minister of Immigration, Philip Ruddock, have been caught with their pants down and their hands extended.

- Richard's interesting views on parenting:

The father of David Hicks recently encaged himself on Broadway, New York, to draw attention to the illegal depravities of the US military, and, in a righteous world, would be crowned Father of the Year.


- here he agonizes over the existential horror of American hotel pastry:

As usual, the World Futures Society held its annual conference in that branded monument of unsustainable corporate dreaming, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, this time in glorious San Francisco, where the cost of an in room croissant would - in any other setting - incite a rebellion. Instead, it was just a lot of grumbling.

- and he's squealing his tits off again about technological progress (get a load of this):

Everyone agreed the pace of change is accelerating exponentially in all areas of science, technology, medicine and much else. Such a frenzied pace is leading to psycho-cultural clashes at all social levels, whether it’s Venus meeting Mars, the stone-aged dwellers of the Amazon adopting mobile phones or the abolition of middle-management hurling worker bees against the silvertails. “In order to survive, it is imperative to develop a new mindset”, suggests Maureen O’Hara of Saybrook College, who believes the levels of consciousness once expected of leaders, is now expected from everyone. The European enlightenment no longer applies: “We are all immigrants, we are all refugees”. Yes! What is being asked of us is beyond what we have been socialised to achieve, she told the delegates. The choice is stark. Either regression or transformation.

Wait, there's more...

The former is manifested by western political leaders, the vultures who retreat to the reassuring fantasy of borders and boxes: them/us, win/lose, good evil. Such simplification and rigidity and can only be countered by an emerging consciousness of solidarity and collaboration, one which accepts multiple stories, permeable boundaries, a relishing of paradox, the joy of complexity.

Or maybe everyone will just get on with their lives like they always have, you stinky old fart.

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