No Minister

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

That’s not funny!

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The cartoon Dilbert has been around for about three decades. It always had a specific audience in mind and that was anybody who had ever worked in a corporate or government environment. That was because such people were the ones most attuned to the insanities and inanities of those worlds, particularly the meetings they involve and especially the ones involving senior management.

If you’d never worked in that world you likely didn’t get the humour, which was gentle and poked fun at the endless stream of ideas that constantly sweep through the worlds of corporations and governments, many of them being ideas far removed from the objectives of increased revenue, reduced costs, increased productivity and, of course, profit – or in the case of government, running things competently and not at a continuous loss that screws future generations.

The eponymous character is an engineer, chosen because often they’re often the most based people in an organisation, since the stuff they design and build has to work in the real world. But engineers often find themselves at odds with marketing, advertising and HR people, not to mention that good old senior management.

The cartoon has done pretty well over the decades, spreading around the globe and becoming known to denizens of the non-corporate world as the issues Dilbert and friends cope with emerge into everyday life as well.

However, clearly there’s a limit to which ideas fun can be poked at any more. Clueless, amoral managers, marketers, and advertisers pushing crazy shit is one thing as a target, but Woke World is quite another. And so, inevitably:

Here’s the cartoon that triggered it.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 26, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Donald humor

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No, not that Donald (although he can be pretty funny).

This one, Donald Fauntleroy Duck, my favourite Disney cartoon character because he was bad-tempered to the point of having massive, unhinged tantrums – which is well captured by this image.

But this post is not about him so much as the voice that made him a real character, courtesy of voice performer Clarence Nash:

Nash’s final performance was in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), which made Donald the only character in the film to be voiced by his original actor. 

And therein lies a tale.

Clarence Nash died in 1985.

P.S. See also the post Job Security

Written by Tom Hunter

September 21, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Art, History, Humour

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Moons and our Seasons

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The full moon of September fell a little early, on the 10th. In a mirror image of the Old Farmer’s Almanac, here it would be the Pink Moon, also called the Paschal Full Moon, or my favourite from the North American Indian tribes, the Breaking Ice Moon (Algonquin). The “Pink” has to do with particular flowers that emerge in the Spring.

In America of course it’s the Harvest Moon and it used to be that the first school dances of the year would be the Harvest Moon Dance. There were Harvest Moon festivals, and the first autumnal advertising was likely to invoke the Harvest Moon.

As is usually the case with the Interwebby it’s a matter of falling down rabbit holes triggered by one thing, in this case a wonderful cover version of Neil Young’s old song, Harvest Moon. Enjoy.

BTW, there have been studies of the Maori names for the lunar phases but it seems they were focused on each moon night of the month and less on the seasons, perhaps because our temperate climate has less dramatic differences between the seasons:

For example, on the east coast of the North Island the appearance of the first moon after the
rising of Matariki (Pleiades) above the eastern horizon marked the arrival of the New Year. In
the far north, the South Island and the Chatham Islands it is the appearance of the star Puanga
or Rigel which marks the onset of the new year
Along with the presence or absence of stars
and the flowering times of plants, the phases of the moon were (and still are) used by Maori to
indicate the seasons of the year.

To our knowledge no record exists of a list of 12 or 13 different monthly maramataka
pertaining to one person or location, which suggests that only one was used by a local group
throughout the entire year, with adjustments being made to ensure seasonal synchronization
and adaptation to the various changes in the availability of local resources

Written by Tom Hunter

September 17, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Jumping Out a Window

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I thought that there was a song from the 1980’s with this title, but I’d forgotten that it was actually a Kiwi band.

This is the original that screened on TVNZ. The band weren’t that keen on TVNZ’s literal interpretation of their song, although I think it holds up pretty well. Their own re-made video merely features their awesome dancing skills!

The thought was prompted by this news,

Head of Russian oil giant Lukoil dies after falling from hospital window:

Oil and gas company Lukoil issued a statement early Thursday confirming the death of Ravil Maganov, 67, “after a severe illness” but did not specify the cause.

The cause was hitting concrete at a high velocity.

At this rate ordinary Russians will be happy to rise to the status of Kulak, since obviously being a billionaire in Russia is too risky even for that amount of money and the lifestyle it brings, as I pointed out a few months ago in The Mystery of The Dead Russian Oligarchs:

It seems that since January of this year six such people have committed suicide. This seems rather a high rate of death for people who seemingly have everything. I admit I didn’t notice any of this until this story broke a few days ago:

On April 18, former vice-president of Gazprombank Vladislav Avaev was found dead in his multi-million apartment on Universitetsky Prospekt in Moscow, together with his wife and daughter.

Murder-Suicide, and the murder of his own family no less. Unusual. Even amazing.

But it gets more amazing. Another two of those six oligarchs, Sergey Protosenya and Vasily Melnikov, also committed suicide after murdering their families.

As far as anyone knows Maganov’s family are okay. Given that he’s dead they’re probably safe, ammirite?

Written by Tom Hunter

September 15, 2022 at 5:16 pm

It’s been long path

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from…
“God save the Queen.
It’s a fascist regime”

“God save the Queen
She ain’t no human being”

“God save the queen
Cause tourists are money

And our figurehead
Is not what she seems.”

…. to this ….

Released in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee. The weird thing is that I still think this is as a great song as when I first heard it as a young teenager.

And I think this quote fits:

It’s probably the most punk rock thing ever to act like an adult over the queen’s passing, when academics and talk show hosts are using her death as a platform for cliched rants about racism and colonialism:

Written by Tom Hunter

September 12, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Art, Britain, History, Humour, Ideologues

Tagged with ,

The Texan Temeraire

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Something nice to end this sad day upon – and also something that one of our commentators will especially appreciate, given the nick he uses here.

The painting shown below is one of the more famous British paintings, The Fighting Temeraire, painted in 1838 by none other than J. M. W. Turner.

The painting depicts the 98-gun HMS Temeraire, one of the last second-rate ships of the line to have played a role in the Battle of Trafalgar, being towed up the Thames by a paddle-wheel steam tug in 1838, towards its final berth in Rotherhithe to be broken up for scrap.

If you saw the James Bond movie Skyfall you’d have chuckled at the scene where Q meets Bond in the Art gallery, with Bond looking at the painting and Q making a dry quip about old warships being towed away for scrap.

So below is another old warship, though of more recent vintage. The USS Texas, which saw service in both World Wars and became a US National Historic Landmark (the first battleship to be so) in Houston when decommissioned in 1948. But she’s showing a lot of wear and tear so has just been hauled into dry dock for a $35 million refit. During the recent move, somebody took this picture.

And then somebody fed that, and the Fighting Temeraire painting, into an “Art” AI and told it to come up with a combination.

I think it’s beautiful. Hopefully somebody will think to hang this inside the USS Texas once she’s fixed up and returned to her duties.

I thought you all might also enjoy this video footage of her as well. Even at more than a hundred years old she’s still an impressive beastie amidst the machines of the modern world.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 9, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Dem Rangz of Power

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Oh Dear. Exactly as expected by Semi-Fascists, Amazon’s new prequel of The Lord of the Rings – titled The Rings of Power, is not going well with audiences:

The Irish Times: The new hobbits are filthy, hungry simpletons with stage-Irish accents. That’s $1bn well spent.

After 20 minutes of this Lord of the Rings spinoff I’m having flashbacks to that EastEnders episode with the fightin’ villagers and donkeys walking the streets

The Scots get it too in The Rings of Power. Stand-ins for the dwarfs, they are portrayed as aggressive and argumentative. It gets to the point where I expect Durin, prince of Khazad-dûm, to whip out a deep-fried Mars bar. Every other “mad Jock” cliche has already been ticked off

With the predictable results, as documented by NotTheBee:

Amazon Prime Video blocks new “Rings of Power” reviews for 72 hours to prevent “trolls” from commenting as fans cry foul about the series

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These fucking morons have learned nothing from the total failure of Star Wars or the massive success of Top Gun: Maverick. The latter movie – which was a pretty simple meat and spuds storyline well executed and acted – is at $1.4 billion+, and with yet another $6 million chart-topping weekend in the bag, more than 12 weeks after its release, is now closing fast on the top ten of all-time box office earners, and that’s without the Chinese market that pushed all the superhero dreck of recent years by a $1 billion each time.

I’ll let The Dark Herald explain why Rings Of Power is such a loser:

You would have to have had the hubris of Morgoth himself to take on this project.

As a writer, I would have been terrified of it. If the producers had come to me to finish the Unfinished Tales by Tolkien plus some original pastiche based on the Appendixes, I would have told them. “Look, I’ll require two years prep time before I write word one. I’ll need to completely immerse myself in Tolkien’s work to the exclusion of all else. Then I have to spend a lot of time with Tom Shippey and other scholars, plus a Catholic priest with three doctorates who is really into JRR’s work. And at the end of the day, it still won’t be Tolkien, just so you know.”

Who would take this on? Bad Reboot that’s who.

The inarticulate slaughterer of every franchise where they press a diseased foot is their bread and butter. Their mode of operation is now predictably obvious. Being completely incapable of creativity themselves, they select anything at all that might have an audience, invade and metastasize, then give it a Bad Reboot treatment. This consists of a Feminist Heroine’s Journey combined with a bunch of mystery boxes to lure foolish audiences along. Be sure to break the bank on flashy effects scenes.

I spent some time in sales, so I can see what Jar Jar Abrams’s school of non-writing is. It is sales technique disguised as writing. That’s it. That is all that the Abrams Mystery Box school really is. It’s just a hook with nothing attached to the hook but the next hook. It’s just one long sales pitch trying to keep you watching despite the fact that there is in fact nothing to watch.

Let me assure you now, there is nothing to watch here.

Amazon have pissed $1 billion up against the wall with this effort and even a company as large and powerful as they are will only tolerate so many failures in one division, as the folks at the various divisions of Warners are discovering, Between the Firing of Brian Stelter and the Cancelation of Batgirl, Warners is Seemingly Ditching Leftism and Wokism

  • CNN+ gone just weeks after starting up, losing hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Multiple CNN “stars” being fired.
  • A finished movie, Batgirl, simply trashed after costing $90 million
  • Multiple writers and others dumped.

You love to see it.

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Written by Tom Hunter

September 6, 2022 at 1:33 pm

Creative Content

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Pretty isn’t she? Lovely, clear, open face with a nice smile and beautiful eyes. Were you of her age (late teens/early twenties), you’d love to date her.

There’s just one problem.

She doesn’t exist.

“She” was created by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) located at the website, This Person Does Not Exist.

That example is just one of many where an AI has been set to the task of creating something new from existing content: journalist articles, posts for blogs, Twitter, Tik Tok and other Social Media, “photos” like the one above, screenplays (bad ones to date), prose, even artwork:

Midjourney, an AI-based graphics app, can produce stunning graphics based on a short textual description of what you want it to show. Andres Guadamuz had a thread on Twitter about how he went from four OK-ish frames generated from the prompt:
“futuristic city under a dome digital art deviant art high detail high definition octane render”

That’s quite fantastic. Who needs to hire artists any more for the cover of your next Science Fiction novel? That example comes from an article that points to a future where a flood of such AI-created content will be designed to keep us addicted to our screens. It explores the recent past where AI’s like DeepBlue beat chess champions and even the world’s best Go player (Go is far more complex than chess) and tries to look into the future of Social Media:

• Companies whose whole business is built around capturing attention
• AI systems capable of producing limitless amounts of content
• AI systems capable of producing believable-looking pictures of humans (and lots of other things)
• Algorithmic systems which will pick content that humans find compelling

I’m not too impressed by the amount of time being spent on screens now, especially with young people and their smart phones. This sounds much worse.

Writer Richard Fernandez explores other aspects of future AI usage in two articles: Trust the Artificial Intelligence, Part One and Part Two.

The first article pushes a little too hard on then “Super Intelligent AI” angle, given the inherent problems that exist with it – as seen with the story of fired Google engineer Blake Lemoine, who claimed their ChatAI was already sentient – but Fernandez does point to problems if governments start using AI as a source of authority, given how bad they are now with “ScienceTM”:

It will also be the last time the public can demand explanation. Given true super AI, governments would be in the position of morons trying to peer-review Einstein. Why bother? They would have to treat it like a black box, without any real power to critique, much as elected officials do today when receiving “expert advice” on COVID-19, with no option but to take it on faith.

Except that these AI’s will still need some external input to start from, a meta-premise to determine their purpose, which famous computer scientist Alan Turing called the Oracle in his PhD thesis – and which he said could not be another machine. That means that government AI’s will still have something, the Oracle, standing behind the curtain – in the same way that ideology stood behind the likes of Dr. Fauci in the USA and Michael Baker/Souxie Wiles here in NZ when it came to the Chinese Lung Rot.

The second article goes into more detail on that, using the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts in manipulating social media algorithms for discussion. The good news is that the fear of some vast, centralised AI is overblown because it hits the same problems that Friedrich Hayek identified with all centralised systems, although Fernandez casts it in specific machine problems:

With signals limited by the speed of light — about nine inches per nanosecond — a Skynet’s ability to measure the instantaneous state of a densely sampled complex system at distance is progressively restricted…Even if it tried to control everything from the center the required connections would soon exhaust all the bandwidth available. The proximity of AI inference to the dataset becomes a critical factor where instant action is required.

As well as using gargantuan amounts of electricity.

Given these restrictions, AI will likely evolve towards large numbers of competing units, some focused on narrow tasks, others perhaps supporting basic aspects of political factions: for example, designing the “best” social-welfare model, much as a current AI based on Google’s DeepMind turned out to be the best at figuring out a protein’s 3D shape from its amino-acid sequence. Data that feeds into these AI’s will be more important and valuable than ever and that has a whole host of problems in itself.

But the eternal questions of humanity will not go away.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 26, 2022 at 1:44 pm

The New York Times goes full retard

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Nobody, not even the stupidest fucking Liberals, should still read the cretinous New York Times, let alone buy or subscribe to them after seeing that in the story.

Although I have to admit that I can see a number of links between Leftism and Islam, starting with the fact that the bastards never sleep and never rest in the pursuit of their ideological objectives.

Ever.

You may be tempted to say that the NYT are propaganda merchants rather than cretins, since they must surely know that Islamic belief, with it’s powerful sense of insult, is the only motive in this attack, the Iranian State Islamists having made that quite clear right from the start in 1988 when they put a price on Rushdie’s head. I think it’s about $US 3 million now.

But I regard it as cretinous to continue to run such propaganda about the fault does not lie with Islam, when you have such blatant proof before our own eyes that it is. The NYT is actually destroying their own narrative by trying so desperately to cling to it.

I read The Satanic Verses decades ago and only once. My main memory is of the opening sequence where the two Indian protagonists are falling from 30,000 feet over the English Channel after their hijacked plane explodes and one of them is getting pissed off at the other singing Bollywood songs on the way down.

The book is magical realism!

I also recall one little aside where the father of one of them compares his son’s girlfriend to the hottie of The Flintstones“that little Wilma bibi”.

At best you could say that it was lightly mocking parts of the Koran, which – not knowing the latter – I could not see at the time, even though I was well aware of the controversy at the time. Even when I had it explained to me later it still seemed like a big, fat nothing, but then I’m not a religious fanatic.

Written by Tom Hunter

August 14, 2022 at 12:10 am

Hairy Maclary goes feral

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Whether as a parent or grandparent, many Kiwis will have read the Hairy Maclary books to children over the last three decades, enjoying the fun of the rhyming language.

There’s also all of Hairy’s friends, Hercules Morse (“as big as a horse”), Slinky Malinki (“Blacker than Black”) and Scarface Claw (“the toughest Tom in town”) among them.

Well guess what sports fans? The American disease of Wokeness continues to arrive here, now with the message that all those characters are not Diverse enough (Equity and Inclusion to be named later):

… a study from Perth in Western Australia has taken aim at several children’s books including Hairy Maclary, suggesting they “perpetuate outdated stereotypes”.

The study by senior childhood researcher Dr Helen Adam of Edith Cowan University looked at several books including …

Critical Theory got its start in literature of course, tearing down everything it could as it “de-constructed” great works from Austen to Tolstoy, so it’s not surprising that they’ve chewed down into children’s books and finally got to the most isolated nation on Earth.

“Oh for goodness sake,” Dodd told RNZ. “I have actually got a female… I’m just looking at the pile of books I’ve got on the table at the moment… I’ve got Susie Fogg [A Dragon In a Wagon] and also, one has to remember that lady dogs have certain times when they’re not supposed to be out gallivanting anyway,” she added.

Woah there! Introducing biology into the argument? That’s a fail right from the start. Clearly Ms. Dodd is not familiar with her Critical opponents, who are turfing biology out the window along with every other “norm” they can.

She’d have been much better off mocking these assholes. Fortunately someone else decided to do the work for her, complete with the picture at the top of the post, with a wonderfully accurate rendition of Hairy in our bold new world. You wanted Diversity? You’ve got it:

With Hercules Morse at the gas and the wheel,
They were all set up now to break in and steal.
With a bang and a crash, they smashed through the glass,
The alarm’s shrill blare meant they had to be fast!
Straight for the till, all nasty and sneery,
Cash into a bag, went Hairy Maclary.
But the whole haul of ciggies of course,
That was the prize for Hercules Morse.

BTW, this isn’t going down well with a small group of the Left; The NZ Left are too busy cancelling Hairy Maclary for woke dogma to help you right now.

Well yes. that’s true. The author is “Bomber” Bradbury, angry as usual that all this woke shite is diverting people away from The Truth Of Marxist Dialectics. But you have to love the self-deception involved there as he headlines his article with a cartoon he’s used several times and which was first created over a decade ago during the GFC.

Identity Politics theory is entirely a construction of the Left over the last fifty years, and the only times I’ve seen the Corporate sector appropriate it has been when outfits like Gillette, Nike, Disney, Hollywood and many others employed it, DIE (Diversity, Inclusion and Equity) and its bastard child “Woke” to actually attack that portion of their own customer base that is traditional and conservative.