Thursday, November 18, 2010

The cruellest spam and most outrageous slander against alcohol ever... PLUS a way forward proposed

Not fucking true!

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today on a particularly evil piece of email spam involving one of this nation’s biggest liquor store chains, Dan Murphy’s:

Liquor retailer Dan Murphy’s has been hit by a hoax offer that claims friends and family of the business can buy alcohol at a 30 per cent discount.

The Woolworths-owned liquor seller confirmed there is a flyer circulating online that advertises the fake discount. The retailer warned consumers on its website that the offer is not valid.

“To avoid any disappointment, please be aware that a hoax flyer is being circulated that did not originate from Dan Murphy's or Woolworths Ltd,” the company said. “THIS OFFER IS NOT VALID.”

A fucking hoax! The spammers have gone too far. There are some things you just don’t joke about and cheap booze is one of them. Not in this country. Not with this alcohol tax regime (combined with profiteering scum alcohol industry involving the likes of ... Dan Murphy’s).

What makes it so much more hurtful is that it is not as though this type of thing is not badly needed! The news is bad for alcohol on all fronts.

The mainstream media maintains its ceaseless flow of biased anti-drinking propaganda. The SMH today contains possibly the most outrageous story yet, entitled “Binge drinking puts young women at risk”.

You read it, expecting horror stats of brain damage or inflated livers, but no... The risk?

“Heavier drinking is exposing young women to increased risk of sexual assault for which male perpetrators routinely escape blame, a government-sponsored study has found.”

There you have it, fellas. It is young women drinking that is to blame for men sexually assaulting them.

Really, young women should just fucking stay at home where they fucking belong and do nothing so unladylike as enjoy a fucking beer. And then men would not be tempted to rape them.

Now, does anyone else recall the flood of outrage when Sydney Muslim cleric Taj El-Din Hamid Hilaly made the following offensive comment about how women dress: “If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat?”

The question is what is the difference between excusing rape on the basis of women dressing in a way that provokes it and excusing rape on the basis that a women brought it on herself by being “too drunk”?

Consider this comment. The SMH reported that, in response to this study, “Trish Worth, chairwoman of DrinkWise, said there was a need for Australia to reshape its drinking culture”.

That’s right. Rethink its “binge drinking” problem. Because if there has been a rape, it is quite obviously all this damned drinking that is to blame.

It is like we have suddenly been transported back to the 1950s and the mainstream media is rehashing the plot lines of propaganda films such as “Reefer Madness!” — only instead of the demon weed we have FUCKING BOOZE!

Rethink its binge drinking culture? Here is a small suggestion from Carlo Sands, feel free to accept or reject it: How about ... you’ll laugh at this, no doubt it is just a silly thought but I’ll throw it out there ... how about ... just give it some thought ... rethinking a culture that allows men to think they can rape and sexual assault women???

I know. I’ve always been a radical. But don’t just dismiss it out of hand as the ravings of a mad Bolshevik. Give it some thought.

What about rethinking a culture that, when a young woman is assaulted, a study finds “victims of sexual assault were more likely to blame themselves and alcohol and exonerate men”.

Well, it is quite clearly booze’s fault, isn’t it, because the study says “young women often used alcohol to ‘transgress social norms’ of being female, then found themselves drunk and prey to the sexual advances of one or more young men”.

Right. Drunk and “prey” to sexual advances from men.

Carlo Sands is not now, nor has he ever been, a young woman. But I am going to take a stab in the dark and say young women don’t need to be drunk to receive sexual advances from “one or more young men”.

There is, of course, a difference between being prey to sexual advances that may be unwanted and actually being assaulted. And to be assaulted, a young woman does not need to be drunk or sober, just at the mercy of a rapist.

And if a woman is raped, it is not because they are drunk. It is because the rapist made the decision to rape them.

Now, why would a rapist do that? If I may go out on a limb here and make another radical suggestion (I know, I’m fucking sounding like fucking Trotsky addressing the fucking Petrograd Soviet on the question of storming the Winter Palace), but maybe the problem here is not how much the man who commits the assault has drunk, nor how much the woman who is assaulted has drunk, and maybe it is NOT ABOUT FUCKING BOOZE at all!

Maybe the problem is misogyny.

Maybe the problem is deep-rooted sexism in society and in our culture that gives too many men the assumption that women are objects to satisfy men, and they are, or should be, a man’s property, and they are beneath men and that men have a right to take advantage of them.

Both booze and the young women who enjoy consuming it are innocent. Young women who are sexually assaulted don’t bring it on themselves because of what they wear or what they drink. They have a right to wear or drink what they like.

“You can't knock em out, can’t walk away. Try desperately to think of the politest way to say, ‘Just get out my face, just leave me alone. And no you can’t have my number’, ‘Why?’, ‘because I’ve lost my phone’ ... ‘Please fuck off. No, it’s not going to happen, not in a million years’.” Lily Allen (with a great film clip made by young wommen at St.Angela's Sixth Form in east London) on the pressing question of how young women should, while out drinking, deal with arseholes making unwanted sexual advances. Presumably, SMH thinks whatever the arsehole may or may not do, the young woman in question had it coming, what with the explicit setting of this song in a pub and everything.

Beyond my heart attack-inducing rage at the SMH piece, my point is: this is is just the latest, if one of the more offensive, series of attacks on drinking. It all works to creates the atmosphere for such proposals as the one from the City of Sydney to close all pubs at midnight.

The result of all of this? Media and government hysteria notwithstanding, the tragic news has come through: Alcohol consumption has dropped for the fourth running year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported.

It is in this context that this fake offer has been made. It is undoubtedly cruel to get drinkers’ hopes up in such a way, only for them to be so horribly dashed after a drinker has made the effort to stagger or crawl to the nearest Dan Murphy’s bottlo.

But let us not only blame the spammers. Much responsibility lies with Dan Murphy’s too. The prices in these liquor stores are too high!

It is ridiculous, the way beer prices, especially, are going through the roof.

I know the capitalist gangs in control of liquor production and distribution will blame the government’s taxes. And they have a point — they are ridiculously high. Why should our livers pay for their system of corporate welfare and the privileges of the bureaucratic and political class?

But, if that is solely to blame, then I ask here, before the world, why will these liquor giants not open their books and allow society to see for themselves their profit margins?

In a matter so crucial to society’s function as access to alcohol, society must be in a position to ensure it can be accessed in a fair manner and not left to the whims of those whose minds are only on profit, not on the drinkers’ well being.

Let us collectively decide what would be a reasonable return for these companies!

And any company in the liquour industry caught abusing their position and engaging in excess profiteering should be NATIONALISED and WITHOUT COMPENSATION! Then we can begin to create a network of alcohol production and distribution under collective control and for the collective interests of the drinkers.

If one good thing may come from this cruel trick, let it be that these questions are posed before society.

In the meantime, Carlo Sands blames both the spammers for raising false hopes, and the liquor giants and government for creating a situation so unfair that these tricksters can prey on our hopes and dreams. To all of them, I dedicate the following song by a group of Welsh rock legends...

“But there’s no — no truce with my fury... you stole the sun from my heart.” Carlo Sands saw the Manic Street Preachers play on Monday and they rocked. They played this song and Carlo Sands jumped around almost as much as a much mascara-ed Nicky Wire.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In lieu of my Google ads so cruelly taken from me, here is a special offer from Carlo Sands to my loyal readers who love Tom Waits

When I discovered the terrible news yesterday that Google had disabled my Google adsense account and taken away my beloved Google ads, I felt a crushing sense of disappointment that I would no longer be able to offer my beloved loyal readers so wonderful an array of shopping opportunities.

Google, in its wisdom, has found Carlo Sands in violation of its so-called terms of agreement.

It doesn’t explain. These giant corporations never do.

It merely accuses my blog of generating “invalid clicks” — clicks on the ads done not with the intention of genuinely checking out the products on offer, but merely to generate cash for the blogger.

I mean, as if! As if the glory of my google ads was not the reason for their runaway success! Why would my loyal readers not be attracted to the ads?

Oh, the offers! A common one was “Alcohol treatment”. Who does not wish to be treated with alcohol?

But there was so much more. Let me quote from the ultimate source: myself.

In a recent Letter to a reader on the crucial question of google ads, I pointed out what was on offer:

...from "Beer" to "Spirits" to "Alcohol" to... all sorts of things.

Sometimes they go all left field and the ads will offer a range of seemingly random things, such as a series of NGO jobs: "Teach English", "NGO jobs", "NGO jobs in Kenya", "NGO jobs in Bangladesh".

There is always choice on offer, such as the time the two google ads on offer where "Humanitarian aid" and "Un humanitarian aid".

Choice is what this blog is all about and I am proud to provide ads that allow people to decide for themselves whether to help or hinder the less fortunate.

My personal favourite, though, was one automatically generated by my last post about Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, which offered "Pirate Treasure Chests". I really think you cannot ask for more than this.

And yet Google would have us believe that some of the clicks on such wonders were “invalid”!

Well, what a joke!

I actually think my ads were the victims of their own success. So enticing with their offers of “Alcohol treatment” and “Un humanitarian aid” that the clicks seemed illegitimate.

Now, my mass fan base are of course my first concern in this matter, but I should like to point out that Carlo Sands has suffered too.

Google disabled my account owing me 92 bucks! The fucking god damn thieves. Google says it has given that cash “back” to the advertisers in question!

Well, Google, you fucking owe me $92 and I here by declare before the entire world that Carlo Sands shall get it. I shall, in the first instance, use your appeal processes and point out the fundamentally injustice that has been committed.

I mean what utter scum. Never trust a corporation, that is the lesson I’ve learned the hard way, though I guess I could have just learned it from Joss Whedon or the entire rest of humanity that happen not to be a major share holder and/or executive board member of the top 200 corporations that own this fucking planet.

Google... it starts wars in Central America and it steals your fuckin ads...

It hurts, it really does. I loved those ads. They were my reason to keep on going, knowing I could offer them to my legion of fans, knowing it was a way Carlo Sands could give something back.

Seriously Google, why didn't you just steal my heart too when you nicked my ads, coz what use is a heart so badly broken?

Google has as its unofficial motto: “Don’t be evil.”

I fucking kid you not. It is on Wikipedia and everything.

The fucking irony...

So, I would like to try and make it up to my fans with a very special offer. A free live album from God himself, recorded in Amsterdam in 2004.

This offer of free Tom Waits really is the least Carlo Sands can do.

So, check out this site:

Follow the easy to assembly instructions and you'll have yourself a few album — but be quick, the offer is going to run out sooner or later.

There you go, loyal fans. An *entire* album worth of live Tom Waits songs. Some 22 songs all up. Includes many favourites from his then just released brilliant album Real Gone.

So... I can't offer Google ads, at least until my appeal is accepted or Google somehow sees the error of its ways... but I can offer you free music from the Greatest Fucking Singer-Song Writer In The Entire Fucking World Ever.


Now, while we are on the topic of FUCKING Google, below is the delightful Manic Street Preachers with the closing track from their latest album Postcards from a Young Man. A song written about Google, entitled “Don’t be Evil (Just be Corporate)”.

(I am off to see the Manics in just a couple of hours, I mean I don’t like to boast, but I fucking am...)

“The sickos and the bullies praise your name. You've enriched their lives with pleasure and fame. As a corporate as the suits you won't wear, as stupid as the jeans you tear, as evil as the pretense you care, God save us all from Satan's stare... Don't be evil, just be corporate. Fool the world with all your own importance...” The Manic Street Preachers give Google a well deserved kicking. Did I mention I’ll be seeing them in a couple of hours?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

No can do this, no can do that, what the hell can you do, my friend, at this ‘community festival’?

“Where there’s a music shall be comin’ out of every car, there is a silence all over downtown. Where community celebrates shall be aroused,I walk the sterile gardens where life is on pause ... No can do this no can do that, what the hell can you do my friend, in this place that you call your town?”

I swear to god Gogol Bordello have been to the annual Newtown Festival. I turned up today to what is self-described as “an iconic Sydney festival, creating an annual community celebration of creativity, diversity, sustainability and inclusion”.

What a load of utter bollocks. I mean, you could argue it is bad enough being in Newtown and that the wanker quota could not but go through the roof. This is true, but misses a bigger point.

Seriously, I mean, for fuck’s sake, why is it that *everything* in this fucking society gets fucking fucked up?

Fucking Newtown fucking festival, you fucking approach it and the streets are hot and packed and there are fucking pigs everywhere (which is just fucking unhygienic) and the cafes are in ceaseless competition with barbeques offering sausages in a roll that cost them probably 30 cents each for $3.50 and I found one offering them for a mere three bucks (though the manager conceded the smokey taste came from never cleaning the BBQ, so they no doubt save on labour costs).

And you approach the “festival” and dodge the pigs that occupy the centre of the roads leading to the park and you get to the park and are confronted with the fact the public fucking park is fucking surrounded by a three metre high fence and there is only a narrow fucking entry point and there is a fucking *queue* to get into a public fucking park!

And you look closer as you approach and realise the fucking entrance you have no fucking choice but to fucking use, along with hundreds of other fucking people at the same fucking time on this hot fucking day, is fucking infested with festival officials with buckets insisting you give a gold coin “donation” before you are allowed enter the *fucking* public *fucking* park!

And then you realise that *beyond* the officials with their buckets and their stupid fucking stickers to stick on those who “donated” lies the official security forces in strong numbers and they are fucking stopping every poor fucker with a fucking bag and searching it for fucking booze so that every single poor bastard who has braved it this far has absolutely no choice but to join a long fucking queue to buy overpriced fucking beer inside the fucking grounds.

And the fucking security that fucking swarm all over the fucking place are fucking keen to ensure no fucking unauthorised fucking material gets distributed or, for that fucking matter, no *authorised* material gets distributed in an *unauthorised* place. (“I’m sorry sir, you have to return to your designated stall area.”)

And it is too fucking hot and there are too many fucking people and it is like a fucking traffic jam on some corners and you can’t fucking move and the only free stuff being handed out are fucking DOG TREATS! What the fuck am I going to do with dog treats?

And, let us not forget what this is: a fucking “community” festival in a fucking public park! Why are their security officials swarming every fucking metre of it throwing hissy fits if you fucking breathe out of line? **

Why are the so many fucking pigs, including the surreal sight of pigs on horses, whose horses take the opportunity to fucking *shit* on the middle of the path in the middle of the stretch of fucking food stalls?

It has gotten worse over the years. I remember a few years back, sure it was overcrowded and too hot, but at least the public fucking park was not enclosed by fucking three metre high fucking fences so you have no choice but to join a queue just to enter the fucking place so the fucking pricks can search your bag to ensure you get price gouged every time you want a fucking drink.

Which, in the circumstances, is straight away and constantly.

And you could distribute or sell newspapers without being harassed outside some officially designated little fucking ghetto at the far end of nowhere.

I am sure there were many nice things going on and some good stalls and tasty food and decent bands. But if I had stayed long enough to find out, there would have been at least one unfortunate machete incident and I just don’t need that kind of trouble when I’ve got drinking to do.

As a great man once said: “The drinks were few and the people were many. It was everything I expected and less! I’m never going outside again, unless I need some place to throw up.”

“I guess you can’t expect much from the hometown. Well, I don’t know if you can even call it your own...” Gogol Bordello frontman Eugene Hutz makes the point accoustically.

** It is worth pointing out that the security official that broke the news to Carlo Sands that he should cease his attempt to sell Green Left Weekly on a shady corner in the middle of the *public* park was actually a really nice guy forced to do so by his boss, who was clearly embarrassed and in disagreement with his orders. The first time he came up and asked whether the paper was official material, and when I told him we had a stall looked overwhelmingly relieved and asked, for form’s sake, where it was over the other side of the festival. I had no idea where the proper GLW stall was so just said yes, which he was more than happy with.

But a minute or two later, even more sheepishly, he returned, completely apologetic, and said “I’m, sorry its my boss, he says you have to distribute material in your designated area”. And then he said, with real spite, “It’s fucking ridiculous!”, thus saving me the effort. Embarrassed, he told me he loves the good work Green Left does, and then conspiratorially, lent towards me and said: “Just sell on your way back, just walk around and sell ... I didn't tell you that that (wink)”