Monitor Duty

A rambling post about…… stuff

I’ve been doing some thinking about a change of direction for Spinneyhead. Some connections fired whilst I pondered this last week and I headed off to the new home of Monitor Duty, a comics blog I posted on for a while a few years ago.

It came as little surprise that I’d been retconned(*) out of MD history, given that I called out the site’s owner on his prejudices and left when it became obvious he was using circular logic to support them. (All Muslims are evil terrorists. Any Muslim shown to not be an evil terrorist doesn’t count because they’re obviously not a True Muslim. Because all Muslims are evil terrorists.) It’s not as big a deal as Violet Blue being unpersonned by BoingBoing and I have no problems not being associated with the site except on the Wayback Machine. [For transparency I ought to admit that I have removed posts about a particular person from Spinneyhead’s archives. If you’ve known me long enough you’ll know who and why. If you haven’t, sorry, I’m not going to elaborate.]

Anyway, scanning the front page I came across a post about the assumed politics of writers. This isn’t so much a response as thoughts arising, but I’d always assume that a good writer is more likely to be “liberal” than conservative. Good fiction is about change, and conservatives aren’t about change- it’s right there in their name. Partly because of this, and a need to make political points, conservative writers lack depth in characterisation- most often trying to compensate with a detailed biography- and an inability to flesh out the antagonists. I’m thinking, chiefly, of Tom Clancy and his technothriller brethren. In particular I remember one of Clancy’s books where a character whos only action was to cut down a tree got a page and a half of biography, almost as much as the chief villain.

Authors of all political shades are capable of coming out with polemics, of course. I just think that those of us to the left of centre, and the occasional libertarian, do it so much better.

This is a response to the last bit of the post-

“We” are not winning in Iraq. There is no winning in Iraq, there is merely sacrificing fewer people to a criminally stupid decision and trying to leave the country less fucked than it is at present. We are sacrificing fewer people, thankfully, but hundreds of thousands have died because of an illegal invasion and an incompetent occupation. You can’t win with that many corpses.

I’d love to see an attempt to justify the “Obama’s more ignorant than George W. Bush ever was”, which will probably be based upon some ignorant, unchecked opinion piece from a professional liar like Ann Coulter.

The Antarctic Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve holds about enough oil for a month of use by the US. Why spoil something for so little. Get a smaller car, turn down the air conditioning, fit solar panels and learn to walk!

Yes, McCain is a lousy candidate. All the Republicans were. Don’t be an idiot. Don’t vote for him.

You don't really need to find out what's going on, You don't really want to know just how far it's gone

I tried to watch Fox News this morning. I feel dirty.

One of the other contributors to Monitor Duty (which I’ve abandoned now because the guy who runs it is a bigot who’ll only accept information that reinforces his prejudices) told me that Fox was important because it “told the truth”. He should watch OutFoxed and get a clue.

There’s no narrative to the documentary, just a series of interviewees- many of them former Fox employees- describing the station’s philosophy and tactics. Their arguments are backed up by examples from Fox programming and copies of internal memos. In essence the channel exists to feed viewers opinion, rumour and gossip whilst pretending to be a real news organisation and claiming to be “Fair and Balanced” (evidence that some Americans do understand irony).

Highlights include the composer of the Fox News Alert music lamenting that the rousing flourish was supposed to announce major items- bombings and suchlike- but now heralds Bennifer news and other fluff pieces, and the revelation that high profile presenter Bill O’Reilly couldn’t be sued for libel because he’s such a pathological liar he can no longer conciously recognise that he’s not telling the truth.

Why is this so important to me? Because the most powerful country in the world can’t be truly described as a democracy if one of the largest news providers is a 24 hour shill for the Republican party. And because Murdoch owns so many papers and broadcasting outfits over here as well- try to imagine The Sun as the main influencer of opinion and be afraid.

(Don Henley, Dirty Laundry)

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Dolphins were Monkeys that didn't like the land

I reckon Creationists actually present strong evidence to support evolution, being more closely related to monkeys thanm the rest of us. Famous evangelical cartoonist Jack Chick has weighed into the subject with Big Daddy?, a comic which inadvertantly shows how ludicrous the Creationist/ Intelligent Design argument is.

Faced with the “six basic concepts of evolution”, our hero contends that only one- micro evolution, the only one occuring over an observable period rather than aeons- can be called “science”. All else is “faith”. In which case, you might as well ignore hundreds of years of work by some of the greatest human minds and choose the Bible instead, even though it contains dubious history at best and was compiled by men who weren’t present to suit their own political agendas.

The really sad thing is that beliefs such as ID are being given so much more airtime than they deserve. It’s not a science, not even a bad science, if it is to be taught then stick it in with all the other creation myths where it belongs rather than biology classes.

via BoingBoing

(Lyrics from “Dolphins were Monkeys” by Ian Brown)

[Crossposted from Monitor Duty]

Lying Liars

This is a list for the folks over at Monitor Duty as much as anyone else, but to keep their front page from descending into some sort of flame war, I’ll put it here and invite them over.

A theme over there at the moment is the “lies” of Michael Moore. So, for the benefit of balance, here’s a small resource of other people’s lies.

The liar-in-chief should top the pile, of course. There’s the one I got angry about earlier this year, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Tony Blair lies

Bill O’Reilly Lies, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Fox News, Ronald Reagan (oh, okay, that one isn’t strictly about lies, I’m just tapping into the zeitgeist. Or something.)

I could go on, and I could go deeper. The above were found by typing [Name] lies into google.

And MD appears to be offline right now, so I can’t invite them over until later.

Update Of course, this is a subject I’ve addressed before. And then there’s this from a few days ago, which is very disturbing.

A few notes from the Apocalypse

Cross posted from Monitor Duty.

The Day After Tomorrow certainly looks like it’ll be cheese on the scale of Armageddon, but I can’t help thinking I’ll still go and see it.

But how valid is the science?

Despite the phenomenon’s name, Global Warming isn’t about anything as simple as a uniform rise in temperatures. The global climate is a complex and chaotic thing. A rise in average temperatures means there’s more energy in the system and it’s being driven to extremes.

Judging from the trailer a major plot point of TDAT is the theory that melting icecaps and increasing fresh water rainfall in the North Atlantic will disrupt or even destroy ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream. This would cause temperatures in currently temperate areas warmed by the flows to plummet. The ice caps have been shrinking at an alarming rate

But before the next Ice Age overtakes us, we’re probablty due a few more extreme summers. Claims that the world is getting warmer aren’t just fantasies, but are backed up by physical evidence. It’s such a plausible threat that the Pentagon has drawn up a report of possible repercussions, though it runs the risk of being ignored by an anti-science US government.

Even if you don’t believe in global warming there are still numerous arguments for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and other pollutants. From local effects, congestion and the personal damage of a car culture to the global danger of the West consuming so much of the world’s resources and being dependent upon unstable regions for our fuel supply.

Science fiction is about taking a theory and expanding upon it. It’s highly unlikely that a perfectly rendered wave is going to wash away Manhattan and Liberty is going to turn into a popsicle, but it is one- very dramatic- possible outcome of recorded trends. And we may not be living in Highlander 2’s ozone-less dystopia, but that doesn’t mean the hole’s getting any smaller.

Pink Pages

(Cross posted to Monitor Duty, where I seem to be the token ‘liberal’. I’d be interested in debating this with some of them, because none of the arguments against have any merits whatsoever as far as I can see.)

It’s always worth getting a Salon day pass to check out Keith Knight’s K Chronicles This week- the San Francisco gay marriage kerfuffle.

Daryl Cagle has assembled a load of cartoons on the subject, logical, political, sweet, funny and moronically reactionary.

Personally, I think the King of Cambodia has the right idea.

(Two comments about gay weddings in one day? I have a cold, it must be putting me in touch with my feminine side. Plus, King Sihanouk is my new hero.)


Monitor Duty, which has been in my blogroll for a while, was looking for contributors with less of a DC slant. So I volunteered this morning and got back a reply early this afternoon saying ‘Welcome to the club.’ I’ve just posted my first post. I usually have a couple of comic related pieces every week that I can share with the MD people, and it shiuld increase my traffic, so it’s all good.

Well, there is one niggle- they have Movable Type. There’s nothing wrong with Movable Type, quite the opposite, but it does show up where Blogger is lacking. Having said which, I remain a Blogger loyalist at least until my free Blogger hoodie arrives.


In a belated attempt to keep my e-mail address being picked up by spammers’ robots, I’ve encrypted the e-mail at the top of the page using the encoder by Hiveware. Don’t know how much this is going to help, but every little helps.

The whole office, possibly the whole corporation, lost most of today to a network outage directly or indirectly related to a virus attack, which hopefully this will also counter.

via Monitor Duty

Small Print

Yeep! The Monitor Duty guys’ reading of the new Cafe Press terms of service is very worrying. It seems they want to fine underperforming stores and make a copyright grab on all the stuff that’s been uploaded to their servers. I’m going to go through the ToS later and see if I read it that way as well. Then maybe I’ll go looking for alternatives.
(BTW the spinneyhead store at Cafe Press is here. I might as well plug it whilst it’s still in operation.)