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Filler: The Esplanade in Progress
Originally posted on:05/04/2007
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Filler: The Esplanade in Progress

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A serious rant
05/04/2007
Hey, look at that, new site design. I had planned on giving you some warning, but I can get very impatient and ended up uploading the new layout on a whim. My goal has been to make the front page feel less cluttered and streamline the overall experience by making navigation simpler and more consistent. As usual, if you have any problems with the new layout, please let me know!

Now to the serious part...

I'm starting to think that hysteria is becoming par for the course these days. Every time something shocking occurs, the tragedy is subsequently inflated by hundreds of different parties who see the incident as an opportunity to promote their own interests. This goes beyond political organisations, dissenters and big companies - the world of journalism can be just as petty and opportunistic. The problem is that most media organisations are profit-driven, their ultimate ambition is to make as much money as possible with as little effort as possible. While there are many noble individuals within these organisations who value journalistic integrity and whose chief ambition is simply to report the news accurately and responsibly, there are constant pressures at work to turn their efforts towards trawling in the masses. Sadly one of the easiest ways to get people watching/reading your news is to fuel the fires of hysteria and panic, finding ways to tell your readers "It could happen to you! Tomorrow! BE VERY AFRAID!". If done properly, your readers/viewers will be too scared *not* to buy your newspaper or watch your program.

Yes, I am going somewhere with this.

Matt Boyd and Ian McConville make up one of the most talented working partnerships in the world of webcomics. Their first major collaboration, MacHall, was the very first webcomic I ever read - many years ago. It inspired my love of the medium. I was saddened when MacHall closed down, but more recently the duo have been treating us with Three Panel Soul which makes for some great (though frequently obscure) humour/slice-of-life reading.

After the recent tragic shootings at Virginia Tech, somebody overheard Matt at his workplace discussing guns. It wasn't even related to the shooting at all, it was simply a private conversation about what rifle he had decided to buy for target-shooting (apparently with particular reference to the point that he had chosen a model which was considerably *less* dangerous than most). But with a fresh wave of hysteria sweeping across America (and here in Australia, to a lesser extent), that was enough for his workmates to say that they didn't feel safe. Shortly thereafter, Matt was fired.

This, in itself, is a dreadful injustice.

But after the incident Matt did something which he has excelled at for many years - he turned it into a comic. Apparently (I say this, because I'm not privy to all the facts), someone at his workplace saw this particular strip and proceeded to contact the police. Matt has now been threatened with terrorism charges, and Three Panel Soul is being monitored by authorities.

This goes beyond injustice, this is madness.

Matt is the latest victim of a genuine global threat: opportunistic scare-mongering. Please join me in showing support for Matt during this troubled and uncertain time. It's stories like this which really scare me.

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