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Thank god those laws were passed in time!

I've been keeping an eye on the whole riotous fun happening in Sydney over the past few days, with a whole bunch of race riots (or are they disturbances?), people getting beaten up, stabbed, and having their cars vandalised. It makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Now, although I'm slightly interested in why it's happening, I'm more interested in how it's happening. The call to arms seems to have occurred via a whole bunch of text messages and emails being spread around, as well as with some cajoling by the "media" (no doubt talk-back radio and the fine commercial media stations have something to do with this). So what we have here is people promoting feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of people so as to endanger the peace of Australia (or Sydney in particular). Hmm. Why does that sound vaguely familiar?

On the other end of the scale both in terms of sensibility and it's relation to media is SBS. They really are my favourite TV station in Australia. Their journalism is top notch (especially on Dateline), and they do a fantastic job at looking at events both in their local region, and often further afield. Also, World news, and the Insight forum shows are pretty good too. SBS is also the football channel of Australia, and they've done a great job promoting and supporting the game - even through its dark days.

John Safran seems to switch between the ABC and SBS when doing his media stuff nowadays. He used to be on JJJ on Sunday afternoons, and now he's got a show on Monday evenings in Australia. The banter between Safran and Father Bob works well, and it's entertaining, occasionally thought provoking TV. John Safran's father is also really really creepy. Apart from the comedy gold value of the show, there's one other reason that I really like the show (and by extension SBS) - they're offering downloads of the show as a podcast (sized for the iPod video). Downloads of free to air TV shows aren't anything new - usually you find stations putting up clips of their shows in some format such as RealPlayer or WMV, tied up with all sorts of useless DRM. This makes the act of watching said shows painful, and I usually don't bother, and go search for other means of getting the show. This podcast of "Speaking in Tongues" actually gets the distribution medium right. It has no DRM, and is in a format which is easy to playback on a number of platforms (even Linux I'd say). The RSS feed used for notification of new episodes is icing on the cake. I'd love to find out both who pushed the idea for using the DRM free format (H.264 + AAC), and the executive who actually approved it in the end. They really need to take some credit for some sensible decisions made. I've been watching the shows since last week, and is probably the only thing keeping me from going stir-crazy indoors. Could you imagine if I had to watch Kommissar Rex throughout winter?

It's not surprising that the SBS podcast is so Apple friendly, considering the moves that Apple is making into the television distribution market. They're signing up more content providers, and getting a critical mass of content together. Admittedly, the content is both low resolution, and DRMed, but I look at it as positive steps to getting rid of these useless massive media companies (At the very least, I'd like the media companies to stop playing the middle-man). Come January, we may see more changes in the way Apple handles the media, and we might see some really cool new toys involving television content (I'm hoping for the next version of the Airport Express). It's a pity I don't have any disposable income to blow on the back catalogue of Knight Rider episodes - just hearing the theme music takes me back. Turbo-boost!

I feel like doing something a bit antisocial (You need some kind of way to keep the spirits up during winter, right?), and a perfect opportunity has presented itself to me tomorrow, when Procter and Gamble are coming to my campus to try and woo PhD students/Postdocs into working for them. I quickly browsed the web looking for P&G's numerous crimes against humanity, but was disappointed when I found out that all they do is operate in countries with bad human rights records (Which serious countries don't abuse human rights?), and do some animal testing. I can't get riled up about putting lipstick on bunny rabbits! Does anyone know any tough questions I can ask P&G? Something to do with dodgy business practices, or a coverup of some sort? I won't ever want to work with that company, but I figure that turning up and being a pest will provide a nice counterpoint to the desperate people begging for jobs. Can you have sedition against a company?

Update - I was just trawling through my Google Analytics logs, and I got a visit from the Procter and Gamble domain. Are they checking up to see their name isn't being taken in vain?

7 comments

Apepoker *

Steve 'Monkey Boy' Ballmer once worked for Procter and Gamble. I think you can hold that against them.

Hiren Joshi *

I threw some chairs at them. They weren't amused.

butercup *

They could make a new crappy reality TV show about it.
"sedition: coming to a beach near you".
Hey, don't you think it's a better idea than Australian Princess?

captin_nod *

bloody AAC codec - will have to fix up my install of the mplayer-codecs as the sound doesn't playback properly under mandriva :|

That'll learn me for using linux :P

Hiren Joshi *

How would the show work? Would it work a bit like Idol?

Imagine a panel of judges (say Mark Holden, Stan Zemaneck and Alan Jones) who take turns in inciting violence in the contestants. Similarly, you'll have a few crazy go nuts Islamic clerics (I'm struggling to come up with names of actual crazy nuts clerics in Australia) inciting violence in another group of contestants.

The two groups would then both go down to the beach, and play a version of It's a knockout. Except they're just singling out members of the audience, and attacking them with their pitchforks and torches.

captin_nod *

Alan Jones is a superb choice for the show panel; he's my favourite flavour of craptard at the moment.

butercup *

I wonder if Alan Jones suffers from a mental disorder. This article from Mind Hacks seems to indicate that he is.

Why am I not surprised?

More sedition planned for this weekend, apparently. Don't go south!

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