Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The fake news problem

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  • Farmer Green, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    All the while entirely overlooking the inconvenient fact that lactose intolerance was widespread in the “target” population.
    Since then the dairy output of NZ has more than doubled, and the price received has halved. Not to mention the “downstream” consequences.
    Wendyl is bullshitting about the lactose which is a non-sweet sugar , and was not added because it was already unavoidably oversupplied . Skim milk powder is naturally 46% lactose.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Hehe, I will admit I was quite taken with your phrasing there.

    My experience as a performer has been that when the audience and those on stage “lock on” at a purely emotional level, then the outcome is what is referred to as “a good gig ” or other similar expressions.
    It was wrong of me to be thinking that politics is just theatre

    Not a bad comparison at all, it lends itself without great tribulation to the cross thread bounce.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Rich Lock,

    To paraphrase a quote generally attributed to Winston Churchill, “a lie gets liked and shared half a million times before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

    I keep thinking about the key-note address Chris Cleave gave at the National Writers’ Forum. It was basically all about this. (Long quote, which I wouldn’t normally do, but it’s worth it, I think.)

    This kind of evil does not listen to reason, does not acknowledge science, does not defer to expertise or experience, does not doubt its own convictions, does not read books. And this is the world we writers are working in now. We who grew up to cherish empathy and compassion and beauty and precision. We who learned, over thousands of meticulous hours, to encode those things not just into our plots and our pages and our paragraphs, but into every careful sentence.

    We learned to respect the reader, didn’t we? To give them a little space to think and to dream. We learned to acknowledge that people might come to our pages with a bigger life than our own. We learned to be humble and to use tiny little things, like commas, to give readers a great big thing, like, a pause, for breath.

    But we write in a breathless world now. Furious reaction follows outrageous event without a moment for reflection. By the time any of us can write a thousand considered words about a thing, the agenda has long moved on. In this climate reason is redundant, beauty skin deep, memory obsolete. And so hate becomes the dominant voice simply because hate takes far less time to express.

    And so hate hates Mexicans, then women, then Moslems, then the European Union, then Obama, then gun control, then me, then you. But you could give hate the exact things it was screaming for – and you could annihilate all those things that hate hates – and hate would just hate you for doing it.

    That’s why hate is dangerous – because it can never stop. It’s a shark and it drowns if it ever stops swimming. Britain isn’t in trouble because of Brexit. Britain is in trouble because its leaders released hate in order to get Brexit, and now hate is in the tank with us, and swimming.

    He goes on to make five suggestions, the first one of which is, stand for something, rather than against everything.

    This speech was given after Brexit, but before Trump’s election. I really needed to re-read it.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Emma Hart,

    does not read books.

    Cows have noticed that people are reading fewer books these days , and even the weekly gossip mags are not exactly thriving.
    Cows think that what might loosely be termed browsing is not an altogether bad thing.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Cows think

    So did these cogitating cows offer any insight as to why, and the deeper implications of said observations by their herd?
    Or are you just taking the piss?
    Not very well, I might add.
    About as well as trumpian adorer R Hide.
    You can go to harold yourself, I'm sure

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to andin,

    About as well as trumpian adorer R Hide.

    His Herald piece today was - I assume - a Private Eye satire ("will this do?"). Laughably bad, though it's hard to laugh these days.

    It's another example of the Trump apologists emerging in recent days to reveal their true colours. Before the election, Trump was persona non grata on the Right for many purported reasons: bigotry, dishonesty and general obnoxiousness. He was "not a true conservative" and his economic policies were anathama.

    But then, he won. So it turns out that many of these people are motivated first and foremost not by any kind of coherent principle/philosophy, but by yelling "Losers!!11!!". And if that spells bad news for people Rodney Hide used to defend - like immigrants or teh gayz - then never mind, he is happy to chuck them under the bus. As long as he is entertained; that's priority number one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    just taking the piss?

    I did not think so.

    “cogitating cows” ?
    Ruminating surely. ?


    I wondered who it was that was being described here :-
    ” . . .does not listen to reason, does not acknowledge science, does not defer to expertise or experience, does not doubt its own convictions, does not read books.”

    Who was this evil personified , or was it merely a mythical creature? My impresssion was that the writer had some person or persons in mind.
    Not having read a book for a long time , I observed that I was not the only one of whom it could be said pejoratively “does not read books”.

    “Not very well, I might add.”

    As I said it wasn’t the intention. And it was a first draft.

    Imitating of the style of Marc Gallant , in his masterpiece “The Cow Book”, I sought to counter the accusation that someone who does not read books can be presumed to be evil. And presumed, as well, to hold the rest of the mentioned attributes of “evil personified” , whoever he is. It is so obviously nonsense.

    But I will accept that it was a poor imitation. I'm working on it.


    ” cows offer any insight as to why, . . .?”
    Browsing the full range of material on offer in the third millenium , rather than just that contained in books, did not seem to be so sinful to me. There will be people on this planet who have never, ever read a book. There could be reasons why someone “does not read books”.

    “and the deeper implications of said observations by their herd?”
    That will require further rumination. And I noted that “does not read books” is altogether different from “has never read a book” or “ is incapable of reading a book ”.


    I see from Simon g’s reply to you where you were going – the mythical Trump adorer. Something to tilt at perhaps? A focal point for venting a bit of spleen? A way of saying : – “I am not like those deplorable people”?
    It just seemed like an exercise in name -calling and dismissal.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    You can go to harold yourself,

    I don’t know this expression. Was it by way of illustrating the point that Chris Cleave was making in the quoted passage?


    http://stevie-nicks.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/1973-fm-mystery-to-me-gatefold.jpg

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Not having read a book for a long time , I observed that I was not the only one of whom it could be said pejoratively “does not read books”.

    Did you notice, at any point, that this was an address to writers? Of, y'know, books? The whole thing is about what writers can do. If these people don't read books, then how can we, as writers of books, get through to them?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger,

    I went looking on youtube for the footage of the tsunami waves on Lyall Bay beach after last weeks earthquake and and a while lot of videos popped up saying they were from that earthquake but were from the Japanese or other earthquakes. People know those search terms are going to be news so they put up any old thing so that they can make money off the advertising.

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Did you notice, at any point, that this was an address to writers?

    Yes that was clear. It was the National Writers Forum.

    ” Of, y’know, books? ”
    It never occurred to me that the word “writer” was being applied only to those who wrote “books”. The Bard wrote plays.

    ” how can we, as writers of books, get through to them?”
    If “getting through to them ” is your principal objective in writing , and they do not read books , then surely you will place your writing where it will be read by your “targets”.
    Or you may choose some other art form to "get through to them", whatever you are meaning by that expression.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    the writer had some person or persons in mind.
    Not having read a book for a long time , I observed that I was not the only one of whom it could be said pejoratively “does not read books”.

    And

    Something to tilt at perhaps? A focal point for venting a bit of spleen? A way of saying : – “I am not like those deplorable people”?

    You seem to have the grasped the cow by the tail rather than getting the bull by the horns.
    And I'll be as cryptic as I want, Thank you very much

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    "It’s time to pull all these observations together. We face a decade or more, during which three uniquely dangerous factors will be in play:

    A sense among the mass of citizens that it is no longer possible to discern the truth of any single event or series of geopolitical moves: cynical spin, whoring media and complicated cultural situations have combined to place land-mines under every route through the quicksand….but there is quadrophonic disagreement about where the landmines are.
    Western Establishments that live in (and act upon) the short term only….and remain blinded , by archaic ideology, to the realities of philosophical sea change.
    The imminent impacts and after-shocks of the potentially greatest econo-fiscal disaster in recorded history.

    I have been trying in recent months to shift the emphasis of The Slog away from “news” (whatever that means any more) to an examination of the step-change in social organisation, sovereignty and economic motives that is already unfolding. That will inevitably mean a drop in popularity, because breaking stuff pulls readers in.

    But I can’t cover news in any honest sense any more. First, the former army of contacts I had is either retired or dead; second, it takes so long today to prove or disprove the provenance of a story, by the time one feels confident about it, the news element has faded; and finally, I think the vast majority of it is a distraction from the massively threatened survival of citizen liberties and informed electorates.

    Thank you for persevering with the length of this piece. Enjoy the rest of the weekend."

    https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/the-saturday-essay-when-nobody-knows-who-to-believe-unbelievable-change-is-inevitable/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    And I’ll be as cryptic as I want, Thank you very much

    As you should ; do what thou wilt . . .
    I recall now your prior advice to me - "don't assume."

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    citizen liberties and informed electorates.

    Cant think of any country in the modern era that has had these, ever. Some pre- industrial societies were better at it that us. And then we got all consumed with the mighty dollar (beautifully disguised as self empowerment) and these ideals got pushed aside.

    You pulled that little missive straight from The Slog? Sorry but while he may make some useful points. The author descents into paranoid and lunatic label throwing raving, just a little too often for my liking.

    The years ahead wouldn't look so bleak if we, collectively, faced it head on. Something no monetary or political leading light, including the Trumpian, presently seems capable of doing. That alone will condemn us to a miserable future, and then there's everything else.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    , faced it head on.

    Maybe the Saker is regarded as tin foil territory, but there do seem to be some battle- lines being drawn. But it could be fake news:-

    http://thesaker.is/fear-and-loathing-inside-the-deep-state/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    the Saker

    Your joking right?
    We need globalisation, but not based solely in trade, we need to become a global civilization if we are to survive longer than the next century. But and its a biggy each country has to get its own house in order first(thats a metaphor)
    And, I could be wrong but, what is being proposed there isnt it.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    get its own house in order

    What would that look like in Godzone , assuming we could do it?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Farmer Green,

    What would that look like in Godzone

    We could give a bivouac a bit of a whack...
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    We need globalisation,

    I don’t know that I need that, so I’m looking for a steer on what you see a totally globalised Godzone would look like.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Its not just about NZ, but probably 180' from what the world is like now. Its an impossible ask at present.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to andin,

    I agree. Democracy is discrediting itself by means of the results it's producing. With a meritocracy, competence determines the outcome. Since such a positive alternative has never been tried, it's reasonable to assume that lowest-common-denominator thinking prevails by default. I've heard that called `muddling through'. Perhaps the most positive gloss advocates can think of?

    How about voluntarism as primary social ethic? A system that provides a way for volunteers with confidence & expertise to volunteer for solution implementation roles. Know how, can do. A traditional kiwi social ethic proven successful for generations before some goddam corporate privatised it. Crowd-sourcing intelligence, then enabling it to achieve required results. Better than the usual left/right shambles, I reckon.

    People ought to wise up to why democracy failed in the classical era so spectacularly that nobody wanted to try it again for a couple of millennia. Younger generations need suitable innovative role models to give them hope for the future. Loomio shows how that can be done: social media designs that are solution-focused. The incentive-structure must be more than just money.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    A system that provides a way for volunteers with confidence & expertise to volunteer for solution implementation roles.

    That sounds a bit like sharemilking ; it has been a very successful Kiwi innovation that is envied in other agricultural communities where squire/serf was the modus operandi. Biologists might call it a mutualistic association.
    But the sharemilking system has been found wanting when a longer -term perspective was necessary for the sustainability of the farm community ; contracts are rarely longer than five years, and that tends to encourage short -term thinking.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    The incentive-structure must be more than just money.

    Yes . My solution , when the shortcomings of sharemilking were apparent, was to then become a share milker to the sharemilker while still filling the farm-owner role. It was not a great solution but it did work until the contract ended.
    Then it was back to square one.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    money troubles? welcome to the club.
    Here’s a Reagan era song just to remind you of those “wonderful”, according to trump, times.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

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