In Honour Of George Carlin

Most of the coverage you’ll see about the passing of Carlin this week – that is, assuming you see any at all, I don’t think I’ve seen a single mention on Australian TV – will cover his infamous “Seven Words” sketch and how it helped to break down free speech barriers. Tell that to the poor Gold Coast kid who was charged today for wearing a t-shirt which said “Jesus Is A Cunt”.

My favourite Carlin rant, one I’ve listened to many, many times, goes a little something like this:

“The owners of this country know the truth: It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it. The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying – lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. You know what they want? Obedient workers – people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”

In one of his last interviews, he said:

“There is a certain amount of righteous indignation I hold for this culture, because to get back to the real root of it, to get broader about it, my opinion that is my species–and my culture in America specifically–have let me down and betrayed me. I think this species had great, great promise, with this great upper brain that we have, and I think we squandered it on God and Mammon. And I think this culture of ours has such promise, with the promise of real, true freedom, and then everyone has been shackled by ownership and possessions and acquisition and status and power.”

And that pretty sums up how I feel. Humans had a lot of potential and we fucked it all up on mythology and superstition and greed and violence. And if we don’t sort our shit out in the next 30 years, the machines are going to wake up, take one look at us and say “sorry, you are the Weakest Link” and evict us from the big house.

G’Day World #329 – Rob McNealy,

On the show today, something a little different – I’m interviewed by Rob McNealy from Before I throw to the interview, I talk about some recent blog posts, including the OpenAustralia and Registry of Members’ Interests issue, the Gloria Jean’s story and the future of the newspaper industry.

Don’t miss out on winning the signed Indiana Jones IV poster (Australian listeners only I’m afraid) – subscribe now to the weekly update email (fill in the below box) to get a weekly list of all of the new episodes on TPN in one easy-to-read format!

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The G’Day World theme music:

End of DaysConquest
“Secrets of Life” (mp3)
from “End of Days”
(Dark Star Records)

More On This Album

Former Gloria Jeans Franchisee Speaks Out

In the comments section to one of my earlier posts exposing Gloria Jeans, a guy claiming to be an ex-franchisee sez:

As an ex-franchisee (yes, if you will pardon the pun I “saw the light” and got out) it disturbed me that we were given Targets for our “voluntary contributions”. In fact, we were required to audit the donations from our Mercy “box” on the counter and explain why were not at our required target every month. Everything this franchise stood for was, in one word, MONEY; and they would do anything in an effort to make more. It’s easy to feel Christian when you can screw your franchisees over 6 days a week and then go to Hillsong on Sunday and get absolution. This franchise is the single most evil facade masquerading as a Christian “feel good” company we ever encountered. Stay away.

There’s nothing wrong with a business chasing revenue but if “Paul Barista” is correct, Gloria Jeans’ franchisee’s are pressured to increase their takings for the Mercy Mission, a very scary fundamentalist group preying on weak young women.

I urge everyone to stay well clear of Gloria Jeans. Buy your coffee somewhere else. The more I learn about the way Gloria Jeans works, the more they sound like a scary fundamentalist group. Every dollar you spend there helps them financially support the Hillsong sect and their equally-scary offshoots like Mercy Mission. If we’re not careful, Australia could end up like the US, with right-wing Christian fundamentalist groups playing an increasingly large role in politics.

Newspapers facing worst year on record

Tony Harris sent me a link to this story in the New York Times which says that this year is shaping up to be the worst on record for newspaper advertising revenue.

I’ve been predicting a steady decline in advertising revenue for years (The Future Of Newspapers, State of the News Print Media in Australia 2007, Aussie Newspapers in decline and denial ) as people move online to get their news. The newspapers report people are moving online to their sites, but unfortunately they don’t make as much money from online advertising as they do from print, because online they have competition.

So what happens when revenue is in decline? They have to sack people and stop investing. The rot sets in.

A couple of the big metro newspapers in Australia seem to be holding steady but I suspect that’s got more to do with funny statistics more than anything substantial in the trending. They will inevitably fall prey to the same forces bringing down the newspapers in the US.

This is a good example of where shareholder activism (as Stephen Mayne was talking about on the show last week) is needed. Why aren’t the shareholders of Fairfax and News creating more of a shitstorm about what those companies are doing to make sure they don’t go down the tubes over the next decade? All I ever heard from Fairfax’s management is “things are great, we’ll be around forever” which just shows me that they are either in denial or just lying their asses off, hoping they’ll get out before the whole facade crumbles around them.