Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A poem what I wrote. Don’t judge me

I woke up this morning remembering a poem I wrote decades ago. I couldn’t have been more than 10, I suppose.  It is woefully self-indulgent and embarrassing but now I’ve thought of it, I can’t get it our of my head so ima inflict it on you too.

I had to read it out in front of the class which was far from a reward. I hate speaking in front of people to this day, even though it’s a big part of what I do, possibly because of this one incident.

I’m not sure what caused me to remember it, I suppose I might have been dreaming about horribleness.  Anyway, here it is for your amusement:


A brazier stood next to it,

A ruler never heard of it,

And that is how a life became a ‘for’.


The torturer found what he sought,

He made an is out of an ought,

And suddenly a torment was a war.


And that is our enduring bluff,

We think of people just as stuff,

We think of use instead of love,

And wonder why it’s not enough.


So now you know why I never became a poet.  I was quite proud of it at the time.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

It’s unforgvable to pander to fears

Cory Doctorow writes about Britain’s idiotic firewall.  Here’s one of the things he says:

It's not evil to want to help parents with this hard job. But it's unforgivable to pander to their fears, offer false hope, and impose a regime of unaccountable censorship upon the nation's internet in order to score votes from frightened parents.

He’s right.  He’s also right when he says that the filter already is and always will block good stuff and fail to block bad stuff.  It’s an inevitable own goal and a shining tribute to politically expedient point-scoring.

But there’s another problem that Cory doesn’t mention in this article.  The filter is opt-out.  This means that it’s on by default and households need to instruct their ISP to turn it off. So there’s a list of households who choose to opt into porn and ‘esoteric content’.  If I want uncensored access to the Internet, I have no choice but to be on this list.

I cannot imagine a world where this list is not eventually put to sinister use.  Lists like this can be used to manufacture ‘evidence’ and negatively influence juries. If I were accused of a sex crime or act of terrorism, police could use my opting into ‘esoteric content’ as a vehicle to bring charges and lawyers could use the fact to shock and manipulate a jury.  All regardless of whether or not I’ve looked at illegal stuff. 

And, what is worse, other members of my household will be tarred by my brush without even necessarily knowing that I’ve opted out of a censored Internet. 

All of this violates every basic principle of privacy.  We’re all complicit in allowing it to happen.  We’re all responsible for the consequences.  We’ve all agreed to live in the world the Daily Mail wants so desperately to exist.

Friday, January 03, 2014

That’s what I should have said

There’s a difference between a business that refuses to serve pork and one that refuses to serve homosexuals.

That’s what I should have said.  i should have said it when all those infuriating people defended B&B owners who wouldn’t let a gay couple sleep in the same bad under their apparently judgemental roof.  I should have said it when people defended M&S employees who took it upon themselves not to sell things the shop sells because religion

Kosher delis shouldn’t have to sell bacon if they don’t want to. Your expectation upon entering a kosher deli is that bacon isn’t on the menu. If you want to dine on pork, there are plenty of other options.  But when you enter a shop that does sell pork, it’s insulting and discriminatory for employees to refuse to sell it to you.  It’s entirely contrary to the customers’ expectations. It’s just plain bullying, isn’t it?

I should have said it when people defended the supposed right of pharmacists to not sell people morning after pills on foolish and entirely unsubstantiated religious grounds.