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Google endorses sexism

July 7, 2009 1 comment

If you haven’t already read Dr Violet Socks’ amazing new post, go read here. It’s got 300+ comments last I checked, and seems to be an online clearing house for everyone, on the left or right, Dem or Republican, male or female, who’s disgusted by the stupidity of the reactions ‘provoked by’ Sarah Palin for some reason.

And then if your stomach can still take it, go here. What, you say – it’s a Google blog, for Chrissakes. The Official Google Blog. Pretty neutral, considering Google rules the Internet and, by extension, the world. What may that have to do with the topic on hand?

Well, to the right of the main post is a section of ‘what’s hot’ – not necessarily the most popular sites on the Intertubez, but the ‘kewlest‘ ones that Google recommends. At the moment, the third one there is this: Deadspin’s Diagramming Sarah Palin’s “Full-Court Press” Metaphor…with comments such as –

TimCouchFanatic Where exactly on that diagram does Eminem nail her?

Matt Sussman
2:15 PM Sarah passes the ball to Trig, open for three … YES! From Down’s town!

NordoftheBlings
2:16 PM Calipari coached Levi on how to use Dribble Drive Penetration to beat the Palin Press.

TTZop Shouldn’t Trig Palin be bigger since he has an extra…

Chuck Knoblockhead 2:35 PM I think we should be more concerned with diaphragming Bristol Palin.

Brando 3:57 PM Those thigh-high boots of hers are really going to scuff up the court.

What is it about the woman that encourages utterly demented behavior? Why do people think they can get away with incessantly insulting her, her sexuality, her very existence? What insecurities in these idiots compel them to forget humanity, forget civilization, forget brains – if they had any in the first place?

Either way, good to see that Google, that which Does No Evil, endorses violence against women, sexual harassment and violence against special needs’ children, not to mention endorses sheer stupidity.

Welcome to our new overlords.

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What Google & Wikipedia can’t answer for me

June 19, 2009 Leave a comment

You’d think that with the slew of search engines, a new one being launched every week (Cuil, Wolfram Alpha, Bing), everyone would now the answer to everything that can possibly be found, searched for, derived, or put together. But as anyone using the Internet for long enough knows, there are some things Google can just not answer for you. My list of ‘aggravating unknowns’ for now:

* What is the real name of the story/novel that I remember as ‘Ants’, a story that starts with a white man being tied naked on an ant hill as the ants slowly crawl up his toes, his feet, his legs, his genitalia, his stomach ? It’s revealed slowly that he’s being held and tortured in a town in northern India (near present-day Uttaranchal), it’s pre-Independence era, and that the local leader who instigated this and has the power to get him out is a woman, a foreigner, presumably white – and he tries to escape twice, both very daring series of last minute run-ins and escapes described wonderfully. I think he escapes in the end, but I’m not sure and (therefore) I badly want to read this again, just to make sure he does escape.

* What is the name of the series of science fiction books I spent half of 1998 devouring? This was a series of YA-type science fiction books that started off very, very strongly, with a boy and a girl in a high school in California, both intelligent, good athletes in their late teens. It went on to a major search of some ‘golden orb’, and was a Jetsons-version of LOTR, and so I gave up after book 7 or 8. But what was the name of the series?!!!?

* What are the titles of the three novels (and where can I buy the books) published by India Book House (they were all gifted to me by an uncle for my 13th birthday, i.e. mid 1990’s) – one story involved an alien who survived on sugar and supported a girl fighting for her right to play football, this was set in a ‘colony’ much like the one we lived in, and this girl had a twin brother who was not as good as her at the game but got to play it nevertheless. A second book was a sci-fi story set in ~2050 and involved some really kewl technology. The third was a geeky gamer boy cracking a kidnapping ring using gaming technology, again very very engaging.

* Which country(ies) of origin does the last name ‘Lukashok’ denote?

Categories: lists, literature, web

Ooh, look, shiny Twitter!

April 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I was reading this post the other day and realized I’ve grown up, finally. My old boss at the fuddy-duddy-but-hugely-successful-global-CPG firm would heave a sigh of relief….

A few years ago, when I was there, all I could think of was ‘new media’, ‘interactive’, ‘internet’, ‘360 degree’. I was so caught up in the buzzwords – each time I heard of a new way to sell things, I was hooked. Excuses of top management didn’t make any sense to me – of low penetration, of mainstream moms not caring for high-technology, of low costs & high reach of TV, of lack of measurement tools, even of medium unsuitability (“oh, people don’t go to the Internet to buy detergent or paper towels” – WTF? they don’t watch Lost or 24 for paper towels either!). It took a lot of my ideas being shot down for me to start realizing I wasn’t going to succeed by putting those in front of management.So I stopped – but I never stopped following them myself, or caring for them. I even got my Twitter account back when they had ~5000 users. Oh, those days.

Half of my early excitement for new media was that this seemed like something I could ‘own’ within the firm as my specialization, and I couldn’t own say, rural sales because being a girl those things came with safety hazards and hoops for me to jump through. Second, the Internet, in its early days was completely gender-indifferent and seemed like a place I could finally forget what was between my legs and focus only on what was between my ears – and have everyone else focus there too (this was, of course, disproved pretty badly last year, with the uber-geeks and Internet gods being the worst sexist offenders every.single.day, and threw Hillary Clinton and Palin supporters out of mainstream online discourse and left us cowering in the deep dark ‘safe spaces’ that we could create for ourselves). Finally, it made me think I would help empower all those millions of Indian moms by giving them an easy way to network, connect, communicate and make their own Girls Clubs so that they would no longer fall for our silly, tall, often-asterisked claims.

But these last two years, I’ve grown up. I believe as strongly as any Proctiod that traditional marketing, – measurable, reliable, boring, designable – works. For consumers, and for us – marketers and advertisers, who, frankly, don’t know yet how to really use these new powerful tools. The people who seem to be winning in the new media are exactly the same people who won in the old media. People with power and money and clout in the bricks and mortar world are using their heft to succeed in the new world, too. The offline bullies are the online bullies, only now they don’t even use deodorants. A NYT reference gets your average political blogger-boy very happy indeed, because it means newspaper gigs for him, and maybe leading to a book deal. Most of the time now, new media is just an amplifier (see Anne’s predictions on what will be in the news tomorrow). The paradigm hasn’t changed, the patriarchy hasn’t been dismantled, and the paths haven’t shifted.

No wonder I’m disillusioned. So much so, that I can’t be bothered that my company blocks Twitter and FB and all of these new media. So much so, that I can only smile at Critical Mass’s Riot excitement and shake my head. I don’t mean that it won’t work – I mean I don’t care that/if it does because there’s nothing in it for me.

And seriously, who buys toilet paper on Twitter, anyway?

I wish there was…

April 6, 2009 Leave a comment

some way to sync up all my tags across applications – my blog posts, feedreader, del.ici.ous, Gmail labels, maybe even Outlook, etc.

It’s driving me crazy, this trying to remember what tags and tag bundles I’ve created where and used how often. Don’t blame me for unintelligible tags at times.

Categories: diary, housekeeping, web

Strangers have the best candy

April 4, 2009 Leave a comment

So I’ve been on Omegle for the last few hours, referenced via Randall’s blog (why, yes, I’m on first name basis with him. Didn’t’cha know?). But I’ve been upto no good, really – I’ve been enticing poor unsuspecting strangers looking for quick excitement online into reading this and this, and into watching this. I leave them with the thought that women are 52% of the world but only have access to ~15% of the world’s resources.

Try it, it’s fun. Knowledge is power – and yes, sometimes you can use it to hit people on their heads when they aren’t lookin‘.

Well, do remember to tell the li’l ones strangers have the best candy. Har har har.

Categories: action, humor, marketing, patriarchy, web

IT issues

March 31, 2009 Leave a comment

On Saturday morning, for no apparent reason, my computer started redirecting Google.com to investopedia.in. None of the other Google sites were affected (Gmail, Google News, Reader, or even Google.co.in, etc.). I cleared the cache, the cookies, the temp files, history, everything, and ran my antiviruses. I went online (via yahoo.com) to check for other issues and discussions, removed the Google toolbar and changed my homepage to about:blank. But google.com still redirected me to investopedia.in.

This morning, I tried google.com and it’s back to normal and everything’s working fine – as if nothing had ever gone wrong, or as if my cry to the universe was heard. Weird stuff.

Categories: diary, web

Moi aussie.

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s interesting to see how quickly and efficiently the Indian online community reacts to any incident affecting their freedom of expression, terrorism, free markets and/or porn. The speed and vehemence of reactions is impressive, and such situations tend to inspire a surprising amount of solidarity.

I know that while watching the coverage during the Mumbai terrorist attacks P was outraged at how openly all our news channels and websites were showing pictures of commandos silently rappelling down onto the Taj and taking cover in various corners. I know for myself, that when I first read the Kunte blog post (link to Google cache: scroll to the very end) via Desipundit, I – and, presumably, many others – were moved enough to edit Ms Dutt’s hagiographic Wikipedia entry to something more balanced and also cite Kunte’s post (not best practise on Wiki to quote a blog, but wev). What this whole incident, upto and including NDTV’s actions, should’ve led to was a debate on how exactly information is best communicated in times of crisis. On how you can and should balance freedom of expression with, on the one hand security, and on the other hand, privacy, concerns: the debate that should’ve taken place in the USA before George Bush Jr. signed on to the FISA amendment and before Barack Obama ratified it in July 2008 after promising to vehemently oppose it.

It would, of course, be more impactful if we actually had, y’know, a little more substance to our arguments. It would help if more blogs focused on solutions – on what the journalist in question and her media house should have done rather than on virtually disrobing her, using sexist, abusive language and right-wing attacks.

What helps, of course, is that once again, people in India are seeing how the MSM can effectively filter out information that they don’t find interesting. There’s apparently no mention of this controversy in most media outlets, and no surprise. What is happening there is exactly what happened here in the US after 9/11 and during the Iraq war vote, and during the presidential campaigns last year when first Clinton and then Palin were misquoted, their interviews edited, and outrage drummed up against their non-existent insults.

But looking at the way we’re going, I have no great hopes of a self-correcting blogosphere in India – it’s as biased and as much an echo chamber as anywhere. Tragic.