Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Piers Akerman, civility and pointless, stupid arguments ...

Still catching up with the mass of reading left like detritus or seashells on the seashore, and it took me days to realise I hadn't checked in with one of our favourites, Piers Akerman, aka Akker Dakker, aka the fat owl of the remove.

Oops, it seems that such idle jocularity now passes as incivility on the full to flowing intertubes, and Akker Dakker is outraged, not to mention shocked, I tells ya, as he tells us all in Wicked jolt for Wikipedia boss.

Picking up on a heartfelt plea for civility from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Akkers is in a state of despair:

As Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was saying recently, despite the irrevocable expansion of the ways we connect and communicate with each other through the growth of the World Wide Web over the past 20 years, the recognition that people need to engage in civil dialogue has not kept pace with the technical innovation.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Wales noted that social networking sites, blogs and online forums host behaviour ranging from carelessly rude to intentionally abusive.

Reading the unexpurgated comments sent to various columnists at The Daily Telegraph and other Australian newspapers, I can attest that this incivility is universal.

Oh dear, is this the same viperish, vituperative, baseball bat-wielding, snakey, snarky, commentator of the last year? Has Akker Dakker turned over a new leaf and is now determined to show civility and politeness to all? Even lefties and Chairman Rudd, who right at this very moment are seeking to bring the world to utter ruination and devastation.

In your dreams. Because you see the lack of civility is all the fault of the hideous vile leftists and their leftie thinking, and their strange ability - compared to conservatives - to embrace technological change:

In politics, the Left was quicker to seize on the internet as a marketing tool than the conservatives. US groups such as spawned counterparts like in Australia, espousing motherhood goals such as bringing “ordinary people into politics by taking stands on policy issues” and “building a progressive Australia” by bringing “together like-minded people”.

Oh no, you mean I can't look to Tony Abbott for help in programming my PVR?

Perhaps that's why Akker Dakker hasn't caught up with the news that in the UK David Cameron is all the rage as a progressive conservative. Or perhaps he has:

The label “progressive” has been so debased it now signifies a desire to restore primitive industrial relations conditions in a nation with a pre-Hawke government economy, complete with strikes and recurrent energy crises.

But the richest part of the Xmas cake, or perhaps the pudding, is the moral humbuggery and outrage that Akker Dakker manages to confect, in a stew of piety and perplexity:

What is welcome, if a little perplexing, is Wales’s call for protocols to restore cyber civility where he and others have opened the cyber gates to those who wish to wage war in cyber space. Indicating surprising na adivete (sic), Wales expressed some amazement that the “comments sections of online gossip sites, as well as some national media outlets, often reflect semi-literate, vitriolic remarks that appear to serve no purpose besides disparaging their intended target”.

Well let's leave aside the timely, if inopportune, semi-literate typo. Let anyone who is without typos cast the first stone. But you are allowed a hearty chortle.

Just as you can chortle about it all being fault of the lefties that the internet has been taken over with nonsense about people sharing information - so long as the information shared is aligned with their deeply crimson Marxist atheist filthy philosophies - and nonsensical talk of democracy, and worst of all talk of climate change. When we all know we've just had the hottest decade since records have been kept and this past year was the second hottest on record, you have to turn to a serious informed scientist like Piers Akerman for the truth:

We now know more than 5000 entries on climate change were edited, altered or removed because they didn’t fit the flawed premise of anthropogenic global warming, but no one blew the whistle on this massive attempt to deceive the internet public because AGW was, received wisdom had it, backed by the science. It has now been revealed the so-called science was as fraudulent as a two-headed penny.

Revealed by whom? Why Akker Dakker of course, who can always spot a two-headed penny, and is as sharp as an ass's arse. Yep, there's nothing like sophisticated, civil, scientific discourse to set the world straight.

Evidence so-called science is fraudulent? What are you, some sort of leftie who drinks their bathwater? Oh just sod off, we're not into civility on loon pond.

Let's keep on with the righteous Akker Dakker:

Why, he wrote: “Some sites exist solely as a place for mean-spirited individuals to congregate and spew their venomous verbiage.” Strewth! Where has this bloke been hiding? In the 16 or so years since I first placed an email address on the bottom of a column, a clutch of mean-spirited and venomous individuals have chosen to submit an extraordinarily revealing stream of invective in the vain hope it will be read by someone other than themselves.

Oh dear. Could it have been a post-modernist, post-ironic sense of civil discourse that led to Daniel being the first to provide a comment to Akker Dakker's column, in the process tugging the assorted beards of the Akker Dakker acolytes?

Naturally they responded with a clutch of mean-spirited and venomous comments. Naturally Akker Dakker enjoyed the dog fight: Go for it, Daniel, go for it, he scribbled, in the manner of an interested observer at a dog brawl, or a chook fight where the spurs are designed to draw blood.

Oh well I guess civility on the intertubes was a great idea - for a nano second - and then it's back to the standard Akker Dakker 'thingy dingy ding dong rage-filled blue'.

Then silly old Inmate of the Asylum joined in with this:

For prime examples of incivility you need to look no further than many of the comments in any of Piers’ blogs. No matter the subject you’ll find abusive comments directed at Labor and those who have the temerity to put up an alternative view.

Robust argument is one thing but describing perfectly respectable people as being like Hitler and other mass murderers simply because they belong to the Labor Party is beyond the pale.

Don’t believe me? Pick any blog posted last year and see just what passes for mature commentary. The irony is that the only censorship on this blog it seems is to exclude comments critical of Piers or some of the more excessive posters.

Which naturally produced a wise and witty and considered retort:

Inmate, it’s the same sort of dribble from your side as well.

Oh that makes it all right then.

But Inmate did get a response from the grand guru of vituperative language and vicious verbal gutter assaults:

Inmate, you don’t see the worst comments because they don’t make it. Those remarks you object to are generally published to illustrate the sort of language that some use - publication does not automatically connote approval of the sentiment or the language.

At which point gentle reader I confess I went outside and howled at the moon with a pure distilled laughter which somehow reminded me of those blonde hippies getting assaulted by mud in a beer commercial. Take that you blonde bloody leftie paradisiacal Avatar hippies:

But back to gentle pious Piers and his new year benediction:

If Wales really wishes to be taken aback he should visit some Socialist Left sites, or Islamist sites that survived on contributions of scurrilous authors such as Keysar Trad.

Sssh, whatever you do, don't mention right wing sites, or fundamentalist Christians. Don't want to upset the Akker Dakker readership.

That aside, Wales wants an online culture in which every person can join in a rational exchange without fear of unwarranted abuse, harassment or lies. One would have thought that would rule out Wikipedia.

Or perhaps Akker Dakker and his band of vigilantes? And the nonsense he routinely peddles based on his extensive reading of Popular Mechanics in the nineteen fifties?

Second, he wants those who are disgusted by the degeneration of online civility to indicate that this type of behaviour will no longer be tolerated. He then wishes that people would be able to know the difference between information on legitimate sites that follow defined standards and that posted on sites with no such ethical guidelines.

But, but, but hang on there, that'd certainly rule out Akker Dakker who has no known defined standards, and whose information is cudgelled into ideological outrage at every given second. Akker Dakker is the perfect hammer who always finds the leftie nail, never mind the actual truth of the matter to hand. He makes zealotry seem like a first century Judaic political movement. (thanks Wiki, always handy for explaining terms of abuse).

He may need help here, as Wikipedia’s own defined standards demonstrably fall far short of what is needed. Wales also says adult targets of online hostility deserve a national support network, a safe place to “congregate online to receive emotional support, practical advice on how to deal with transgressors, and information on whom to contact for legal advice when appropriate”.

Oh dear. That sounds a bit liberal. A bit nanny state. Is that what we need for the rough and tumble of the overflowing intertubes?

Finally, he suggests some governmental intervention may be necessary to prevent cyber-bullying. Whether we need more nanny-state intervention to provide a counselling service for those who cannot hit the “delete” button is arguable, but there are arguments to support government action against those who abuse and harass others on the internet, just as there have been laws to protect individuals from other forms of harassment and intimidation.

Arguments to support government action? Oh no, Akker Dakker has gone nanny-state interventionist! Come on down Senator Conroy, and never mind all those current laws about defamation, and harassment and vilification regularly abused as useless by commentariat columnists! We need more, as Akker Dakker is our lord and our protector of liberties, and just publishes comments to show how extreme his readership is!

The internet’s problem is also its great virtue. It is accessible to almost everyone.

Yep, nothing like the filthy swine you have to listen to as a result of democracy flourishing. Bloody everyone thinks they can have a say, instead of kneeling before their gurus of choice. Is that why they let Akker Dakker publish his musings, and he lets rabid ratbags join in the chorus?

Those who wear their good intentions on their sleeves always believe a greater good will prevail if people are only given a chance. The more worldly know that is baloney.

Wordly? Give me Oscar Wilde any day: A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

Put it another way: a cynic is a man who can blather on about civility, and then be uncommonly uncivil on a daily basis.

Thank the lord we have no such qualms at loon pond. A goose is a goose is a goose ... or should that be barefaced effrontery is barefaced effrontery is barefaced effrontery ... and Akker Dakker is still the fat owl of the remove. (with apologies to Gertrude Stein).

(Below: an oldie but a goodie. Feel like a stupid, pointless argument? Why not head over to Akker Dakker where you'll find stupid, pointless arguments in abundance).

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, but PA has a point (I think). Although your notion "Put it another way: a cynic is a man who can blather on about civility, and then be uncommonly uncivil on a daily basis" does seem rather pert.

    Here's a quote from some poor soul attempting to edit the Wikipedia entry for the University of Tasmania.

    "Excuse me, what makes you think you can delete whole paragraphs of my hard work and change the entire feel of this article without even consulting anyone? The stuff you got rid of was all true and verifiable on the UTAS website, and what's more it gave a lot of information about specific research. Your stuff states the obvious that is true of any university, and moreover, it seems to be all very biased towards talking up and bragging about how beautiful it is to live and study in Hobart. Are you from admin, methinks? Since you spent two days on it I'll leave it but please comment before we may change it back."

    The poor innocent ended up slinking off "Oh screw this he won't stop changing it. Well it's all yours, I'm abandoning it now"

    Some people thought it was the UTAS admin "protecting" "their" property. But I suspect it was a Queensland Uni graduate who took it upon herself to "fix" University wiki entries. Her rationale was "I'm better than you". And Wiki shamelessly encouraged her rampant loony-ism by giving her awards. Frankly, she's a tosser, and one of the reasons Wiki is sinking like the Titanic.


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