Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Swine flu, terror and Susan Boyle

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  • ScottY,

    It always surprises me how those who proclaim the sanctity of human life are happy to celebrate when someone they don't like gets killed. Over at Kiwiblog (I won't link - find it yourselves) the nutters are positvely gleeful at the murder of the "babykiller".

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I worries me to think that, when Swine flue comes back bigger and badder, the media will give it little attention because it is old news. Instead they will be beating up talent show contenders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I think on the swine flu, what may have happened is that, because it first occurred on any scale in Mexico, the virulence was thought to be much higher. It's logical that in a less-developed country with expensive healthcare, only the worst affected patients will actually present for treatment. Without any correction for this, the disease might look like it has a high mortality rate (e.g. 6%).

    On the terrorist front, the guy was a white wingnut, so he got 16 months and then released because having a license plate surround that says "I'm a violent right-wing nutter" isn't grounds for a search. Had he been a Muslim, of course, he'd have been disappeared to Guantanamo or Raoul Island as soon as you could say "probable cause".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4218 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Over at Kiwiblog (I won't link - find it yourselves) the nutters are positvely gleeful at the murder of the "babykiller".

    I shall not go there, because I don't want to have some kind of overwhelming urge to, like, enragedly slap people for being SO FUCKING STUPID. ARGH.

    Too late. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Calder,

    Surprised that you would be shocked at Boyle's fate, which, it seems to me was entirely predictable. Her story has followed the arc of cynical tabloid sensation perfectly - and she has much more of the pack hunt to endure yet. If she offed herself, it would be ideal.
    As to whether it shows that such shows as Britain's Got Talent "should" or should not exist, that's like asking whether stable doors should be bolted as the sound of hoofbeats fade in the distance. This is TV now - pillaging people's lives and exploiting their fantasies while ensuring marketing tie-ins and pay-per-message text participation fund the gargantuan profits. The public pays to be exploited.
    All reality television - this no more than any other - reminds me of the Romans' gladiators vs lions. If the gladiator kills the lion, he gets to ... fight another lion. What it all says about the corruption of popular culture depresses the shit out of me.
    In interviews Melvyn Bragg gave about the demise of the South Bank Show he recalled that it was prime-time TV in the 80s. Indeed it played in the slot that BGT did. Of course, anyone in television would say that they just give the public what they want ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    With the culture wars in the US now being fought using guns and bombs, its no wonder this guy ran off to Mexico (swine flu be damned)

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    Instead they will be beating up talent show contenders.

    On the first segment of the 6pm news bulletin. Two nights in a row.

    Seriously, if I wanted to find out about Susan Boyle I'd watch E or buy some trashy magazine. But according to TV3 last night, Susan Boyle's loss in a reality TV show is worthy of greater prominence than an act of domestic terrorism in the US. WTF?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    The murder of Dr George Tiller in Kansas yesterday can only be regarded as American domestic terrorism.

    Could you define terrorism for us, Russell? Our legislature once did but then they repealed because it would have given the term a finite meaning. I'd rather see the killing -- it isn't murder yet because no one has been convicted -- as a crime.

    Surprised that you would be shocked at Boyle's fate, which, it seems to me was entirely predictable.

    Agreed. The whole thing was a send up. The mock surprise on the judges' faces after she first sang said it all.

    And there was something in that televised audition that transcended mere commerce.

    You're taking the piss, right?

    All reality television...

    I love that an oxymoron has become an accepted part of our cultural lexicon. All television is unreal.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I'd rather see the killing -- it isn't murder yet because no one has been convicted -- as a crime.

    Pardon? The person who allegedly killed the doctor may not have been convicted yet, but the doctor was still apparently murdered, from what we know.

    I don't think Russell was using the term "murder" in the narrow legal sense.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    according to TV3 last night, Susan Boyle's loss in a reality TV show is worthy of greater prominence than an act of domestic terrorism in the US. WTF?

    They didn't have any footage of the shooting. If they had, it would have led. It's all about the pictures.

    On the upside, either way, apparently yet again nothing very interesting happened in New Zealand.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2906 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I understand that people who are against abortion feel very strongly about the issues involved. I get that they feel that medical procedures that are legal are nonetheless immoral, and that they would like the laws to be changed.

    However, trying to accomplish a change in the availability of abortions by targeting health care providers with violence -- in other words, trying to change the situation by striking terror into the hearts of the people doing the things they do not like -- is terrorism. This kind of tactic is terrorism regardless of whether you agree with the end it is used to try to advance.

    from Adventures in Ethics and Science

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Could you define terrorism for us, Russell? Our legislature once did but then they repealed because it would have given the term a finite meaning. I'd rather see the killing -- it isn't murder yet because no one has been convicted -- as a crime.

    Let's see, Brickley: the murder was carried out in the most shocking way possible, in a full church. The suspect has a long track record of involvement with the so-called Freemen, and has previously been arrested with bomb-making equipment. And it has now been reported that he visited the woman who shot Tiller in 90s shortly before the fatal shooting. It is right-wing terrorism.

    You're taking the piss, right?

    No, actually.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    I don't think Russell was using the term "murder" in the narrow legal sense

    Is there *any* sense in which the evidently premeditated gunning down of an unarmed man is *not* murder? Seriously?

    Could you define terrorism for us, Russell? Our legislature once did but then they repealed because it would have given the term a finite meaning.

    While one murder may not in and of itself be terrorism, the concerted and lengthy campaign against abortion providers in general and Tillman in particular - including, as Russell noted, bombings, attempted murder, actual murder, death threats, intimidation, and the like - is most definitely terrorism. It is a campaign to stop abortion providers from doing their work through making them too afraid to do so. If that isn't the definition of terrorism, I don't know what is. As a part of that, I wouldn't hesitate to label this murder an act of terrorism, and a particularly despicable one.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Silenced depicts the grim reality for those who work and volunteer -- at abortion clinics. Made by an anonymous filmmaker, Silence was first screened at the Womens Medical Fund Spring Reception on May 21, 2009.

    From Youtube

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1275 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Is there *any* sense in which the evidently premeditated gunning down of an unarmed man is *not* murder? Seriously?

    I think perhaps what Brickley was trying to say (Brickley, please tell me if I'm wrong) is that there's a presumption of innocence in favour of the accused, so we cannot call someone a murderer until they're convicted, ergo we cannot yet call it a murder. That's what I meant by "narrow legal sense".

    I agree that in the "everyday" sense it looks like an awful murder.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    They didn't have any footage of the shooting. If they had, it would have led. It's all about the pictures.

    I'd certainly hope so. But I still struggle to see the newsworthiness of reality TV. If they had to report it, couldn't it be the "human interest" story after the weather?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    You don't have to kill lots of people to be a terrorist.

    The act was designed and intended to create fear based on ideology.

    That is terrorism.

    Susan Boyle didn't do it for me but it doesn't take away from the fact that many people found her achievements moving. As a devout cynic I still think, no matter how manipulated, it was a moving success story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3114 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    When we lived in the US in the late 80s/early 90s Lisa and I were part of a group doing clinic defense, it was really scary - the Operation Rescue people would send in a group of thugs to beat us up, they would disappear just before the cops or their 2nd wave of nice ladies in pastels from the 'burbs arrived.

    We imported ideas we'd used during the Springbok tour - we built plywood shields that could be linked to form barricades, we had better communication than our opponents (we rented some of those new-fangled cell phones).

    We even had spies within their organisation, so they couldn't tell their members where they were going until early in the morning of where they would be going, we'd be waiting outside to convoy with them and call ahead.

    We'd put our 'scarier' members up front - the ones with piercings and purple hair, with suspect sexualities (this was 20 years ago) - a lot of those ladies from the 'burbs didn't come back

    In the San Francisco Bay Area I had 40,000 phone numbers in my computer - we just plain out organised them and over time they stopped trying to shut down local clinics - as you can see the midwest is a whole other issue

    Like any real lefty organisation as soon as we felt we'd won we turned on each other ....

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 1958 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    according to TV3 last night, Susan Boyle's loss in a reality TV show is worthy of greater prominence than an act of domestic terrorism in the US. WTF?

    Don’t forget the passing of Titanic’s last survivor.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    I don't think Russell was using the term "murder" in the narrow legal sense.

    He should. Many newspapers follow that rule. Murder is a term of art. A killing or slaying is a fact.

    No, actually.

    Bummer. Watch the clip again. Total send up. The judges knew it was coming like a bad thing.

    Is there *any* sense in which the evidently premeditated gunning down of an unarmed man is *not* murder? Seriously

    This is brushing against the same argument I had with Graham last week which wasn't my intention. Sorry. It isn't murder until a jury has said it was murder. That's how I see it. The dude is currently presumed innocent.

    Do they have capital punishment in Kansas? More likely they do than don't. Dunno. That would be eliptical: the State kills a guy who killed a guy because the guy was, in his view, killing people. It's like the Russian Dolls of intentional killings.

    If that isn't the definition of terrorism, I don't know what is.

    There is no definition of it, that's my point. I agree with everything you said but I still don't like the word 'terrorism' because it really doesn't have an accepted definition. It kind of just means "super-baddie" or "extra-crim". Our own Terrorism Suppression Act doesn't define it. In fact, I think it repealed a provision that had previously defined it.

    Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    I can see Brickley Paistes point. As this wasn't deemed a crime at all.

    " A police chase left an innocent teenage father dead and a city stunned. Naitoko, 17, was killed by a shot fired by a police marksman."

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/crime/news/article.cfm?c_id=30&objectid=10575515

    It is interesting the different cultural constructs we have create that allow us to kill.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Russell, the iTunes podcasts seem to have stopped after EP 16.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    so we cannot call someone a murderer until they're convicted, ergo we cannot yet call it a murder

    I am not Graeme but... I believe that's not the case. Can't a coronor pass a verdict of 'murder by person or persons unknown'? If not, a lot of British crime drama has shamelessly lied to me.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4286 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    I am not Graeme but... I believe that's not the case. Can't a coronor pass a verdict of 'murder by person or persons unknown'? If not, a lot of British crime drama has shamelessly lied to me.

    You are of course right. Someone can be acquitted of murder, but that doesn't mean the victim wasn't murdered. I think we need to be careful about reverting to overly legalistic definitions (this is not a courtroom), when commonsense ones will do.

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 787 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    He should. Many newspapers follow that rule. Murder is a term of art. A killing or slaying is a fact.

    Feel free to continue dancing on the head of your pin. A murder was committed, the police have arrested and charged a man and stated very clearly they are not looking for anyone else.

    Your belief that I am somehow out of line in using the word "murder" could be easily dispelled by a visit to Google News. You'll find that everyone else is too, for fairly obvious reasons.

    Bummer. Watch the clip again. Total send up. The judges knew it was coming like a bad thing.

    I am well aware of the manipulative elements of the show. I've studied them quite closely. But these people aren't so clever that they could engineer the viral explosion of that first video. Boyle has been entering these contests for decades, often at the cost of her own humiliation, and she finally got her chance. There was actually something real there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17967 posts Report Reply

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