Poster for International Women’s Day via Kirsty at Galaxy of Emptiness
Missing Link is now into yet another manifestation. The problem is that it’s just too time-consuming for any one individual to read lots of blogs, even with the help of a feed reader, and then produce a decent human-edited digest of wortwhile posts several times a week. You could probably do it if you were being paid a full or even half salary for it, but it’s beyond most people’s capacity as a volunteer endeavour: around 20 hours per week for 3 editions.
We tried a roster system, so that each team member was only on duty every 6 weeks or so. However, several of us (including me) found even that impossible to manage. We’re now experimenting with an organisation system where each team member compiles part of each edition, with the labour divided along the (mostly) ideological lines by which I organised the Google Reader subscription list (mostly coinciding with Troppo’s blogroll system: left, centrist, moderate right, RWDB etc). Current team members are myself, Helen Dale (busy for the next couple of weeks with Cameron Riley deputising for her), Jason Soon, Darlene Taylor, James Farrell and Patrick Garson (currently missing in action).
They say that a camel is a horse designed by committee, but it’s still a pretty useful critter in a desert. I hope this camel in the blogospherical desert doesn’t give readers the hump (unless you enjoy that sort of thing). BTW we’re also reducing the frequency to twice per week, Monday and Thursday (or thereabouts).
News and politics stuff
Tim Dunlop despairs at the antics of the incompetent Bush and the demagogic Chavez as they tussle for the hearts and minds of Latin America. Shamelessly snatching at Club Troppo’s faux centrist mantle, Tim concludes:
It almost makes you grateful for the relatively sensible middle-ground arguments of Kevin Rudd and John Howard.
But the best left-wing polemics of the weekend deal with the debating tactics of the right.
Gummo Trotsky rolls his eyes at Oz Conservative Mark Richardson’s latest critique of ‘liberals’. (By the way, Gummo, keep serving it up to Mark, but next time leave the hyphen out of Papua New-Guinea. Is there a state called New South-Wales?)
Not to be deterred, Richardson returns to the fray with a post chockfull of strawmen titled masculinity is good for you!
One obvious conclusion to draw from all this is that the presence of a masculine man in a woman’s life is likely to be beneficial in helping to prevent her from “overthinking problems”. There is still an important role, in other words, for a strong male figure in a woman’s life to protect her from the more vulnerable aspects of her own nature.
Gary Sauer-Thomson thinks that proponents of a Presidential pardon for Scooter Libby are overlooking the small matter of the rule of law.
Does the Libby case open a window on the whole facade of power in the US, to disclose how the Republicans do not care about the rule of law and only care to preserves their own power. Will this disclosure motivate those who witnessed it to begin to look on their own lives and actions differently?
Kieran of The Dead Roo is exasperated by Howard’s accounting scheme – every pleasant economic statistic to his own credit; every unpleasant one blamed on circumstances beyond his control. (No mention of the word rodent, which should please Harry Clarke.)
Tim Lambert confronts the latest — and surely the most formidable — of the many challenges to the Lancet studies on deaths in Iraq: the macaroni and cheese argument.
Kim at Larva Rodeo is fed up with right-wing allegations that western feminists betray their Muslim sisters. She concludes that
… none of the more structural issues about the position of women in countries like Iran and Iraq ever get a hearing from the “feminists of convenience”. Rather, they go for the ideological jugular and cite practices they can conveniently condemn as “barbaric” to roll in their Islamophobia with their partisan political agendas. Because that’s what all this is about.
Ken L at Surfdom investigates Political Correctness a decade after its inclusion on the national agenda, and finds it alive and well:
PC in the John Howard era targets two broad categories of thought crime: ‘unAustralianness’ and ‘Muslim extremism’ (though maybe the latter is simply a manifestation of the former). It is now socially and politically acceptable – nay, mandatory – to vilify people who fall into either way of Bad Thinking.
And the award for best post title of the week goes to Aussie Bob, also at Surfdom, for Eumundi Dirt Farm Veterans For Truth, which pretty much says it all.
Daily Flute succinctly sums up the choice voters face in the imminent NSW state election: typical state election decision: crap or worse.
Over at A Western Heart, John Ray has written an interesting exposition of the late libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick’s theory of why intellectuals as a group are socialised into an anti-capitalist mentality. Meanwhile, Andrew Landeryou deconstructs an embarrassingly puzzling comment by former Australian republican celebrity and now businessman Jason Yat-sen Li about how cool it would be to adopt 5-year plans like China does, and suggests a perfectly cynical explanation for the comment. Was it Lenin who said ‘A capitalist will sell you the rope you use to hang him with’?
At the Australian Muslim groupblog Austrolabe, Amir picks up on an earlier post on Andrew Norton’s blog about whether private schools are being discriminated against and starts an interesting debate about the issues raised from a Muslim perspective. The resulting comments thread is worth reading as Amir approaches this from a libertarian-leaning perspective, demonstrating the potential political synergies between one reading of libertarianism and multiculturalism, and encounters opposition from at least one left-leaning commenter who takes the view that all education should be public and secular.
Mirko Bargaric continues his crusade against ‘The emptiness and absurdity of rights based theories’ and advocates a move towards ‘maximizing flourishing’. This reminds me of HL Mencken’s famous quip about philosophy but I really shouldn’t be over-editorialising.
And Roger Migently’s equally amusingly puerilely pseudonymous co-conspirator Mike Hunt blogs a bile-ridden post about ABC TV’s Sunday morning program Insiders:
In Australiaâs answer to Fox News, the vomitorium that is the ABCâs right-wing Sunday show, Insiders, the private propaganda arm of the elitist neo-con echo chamber of the braying Ackermann, Bolt, Cassidy and Associates, âGeraldâ Henderson (as ABC News Radio called him) and Paul Kelly struggled heroically today to explain what a terrible time the supposedly appalling Rudd was having, or surely was about to have, or that they wished he would have, despite his record polling figures released less than a week ago. They donât get it at all.
Life and other serious stuff
The man from Ironbark is determined to be a man of mark. Not only will he shave his beard and whiskers off: he pledges to write posts promoting right wing themes of the sponsor’s choice, in exchange for donations to the Greatest Shave drive. Andrew Bartlett will sacrifice his own office Rapunzel on the same altar. Jeremy has an update on the electronic war between Greeks and Turks about who was the most gay. It’s reassuring to know that someone is keeping abreast of this breaking story.
Steve at Opinion Dominion thinks that the pro-euthanasia cause is getting too easy a run in the media, particularly on the ABC.
In but we used to eat them too … David “Barista” Tiley delivers a surprisingly fascinating treatise on the relationship between we humans and lice!
In Commodify me, Don Arthur makes a disturbing discovery:
Marketers have realised that restaurant patrons and airline passengers want more than food or transport. As a result, itâs no longer clear where the product begins and ends. Many businesses are now selling the customer a relationship rather than just a service. They see customers as touchy social animals that want to be cared for and respected …
Maybe it’s true in America. Myself, I’m more than happy with prompt, polite service. I don’t want a realtionship with a waiter or counter clerk. In fact I’m the sort of person who silently wishes that talkative cabbies and hairdressers would shut up and inflict their views on someone else. If I want half-baked political opinions I can always read a blog!
Meanwhile, Steve Edney examines rainfall figures in south-eastern Australia, and discovers that while they’ve fallen since 1950 they’re higher than they were in the first half of the 20th century. Perhaps planners were simply unwise to assume that the higher rainfall figures of the 1950s and 60s were anything more than a short-term anomaly.
And Andrew Norton comes up with some surprisingly thought-provoking answers to his own Dorothy Dixer questions: why is plagiarism bad? and are we really short of discretionary time? Harry Clarke also muses about leisure and busy-ness.
Speaking of people who blog and can write, Helen aka Skepticlawyer has got commitments that are making blogging on Catallaxy impossible. Look out for her upcoming book in stores soon. Helenâs still going to be part of the Club Troppo Missing Link mob. Thanks to Helen for bringing intelligence and talent to the blogosphere. Sheâs held her own views, while respecting the opinions of others. As for Catallaxy, Jason Soon once again gets it right with his YouTube efforts. Sinead OâConnor, who became a mother again for the fourth time not long ago, features on aforementioned blog with her wonderful song, âLast Day of our Acquaintanceâ.
Mark Bahnisch has also announced a temporary blogging hiatus due to pressure of work. Harry Clarke seizes the moment with a reflective piece of metablogging: blogging as a behavioural addiction.
The Spin Starts Here is rather oddly listed in the arts section of Google Reader, although anything passes for art these days. That decapitated doll with blood around its neck that was witnessed at one exhibition probably received a wondrous review in some unreadable and overpriced magazine. The arts community (if any group is cohesive enough to be referred to as a community) had a crush on Paul Keating during his leadership. Leaving aside that the Left encompasses everyone from a communist to a member of the Labor Right; Skeletor from TSSH argues that âthe willingness of the Left in this country to deify Paul Keating irks me something gruesomeâ. Overstatement and the blogosphere are close mates, but âSkelâ does have a point.
A pretty piece of art appeared on Galaxy in honour of International Womenâs Day. Thereâs interesting symbolism in the picture of female circus performers gracefully moving in the air. Much more fascinating insight in that image than the overused womenâs collective cartoon of the chick with a headscarf gunning for a fight.
Speaking of interesting images, Dean from Happy Antipodean recently discussed a showing of Reg Mombassaâs work. Anyone over the age of thirty would know of Mombassaâs membership of the Australian band, Mental as Anything. According to Dean:
Reg Mombassa’s exhibition of new work at the Watters Gallery in East Sydney drew a copious crowd. Because I bought some of his works, I was invited to the event. And because it’s
East Sydney, I decided to catch the train. It’s impossible to park your carduring the week.
Alison Croggon, blogger and writer, has an article on Arts Hub about arts blogging, and about blogging in general. Croggon makes the point that people with arts blogs are often artists themselves, which is a distinction to be made with political blogs where anyone with an opinion logs on to go on (and on). Croggon argues:
I think of arts blogs as a quite specific phenomenon. The best of them â and there are many of those â grew out of frustration at the dwindling space and diversity offered to the arts in the mainstream media, and see themselves as offering an alternative space for the kind of extended meditations that no longer exist in mainstream newspapers. Even more importantly, blogs offer dialogue: a space where interested people â audiences, critics, and artists â can exchange their views. It is in the realm of arts blogging that I see most clearly the truth of those who say that blogs are the contemporary equivalent of Grubb St pamphleteering â they reflect a world which is robust, lively, argumentative, informed and, most importantly of all, diverse.
This is quite an old post, but as Iâm a huge fan of Extras, I thought what the heck. Alan Sepinwall talks about an interview he conducted with the great British comic, Ricky Gervais. The following quote from the second, and even better, series of Extras applies to many artistic endeavours, but in this instance itâs coming from Andy Millmanâs useless agent and is referring to Andyâs awful sitcom, When the Whistle Blows:
I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, ‘Oh the script’s not funny, it’s crass, it’s lowest common denominator’. And you know, you’re right. But don’t worry about it because people will watch anything, all right? Particularly if it’s on after EastEnders and they haven’t got to change the channel. Those sorts of morons will help us win the ratings war and ratings in the end are what count. And merchandise.
Elsewhere, the blogosphere’s comic book intellectual Jason Soon writes about a vital question: Marvel’s civil war: did the good guys win?
Better late than never – it’s still worth drawing attention to this long and thoughtful piece by Adrienswords on what’s wrong with Australia’s film industry, even if it is timestamped 1 March.