Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Anti-Islamic film stirs hatred and riots


One of my all-time favorite topics is religious hatred and intolerance. So when I read about the apparently anti-islamic film released in the US, I just sit back and watch the trolls come.

First of all, acquaint yourselves with the history and background of this film at the source of all that is trustworthy in this world... Wikipedia. "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innocence_of_Muslims"

So, you now know that the video was originally titled 'Desert Warrior' and contained no religious messages, connotations, or references. It was then over-dubbed, and ended up apparently being offensive. I haven't watched it, and can't be bothered sitting through 14 minutes of reputedly appallingly bad acting.

See below:
The New Republic said that the film "includes not a single artistically redeemable aspect" with "atrocious" directing, "terrible" sets and acting consisting of "blank eyes and strained line readings".[104] The New York Daily News called it an "obscenely inept vanity project" that is "far beneath any reasonable standard of movie-making."[105] Muslim filmmaker Kamran Pasha stated, "I am of the opinion that it is a film of questionable artistic merit, backed by a group of bitter bigots whose only agenda was to incite hatred and violence by smearing the character of Prophet Muhammad."[106] Salman Rushdie called the filmmaker "outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting",[107] and characterized the production as "clearly a malevolent piece of garbage."[108]

Well, that makes me feel better about the whole thing. But what exactly makes this film so offensive?
Sky News said the video was "anti-Muslim" and "designed to enrage".[99] According to Reuters, the video portrays Muhammad as a "fool, a philanderer and a religious fake";[100] NBC News said the trailer depicted Muhammad "as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser."[101] Timemagazine described the dialogue during the scene with a donkey as "homoerotic".[102] According to the BBC, Muhammad's followers are portrayed as "savage killers hungry for wealth and bent on killing women and children."[103]
Ok, there we go. I would be offended too. Hell, I might even protest.

More on this later, but for now, here are some shots from the film!

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mjoa3QazVy8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Take the Biggest Loser off the air!

I read with interest Melissa Mack's article on The Biggest Loser in InDaily ("Take Biggest Loser off air: SA medical chief" InDaily 19 March 2013). 

The Biggest Loser has been running in Australia for a number of seasons, with greatly differing viewer responses. When the show initially aired from February 2006, and was a very simple premise. There were two teams (red and blue) who competed to lose the most weight. As I recall, they had two different diet plans; one was 'eat more' and one was 'eat less,' but both were focused on healthy eating and rigorous exercise. 

I LOVED it. I was only about 18 at the time, but I actually took a lot of satisfaction from watching these people lose weight, and gain self-confidence. The best part about the show, though, was that it motivated me to start running, and during the course of the show, I lost about 5kg. 

The second and subsequent shows attempted to maintain popularity by adding in 'twists.' The wikipedia article states that, in season two, "... the introduction of 'The Walk' whcih gave individual immunity winners unprecedented power as to how the game is played." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Biggest_Loser_(Australian_TV_series)

This sort of thing really bored me; I wasn't interested in the manipulation of the contestants, or the tricks the producers used to pit them against each other. The absolute abyss of this style of entertainment was during Season 7, when the show was aimed at 'Singles', losing weight in their search for true love.

This has to be the most horrific way to reinforce negative stereotypes about obesity. 'You can't find love until you lose weight!' This is exactly what Melissa Mack is talking about. 

Another objection I have to the show's new format is that it focuses on the contestant's emotions. It asks them, 'How do you feel about that?' 'Do you think that your relationship with your friend/lover/family is better/worse/indifferent because you are losing weight?' Who cares? When Season 6 had contestants made up of families, it was great to see the support, but it got very boring once they started doing the 'touchy-feely' interviews. 

The focus on diet also seemed to diminish. While the show used to focus on food groups, daily intake, and cooking styles, it now only looks at that in brief snapshots, giving the contestants daily rations. That doesn't help most people, who want to know about a week or a month of healthy eating, not a day or a meal. In Season 7, the 'Commando' gave the most scripted lecture on food habits to his team, before the camera briefly hovered over each individual ingredient. There was no focus on how that could become a tasty meal, or how it could be worked into a real-life daily routine. 

But I don't think that that is grounds for taking the show off the air. If they just stuck to their original premise, assisting people to learn good eating and exercise habits, then I think that the show has a great place in our television lexicon. You will continue to find people like me who watch the show, get motivated, and then go for a run and eat a salad. But we will start switching off, or skipping online all those bits about 'unprecedented power' and emotional interviews, if the show loses its focus.

"Thomas said she would like to see shows enforcing a positive perception of people with obesity engaging in healthy activities." I can't agree more. But this article seems to stray dangerously towards enforcing a positive perception of people with obesity! Yes, obese people are stigmatised and discriminated against, but surely shows like this can help change the perception of weight-loss from something done secretly and in shame to something done in fun and with enthusiasm!

Here is a bit of interesting trivia, which hasn't been spread about. Each week of viewing in Biggest Loser time, is actually two weeks of real time. Now THAT is an issue which could cause people trying to lose weight to despair! Maybe the warning should be about the realities of weight loss; it isn't a week-long or month-long effort, it is about changing lifestyles. 

Chief Justice's decision upheld in Magistrates Court

On Wednesday, 17 October 2012, His Honour Kourakis CJ handed down his decision in the matter of Bell v Police.

Most of you will have heard of the Hoon Legislation, in particular of the Criminal Law (Clamping, Impounding and Forfeiture of Vehicles) Act 2007. A good summary can be found in the Bell judgement, but in short, here is the issue.

If you have been convicted of three prescribed offences (IE PCA, DUI, or other drug driving offences) in a 10 year period, prosecution can bring an application to the Magistrates Court in order for your car to be forfeited to the crown.


The difficulty with this is that section 12(a)(iii) says that a Court MUST make the Order; IE the Magistrate has no discretion to make a different Order, or not to make the Order at all.