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John Passant

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Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)



The fight for equal love

The advertising revenue my site earns has collapsed – from a pittance to nothing. In fact that of all the sites in the Domain group has plummeted since December. 

The date may be significant.

The Domain group has a variety of writers – for example from Larvatus Prodeo to Clubb Troppo to Jennifer Mahorasy as well as me.

The National Forum runs the Domain group and also produces a very popular online political forum called Online Opinion. This gets thousands of hits on the five or so political articles it runs daily.  Here is how the website explains it:

In our first years of operation we have concentrated on building a community through our publication, On Line Opinion. In the last 18 months we have built our legislature – the iParliament; our speaker’s corner – The Domain; an area for conversations – On Line Opinion Forum; – an area for deliberative democracy – On Line Focus; and the first volume of our library has been put on the shelf – Issues Briefs. We have a lot more interactivity planned for the next 12 months.

I am part of the Domain, the speakers’ corner,  and have been for over two years. My readership averages about 1500 a week, making me one of the less well read of the Domain’s contributors. Respectable, but not exactly challenging Murdoch or Fairfax for mass working class readership.

In times of class peace in Australia it is not surprising that revolutionary analysis receives little attention. That will change when the masses enter onto the stage of history in Australia. 

The revolution in Egypt has seen people around the globe looking for better analysis than the pap the mainstream media offers turn to alternative media, including my site. 

In late November Online Opinion ran a muddled article by conservative Christian Bill Muehlenberg called ‘Dismantling a homosexual marriage myth’ which basically seemed to argue that gays wanted to change the world and were all promiscuous.

The gay and lesbian movement does want to change the world – they are fighting to be treated equally, just like everyone else and not be oppressed because of their sexuality. 

Oppression is an important part of the glue that binds us to the capitalist system and its extraction of value from us as workers. That oppression takes many forms – sexuality, gender and race  are the main three.

There have been magnificent movements against various forms of oppression – the equal rights movement in the US, the women’s liberation movement and the gay and lesbian liberation movement.

In Australia at the moment there is a great struggle for equal love going on. The next demonstrations are scheduled for March across Australia.

So what has this got to do with advertising? Well, it seems some gays and lesbians were upset by the Muehlenberg article and the end result has been a collapse in advertising on all sites associated with the National Forum.

Actually, comments below by Ringil give an entirely different view about the reasons the gay and lesbian movement were upset. It is not about the article but the moderation of comments on OLO and vilification. Here’s what Ringil says:

Just one comment: it’s very annoying that no-one has questioned Graham Young’s claims on this matter.

Young has repeatedly asserted that the objections of the “gay activists” were were to his publication of Muehlenberg’s article, when in fact the objections were to the moderation of comments on the article. This response to Young’s December blog post on the issue makes the distinction quite plainly. Far from being an attempt to stifle free speech, this story is about protection from vilification.

While all “The Domain” blogs moderate their comments, only at OLO does there appear to be a backlog of unheeded recommendations for deletion. If you, Jennifer Marohasy, SkepticLawyer, Larvatus Prodeo and Club Troppo want to align yourselves financially with OLO, then it would seem a simple matter of due diligence to ensure that OLO’s moderation values also line up.

As I pointed out in response to Ringil, I don’t align myself financially with OLO. I have no control over that site or any other site, other than my own.

Christopher Pearson is a conservative Catholic who writes for The Australian newspaper. He is evidently poised to use this drop in advertising as an argument against the gay and lesbian movement. No doubt free speech will get a  run too.

This is not about free speech. It is about gays and lesbians withdrawing their dollars and the opportunity to make dollars form someone who has published the views of the oppressor.

Now I have been critical of the pink dollar and its essential conservatism. Changing spending habits is a poor substitute for actually challenging the oppressors, as the equal love campaign does much more successfully.

But it is not for me to tell the oppressed how to organise their fight. In any struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor I stand with the oppressed.

Further, free speech is not a universal right, as those demonstrating in Tahrir Square against the Western backed dictator know and are finding out when the tyrant’s rocks and fires rain down on them and they get hit with tear gas canisters labelled made in the USA.

Free speech has to be fought for and won. The history of capitalism is the history of the struggle by workers and others for free speech, justice and democracy.  It is the struggle against the bosses and their oppression. 

That struggle has now broken out across the Arab world, demanding food and freedom, justice and jobs.

As part of the magnificent tradition of fighting back against oppression the gay and lesbian movement in Australia has organised equal love demonstrations to pressure the Gillard Labor government to recognise same sex marriage. Join us in those demonstrations.

The next rallies will be held in March across Australia. Some early details include:


March 26: Rally 1pm, State Library of Victoria (cnr of La Trobe & Swanston sts, Melbourne).
Facebook page here.


March 19 Rally, 1pm in Queens Park (opp Treasury Casino, cnr George and Elizabeth st, Brisbane City). Email


19 March1 pm  Sydney Town Hall.

Update: Pearson did indeed write on this. It’s called Oversensitivity can only compromise the debate and it does as predicted use the fake free speech argument.

Kim at Larvatus Prodeo has also written about this in an article called ‘Online Opinion and the advertising and ‘free speech’ controversy.’

Further update: Larvatus Prodeo have now issued a statement distancing themselves from Graham Young, Online Opinion and Christopher Pearson and saying they, like me, reject homophobia and vilification.



Comment from Walter
Time February 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Good article John, and the fight for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community is sadly being denied by the government.

One quibble, however (I always have one!) You wrote “Oppression is an important part of the glue that binds us to the capitalist system and its extraction of value from us as workers.” Yet you go on to mention that “There have been magnificent movements against various forms of oppression – the equal rights movement in the US, the women’s liberation movement and the gay and lesbian liberation movement.”

Interesting that the bastion of capitalism, the USA, led the post-war world in the fight for women’s liberation (not ignoring Germane Greer’s contribution), the rights of blacks (how many western countries have elected a black leader?), the Vietnam war protests as an example of civil action and counter cultural activiries, the birth of the environment movement, and even reforms (is some states) of drug laws, laws about prostitution etc.

Isn’t there an equal argument John that capitalism also allows and even encourages the rise of anti-establishment movemements?

PS Have you managed to see ‘Generation Kill’ on ABC 2? I venture that no other countries except the US or UK vould make such a program illustrating the folly of the invasion of Iraq.

Comment from John
Time February 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hi Walter. What quibble? Sounds sensible to me. I was radicalised by the anti-Vietnam war days.

Comment from Walter
Time February 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

My headmaster tried to suspend me from school for wearing Moratorium badges and peace signs! Mind you, he still thought he was back in WW2 and treated the few Asian kids as if they were the Viet Cong.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Walter –
What a damned good letter.
My tiny quibble is that you are talking there about ‘social justice aware’ people who happen to be unlucky enough to be US citizens.
That’s probably why they have so bloody much to protest about.

There IS usually a big difference between the ideals of a people and those who oppress them.
Ask Howard Hughes (a capitalist) about his treatment by the USA.

Perhaps that’s what keys into John’s oppression is the glue – etc..

BTW – your schoolmaster. You’re lucky with one living back in WW2.

One I remember here in Qld – year 7 – 1964 was from the old Royal Navy.
Liked flogging kids. I mean ‘til the blood flowed on more than one occasion.

I mention this since you, John and, dare I say it myself, were there giving support to worthy principles.
Bickering aside, a very slippery slope exists sliding back to those days if any of us stop our caterwauling.
Bless you Walter.

Comment from John
Time February 5, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Calligula, I removed the crap from the Spearhead to which you are replying. Not relevant to the discussion. First time I have done that but they can’t to use my blog to promote their anti-woman ravings.

Comment from Ross
Time February 6, 2011 at 6:25 am

John,There is a lot more to this than the Gay and lesbian angle.They don’t like your political philosophy and they sure as hell don’t like me attacking the banking system.You however have refrained from doing so.Pehaps they want you to censor you comments as well.

If anyone thinks there is true freedom of expression in this country, then they are sadly mistaken.Large corporate money dominates our politics and media.

What we need to develop is alternate media advertising outlets.Blogs like yours need to get togther and offer advertising outlets to small /medium business under the banner of truthful and ethical societies.You can kill Sensis and Murdoch on price.

The alternate media is growing enormously and the elites want to control .Senator Jay Rockefeller said last yr,”It would have been better had the internet not been invented.” He wants total censorship,just like Egypt now.

There are thousands if not millions of alternate information sites.It just needs organising.

Comment from Sammy
Time February 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

Comment from Calligula
Time February 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm\


Comment from Sammy
Time February 6, 2011 at 11:37 am

“Revolutionary reflections on this world of ours”

Revolutionary… stupid old fart.

Comment from Animal farm anyone
Time February 6, 2011 at 11:42 am

Comment from Ross
Time February 6, 2011 at 6:25 am

……Calligula, I removed the crap from the Spearhead to which you are replying. Not relevant to the discussion. First time I have done that but they can’t to use my blog to promote their anti-woman ravings…..

Comment from Ross
Time February 6, 2011 at 6:25 am

……If anyone thinks there is true freedom of expression in this country, then they are sadly mistaken.Large corporate money dominates our politics and media……

Gee I wonder why this site is dying….Derrrr

Comment from John
Time February 6, 2011 at 12:18 pm

I see the forces of reaction want to engage in nonsensical debates and fill my blog up with the pseudo-intellectual rants. Their stuff is irrelevant to the topics at hand and I have spammed most of it.

One point. My blog isn’t dying. Its readership is increasing as consequence of people wanting to find out more about the revolutions going on in the Arab world.

Comment from Ross
Time February 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Drrrrr …From Animal Farm anyone ,would not have the foggist’s of notions of the realities that beset the poor on this planet.

I’m not gay don’t support communism but see that John is genuine and has some intellectual substance to back it up,unlike our ad hominem detractors like Animal Farm who prefers the totalitarian corporate factory fodder mentality.

You suck animal farm,since you don’t have the intellectual rigor to back up your assertions.

Comment from eli cash
Time February 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

“But it is not for me to tell the oppressed how to organise their fight.” But you are constantly doing this with the struggle in Egypt! Consistency? Or does what is happening Egypt not qualify as a struggle of the oppressed?

Comment from calligula
Time February 6, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Blowed if I know, John.
That WF Price was there when I opened your pages and so I took the time to reply in a way that bent the issue back a little to theme. Leastways I tried.
Mine, above, is certainly out of context now so perhaps you should remove it too?
May I ask what that other stuff is about – from that ‘Sammy’?

Where I come from most people educated here (up until the last generational sub-set or so) are well enough clued to be able to make inferences from a few lines of text.
I might be self- opinionated – but what the hey!

As for calling Mr Passant a silly old fart – such glib one liners match the dismissive performance of those in public life these days.
Seems to be a concerted move to dumb down the populace these days and seems that the project is going to plan.

I’ve just now taken a pause to review comments in response to articles I’d put in onlineopinion a while ago. They made me cringe. My response to them made me cringe more.
I don’t expect Mt Passant to be right (in other words state things I agree with) all the time nor do I expect him to be consistent (he’s human, not a machine).

But I’m pleased to say that his instincts and more importantly, his sentiments appear to be becoming more right every day with regard to the troubles in Tunisia and Egypt.

That, Mr. Animal farm, makes me very happy indeed.

Comment from John
Time February 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Eli, in fact I do make suggestions for the equal love campaign too. But if they think that by an advertising boycott on my site that that furthers the struggle, then so be it.

As for Egypt, of course it is a struggle of the oppressed and the exploited. My suggestions are in part aimed at clarifying what I would argue if a similar situation broke out in Australia, and to help others understand the situation in Egypt. You might like to compare my article Arm the revolution and this release from the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt.!/note.php?note_id=188267344528583&id=704087414

Can an international socialist not have views on the way forward for struggles around the world based on history and class consciousness?

Comment from Ross
Time February 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Economically I see things getting a lot worse for us all this year.The US Fed has created $20 trillion in the last 2 yrs bailing out their mates.People like Tarpley and Celente say the derivative bubble is $150 trillion or 10 times the GDP of the USA.

When this begins to unravel with the collapse of the US $, I don’t want to think about how desperate things could become for us here because we are woven into this almighty mess.

We need a leader with guts like Jack Lang to take on the corporate establishment and stop the banks calling in mortgages.Both the major parties are impotent and directionless.

I wonder if the army here would walk hand in hand with it’s people if push came to shove.

Comment from John
Time February 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Ros, re the Army – unlike Egypt they are professional paid trained force divorced from the population so they are likely to shoot us in a mas revolutionary situation if given the orders. Unless they have been demoralised by a war and losses etc.

Pingback from Club Troppo » Troppo bullied by corporate thugs
Time February 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm

[…] on this topic – Skepticlawyer; John Passant This entry was posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 at 6:51 PM and filed under Law, […]

Comment from Calligula
Time February 6, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Three bits of plasticard, about three inches by four.
Codes green, yellow and red.
They dictate what force need be applied, how, and under what circumstances.
The ADF will deploy whenever and wherever it is ordered according to the chain of command and that order comes from the PM to the GG – back to the PM – down to the Defence Minister – to the CinC ADF – then down the chain of command.
The ADF is empowered to accept orders through that chain from state government and SHALL fire on Australian citizens if so ordered.

The defence act was essentially raped by Howard and no-one squeaked in complaint.
John – go read it.

Comment from ringil
Time February 6, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Nice piece, John, bringing together many different struggles around the world.

Just one comment: it’s very annoying that no-one has questioned Graham Young’s claims on this matter.

Young has repeatedly asserted that the objections of the “gay activists” were were to his publication of Muehlenberg’s article, when in fact the objections were to the moderation of comments on the article. This response to Young’s December blog post on the issue makes the distinction quite plainly. Far from being an attempt to stifle free speech, this story is about protection from vilification.

While all “The Domain” blogs moderate their comments, only at OLO does there appear to be a backlog of unheeded recommendations for deletion. If you, Jennifer Marohasy, SkepticLawyer, Larvatus Prodeo and Club Troppo want to align yourselves financially with OLO, then it would seem a simple matter of due diligence to ensure that OLO’s moderation values also line up.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 12:03 am

Ross –
Decades of unremitting hate against the USSR resulted in its collapse.

The cost of that had to be arranged somehow by a regime that was itself little else than smoke and mirrors.
They blew it out their arse too.

That isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel – that is, in fact, the freight train aimed precisely between Uncle Sam’s eyes.

All my adult life – being told ‘what to do’, ‘when to do it’ – ‘and how’.
In other words meekly sign up to paying off a ‘blockaland’ thenna ‘mortgage’ thenna ‘Holden’
Stap me! What a destiny.
What ‘they’ could never tell me is f’r chrissakes ‘why’.

Okay. I’m convinced, always have been – but how are you gonna break the news to poor bloody Walter?

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 12:23 am

Ringil –
What you perhaps mean is that if some dough needs go into a blogger’s bank account they better kowtow to the tontine.
I’ve avoided mentioning what I finally gleaned after reading John’s article, above, but coming from a bloke who hasn’t bothered to “commercialise’ his effort I see no reason he should have to sell his soul to Mephisto.

Personally, I find the whole show going astoundingly pear shaped and I happen to believe Mr Passant has enough bother with Walter and Me>
Best regards

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 7:35 am

Thanks Ringil. OK, now I have a better understanding of the vilification issue.

One point. I don’t (and Domain doesn’t) align itself financially with OLO. The boycott includes my site because it happens to be part of the Domain for ease of management reasons which is run by the group which also runs OLO. I get no financial benefit whatsoever from OLO.

It is something completely separate from my blog.

I will include your comments in the article itself to put the whole debate into a better context. Thanks again.

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 11:49 am

Grahman young has published two articles by me in On Line Opinion, challenging Muehlenberg, and those against gay marriage. I’ve been a vocal and staunch supporter of gay marriage and rights.

I’m disgusted that action has been taken by some gay activists against OLO. If you don”t like the commentary, then it’s your responsibility to address the commentary.

You don’t try to shut down the publication.

What kind of tyranny is that?

OLO publishes on a wide variety of topics from many perspectives, and is an important publication for many many people. Do gay activists think they have the right to take that away from everybody, rather than responsibly addressing what specifically offends them?

You’ve lost my support. I don’t like censorship no matter where it comes from.

And if you can’t deal with dissent and discrimination without trying to silence an entire e-journal then what are ya?

As a woman, I’ve been dealing with discriminatory crap my entire life and I’ve never tried to shut down anything. I just fight it, baby, I just fight it.

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Jennifer, my understanding is that it is business which is withdrawing its advertising. Second, how do you recommend we deal with comments that vilify gays and lesbians? Verbal gay bashing can lead to physical gay bashing. I remove vilifying comments from my blog because it is my blog. They can and do find outlets for that sort of filth elsewhere.

I am assuming the reference you make to ‘you’, as in you’ve lost my support, is to gay activists, not me. I am the one suffering the income loss through this blunderbuss approach of the likes of IBM and ANZ. Actually the logic of their position is that there should be a ban on any big business advertising on my site ever because I am a socialist who is committed to their downfall and is opposed to everything they stand for.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Jennifer –
My eyes always glaze when someone talks about backhand stuff to do with money.
I’d basically interpreted what you’d mentioned the same way John has outlined above.
As a bloke who corresponded with onlineopinion (with a different pen-name) until about a year ago I found a certain clique of ‘experts’ taking over the commentary to the extent of turning the thread into a pretzel.
In short I was being ‘corralled’ into a situation of either not taking any further part of the forum or responding negatively.

This went on for quite a while until it began resembling schoolyard bullying – one or two characters in particular apparently given carte blanche by the ‘moderator’.
I chose to dig through the files – found some of the best examples of this indiscretion and copied it off by E-mail to Mr. Young along with a polite please explain.
The result was eye opening.

Mr Young wrote back reasonably promptly and as I recall dressed me down for writing him such filth and ‘suspended’ me for a month from the site.
I make the point that the extract supplied was enclosed with large quotation marks and headed with the appropriate url – no way that it could have been mistaken for my poor prose.

Conclusion – free speech ain’t when double standards apply – where double standards apply other elements of the show might be affected too.

John – I’ve gained the impression that certain individuals of the ‘fifth estate’ might have other agendas than those they display.
I’ve been kicked in the teeth for expressing socialist views on a few of those blogs you mention above and, sorry, but I’m satisfied that skullduggery goes on in the background.
If OLO, by association, is causing your and other blogs financial loss the root cause might be below the radar – but maybe to do with the content of the blogs affected.

Scenario – if ‘unpopular’ views are being suppressed by ridicule and bad form the readership and ratings will fall – if ratings fall then advertisers will go elsewhere – when advertisers go elsewhere decisions need be made to get them back.

Solution – censor ‘unpopular/controversial views’ and suppress dissenting blogs, then manage the fifth estate likewise to the fourth estate.

For what it is worth I wrote about something like this here. At least the childishness dumped on Reinhardt and Knoppke was funny in this instance –

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 3:52 pm

ANZ and IBM and other sponsors were lobbied by gay activists to remove their advertising from OLO, which they have done.

Both articles I wrote in support of gay marriage also brought forth great anti gay sentiment. However, no activist took any action against these comments in either case.

If it is indeed the comments activists are objecting to, and not the article, then why is it only the comments on Muehlenberg’s that caused the outrage?

How do you suggest we deal with all comments that vilify and incite all kinds of groups? If we get rid of every publication in which they appear, there will be nothing left.

Try getting Paul Sheehan to stop vilifying asylum seekers and threaten the SMH if he won’t.

My point is, OLO does much good stuff, shutting it down is silencing many worthwhile voices on many subjects.

Who has the right to do this? Why does any one group have the right to silence the voices of others, who have just as much right to be heard?

It’s censorship and tyranny. The gay community has arrived. They’ve occupied the centre instead of the margins and are demonstrating this by wielding that hegemonic tool of control, censorship. Shut down the journals!! We don’t like what they say!! Way to go, people!

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Thanks Jennifer.

I want to make clear I am not about shutting down journals. Neither am I about telling gays in influential places within the capitalist hierarchy how to spend their company’s money (although why I am a target for the withdrawal of ads remains a mystery to me. But in the grand scheme of things that is neither here nor there). I am about removing vilification from my blogs and have done it very very occasionally here.

Where do you see the dividing line between vilification and free speech?

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Re – your last – bottom line
A good place to start would be to ask if I have ever vilified or insulted you on these pages?
The next question is whether you find my scrawls to be of any merit?
Then how would you react if I said I was a closet liberal slowly but professionally painting you into a corner before lodging with you my brilliant ultimate comment – then going away forever leaving your blog in complete tatters?
Answers please.
Signed – Insecure

More seriously – up here in God’s own state we don’t have many overt gays.

What we do have are individuals who are of the modern mould.
They are aggressive, acquisitive, overbearing, but by their own standards – successful in their rapacity.
They are the sort that ‘what passes for modern society’ condones; they have little empathy for the more courteous and socially responsible citizen and their manner just makes life hell for the rest of us.

Some of ‘em are gay?
No – I’m not sure.
They make use of any circumstance or scenario to stay on top of the compost heap and would probably shag a blue ringed octopus if there was money in it.
Meanwhile they’ll pretend to be gay – to those who are gay – in order to exploit – Gays.

Can’t work out all the between lines hints up above – but this, above, is my advice about the progress of human nature in this society.

Pingback from On Line Opinion and the advertising and “free speech” controversy | How to Business
Time February 7, 2011 at 6:55 pm

[…] Elsewhere: Graham Young’s article on the affair and OLO’s financial plight, and John Passant. […]

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Where I personally see the dividing line between vilification and free speech is not what this is about. And that is not a question it’s possible to answer in a forum such as this and I’m not even going to try.

This is about the right of one group exercising its economic power and influence to shut down the means of expression for any number of other groups, many of whom do not have equivalent economic power.

You silence blogs such as OLO, then you silence non mainstream (as well as some mainstream)opinions on climate change, on the economy, on politics of all kinds, on religion, on atheism, on just about everything you can think of, including people like me who have written opinions supporting gay rights and gay marriage.

Opinions that have no forum anywhere else in this country.

By far the best way to deal with vilification is to challenge it and continue to rationally challenge it, as was done by myself, and by very many commenters on the OLO forums.

Some people are acting as if the only thing on OLO was vilification of gays, and that is complete rot. These views were hugely challenged by many commentators, and the end result was to make them look as ignorant and as prejudiced as they really are.

Silencing vilification will not make it go away, it will only send it underground. Far better the devil you know than the devil you can’t see.

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Jennifer, Graham does have a moderation policy, and as Kim points out at Larvatus Prodeo, Graham should revisit and enforce his own policy. Like Kim I don’t see this as a free speech issue, and I write as someone whose voice is mostly denied by the mainstream media, and whose admittedly small blog revenues have collapsed as a consequence of this action against OLO. See LP: Online Opinion and the advertising and ‘free speech’ controversy.

The problem with your approach is that vilification finds breeding grounds that become action. Debate and discussion can be civil without descending into labelling people perverts and promising the wrath of God in the here and now on them…It reminds me of the crosshairs discussion in the US.

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Again, this is about the power of one group to silence the means of expression for any number of other groups.

This is a free speech issue. I find it incredible that someone such as yourself apparently is unconcerned that a group with economic power can silence the voices of groups without it.

Women are vilified daily in all manner of publications. Violence against women is a global epidemic. If your position is that OLO should be closed down for not moderating vilification of gays, then you need to be lobbying for the closure of millions of outlets in all forms of media that vilify and thus, in your terms, contribute to the global violence and global murder of women.

If you aren’t prepared to do this, you are being discriminatory, sexist and hypocritical.

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Where do I ever say that about closing down OLO?
And Jennifer, stop being so critical and so dismissive of these who disagree with you – labelling me ‘discriminatory, sexist and hypocritical’ indeed. Any more abusive and nonsensical descriptors you can think of to throw in?

Actually as I make clear in my article the real way to challenge sexism, racism and homophobia is to struggle against them and the system which produces them and ultimately overthrow that system. I say the pink dollar approach won’t liberate anyone. I don’t anywhere argue for closing outlets down. You make that leap in your analysis.

This is battle between the oppressed and the oppressor. I side with the oppressed.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Jennifer –
Divide and conquer.
Place a person who operates within certain parameters in an arena.
Place an opponent in that same arena.
Let the game begin.
If both are evenly matched and working within the same parameters the game will probably prolonged, those watching entertained and the outcome uncertain ‘til the very end.

In some respects this is the purpose of blogs – a game of chess or any other sanguine human activity.
Unfortunately the rules in our modern society have replaced fair play and old ideals with the overriding incentive to win for profit.
It has become battle with no account for handicap whatsoever.

But where is the referee?
Wasn’t that part of what concerned you?

Personally, my handicap is my upbringing and the small kit of social graces hard-wired into my consciousness as a consequence of life.
So despite practicing on John, Walter and a few others recently I’ve had to rely upon their decency in order to maintain equilibrium in the discourse.
What I’ve met elsewhere in other blogs is so gobsmackingly horrendous as to make me wonder what they are about.
I’m reasonably convinced that Mr. Young is a rather inept closet arch conservative who has let his pet comment merchants drive away serious contributions from somewhere slightly right of centre and sweeping the rest of left leaning directly into the trashbin.
If ridicule doesn’t work then systems glitches will.

If contributor’s persistence wins over that – a moment arrives when they just get canned.
I reckon he misses being a liberal member and is trying to gain brownie points to buy his way back.
Fiddling moneywise in the background would surely be part of that agenda?

I read the ‘pingback’ content above which only reinforces my opinion.

What else can I say other than politics has become a too serious business with no rules and no holds barred anymore.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

I really am becoming confused.
As I grow older I become more uncertain as to why women should be a protected species sub-set.
Let me rephrase that.
When I was young, beautiful women seemed on a bit of a pedestal and worthy of courtesy and protection.
After all, back then when I was an immortal, a bit of a smile and consideration might have been (hubba hubba) reciprocated.

As we (they and I) became older (especially the they) all that seemed to matter less – except those ladies I had bonded with in my youth.
Isn’t that marvelous – the raw biological imperative becomes subsumed to tribal survival just at that time of life when wisdom becomes more important than procreation.

These days, now that I’m apparently invisible when I walk down the street there seems to be a set that want to walk straight through my personal space.
Such is not equality. Rather, such is similar pig ignorance to, say, an inexperienced and hormonal policeman pulling the same act.

Nor do I express prejudice by saying this.

This argument is not about gender, nor inclination.
It is about the stupidity, sterility and ultimate futility of modern existence – leastways the way some play the game.

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I didn’t label you as anything John. I said that if you (or anybody else) isn’t prepared to treat all forms of vilification with the same action then that is discriminatory, sexist and hypocritical. That’s common sense.

If you are prepared to treat all forms of vilification equally, then of course you are none of those things.

I don’t appreciate being accused of being accusatory and nonsensical because I’ve pointed that out.

As you’ve been insisting all along that this is not a free speech issue, I’ve taken you at your word.

My argument all along has been that the closure of OLO by one group who possess the power to do it, to the disadvantage of other groups who don’t, and have no recourse, is the free speech issue.

So when you say there is no such issue, it seemed to me that you didn’t believe closing down OLO had anything at all to do with free speech.

I’ve not argued anywhere that free speech means the right to vilify gays or anybody else. I don’t believe that it does.

I haven’t been either critical or dismissive, I’ve been consistently arguing my point.

Comment from John
Time February 7, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Jennifer, if you want to organise an action against sexist media, I’ll support it, just as I support all those who are oppressed fighting against the oppressors. As I said before I think real struggle is more important than not spending the dollar in these cases.

I don’t see how this has anything to do with closing down OLO. It is people taking their money elsewhere. Should we conscript their spending?

When the Egyptian freedom fighters call Mubarak names and vilify him, I cheer. When he vilifies his own oppressed and exploited people I condemn him.

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm

People are taking their money elsewhere because they have been lobbied by activists to do that, on the threat of them taking their money elsewhere.

What has conscripting spending got to do with it? Who said anything about that?

Have to clear off now, bedtime, thanks for the debate – have you read all the OLO commentary, I wonder?

How come nobody has tried to shut down Andrew Bolt’s paper – the comments on his site can be really something

Even the Drum has some corkers – I think the moderation there is pretty weird at times and I’ve certainly copped some very nasty comments there – and their articles frequently leave much to be desired –

Why is it only OLO coming in for this attention and criticism?

Comment from Calligula
Time February 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Jennifer –
This Passant bloke has standards.
He’d can me if I spoke plainly to you about what I’m reading between your lines.
You’d tell me I’m being discriminatory if by mischance that were published.
Matter of fact if that happened your response’d most likely be indecipherable.

But that isn’t your agenda to get stuck into me.
You want John for some reason.
Look, be reasonable.
I know he has a short fuse and his drafting skills need brushing up but most times even a peasant like me finally works out where he’s coming from.

A tip. Always keep in mind that others out there read this stuff.
At the end of the day their opinion is more important than ours.

Just keep chipping away quietly with your agenda the way I do.
He’ll eventually come across.

Oh. And why not read my comments?
I have a much darker interpretation about what’s going on amongst what’s mentioned above than does John.
Why not go back and google a motive that fits your perceived crime?

Pingback from Advertising & writing/commenting on blogs
Time February 7, 2011 at 10:50 pm

[…] En Passant, and of course also at […]

Comment from Jennifer Wilson
Time February 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Hi Calligula, I’m sorry I haven’t responded to your comments.

I think your advice to keep chipping away is very wise, and I’ll keep on doing that.

I think John’s an OK bloke – we just disagree about some stuff, but that’ all right.
Cheers Jennifer.

Pingback from Advertising & writing/commenting on blogs | Brisbane Value
Time February 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

[…] En Passant, and of course also at […]

Comment from Calligula
Time February 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Jennifer, John, (ladies first)
I’ll be sending this to Mr.Bartlett too.

Mentioned above that my interpretation of what was happening was darker than John’s.
I’ve taken time to follow that pingback above through Andrew B’s site then down the links ‘til I found a letter written by the person who lodged complaints with the advertisers at question.

Seems, like me, that person found it necessary to write to Mr. Young and like me they found his response unacceptable in the extreme. (I’d best not go into the details)

I chose to stop wasting my time by contributing to OLO – it wasn’t a difficult choice since I found myself reacting so badly the whole show became depressing – enough loonies out the front door any day.
This other person, however, chose to take affirmative action and in result essentially had everyone’s advertising bombed.

It is a shame that this action caused grief to others not involved directly but Mr. Young has been acting in ways that contradict the standards of his own charter.

I note that some comments to Andrew express the same sentiment.

It goes this way on the face of the record –
OLO has a huge list of contributors; some quite prolific
By going to the list they can be accessed as can any of their contributions.
A significant number of those listed however seem to have had only a few bites of the cherry and then moved on.

A reasonable person, having noticed this, might become curious and search through the files in order to discover the reason.

That person, upon discovering – that these minor contributors were variously put down with escalating ridicule, sarcasm, ignore-ance, then abuse; seemingly staged in such a way to divert them, burr them up, embarrass, anger, then finally see them on their way – would become reasonably convinced the moderator of that weblog condoned that activity.

Looking at the files from another angle reveals that a large number of the pen-names listed only contributed once.
They went to a fair amount of bother to sign up and register for that one contribution which raises the question as to whether they were somehow put off bothering again, dropped dead suddenly, or are maybe merely being listed there as bums on seats to bolster Mr. Young’s resume’?

A hard core of Mr. Young’s contributors, at first glance, appear of leftish/green persuasion. The same people first appearing as all sweetness and light soon resort to spite at the slightest excuse.

They do not speak their own piece forthrightly rather attack viciously to the extent that they do their own professed cause irreparable harm.
It is the way that this sort of thing is choreographed on the pages mentioned here and others that leads me to suspect that these actions are intended to harm certain causes that these pages claim to foster.

Comment from John
Time February 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I don’t agree with this analysis Calligula. I believe Graham is about a diversity of views even if he favours the conservative side.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 8, 2011 at 7:58 pm

A shame you disagree.
I’m not surmising.
Like Walter Brennan –
“No brag, just fact”.
Been there, done that, not worth the bother.
I suppose I cold qualify that by mentioning I write to you in the hope that my commie sentiments won’t be censored.
I do that in a Modern Australia in full knowledge that every hit of this keyboard is being monitored.
I have my own blog now and it publishes a deal of material that is fact.
Mine is not ‘monetised’.
I’m confident that no commercial entity would lend a brass razoo to my poor effort.

Which makes me wonder why they’d even over costs for an international socialist rag.
Look at this another way.
I’ve been writing to you for some time now and filling in comment spaces when no-one else has bothered.
I did not do that to bolster your ratings but because you claimed to be a bit of a commie.
I write to you assuming that you are a commie.
Now I find you support a bloke who by my experience is a closet conservative censoring prick.
Amazin’ thing is that he isn’t even good at it.

Comment from Ross
Time February 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Yes John, Graham Young is about freedom of speech and so are many others like Ron Paul.There is common ground here from both left and right but the fascists use the both left and right to achieve their oppression.Obama is just as bad as Bush.Perhaps more so.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm

No Ross –
Sent mine above opining Mr Young is a ring-in. I sent it about the tontine and it was censored from most. John, himself has excised a little comment I sent him but I suppose he expects I won’t notice.
When this happens I comment briefly.
When it happens often I go away.
So does civil society – freedom of speech and everything we all aspire to.
Your serve JP

Comment from John
Time February 9, 2011 at 9:40 am

I don’t think calling people fascists when they clearly are not helps the argument Calligula so I cut it out.

I agree however the situation is more complex than either you or I have painted it or can paint it.

Not sure about the other comments about doing this blog for the money. I don’t. It runs at a loss. I don’t give a toss about the advertising; I do give a toss about homophobia and vilification and the struggle for equality. I suspect you and I agree on that.

In fact our agreements are much more common than our disagreements, aren’t they?

Comment from John
Time February 9, 2011 at 9:43 am

Calligula I suspect the possible blowback over this issue might surprise you. Stay tuned.

Comment from Calligula
Time February 9, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Well, John,
Last night I did receive what could be construed as an obliquely threatening, litiginous letter from an associate of Mr. Young.
I spent some time today replying.
I believe we might be seeing the dawning – no, the morning smoko – of the age of suppression of the ‘fifth estate’ to bring it into line with the press/media.
I suppose I’ve received that attention because I believe that things are crook here in OZ and I stupidly speak about that stuff.
It would be good if someone else did that but they get branded as crackpots.

Maybe I’ll have to think about that and leave you to it.

Pingback from Fair weather business partners at Catallaxy Files
Time February 9, 2011 at 7:59 pm

[…] at how Graham Young’s advertising syndicate partners are behaving (Club Troppo, En Passant and Larvatus Prodeo) I’m reminded of this great performance. Their attitude is that he had it […]

Comment from Calligula
Time February 9, 2011 at 9:53 pm

More I read about this it is about a few stagemasters setting up a bit of a scam and sucking people in.

A forum, free speech – bollocks.
Someone has pulled in the strings for reasons that might be imagined leaving the principals/stagemasters thrashing about and kicking.

Everyone else is getting bruised and battered including their associates and their honest readers.

Comment from Mel
Time February 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Great stuff, John. I now feel bad about those yucky things I said about you in the past :)