Missing Link Daily

A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill

Politics

Australian

If you imagined that concrete “big things” at tourist spots were a uniquely Australian kitsch phenomenon, think again.

Robert Merkel drills down into the detail of the population, sustainability, climate change, water and the future of our cities subgroup at the 2020 Summit, including ideas that didn’t make the cut.

Sinclair Davidson argues that the Rudd government has no serious policy agenda and is long on symbolism but short on substance.

Miriam Lyons, guest poster at Larvatus Prodeo, beats Gummo Trotsky’s disinclination to link any more 2020 posts by not being a middle-aged man.

Jim Belshaw((A middle-aged man. ~GT)) likens Get Up to the League of Rights.

Guy Beres thinks Costello should formally retire like Loopy Latham before publishing his memoirsComing soon, to a bookshop near you – biography wars! Mark Bahnisch((Still on the lower side of middle-aged. ~GT)) looks at one side of the coming contest.

International

The Poll Bludger live-blogs the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, while Publius reports on exit polls showing Clinton 4 points in front. David Roberts ignores the Democratic primary hoopla and focuses on John McCain’s environmental policies.Perry De Havilland:

The UK government has been peddling a culture of fear since 9/11 as an excuse for ever more control over people’s lives. Strange how people in Britain managed to survive all those years of Irish terrorism without such madness.

Here’s what he’s talking about.

The tribulations of the luvvies are the same in Kuwait as Australia((Does Kuwait have bogans too? And do they wear flannelette caftans? ~GT)):

A simple order of an espresso in the morning is extended into a ridiculously long banter about the million different variations of beans and water that they offer … You want an espresso? Then how about you try our frozen cinnamon mango shake with a crushed snickers bar. By the time your order is complete, your constant begging for an espresso has evolved into a seven shot caramel affogato accompanied by a chicken quiche.

clarencegirl((Actually a girl, or really a middle-aged man in drag? ~GT)) has been CCed a badly paragraphed e-mail to Obama.

tigtog((Not at all a middle-aged man. ~GT)) suggests voting for Hilary in the Pennsylvania primary.

gandhi((Male, but probably a few years short of middle-age. ~GT)) looks at recent events in Paraguay.


 Economics

Dave Bath((A man, of at least middle age. ~GT))  doesn’t take kindly to the possibility of cutbacks at the ABS.


cartoon

carny

almost

delight

Issues analysis

Eric Rauchway looks at the 75th anniversary of Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office and the resulting “New Deal”.

David Tiley offers insight into the pricing of hearing aids.

dr. faustus would like to continue using his green laser pointer in the class, thanks. Kindly remove unenforceable prohibitions.

Andrew Norton finds stunning, simply shocking, evidence in a new report that Australia has not de-cohered during the Howard years.((The Left hyperbolised shit they don’t like? No! Cue CL to tell us how the Right have no standing to laugh because they don’t beat up on Fox for its insinuations of treason. Or something.~gilmae))

No, Virgil, global warming didn’t stop in 1998. So says middle-aged Tim Lambert, citing two other middle-aged men from the National Climate Centre.  Meanwhile, Virginia Postrel highlights the hypocrisy of politicians talking about carbon caps and emissions trading while simultaneously promising to reduce high petrol prices.  Post-middle aged male and straight(?) newbie blogger Alexander Downer agrees. ((Don’t know if Virginia is straight or middle aged but she’s American, which doesn’t count for present purposes (which are revealed below) ~ KP))


Arts

Lesley Chow offers an interview with the lead actor Ben Pfeiffer who plays the social climber Glumov in a new production of Russian playwright Alexandr Ostrovsky’s bourgeois comedy The Scoundrel That You Need.

Alison Croggon describes her participation in the creative stream of the 20/20 Summit, considering how broadly complex and disparate ideas of artistic policy were rapidly corralled by the session facilitators into a few brief talking-points for the final plenary session. Here is Croggon describing the surreality of being involved in an enormous enterprise with such an array of participants and onlookers: – 

“It was a world of corridors and party rooms and the Lego gigantism of Parliament House. It was instant media feedback via huge screens in the Great Hall, in which events I had witnessed live that morning were rendered in the afternoon as image and symbol, already swollen into myth. It was a thousand conversations. It was an exhilarating, bruisingly exhausting experience, and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.”((Apparently Alison failed to notice that her group’s resolutions consisted almost entirely of ‘arty snouts in the public trough’ proposals.  “Everyone expected the Creatives to ask for more money. The Creatives were more concerned that the rest of Australia understood what they had to give,” Alison observes.  And without a hint of irony . ~ KP))

Carl Nilsson-Polias considers Claude Miller’s story of lost Jewish history, Un-Secret rather prosiac despite the elaborate narrative structure.

Saint shows some of the architectural works of Santiago Calatrava.

Twelve Major Chords on “perhaps the greatest album cover of the year.”


Sport

tigtog((As noted earlier, not a middle-aged man. ~GT)) posts a short sports quiz.


Snark, strangeness and charm

Alexander Downer((A former Foreign Minister in late middle age. ~GT)) has started a blog.

Rebecca would like to see more diversity in the blogosphere:

After reading Australian blogs for a few years now, its pretty safe to say that the very vast majority of the whole sphere is made up of middle-aged, white, middle or upper class, straight men.((If you’ve been wondering what the f**k Gummo has been fulminating darkly about right through this edition, here it is ~ KP))

dr faustus hates the lack of anything resembling a common standard in batteries, chargers, memory cards etc.  Why wasn’t this a “big idea” at 2020?

Middle-aged Jeremy wishes Catherine Deveny would stop giving the Right free kicks.

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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Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

‘Fulminating’? I resemtle that. I prefer to call it a running gag.

gilmae
13 years ago

^—White, lower-middle-upper-middle-class, quite-a-few-years-from-middle-age male

Can I fulminate darkly as well? I think when Rebecca says ‘Australian blogosphere’ what she really means is ‘Australian politics-or-related-issues blogosphere’. There are segments of the Australian blogoverse that are almost universally women. In the knit blogs, a segment I’m somewhat familiar with – there’s but a single significant male voice. I’d be prepared to bet real money that amongst the wider non-issue, personal blogs – Live Journal for example, the gender split is right around 50/50.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

gilmae, can you point me to a couple of good knit blogs? (not joking)

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

Hmmm – maybe I should take up Fairisle again.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

In fact, Jeremy gets downright into channelling Norm Geras with this:

Hell, *I* have contempt for that kind of tribal “lefty”. That’s leftism as a psychological condition, a social phenomenon; not a principle for policy development towards better, fairer, more inclusive and democratic government. The people Deveny’s talking about (and with whom she apparently identifies) are not lefties – they’re the “latte drinkers” of urban legend!

Bugger it, the rest of us are going to have to find a new word for ourselves.

And I thought the most memorable line of the blogosphere for the last couple of days was this, from Tyler Cowen:

We’ve never had a rapid and successful migration of hundreds of millions before, ever.

FWIW, I don’t believe I am middle-aged, although I am definitely white and male.

gilmae
13 years ago

I believe it is fair to say that I am woefully unqualified to advise on knit blogs – and the quality thereof – other than that they exist in vast numbers and are pretty much all girls.

On the other hand, if if it was to be discovered at home that I was asked such a question and did not link to Her blog, medical issues might ensue. So at the very least you could use her blog roll. She’s fussy about what she reads so I expect what she links to must be reasonably good.

Laura
13 years ago

Three blogs by intelligent women who make things

soozs http://soozs.blogspot.com/

muppinstuff http://muppinstuff.typepad.com/

pea soup http://www.peasoupoftheday.blogspot.com/

Amanda
13 years ago

Back in the day when I was doing Arts solely I tried to link to crafty blogs a lot.

Laura
13 years ago

Rebecca’s had her blog for four months. She’s not aware of the extent and structure of the ausblogosphere as is actually totally normal for someone who’s just beginning. When I started I was less interested in the local scene than in the overseas blogs I felt attracted to. I am a bit suspicious about her assertion that the blogosphere is overwhelmingly White, though. How does she know?

But the ausblogosphere is simply not one sphere at all. It’s built like a minimally overlapping bundle of 3-d venn diagrams. We all form our own clusters and tend to think of the one we live in as the ‘real’ blogosphere. When all the time there are dozens of other gangs rubbing along out there just as self-sufficiently. It’s not just generic clusters either. There are christian knitters and lefty knitters, diy aestheticians who are more interested in the concept of knitting than in extreme technical proficiency; conservative and progressive lit bloggers; and there are people who just blog about whatever but run together because of temperamental affinities.

I think she’s right in a way though because the blog cluster around here, catallaxy and LP is not particularly aware of its status as one group among many. It does annoy me when some folk bang on about how members of this blog community are ‘leading’ the ausblogosphere (because it’s so naive to think that) but in the main the inwardness of this group is probably more a reflection of shortage of time for meandering blogreading than a real lack of interest in what else is going on in the world.

dr faustus
13 years ago

How to we define “middle-aged” these days? As an early-thirties male, I’d suddenly be very depressed to discover that I was, in fact, middle-aged. In fact, it might make me cry, which is unbecoming of a middle-class straight white male, such as myself.

saint
13 years ago

Bec doesn’t want intelligent women who make things Laura, she wants other angry trans feminist type and proud homosexualists like her who CARE.

Maybe ML can add a Lifestyle category once a week.

(As in crafts/handyman/fashion etc.)

Laura
13 years ago

Whatever she wants she will eventually find it. It’s a matter of time.

Please no lifestyle category! May as well have a Women’s Page.

Amanda
13 years ago

I think between Arts and Snark, Strange and Charm we have it all covered.

Dave Bath
13 years ago

Laura (Comment 10) said:
“Rebeccas had her blog for four months. Shes not aware of the extent and structure of the ausblogosphere as is actually totally normal for someone whos just beginning.”

Rebecca is no newbie, but has a long and proud tradition of blogging. Of course, I’m biased, as a fellow alumn(a|us) of Dead Roo.

Amanda
13 years ago

NB too re: diversity. This week I’ve been selecting a link or two from Global Voices Online for the international section. It’s a great site which I’m a bit addiced to — round up of blogospheric action all over the world.
http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

dr faustus,

In one of the short stories in Dubliners, Joyce described a character in his 30s as “middle aged”. I suppose middle-aged means somewhere about half-way through your normal life expectancy, plus or minus an arbitrary few years.

The definition of ‘middle aged’ is rather elastic. As those notoriously cashed up baby-boomers have gotten older, they’ve tended to stretch the social definition of yoof to maintain their illusion that they’re the yoofful vanguard of social change. Then the crisis hits when your bathroom routine starts including a Rectinol up the bum before you put on your Bond’s hipsters and Levis.

John Greenfield
John Greenfield
13 years ago

Gawd what is this Rebecca chick smoking? Feminist notions of diversity? The shortest book ever written.

Sinclair Davidson
13 years ago

As much as I liked my piece at Catallaxy, to be picked up twice (in two days) does seem a bit extravagant.

dr faustus
13 years ago

I’d expect Dubliners, who are weaned straight onto Guinness and progress to Irish Whiskey by the time they’re eight, probably look middle-aged by the time they’re 18.

According to this, the average life expectancy for a male born some time around when I was born was 71.2, which means middle-aged is somewhere around 35, so unfortunately, I’m not far off!

One consequence of this, however, is that someone who is 40 is really well past midd-aged, and is thus old. I think I can be content with that.

Jeremy
Jeremy
13 years ago

Patrick – I’m not defecting from the left. I’m just saying we shouldn’t let people like Catherine “I miss hating Howard” Deveny get away with pretending they speak for us.

gilmae
13 years ago

Sinclair: Yesterday we managed to link to a post by (Cast Iron) Helen twice in half a dozen lines.

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Jeremy: I know, but I was referring to both the realisation that a lot of lefties are exactly what righties say they are and the clincher:

Bugger it, the rest of us are going to have to find a new word for ourselves.

Anytime you do want to defect, of course, you’ll be welcome ;)

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

Thanks Laura for the links.

Helen
13 years ago

Sinclair: Yesterday we managed to link to a post by (Cast Iron) Helen twice in half a dozen lines.

If it hadn’t been one of my rare two-lines-and-a-link posts I’d be having tickets on myself.

I can’t believe Club Troppo does this every single day. Sometimes it’s as much as I can do to drag my weary carcass to the keyboard once a week to post something. Can they keep it up??

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

Feminist notions of diversity? The shortest book ever written.

Not quite. It would have at least one more page than The Original and Insightful Ideas of John Greenfield Esq of Sydney with an Appendix of his Superlatively Witty Aphorisms and Epigrams.

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

It really is a very big daily job and sometimes a bit of grind rather than a pleasure.

Too true. It’s all down to those middle-aged men and their herd mentality. As soon as one of them’s written a 2020 post, every bloody one of them has to come up with something bigger and better.

Darlene
Darlene
13 years ago

I think Rebecca’s point has some worth (part of the problem is that many bloggers only regard areas such as voting and political parties as being “political”). Politics is far broader than that (note that knitting blogs are raised).

As for Rebecca’s comment:

“Im really coming to wish that feminist/queer bloggers could get more organised here.”

There has to be more explanation of what being a feminist and/or queer means these days from feminist/queer bloggers (and an admission that the feminist/queer communities are really diverse and not organised in general). Indeed, many gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered and intersex folk, unfortunately, won’t even use the term “queer”.

However, I think that we shouldn’t presume people’s life experiences just because they blog about certain topics (people are interested in diverse things). And there are heaps of blogs out there, but I think most people just read a select few.

What is a homosexualist?

Sinclair Davidson
13 years ago

It’s not that I’m ungrateful, and I do think the daily posting is a fantastic effort.

Laura
13 years ago

Alas, dr faustus, because of the shortage of skin-destroying UV rays in Ireland, both men and women there tend to have excellent, young-looking, wrinkle free skin well into their 40s (when gravity begins to make the buggers pay.)

Gummo Trotsky
13 years ago

Possibly even Gummo does, despite his running joke.

OK I’ll ‘fess up (much as it goes against the grain): Rebecca does have a point on the middle-aged blokey stuff. As a middle-aged bloke myself, I’ve got to admit that I do follow my own middle-aged blokey interests and pathological obsessions when I’m looking for stuff for ML.

That’s enough earnestness – and blog commenting – for today. Time to pack up the pastels and the coloured paper and take off for the local park to sketch ducks or something.

Rebecca
13 years ago

As much as I’m a bit unimpressed by Gummo Trotsky’s naff response, thanks to Darlene at Ken for at least addressing what I said.

I think Rebeccas point has some worth (part of the problem is that many bloggers only regard areas such as voting and political parties as being political). Politics is far broader than that (note that knitting blogs are raised).

I’m referring to the political blogosphere, yes. That this does not include knitting blogs isn’t much of an explanation for the overwhelmingly male, middle-aged and white makeup of the former here, in contrast to that in the Stats. This isn’t necessarily an attack; in my last blog (The Dead Roo), I was much more part of this sphere, and hell, I’m white as well. I’m simply saying that when it comes to any sort of diversity, the Australian blogosphere fails.

There has to be more explanation of what being a feminist and/or queer means these days from feminist/queer bloggers (and an admission that the feminist/queer communities are really diverse and not organised in general). Indeed, many gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered and intersex folk, unfortunately, wont even use the term queer.

I use queer as an alternative to the still-growing alphabet soup (LGBTIQA/SGL) because it’s practical; I don’t think it changes the group I’m referring to.

What is a homosexualist?

It’s a Saintism. Apparently there is a difference between a “homosexual” and a “homosexualist” (I’m presuming similar to the RWDBs with “Muslim” and “Islamist”), which amuses me. And since I’ve been in the mood for taking the piss out of Saint lately, it just had to go in my blog subtitle…

It should be clear from ML that there actually ARE quite a lot of female political bloggers and both males and females who cant really be described as middle aged. Moreover, there are also lots who arent straight, although many dont feature the fact continaully in their blogging personas.

I’m not denying that there’s some out there, but the numbers are vastly smaller in proportion to the Americans. I think in today’s there’s a gender ratio of what, 25-4? This isn’t really that great. I’m not saying it’s your fault; I’ve seen the ML feeds, and you can’t be leaving that many people off. But it does suggest that there’s something a bit different, and perhaps, a bit awry, about the way we do things blog-wise out here.

I suspect that the US political blogosphere isnt actually any more diverse than Australias in proportionate terms, its just that its vastly larger in absolute terms so that its possible given search technology to find at least a few bloggers who write about more obscure/less mainstream issues.

I think this explains part of it, but not all.

One of the other things I wrote about was the tendency of the Australian sphere to lean towards newspaper-editorialesque analysis and commentary (even if partisan), than the more grassroots/let’s-go-actually-do-something-about-something-that-affects-me/
-or-that-I’m-passionate-about blogging I see on many of the US blogs I read, including quite a few of their Big Blogs. I’m curious as to why you folks think that is.

gilmae
13 years ago

Seven or eight, anyway. If the ML editorial board gets to democratically assign gender, that is :- )

Patrick
Patrick
13 years ago

but the numbers are vastly smaller in proportion to the Americans.

Or vastly smaller in proportion to the US blogs you read. I seriously doubt this.

I think this might be fair:

One of the other things I wrote about was the tendency of the Australian sphere to lean towards newspaper-editorialesque analysis and commentary (even if partisan), than the more grassroots/lets-go-actually-do-something-about-something-that-affects-me/
-or-that-Im-passionate-about blogging I see on many of the US blogs I read, including quite a few of their Big Blogs.

But I have an answer:

Im curious as to why you folks think that is.

The US is 15 times bigger than Australia and is generally more disposed to that sort of community engagement across the board.

Darlene
Darlene
13 years ago

Thanks for your responses, Rebecca.

Actually, I should clarify my mention of “knitting blogs”. It seems that soon as the topic of women and blogging is raised, knitting blogs get a mention.

A Saintism, hey. Homosexualists are presumably much more political and activist than plain old homosexuals.

The word queer can also be used in the sense of anyone who is challenge heteronormativity; thus a heterosexual could potentially be queer. It also could be considered to be more about the politics of identity than rights’ based activism (e.g. a queer might think that fighting for same-sex marriage rights is a waste of time because marriage is a heterosexist construct). However, “queer” can also used as a way of shortening that pesky long acronym.

Anyway, this is an issue worth thinking about more, and I think your challenge for feminist/queer blogger to get organised is something to think about (or at least discuss further).

“I suspect that the US political blogosphere isnt actually any more diverse than Australias in proportionate terms, its just that its vastly larger in absolute terms so that its possible given search technology to find at least a few bloggers who write about more obscure/less mainstream issues.”

This is true, Ken. Is there a regular female contributor (not just a ML contributor) at Club Troppo, by the way?

Darlene
Darlene
13 years ago

Feminist/queer bloggers that is…and I hope people think while they are discussing. Sorry for the less than articulate comment.

gilmae
13 years ago

It seems that soon as the topic of women and blogging is raised, knitting blogs get a mention.

That might be the case but I mentioned it because knitting blogs are the example I use when referring to the world of blogging beyond Issues blogging. It remains my contention and ever will that knit blog output is greater than most other blog genres.

Tony T.
13 years ago

Instead of those blue boxes, how come you FPs (in joke) don’t just leave a comment down here with us slummers?

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
13 years ago

“A Saintism, hey. Homosexualists are presumably much more political and activist than plain old homosexuals.”

Au contraire. No offence to saint or Rebecca but Gore Vidal was using the term in the 70’s to describe homosexual men who rejected a broader gay cultural definition. It’s about confining what you do to what you do rather than rather than buying into the notion that what you do automatically creates some broader sexual orientation-based sense of shared community and culture. Vidal rejects gay because he thinks that the human condition is basically a bisexual continuum and it’s silly to construct a cultural identity around a particular aspect of it.

I don’t think he’s convinced all that many people……..

Laura
13 years ago

That’s interesting Geoff, thanks.

clarencegirl
13 years ago

“4. GT: Actually a girl, or really a middle-aged man in drag? []”
My world rocked on its axis until I rushed into the loo and dropped my knickers to peek – what a relief, I’m still a greyhaired old woman who liked a younger nickname!!

TimT
13 years ago

Instead of those blue boxes, how come you FPs (in joke) dont just leave a comment down here with us slummers?

It’s a party in the post, and not everyone’s invited.

JC
JC
13 years ago

Then the crisis hits when your bathroom routine starts including a Rectinol up the bum before you put on your Bonds hipsters and Levis

Trotsky. Is the daily regimen a response to a medical condition or done for pleasure. Just so you know I’m not being judgmental

skepticlawyer
13 years ago

I’ll do some cross-posting (and even posting!) for you now I know you’re in need, Ken. Just not right now, I have an evidence tutorial on Friday…

Alison Croggon
13 years ago

Apparently Alison failed to notice that her groups resolutions consisted almost entirely of arty snouts in the public trough proposals. Everyone expected the Creatives to ask for more money. The Creatives were more concerned that the rest of Australia understood what they had to give, Alison observes. And without a hint of irony .

That 1 per cent dividend idea was, to most of the Creative Stream, a minor point. There were much more interesting possibilities discussed that haven’t seen the light of day.

Alison was privy to some of the many discussions which were about finding resources outside government funding. Or talking to health professionals who told her how art, for instance, is considered essential in its mental health and geriatric programs. Or discussing how including arts in school education is shown, in study after study, to produce healthier, happier, brighter and more socially adjusted kids, how a vital culture makes more cohesive communities and pays dividends in social capital, how culture is a cheap and very effective means of international diplomacy, and so on and so on. And it wasn’t just the Creative stream talking this way. A room full of corporate women discussing Productivity was reportedly told by its facilitator that he was sick of hearing them say that they needed the arts. No irony needed.