RatS 11: Taibbi and The Miserableness of Documenting Censorship

We link a lot to Matt Taibbi. He is smart, he cares (mostly) about  the right things, and he is beholden to no one. Which means that, with the polarising idiocy of our times, Taibbi is hated by pretty much everyone. It’s always a good bet to judge a man by his enemies.

Taibbi has an on-going series, Meet the Censored, to which we link whenever he has a new post. Now, Taibbi has written about that series, and the difficulty bringing people on with what the series is really about. If for example, you were cheering when Trump was kicked off Twitter, you might want to think again. Having thought again, you’re probably still fine to cheer Trump being kicked off Twitter, and maybe that’s ok, but it is not a gimme.

Here is Taibbi’s post on the issue:

On the Miserable Necessity of Doing Censorship Stories in Pairs

 

 

Richmond, Drugs and the Injection of Bullshit

Just a word about Richmond West Primary School, which has been in the Melbourne news for all the wrong reasons in the last couple days. What follows is obviously our point of view, and is not intended to represent the School or any other person.

Our daughters go to RWPS and, with the caveat that all primary schools are screwed up by the Australian Curriculum and modern education nitwittism, we and our daughters love the school. We commute very non-trivially for our daughters to go there. In particular, we have regarded the school as perfectly safe.

Notoriously, RWPS is next door to the North Richmond Community Health Centre, which houses Richmond’s safe injecting room. The injecting room is there because the drugs and the druggies are there. It was a dodgy area long before the injecting room, and it still is, although if anything our understanding and perception is that it’s probably less so. One is watchful, and it is not unusual to see a down-and-outer, drugged or otherwise. But before this week, for four years, we did not see or hear of anything remotely extreme or threatening near the school. What our daughters have experienced more than anything is lessons in empathy, to think compassionately about people who are doing it much tougher than themselves.

The incidents at RWPS this week were obviously much more serious. What is not obvious, however, is what exactly the incidents were, or whether they carry any deeper meaning. The incidents do not appear in any way linked, and we’ve read nothing to suggest that they’re in any way linked to the injecting room. We’ve seen nothing to suggest that such incidents are likely to recur. It is natural to question what is going; two such incidents in a week demands it. But it should be kept in mind that perhaps nothing is going on, that, accepting the area is dodgy, the incidents may have been coincidental and rare.

What doesn’t help is shopping misinformation and fear-mongering, in particular by shit-stirring Murdoch stooges and their fellow travellers. We’ll be reading and looking to find out more. But, we won’t be reading nasty, populist fuckers, and we suggest others avoid this as well.

UPDATE (24/03/21)

And more populist bullshit today. Fuck Tom Cowie and fuck David Estcourt and fuck Anthony Piovesan, and fuck you TV vultures around when school lets out. All of you, either you have no fucking clue, or you’re lying through your fucking teeth.

UPDATE (29/03/21)

And further “Fuck you”s, to the Age’s Rachel Eddie and ABC’s Zalika Rizmal. And a special “Fuck you” to pompous Liberal toad, Matthew Bach.

RatS 8: Donald McNeil Has His Say

Last month, science writer Donald McNeil got shoved out of the New York Times. McNeil has waited until he was formally out of the Times to have his say. Now, he has done so. The whole thing is insane.

Part One: Introduction

Part Two: What Happened January 28?

Part Three: What Happened in the 2019 Investigation?

Part Four: What Happened in Peru?

RatS 6: Bipolar Opposites

We’ve never paid particular attention to Scott Alexander (pseudonym) and his blog, Slate Star Codex (now Astral Codex Ten). Long ago, we ran into a few SSC posts and our very vague memory is that we liked them. Then, while reading more on the New York Times‘s crucifying of Donald McNeil, we came across the Times‘s smelly article on SSC, including the gratuitous and sleazy outing of Alexander.* We explored a little, including reading this thoughtful critique of SSC. Still, we didn’t, and don’t, look to have an opinion on SSC, or on the “rationalism” in which it is supposedly immersed. (We did however, come to the opinion, that the New York Times has lost its collective fucking mind.)

A couple days ago, however, and completely by chance, we ran into an old, 2014 post on SSC. Alexander is a psychiatrist, and this post was on his long and futile attempt to conduct a study of a screening test for bipolar disorder, a test that Alexander suspected was of limited worth and knew was being widely misused. From the introduction to Alexander’s saga:

You ask patients a bunch of things like “Do you ever feel really happy, then really sad?”. If they say ‘yes’ to enough of these questions, you start to worry.

Some psychiatrists love this test. I hate it. Patients will say “Yes, that absolutely describes me!” and someone will diagnose them with bipolar disorder. Then if you ask what they meant, they’d say something like “Once my local football team made it to the Super Bowl and I was really happy, but then they lost and I was really sad.” I don’t even want to tell you how many people get diagnosed bipolar because of stuff like this.

Alexander’s post struck a particularly strong chord. Our father was a clinical psychologist, and he saw the worst. The whole Cuckoo’s Nest thing. More importantly, he didn’t think the not-worst was generally all that much better. In general, he regarded his psychologist and, especially, psychiatrist colleagues as arrogant, narrow-minded, drug-pushing quacks. Alexander’s story is from a different angle, but it fits right in.

Alexander’s post is alternately hilarious and horrifying. Read it. And then scream.

 

*) The kind of thing that a toady like James Massola would do.

Yes, Creighton is the Dumbest Man on the Planet

Meanwhile, GregHunt (one word) and ScoMoFo and BlackShirts Dutton, you know, the people responsible for the little things such as the country and borders and health and vaccines and whatnot, do nothing but play to the camera with their fuck-you-all smirks.

Luckily, Andrews and Victorians have shown themselves to be way smarter and way more responsible than these Liberal and NeoLiberal shitheads. And they, we, will do it again.

Take care, Victorians, and ignore these assholes.

RatS 5: Woody to Get Hatcheted Again

We’ve posted previously on the lynch mobbing of Woody Allen. Now, HBO is coming out with a four-hour documentary on Woody and Mia. And here we go again.

Documentary filmmaker Robert Weide has written carefully and compellingly about the nonsense accusations against Woody Allen,. He has spent time with Moses, and he has looked carefully at Golden Boy Ronan.

Weide now has a new post, on the coming documentary, what to watch for and why he doesn’t trust it. If you do not believe Allen molested his daughter, then you should read it. If you do believe Allen molested his daughter, then you’re either ignorant or you’re an idiot and you should read it. Here is an excerpt:

For all the years that Mia, Dylan, and Ronan Farrow have been having their say on mainstream and social media, I’ve never seen them put in a position where they weren’t in control over who was questioning them, so I’ve never seen them have to hold up under cross, so to speak. Now, in this documentary, there might be some very “soft” cross questions to make it look like the interviewers are going for the truth, but these will likely be questions where the responses are already known, creating the illusion of due diligence. (And if the answer doesn’t suit the filmmaker’s needs, it can always be left on the cutting room floor.) I know several people who could question these three Farrows … that, in five minutes, would turn each of them into Cmdr. Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny.”

Ask yourself why Ronan Farrow blocks anyone who ever questions his statements on Twitter, no matter how polite or well-informed they are. (This is the same Ronan Farrow who wrote an editorial for The Hollywood Reporter asking why Woody Allen isn’t asked “the hard questions.”) Why did Ronan Farrow never respond to my Tweets offering a $100k donation to the charity of their choice for a shred of “evidence” of any number of his provably false claims? When Ronan and I were both invited to debate the issue live, on stage, at the SoHo Forum in NYC, I responded, “Fly me out and put me up, and I’m there.” Ronan declined to even respond. Ronan is a lawyer and a Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative reporting. I won a prize as “Most Outstanding Student” from the Rotary Club when I was in 8th grade. So what is he afraid of? 

 

UPDATE (08/03/21)

Robert Weide writes about the HBO train wreck, and Weide publishes his non-interview. On the latter, Weide notes

Woody Allen gave an interview to the WSJ months ago. It was cancelled before publication. He also gave an interview for CBS This Morning that was cancelled just prior to air. This online publication asked me for an interview. I consented. Then they cancelled it. Everyone OK w/this?