Friday, September 5, 2014

In the news: September.

This week a hacker published stolen photos of naked celebrities and the internet lost its mind. The incident, excellently labelled Frappergate, received extensive coverage and analysis. The Daily Mail helpfully warned its readers that iCould is not a real cloud. CNN formed a panel of experts to speculate on the identity of  4chan, which is actually a bulletin board and not a person, while Forbes reached new levels of insanity:
The story itself should not be addressed as if it were a scandal, but rather what it is: A sex crime involving theft of personal property and the exploitation of the female body … This is clearly a violation. It is a crime of theft with the intent to exploit its victims as punishment for the unpardonable sin of being female .... In short, we emphasize how women can prevent being assaulted instead of telling men and boys not to assault women in the first place.”
I'm fairly sure we are already telling men and boys not to assault women but doubtless a crime free Utopia is just around the corner.

Tim Stanley in the Telegraph draws our attention to Rotherham where
1,400 children estimated to have been abused in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013 ... Professor Jay’s report clearly states that a) councillors did not deal directly with the Pakistani community to address the fact that the overwhelming majority of offenders were Asian males and b) staff kept quiet for fear of being perceived as racist. It’s not unreasonable to infer that perpetrators may have been caught had there been proper community engagement. The council’s political correctness betrayed the children in their care.
Sam Norton succinctly contrasts the reporting of both stories:
It would seem from the relative amount of column inches and the vehemence of feminist opinions expressed in recent newspapers that the greatest trauma that can be suffered by a woman is when someone who makes a living from appearing in public ends up having more of a public appearance than she had planned. This at a time when we learn that some 1400 young working class girls have been systematically and repeatedly raped in Rotherham, and that such abuse extends to other towns and cities in this country, like Rochdale, Oxford and Didsbury. Clearly what happens to the rich and famous is far more important than what happens to the poor and vulnerable.
We are living in a profoundly sick and decadent society. The destruction of all our inherited norms and practices, dependent on the millenia of Judeo-Christian worship, has led us into a cultural abyss where we no longer know what we stand for and we let abominations pass unremarked whilst working ourselves up into a tizzy over trivialities. I feel that I have a better understanding now of what is meant by the references to Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned. Our version involves indulging in prurient shock whilst our daughters are systematically raped in the streets and the authorities continue to say ‘move along now, there is nothing to see’.
Alongside telling our boys and men not to rape, I'm pretty sure we already tried the whole Judeo-Christian thing and it didn't help the thousands abused by priests and pasters whose crimes were covered up by their churches. But no doubt the kingdom of God is just around the corner, hanging around with the crime free utopia of the feminists.

In other news the ice bucket challenge is still going strong with millions dumping water over their heads for charity. Yes, it's for a good cause. Yes, it raises awareness and funds for charity. Yes, yes yes. But of all the gimmicks charities resort to, this is what works? We largely ignore emotional images of starving children, tortured animals and lonely pensioners, but a few people post videos of getting their hair wet and suddenly it's viral? What on earth does that say about us?

Well, according to Vice, it says we're becoming increasingly narcissistic:
There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but most the annoying is that it's basically narcissism masked as altruism. By the time the summer heat cools off and ice water no longer feels refreshing, people will have completely forgotten about ALS. It’s trendy to pretend that we care, but eventually, those trends fade away. This is the crux of millennial “hashtag activism,” where instead of actually something, you can just pretend  like you’re doing something by posting things all over your Facebook. Like the Ice Bucket Challenge, good causes end up being a collective of social media naval gazing. We reflected on our favorite social-movements-gone-viral and found out what happened to them after the fell off our Twitter feeds. Because, yes, social problems continue even after you stop hashtagging them.
In some home grown news, Dr Ali Selim of the Dublin Islamic Cultural Centre wants Irish schools to better accommodate Islam:
Gaining admission to Irish schools is a challenge for Muslims,” Dr Selim says, describing as “legal discrimination” section 15 of the 1998 Education Act which allows schools give preference to pupils on faith grounds. It was a “major problem for non-Catholic children who apply to them because of proximity or quality of education”, he says.
Other challenges include the Islamic ban on playing tunable musical instruments and raising money for charity through raffles. School plays are problematic if they feature gender reversal or if opposite genders make physical contact. Genders must be also separated for sport and physical play with neither gender visible to the other. And it goes without saying that sex education is deeply problematic.

Of course he is correct to call out the discriminatory practices of state funded schools who force parents into baptising their child to secure a school place. But Atheist Ireland wonders just how committed Dr Ali Selim is to inclusivity:
Atheist Ireland welcomes the above comments by Dr Ali Selim and invites the two publicly funded National schools under the patronage of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland to lead the way by including the children of atheists and secularists in their schools. The Islamic Foundation of Ireland is patron to two publicly funded National schools. These schools, just like Educate Together schools and schools under the Patronage of the Catholic Church are legally obliged to following the Education Act 1998, the National School Rules, the Primary School Curriculum and the Equal Status Act. These schools are part of our National education system and given the call for “an upheaval in Irish educational perspectives” and a “revolution of inclusivity” we are anxious to understand how these schools will accommodate the children of atheists and secularists and lead the way in removing religious discrimination in the education system.
In particular we are looking forward to our children accessing a ‘neutral studying environment’, given the recent comments of the UN Human Rights Committee.
Finally, Erik Kain writing in Forbes gives us a roundup of more idiotic drama among gamers: GamerGate. 
It all started with a blog post.
Jilted ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni wrote a long treatise on the alleged infidelity of his ex-girlfriend, video game developer Zoe Quinn. Members of the video game industry and press were implicated. This led to an initial outcry over corruption in the video game press. Sex for positive coverage was the spark that fueled what has now become a huge gamer backlash against the video game press under the hashtag #GamerGate. While the initial concerns were quickly proven to be all smoke and no fire, the revelations led to further questions by many gamers, and so the #GamerGate movement was born.
Read it at your own risk.
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