Sunday, 11 January 2015

Famine Sitcom

When I first heard that Channel 4 was supposed to be commissioning a sitcom set in the Irish famine I thought it was disgraceful and insulting. I was listening to The History Show with Myles Dungan on RTE radio 1 before writing this and he had a discussion with two men from both sides of the argument, for and against. I don't know the name of the historian that was against it but his argument against it was valid, pointing out as an example the story of a woman trying to escape to a better life who was refused entry to a ship in Limerick docks because a child had a disease that the child, and subsequently the mother eventually succumbed to. Also that it would still touch a nerve here and asking the question how can you make a sitcom out of something so serious. Myles put the point to him about free speech and the guy understood but said if it is made he won't be watching it, although at the same time he wouldn't be for violent protest or placarding the station either as people have the right to free speech.
On the other side of the argument was Blind Boy from the Rubber Bandits. He pointed out Jonathan Swift's satire "A Modest Proposal". He said it was written shortly before an earlier famine (not THE famine) and was a scathing swipe at the British upper class and British foreign policy and their attitudes towards the Irish (which was a major contributor to famine here). Blackadder's series set during WW1 also satirised the incompetence of some of the leaders that lead to so many deaths and another dark period in history that was portrayed successfully in a sitcom. So his argument was that if a sitcom about the famine was done right it had the potential to be one of the great satires of our time and maybe do some form of justice to the victims.
The famine sitcom is also meant to be written by an Irish man. So instead of passing judgment I'm now going to wait and see. After all Channel 4 did make the classic comedy Fr. Ted. So maybe it will work.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Community

I was on yahoo a few weeks ago when, what looked like, a new social networking site was advertised. I decided to try it out. The first thing I noticed when filling out the subscription form was that in the education section it requested you put in what university you attended. I found this a bit condescending to be honest because not everyone is academic and educated in that way. University was the only education option. So I ignored it and continued with the subscription and registration process.
I left it at that and intended returning to add a photo and trying it out another day. Over Christmas I got an email about a notification. Someone tried to make contact. Two people in fact. One was from a woman that used to be in the US army and another from someone in Senegal. I Googled the names (as you do) and lo and behold there were items about spammers using the very names of the people that tried to contact me through this new social networking website - even the US army veteran scam. So I logged in to the site a few days ago and browsed the messages. It was very easy to tell that the so-called "US army veteran" didn't write with a fluidity of American English that you'd expect. It was more in the style of an African on a dating website. At least the person from "Senegal" didn't try to pretend that they weren't African. I'll credit them that much.
Needless to say I deleted my profile. But the website kept sending me emails of general activity on the site, not directly related to my profile, even though I clicked the link to delete my account. So I filled out the contact form today informing them that I wanted them to delete my email address from their records.
The name of the site is My Comms or My Comuniti. It has an orange heading I think. Anyway if you come across this site my advice would be to avoid it. I only got interest from spammers/scammers and deleting my profile didn't stop the site from sending emails.
I just thought I'd share it with the world so that they can avoid making the same mistake I did.