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Author Topic: Where all those rules against possibly upsetting people will soon lead all of us  (Read 2677 times)

40hz

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From the good folks over at Propnomicon:

Quote
The Curious Case of Mr. Li
It's not the best alien gaff ever made, but I don't think it's creator deserved to go to jail.
[/i]

    "Shortly after he proudly posted photographs of his alien on the internet, he was arrested by the police for five days for "fabrications" that "disturbed the public order".

    Mr Li was forced to admit that he had indeed sought to use his model, held together with chicken wire and glue, to mislead his fellow Chinese about the existence of celestial creatures."

chinese alien gaff.jpg

It boggles the mind this was worthy of official attention. Gaffs, and gaff based hoaxes in particular, have a long and proud history around the world. Alien bodies are a huge part of the UFO subculture, challenged only by the Bigfoot fans in terms of the sheer number of "specimens" that pop up.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 07:50:28 PM by 40hz »

Tinman57

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  Everyone knows that the "Grey's" have very thin lips and a small mouth, this guy ain't foolin' no one!   :P

  But, that's about where it's heading in the U.S. too.  We're already dabbling in public "Thought Machines" that apparently can tell if your up to no good.  I read about that over 10 years ago, they probably have it perfected by now.  Next, The Dream Police, and I'm not talking about Cheap Trick either.....

40hz

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The ultimate manifestation will be when law enforcement works the way it did in the Max Headroom series.


In the Max Headroom media network-controlled future, law enforcement is heavily based on electronic surveillance,  signal intelligence (i.e. wire and data taps), statistical probability and profiling.

If your profile matched you could be arrested and punished for committing a crime (no more trials or evidence needed in that future scenario) even if you were not the person who committed it. Because your profile had sufficient correlation to establish you were the type that "likely would" commit such a crime - or one very similar - if given sufficient time.

It's the old "judge them for who they are - not for what they do" mindset so popular with religious zealots, petty tyrants, and political opportunists throughout human history. Max Headroom just dressed it out in shiny new Info Age apparel.
 8)

app103

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Next, The Dream Police, and I'm not talking about Cheap Trick either.....

George Orr, save us.

Stoic Joker

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The Dream Police, and I'm not talking about Cheap Trick either.....

GGaaaaa! ...Does anybody else have that song stuck in their head now?

40hz

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^Oh what the heck. At least it's a good song. ;D :P

Better than having to deal with these guys:

thoughtpolice.jpg
 8)

Stoic Joker

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Where the hell do you find these graphics?

...And yes, I like Cheap Trick. Mommy's alright...  :Thmbsup:

40hz

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Where the hell do you find these graphics?

Here and there, mostly up on the web, just like everyone else. ;D

I save them in folders by topic for use as needed.

If you like that one, you'll like this one even more:

It's big - so out of courtesy to smartphones
1141cbCOMIC-attention-journalists.jpgWhere all those rules against possibly upsetting people will soon lead all of us


 :P

TaoPhoenix

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Where the hell do you find these graphics?

Once they began succeeding demonizing porn, the Internet became For Graphics!
;D


IainB

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Same issues, different country. Rowan Atkinson pretty much summed it up in his speech at the UK's Reform Section 5 Parliamentary reception. He quoted President Obama too. (Published 18 Oct 2012.)



Transcript:
Spoiler
Quote
Source: http://www.youtube.c.../watch?v=gciegyiLYtY
My starting point when it comes to the consideration of any issue relating to free speech is my passionate belief that the second most precious thing in life is the right to express yourself freely.
The most precious thing in life, I think, is food in your mouth, and the third most precious is the roof over your head.
But a fixture for me in the number two slot is free expression, just below the need to sustain life itself.
That is because I have enjoyed free expression in this country all my professional life and fully expect to continue to do so.

Personally I suspect it highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile.
So my concerns are less for myself and more for those more vulnerable because of their lower profile, like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse "gay", or the teenager arrested for calling the church of scientology a cult, or the cafe owner arrested for displaying passages from the bible on a TV screen.
When I heard of some of these more ludicrous offenses and charges, I remembered that I had been here before in a fictional context.

I once did a show called "Not The Nine O'clock News", some years ago, and we did a sketch where Griff Rhys Jones played constable Savage, a manifestly racist police officer, to whom I as his station commander is giving a dressing-down for arresting a black man on a whole string of ridiculous trumped-up and ludicrous charges.
The charges for which constable Savage arrested Mr.  Winston Kodogo of fifty-five Mercer Road were these:
"walking on the cracks in the pavement; walking in a loud shirt in a built-up area during the hours of darkness;" and one of my favourites "walking around all over the place."
He was also arrested for "urinating in a public convenience and looking at me in a funny way".

Who would've thought that we would end up with a law that would allow life to imitate art so exactly?
I read somewhere a defender of the status quo claiming that the fact that the gay horse case was dropped after the arrested man refused to pay the fine, and that the scientology case was also dropped at some point during the court process was proof that the law was working well, ignoring the fact that the only reason these cases were dropped was because of the publicity that they had attracted.
The police sensed that ridicule was just around the corner, and withdrew their actions.
But what about the thousands of other cases that did not enjoy the oxygen of publicity, that weren't quite ludicrous enough to attract media attention?
Even for those actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, Questioned, taken to court, and then released.

You know that isn't the law working properly.
That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have, as Lord Deere says, the chilling effect on free expression and free protest.
Parliament's joint committee on human rights summarized, as you may know, this whole issue very well by saying:
Quote
"While arresting a protester for using threatening or abusive speech may, depending on the circumstances be a proportionate response, we do not think that language or behaviour that is mainly insulting should ever be criminalized in this way."

The clear problem with the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such.
Criticism is easily construed as insult by certain parties, ridicule easily construed as insult, sarcasm, unfavourable comparison, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy can be interpreted as insult, and because so many things can be interpreted as insult, it is hardly surprising that so many things have been, as the examples I talked about earlier show.

Although the law under discussion has been on the statute book for over twenty-five years, it is indicative of a culture that has taken hold of the programs of successive governments that with the reasonable and well-intentioned ambition to contain obnoxious elements in society, has created a society of an extraordinarily authoritarian and controlling nature That is what you might call the new intolerance, a new but intense desire to gag uncomfortable voices of dissent.

"I am not intolerant" say many people - say many, softly-spoken highly-educated, liberal-minded people - "I am only intolerant of intolerance", and people tend to nod sagely and say "Oh yes, wise words, wise words", and yet if you think about this supposedly inarguable statement for longer than five seconds, you realize that all that is advocating is the replacement of one kind of intolerance with another, which to me doesn't represent any kind of progressive at all.

Underlying prejudices, injustices or resentments are not addressed by arresting people.
They are addressed by the issues being aired, argued and dealt with, preferably outside the legal process.
For me, the best way to increase society's resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it.
As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.
We need to build our immunity to taking offence, so that we can deal with the issues that perfectly justified criticism can raise.
Our priority should be to deal with the message, not the messenger.

As president Obama said in an address to the United Nations only a month or so ago,
Quote
"Laudable efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics or oppress minorities.
The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech."

And that's the essence of my thesis - more speech.
If we want a robust society, we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult, or to offend.
and as - even if - as Lord Deere says, you know, the freedom to be inoffensive is no freedom at all.

The repeal of this word in this clause will be only a small step, but it will I hope be a critical one in what should be a longer term project to pause, and slowly rewind the creeping culture of censoriousness.
It is a small skirmish in the battle, in my opinion, to deal with what Sir Salmon Rushdie refers to as "the outrage industry".
Self-appointed arbiters of the public good, encouraging media-stoked outrage to which the police feel under terrible pressure to react.
A newspaper rings up Scotland Yard.  Someone has said something slightly insulting on twitter about someone who we think a national treasure.
What are you going to do about it?
The police panic and they scrabble around and then grasp the most inappropriate lifeline of all, section five of the Public Order Act, that thing where you can arrest anybody for saying anything that might be construed by anyone else as insulting.
You know they don't seem to need a real victim, they need only to make the judgment that somebody could have been offended if they had heard or read what has been said.
The most ludicrous degrees of latitude.

The storms that surround twitter and facebook comment have raised some fascinating issues about free speech which we haven't really yet come to terms with.
Firstly, that we all have to take responsibility for what we say - which is quite a good lesson to learn - but secondly, we've learnt how appallingly prickly and intolerant society has become of even the mildest adverse comment.
The law should not be aiding and abetting this new intolerance.
Free speech can only suffer if the law prevents us from dealing with its consequences.
I offer my wholehearted support to the reform section five campaign.
Thank you very much.
(Applause.)

Previously posted to: Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates



« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 06:29:21 AM by IainB, Reason: Added references. »

app103

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You can only be offended if you choose to be. Choose wisely.  ;)