Remember those solicitations I got from Blue Ireland magazine? Well, after my first post and a rather puzzling comment on it, I got an even more puzzling and self-contradictory message from another, different Blue Ireland magazine staff member.
In that last email on 9 March, Blue Ireland protested their for sure genuine sincere respectful 100% guaranteed inclusive interested intentions. And yet Blue Ireland‘s Bebo profile dated only six weeks later clearly advertises their target readership as men only, and also advertises their intention to feature nudity of the womanly variety only.
- Although hardly surprising, this is most definitely disappointing.
Since I last wrote to Blue Ireland on 10 March 2010, I’ve heard nothing whatsoever back from them. I’ve even checked my spam folder. So much for their alleged interest in my input which they so enthusiastically solicited.
Based on my contact with Blue Ireland‘s writers, the Blue Ireland website and Blue Ireland‘s press releases, apparently the staff at Blue Ireland use a different form of English language than the one I’m familiar with. Aside from their idiosyncratic and arbitrarily variable spelling, grammar, punctuation and word usage, they also apparently define terms and phrases according to sources I can’t find. This might partly explain why their messages seem so puzzling to me.
As supported by reputable and accredited lexicons such as the Oxford English Dictionary, this is how I normally understand the following terms and phrases:
- inclusive – considerate of and representing a wide range of different diversities
- delighted for your input – highly motivated to consider solicited contributions
- sophisticated – well-informed, knowledgeable and stylish
- open minded – actively interested in accepting many diverse and conflicting perspectives as equally valid
On the other hand, according to the way Blue Ireland‘s writers have represented themselves to me, and according to Blue Ireland‘s subsequent and completely contradictory self-representation in their public profiles and press releases, their usage of these terms and phrases conveyed these rather different meanings to me:
- inclusive – we provide images of nude young women to service a market comprised exclusively of cisgendered heterosexual men – and nobody else
- delighted for your input – we asked for an interview, but we meant we only want sexy photographs
- sophisticated – we like to regard ourselves as ‘sophisticated’, we like to apply this term to ourselves and anybody who shares our limited viewpoint, and we like to ignore the inconvenient but unfortunately accurate definition which says otherwise
- open minded – our perspective roolz ok, yo!
Now, aside from that particular wordy weirdness, I’ve got another problem with Blue Ireland‘s – well, let’s just call it extremely creative defining. My problem is in trying to reconcile their vigorous allegations of inclusivity from 9 March, with their publicly advertised press releases and editor Ami O’Brien’s television appearance within the past few days. In particular, I’m struggling with Blue Ireland‘s publicly claimed ambitions to be Ireland’s answer to Playboy magazine.
Will somebody please tell me this, because I really want to know. How can I believe in Blue Ireland‘s claimed ideals of inclusion, if Blue Ireland are basing those ideals solely on the example set by Playboy magazine? In all the excitement of name-dropping Playboy as if the two magazines were bestest ever bosom pals (so to speak), did Blue Ireland‘s writers really in all innocence just forget to mention that Playboy‘s special There-Is-Only-One approach to sexual diversity was the inclusivity standard they were adopting?!
Because no matter how hard I try (and ok, I’m not actually trying that hard), I just can’t budge that idea out of my “This Is Bullshit” category.
Ok, let me get this straight – Playboy magazine:
- is published by a huge international company
- has the largest circulation of any men’s magazine in the world
- consistently publishes the work of award-winning photographers
- consistently publishes award-winning images of nude women
- is published in many languages including braille
- consistently publishes award-winning authors
- consistently publishes extensive interviews with well-known public figures
- makes no claims whatsoever about including sexual diversity
- has been in publication since 1953
Now let me be sure I have this straight – Ami O’Brien:
- has a job as an editor
- edits the generic sex industry magazine Blue Ireland
- has yet to demonstrate appropriate word usage, spelling, punctuation, grammar, or proofreading skills
- claims in numerous press releases and reiterates on national Irish television that Blue Ireland‘s articles are ‘in depth’
And if I understand the data correctly – Blue Ireland magazine:
- offers only the briefest glimpses into topics featured in their articles
- has claimed to have much interest in diverse inclusion
- includes only vanilla heterosexual men, and excludes every other sexual diversity on the planet
- has been published for a grand total of one (1) issue
In short, aside from being magazines and publishing images of nude women, Blue Ireland and Playboy are about as similar as chalk and cheese.
I suppose in a way it makes sense to me – if Ami O’Brien is an editor who struggles so much with appropriate word usage, spelling, punctuation, grammar and proofreading, then she may also be an editor who struggles a lot with detecting the vast scope of difference between Blue Ireland and Playboy.
At the 6:42 mark of the TV3 television appearance, Marie Louise O’Donnell from Dublin City University talks about her opinions of pornography in general, and at the 7:54 mark she introduces her thoughts on Blue Ireland‘s use of language. However much I may disagree with her personal views in general, I think Marie Louise O’Donnell was completely on target when she spotted Blue Ireland‘s and in particular Ami O’Brien’s attempts to use language to disguise one thing as another.
No matter how much anybody tries to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear, the end result can only ever be a weird-looking sow’s ear. So why not just let the sow’s ear celebrate its sow’s earness? Why try to dress up a generic Irish porn mag as some kind of highfalutin porn version of the Rose of Tralee? Why faff around adopting ill-fitting airs and graces? Just embrace what you are and be done with it. You’re a generic porn mag, so just go ahead and be a generic porn mag already.
Personally, I suspect that some delusions of grandeur might be going on here.
I know that the web page with the TV3 programme featuring discussion of Blue Ireland with Ami O’Brien may be inaccessible to some of you from outside Ireland, so here is the 11 minute clip of TV3’s Ireland AM with Mark Cagney.
© tv3 2010. All Rights Reserved.
Now, I know that you people have functional brain cells. Therefore I also know that you are much too smart to accept that an innocent language difference or accidental misunderstanding in good faith is the only thing going on here with Blue Ireland and Ami O’Brien and her writing staff. So here are a few possibilities to consider. Honestly now, which do you think is more likely?
Just in case I haven’t been absolutely perfectly shiny crystal clear, I wanted to ensure that you all know exactly what it is that I’m objecting to here.
I’ll start with some stuff I’m absolutely fine with:
- writers and commercial publications in general
- journalists, journalism and journalistic practices in general
- pornography in general
- very explicit pornography in general
- generic vanilla heterosexual male-targeted porn in general
- products targeting specific and limited populations
- limited inclusion/exclusion of diversity in general
- selective exclusion for an explicitly stated purpose
- spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in general
- nudity in general
- nude women in general
So that’s all stuff I’m perfectly fine with.
And here’s some stuff I’m absolutely opposed to and think is crap:
- manipulation to achieve unspecified objectives
- journalists transgressing standard codes of practice
- deception, misrepresentation and lying in general
- deceptive and misleading self-representation in general
- inappropriate and inaccurate word usage
- saying one thing and doing another
- setting a bad example
- pretentions to ill-fitting airs and graces
- attempts to make silk purses out of sows’ ears
- commercial publications using poor standards of language
- inappropriately and inaccurately contriving flattering comparisons
So my objections to Blue Ireland, the Blue Ireland writers and Ami O’Brien are nothing to do with that first list – my objections are based entirely on stuff included in the second list.
On 25 May (which apparently was the day after Blue Ireland magazine was published for the first time) I noticed a spike in my blog stats. I saw that my Blue Ireland blog posts were being viewed a lot more than usual, and I also saw a large number of referrers from web searches for ‘Blue Ireland magazine’. When I did my own web search for ‘Blue Ireland magazine’ to check this out, I found a few press releases announcing publication of Blue Ireland‘s first issue. Ok. What was much more interesting to me was that the top two results on Google’s page one of that search are both links to my blog.
I further noted from my stats on 25 May that a large number of outclicks was to the Blue Ireland website. Based on the results of my web searches, I’m guessing that my blog may well have been the Blue Ireland website’s single largest referrer of traffic on 25 May.
As I indicated above, I dislike and disagree with Blue Ireland‘s attempts to use empty words of inclusion to disguise their embracement of exclusion. I also dislike and disagree with Blue Ireland‘s attempts in general to use language to make silk purses from sow’s ears, and I think it’s ridiculous for Blue Ireland to name-drop Playboy magazine in an attempt to big themselves up by association. (as if!) Also for me personally, generic bog-standard vanilla sex industry publications demonstrating only basic literacy and clumps of pages stuck together really aren’t my thing, you know?
But aside from all that, Blue Ireland‘s writers and Blue Ireland‘s editor Ami O’Brien produce a commercial magazine which represents poor, poor poor writing standards.
I mean, Blue Ireland‘s writing on their website and uncorrected as it is in some of their press releases would not only fail the Leaving Cert for 16-19 year-olds, but would also certainly fail the 11+ examination for 10-12 year-olds.
The point I’m getting to is that I have a big ethical problem with referring large numbers of visitors to Blue Ireland‘s website, because I would rather not support them by sending them visitors when I find so much about them distasteful. I decline to support such poor standards of writing and business practices I think are questionable. So without obstructing them in any way at all, I’m certainly not going to help them either.
To that end, I have removed all my existing hyperlinks to the Blue Ireland website and added notes on the relevant posts to that effect.
I’m just glad to see that so very many of my visitors seeking Blue Ireland have viewed both of my previous posts on this topic. I hope that the women who read my posts will be exercising some caution in any dealings they may have with staff members from this publication.