Thursday, 30 July 2009

"Is that the only experience you've had?"

That tactless phrase is what Kyle Sandilands said when a 14 year old girl announced on the Kyle and Jackie O radio programme on 2Day FM that she was raped.

The reason? She was attached to a lie detector and asked this question by her mother.

What the girl said was:
"I've already told you the story about this ... and don't look at me and smile because it's not funny.
Oh, okay, I got raped when I was 12 years old."

People are calling this child abuse.

The police are going to investigate the crime.

But the news reports are varied, most are about 2Day FM, because it was on their show.

I'm wondering why exactly they asked a 14 year old girl about her sexual history.

A joint statement, which is mentioned in the first link says:
"A young girl's sexual experience is not relevant or appropriate for the entertainment of anyone.''
Which I believe is perfectly true. However, the show in question has done things that involve sex, which was mentioned on Media Watch. However in past cases it appears that their shows might not breach any standards, because they don't regulate bad taste.

I get the strange feeling that this might be the case as well.

The ABC has reported that Kyle Sandilands has said the privacy of the girl should be protected.

Yes. The privacy of the girl should be protected. However the report goes on to say:
But this morning, Sandilands criticised news organisations for making the 14-year-old's private situation "one of the biggest news stories of the day".

"If you want to have a go at me, go me. I'd rather you go for me than the girl or the mother," he said.

But the thing is that it wasn't the news organisations that made her private life "one of the biggest news stories of the day". It was their show.

If the question was not asked while the girl was attached to the lie detector and as far as I'm aware the concept actually involves things that people would usually keep private. It's rather hypocritical in a way to suggest that the rest of the media shouldn't report on stuff like that.

However Sandilands is somewhat right. I don't think anyone has had a go at the girl. From what was mentioned on the radio the girl told her mother that she was raped and, from what I can gather, wasn't believed (why else would the girl say that it wasn't funny?), and has had to live without seeing her rapist get justice.

The mother however, is still fair game. As the person who asked the questions she could have just not asked that question. Her reaction after the question was asked is also something that just sets off alarm bells.

According to a piece written by Sandilands on The Punch:

The mum hadn’t said anything about the rape. She was concerned that her daughter was on drugs or was sexually active. Like a lot of mothers worried about their kid, she just wanted to find out what was going on.

So, just in case you didn't get that. The mother was worried that her daughter was taking drugs or was sexually active. She didn't tell the producer of the show (Jackie O says something similar here.) that her daughter told her that she was raped.

If the mother was indeed worried about her daughter I would have thought that she would ask her in private, not drag her on to a radio show that is syndicated nationwide. If this was the last resort then that's probably because the girl felt that she couldn't trust her mother.

People are however starting to think about rape and the problems that victims face. On todays episode of Hack on Triple J, they were talking about the difficulties that rape victims have telling family and others about their experience. Hopefully this event will see a change in how Australians think of rape.

However, I think that Kyle and Jackie O will need to think of a new thing to do instead of a lie detector. Too bad I don't have any power.

I don't think we'll ever know why this girl told what has turned out to be all of Australia that she was raped. I don't think we'll ever know.

(End note: I'm mentioning 2Day FM, which is the name of the Sydney station, and not SAFM, the affiliate, because this segment was cut from the rebroadcast show that we get.)

Friday, 24 July 2009

Curling? In Australia?

After reading this, I learned that there are Australians out there who curl (I think that's the right word).

Apparently some thieves mistook a truck with curling stones for a beer truck, which really tells you how well known the sport is over here.

But I think this was a gem:

"They are useless to anyone else except for us, apart from as a doorstop or propping up a coffee table," curler Paul Meissner told the Associated Press.

So I think we know how the police will find them. They'll just have to grab a copy of the Trading Post and look for cheap granite rocks that can be used for mundane household tasks.

Incidentally, I'm looking for a good doorstop, perhaps I should invest in a curling stone...

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Accountability of Demagoguery Creating Disinformation

Every now and then you'll see on RationalWiki's What is going on at Conservapedia page entries referring to "conservative words" and "geometric growth". The page they refer to is this one.

Which raises the question, what is a "conservative word"? If you can be bothered to read the Conservapedia article you will see that the words in this title are actually in the list of "conservative words".

This raises a second question, how exactly do you define a word as a "conservative" or "liberal"?

My gut says that all words are inherently neutral until they are used by someone to express an opinion using a political viewpoint.

The thing is that Conservapedia don't seem to give a definition of how you can tell if a word is "conservative" or if it is "liberal". Without at least explaining how words fit into these two groups it's quite simple for anyone to say that the list is useless.

Based on the edit history and also the words chosen for the "conservative" and the "liberal" section, it's rather clear that the words in the "liberal" section are ones that they don't seem to like. The converse is also true. Words like "atheism", "quote mining", and even "Big Bang" are classed as "liberal" while words like "competitive", "cross-examination", and even "demagogue" are listed as "conservative". Some of the other "conservative" words include things like "Good Samaritan" or "Trojan Horse". Apparently "local" is a "conservative" word, as is "transistor". Even "conservation of charge" which is more of a phrase then a word is "conservative".

The other thing that should be noticed is that the words are also being added to the list to create a geometric rate. They are giving this in the form of "1-2-4-8", starting at 1612, because of the King James Version. I'm starting at 1600 because that's where their table starts.

In the 1600's the number of new "conservative" words was 14, or on average 0.14 new words per year. 1700's, 28 (0.28), 1800's, 56 (0.56) and in the last century 112 or about 1.12 words are year. That means that last century we apparently saw a new "conservative" word every year. That would mean that at the end of this century we should see 224 new "conservative" words.

I'm aware that new words don't appear in a nice progression like that. If that were true we should already have about 20 new "conservative" words by now. According to the table the number is 5 (preliminary).

The other question is if "1000 new words are created every year" what will happen when the growth of "conservative" words exceeds the "actual" growth of words? Does that mean that the actual growth of words will increase? Or will the number be bound by 1000?

Lastly I think it's fair to ask how you could include words that predate modern conservatism as "conservative"? To someone from the 1600's a modern conservative would appear to be extremely liberal to them. If conservatism was really on an "inevitable triumph" wouldn't that mean that the world should technically be more conservative compared to someone in the 1600's?

Oh, and my own personal opinion of the article: It's completely bollocks.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Still Alive

I just don't feel like blogging anything at the moment.