Tag Archives: exploitation

Stripping In Taverns, More Dignified Than Being A Talent Show Contestant

As I don’t watch talent-finding competitions, the issue has never been of much interest to me. Much about them seemed contrived, overdone, following a worn-out script designed to attract gawkiness and through it heaps of money.

However, speculation around shows such as The X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent only scratched the surface; there is a video detailing an actual contract one has to sign when auditioning for the latter.

Among the most disturbing aspects are the following.

Contestants sign over the rights to any intellectual property they have ever produced, to the company, to be used as the company sees fit.

Remember that old scene from Friends with the Smelly Cat song being sold to a company to be turned into a jingle? A small odd example, but that could literally happen to a contestant’s precious work of years or decades.

Imagine that, giving away your every composition, be it musical, written, filmed etc, to a pack of corporate sharks who put nothing towards it. Creating is a very intimate process and involves a lot of emotional attachment. Sometimes it evolves out of deep feelings a person has while going through a powerful life experience.

And technically, should it be found of some commercial value by the company, it could be used in any way. Technically, they could take a song you composed after the death of a loved one five years prior to auditioning and use it in an advert for kitty litter.

The same applies to content posted on social media, such as a channel on any given topic. They will now own years of putting hours and hours into an organic project of your own making. All that for the prospect of being controlled by them in the future.

Obviously, as the video details, anything you released that they find unpalatable, such as blogs or videos, is now at their discretion, to be left online or taken down. That could be years of time and effort invested, simply wiped away by your new owners.

If that is not selling your soul, I don’t know what is.

Contestants sign over their rights to their own image.

Anything ever released in public, containing your image, will belong to the company. That includes past, present and future material.

Which means you can no longer retrieve previously posted material should you choose to do so, and should the company decide to leave it online, it’s staying there.

When merely grasping at a chance to become famous, a person possibly doesn’t consider the carelessly posted images or footage hardly anyone has an interest in except for friends or family. Should they want to remove it later, they’ll have to go through their new owners.

Of course this applies to any footage, even personal (family holiday photos etc) for the duration of the contract. Hell, they’ll own your wedding photos I suppose, if they are publicly shared, and of course that cannot happen without their permission (details below).

Now consider this situation: someone hacks your computer or phone and retrieves some nudes, and then publishes them. Stupid as it is, people do take and keep such photos. Your nudes, if published, even against your will, will be owned by the company as agreed by contract. The company decides whether to pursue a course of action to have them removed or whether it would be more beneficial to leave them in place. As an individual you might be able to go to the police about the hacking, but you have no right to those images. So basically you are signing away the right to prospectively keep your toby or vagina off the internet, and any other humiliating material. Your toby or vagina is now a commercial asset.

Illegally obtained paparazzi footage? Another celebrity might be able to take them to court and have the images removed, if they were trespassing or using other such methods. But you won’t because the company now owns them all.

Contestants who get to the semifinals give up their right to express themselves in public, in any way, shape or form, unless authorised by the company by written consent.

In other words, before even replying to a comment on Facebook or Twitter, which hundreds of millions of people freely do on a daily basis on a coffee break, you must ask permission from the company. As the author of the video broods, it’s no wonder people who are on a contract with these fuckers are so silent.

That is infuriating and I can only imagine it feels like being in prison or in a witness protection program, while trying to live a normal life. It must be very isolating to have less options to express an opinion than a ten-year-old.

How does this fare with the Human Rights Convention? Is it legal to force a person to live like this if they change their mind?

The company can keep renewing the licence to your content in perpetuity.

That is to say, if you lose your market value to them, you might get the rights to your content back and be freed from the devil’s grasp.

But should they decide they can keep milking you, they are free to do so for as long as they like, even long after you have concluded that the deal was  shitty to begin with.

This is not collaboration or employment, it’s ownership of another person’s labour and basically falls short of ownership of that person as well.

Contestants who suffer as a result of the company’s actions cannot sue the company.

This is a major one, because half of those becoming involved in talent shows are lured there in order to be turned into laughing stocks, nationally and internationally, for monetary profit, which can have a major negative impact on their lives. By the time they realise this it’s too late.

Some of them are very young and naive, not very literate or even psychologically frail and prone to exploitation. Many do not fully read or understand what they are signing. The producers are not only aware of it but banking on it.

And as has been exposed before, some who are observably vulnerable are pursued by such shows in order to be ridiculed as much as possible. There was a Welsh lady, a few years ago, pestered by representatives of the X Factor to re-audition (three or four times); she was even offered free lodging and transport. Exploiting her in order to turn her into the subject of mockery was vomit-inducing.

People watching these shows are probably not aware that no one wanders in there off the street. Everyone enjoying the “privilege” of national and international ridicule, for years to come, goes through a series of auditions first and is deliberately misled into thinking they have a chance.

This is an obvious breach of trust, morally fraudulent at least; it can and does result in people ending up with depression and suicidal thoughts. They are systematically, cruelly lured into having their lives turned upside-down for the profit of these sharks.

It really should be illegal.

By signing that contract they obviously don’t understand (since they don’t even understand the practical perils of these shows), they are giving up the right to complain about being deceived and exploited.

Sliming which is one inch away from defamation is made legal by this contract.

Whereas defamation involves spreading lies in order to destroy someone’s reputation, the techniques employed by these shows don’t fall far behind, in terms of portraying people inaccurately by splicing and piecing together bits and bobs to make them look ridiculous.

They don’t have to make anything up; all they have to do is manipulate the content you provide them with in order to create a certain image.

One particularly cruel method the X Factor uses in the so-called “judges’ houses” (rented properties where said celebrities briefly show up) is depriving contestants of food and water for long periods of time, in scorching heat, to then film people who are physically sick and dehydrated, creating the impression they are agitated or even freaking out.

They can be portrayed as emotionally unstable or hysterical by inducing physical malaise, as arrogant for reacting negatively when prodded, or as less talented by deliberately giving them tasks which can’t be optimally accomplished (putting together groups which don’t sound well, mandating they sing songs which don’t suit their voices etc). All this is done for entertainment and in order to obtain as many flops as possible.

Sometimes they make them dress ridiculously on purpose.

Adding to that, they can, as stipulated by the contract, demand that contestants behave in certain ways in front of the camera and then release the footage as genuine, leading viewers to believe that is your actual behaviour and personality. Whilst it takes a dash of stupidity to actually do it, some people don’t realise the consequences the so-called silliness can have.

One contestant who couldn’t cry on cue for the camera to produce the staple sob story was let go of shortly after.

In conclusion, they are treated like monkeys in a circus, to be exploited in any way and for as long as possible, and nothing more. No one deserves that, especially when going there in all honesty.

Conservatives Using Bona Fide Pro-Life Voters

It’s a known fact that issues such as abortion, the nuclear family and values inspired by religion are still used as leverage in western countries by the political right, making it appear more humanist by giving it a spiritual, ethical dimension, which as a whole it does not possess.

Due to the contradictions listed below, this right wing stance seems a mere ploy to lure well-intended voters who feel increasingly cornered by cultural Marxism, as well as disenfranchised amidst rapid, radical changes to their societies.

After elaborating on their stance on abortion, conservative pundits or commentators immediately imply that in order for it to become the norm, conservatism must be adopted as a package, even if the rest of its precepts are harmful (and potentially murderous) to other vulnerable people.

It is my conclusion that abortion laws are not intended for change by the “system behind the system”, as whenever conservatives do reach power, this issue, so often brought up during campaigns, is cast aside and suffers no significant alterations in the end. As a side observation, they are probably aware that changing the law overnight will not end this phenomenon, after generations have already been brought up to be nihilistic.

Progressive nihilism aside, the right-wing ideology in and of itself contributes greatly to the reasons abortions are sought.

Being pro-life, akin to many other stances attributed to a political persuasion, is not a partisan issue, but a human issue.

 

Berating single mothers and poor families, claiming they “breed for benefits”

Perhaps this should be the first (flaming) red flag when dealing with those who stand against abortion, at the same time incriminating people in a precarious financial situation as irresponsible for conceiving children, either willingly or accidentally.

Some of the main causes of abortion are economic instability, conceiving outside of marriage and the fear of a ruined future (disrupted studies, a diversion from the envisaged trajectory in life etc). Conservatives do nothing to encourage expecting mothers to preserve the hope that they can manage life in this situation. On the contrary – they continually berate them as failures, as promiscuous and future spongers off the state, thus making them think society will shame them if they carry the pregnancy to term. Voices on the far right are known to call for the sterilisation of poor or uneducated people (as the Daily Gutter Mail comment section demonstrates).

In fact, though the general impression is that Planned Parenthood is a product of leftist culture (due to its current support by progressives), its founder, Margaret Sanger, was a renowned eugenicist seeking to purge the US of categories she thought brought nothing to its advancement. She is now chucked in with the cultural Marxist threat, some conservatives failing to see many of their fellow right-wingers openly share Sanger’s views.

By demonising (or even demolishing) the welfare state and cutting assistance for pregnant women in difficult situations, conservatives are going to cause an increase in the number of abortions, not a decrease.

It should be noted that the “poor people should not be allowed to breed” mentality comes at a time when western countries are seeing a downward spiral in reproduction, to the degree of irreversible damage. And still, they insist having children is only moral within the (often temporary) confines of marriage and only when reaching a certain (often temporary) financial situation, which leads to high rates of infertility due to women postponing motherhood. Some of the same people argue women should be encouraged to stay at home and raise families – while aware one provider is often no longer able to secure a high enough income nowadays (not enough to meet their material criteria anyway).

Whereas the left paints the picture of its own utopia, so does the right, without recognising that the “quiet suburban dream” is no longer attainable for many.

Disdain for universal healthcare 

You’d think ideologues who care so much about every human being would extend their preoccupation to those who are already born (or pregnant). The reality is right-wingers abhor health care programs aimed at assisting financially disadvantaged people, whom they perceive (and publicly depict) as scroungers.

It looks awfully like they’d be willing to let people die unassisted so healthcare could be focused solely on “those who deserve it” (those who pay into the system). Of course, governments don’t ask for public consent when they spend money on foreign wars, yet when it comes to constructing an internal scapegoat, where taxes go suddenly begins to matter.

As a rational human being, one can only wonder why keeping everyone alive is not the foremost priority of any establishment, next to which anything comes second. Anyhow, claiming to be a supporter of everyone’s right to life and at the same time seeking to deprive vulnerable people of medical coverage is contradictory. 

Warmongering and disregarding civilian “casualties”

Equally perplexing, especially among conservative Christians, is the support for military operations abroad, as results are reported back in the form of statistics, after the dead have been counted, many of them innocent civilians, whose lives should matter just as much as those in the west.

One cannot argue for the sacredness of life since conception while turning a blind eye to the massacres committed, in real time, in the name of imperialism.

Disdain for immigrants who apparently “breed like rabbits” and their “anchor babies”

We’re being overrun. It’s like a locust invasion. It’s white genocide. We’ll be minorities in our own countries in 20 years’ time.

The fine, fine irony of this matter is that most of these immigrants come from more conservative countries, which have not yet taken the progressive route. But their traditionalism and strong family values are not wanted by these conservatives. I’m not referring to the warped idea of religious fundamentalists regarding family life, but to the fact that in poorer countries, hedonism and nihilism tend to be less popular. Let’s take Hispanics in the US as an example. In Mexico alone, according to the latest census, 93% of people are Christian and typically have more than one child per family. The type of traditional life US conservatives would approve of, if their own (nation, race) adopted it.

Meanwhile, their children are, when parents are undocumented, referred to as “anchor babies”, which is dehumanising and derisory, as if they had less potential than their peers. The right-wing public discourse is that they don’t deserve to coexist and study with native children, implying they were “born for the wrong reasons”.

 

For those who are pro-life, conservatism might look like the only option forward – if they believe that politicians and pundits are indeed sincere in their intentions, and choose to ignore the rest of the proposed reforms, seeing this one issue as the most important.

Personally, I understand this and sympathise, but I do not think for a second that it’s anything more than empty rhetoric on conservatives’ part.

If any legislation is passed, it will be punitive and not compassionate or educational, as a culture of genuine compassion is the last thing they seem to be interested in. They certainly do not consider every human being, born or not, a person. These are the same people who advocate for dropping bombs on foreign towns and villages; the same people who advocate tearing families apart through deportation.

The same people who manifest visceral disgust towards the underprivileged, whether they are poor, uneducated, ill, unfairly stigmatised as dangerous or undocumented. What would lead us to think they are really preoccupied with the unborn?

My logical conclusion is that it’s an issue of supply and demand, of securing a voter niche; securing the loyalty of those who reject progressive views in that sense. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

 

Internet Cult Posing As A Philosophy Group

People who have recently been exposed to Freedomain Radio podcasts and videos probably accessed them for an in-depth analysis of current events, as the material seems quite popular with the sceptic “community”, as well as the alt-right (the two seeming to fuse nowadays on social media).

Unbeknownst to new listeners, this group is a proper cult aimed at reaching young people at the age of individuation; it used to convince them to separate from their families by cutting all contact, a practice known as “defooing”, which has its dedicated website for members, defoo.org, reminiscent of Scientology or the Exclusive Brethren. Although apparently the advocacy for this has stopped (perhaps for legal reasons) the consequences remain.

The young people lured through discussions about politics, ethics, dogmas and so forth were encouraged to analyse their entire lives in ways which would lead them to think their families were morally corrupt and sabotaging them psychologically, at an age of being prone to rebelling naturally, which exacerbated the effect. They were encouraged to move out of their homes, which led to homelessness in various cases and at least one suicide, leaving behind dumbfounded families who only understood what had happened when discovering their children’s interest in Freedomain Radio.

From the start, members were told it was their duty to “get out there” and “become active” in order to help create a better world, and that occasional support such as the odd donation or product purchase was not enough for them to consider themselves “part of the conversation”.

As former members recounted, the group went way beyond what abuse recovery forums do, as it encouraged them to publicly berate the families trying to bring them back, even reading out private letters and emails for the world to hear, which reaches a deeply disturbing level of arrogance. Instead of the promised liberation, young people found themselves increasingly depersonalised, at least two describing a loss of interest for anything outside of group discussions.

Ad-hoc psychoanalysis was used by the leader to mimic a deep bond and understanding; it was also employed towards “recovering repressed memories”, in order to further antagonise them against their parents or even siblings and friends. They even used to provide those who wished to leave their families with a standard “goodbye letter”, in case they felt they could not formulate their own. Moreover, some of the most dedicated members ended up living together after “defooing”.

The group remains very popular today, continuing to attract those who consider themselves anti-system. Akin to any cult, they reject what their former peers have brought to light and berate them for being “weak enough to return to their morally corrupt families”.

There is plenty material on YouTube and dedicated sites, consisting of testimonies from former members and their loved ones, as well as the input of cult experts, confirming the nature of these dynamics.