Local Writer Genuinely Changes Mind Based on Abusive Internet Comments

This week local man John Stevensonson penned a marginally opinionated, pseudo-intellectual think-piece on the film American Sniper, which has been nominated for several Academy Awards. Stevensonson, 54, takes a tiny amount of joy publishing the occasional articles and movie reviews to his own internet blog as well as submitting, and every now and then, deriving some limited pride from when his articles feature on local content-mills like Buzzfeed and Sploid. He rarely gets paid for these endeavours, but simply enjoys the act of writing and feels as though these clearly marginal achievements are enough to buffer the inevitable melancholic that comes with confronting one's own mortality. 

This week was like any other for Stevensonson, except for the fact that he made the rather obvious assertion that perhaps American Sniper was a bit on the nose for his liking. In between shifts of his dead-end paper factory administration job he wrote "It appears as though it was intended as an anti-war film, but neglected some of the subtlety and directorial finesse of Hurt Locker, Deer Hunter or others films in this genre."

The response was instantaneous,John Stevensonson was inundated at his mind-numbing job with messages of hate and vitriol about his commentary about this blockbuster, star-studded, Oscar-nominated war film. Comments ranging from the classic "You suck," to "You hate our veterans," to your average, run of the mill death-threats left Stevensonson extremely confused.

It was then he realised, he did in fact, suck.

"It just occurred to me at that point that I am fucking idiot!" He exclaimed, breathless from his Archemedies-in-the-bathtub-esque revelation. "I  do in fact hate our troops and I am a turd,  I had no idea. If it weren't for those abusive internet comments I would've been left in the dark. I'm really quite grateful."

In response, Stevensonson will be walking a mile in a sniper's shoes, fucking himself and then dying, according to the advice of his internet compatriots. "It really is a revelation for me," John explained, tearing up. "I can't imagine what'd I'd be doing otherwise. Just living my life and not hurting anyone with my optionally-viewable opinions. It's unthinkable."

This article was written, on purpose, by Jorge Tsipos. Follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to his free weekly podcast Unnatural Selection if you like. 

183: Bro, Chill Out

Jorge Tsipos, Adam Direen and Tom Heath take another adventure into the absurd with another weekly episode of the Unnatural Selection Podcast. Every seven (or so, the details are extreemely sketchy) days the Unnatural Selection boys take it upon them selves to churn up a warm slew of news and current affairs goodness and they pour it into a blender for a solid fourty-five minutes and then re-gurgitate the comedy, info-tainment goodness into your warm, keen ears for your brain-joyment.

On today's episode we discuss:

- Jorge had to change his car battery. It was hard.

- Orlando Bloom punches world renowned douchewhistle Justin Bieber over Miranda Kerr or something. Probably.

- ISIS orders Iraqi women to undergo genital mutilation - for funs.

- What is the actual point of diplomatic intervention? But actually.

- California man fatally shoots pregnant woman in the back in self defence...

- Melbourne police are fining you for leaving your car unlocked because laws.

- Sex toy stuck in a woman's vagina for 10 years.

- Joseph Wood's excecution in Arizona lasted nearly two hours. The punishment being that he had to live in Arizona for an additional two hours.

-Man accidentially appears naked in his real estate listing

- Lonely guy turns his showerhead into the creepiest girlfriend you've ever seen.

- Michelle Bachmann is a homophobic ass

- Another mum arrested for sending her kid to the park

- Unemployed people might have to apply for 40 jobs a month in this fabulous new Liberal Party fantasy land.

- Russian Geko sex satellite 'not responding' 

And those are all the things we've discussed, with absolutely no exceptions whatsoever.  

Visit the Unnatural Selection website and click on things!

Twitter: @JorgeTsipos @Tom_Heath1 @UnnaturalShow

This Week Is Dumb

This week is a dumb week. There is so much horrible shit happening right now that the main concern is how to categorise which one is worse and how to manage the bum-hurt expectations of the people who's tragedy is, momentarily, at the bottom of the list.

But my real question is: why do we care?

Seriously. 

Horrible shit happens all the time. It's an unfortunate fact of the human condition: we suffer and die. It's the reason Buddhism has been so successful. Existence is suffering. People die on the roads. People die in instances of domestic violence. People die on the high seas on the way to this country and we as a country have voted to stop giving a fuck. What is different about the deaths of asylum seekers versus Australians in a plane that warrants so much media attention? Is it the fact that they're white? The fact that they come from cities and suburbs that we recognise? Is that it? They could be us?

Sure, maybe. But we could just as easily be an Indian refugee fleeing violence and poverty. It's just a result of who our parents where and where they were geographically when they chose to fuck. The notion that any human death is unworthy of attention is frankly wrong. I mourn the loss of those people on MH17 as much as I mourn the loss of someone who died of cancer or who died in a car accident. As I mourn every human life that passes - a brief candle between two infinite darknesses. 

I was going to mention the Israel/Pallestine conflict at this point but I'm not sure there's much point. I mean, we'll never really get to the heart of the matter. I mean, as brilliant and thoughtful and magnanimous and intelligent as I would naturally be when discussing the topic, the fundamental point is this: war serves only the warmongers. People are scared and when they're scared they give permission to the rich and powerful people that war benefits to do the things that they wanted to do all along.

Munitions are glorious industry. Mass-produceable. Single use. Expensive. Very profitable.The people of Gaza don't want Israel invading just as much as the people of Israel don't want to invade. It's a select few that have power (or have wrestled it away) that seem intent on getting people killed. People on both those sides just want to live a happy, prosperous life. Like literally everyone.

Same goes for the Ukraine/Russia conflict. Nobody would take it upon themselves to invade another country to try and get a meaningless piece of land on their own. It's something young idiots do at the behest of powerful, old men.

So that's where we're at and it's not getting better this week. This week is dumb.

For more dumb things listen to Jorge's podcast Unnatural Selection and follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos

182: 60FPS

Jorge Tsipos, Adam Direen and Tom Heath take another adventure into the absurd with another weekly episode of the Unnatural Selection Podcast. Every seven (or so, the details are extreemely sketchy) days the Unnatural Selection boys take it upon them selves to churn up a warm slew of news and current affairs goodness and they pour it into a blender for a solid fourty-five minutes and then re-gurgitate the comedy, info-tainment goodness into your warm, keen ears for your brain-joyment.

On today's episode we discuss:

- Australia's Jacqui Lambie wants a hubby with a big dong and now we know this for some reason.

- Reddit and porn that's in 60 frames per second (It's meant to look more 'real' but Jorge is not convinced).

- A Florida couple fucks on the beach... in front of kids and stuff.

- Sexual Spreadsheets and the things they really mean.

- China is a place.

- China, now that we've established its existence, has had a man die of the plague. The bubonic plague. But actually. In 2014.

- We erradicated smallpox - should we kill all the samples and stuff?

- AIDS laws to change in Victoria.

And those are all the things we've discussed, with absolutely no exceptions whatsoever.  

Visit the Unnatural Selection website and click on things!

Twitter: @JorgeTsipos @Tom_Heath1 @UnnaturalShow

181: Tile

LISTEN

Jorge Tsipos, Adam Direen and Tom Heath take another adventure into the absurd with another weekly episode of the Unnatural Selection Podcast. Every seven (or so, the details are extreemely sketchy) days the Unnatural Selection boys take it upon them selves to churn up a warm slew of news and current affairs goodness and they pour it into a blender for a solid fourty-five minutes and then re-gurgitate the comedy, info-tainment goodness into your warm, keen ears for your brain-joyment.

On today's episode we discuss:

- Australia actually repeals its carbon tax

- Israel launches ground forces into Gaza and everything's going to go great for everyone

- Malaysian Arlines flight MH17 shot out of the sky is today's visual signifyer (everything's not awesome)

- Manuel Noriega (the murdering dictator) is suing activision for defamation of character... But actually.

- Stupid Republicans are stupid

- Gates to hell open in Siberia

- Warren Buffet gives $2.1 billion to the Gates foundation, securing his place as most awesome dude ever.

- A tokoyo artist has been arrested for distributing a 3D printable version of her vagina. Japan is weird. 

- A journalist publishes his twitter password and everyone loses their freaking minds

- Uber X has been stopped in Melbourne and it's all bullshit

- Comcast might be the worst company in the world

And those are all the things we've discussed, with absolutely no exceptions whatsoever. 

Go to the Unnatural Selection website and click on things.

@JorgeTsipos @Tom_Heath1 @UnnaturalShow

The Most Important Thing Left Out of the Budget Discussion

There's been a lot of hoop-lah and ballyhoo and other old-timey words that indicate a ruckus over the most recent budget announced by the Liberal government. It's mostly warrented and as far as I'm concerned I think most of those conservative hypocrites can fuck themselves all to death - but there is one thing that bothers me more than anything. Aside from all the cuts to hospitals and the cuts to essentially everything that is a thing, what really grinds my gears is the assault that's being mounted on the education system.

And before I get stuck in, stop focusing on Tony Abbott's 'not-bad-looking-daugher' getting a scholarship. It's frankly none of our business. I could give a fuck. Anyone who's well connected can do that. Of all the sins this government has committed that's not even close to the most grave.

Not bad.

Not bad.

The thing that does bother me about this education debate is that education is being framed in a far too reductive way; simply in turns of 'Return on Investment' (or ROI). Far too often I've heard Christopher Pyne talking about how the 60% of Australian Battler's are funding the education costs of someone going to uni and that's not fair. Here's a newsflash: that's what government is for.

I may not like the School Chaplaincy Program (and just to be clear, I don't, it's dumb) but my tax dollars, in part, go to fund it anyway. That's the point of living in a democracy. That's the social contract to which we have all agreed. I sacrifice a part of my salary every week and in turn I have roads and hospitals and schools and stuff that are important for running a damn society. I may not agree how every single dollar is spent ($24bn on new jets we don't need, for example) but that's the agreement I've made. 

I know you want me...

I know you want me...

It's not right (or frankly fair) for me to turn around and say 'Hey, I don't have a vagina, so why are my tax dollars going to pap smears or breast scans?' Why? I don't personally have this issue, so why should I help in that specific regard? Because it's a society, you twat. You have something that costs money that nobody else has. If you walk to work there is still part of your pay check that is going to roads. If you are a woman, you are in part, paying for some old guy to get his prostate removed. That's what being a society is. We ALL contribute and we do our best to look after EVERYONE. Allegedly. 

It's not good enough to say, 'Oh well, I got my education, fuck youse.' That's not good enough. Education, in particular, is something that benefits everyone. Literally. If you go to university you are statistically likely to earn 8% more for the rest of your life for every year you spend in tertiary education. That extra money that you earn, guess what, gets taxed and you more than pay for your education over the course of your life. Literally everyone wins. 

http://degreesearch.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bright_outlook_infographic2.gif

http://degreesearch.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/bright_outlook_infographic2.gif

Now forget all that. It's true, but it's very reductive. The fact is, having a highly educated society is just good. It's good to have. When did we forget this? Getting further education (any education) means you are generally a more open, thoughtful and considerate person than you otherwise would have been. Education makes you more employable and with a highly educated society we are more likely to elect good politicians and make quality decisions. Education is the primary imperative of any society that wants to be a world leader in anything. Everyone should have the option to get further education if they want it.

If you want to encourage people to build businesses and tech startups and every other single job of the future, you need one thing: smart people that have specialised skills. Skills that they likely got from Universities that they could afford. By locking a single person out of this system we could be dooming the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg from ever starting in the first place. Just because he started poor.

Where'd I go? Oh right, Harvard. Cause I could afford it.

Where'd I go? Oh right, Harvard. Cause I could afford it.

Sure, you can put all your University fees on a government loan (at up to 6% interest now - which is double what I get from my 'high-interest savings account') but if the cost of your degree from a prestigious University ends up doubling or tripling, you might think twice about getting it in the first place. Say you drop-out or you never earn enough money to begin paying it back. Mazeltov! You now have tens of thousands of dollars (maybe over a hundred thousand dollars) worth of debt, climbing at a potential rate twice that of inflation and wage increases. Good luck ever trying to get a home loan with that red mark against your name. No, seriously, good luck.

All this does is lock people into cycles of poverty. If all you can ever do is afford a second rate degree that nobody takes seriously, you will always remain second rate. You will never be able to compete with someone who paid $200,000 for a degree from the new 'Ivy League' that will form in Australia. Also, they may not go ahead an get that Art's Degree that they really want, but realistically provides fewer job opportunities. Yay for flushing culture down the drain!

There's some stuff about farms, but the rest is relevant. 

There's some stuff about farms, but the rest is relevant. 

I foolishly believe that if someone is willing to learn and work hard, they should be afforded the same opportunity to get a degree that some rich kid can. Christopher Pyne says this deregulation of fees will encourage 'competition' because as we all know the most prestigious universities like Harvard and Yale always have to compete to get people to enter their doors. It's so hard! WHY CAN'T WE GET ANY STUDENTS?? He reckons it'll drive prices down. We'll see.

So, in summery, the most important thing that's been left out of the budget discussion is this: Education has so many more, wide-reaching benefits to all of society than just the ROI. Can someone please start talking about them?

To see the product of Jorge's Sandstone University education, follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to the incredibly intelligent podcast Unnatural Selection.

Why 'Balance' is Bias In the News

I know I have a go at journalists a lot on this thing - and this entry will be no different. But I did want to take a second to reflect on how much I do really admire some journalists. Particularly those on Slate and Salon and other publications of that nature. There are really very many people out there that do the real work on reporting on real issues in the public interest. Things that are not always fun to hear and will never get a lot of clickthroughs (unless the world sprouts a conscience for a moment and there's a trending hashtag) but they write them anyway. Because for the people that are listening, it is important. No matter how much you might say to the contrary, all the information you get (at some point or another) probably came from a journalist - and that is worth acknowledging. Some journalists write and present thoughtful, well researched content that is important for people to know. Some.

Now, in particular I want to address some of the not-so-good journalists out there with his comment: stop presenting unbalanced issues as balanced. The typical model for a news network - to avoid any personal responsibility for controversy - is to get one person for the topic and one person against. As though it were an Oxford Style Debate in order to get to the bottom of a complex and layered issue. The fact is that some issues are not complex and layered and the scientific consensus is in. Some things do not require debate because they are settled.

For example, global warming debates have been going on for literally decades now. Always on a news network there's a famous scientist and some shit-head climate change skeptic that basically finds new and fabulous ways of saying 'The science isn't in yet' over and over and over. The onus seems to be on the scientist to 'convince' the professional skeptic of the truth - something that would certainly be a conflict of interest for the professional talk-show skeptic. Then after watching this charade for precisely enough time to go to commercial again, the host sits back and says 'Well, thanks for coming in fellas. I guess we'll never solve it. We'll be right back after the break.' Everyone goes their separate ways and nothing is solved.

For the viewer, they're left with the impression that those two points of view are somehow equal - because they are presented as such. The untrained eye of the viewer reads that both the for and against positions are evenly matched - when the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Literally 97% of climate change papers that take a view on the topic, agree that man made climate change is real. There is a consensus - there is no debate left.

When 77% of Americans believe in angels (real-life fucking angels with wings and shit) and half of Americans aren't sure about this medicine thing, there are probably more pressing things the public needs to be educated on, but my (and Jon Oliver's) response to this is: who gives a shit?

John Oliver hosts a mathematically representative climate change debate, with the help of special guest Bill Nye the Science Guy, of course.

Like Neil Degrasse Tyson says "They brilliant thing about science is it exists whether you believe in it or not." Who cares whether these people agree or not? Apparently a quarter of people are still skeptical about man-made climate change. As if their opinion makes a difference. Some people believe that there are lizards running the government - are we going to wait to convince them there aren't before we have elections? No, we get on with it. Things are at stake.

More doctors have issues believing in cancer than scientists who deny climate change so it's time the news sacked up and stopped presenting issues as 'balanced' when they're complete bullshit. You job is to be a presenter of the facts, do some research, find the facts and stand behind them. Don't make Bill Nye do all the heavy lifting for you so you can retain some plausible deniability. You're a journalist, do journalism.

If we wait for 100% consensus from the public before we act we'll be waiting for an awful long time. You'll never get 100% consensus on anything - some people are stupid and they have stupid opinions. Not 100% of people are going to do the research. Not 100% of people are rational, sane, logical, thoughtful people. Some people are fuckwits and will always be fuckwits that have fuckwit opinions. Some people thought Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton and Niki Minaj could all act and cast them in a fucking movie. Some people are just wrong about things. If you have a poll 'Are good things good?' you will still not get a 100% consensus on that. Move on. The only debate left about climate change is: what should we do about it?

Do not present things that are not equal, equally. Do not hide between the idea of 'balance' because all it is encouraging is bias. Get it together journalism.

To follow all of Jorge's incredibly rational and balanced commentary, follow him on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to his very objective podcast Unnatural Selection with your ears.

 

Why Most News You See Isn't Actually News

I would argue that news is something which falls under the classic notion of a 19th century-mustacioed-man-working-at-a-paper-of-record-kind-of-thing. What does news have to be? It is objective. It is, by definition, new. It is something that is important and part of the public interest. The geo-political struggle in Ukraine and Syria, that's a story. A rich, old, white man said something racist  in his house, that's not a story. Some billionaires got into a punch on, that is not news. It's fun. It's entertaining. It's stupid. It is many things. But it is not news.

Journalists have twitter accounts. This was a good idea for about 30 seconds. People thought "Oh, that's great, I can follow my favorite journalist". And then they tweeted. And kept tweeting. And kept tweeting after that. In a bid to capture clickthroughs and likes and retweets and shares journalists and reputable news sites began to tweet. Great. All the stuff you need, right when you need it, right? Wrong. 

It's... it's still made of coffee, right?

It's... it's still made of coffee, right?

All it means is that 'journalists' or 'content aggregators' as I like to call them, simply have to bow down before the alter of content creation and the large bull-god effigy that is the hungry mouth of the internet and keep updating. Even if there's no news. Just keep updating. Keep shoveling shit into the bottomless pit. Keep promoting 'engagement' at whatever the cost - because god help us if we're ever bored for a minute. What's that? Kim Kardashian's ass? Don't mind if I do...

This is what I call the CNN effect. The 24 hour news cycle. The constant need for content - the newest, freshest content, regardless of what the content contains. As though in some sort of Orwellian twist the word means exactly the opposite of what it suggests. As most expertly evidenced by CNN and their myriad of reporters on street corners bring you the latest news on nothing in particular. Or their 'reporting' of the Malaysia Airlines incident which they handled with both charm and tact...

The internet is also to blame. Just generally. I don't hate the internet, I love it. But it has kind of dismantled traditional media models. In the days of newspapers there was an economic model that still allowed for integrity. Sure, you might not be the number one paper, but you knew you were doing gods work for queen and country and damn it all to hell if anyone should say otherwise. Being the second most rich and powerful man is still alright.

But now news papers aren't turning a profit, and even if they were, the emphasis now is not - nor can it really be, unless independently funded - about deep, penetrating journalism. The economic model just isn't there. Nobody expects people to do this stuff for free. In their own time. It's not logical. If you can't make a living being a journalist or a photographer, you will be something else. Simple as that. It's not evil. It's not a conspiracy from the government to keep us stupid (though I'm sure they're positively gleeful at the prospect) but it's just a matter of incentives. The incentives to do good, quality journalism aren't there.

Most importantly it isn't what people want. Sure, it's what they need but people oh so rarely ever have what they need over what they want. That's why there's an obesity epidemic and Katy Perry continually tops the charts over classical music and kale and goji berry salads. What gets eyes (and importantly advertisers) are clickthroughs. Engagement. Social. Yadda yadda yadda.

So naturally, if you're someone wanting to make a buck (and I don't blame you if you do) what are you thinking? Give the public what they want. In spades. Cat videos and pictures of food and Kardashians, because as much as we all like to say we care about Vladimir Putin restarting the Cold War; what we really (secretly) want to see is some tits. And get a rageboner at them. 

If you're competing for eyes, you are going to be more sensational. You're going to have eye catching info-graphics and headlines. Headlines which are so sensational that they may not actually have anything to do with what the content of the article/video is. It's just about re-framing mediocre content in order to capitalize on that click through. It doesn't matter if 'after 40 seconds you will have an epiphany' or not. It's too late. They've already won. They got that clickthrough and the few cents it bought them and fuck you for caring. Have you ever finished a 3 minute clip from 'Ellen' and thought 'Wait. Why did I watch that, again?' This is why.

Because there is a whole bunch of stuff that we think is news that isn't news. If it's on Facebook, it's probably not news. If it doesn't come from a reputable website, it's probably not news. If it's claiming something that couldn't possibly be true, it's almost definitely not news. And if it claims to solve a problem for you for 'one low, low price' I can almost guarantee that's not news. By appealing to your curiosity and your constant thirst for 'newness' they end up building empires of 'information' on sand.

But there is a way to combat this. Rob them of the eyes they so richly crave and they become nothing. If everyone stops looking at Charlie Sheen and Justin Bieber they simply cease to exist. Refuse to engage with anything about them. On Facebook, in life. When you take away the eyes you take away the power - because they only have anything because we as a society chose to give it to them. Stop clicking on Buzzfeed and Upworthy and Gawker and instead click on Slate and Salon and MotherJones. Verify something someone has said - google it! We live in an age where we have the entire sum of human endeavor aggregated at our fingertips at a moments notice, there's no excuse for being stupid. 

So the next time something tells you it's news, ask yourself 'Is it?'

For things that are definitely not the news, follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter and listen to his podcast Unnatural Selection. Or don't. Maybe read a book instead.

Why Tony Loves Jets More Than People

There once was a boy named Tony. Tony was six and loved playing with his toy jets. His mum said to him all the time "Tony, stop playing with your toys and get ready for dinner!" but Tony refused. Tony would play with his toys day and night, refusing to let his sister, or anyone, touch them for fear that they would be spoilt. One day his mate Fat Joe came over and tried to take the toy jets away from Tony but he cried and cried and finally Fat Joe relented. Tony became so obsessed with his toys that he never paid attention to anything else; letting everything else in his room fall by the wayside. 

Tony's hot-wheels track soon fell into disuse and grew dusty and disused. Tony's internet was going to be super-duper fast and he was going to play games with his mates online, but since he found his darling jets he hadn't bothered to look at how to set it up. He just kept telling his mum it would be ready 'soon'.

Honestly!

Honestly!

His toy hospital and his toy economy went to ruins. Cobwebs and spiders ran amok in his tiny little model universe. Tony even started selling his model retirement village and medical centre in order to pay for more jets. He always wanted more and more jets. He wanted to line his walls with them. But when Fat Joe came asking for money for his own toy school Tony yelled and cried saying he had no money at all and that Fat Joe was being a meanie.

Fat Joe at an entire pie to console himself and got diabetes. 

I'm so empty inside

I'm so empty inside

Tony's mother screamed at him 'Tony, please, why do you need more jets? You already have dozens!' Tony petulantly cried 'The Chinese are coming momma! The Chinese!' and flung himself into his room. He was inconsolable. For days Jets and the Chinese were all Tony could talk about - meanwhile his room was getting messier and messier.

Eventually his parents and everyone he ever loved abandoned him - secure in the knowledge that nothing could pull him from his jets. And as his parents left their house, a foreclosure sign being stuck on after them, Tony was still in the house, playing with his jets.

Alone.

Follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter to read his other senseless nothings and listen to his podcast Unnatural Selection which is for jet-lovers only.

Why Game of Thrones Is Ruining The Internet

I love Game of Thrones. It's the best. It's got everything a young man wants in a TV show: A great story, lots of characters, political intrigue, boobs and the continual removal of people's heads. A spectacular thing. However, my love of this show has risen to a level where I actually care about the characters and the outcome - which places me at a significant risk.

Once you care about the characters and the story it's kind of hard to not let yourself be disappointed. Not by the show (always) but just by other people. We have an instantaneous culture now. Everyone gets everything immediately and then they share it immediately. You watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones and a big important thing happens and you think 'wow, all my friends are probably all amazed by it as well' and you take to social media and hashtag the shit outta that bitch. 

See, the problem is I don't care. I like to watch my show entirely independent of what YOU think of it. If I wanted your opinion I'd ask for it, and I certainly wouldn't do that, ON THE DAY IT CAME OUT! I wouldn't just ASSUME that everyone had seen it on OPENING NIGHT and then just start running my fucking mouth about it. I am a fucking classy gentleman after all. 

Back in the day where we had conversations and stuff, you actually had to be in the room with people. You actually had to see their faces and gauge responses based on body language. The polite thing to do would be to say 'Has everyone seen X?' if not everyone had, they could excuse themselves if they didn't want the thing spoiled. But now everyone just ejaculates whatever word-vomit they want into the ether and just expects everyone else to deal with it. It now becomes my problem if I don't want to see your shitty, dumb opinion about the latest episode of whatever. And the problem is you can't unread something

And you're not tricking anyone by being all cryptic and clever and shit. A veiled reference is still a reference and now you're collectively putting this thing in my head and I can't stop it. It ruined the last episode for me. I saw the big reveal coming - I can't believe Sansa was killed by that giraffe! Twice!

It's gotten to the stage that I know to not look at any social media on Monday nights in order to avoid GoT spoilers - which is especially hard for me because I am a #QandA hashtag fiend. It's ruinin' ma internets! And not that it's some big sacrifice for me to put my fucking phone down once in a while (#firstworldproblems and all that) I'd just like people to exercise the proper etiquette in regards to these matters. You can talk about New Girl all you like - I don't give two shits about that. But keep the Game of Thrones and True Detective spoilers to yourself for at least a week - if you could possibly manage it. I know you can't believe it - we all can't. Just let us find out at our own pace.

And to all those people who say read the book - fuck you. Have you seen those things? They're like 700 pages! I read, I just read other stuff that hasn't been show-ified yet. That's the point isn't it? So people like me who haven't read the books can get into it? Otherwise why bother making it into a series at all? Just read the book, it's always going to be better. Hard-ons.

Wow, I've just re-read that and it seems like I'm super pissed about all this. Just try not to spoil things on the internet for me if you could. Kthanksbai.

Follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter to see Jorge ruin all your favourite shows and listen to his free weekly podcast Unnatural Selection to have him ruin everything else for you too.

If This Then That

Automation is generally considered a good thing. The more you can automate something the more you have time for more pressing matters. If you can outsource something, and the cost of doing so is less than what it would cost you to do it (be that time or money) then the logical thing to do is to outsource that thing, right?

That being said, we increasingly have longer and longer work weeks. We pull more shifts for less money for more days. Though 'productivity' (an abigious metric if ever there was one) continues to rise and rise the amount of time we spend with our families goes down and down, along with our pay. Inequality and automation in a terrifying marriage. 

http://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/productivity-inequality-poverty/

http://thecurrentmoment.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/productivity-inequality-poverty/

 

Yet unemployment in some sectors has never been higher. We live in a post-industrial, post-manufacturing and soon-to be post-service world. Every time you walk through the automated check out you cost someone their job. And no, you can't stop that, but maybe you can slow it down a tad - because the people at the top don't suffer from automation, it's the people right at the bottom. 

I discovered an app recently called 'If This Then That' which is all about programming your phone to do ever more detailed customizable functions of your daily life. It can do almost anything. For example IF I take a selfie, THEN email it to my mum. Or whatever. It has a plethora of time-saving and life brightening applications and I got really stoked. Think of all the time this will save me at work! Every time I upload a photo to the work Instagram it now immediately uploads to the work Facebook and the work twitter. Brilliant!

And then I thought  'geez, I hope they don't invent a program that can do social media, or I'm out of a job.' And there's the central dilemma of the progression of technology and the life of the worker: the things that make our life easier now will take our livelyhood away one day. 

Sure, you could employ everyone to build a road. Have one dude mixing cement, another flattening the road, another redirecting traffic, another measuring stuff. 100% employment. Instead of ATM's have a dude with a bag of money. Instead of Amazon, go down to your local bookstore. You see what I'm getting at here. 

Amazon killed my father - and raped my mother!

Amazon killed my father - and raped my mother!

But if you follow that logic there is no progress.  We're back in the dark ages using our donkey to grind corn. Or whatever. Where would civilization be without the cement mixer or the 'stop' sign? So as the inevitable goose step of progress marches on I must have faith that new industries will be created to replace the old ones. Right? No one ever thought 'apps' would be a thing - now it's a multibillion dollar industry with thousands of jobs. 

The irony is I love automation, I think it's great. It saves me time. It's convenient. It makes my life better. But how long before I too become a victim of that, just like everyone else and become one of three things: a computer maintanence person, a software programmer or a content creator? Part of the big, giant machine entertaining itself through to oblivion.  How long until I become like one of those obese figures from Wall-e that just sits on his fat ass all day, entertaining himself? 

Guys, I was thinking we could go out... Guys? Guys..?

Guys, I was thinking we could go out... Guys? Guys..?

If this (automation) then that (the world ends). Something to think about. Or not. I don't know.

Follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter to get his automated humour and listen to his free weekly podcast Unnatural Selection.

 

 

Dear 'The Past'

Hey Guys,

It's Jorge from the future and I just want to give you guys a big thank you. I know you're wondering right now, is Australia, and dare I say it, the world, going in the right direction? Well, you'd be right to be concerned. Syria, Ukraine, Sovereign Debt and a total lack of faith in the systems and institutions and have kept us white people safe for so long are crumbling around you. The planet is clearly warming despite three scientists ever saying anything to the contrary and it's all your fault and there's nothing you can do to stop it, right?

Well, I'm here to let you know it all pans out fine. People stop killing, raping and robbing each other, spontaneously. Vladimir Putin pulls his head in and becomes a decent bloke and actually becomes a huge philanthropist - donating all his ill-gotten millions to the poor and hungry. He retires from the presidency and hands Crimea back to the Ukraine, content to live out his winter years on the bright fields of Sochi. Democracy flares up and actually works, everywhere. And it's good democracy, where only good, mature  views are represented, not that shitty American kind, where everyone disagrees.

Tony Abbott changes his mind and goes into unprecedented debt and funds green energy options. A solar panel the size of Texas is built in the South Australian desert and all of Australia's energy requirements are free and covered for the next 100 years. 

All the religious leaders of the world kill themselves, beginning a huge wave of secular humanism. People come to their senses and realise that there's nothing wrong with being gay, bi, trans, queer or any other thing they choose to self-identify as. AIDS and cancer is cured and people have a world-wide sensual love in to celebrate.

Thankfully all the billionaires realised they couldn't spend all their money in a hundred lifetimes and decided to spread the wealth amongst the people - and continued to do so until every man, woman and child was housed, fed, watered and had a Playstation 4. It really was a brilliant time. You managed to stop just in time to save every single species of animal and let the world recover from the several hundred years of raping and pillaging that we've done. 

I'm so glad that you guys came to this realisation, and all it took was doing the same stupid shit over and over and over before you got a different result. Congrats guys. Everyone here with his personal dolphin-butler/sexual companion says hi and thanks you.

Regards,

Future Jorge 

 

Follow Present Jorge on twitter @JorgeTsipos and listen to his weekly comedy podcast Unnatural Selection, in order figure out how to save the world, one dick joke at a time.

Why I'm Sick of Hearing About Mass Shootings

After the shooting at Fort Hood this week I find myself strangely disengaged from the gun control debate raging in America. Granted, I'm an Australian citizen with no real stake in the matter - but I do visit NYC every year or so and so I feel I have a right to speak on the matter. 

I used to be engaged. I used to care when Bill Maher and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would make excellent points about common-sense gun control regulation and I would always be disappointed when those proposed measured failed in congress. Every time after another mass shooting I would be heartbroken that the world's leading superpower would have overwhelming public support for a measure and yet a few wealthy special interest groups and a whole lot of self-preservation would make elected representatives vote against it. Democracy failing, yet again, to work in America.

Fuck yeah, indeed

Fuck yeah, indeed

But now I don't care anymore. I've simply grown hard and callous against this sort of news because I just can't deal with it. I personally can't feel the tragedy of all these deaths and have empathy for them. I have limited sympathy for a country that refuses to address their own problems. For a country that recognises that something is wrong, can do something to change it and elects not to do so. It's going to sound harsh, but how many mass shootings have to occur at once before the conservative nut-jobs will pry their cold, unfeeling hands from their killing machines? 

Here in Australia the number was one. One mass shooting in Port Arthur and the conservative party enacted sweeping gun control in the course of a few months. Australia, unlike America it seems, was willing to learn its lesson from one second with it's hand on the stove - unlike the Americans who seem content to continually press their faces to it and then wonder why their head hurts.

I can hold it on longer!

I can hold it on longer!

Americans love citing the 2nd Amendment of the constitution as if that's somehow relevant. An ancient document can never - and will never - account for all the complexities of future life. Be it the bible or the constitution, they didn't plan for the internet, drones, submachine guns, armour piercing rounds or flappy bird. It is a piece of paper, you and your government decides the values that you hold -  the opinions of a whole bunch of archaic, male, dead slave owners from the 1700's should not have a fucking say in it. End of story. Would we still be applying leeches if it was in the constitution? Jesus.

The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, right? You'd think they would've been in abundance in Fort Hood, the military base. Ultimately it was suicide that brought this guy down - not police, not automatic weapons and certainly not the constitution. He was surrounded by military personal with guns and that didn't stop him. That's the last time I want to hear the 'well if everyone had guns...' argument. But it won't be. I guarantee it.

At least Hank from Breaking Bad is on the case. Should have results within 6 seasons or so.

At least Hank from Breaking Bad is on the case. Should have results within 6 seasons or so.

After an incident like this there are always calls from Republicans to overhaul the mental health system but they're always cutting funding and services for that system. We want a better mental healthcare system, so what should we do? Vote 46 times to repeal the affordable care act so those people can actually get mental healthcare? Good idea. 

For now I'll just be grateful that I live in Australia, and hope that on one of my visits to America I don't become another sacrificial lamb for the 18th Century piece of paper that so many unfortunate people have lost their lives for.

For more lefty pansy views follow @JorgeTsipos on twitter and listen to his podcast Unnatural Selection which is about news and things, which is a lot more lighthearted than this.

Why #CancelColbert is Entirely Ass-Backwards

Nope. That's Dumb. 

That should be all I have to say about this, but due to the overwhelming stupidity orbiting this news I have to go more in depth, because internet.

So, there's been a not inconsiderable amount of internet hate directed at Stephen Colbert and his character on The Colbert Report. On Wedensday the 26th of March the program consisted of Stephen's usual satirical antics. Some stuff about golf and entitled rich, white people doing stupid ignorant things and an informative interview with a documentary filmmaker. That was all. I didn't see anything that I would've considered out the the realm of the usual standards of the show.

Well, the internet happened. Not in reaction to the actual show, but of a tweet that some intern at Comedy Central was running. It was this:

You know he's a comedian, right? That's what he does. Even if it wasn't out of context (which it is) it would still be understandable because of how he has positioned his character. His character is an insensitive, right-wing bigot. If he offends you that's kind of the point. This is literally the entire point of satire.

The tweet was taken verbatim from a larger bit - making fun of the Redskins owner Dan Syner refusing to change the name of the team due to it's racial overtones and instead pulling a rather heavy-handed PR stunt by setting up a 'foundation' for 'Original Americans'. Colbert was satirising that.

The joke was that it's just as inappropriate saying 'Redskin' as it was to saying 'Ching-Chong Ding-Dong'. They are both stupid and offensive terms. Hence, funny. You really think that when Colbert says 'To Orientials or Whatever' he's not deliberately taking the piss? He's the one on your side. He agrees that it's offensive!

But Suey Park took upon herself to rectify the situation. If there's someone wrong on the internet after all, it's your job to correct them.

The thing that annoys me most is that it just seems like a cynical attention grab. If you'd watched the entire show I don't think you could hold Ms Park's opinion. Either that or she knew that her comments would get some traction and she could ride that wave to something more than a freelance writing gig. Who amongst us hasn't said something we don't really believe in order to capitalise on a trending hashtag, cast the first stone. That's the bible, son. She has under 20k follows as of this morning, and I know that's not because of her rapier wit....

Couldn't the same be said about your interaction with Colbert?

Couldn't the same be said about your interaction with Colbert?

After everything Colbert has said and done in order to defend minority rights for the last nine years, you'd think he'd have earned enough cultural capitol to have made one miss-step (if that really is what you're calling it) without getting shat upon. This is when the left cannibalises it's own hero figures for not being left enough. I hate it, it makes us look bad. Colbert's a racist, Dan Savage is transphobic, Joss Wheedon is a sexist. All these things do is serve the conservative agenda. Colbert is not America's greatest threat to Asian-American relations. Pick your targets better. Bill O'Reilly says some real shit, I can tell you now.

The thing I'm scared about is that someone will actually listen to this horsecrap. That some empty suit high up at Viacom will see all the negative traction that this is getting a pull the plug on one of my favourite shows. It's an outside possibility, but it is a risk. It is, after all a business, and the adage 'Any publicity is good publicity' probably doesn't stand true when #cancelyourshow is the hashtag.

It seems a shame to me that we live in such an immediate culture that something like this happens and the first response people come up with is 'I want that head on a platter.' I remember I got my lefty outrage all worked up over tweet by the Australian treasurer. I tweeted about it and instagrammed it and shit and then after 10mins I realised it was a fake account. The lesson I learned was that you have to view things with a critical eye. Do some research, don't just take one out of context comment and build an entire universe around it. Take things in the totality in which they were intended. Give the benefit of the doubt and don't write off someone's life work because you had some fee-fees about what they said. 

And remember...

Follow @JorgeTsipos on Twitter and get offended at his senseless nothings. Also listen to his free weekly podcast Unnatural Selection in order to be outraged in audio form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Abbott Has Priorities, They're Just Not Yours

Our darling Supreme Leader Tony Abbott has seen fit this week to re-instate the Knighthoods and Dame-hoods(?) The motion was not legislated, it was not mentioned to the Liberal Caucus, some minister's of Tony Abbott's cabinet weren't even aware of the motion until they were being questioned about it by journalists and all this prompted me to wonder, what does Tony Abbott's checklist look like? Does he use Evernote, or maybe a mind-map situation? I'm extremely curious. I'm imagining a white cloud up where his brain should be with a toy monkey crashing cymbals together. Just me?

I didn't particularly feel a pressing need to restore this archaic, medieval relic of class distinction, but apparently this issue has been playing on our foremost minister's mind so he gave the Queen a call and set it up. Without consulting anyone else. Secure in the knowledge that, of course, everyone would be on board with this. I have a slight problem with this; the decision was made without any consultation or vote, kind of subverting, you know, democracy and whatnot. But that's fine, if everyone agrees with you, which they don't. Why not have a bit more class distinction every now and then? Remind yourself that you're better than the plebs.

I just don't see the necessity. First of all, we already had the Order of Australia, which was, up until the other day, the highest order in the land. Bestowed on "Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service". It's a little bit shit to turn around and say, 'Hey buddy, I know you worked hard for than and shit, but now we have knighthoods and stuff so get fucked.' Do they get a free upgrade? You should really grandfather them in, that's just good marketing.

Speaking of grandfathers, aren't we all a bit old for this shit? Why do we feel the need to discriminate achievements based on gender? I don't want to be that writer from Jezebel that criticizes someone for not being feminist enough, but I kind of figured we were past the ''boys get blue and girls get pink'' mentality. Lets give these bitches some Tonka trucks and watch them go to town. If guys can be knights, then women can too. Or something.

I'm not going to go as far as my lefty companions on Facebook and start making Game of Thrones jokes about 'knights' and whatnot - but isn't this all a bit ridiculous? We're Australians and we don't need British approval. We're a nation of former convicts, why do the older generation have such an inexplicable affinity for a country that turfed them out in the first place? It looks needy guys - Brittan changed her relationship status to ''single'' over 200 years ago now and you're still clinging to ''it's complicated'' - move the fuck on already. It's sad.

I don't know if this is the media's fault in focusing on petty points of fact in order to keep up with the demand of the 24hour news cycle, or it really is a case of legislative snow-blindness but I really do think there's something awry with Abbott's legislative agenda. I always read in the articles about this that the Liberal party are fulfilling an election promise. Really? All the election promises I heard were "Stop the Boats" "End the Carbon-Tax" and "Kevin Rudd's a ninny." Perhaps people might have voted more overwhelmingly for them if they knew that they actually had other policies. Actually, scratch that, probably not.

Jorge Tsipos is one third of the hilarious weekly podcast Unnatural Selection. You can follow him @JorgeTsipos on twitter. If that's your thing. Or not. Or whatever.