The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'dishonesty'
Handily printable journalism warning labels, for putting on newspapers with dubious journalism in public places:
You've probably heard anecdotes about the writers of blurbs for posters, DVD covers and other promotional material egregiously twisting unfavourable reviews to produce glowing praise (apparently, as long as the words in the blurb appear in the review in the same order, anything goes). Now here's proof of this practice, with a selection of blurbs and the reviews they came from. They really are shameless:
The Girl in the Café (HBO)
Oregonian: "An endearing romantic comedy."
Actual line: "This new offering from HBO Films is at its heart a bit of political propaganda wrapped into an endearing romantic comedy that starts losing its laughs when it gets to Reykjavik and decides its teachable moment has arrived."
People Are Living There
New York Times: "Exquisite! Very rewarding performances by the four actors."
Actual line: "Things do pick up, however, in the play's second half, when Milly decides that the way to show up her boyfriend is to celebrate. What follows is the worst birthday party of all time, and Suzanne Shepherd, the director, stages it with exquisite patience, including a long, silent stretch of eating that will leave any dietitians in the audience appalled and everyone else laughing. ... Apparently it's no fun turning 50 whether you live in South Africa or in Elizabeth, N.J. That may be the main insight to be gleaned from the Specific Theater Company's revisiting of 'People Are Living There,' an unrewarding Athol Fugard play that benefits from some very rewarding performances by the four actors."
(via bOING bOING)
You know those American Apparel "sweat-shop free" T-shirts with the reality-porn-style ads in VICE Magazine and such? Well, apparently the company is not quite as ethically sound as it claims to be:
According to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board and settled by the company, American Apparel engaged in tactics of intimidation to bust an attempt at unionization, including interrogating workers about their support for a union, soliciting workers to withdraw their union authorization cards and threatening to close the facility if a union was formed. The company also allegedly printed armbands to be worn at work which read, "no union," and forced employees to attend an anti-union rally.
As a result of their settlement with the National Labor Relations Board, American Apparel signed an agreement promising not to engage in union-busting tactics in the future.
Could Microsoft's new search engine be giving higher rankings to sites hosted on Microsoft IIS?
It has emerged that the Tory candidate for Dorset South had put a doctored photograph of himself at a rally on a pamphlet, completely changing the meaning of the signs he was holding:
Only a month ago Mr Matts lent his support to the local Kachepa family, who were threatened with deportation. A photograph taken at the time showed Mr Matts in a crowd of local supporters holding up a photo of the family, with veteran Tory MP Ann Widdecombe by his side holding a placard saying "let them stay".
One month on, an altered version of the photo appeared on Mr Matt's election leaflets. Mr Matt holds a sign saying "controlled immigration", while Ms Widdecombe's says "not chaos and inhumanity".
Oh dear, the artwork for the upcoming album from adult-contemporary band Coldplay doesn't half look like one of Peter Saville's early works: (via xrrf)
I wonder whether this (and the album's somewhat mechanistic title, "X&Y") means that the band, known for their unchallenging and somewhat schmaltzy easy-listening balladry, are attempting to go for a cold-and-detached aesthetic; perhaps to appeal to nostalgic late-thirtysomethings who grew up listening to Factory Records bands but have since mellowed somewhat. Mind you, if they take it too far, it could alienate their fanbase (ironically enough, the band they were groomed by the press to replace after they went too weird, Radiohead, did something much like that). Then again, I'm sure the band and their label know which side their bread is buttered on. Perhaps this means is that there will be a veneer of retro-fashionable electronic glitchyness grafted over the usual reassuringly saccharine core of ballads.
I call bullshit on... the story about the New Zealand government fining a restaurant for not updating its website. Which all sounds like interventionism gone mad, except when you read the story and discover that the web site in question contained an outdated, inaccurate price list, and they got done for false advertising.
Since it happened, a big fuss has erupted on the internet, with mostly anti-interventionist libertarian types going on about the Big Brother socialist nanny-state poking its nose into what people do with their websites. Which sounds to me like the publicity that gets raised around ridiculous lawsuits (i.e., urban legends about toaster manufacturers being sued for millions of dollars for not having warning labels telling people not to use their toasters in the bath and such), much of which, I heard, is planted by lobby groups wanting corporate product-liability laws to be relaxed to make it harder for consumers to sue.
Similarly, here, I smell astroturf.
An Independent piece claiming similarities between Tony Blair and Mussolini:
For a start, Blair extols the virtues of the Third Way, which was the phrase coined by the Fascists, no less, to describe their alternative to capitalism and communism. Blair began as a left-wing pacifist and became a right-wing warmonger. He is dictatorial and ignores Parliament if he can and he is a master of propaganda (spin). He is also a bit of a musician - always a dangerous sign in a politician - and plays the electric guitar. So was Mussolini. He played the violin.
People, especially people on the left, tend to forget - presumably because it is inconvenient to remember - that Mussolini was a revolutionary socialist before he was anything else. They forget, too, that he founded Fascism not as a right-wing dictatorship but as a left-wing revolutionary movement that provided an alternative first to socialism then to communism.
It then goes on to compare Mussolini's Corporate State with the New Labour Third Way of corporatisation and neo-liberal economics. And then there's both statesmen's gift for spin:
A phrase Mussolini often used to describe the Italian parliament was that it was "invincibly nauseous". Fascism transformed political participation from an isolated act involving the ballot box into a daily act of religious faith. Blair has not - heavens, no - abolished democracy as Mussolini did, but democracy has diminished under Blair. The Opposition languishes in torpid impotence. The Prime Minister appears increasingly to resemble some whacky kind of cult leader. He avoids debate in Parliament if he can. He talks to the people direct, via television, as Mussolini did via the piazza. Mussolini was famous for his balcony speeches - his "dialogues with the crowd". A modern Mussolini would not need to do anything so obvious as to tackle democracy head on. He could just side-step it with spin.