Life happened because I turned the pages~~Alberto Manguel

Friday, October 14, 2005

Six Things IIPM* Could Use


(For the background on the IIPM free speech controversy, go here or here or scroll down for more posts.)



*Legal disclaimer: IIPM refers to the Indian Institute of Ponytail Management, ranked number one in its field by Split Ends magazine, recipient of the annual Scrunchy award from The Office of Unwashed Greasy Hair Shampooing (TOUGHS), and proud winner of the Dandruff and Scurf medal from The Hair Union of Gel-using Sickos (THUGS). All our faculty is drawn from the Last Chance Saloon.

1) Just what IIPM needs to further its war against bloggers. Go here and here for cocktail recipes. (Why cocktails? Because that's the weapon of choice for the dudes over at IIPM, apparently.)

2) This Wiki entry on free speech. The good souls at IIPM seem to have left this off their syllabus, but hey, it exists.

3) A one-size-fits-all legal notice.

“Wherein my client’s reputation, businesses and hairstyle, collectively referred to hereinafter as “my client’s ponytail” have been adversely and deleteriously injured by your dubious, vitiated, scurrilous, wilful, obnoxious and unfortunately accurate exercise of your right to free speech, we are now suing you for a million trillion dollars. (The firm of A Sucksena, I Sucksena, V Sucksena and U Sucksena has arrived at this figure after the most careful calculations, involving the computation of the vast advances paid to Scott Peck, Deepak Chopra, Shiv Khera, Paulo Coelho and company and bearing in mind that no such advance has yet been paid to my client, his ponytail or his chickens (hatched, unhatched or unfertilisable) and that we have no doubt you have something to do with this.
Insofar as, owing to your dubious, vitiated, scurrilous, wilful, obnoxious and unfortunately accurate exercise of your right to free speech, you have caused my client’s ponytail to shed, lose its grip, turn grey and otherwise need serious conditioning, we are extending this lawsuit which is password-protected, spellchecked and spell-checked by the firm of Potter, Weasley, Granger and Co and is guaranteed to give the recipient virtual warts, to the domains blogspot.com and blogger.com. We are equal opportunity sewers suers, and have just served a virtual copy of this lawsuit on Google.com, Technorati.com, Tim Berner-Lees and Vinton C Cerf. Eventually, everyone in the world who has ever logged on will owe us a million billion trillion dollars. “Mwahahahahahaha!, to quote the landmark Supreme Court judgement in Ponytail versus Scissors, SCJ, Vol 1 Section xviiii (b). If you have a legal response, bear in mind that any attempt to snip, shear, trim, uproot, style, fluff or otherwise tweak my client’s ponytail is grossly, contumaciously and maliciously illegal.”


4) A new capsule course for all IIPM students on Gender Sensitivity Training. The Institute hastens to reassure all applicants that they have a deep and abiding commitment to Gender Sensitivity; indeed, IIPM believes strongly that one gender, ie the non-masculine kind, is abnormally sensitive to insults of a sexual and obscene nature, and their professors will be happy to show you how to maximise and leverage that sensitivity. We regret that Professor P. Eaping Tom’s popular course, Slut 101: How To Catch Her With Her Pants Down, will not be available this year since the professor is currently on a sabbatical in a Sarkari jail on charges of voyeurism and sexual assault with battery (a standard Duracell 1.5 v that was unaccountably found in the nostrils of a buffalo--the Professor claims he and the buffalo are just good friends). However, beginner students may find the Bastards Into Trying Cheap Harassment (BITCH) forum of particular interest. We also offer advanced courses (Whore 2.5: Wankers Hitting On Respected Eves) with a special section in how to take down women who’re obviously brighter, smarter and more successful than you.

5) And, because IIPM so clearly needs it, and we love them so much, free copies of The Top Ten Mistakes Managers Make, Crisis Management for Dummies, and You Can’t Win: When to Throw in The Hand You Don’t Have.

6) Still not satisfied? Want to give till it hurts? I would have gifted IIPM a Fake Blog Generator, but clearly they have their own. Instead, how about a subscription to Splog Reporter? And if you're reading this post and you have a Certain Ponytail, you're going to love this piece by Mark Cuban on fake blogs and why they suck.

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11 Comments:

Not to play devils advocate or anything but I think codelust.blogspot.com makes a good point on his blog today

Anonyah

Of Herds

One of the first things they try to teach you in journalism schools and the jobs that come after that is to take your job very seriously. Then written word, even in print, has permanence and consequences. The same holds true even in the online sphere. Still, there seems to be this attitude about things online, be it blogs, message boards and other community-oriented activities, that the medium being new and powerful excludes it from the normal rules. I have a great degree of discomfort when it comes to dealing with such an attitude, because this is precisely the thing that would lead to its downfall, laying to waste one of the most promising things that I have come across in a long time.

I have been writing on this blog since late 2001 and on various other platforms before that. The major part of my career has been spent in different capacities in the online realm and in the previous job and the current one I have been nurturing and dealing with what we call in the industry "user generated content." So I can say with a fair bit of certainty that I kind of know what I am talking about here. And one thing that I have seen time and again is that people always confuse freedom of expression with the freedom from responsibilities. There is this feeling that having the browser between you and the reader somehow empowers you to say anything and then not have any responsibility towards what you just said.

Mind you, this responsibility covers things more just commenting on public issues or public figures. It is very much valid for your personal life too. Since Google has a pretty good memory, the chances are that once you put something in the public sphere, your lovers (former and current), parents might get to read it. The medium being the internet does not protect you from that possibility and anonymity on the internet has been one of the greatest myths of our time. If you can't stand behind what you said and accept all of its consequences (like lovers deserting you and mothers finding out about your latest kink), don't put it out there because the data will live on for a long long while, even after you are dead and gone.

Freedom of expression is not being able to say whatever you want to say. Freedom of expression is being able to say what you want to say, knowing fully well the consequences of your actions. Freedom of expression does not mean that people won't react to what you just said. In a free country, people have an equally valid right to react as it is valid for you to express yourself. Freedom of expression does not guarantee that blogging being the next earth shattering revolution will protect you from hooliganisitc behaviour by the bad boys when you rub them the wrong way. Freedom of expression does not mean that blogging is exempt from the normal rules. Wake up, it is about time you smelled the coffee.

I do not have anything against stings, exposes and passionate writing on serious subjects. What I dislike is the lack of seriousness the bloggers seem to have when it comes covering these topics. Seriously, was anyone expecting the unruly crowd to send a "thank you" note when they were exposed? Ask any investigative journalist and they would tell you that it is a tough life. Bad boys are precisely what they are because they don't play nice, if you were surprised by the reaction, then, like I said before, you don't take what you do seriously enough. Same goes for the most of the easily excited crowd who seem to believe that showing support buttons on their blogs will sort out the situation.

If the legal notices are indeed serious enough and the case goes to court, 50,000 buttons on a similar number of blogs won't make even a bit of a dent in the proceedings. Even with the comical nature of the notices, you have to keep in mind that legal system and law enforcement in India is still struggling to grasp even a basic concept of how things happen online. Beyond all the frantic chest beating and button making, nobody seems to have given much of a thought about what can actually be done if the case does go to court. Can we please get beyond the "outraged" feelings which seem to fill page after page of Indian bloggers these days? It has happened people and it will happen again, please do get over it.

It is no great secret that I am not too fond of the herd mentality in blogosphere. I dislike the manner by which how numbers add up to help erode the freedom and independence that made blogging attractive in the first place. In any case I am not a very social person, which is a stronger factor than the dislike I have for crowds that get easily excited. In the early days it is good fun. I have also had my fair share of overheated arguments on the blog, but eventually we all need to grow up at some point and learn to take a few breaths before we push the publish button. Blogging already has a major problem with its perception as a fad. The herd mentality, sadly, only adds to it.

Posted by codey at Friday, October 14, 2005; no comments | Trackback (0)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/14/2005 06:57:00 PM  

what a fantastic post! a whiff of fresh air after all that nastiness. have just sent it to desipundit.

By Anonymous Charu, at 10/14/2005 08:46:00 PM  

Hurree-da, bloody brilliant - just what we all needed. If high fever inspires you to such heights, may you be febrile evermore!

By Blogger Jabberwock, at 10/14/2005 09:13:00 PM  

now this post does amount to defamation...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/14/2005 10:04:00 PM  

Hi, your post just cheered up my day. Thinking seriously about IIPM can cause bad depression, indeed. Thankfully, there are good -- no, make it great -- medicines available on the internet(s).

Thanks!

By Blogger Abi, at 10/15/2005 09:19:00 AM  

To the anonymous commenter just above: and of course hiding behind NO name make you macho boy! I'm quivering like one of those virginal Mills and Boons heroines.

Hurree, I know you don't believe in deleting comments, and I sort of understand now - much comic value.

By Blogger Jabberwock, at 10/15/2005 01:47:00 PM  

Your acronyms are priceless :)

By Anonymous Leela, at 10/15/2005 02:05:00 PM  

Charu, Jai, Abi, Leela: glad you liked the post, we live to serve. Anonyah, Codelust makes a good general point, but in this case I don't see opting out as much of an option. And I should point out that a great deal of the blogging about IIPM has been serious, informed opinion, backed by research. I'd like to see more, not less, of that.
What I would stress is that bloggers who objected to IIPM's bullying tactics--the fake blogs, the thugs storming offices, the obscene comments--might want to refrain from using those tactics themselves. Weakens the case.
If you're wondering what Jabber's second comment, referring to an anonymous rant, is about, well, I kicked Anonymous Two (not to be confused with Anonyah) off Kitabkhana. Not because he was obscene, but because he was tiresome, unoriginal and couldn't spell worth toffee.
Blogger Comments is now set to disallow anonymous comments, at least for the next few days; if you're really determined to stay in the background, look for the Haloscan comments just under each post and use that link to share your wisdom.
Thanks, and cheers.

By Blogger Hurree, at 10/15/2005 06:30:00 PM  

ROFTL... Loved the post.. particularly the abbr u've used.

By Blogger Chez, at 10/16/2005 05:27:00 AM  

Brilliant. Just Brilliant!!!

By Blogger Monolith..., at 10/31/2005 01:56:00 AM  

My dig at IIPM ads. And my unbiased valuation of the episode.

By Blogger Ashok, at 12/16/2005 11:43:00 PM  

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