Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

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Double standards are divisive

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You see? JC and Muhammed are friends

First of all I would like to apologise for the hiatus but I am flat out and snowed under at work. My new boss is a slave driver and I’ve been literally working 16 hours a day for these past 2 weeks.

Now that I got this out of the system, I can finally start to vent my frustrations again. As early as last Month, Comedy Central censored an episode of South Park because it mocked the Prophet Muhammed. Now this is bad, and it’s not the mockery of Muhammed I’m talking about, but the censorship. I believe that people should be free to make fun of symbols and leaders – be they political or religious – and I don’t agree with censorship on the basis that the humour may offend others.

I’m sure that any kind of joke on any subject is bound to offend someone at some point. The fish breeders association, for instance, may be offended by someone who links fish with stupidity because of their short term memory loss. This is the way I see it: if you feel offended by something you’re watching on TV, change channel. If you are offended by something that someone said during a live show in a theatre, walk out. You are actually free to do so.

I can never come to terms with the idea that some people want to stop others from doing what they do because the patronising idiots don’t like the other performer’s work. Get a life.

Having said that, I am completely allergic to double standards. So the same Comedy Central TV station that censored the South Park episode less than a month ago is now working on an animated series based on Christ. I’m no fan of any religion, but if South Park was censored on the basis of religion, why are they making a whole series to mock JC?

The Western world tends to be more tolerant than the Muslim world, and many people in the West think that it is OK to mock religion while the same cannot be said of the Muslim world. However, Comedy Central have now set a precedent and they should be consistent.

It is precisely this kind of behaviour from fellow Westerners that is fomenting religious divisions in different societies. Just because Muslims are VERY vociferous and dogmatic they should not get a special treatment. Comedy Central needs to have a clear policy on religious mockery. It should decide whether this is acceptable (and I agree it is), or not. Applying double standards is unjust and, ultimately, divisive.

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Written by mickeymalta

08/05/2010 at 10:47

Ban the internet – it’s bad for our souls

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The perfect citizen for our moral crusaders' dream world

Our moral crusaders have been working hard to protect our souls from eternal damnation. They have been exposing their poor souls at risk by exposing themselves to filth in order to ensure that nothing dirty gets through. God bless them! They’re so kind. We should be so grateful to them.

Tereza Scissorhands et al deserve recognition for their efforts to shelter us from all evil of this world. I would really like to join them keep our sacred place clean. Let’s entrench the law that bans anyone from offending public morals in our constitution. Let’s take our cue from the GREAT Paul Vincenti, God bless him, and start a new movement called Gift of Guard.

Let’s strengthen our bastions to save the Rockers’ souls from the onslaught of the infidel around us. Let’s go one step further from our mentors – the leaders of China. Let’s start by banning the internet. There’s a lot of filth out there poking fun at our beliefs. There’s a lot of offensive material. Let the Crusaders of The Truth exercise their God-given-right to offer the protection we need.

Amen.

Written by mickeymalta

26/02/2010 at 16:51

No world outside The Rock

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Our indifference towards news that matters most is far worse than this kind of imagery intended to mock Darwin

Our indifference towards news that matters most is far worse than this kind of imagery intended to mock Darwin

Last Wednesday, The Independent (in the UK) ran an intriguing front page story entitled: “Fertility Expert: I can clone a human being” . Furthermore, he claimed to have cloned 14 human embryos and transferred 11 of them into the wombs of four women who had been prepared to give birth to cloned babies.

This is ground breaking news as human cloning is illegal in many countries, and it’s at the centre of many debates about bio-ethics.

Human cloning is the most controversial subject in science, and it also raises a number of ethical and spiritual issues. It is not just another scientific experiment. There are huge implications about what is morally right , the extent to which shall man play god, whether the clone will have a soul, and other issues. The newspapers here have been running follow-up stories for these last two days, and while I was checking Maltese papers on-line, I found no report about this. The Rock newspapers and news portals are inundated with reports about the usual useless petty political squabbles, routine court reports – our own version of gossip/paparazzi pages, requests from carnival enthusiasts, and news about ATMs being installed here and there.

This is not the first time. This year marks another important milestone in science history. Last February, the world – except The Rock – celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday, and this coming November, the world – with the guaranteed exception of The Rock – will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book ‘On the Origin of Species’. Our ignorance and indifference towards these events are ‘historical events’ themselves.

For those who bother to be aware that there is a huge world outside the rock – where significant things do happen very often – here are the links to the follow-up stories:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/fertility-expert-i-can-clone-a-human-being-1672095.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/steve-connor-this-procedure-cant-be-ethical-until-it-is-proven-safe-1672096.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/exclusive-video-the-creation-of-a-human-clone-designed-to-be-transferred-into-a-womans-womb-1672335.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/scientists-and-ethicists-unite-to-attack-doctors-clone-plan-1672701.html

The rest can keep watching trash television, and read about their nearest ATM.

Written by mickeymalta

24/04/2009 at 15:31

Posted in Blog Main Page, Media

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MaltaBeano

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Maltatoday and Beano share the same logo colours. Is my first read on Sunday turning into a comic now? Is Dennis the Menace the role model for MaltaToday?

Maltatoday and Beano share the same logo colours. Is my first read on Sunday turning into a comic now? Is Dennis the Menace the role model for MaltaToday?

I have been a regular MaltaToday customer and reader since its first issue, and I must say that I’m disappointed to see this paper going through a very bad phase – content wise – that is. It is being ‘managed emotionally’, and it REALLY shows.

MaltaToday is steadly turning into that kind of sensationalist newspaper that takes a kick out of negative events. Lately it has been flaunting the bad economic situation, and it seems to be preaching doom. There is only a certain degree of negativism that can be presented to the readers. If one goes over this limit, the product beomes boring. Alfred Sant is a typical example of negativity and the result that ensues.

Last Sunday’s story is a case in point, where David Darmanin’s report about Jason Micallef and Toni Abela’s ‘invitation issue’ made the front page, and then it turned out that the story missed some important ‘fine details’ that would have made this story far more irrelevant.

Yesterday’s edition lambasted Jason Micallef for not informing the newspaper last week that he had spoken to a clerk at the ‘House of Representatives’. The newspaper is right to be livid at Micallef’s omission of information. However, basic rules in investigative journalism dictate that whoever is investigating a story should speak to all parties concerned and listen to their version of events.

If the journalist covering this story did his homework properly, he would have found out which office was responsible for issuing these invitations, and would have asked for a comment accordingly. It is not rocket science; just textbook behaviour. Worse still, his editor and news editor failed to point this out. Had they done so, the newspaper would have been saved from the embarrassment of running a front page story based on information that will later result in being incomplete.

My impression is that there was such an adrenaline rush in the newsroom at the prospect of embarrassing Dr George Abela on his very first minutes (MaltaToday has been recently insisting on highlighting Dr Abela’s past ‘mishaps’), that the excitement prevented the people involved from thinking clearly. A whole and thorough investigation should have followed this issue, yet for some reason, it didn’t. This hasty behaviour doesn’t give a good image to the newspaper. A definite no no for a newspaper that tries to find fault in every single person, issue, and event. This, in itself, is good and journalism should not be about regurgitating politicians’ statements.

I’m sorry to say that mistakes like these cost the newspaper its credibility.

On a different issue, the paper’s Managing Editor seems to have chosen to embarrass two of his contributors. He’s been doing this for some time now. I must admit that I read Saviour Balzan’s column regularly as I find some of his insights, how shall I put it . . . . . “interesting”?

I have nothing personal against this guy. In fact, I never met him and I never spoke to him. However, I think that a person who preaches about ethics; constantly criticises people for their actions; and criticises all other newspapers and media houses for the products they offer must be extra careful and think a 1,000 times before taking any form of action.

For some weeks now, he has been running The one-minute resto crit. To start off with, this piece is a gazillion light years away from Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager series as Blanchard gives concise and sound advice about the issue that the particular book deals with. Balzan’s contribution is only made up of a poor generic description of the restaurant’s main product, the address, and average price per person. If this is critique, then the Yellow Pages must be an encyclopaedia for restaurant critics.

However, the issue here is not Balzan’s review skills. The real issue is that his behaviour is obnoxious, demeaning and condescending towards MaltaToday’s own restaurant critic. The very same newspaper engaged a long time established restaurant critic whose website boasts of thousands of visitors every day. On Daphne’s blog, there were people who claimed that they actually buy the paper just for Mona’s Meals. Yet, Balzan’s decision to do his own ‘reviews’ conveys the message that he is not satisfied with his contributor’s work.

And if this is not enough, he is now taking the habit of lambasting another contributor – Vince Farrugia. To clarify, I agree with Balzan’s comments on Farrugia, and I think that the PN’s move to approach Farrugia is poor indeed. However, I don’t think that there’s any other newspaper in the world that officially picks on its own contributors and, above all, awards them the sarcastic Man of the Week spot!

These things should be dealt with professionally and internally. If he thinks that Farrugia is a twat, then he shouldn’t have him on the contributors’ list. It’s like a restaurant owner telling patrons not to accept food delivered by a particular server.

This is even worse than having one of MaltaToday’s journalists publishing an article against Balzan on the same paper; as this is a top-down issue. Staff don’t choose their bosses, but the opposite is true. So if Balzan isn’t amused by Farrugia’s behaviour, he should deal with the issue professionally by discussing it and agreeing on a desired outcome.

I am very disappointed at this kind of behaviour, and I truly hope that MaltaToday will walk its talk.

Written by mickeymalta

13/04/2009 at 13:07

Posted in Blog Main Page, Media

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Mhux kollox ighaddi . . . .

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Sale Sale Sale. Sale at San Anton Palace. Everything must go. All items at half price.

Sale Sale Sale. Sale at San Anton Palace. Everything must go. All items at half price.

If I didn’t know who the person in the picture is, I would have thought that this is a promotional poster for a retail outlet where everything’s half price: half flags, half a lampshade, half a fireplace, half a chair, half a clock. The expression kollox nofs kedda fits the bill perfectly.

This picture is a joke, but the sad news is that it wasn’t meant to be that way. I don’t want to give the impression that I comment on issues just for the sake of it, and at a first glance, one may think that the President’s official photo is a non issue. It is. In normal counties, though. His is the zone where normal things don’t happen very often, and even simple routine events like taking the President’s photo end up being an issue. The main reason: shear amateurism.  Even a circus monkey would have done a better job.

The photo should have never made it outside the printing lab. Even I could do a better job. Yet, the President’s team and the DOI failed to see it, and it had to be Joe public to point out that this is simply not acceptable. Now, they are pondering whether they should distribute another picture. I don’t know why they’re taking so long to decide. This is photo is simply a non starter.

The real issue is not whether Dr Abela looks good, or whether he should sit or stand. The issue is that there’s a complete lack of pride when it comes to ‘official icons’. How many times have you seen a national flag still flying after dusk, or at night? I can never forget the grey (as opposed to white) and red flag at the post office in my childhood. The poor flag hadn’t been washed for decades.

Unfortunately, Mintoff’s attitude towards protocol seems to have rubbed off on many people. Worse still, it seems to be carved (or shall I use entrenched?) into our general collective psyche. Would you imagine the photo incident ever happening in the US, or the UK? Forget it. In many countries, anything that symbolises the nation (be it the flag, the President’s / Monarch’s photo, or any other symbol) is sacred. There’s no way that people will treat them with disrespect.

This is not a film set where one is allowed to have a number of takes until the director is satisfied. It is  neither a release of some cheap Beta version software awaiting testers’ feedback. This is official business, but those responsible for this mess seem to be oblivious to the cliché that image is everything. I bet my head that even his passport photo would have looked better.

In contrast with the popular saying, this photo conveys the message that whole is smaller than the sum of the parts.

Written by mickeymalta

11/04/2009 at 17:51

Posted in Blog Main Page, Media

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Maj lingwistikk dajlema

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Is it a dilemma or a dajlema?

Is it a 'dilemma' or a 'dajlema'?

I am one of the many people who cringe when they see words spelt like: “kowc”, “bagit”, “junjin”, and other strange looking words in a language we called “Minglixx” (pronounced Minglish using English phonetics).

At school, my friends and I used to take the mickey (no pun intended) out of grammatical mistakes by writing phonetic Maltese which was identical to the examples I just cited. Little did we know that this would have inspired the Maltese language gurus who turned this into official language!!!!

Now it’s all over the place: newspapers, books, television and magazines. It’s a complete eyesore and I hate this form of ‘grammar’ with a passion. When I look at this issue purely from an emotional viewpoint, I reach my verdict in 0.0000000000000000001 seconds. Flush this language down the toilet. Punto e basta.

However, when you look at this issue from a logical, practical, and linguistic point of view, you can understand the validity of our gurus’ logic. Let’s take a word that we use practically every day. The verb ‘to park’ in Maltese is ‘tipparkja’. It doesn’t look awful doesn’t it? It’s all psychological. I think that it doesn’t look bad (at least in my eyes) because all the letters in this word have their own proper sound.  Hence the word looks Maltese.

On the other hand, the ‘oa’ in ‘coach’ is replaced by the ‘ow’ in ‘kowc’. This looks absolutely ridiculous and phoney.  Having said that, if we had to use the verb ‘coaching’, ‘tikkowcja’ looks much more appropriate than ‘tikcoachja’.

There’s more. Take ‘spray’ for example. If we had to keep the original English spelling (which I would prefer – on an emotional level), would tisprayja work? Definitely not. It’s a smorgasbord of different languages with disastrous results. It’s akin to using zalzett tal-Malti instead of pork to create a Chine/Maltese sweet and sour recipe.

Malti Safi enthusiasts may rebut this claim by asserting that we have a semitic word for this, and therefore there should be no issue. The Maltese word is ‘tharreg’ but this is not a correct replacement of ‘coaching’. Tahrig is training and there is a marked difference between coaching and training.

While I believe that the gurus are wrong to change the structure of plurals (like ghelieqi instead of eghlieqi; and ghasafar instead of aghsafar) because of popular ignorance towards the structure (which is quite easy when you realise that ‘Razzett”s changes form to  ‘Irziezet’ – the vowel precedes the first consonant), I can understand that the only way to make ‘imported’ words work is by giving them a Maltese structure.

Written by mickeymalta

05/04/2009 at 11:13

Posted in Blog Main Page, Media

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20 questions on G20

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This is an interesting link from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/31/g20. This page currently tops the list on the ‘Most Viewed on guardian.co.uk’.

I wonder why our media never come up with this kind of stuff. Instead of wasting time covering politicians cutting ribbons and utterung senseless rhetoric, they can start trying to be journalists rather than comic book writers. The tragedy is that they’re not even good at that!

Written by mickeymalta

31/03/2009 at 09:02

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