Hard News by Russell Brown


Standing with the Poo

Readers who recall A Taxonomy of Poo will know that I'm no great fan of the local branch of Randian/Objectivist cult, except in the sense that one might enjoy an unfortunate spectacle in which one is not involved. But I feel obliged to declare some solidarity with them this week.

In a post on Sunday, Chief Grand Wizard Perigo revealed that one of his acolytes had been prevented from logging in to the group's website, SOLO Passion (I know, I know), at an internet kiosk at Melbourne airport, but was denied access because, according to the message on the screen, SOLO is "an extremist site."

Group members seem to think that an infantile 2007 post by one of the group, entitled Muslims Are Goat-Fuckers would be the offending article (a few other groups have poo flung at them to make up the numbers, but the thrust is clear enough), but I'm sure a patient search would turn up many more examples of weird, unpleasant speech.

I don't care. I am disturbed at how easily a just-think-of-the-children policy on the part of the Australian government can be turned to silence this sort of rhetorical circle-jerk. Their arguments might be pompous, childish and contradictory (man, do these people worship state power when it's trained on "scum"), but we, and the people of Australia, should be left to divine that for ourselves. Basically, I don't consider the cult members capable of inflicting real harm.

So, Chief Grand Wizard Lindsay, you are innocent of science, indulgent of abuse and a traitor to your own talent –- but you have my solidarity.

Not that you approve of that sort of thing anyway, I'm sure.

UPDATE: We've pretty well established now that the internet kiosks at Australian airports are privately run and use a private filter list. So I'll now join the Libz in loudly applauding the right of private businesses to discriminate against anyone, in any way they see fit. Because to do otherwise would only hasten us into the the sewer of socialism, where the weak masses trample the strong and sovereign individual.


This week's Media7 takes two themes. The first is a look at the media war that has raged since Israeli troops boarded the aid flotilla – he who has controlled the pictures has controlled the story, essentially. I'll sum up events and talk to Jon Stephenson about reporting in Gaza.

And I'll also talk to the Sunday Star Times' Richard Boock about two sides of the World Cup – the thrilling magic of the sponsors' brands, and the story captured in Tin Town, a beautifully rendered indie documentary about the 15,000 Cape Town squatters shipped to Blikkiesdorp, a kind of Cape District 9, as part of the World Cup beautification drive.

If you'd like to join us for tonight's recording, we'll need you at TVNZ from about 5pm. Click Reply to let me know and I'll give you the details.

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