Monday’s Missing Link

Something to hate

I had hoped that Helen would set a mediocre standard for the new crop of Missing Link debutants, but was severely disappointed. Hers will be a hard act to follow.

News and politics stuff

Howard haters were on the march this weekend. Hater-in-Chief Tim Dunlop finds the PMâs conversion on climate change to be incomplete and expedient. Tim is particularly disgusted by Howardâs claim that Australians are âfar more interested in having the country drought-proofed and the countryâs water problems fixed than they are in some of the debates about climate changeâ.

Letâs just forget for the moment the sheer hubris of him unilaterally declaring what it is Australians are meant to care about. For now, just consider the sheer hypocrisy of his new line of argument on climate change, that we should only be interested in local issues and not as interested in the global factors that affect Australiaâs environment.

This is the guy who has been telling us for four years that we have to be involved in a disastrous war in Iraq because we couldnât just turn our backs on what is a global struggle; that we cannot isolate ourselves from international factors. [Timâs emphasis].

(John at Australian Politics is equally unimpressed by the water focus, but more because of his conviction that Howardâs guiding motivation is the usurpation of state powers.)

Then thereâs yesterdayâs comments on Barrack Obama, which caused Tim to wonder why Howard hates America. Sarah, the voice of todayâs apathetic youth, whose picture I borrowed above, feels the same. Andrew Leigh prefers good example as a tactic to cure Howard of this bad attitude, and nominates his favourite paragraphs of the Senator Obamaâs candidacy declaration speech. From a more selfish angle, John Quiggin laments that the Howard-Obama affair has stolen the thunder from his next AFR column (on unhealthy personal relationships in world politics).

Gary Sauer-Thompson fears that history will judge Howard harshly for his dogged adherence to the failed strategy in Iraq, and that goes for Tony Blair as well. Bannerman thinks the rodent ought at least to get his slang right. And as if there weren’t already enough knives in Caesar’s back, our very own Sarah notes the PMâs belated realisation that the Exclusive Brethren are not quite as wholesome as he supposed. Et tu, Sarah? Tigtog thinks that this poster by someone called weez sums it all up.

Gertting away from Howard, but at the same time returning to the subject of global warming, Harry Clarke predicts that capital markets will play an important role in minimising the cost of dealing with climate change.

On the same topic, the ingenuous Tim Lambert is astonished to discover uncharacteristic errors in Andrew Boltâs anti-Flannery column. The loyal Baboon, however, is staunchly grateful to his fellow-Melbournian for guarding Truth against the sliver-tongued Flanneryâs onslaughts.

Geoff Robinson thinks that by suggesting a ban on coal exports the Greens are blowing their chances of building a bridge with environmentally conscious elements of the labour movement. Robert Merkel doesnât like the proposal either, and thinks that Bob Brown needs a microeconomics lesson. Robert prefers the Democratsâ approach, as explained here by the blogging Bartlett.

Gummo Trotsky finds he is able to look beyond Howard and hate other members of the Cabinet.
Here he dissects Kevin Andrewsâ dissertation on democratic capitalism, wondering how it can be neither religious nor secular(ist).

Not easily distracted by such trivia, Andrew Landeryou prefers to concentrate on more abstract issues. Andrew is eagerly awaiting Tonight’s Today Tonight’s story on Shapelle Corby, which he thinks will have critics of the Indonesian judicial system eating humble pie. But just in case you think Andrew revels in the humiliations of high profile women, see his gallant defense of Sophie Mirabella.

Turning to politics abroad, we find two pieces at Leftwrites on Israel. Kim explains why Fatah could not turn international support to its advantage and drive a harder bargain with Hamas in the Mecca Accord; while Harry finds it ironic that Israel is invoking the UN to justify expelling Liberian refugees.

Meanwhile, Eric Martin at the Road to Surfdom shows how the Bush Administrationâs attitude to diplomacy is illuminated by the case of the missing fax.

Alex of Searching for Hegetorides, who is in the running for the Most Intriguing Blog Name award, is not tempted to read Mark Steynâs latest book.

Life and other serious stuff

For readers who want a respite from all the hating, hereâs a few other miscellaneous items that caught my interest.

Adele Horinâs essay on how we misjudge whole peoples by the actions of their governments struck a chord with Sacha Blumen.

For those whose tastes run more to anti-Horin posts, hereâs Troppo contributor Cameron Riley defending dual citizenship in the face of an improbable Horin-Akerman alliance against it.

Phil of Veni Vidi Blogi, not normally an ally, is impressed by UK Conservativesâ stand against the Governmentâs rather un-British ID card scheme.

Peter Black reviews This Film is not yet Rated, just released on DVD, and concludes that the documentary is ‘compelling and exposes serious flaws in the ratings processâ.

Chris Boyd at The Morning After was dazzled by Cameron Redfernâs prose in Landscape with Animals, but it doesnât look like a book for people who just love a great story. Actually, that was back in June, but for some reason the Google reader is feeding us posts from this blog’s archives now. I’m going to gamble that (a) the dazzling prose is timeless, and (b) a small handfull of Troppo readers still haven’t caught up with it yet.

Readers who relish a bit of Janet-Frame-like introspection might be interested to learn why Carolinkus at Beelzebub blog is ambivalent at discovering that she is turning into a tough bitch. Or they might find some resonance in an entertaining photo essay from Lucy Tartan, who confronts her past and the meaning of life as revealed in the stuff under the house.

Herge’s cars

Finally, David Tiley at Barista does a service for Herge fans by drawing our attention to the beauty of the great artistâs depictions of cars – something I’d never stopped to notice before.

One gentle snarknark

I give qualified endorsement to this this complaint from Pavlovâs Cat. People who post comments without reading other people’s first should be rounded up and bulldozed into the ocean. Especially if the comments they skip are mine. And if exhortations from Pavlov’s Cat and me are not enough, recall that Brian Bahnisch, the quintessential commenter, once included this in his list of rules for blog commenting. The qualification is that some comments threads are too long. You can’t read 500 comments, most of which pertain to tedious personal quarrels and off-topic debates. The solution would be a new rule of etiquette that required commenters to place a heading ‘Personal Quarrel’ or ‘Off Topic’ at the beginning of such posts, allowing all the Serious Commenters (Brian, PC and me) to skip them with a clear conscience.

More on Wednesday if Ken doesn’t fire me.

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29 Responses to Monday’s Missing Link

  1. Geoff Honnor says:

    Well done James. Most enjoyable.

    I think Tim Dunlop is wrong about the water vs climate change thing. We’ve had 50mm of rain in the last 24 hours and I haven’t thought about climate change all day :)

  2. Thanks James – and well done. Looks like this is getting a real run on!

  3. con says:

    so australia is against us in 2008????

  4. Should that be a snark or a nark, James?

    Not meaning to be pedantic but Brian’s surname (and mine) is spelled Bahnisch.

    Nice job, though.

  5. My apologies, I see it’s been fixed since I last looked at the post.

  6. Bannerman says:

    According to the Urban Dictionary, ‘snark’ would seem more appropriate.

  7. Ken Parish says:

    Another great Missing Link effort by James. This collaborative approach looks like it’s going to work!

    One noteworthy topical absence is the seeming dearth of posts about Australia getting flogged by the Poms in the One Day Series, and three times in a row what’s more. Shaun has a short post (no comments either) on it over at Sidelined, but that’s about it as far as I can see. Nothing from cricket tragic Tony the Teacher.

    And nothing from either Chris Sheil or Patrick Fitzegerald on the rugby. Could it have something to do with the fact that every Australian Super 14 teamd got beaten last weekend? Mind you Eddie Jones’ Reds apparently didn’t play too badly, being pipped at the post by the in-form Auckland Blues.

    Come on sports bloggers. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Surely someone can crank out a few well chosen cliches and some penetrating analysis, even from the depths of mortification.

  8. Sacha says:

    Nice Missing Link, James. You might become a regular!

    Andrew Landeryou might have been disappointed, as alas, Schapelle Corby was barely mentioned in the Today Tonight exclusive. Rather than being about Schapelle, it was actually about an ex-friend of Mercedes Corby dumping all over her former confidante (Mercedes is a big liar, she has smoked naughty substances and asked her former friend whether she would take naughty substances into Indonesia, here are the photos of MC smoking naughty things, etc). The ex-friend took three lie detector tests to bolster her claims, mysteriously “failing” the first test and then giving as a reason for failing it a desire to not tell the truth about “personal issues” (perhaps about smoking pot?). Top class.

  9. mark – it’s hardly pedantic to want your surname spelt right, especially when it’s all over the blognessphere like a case of german measles rash.

    Despite that – well done young James.

  10. Amanda says:

    Tony doesn’t have a post about the second final, but there are about 100 comments in the “Baux Pas” post about it. I was there at the SCG last night. Pretty miserable stuff and that isn’t including getting soaked every hour or so.

  11. James Farrell says:

    Bannerman: It’s all your fault. In consequence of your post, I had nark on the brain. (By the way, is it OK to address you in the second person?)

    Smark: Sorry for the blasphemy, but as you gathered it was inadvertent.

    Thanks for all the nice feedback.

  12. Shaun says:

    It was hard just to get those couple of paragraphs out about last night. Cricket was the winner on the night and England showed there is no “I” in team. Australia are going to take it one game at a time and give 110% when they get to the Caribbean. No need for panic stations just yet.

  13. cam says:

    People who post comments without reading other people

  14. Scott Wickstein says:

    Ken, regarding sports….

    Tony writes posts at the start of each game and you have to read the comments for the ball by ball analysis by his commenters.

    And the Western Force DID win on the weekend, and a very good job they did too.

    I am doing occasional cricket blogging at although it’s for a UK based readership.

  15. Patrick says:

    What Scott said about the Force!

    fwiw I would love to back them to win this year and QLD next year, but I suspect there is just a bit too much wishful thinking involved.

    But the lack of blogging has more to do with work than anything else, unfortunately – I haven’t actually seen a match yet :(

    Not to mention that France just pipped Ireland at, of all places, Croke Park, where Ireland will next host England looking half-decent with Johnny Wilkinson back in the saddle.

    I will try harder for the internationals involving Australia, though.

  16. Brian Bahnisch says:

    James, you’re a really nice bloke. And smart too!

    Shaun, in some measure the cricket finals showed how the loss of Symonds unbalances the team. Watson isn’t the answer IMHO. A letter writer in the CM today claimed that the full toss was his ‘go to’ ball, or was it stock ball, it doesn’t matter really. He doesn’t seriously threaten with either bat or ball.

  17. Tony.T says:

    The Western Force don’t deserve a mention given their stupid name. I mean, come on, The Force? What are they, a T-ball team?

    A quote in today’s Age, which I throw in for debate:

    “My passion is, in fact, Aussie Rules. I don’t think that rugby is a very good game at all.”

    ~~ Ben Perkins, the Wallabies’ kicking coach. (Ex-kicking coach, apparently.)

    Ditto Brian. The selectors give Paper Cut Watson loads more credibility than most cricket fans do. Who knows, maybe one day he will prove us all wrong, but until he manages to play more than a few games on the trot and starts to deliver on his reputed potential, the jury will remain unconvinced.

    What Wicky and Amanda say is right (thanks for the mention). AGB match-day comments contain enough cricket fibre to keep you regular until the State Insurance Chappell-Hadlee Trans-Tasman One-Day-International Series Trophy Game One (Westpac Stadium). Whether comments, no matter how interesting/funny/ranty or churlish, actually constitute a Missing Link-worthy “post” is another story.

  18. James Farrell says:

    I’ll link to Shaun’s cricket post tomorrow.

    Brian, why don’t you write up your theory (Australia – Symonds + Watson

  19. Tony.T says:

    I think James just answered my last point.

  20. James Farrell says:

    More strange tricks fron ouyr software. That was meant to read:

    I’ll link to Shaun’s cricket post tomorrow.

    Brian, why don’t you write up your theory (Australia – Symonds + Watson

  21. James Farrell says:

    Oh, Good grief.

    Anyway, Tony, I’ll link to AGB as well.

  22. Tony.T says:

    Don’t you love it when comments overlap.

  23. Ken Parish says:


    Don’t know about James’ opinion, but my own is that a short introductory post followed by 150 comments, some of which are interesting but many of which are repetitive, usually wouldn’t be suitable for Missing Link. That sort of post (Tim Blair also does them) is essentially for your existing blog community to engage in conversation, it isn’t very interesting or accessible for the casual or new reader. Missing Link is mostly intended to expose good blog writing to a new audience. As far as I’m concerned, non-selection of that sort of post also reflects personal taste – I mostly can’t be bothered reading long comment threads, unless they’re dealing with a topic that deeply interests me, and even then I usually don’t bother if there’s a high proportion of abusive comments or predictable ideologically-based rants (this doesn’t apply to your sports posts though).

    I’m wondering if you could be bothered posting a short update/match summary in your primary posts, for those of us with some degree of idle interest in the cricket but not enough to be bothered wading through 150-odd comments? The update could even highlight some of the wittier comments, like someone’s labelling of Watson’s bowling as tending towards the “corridor of certainty”.

  24. Brian Bahnisch says:

    James, I’m not a real cricket officionado. I am interested the game though in between working and worrying about the future of the planet!

  25. Bannerman says:

    James, please feel free to address Bannerman in whatever mode you wish. He’ll not be upset in the slightest.

  26. Tony.T says:

    Bannerman, is Bannerman mad?

  27. Tony.T says:

    Ken: Every now and then I do a post highlighting a comment, but no more than that. Nor can I commit to regular updates because the cricket (and the day after the cricket) often falls on a work day. Guess it’s up to others to stumble through the comments unassisted and make up their own minds as to what’s witty. Plenty are, as it happens, except for … well, you know who you are.

    Amanda: I’ve done series three. Episode 34, Slapstick, is as good a telly gets.

    The Enforcer is on now so I’m off to get me a fix of some o’ that Malpaso magic with a side-order of Fielding. Prefer Lalo, but there you go.

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