Heard about PTH? It’s political tagging harassment.

Today I get a notification on Facebook; “Name Surname (friends with Name Surname) commented on a post you were tagged in”.

What started out as curiosity quickly turned into rage when I noticed I was tagged in the below. I won’t go into the merits of the content because as I said in a past post, I am more interested in what is happening now.

Apart from the appalling Maltese which would make Mikiel Anton Vassalli turn in his grave, the whole premise of the post was offensive.

The genius who came up with this set of photos (oh yes there’s more than one) thought it would be incredibly clever to include ‘Aghfas Like’. What a dumb thing to do! So you are trying to expose the use of violence by whoever, and then you’re asking people to like it? Einstein was right when he said only two things are infinite; the universe and human’s stupidity.

Just in case this happens to you, Facebook has one easy solution. Click on the photo in question, then click Options (found on the bottom of the photo) and choose Report/Remove tag. Facebook is nice enough to give you some options. In this case the most appropriate option was the below.

Why am I ‘friends’ with the person who tagged me I hear you ask. As most of the people out there I use Facebook as an information tool, meaning I accept most of the locals friend requests and am interested in all views. However, with such things I have a 3 strikes and you’re out rule, this was the first strike.

Hot or Bot? 44% of Joseph Muscat’s Twitter followers are fake or inactive

image via @JosephMuscat_JM

According to Fake Follower Checker the Leader of the Opposition’s Twitter account is riddled with fake, inactive users. It is true he might have more than 2000 followers but 44% of these are just fake or inactive.

This doesn’t come as a shock, I have noticed this kind of ‘cheating’ for some time now. Joseph Muscat’s Twitter account follows 199 people but in turn is followed by 2140. If you’ve been around Twitter you will know this simply doesn’t happen unless you are an online superstar or a social media guru. Joseph Muscat doesn’t yet fall into that category and when seeing such ratio of following:followers it was clear something wasn’t adding up.

Yesterday, an article on Mashable exposed the fact that President Obama’s Twitter account also has 70% fake followers.

The guys over at StatusPeople, responsible for building the software explained how their system works “Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers… We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake.”

This is not the first occurance of politicians inflating their Twitter numbers to demonstrate their power; “They are part of the arsenal of modern-day communications – if you can flaunt a high level of support, you will attract further support.” says Marco Camisani Calzolari, an Italian Professor who also came up with an algorithim to determine fake followers and earlier this year exposed Beppe Grillo’s allegiance of fake followers.

Of course, it has to be said that everyone has fake Twitter followers, the trick is to see how the percentages tally up. Below are my Twitter scores compared to those of Joseph Muscat. For the sake of correctness I am also including the Faker scores for @PNMalta and @PL_Malta. However note that both these two accounts, when they started out, mass followed a lot of people.

So I guess we managed to find yet another similarity between Joseph Muscat and President Obama.

I want to care about Mintoff but…

Image via searchmalta.com

At long last someone has come to my rescue and penned some of the feelings I have been having about Dom Mintoff. Feelings I have been unfortunately hiding because I thought they were somehow wrong. I was feeling ashamed when I woke up this morning, read about Mintoff passing away and felt nothing. How can that be, he was such a monumental character in the history of Malta, how can I NOT care?

And finally I found solace in a Markbiwwa.com blog which shared a written account of why it’s OK to have these feeling; an article written by Philip Leone-Ganado entitled “Why I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you (unless you’re over 25)

I’ll be cheating here, I am in fact 28 but I will be counting myself with that age group. Below is the excerpt in question, and if you would like to read the account first hand, then please click here.

I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you.

You shouldn’t care because you weren’t alive in the 70s and 80s, and by the time you were old enough to form a genuine opinion about politics, Dom Mintoff was 90 years old, and largely senile.

You shouldn’t care because apart from a vote of confidence when you were 8 or 9 years old, Dom Mintoff is history. Why have an opinion on Dom Mintoff when you don’t have one on Philip II of Spain? At least with Philip, you know what happened.

You shouldn’t care because you didn’t get to read a single reliable history book or article or watch a single reliable documentary to help you understand who Dom Mintoff was or what Dom Mintoff did. Instead, you had to learn everything you know about Dom Mintoff through hearsay, anecdote, and rumour.

You shouldn’t care because you can’t form a reliable opinion by some perverse averaging process – reading things about Dom Mintoff heavily skewed in both directions and finding the mean – you can’t. You can only regurgitate an opinion handed to you by one of Dom Mintoff’s friends, Dom Mintoff’s enemies, or people who benefited or suffered as a result of either.

You shouldn’t care because they want you to care. They want to make their problems your problems, to distract you from the fact that you have problems of your own.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff can’t change the state of your job prospects (limited), the security of your pension (afflicted), your civil liberties (threatened), your cultural legacy (assaulted), your environmental heritage (blasted). Dom Mintoff is your parents, these things are you.

You shouldn’t care because while the newspapers run pre-prepared praises and damnations of DomMintoff, your friends in Israel are planning an immediate attack on your friends in Iran. While they tweet #perit, your friends in Syria are dying in Aleppo, and your friends in the UK and Ecuador are planning measures that may rewrite laws of diplomacy, freedom of information, big things that matter. While they use their blogs to fight over a man who never touched the world beyond this happy half-a-million,you are connected to a world beyond parochialism and mediocrity.

You shouldn’t care because these are beautiful, terrible times, and they’re going to pass us by if we’re busy arguing about whose parents suffered more.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff is dead, because whether he was good or bad, all he is now is dust.

Good or bad? Listen to us, it’s starting again.

You shouldn’t care because you’ll never know.

While blogging about the Dear Dom movie I remember writing “the education system has failed me and many others my age”. Whilst I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t care – because I believe we are where we are today thanks to (or despite of) Mintoff – no one my age was ever offered the opportunity to read, digest and form an independent opinion of this person. Decades have passed since Dom Mintoff came into power but no one has ever sat down and written an unbiased account. Worst of all is that we have a gap in our history books, and there needs to be someone mature enough to fill this gap.

I now know why I don’t care, as Philip perfectly put it, I am more interested in what’s happening now, around this planet of ours, but that doesn’t mean this is the way I should be feeling. It shouldn’t be the be all and end all but I want to know, I want to care, I want to understand.

Fifty Shades of BAAA!

An article on The Sunday Times today read “The tale of a virginal heroine who falls for a bondage-loving billionaire has shot right up to the top of Malta’s bestseller booklist, mainly by word of mouth.” No honey (person who wrote the article), it wasn’t by word of mouth, unless by word of mouth you actually mean ‘mentioned in every goddamn corner of the interne’.

The article continues with a quote from Miller distributors, who earlier this week decided not to import the latest issue of Dazed and Confused because of an R’n’B singer blowing a condom on the front cover, by saying “for every book we sell, we are selling about 20 copies of Fifty Shades”.

I am not that great at Maths, but such a statement scares me. I don’t know if it says more about the book or, of us as Maltese; that is, that the only reason we would buy and (hopefully) read a book is because everyone on the internet told us to. Looking back at Agenda’s past glories which include the Da Vinci Code and the Harry Potter series, one can immediately notice what all these books have in common, and I mean no disrespect to J.K Rowling.

Looks like us Maltese will only read a book if the rest of the world goes crazy about it. The fact that this happens to be an erotic book says nothing about us finally opening our minds and maybe becoming a little less prudish!

One piece of advice; If you really want to feel avant-garde and sexually liberated, I have some bad news for you – reading a book just won’t do it.

All you ladies out there, instead of reading Fifty Shades of Grey why not try giving yourself an orgasm? Your time will be well spent, and the next time you’re with a Mr Grey, or a Mr Black, or a Mr White you’ll know what you like and you will give him directions on how he can properly pleasure you.

Hell, instead of buying the book you would have been better off spending that money on a vibrator, which I promise would give you a lot more pleasure and satisfaction. And just in case you’re asking yourself where would I get a vibrator from, THIS LINK will take you to a local website which sells them.

And all you guys out there reading the book, fantasising and putting all those credits in your wank bank, I have one word for you; CLITORIS, look it up!

Let me conclude by saying that I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey and I don’t plan to because frankly it sounds dull and I know what kind of erotic novels tickle my fancy. Also I have nothing against people buying books, if it was up to me there would be a library in every locality, my problem is the sheep mentality. Unfortunately, at the end of this the questions remains, do Androids dream of sheep, or do they just follow you to the local bookstore and buy Fifty Shades of Grey?

Blog Mitosis

The more I updated my blog the more I thought about it being separated between the personal tales and the local commentary.

Two things happened in the past two days; one extremely amazing which I am very grateful for and one which has left me feeling a little scared.

I start with the good. My blog was listed as one of the top local political blogs in an article on The Sunday Circle Online. I am honored that I was recognized for something which I feel is still in amateur stages, but it has given me the strength to continue on this venture, and to try to better myself and my writing. This particular article explains how my blog is not just political but also personal, and that is when I understood that for me to continue on this adventure I had to split the two.

The second one is unfortunately the wave of attacks that I am currently receiving on the Franco Debono blog. You can check them out yourself on this blogpost. Click on the link, hit control+F and type ‘melahart’.

I understand that by expressing my opinion on a public forum I am opening myself up to criticism, and I am ready to take it, but not when this stoops down to personal attacks. Contrary to what is being written I am not part of “tal-qalba” (the core). I am simply someone who comments on what is happening in the local politics scene as that is what interests me. I also understand that politics can get ugly, but I don’t expect that such banter can be found (please note Franco Debono has to approve the messages) on a Member of Parliament’s blog, no matter what my affiliation is, and please note that just because sometimes I am critical of the Opposition, that doesn’t give anyone the right to colour me any shade of blue.

So there goes, I have just finished my Blog Mitosis. The personal posts were transferred somewhere else, the local ones can be found on here, where they used to be.

So here’s to more posts, hopefully laced with a good dose of sarcasm.

The Feminist Inside is Angry

I am trying to understand why a ridiculous news item on MaltaToday has filled me with such rage.

This morning I voiced said rage on Facebook and Twitter and some of the responses were the following;

@melahart Miller being a private business, they can sell – or NOT SELL what they want. It’s called capitalism.

— Marco(@magnumt) August 16, 2012

@melahart @dazedmagazine but it’s a free commercial world and their job is to import what THEY LIKE.

— Jacques Rene Zammit (@jacqueszammit) August 16, 2012

@melahart The largest distributer in Malta and, I believe, a privately owned company. I guess they have the right for an opinion too.

— Ivan (@4thguy) August 16, 2012

All fair points. Truthfully I never considered this to be some sort of censorship or even a ban, and I understand that Miller Distributors, as a private company, have every right to distribute what they well please. My question is, why did they decide not to import this particular magazine. What is the basis of this so called business decision? What is the fine line between Fifty Shades of Grey which is happily stocked in Agenda and this Dazed and Confused cover? Maybe it’s the visuals, but then again, what is the difference between this particular visual and those of Playboy and FHM which again are happily imported by Miller?

Essentially the cover promotes safe sex. Something which, let’s face it, needs to be properly reinforced in our little island. Fifteen years ago, I got all my sexual education from MTV Italia. Thank goodness for that station. Imagine my surprise when at 14 I learnt that condoms also prevent STIs, that’s certainly not something I learnt from school. So why are Miller so appalled by an image which promotes safe sex for women?

Going through all these questions there is one answer which seems to make most sense to me. The decision makers at Miller aren’t happy with WOMEN EXPRESSING SEXUAL FREEDOM. They are more than happy to import magazines which objectify women but the moment a woman is seen as strong and in control then we have trouble, and we rewind back to the middle ages (or the 1990s in Malta) where women were there as dinner preparing, house cleaning, pleasure giving, breeding machines.

So yes, that is why I’m enraged at this whole thing. Alas, Malta is still a closed patriarchal society, or else it is going to be until we have archaic people making all the decisions. And yes I am well aware by Miller Distributor’s latest comment. To me, it still doesn’t make things any better.

Franco Debono’s blog is the new place to be

It seems like Franco Debono’s blog is the new online place to be. Very hard to comprehend how such a poorly written blog can attract so many visits. It’s uncanny how he just posts a blog and within minutes it’s filled with comments!

Well yes this is me being incredibly jealous, I have no trouble admitting it. I sweat little droplets of blood trying to write something which is coherent and which might be of interest, but it seems that all the general public wants is lack of grammar, spouting of accusations and a platform to in turn continue with the appalling writing and the spouting of more accusations.

However I admire Franco Debono for keeping this up, he posts religiously. The question is, is that enough to really convey his message to those among us who are skeptical of all this fluff? My answer for now is leaning towards the NO. There are some things which really irritate me, and make me immediately dismiss any argument he’s trying to keep up;

His sentence structure;

Franco Debono is a lawyer first and foremost, meaning he’s spent a considerable amount of time at University, meaning he should know how to formulate a sentence right? Wrong…

taken from http://www.francodebono.com/2012/08/08/austin-gatt-today-and-in-the-80s/


His thinking in Maltese, and half translating to English

Not much to say apart from the fact that at his level of education I expect a little more

taken from http://www.francodebono.com/2012/08/03/pawl-siehbi-go-and-tell-it-to-the-greco/


His childish name calling

We all know who you are referring to so stop acting childish and call a spade a spade. Coming out with creative names will not win you points in any department other than the mediocre one. What’s been done below – VERY petty!

taken from http://www.francodebono.com/2012/08/06/from-clerk-to-millionaire-in-a-few-years/


Having said all this, I want to personally say thanks to Franco Debono for taking the time to create his blog. The amount of traffic Google sends my way with the search terms “Franco Debono Blog” is quite astounding. And for those who are reading this blog just for the link, here it is; www.francodebono.com.

One word of advice Dr Debono, the things you are writing are published in black and white, meaning that once they are out there you CANNOT take them back.