The First Amendment is officially a joke

The last month has been very eventful for freedom of speech on the Internet, and not for good cause. Last week, Tumblr announced a total ban on pornography would be implemented on December 17th. As has often been the case in past moral crusades against pornography, the impetus for this is a classic “think of the children!” scenario. In a statement, Tumblr makes it explicitly clear that their underlying motivation is to crack down on child pornography. But, it should be obvious to us that this excuse is a hollow in its self-righteousness. First of all if it was truly only child pornography they were concerned with, they would not be so focused on removing all adult content on the website. Secondly, despite the website’s claims to still allow free discussion about sexuality, the new move appears to present a credible threat to various sexual subcultures, sex-positive activists and sex workers by targeting their content even if it is not overtly pornographic.

In addition to this, art featuring nudity will inevitably also be targeted by this blanket and imprecise ban, as classical religious artwork featuring nude goddesses, saints and even Jesus himself have been flagged as “adult content”. This will not simply affect classical art either. Stealing Knowledge, a Tumblr blog which catalogues all sorts of interesting and obscure tidbits pertaining to my favored gamed series Shin Megami Tensei, also expects to have content flagged and then removed from the website, especially under ridiculous pretexts. And Tumblr is not alone in such censorship of art. Facebook actually banned an art historian and curator named Ruben Cordova from their website for posting pictures of Met Bruer’s popular exhibition Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body, which seems to have triggered the website’s algorithm for nude photos which are banned by the website. With this in mind, it becomes empirically clear that Tumblr is joining a much broader trend in social media of sanitizing online space under the guise of fighting child pornography.

Now you might be wondering what precisely this whole thing has to do with the First Amendment of the United States constitution. Well there are those who speculate that Tumblr was simply gearing up for new FOSTA-SESTA legislation which will have nasty consequences for the future of online pornography in general. Under the pretext of fighting human trafficking (on that point it’s worth mentioning that only a small number of cases actually relate to pornography), SESTA legislation will target websites that allegedly “promote or facilitate prostitution”, which is broad enough that legal escort services, certain cryptocurrencies and even pornography might be included. As a matter of fact, supporters of such legislation themselves are quite candid in their hope that such legislation will lead to a ban of pornography entirely. This is problematic because of the fact that the First Amendment protects most forms of erotic entertainment, with obvious exceptions such as child pornography and revenge porn, and in fact there are already fears that FOSTA-SESTA represents an intrusion of First Amendment rights.

I cannot ignore the irony of all this. The First Amendment is supposed to be America’s ironclad guarantor of freedom of speech and expression in the United States, the example of such for the free world (in contrast to my country where we don’t even have a written constitution). But the powers that be can effectively subvert it in the name of a substanceless moral panic disguising the expansion of unitary power over free expression. This applies not only to pornography and sex-positive communities (not to mention online LGBT groups), but also, as I’ve pointed out months ago, criticism of Israel. America, for its pretense to care about freedom of speech, is quite prepared to destroy it in as many ways as it can get away with in order to sanitize public discussion on the Internet.

The discrediting of the media

Well, that’s it. I guess we’re all Nazis now. You, me, everyone. We’re all Nazis because at some point in our lives we looked at footage of Adolf Hitler giving a speech somewhere. That’s what the Wall Street Journal seems to have implied with their hit piece against a world-famous YouTube star called Felix Kjellberg (a.k.a. PewDiePie). And yes, unfortunately we’re at a point where I’m talking about him, even though before hand I never gave too much of a shit about him. Only I’m not talking about PewDiePie himself per se, but rather the shitshow that has resulted from a joke he made that was deemed to be anti-Semitic, or jokes he made that involved references to Nazism.

The thing is, that’s all they were. Jokes. It was a kind of edgy but ultimately silly form of comedy. Otherwise, he has no known affiliation with any anti-Semitic movements. But it was on the basis of some jokes and some comedy that he got labelled a Nazi by the mainstream media. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Guardian, Salon, Vox, lots of mainstream media outlets went on the attack, and the Internet took notice and I’ve seen nothing but people calling them out on their obvious bullshit. And then The Daily Stormer went and seized on this by, for a short period of time, declaring themselves to be the number one PewDiePie fan site (now they call themselves the number one Wall Street Journal fan site, in reference to the three “journalists” who wrote the hit piece on PewDiePie to begin with).

There’s not much for me to say on this matter other than this is pure hysteria. One that, in my opinion, should be familiar to those who might be older than me, old enough to be far more intimately familiar than I with the demented moonscape that is the mainstream media. The media always either looks for some kind of panic to spread or outright fabricates one of their own. And why? For attention of course, which likely results in attaining not just revenue but also societal relevance, people hanging on their every word. Once upon a time this was seen as the game of some right-wing Murdoch media or some shit, but now we see it as the game of progressive media, with almost everyone outside of alternative media playing along, and I hope that by the end we start to this for what it is – a game of cynical corporations and delusional ideologues on both sides of the spectrum who are less interested in the truth and more interested in influence and a paycheck. And for me that’s all there is to it. PewDiePie and his allegedly anti-Semitic content were just the next target of an ongoing hysteria, in concert with the reign of political correctness I should add.

A war on for your mind…

Yes. Lately I am of the impression that something is going on in the world and there’s a faint connection between the way certain events are playing out politically, socially and culturally.

As the migrant crisis rolled on through the current year, and even as social cohesion is slowly breaking down in Europe, a narrative is being pushed about how this is all still a positive thing that we should be celebrating, and the German government is working to silence any criticism of the country’s immigration policy and the effects that mass immigration is having on their communities. Not to mention, the German government and the European Union have been collaborating with Facebook and Twitter in order to censor what they deem as “hate speech” – which is no doubt going to include expressing a dissenting opinion on the migrant crisis. There have been reports of right-wing groups being banned from Facebook for talking about what they feel is the Islamization of their communities, as well as conservative commentators who would likely have a problem with an establishment that is putting multiculturalism above all else.

In the UK, it has been that police have been tracking tweets on Twitter and it is suspected that they can arrest people simply for offending someone on Twitter. People have actually been arrested for sending the wrong tweet or publishing the wrong video on YouTube in some cases. Not to mention, anti-Islamic tweets are being tracked by Demos and being treated as Islamophobic, and given the actions of the British police it’s not such a wild stretch to suspect that the government might start using a narrative of protecting the “real victims” as a means of justifying widespread surveillance and prosecution of thought-crime.

In America, as the political battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump continues and the culture war rages on, Hillary herself has proven herself willing enough to declare Breitbart, one of the largest voices of opposition to her campaign, as a site that has no right to exist. She has outright declared her contempt for a large selection of the electorate by referring to them as “deplorables” and declared war on the so-called “alt-right”, which to her basically means a vast conspiracy of Trump supporters, Nigel Farage and his supporters and InfoWars and their supporters lead by Vladmir fucking Putin! And when the DNC leaks came out, she and her team blamed a Russian conspiracy rather than face up to the fact that they are unscrupulous and corrupt.

The mainstream (read: controlled) media seems to mostly be on the side of Clinton, or at the very least firmly against Trump (but let’s face it, I’m sure for many Americans at this point there is almost no difference). And guess who has ties to the US mainstream media? Recently, chat logs from Crash Override Network have been leaked. Crash Override Network is a group started by Zoe Quinn (yes, that Zoe Quinn) supposedly set to fight online harassment, but in truth are nothing but a bunch of schemers conspiring against the people involved in the consumer revolt known as GamerGate. And it was also revealed that the people in CON claimed to have friends in mainstream media outlets like CNN, PBS, and Wall Street Journal, as well as the Canadian CBC, awaiting reports from those outlets, which suggests that they might actually be in collusion in order to get their side of the story. These people have also been in support of a gaming media that has pushed for gaming culture to be aligned with progressivism and the propping of abstract art over actual gaming, and declared its own audience to be dead for opposing it, and they have been, and still are, prepared to lie in order to push a narrative. And let’s not forget Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn petitioning the United Nations (which is now almost a joke anyways) to push for greater control of the Internet in order to allow social media companies to, quite simply, ban people from telling them that they are liars and that they suck. Facebook and Twitter have already had a reputation of suppressing conservative and sometimes libertarian thinkers for pushing against the status quo, and in Twitter’s case people like Milo Yiannpoulos get banned for something his fans apparently did while ISIS members and pedophiles get off scot-free. All Sarkeesian and Quinn want to do is, like the EU and Germany, expand the power of the state and big social media (as I call it) to censor people.

Not to mention, Barack Obama is basically giving away America’s control of the Internet, allowing foreign powers to control it instead. What this means is essentially that foreign countries, countries that have less respect for freedom of speech than America, can disable websites and censor speech without the protections of US law, which are part of the reason that the Internet has managed to stay free and open.

The Internet is the single biggest liberator of information known to Man. Think about it: before the age of the Internet, it was much easier for the media and whoever was in power to control the information you have access to, meaning it was far easier for people to have some control over what you think. With the rise of the Internet this changed dramatically. You still have media outlets presenting a controlled version of reality, and you still have people believing it, but it is way easier to access a vast diversity of ideas and worldviews today and by simply performing a search on Google or something you can find thousands or millions of results and a lot of them don’t dance to the same tune. Many ideas and ways of thinking that might never have been known to the common public 30 years ago can now be discovered easily on the Internet. People in the government, the media and in large corporations seem to be aware that those who control information can control what people think, and he (or she) who controls the Internet will control the world and the minds of its population. That’s why you have people who are trying to impose greater restrictions on speech and expression on the Internet under the guise of saintly intentions such as “protecting victims” from mostly imagined and/or poorly defined threats.

All of this leads me to wonder: what if InfoWars (and I must stress that I am no fan of InfoWars or Alex Jones) is right and there really is a war on for your mind? Perhaps it likely isn’t what the people at InfoWars think it is, and the Illuminati most likely isn’t going to be involved, but it’s hard for me not to suspect that there’s something much bigger going on. Or, for that matter, that something big might be coming. And you don’t even need to delve into conspiracy theory in order to suspect that this is the case. I think there very well could be a larger agenda of control at work, one playing out right before our eyes no less! We may, within our lifetimes, see Western society become so controlled that the freedoms we hold so dearly in the West will become unrecognizable. And I don’t believe that everyone will take that lightly.

That face you make when you’re breaking the conditioning… 😉

Why I hate online personality quizzes

I keep seeing these personality quizzes online like “what animal are you?”, “what mythical creature are you?”, “what element are you?”, “what superhero are you?” and a fuck ton of others on the Internet. When I was younger these were kinda fun, but back then I was also confused about who I am and for some reason I thought they might help me. But these quizzes are stupid as hell.

The problem with them is they can’t assess who you really are for crap. The choices and results on those quizzes are narrow and incapable of assessing your personality. They can only define your personality within the confines of an archetype usually defined by idiots who don’t know squat about self.

We give the Internet too much credit

In the 21st century it seems like we take the Internet for granted, we have even elevated it to the status of being the greatest thing ever made by mankind. While it is certainly a very effective way of spreading, exchanging, and sharing information, but I think there are those who fool themselves because of it.

The Internet is a place that can be used to exchange great ideas, spread information, and communicate in a civil manner, but it’s also a place where stereotypes are spread just as easily, and often stereotypes and misinformation are common depending on where you look. You might find worthwhile information there, or you might find somebody’s crap that you take as the truth, and you might find something that’s only half truth or no truth that you take as the truth. Not to mention, as long as the Internet is basically a massive venue to communicate any possible thing, people can still spread dumb shit on the Internet, and dumb people are likely to take it as truth especially because they find it on the Internet and rely on it.

I’m not anti-Internet, but I think we give it and social media too much credit. I hope we don’t think of it as a palace of knowledge and enlightenment. It’s just that on the Internet it’s easier to take other people’s opinions for granted. You have to decide for yourself what information is worthy and what is not. There is information and there are sources you can trust, but make sure you know that rather than swallow everything you see.

A salute to the noble British defenders of liberty

Today, I heard about a campaign to oppose David Cameron’s plans to control the Internet by voicing our opposition on social media via the tag #CensoredUK. I’ve been following the porn filter story for some time, and between summer and now I feared that nothing was being done about it. But today, that analysis changed.

Over the course of today, the campaign has been proving successful. Tons and tons of people have been voicing their opposition to David Cameron’s plans to control the Internet, myself included (and rather vehemently), and online news has begun to take notice. Though we still have yet to see the results, I feel confident that today the online masses in the UK have made an impact.

Forgive the patriotism, but I have never been so proud of my country in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been as proud of this country and its people as I am now. You people have proven to me that you are willing to fight the noble fight for freedom and liberty, that you will not be oppressed, and that you will refuse and resist.

Because of this, I salute you! Bless the people of this country for what they’ve done. May we continue to fight for our freedom and never let our guard down.

If you have not heard of this campaign and would like to learn more, here’s a link: http://sexandcensorship.org/2013/12/censoreduk-censored-uk-twitter-day-of-action/

David Cameron must be stopped!

I always thought of David Cameron as some stupid right wing tyrant who wants to make some safe, clean, everyone-pleasing Britain. From what I hear, other people in the UK share my hatred of Cameron, though probably for different reasons, and maybe something to do with the coalition government in this country.

He apologized for Bloody Sunday when it was too late and not his place to do so, his government has been planning on spying on its own people, he cut the funding of the British film industry leaving it to be taken over by Hollywood, and in general he is just unlikeable as a person and only continues what all politicians do: distract us from what really matters. Other members of his government are just as bad, with Michael Gove being an elitist tyrant, Nick Clegg a tool and traitor, and Teresa May, well she’s just Teresa May.

But on to the point. Now Cameron’s doing something even more despicable than almost everything he’s done. How’s trying to restrict internet porn.

That’s right, he’s going to try and crack down on internet pornography starting the beginning of next year (that at least gives us time to fight against it, but still, what a fucking load!). After this, if you want access to non-illegal pornography in the UK, you will have to ask your provider to allow porn. Not only is it morally wrong, but supremely stupid and bound to fail.

Supposedly, this is a measure against child porn and to protect children from seeing porn, or at least that’s what British mass media will have you believe. But really, I think this is all just to kowtow to the campaigns of such media outlets as The Daily Mail, who have been crusading against all online porn for fuck knows how long. If such conservatism is allowed to take hold of the country, then the country and our freedom will be suffocated.

I implore anyone who may glance upon this to spread the word! Please, if we don’t fight against this tyrannical move, then internet freedom will be compromised, especially for innocent people who have done nothing wrong. We must fight against this obvious oppression! If we don’t find against this stupidity and oppression, no one will, and it will be allowed to continue. So please, spread the word and help stop this crime.

Don’t impede Internet freedom because of one teen’s weakness

Yesterday afternoon on a bus to my home town, I was able glance on a copy of a Metro newspaper, more specifically a story about calls for the site Ask.fm to be banned after a 14 year old girl from England (one Hannah Smith) committed suicide supposedly after trolls were posting nasty comments about her. The main source of these calls is her father, naturally, who is not just calling for that particular site to be banned, but also for restrictions to placed on all websites like it. And now I hear people all over calling for Ask.fm to be shut down.

That’s the story anyway. And now for why I think this whole thing is a farce.

Am I hearing this right? We’re supposed to intrude on Internet freedom because a 14-year old girl committed suicide? Let’s think about this rationally for a moment. She probably has no idea what trolls are. Anyone who’s ever been on the Internet knows that trolls post deliberately malicious comments in order to garner attention, mainly negative. If you respond to them with anger, then that’s exactly what they wanted in the first place. If you kill yourself because of what they say, then you are weak (as is your will) and that’s probably what they want anyway. They feed on hatred and weakness, everyone on the Internet knows that. To curtail Internet freedom because of personal weakness is not just oppression, but the height of both irrationality and irresponsibility. So let me ask a perfectly rational question: why should the rest of the Internet and social media suffer because one teenage girl was too weak to not let trolls get to her? Why should Internet freedom be impeded because of one teenager’s weakness?

From what I have heard, Ask.fm is notorious for suicides. But let’s face reality here, how many people use Ask.fm  besides the tween and teen demographics. Those kinds of people probably don’t know how to deal with being insulted by trolls, haven’t been taught to have the strength of will to not commit suicide over trolls, and/or don’t yet realize that there is so much more to live for than their tween/teen state of life.

We will not kowtow to mass media pressure to ban whatever they want. You know the only reason this is even a big deal is because the media so loves scandals, and makes so much money off of the ignorant masses who just eat this crap up like oral sex. If a teen’s suicide can generate scandal and sensationalist trash, and they can make money off of it, then it’ll churn that crap out as news.

I encourage all readers to spread the word: We must not allow the rest of the Internet, and net freedom as a whole, to suffer because of a suicide.

Anime in the UK

Unfortunately, this is almost the only face of anime in the UK. More on that later.

You know what sucks in the UK? There’s virtually no anime on TV. If you’re an anime fan, than you have to buy DVDs or go on the Internet. The only anime on TV is the occaisional Studio Ghibli movie on Channel 4 or Film4, which you’re likely to get on DVD anyway, or stuff aimed at kids like the Pokemon, Bakugan, and Monsuno anime on CITV, which I would never dare to watch. You can sometimes hear about anime and see clips on the NHK World channel, but only if you have Sky HD. Having to buy DVDs is fine, but it can be costly, at least in my experience. The prices, depending on the DVD range from as little as £3 to as high as around £50, and a lot of the anime I find on Amazon UK are between £8-£20. Not to mention, there’s not a lot of high street stores in the UK where you can physically buy DVDs anymore, so it’s very likely your only source of DVD’s is online retailers (it should be noted that online retailers is the main contributor to the downfall of high street retailers which used to provide physical anime). There’s also the ability to watch anime online on sites like YouTube, Anime Network, and Crunchyroll.

These are dark times, my friends. Dark times.

You know what would be cool? If we in the UK had an anime channel, that way if ever you are a fan of anime and watched TV, you’d have a go to place for anime programming, including stuff you might not have seen, even potentially new programming, plus anime movies outside the Studio Ghibli line. That would actually be kinda cool. Or alternatively, an Adult Swim section for Cartoon Network UK for late night anime programming (in America, there is an Adult Swim, segment on the Cartoon Network channel, which features more mature anime programming and more adult cartoons), or possibly an Adult Swim channel for the UK.

The sad thing is, there were anime channels in the UK, like AnimeCentral, CNX, and Showcase TV, but all of them have now been defunct since years ago (AnimeCentral was defunct since 2008, Showcase TV closed in 2009, and CNX closed in 2003; incidentally, all three of them weren’t even up for a full year). The other sad thing is that lack of interest and demand and financial issues with parent companies is the main contributor, that and the Internet.

I’m just sick of the fact that, in the UK, Spirited Away and other Studio Ghibli films are pretty much the only face of anime in the UK, or at least the acceptable face of anime in this country. And that’s odd, considering the impact of the movie Akira when it was released, and back then it was the first time many outside Japan experienced anime. Some argue that anime is getting more erotic, or at least more trigger happy in terms of panty shots and fanservice, as well as more sexually suggestive female characters and even more suggestive moe content and somewhat underaged-looking characters, and that this is limiting it’s reach in Western countries including the UK, unless you’re on the Internet where this is no problem. But then, you have British censorship laws that make it very difficult to show anime on TV and the damned cultural and societal differences between the UK and Japan.

Only in Japan.

People in the UK aren’t used to any cartoon that’s not Disney, Simpsons, or anything that’s not for kids, and they stereotype anime outside Ghibli as all violent, sexual, and weird. From my point of view, this perception and stereotyping is nothing more than a popular, acceptable form of fascism (though to be fair, I tend to be very embracing of the violent and sexy side of anime that made that anime I like great), made even more a double standard by the fact that Family Guy, which tends to be very violent and vulgar, particularly in newer seasons, is mainstream in the UK, and airs on two channels here. So here’s the thing, why would we embrace Family Guy, but not anime, given both can have the same things (though expect some disappointment on the sexy side in Seth McFarlane’s cartoons)? But at least we get anime magazines like NEO and others.

The sad thing is, we probably won’t get anime on UK TV unless it was particularly popular, thanks mainly to the Internet. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I don’t think I can safely judge, but I just want an end to the bullshit attitude we have towards anime, and cartoons in general.

Fighting for freedom on the Internet

Whether you’re a saint, a troll, an average user, or someone like me, the internet is an important part of our lives. The internet is just about the freest place on earth, virtually unlimited, much like the chaos I extolled in an earlier post. But, as you may have guessed, tyrants are out there, trying to clamp down on the freedom of the Internet. Remember SOPA and PIPA? Well it’s not ending there. In the last two years, governments around the world have enacted 19 laws to censor the Internet and regulate content. There’s a plot involving governments across the world, and the ITU, to negotiate a treaty. And only governments would have a say.

I don’t usually get active, but this is the Internet, Freedom is at stake, and I can play a part so easily. There’s a pledge on Google to fight the censorship of the Internet. I’ve already signed, and I’m allowing you guys the opportunity to do so as well if you choose.

Here’s a link: https://www.google.com/intl/en/takeaction/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=122012freeandopen_ty

There’s tons more people wordlwide fighting it, and now I’m one of them. What about you?