On Terrorism

Wild Webmink

Some politicians seem to act as if “terrorism” means a terrible crime committed by someone who doesn’t fit the speaker’s own racial & religious profile. Just because something induces terror in some or many people, that doesn’t make it terrorism. That diminishes the concept as well as grouping routine crime – for which society has millennia of experience and solutions – into the same bucket as a more subtle and serious phenomenon that preys on the meshed society.

Terrorism isn’t just performing a terrifying act. It’s provoking society’s immune system into attacking itself, making its defence systems attack the values and people they are supposed to be defending. Terrorism is an autoimmune disorder of democracy. You don’t fight terrorism by attacking the virus; you fight it by strengthening the immune system.

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Why Tony Abbott’s Downfall Might be Bad for Australia

Tony Abbott

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of #libspill, the spill motion proposed and backed by three Western Australian MP’s, a motion that could see Tony Abbott ousted after only 16 months in office. I don’t blame anyone for salivating over this prospect. After all, his attacks on the things that make Australia great (health and welfare safety nets, HECS, foreign aid, the ABC, stance against racial discrimination, the NBN, action on climate change and science, to name a few) have been relentless. Putting a stop to this unfair austerity is paramount. Not to mention the beautiful irony of the Liberals experiencing the very instability they spent years mocking Labor for.

However, as tempting as it sounds, I worry Abbott’s deposition would be a danger to progressive Australia. The short term benefits would be great, but ultimately it doesn’t matter who is captain, the ship will still be the same. The Liberal party have an agenda and it won’t be stopped by a change of leader. They will still demonize asylum seekers and welfare recipients, still try to erode Medicare and workplace rights, still attack tertiary education, still look after their mates in mining and ignore (or go backwards on) climate change. Whether Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison or Malcolm Turnbull is at the helm, the direction will be the same.

In fact, the spill presents the risk of getting a better, more charismatic leader like Turnbull, who may have more success selling the Liberal message. Thankfully, the incompetence of Abbott and Joe Hockey have spared us some of the worst cuts from the 2014 budget, however I feel Turnbull may have more luck. Turnbull has a lot of support in the progressive community, with many people believing he is a closet Leftie. While he has stated his support for marriage equality and action on climate change in the past, we have been reminded recently that politicians lie. Turnbull has aligned himself solidly with the Liberal message and I believe any Left trust in him is misplaced.

Abbott’s continued leadership is, by far, the most damaging thing to the Liberal party. The longer he stays PM, the more Australians he will offend, embarrass with his non-stop gaffes or threaten with austerity until there will be nobody left to support him or his party. Even die-hard conservatives have jumped ship after the Prince Philip knighthood fiasco, no longer able to defend the PM after so many insane decisions. People have long memories, especially when they’ve been lied to or been the target of cuts and contempt.

My hope would be for Abbott to sail through tomorrow’s spill unopposed. The fact that a spill was even attempted hurts the Liberal party, but I want to see him carry on with his current course, approval rating plummeting, until he has driven the hate so deep into Australia’s collective mind that it will last multiple terms of government. I want Abbott to ride his sinking ship all the way to the next election and see him absolutely destroyed.

The NEW Ill Amalgam: A Blog About Everything

It has been a long time between drinks at Ill Amalgam HQ. Working two jobs plus doing a masters degree doesn’t leave a whole lot of spare time for blogging. I have been attempting to stay engaged; with the hip-hop world, with politics, with other stuff, but most of my writing energy has been put into uni essays. I think this has resulted in my opinions being forced upon friends and family in person. So to spare them that torture, I’m going to attempt to start writing again!

I have also decided to permanently stop posting on Ill Amalgam’s sister blog The Offensively Unfashionable and consolidate all my thoughts into one place. The Offensively Unfashionable won’t be taken down, so if you’re interested in video games, Australian politics, media or various other topics, you can check that out here.

This means Ill Amalgam will become a blog about EVERYTHING! There will probably still be a bit of hip-hop, but it will be amalgamated with whatever else I feel like. The best bit is the name still works! Over the next few weeks I’ll work on transitioning the site’s visuals to reflect its new content.

I hope you enjoy Ill Amalgam’s new direction. I’m excited to start writing again, and much less daunted having only one blog to write on instead of two. Two blogs, what was I thinking? So greedy.

Cheers.

GRAPHS! Hip-hop in numbers.

There are few things I enjoy more than some sweet visual data representation, so when these hip-hop related studies popped up you can imagine my nerdgasm.

The Largest Vocabulary in Hip Hop by Matt Daniels

Graph 1

This study compares Shakespeare’s famously vast vocabulary with modern day rappers. Very interesting to see who comes out on top, and which popular rappers don’t fare so well. I’d love an Australian version of this to see how we stack up on the global stage.

Big Picture Music Timeline by Google

Graph 2

Based on data from Google Play Music, this interactive graph compares the popularity of various sub-genres and artists within the hip-hop sphere. It’s probably not the broadest sample but interesting nonetheless. Go here to see how hip-hop compares against over genres of music.

Hottest 100 of 2013

Hottest 100

It’s that time of year again. The time where you choose your favorite hip-hop songs of the past twelve months, painstakingly whittle them down to a mere ten, head to a BBQ pool party with your mates, turn the radio up and listen with gradually increasing disappointment while local hip-hop gets underrepresented once again. That’s right, it’s the Triple J Hottest 100!

I don’t listen to the radio. Partly because I don’t have a radio, and partly because all Australian radio is horrible. “What’s better, cats or dogs? Give us a call!” Jesus fuck. Triple J is the best we’ve got, and it’s okay, sometimes. But the good stuff is lost amongst all the indie/folk bullshit. This is why all my new music comes from albums I buy or bands I find online. To be honest, I usually recognise a good handful of songs from the 100, purely through not living under a rock. But this year, when my sister told me her money was on Lorde picking up #1, I had to youtube who that was. This year when I cast my votes, I had to add four songs manually because I couldn’t find ten tracks in the song list that I liked. That is a sure sign I’m losing touch with society.

Here are my favorite songs from 2013, in no particular order:

  • Bliss N Eso – Reservoir Dogs (featuring 360, Pez, Seth Sentry & Drapht)
  • Busta Rhymes – Thank You (featuring Q-Tip, Kanye West & Lil Wayne)
  • Kanye West – New Slaves
  • Mantra – Loudmouth
  • Spit Syndicate – Amazing
  • Horrorshow – Unfair Lottery
  • Force – Rep What We Rep (featuring Tommy Illfigga)
  • Known Associates – Ashes to Dust
  • Dialect and Despair – Low Pro
  • The Tongue – Rhymin’

The last four were the ones added in manually, presumably because they weren’t on the Triple J rotation. Check them out if you haven’t heard them, they’re great! The most difficult thing about this year’s vote was trying to decide which Horrorshow track to put in. King Amongst Many is an incredible album start to finish. Another tough decision was whether to include the Busta Rhymes track given its horrible Emirates product placement and the fact that Yeezy and Weezy are both credited as feature artists yet neither of them actually drop a verse. Kanye is good, but a few “uh” and “yeh” noises from him doesn’t entitle him to a spot in the track features. Q-Tip is great though.

I wonder how many years I have left in me before I don’t even bother voting or listening, and spend Australia Day tuned into Goonbag Radio alone like a grumpy old man.