Missing Link


News and politics stuff

In reporting Kelvin Thompson’s resignation Tim Blair links to this lovely piece of blue baiting. Don’t you just love it when people humiliate other people. I know I do.

Tim Blair says that “Quite without meaning to, Tim Footman writes the perfect obit for French reality opponent Jean Baudrillard.” It’s not clear what Tim means, but he links to a good review of JB’s significance and various recent events that Dame Edna would say give JB’s views a kind of ‘spooky’ prescience. Meanwhile Chris Shiel here at Troppo goes “beyond the matrix” and posts on JB calling him a superstar but not leaving many of us much the wiser as to why. Jason Soon “without wanting to speak ill personally of the recently dead” is doubtful. (Jason I’ll do you a trade – you can speak ill of me when I’m gone if you stop speaking ill of me when I’m alive. By my reckoning you’ll still have a fair bit of time to get your rocks off)

Along with Tim B, Andrew Landeryou hops into Stephen Mayne (again) who he calls a faux journalist for naming an anonymous source. He also draws attention to a comment by the new ALP candidate for Kim Beazley’s seat – Gary Gray – when asked about his relationship with Julian Grill. Noting he’d had no business dealings with Grill he was reported as saying that “friendships were not something he considered ‘disposable’.”

J.F. Beck hops into Anthony Lowenstein.

Len Kutchma draws our attention to an extra-ordinary new French Law “making it illegal to photograph or film violence unless you are a professional journalist.” Is this true? Troppodillians with more time than me are invited to comment on their further researches below.

Justin Jefferson blogs on gender pay differentials concluding that “The womenâs portfolios of government should be abolished”.

Kieran from The Dead Roo fills us in on the Greens’ new website.

Oz Politics Blog does some interesting psephological analysis of what’s going on.

Gary Sauer-Thompson hopes that something more comes out of the Rudd-Gate-Grill-Gate-Burke-Gate-etcetera-gate affair than news copy – like some disciplines on lobbyists.

Ken L predicts how the David Hicks affair will end happily ever after – for Howard and Hicks but not for the other Gitmo prisoners who don’t have a high profile in an upcoming election in a nice Western country.

Andrew Leigh announces a semi-regular gig at the AFR with a column on teacher pay. Congrats Andrew.

Life and other serious stuff

Peter Black from Freedom to Differ is a legal workhorse. Check out these daily news links. I hope someone is paying him. He also explores the use of copyright to suppress dissent – with links to other legal blogging standards and stalwarts like Kim Weatherall.

On the ninetieth anniversary of the Russian Revolution Paul Norton announces his intention at LP to outline how it could have worked out better and then delivers the next installment.

Shaun at LP takes us round some links on the subject of how feminists care (or don’t depending on what side of the fence you sit) care about the repression of Muslim women.

The voice of Australia’s Apoplectic Youth bemoans JWH’s refusal to have an inquiry into what a rotten thing his WorkChoices legislation is for working families. Sorry that should read Australia’s Apathetic Youth – my mistake.

Tim Dunlop deconstructs some official propaganda about how bloody good that ‘where the bloody hell are ya?’ tourism ad. And some nonsense about a ‘secret plan’ within a union to sign up to the ALP – ie some members want to. As I write this I guess I have a secret plan to post Missing Link up when I’m finished. Still some right leaning bloggers take it seriously – so maybe there’s more to it.

Mark Bahnisch takes up Margaret Simonds comments on the threat to blogging represented by the Government’s draft internet censorship bill. She emailed me too, but I’ve been too flat out to read her email. She’ll get a response tomorrow. In the meantime Mark gives you the story. More from Freedom to Differ.

c at Two Peas provides a link around Women’s Day Blogging. I skipped it after getting an email from a woman I’ve not seen in ages suggesting that I do the cooking tonight. What would she know? Eva (my wife) bought a pizza but had no idea it was International Women’s Day.

A nice piece on a trip to the US by MK at A Western Heart.

Harry Clarke blogs on hearing a talk by Al Watson on water. Worth a read – as is one of his nature loving posts this one about “the worldâs least-known bird [being] rediscovered in Thailand”.

Mark Richardson has a characteristically interesting post asking the question “who civilises men?”

Skepticlawyer blogs on Saddam’s trial – where does she find the time?

Gianna takes Michael Duffy to task on bias in the ABC.

The Spin Starts here introduces a new blogger.

The Yartz

Do you know what Punters and Jokies are? Let arleeshar at Stoush.net fill you in by exploring some of the culture of the comedy circuit.

Larrikin has some thoughts on his disappointment with the latest Australian Literary Review.

And saving the best till last I’m just back from seeing All My Sons by the incomparable Arthur Miller. I’d not seen the play but it is your predictable full on masterpiece. As for the production I’m afraid the actors weren’t up to it. John Stanton was easily the best as the pater faimilias but even he wasn’t quite there given the power of the play. Some of the others, like the actor who played Ann was about Neighbours standard. I think having to fake American accents makes quite a big difference and I always think it kind of provincial that we don’t ship out good American actors to do American plays. (Pauses for gasps from the audience). In any event Alison Croggon has a marvellous review which mercifully spends almost all its time speaking with great penetration and admiration about the play. Here’s Alison “Miller welds the emotional force of Aeschylus to the naturalism of Ibsen (with a dash of Chekhovian melodrama) and forges them anew in the vernacular of mid-20th century America.”. Croggon disagrees with me and describes the production as well as the play as ‘classic’. Way too generous IMHO. The play however was a classic. I simply love the three dimensionality of the way Miller presents issues and people. Cannot get enough of it. Nope, I can’t . . . walks off into the sunset wondering who will write the next Missing Link.

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14 years ago

but not leaving many of us much the wiser as to why.

For the life of me, I cannot understand this. I’m not complaining about you in particular, Nicholas, for it is a more general blog-myopia. I linked my short tribute to Baudrillard to a scholarly paper that I repeatedly stated can be taken as broadly in accordance with my views. What is so wierd about this that so few readers appear willing or able to comprehend such simple advice? I mean, like, I gave you an entire paper, from an international scholar who specialises in the guy, with full references, and an appended bibliography, with net links, that I endorsed. What more can anyone who actually might wish to be even a tiny little weenie bit wiser as to why I might think he was an intellectual superstar can anyone possibly, conceivably, like in the whole world, want?

Captain Wacky
Captain Wacky
14 years ago

Christ, Nicholas, put some effort in. Kim Beasely? “Kieran from The Dead Roo fills us in on the Green

James Farrell
James Farrell
14 years ago

Yes, that Peter Black sure is a dynamo. Makes me sick, actually. I bet he’s no good at cooking.

Well done again, Nicholas, last of the Missing Link auteurs. Now it’s the Borg’s turn.

14 years ago

cs I have a lot of trouble getting my head around Baudrillard and grasped a concept of his long enough to nut out a performance piece based on simulcra and hyperreality. Reading Baudrillard is maybe a bit like reading Shakespeare you have to be in the ‘groove’ for a while. My knee-jerk reaction to much of the theoretical stuff I had to read at artschool was to get angry with it because I could not understand it, even when I read each word very slowly. Every sentence sometimes so jampacked with large abstract concepts that when they’re all strung together it becomes overwhelming and almost incomprehensible.

I read the article you put up, it was v. good and I appreciated it. I still think that for those lesser than JB, writing in a style that seems mainly to obfuscate a point and mark the writer out with pretentions to an intellectual elite, should be strongly railed against.

14 years ago

I don’t know why those who dig him cannot just dig him, and everyone else can make their own arrangements. To his fans, it is the very stylistics that you complain of that make him fun, as well as stimulating and challenging. It is as if you were to ask Bob Dylan to sing like Billy Joel, so as we don’t have to make any effort to appreciate the lyrics. It is, I think, to suppose some orthodox standard by which an author must comply or be damned, automatically excluding every author who would refuse the existence of this standard, or at least oppose its assumption, such as Baudrillard. The objection to his style of writing is, perhaps, akin to appealing to the lounge room standards of a middle class television audience, watching, perhaps, Big Brother … or blogging.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Nicholas, I think that you’re missing a link in the para on Baudrillard – Jason’s post is not hyperlinked:


I don’t particularly want to get into a debate about him, because as I think Chris has also perceived, it’s difficult to refute claims that the legacy of a complex thinker is all worthless or something when those making the claims pick up on only quotes or small aspects of that thought, but I would observe that he could be placed with Bourdieu much more in a sociological tradition (as Chris notes, his legacy to Durkheim is an important clue) than elided with postmodernists like Lyotard. I find Baudrillard’s earlier work on consumption and political economy quite valuable, and there’s a lot of commonality with Bourdieu’s approach (not least a much stronger empirical streak than French philosophers have). “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place” is an important piece for understanding the mediation of war, and its obvious referent is Merleau-Ponty’s “The War Has Taken Place”, published in the 40s. Here, as often, there’s a reference to a French intellectual tradition which doesn’t make obvious sense to those not familiar with a whole oeuvre, and thus lends itself (most unfortunately) to misinterpretation and denigration.

But enough said.

14 years ago

elided with postmodernists

elided? Huh? I assume you simply mean he wasn’t a postmodernist, which he wasn’t of course.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

Yes, that’s what I meant. I was responding to the people on the other thread who claimed he was.

14 years ago

Thanks Mark. Allow me to also agree with your implicit support for his theorizing of the “non-event”, a long and fruitful stream of thought in which the Gulf War essay is merely the most well known – and which, for my money, is perhaps his most useful contribution to the practical world of analysis and politics.

Mark Bahnisch
14 years ago

I’d agree, Chris. And thanks for pointing to the work of Merrin, which I wasn’t aware of, and I’ll follow up next week in the uni library. It’s interesting to observe (and I’d have to a bit of hunting to find the reference) that Baudrillard’s essay was set on the syllabus of DoD universities in the States – tbe strategy wonks in the defence intelligentsia thought he was on to something with his analysis!

harry clarke
14 years ago

Nicholas and Club Troppo generally, Thanks for providing the Missing Link service. It is a service. Unknown blogs can get better known and surveying the posts cited reveals good posts that would have otherwise been missed. It is a lot of work so thanks.