Missing Link triumphalism edition

I was expecting the blogosphere to sink into a post-election/pre-Christmas exhausted torpor this week. On the contrary, almost everyone is firing on all cylinders, albeit fuelled by bile on the right and a heady mixture of delight, schadenfreude and, yes, triumphalism on the left and major parts of the self-styled centre.

What’s the antonym of triumphalism? Whatever it is, Harry Clarke demonstrates and – with a straight face somehow – manages to approvingly link to Tim Blair. ((Oh yes, sour grapes. Those Germans have a word for everything.~gilmae)) Presumably Harry thinks this is more of the same ugly triumphalist commentary. Nevertheless, Harry can still manage a jaundiced but not completely negative assessment of the new Rudd Cabinet.

This edition of Missing Link by James Farrell, Saint in a Straitjacket, Gilmae, Darlene Taylor and Ken Parish with editing by the latter.

Nought but the Head remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon …
From Helen on the Balcony, a woman of diverse talents including pinata-making

1. News and Politics Stuff

Federal stuff

Still on the election post-mortem front, Guy from Polemica argues that the almost universally accepted Tory explanation for their loss (that it was all about tired leadership and the desire for a change) falsely assumes that the electorate was completely unmoved by policy issues:

It also insults the intelligence of the electorate. It assumes that the electorate did not really care about WorkChoices, climate change, Iraq, education, or a host of other policy areas in which Labor presented a distinct alternative to the government during the election campaign.

arleeshar is indignant that Status of Women hasn’t been accorded a higher status in the Rudd ministry.

Some analysis on the job ahead for Ms Gillard in the Health portfolio.

ML notes that Kevin Rudd is already out of touch.

Brian Bahnisch rejects the conventional wisdom that Peter Garrett is being marginalised in the new Cabinet.

Andrew Bartlett worries that, as a result of the Senate changes, there will not be enough pressure on Labor to ‘consistently on the environment, human rights, justice and Indigenous issues.’ Rudd will be more interested in ‘consolidating the conservative ideological base which Labor has partly taken from the Coalition and avoiding anything which might be seen as threatening that.’ Mark Bahnisch, however, finds grounds for optimism about Labor’s commitment to the indigenous cause notwithstanding Noel Pearson’s sniping.

Ken Lovell reveals what Brendan Nelson has in common with Arthur Calwell and organic vegetarian cafes in suburban shopping centres. David Bath sees him as Pinocchio to Nick Minchin’s Gepetto — except that Minchin doesn’t want him to become a real human being. Andrew Elder sees him as a holding pattern while the Liberal Party works out what next..

It’s a trap! Ashleigh contends the last twelve months have really been a setup. An elaborate one. Our rebel friends on the sanctuary moon have already been captured. ((Offering further proof that the left, even the centre left, are bereft without their paranoia.~gilmae))

Apathetic Gam contends that the racist outbreak in Camden ‘is in no small part due to the fantastic job the previous government did to legitimise expressions of hatred, so long as they were appropriately directed against the right group of untermenschen.’

Jeremy examines the phenomenon of the Claytons acceptance of responsibilty. Possum Comitatus also casts a cynical eye at political sorry business.

Andrew Norton argues (unpersuasively some might think) that celebrity status ended up not being a factor in the federal election.

Guy from Polemica thinks that Noel Pearson’s labelling of the new PM as a heartless snake probably wasn’t a wise political move.

State stuff

Graham Young argues that current moves against Queensland Liberal leader Bruce Flegg should be seen primarily as a move by the dominant Santoro faction to divert attention from its own inept federal campaign performance. In a later update, Graham gives a blow by blow account of the shenanigans in the three ring circus known as the Queensland branch of the Liberal Party (as opposed to the three ring circuses being all the other State Liberal Party branches). ((BTW I wonder what ever happened with the disgraceful if predictable moves to expel Graham from the Queensland Liberals? ~ KP))

International stuff

Digesting the news from America, tigtog doubts that ‘lesbian slurs’ on Hillary Clinton will affect her electoral fortunes, while Ken Lovell explains the advantages of fighting a war without defined boundaries, enemies or objectives :

Adrift in this sea without a compass, events have ceased to happen within any narrative context and have come to be a meaningless jumble of impressions. For example, the war in Iraq – which is not the same war as we won years ago, although nobody has ever explained when a new war commenced or who we are fighting – is supposed to be a triumph.

David Tiley posts an appalling story suggesting that, despite Abu Ghraib, the American military appears to have learned very little in terms of its conduct in Iraq.

2. Life and Other Serious Stuff

In response to an initiative of Rudd’s, Graham puts forward some details on homelessness in Australia, happily unencumbered by confirming sources.

Some of the more interesting interviews over the last three years of the G’Day World podcast.

David Bath writes about being a single father, with some thoughts on the differences between social attitudes to single fathers and single mothers.

John Quiggin is satisfied that the objections to genetically modified canola have been answered, but he insists on better labelling.

Jim Belshaw analyses the just-released ABS survey of adult literacy and life skills, advancing the courageous suggestion that instead of increasingour educational effort we might rather aim at “redefining jobs to reduce the educational component“. Meanwhile, Andrew Norton adds the political dimension by using the ABS survey to argue that there is far too much to be done in education to leave it to a part-time Minister like Julia Gillard.

Poise and pointlessness (via Lauredhel)

3. The Yartz

Tim from Sterne reviews Dweezil Zappa’s Zappa Plays Zappa, a show that features a Zappa playing the songs of another Zappa. According to Tim:

Zappa Plays Zappa was entertaining but it was also admirable in its restrained but genuine sentimentality, its playful yet subtly deferential approach.

Tim also pops up on Sarsparilla to discuss the awarding of this year’s highly-prized Bad Sex in Fiction Award (BSIFA) to the late Norman Mailer. The passage the judges thought deserved the prestigious BSIFA contains the following words:

The Hound began to come to life.

Woof, woof.

If dancing for real rather than “dancing” with a hound that’s coming (to life) is your thing, check out Chris Boyd’s review of Aether.

Melbourne’s the most cultured city in Australia (no correspondence will be entered into), and it’s ventures like La Mama Theatre that make it that way. Alison Croggon went to La Mama’s 40th birthday do the other night. The party left Ms Croggon with the “sensation of a small animal decomposing overnight in (her) mouth.” Hopefully, Ms Croggon’s cat hasn’t mysteriously disappeared.

Avi Lipski of The Rest is Just Commentary posts about the end of the Broadway strike.

Boynton lists her TV 20-10, with the cricket, Summer Heights High and Love My Way all getting a mention. For those not in the know, cricket is a game in which a bowler bowls a ball at a batter. It’s fascinating stuff.

Tigtog elevates Colleen McCullough to the Hoyden Hall of Fame.

Alison Croggon is underwhelmed by the appointment of Peter Garrett as Arts Minister, and forensically demolishes a bitchy op-ed piece by Age arts correspondent Robin Usher in which he character-assassinates outgoing Melbourne International Arts Festival artistic director Kristy Edmunds.

4. T.S.S

(troppo sports stadium)

On the basis of this election’s lesson, John Quiggin sums up what can and can’t be claimed for betting markets.

Mike Salter reviews the Beckstacular LA Galaxy versus Sydney soccer “friendly”.

Sexy political working family?

5. Mad, Bad, Sad and Glad

Tim goes sleep-Walkley-ing.

“Australian Atheist” picks a soft target and demolises Andrew Bolt’s claim that: “The one faith about which politicians mustnt be open is Christianity…”.

Rob (who was recently counselled by the ever-compassionate Nabakov – read the comment thread starting here) focuses on the life of sixties pop accessory Edie Sedgwick to engage in some depressive navel-gazing about the erstwhile naivete of (his own) Baby Boomer generation:

Like Edie Sedgwick, we rode the wave right up to the wall, and there we crashed, like she did, at the end of that lacerated decade, although it took us another thirty and forty years to realise the fact.

The pseudonymous collective at Bilegrip has decided to fold its blogging tent and stagger off quietly into the sunset now that John Howard has been vanquished. Apparently they’ve been at the job of Internet Howard-hating in one guise or another since 1994. They’ll be missed.

Finally, an observation that even most of Tim Blair’s numerous blogosphere ideological opponents may find difficult to dispute, apropos of a particularly other-worldly piece of triumphalism by Age columnist Tracee Hutchinson:

Manic Traceeee is even less readable than depressive Traceeee. More from kisdm001: Traceeees column today includes a rather dodgy claim: Suddenly we had a first couple who were smart, successful AND sexy. It was magnificent. Sexy sure has changed since I left Australia


About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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16 years ago

Western Heart on malfunctioning hair dryers, “Those lefties wont learn, this lefty hair dryer ruined my perfect righty hair. Lefty Schmefty. Left. Left.”

Gummo Trotsky
Gummo Trotsky
16 years ago

If I had a gun I’d blow thet liberal blowhard hair dryer away.

16 years ago

I find it amusing that the viperous American political rhetoric does not translate well to Australian politics. So it is normally limited to nationalism and cultural exceptionalism.

Then again conservatism has disassociated itself from liberalism in Australia and America. Socialism is no longer the political competitor to liberalism or republicanism, conservatism is, and we are seeing errors in governance for it.

John Greenfield
John Greenfield
16 years ago

The notion that Rudd Labor’s victory is a triumph for “the Left” is hilarious. Anybody who thinks that is a paid-up member of Rudd’s Useful Idiots. For Richo, it was the greenies who were Labor’s Useful Idiots in the 80s and 90s. For the economic conservative Xian Rudd, it is self-styled “Leftists.”

If anything, Rudd’s victory was a requiem for the Left, following the funeral – overseen by Keating – for the carcass left by Hawkie The-Left-Slayer.

Me thinks a few people need to take off the Culture War goggles and take a deep breath of the air of reality.

Kevin Rennie
16 years ago

It has been a time to document what happened for history. I’m producing a series of videos from footage taken around Canberra on election day and in the National Tallyroom that night. 3 down and 2 to go. Find them at ‘Labor View from Broome‘. They are closeup and personal most of the time.

16 years ago

Cam, you forgot how the hair dryer malfunctioning is actually a conspiracy by the Lefty apologists for Muslim attempts to take away our hair styles.

Gummo Trotsky
Gummo Trotsky
16 years ago

The notion that Rudd Labors victory is a triumph for the Left is hilarious. Anybody who thinks that is a paid-up member of Rudds Useful Idiots.

Well, at least they won’t have to worry about their Useful Idiot subscriptions expiring for the next three years. It must be really irritating for those who’ve shelled out for membership of Howard’s Useful Idiots only to have their subscriptions voided by the electorate.

Of course there are a few idiots about who will never either achieve usefulness, or have usefulness thrust upon them. They just pursue their silly obsessions in any blog comments thread that will give them the time of day.

16 years ago

John, For the economic conservative Xian Rudd, it is self-styled Leftists.

It isn’t economic conservatism that is being practiced. It is economic liberalism. It got the name economic rationalism in the Hawke/Keating years because calling it liberalism was unpalatable politically. Rationalism is a hat-tip to the progressive liberal ‘rational leap’ or implementing a good idea for its sheer value.

All the Australian parties are arguments within liberalism. Labor has an advantage as social and cultural liberalism has been a basis of their modern platform. With the adoption of economic liberalism since the 80s they have squeezed the Liberal Party to an extent and forced them into conservative territory. Though One Nation hastened that.

Labor’s issue is how they reconcile nationalism with liberalism. Howard embraced nationalism, and its follow-on, cultural exceptionalism, as the mechanism for maximal executive government. The Migration Act being used on Haneef for indefinite detention is a good example of the two coming together and ‘national’ security being used to justify executive exception. Labor has leant constantly to nationalism and broken the basis of liberalism in order to accomodate it. I think it will Labor’s achilles heel in governance as well.

Republicanism and its ability to restrict the executive through technologies like constitutional, separation of powers, natural rights etc, is going to become more important in Australia is conservativism becomes the basis for governing. It isn’t unique to the Liberal Party either, we have seen NSW Labor enact emergency laws after the Cronulla Riots. The concern is that it becomes the method of governance for all parties.

Rudd and Turnball’s style of republicanism won’t solve those issues. They both advocate a Westminster system with an embedded executive in the legislative. But after Howard running riot and governing from emergency/exception for the last seven years something is going to have to be done to tighten the system and protect it from maximal executive government.

John Greenfield
John Greenfield
16 years ago

Gummo Trotsky

I suspect your trademark perspicacity has triumphed once more, and you are correct on Howard’s Useful Idiots. I am not blessed with such a wide circle of acquaintances that includes said Idiots.

One very promising sign of this election outcome is that the number of Useful Idiots is dwindling, with Howard’s Battlers now a formidable political force in their own right. With the Battler’s shrewdness in eschewing Idiotic loyalty, in favour of swinging to whomever will serve their interests, Howard’s Battlers are evidence that participatory democracy is actually revving up in this country.

Let us hope Howard’s Battlers are able to shame the Useful Idiots into a more sceptical and critical approach to their ideological security blankets. Tragically, I suspect advances in medical technology will mean Australia is stuck with these – so-stuck-in-the-1970s – neanderthals for a few more decades yet.

16 years ago

One wonders just how much longer the ‘left -v- right’ dichotomy will be kept on life support by the so-called RWDB’s in the sphere.

16 years ago

Eighteen months? Fourteen; eight? Will the remnants of the ‘Australianism’ experiment flick off an ember to the United States? (What’s that time zone there?)

Tim Blair ex-pat to the ‘backbench’?

16 years ago

Six? …. five..?

16 years ago

“… Tim Blairs numerous blogosphere ideological opponents may find difficult to dispute”

Well I’ll dispute it (and I hate Tim Blair). Tracee’s right, sexy is a.) a healthy body and b.) a healthy mind. The progress of women has to go way beyond the “damned whore’s and god’s police” model, and confidence in yourself is a big part of that.

Appointing a fair few women to leading government posts is another.

What exactly is it that Mr Blair doesn’t like? That a middle aged, successful woman can express herself other than through her man? And physically as well, free from the Penthouse pneumatic model?

I’ll take the shimmy over misoginy any day.