Mittwoch, November 16, 2005

Oh her god!

"Maddox is my god. He gives me strength."

Wendy calls him her "god", her inspiration.

But who is this Maddox guy? Thought I'd write a little about this famous and famously notorious "pirate" who roams the information super highway.

George Ouzounian Maddox, born in 1978, is an American of Armenian descent. Living in Utah (which he loathes), he majored in Mathematics in the University of Utah, and has worked as a programmer.

A hugely popular "online journalist" known for his controversial views, he runs one of the most notorious (and popular) personal websites out there--the unassumingly titled "The Best Page In The Universe".

It's a satirical weblog littered with his offensive and politically-incorrect opinions. Maddox isn't just equally ruthless when dealing with politicians (be them Democrats or Republicans), but also anyone and anything he deems beneath his contempt--that includes old people, animal lovers, feminists, and even whales.

Or what he states on his own fan-site (sounds familiar?) as "kicking babies, setting shit on fire, teasing the disabled/unfortunate, eating twice your bodyweight in (preferably endangered) meat and making dumbarses the world over, cry themselves to sleep for the rest of their days".

When not dissing people and things, he writes about movies, music, celebrities, and just about anything.

His entries are usually short, egoist, and in bad taste. He doesn't try much to justify his skewed opinions, and occasionally, throws in an illustration or two to highlight his points. Like his posts, some of these illustrations are in bad taste too: his recent one on whales shows a sperm whale munching on sailors, his previous ones include old folks being fried in the sun.

He's also known for the following:

i) Earlier this year, he tried inviting some videogame programmers over to work on a game which he describes as a "game with pirates in it that doesn't suck. He put up a Flash preview of the game, and it has a pirate running over old folks, a poodle getting kicked over the fence, zombies, and lesbian sex. In his entry, "The Best Game in the Universe", he writes: "Is it too much to ask for a game where the main character murders feminists with his giant boner, lesbian centaurs get their backs broken with sledge hammers, elderly people get body slammed into cactuses, and emo dumbasses get prostate examinations with the business end of my shoe."

ii) Maddox claims his site reached 100,000,000 hits in March 2005. He has a huge legion of fans, but he has his critics too who argue that all Maddox does is insult and make profane remarks about things without any conscious efforts to reason. He also refuses to address any criticism on his "hatemail" pages, but chooses to diss his detractors instead.

iii) His enormous popularity and influence has led to his website being blacklisted not just in the US but elsewhere in the world. On January 8, 2004, Etisalat, the United Arab Emirates' sole telecommunications carrier, banned his website; Saudi Arabia and Qatar followed suit on September 11, 2005. But the one that really got to Maddox was when the popular web filtering company, Websense, placed his website on their banned list (citing it as "tasteless"), making it inaccessible from schools, offices, and public libraries. Maddox wasn't amused. In retaliation, he blocked Websense from this site (citing them as "fascists")

iv) Maddox's following, which includes youngsters, has led to the forming of Mothers Against Maddox by Beth Robbins, a housewife--her slogan being "Help us fight and finally shut down the most hateful site on the Internet". When the website ran a petition against Maddox, legions of Maddox supporters rip it apart by flooding it with vulgar comments; the petition was eventually called off. What's interesting though is that there are unsubstantiated rumours that Maddox himself is behind Mothers Against Maddox (sounds familiar, again?).

v) Maddox has his own online store selling T-shirts and stickers with messages like "Littering Kicks Ass". As he puts it, "You're not doing me a favor by buying this stuff. I'm doing you a favor by selling it." He did, however, recently contribute 50% of his profits from his store to Katrina victims, donating $3,068.

vi) Currently, he's writing a book which is due to be out in March 2006. He's also planning to work on an adventure comic book based on his pirate alter-ego.

Like him or loathe him, Maddox is so big among the young that some analysts even think he has political influence over the new generation. But America has always been liberal when it comes to Maddox's form of expression. Mind you, were Maddox a Singaporean, not only would his website be banned, he would probably be hauled to court for some of the stuff he writes.

But having said that, the Internet is global, and it's pretty evident that he has found himself ardent followers like Wendy, who may be trying to imitate his controversial style of writing and attention-seeking gimmicks. Kinda like localising Maddox's brand of blogging for fans in this region, no?

In any case, couldn't help but notice one post Wendy's almighty made about the whole naming business in the blogging world. Apparently, Maddox doesn't like his website to be referred to as a blog, and worse, himself as a blogger.

His definition of a blog:
The word "blog" is literally shorthand for "boring;" a vulgar, overused word that strikes your ear with the dull thud of a cudgel to the soft spot of a child. It's an abbreviation used by journalism drop outs to give legitimacy to their shallow opinions and amateur photography that seems to be permanently stuck in first draft hell.

His definition of a blogger:
Term used to describe anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives. Possibly the most annoying thing about bloggers is the sense of self-importance they get after even the most modest of publicity. Sometimes it takes as little as a referral on a more popular blogger's website to set the lesser blogger's ego into orbit.

His definition of the blogging community:
Losers, goths, bedwetters, and journalism dropouts.

And his definition of blogebrity:
Wow, guess what this one stands for? Too easy. Hey, anyone can do it: take a blogger who's a chef, and you get: BLEF. A blogger who's a dentist? BENTIST. A female blogger with an itch? You guessed it: a BITCH.

I still think the guy's an ar*ehole, but at least he got THAT right. =)

31 Comments:

  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 5:15:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    You know, I think you got it wrong about Maddox. I thought you'd be discerning enough to understand satire and sarcasm when you see it. I'm a girl - but I'm not in the least offended by Maddox's "skewed views", as you put it. Why? Because I don't take him for real - I take him as an entertainer. He's obviously not as distasteful, sexist, egoistic, and whatever other crap he makes himself out to be; he's just fooling around and having fun.

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 5:52:00 nachm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    I do, and I love satires and black humour. I'm just not comfortable with his form of satire. =)

    Just a matter of differing opinions, I guess. Some friends of mine think "Team America" is a smashing satire; I thought it was crap. =)

    Maybe it's fine for discerning adults, but it's not someting I'd want my kids to read. But having said that, at least he cared enough to donate to Katrina victims--unlike some politicians on Captiol Hill, I'm sure. =)

    Btw, for those interested in watching Maddox "video game", here's the link.

    Please note that it contains rated material.

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 6:16:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    Well you've got your own opinions and tastes, which is fine by me. Earlier I'd thought that you couldn't see past his surface people-bashing, thanks for clearing it up. I personally enjoy Maddox a lot though. :)

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 6:17:00 nachm., Anonymous i luv beckham said…

    > at least he cared enough to donate to Katrina victims--unlike some politicians on Captiol Hill, I'm sure. =)

    Care? this is the same guy who gets even by listing his detractors emails on his web site, then laugh while his supporters spam them with hatemail.

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 6:44:00 nachm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    i luv bechkham wrote: "Care? this is the same guy who gets even by listing his detractors emails on his web site, then laugh while his supporters spam them with hatemail. "

    Er, did I just open a can of worms with this post? *sweat*

    Oh, I hate Beckham, by the way, but nothing personal. Though not as much as I loathe his wife.... =)

    Darn, think the medicine's going to knock me out real soon. tmr then.

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 6:57:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    "this is the same guy who gets even by listing his detractors emails on his web site, then laugh while his supporters spam them with hatemail."

    Sounds like Xiaxue. Except Maddox is funnier and a better writer.

     
  • At Mittwoch, November 16, 2005 9:10:00 nachm., Anonymous a said…

    You know, I was really wondering why you take umbrage at the things XX writes--until I read this post and your comments.

    What this really boils down to, among other things, is your conception of what our society should be like.

    And your going "tsk tsk" at the content of people like Maddox and XX (whom at the end of the day really amounts to nothing more than a pathetic, third-rate rip-off of the former) pretty much tells me what that conception is.

    I sincerely doubt that it's "just a matter of differing opinions". To you, content like Maddox's/XX's should be taken down as a service to the rest of the (Singaporean!) internet community.

    I recall an interview on a prime-time TV news magazine show with this one Pierre Salinger, who ran a site with his own theories about the TWA Flight 800 disaster. He firmly believed that a missile destroyed the plane, and the entire site was devoted to disseminating this theory, including lots of images, and animation of a missle actually hitting the plane, and of course countless "facts", none of which were backed up with the slightest amount of research. The interviewer was completely outraged that a site like this
    was "allowed" to exist on the internet. "What if a nine-year-old boy were doing a report on this?" she asked. "How would he know if your site were true or not?" To which Salinger replied, "He wouldn't."

    For someone who's been on the internet since the dawn of 8-bit modems, you don't seem to realise the true value of this medium--which is to teach us not to take everything that's published at face value. It's a lesson
    that you should have learned with books, magazines, newsletters and other published material.

    Now, enter the internet. We finally have a medium through which everyone can easily publish anything they want. Sorting out the good from the bad becomes everybody's business, not just the business of the select few who can afford to print their glossy magazines and hardcover books.

    While you might feel that Maddox/XX are inappropriate for tender young minds, I feel that it's exactly this sort of content that will show them how valuable the internet really is. We are now all editors, and we are now all publishers, and if you find this concept threatening, then maybe you should rethink your political views.

    The internet isn't your encyclopedia--and nor is it your kids'. Nothing on it has to be true, or even justified. Your apparent disdain of "skewed", "unjustified", and "reason-lacking" content is, to me, incomprehensible.

    The internet is a medium where people can publish anything they want, and at some point you and everyone else are going to have to realize that there are no guarantees about the kind of information that people will publish. There is no guarantee that what you're reading on the internet is true or even worth the disk space that it takes up, any more than there is a guarantee that what you're reading in a magazine or in a book or in a newsletter is true or worth the paper it's printed on. And why should it be? That's the beauty of free speech, that's why free speech is dangerous to the status quo, why free speech is the sword in the hand of the meek against the mighty, and why free speech is an ideal that must be protected.

    So I'm glad that there are people like Ms Anonymous who don't share your attitude. I'm glad that you have no power over what's being published on the internet. And I'm glad that you have no power to determine what should and shouldn't be said in society.

    Even if Maddox/XX are symptomatic of a diseased age--and I have no reason to think they are--I'd think twice before administering any cures you might advocate.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 2:16:00 vorm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    a wrote: "For someone who's been on the internet since the dawn of 8-bit modems, you don't seem to realise the true value of this medium--which is to teach us not to take everything that's published at face value."

    Ah so, but I do. What I'd like to know is do you realise the threat this medium poses too? Not to the "status quo" you mention, but to the very fundamental idea that free speech exists to promote truth and knowledge?

    free speech is the sword in the hand of the meek against the mighty

    Okay, let's take "I luv Beckham"'s case on Maddox. Let's say Maddox posts something that a reader finds insulting, and he emails Maddox to state his opinion. Now, the reader is exercising HIS right to free speech, isn't it? But what does Maddox do? He put up this person's email address on his website and invites his fans to flame him. He does eventually agree to take it down, but only after this person comes back begging for him to do so.

    I'm sure it was good for Maddox's ego.

    Now, if Maddox is the meek who becomes empowered by the internet (and according to you, that's a good thing), what about the other poor chap? I'm sure he (and others) will think twice about criticising what Maddox writes.

    Not quite the 'ideal' you were talking about, no?

    Time to take those tinted-spectacles off, because the internet's more anarchy than the utopia you envision.

    The right to freedom of speech comes with responsibilities, since the ultimate purpose of free speech is to advance society's interest. It wasn't conceived so that mindless individuals can use it as a sorry excuse for behaving irresponsibly.

    The internet isn't your encyclopedia--and nor is it your kids'

    But they (and other kids) are going to inherit it anyway, so discerning adults have a duty to ensure that it's information and not disinformation that they get. The more socially responsible half of the internet should do their part by self-regulating itself too. Now, isn't that another purpose of free speech--to encourage self autonomy?

    And I'm glad that you have no power to determine what should and shouldn't be said in society.

    I don't. But funny that you should feel so strongly about it just because I expressed opinions that run afoul of your "ideals". And to think I was just participating in free speech too--ironic, isn't it?

    It's late. I'm still feeling drowsy. That's it, I'm off to bed. =)

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 5:06:00 vorm., Anonymous a said…

    Ah so, but I do. What I'd like to know is do you realise the threat this medium poses too? Not to the "status quo" you mention, but to the very fundamental idea that free speech exists to promote truth and knowledge?

    What threatens what, exactly? Are you saying that my freedom to say that the earth is flat threatens truth and knowledge even if at the same time I don't stop people from saying that the earth is round?

    I also deny that free speech (FS) exists to promote truth and knowledge. T & K can arise from exercise of FS, but to say that the latter exists to promote the former? FS is perfectly consistent within a system of lies.

    Not quite the 'ideal' you were talking about, no?

    Yes, the reader's exercising his right to FS. Yes, I think Maddox's being empowered is a good thing. What Maddox does in retaliation has nothing to do with his reader's right to tell Maddox he doesn't like him. Whatever one does in response to an exercise of FS by another is independent of FS itself.

    I'm free to tell Mike Tyson I think he's a prick. He'll punch me in the face, but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to say it.

    Basically: I have the right to say P without being harmed as a result of my saying P. Nowhere do I say that Maddox is free to inflict harm on others. Condemning the consequences of FS doesn't mean condemning the act of FS, if FS doesn't necessarily entail those consequences. What counts as "harm" is another story.

    The right to freedom of speech comes with responsibilities, since the ultimate purpose of free speech is to advance society's interest. It wasn't conceived so that mindless individuals can use it as a sorry excuse for behaving irresponsibly.

    The only responsibility FS comes with is that not to harm others. Again, it's hard to say what counts as harm. But I think the definition's pretty narrow.

    And I think nothing Maddox has said (and the same goes for XX) can be construed as "harm".

    No, the ultimate purpose of free speech is not to advance society's interests. Free speech is neither necessary nor sufficient for society to thrive. Which isn't to say it shouldn't be valued, of course.

    Mindless individuals can act however "irresponsibly" they like so long as their irresponsibility doesn't cause direct harm to other people's rights.

    A further question is: who are we responsible to? You seem to think that all of us have a responsibility to society, a premise which I deny.

    But they (and other kids) are going to inherit it anyway, so discerning adults have a duty to ensure that it's information and not disinformation that they get. The more socially responsible half of the internet should do their part by self-regulating itself too. Now, isn't that another purpose of free speech--to encourage self autonomy?

    I think disinformation shares the same right to dissemination as information. Your stance borders on the paternalistic.

    Yes, FS promotes personal liberty. I'm not sure what you mean by "the more socially responsible half of the internet should do their part by self-regulating itself too."

    I don't. But funny that you should feel so strongly about it just because I expressed opinions that run afoul of your "ideals". And to think I was just participating in free speech too--ironic, isn't it?

    I don't see anything ironic--I never said you couldn't (or shouldn't) have different opinions from mine. I'm just relieved that you're not in charge.

    I don't have rose-tinted glasses, either. Along with the good and the right exists the immoral, the stupid, and the deviant. FS simply allows for all these. I'm perfectly willing to deem acceptable what you deem inappropriate (thus far).

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 10:16:00 vorm., Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said…

    Hahaha. I agree about the bit on celebrity bloggers! Hahaha.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 11:38:00 vorm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    To A:

    The main purpose and justification for the doctrine of free speech, at least in most conventional theory and jurisprudence, IS to promote the truth.

    And free speech was never meant to be an absolute right. You might argue about the degree of censorship or the extent the right is qualified, but it is ridiculous to argue for an absolute right to free speech.

    That is why speech about how the holcaust never existed is banned in Germany, you know? It is illegal. And it is not a matter of being paternalistic. There are other rights such as the right to non-discrimination and the right to reputation etc.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 11:49:00 vorm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    To A:

    Also, I think many of your premises which your argument is based on are flawed.

    You question whether we owe responsibilities to society. Obviously I think so. Otherwise you can get away with antisocial acts such as murder. In fact, you admit this, isn't it? When you said yourself that we only have a right to do things if it does not cause harm to others.

    And I would be curious to know what justification you can have for free speech, what value you think free speech has if not to promote truth and knowledge? (I know there are other justifications, but do you have any independent convincing rationale besides truth and knowledge?) Free speech cannot be promoted for free speech's sake.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 12:49:00 nachm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    a wrote: "Mindless individuals can act however "irresponsibly" they like so long as their irresponsibility doesn't cause direct harm to other people's rights."

    Ah, so indirectly harming other people's rights is perfectly fine. Right, that's what I call irresponsible.

    I'm free to tell Mike Tyson I think he's a prick. He'll punch me in the face, but that doesn't mean I don't have the right to say it.

    Aye, but depending on what else you say to him (and where you say it) he can sue you for slander too (likewise, depending on how badly he hits you, he can be charged with assault). In life, you have to take responsibility for your actions, but some netizens--with their false sense of invulnerability--don't think so.

    You have insisted that one of the beauty of free speech is that it empowers the meek so that he can rise up against the mighty; I say, go read Animal Farm, if you haven't. =)


    A further question is: who are we responsible to? You seem to think that all of us have a responsibility to society, a premise which I deny.

    So you have a responsibility only to yourself, to say what you want to say, do what you feel like doing, with no regards to any consequences your actions may have indirectly or otherwise on others. I shudder to think what the world will be like if everyone thinks like you.

    Obviously there's no point in arguing with someone who, like Wendy, thinks the world revolves around him and his rights. I'm just glad the whole of society doesn't think like you.


    ps: oh, should anyone start calling me an old stuffy right-wing conservative, I will not hesistate smacking him/her on the head with my copy of Ducasse's Les Chants de Maldoror.... Just kidding. =P

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 5:36:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    Check out beautifuk.blogspot.com for a marvellous rebuttal towards XX. :P In fact, two!

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 5:55:00 nachm., Anonymous a said…

    You question whether we owe responsibilities to society. Obviously I think so. Otherwise you can get away with antisocial acts such as murder. In fact, you admit this, isn't it? When you said yourself that we only have a right to do things if it does not cause harm to others.

    Let me get one thing straight first: I take society to mean "the common good", not just "other people".

    Murder is a violation of a personal right. Violating personal rights of others doesn't equate to violating the rights of society.

    Here's why responsibility to an individual and responsibility to society are two different things:

    1) Murder is a crime against the individual.
    2) Many individuals make up a society.
    3) Therefore, murder is a crime against society.

    The conclusion doesn't follow from the premises.

    There's also the question of what kind of responsibility you're talking about. Positive or negative? I agree that we (as individuals) have a negative obligation (i.e. not to murder). It doesn't follow that we (as individuals) have a positive obligation (i.e. to stop other individuals' murders).

    And I would be curious to know what justification you can have for free speech, what value you think free speech has if not to promote truth and knowledge? (I know there are other justifications, but do you have any independent convincing rationale besides truth and knowledge?) Free speech cannot be promoted for free speech's sake.

    You're right. Free speech is not absolute. That's why I had that basic Harm Principle (it's Mill's, by the way) as a clause.

    Yes. There are other things besides truth and knowledge. Equality is one. Personal liberty is another.

    I'm not saying that T & K aren't important. I'm saying that T & K can be pursued through means other than the limitation of FS. The existence of FS is consistent with a society in which everyone freely lies. Since FS is not conceptually linked to T & K, denying the right to FS wouldn't promote (or discourage) T & K.

    That is why speech about how the holcaust never existed is banned in Germany, you know? It is illegal. And it is not a matter of being paternalistic. There are other rights such as the right to non-discrimination and the right to reputation etc.

    I can't draw any conclusions either way from the fact that Nazi speeches and holocaust denials are banned in Germany other than the trival fact that it violates some legal principle in Germany.

    Yes, we have rights not to be discriminated against, and not to be slandered. Violations of these fall under the Harm Principle. But like I said, it's difficult to know what limits should be placed on the definition of "harm".

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 6:03:00 nachm., Anonymous a said…

    Ah, so indirectly harming other people's rights is perfectly fine. Right, that's what I call irresponsible.

    It is fine. Not fine as in "it's good that I can", but fine as in "I'm not wrong if I do." And how far would you like to extend my responsibility?

    Aye, but depending on what else you say to him (and where you say it) he can sue you for slander too (likewise, depending on how badly he hits you, he can be charged with assault). In life, you have to take responsibility for your actions, but some netizens--with their false sense of invulnerability--don't think so.

    I don't see why this is relevant. Assume that all I'm saying to him is "you're an asshole". The consequences of my actions have nothing to do, conceptually, with my freedom to act. Say someone on the internet pisses you off, and you punch them in the face in real life. That person has to accept that being punched for saying something like that is a very real possibility, but does that mean he doesn't have a personal right to say whatever he did? This is perfectly consistent with the fact that we all have to be responsible for our actions.

    So you have a responsibility only to yourself, to say what you want to say, do what you feel like doing, with no regards to any consequences your actions may have indirectly or otherwise on others. I shudder to think what the world will be like if everyone thinks like you.

    That's not entirely correct. You have to tell me why and when the line should be drawn beyond my personal responsibility for not directly harming you.

    Obviously there's no point in arguing with someone who, like Wendy, thinks the world revolves around him and his rights. I'm just glad the whole of society doesn't think like you.

    That's a misrepresentation of what I think, but never mind that. I let my prejudices drive my opinions only up to the point when the former is unjustified. I don't know about XX, but I can justify my prejudices.

    I've read Animal Farm, thanks very much. Let me return the favour by recommending Nozick, Rawls, Mill, and Locke.

    It's obvious that all that's been said needs further qualification. My claims may need refining, that much I concede. But my basic stand is: Maddox and XX should not be muted, offensive to you though they may be. Despite what you seem to think, not everyone who is capable of reasoning well will share your opinion that they should be shut down as a boon to society. And I have no qualms about admitting that I'm wrong, if I can be shown that I am. That, ma'am, is the point of arguing.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 6:26:00 nachm., Anonymous delia said…

    To A:

    I guess you realised that your previous stand was far too extreme than what was necessary to justify the basic point you had wanted to make.

    But just for the record, murder IS a violation of society's right and not just to an individual. Precisely because of what you said about society being made up of many individuals. Also, another example might clarify this point. If you steal, you are not just stealing from a particular person, you are attacking the very idea of property because your act of stealing makes people's rights over their property insecure.

    Being a well read person, I am sure you have come across this before, thus I am baffled as to why you do not realise that these crimes are not just an attack on a particular individual.

    Also, I don't think it is necessary to differentiate between positive and negative obligations in this case because what Sandra is advocating would be a negative obligation (to stop people like XX from spouting rubbish)And so, your point about negative obligations being the majority of our obligations does not help your stand.

    The Holocaust example is merely to show that a right to non-discrimination is deemed to be more important than free speech in that particular instance.

    And yes, the famous Mill's harm principle. Unfortunately, it is not a magic formula to cover every situation. Do you know the critique of the principle? For example, it cannot justify why attempts at crimes, when no harm has been done yet, are prosecuted as well.

    Therefore, 'harm' being done is not the only reason for imposing obligations.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 17, 2005 8:48:00 nachm., Anonymous a said…

    Delia:

    I guess you realised that your previous stand was far too extreme than what was necessary to justify the basic point you had wanted to make.

    Maybe, but I'm still working from the premise that I can do whatever I like so long as it doesn't directly harm anyone. It's not an obviously untenable position. But I'll think about that.

    But just for the record, murder IS a violation of society's right and not just to an individual. Precisely because of what you said about society being made up of many individuals. Also, another example might clarify this point. If you steal, you are not just stealing from a particular person, you are attacking the very idea of property because your act of stealing makes people's rights over their property insecure.

    I don't see why murder is a violation of society's rights (like I said, I don't take society to mean just "other people"). In fact, I'm not even sure that "society" has rights to begin with, but let's assume that it does. Murder is a violation of a right to life. Murder is unacceptable in society. But why is it a societal right not to be murdered, rather than just a personal one?

    If I steal, I violate the idea of property (i.e. that it should only be justly acquired). But this is the idea of property. Are you saying that society is implicit somewhere in that idea? You can make a distinction between property which is unowned by anyone and property which is owned in common, but I'm not sure how that will clarify things.

    I'll think about that, anyway.

    Also, I don't think it is necessary to differentiate between positive and negative obligations in this case because what Sandra is advocating would be a negative obligation (to stop people like XX from spouting rubbish)And so, your point about negative obligations being the majority of our obligations does not help your stand.

    Actually, the question isn't so much what the right to stop someone from spouting rubbish is. Basically, Sandra wants to live in a world without rubbish. That's a positive right. But this is what's at stake: it's not clear at all, to me anyway, that she's entitled to this right (she's entitled to her desire, of course). Unless it can be established that she is entitled to this right, then stopping rubbish from being spouted is quite out of the question, as I'm sure you (and Sandra) would agree.

    Let it be known that I would like to live in a world without rubbish too, but I'm not convinced that I have a right to do so.

    The Holocaust example is merely to show that a right to non-discrimination is deemed to be more important than free speech in that particular instance.

    Ok. That's not in dispute; free speech is not absolute. Actually, what I was questioning was the reasoning behind banning such hate speech--legal principles are often tied up with other principles (like moral ones). For example, what is illegal is not necessarily morally impermissable.

    I don't want to get into whether or not free speech is a moral right, because that would just complicate things more.

    And yes, the famous Mill's harm principle. Unfortunately, it is not a magic formula to cover every situation. Do you know the critique of the principle? For example, it cannot justify why attempts at crimes, when no harm has been done yet, are prosecuted as well.

    Yes, I know the principle is largely dependent on what Mill means by "harm", and that's why there's the Offence Principle (Feinberg, J., 1984, 1985) as an added criterion. That's really the issue here. If we expand the definition of harm to, say, the affront to personal sensibilities, then we can really kiss personal liberty goodbye.

    I admit that free speech is contentious. That's why I'm offering an opinion against what people who want to limit it are saying. What I think of Madoxx/XX is completely independent of my desire to know if getting rid of them can truly be justified. Needless to say, personal prejudices aren't justifiers.

     
  • At Freitag, November 18, 2005 3:22:00 vorm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    a wrote: "If we expand the definition of harm to, say, the affront to personal sensibilities, then we can really kiss personal liberty goodbye."

    That's only if you consider personal liberty as an absolute right. I'm a pragmatist, and I prefer a compromise between the two that works, rather than to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.

     
  • At Freitag, November 18, 2005 4:36:00 vorm., Anonymous a said…

    That's only if you consider personal liberty as an absolute right. I'm a pragmatist, and I prefer a compromise between the two that works, rather than to sacrifice one for the sake of the other.

    I'm all for a compromise if it can (and should) be reached, but then you're going to have to explain what your parameters for that point of compromise are, and why someone should accept your explanation over any other (e.g. if you're relying on something like a utilitarian concept, then again, you've got to explain why someone should accept that).

    If you can do all that, fine and good. Otherwise, your stand is as problematic and as unsubstantiated as you think mine is. And I don't think I bear a heavier burden of proof than you do in this matter.

     
  • At Freitag, November 18, 2005 12:41:00 nachm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    a wrote: "you're relying on something like a utilitarian concept, then again, you've got to explain why someone should accept that"

    Yes, I'm for utilitarianism, and I think I've made myself clear enough why it's more practical. Maybe you you make yourself clear on how you are all for a compromise yet still insists that you can "kiss personal liberty goodbye" by expanding the definition of Mill's harm to include personal sensibilities, or I'd rather say, public sensibilities?

    On second thoughts, better not. This argument has gone on long enough and will still get nowhere. You know, you should balance your obsession with ideology by opening your eyes more to what goes on around you instead.

    For those who wonder what's our local judiciary's intepretation of the limits of freedom of speech, this from the recent charging of three bloggers for sedition:

    "The right of one person's freedom of expression must always be balanced by the right of another's freedom from offence."

     
  • At Freitag, November 18, 2005 9:01:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    nah. wendy once said that although she loves maddox she does not copy him consciously. which leaves space for unconsciously. haha.

    i treat maddox as an entertainer. he's just faking most of the stuff lah.

    if you don't like him then don't read him. you can't stop a porn site from being on the net but you can dun go to it right? in the same way you can't blame wendy from causing this on the net. if your choice to do what you want. for wendy if it means blocking comments on her site then let her block. if she doesnt read the hurtful comments thrown at her everyday i'm sure you can do the same. =)

    p.s. cant log in to my blogger account. grrrrr.

     
  • At Samstag, November 19, 2005 2:09:00 vorm., Anonymous a said…

    Yes, I'm for utilitarianism, and I think I've made myself clear enough why it's more practical. Maybe you you make yourself clear on how you are all for a compromise yet still insists that you can "kiss personal liberty goodbye" by expanding the definition of Mill's harm to include personal sensibilities, or I'd rather say, public sensibilities?

    On second thoughts, better not. This argument has gone on long enough and will still get nowhere. You know, you should balance your obsession with ideology by opening your eyes more to what goes on around you instead.


    Fine. No more arguments. Clearly, you think are the Be-All and End-All judge of what is acceptable and what is not, and anything which doesn't live up to your standards ought not to see the light of the day at all, in any form. And whomever doesn't share your opinion is blind or deficient in some capacity for reasoning/good moral judgement.

    Again, I'm seriously glad you have no real power to influence anything where the internet is concerned.

    I see nothing wrong with what's going on around me. In fact, I'd strongly encourage anyone to do whatever Maddox/XX are doing, and indeed there are, and have been, since the days of BBS and Usenet. Yes, I've been around for that long, too.

    I seldom shut out possibilities, so I'll accept your chiding and open my eyes, just to see if I've missed anything. I would like to offer a suggestion in return: try and think a little bit deeper. There's a lot more involved to "I think X is wrong!" than you care to know about.

    Here's the short answer to your request for clarification: what I meant was, IF it turned out that a compromise was the best option, then I'll accept it. But in the meantime, I'll hold on to my opinion.

    One more thing: I'm afraid you've made absolutely clear nothing. That's my honest opinion; make of it what you will. And if you really subscribe to utilitarianism, then your position is subject to a lot more criticism than you think.

    Addendum: The local judiciary's stand is like that of any other judiciary, that much is true. Thank god their interpretation of it isn't setting any benchmarks beyond our shores.

     
  • At Montag, November 21, 2005 10:58:00 vorm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    Xiaxue is a weak watered down version of Maddox. He is smart in that he manages to make hateful rants kind of entertaining and stands his ground. She just comes across as stupid and ignorant, especially when she tries to defend her viewpoint, backtrack, then go back to her original view. Nobody respects a loser a like that.

     
  • At Donnerstag, November 24, 2005 7:44:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    Hmm.. but at least he seems that he does approve for some of the stuff he posts! U should try reading all the entries...

     
  • At Freitag, Dezember 02, 2005 7:54:00 nachm., Anonymous Anonym said…

    no update ?

     
  • At Freitag, Dezember 23, 2005 5:35:00 nachm., Blogger Chuang Shyue Chou said…

    No new posts?

     
  • At Dienstag, Dezember 27, 2005 11:02:00 vorm., Anonymous kingoftears said…

    i miss your posts.

     
  • At Mittwoch, Januar 04, 2006 2:46:00 vorm., Blogger simplesandra said…

    Apologies, apologies! Being burying myself in work for a past few weeks and couldn't find time to blog.

    Should be back in a week's time.

    And yes I know, the woman had to open her gob again....

    *sigh*

     
  • At Montag, Januar 16, 2006 5:12:00 vorm., Anonymous Cheyenne said…

    To a,

    Wow. I love a thinker like you and I agree with what you said.

    Will you marry me?

     
  • At Dienstag, Januar 17, 2006 6:42:00 nachm., Anonymous friends or foe? said…

    simple sandra = sandralicious?

    i just can't help but pounder on this...

     

Kommentar veröffentlichen

<< Home