Tim Longhurst's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'culture jamming'

Heading to New York and DC for coffee

March 6th, 2009 · 5 Comments

Today I’m heading to NYC and DC for a two week trip, and I’m hoping you can help me make the most of it. Sure, I’ve got some work to do while I’m over there – meetings planned for my work with GetUp etc., but I want to squeeze the most out of my trip. I’m attempting to ‘crowd source’ part of my itinerary by asking my network to advise me on who I should with over the next fortnight.

In short, I’m going to America to have a few coffees with interesting people – and I’d like you to help make sure I fall in with the right crowd.

To give you a hint of what I’m looking for, I am passionate about innovation. To me, answering the question “Is there a better way?” is one of the most important tasks we have as humans. I’m dedicating this trip to meeting with innovators – people who dare to seek the better ways of doing things –  in the fields of media, communication, activism, business – actually, really, any field at all!

But maybe ‘innovators’ is the wrong word? Maybe change-agents, activists, philosophers, thought-leaders, speakers, futurists, rabble-rousers, culture jammers or thinkers would be better words?

If you know (or know of) someone based in NYC or DC that you admire/love/respect/think would be cool to meet, recommend them! I’d like you to please name them in the comments section below, forward this post to them, or email me – tim @ timlonghurst.com.

I’ve got a great feeling about this trip. Naturally, even if you’re nowhere near NYC/DC you’ll be included – I’ll save the best quotes and anecdotes from all of this fun for the blog – I promise! Thanks in advance for your help, Tim

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Category: Communication and connection · Corporate craziness · culture jamming · Guide to better living

Animal torture is inappropriate – these ads are fantastic

October 28th, 2006 · No Comments

porkWhat would you describe as inappropriate? Cutting off a small pig’s tail, or running an advertisement to inform consumers about the treatment of factory-farmed pigs?

Well if you’d say that torture is inappropriate and a confronting campaign educating consumers about that torture was appropriate, you’d be digusted to learn that some magazines refused to print such advertisements. You might even decide to call the publishers and ask why:

Marie Claire [PHONE: (02) 9464 3300]
Delicious [PHONE: (02) 9353 6666]
Good Weekend [PHONE: (02) 02 9282 2197]

So how controversial are the ads? Well, Womans Day and the Australian Womens Weekly are running them, so I think it’s fair to say they aren’t exactly off the charts when it comes to controversy.

Thanks to Julian Lee and the Sydney Morning Herald for running this story.

Congratulations to animal rights campaigners Voiceless for having the nous to run the campaign.

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Category: culture jamming

SUV marketing team drops the ball

April 20th, 2006 · No Comments

tahoeThose of us who are concerned about climate change find SUV’s a little difficult to take. The Chevy Tahoe, for example, gets about 15L per 100km (14-18 miles per gallon, for you should-be-metric Americans). That’s a lot of crap spewing into the air.

So imagine the delight of creative environmentalists when Chevy decided to ‘promote’ their gas guzzling cars by allowing visitors to their site to create their own ads.

Chevy deleted ads critical of the Tahoe, but fortunately the ‘Alaska Tahoe Alliance’ was canny enough to save the videos to youtube. Enjoy!

What were Chevrolet’s marketing guys thinking?

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Category: culture jamming

The Prime Minister’s Office, Melbourne IT, Richard Neville and johnhowardpm.org

March 21st, 2006 · 3 Comments

jhpm.jpgFinally, we can have some closure on the story of johnhowardpm.org…

After tens of phone calls, many conversations, lots of notes on scrap paper, several stories in the media and plenty of google-searches, I can now report the following key facts relating to johnhowardpm.org:

  • Richard Neville set up the spoof website, johnhowardpm.org, which contained a speech that appeared to convey John Howard’s “second thoughts” on the war in Iraq. The site may have breached the copyright notice on the real Prime Minister’s site, as many of the design elements appear to have been directly lifted from the PM’s real site. Source: johnhowardpm.org and this copyright notice.
  • The Australian High-Tech Crime Centre (AHTCC) contacted Melbourne IT and requested johnhowardpm.org be shut down. Source: Bruce Tonkin, CTO of Melbourne IT on Radio National
  • Melbourne IT asked the AHTCC to issue the request in writing. A letter arrived from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and was copied to the AHTCC. ibid
  • Melbourne IT‘s staff then compared the real Prime Minister’s site with johnhowardpm.org, found they were similar and based their decision to freeze the domain on the ‘credibility of the applicant’ (ie. the credibility of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet). ibid
  • Melbourne IT shut down the domain without communicating with the domain’s legal owner, Richard Neville. Source: Richard Neville (conversation)
  • Richard asked me to investigate why his site had stopped working. I soon discovered his domain was ‘on hold’, but when I called Melbourne IT, they said it had nothing to do with them.
  • I ran the story on this site, Crikey ran the story in their newsletter and Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) soon published the story on their website. Only after the SMH story – a full three days after the domain was shut down – did Melbourne IT contact Neville to inform him they’d shut down his website at the Government‘s request. Source: RichardNeville.com
  • Bruce Tonkin, CTO of Melbourne IT, has accepted that this was all handled very badly and has indicated that it may have been a mistake for his company to take the Prime Minister’s office at their word. In its ten years of operation, this was the first time Melbourne IT had shut down a satirical website. Source: Bruce Tonkin, CTO of Melbourne IT on Radio National
  • Radio National’s Breakfast with Fran Kelly interviewed both Richard Neville and Bruce Tonkin. This program highlighted the flawed process by which johnhowardpm.org was shut down. Source: Radio National
  • johnhowardpm.org is no longer frozen and is currently directing users to RichardNeville.com.

My thoughts

Richard Neville should have been given an opportunity to respond to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s complaint before the website was shut down.

Melbourne IT should have told Neville they had shut down his domain and why. Neville could have quickly rectified his site (if necessary) and had it back online in a matter of hours. Instead, Neville was left guessing for three days what had happened to his site and was unaware of the reasons for its shut down.

Richard’s ‘jam’ relied on copyright images and text. Copyright law by definition limits the methods by which an individual’s ideas and beliefs may be expressed. This is an issue dealt with at length by Lawrence Lessig, who believes the entire basis by which ideas are protected requires a rethink. This is a debate we ought to be having in Australia.

Thanks is owed to Ben Shearman at Crikey and Gregg Borschmann at Radio National. Conversations with them helped crystalise the key issues in this story. They did a great job in covering the story in their respective formats.

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Category: culture jamming

Melbourne IT shuts down johnhowardpm.org at government’s request

March 16th, 2006 · No Comments

melbit.gifA satirical website, johnhowardpm.org has been shut down by Melbourne IT at the request of the Australian Government. Two Melbourne IT customer service personnel have claimed that representatives of the Government requested the site be shut down, and Melbourne IT’s Policy Office chose to honour that request without contacting the site’s owner, Richard Neville.

Over two days Yahoo! and Melbourne IT denied involvement in the unexplained removal of johnhowardpm.org from the web.

This morning however, Melbourne IT staff allege that as-yet unnamed representatives of the Federal Government requested johnhowardpm.org be shut down. Melbourne IT, who sold Richard Neville the domain name just days ago, failed to contact their customer or invite him to respond to the Government complaint.

Richard Neville is in the dark as to what the Government’s complaint is or why it was upheld by Melbourne IT. Preliminary research into this matter indicates that the domain holder should always be invited to respond in such disputes.

A request for information has been lodged with Melbourne IT’s Policy Office. Melbourne IT has indicated that a representative from their policy office will be in contact to explain their actions by close of business today.

When johnhowardpm.org mysteriously went off-line a little more than 24 hours after launching, I assumed it must have been a glitch by the site’s webhost, Yahoo. I didn’t even entertain the notion that Australia’s Government would be so heavy-handed as to have the site shut-down.

The satirical speech at the centre of this controversy is available here and is also available as a PDF at Richard Neville’s site.

Melbourne IT have indicated a representative from their Policy Office will contact me today. If/when they do I will post updates here.

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Category: culture jamming