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There’s something in the air over Palmerah, a sub-district of West Jakarta. And that something is the smoke from a 3.3-ton heap of marijuana.
When masked police torched the seized mega-stash they didn’t bank on what the smoke would do to air quality. As the cloud drifted over the town, locals got a free blowback.
It turns out that you can dope an entire town without any need for mirrrors.
To Grasse, France, where the local magistate is eyeing cakes which are an “attack on human dignity”. Baker Tannick Tavolaro’s “Gods” and “Goddesses” cakes are in the forms of two obese people fashioned from gingerbread and chocolate mouse enrobed in dark chocolate. The tips of their primary sexual characteristics are in a pink fondant.
“It’s pure and simple racism,” says Louis-George Tin from France’s Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN), a twist on the “obscene slave trade caricatures that tap into the tradition of colonial racism… We are in a country where the word equality is part of the constitution, which means it doesn’t allow for racism. Does he think these treats adhere to the values of the French Republic? We must fight this kind of racism. I cannot imagine what would be said (rightly) if an African baker decided to represent Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary in a similar way.”
Tannick Tavolaro is defiant. “At first I thought it was a joke. It’s absurd and hurtful. These pastries have absolutely no racial connotation at all,” he says.
“They are made of chocolate mousse, which is why they’re black. The characters are little human beings, a man and woman but not a black man and a woman. These people who attack me don’t know my story or my career or who I am. It’s just intellectual terrorism. I am not racist. I do not belong to any political party. I just argue for freedom of speech.”
We’ve been here before:
CAN we says that Andreas Lubitz was nuts? What about insane? Mad? What word can you use to describe the man who flew Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain killing all 150 people on board? His actions appear to have been deliberate. So. Let’s review another word. This wasn’t a killing. This was murder.
The tabloids pick up on the news that Andreas Lubitz had a history of depression.
Is that relevant? Do you want an ill man to fly the plane?
We don’t yet know if his politics, religion, sex or favourite books affected his thoughts. Many things could have shaped the man and made him do it. The reason why anyone does anything is never simple. But in the rush to construct a comfortable narrative readers can live with, the media focus is on Andreas Lubitz’s depression. (If he had been black, religious or right wing, say, any of those factors would be the main driver.)
The Mirror and Mail make a direct link between Lubitz’s illness and his actions:
Of course they’re not. Depression is the excruciating crippling black abyss. It is an illness you’d not wish on anyone.
But in looking for clues isn’t it valid to look at the killer’s health and state of mind?
The tabloids’ disastrous treatment of depression in the last couple of days is yet another reason why no-one should buy these papers. Ever.
— Father Diego ن (@frdiego80) March 27, 2015
The Sun shifts the tone. It sees not a depressive. It sees a madman.
The man’s actions killed, sorry, murdered, 149 people. Does that sound mad to you? One voice blogs:
I think that the Sun trumped the headlines I have seen this morning, simply writing “Madman in cockpit”. Nice to see them flying the flag for reducing stigma. It seems that the UK press missed the memo this morning that says that tackling stigma is everyone’s business. It would also appear that they momentarily forgot the fact that they can have such a massive impact on people’s perceptions of different issues, mental health included.
…our press have already started having a field day, monstering people with depression, even suggesting that people struggling with mental health shouldn’t be allowed to fly planes (or surely by that account, drive, work heavy machinery, do any kind of job where the lives of others are in their hands). All this is going to do is seriously distress people who are already suffering, make it harder for them to talk to their loved ones about their illness, make it harder for them to seek help. There are probably some people out there who’ve been agonising over whether to go to a Health Professional about their depression or anxiety or panic attacks, who have seen the newspapers today and decided it’s better to try to ignore it or suffer in silence than to be perceived as a potential mass murderer, to have people want to take away jobs that they love, freedoms that they love, responsibilities – children, or other vulnerable family members. These front pages aren’t merely offensive, they’re potentially hugely damaging.
Gee, can’t imagine why the dude didn’t tell anyone he had depression issues, what with how he’s being held as a murderer and criminal. — Too Mirai Cooks (@theMirai) March 27, 2015
Sources close to the investigation say Lubitz was being treated for depression. They say he concealed his treatment from his employer. Many voices say he did this because depression is so misunderstood and he feared the reaction. Look at the Press coverage, they say, who’d want to be be called mad?
In The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic Jonathan Rottenberg writes:
Because depression is so unpleasant and so impairing, it may be difficult to imagine that there might be another way of thinking about it; something this bad must be a disease. Yet the defect model causes problems of its own. Some sufferers avoid getting help because they are leery of being branded as defective. Others get help and come to believe what they are repeatedly told in our system of mental health: that they are deficient…
People still feel inclined to whisper when they talk about depression. Depression has no “Race for the Cure”; this condition rarely spawns dance marathons, car washes, or golf tournaments. Consequently, the lacerating pain of depression remains uncomfortably private.
In the Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression, we read:
Perhaps what we call depression isn’t really a disorder at all but, like physical pain, an alarm of sorts, alerting us that something is undoubtedly wrong; that perhaps it is time to stop, take a time-out, take as long as it takes, and attend to the unaddressed business of filling our souls.
Depression is complex, a debilitating mood of heightened awareness.
But this article is about the media. The Sun didn’t say depression was the trigger for the “killer co-pilot”. It says a man who, as it seems, consciously piloted a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain was “crazed”. It does seem odd that we cannot agree that murdering 149 people is an unhinged act of madness.
Daily Star Forum Watch: a look at highlights from the Daily Star’s ‘FORUM’ page. Today the page turns into an contact magazine for men seeking ‘cuddly’ women. Mrs Hugh Jarse is away:
In other ‘fat women’ news:
More every week day…
Anorak Towers marked the televised leadership debate in much the same way we do the Super Bowl: we went out. What did the tabloids do? Did they feature the big showdown between Labour Party leader ‘Red’ Ed Miliband and Tory Prime Minister ‘Blue’ Dave Cameron? And why was Cameron sat by a skip?
Politics fans need to wait until page 6 for any news of the Channel 4 and Sky show. Over half a page, readers learn that Cameron says he’s “not Chairman Mao”, the dead Chinese leader. Cameron wasn’t refetting to his hairstyle or suit, rather his resolve not to go on and on and on as the country’s political supremo.
As for Miliband, all Sun readers learn is that he won the coin toss and chose to go second. Also, he “flew in a US PR guru to help him”.
Page 10: The Sun’s editorial says Ed Balls is “only the oil rag” to an” economic train crash” powered by “engine drive” Gordon Brown.
Ed Balls was not on the debate.
The review covers pages 6 and 7. Readers see three photos of “chicken” Cameron, one with his eyes closed. We learn that he is “clueless on food banks”. His chat with Jeremy Paxman was “humiliating”. He is a “lame duck”. It’s not until paragraph 11 that Ed Miliband appears. The Mirror only has one photo of him – and it’s an odd one of him pointing as if ordering the restaurant bill.
The Mirror mentions ‘Cameron’ by name 7 times; and ‘Ed’ just 4 times.
Page 8: David Cameron is “pitiful” and a “faintheart”. Ed gets no adjectives. He’s just ‘Ed’.
Wait for it… wait… News appears on Page 12 and 13.
We learn that Ed Miliband “came under pressure” on immigration.
The Mail cites a Guardian poll, saying 54% of people who respond to polls think he won the night.
Quentin Lett’s says Cameron “soaked up Paxman’s aggro, narrowed his eyes.. and refused to respond in kind. Miliband flared right back at the monster…”
But was it really that interesting?
Page 9: The news is all about immigration. There is one picture of Cameron. There is not a single photo of Miliband.
Number of mentions of ‘Cameron’ by name: 6
Number of mentions of Miliband by name: 1
The only front-page story on the debate. And the story is that “Paxo has stuffed Ed and Cam”. They both lost.
Page 2: It was a “snore draw”.
It was “drab”.
Verdict: the Daily Star nails it.
Note: The Guardian manages to conjure 11 stories from the debate. Does anyone read them?
So. How does CNN repoft the news that the co-pilot locked the pilot out off his cockopit and steered German A320 Airbus flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Duesseldorf and killed all 150 people on board?
French investigators say co-pilot Andreas Lubitz sent it into a dive intentionally.
Families of the victims might like to look away:
The Daily Star ‘FORUM’ is the most rewarding page in British newspapers. In today;s ediution, ‘cornish blue’ shares his thoughts on ‘mandy page 3′:
mandy page 3 would also make a very good cup of tea…
So. Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC’s Gripper Stebson*, has been driven from the BBC. He leaves behind a bombshell-sized hole in the Beeb’s talent pool, a Top Gear producer with a split lip and dull-to-deadline James May and perky and predictable Richard Hammond to take the show forward.
Papers lead with news that sacked Jeremy Clarkson faces a “police quiz” (Daily Star and Daily Mail), “police probe” (Sun), “cop grilling” (Daily Mirror) and “police action” (Daily Express).
You cannot hit a BBC underling and get away with it. Well, not always you can’t. You see, in 2005, Richard Kay reported on an incident for the Daily Mail. The then BBC director general Mark Thompson had bitten newsroom colleague Anthony Massey.
Thompson’s 44-year-old victim suffered clear bite marks through his shirt, and immediately reported the incident. Their bosses were so determined to hush up the affair, however, that Massey was promptly sent to Rwanda on a perilous assignment. And Thompson, then a rising star, was allowed to continue his soaring career unhindered.
The fallout from ‘Jackie’s Story’ of barbaric gang rape in a campus frat house continues to haunt Rolling Stone magazine and the University of Virginia. The magazine apologised for Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s story allegedly coerced from the hesitant ‘victim’.
Jackie’s Story was used to beat “lad culture“, sticking to the narrative of male sexual violence running unchecked. Circumspection and facts had no place in the lurid tale of depravity. We were all told to push back the “sea of misogyny“. Guilt was assumed. The frat boys were invited to prove their innocence in kangaroo courts.
We might never know what really happened to Jackie. But the feeling is that, whatever it was or wasn’t, it’s not as Erdely presented it.
With the story out there, Charlottesville Police Department investigated. They came up with nothing. On Monday Police Chief Timothy Long addressed the public:
“Unfortunately, we’re not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident that is consistent with the facts in the article occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house, or any other fraternity house for that matter. I want to be clear: that doesn’t mean that something terrible didn’t happen to Jackie on the evening of September 28, 2012…So this case is not closed – it’s not closed by any stretch of the imagination.”
The Daily Star is now the only mainstream British daily newspaper with a topless stunna on Page 3. The Star is proud of this, using the fact as its main selling point:
But readers want more. Topless Lucy is not enough. On page 20, the Daily Star ‘FORUM’ features a few readers’ letters. We’ve picked out the highlights.
Grant is precise.
#NUSWomen15: Putting Policy into Action. So runs the slogan for the National Union of Students get together:
This year, on March 24 until the 26, hundreds of women will be descending upon Solihull for the best three days of the year: Women’s Conference.
Alongside debates on sex work (it should decriminalised) and money, motions to be debated include:
Motion 101: Putting pronouns on the cards
Submitted by: NUS LGBT Committee
1. Pronouns are used in the English language to replace nouns in order to make conversation easier. An example of the use of a pronoun is when referring to somebody instead of using their name.
2. The current delegate name badges at all NUS conferences and events simply state the delegate’s name, their constituent membership and if they attend an HE or an FE institution.
3. Delegates who use gender neutral pronouns currently have to write this on their badges themselves to ensure other delegates use their correct preferred pronouns.
Conference Further Believes:
1. Delegates currently having to manually write their pronouns on their badges may make them feel uncomfortable, othered, or outed as trans* (despite the safe space policy).
2. NUS Women’s Campaign is open to all who self-define as women, including (if they wish) those with complex gender identities which include ‘woman’, and those who experience oppression as women. The campaign affirms that self-definition of gender identity and pronouns are at the sole discretion of the individual in question.
3. Delegates to NUS Women’s conference may use pronouns that are not she/her, and encouraging all delegates to specify their pronouns will foster a culture of not assuming pronouns based on gender presentation and help ensure that everyone’s preferred gender pronouns are upheld.
4. All delegates specifying their pronouns and asking each other for pronouns may help to ensure that delegates are not misgendered, as this can make delegates feel unsafe or trigger gender dysphoria.
1. To ask all delegates attending NUS conferences and events for their pronouns at the point of registration (this would be a blank box which text could be typed into).
2. To print pronouns on all delegate’s badges.
3. To continue to reiterate when establishing the safe space policy that all delegates should respect and uphold each other’s pronouns.
When Brett and Naghmeh King told the story of their son Ashya King’s treatment to the Sun, the scoop was front-page news. Readers wanted to know what happened next to the desperatly ill child – Ashya is age 5 – who went on the run from the NHS in search of alternative proton beam therapy treatment.
The front page declares that the Kings were “hunted like criminals”. They were. Hampshire Police obtained a European arrest warrant for the parents on the issue of ‘neglect’. The papers told readers the boy had “hours to live“. The Mirror said it was “24 hours”. The Sun said it was “weeks“.
The message was that the parents were placing their child in mortal danger.
One journalist billed them as weirdos who belonged to “a millennial religious cult“.
The Daily Mirror reported:
Missing Ashya King has been spotted with his parents at a Spanish holiday resort, an expat said, as police battled to find the terminally ill boy.
Transfer balls: Chelsea and Liverpool fight to spend a fortune of Manchester United’s Radamel Falcao
Talking Balls wonders how much Manchester United’s Radamel Falcao is worth? The Colombian earns £265,000-a-week at Manchester United. Given that Harry Kane is on around £35,000 a week at Spurs, it’s looks like failing Falcao is the world’s most-overpaid footballer.
Barring a massive change in form and United manager Louis Van Gaal losing his mind, it’s pretty unlikely United will stump up the £43million to make Falcao’s loan deal permanent. So. If not United for Falcao, then what?
Today the Daily Mail says Falcao will be “offered” to Liverpool. That conversation should go a little like this:
Falcao agent: “Dear, Liverpool would you like to blow a massive chaunk of your transfer budget on Falcao and £1m a month in wages?”
The Daily Mirror adds: “Radamel Falcao ‘wants to leave Man United in the summer – even if offered a permanent deal'”
No black Africans are allowed to enter after 5pm.
The only Africans allowed into the compopund are those driving Chinese, European or Indian patrons. Although restuarant manager Ms Esther Zhao does allow Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko and former Cabinet Minister Raphael Tuju inside to eat. They are “loyal” African patrons who have spent Sh20,000 at the restaurant over set time.
“We don’t admit Africans that we don’t know because you never know who is Al-Shabaab and who isn’t. It is not like it is written on somebody’s face that they are a thug armed with a gun.”
Maybe a no guns policy should have been first tried?
Safe spaces: Writing in the New York Times Judith Schulevitz takes up the story of university safe spaces, those zones of intolerance where diverse views of a diverse society are banned, where everything is ‘normal’.
She begins by looking at the work of Katherine Byron, a member of Brown University’s Sexual Assault Task Force. In her safe zone rape will be a taboo. No, not illegal. Rape is an abhorrent crime. This is a ban on anything that could upset rape victims.
Have they found a secret Nazi hideout in Argentina? Researchers at the University of Buenos Aires have found old German coins dated between 1938 and 1941 and bits of ‘Made In Germany’ china in buildings deep in a remote part of the jungle. Were these buildings in Teyu Cuare park in northern Argentina near Paraguay where Adolf Eichmann and his fellow Nazis hid out?
Eichmann was captured in Buenos Aires in 1960.
So. What do we know about the attack on a synagogue in London’s Stamford Hill, a building and a place with notable Jewish populations?
The BBC says police have made six arrests following the attack. The BBC says the attack is “what police have described as an ‘anti-Semitic’ incident.”
We don’t get to know what the BBC describes it as – maybe it was ‘an interrupted stroll in the world’s most vibrant city’, ‘football-related violence’ or ‘an incident linked to Israel’s actions in the Middle East’?
Can you poo on demand? They can in Jharkhand, eastern India, where around 60 locals protesting the Narendra Modi government’s land reforms squatted and defecated on demand in front of the Barwadih office block.
To China, for what must be the greatest news pun of the century.
The story involves Wu Hsia, 21, his ex-girlfriend Jun Tang, 20, and his new lover Rong Tsao, 22.
Jilted Jun said that Rong was a moron. Wu should be with her. Jilted Jun went on and on and on. She wanted to woo Wu.
Wu has doubts. So. He thought it a good idea to meet both the women. The rendevous would take place in a park by a river.
When Brenda Leyland was doorstepped by Sky News reporter Martin Brunt, she became the “McCann Troll”, the woman who under the name ‘sweepyface’ had bombarded Twitter with comments about the parents of missing Madeleine McCann.
No longer a real human being, Leyland was monstered by the media until she achieved the status of public enemy, awful enough to be branded a “hate-fuelled” (Times) “twisted, fecked-up bitch” (Daily Mirror). She was the eptiome of “sheer evil“.
We were left to wonder: who was hounding who?
Two days after being ‘exposed’ on the telly for our entertainment, Brenda Leyland was dead. The verdict: suicide.
At the coroner’s inquest at Leicester Town Hall, Martin Brunt says (via the Telegraph):
“At the end of the conversation she said it was a pleasure to meet you. I said I hoped I hadn’t ruined her day which I considered very much a throwaway remark. I was out of the country when I was told that Brenda Leyland had been found dead. I was devastated and I still am and the enormity of what’s happened will always be with me.”
Martin Brunt is a skilled reporter. It would be churlish not to take his upset as anything other than genuine. But his role as trollhunter-in-chief is regrettable. Swept along by a mob-fed eagerness to ‘unmask’ trolls and expose anyone saying nasty things to the glare of publicity and most excitedly court action, Brunt got his popular story.
To the London School of Economics, where students love the place so much they are occupying it. Occupation is good, say the LSE students shut inside the Vera Anstey Suite meeting room, now dubbed the ‘Free University of London’.
(You see Occupiers do guarantee freedom. That point to you members of the monocular Boycott Israel society).
The occupiers demand “a university run by students, lecturers and workers”. They want tuition fees scrapped. They want an end to zero-hours contracts.
They call for “genuine” university democracy—that is, a directly elected student-staff council to make university decisions. Furthermore they demand divestment from destructive companies, including the fossil fuel industry, and those who profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Westminster paedophiles: a look at reporting on the story that children were abused and killed by above-the-law VIPs in the 1970s and 1980s.
Only the Daily Mail leads with the story on its front page. Readers hear news of “Another Cyril Smith Cover-Up”.
Smith is the former Labour and Liberal politican who died a knight of the realm but is now billed as a serial child abuser. Recent news is that he was twice arrested for alleged crimes against boys. He escaped prosecution because, as one retired copper says, police buried the files.
To India, where 40-year-old Bhagwat Singh has been spotted taking his daughter to school in Uttar Pradesh, India.
His youngest daughter wants to say at home. She has an exam and wants to skip school. Having tried and failed to coax her to class with offers of sweets and gifts, Singh opts for force: he ties her to the back of his motorbike with ropes and goes on the school run.
Madeleine McCann: a look at reporting on the missing child.
The Daily Star, Page 25: “McCanns: Don’t Give Up Hint For Maddie”
Jerry Lawton says the parents of Madeleine McCann – the missing child who became the media’s ‘Our Maddie – are “incredibly grateful to every officer woeking to find Madeleine”.
Disguise of the day: the man dressed as Darth Vader who robbed bank in Pineville, North Carolina.
Unless it was Darth Vader and what with the high price of electrity he’s swapped his light sabre for a gun?