The reason for a lack of updates here is simple: too much work. However, the world has carried on spinning.
The Spanish political arena is currently fairly dull. Zapatero announced a female majority cabinet, which is obviously an interesting statement. It doesn’t say much about what his second government will achieve. My guess is: not a hell of a lot. Libertad Digital reckons that ETA are pushing for talks with the government by letting off bombs. Talks should happen, but probably won’t, given that the PP is committed to breaking the historic pact of support for the government’s terrorism policy. The struggle for power in the PP is the only story really worth following.
Good news: unionised dock workers in Durban refused to unload millions of dollars worth of Chinese weapons bound for Zimbabwe. Action by local human rights groups and trade unions prevented the delivery of arms and ammunition for Mugabe’s regime from a Chinese ship. Apparently, the ship is now enroute for Mozambique. I can only hope that union workers there will also fight the ‘free market’ which allows China to arm Mugabe’s psychotic and murderous regime. I mean, could the timing be any more obvious? This is the moral equivalent of Mussolini’s assistance to Franco’s rebellion.
We met up with Graeme of South of Watford fame (Madrid’s best English-language blog) last night. I got a bit drunk (sorry about that) but we had a great evening, ending up in Plaça Reial, where I insulted an arsehole of a waiter.
The next few weekends will be pretty busy and work is going to be intense over the coming weeks. But I’ll try to blog a bit more because I enjoy this.
I’ve just managed to recover most of the site after some sort of serious database issue. Some of the most recent comments and posts have been deleted, But I will try to recover them too (I have a DB backup, luckily).
Sometimes people question whether the Internet is actually at all useful or if it’s full of silly rubbish clogging up our minds like cholesterol. To those people, I say: without the Internet, we wouldn’t have YouTube. And without YouTube, we wouldn’t have Hairdresser.
I mentioned in a post some time ago that I was disappointed that a video with a bit of swearing in (Nick’s epic bowling movie, for example) could be banned from YouTube.com whereas videos from the BNP which solicited almost explicitly racist comments are left untouched. This situation is symptomatic of a problem with the far-right in online communities: they’re far better organised than the left wing are. So, for example, a video during which a Socialist party member reads from a selection of BNP literature and describes them as racist is met with responses like ” Can you explain the non-stop HATE I see every day in the eyes of black men…?”.
Later, the comments devolve into opposing sides referring to eachother as “Moron” and later, “C*nt”. Intriguingly, this last word is banned from videos on YouTube but not from the comments people leave. Check out the abuse this user gets on his profile page. Interestingly, I only stumbled upon that user’s profile because he, in turn, had been sending me offensive and threatening messages because he thought I’d posted a video spoofing homophobic reggae ‘star’, Buju Banton. In turn, a video of fellow reggae performer Shabba Ranks saying the bible supports Buju’s positon features the comment “Heah i aint famous so f*ck it, all queers should be shot dead it aint right and should be dealt with by aggression and plenty of it cut there cocks off if they cant use it properly f*ckin sick bastards.. [sic]”.
I recognise that in the US, where YouTube is registered, there exists a stronger belief in freedom of expression, whatever offence is caused. And yet, YouTube’s Community Guidelines state “We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech which contains slurs or the malicious use of stereotypes intended to attack or demean a particular gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or nationality”. The advice given by YouTube is that if you’re not happy with something, you should flag it as inappropriate and it will be dealt with. I know, however, that this is just not applied to offensive comments.
So what should be done? Some people will say that frankly, freedom of speech should be upheld above all other rights. I disagree when it comes to hate speech as categorised in YouTube’s own rules. YouTube really needs to make more of an effort to moderate debate on its pages. There’s no stopping stupid thugs making unpleasant videos like this but YouTube should be checking the content that gets uploaded to its site.