In reply to Jessica Wright

johnboy 4 December 2007 105

We here at RiotACT don’t read Jessica Wright’s stuff in the Canberra Times as regularly as she seems to read ours.

And after I promised Jack Waterford I wouldn’t make her burst into tears in the newsroom any more I thought we’d have written the last about her.

Even her mother hunting down the author of a piece mocking her writing (which we removed at the author’s request such was mumsy’s fury) didn’t tempt us to write more.

So we were a little surprised to learn, a few days after the event, that she’d devoted a column to slagging RiotACT and its readers. You can see the article here [PDF].

Some might think it odd for Jessica to devote a whole column to slagging a website without informing her readers of the website’s address. Others might wonder what on earth a “blogsite” is.

It was in response to last week’s story by Pandy which, with some trepidation, I had left with his headline on (I had been passing over the site and dropped in to clear the queue).

I could have gone either way with it, but the context made it clear that there was a jocular element to the headline which was going for shock value. On balance, coming from an established contributor, I let it pass. I have to say that given the past strong defences of the Gay and Lesbian communities on this site a contra view possibly deserved some air.

To some extent I let the language through not because I agreed with it, but because I didn’t. We’re great believers around here of letting bad ideas destroy themselves.

But let’s look more at the text of Jess’s story which I’d like to examine in detail.

“Poofta marriages back on the table”
I’ll allow a few moments for the incredulity of such a bigoted statement to sink in

Is her problem with one word? Or with the statement??

“Gay marriages back on the table” seems to hardly be incredulously bigoted does it? So really Jessica meant to write “word”, and ended up writing “statement”. Some readers have expressed a hope that a future in journalism might beckon for them too on the basis of these standards, but it’s not what you know, it’s who you know kids.

Moving on…

Bear in mind, this is a site that purports to moderate both readers’ comments and article matter and reaches a considerable audience.

Actually we moderate as a last resort and with some sorrow, but it’s nice to have Jessica confirm the considerable nature of our audience (tip for new players, a phrase like “considerable audience” is journalist for “I’m too lazy to do any research”)

It beggars belief to think that anyone in sound state of mind could possibly entertain the necessity of such words

Jessica’s belief is obviously easily beggared. I certainly wouldn’t argue that the words were necessary, in fact it’s hard to find anywhere where we claim that only the necessary will be found on this website.

But there you have it. Predictably bloggers’ comments veer from the inappropriate to the sleazy in tone, no doubt spurned on by the title entry

For someone incensed at the use of a single word she’s certainly plenty lax in her own language. I’m not sure how one can be “spurned on”, perhaps she meant “spurred”?

Anyway the comments had a varied number of views as you’d expect for an issue where there is far from a consensus in the wider community.

Jess is extremely selective in her quoting as she finds only the ones that suit her argument before accusing we moderators of neglect in failing to expunge all thought she does not find acceptable. Now there are words to describe selective quoting from an unattributed source aren’t there??

Should she ever compile a book of her wit and wisdom we shall, in future, be sure to consult it for a listing of which ideas of the little people must be eliminated.

Moving on…

… it is all too easy to be a bigot and remain safe behind a computer screen. Once it was pointed white canvas masks

I don’t know about you but my Klan outfit is made from linen and not canvas. (Note to witless opinion writers: this is a joke, I have never been a member of the Klan and do not own such a costume). But now we’re on the same moral plateau as a lynch mob? My belief also, is becoming beggared. I’m also disturbed that real life murder is now being made equivalent to a tiff about one word on a website.

Would such dialogue be condoned if, say, racial slurs were used in the headline… ?

Probably not. But it would, once again, depend on a number of factors.

“Yet gay bashing, by the consent of one public forum, is deemed acceptable”

I had no idea RiotACT wielded such awesome power. I assume Jess means metaphorical gay bashing given that real physical gay bashing is still a real menace to society. But why stop with the inflammatory language there?

Oddly enough a number of Gay and Lesbian readers participated in the comments on that story, seemingly unabashed. But Jess left them out as they’d have ruined the direction of her piece.

That same-sex unions remain an ongoing argument is damning enough of our society’s level of tolerance, but to openly encourage and take part in this sort of prejudice is appalling

What, you mean by splashing it over a page of the Sunday Paper while removing all the balance?? Yes, you may have guessed that I am appalled.

Leaving that aside Jessica again seems to think that anyone who disagrees with her should be silenced. A wildly totalitarian view, she should run for parliament on that.

[For the record I think the legal aspects of marriage should be totally removed from the churches, the law should recognise civil unions of any adults for the purposes of spouse’s rights and if people want to have some sort of party they can call it whatever the hell they want to. But just because it’s my opinion doesn’t make everyone who thinks anything different unworthy of being heard.]

Jess then launches a stirring defence of same sex civil unions, issues already well covered on this forum, before once more ascribing RiotACT with astonishing powers.

In this instance, by this website’s example, the issue has been cheapened on the whole, and not a bit of it has to do with homosexuality

This website with its 24,000 visitors a month cheapened the debate about same sex unions on the whole???

We find that to be about as believable as anything else of Jessica Wright’s we’ve ever read.

If Jess had bothered to check she might have discovered that allowing the language used was a line ball decision by one editor.

But hey, much more fun to slag away the whole community with poorly thought out and badly written drivel.

Now, having made it this far dear reader, an exercise for you.

I think we can only take three quotes out of here to go in the taglines at the top of the page, please nominate your best selective quotes and discuss their merits.

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105 Responses to In reply to Jessica Wright
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howdy howdy 2:30 pm 17 Jan 08

The Canberra times seem so scared of not being the only ones able to express an opinion. AND CONTROL OUR MEDIA LAPPING HUNGRY MINDS.

At least the Riot act allows other people to have a say…

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 10:36 am 17 Jan 08

“So much vitriol,so much jealousy. How could a restauranteur get someone a job at a newspaper?”

Ever heard of a chap by the name of Tony Wright?

caf caf 10:16 am 17 Jan 08

No, the riotact does (only for Unix admins though!). Or so I’m led to believe.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 9:49 am 17 Jan 08

What, the Canberra Times has a casting couch?

Mælinar Mælinar 8:29 am 17 Jan 08

I’m led to believe that some elements of the media industry recruitment process are more focused on your personal appearance and lack of inhibitions than actual skill.

Thumper Thumper 8:28 am 17 Jan 08

Actually, I believe Jessica had another rather inane ‘opinion’ piece in last Sundays Canberra Times.

I read it but for the life of me have no recollection whatsoever concerning its content.

fearlessfly fearlessfly 2:29 am 17 Jan 08

So much vitriol,so much jealousy. How could a restauranteur get someone a job at a newspaper?

red red 6:29 pm 07 Dec 07

Her article gave me a headache. Someone send that woman a “idiots guide to journalism”

And hair dye

Mr Evil Mr Evil 5:56 pm 05 Dec 07

“Spurned on”: is that something to do with the Pearl necklace comment that Pandy mentioned earlier?

tickboom tickboom 5:14 pm 05 Dec 07

My suggestion for the tagling quote: simply “Spurned on”. It’s classic CT editorial quality!

hingo_VRCalaisV6 hingo_VRCalaisV6 4:51 pm 05 Dec 07

LOL! Like any newspaper that has a page as their official site is worth reading. They might as well just make a MySpace page.

Mælinar Mælinar 2:42 pm 05 Dec 07

Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out – sounds dirtier

Ingeegoodbee Ingeegoodbee 1:55 pm 05 Dec 07

You’re welcome to it

GnT GnT 1:26 pm 05 Dec 07

I like this one for a tag line:

sometimes I cry just looking back at some of the crap I’ve posted here!

Comment by Ingeegoodbee — 4 December, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

Mælinar Mælinar 1:21 pm 05 Dec 07

I was not asked for my permission to be quoted by the Canberra Times.

Where do I send the bill ?

Jey Jey 12:15 pm 05 Dec 07

Oooh Ooh, put this bit as a tag line “There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of.”, sounds kind of dirty.

Jazz Jazz 9:33 am 05 Dec 07

interesting quote you’ve dug up there sallyann60, shame its too long for a tag line. i might selectively paraphrase if you dont mind.

Thumper Thumper 8:35 am 05 Dec 07



sallyann60 sallyann60 11:37 pm 04 Dec 07

“INK, n. A villainous compound of tannogallate of iron, gum-arabic and water, chiefly used to facilitate the infection of idiocy and promote intellectual crime. The properties of ink are peculiar and contradictory: it may be used to make reputations and unmake them; to blacken them and to make them white; but it is most generally and acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones of an edifice of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal quality of the material. There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of. Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out.”Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

If even a few of writers here wrote letters to the editor, not one of them would get published, the “Editor at Lunch” would ensure that for fear of having young Jessy back weeping in his office yet one more time… but fear not the electronic ink of the internet is far more parmanent a record than that of the Times will ever be.

simbo simbo 11:35 pm 04 Dec 07

The problem is, goofy half-arsed opinion pieces like these are all the rage in newspapers at the moment. Doesn’t need to comply with any kind of journalistic standards because, after all, it’s not journalism, it’s just opinion.

But if a newspaper stops being reliable for, well, news, then what on earth is the use of it?

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