Sunday, 26 June 2016

Expert who confidently predicted Bremain confidently predicts dire results of Brexit


Local expert Benjamin Hammersmith, who mere moments before the Brexit vote tally was confidently predicting a 95% chance of a Remain outcome, has today released a report forecasting the exact amount of economic and social damage the Brexit vote is to have out to 2066.

Mr Hammersmith’s report, entitled “A Specific Scientific Quantification of Brexit Impacts over the next 49.5 years,” goes into great detail upon the precise effects that the Brexit vote, which took him completely by surprise, is to have on many measures including GDP, Unemployment, Inflation, rates of Domestic Violence, changes in sea level, global surface temperatures and rates of Islamophobia.

“Our modelling shows that by 2066, Britain is to have a GDP up to 15.5% lower than would otherwise be the case,” Mr Hammersmith said of his half-century forecasts which shared the same fundamental biases, unquantifiable unknowns and human fudge factors as his models which failed to predict the results of a national vote which had already occurred mere moments in the past.

“If there’s one thing that readers should take away, it’s that Britain will DEFINITELY be worse off as a result of Brext, now and forever,” said the man whom at that very moment could still not process the fact that the real world had deviated from the lazy assumptions, estimates and just plain pluck-it-out-of-your-arse guesses that underpinned the beautiful black and white results that he would have preferred.  “15.5% worse off.  And don’t get me started on the impact on the polar bear numbers!”

At press time, Mr Hammersmith was heard to be muttering that the logic underlying his democratic model remained sound, and that it clearly must have been the voters who had produced the wrong result.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Too Sexy for Sadiq

In case you missed it, this week saw London Mayor Sadiq Khan announce a ban on “body-shaming” ads on the London Underground.  The move came in response to Protein World’s “Are you beach body ready?” weight-loss protein powder advert below, which sparked a protest in Hyde Park, as well as the obligatory petition (although it was not banned by the Advertising Standards Authority).

 The gist of the argument made by Mr Khan et al is that the advert can demean, upset or offend people by making them feel ashamed of their bodies.  We the people have been deemed too fragile to look upon an ‘unrealistic’ bikini clad model, lest we feel inadequate in our own skin.

Yet by that logic, The Spear must argue that the following advertisement must also be banned:

 Usain Bolt, you magnificent bastard with your rippling guns!  No matter how hard The Spear trains he will never be as fast, toned, black or cool as you!  The Spear can never change that!  Stop making him and countless others feel inadequate in their own puny unathletic uncool skins with your ‘unrealistic’ image!

But far from a Hyde park protest and a petition, the advert actually proclaims “Celebration” of the fastest man on Earth.  It recognises that this man is the best in the world at something, largely due to his physical attributes, and it celebrates his excellence.  Now why can’t we similarly celebrate other people for being exceptional in their own way, even if that way is having a great bikini body?

You may say the bikini body advert is sexualised, that the woman’s confidence stance is suggestive, even aggressive, and ‘forward’.  Oh no!  But isn’t that something the feminists should be cheering -  the right of a woman to show off her body, no more than she would at the beach, without fear of being judged for being too ugly or too ‘sexy’?  And doesn’t it make sense that a company that makes weightloss products would want to associate their product with somebody with an ‘unrealistically’ sexy body?

Perhaps Sadiq and the protestors would prefer a more modest advert, one showing less skin, possibly along the lines of:

But not so fast – still too confident and with a smile that suggests this woman knows how to have a ‘good time'.  And the show of the ankle! Better be on the safe side in case someone gets offended:

  The Spear is once more reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘The Sirens or Titan’ whereby Earth’s society creates a religion of “The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent”, whereby people do their best to diminish advantages that exist amongst themselves in order for everyone to be equal.

Every strong member of faith accepted handicaps gladly, wore them proudly everywhere. The weakest and meekest were bound to admit, at last, that the race of life was fair”.

“Everyone wore handicaps of some sort. Most handicaps were of an obvious sort - sashweights, bags of shot, furnace grates - meant to hamper physical advantages. But there were, among Redwine’s parishioners, several true believers who had chosen handicaps of a subtler and more telling kind. There were women who had received by dint of dumb luck the terrific advantage of beauty. They had annihilated that unfair advantage with frumpish clothes, bad posture, chewing gum, and a ghoulish use of cosmetics. One old man, whose only advantage was excellent eyesight, had spoiled that eyesight by wearing his wife’s spectacles”.

In another short story of a similar vein, Vonnegut has intelligent people purposely handicapped by the government with radios in their ears which buzz with nonsense whenever they start thinking too much.

If you support the removal of this advertisement, logically you must support the removal of the Bolt advertisement, and the removal of any other public displays of natural inequality in stature or talent.  While we can’t all have the bikini body of the woman in the advert (oh how The Spear cries his nights away), neither can we all be a gifted sportsmen, artist or mathematician.  Sure, we can make some improvements, but thankfully, we will never be truly equal.  How boring would a world without ‘unrealistic’ exceptions be?

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Election De-rection

There are many advantages to not watching free-to-air television.  You can spend more time reading.  You can spend more time writing.  You can even spend more time posting pyramids depicting the hierarchy of victimhood, and then deleting them lest you are destroyed socially, financially and physically.  The number one benefit, however, has got to be isolation from the political advertisements of election season (although due to their sheer prevalence The Spear has still been subjected to a few via the internet and in passing).

‘But why?’ you ask The Spear.  ‘As a self-avowed Conservative, surely you are relishing the moment, and are merely counting down the days towards another Coalition victory, led by none other than your king of kings, Malcolm the Great?’  Alas, to do so would be to a) think that a Coalition victory was assured and to b) believe that The Spear would think this were the preferred outcome, neither of which are true.

Joining the growing ranks of the ‘Delcons’, those Delusional-Conservatives who believe the Coalition has lost its way under the mighty MT, The Spear is at a loss as to what he is to do on election day.  Vote for the Coalition and in doing so reward bad behaviour and anoint the Chosen One to run the most left-leaning conservative party in living memory.  On the other hand, vote for Labor through wincing eyes and gritted teeth, praying that they inflict enough damage to spur a backlash to true conservatism.  The choice is not a pretty one.

The Spear will give it to Shorten - he is running a decent campaign, has seemingly learnt from the worst of the worst Gillard-Rudd policies (for now), and has even been taught how to smile.  Indeed this election, run on minor differences to taxation, superannuation, negative gearing and your choice of watchdog/royal commision (construction vs banking), would on the face of it appear a choice between Labor and Labor-lite (the deficits are similar enough).  You even have cheap political point scoring seeing both parties cross the divide to take positions at odds with their core values, with the Coalition winding back Super perks and Labor deriding that as unfair.

While hypocrisy is nothing new to politics, there comes a time when paying lip service to your political base isn’t enough.  Too frequently now, politicians on both sides have strayed too far from ‘putting people first’ as Bill Shorten’s campaign slogan promises.  The problem is the general order they put people is typically:

  1. Politicians themselves
  2. Financial backers & mates who are owed (unions, big business)
  3. Those in marginal seats / seats controlled by minor MPs with the balance of power
  4. People who are likely to vote for the political party if allowed (including non-citizens likely to vote my way if the borders are opened)
  5. Finally, ‘the people’ at large who you can take for granted [please insert ‘the planet’ and ‘the animals’ before this last segment if voting Green]

The time has come to send a signal.  The capitalist notion of Creative Destruction is a powerful beast, one which in recent times has not been allowed to run its course, primarily through socialist central bank intervention [and yes, The Spear classifies it as Socialist as it is a centrally planned mode of control to try and engineer a preferable economic and social outcome rather than letting market forces prevail].  Let us see what a little destruction can create.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Commuter Plays Solitaire with Magical Wonder Window


Reports are emerging that local area worker, Bryan Grey, today used his personal hand-held magic wonder window to play Solitaire in a bid for entertainment on the bus ride home.

The commuter, who would rather move electronic cards from one pile to another than explore all of the collective knowledge of human history, was said to experience difficulty in locating the number 2 of spades among the digital 52 card deck.

“I thought I saw it once, but that may have been the 2 of clubs,” Mr Grey responded to journalists’ queries.  “I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure.”

The man, with literally no better idea of how to use more personal computing power at the touch of human fingers than any person in existence prior to 2010 except to play an eighteenth century single-player card game, was said to be looking forward to finishing the triviality otherwise known as ‘patience’ in the near future.

“I hope they have the little animation at the end like the original Microsoft 1995 version,” Mr Grey confided to reporters.  “That would be nice.”

At press time, there are reports that Mr Grey has taken to using his personal hand-held magic wonder window as some sort of modern candle to illuminate the keyhole of his door.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Homeground Advantage

Attending a conference for the conservatively minded the other week, the main thematic that The Spear was able to grasp from conversations with his young peers was a tone of despair: whatever the zeitgeist was, it clearly wasn’t moving in their favour.  In their daily lives they felt isolated and intimidated.  Their views felt illegitimised and dismissed by their fellow young adults.

The age-old problem for the conservatively leaning is one of squeaky wheels.  The progressive cause is, by its activist nature, constantly seeking change in one form or another.  Whether it be marriage equality or safe-schools, the basic premise remains the same: we’re not happy with the current situation, and we are going to be vocal about it.

This constant, outspoken pressure for change in all forums, and a passion for the cause they believe in, helps progressive causes capture media attention.  Activist groups hound those who they perceive as public ‘deniers’ of the cause, and create a general atmosphere of fear and intimidation whereby people, even if they happen to disagree with said cause, will keep silent lest their career, business or livelihood be put in jeopardy.  ‘Great’, the progressive cause says.  ‘Serves the bigots right’.

For those under 30, telling your friends and co-workers that you’re a conservative is now in some respects akin to coming out of the closet.  You seriously don’t know how people will react if, for instance, you were perhaps to suggest Tony Abbott wasn’t so bad a bloke.  There is genuine fear that close relationships could fall on hard times or that it could affect your career, so you keep silent.  Better than being called a Nazi within the space of half an hour. Thus progressive causes have the homeground advantage in that they are active, they are in your face and they usually relish in politics, the medium of codifying and legitimising change.

Conservative causes on the other hand... Well they’ve typically got encumbancy, which is a big advantage, but not much else.  Conservative causes are by their nature reactive rather than proactive, in that they are typically proponents for maintaining the status quo.  How passionate can one be when the cause is by and large ‘carry on’?  How can one be motivated to engage with politics, the medium for or opposing change, when one generally seeks to minimise state intervention in their daily life?

To The Spear, political engagement, even for causes he believes in, is more of a necessary evil - a counter effort against those who would enlarge the state to no ends - rather than a pure force for good.  He feels dirty just thinking about handing out leaflets or standing in a rally.  But he would do it, and thinks some day he will be forced to do it, if the threat to individual liberty is great enough.

And that is why people are so amazed when a Tony Abbott or a Donald Trump gets a portion of the vote that is seemingly out of whack with their unpopularity as portrayed by the (progressive) media.  How could anybody support them when the overwhelming majority of the commentariat, all of the righteous intelligentsia, condemn them as vile and stupid?  Are there really that many gullible, uneducated buffoons out there who don’t know what’s best for themselves?  How could people vote for such backwards, bigoted pigs when the progressive cause is so strong and all encompassing?

The answer would be that the progressive media have managed to get ahead of even themselves in what proportion of society truly agrees with their agenda of change.  Count the votes people!  Tony Abbott, a renowned conservative, got voted into the lodge in 2013!  Trump, who some might call the most bigoted, backward candidate of the postwar era, is all but Republican nominee!  While they may not be vocal, the silent types who like keeping to themselves have votes too, and they will use them when they perceive the threat as big enough!

The proletariat may not be very squeaky, but when their wheels start spinning, they can get on a roll all the way to the white house.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Random Insult Generator

In that distant land of the 1990’s, wherein The Spears’ childhood rests in peace, there once was a saying commonly told to children of the day by their parents and teachers: ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’.

Then again, perhaps it was not so commonly told.  It is The Spear’s generation after all - and that on either side of it - which seem to live with more fear of the possibility of ‘sticks and stones’ being construed as culturally insensitive, than the sticks and stones themselves.

And The Spear doesn’t blame them for it.

How could he blame them, when the very possibility of straying ever-so-slightly from the politically-correct narrative can end one’s career?  When making a joke without reading from the morally-superior approved script can see you branded in print as a ‘racist’, a ‘bigot’, or a ‘sexist hate spigot’?   You see what The Spear did there?  Gender-neutral pronouns all day long, lest Xe or Ze take offence at The Spear’s blatant show of insensitivity to the progressive cause.  

It’s becoming automatic now.

And the less these ‘offensive remarks’ are made, the more offended will the ears of the morally-pure be when they do hear them, and the louder they shall squeal.  Like children of over-protective parents upon first contact with a prolific profaner, they will cover their ears and reel from the words as if in physical pain.  How DARE you infringe upon their RIGHT to not be offended.


Feeling offended anyone?

It’s easy to say you’re an advocate of free speech, but that’s kind of like saying you like ice cream.  Everybody likes ice-cream, right?  But does that mean you like every flavour?  Because saying you like free speech is like saying you’ll eat every flavour, even that really shitty one that everyone else eats around, so long as the ice cream isn’t inciting violence.

[Why does The Spear get the feeling some cocky bastard is now going to take the piss by creating a new ice-cream flavour called inciting violence? Oh well, good on them.]

To remedy the situation of easily offended ears and as a means of maintaining free speech (even the kind you don’t personally agree with), The Spear proposes the widespread use of what he is dubbing a ‘Random Insult Generator’.  In reality this would be a simple piece of software like an app, which would draw upon a large database of various ‘categories’ to string together into insulting statements which could pass for opinion, automatically posting the content to social media of the user (is it really free speech if nobody else is allowed to hear it?)

Examples would be of the following variety:

Geriatric gay polo-players are horrible.  Latino Anglican halal-eaters are worse.  

Etc etc.

Now if such vitriol was commonplace, could the thought-police (which these days are now the real police) really take action against everybody?  Wouldn’t it be a great way of toughening our ears up a bit, but in a way which could be argued as being fair to all in it’s randomness, just as cruel blind fate is to us all?

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Meaty Burgers, Bimbos & Free Speech

As The Spear has documented on numerous occasions - whether it be due to Silent Medals or Student of The Week Awards for ‘trying hard to use a quiet voice’ in his early years - he has tended to drift through life with the general intention of trying not to create a fuss.  Never before, an official complaint has he lodged, that is, until Christmas 2015.

The complaint in question, to the Advertising Standards Bureau, was in regard to the following, seemingly innocent commercial.

The first time The Spear watched the ad, he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was which disturbed him.  By the second and third time however, it was abundantly clear that the advertisement, while on the surface squeaky clean, was in fact a perfect example of a discrimination so prevalent and commonplace that it genuinely hides in plain sight: the denigration of men (who in this instance also happen to be whiter than an episode of Family Feud).

So why not file a complaint? The Spear thought.  In our hyper politically correct age, where he who wins the argument is he who can be the most offended, why not take some offence and see just how far his taxpayer-funded regulatory body will go to protect The Spear’s newly found thin skin. Test the system, test your rights.

The complaint, in its entirety, and its summary dismissal can be viewed here.  

The complaint was worded thus:

The advertisement reinforces the sexist stereotype of stupid, infantile males. If a similar advertisement were to show women mesmerised by music, asking their men for money and stealing their wallet (as a man in the ad does to his presumed wife), running after a handbag mobile into a handbag store, there would be no doubt of sexism. The same standards should apply regardless of the sex being affronted.

An excerpt from the Board’s findings:

The Board considered whether the advertisement complied with Section 2.1 of the Code which requires that 'advertisements shall not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual preference, religion, disability, mental illness or political belief.'

The Board noted the complainant’s concern that if the genders were reversed and a woman took a man’s wallet to chase after a handbag van then it would not be acceptable... The Board considered that its role is to consider each advertisement on its own merit and that addressing hypothetical alternatives is not part of their role. 

However, for not being able to consider hypothetical scenarios, the ASB sure is good at investigating The Spear’s non-existent complaint about discrimination of women.

The Board noted the scene where the man takes his wife’s handbag and considered his reaction is in response to his wife’s slowness at opening her bag and there is no suggestion that the man is stealing her bag but rather that he needs the money more quickly than she can get it out and that his impatience with her at not being able to access her bag quick enough to give him money is not discriminatory towards women but reflective of an impatient moment that could happen to either gender. 

Now here the ASB is truly in denial, the cognitive dissonance is so strong that they are making up complaints to investigate.

The Board noted the overall theme of the advertisement which likens the Mr Angus van to an ice-cream van which is generally a positive experience for those following and considered that the depiction of men chasing after the van is similar to the reaction young children would have to an ice-cream van and that most members of the community would find this image to be humorous and reminiscent of childhood and this is why the men are depicted as acting like children. The Board considered that the advertisement does not suggest that men would behave like this otherwise and the use of men chasing the van was consistent with the target audience for meaty burgers. 

The Board considered that the advertisement did not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of gender. The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.1 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement did not breach the Code on other grounds, the Board dismissed the complaint.

ASB:1, The Spear: 0.  So much for The Spear’s thin skin and his newly found right not to be offended.  Oh well, it’s not like the ASB would contradict themselves by taking the opposite stance in the very same meeting where they considered The Spear’s argument now is it? The Spear thought.  After all, it is a Standards bureau, and the Standard had been set.

Oht oh, seems like The Spear was indeed mistaken, for at the very same meeting the ASB considered the below ad for what would appear to be the same argument but for the opposite sex, ie, the denigration of women by being shown as unintelligent.  And boy, how different the outcome was.

The case in full can be viewed here

The Board noted that the intent of the advertisement is to depict two women unexpectedly breaking down – with the advertiser suggesting that regular services from Ultratune will prevent such an ‘unexpected situation.’ The Board accepted that the intent of the advertisement it to show an unrealistic situation. However the Board considered that the women are depicted as unintelligent in the way in which they sit passively, with blank faces, in the car on the train tracks and also in the way they appear to not notice the oncoming train.

This behaviour, in the Board’s view, makes the women appear unintelligent and presents them in a stereotypical helpless female situation. In the Board’s view, the depiction of the women’s reaction to their situation is a negative depiction of women and does amount to vilification of women. The Board considered that the advertisement did portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of gender and determined that the advertisement did breach Section 2.1 of the Code.

Now, on the one hand, the ASB dismisses a case of vilification of men because ‘the advertisement does not suggest that men would behave like this otherwise’, but on the other hand, upholds a case of vilification of women because ‘the women are depicted as unintelligent’ even though they recognise ‘the intent of the advertisement it to show an unrealistic situation.’ 

So what is the Standard?  Unrealistic denigration of men as unintelligent : okay.  Unrealistic denigration of women as unintelligent: not okay?

To the Spear, the thing that really gives away the underlying probability of denigration in the McDonalds ad is that McDonalds chose to use the only target which is safe to freely humiliate in our society - middle aged white men.  The asian man at the beginning is shown respectfully gardening, not running after the bus like a buffoon.  There isn’t a tan in sight on those chasing after ‘meaty burgers’ as the ASB would put it.  The Spear reckons the producers knew what they were up against, and chose forthwith the only safe target to depict as unintelligent.

Now is The Spear truly so upset about the depiction of men as unintelligent in what is pretty much a harmless advertisement? No.  What The Spear was trying to point out is that the right to be offended and to seek official censorship and compensation, as such currently exists, is not truly a universal right.  It is only a right so long as it fits the established, pre-approved bien pensant views of who can be offended and what can be offensive.

And therein lies the problems with restrictions on free speech.  They are ultimately arbitrary, and stifle the expression of views outside of what is currently considered orthodox. Sure, people should be able to seek compensation for outright untrue published defamation.  But to restrict what can be published lest it offend?  It’s only so good so long as the arbitrary decision maker agrees with your notions of what constitutes offence.