I imagine as banks branch out into health insurance providers, less & less smoking paraphernalia becomes available.
I imagine as banks branch out into health insurance providers, less & less smoking paraphernalia becomes available.
The joy of productive illustrating has kept me at home more than I had been three years prior, so at the completion of Charles & The Eggman #4, when this diary Googling commenced you wouldn't have noticed my disappearance in to this new project. But for a handful of weeks in November I became fully preoccupied & immersed in a project that seemed simple enough, but results in a 370 page volume of, essentially, lined paper. But each page individually catered to for every day of a year, coupled with the DIY onus of making it excellently personable. I threw in every astro-woo-woo wacky zodiacky & tarot thing I knew of, used the old timey latin & norse calendar names for stuff, & used Wikipedia to find some goofy holiday or commemoration for every day of the year. That was a lot of extra work. Plus the normal, practical diary functionality of a page-a-day writing diary, a space to mark appointments, what day/week/month of the year it actually is & reference calendars & a planner page etc. & The nature of the project meant I was working to a deadline, which I don't usually pressure myself with. It was an intense few weeks, creatively. But it arrived in the post today & I can't stop thumbing through the yet to be scrawled upon pages.
The Top of the Mart is apparently a revolving restaurant on top of the New Orleans World Trade Centre. It's a building too tall the roof from street view, so here's a photo.
Title: Todd Longwood
by Connor Tomas O'Brien
In the wake of the nude celebrity photo leak, I noticed something strange about the ways different publications skewed their coverage. Tabloid-style publications tended to be honest about their motives, referring to the situation as “scandalous” and often reproducing portions of the images outright in a bid to appeal to readers’ basest impulses. The behaviour of left-leaning broadsheet-style outlets, however, was more complex, generating page-view profit by promoting the images while denouncing tabloids for engaging in the very same practice.
In broadsheet-aligned Forbes, for example, a piece about the stolen photographs generated over two million views. The piece begins with a list of nine women whose photographs have been stolen, then proceeds to discuss, ‘without going into sordid details’, which of the women’s photographs have been confirmed as real. Later in the piece, the author links to five sets of images of Hollywood actresses that ‘sadly’ focus on titillating the male viewer. The article’s explicit intention was to argue that the ‘burden of moral guilt [is] on those who chose to consume said stolen property for titillation and/or gratification’. Yet despite their desire to condemn the vulgar coverage of tabloid publications, almost every hyperlink in the piece simply directed the reader more easily to that same coverage.
The same day, Daily Life published a piece by Clementine Ford titled “This is why you shouldn’t click on the naked photos of Jennifer Lawrence”. This article quickly generated over a million pageviews, for a whole host of reasons, but it is worth noting that the first paragraph contains a link to an image in which dozens of the women are named. On Junkee, a piece titled “Blame The Hackers, Sure, But Blame The Tabloids Too” was accompanied by exactly the kinds of images the author decries.
These kinds of pieces can be understood as akin to offense criticism, but they tend to go somewhat further. Offence criticism generally operates under the assumption that you’ve already consumed a piece of media, and attempts to explain why that content is so problematic that it should generate sustained outrage, ideally through sharing of a proliferation of thinkpieces about the content via social media channels. It is a self-sustaining form of criticism that primarily benefits advertisers on online news outlets.
The glut of broadsheet thinkpieces about the nude celebrity photographs had a slightly different effect. As the focus of the outrage is on content that the reader is encouraged not to consume, the sharing of these pieces of criticism inadvertently promotes the unscrupulous content in the name of fostering outraged responses to it. But what if the reader of the thinkpiece had come to it unaware of the reprobate content? In this case, the thinkpiece serves a strange dual purpose; both serving up links the reader can use to seek out the unseemly content, while repeatedly imploring the reader not to do so.
Urging others to look away is almost always ineffective. A decade ago, Barbra Streisand attempted to suppress the dissemination of a picture of her beach house. Until Streisand sued, almost nobody accessed the photo; in the month following the highly-publicised lawsuit, the photographer’s site would go on to receive close to half a million unique hits. In the years since, many others have found themselves burned by the “Streisand effect”, not recognising that attempting to convince others not to seek out a piece of media will only cause that media to rank more highly online.
In terms of what might be called “Streisand offence criticism”, it’s worth questioning whether or not publishers recognise what they are doing. The authors of individual pieces of Streisand offence criticism are almost certainly genuine in their intentions to turn readers away from offensive content. Publishers, however, must more clearly realise the true implications of running these kinds of articles. If the goal were really to draw attention away from offensive content, after all, the prudent move would be to publish nothing examining such content whatsoever. Not even a high-minded broadsheet, though, can simply turn away potential traffic. In the digital space, in which page views are of real short-term import and a “serious” publication’s reputation must be protected in the long-term, how to deal with morally discomfiting content becomes a serious business issue.
Streisand offence criticism has emerged as a perfect smokescreen. It allows such publications to publish articles that will draw in those looking for salacious and objectionable news on a “scandal”, while also ensuring the publication is never seen as endorsing or promoting the unscrupulous content readers are being ostensibly directed away from. This kind of criticism allows publishers to play a sleight of hand game, in which page views are boosted off the back of salacious content that appears to be principled and high-minded. If the reader or author never recognises the game is being played, all the better.
Streisand offence criticism extends in all directions, but it tends to be clearly designated: most pieces of Streisand offence crit are either prefaced by ‘Don’t’, or feature some sort of negatively expressed directive. The Guardian, for example, recently published a piece titled “Don’t fat-shame Clive Palmer”, which allowed it to subtly promote a slew of pieces of media which do fat-shame Palmer. As with much of this kind of criticism, the Palmer piece is complex. It has almost certainly been orchestrated to gain social media traction by those who do enjoy making fun of Palmer, but it also allows the publication to deny culpability by suggesting that the piece was published as comprehensive instruction on how a reader should not behave.
Ultimately, the logic of offense criticism dictates that it must eventually turn upon itself. This is why coverage of the nude celebrity photo leak so quickly turned away from criticism of those responsible for leaking the photographs, and toward a meta-discussion in which the tabloids were criticised for their coverage of the issue. Now I am criticising the broadsheets, and somebody else will almost certainly criticise me. The criticism must move up the chain, until we are all both outraged and condemned. Maybe we should just be quiet.
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Googling for the street view pic below, I found another copy of this matchbox on eBay for $8.
Here's the building the matchbox describes, up for grabs when the Google Street View car drove past. A Golden Opportunity the real estate ad claims.
eminem contemplates whether or not to have bread. got these from savers few weeks ago. superrrrr score.
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I checked out Flinders Street but there was no building with that address anymore.
by Connor Tomas O'Brien
In the lead-up to the World Congress of Families’ Melbourne “regional” event, it was unclear whether convener Babette Francis was a Machiavellian manipulator or simply a woman who’d found herself in way over her head. From the outside, it certainly looked as though the conference were falling apart: after the original venue pulled out, the conference was relocated to a church in Glen Iris, then to Brunswick East, and then it appeared as though no church would be willing to host the thing at all. In the week before the event was due to take place, it was rumored that no insurance or security had been organised. Then, the day before the conference, both Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews and Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark decided to drop off the speakers’ roster.
The conference was initially advertised as “free admission, all welcome”, and those who contacted Francis immediately following the announcement of the event were registered without vetting. In early July, though, the event was picked up by satirist and LGBTQI rights advocate Pauline Pantsdown, who encouraged protesters to send through bogus RSVPs to book out the conference with non-attendees. The conference began demanding proof of attendees’ anti-abortion bona fides. “Why are you interested in our event if you are not associated with any pro-life group or church?” Francis asked me a week before the event. When I told her I wanted to attend because I was “open-minded”, Francis was unconvinced. “We are very suspicious of anyone from Carlton who is not connected to a pro-life or pro-family organisation,” she told me, offering to post me a copy of her newsletter.
Strangely, after I did actually manage to make it in, one of the repeated refrains from audience members I spoke to was how disappointed they were that members of the Left seemed unwilling to truly engage the religious Right in respectful, intelligent conversation. “If they really wanted to challenge our ideas, why wouldn’t they come here, wait until question time, and then pose a question in a logical fashion?” asked Teresa Martin, state president of Cherish Life Queensland. I noted that this kind of polite dialogue wasn’t exactly possible, considering that anybody who couldn’t prove a connection to a pro-life group was being forced to stand outside and prevented from entering Catch the Fire Ministries’ Hallam compound by 50 police officers.
Teresa nodded, then pointed at the front of the stage. “Were you here this morning?”
I shook my head. “Sort of. I was outside. It was hard for me to get in.”
“There was a protester on stage, wearing all white, and then she spilled red paint all over her crotch,” Teresa said, shaking her head.
The protester was an artist named Phaedra Press, and I had seen her from the street as security had ejected her from the compound. “I poured blood on myself in front of Fred Nile!” Phaedra exclaimed, once back out on the street. “We tried to cause an evacuation, but those guys in there don’t even have bloody smoke detectors!”
“We wanted to show that ‘this is what a backyard abortion looks like’,” CJ, another of the protesters, told me (she had also been ejected from the venue, despite donning a frumpy op-shop frock in order to “pass for a Christian”). But it seems that message was somewhat lost in translation.
“She just re-enacted exactly what an abortion is,” Teresa Martin said, shrugging sadly.
“With news outlets treating the World Congress of Families as farcical … attendees were simply being led to further distrust any information that did not come filtered through pro-life media channels.”
In the morning a young Christian couple with two small children in tow ran the gauntlet of protesters to get into the event. “Why are you bringing your children here, you bigots?!” several of the protesters shouted, as the police swept in and created a human wall to protect them. These children would remember this moment forever, but would they side with the angry people in funny clothes who hurled abuse at their parents?
Predictably, within the conference, almost everyone seemed apprehensive around journalists. “A pretty young lady came and asked me about the protesters,” I heard one older man say to another. I could immediately tell he was talking about one of the journos. “I’m not going to play into their hands! What do they want me to say: ‘they’re all idiots’?”
Many of the journalists who covered the conference did nothing to assuage such fears. When I checked my RSS feed to find stories from the conference, I sighed. One journalist had misrepresented anti-abortion activist Dr Angela Lanfranchi by suggesting that Lanfranchi had only cited studies involving rats to support her breast cancer-abortion link thesis in her speech. But Lanfranchi had presented a swath of research, including at least one recent study involving several hundred Chinese women.
I was one of the only writers that had managed to stick it out until the final session, and now I realised that at least some of the conference-goers were using their phones to read how the press was reporting events. At the end of the last session, in which Larry D. Jacobs, managing director of the WCF, flippantly agreed that denying pain relief to Russian women was potentially a good idea, an audience member had taken the roving microphone and told all conference-goers that Lanfranchi’s session had been misreported.
“This is the media … destructive people … everything they twist and turn!” two women sitting directly behind me lamented.
The woman sitting behind me, believing I worked for the same online publication, peered at my notebook. She could see that the last note I had taken was “brushed off idea of pain relief being withheld to Russian women seeking abortion”.
“Are you going to report it like that?” she said. “Do you write for them?”
With news outlets treating the World Congress of Families as farcical, as a setup for a series of jokes, attendees were simply being led to further distrust any information that did not come filtered through pro-life media channels. During one speech, a speaker mentioned The Sydney Morning Herald, to snickers from the audience. Another speaker sardonically urged journalists in the room to ask audience members whether they were afraid of being in a hall full of violent people. There was no major news publication conference attendees felt they could trust; The Australian predictably offered the most sympathetic coverage by running an AAP story that limited its coverage to the protest, with only fleeting mention of the content covered at the conference itself.
When I made my way out of the World Congress of Families, all the police and protesters had left. Earlier, I’d spoken to Sam Castro from the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance, who had explained that the protesters’ intention was always to leave early.
“We rid the event of every elected representative,” she said. “Our goals have already been achieved.”
An elderly woman stepped out of the church compound, its gates now wide open, and looked at the graffiti that had been scribbled across the road. “Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it”, somebody had written in red chalk. “Bigots are really shit,” somebody had written in green. She looked baffled.
Noting that the protesters had left, the old woman smiled, perhaps assuming this meant they had been forcibly removed by the police. “We have won the victory in Jesus’ name,” she muttered, before shuffling off down the road, back to her car.
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Fingers crossed these guys'll be at the next funeral I'm invited to.
Spruced up for dancing.
This is a bunch of photographs taken for a photography class in high school, this selection were taken around the schoolgrounds & the nearby town of Balhannah.
Title: Sophie Benjamin
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Yarnauwi also offers a historical connection to Yarnauwingga, the Kaurna meeting place just a 5 minute walk from our top boundary. Perhaps appropriately, Yarnauwingga’s legacy as a meeting place and camping ground continues into the 21st Century as the Wirrina Cove Holiday Park.
Our work on this property is very much focussed on restoring the landscape. The gesture of a Kaurna naming fits within that, I think. I hope that it is a first act of cultural restoration, that begins to weave our relationship with this landscape more meaningfully into the stories it’s carried before us.
No suprise that a big hotel chain like Holiday Inn, still has the run of these premises.
Street View shows the only thing resembling a hospitality venue at the corner of Gatriot & 13 Mile Road is now a Ruby Tuesday that doesn't resemble the picture on this matchbook. RIP Georgian Inn.
We've got all the hospitality we need right here, huh fellers?