April 12, 2005

Carters Banned blog of Biege

Writing about web page

Wow, this entry by carter really does seem to have caused quite a stir in Warwick. I would recommend reading it first on the link aboveand then come back to this to get my two cents worth on it. As a warning, I have taken it quite seriously because it really did aggrevate me for the reasons I state. Eims and Carter, despite I am quite attacking in this, I really do think you are both fantastic and I'm sorry if I do offend you in any way. I have refered alot to this being written by Carter, but thats just because I don't know how much each of you wrote.

Firstly, I was quite surprised to hear that Carters blog has been deleted because of his Biege bashing. Mind you, it is also because of his consistent disregard for the warnings about being insulting in what he has described as "an ironic fashion". Warwick blogs should not be sensored in this way. People should be allowed to state their opinions and views, and warwick blogs should encourage discussion. People should be free to write whatever they like on their own blog. However, people writing their blogs should also be aware of the audience that may be reading it and should be sensitive to that audience. If the author is writing something that is likely to be controversial, they should also try to avoid anything that can be mis-interpreted or misunderstood. One line of defence that has been taken towards carters blog is that it was written in an "ironic" tone. Now, being a chemist, my english skills aren't quite what they should be so I double checked my dictionary for irony. It seems as though carter needs to do this too, because my dictionary tells me that irony is the "use of words to mean the oppposite of what is said". So does this actually mean that Carter is ACTUALLY trying to tell us to be beige. Maybe I have misunderstood his irony. If quite a number of people have not spotted the irony, then maybe it isn't the fact that they don't get irony, but it is actually that the writing is not clear. There are some parts which I can see as being ironic, but this only applies to one or two phrases used in the blog. I really can't see the whole piece as being ironic.

Even if the writing is ironic, it is quite clear that Carter et al. clearly do have a problem with those they consider to be biege and this is quite clearly an attack on those people. This has been a consistent theme running in Carters blogs and so is quite clearly close to his heart. I found some of the comments in the his blog to be very narrowminded and just plain offensive. for instance;

"Economics students. Computer Science hacks. Business Management types. You are scum. Your only concern is your own path through life, moving one step up the corporate ladder at a time while stepping mercilessly on anyone who gets in the way of your ultimate desire to own an upmarket Ikea showhome and host Katie Melua-scored dinner parties."

How can it be said that this is not a personal attack? I would like to point out to Carter that if it wasn't for those "computer Science hacks" then we would not have been able to have this conversation. If it wasn't for those business management types and economic students, then this university wouldn't have alot of the funding it does. This is a broad generalisation that is very offensive. Even if these people are not the most entertaining people in Carters eyes, that is no excuse for putting this false stereotype on them.

What has really gotten to me about the views portrayed in this blog and those by those applauding it is the narrowmindedness and highly judgemental mentality that ultimately lies behind it. It shows an arrogance and snobbish attitude that is highly unadmirable (something which I often find myself being and that I loathe). Recently I heard a preacher speaking about how the Church is "swift to chide and slow to bless", but this kind of entry really goes to show that this problem is not just confined to the church, which Carter is also all to ready to pass judgement on. Christians are not perfect, they are not always right, and they really do get things wrong, but to say that their faith limits them is just plain wrong. I know many people who have achieved many amazing things, who are dedicated to helping and serving others even when in mortal danger and are carried by their faith. Their faith does not limit what they can achieve, instead it gives them the drive and will to continue.

I do think its a real shame that more people do not support some of the great events put on by people like yourself and Eimear. And I know how much time and effort it takes to put on events like this and how demoralising it can be when only a handful of people turn up, but insulting and attacking the very people you are trying to attract is no way to solve the issue. In many cases it is actually more logistical problems and unforeseen circumstances that result in low attendence, such as bad timing and clashing with other events or restrictions on advertising or budget, or maybe its just a saturation of the market in warwick. I think many of the arts and music societies do a fantastic job of bring some much needed culture and diversity to the uni. I am really going to miss things like the Freshblood caberets and the opportunity to get involved with the Christmas Panto when I leave.

There is no need to say that just because someone hasn't heard the new Caesers album, or doesn't even know who The Band are and how much of an influence they are, that they don't know anything about music and are uninteresting. If you can't communicate with someone who you deem to be of a lower understanding or to be less knowledgable than you, then the problem lies with your attitude and social abilities and not with the other person. These people are not going out of their way to "wreck all that which makes it (humankind or arts?) interesting or stimulating by exhibiting none of its most vital and defining characteristics (namely the arts)". Maybe they know what they like and are happy with it. Who is anyone to judge and tell them that they are wrong; if they are happy like that, then why should they change. Many people who have very little to do with the arts have had tremendous impacts on humankind; would you critisise Einstein, the Curies, Fleming, or Rutherford for being boring for not taking more of an interest in the arts? In the meantime, appreciate the large number of people that do enjoy intellectual enterainment; you may be surprised, but there are a lot more of them at warwick uni than outside in the real world. Instead of critisising everyone, try writing something that would engage those that don't have much of an interest in the arts. I'm lothe to say it, but Jerry Springer the Musical has probably drawn more people that would otherwise not be interested, towards musicals and the theatre than something more intellectual or critically acclaimed. Frankly, I like the fact that there is great diversity of tastes, it means there is a lot more to talk about and it enables discussion like this to start. Just because we don't like the same drama, music films, etc. doesn't mean that they are not interesting. But please, have a little respect for the tastes and likings of others. You wouldn't like them bitching about the way they see us, so don't bitch about what you think of them, instead, try to find something good to say, you might find it more of a challenge!

- 21 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Missed out on the interesting stuff again… :(

    Having attempted to catch up, I'm not convinced CC was banned for that entry. But then I've still got a lot of entries to read up on.

    12 Apr 2005, 05:01

  2. John Dale

    People should be free to write whatever they like on their own blog.

    You may feel that they should be, but just to be clear, they are not. There is an Acceptable Use Policy which states quite clearly that there are some things which you may not write on your blog; you can find it here.

    12 Apr 2005, 09:03

  3. "People should be free to write whatever they like on their own blog. However, people writing their blogs should also be aware of the audience that may be reading it and should be sensitive to that audience."

    I meant for these two sentances to be read as a whole. I do agree with freedom of speech, but I also think that people have a responsibility to be mature and have some respect in what they write. Carter has over stepped the mark with regards to this and I can understand why he has been banned on this basis. Can he really expect to be able to call computer science hacks scum and for them to take no notice?

    I think that when people have issues like this, sweeping them under the rug or bottling them up inside does not help. Being able to express them to a wide group of people enables many peoples views to be expressed and might actually result in a healthier attitude towards others. I know this is an absolutely extreme example and I am not calling Eims and Carter Fascists in any way, I am using this as an example of how free speech can help; In Germany, the fascists and Nazis are allowed to march and congregate, not because the government agrees with it, but because it allows a healthy demonstration of their beliefs that could manifest itself in more violent ways. It also enables the public to show its disagreement with these people- usually a crowd many times larger than the fascists surround them and emonstrate their beliefs that what the fascist stand for is wrong. It shows people who may easily be swept up and fooled in to believing that fascists are the majority because they surround themselves with other people of similar beliefs, that they are not actually the majority and that many people believe it to be wrong.

    I think I've gone slightly off the point of blogs, but it is a matter that i feel strongly about.

    12 Apr 2005, 11:08

  4. I think the irony of the piece was the fascism underpinning Mr Carter's anti-Beige campaign, when in actual fact he's not a fascist and just wanted to wind a lot of people up, which he did, quite spectacularly.

    People who didn't get the irony were those who got wound up and responded, to which Chris countered with yet more faux-fascism. Ultimately it went too far in the eyes of the blog administrator(s) and the blog was taken down.

    12 Apr 2005, 11:23

  5. Class

    You make valid points. The problem is that you're talking about free speech, dialogue and compromise. Chris Carter has no interest in what anyone else has to say, only that they happen to be talking about him. He will be messing his pants that this has caused so much furore, adding fuel to his righteous idignation about life. All this is of course highly predictable, and ultimately rather aggravating for anyone who has known him for a significant amount of time.

    12 Apr 2005, 11:31

  6. absolutely. what i think has happened here is that we've all spun a giant web of irony, and we've become caught up in it, flailing around uselessly. now, i didn't write the beige post. i don't tend towards such aggravation in general. in fact, the extremity of my feelings about the beige situation reached its pinnacle several weeks ago, thus: link
    … but i did feel strongly enough about it to respond. my response was promoted less by strong feelings towards chris' article than by frustration at the nannying which legitimises a culture of outrage at this university. now, despite my earlier plea for irony, something is obviously going horribly wrong here. i think that perhaps the best thing to do after all might be to forget all about irony and just be honest with each other. to be honest, not even i am quite sure of what ironic level we've all reached.
    but as far as i understand, it was all a joke. chris might feel differently but i'm not going to speak for him any more. doubtless he'll make his voice heard if and when his blog is reinstated.

    12 Apr 2005, 11:54

  7. Class

    Honesty. Scary. But better. I think irony is probably the wrong word; the blog entry was a peice of rhetoric – Chris' favourite mode of address – and contained irony, hyperbole, equivocation… and although you insist it was a joke, Eimar, (and it was in parts funny) you will be hard pressed to convince anyone that Chris doesn't truly believe the things he wrote.
    The problem with what is seen as 'irony' is that people say what they really feel, dress it up with sarcasm and exaggeration, and call it irony. It's neither honest nor ironic, but an attempt to say what you feel without having to take full responsibility for it.

    Honesty is harder because you do have to take responsiblity for it; justifying why you like children's programme's is easier when you can just avoid the question by saying you're being ironic.
    So if Chris wants people to be more like him, he has to give them a reason to want to, rather than alienating people (which is a hard-earned skill) because they don't act like you want them to. And then accept the fact that most people want to be like they already are, and shouting at them just makes you look pretty stupid.

    12 Apr 2005, 12:07

  8. very, very true

    12 Apr 2005, 12:10

  9. Carter

    As on the Offbeat forum and everywhere else that this kind of debate has sprung up, these are all interesting points which I won't respond to individually as it'd only prove tedious and, at the end of the day, it's everyone's individual conundrum to figure out.

    Yes, I am aware of the inherent contraditions within it, but it's a polemic designed to inspire debate and get people talking about something – a fact which it appears to have done.

    12 Apr 2005, 12:28

  10. Class

    "it's a polemic designed to inspire debate"?
    "I won't respond to them all individually?"?

    God help us all, Carter thinks he is a modern day Jonathan Swift. Move over George Monbiot, William Rees-Mogg, Matthew Parris: there's a new columnist in town, and he's…aaaaangry. But he's only joking :) so, let's have… a heated debate.

    12 Apr 2005, 12:56

  11. The role of a moderator is a tough one. If you don't ban, everyone complains. If you do ban, everyone complains. Kind of like Carter and changing the Top B music.

    12 Apr 2005, 12:56

  12. I didn't think you wrote the biege post, eims, as it really didn't sound like you in any way. I was just a bit confused cos carter put both ur names at the bottom. I agree with class' comment and I know this is how Carter will react, but even so, I still would rather air my views and let Carter deal with it in whatever way he likes. I totally understand what your saying eims and I agree that nannying can go to far at times and doesn't really help in any way. Can't wait to hear Carters response too! Oh, and I'm definately up for this slanging and forgiving session this Friday, it might help me get rid of all this exams stress!

    On a totally different point eims, fancy getting a cuppa some time. If you like, we can even get it without milk, just incase it would make it too biege…

    12 Apr 2005, 13:06

  13. the only thing i really got het up about was the issue of censorship and freedom of speech. it irritated me very much that carter's entire blog was removed…i've already said all this. and i'll be honest – i wrote my response before i had even read carter's initial post. my favouring of freedom of speech does, by implication, mean that i theoretically must accept a blog criticising irish people, or my haircut, or whatever. and i would do so, although i'd probably get a bit pissy along the way. it also means that other people have the right to blog about the relative merits of stagecoach versus travel coventry buses, or the ginster's slice they ate that morning. but that's the way of things.

    barney – yes please to tea. i'm a workshy charlatan as you know, so give me a bell when ur free!

    12 Apr 2005, 13:38

  14. The problem is that admin want the blogs to become a respectable thing for the university. In all honesty, I doubt they cared that much about what Carter was saying, but his entry was accessible to everyone and it carried university branding. He probably wouldn't have been banned if it was limited to students and staff.

    12 Apr 2005, 13:41

  15. very fair point. it also probably adds to the problematic status of this entire thing that carter very much enjoys being a pantomime villain.

    12 Apr 2005, 13:46

  16. Carter

    Yes, it's true. Everything everyone's written about me on here is true.

    Incidentally –


    Warwick Blogs's response and my reply are posted on this page for anyone still interested.

    12 Apr 2005, 14:11

  17. I thought I should probably explain why I defended "the beige". It's not that I approve of such a mundaine existance – I crave excitement, but because for some reason I instinctively defend whichever side is being under-represented. If i'm surrounded by indie fans, i'll defend pop. If i'm surrounded by pop fans, i'll defend indie and metal (to this date, i've never been surrounded by metal fans). To be honest, I just like being argumentative.

    12 Apr 2005, 14:48

  18. Class

    Obfuscatory rhetoric doesn't hide the fact that your posts are never about anyone except yourself. You have no philanthropic interest that the beige masses improve themselves, only the fact that they really fuck you off.

    Irony is not dismissing people with glib comments. Anthony's speech at Caesar's funeral; that's irony.

    and yet I say that Carter is an honourable man.

    12 Apr 2005, 15:22

  19. Two further points to remember:

    1) if you write something publically in Warwick Blogs, it will get indexed by Google, associated with your name;

    2) I have heard from the Careers Department and others that it is common practice for employers to search for the names of job applicants in Google.

    Think before you publish!

    12 Apr 2005, 20:43

  20. While that's true, I think I was doomed before WB was even though about. :(

    13 Apr 2005, 07:52

  21. As a colleague of mine put it: seeing Carter's blog get suspended was like when someone drives past you like a maniac, lights flashing, and flips you the bird, and then when you turn the next corner they've been pulled over by the police.

    13 Apr 2005, 13:35

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