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I have sent this to everyone I can think of to send it to. If anyone knows who Dankula’s MEP and local MP are, I will send it to them too.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you regarding the recent conviction, in Scotland, of Markus Meechan, also known by the Internet moniker of ‘Count Dankula’.

Somewhat over two years ago now, Mr Meechan played a prank on his girlfriend by training her pet pug to respond to Nazi phrases and to raise its paw in a Roman salute. He recorded this in a short comedy skit and uploaded it to YouTube (an online video sharing site). He prefaced with an explanation and description of what he was doing, to whit, turning his girlfriend’s pug (which she was also talking about and cooing over) into the least cute thing he could think of, a Nazi.

It is plain to anyone watching the video that this is a joke and that the butt of the joke (besides Meechan’s girlfriend) are the Nazis. They are being portrayed as terrible, as ‘the least cute thing’ possible and not in any way being glorified. Nor is genocide being normalised, nor any other such absurd claim.

Here is the video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro2aKSUIezY

Nonetheless, Meechan has been convicted of being ‘grossly offensive’.

Humour is subjective and a matter of taste, not a matter for the courts. Britain may not have a singular constitution, but it has a long tradition of edgy comedy and satire and a history of understanding and tolerance of jokes – dark and otherwise. While we remain part of Europe, we do have a codified right to free expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (within reasonable bounds). Humour appears, to me, to be within, reasonable bounds.

Whether Mr Meechan goes to jail or not, this issue has made Scotland, and the United Kingdom by extension, a laughing stock and has threatened the necessary freedom of expression required for the famous British sense of humour. The Pythons could have been charged under this precedent, Mitchell and Webb could have been, perhaps most perversely Mel Brooks could have been. The Producers would have been impossible under this threat. This is a legal precedent that cannot be allowed to be set if we are to retain any credibility in continuing to call ourselves a liberal, free and democratic country.

The ruling itself is far from the only problem with this trial or this arrest. There were no complaints about the video; rather the police solicited a complaint from one of their advisors. The media were informed before Meechan was, and were present to see him get arrested – a matter of some suspicion. The trial itself, over such a meaningless thing, has been dragged out over the course of years with numerous unnecessary delays and even courtroom filibustering and attempts to change the charge to an even more serious one – over a joke.

I implore you, as a historian, as a creator, as a citizen of the United Kingdom to do what you can to restore some dignity to our country and judiciary and to investigate this grievous miscarriage of justice. Free speech, free expression, has rarely been under so much attack as it is at present in the UK. There are increasing restrictions on the internet, the banning of certain kinds of expression, the barring of people from even entering the country for the wrong politics and – now – the overextension of ‘hate crime’ laws.

This decline needs to stop.

Sincerely,

James Desborough
Postmortem Studios

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22894023_10159431135450545_5381393710290992428_nAll the cool kids are doing it. So I set up a Discord server.

Here’s a link.

Join up and it’ll give you another path to talk to me and badger me.

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Gamergate coverThe complete playlist of Inside Gamergate is up.
You can find it HERE.
If you want to purchase the book you can find it at LULU and AMAZON.
“A fair glimpse at what really happened not the false narrative a corrupt media pushed.”
“This has to be the best telling of GG.”
“Read this if you want an accurate and well written depiction of gamergate as it would be presented by most of the “gators”. Every story has at least two sides, and this book is as good a pro-gamergate argument as you could hope to find.”
“It does a good job explaining Internet culture and the drama that revolved around the movement, It doesn’t come off as one sided or shove the message down the reader’s throat. If you have a friend or know anyone who doesn’t know anything about GamerGate I recommend showing them this book. “

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Buy it HERE.

I am waiting on proofs of the print version and after print copies are shipping to backers they will be more broadly available, an update will appear on this site when that happens.

This book exists to record, for posterity, the events of Gamergate from the perspective of someone within Gamergate.

There is a real danger that, what with the media bias against Gamergate, that the other side – the right side – will not get recorded. In the future, anyone looking back is likely to encounter an entirely one-sided version of events from people who have been acting very shadily.

As a participant in Gamergate, that worries me.

As a historian, that worries me.

As someone who cares about truth, fairness and accuracy, that worries me.

Gamergate coverI think I’m uniquely positioned to give an interesting take on what happened. I know the history, I can properly contextualise it within a timeline of other moral panics and responses. I participated in Gamergate. I’ve seen the aftermath of it. I’ve seen how it influenced things and how it fits into the broader culture war that has characterised the twenty-teens. I’ve been targeted by its enemies, who like to portray themselves as good people, and are anything but.

Mostly I want a record from this side, from this point of view. A counter-narrative to the one against Gamergate. Opposition to the stories being told by those who, despite mainly losing the cultural conflict that was Gamergate, are getting to enter their version of events into the record unopposed.

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InsideGG.jpgGamergate was many things to many people, depending on their perspective. For some it was a harassment campaign, even terrorism, for others a key fight for ethics, against censorship.

Sadly the prior view had all the mainstream attention and is likely to be the only point of view that will go into the long term record.

It’s important, for posterity, to present and record the other side.

I was part of Gamergate. I want to tell it’s own story. I want to correct the record.

Linkypooh

I’ve also done an interview about the project – and GG – which can be seen HERE.

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tongue sticking out

I got another lovely review for Old, Fat Punks – which is nice, but it came with some problems. As an independent writer with no self confidence, reviews are brilliant both for one’s self esteem (even, often, when they’re negative) and for garnering additional sales. When a couple – both writers and lovely people – both reviewed my book on the US Amazon site, it triggered some sort of automated script that deleted both reviews.

I tried appealing, they tried appealing, but all any of us seemed to get were more automated emails that didn’t seem to stem from a human being. We got nowhere.

You can read more about these shenanigans HERE.

For my part, I understand the need to avoid fake or malicious reviews, but these seems a bit odd. Couples often use the same products, read the same books and are enthusiastic about the same things. Even outside of couples, groups of friends often share housing for years at a time and, similarly, share similar interests. Not only is this creepily intrusive with your data, but it’s counterproductive for Amazon, sellers and consumers.

The really important part is, of course, the actual review…

I loved the book. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, thanks to Desborough’s clever wit. The setup is ingenious and hilarious: a group of middle-aged punk rocker friends meet in a pub that’s relevance is waning as surely as their own. After they go several rounds comparing sources of unhappiness and lamenting how futile it is to change the world for the better, they manage to hatch a plan that is as brilliant as it is doomed to fail. Or succeed? Does it even matter? The book is a must-read for anyone who craves another perspective on contemporary politics.

For me, this was a 5-star book, in that it was a thoroughly entertaining read, stayed true to its promise, and had zero flaws. It sucked me in and kept me riveted to the end, and I came to care about the characters and their issues, which are real and wholly felt. It resonated with me, and I think it would resonate with other readers.

But you should check out Lisa’s work as well. Clearly she’s a fine writer with excellent taste!

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