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Google search for “P&G” on 19 January

Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

P&G

The controversy over Gillette’s recent “toxic masculinity” ad campaign has got people talking and thinking. If Proctor & Gamble, which owns Gillette, wishes to use some of the enormous profits it makes on every razor and blade to re-educate un-woke men on how to behave, that’s its business, but not everyone has to fund the venture.


When snowfalls were a thing of the past

Sunday, 13 January, 2019

On Friday, the BBC reported: “Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill.” The item was replete with images and video of the horror. If we are to believe the media now, snow is very much a thing of the present, but back in March 2000, the same industry was telling us a very different story: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” That’s what The Independent declared in a piece authored by one Charles Onians.

Why is there no link to the story? Because The Independnt removed it from its website due to the persistent gaiety that resulted from this classic example of #FakeNews. Still, the internet never forgets and here’s a PDF (2.78MB) of the infamous prediction. And what became of Charles Onians? Why, he’s the Rome correspondent @AFP. Which proves once more that there’s no business like snow business, eh?

Snow scam

Meanwhile, from our own correspondent in Munich, snow lodging on tables.

Snow in Munich 2019


Man of the Year 2018

Sunday, 30 December, 2018

Will future historians of the culture wars see it as the tipping point? You know, the moment when the balance shifted, when the tide ebbed? The combatants were University of Toronto professor of psychology Jordan Peterson and Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News presenter. What made the encounter so significant is that whenever Peterson said something, Newman restated what he purportedly had said to make it seem as if his positions were absurd and offensive. And the more Peterson explained his stances, rationally and calmly, the more Newman ratcheted up her rage and ignored what he was saying. Watch the whole thing.

Newman: Is gender equality a myth?

Peterson: I don’t know what you mean by the question. Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.

Newman: Is gender equality desirable?

Peterson: If it means equality of outcome then it is almost certainly undesirable. That’s already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them to do it of their own accord. It’s 20 to 1 female nurses to male, something like that. And approximately the same male engineers to female engineers. That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences––you can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure, and tyranny, but if you leave men and women to make their own choices you will not get equal outcomes.

Newman: So you’re saying that anyone who believes in equality, whether you call them feminists or whatever you want to call them, should basically give up because it ain’t going to happen.

Peterson: Only if they’re aiming at equality of outcome.

Newman: So you’re saying give people equality of opportunity, that’s fine.

Peterson: It’s not only fine, it’s eminently desirable for everyone, for individuals as well as societies.

Newman: But still women aren’t going to make it. That’s what you’re really saying.

Except, of course, that’s not what he’s “really saying.” In the end, Jordan Peterson, our Man of the Year, dispatched Cathy Newman with the help of lobsters.


The Bezosian Scale

Monday, 8 October, 2018

What is it? Well, the first thing to note is that the Washington Post’s publishing platform, Arc, currently powers the top-three news and information sites in France, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and Spain. Last month, Arc signed up both The Dallas Morning News and the publisher of El País, PRISA Noticias, as customers. By the end of the first quarter next year, Arc “will power over 400 websites and serve over 10 billion page views per month,” says Shailesh Prakash, Chief Information Officer for the WaPo. By the way, his Twitter bio says he’s “Planning the plan that will plan the plan…”

And the Bezosian Scale? It’s a measure for mapping the dimensions of Arc’s global expansion writes Ken Doctor at Nieman Lab. The role model is the enormously powerful and profitable Amazon Web Services (AWS). According, to Doctor, Arc wants to head down the path prepared by AWS: a technology stack built for internal use and then licensed to the world.

First, we take Washington and then we ramp up and take the world, plots Jeff Bezos. That’s ambition on the Bezosian Scale.


Whatever happened to Seymour Hersh?

Thursday, 26 July, 2018

That’s the title of an article by Steve Bloomfield in the August issue of Prospect Magazine. The subtitle chronicles a career that’s ending in ignominy: “The strange story of how a legendary investigative journalist came to echo Assad’s propaganda.”

Hersh became a journalistic icon in 1968 when his report of a massacre of Vietnamese civilians by US troops in the village of My Lai, which he filed for Dispatch News Service, was picked up by newspapers worldwide. He was hired by the New York Times and later began a lengthy relationship with the New Yorker magazine. That arrangement came to an end in 2012 when the editor, David Remnick, rejected a conspiratorial piece about the death of Osama bin Laden. But Hersh found willing believers at the London Review of Books, for a while, but they soon tired of his unsourced fantasies.

He found one final outlet for his fabrications before the total descent into shame and the platform was provided by the once-respected German newspaper, Die Welt. What it headlined as “Trump’s Red Line” was rubbished quickly and decisively, however, by Belling Cat. Summing up the Hershian ravings about the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack, Steve Bloomfield notes in his Prospect article: “Chemical weapons experts say this is impossible.”

Shame then, on Die Welt, the London Review of Books and the New Yorker for offering so much space to a crackpot who is now being treated as a hero by RT, which Bloomfield calls “the Kremlin-funded news channel that slavishly echoes the Russian government’s line on Syria (and, indeed, everything else).”

The decline and fall of a media star is aptly summed up in two letters: RT.


Bourdain on Trump voters

Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

The death by suicide last month of the American chef Anthony Bourdain shocked not just the world of cuisine. Bourdain was a celebrity: he was a TV star, a popular author, sexy, successful and wealthy. But what’s the point of fame if the famous can no longer endure it was the question that did the rounds once the cause of death became known.

Maria Bustillos interviewed Anthony Bourdain earlier this year and their lengthy conversation has done a lot to raise the profile of her new magazine, Popula. There’s a lot to take away from Bourdain Confidential. Here’s a snippet:

“You know, I just spent about ten days in West Virginia. I like them. I liked the Trump voters. They say grace every meal. Coal is gone.

I love them. And anybody who cannot understand how important even the promise of a slight increase in the number of coal jobs is, how important that is to their cellular tissue, their self-image, everything. How grotesque it is, for people to bigfoot in and say we’re all going to move you into solar, and why can’t you people… No!

The contempt and the ridicule which has been heaped on places like West Virginia, which is the heart, demographically, of enemy territory, as far as New York liberals like us are concerned. If we cannot… This is something we fucked up in the Sixties. We were fighting against cops and construction workers… cops and construction workers were exactly who we fucking needed! They were the first to die, in Vietnam. We weren’t gonna!”

Anthony Bourdain


Great get from The Sun

Friday, 13 July, 2018

It’s the lead story on Bloomberg, the BBC, Le Monde, Der Spiegel and lots of other global media outlets. It’s President Donald Trump’s “world exclusive” interview with Tom Newton Dunn of The Sun. This is classic tabloid stuff filled with one-sentence paragraphs that snap, crackle and pop:

In an extraordinary intervention timed to coincide with his UK visit, Mr Trump said Theresa May ignored his advice by opting for a soft Brexit strategy.

And he warned her any attempts to maintain close ties with the EU would make a lucrative US trade deal very unlikely.

Mr Trump said: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal.”

The Sun


McLuhan’s prediction of World War III was spot on

Saturday, 30 June, 2018

1970. What a year: The Beatles released their 12th and final album, Let It Be; Brazil defeated Italy 4–1 to win the World Cup in Mexico; Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature; Hafez al-Assad seized power in Syria; Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin died; Ted Cruz and Rachel Weisz were born, and the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City was topped out at 1,368 feet (417 metres), making it the tallest building in the world.

And Marshall McLuhan’s Culture Is Our Business was published in 1970. Due to the adventurous layout of the book, this collection of quotes and ideas met with mixed reviews and it has dated considerably since publication, but the gems still shine:

“Privacy invasion is now one of biggest knowledge industries.” (page 24)

“World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” (page 88)

Who, in 1970, anticipated the business models of Facebook and Google? Who in 1970 would have imagined a world of data thieves like Snowden, disinformation channels like Russia Today, charlatans like Assange, battlefields like Twitter and the cyberspace battlegrounds of World War III…? Only one person did and he was Marshall McLuhan. The Canadian philosopher, professor of English literature, cultural critic and communications theorist coined the expression “the medium is the message” and his work is rightly regarded as a cornerstone of media theory study.

Culture Is Our Business


What did Rob Cox tweet and delete?

Friday, 29 June, 2018

Here’s the statement issued last night by Steve Adler, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters:

“Earlier this evening, Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox tweeted about the shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. He has since deleted the tweet and apologized. Mr. Cox’s actions were inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias. We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.”

So what did Rob Cox say following news of the fatal shootings at the Capital Gazette by Jarrod Ramos, who had sued the paper for defamation six years ago and lost his case in 2015? Here is what Cox tweeted and later deleted:

This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people. Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul.

At least four people killed in Maryland newspaper shooting: reports https://t.co/BXNOhj5BDx

— Rob Cox (@rob1cox) June 28, 2018

Cox is, clearly biased and deranged. Credit due to Steve Adler for responding promptly.


TIME: The fake but accurate magazine

Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Here’s the explainer: “The original version of this story misstated what happened to the girl in the photo after she taken from the scene. The girl was not carried away screaming by U.S. Border Patrol agents; her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together.”

That’s the correction TIME Magazine added to this week’s controversial anti-Trump cover story:

Headline: “‘All I Wanted to Do Was Pick Her Up.’ How a Photographer at the U.S.-Mexico Border Made an Image America Could Not Ignore”

Sub-head: “‘This one was tough for me. As soon as it was over, they were put into a van. I had to stop and take deep breaths,” Getty photographer John Moore said'”

It should be a big story when TIME Photoshops, misleads and the apologizes, but journalism isn’t what it used to be and the TIME has adopted a new low standard: fake but accurate.

TIME


They were against McCain before they were for him

Sunday, 13 May, 2018 0 Comments

Suddenly, the gallant old naval pilot, John McCain, is a Hero of The Left. This might have to do with a surge in leftist support for McCain’s belief in the importance of the warrior to the defence of freedom and the West, or it may be connected to McCain’s opposition to many of President Trump’s policies. The reader must decide.

But there’s more to this new wave of admiration for the man who fought Hanoi Jane Fonda’s bestie, Ho Chi Minh, than meets the eye. If we scroll back to late 2008, when John McCain was running against Barack Obama for the presidency of the USA, we can learn a lot from how the media apparatus treated him then. Consider the role of that bastion of liberal ideals, The Atlantic. Its October 2008 cover story was titled “Why War is His Answer – Inside the Mind of John McCain” and the author was one Jeffrey Goldberg, who went to become an Obama administration sycophant for eight years. But a picture is worth more than ten thousand of Goldberg’s words so the snapper hired to do the (hit) job on McCain was a famous “#Resistance” operative named Jill Greenberg. Here’s how she deployed her skills to take the photo that helped sink the McCain campaign:

When The Atlantic called Jill Greenberg, a committed Democrat, to shoot a portrait of John McCain for its October cover, she rubbed her hands with glee…

After getting that shot, Greenberg asked McCain to “please come over here” for one more set-up before the 15-minute shoot was over. There, she had a beauty dish with a modeling light set up. “That’s what he thought he was being lit by,” Greenberg says. “But that wasn’t firing.”

What was firing was a strobe positioned below him, which cast the horror movie shadows across his face and on the wall right behind him. “He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg says. And his handlers didn’t seem to notice it either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she adds.

So, when you hear any of this lot eulogising John McCain, reach for the vomit bag.

John McCain