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Showing posts from 2016

Meaning of Post Truth (fun version)

Post-truth is Word of the Year

Child Migrant Admits He's 22: British Press Guilty of Paedophobia?

Trump is a liar, but he also tells the truth.

Open Day Brunel Links

William.Watkin@brunel.ac.uk Twitter: @EnglishatBrunel @WWatkinBrunel Blogs: http://williamwatkin.blogspot.co.uk/ YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmnD-u8yIYrqv2fGs168njA Gary Lineker?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzWLd5AtFLK Cutting-edge use of new technology: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/how-a-course-about-violence-changed-the-way-students-are-taught-and-assessed
Graduate Data

http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/careers-advice/what-can-you-do-english-literature-degree

Gary lineker migration row: You're not a kid!

Creepy Clowns and Trolls: Technology of Masking

The recent scary clown mask craze has a retro-whiff about it.Rather than people being hounded by trolls on the information super-highway, they are being menaced by clowns on the streets of their neighbourhood.
Although an ancient art, clowning has a great deal in common with trolling in particular the use of the mask.All clowns put on a mask, of course, as a method of distancing themselves from their day to day personality, and also as a licence to behave on the edges of acceptability.
Trolling too is a form of mask-making.While it is hard to define precisely what trolling is, my millennial students reliably inform me it is not so much bullying on line as taking on an exaggerated persona to get the most effect: being excessively insulted by something, being overly violent in your online responses, taking up exaggerated positions on topics and so on.When you toll someone you use the anonymity of digital masking to create a mask for yourself that is more impactful, violent and share-fr…

Creepy Clown Mask Stabbing: Clowns and Drones

Creepy Clown Mask Attacks: From Trolls to Clowns

Lethal injections and the tragedy of America's execution addiction

Lethal injections and the tragedy of America's execution addiction

William David Watkin, Brunel University London

It began in Utah back in 1977. On January 17 of that year, Gary Gilmore became the first man to be executed in the US for more than a decade, ending a national moratorium on the death penalty. Gilmore, guilty of murdering two men during a 24-hour spree, insisted on being executed and chose to die by firing squad.

It is possible that if this mentally disturbed, indeed suicidal man, had not elected to be shot that day, the history of the death penalty would have been completely different and the lethal injection never invented.

As it was, Gilmore’s intransigence over the issue of his destruction meant that the death penalty was acceptable once more and states were faced with a series of tough choices. Should they kill or not? If so, what’s the best way of going about it? And how were the states that eventually reinstated capital punishment going to answer to legal challe…

Perpetual Parole: Cameron's Prison Reforms are Less Liberal Than They Seem

Snuff or Duff? Images of Brussels Terror Attack are fake

Snuff or Duff? Images of Brussels Terror Attack are Fake

Some of the Brussels terror images are fake.  But then what does authenticity matter when it comes to snuff? Because make no mistake that what these images are.See Vlog of the article here.



Wait A Minute, That’s Not Brussels!
It transpires that some of the images broadcast after the Brussels bombings were fake.  One particular video, posted on Youtube, appears to show CCTV footage of blurred figures fleeing Zaventem airport.  What they actually show is a flipped and relabelled image of blurred figures fleeing a terror attack on Domodedovo airport, in Russia, in 2004! Other images from terror attacks in Minsk were also used.  This is something that has been going on for a while apparently.  Images shared after the Paris attacks were originally footage of the Charlie Hebdo killings. Vids of Eagles of Death Metal playing at Bataclan on the night of the bombings were actually from a Dublin gig and so on.
Faking the news is as old as the news, but the rise of social media has dramatically…

Banksy Mugged by Invasive Geoprofiling

The Crisis in Capital Cruelty: How Europe is Slowly Banning the American Death Penality

When I was a child we used to play a gruesome game. Of a weekend you would often find me, my siblings and the occasional honoured guest, lined up on the wall of our back garden. Whoever was ‘It’ would go down the line and ask, in a tone hardened with menace, ‘What do you want to be killed by?’ Each child would choose a method of execution and the executioner would shoulder a rifle, fling some daggers, jazz up a flamethrower or what have you, ‘killing’ the person in question. The convicted would then dramatically perform their death with all the ham and trimmings they could muster. The winner was the best die-er.
I was particularly good at this game. I could really throw myself into a poisoning. If you tried to stab me, you had a West Side Story jazz-fight on your hands, before the inevitable up-to-the-hilt in my gut and down I would go. The elegance of my firing squad, almost Beckettian in its reduced action, was deemed powerful and intense. Boy could I writhe on our small, sparse la…

Graphic Images of Brussels Terror Attacks: Twittersphere Says No Thanks!

Graphic Images of Brussels Terror Attacks: Twittersphere Says No Thanks!

As Twitter resists the sharing of graphic images of the Brussels Attack, is the Twittersphere finally developing a real social conscience?


An interesting moral and ethical debate is emerging on Twitter over the broadcast of graphic images of the Brussels terror attacks.  Within minutes of logging on this morning, as you might expect by now, I was able to see multiple images of severely wounded people and watch videos of the panic and fear of the aftermath of the blast.  
Two women sit stunned on a bench, the shoe of one missing, her foot dripping.  A man lies on the ground, his legs outstretched before his incredulous regard.  They are framed in red and the angle appears odd, wrong somehow.  A woman flees the airport wearing white jeans with scarlet, bloodied knees.  A man's head pours with blood as someone tries to staunch it with an item of clothing, a scarf I think.  
Yet under the heading “graphic images” there are probably twice as many tweets condemning the sharing of those ima…

Banksy Mugged by Invasive Geoprofiling

Banksy Mugged by Invasive Geoprofiling

Recent geoprofiling has confirmed the identity of Banksy. But more importantly it has opened up a new method of criminalising protests under the guise of the war on terror.
Tagging Banksy A recent article published in the not-oft-perused Journal of Spatial Science caught the attention of the world’s press.  Well, a couple of the quality papers and one or two blogs picked up on it anyway.  The piece is called “Tagging Banksy” punning, I presume, on the practice of tagging or signing your name intrinsic to street art, at the same time as the mode of digital surveillance that we all submit to when we allow our pics to be tagged on Facebook. I say I presume the title is punning as the paper itself is devoid of wit, drear of irony.
Making it sound much more exciting than it actually is, let’s say the paper tells the story of how four maverick scientists got together and decided to use a process called geographic profiling, normally the preserve of criminology and the study of infectious dis…

Perpetual Parole: Cameron's Prison Reforms are Less Liberal than they Seem

David Cameron's Prison Reform Speech appears to show his liberal side. But look closer and he is advocating a new form of punishment, a kind of perpetual parole.
Cameron the Liberal!David Cameron’s recent prisons speech on February 8th left many left-wing commentators wrong-footed.  Touted as the first proposal of full-scale prison reform for a generation, Cameron came over at the podium all concerned, empathetic, and sociological—although he retained his rather smug and rubicund natural demeanour throughout. We lefties didn’t know what to make of it all really.  The Guardian’s John Crace, for example, had to invent a whole new malady, the Odysseus complex, to describe the way the Cameron keeps being blown of course.  The problem was not so much the tone of the speech, Cameron only has one tone, slightly exasperated verging on tetchy then suddenly emollient, but the content of which, surprisingly for one of his speeches, there was a worrying abundance.
The shocking headline is tha…