I'm not the genius I thought I was
So it turns out that someone else thought to call their weblog megalomedia. Apparently the term bounces around a fair bit. I came up with it independently, but I guess I'm not a super genius. Fortunately, I was just shown a great website that cheers me up (in that same twisted way that this site does, by letting me affirm my delusional fears about the state of the world). Check this out. You can play a six degrees of separation type game with corporate big-wigs in the U.S. and see how fucked up the whole system is. Justice delayed is what again? I suppose I should talk about the Air India ruling, given the massive amount of coverage it got today. There's a lot to be said about the sensationalization of the story, but I suppose it's to be expected. A lot of parading out the victims and Blatchford-esque turns of phrase trying to capture their anguish. . . I guess my big complaint with all of that is the amount of victims' families that are quoted in stories today. These people have been dragged through so much because of this trial, of course they're going to give juicy quotes. But let the news settle first. People say outlandish things when they're riled up. Take this site, for example. I always post it, then go have a sammich and come back and read it a few minutes later. 'Cause when I get riled up, I say things that are over the top. Like when I call senior U.S. administration officials or right-wing columnists "fascists." I don't really mean that, and I know that such comments are libellous, so I retract them pretty quickly. Give these people a day or two, let them come to terms with what happened, then get their comments. I know it doesn't suit the corporate daily media's need for everything right now, but if you're going to lament the plight of these poor souls, stop exploiting them to suit your needs. Context, context, context The other aspect of the Air India coverage that gets me is the lack of context in all the "Give me inquiry or give me death" stories and editorials. First of all, how typically Canadian is that reaction? Arguably the largest failure of the justice system in Canadian history (failing to find the guilty ones, not failing to find these two guilty) and Canadians want an inquiry. But there are way too many columnists and sources focusing on CSIS and RCMP protocol. Was there a failure in the system? Sure, but you need to provide the context. The Air India bombing happened in 1985. CSIS wasn't a year old then. It was created because the powers that be (powers that were? How do you past tense that?) realized that the RCMP sucked at intelligence gathering. But the Air India thing was the first big test for the brand new agency. It doesn't justify the bungling of the case, but it helps understand how it could happen. Their policies have changed. They are much more effective now (look at how easily they were able to strip away the civil rights of Canadian citizens as part of the war on terrorism). Yes, there's a lot of questions about how the Air India case was handled, but don't make it sound as though CSIS and the RCMP haven't changed the way they operate in the last 20 years. The inquiry shouldn't be about intelligence policy today, it should be about this case and what went wrong. Let's see, where was that coup we helped stage again? Hey, guess what? The Citizen ran a delightful little story saying Transparency International, the "leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption" (according to their website, anyway), cited Haiti as the most corrupt country in the world! That's all they had to say about that though, the rest of the story was about Iraq and tsunami aid. Democratically-elected governments overthrown with Canada's help in Iraq? 0 Democratically-elected governments overthrown with Canada's help in Haiti? 1 Shouldn't the media be a little more concerned that the most corrupt nation in the world is being run by a government we helped install? Oh wait, the Citizen took the story from the Times of London. No point in localizing that bad boy, eh? Of course, the Globe's story, which they wrote, didn't even mention Haiti, so what do I know? Oh, there's more. The Toronto Star reported that Iraq has joined the ranks of the world's poorest countries. Yup, right up there with Senegal and Haiti. Clearly some of the problems in Haiti date back to before the coup, but Canada's pouring a tonne of aid money into the country and we helped install the government there. The media has a responsibilty to report on how the country is coping. But rest assured, Pettigrew is in Port-au-Prince, solving the problems as we speak. Speaking of ignoring the plight of poor brown people. . . Darfur made the news again! And by "made the news," I mean got in four papers, three of which are in the Sun chain. Apparently the UN moved all of its personnel out of Western Darfur and into the regional capital. Interesting. Even more interesting is that the Post finally got around to reporting the 180,000 dead Sudanese that the UN talked about earlier this week. Sadly, the Post is not only late to the story, they are misleading. Here's their lead: "The United Nations has withdrawn its international staff from parts of Darfur, were it now puts the death toll at 180,000 and escalating." Ooops, kind of omitted that whole 'doesn't include those killed in the genocide' part. Well, not omitted, but buried in the 11th paragraph. 180,000 dead Sudanese should be a big enough number to get the world pissed, but the sad, sad fact is that many more people have been killed there. It's a disgrace. The papers love to laud Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire for his struggle to bring the world's attention to Rwanda but they completely ignore the genocide in Sudan. When will we learn our lesson? A wolf in banker's clothing I'm sure you've heard by now, WarHawk #1 Paul Wolfowitz has been tagged for the World Bank presidency. I really expected the Post to have an orgasm about this, but aside from their shitty sub-headline, "May signal plan to spread freedom via development," they were pretty reserved. It was the Globe that wrapped their lips around his lower appendage today. Allow me to quote them, with my own little annotations added for flavour: "Mr. Wolfowitz may have baggage, but it includes many of the skills needed to run the bank" Okay so far, I guess. "As deputy defence secretary since 2001, he has been in charge of the biggest government agency in the United States, administering two million military and civilian personnel." And overseeing the single largest contributor to the record-setting multi-trillion-dollar deficit... what was that about "skills needed to run the bank?" "As assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, he helped preside over the transition of the Philippines to democracy." Hmm, CIA World Factbook, wanna take this one? "The 21-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos ended in 1986, when a widespread popular rebellion forced him into exile and installed Corazon Aquino as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development." Right, and when was Wolfie in that post? 1982-86? Gotcha. "As ambassador to Indonesia, he saw development up close in the world's most populous Muslim country." Again, CIA World Factbook, I leave this to you. "Current issues include: alleviating widespread poverty, preventing terrorism, continuing the transition to popularly-elected governments after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing reforms of the banking sector, addressing charges of cronyism and corruption, holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations, and resolving armed separatist movements in Aceh and Papua." Maybe when you decide to list a series of non-banking related successes to justify a banking appointment, you should ensure that the successes weren't actually failures. But in good news, Paul Cellucci is leaving the country tomorrow. I plan to celebrate by getting naked, wiping my ass with my White House toilet paper (best $7 I ever spent) and listening to some David Cross. Fuck you Cellucci, get the hell out of my country.