Back in June 2009, US Republican congressman Peter Hoekstra wrote on Twitter:
Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.
This outrageous and ludicrous comparison comparing the adjourning of Congress to the brutally suppressed uprising in Iran, spawned a (short lived) Twitter meme:
In response, Twitter users have been mercilessly heckling Hoekstra en masse, turning his idiotic statement into a full-blown Internet meme. “To Hoekstra” now has its own definition, which is “to whine using grandiose exaggerations and comparisons.”
The Twitter outrage comparing the Commonwealth’s proposed Internet filter with the political censorship regimes of Iran, China or Saudi Arabia, strike me as on par.
Based on its internal discussions, the No Clean Feed grassroots mainly see their campaign as a defence of white liberty against Oriental despotism. This is obviously felt in a very unclear and confused way, but the majority of the rhetoric, both written and visual, seems to revolve around Chinese-speaking Kevin, the lover of China and Mao-Zedong-thought, trying to turn Australia into China so that we can all live like Chinamen. I think this is because NCF involves a lot of previously apolitical people who have been rapidly drawn into a political campaign that – have to say it – has no leftist centre of gravity.
I definitely agree with the last sentence.
The Hoekstra-ian nature of the complaints aired by some No Clean Feed supporters definitely goes into realms of the hysterical and grandiose exaggeration:
Fuck your filter off mate how the fuck can you stop information of whatever nature what happened to freedom of interest ,, and another thing how the fuck can you follow a country like china that is over populated and full of aisans that wanna fuck off to australia its bad enough that you wont let people of the same sexâ€¦ get married i dont know about this filter shit you can go get fucked and plug your fucken filter up your arse you might even like
This first and then what next? Like china? Government is gonna block out political / religous rant? What about the basic right for freedom of information?
I refuse to live in the New People’ Republic of China. Who has the fucking right to tell us what is appropriate “ if I want to look at anti-labour party websites or whatever “they” deem inappropriate I should be allowed.
In my view, the No Clean Feed campaigns focus on the Internet filter equating to political censorship is foolish. It does not live up to most Australians’ lived experience. Few Australians are affected by the “censorship” inherent in the current refused classification material regime.
Even ultra-right wing blogger Tim Andrews makes this point:
In conclusion – and I can not stress this enough – do NOT make this about porn, or even about censorship or freedom. I would not publicly use these words at all…
Alex Schlotzer also makes a good point in the LP comments:
The most pressing issue for the “campaign” is the fact that there is still not one single coordinating body. There is little point worrying about the “key messages” when there are so many messages and no-one coordinating the activists.
Comparisons between the Internet filter (and its proposed blocking of refused classification material) to the filter in China are over stated.