Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Forgot to say last night about the burden expansions to Australia's classification scheme would have on artists, who would have to submit their work for review and pay to have it rated. A similar situation recently threatened to stifle the app industry for smartphones in Australia, with the prospect of having to have those rated before sale. According to the current OFLC fee structure, geting a computer game rated costs $470 at cheapest.

If a similar fee structure is implemented for the fine arts, I wouldn't be surprised to see those disappear or go underground. The best case scenario would probably be sponsored exhibitions becoming more expensive to stage. Not that I know so much about these areas of the arts - maybe I am fortuitously mistaken?

On the related note of Australia's video game classification stopping at MA15+ [2] (meaning anything that would be restricted to adults only is instead refused classification unless an edited, less 'adult' version is produced [1]), I've been told that is largely due to South Australian Attorney-General vetoing every attempt to introduce an adult classification into the scheme. Mind, he retired in 2010 so hopefully there will be some action on this soon. Better that than new excuses.

[1] Or the title is released at a lower rating than it 'ought' to have, thereby destroying the minds of countless highschoolers.

[2] Since these posts pass through three sites, one of which so far as I am aware does not support LJ-style name links, I find myself avoiding referring to people by name. Should really resolve a policy for that.

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

When I started applying Australia's film classification standards to stories I read I was a bit curious and a bit hoping to highlight some absurdity in the system. More than one of my favourite stories, it turns out, would be illegal to sell in this country if they were film rather than print, at least by my reading of the standards. Not, as many reading this will know, that that's hugely difficult to achieve. But now it looks like something similar is being seriously proposed - potentially to require art in Australia to be rated by a board and, if deemed unsuitable, according to a potentially contracting standard of suitability, to declare it unfit to be shown.

Hopefully this has no chance of being recommended by the actual review later this year, nor of going into effect. Hopefully this is only the news take an opportunity to stir up a flurry of panic and protest, but Australia already has a bad history of restrictive censorship.

The best word I have to describe the Australian government's position on matters of rating and access is infantilising. Really, what else would you call a proposal to censor the nation's internet of anything more risque than a 15-year-old can legally see in a movie theatre? Refusing classification to any film depicting full-frontal nudity would be another step to really, truly banning all Australians from any media conservative Christians think is unsuited for children.

I am rather fed up with people seeking authority to 'protect' everyone else from what they deem immoral. If it's a matter of religion, then that's down to the individual. If someone believes my soul is imperilled by nudity or violence or images of people enjoying sex, then that is between me and your fictitious god. If you think society overall is endangered by access to such material, then you need to first show compelling evidence that its availability prohibits the free and safe daily life of the people. Otherwise we've no business banning media unless mayhaps it was produced by the actual abuse of or harm to actual living persons[1].

[1] Hint: BDSM is not necessarily abuse.

["But the chief of staff of the Australian Christian Lobby, Lyle Gavin, said there were dangers to children everywhere because of the failure of the classification scheme. ''Arguments against tighter classification measures and using technology will be mounted from the extreme left and the extreme right of politics,'' he told the inquiry. ''On the right, the nanny state argument will be applied against tougher measures and the use of filtering technology. On the left, it will be argued that adults should be able to see whatever they want, even claiming photos of naked children have artistic merit.''"

Hint 2: predicting your opponents' responses does not actually constitute a refutation of them]

Originally published at a denizen's entertainment. You can comment here or there.

Yesterday morning I caught a few minutes at the end of a program called Pororo the Little Penguin that at first seemed fairly dead-on in its portrayal of a character with an eating disorder. So, naturally, descriptive triggers follow in the recounting of it.

What I saw started with a pink beaver character (named Loopy according to the Wikipedia article) moping, looking at herself in the mirror and sighing that she is 'chubby'. Then her friends come over for lunch and are enjoying themselves, while she quietly sips a drink through a straw instead of eating. While doing so she visualises herself expanding in size as she drinks, and puts even that away.

While she is lamenting that she is chubby and should not eat or drink anything, her friends are admiring a model in a magazine she has lying around. When they notice she is upset about her weight, they try to tell her she is not chubby but she does not believe them.

And then... it all falls apart. She says she wants to be thin and pretty like the model in the magazine and the polar bear tells her if she wants to be thin she should exercise, and that dancing is great exercise. They all get up and dance happily.

~ fin ~

Speaking as someone who hasn't experienced it first-hand, that seemed an accurate and distressing portrayal of someone suffering from an eating disorder, immediately followed up by what is just about the worst possible response you could give in that situation presented as a permanent solution. From everything I've seen personally and elsewhere, eating disorders pretty commonly include obsessive exercising as part of their manifestation, so advising someone in any stage of one that exercise will solve eir problems is more likely just adding to them.

aesmael: (tricicat)
I always thought of Kill Bill as basically the Mirror Universe version of Charlie's Angels.

Edit: The part where she goes after O-Ren Ishii reminds me of the Hundred Man Battle from Berserk, with Gogo in the role of Adon's brother (same weapon and all, updated), although... hard to say who fared better. Guts seemed to manage the fighting easier, but The Bride can walk away under her own power at the end.

Edit2: I'll take that back. Accounting for the story styles those events are embedded in, I'd say they do about even.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Watching the season premiere of Heroes and being frustrated because -

The character Claire has just started at college. Her room-mate was of the obnoxious over-achiever stereotype. At some point she (the room-mate) is found dead, having apparently jumped from the dormitory window, with a suicide note found later.

And the reason I am annoyed? Because Claire and her one friend keep insisting that this woman could not have killed herself because she was so happily pleased with herself, having an abundance of self-esteem, openly planning her life out for the next several years. As if the only people who might kill themselves are those who are noticeably mopey and sad, that no one who had the appearance of a happy, forward-looking life could do such a thing.

I am sure this character was murdered, because that's the shape of the story, but I think the way the characters are coming to this conclusion and expressing it is perpetuating untrue ideas.
aesmael: (just people)
Here is an example of one of them:
So I pass. Most of the time, I pass. I’ve used the parking permit maybe four times, because I don’t want people looking at me, staring because I’m not in a wheelchair, conspicuously inspecting my car looking for a placard, heckling me and asking what my diagnosis is, just as that TV current affairs show encouraged them to do last year.

Yay!

2009-08-10 20:34
aesmael: (tricicat)
Wire in the Blood back on soon, which is good news because there haven't been any new decent episodes of Doctor Who for a while (this is relevant because I sometimes decide Tony Hill is The Doctor taking a sabbatical on Earth to work as a psychologist, especially since they both talk their enemies into defeat).

In related news, remembered the make of gun Megatron transforms into is apparently the same (kay, not really, but similar enough that I want to overlook) as is favoured by James Bond. Am sure someone can do or has done something with that.
aesmael: (friendly)
[livejournal.com profile] soltice has been selected to be a guest on the OSNews podcast. She can be heard on episode 18 and it was very strange hearing her familiar voice in a radio sort of context. She is also on the just released episode 19 and I think will be appearing in future too. Am really still stunned by all this, a bit amazed and proud and still blinking.

Meanwhile [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings' post comparing the crew of Primetime Sports with the Justice League got her mentioned on the front page of their website. Primetime Sports, that is, not the Justice League who are too snooty to do more than monitor her covertly.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
(04:25:24) celestialjayde: http://sexinthepublicsquare.org/ERVsBlog/Microbiology-and-Abortion
also this is intriguing

(04:27:04) Ami angelwings: Planned Parenthood's recommendation to use the abortion-causing drug Misoprostol vaginally rather than orally has led to fatal infections according to a research study released by the University of Michigan.
(04:27:15) Ami angelwings: if i was a scientist upon reading that
(04:27:37) Ami angelwings: i would go into one of the radioactive labs and irradiate myself
(04:27:39) Ami angelwings: gain super powers
(04:27:45) Ami angelwings: and go destroy them for misrepresenting my work
Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.


Not much to actually about this. Still processing. Caught my attention partly as something relevant to a story, to the act of world design and the pressures which drive particular social structures, partly as something people might be interested to read for themselves.
aesmael: (just people)
X18+ - RESTRICTED

CONTAINS CONSENSUAL SEXUALLY EXPLICIT ACTIVITY
(Restricted to adults 18 years and over*)
*Available only for sale or hire in the ACT and Northern Territory.

Note: This classification category applies only to films. This classification is a special and
legally restricted category which contains only sexually explicit material. That is material
which contains real depictions of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual activity between
consenting adults.

No depiction of violence, sexual violence, sexualised violence or coercion is allowed in the
category. It does not allow sexually assaultive language. Nor does it allow consensual
depictions which purposefully demean anyone involved in that activity for the enjoyment of
viewers.

Fetishes such as body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax,
‘golden showers’, bondage, spanking or fisting are not permitted.

As the category is restricted to activity between consenting adults, it does not permit any
depictions of non-adult persons, including those aged 16 or 17, nor of adult persons who look
like they are under 18 years. Nor does it permit persons 18 years of age or over to be
portrayed as minors.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
Was watching Serenity a couple of nights ago. Toward the end I saw what at first appeared to be the Decepticon symbol displayed near the bow of an Alliance ship.

It occurred to me that might make a pretty good basis for a live action Transformers program in which I would not cringe to see the humans take centre stage. Can easily see some Alliance officials reporting to Soundwave about their latest failure to recapture River, or the Decepticons being responsible for the destruction of Earth-that-was as part of a plot to infiltrate and corrupt human society among the stars, leaving the Autobots stranded at first on the wreckage of the old world.

Of course, then it is no longer Firefly, but there are times I'm not averse to parallel canons or interpretations.
aesmael: (just people)
Two days ago, from when I begin typing these words, that was the declared Australia Day. I've not been enamoured of this day in celebration of white (our) colonisation, as I've not been of the United States' Thanksgiving, and felt no inclination to be celebrating it.

Prior to the day, suggestions of changing the date to something a bit less... blatantly colonialist were on my mind. It seemed a decent idea, though one I'd expect to get more resistance than support in the public or political eye.

And then we get this:
In the Sydney subrub of Manly, hundreds of youths draped in "Aussie pride" livery wore slogans declaring "f--k off we're full" as they smashed car windows and ran up the famous Corso targeting non-white shop keepers.

A 18-year-old Asian female in one of the cars was showered with shattered glass, giving her numerous cuts to her arms. She was treated on the scene by ambulance officers.

A taxi driven by a Sikh Indian was also targeted while an Asian shopkeeper was reportedly assaulted.

Groups of men jumped up on cars chanting race hate to the terrified passengers within, and were heard singing "tits out for the boys" at passing girls and yelled "lets go f--k with these Lebs".

What started as chants of "Aussie Aussie Aussie" at 1pm (AEDT) had in an hour had developed the potential to resemble Cronulla Beach in 2005.

And this:
"It was a mix of hoodlums who had obviously been drinking as well but, to me, there was also an underlying element of racism dressed up as nationalism," Dr Burridge, a senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney, said.

"When they were gathering on the [oceanside] beachfront, that's when they were screaming out 'If you're Aussie and you know it clap your hands' and 'If you're white and you know it clap your hands'."

Dr Burridge said an 18-year-old woman was traumatised when three teenagers jumped on the car she was in and smashed two windows.

The youths went on to jump over other cars and damage shop awnings as they ran through the area chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi" and "Aussie pride".

"When I was on the beach there was a bunch of them ... and these are teenagers -15, 16-year-olds - with slogans on their backs and postcodes with Penrith and Londonderry," she said.


And yet we get this sort of response:
But Commander Darcy from Manly Local Area Command said the group, most of whom were not from the area, were no worse than a rowdy "old cricket crowd".

"To suggest that there were racial overtones there is, I think, way over the top," he said.

"I personally gave them a good looking over, just assessing them. There was an intensity there that no doubt would be confronting to some but at that stage they hadn't crossed the threshold of criminality."

I'd point out that racist slurs are not exactly unknown in cricket, but that still seems a rather inappropriate comparison. Since I don't dare hope these reports to be false, I'll hope instead Commander Darcy was ignorant of the details at the time this statement was made, and / or quoted out of context. Not a hope I am confident of seeing borne out, but it would be nice.

To understate: I don't like this. Something, probably a whole lot of somethings, need(s) to be done. Australia Day, as it stands, I am inclined to think ought not continue. We might move it, we might attempt rebranding, but I think incidents like this are reflective of national identity and narrative and those need changing before any national symbol-day would cease to be associated with racist violence.

Personally I'm inclined to give up any sort of nationalist holiday, even one moved or under attempted rebranding. Might try establishing something new before phasing out the old to avoid association but I really am at a loss for devising some positive value celebration that would not readily be coopted for white nationalist violence.

Ah well. 'Tis always a long project, not a near future fix, and hopefully better minds than mine will conjure better ideas - I don't pretend to think I'd by myself overcome the world, not tonight.

Edit: I've missed a lot which ought have been said, concerning especially Indigenous issues, but though too weary now to form well my own words want not such to go without acknowledgement. So we reproduce as stand-in this comment here:
I don’t really think it’s appropriate to identify and celebrate another day, until we actually honestly address the problems that resulted from both colonisation and federation. The jingoistic blah that surrounds Australia Day offends me, but unless we partake in some genuinely honest self-appraisal as a nation, an alternative day will be just as bad.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
Just finished watching Dr. Strangelove for the first time. There is a terrible beauty to it.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)

The life cycle of a book is a long and complicated one.

Via Thingology.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
Avatar, that's a show I have been wanting to watch for a while now. Just lately [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings has informed me a live action film is to be made from the series and, as appears to be something of a tradition, many of the characters have been cast as white in stark contrast to their original depiction.

So, um, yay? I have not even been paying attention or looking and I can name a few off-hand this has happened to, like Dragon Ball, Speed Racer and Earthsea, so it is not hard to see a trend. Because we all know white people need as many breaks as they can get in the film industry, right? If race does not matter there should have been no problem casting to match characters' original conception, surely not such a thorough problem unless we want to pretend white people are just plain better actors. And if it does matter, well, there's even less excuse then.


Icon (plus others) from here, thanks again to [livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings for the link.
aesmael: (Electric Waves)
New show advertised recently, Eli Stone. Seemed like fun, a main character having extravagant, perhaps prophetic visions. I thought I would give this sort of show another try after snarling at Medium.

I don't like it. After a few minutes, I realised this was the show I heard about some months ago, in which the opening episode establishes in court that vaccinations using thimerosol (faintly disguised as 'mercurisol' in the show) as a preservative cause autism, and that the company producing the vaccine was aware of this.

I don't like seeing such a charged falsehood presented on television as fact, considering it has been established firmly in multiple studies that there is no such link, and yet there are still numerous parents trying to sue companies which produce vaccines for 'making their child autistic'.

That, and the scene toward the end in which, after the main character is told that his visions are caused by an inoperable brain aneurysm, another character tells him they can have another explanation and perhaps he is a prophet, apparently in a Christian framework (Moses is referenced as an example 'I'm not' 'but God told Moses he would send a prophet to every generation'). The main character says he does not believe in God and gets told "Do you believe in right and wrong? Do you believe in justice? Do you believe in love? Then you believe in God." This sort of declaration that being a moral person is identical with belief in the Christian God annoys me a lot.

Plus, I would have preferred if he decided to attribute significance to his visions on his own.

Perhaps it would have been better viewed as some sort of alternate reality story or fantasy, but I think I would rather not watch a show which seems to have as its primary message that evidence-free belief and decision-making is better than the other kind.
aesmael: (haircut)
[livejournal.com profile] lost_angelwings has complained to me a few times about the awfulness of a morning cartoon called "Bakugan," on one occasion directing me to a clip of the show hosted on Youtube to demonstrate. From the evidence presented I can only concluded this show has no author. Rather, it appears to be generated by some machine similar to those from which entertainment was produced in Nineteen Eighty-Four, standardised tropes, themes, characters and dialogue assembled into the shape of a story; nothing human went into this program.

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