23 March 2008

Unspinning the Spin

The WTF factor has again come to my attention and despite assertions on a number of blogs where I suggested I was going to avoid entering the fray again on this particular topic, I lied! What is going on at Unspun's blog is ludicrous and the man deserves to be called for the overt racial and gender baiting that he is resorting to as well as the petty name calling, like dumbass!

What follows is not a clip mark but an unadulterated cut and paste of the comments made and Unspun's response (in pink)! You be the judge!

on March 21, 2008 at 5:42 pm2 Rob


I am a great believer in free speech and Anita and your good self can write and post whatever you feel you need to in order to make your point. You selectively cut and pasted the Baliblog comments and Anita has followed your lead in this respect with the way she cut and pasted my comments.

Doing this might make a point for you but it loses the necessary context of the whole…but once again your blog your right to post what you want…but in the interests of truth you should correct your error with regard to who has said what. I am happy to take any flak for my comments on this topic and would hope that those comments be directed at me personally and not at my wife or family.

Like power, with free speech comes responsibility…

The term whore was one I used and in fact the actual word is pelacur as it was uttered by an Indonesian in Indonesian. If you go back and read the posts you will see that Oigal has a point, it is not his term!

To suggest that in some way myself or Oigal are anti-Indonesian or label all Indonesians with the same brush is not only unfair it is wrong. In my own defence I don’t think that I said in any of my posts that it was a majority of Indonesians or even that the majority of bules in Indonesia have experienced what I have experienced personally to suggest otherwise is a distortion of what was posted…

I will still be reading your blog as I will still be reading Anita’s…I am a committed life long learner and despite the fact that I disagree with some of the things that you both write it does not mean that I cannot agree with you on other things…As I said I learn something new every day from reading different perspectives on how others view their life experiences…In the big scheme of things that is how we all should live life and reasoned debate about differences and similarities will contribute to the breaking down of stereotypes and bigotory across the board.


PS. If Akismet captures this as spam…I hope that you release it for publication…

on March 22, 2008 at 10:28 pm3 simon


Making a statement about “bitter white men disappointed with life in Indonesia (and who have nowhere else to go)” sounds rather vitriolic. Which “bitter white men” are you refering to exactly? Please clarify this.

When you claim that these Indonesian “women are seen with bule (Caucasian) men, and therefore are labeled as whores.”; you are are refering to; specifically the wives of two men (Rob and Oigal). Don’t you think that this is rather too personal and offensive; calling their wives “whores” on your blog?

You now want to know “If you have a Caucasian partner, did you specifically target the race as your potential other-half? Why?” Could it be because they fell in love? Honestly; this is some really awful stuff here.

on March 22, 2008 at 10:54 pm4 unspun

@Simon: The bitter white men - if I name them I would be making things personal, which I have tried to avoid so far.

On the “whore” reference. It was from Anita’s blog. I clipped it but didn’t say it, so wrong attribution there.

And if any dumbass is going to live up to their name by calling the clip selective, they’s better understand how Clipmarks works. Of course it is selective if you can only clip a maximum of 1,000 words

Agree tho that things are getting a tad nasty. is this because we’re hearing for the first time from the other side - articulate Indonesian women who’re smarter and more in-your-face than your average bar pickup or the subservient trophy girlfriend?

These are some of the points I made in response to Unspun's little rant. But as is the normal way my comments are not always posted automatically because they get captured by a spam filter. I am no techno whiz but with a little effort I can set my spam filters to let certain addresses to pass the filter, but that is just me!

My points are these:

Obviously the "dumbass" reference is directed at me this is not rocket science. My comments refer to selective clipping (actually cut and paste) of posts from blogs to highlight a point or support an argument but where the clip is done in such a way as to alter the context in which it was originally written. This is dishonest! The simple way to get around this would be to write under the clipmark that the quoted part is part of a longer post that discusses issue "X". Alas this is not Unspun's style!

Yet Unspun starts his response with the holier than thou idea that he is trying to avoid the nastiness and stay above the fray as an objective observer. He then hides behind Anita's skirt like a little boy saying the reference is not something he uttered but something he clipped from Anita's post, how noble!

The term 'whore' entered the argument way before Anita's post and because I used it in a reference to some personal abuse that my wife and I had experienced, my mistake for relaying a personal experience and not referring to the more general experiences. I learn from my mistakes! To suggest that the term ws clipped from Anita's blog and that is where it originated is plain wrong and a distortion of the truth. Simply, the term appeared on Unspun's blog first because it was posted in response to a clipping he had made from someone else's blog (Baliblog).

But the icing on the cake here is the belittlement of women when his blog and comments are supposedly in support of women with this beautiful little quote:

"... is this because we’re hearing for the first time from the other side - articulate Indonesian women who’re smarter and more in-your-face than your average bar pickup or the subservient trophy girlfriend?"

For me this is a tad sad! First it presupposes that bar pick-ups and trophy girlfriends are stupid and inarticulate! I would guess there might be a few women out there that might be a little concerned with such a charcterization. I am sure it would offend my mother and I am equally as sure that she would give a dressing down to any clown that offered such foolish remarks about women, any women! But I guess in Unspun's defence he does modify the bar girl / trophy wife analogy with "average", whatever average is!

I, personally, am not afraid of hearing or debating the other side of any argument. On the contrary, I live for it! The fact that it is made by articulate and smart women is not an issue. I readily except that there are plenty of women out there in the world who are smarter than I can ever dream of being.

There are others though that might be potentially smarter than me who have never had the opportunities that I have had in terms of education. And, therefore, have been forced in to making ends meet in ways that had they had access to other opportunities like education they might not been forced into the choices they have had to make now to support their families.

It is my sincere hope that Indonesian women write about the posts that Unspun is producing to exploit the position of some women in society. The analogy of bar women and trophy wives as inarticulate and stupid shows a complete lack of understanding of the problems but as usual simply engages in the perpetuation of another stereotype, as a man I find this characterization offensive but I will let women and Indonsian women in particular respond on this!

If they are not offended then so be it. If Unspun then feels vindicated that this reflects a bitter and twisted white man commenting outside of his realm of expertise, then so be it. It is a question of principle and I am willing to stand by those principles and argue for them.

I do not know Unspun personally and therefore cannot judge him on anything but his writings. He seems to want to label me and all of my "bule" friends as twisted and bitter what fellas with no where else to go. Indonesians should find that characterization offensive as well as it suggests that when you are a clapped out white fella with nowhere else to go you come to Indonesia.

My loyal readers, you be the judge as to whose comments elicit responses of twisted and bitter. But back to my point, the postings of Unspun are manipulative, deceptive, prejudiced, and quite often racist in their exploitation of racial stereotypes. Once again my loyal readers you be the judge.

This post is not intended to be personal in spite of the fact that it refers to one particular individual. Rather it is a critique of what has been posted and the manipulation of a particular debate surrounding a particular set of stereotypes that have been milked by this individual. It is also not nasty, not even a tad!

To Anita (excellent blog) and Marisa (also excellent blog) and all you other female Indonesian bloggers out there (too many to name)! Keep doing your thing! I enjoy reading your blogs and hope that we can enter into constructive debate where there is a topic that affords itself to such debate. But keep posting the "day in a life" type posts as well as it is interesting to read what people's life experiences are. Hopefully, from these experiences and these interactions we can break done the stereotypes and the bigotory that gets under our skin and gets the blood boiling!


Ecky said...

Hi Rob,

I guess this topic has really brought up sensitive issue regarding the mixed couple, yes maybe it's true (I'm ashame to admit it) but some local men still think that women who dated Caucasian must be a whore, maybe it's based on their experience seeing those woman in Bats or Blok M.

Since you and your wife is respected couple, maybe they are just jealous that you got the good girl and they don't :)

Let's just think of that way will you, cos I believe this is going to be an endless discussion.

Nice to know you.

Rob Baiton said...

Hey Ecky...

Once I post this reply...I will check out your blog...

No need to be ashamed, as others have rightfully pointed out, we cannot control the musings (or postings) of others.

I would like to think it is jealousy...But my musings / postings call the behaviour for what it is and it does not matter whether the offender is Indonesia or white or yellow or black, I label rudeness as rudeness no matter what!

And it is worth noting once again that Anita's point is the key one here; being a jerk is not defined by race, colour, creed, or anything else -- A jerk is a jerk!

I think the discussion will eventually die down and lay idle for a while a re-ignite somewhere else and at some other time...

But thanks for reading and thanks for commenting...


Patung said...

"I am no techno whiz but with a little effort I can set my spam filters to let certain addresses to pass the filter, but that is just me!"

On Wordpress, which is what unspun's site uses, there's no whitelist, but there is a brownlist (auto held in moderation) and a blacklist (vaporised, the site owner never sees the comment). On my install of wordpress the spam filter (which is quite separate from the brown and black lists) does make mistakes, it catches comments it shouldn't but not that often.

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for the info...this makes it a little clearer to me! The comment you copied really is based on my understanding of what happens with my google and yahoo accounts and includes email spam filters.

Not a wordpress user so this clears it up!


Unspun said...

@Rob: I'm glad you're no reocket scientist because you would have been a bad one. Your powers of inference are much poorer than your powers of jumping to conclusions.

You obviously inferred that I rferred to you as dumbass and that I conspired with Akismet to take your posting hostage. Wrogn on both counts.

Your comment rescued and restored on Unspun. And so is an explanation of how you couldn't possibl for the dumbass title, covert it though you may.

Unspun said...

sorry about the typing but its late, I'm tired and just got back to Jakarta. Here goes a second try:

@Rob: I'm glad you're no rocket scientist because you would have been a bad one. Your powers of inference are much poorer than your powers of jumping to conclusions.

You obviously inferred that I referred to you as dumbass and that I conspired with Akismet to take your posting hostage. Wrong on both counts.

Your comment rescued and restored on Unspun. Also in Unspun is a an explanation of how you couldn't possibly qualify for the dumbass title, covert it though you may:)

Please read comments also in "What Javanese girls think?" before jumping to further conclusions.

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by!

No inferences drawn from the spelling or the time of day.

Not really an inference on the Akismet thing just a lack of technical understanding on my part (which Patung has now clarified for me as a non-Wordpress user)!

On the dumbass front...I understand that you have reserved it for a particular poster. However, the "inference" I made sees the dumbass analogy in a sentence to the selective clipping and posting, I have commented on the manner in which you clip and post.

Therefore, any inference would have been reasonable but thanks for clearing it up both here and on your own blog that I was not the target of the term. Thanks!

I have read all the comments on all of the relevant posts (at least the ones I am aware of)...

Welcome back to Jakarta!

Unspun said...

@Rob: Good that we've managed to clear things up somewhat.

On my manner of clipping. I understand the point of adding a disclaimer underneath the clipmarks to say that this is part of something else but doesn't technology make this redundant? Each clipmark has the url of the clipped posting, making it easy for any reader, if they so wish, to check what the original blog had to day and the context in which it is said.

Anyone with an opinion on what is the proper protocol to observe with Clipmarks?

Jakartass said...


The "proper protocol to observe with Clipmarks?"

Easy. Don't use them.
Clipmarks are style over substance.

If you have to copy someone else's writing, then use it as an illustration or back up of your own thoughts. Selectively taking sentences, using them out of context in order to demonstrate your own prejudices, is not an example of original thinking.

Suggesting later that it is the fault of the technology/programme and that we are "dumbasses" for not understanding that, and that you only have honourable intentions are gross inferences.

It has been suggested in some quarters - not by me - that you need to improve your grasp of English. However, I do think that would probably be a wise course of action.

It would certainly help you to understand the intent/message of those blogs you selectively clip, and maybe to comprehend that most of us fail to understand you or your motivation for regularly shit-stirring.


Unspun said...

@Jakartass: Conan The Barbarian and Bloggers Comment #7

So when you changing your name to Dumbass?

Rob Baiton said...

Dear All...

Just a short note!

I am into free speech and all but I am making a personal request that any name calling of other bloggers yo restrict to your own blogs.

I starte my blog to humour myself and to engage others into constructive and reasoned debate on issues that are important to me.

Specifically for Unspun and Jakartass! Your feud predates my arrival in the blogosphere and will no doubt continue elsewhere over time.

Comments need to be reasoned and address the points made. I am sorry Unspun but "when you changing your name to dumbass" is not a reasoned response to the questions posed of the inferences made by Jakartass to your motivations for posting.

If you recall the original post here. Unspun called me for some inferences that he felt I made about him. Unspun then went onto make some inferences of his own about me. I responded point by point to that...Nah, if we still disagree then so be it, we agree to disagree. The point is that I did not resort to name calling.

I ask all my readers and commentators to show that respect to each other. As my mother used to say to me "if you do not have something worthwhile to say then it is better not to say anything at all!"

I heed my mother's advice so perhaps some of you should as well.

If any one has a personal feud with me then this is my blog and you have my permission to go for it. However, personal feuds between my readers are feuds you need to pursue on your own blogs!