Monday, 17 October 2016

Has Trump been hacked by Spambots?

WASHINGTON, DC  - Boffins have been mobilised to investigate whether the brain of presidential candidate Donald Trump has been infected with a computer virus.
“Mister Trump’s ever-more bizarre pronouncements and nonsensical circular speeches show signs of having been assembled by automatic Internet scraping programs,” said Doctor Theopolus X. Zucchini, Professor of That Kind Of Thing at the Washington University of Special Electronics And Complex Computer Wotsits.
“Through careful analysis of his doggerel we have identified signs that his software has been infected by the Ars.Brain Virus, which could have been as long ago as the turn of the millennium.”
Dr. Zucchini predicted that it was only a matter of time before Mr. Trump asked his supporters to buy Viagra and Cialis directly from Trump.  Computer specialists also revealed that Mr. Trump’s hardware is also almost certainly running the unofficial and outlawed Gropem.Pro mainframe.
At present a team of computer experts is working on an antivirus program, under the code name of D/Select/4Godsake, but Trump is expected to remain online for the time being. Users who believe they have been affected by the software or hardware issues are advised that we have such good brains working on it. I mean, we have the best brains. Such terrific brains, folks. It’s gonna be terrific.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Moderates Song

You never hear a moderate on the radio
Phoning in to a phone in show:
“I have listened to all sides of the discussion
And feel it’s a complex issue with many repercussions
Oh we must all tread carefully
And try and find common ground.”

You never see a moderate in a footy stand
Standing up to shout and wave their hands:
“Oi referee! You do a bloody hard job
And we’re collectively grateful to you sonny-bob
Cause without you we don’t have a game
And we forgive your human mistakes cause they make us the same.”

You never see a moderate on a protest march
With a banner lofted high and proud and such:
“This is a legitimate way to express an opinion
And I must admit that our position
Is based somewhat on emotion
And could do with challenging too.”

Maybe if we did, things would be better
You’d open the local paper to read the letters:
“On the subject of Mr. Stayaway’s scribble
I must admit I found myself a little
Intrigued by his contention that if we’ll
Discuss the facts and drop the bluster
We’ll see the truth behind the rhetoric.”

Maybe if we did, we could move on
Power in truth and love and song:
“We’re not saying that we know it all
Good grief, we ain’t saying that at all.
But if we begin from a standpoint of openness
We can redefine the word ‘success;

To mean giving credence to what’s there
Not nebulous oppositional politics where
The onus is on us to choose a team
To shout from the sidelines, screaming, obscene
At each other whilst our pockets are picked
And we’re kicking each other, not against the pricks.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe moderately so?
To accept and embrace our communal faults for those
Impostors and invigorators, thoughts and feelings
Whilst simultaneously recognising
That humans are fundamentally good
If only we could listen more. If only we would.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Stages of Found Poetry: Below The Line (digital)

·         Prior to an event:
o   An editor or commissioning editor sees news value in an event
o   They select a reporter to cover it, based on reporter skills and knowledge of house style and/or political leanings of the publication
o   A deadline, wordcount and brief is given to the reporter

·         An event occurs
·         A reporter witnesses the event
·         The reporter writes about the event and submits the piece by deadline to the brief as above
·         A sub editor cleans copy for grammar, accuracy to house style as above, and selects a headline
o   To increase clickthroughs online
o   To draw readers to that article
o   To enable the advertising department to maximise views in order to sell ad space near the article at a higher rate
·         The editor may also go through the subbing process before putting the article live online
·         Comments are opened
·         Commenters offer their views
o   They will have had to sign up to the service either because a) they share the aims, bias and leanings of the publication, or b) they have strong views on the event and want to share them. It is not relevant if they are positive or negative
·         Comments enable more clickthroughs on an article as above re. ad space
·         The would-be poet searches through the comments to select suitable content
o   Based on rhyme, metre, pace, wording
o   Based on suitable content – either oppositional in nature or themed for the purposes of the piece
·         These comments are rearranged / decontexted / recontexted into recognisable ‘poetic’ forms
·         The poet-editor selects the format and writes a suitable headline
·         The poem/s are published on a website which may be itself subjected to the advertising metrics as above
·         News of the poems’ existence are published on social media, emails, and other forms of dissemination
·         Comments are published on the poems. These comments are subject to the same process of poetic selection/editing as above.

These circularities seek to reveal the bias at every stage, including that of the poet-editor, whose ostensibly neutral position is found to be nothing of the sort due to the extraction choices and poem-edit-creation above. The Internet’s structure is also revealed through these choices, specifically some of the relationship with advertising, funding, content and click counts, social media and self-selecting subsets of political-social groups, anonymity and accountability, et cetera.