Monday, October 25, 2004

 

Fuck The US (but try to keep a straight face)

I previously reported that Indy Media resented not being taken seriously as a news provider to compete against the (evil corporate scum) mainstream media.

I wonder what would happen if a mainstream publication released a sister publication entitled "Fuck the US".

Because that's exactly what Indy Media has done.

The website, hosted at http://fuc.kthe.us/ sits on 69.48.73.245 which, according to the home page is "shared with indymedia and other acitivist sites".

...including aotearoa.indymedia.org.nz, germany.nysindy.org (don't mention the war!) and hamilton.nysindy.org, just to name a few, as well as (ahem) http://fuc.kthe.us.

"Fuck the US". That's some activist site...

Some speculated after the FBI seized Indy Media servers the seizures may be nothing to do with Indy Media, but the Jihadist websites which also occupied the same servers. I commented that you can tell people by the company they keep.

Some disagreed and argued that you cannot blame Indy Media for the content of other sites which are 'coincidentally' hosted on the same machine.

But there's no denying a clear association this time.

"Fuck the US" was registered by Brian Szymanski (ski@indymedia.org) - who has been "involved in Indymedia since early 2001".

A friendly bit of advice to Brian Szymanski of New York who feels it's okay to say "Fuck the US" yet live there and keep a straight face while complaining about his lack of civil liberties.

If you don't like it, leave.

Perhaps even move to another country and try starting something called "Fuck China" or "Fuck Iran" or even "Fuck France" from within that country's border. You'll soon be back.

What gross hypocrisy and stupidity.

And Indy Media still wonders why it's not taken seriously...

Comments:
As you may or may not know, there actually exists countries where you can say/write things like this, and still retain your civil liberties: Fuck Denmark, fuck Sveden, fuck Holland, etc.. Only countries that have an inflated sense of themselves, will make a big fuss about such things. I live in Denmark, and I reserve the right to promounse my feelings about Denmark (and any other county) regardless.

Countries like the US, Iran (and perhaps France???) that are so saturated and blinded by their own nationalism, really need someone to step on their flags now and then.

Like most people, I haven't (and can't) choose my own citycenship. -And if one apsect or another of my country's politics disgusts me, I definatly reserve the right to express it any way I want.

Kvadrat Pedersen
 
Heh. Brian Szymanski here.

Deskaheh was originally just a machine which I put whatever I wanted on. I had it colocated with a friend's ISP, and threw fuc.kthe.us on it as a statement to be filled in later. As you might have noticed, there's not a whole lot of content on fuc.kthe.us, just an upside-down, color-inverted flag at the time you wrote this article (since then I have added a half sentence about Bush's re-election).I don't find fault with your taking issue with the site - it was designed to be controversial, to express a raw sentiment. However, you've made some errors here which I'd like to set the record straight on.

Originally, this machine was my personal server, to put whatever I wanted on, and I was going to put some indymedia sites and some other things close to my heart on the machine, and yes, fuc.kthe.us, as well. A co-owner of that ISP didn't like the Indymedia content and told me to hit the road -- so I found another place to host it. The first thing I did when I got there was to show these folks the fuc.kthe.us website, and ask them if they had a problem with hosting it. Since they didn't, and I didn't have access to another machine, there was no point in removing it. No one was looking at it except people I told to look at it, and it failed to generate any sort of buzz because I didn't do anything with it. Negligible bandwidth costs, practically no resources eaten on the server. I'd be curious to know how you found that site, because as far as I know, there weren't any links out there until the publication of this article...

Anyway, adding further sites which I just liked which weren't indymedia related was no longer an option, as the presence of the indymedia sites is why my friends in Buffalo helped me get the machine back online there. The point here is: Indymedia has nothing to do with fuc.kthe.us, which was a personal decision of mine to host, period.

You seem to have learned from the worst of indymedia (which I quite readily admit exists) and took my quote in some very strange context:

  hosting

  In Buffalo, NY on a T1 shared with indymedia and other acitivist sites.A T1 is a commercial internet connection with a fair chunk of bandwidth, and I was referring to the other machines that are colocated (in the same rack) with deskaheh, which are primarily activist sites (I would say all of them are, but I don't know, as I haven't exhaustively searched). Most of the content was relevant to Buffalo, NY, and thus I didn't look at it too much because I've never lived closer than about 3 hours from Buffalo.

Incidentally, there were no Jihadist websites on the same servers as the ones the FBI confiscated in England. Period. If you have information that proves otherwise (instead of accusing baselessly as in your previous article), please share - I'm sure there are a lot of Indymedia folks who would be outraged by that association, myself included.

Now...

As for "if you don't like it, leave..."

Absolutely not. Of course I recognize that I am fortunate to live in a land where I can say whatever I want, even telling my country to fuck off. I cherish and love the freedom of speech I have in this country, as I thought the page itself implied quite clearly...

But just because I believe in one aspect of this country doesn't mean I can't take issue with others and express that by saying "Fuck the US."

Perhaps if you don't like people saying mean things about your country, you should relocate to one that doesn't get so many people pissed off...

Cheers,
Brian Szymanski
ski@indymedia.org
 
Hey, John here in sunny Buffalo, New york. Had to follow-up on Ski's comment. You see, we (the group that I work with) are the "hosts" for http://fuc.kthe.us. Actually it is one of about three dozen websites that we host in a shared arrangement.
First, I have to laugh at this blogspot, how anyone could find indymedia then have a problem with it, and THEN not understand what or why fuc.kthe.us exists really astounds me. But then again the political climate of America really astounds me too.
Here's a thought for your "straight face", what if George Washington had been told "love it or leave it" and left? And what if Susan B. Anthony had been told "love it or leave it" and left? and What if Martin Luther King had been told "love it or leave it " and left?
Oh, gee, that was different wasn't it? Or perhaps, you don't think much of racial and gender equality or even of this failed, hijacked democracy thing?
What a waste of energy this blogspot is. We are now so much emulating the corporate media model of journalists interviewing journalists for our news. Perhaps if writers of this blogspot (or is it writer?) put their energy into "taming" the radical shrew that attempt to influence and dominate indymedia newswires (provocateurs included) then the so-called "failed indymedia experiment" would be more effective.
In my mind, people like Ski are visionaries. They push the envelope and challenge us to be better humans and secondarily, better citizens. We will continue to host sites like http://fuc.kthe.us/ ...proudly. Hey,, who knows pitch us and idea and maybe we'll host your site too. You see, our minds are open on this side of the spectrum. I include my email as we are always open to new ideas. The old ones arent working very well.
peace and solidarity,
John Curr
johnc@6is9.org
 
Mr Szymanski,

As I mentioned in the piece, "Some speculated after the FBI seized Indy Media servers the seizures may be nothing to do with Indy Media, but the Jihadist websites which also occupied the same servers" - it was not my allegation alone and it came from throughout the blogosphere, one example of which I linked to. If that was not correct, and the servers were in fact confiscated entirely due to Indy Media, I stand corrected. I eagerly look forward to the various court proceedings.

I can't recall now how I found the site, but suspect I was looking through zone records.

I appreciate your comment that Indy Media has nothing to do with fuc.kthe.us which is your personal effort. However, what people do in private affects what they do in public.

Let's say there was an offensive site hosted by someone@whitehouse.gov. Would that not have implications? So does ski@indymedia.org. The fact that you are an Indy Media leader and are associated with this DOES have implications for Indy Media in the same way a teacher involved in child-abuse (but never at the school) has implications. It's a harsh comparison but I trust it explains the point clearly.

I should point out I DO agree with some of what you write. In particular your agreement to the "worst of Indy Media". So now you know it's there - do something about it! That's been the recurring point of my Blog.

You know there's a problem. Either fix it and make it a worthwhile site and contribution to the world, or concede defeat if it's too hard and give-up. The current direction is not a good one.

Finally, I do not dismiss for a second your right to be critical of your country. It is one of the cornerstones of democracy and genuinely an acid-test of same. You won't see anti-Government editorial in North Korea. Whilst you'll see critical newspaper reporting in Israel, you won't see it in much of the Arab world and so on (where fatwas are issued for dissidents).

The statement "Fuck The US" however can hardly be called fair criticism. It's an outright damnation.

(Another outrageous example follows) Calling you an asshole is one thing, but punching you in the face is another.

That's how I feel about "Fuck The US", flag-burning or death-chants. It's not satire, it's not criticism - it's damning, highly unproductive and hypocritical if you choose to live there.

==
Mr Curr,

On the one hand, you called this blog a waste of energy. This doesn't prompt me to write a lengthy erudite reply, nonetheless:

If I choose to own a dog and my dog shits in my yard, do I ask other dog-owners to clean up after it? No.

Why should people like me (yes, it's me, not us at this stage) put OUR energy into 'taming' Indy Media's provocateurs as you argue? Why can't Indy Media accept responsibility for itself?

I appreciate you are open minded, however sometimes one can be so open-minded their brain falls out... Think it over.
 
As I mentioned in the piece, "Some speculated after the FBI seized Indy Media servers the seizures may be nothing to do with Indy Media, but the Jihadist websites which also occupied the same servers" - it was not my allegation alone and it came from throughout the blogosphere, one example of which I linked to. If that was not correct, and the servers were in fact confiscated entirely due to Indy Media, I stand corrected. I eagerly look forward to the various court proceedings.You say, "some speculated", which while technically true, is a clever way for you to repeat the charge and spread the rumor. However, it's still not good journalism to repeat a wild allegation that has no basis in reality. I'm not claiming Indymedia or other blogs or even the corporate press does better, just that it's something I wish people could avoid.

So, show me the proof. I've read the links in your article, but either I missed something obvious or we're speaking different languages here... Which site that you linked to showed any sort of evidence that Muslim extremist websites were on the same machine as any Indymedia sites? The LGF post didn't, neither did slashdot.

I appreciate your comment that Indy Media has nothing to do with fuc.kthe.us which is your personal effort. However, what people do in private affects what they do in public.All I can say here is that I'm a social libertarian - it doesn't have to be this way and I would argue it shouldn't... That said, I've made my life an open book to the extent possible, and if people from Indymedia or anywhere else have a problem with that, well, I'm willing to face those consequences.

Let's say there was an offensive site hosted by someone@whitehouse.gov. Would that not have implications? So does ski@indymedia.org. The fact that you are an Indy Media leader and are associated with this DOES have implications for Indy Media in the same way a teacher involved in child-abuse (but never at the school) has implications. It's a harsh comparison but I trust it explains the point clearly.One, if you are a not for profit organization (and one that has a very hard time accepting grants for that matter!), you take what you can get when someone offers you free webhosting. Two, Indymedia doesn't have leaders - decisions are reached by the consensus of all (which is part of the reason Indymedia has been so slow to work out the problems with spamming, hate speech, etc. on its newswires). Three, I haven't done much for indymedia in the past year, so I really couldn't be considered the moral equivalent of a leader or what have you.

There's a larger point here, though. It is a mistake to think of Indymedia as a coherent unit. It is only the premise of open publishing (and the belief that it is a good thing) that makes the different IMCs come together. Think of Indymedia more as a loose confederation of groups trying similar methodology rather than a top down organization that has any kind of control over its "subunits," and you'll get closer to the truth of what Indymedia is. Then take the same mental image, and realize that Indymedia is to Local IMCs as Local IMCs are to their individual posters. The Local IMC (intentionally) has almost no control over the Indymedia poster, and all posters have in common is the desire to get their word out through Indymedia. During the election, it was sad to watch as pundits wasted their time pointing out the "hypocrisy" of other pundits and politicians by taking what they say and comparing it to what Republicans or Democrats as a group say. And, diverse as they are, neither of those groups are as diverse as Indymedia posters... Just imagine if someone accused you of having the opinions of all the folks who post comments on your blog, including me, John Curr, and the person who posted illegal content on your site to prove a similar point.

In particular your agreement to the "worst of Indy Media". So now you know it's there - do something about it! That's been the recurring point of my Blog.Easier said than done, my friend. And if you think I and a lot of other folks haven't tried to the point of sheer and utter frustration, you're quite wrong.

The statement "Fuck The US" however can hardly be called fair criticism. It's an outright damnation.I view it more as a call for US citizens to challenge their (usually blind) nationalist leanings, and then qualify or discard them. Consider for the sake of argument the following statement:

The US is a land built on genocide of Native Americans, enslavement of Africans, expansionist war, and the rape of mother earth and the creatures upon her.There is no denying the elements of truth in that statement. There is a lot more to this country, including many positive things, but we hear of those all the time. Take a step back and look at the big picture, and you will realize that when you wave a flag, you are as much paying homage to the negative traits as the positive. The point of fuc.kthe.us is to challenge the dominant paradigm by calling attention to the "other side" of US history.

(Another outrageous example follows) Calling you an asshole is one thing, but punching you in the face is another.Right. Saying "fuck the US" is one thing. Inflicting harm on a US citizen or citizens is quite another.

That's how I feel about "Fuck The US", flag-burning or death-chants. It's not satire, it's not criticism - it's damning, highly unproductive and hypocritical if you choose to live there.I'm not sure how death-chants got thrown in with anti-patriotic sentiments, so for the sake of argument I'll leave that one out. I'm sorry for you that your sense of pride in your country makes it upsetting to you to hear such things, and I'm truly sorry if the site offends you. You're right, what's on the site is neither satire nor criticism. However I must disagree that it's unproductive - I think we've had a decent exchange of ideas here on your blog, and found common ground when one would have thought us to be enemies. That's one undeniably good effect, and one I hoped for when creating the site - to spur conversation and thought. Isn't that what Democracy is all about?
 
Brian,

Thanks for your reply.

You say: "I haven't done much for indymedia in the past year, so I really couldn't be considered the moral equivalent of a leader or what have you."

Unfortunately, your email address, together with statements here
suggests otherwise to mere readers like myself. Think about it before washing your hands of significant responsibility for Indy Media.

I do agree that you and I have some common ground. As I have said elsewhere in my blog, I am not Indy Media's sworn enemy. Far from it. I see Indy Media as a potentially wonderful resource, however certainly not in its current state.

I do however insist they clean up their act. I accept this may be "easier said than done" as you say. I do not however regard that as an excuse, even though it is often touted as one, simply because no one forced Indy Media into continuing its existence.

If they want to do a job, do it right. Otherwise, don't do it at all. That's all I'm saying. Good luck!
 
John Again:
Well, if a dog shits on my sidewalk, and I care nothing about sidewalks, or dogs, or whether a dog shits-them, essentially, Why do I care?
Or more accurately, why do I care about posting on someone's blog who is neither part of the solution or relevant enough to be part of the problem, Indeed merely a distraction?
I can only assume (ASS+U+ME) that you are somehow left of center, aggravated, and dont really know where you belong. Instead of embracing a reasonably good effort at rectifying or addressing the change you merely lash out at the only effort that has presented itself at the problem.

This is, of course, understandable, as you have been lashing out at everything the mainstream has handed you, it is only natural to do the same when an alternative presents itself.

I wish you well in your cynical quest. It is quests like these that caused indymedia to concept and evolve in the first place. The difference is that your quest is a lonely, angry one, perhaps even angrier than ours, that is the indymedia folk. Ours is flawed and full of solidarity and ever changing, yours is lonely-singular, but perhaps some of us will visit you in prison, attempting to understand where your path differed from ours.
I do wish you well, the path of the critic is indeed lonely, singular, and without reward. But perhaps you need none. Your critique is helpful to us, in some small way. We will refine this process, it has always been our way. But then again the great visionaries never needed solidarity-only an audience.
Somehow I believe that at the end of the day, we will always have our audience, the unrepresented, the down trodden and the like. However, this medium will outlast us as it nudges along the vessel of of our reality. The reality that sails past websites and blog spots of those that bristle against the only realistic voice of change that we know. As Indymedia continues and evolves, improves, and gains from little blogs and its other detractors, the tiny ankle biters will fall away.

Perhaps not now, but perhaps moreso in the future, we will cease to eat our own and find benefit from our harshest critics and they may find a place under our umbrella.

Utopian? No, But be part of something. Whether it be the solution or the problem.
Commentary is simple. Action takes work.
Do you propose a solution, or merely take shots at those who do?
What have you done (beyond this little blog) to effect positive change in our world?
Please, the silence is deafening.....
peace and solidarity,
john
johnc@buffaloimc.org
 
What have I done?
Do you not think I tried (totally in vain) to point out the shortcomings of various Indymedia sites to their administration? Do you not think I posted comments pointing out inaccurate reporting, bias, racism, bigotry and bullshit? Do you not think I tried?

I did. And you know what happened? SFA. That's what. Frankly, I was fed up with Indy Media and like many others was about to cease reading it for good. But I thought there has to be a better way.

So I started a blog to document the wholesale failure of IMC management to accept they have a problem and do anything about it. Your comment is another symptom of the problem. You summarily dismiss me as a rebel without a cause rather than accepting that maybe, just maybe I may have a point. No, I can't fix IMC myself but then, I don't run around singing its virtues whilst it wallows in the muck.

Those who can do something about it (for example someone with IMC in their email address) have what seems like an easy choice. Yours I'm afraid is the wrong one.
 
Did the Founding Fathers say 'If you don't like British rule, go and live somewhere else'?

I don't think so.
 
If you don't like it, leave.
 
[quote]If you don't like it, leave[/quote]

NO, what people say is a RIGHT. It doesn't matter that you think its hate speech or disagree with it. If you dont like to hear it, then YOU leave.
 
what people say is a RIGHT.

While we are talking about rights, it's important to remember that your right to swing your arms around stops at my face. Ditto shouting fire in a theatre or speech which incites to violence

It doesn't matter that you think its hate speech or disagree with it.

So if I understand you correctly, I am not entitled to the same rights (my thoughts don't matter) presumably because you don't agree with me? Rights to speech for some it seems...

If you dont like to hear it, then YOU leave.
I'm not going to engage in a boring argument over whether he is obliged to leave, he isn't. What I have said however is that if he chooses to live in the US of his free will with the priveleges this entails, and has not emigrated (and in other countries people do not always have that option) he should quit his bitching. If he doesn't like it, he should leave as is his right. Otherwise he's just offensive.

Thanks for visiting.
 
Isn't the whole idea of a democracy to change the government for the better? It's anti-democratic to say "Love it or leave it", there are more options than that. Should all people who don't agree with you leave? I'm sure that's your wet dream.
 
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