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

Worst of Perth wonders about the values of all the bogan talkback ranters harassing Henson, when many of them clad their kids in tiny T-shirts like these ones.   In similar vein Louise Adler on TV last night noted that many of the Tory commentators professing deep concern for children’s welfare over Henson were strangely silent about Australia’s detention of asylum seeker children for years on end with horrific mental health consequences.

Andrew Frost at The Art Life posts a sane and surprisingly balanced detailed evaluation of the Henson teen nudes affair.11. KP: Incidentally, my own attitude, if not already clear from assorted ML extracts, is that Henson’s work is clearly art not porn, that banning it would be a socially regressive step, and that most of the arguments of conservative opponents are without merit.  Mind you, Andrew Landeryou has a point about the hypocrisy of many lefties who decried DJs for “corporate pedophilia” for using clothed teen models but now blithely defend Henson’s artistic freedom.  OTO there are real issues surrounding “consent” by young teenage models, and my “gut” reaction to Henson and his body of work is that while exploring important social and cultural issues they emit a disturbingly Wicked Uncle Pervy vibe. []

Ken Lovell frets that the Yanks are cranking up for an Iran invasion and wonders why Rudd remains so unconcerned.

Robert Merkel is glad that Australian Middle East troop deployments are mostly window-dressing.  

International

Dianne Sharma-Winter looks at the abolition of the Nepalese monarchy, which might be more of a cause for international celebration had it not been effected by the new Maoist government intent on cementing its power.

Lauren Hilgers examines China’s crackdown on its human rights lawyers in the wake of Tibet and the leadup to the Olympics. 

Sean at Road to Surfdom bravely argues that Hillary should be the choice of sane Americans!


Economics

Peter Martin reports that the Fuel Watch scheme will have been voted on by the time you read this. He and Joshua Gans looks at the ACCCs latest update to their Fuel Watch econometrics which found statistically significant beneficial effects on petrol prices in WA post introduction.  Possum does his own number-crunching reaching similar conclusions.  Jason Soon, on the other hand, discovers that Martin Ferguson is “smarter than I thought.” 22. gilmae: Faint praise, I dare say. []


Law

Norman Geras reports that George Monbiot made good on attempting to “arrest” Bush flunkie John Bolton, but failed in the attempt. Norm seizes the opportunity to excoriate Monbiot for “hypocrisy” on Iraq. 33. KP: though making one or two unphilosophical value assumptions in the process. []

Jack Chin dissects the factors behind the disparity between drug warrants/arrests between African-American and wealthier white neighbourhoods (and universities).


hey fatso!

look out

and up!

fluffy toys for baby daleks

Issues analysis

Ronda Jambe believes that entrepreneurs selling Green services are the better activists.

John Quiggin examines a WaPo article suggesting a wilful American reluctance to remember WWI, and examines the contemporary implications of such ignorance of history on the current posturings of GW Bush.

JQ and Tim Lambert also get diverted from their Rachel Carson DDT crusade long enough to present an indictment of conservative Roger Bate for his links with the tobacco lobby.

Will Wilkinson discovers one or two leaps of logic in philosopher Crispin Chartwell’s new anarchist tract.44. KP: He’d have to be an anarchist philosopher with a name like that, or a photographer shooting arty teen nudes. []


Arts

Alison Croggon reviews Fin Kennedy’s How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, Michael Magnusson also reviews this play.

Chris Boyd sidesteps gazzumping his Hun review of the Meryl Tankard dance production INUK 2 with a rant about Tankard herself that is almost certainly more entertaining than the review (the Hun seemingly doesn’t put its theatre reviews online).

Dean the Happy Antipodean considers Life in His Hands Susan Wyndham’s book on the life of neuro-surgeon Dr. Charlie Teo a somewhat uneven text.

Roger Merkel recommends My Fair Lady, soon to end its run at the State Theatre, Melbourne.

Charles Stross has been reading up on police states, dictators, and the lifestyles of the despotic and infamous.

Boyd van Hoeij continues his Cannes Festival coverage reviewing Laurent Cantet’s Palm d’Or winning film The Class which employs a verite like approach (similar to his previous films like Human Resources) to explore the dynamics of students and teachers in a school based in a mixed-ethnic neighbourhood.

Annie Paul presents the war of the Nobel Laureates as St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott produces a poem The Mongoose that ridicules Paul Theroux nemesis V.S. Naipaul.

Stephen Sydner reviews Yoko Ogawa’s The Diving Pool.


Sport

Pommygranate calls for the NRL salary cap to be abolished.

JC at Cricket-Blog is worried about the prospects for Australia’s batting lineup following the withdrawal of Matt the Bat with an Indian 20/20 circus-induced achilles injury.


Snark, strangeness and charm

Helen “skepticlawyer” DaleLegal Eagle is more nervous than skeptical about karma, while Ophelia Benson is disgusted by Sharon Stone’s Chinese slant on karma.  The Stumblng Tumblr is more interested in the source and sincerity of Stone’s karmic apology.

Joshua Gans looks at the fine line between entrepreneurship and cheating.55. KP: I don’t have a problem with this sort of behaviour.  However I always caution my students that obtaining study guides/summaries prepared by their classmates is largely useless anyway, because the major benefit of compiling a study guide lies in the fact that the task itself reinforces learning, forces the student to distil key points on each topic and helps in remembering them.  You don’t get any of those benefits from a study guide prepared by someone else, so it isn’t “cheating” because the help someone else’s guide provides in an exam is almost completely illusory anyway. []

BTW the Stumblng Tumblr is well worth putting on your daily reading list for the extraordinary succession of strangeness and charm (and occasional snark) he ferrets out of cyberspace.  This one for instance:

A convicted felon who became a motivational speaker and used his life experiences to warn teens about the dangers of drugs and crime is accused of going on a bender and smashing a former prison buddy in the face with a statue of John Wayne.

Geoff Manaugh ponders communication satellite “constellations” and concludes that we are  “participating with astronomy an act of both indescribable beauty and utter revulsion, as if we’ve designed and constructed the most spectacular cathedral in the world… but it’s for a new fun ride at Disneyworld.”

Temujin spruiks a couple of international libertarian get togethers.

Dale notes that the earth-size GPS portrait highlighted in yesterday’s Missing Link was actually a hoax, a fact ferreted out by bloggers.

The latest update from the Caz and Hack/Spin Starts Here “outing” site:

Team Lulz has been asked to give ourselves up to try to save one poor associate of Jamies hes now taking to court. Yes, Jamie has gone and made false claims to a court to get whats called an interim intervention order against this innocent man, and has had the police show up at his door as a way of menacing him and his wife. All on the basis of a website that has nothing to do with him! We look forward to hearing what happens next. Sorry mate, we are sympathetic to your plight, but as we said above this isnt a peasant village and Jamie isnt the Nazis and we wont give in to terrorism.. no matter how many innocents he attacks. But Team Lulz shares your outrage.

[Note from KP]Incidentally, for current readers who don’t recall Caz and Hack’s defunct site, it mostly focused on snarky pop culture trivia and was sometimes wickedly funny in a snarky way (e.g. starting an Easter petition demanding the crucifixion of Delta Goodrem). However it progressively degenerated into increasingly nasty, thuggish bullying of other bloggers and anyone else to whom its authors took a dislike. Hence the schadenfreude reaction of many to the unmasking of Caz and Hack, who gleefully trashed the privacy of others while gutlessly guarding their own anonymity.

TroppoSphere, in case Missing Link email subscribers haven’t noticed, is now available as a convenient gateway to a world of news and expert opinion and analysis for those with feed reader phobia. It contains feeds to most of the blogs and other sources whose best/selected content we most regularly feature in Missing Link, as well as general news feeds and those from selected online magazines like openDemocracy, Reason, Slate, Spiked, New Matilda, Australian Opinion Online and Online Opinion.

 

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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38 Responses to Missing Link Daily

  1. The ‘karma’ post is one of LE’s, dear Missing Linkers (now I know what Lauredhel & tigtog used to go through…)

  2. Actually I was more concerned with the Tom Selleck movie in plain view below the kiddie t-shirts shirts.
    The Worst of Perth

  3. Gummo Trotsky says:

    Ken,

    If I remember correctly, the ‘corporate paedophilia’ charges against DJs were made in a report by a researcher at the Australia Institute – not exactly the whole of ‘The Left’. (What is this ‘Left’ anyway?) Clive Hamilton’s declared position on the Henson photos – that the intent might not have been pronographic, but Henson forgot that the images would be turned into porn by the Internet – isn’t inconsistent with the ‘corporate paedophilia’ view. Weird and contorted, but not so far removed from it.

    Andy Landy’s charge of hypocrisy against this nebulous ‘Left’ is a lazy one, IMO.

    Anyway, the hysteria seems to have been all played out; I’m doing my best to get it out of my head so I can concentrate on stuff that matters.

    There’s a lot that could be said about the weird and contorted positions some people took to get themselves a toehold on the moral high ground but for me, that can wait.

  4. Ken Parish says:

    Gummo

    However Landeryou phrased it, I didn’t refer to “the left” but to “many lefties”, and it’s undeniably true that quite a few in the blogosphere leapt on Clive’s bandwaggon at the time. I suspect it had more to do with their ingrained dislike of corporate capitalism than with any real objection to sexualisation of children, just as I suspect that the current objections to Henson’s work by many conservatives have more to do with their own censorious paternalistic predilections than with any real concern for children’s welfare (as evidenced by the failure of many of them to object to the prolonged internment of asylum seeker children).

    Hamilton’s responses may have been intellectually consistent (if weird), but the same is true of mine (and they might also concivably be seen as weird by some). I thought the Australia Institute’s “corporate pedophilia” crusade was nonsense and I think the same is true of the hysteria over Henson’s nude teens.

  5. TimT says:

    Tigtog posted about the DJ pamphlet Gummo, on her Hoyden about Town blog and on Larvatus Prodeo, where I think it gathered a number of comments sympathetic with her argument. Obviously not representative of ‘the left’ in abstract or in general, but certainly representative of a widespread community feeling amongst left-wing commentators. Landeryou latched on to an obvious example of inconsistency there, but there are definitely other examples which could be commented on.

    We should compare notes about these weird and contorted positions people have taken some time. Both of the defined ‘sides’ in this debate seem to be lacking in moral authority and prone to making contradictions or acting hypocritically. As Yeats says, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/are full of passionate intensity.”

  6. TimT says:

    And of course it’s fair to say that Tigtog herself has made a number of interesting posts on the fall-out from the Henson case, and they’re definitely worth reading – Landeryou’s ‘gotcha’ doesn’t really apply to her. Here’s a clarification of her position.

  7. gilmae says:

    Besides, there’s a new perfect storm of dumb to discuss, the symbolism of scarves.

  8. Gummo Trotsky says:

    perfect storm of dumb

    One day, I’ll say that.

  9. Ken Parish says:

    I wasn’t quite sure what gilmae was talking about* until i googled “symbolism of scarves”. This NYT story sums it up best I think, and gilmae’s right. It really IS even sillier than the Henson controversy.

    *I should explain. I monitor a range of American blogs for Missing Link, but only ones that frequently contain serious discussion on meaningful policy issues. I certainly don’t bother even glancing at the idiocy pumped out by shrill fucktard shills like Michelle Malkin or Little Green Footballs whose output should be insulting to the intellect even of most RWDBs.

  10. tigtog says:

    Thanks TimT for linking to my discussion of how my views on Henson and the Corporate Paedophilia report are not as contradictory as they may first appear. The issue is sexual/sexualised poses – those clothes catalogues had them in spades, the Henson images under investigation do not.

  11. Ken Parish says:

    tigtog

    I see the distinction you’re seeking to make between teenage awkward sexual self-awareness and advertising sexual availability. But I suspect that it would be largely lost on any pedophile viewing either the DJs ads or Henson’s work. IMO these sorts of distinction are largely irrelevant. I don’t think “come hither” DJs advertising photos are any more or less likely to lead to an increase in child molesting than Henson’s nudes, and for the rest of us it’s surely a personal aesthetic response that’s no-on else’s business either to ban or approve. A pedophile is likely to find sexual stimulation in all sorts of images which less perverse adults manifestly don’t. Should we ban all images of (say) the Australian Age Swimming Championships and the hectares of scantily clad pubescent flesh on display there for fear that kiddie fiddlers might be aroused?

    As I commented above, the only valid ethical/moral issue I can see in the whole affair is that of the validity or otherwise of “consent” by young teenage models who don’t have the experience or knowledge to judge the wisdom or future consequences of being portrayed probably permanently (given the internet’s unpredictable archiving stickiness, a phenomenon caz and hack are currently discovering) in sexual poses (irrespective of whether the images emphasise sexual availability or awkwardness).

  12. Laura says:

    Andrew Landeryou pointed out this hypocrisy huh? The well-known voice of balanced, thoughtful commentary.

    I agreed with the AI report contention that the images of kids and teenagers it included were sexualised, and I’ve been trying to defend Henson’s art against the charge that it’s child pornography.

    Nothing hypocritical about it, Ken. My post I linked to discusses the difference between the abstracted, (consumer) desire-inciting, casual, lack-of-personal-responsibility viewing that is the norm for advertising images, and I might add, for porn (legal porn – I know nothing about what illegal porn looks like). I linked to a picture of the new David Jones figurehead model Miranda Kerr and mentioned the long running campaign she did for the young women’s fashion chain Portman’s.

    (Kerr is an incredible looking girl with an amazing body, and I think she’s in her early twenties, but personally, I found the Portman’s shop window pictures disquieting to say the least because her facial structure has the same proportions as a preteen child. I would look at the posters showing her wearing end-of-year school formal dresses etc, and wonder if her success was related to her child-looking face and very womanly-looking body.)

    But in an art gallery looking at a Henson photograph you can’t vague out and passively consume the pictures and the clear messages they send (‘buy’ or ‘wank’.) You can’t pretend to yourself that you’re there to do anything but look, look, look. You have to take active responsibility for everything that looking entails and everything in your response to the picture.

    No incosistency and no hypocrisy…

    Just finally, the art market is a profoundly capitalist institution, I for one have absolutely no problem with this.

  13. Laura says:

    PS, meant to say that if the cops started lumbering into deparment stores and pulling down the posters I’d be freaking out about that too. It’s just not the way to resolve these (real) issues, leaving it in the hands of the Revolting Squad absolves the rest of us of personal responsibilty, which is at the root of both problems in the first place.

  14. Laura says:

    I really buggered up that fifth paragraph in post 13. The ‘clear messages’ are sent by advertising and pornography – it’s Henson’s pictures that don’t send clear messages.

    Sorry about that.

  15. tigtog says:

    I see the distinction youre seeking to make between teenage awkward sexual self-awareness and advertising sexual availability. But I suspect that it would be largely lost on any pedophile viewing either the DJs ads or Hensons work.

    That might be a relevant critique if my criticisms of the advertising images had mentioned the putative appeal to paedophiles as a major point of emphasis. Commentors may have, I did not. I’m far more concerned with the cultural messages contained in the constant bombardment of sexualised images of fully clothed young girls.

  16. Pavlov's Cat says:

    I’ve just read this thread from scratch and am still bemused by the apparent conflation of ‘feminist’ with ‘left’. Sure there’s a big overlap but most of the people I saw expressing sympathy with the Clive Hamilton position were coming from theories about the corporate use and/or commodification of (especially female) sexuality, here applied to children which is of course worse. I get the impression that most male bloggers equate Hamilton only with his views on economics and think anyone who endorses his arguments in this instance must therefore be doing likewise.

    Which is not the case.

  17. Tim Quilty says:

    Ya ha. Show me the feminists who aren’t endorsing heavy handed state interference to achieve their objectives. Feminism without leftist ideology just becomes power of the individual to choose what they want. And none of you want that.

  18. TimT says:

    Wow, for a guy who stood for one of the most highly contested seats in the country, you really know how to extend the hand of friendship and negotiate with potential political allies.

  19. Tim Quilty says:

    Oh. Now I’m flattered. Bothering to google me and all! For the record, I equally condem the right-wingers who want to use state authority to enforce their twisted morality, say by banning art because they reckon it’s pornographic. But seriously, did you google me because you always do that to someone who uses their real name on the interwebs, or my post outraged you to exert yourself, or did the name ring a bell from the election? (Clearly, no. 3 will make me happiest…)

  20. Tim Quilty says:

    Hey, some interesting stuff comes up when you google yourself. I think I’ll make a habit of doing that from time to time.

  21. TimT says:

    Substitute behaviour, normally I just click on a person’s name and go to their blog to see where they’re coming from.

    Google my name and you mostly get hits relating to a big computer game executive who has nothing to do with me!

  22. Tim Quilty says:

    Nah, I’m too lazy to run a blog myself. Takes all my time just reading other people.

    For the life of me, I can’t see how people identifying as feminsits could ever be considered allies of a libertarian. I’m not an expert and there may be a school of liberal feminism advocating people just be left alone to achieve what they want from life, but I suspect they don’t label themselves Feminists to begin with. But then I’m a white male benificiary of the patriarchy, so I would say that, wouldn’t I.

  23. Niall says:

    Uhmmm….KP! ‘Wicked Uncle Pervy’??????????????????????
    Just what are you inferring in that claim? That underneath it all, despite you and a host of others including myself giving Henson the cloak of respectability by identifying his art as just that, secretly you have an un-nerving feeling that he is a closet paedophiliac after all? Isn’t that akin to being half pregnant?

    You’re either with ‘im or you’re a’gin ‘im on this issue, I’m afraid. You’re either a Hetty Johnson acolyte, or you’re a free thinking, non-aligned, unbiased human being. Art critic or not art critic. Ya can’t have a two bob bet each way, I’m sorry to say. Disturbing, challenging and confronting art it may well be, but pornographic and paedophilic, it is most certainly not.

    Time for this nation to decide on issues such as this. Are we to allow freedom of expression in all of its forms, or are we not?

  24. gilmae says:

    Youre either with im or youre agin im on this issue, Im afraid.

    Somehow I find Voltaire the more convincing on that argument. So no, not even a little bit do I have to be with him or against him. His work may not be pornographic, but if he ever asked my daughter to pose for something like that I’d put him on his arse and then on his way.

  25. I do like Ken’s ‘Wicked Uncle Pervy’. He sounds like a character in a play. Perhaps he should have a role on Troppo’s ‘love gods’ page… ;)

  26. Graham Giblin says:

    A couple of notes about the smugly self-congratulatory Landeryou thing. First he uses “Teh Left” as a straw man and that is dishonest. Second, and worse, he identifies DJs’ actions with Henson’s in order to suggest that they are doing precisely the same thing, which gives him the opening to attack Teh Left for trying to “have it both ways”. In fact he adds the “unclothed” bit to colour up the suggestion of sexual exploitation (and the cheeks of his cheer squad). The commercial angle is probably there, it seems to me, to subtly imply Henson is a pornographer.

    “David Jones used images of clothed under-18 models to promote their apparel offering” vs “Bill Henson used images of unclothed under-18 models, some of them in situations that are quite disturbing, to promote himself as an artist and photographer”. The error of his argument is easily missed as it bypasses the cerebral cortex and flashes past to the prurient pleasure centres of Andrew’s acolytes. It’s a simplistic comparison and perhaps you would forgive a Year 9 student for making it. The error is this: Bill Henson was not “promoting” himself as an artist with this exhibition. The photographs are not a promotion of his art; they are the art. He doesn’t use his models to promote his photography. They are the subjects of his photography. It may seem a subtle distinction, perhaps too subtle for some, but it is a real and very important distinction nevertheless.

  27. Pavlov's Cat says:

    But then Im a white male benificiary of the patriarchy, so I would say that, wouldnt I.

    *Waits for other shoe to drop*

    *Crickets*

  28. Robert says:

    Perhaps he should have a role on Troppos love gods page ;)

    Yep, sell it? Set it up and sell it?

    Has Troppo played with the possibility of nuance on its pages lately, so to make nuance a commodity? And all the rest of it? “left’ “right” “centralist” “nuance” “balanced” “tribal” That is, let’s use those terms, embrace them because of someone else, throw it around with vim, and thereby we stand woo hoo! Look here! (Hello ads).

    A feast of content of same by which to bounce – but has Troppo become >Tabloid?

  29. Ken Parish says:

    “He sounds like a character in a play.”

    I’d like to claim credit but Uncle Pervy is actually a character from a Cheech and Chong album from the 70s (showing my age and dubious past again).

  30. Robert says:

    Righto. While it can be taken as a token thing, that bloody smilie wasn’t my conscious doing. Scary shit, in these parts.

  31. Jacques Chester says:

    It may seem a subtle distinction, perhaps too subtle for some, but it is a real and very important distinction nevertheless.

    Have you considered a career in medieval theology? I’d be fascinated to hear your views on how many obscurantist bullshit arstistes can dance on the head of a pin.

  32. Vee says:

    I’ve finally reached the conclusion that if you view Henson’s work as pornography, you are one of the reviled sickos.

  33. Graham Giblin says:

    “obscurantist bullshit arstistes”

    OMG I’m glad I wasn’t brave enough to use my real name and give you my real email address, Jacques!

    I’d have preferred an actual argument in rebuttal rather than a cheap ad hominem. If someone makes an error in logic, or intentionally misrepresents a situation in order to promote their existing prejudice, and someone else points it out, is that just, what, too artsy-fartsy intellectual and therefore un-Australian?

  34. Jacques Chester says:

    Graham;

    It’s a sign that one of us forgot to take their meds in the morning.

    And with that, I debut the newest form of abuse, the auto ad hominem.

    I think the logical fallacy at work in most comments so far is the fallacy of the false dichotomy. It’s not necessarily pornographic OR art. It could be both, by degrees. For an analogy see the furious light and noise around graffiti. Some of it is art, but most of it also still property crime. It can be both.

    In such situations, I’m very sorry, but the legal considerations win out over the general principle that art should not be censored. In this case the legal consideration that children cannot give consent to be photographed naked for something that might be considered pornographic. Is it art? A lot of people think so. Is it pornographic? So sayeth the law, apparently. It’s turned out to be both, so tough titties for Henson.

  35. Laura says:

    Is it pornographic? So sayeth the law, apparently

    Not just yet.

  36. Graham Giblin says:

    the logical fallacy at work in most comments

    Steven Poole at Unspeak.net [which is worth putting on your favourites] has a very pithy post about the frustration of blog commenting :

    Blogger: As proposition p about Bs sentence s is false.

    Reader 1: Oh my god, I cant believe you are defending everything B ever wrote!

    Reader 2: But my completely different proposition q is true, so even if p is false, A is still right to say it!

    Reader 3: Yes! Even though p is wrong, A is, er, morally right, because of yet another different proposition r !

    Reader 4: Why wont you also condemn the notorious E? Oh my god, you must be a crypto-e-ist!

    Blogger: Sigh.

    And so it goes. Sigh.

  37. TimT says:

    That leaves out a few…

    Reader 5: But here’s a non-sequitur I’d like to talk about!

    Reader 6: Good point, 5!

    Reader 7: lol, you guyz.

    Reader 8: Aha, but I think you are all forgetting to consider proposition N.

    Reader 8: Oops, sorry, wrong thread!

    Reader 5: (Quote)Oops, sorry, wrong thread! (/Quote)

    Is it? Is it really?

    Reader 8: Sometimes I don’t know anymore…

    Reader 7: Lol, you guyz!

    Reader 9: If we can just get back to the topic…

    Reader 6: What was that again?

    Reader 10: Want longer lasting s*? Click here to…

    etc, etc, ad infinitum

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