Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Daily Carlo: Oh Mamamia... please stop trying to cloak your click bait in ridiculous moral garb

Yes it is time for The Daily Carlo, which is my program of posting on every day that matters, which is defined, obviously, as any day I post a Daily Carlo.

This time I am concerned with the critical question of Mia (Writers Should Write For Me For Free)dman's (sorry, it is not even an original bad pun, I stole it from a friend on Facebook) click bait site Mamamia.

In particular, the patently ridiculous and offensively insane moral rubbish they trot out to justify their click bait. And in particular, their patently ridiculous and offensively insane rubbish they've trotted out to justify their click bait article "exposing" Australian comic and actor featured in Hollywood films like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect -- Rebel Wilson -- for lying about her age.

Yes, in the hardest-hitting example of investigative journalism speaking truth to power since Woodward and Bernstein's exposure of the Watergate scandal, the site ran a May 18 piece headlined "Rebel Wilson is not 29. And her name is not Rebel Wilson either" (she is apparently a 35-year-old named Melanie Elisabeth Bowndes).

This caused a lot confusion on grounds of "WHO THE FUCK CARES HOW OLD REBEL WILSON IS AND WHY THE FUCK IS MAMAMIA WRITING ABOUT IT???" Thus causing Rebel Wilson to start trending on social media and, no doubt, Mamamia's hits to rise exponentially as everyone started googling to figure out what the hell this was about so as to not be left out of the loop.

Who gives a fuck how old Rebel Wilson is?

Mamamia then used the confusion and even outrage over their original story to run a follow-up to justify running the original piece. The May 20 piece by Holly Wainwright entitled "This is why it matters how old Rebel Wilson is." was reasonably unconvincing, to say the least.

It begins: "All week the country’s been talking about one woman’s age."

Well... no. Actually, a fair *chunk* of the country has been talking about "WHO THE FUCK CARES HOW OLD REBEL WILSON IS AND WHY THE FUCK IS MAMAMIA WRITING ABOUT IT???"

There's a strange disconnect in the piece, as though the discussion about Wilson's age just happened to spontaneously arise, as opposed to it being the result of Mamamia's piece (and a similar piece in the Women's Day, which probably pushed Mamamia to publish theirs so as to ensure their slice of the hits pie).

The piece goes on to say:

...mostly, the focus has been on her age. And while yes, age is just a number and doesn’t really matter, the pressures that made her lie in the first place do matter. They should be talked about. They deserve to be.
Because what matters is this – Rebel, an intensely smart and ambitious woman – felt she needed to lie about her age to make it in Hollywood.

You see? Mamamia is actually just really concerned about the terrible pressures on women in Hollywood to pretend to be younger than they are. How very noble of Mamamia to take on this cause!

The article continues:

Hollywood’s bullshit ageism – that’s what matters.
That being in your 30s is bad for your career – that’s what matters. 
Experience not being valued as highly in women as men – that’s what matters. 
Debunking the idea that an actress – or, think about it, a woman in any other profession – might be “too old” to do her job over 30. Never mind over 40, 50 or beyond. That’s what matters.

Really? That's what matters is it? Well... in that case... why didn't you just run a piece that said that? And then in the piece about how many women in Hollywood are pressured to lie about their age, present as evidence a more-or-less open secret in many circles that an unnamed popular Australian actress who is making it Hollywood claims to be half a dozen years younger than she really is?

If all Mamamia cared about was confronting Hollywood's institutionalised sexism... then they would have seen no reason to specifically expose Rebel Wilson by name. There is no reason to specifically shame Rebel Wilson.

Who gives a fuck how old Rebel Wilson is?

In fact, it is very hard to imagine how exposing a female actor for lying helps, in any way, women in Hollywood or confronts sexism. It would seem to deepen the pressures on women in Hollywood by sending the message that, not only might they feel obligated to lie to advance their careers, when they do so they will be publicly outed for it by cynical hypocrites who turn around and justify the pursuit of cheap hits by pretending they hold the high moral ground!

The Mamamia piece gave itself away comprehensively in its concluding line, just after the statement "the fact that she felt she had to lie to get there matters a great deal", with an appeal for the reader to join the "conversation" in the comment section. It reads: "Do you think it’s important for public figures to own their age?"

There you have it. For all the rhetoric about this being about Hollywood's sexist discrimination policies, it *remains* about Rebel Wilson. And whether Rebel Wilson, or anyone else in her position, is obligated to tell the industry or public their real age. It remains about policing and shaming Wilson for something that is ACTUALLY NO ONE ELSE'S FUCKING BUSINESS.

Who gives a fuck how old Rebel Wilson is?


You're pushing thirty, why you old hag
Here's something dirty for your shopping bag

You will note, Mamamia, Rodney Crowell managed to write an entire song lambasting the entertainment industry's sexist double-standards *without* actually naming and shaming any individual woman for any action they feel obliged to take to survive in that industry. But speaking of cynical online behaviour... I'd be remiss if I failed to mention you can buy me a beer via Paypal by clicking the button on the right side of the blog.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

James Connolly was shot 99 years ago, strapped to a chair, because he would not stand by while World War I raged

'My name is James Connolly and I didn't come here to die..."

On May 12, 99 years ago, the British authorities occupying Ireland shot dead of the greatest figures of the pre-1917 socialist movement, who had fought for workers' and human liberation in three countries -- Scotland, Ireland and the United States.

A prisoner of the British crown after the failed Irish Rising in Easter 1916 that sought to throw off British rule, of which he was the military commander, he couldn't even stand due to an injury sustained during the fighting. (Connolly, with an ankle shattered by a bullet, had continued for days to direct the rebels from a stretcher.) So, to place him before the firing squad, they strapped him into a chair and shot him anyway.

The Easter Rising was never just for Irish freedom, and no one captured its internationalist cause better than Connolly, its most left-wing, clear-sighted leader who headed the world's first workers' militia, the Irish Citizen's Army, which joined with the Irish Republican Brotherhood forces.

The rising, especially for Connolly, was intended as a blow against the British Empire, then one of the main belligerents sacrificing the lives of millions of young working-class men in unprecedented slaughter across Europe. With British recruitment of often desperate, unemployed Irish men escalating and the threat of conscription looming, the Irish folk song about the rising, The Foggy Dew, puts it clearly, "Twas better to die 'neath and Irish sky than at Sulva of Sud el-Bar" -- where hundreds of Irish men did dieas members of the British Army in the disastrous Gallipoli invasion.

It was intended, not as an end in itself, but as a first blow against the barbarism drowning Europe in blood -- and while the rising fell, a more decisive and lasting blow came in Russia the next year and it is no coincidence that its leader, V.I. Lenin, was a staunch defender of the Irish rebels.

You can read more about this shit here, here and the depth of Connolly's thought and lasting contribution to international socialism here.

Does James Connolly and his struggles have any relevance to our times? Well... lets ask modern Irish singer Damien Dempsey as he sings the song below to a huge protest in against water charges, the largest part of the Irish people's fight back against crippling austerity, in Dublin last November...

'Where oh where is our James Connolly.... HE'S HERE!'