Monday, April 29, 2013

On Irony

Let's talk about irony. Not real irony, mind you, but the faux irony that's replaced humor and imagination in this culture. The justification of "I know X is lame, that's why I'm not lame for enjoying X!"

The Guild is a good example of this, despite being a good show in its own right. It follows six hilariously inept gamers as they deal with very mundane concerns like money, romance, and overly protective mothers. It's funny and well acted and never tries to excuse or redeem the characters - who are pretty terrible human beings all around.

But there's this niggling thing in the back of my mind every time I laugh at a scene because I know somewhere, someone is going "Dude, that's soooo us!" and then typing the high five command in World of Warcraft. It's like that blog Stuff White People Like - funny, occasionally sharp satire, but you know the fanbase is the one being savaged by all the jokes. And they're okay with that because...?

Because irony, it seems. It really came together when I saw this -

"Oh ha ha! It's a cheesy pop song but about MMOs! We know it's lame so we're not actually lame! Irony!"

I know language is fluid and changes depending on time, place, and context but this is not irony. We may call it that but it's really rationalization. Someone knows the thing they like is looked down on in polite company, so they claim to be enjoying it because it's bad. Somehow. Like people who pay money to see The Room.

But the truth is, they really do like whatever lame thing they claim to be enjoying ironically. They really are as inept and ridiculous as the characters on The Guild. They really are that dull and miserable - but they can't admit it, to themselves or others. Therefore, they say they like X because they know X is bad.

This whole phenomenon really gets back to how soviet American culture is. We can't enjoy things on our own terms - like, I can't just load the latest Call of Duty and giggle as I blow away foreigners in increasingly brutal ways without putting on this air of being above it all and only enjoying the jingoistic undertones of the whole violent spectacle "ironically."

No, all our terrible indulgences have to fit back into the status quo. So we get people watching The Guild, seeing themselves in the parody, and trying to excuse their own embarrassing behavior as self-aware self-abasement. Because we're not allowed to just like stupid shit.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fiction Friday

"A man who has seen death and survived is satisfied with a flu," Eli repeated to himself for the umpteenth time. He'd read it... somewhere back in college, a little pessimistic gem he'd been more than happy to throw around. He'd never given it much thought then, or at least no more than some self-serving claim that it meant something to him beyond its power to shock. Thank God he'd since gotten perspective.

He'd thought of that little saying off and on since moving in with Gramma. After all, what red-blooded twenty-something wants to spend his days looking after some decrepit relative? Of course things were never all that bad and she always seemed more interested in him going out then he did. "Why would you sit around at home on a nice night like this?" and "What do you mean you've got no plans for the weekend?" And even trying to set him up with the sweet Korean girl down the hall - at least before that last round of INS sweeps. Good, benevolent meddling.

He hated it all, of course. "Jesus, it's none of your business!" and "I can live my own life!" That sort of good natured bickering that no one ever really likes until it ends...

*    *    *

"Gramma!" he called out into the apartment. He stomped up and down the hall a few times, hoping to jar her awake if she'd fallen asleep in the tub again. That had been one awkward evening.

No response. He knocked at the bathroom, still a little weary. No answer. He tried her bedroom - again nothing. He tried his own room - hell, why not - and again not a sound.

"Gramma?" he tried again. The apartment was quiet and static as always, but the old lived-in smell had left. He crinkled his nose, it almost smelled sterilized now. Like someone had been through and scrubbed every inch of the place with bleach.

In the kitchen he found a letter, typed. Gramma was hopeless with a computer - and that typewriter hadn't worked in fifteen years!

"Dear Elly," sweet Jesus, he thought. "After careful consideration, I have opted to return to our Homeland. Israel needs us all in these troubled days and I would be a poor example to you if I shirked my Jewish duty -" Jewish duty? Really? "You are free to make your own decisions but I implore you to follow me as soon as possible. Israel needs strong, young men such as yourself if it is to weather the Final Days -" The fuck!? "Your loving mother, Sheila."

"Her name is Anzia!" he screamed, nearly ripping up the letter. The cynical bastards didn't even bother to remove the Emigration Office letterhead!

*    *    *

"A man who has seen death and survived is satisfied with a flu." Eli understood those words now, at least in a backwards sort of way. It would be melodramatic to call his life up until now miserable, but looking forward to the future - and a future in modern Israel was a death sentence, no question - he'd been very satisfied with that old flu. All a matter of perspective, really.

Finding the plans hadn't been difficult. Even with the libraries falling apart and charging for their internet use, they hardly policed anyone's reading habits. Too worried about stumbling on porn. Eli had stacks of papers, bordering on a thousand, with the information he needed - and all printed at The Commons.

Material... That had been much more difficult. He'd decided from the start it could be nothing conventional. If the bitch weren't close enough he might only singe Her and what would be the use of that? He had to be certain he would get Her - and everyone else in a fifty block radius. Fucking sheep.

Conventional would be too bulky. He'd be stopped for sure. Well, what about... Yes, that could fit right in a backpack, at least according to the sources he found. But the materials... not so easy to come by. Had this been an earlier point in history with more industrial regulations he might have been forced to call it quits - or get a plain old rifle. But thank God or whoever saw fit to place Eli in the same state as a disposal site staffed by cynical entrepreneurs. And thanks also for all the money Gramma had squirreled away throughout their apartment – safe from those Emigration bastards.

*    *    *

"A man who has seen death and survived is satisfied with a flu," had been on his mind for a while, but since setting to work on this... project, he'd been remembering something else. A catchy little song he heard in a movie once. Eli sang it to himself while putting the finishing touches on his bomb: "I'll take you with me to the stars! They're gonna find your anus on a mountain on Mars!"

Buy my book! It's da bomb!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Another Flash Crash

Can we admit already that all the rich Wall Street wizards are just lucky morons?

Ever since they ran the economy off the cliff, there's been all this noise to excuse the obscene paychecks they write themselves and the utter failure of any prosecution for their culture of systemic fraud. The argument has gone that they're all so special and clever and we just don't understand their labyrinthine get rich quick schemes so that's why they still get a bonus when their own company tanks...

And then shit like this happens.


A hacked Twitter account made the entire money changing system piss itself with a fake story of the White House blowing up. While that's some ballsy marketing, it again highlights the instability of high-frequency trading - where "complex" algorithms buy and sell stocks automatically. It's caused sudden crashes before over one data hiccup or another and no one is doing a goddamn thing about it.

And why is that?


No, I'm really asking - why? Why can't we call all these dumbasses on their constant failure? Why do even Congressmen smile and nod when a self-inflated poof like Jaime Dimon goes on about how he deserves to piss on Chase customers? Why do so many Americans bitch and moan about the tax and spend Big Gub'mint when there's a bunch of ivy league yahoos turning their 401(K)s into hash with some new cockamamie scheme? Why do we pretend the financial system isn't being directed by nothing more than gambling addicts in fancy suits!?

Hell, if we can't admit the emperor is naked then can we at least tax the shit out of him?

Monday, April 22, 2013

War on Errorism

Betcha didn't see that coming, did ya? Muslim terrorists again, but Chechen Muslim terrorists. I'm betting you don't even know what a Chechen is.

Here are two of them. Fighting for the Taliban.

You should know of course. And we all shoulda seen this coming because Chechen rebels have a long and loud history with Al Qaeda - thousands of them went to Afghanistan in the early days of the war to fight alongside Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, just for starters. But Chechnya has been a blind spot through the entirety of the War on Terrorism for the stupidest of reasons, like old Cold War prejudices.

Russia: "American friends! Please help us with Chechen-Al Qaeda!

America: "Up yours, commie!"

Russia: "We do not understand. You say you fight terrorism and is terrorism in our backyard. Rebels -"

America: "Oh, rebels you say? Well, we'll just send our Special Forces to train them!"

Russia: "...But they murder children at school..."

America: "Let freedom ring, Stalinistas!"

Russia: "o.O"

That's paraphrasing of course, but not too far from the reality. Chechnya has been a hotbed of terrorism for years but knee-jerk Russophobia has made it invisible to Washington, which went out of its way to dismiss any argument that Chechen separatism, with its Al Qaeda ties, was somehow part of the grander War on Terror. "It's just a war of indepenence!" the particularly dumb pundits claimed. Another war, technically. They sorta won the first one in 1996 and celebrated their newfound liberty from the Kremlin with kidnappings, Sharia law, and invading Dagestan.

The Washington response to all of this? Cozying up to the Chechens. This was back in the Bush years and as an appropriate counter to Democrats always being the best on national security, Republicans always do what's worst for the country. Even last week, with the FBI and Boston PD on a manhunt, Senate Republicans voted against any sort of gun regulation. Because God forbid we have a national gun registry that, say, could've helped identify the Tsarnaevs when they armed themselves for their impending shootout with police.

Playing kissy face with a crowd that openly brags about its AQ ties is stupid enough, but to then make it easier for them to kill Americans because you want to keep getting NRA kickbacks? That's a whole new grade of stupid right there. Really, the entire War on Terror has just been one stupid bungle after another. It focused the reflexive racism of many Americans on the Middle East since the 9-11 hijakers were almost all Saudi trust-fund brats, which allowed a natural transition to Iraq because all those darned wogs look alike. The entire culture has conflated "terrorism" with Islamic fundamentalists in a desert shouting and hollering and being dirty oriental stereotypes so that when a serious threat shows up we're all caught with our pants down.

And Chechens are serious. They've been giving Russia the business for twenty years now, no matter how many of their apartment blocks get swiss-cheesed by ZSUs. They've got a generation of young men raised in urban guerrilla warfare - as demonstrated by the Boston bombers putting up one hell of a fight against police. Arab and Af-Pak holy warriors are way more suicidal, typically using themselves as a delivery vehicle and getting blasted to Paradise. While sad and awful and blah blah blah, that approach does make them something of a self-correcting problem.

ZSU: For all your anti-aircraft and urban pacification needs!

Chechens, in contrast, conduct themselves like proper soldiers. When confronted by police, the Boston duo responded with gunfire and tactical retreat and I don't doubt they had plans for more attacks if they'd gotten away. And taking the worst case scenario that this wasn't an isolated incident, we should all be fucking scared.

Except this time we've got Obama. Not to sound like a fanboy but the guy really is excellent at irregular warfare, as much as I despise his Chicago Schoolboy fiscal policies. If Bush were still in charge he'd probably invade Greece, the dumb cokehead.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How a Lie is Born

It's a testament to how far we've come as a nation that it only took three hours before we were blaming each other for Boston. A few have speculated that this was a domestic terrorist - a not exactly far-fetched hypothesis - while the bedrock conservatives over at Free Republic have been shouting "false flag" conspiracy theories and getting overly defensive about the domestic terrorists theory. At least when not trying to hang it all on some Saudi.

That last part is what I really want to talk about, because however else this goes he's already been convicted. Some foreign kid on a student visa ran for his life when the bombs went off - wouldn't you? - when he was tackled by a patriotic bystander. The Feds and the Boston PD are on record as saying he's not a suspect now, but that doesn't matter. The New York Post, that bastion of ethical journalism, jumped the gun and got #Saudi trending so all the other networks followed suit.

And that's how a lie was born. Too many Americans right now believe a "Saudi National" is the primary suspect and may already be in custody. Hell, this kid may turn out to be the culprit - rich Saudi students have a history of blowing shit up for God - but even if he isn't he'll still get the blame thanks to the great social networking echo chamber.

Access to information doesn't make people more thoughtful. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, for every person counseling patience there were a dozen idiots eagerly parroting the "Saudi National" story. Now it doesn't matter if it's true, because it's already #true - it's been repeated enough and nobody cares to really follow up on the story even when joining the chorus.

This is how the internet makes you stupid.

Monday, April 15, 2013

USA: United Sovoks of America

The soviet culture of the United States is always at it's most overt when someone dies. We get to see flashes of it during election season but it really takes death to expose how vigorously we lie to ourselves. About everything.

This is what "freedom" looks like...

Margaret "Iron Twat" Thatcher, who helped lay the foundation for the modern economic crisis through the usual "Government Bad! Business Good!" bullshit, is just the latest catalyst for this depressing show. All the conservatives are naturally hailing her and depicting her boinking Reagen in Heaven but the progressive response hasn't been much different. Lots of bullshit "middle ground" nonsense and outright lies as nobody can break the long established taboo of speaking ill of the recently deceased. The same thing happened when Andrew Breitbart's heart exploded from too much cocaine, with only the eXiled and eXile alum Matt Taibbi daring to say they were glad to see the rotten bastard gone. Taibbi, being more mainstream these days, took a whole lot of flak for being "indecent."

But decency's got nothing to do with this. Americans were just as happy to cheer the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Gaddafi back in 2011. There was dancing in the streets when Obama announced he'd capped Osama - which is understandable to a degree. But the same reaction to Gaddafi? Besides being the target of a NATO airstrike, why the fuck did anyone even care about that sad old queen!?

The Brits have been far more honest about Maggie - hilariously so. And it's got their colonial cousins all flustered. "Insensitive," "Heartless," and some other adjectives popular with the professionally offended have cropped up at the sight of a people expressing their honest opinion of a former leader. You'd think Americans would be all for that sort of thing because democracy and all.

"How dare you express yourself freely!"

And you'd be wrong. American democracy isn't about honesty, it's about a bland groupthink. Everyone weeping at the Official Heroes, snarling at the Official Villains, and smiling dumbly to one another while filled with a seething contempt that occasionally manifests in mass shootings.

Friday, April 12, 2013


It didn't take too long for them to start cranking out knock-offs of The Following. And leave it to the CW do it in the dumbest way possible...

Cult is - surprise! - about a cult. At least a cult as understood through an X-Files episode from twenty years ago. There's this Deliverance type figure leading a bunch of losers out on his farm and there's a pretty blond detective with an elderly black partner chasing him. He's one of those obnoxiously hyper-competent villains that's behind everything but you can never really pin it on him, like how you know he totally murdered this guy but the episode ends...

...Right when it's starting because Cult is about a TV show called Cult! And it's so popular that the fans are turning into a cult that mirrors the one on Cult. Oooh, how meta!

I see what you did there!

As a concept it's not bad - and I personally liked how it portrayed obsessive fans as unhinged. The protagonists are clearly disturbed at finding the fans playing dress up based on their characters. Yeah, it's "cosplay," which to me has always sounded like some deranged fetish concerning Bill Cosby. And with how much the show implies the show within a show - or show within within a show - producer is the real evil mastermind, I couldn't help reading a dig at Joss Whedon. If any TV maven is really the head of an evil cult it's that asshole.

But you can have the best concept in the world and it don't matter if you then proceed to whiz it down your leg for forty-some minutes. Cult does that through predictable, melodramatic writing with characters you really don't care about. The Hero - I don't remember his name and I'll be damned if I look it up - is some knob who used to work for the Washington Post and was driven out for some character-building blather that was just as forgettable as his name. After the cult eats his brother - a fan of Cult who was apparently having a brief moment of sanity - Hero is paired with some production assistant from the show who is also very intrigued and disturbed by all the Joss Whedon fans playing dress up. We'll call her Chick since, in the grand WB casting tradition CW inherited, that is her only defining quality.

So Hero and Chick run around trying to figure out where Hero's brother went and who left all that blood in his barkolounger. And all the clues come from or elate back to the show and Reverend Squeal-Like-A-Pig sounds like he's speaking to them through the TV and it steals The Following's thing of having new cultists spring out of every closet and it's all handled so fucking badly that I thought the premier was taking two hours.

"The fuck is this shit!?"

I think the biggest problem - bigger even than the predictable writing and boring characters - is TV just ain't scary anymore. It's been done, even if not this specifically. All the proper horror these days has that found footage thing going... Or it's on the internet.

Which is how I'm going to segue into some much better horror storytelling - Slender Man. An intentionally constructed urban legend from the Something Awful forums, he's about seven feet tall with a business suit and no face. He abducts children with either long ropey arms or seventy tentacles, depending on who you ask. A New Media bogeyman who's image touches something very primal and visceral in the fear center of the brain.

"All the better to hug you with! Forever!"

And he's hit the meme jackpot recently. Blogs, video games, even an indie feature film that isn't that great but still gets an A for effort. It's all pretty b-grade storytelling so far but very little about the character is defined - which also leaves much to work with. Like maybe someone had a traumatic experience as a child they've mostly suppressed but have always suspected was very weird. Then they start having dreams of a tall, faceless stranger... Then they start reading the same description online... And maybe that's what it really is or it's all in their head and they're stuck in a dead-end job with no girlfriend and slowly disconnecting from reality but it's like they say - just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you...

Damn, I think I've found a new project.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kill All Humans

"The fantasy of a romantic war that spared civvies was a short little dream, born in the novels of the 19th century and doomed to die in it too..." ~ Gary Brecher 

I'm on record as not being that worked up about drones. I stand by that because as the US currently uses them, they're no different from the A-10s and B52s that also light up civilians. Getting worked up over new hardware that does just what the old hardware did is one of those forest for the trees things for me - the wetware behind who gets zapped and where, that's the real issue.

So some visionary lunatics have decided to throw the human minds out of the equation alltogether! With Israel leading the way, living in a big weapons testing lab like they do, the next step in dronified warfare is "autonomous weapon systems" or what I'll just be refering to from here on out as killbots. Current expectations of killbot technology is that they'll have some fancy freind-or-foe recognition system so they can "decide" on their own whether or not to launch a hellfire. Proponents are claiming that this will reduce civilian casualties as well as save the killbot deploying powers from having to care about getting their own soldiers killed on the strategic misadventure of the week.

What could possibly go wrong...

"It may be possible that these lethal autonomous systems could ultimately reduce noncombatant casualties in warfare over conventional human forces... And if that could be achieved, I would contend there is a moral imperative to use them, as this could lead to the saving of innocent human life, much like the use of precision-guided munitions," says Professor Ronald Arkin, Georgia Institute of Technology and possibly high-functioning autistic.

This is so fucking stupid I don't even know where to start... First of all, the idea that you can have war without civilian casualties is one of those distinctly First World fantasies like cake without fat or death without suffering. War is controlled destruction and that control only goes so far as a general radius of fire, blood, and bullets. And considering irregular war - the only kind going on anymore - is fought by suped up superpowers on one side and locals in jeans and keffiyahs on the other, that target detection programming is either going to make the killbot too confused to function or will just be set to "anyone brown."

The only way this bloodless war fantasy could come even close to reality is if killbot nations only fought other killbot nations - which seems to be Arkin's assumption and shows how little he understands about war. Or people. Or anything. But it shows a brainwave I pointed out long ago of Americans thinking of war as existing in a vacuum, devoid of politics and culture. In such conditions, it would make perfect sense to let the killbots go at it and grant victory to whoever was still whirring around at the end of the day.

We could sell tickets!

But raw attrition is never how war actually works. If it did, Vietnam and Iraq would be clear-cut victories. War is the continuation of policy by other means, as Clausewitz said, and if the other side doesn't care for your policy and they can still send killbots out to the big, morally acceptable killbots-only battlefield, how long until that "No Civvies" block gets lifted?

I'm not wringing my hands over some far-fetched Terminator scenario here. I don't have any issue with the hardware - again, it's the wetware, the human brains that I see as fundamentally broken. People in America have been thinking of war in this clean Red vs. Blue game scenario for so long that they think killbots will actually make war clean and guilt free. And when the killbots start burning down villages and performing summary executions of old women - like any occupying army - they'll either beat the "Dur, technology bad!" drum like they've been doing with drones or they'll think it's a bug or something. "If only Killbots Inc had a better QA department then it wouldn't happen..."

War is an ugly and despicable thing because people are ugly and despicable. Especially you. Robots are just an extension of that and won't change a damned thing.

*   *   *

If you were hoping for some commentary on the death of Margaret Thatcher, click here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ken Cuccinelli is Gay

One thing I won't miss about the Commonwealth is how so many Republicans treat it as a jumping off point to one national campaign or another...

Case in point - Ken Cuccinelli, state attorney general more concerned with posturing for ignorant screwheads than doing his goddamn job. Cucci's latest bit of hysterics has to do with trying to re-instate Virginia's anti-sodomy legislation on the grounds that the State Supreme Court didn't think of the children when it declared the law unconstitutional.

One would hope judges don't think about kids in the context of anal sex...

But that's all really besides the point. Cuccinelli's entire tenure as attorney general has been marked by consistent and embarassing political spectacles like this, though usually just in the usual Obummer bitch-fest. His whole persona up until now has been the small-government, common-sense guy. So you'd expect he wouldn't care about sodomy because of all that liberty guff but that would be intentionally ignoring how minarchism is manifested in America today.

And then there's the precedent. Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Bob Allen, Glenn Murphy Jr., Ken Mehlman... Really, the Grand Old Party has so many closet cases you start to think the closet has some recursive geometry going on. And the one other thing all these closeted Republicans shared was their support for anti-gay legislation as they personally needed it to remain straight.

So, now taking bets on when the Ken Cuccinelli gay sex scandal kicks off...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

States Have No Rights

Some goober in North Carolina is pushing a bill to flagrantly violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Because North Carolina. It's mostly just more Republican bluster - since losing two election cycles to a black guy, the Grand Old Party has spectacularly lost its shit - but it does reflect a very real problem in this country: the failure of education.

'Cause this whole supremacy thing is already covered in the Constitution. Article VI, Clause II states "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." Two hundred year old legalese is much clearer than the current variety so the only logical conclusion is that not only do state officials not know this, but neither do their constituents.

And it's always those types, isn't it? When they're not bitching about how income tax is unconstitutional, they're insisting the Constitution already allows for whatever reactionary bullshit du jour they've glommed onto this time. The degree of ignorance regularly on display would end an immigrant's naturalization on the spot but for the blood and soil Americans still throwing a bitch fit over Obamacare it's A-okay. And the inevitable failure of all these measures will just reinforce the persecution complex these yahoos have instead of personalities. It's worth remembering that these people aren't happy unless they're pissed off at a democrat, especially if he's black.

Incidentally, if an official religion were instituted it would have to be at the federal level - which the Establishment Clause clearly forbids also but that didn't stop George W. Bush from trying his darnedest. And who knows what a VP Palin might have been like...

Ooh, see what I did there!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Do-Nothing Court

Is it a victory that the same old white guys who would've lead the charge against basic human rights are now scrambling for excuses why they can't even offer an opinion?

That's what really stood out about last week's latest Supreme Court DOMA rodeo. Old reptiles like Scalia and Alito not denouncing them durty queers but trying to find rhetorical escape hatches -

"You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet... On a question like that, of such fundamental importance, why should it not be left for the people, either acting through initiatives and referendums or through their elected public officials?"

That's Justice Sam "I Heart Fuhrers" Alito, complaining about how people are expecting the Supreme Court to, like, interpret the law or something. Justice Kennedy was much more direct, asking "Why do you think we should take and decide this case?"

"But I don't wanna!"

So marriage equality is definitely in. It's so in that the conservative wing of the Court is plugging their ears and doing that "La-la-la, I can't hear you!" thing. They're just smart enough to realize they're on the wrong side of history and they don't like it. Especially with last year's big show over broccoli mandates - the Scalito faction has been able to play the principled civil libertarian while really just being as reactionary as they've always been, but now they're in a bit of a pickle.

If they stick to that "small government" stance, they'll side with all the good Justices in repealing DOMA and pissing off their fellow screwheads. If they go with their guts and cast the dissenting votes, then they're unprincipled and worst of all... losers. It's a lose-lose situation, the only positive being that repealing DOMA would win favor with the mouthy libertarian minority. And those jerk-offs matter less than card-carrying Marxists.

But is that really a victory? No one's had a change of heart, they're just scared of being the losers, the worst fate any American can suffer. They're losing anyway but just don't want it rubbed in their faces and would prefer to table the whole thing. And as heartening as it may be to see them squirm like this, I don't really see it as reason to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Egypt has a much more do-something legal system. And that something is chasing down the Egyptian Jon Stewart with torches and pitchfork:

"[T]he arrest warrant seemed to represent a sharp escalation of the campaign against Mr. Youssef, with the public prosecutor appointed by Mr. Morsi lending official credence to the complaints. In the nine months since Mr. Morsi took office, his government and the Muslim Brotherhood have endured withering and frequently strident criticism from Egypt’s private news media outlets. Mr. Morsi has been accused of responding with measures that recall the previous authoritarian leaders, including prosecuting critics, confiscating newspapers and placing sympathetic journalists in state news media organs"

This is the result of the Arab Spring nobody likes to talk about - it's reactionary and repressive but still by popular demand. That can't be spun into a simplistic either/or soundbite so it just doesn't get repeated. Legally recognizing that men can be into the cock, that's a far more pressing concern...