On The Vitiation of Tintookies

Paul Keating ripped into it last night as he launched Stuart Macintyre’s new book, The History Wars – upon which Chris Sheil blogs below.

It was colourful, controversial and indeed ground-breaking as interesting words like “Tintookies” (puppets apparently) emerged from etymological obscurity into the “smouldering incandescence” (as Paul would have it) of current Australian discourse.

Howard was the subject of course – not Stuart Macintyre – though I’m sure that taking a momentary back seat to the greater cause of attacking Howard’s “vitiation of the spirit” (upon which evil enterprise Geoffrey Blainey collaborates apparently) was a small price to play.

At one point he imperiously dismissed a range of Right Op Ed commentators – Mcguinness, Albrechtson, et al as, “simply a smudge in history”, declaring: “What have they put in place which is enduring, which makes the heart skip a beat? Nothing.”

I’m not inclined to argue with that. I was wondering more whether the antipodean Aristotle might have a range of Op Ed commentators in mind whose prose might “make the heart skip a beat?” Whose legacy might be enduring? Any ideas?

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EvilPundit
2022 years ago

The name of Philip Adams will live in infamy for at least five years.

Robert Manne doesn’t make my heart skip a beat, but I do get a nauseous feeling upon hearing his name.

Margo Kingston is good for a laugh. She could be remembered as a comedy classic for generations.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Emma Tom, with Bettina Arndt a close second. Well, Emma’s stuff usually makes my stomach skip a beat when I bother to read it, and that’s close enough.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I don’t think that link works Geoff … but it’s a good question. I nominate war correspondent CEW Bean … whose guardianship of the War Memorial (Bean selected the site and laid down the principles for its displays) was a theatre of conflict in the 1980s, according to Macintyre, only to see the Warriors defeated by that stout defender of truth, Labor appointee Beryl Beaurepaire! Stuart surmises that this attack was disadvantaged in being a little before its time … back in those days, Geoffrey Blainey “recommended a more interpretative approach …” even suggesting that they “include a section on warfare between Europeans and Aboriginals”. My, how times change.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

I have a suggestion for you, evilknieval: if you find Phillip Adams or Robert Manne, or whoever, so offensive or stomach churning, don’t read them. Why torture youself ? Is it like you’re thinking: no pain, no gain?

Stick to the opinions you agree with, and you’ll be much happier. Or are you one of these people who is only happy when they’ve got something to complain about?

The same goes for you and Emma Tom, Ken. But what’s wrong with her anyway? Sure, she’s a bit of a lightweight …

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Link fixed Chris.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Who is that “Paul Keating” dude, anyway?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Dave,

I was only partly sneering at Emma and Bettina. At least to a greater extent than most other present day op ed columnists, both are distinctive in subject matter and style. I doubt that either will ever be seen as making an “enduring” contribution to Australian intellectual or political life (Keating’s professed yardstick), but there aren’t too many columnists in any country in any era who fit that yadstick. George Orwell in Britain, maybe Evelyn Waugh, and a handful of Americans. This was just a typical empty Keating slag, that sounds smart until you actually think about it and realise it’s just unadulterated bile (not unlike the output of the RWDB columnists he derides).

slatts
slatts
2022 years ago

I just read the Keating piece. It is nothing but an exercise in florid windbaggery.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“This was just a typical empty Keating slag, that sounds smart until you actually think about it and realise it’s just unadulterated bile.”

Exactement!

Niall
2022 years ago

Well said, Dave. This constant naming of writers and commentators who cause ire reminds me so much of the little old ladies who would go buy ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’ and then write letter after letter to editors, ad infinatum, complaining of the disgusting content. If you don’t like someone like Phillip Adams, don’t listen to or read them. Whining about them is just a waste of energy. No-one cares.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Well obviously you do Niall :)

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Niall, as someone who spends so much time writing critical comments on other people’s blogs, you demonstrate remarkable hypocrisy above.

By the way, your blog is one of the ugliest I’ve ever seen.

mark
2022 years ago

Woohoo, Evil! Way to make it personal, dude!

Niall isn’t saying one shouldn’t read what one disagrees with. Just that, if you disagree with someone so violently that you feel physically sick just upon hearing their name, perhaps, if only to keep the floors clean, you should find different reading material?

For example, Janet Albrechtson causes me to kick, or punch, or slap something pretty hard whenever I read her idiotic “I know what the law says, I have a degree you know — however, I don’t mind lying about it to score points” mostly-legal-minded columns. But I know this, and adjust. If it would be inconvenient for me to kick, punch, or slap the living hell out of any machines, desks, brickworks, chairs, or passers-by, I avoid her columns. If she says something that gets me so worked up I have to say something about it, I’ll write a refutation or something, I won’t just go “ewww, I’ve gotta go (literally) spill my guts”.

If you disagree with someone — ignore it, argue about it, whatever. If you passionately hate that person’s writing, however, either *stop reading them*, or stop bothering us with “I almost wrecked my favourite shoes” sob stories*.

* Yes, that was a joke.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I wonder if you could use the Albrechtson Rage defence if you were picked up for assault?

“I read Janet Albrechtson this morning your Honour and I just….lashed out.”

Oh…well. Quite understandable, case dismissed!”

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

mark,

Wait till he’s taken his bicycle clips off before you write it off as a joke.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

I read my favourite lefty pundits to get my blood moving in the morning. It’s purely medicinal.

As for Niall’s website, it really is ugly. That’s a genuine case of something I avoid reading because it might make me lose my lunch. Who would want to look at the face of some Dead White Commie all the time? Ewwww.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Funny how quickly you can go off some people … oh, and on another subject, good to see you popping around Niall.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

cs,

There have always been a few considerate people who know this, and spare you the trouble of getting to like them in the first place.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Sorry Gummo, I didn’t realise he was just saving us all time.

On the subject of great journos with a capacity to move the reader, I would add Gavin Souter to my count, which as far as I can see from the above, still only has CEW Bean as the other nominee on the Australian list.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

And Emma Tom

cs
cs
2022 years ago

OK, fair enough Ken, you guys are determined to make this a totally bleedingly self-evident joke on PJK … have fun … see if I care …

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Blimey.

Kill a man, enslave his family, burn his house, salt his land — just don’t criticise the look of his blog, not if you value your life!

I suppose this would be a bad time to mention that this site keeps forgetting my details?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Evil,

It keeps forgetting my details too, so it’s an equal opportunity amnesiac blog. I’ve raised it with Scott Wickstein before, because I have no idea how to fix it myself. Maybe one of the techie gurus might happen by and give us a hint.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God renders them united,
When she fails to details-update”

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Mr Pundit, if you enter the Comments via the time link of the post you want to comment on it will remember your details provided you had previously ticked the Yes dot.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Thank you, Mr Mead. It has remembered them this time.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Actually Mr Pundit it was Mr Shiel who put me onto that little trick some time ago. He comes in useful from time to time, although his tendency to accuse other people of making ad hominem attacks when he himself is one of the persistent users of that argument technique is a bit irritating at times. Sorry for changing the subject.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Well what brought that on Ron … have you been checking out the Wallaby jumps?

cs
cs
2022 years ago

And in case Niall comes back this way: do you know your blog won’t accept comments?

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

No, Chris, I hadn’t read that post until you mentioned it. Nice to be noted in absentia! I don’t always read rugby posts. Being a former Melburnian there is a heaven known neither to the Pope nor to the likes of Finegan, Eddie Jones nor even the whole All Blacks team. Anyhow why would any Aussie bother with an elitist pommy sport that bans Waltzing Matilda?

Er, sorry Wayne!

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Hah! Now CS is criticising Niall’s blog!

*waits for the wrath of Heaven to descend upon his wretched skull*

mark
2022 years ago

Evil: on many of the web design fora I participate on (yeah, yeah), when one has been thoroughly beaten during a particularly nasty argument, the first refuge is — “what would you know, your site looks crap?” Which is not only utterly meaningless (different tastes, different levels of free time, different attitudes towards accessibility/desing, etc.), but is the web design equivalent of the Nuclear Insult.

Obviously the ‘blogosphere (especially the ausplogosphere, which features… what, two web designers?) are somewhat different, and I’ve got NFI how Niall really feels about your comment, if I cares, etc. However, they’re probably sufficiently similar that “what would you know, your website’s ugly!” is not just irrelevant, but also pretty goddamn silly.

Re: the dead white Communists, yeah, I much prefer live black Fascists. *cough*

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Er, that’s actually called a query Evil. This is gonna be a long learning curve …

mark
2022 years ago

Evil: you know, we black-armband-bleeding-heart-PC-fascist-in-a-left-wing-way-type-thugs tend to stick together, so that ain’t gonna happen.

*joins arms with Chris. Sings… “onward Christian soldiers…”*

cs
cs
2022 years ago

And Ron, you can’t help where you’re born, I know, so you’re excused, but what’s with the ad hom allegation … seems rather, well, ad hom, to me. I’ve been keeping pretty strictly to this rule, unless of course I come across a complete idiot [*looks up the thread*] … but there has to be a reasonable person’s exception clause.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Mark,

Since Niall has obviously designed his blog to be visually offensive to right-wingers, I would expect him to be quite pleased by my reaction to it.

For those who prefer live black fascists to dead white communists, many pictures of Robert Mugabe are available. I don’t particularly like either variety of tyrant, myself.

CS, I will attempt to learn the rules of syntax, even as you struggle to comprehend the ways of humour. Perhaps, one day, we can both overcome our ignorance.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

CS, I will attempt to learn the rules of syntax, even as you struggle to comprehend the ways of humour. Perhaps, one day, we can both overcome our ignorance.

Well (to quote the Iron Duke), that’s going to be a damn nice close run thing; on the one hand CS has a clear head-start, but on the other, BanalPundit has the easier task to master.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

PS to previous:

In my experience, it’s only the congenitally humourless who feel compelled to point out that they have a sense of humour. The rest of us are prepared to leave it to the judgement of our peers.

Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

Chris, I think you tend to mistake criticism for ad hominem:

“I see that Gregory Melleuish is already out of the box, opening in classic History Wars fashion with an ad hominem attack on Stuart”

Greg Melleuish’s article certainly contained some background on Macintyre as well as robust criticism, but it was backed up by cogent argument. To label it an ad hominem attack by Melleuish is hyperbole to say the least, and even a little hypocritical when that label is used by someone who writes the following contemptuously
dismissive comment in response to a link to an article of some relevance to the topic under discussion by Roger Sandall:

“Sandal is criticising the usage by Huntington, who has followed Braudel, who has in turn followed Febvre and Bloch. The irony is that Sandal, who I assume is a neo-con ideologue (given his presence in the New Criterion) is seeking to rescue the value judgement, the recognition of which led to the change in meaning … a change accepted by most historians (which is why Huntington, himself a neo-con, admits it: he is aiming for legitimacy in scholarly circles) … but, in a double-irony, Sandal is reaching into the past to champion the value judgement Jack is refusing to see. This was an unhelpful intervention Ron.”

Note the emphasis on NEO-conservativism (that prefix again!) and the association with that RIGHT-WING publication “The New Criterion”. Anything in that rag must be sus, eh what?

Nevertheless I’m not getting too excited about the evils of using ad hominem techniques in blogs. Everybody does it (myself included), including some vigorous protesters against it. Sure it isn’t clear thinking but it’s emotionally satisfying and what’s blogging if it isn’t for emotional satisfaction. Oh, you mean that’s rugby, not academic discourse, Chris! well, well.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

That’s not funny.

mark
2022 years ago

I thought Mugabe was a lefty? Oy! So many names, so many philosophies. Are we massacreing people in the name of the oppressed, or in order to achieve our God-given destiny? Who knows? Who cares? I agree with you — Mugabe is quite unattractive.

People! The world needs sexier dictators! (Perhaps Mary Carey’s run for governor of California is a good start, eh?)

Damn, Gummo, is that where I’ve been going wrong all these years?

Graham
2022 years ago

Emma Tom. Heh.

I’ll happily do a basic (style sheet only) redesign of anyone’s blog if they ask nicely and if I’ve got the time. Even those of the RWDB variety.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Thanks Ron, you rarely respond to me seriously. Let me try to answer. I think there is a clear disctinction to be made here. Stuart Macintyre was referred to in the Australian as the ‘Godfather’ of history; Greg Melleuish was referred to by me at Troppo as a likely ‘neo-con’. I take it that they are the basically agreed facts between us. Let’s keep the levels of argument clear.

Now, I immediately submit that the ‘Godfather’ reference is a straight-out, black and white case of ad hom. Stuart’s likened to the Mafia Boss. No question, that’s illegal for a start .. and has absolutely nothing to do with his new book itself. Yet Greg says Stuart is akin not only to organised crime, but is the boss of organised crime. In a world of civilised manners, he would have his ears cuffed and be sent from the room.

Sandall as a neo-conservative is an entirely different charge. For a start, he loves the title. He is an explicit neo-con. Unlike with Stuart, it grants Sandall the title he himself claims. It is the equivalent to calling Stuart the Ernest Scott Professor of History. Moreover, it locates Sandall in a recognised intellectual and political grouping. Stuart is the head of the most productive history department in the nation … that’s his position, and his responsibility. Moreover, he himself is the most productive historian in the nation. I look over my shoulder and I see 17 history books by Stuart Macintyre … all of them excellent, this is surely the most any historian has ever published in this country’s history.

The really horrible and angry irony here is that Stuart (OK, I do regard him as a good friend and colleague) has done more than any historian since Clark and Blainey to write interesting history; i.e. he is far and away (IMO) the most elite of all our history scholars, but he has also done the most by far to keep professional history connected with current affairs and popular conceptions of history. The man’s a gem. Personally, I owe him intellectual debts I will never ever be able to repay. As a professional, let me tell you that you’re talking about someone this country should be very proud of … no matter where they stand in the spectrum. At the very least, I beg that you give him the respect of calling him by his proper name and title. Grant him at the very least the license I grant Sandall … and know all the while that you are granting so very much less to so much more.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Such special pleading. Such hypocrisy.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

It’s actually called clear distinction.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

No. It’s hypocrisy.

You demand that anyone who dares to mention your hero’s name should kiss his arse, while at the same time freely calling other people “idiots”:

Macintyre deserves a very big medal for this effort, which is akin to having to discuss Bob Dylan with a bunch of idiots who have only ever heard Britney Spears.

It’s right there for all to see.

Yet some people still wonder why the self-appointed cultural elites lack public credibility.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Is that an argument Evil? The ‘elites’ thing, by the way, is hackneyed … and would not pass the diversity criterion. As for the rest, the question is: should one venture into completely brain-dead ignorant discourse? As an elite intellectual, I say, probably not. Eat shit dumb fuck.

EvilPundit
2022 years ago

Hahaha! Proof positive.

Run back to your Godfather. You can’t handle public discourse.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I re-utter the appropriate if also immortal words: eat shit dumb fuck.

mark
2022 years ago

Y’may want to re-think that, Chris.