Monday, March 23, 2009

Stephen Conroy, Tim Blair, Stilgherrian, censorship and detailed advice on drug use

(Above: ah memories when a drink of Coca Cola was a drinker's drink if you wanted a little hit of cocaine. Kids, do not try this today, all you'll get will be huge dose of sugar or chemicals).

It's a sad, quiet Monday on loon pond. Much loved loon Paul Sheehan has flown the coop, and gone on leave, and all we now have to ponder are the fragrant memories of his last meltdown in the SMH a week ago over Hewson, Costello and the gang.

No doubt he'll come back soon enough with tales aplenty of rorting airlines and their outrageous ways with bargain basement frequent flyer points jet setters.

In the meantime, what to do? How to while away the hours? Well Tim Blair's always safe and reliable, a bit of Islamic bashing, a bit of climate change warminista bashing, a bit of kangaroo shooting (has he ever shot and skinned a kangaroo I wonder), a bit of die Islamics die, a bit of salivating over bikies brawling, and a casual comic pot shot or two at Obama.

But what's this? He's actually discovered an issue which could see lefties, righties, libertarians and geeks unite in hostility to the federal government, with the news that the federal government under senior nanny Stephen Conroy is going to begin monitoring blogs such as Whirlpool.

A spokesman explained that a site like Whirlpool " ... covers a wide range of topics across the telecommunications sector. It and other web sites provide invaluable insight into the industries in which we work."

Could it have anything to do with Whirlpool providing a safe haven for members of the "geeks who hate super nanny Conroy" club? Surely not.

Well anyhoo I can help the government save oodles of money. Here's a summary of the views of many in the real and virtual world. Senior nanny Conroy is a dipstick, an unresponsive loon, an ill-mannered and unpleasant smear tactician, an intellectual thuggee, and a morally derelict moralist dedicated to calling opponents of his oppressive, inept, useless and futile proposed filtering regime supporters of paedophilia. 

Never has one man so singlehandedly struggled to institute a policy reviled by so many without actually listening to anything anyone was telling him, for reasons that have to remain inexplicable and mysterious, even when far-fetched notions that he belongs to Opus Dei or just wants to suck up to Steve Fielding are trotted out.

He's no more capable of sophisticated policy analysis of the new world of the intertubes, new media and new digital content than a Balmain member of the Labor party armed with a hammer and a baseball bat. If it's a nail, bash it with the baseball bat. If it's the intertubes, hit it with the hammer.

Conroy getting terribly excited about the grossly irresponsible leaking of his deep dark secret "black list" is only the beginning of the fun and games around this issue. Whenever there's censorship, there's an underground, and sometimes that underground gets truly dark and ugly. Conroy will have single handedly re-invented the mushroom farm, some achievement for a man who's himself acting like a mushroom.

It's nice to see Tim getting on the bandwagon, it's just a pity that the train left the station many months ago. But he's not really all that keen, he's more interested in Obama laughing and chuckling at the world being plunged into a depression. Guess Obama should have gone dancing like the shrub. What a very odd fellow the Blair is.

Meanwhile, Conroy and his department doodle on in la la land, as reported by actual journalists who do more than publish a line or two and link to another source (like me and Mr. Blair) and you can read all about it in Stilgherrian's Yet another ACMA internet blacklist springs a leak in today's Crikey.

As bloggers throughout the land vie with one another to be the first to be added to the blacklist (as opposed to just being watched by the dark overlord's department), I was wondering if Conroy was serious about his intention to ban detailed instruction in crime, violence and drug use.

Would this kind of detailed instruction in crime be a problem? If wanting to rob a bank, get a gun, go up to the teller and demand money. No, maybe that's not technical or detailed enough. I mean there's about ten zillion movies with that scenario going around.

What about violence? Fists are good, knives are better (unless you have Muhammad Ali fists and Bruce Lee's moves), and guns are better still (cf Indiana doing over the guy with the sword). But to be truly effective, turn into a government and send in the army, preferably with nukes. Unless you're a bikie, in which case anything nearby, such as a metal bollard, will do.

Yes, but is it detailed enough? Homicide is such a terribly complex and intricate art. Maybe advice on drugs would be better.

How about if you want to become addicted to drugs, you go to the nearest supermarket, buy some cigarettes and start smoking? Or if you like alcohol, how about Dan Murphy's and a glass?

Still not working, I can feel it. How about if you want to overdose on heroin, you get some heroin, get a needle, pump up a vein, and after you've made up an uncut, overproof solution of the heroin, shoot it into the vein, and die?

What? William Burroughs explained how to do that in Junkie, back in the nineteen fifties? What? Burroughs is just a spring chicken? Sherlock Holmes was doing it way back when. Say what? Holmes is a fictional character? 

Say even whatter? Samuel Taylor Coleridge was doing opium as a full blown addict back in the early nineteenth century. Say golly heck what? The English had a devious plan to hook the entire Chinese nation on opium in the nineteenth century as a way of doing great business, and it led to a couple of wars?

You know, along with the intertubes, I'm guessing Conroy will have to ban a lot of movies, a lot of literature, and all history if he's to get rid of detailed instructions in crime, violence and drug use.

There's one other thing history teaches you. A fool and his ministerial office are soon parted. Conroy better have a plan B standing by ... or he might just find history is a harsh teacher of eternal truths ... or is that truthiness?

Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle and rolled back his left shirtcuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction. (The Sign Of Four, 1890)

You are doomed Mr. Holmes, doomed, Senator Conroy says so. Off to the black market with you quick stix so the children of the world can sleep safely at night.

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