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Kilroy-Silk - What do you think?

January 9, 2004

[Originally posted by DaBeeeenster]

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/me...jsp?story=47907
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3376633.stm

What are people's thoughts on this? Is it racist? Should he lose his job? Or is he just saying what his readers think?

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January 11, 2004

We have lots of irony in modern societies and I think I've one of them here...

Kilroy-Silk is one of many TV/public personalities (whether they're journalists or presenters) who've a newspaper column. His face and his name are things that a lot of people would recognize and hence the newspaper is willing to give him the column inches to allow him to express his views, which the newspaper thinks will be a good read for the buying public. Now, that newspaper can pay me or any of you to write a column once a week, but chances are, no many people will necessarily read what we write about, column or no column.

Another point we have to bare in mind is that we are living in a democratic society. We have the right to voice our opinion, without the fear of persecution nor the fear of revenge. Sometimes, unpopular or controversial have to be said, otherwise, views and opinions of a minority section of the population will go on unrepresented.

Now, here's the real irony - what makes 'personalities' possess more or less controversial opinions than the average public? They are human and they are entirely capable of extreme or unpopular views. What those ‘personalities’ say or do in front of a camera or a mike is no more of their own views than those of the editors, research staff and producers. While I’m not suggesting that newspaper editors or editorial staffs are any less capable of filtering out extreme or unpopular views, they’re again human and they’re capable of missing things. Say the ‘personalities’ can say their pieces and so how manage to slip past the ‘quality control’ of the editorial staffs. Another point is: nowadays, newspapers and the rest of the news media are bent on ‘sensationalizing’ news events. Everything is say with exclamation. Even the most mundane of topics tend to be sensationalized. What can these ‘personalities’ write to compete the rest of those sensational stories spread cross the news media? Something controversial, may be?

So we ended up with a bit of a Catch 22 situation: ‘Personalities’ are hired to write columns, but they not necessarily have anything interesting to say. If they do have anything interesting to say, it is not necessarily uncontroversial or popular. So what’s the point? ‘Personalities’ are hired to because they’re popular with some section of the public and are occasionally the ‘mouthpiece’ of that section of the public. What these ‘personalities’ write or say are, in fact, a reflection of the views of certain sections of the public, be they the majority or the minority. While Kilroy-Silk’s views may offend a good number of people, I bet they have certainly gotten a good few nods somewhere in the readership. We, as a nation, should be more concerned with the extreme or unpopular views that exist in the population than the ‘personality’ who happen to pen the column.

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January 12, 2004

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does that give them the right to publish articles with glaring errors in them ?
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What kind of glaring errors are you referring to? Ok, it was a sweeping statement that he made regarding Arabs/Muslims, but what he said has a lot of truth in it - a lot of Arab/Muslim states have "suicide bombers, limb amputators, woman repressors"... And those are the ones we know about because these stories have been reported in news media. How many people knew how bad things were in Afghanistan before the US turned its spot lights on it after September 11? How many people know the Islamic Nigerian regime that existed in the northern part of the country prior to Miss World 2002?

The simple truth is, there are a lot of things that goes on around in the world that we don't know about and we'd never know about unless some brave journalists investigate and tell us about them or these terrible places are linked with some evil events. We choose to ignore these things because we're so full of ourselves, complain about someone making a sweeping statement that appears not to be political correct. It is a terrible thing to say, but it is also the truth.

I think Kilroy-Silk is guilty not for making writing the article, but being over-generalized in his assessments. In the end, what he said was the truth, if he only qualified his examples, instead of a sweeping statement.

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January 16, 2004

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The truth eh? What has Arab culture contributed to the world? Our number system, for a start. Silk is an ignorant prick if he doesn't know that. Maybe if someone can find me a copy of the article I can take it apart properly.
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If you choose to drag in all the history, you can suggest something good and something bad to nearly every single culture in the world... Now, I don't think that is constructive in the sense of getting to grips with what's happening in the world today. I'm not trying to suggest we should ignore history and culture to any given country and at the same time I'm not saying that we should apply 'Western standards' to all other civilizations. However, there is something called 'equality' and 'fairness' and other things called 'decency', and Kilroy-Silk is mere pointing out these differences and 'deficiencies'.

In terms of what Kilroy-Silk said, while I don't agree with his sweeping generalization of the whole Arab/Islamic world, what he said has some truth to it.

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January 17, 2004

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Some truth? There's a reason they don't ask for some truth in a court of law! I can't actually think of anything that doesn't have 'some truth'! His comment is racist, it is offensive, and it is dangerous! The holocaust wouldn't have happened without generalizations just like this one! That was thrown in for a bit of controversy but there is more than 'some truth' in it.
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There are a few points I like to raise regarding your reply, but I'm only going to say one thing: Life is not a court of law. In a court of law, there's black and white, right and wrong. In life, there is black, white and an infinite number of shades of grey in between. In life, nothing is absolute (except, arguably, death and taxation). There is 'some truth' in Kilroy-Silk's statement because he's making a generalized statement on a large number of entities. There bound to be inaccuracies. That's why I don't like sweeping generalization. However, in this case, while the generalization is not good, it is not possible to claim that it is completely inaccurate.

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January 17, 2004

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I KNOW that Islamic regimes commit atrocities and repress their people, I was moaning about the Taliban long before 9/11. Thing is though, not many of the repressive islamic regimes are actually Arabic, the Taliban aren't, neither are Iranians or (fairly obviously) Morroco, Algeria, Nigeria etc. I must admit I haven't read the article but it's Arabs he's criticising isn't it? Knob.
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I haven't read the article either (The Express and the Sunday Express are not my 'reading radar'...), however, not all repressive regimes are Islamic/Arabic either... Case in point: Until recently, Americans literally cannot criticize the US administration. For if they do so, they'd be considered 'unpatriotic' and that's not a done thing... Is that repression?

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January 19, 2004

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No, 'cos they're not going to get arrested for it.
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You've a way too simplistic view of repression. Official action is only one of the more obvious form of it. In fact, the most common, but least mentioned, form of repression is 'social exclusion'. In most cases, unofficial repression hurts most. If you haven't lived in place where you or your views are a minority, you'd probably have little or no idea what I'm talking about.

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January 22, 2004

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Now i could go on and ask about these parties that happened after 9-11, infact the pictures of the palestian kids celebrating was old footage (google it if u dont believe me) and even if it was real so what, the palestianian people continue to be oppressed and killed by US made and supplied weaponary (M4's, Apaches, F-16's etc), there misplaced anger needs to be put in this context. Likewise what about all the idiots in the west out celebrating the 1st iraq war?? double standards are abound!
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I’m not sure about misplaced anger... The fact that the US has been support and continues to support one of the most hated regimes in the Middle East (in terms of neighbors not liking it, not how the West thinks should be treated) is a major cause for friction between Arabs and the US. We’re talking about a country that has spent the past few decades isolating its neighbor - socially, economically and politically. We’re talking about a country that illegally occupies the territories of other countries for their own ‘security’. We’re talking about a country that allow its citizens to build settlements on land that does belong to the country. This is a country that when it comes to negotiation, treat these settled areas as its own sovereign territories. These policies have been and continue to have the support of the US administration. When you’ve gotten a country where unemployment in some areas reaches 75-80%, what do you thing people are going to do? There is no mechanism whereby the Palestinian can do anything to change their situation. Any person with any self-respect is going to stand up and fight for his/her corner. Don’t even believe for half a second that things are going to get better because they won’t. Don’t even suggest that they should get back to negotiation table because there’s nothing to negotiate. For the Palestinians, it’s a lose/lose situation. They either lose big or they lose even bigger. What kind of policy is that? And what kind of country will support policies like these in another country?

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January 22, 2004

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whatever happened to freedom of speech
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In a modern society, and I think we're living in one, the ideal of freedom of speech is constantly being attacked and eroded.

Owing to the insecurity of our elected officials, the incompetence of our civil servants and their mistrust of the general population, we, as a society, are enjoying less and less freedom. Often people are 'gagged' for the sake of 'national security' and/or 'being patriotic'. While there are often 'secrets' that will genuinely have 'national security' implication and people who are 'unpatriotic' and want to betray these secrets to the 'enemy', on the whole, people just want to know what's going and want to have the freedom to say what they know and think. However, we've been conditioned to think that if a piece of information is considered 'secret' it must be important (like the design of the 'computer' used during WWII to crack German Enigma code is still under lock and key...) and that people are biologically incapable of keeping secrets... The combination of the two results in laws like the Official Secrets Act.

Often times, these 'secrets' are completely out of date, inconsequential and even useless. Moreover, by removing the threat of 'whistle blowers', elected officials think they can get away with unpopular decisions and incompetent civil servants can hide their mistakes... So what are the 'secrecy laws' for? To protect us - the people who pay the taxes and elected the politicians or to protect them - the people who spend our money and ask for our votes?


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