Archive for the ‘not ninja-worthy’ Category

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

VANCOUVER, British Columbia a€" A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The articlea€™s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

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Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Macleana€™s, Canadaa€™s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their a€oedignity, feelings and self-respect.a€A

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Macleana€™s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

a€oeIta€™s hate speech!a€A yelled one man.

a€oeIta€™s free speech!a€A yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions a€" even false, provocative or hateful things a€" without legal consequence.

The Macleana€™s article, a€oeThe Future Belongs to Islam,a€A was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called a€oeAmerica Alonea€A (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

a€oeIn much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at onea€™s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,a€A Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called a€oeThe Exceptional First Amendment.a€A

a€oeBut in the United States,a€A Professor Schauer continued, a€oeall such speech remains constitutionally protected.a€A

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps a€oebasically a Puerto Rican program.a€A The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase a€oethe general level of prejudice.a€A

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

a€oeIt is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,a€A Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, a€oewhen they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.a€A

Professor Waldron was reviewing a€oeFreedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendmenta€A by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections a€oein an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.a€A In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Courta€™s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The imminence requirement sets a high hurdle. Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away. A fiery speech urging an angry mob to immediately assault a black man in its midst probably qualifies as incitement under the First Amendment. A magazine article a€" or any publication a€" intended to stir up racial hatred surely does not.

Mr. Lewis wrote that there was a€oegenuinely dangerousa€A speech that did not meet the imminence requirement.

the remainder of this article can be found at nytimes

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The Ninja Gap

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David Weinberger somehow manages to find time to write books, write thoughtful blog posts, AND produce a periodic newsletter - Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization - thata€™s one of he best reads on the a€net. Ia€™m deeply flattered that the current issue features Davida€™s thoughts on some of the topics Ia€™m obsessed with: media attention, caring, international understanding. More generously, he gives me the chance to react to his essay within the essaya€¦

Davida€™s generosity isna€™t the main reason Ia€™m linking to his piece - ita€™s that hea€™s broken some important theoretical ground with his important new concept in media criticism: The Ninja Gap. It takes a moment or two to explain - bear with me.

Almost anyone whoa€™s heard me give a public talk has heard me observe that Japan and Nigeria have roughly the same populations, but vastly different media representation: youa€™re roughly 8-12 times more likely to find an article focused on Japan in an American newspaper than an article on Nigeria. There are a lot of possible explanations for this phenomenon, from racism to comparative economic power. David offers a new one: Japana€™s got ninjas, and Nigeria doesna€™t.

Ita€™s a brilliant observation because ita€™s funny, true and highly relevant to conversations about media attention. Johan Galtung, in his seminal a€oeThe Structure of Foreign Newsa€oe, draws a persuasive metaphor between a radio receivera€™s ability to tune in one of many radio stations, and a listenera€™s likelihood to a€oereceivea€A a piece of news:

F4: The more meaningful the signal, the more probable that it will be recorded as worth listening to.

F5: The more consonant the signal is with the mental image of what one expects to find, the more probable that it will be recorded as worth listening to.

F7: The more a signal has been tuned in to the more likely it will continue to be tuned in to as worth listening to.

Context matters, Galtung argues. If wea€™ve got a mental image of Africa as a backwards and technically retrograde place, wea€™re likely to miss stories about innovation in mobile commerce (see the lead story in issue 407a€¦) or success in venture capital. Galtunga€™s fifth maxim is closely linked to the idea of cognitive dissonance - ita€™s uncomfortable to attempt to resolve new information that conflicts with existing perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.

Context doesna€™t just come from hard news - we all consume far more entertainment and advertising content than we consume of hard news. This information helps shape our views of these countries, and likely helps us unconsciously decide what sort of information to accept or reject. These perceptions construct something over time that might be thought of as a a€oenation branda€A - as the man who coined that term,marketer Simon Anholt, observed, a€oeEthiopia is well branded to receive aid, but poorly branded as a tourism destination.a€A

In this context, Japan is a place branded in many of our minds as a place thata€™s innovative, high-tech, and more than a little strange. Whether or not wea€™ve been to Japan, wea€™ve encountered anime, monster movies, martial arts flicks, SONY tva€™s and Toyota trucks. Whether or not our ideas about Japan are well-founded, reflect the reality on the ground, are rich in stereotypes, etc., wea€™ve got preconceptions about Japan. On some level, the fact that we know that a€oeJapan = Ninjasa€A means that wea€™ve got receptivity for a story about Japan that we might not have for Nigeria.

And so, Nigeria needs ninja. Or as David explains:

One reason we care about Japan more than Nigeria (generally) is that Japan has a cool culture. Wea€™ve heard about that culture because some Westerners wrote bestselling books about ninjas, and then Hollywood made ninja movies. Love them ninjas! Nigeria undoubtedly has something as cool as ninjas. Ok, something almost as cool as ninjas. If we had some blockblusters about the Nigerian equivalent of ninjas, wea€™d start to be interested Nigeria.

In other words, wea€™re more inclined to pay attention to Japan because wea€™ve got some context - a weird, non-representative context, for sure - while we have almost no context for stories about Nigeria. The context we do have for Nigeria - 419 scams - tends to be pretty corrosive, and may make us likelier to pick up only the stories that portray Nigeria as wildly corrupt and criminal.

Davida€™s observation leads him to some concrete advice for those of us trying to inspire xenophilia: write better: a€oeGood writing can make anything interesting. We will read the story about the Nigerian peddler and his neighborhood if there is a writer able to tell that story in a compelling way.a€A

Thata€™s harder than it sounds. But ita€™s also one of the best pieces of constructive advice Ia€™ve seen on cultivating xenophilia: tell good stories in a compelling way. And it wouldna€™t hurt to throw a ninja or two in there while youa€™re at it.

This post originally ran on Ethan’s excellent personal blog, My Heart’s in Accra.

via worldchanging

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What ever happened to Cliff Richard?

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Posted: June 5th, 2008
at 1:24am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: hood status,music,not ninja-worthy

Comments: 1 comment


Check Cashers - Dallas Penn

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Another case of some ignorant fools proving a valid point. I hope you’re enjoying Video Monday (on Tuesday).

If you havent checked out our selection of documentaries, you’re fast asleep. To watch, click on "documentary" in the category cloud on the far right. Or right there.

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Posted: June 3rd, 2008
at 8:08am by Black Ock


Categories: hood status,not ninja-worthy,real life news

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PC in the UK: Cops Bust Teen For Calling Scientology a Cult

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If therea€™s any doubt that the enforcement of political correctness in the U.K. is turning ordinary citizens into criminals, a 15-yr-old youth was issued a criminal summons after he had written on a sign that Scientology was a cult.

Police confiscated his protest sign at a demonstration against the Church of Scientology at their headquarters in London and then issued him a criminal summons. According to the British newspaper the Guardian, the 15-yr-old had written on a sign: a€oeScientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous culta€A. The police called it a€oeabusive and insultinga€A. dbkp

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Posted: June 2nd, 2008
at 5:48am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,celebrity,not ninja-worthy,mnp is for the children,politricks,real life news,science

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Is The New Ball A FIFA Conspiracy?

Is The New Ball A FIFA Conspiracy?

Is it just me or does it seem like every major tournament now features a new ball that moves in the air just a little more than it’s predecessor? Lahm and Frings (still excellent) long range goals for Germay in their 4-2 win over Costa Rica were in part due to the new Adidas Teamgeist ball (pictured) bobbing and weaving like Muhammad Ali in his prime.

Is it possible that FIFA (and UEFA) do this deliberately to give attacking teams an advantage, thus guaranteeing goals at major tournaments? If so, then I say carry on. The more six goal games in tournament football the better.

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Posted: May 28th, 2008
at 1:03am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: myninjaplease,not ninja-worthy,games,mnp is for the children,design,science

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Ali - Frazier?

…more like Tyson-McNeely… literally.

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I know I’m a bit behind on this… okay like… 6 months… but I posted this because I wanted to ask: doesn’t it look like these two are about to kiss?

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Posted: May 27th, 2008
at 9:08am by Black Ock


Categories: youtube,celebrity,not ninja-worthy

Comments: 1 comment


Bad Entertainment

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I shouldn’t have even posted this, but I had purely educational reasons in the end.AA Ladies and ninjamen, this is the effect that Soulja Boy (and youtube) is having on our youth.AA The old lady is pretty 9th dan about the whole thing though, like at any point she might just break out the mantis…

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Posted: May 27th, 2008
at 9:03am by Black Ock


Categories: youtube,crime,not ninja-worthy,real life news,9th dan

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R Kelly’s Lawyer Uses "The Little Man" Defense

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[R. Kellya€™s attorney], in an attempt to suggest that Kellya€™s head could have been superimposed onto somebody elsea€™s body in the sex tape, asked [gal on witness stand] whether she had seen the Wayans brothersa€™ movie a€oeLittle Man.a€A [Attorney] said, a€oeThey put the head of Marlon Wayans on a midget and it looked real, didna€™t it?a€A But, to widespead laughter, [gal on witness stand] replied, a€oeNot really!a€A paulscheer via tumblr

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