In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security - they wanted a comfortable life and they lost it all - security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free. --Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Friday, August 30, 2002
WHERE ARE THE WRITERS TO PRICK OUR COLLECTIVE CONSCIENCE?
I have no idea who Hilary McPhee (with one 'l') is, but I think I can guess where she's coming from. See if you can work out her politics too.
"We are stardust...we are golden...and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden..." Yeah, if it wasn't for Paul Hogan and Mad Max movies, this country would look like a post-industrial wasteland.
I'm not quite sure what this means, but you have to admit it sounds terribly worthy.
Do you think the fact that the Americans pulled out, having decided they couldn't win, might have had something to do with that? Or does Ms McPhee seriouisly think that a buch of hippies managed to affect Australian foriegn policy? Perhaps she's just nostalgic for the days when she had long hair, dope was better quality, and someone else paid for her "education".
At last, something I can agree with her about!
Yes, how often have I seen one group of enlightened, educated, concerned and sensitive ABC listeners huddled together in one corner, discussing how to halt Australia's slide into fascism, while the rest of us beat Aborigines to death, barbeque endangered native species, and make prank phone calls to the RAAF ordering airstrikes on boatloads of refugees in the Timor Strait.
"Where have you gone, Abie Hoffman, our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you...."
Could it be that the words have been shown by decades of exprience to be a pile of shite? Nahhh, can't be.
You know, if you take a big, steaming turd, you can spray it with gold paint, tie it in a pretty pink ribbon, put it in a handsome presentation box and announce it's on sale this week ony for an incredible $39.99, but guess what? IT'S STILL A TURD!
So we should listen to these people who may have the moral sense of a wolverine of methamphetaines, who suggest reducing the road toll by ten percent by having the cops set up roadblocks and shooting every tenth motorist, and who believe the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group and the Boy Scouts of America together secretly use the British royal family to run a cocaine ring to fund the East Kooyong Free Kindergarten, to what end we have not been able to determine?
All persuasive arguments so far. Go on.
What is WRONG with you people! Can't you SEE that it's the enlightened people like ME who should rule? WE are the only ones who understand what's right, not the people! How DARE you insist on voting for the Coalition? Haven't I explained it with enough CAPITAL LETTERS? You have no RIGHT to govern yourselves! You're too STUPID! ARRRGGGHHH!
Hello? Is this thing working? Testing, testing...
Why aren't people listening to the ABC? Why? And they tend to be white! Ugh, how perfectly horrid! It's not as if white people comprised the overwhelming majority of the population or anything.
They should be doing proper student things like smoking dope, screwing themselves silly, and trashing the Admin block. Now in my day we knew how things were done. Let me tell you young people what you're doing wrong. You see...hey, come backl! Where are you going?
At the one writers conference I attended, all I saw them engage in was heavy drinking and as much sex as they could cram in betwen windy speeches about how much better writers were than ordinary people.
Ah the '30s, when the best and brightest made a good living appeasing fascist dictators and/or licking Uncle Joe Stalin's boots into a lovely sheen. And what was the lesson to be learned from that sort of behaviour? Gee, let's think, consequences, consequences....well there was that whole global conflict in which millions died to preserve freedom...no, that can't be it, everyone knows that was caused by top-hatted capitalists.
Translation - white people are racists.
Like an overpaid academic in the quicksand of her own outdated rhetoric?
Cogent, pointed, and utterly compelling. I'm convinced. There's only one thing for it. I'll have to start a blog. Oh. Looks like I already have.
Hilary McPhee, former publisher and chairwoman of the Australia Council, is vice-chancellor's fellow at the University of Melbourne.
Well of course she is.
GERMAINE GREER - ANOTHER LYING WHITEY?
Germaine Greer, the world famous Australian pain in the rear end, landed in Melbourne yesterday. Ordinarily, this wouldn't be cause for any excitement beyond the standard stocking up on anti-headache pills by an apprehensive populace. But this is different.
You see, a while back, she made a lot of outlandish statements about her acknowledgement of the role of Aboriginal people as the traditional owners of Australia, and how she asks the local tribe for permission every time she coms back home. Actually I have no problem with that. Grievous wrongs have been committed against Aborigines, and acknowledging that they occured is the very least that should be done.
But if someone is going to loudly announce their intention to do something, don't you think it might be a good idea to actually follow through?
I am reliably informed that when Ms Greer is in the country, we'll ALL wind up being aware of it in short order, whether we want to or not.
I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH...
...of Whacking Day. The true larrakin voice of Australia. Here's where he tears Mark Latham a new bunghole.
All I can say is if Chris Textor lived in New Zealand, he'd be hunted down and forced to undergo conciousness-raising sessions in a geodesic dome in the Coromandel, while listening to CDs of rainforest sounds as Jeanette Fitzsimons chants over and over and over again "You are a child of the universe, no les than the tress and the stars..." until his head explodes or he manages to chew his own leg off and escape.
TOP SECRET. EYES ONLY. DESTROY BEFORE READING.
The following document fell off the back of a truck somewhere near Taumaranui or perhaps Waikouiti. Anyhow, it shows how the other side operates and just what they are planning.
Notes Of The Meeting Of The Middle Earth Socialist Liberation Organisation (University Of Minas Tirith Sub-Branch), First Semester Meeting Of The Non-Hierarchical Supreme Politburo.
The meeting heard from Smeadol who has been studying discrimination and who read to us an interesting article that pointed out that Sauron is simply reaching out to the rest of Middle Earth and that his over-enthusiasm sometimes makes us think he is violent, in fact he is only responding to years of covert abuse by the racist Elves and their fifth columnists like Gandalf the Gray. The article was by someone with the unlikely name of Gnome Chomsky.
A resolution was passed condemning the unwarranted genocide perpetrated by the Ents at Isengard and demanding that Treebeard be forthwith handed over to Mordor as a war criminal for a fair and free trial and subsequent execution.
Discussion was held concerning the concern of Herriasse (Feminist Front For Free Fondling) that none of the so called Fellowship of the Ring were female thereby proving it was a patriarchal conspiracy. Gimlet son of Screwdriver of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transexual, Transvestite, Fa’fa’fine, Takataapui, Otherly Sexually Oriented and Related Trades Union and Mutual Society of the Arts pointed out that even though their lives just simply revolved around jewellery, since Sam and Frodo never actually came out of the closet they were obviously self-hating queers and therefore lower than pondscum.
After an objection from Mgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgmgllil of the Equal Rights For Amoebic Like Lifeforms Front (or Back, it doesn’t really matter when you are an amoebic like lifeform), Gimlet son of Screwdriver duly apologised to all pondscum, particularly Guarana, or, as it is known in the Elvish tongue: Spirulina.
It was resolved to lobby the Vice Chancellor (hereby always referred to as "that fascist bastard") of the University of Minas Tirith to establish a Department of Orc Studies so that people can learn that their culture is just as valid as any other.
Discussion took place regarding the fact that all Elves are blond and white and therefore automatically racist and that they live forever (or thereabouts) because they are keeping the means of longevity from the downtrodden proletariat.
This lead to a discussion of the fact that in all of Middle Earth only Mordor possesses a recognisable economy and that, apart from that closet case Sam Gamgee, no one ever had a productive job. The fact that Sam gave up his farm job to go chasing Frodo’s ring was commented upon.
The College Magazine reporter, who wished to be addressed as Wormtongue (until it was pointed out that this name was taken and he settled for the less satisfactory but no less apposite monicker of ‘Robert Fisk’), noted that his earlier prediction that ‘Mordor would turn out to be Gondor’s Vietnam’ may have been a little off the mark but loudly demanded a judicial inquiry, perhaps even a Special Prosecutor, to look into ‘Denethor-gate’ and the supposed ‘suicide’ of the Steward. He called for Gandalf to be placed under arrest pending the inquiry and also questioned the role played by ‘Strider, “now styling himself King Aragorn” and the quisling Faramir’. This was so resolved.
The suggestion that ‘peace-keeping’ forces be invited into Mordor from the Western Isles to keep an eye on things and check for Balrogs, Nazgul and other weapons of mass destruction was a typical case of Elvish/Gondorian neo-colonialism and would be combated by a half hour sit-in in the Dean’s Office next Tuesday at half past four. This being resolved the meeting wound up and everyone retired to the nearest Tavern.
I am left only to comment that in the end it wasn't altruism that won the day - Frodo wussed out in the end and Gollum (inadvertantly) saved the day - what was that I was saying about enlightened self-interest being the only valid motivater?
David Bismanposted by | 9:26 AM
I wish to apologise, I am sorry. I am really very sorry. I am so sorry. I am just so fucking sorry!
You see, my computer went on the fritz. As far as I can make out from what the repair chappie said - after he had spent a great deal of time tut-tutting and ooohing and aaaahing and you-don't-see-that-every-daying and so forth - the widget that connects the whatsit with the whosits and lets in the hamster that spins the Internet wheel and rings the woggle that makes the screen go decided to have a bit of a lie down and subsequently the rubber-band wound down and I couldn't make my computer do anything I wanted, no matter how hard I hit it or how loudly I yelled at it.
Anyway, it's working again now and I am back...nyahahahahahahaha.
David Bismanposted by | 9:21 AM
Thursday, August 29, 2002
This article by Andrew Bolt appears in the Herald-Sun, but you need a subscription, so there's no direct link. Andrew has given me permission to reprint his articles here.
SBS journalists are desperate to avoid offending Muslims but still get bashed. Maybe they should take a cue from Hollywood
YOU'D think the 10 Muslims who bashed an SBS television crew outside the Lakemba Mosque two weeks ago would have been more grateful.
Think, too, of SBS's refusal last year to broadcast footage it had shot of the Grand Mufti, Australia's most senior Islamic cleric, telling worshippers at his Lakemba Mosque that suicide bombers were heroes.
SBS said it killed this footage because it didn't want us to get the ``wrong idea''. The ``wrong idea'' presumably being the right one -- that our top Islamic leader thinks suicide bombers are heroes.
So the three-man SBS crew that drove to Lakemba after the trial of the leader of a pack of Lebanese gang-rapists must have thought it was among friends. Heavens, hadn't their station just the day before refused even to report the biggest story in the country -- that this same gang-rapist had been given 55 years in the slammer?
SBS could not have done more to protect our Muslim community from proper scrutiny. Yet after politely interviewing Lebanese ``leader'' Keysar Trad (who is also the Grand Mufti's translator), its TV crew walked out into an ambush by 10 Muslim men who gave them a flogging -- apparently because they were Australian journalists and not Lebanese Muslims. The racists.
Poor old SBS. It's a bit hard flying the multicult flag when you're too bruised to lift your arm over your head.
BUT it will find a way, I'm sure. And all it need do to be inspired to further heroic feats of ignoring Islamic militancy is see the latest Hollywood blockbuster, The Sum of All Fears, which opens here today.
The film is based on Tom Clancy's best-seller, in which Islamic extremists, helped by former East German communists, plan to explode an atomic bomb in the United States.
But there's one big change from the book: the film's villains have been turned into German Nazis and a white South African, after producer Mace Neufeld and director Phil Alden Robinson were lobbied by the Council on American-Islamic Relations to stop casting Muslims as baddies.
As we know, brave Hollywood never gives in to political pressure or faddish ideology, and so Neufeld looked CAIR right in the eye and said: the film would drop the Muslim villains. Right away. Whined Neufeld: ``I don't want to deal with that. It's too tough.''
DIRECTOR Robinson was just as quick to surrender, and wrote to CAIR, squeaking: ``I hope you will be reassured that I have no intention of promoting negative images of Muslims or Arabs, and I wish you the best in your continuing efforts to combat discrimination.''
Yes, Robinson was so convinced of the need to combat discrimination that -- being a true liberal multicult coward -- he made his bad guys German Nazis instead. Mustn't have those ``negative images'' of an ethnic group, nicht wahr?
Mustn't try for too much reality, either. I mean, who do you think poses the greater threat: the new Islamic fascists or Hitler's old ones, goose-shuffling in their Zimmer frames?
Since the film was shot, we've had our answer, as if it wasn't already as obvious as a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. We've had Islamic terrorists destroy the World Trade Centre, attack the Pentagon, storm the Indian Parliament and slaughter hundreds of Israeli civilians.
We've also discovered the al-Qaeda terrorist network, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, was working on a ``dirty'' nuclear bomb, and we've seen its videos in which it tests poison gas on dogs.
Islamic extremists have even aimed at Australian targets -- throwing grenades at an Australian school in Jakarta, shooting up an Australian-led school in Pakistan, and planning a bomb attack on our High Commission in Singapore.
And don't think those attacks on us were just cases of mistaken identity -- like these terrorists somehow forgot we're nice Australians, you know, with SBS.
``The crusader Australian forces were on Indonesian shores,'' he raged in a statement broadcast on the Al-Jazeera television station, ``and in fact they landed to separate East Timor, which is part of the Islamic world''.
And what have old German Nazis been up to in this same time? Throwing food in their Argentinian nursing homes? Playing Marlene Dietrich records up loud?
What makes Robinson's surrender to CAIR so ludicrous isn't just that he weakened the plausibility of his movie. It's that in deleting any reference to Islamic terrorists, he gave in to an outfit that is accused of links to Islamic terrorists.
Yes, CAIR has been funded by the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim ``charity'' which was shut down by the US Justice Department this year for diverting cash to the notorious Hamas terrorist group.
The head of CAIR, Nihad Awad, himself said in 1994: ``I am in support of the Hamas movement,'' and even claimed that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre was not carried out by the Islamic crazies who were convicted for it, but by ``both Mossad and the Egyptian intelligence''.
Just the man to complain to Hollywood about ``the barrage of negative or stereotypical portrayals of Muslims'', making them all look like they were terrorists or headcases, or something.
IN fact, so good is Awad at turning Islamic terrorists into German Nazis, that he was brought to Melbourne last month by the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth to debate questions such as: ``What is the definition of terrorism and who is fault (sic) of this definition?''
The answer, it may not surprise you, is the racist media and entertainment industries, which now and then still refer to Muslims who blow up things or declare jihad or act in ways not entirely helpful in a secular democracy embracing people of many faiths.
And how to fix this ``problem''? I haven't discussed this with Awad, but I'm sure he'd agree: let's get SBS to reshoot the attack on its crew, but this time make the guy who breaks the cameraman's nose an old German guy called Klaus.posted by | 1:30 PM
LESSONS OF AFGHANISTAN
Open country warfare presents its own unique challenges. Here is a memo by a senior 1st sergeant from the 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry (10th Mountain Division) serving in Afghanistan with “Task Force Rakkasan,” which fought in a number of major engagements including Operation Anaconda. The emailed “lessons learned” memorandum was distributed to the senior leadership of the U.S. Army. Clarifying comments are inserted in [brackets].
Go here and scroll down, there's plenty more.
posted by | 1:20 PM
LESSONS OF JENIN
What have we learned from Jenin? If Saddam is genuine in his hints that he'd hole his army up in the capital in the belief that the US won't risk a house-to-house Stalingrad-style assault, are they any techniques we can use the minimise that threat? Jim Dunnigan gives us an insight into what the IDF has learned about fighting in built-up areas.
posted by | 1:14 PM
THE ORIGINAL FISK
Now that "Fisking" has entered our own little private warblogger langauge, it's as well to look at the practice in an historical context. Pouring derisive scorn on one's opponents from a great height is an ancient and honorable art, going back to Biblical times. And you should see what some of the tomb inscriptions in Egypt have to say about Ankhenaten as his so-called "religious reforms".
I here offer up, for those of you who have not had the distinct pleasure of reading it, what I consider to be perhaps the finest fisk of all time, at least in the English language. It's a literary argument about the relative merits of James Fenimore Cooper's "Deerslayer" series, featuring Deerslayer-Hawkeye-Long-Rifle-Leatherstocking-Pathfinder-Natty Bumppo. It's probably best known to modern audiences through the movie "Last of the Mohicans", which is actually a thumpingly good flick, despite the literary failings of the original author.
Poor Cooper. When you get fisked by none other than Mark Twain, you tend not to recover. Ever. I wonder what he'd have made of George Monbiot?
posted by | 9:57 AM
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!
Please follow this link to a fresh Lileks screed. Proceed in an orderly fashion to view Guardian turd-on-a-stick George Monbiot sliced, diced, julienne-fried and baked for twety minutes in a white wine sauce. No kicking him while he's down, and keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times.
posted by | 9:43 AM
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE BREAK-IN AT THE SINGAPORE GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS?
They stole the results of next year's elections! Boom boom!
I lived in Singapore for two years (1973 - 75), and every night we would watch our Burmese cat, Teka, go totally Simba-Lord-Of-The-Jungle on all the geckos that swarmed in through the ventilation holes to eat the bugs attracted by the lights. Or at least she would try.
It was better than anything on TV, I swear, especially when she missed. To be fair, it was the early to mid-70s and we were in a rigidly controlled Chinese city-state, so watching paint dry was more entertaining than TV.
"Good evening, here is the completely unbiased and free news service brough to you by the government. Mr Lee says productivity is down for this fiscal quarter. Mr Lee is most displeased! Singaporeans must work harder if they want Mr Lee to let them one day wear their hair so it touches the collar.
And now for your viewing pleasure, we present - "Z Cars". To those of you who wrote in requesting "Mod Squad", no you may not view "Mod Squad". Mr Lee says it encourages hippies and drugs! GNP must be boosted by 12% before Mr Lee will even think about letting Singaporeans view "Mod Squad"! Now either view the TV with happiness and gratitude to Mr Lee, or get back to work!"
Cats like to retain their dignity at all times, and ESPECIALLY Burmese, so Teka's instant "I-MEANT-To-Do-That!" glare at us after realising halfway through a leap that she wasn't going to make it and attempting to go back to the couch in mid-air and instead going in two different directions at once and landing clumsily on a side table was one of those proceless Kodak moments.
Although I don't know if Mr Lee would have laughed. Come to think of it, I can't remember ever seeing him smile the whole time I lived in Singapore. Too busy looking for hippies I guess.posted by | 10:39 PM
YOU KNOW HOW I WANTED AN ANTI-FAT PILL?
Bingo! Here it is!
And once again, I have to take my hat off to Australian scientists. They've already managed to crack teleportation, now a magic anti-fat pill!
Naturally, I have gone to the company website and put my name down for the next round of trials of the drug, but with my luck I'll be one of the control group that gets the placebo. Well, that's science.
I'll tell you one thing though - no way am I going to test out the teleporter, I've seen Star Trek, I know what can go wrong...posted by | 1:32 PM
YOU WANT ONE-SIDED? TRY EUROPEANS
Coming to you direct from the BBC website (naturally), we bring you today's Moral Equivalence Lesson. Bring a chuck bucket, you'll need it.
Not changed by being forced to live under a ruthless, opressive reigime. Not changed by the dramatic libration of the country by the United States. No, by the bombing raids. Just bombing raids. Nothing about the bombs being targeted at the enemy, about them being a neccessary part of the liberation, just evil bombs dropping more or less at random.
Oh, I'm sory, my mistake, of course we mean American bombs! Dropped from American planes. Made in America. Ah ah ah ah ah ah....sorry, bad Laurie Anderson flashback there.
That's funny - before the liberation they were touted as the Mighty Pushtun Warrior, Humbler of Empires, but now they're simple, geographically-challenged peasants.
"We are a simple people sahib, we know little of the world beyond our peaceful village. We know nothing about this "America" of which you speak. Apart from my cousin Ali who is a night manager at a 7-11 in Venice Beach - Go Lakers!"
And we see the Taliban prisoners but not their victims? Oh, that's right, their victims are kind of dead right now and don't make for exciting documentary footage, what with having to be dug up and then just sitting there decomposing slowly.
Sounds entirely fair, reasonable and unbiased. What's next? Freud: In the Mighty Land of Two Rivers, the People Hail the Glorious Defender of Arab Honour, Saddam Hussein, and Vow to Liberate Jerusalem!
Three years coming and going from Taliban-ruled, Al-Qaeda-influenced Afghanistan? Really? Please step into this building here, a Mr Smith, one of our cousins from Langlely would like a word. It'll only take a week or so. Do you bruise easily?
Gag, Choke, cough (bullshit) cough.
Indeed. They have been liberated from an awful tyranny. Oh, I'm sory, I mean bombed for no reason at all by the Satanic Bush at the behest of the Enron Board of Directors, who were fronting for the CIA, Oil Industry, Military-Industrial complex conspiracy who require the sacrifice of innocent Muslim children as part of their pact with the Prince of Darkness to give them supremacy over all the kingdoms of the earth. Or because they wanted the valuable...ah...the highly lucrative Afghan....erm...the strategically vital....oh crap.
It's 1380 in Afghanistan? Why am I not surprised?
Well of course it is. Won't someone, somewhere, for the love of all that's holy, please, think of the children? Any shots of the cheering crowds greeting their liberators? No? What, did the film stock run out?
Yeah, how dare America liberate an imprisoned people. We must defend their right to be horribly tortured, imprisoned without trial, or taken to a soccer stadium and shot in the back of the head. For shame America! For shame!
I predict this pile of shite will win a ton of film awards. I can't wait for Margaret Pomerantz to give it five stars.posted by | 12:23 PM
ONLY SIX MORE SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE TO GO
The anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has agreed with Amir Butler, who looks set to become this months winner of the coveted title of "Warblogger Favourite Muslim". Watch out Amir, you're in danger of becoming as poplar as Daniel Pipes. Naturally we'll have the decency not to praise you in public too much. You'll be more of an "underground" hit.
posted by | 11:25 AM
...AS OTHERS SEE US.
Silflay Hraka has come up with a truly dangerous concept. Whie discussing what designs to use for US state coins, Bigwig had a brainwave. See, this is why thinking is so dangerous and needs to be regulated by the Federal Government. Al Gore could be in charge.
Why stop? Let's expand the concept internationally!
AUSTRALIA - The Crocodile Hunter buggering a crocodile
...you get the idea.posted by | 11:04 AM
SAW SOMETHING APPALLING ON TV LAST NIGHT
It was a crowd of Africans in Zambia. There is a famine in southern Africa. They were all very hungry. They were standing outside a warehouse. It was full of food - enough to feed everyone in the crowd for a month. The food came from the United States. A white man was standing outside the warehouse. He was an American, and represented the body that had donated the food to help feeld the starving Zambians. He was telling the hungry crowd that their government would not let him give them the food in the warehouse. The government thought the food might be genetically modified. He told the hungry people that as he was a guest in their country, he could not defy the government, and that they would have to stay hungry.
The people were not happy. I wasn't happy. I re-read the chapter on how famine is an entirely man-made phonomenon in P. J. O'Rourke's "All the Trouble in the World", and I came to a conclusion.
END OF THE ALLEY WRITER ISSUE
As Evil Willow on "Buffy" might say, "bored now". I've made my points, he's made his, I'm not the one who removed all links to political blogs and trashed my comments section. I might also point out that my identity is no secret, and I am fully prepared to defend things I have written on this blog to anyone. Anonymity is always a little suspicious.
Murray sent me a post this morning entitled "Why I Love Alley Writer. Here it is:
Finished? Brief and to the point, wasn't it? I'm not going to waste any more time on this, except to acknowledge Lynn B's effort.
And as for the similarly anonymous Bully Blog, gee, I wonder what a solid search of this blog's registration details might turn up. It seems to exist solely for the purpose of supporting Alley, and has only one actual serious post. Almost as if Alley himself was behind it....but there comes a point where there's no point continuing a discussion.
Go over to his blog (hey, I haven't taken down my link to his site, guess I'm a chickenshit coward eh?) and check it out. Get both sides. Then make up your own mind. That's the way things are done. It's called democracy and free speech. It's what we're fighting for. It's why we'll win.posted by | 8:35 AM
SOMETHING ROTTEN IN DENMARK?
This is a straight reprint of an article in the NY Post by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard.
posted by | 8:18 AM
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
BULLY BLOG IS HARSHLY CRITICAL
Bully Blog is disappointed in my response to Alley Writer. To a certain extent I can understand that. From my perspective, what Alley Writer says is so obviously wrong and self-defeating that it hardly requires a detailed rebuttal. And as much of the argument seems to have been between Alley and my brother Murray, who writes occasional items here, I had pretty much decided to leave it to him to respond. He is a student and doesn't have much time at the moment because of exams, which is why he hasn't written it yet.
I invited Amir Butler to comment on this argument because I think it involves Muslims, and vehemently though I disagree with almost everything Amir says, I haven't actually heard him threaten to personally slit anyone's throat. But Bully Blog goes much, much further than the facts really allow.
Certainly not. I invited Amir to comment. He has done so, and included in his comments some publically available information on Alley's identity, in exactly the same way that Alley once did to someone he didn't much like. I certainly have never suggested that anyone do anything to Alley other than either disagree with him or better yet, ignore him.
Oh please, I'm hardly afraid of Alley's opinions, unless they were to spread and infect a large number of people. He is angry, very angry. He has a right to be angry, heck, I'm angry too. But translating that anger into an advocacy of violence against an entire group of people, regardless of their personal guilt or innocence, is precisely what we accuse our current enemies of. If we condemn it in them, why should we tolerate it among ourselves?
Again, I want to state very clearly that I haven't advocated anything of the kind, and Bully Blog is wrong to suggest I have. There's no scheme here, just strong words being exchanged about critical issues that directly affect the future of our civilisation.
Violence lies at the heart of the current conflict. How it is used, directed and the goals it is employed to achieve. Our enemies use it indiscriminately, daily, as a matter of policy, against anyone at all. Soldiers, civillians, women, children, their own people - violence has become a sickness over large swathes of the Muslim world. Here in the West, the state has a monopoly on violence. The armed forces and police are disciplined services, and follow a chain of command. Our violence is so deadly because, in large part, it is well-organised.
Being well-organised, it is disciplined. It is carefully focused. It is controlled by elected leaders reflecting the will of the people. When it is used (and it will be used soon) it is swift, deadly and decisive. And it follows rules on who can be killed and who cannot. If an Army simply has as its goal to kill large numbers of the enemy indiscriminately, without regard for their status as combatants or civillians, it becomes a howling, useless mob.
There's a scene in "Bridge on the River Kwai" in which a Japanese officer strikes Alec Guinness. The British prisoners of war who are standing in rows behind him murmur and start to move forward. Realising that any sign of rebellion will mean vicious reprisals from the camp guards, Alec Guinness turns his head and shouts "Stand fast in the ranks!" He realised the importance of discipline. If his character had not reinforced that discipline, many men would have died uselessly. By preserving discipline, he preserved their lives. The POWs remained a force, rather than dissolving into a rabble.
The West is the same. We remain strong as long as we are united, and the means of inflicting violence remains in the hands of disciplined forces with a chain of command, answering to civillian authorities reopresenting the will of the people. Alley Writer wants to kill as many of the enemy population as possible, by any means neccessary. Which of these two alternatives do you prefer?posted by | 11:03 AM
Monday, August 26, 2002
HEY ALLEYWRITER - THE WORD YOU'RE SEARCHING FOR IS "D'OH"!
Now here's an interesting development. It appears that my invitation for Amir Butler to check out Alley Writer, Defender of Civilisation and Slitter of Throats, has been taken up with a vengance - literally!
Well now, wasn't THAT a surprise plot twist? Tune in again later and see what happens. I'll bring the popcorn. Are we having fun yet?posted by | 11:47 PM
OPINION: WHY NEW ZEALAND HAS TO PLAY ROUGH WITH FIJI
By Bruce Hill
[Note: This article may be freely republished in whole or in part. Please notify the author if it is used, at : firstname.lastname@example.org . First published April 10th 2001, at Pacific Island Report.]
New Zealand’s firm and self-confident diplomatic approach to Fiji in the wake of the recent ham-fisted racist coup attempt appears to have raised some hackles among supporters of Fijian nationalism.
Well it would, wouldn’t it?
Those in the region who are the first to decry what they see as ignorance by outsiders of cultural values in the islands cannot possibly expect to see principles of free speech, democracy and rule of law casually trampled upon and not get a strong reaction from a nation dedicated to upholding precisely those values.
And nor are these “western” or “foreign” implants, being forced on an unwilling population with their own indigenous way of doing things.
And that goes for the Pacific as well, including Fiji.
And in a sense, that’s precisely what motivated Speight and his gang of thugs to stroll into parliament, wave some weapons around and announce that they would henceforth be in charge – they knew that the old power system which relied in part on ignorance, cronyism and inherited privilege no longer has the support of the people that it once did.
With a vigorous free press, neutral rule of law and a political system which vests power in the people, there is increasingly little place for the cosy cronyism of the past - for example the wholesale looting of the National Bank of Fiji by an entire class of politically-connected “Pajero Taukei”.
It is hard to see how New Zealand could have taken any stand on the events of May 19th and subsequently other than to be completely appalled and insist that Fiji be returned to constitutionality as soon as possible.
That hardly constitutes insensitivity; unless you count insensitivity to the feelings of a political class which fears it will lose its wealth and power if the ordinary citizens of Fiji are permitted to express their wishes.
A friend is someone who will tell you the truth. New Zealand is Fiji’s friend, maybe the only real friend it has in the world.
Because the truth is that if Fiji cannot bring itself to enter the modern globalised world, with standards of accountability, transparency, rule of law and personal freedom, it will slip behind and be forgotten.
Investors do not have to come to Fiji, and cannot be bullied into doing so.
If contracts cannot be enforced by a neutral court system, then the managers of global investment funds will simply keep their money in their pockets and move on to a more attractive country.
And Fiji will become a poor, unstable third-world hell-hole with beggars on the streets, and its children will grow up with little hope of having a better life.
And no one else in the world will care if that happens.
No one will ride to the rescue.
Fiji just isn’t that important in the global scheme of things.
That is what New Zealand has been saying.
Perhaps it has been saying it louder than it has in the past, but only because the stakes are higher and more urgent than ever before.
Nationalism of any kind can be a highly addictive and dangerous drug, blinding the user to reality and helping him live in a dream world of his own construction.
If you had a friend doing drugs, you would not sit back and let him kill himself, would you?
Sure, he might lash out and accuse you of having bad manners and insensitivity, but that hardly matters in such a life or death crisis does it?
By 2050, one third of the population will be of Maori or Pacific Islands descent.
Already there are four Pacific Island MPs in Parliament, one of them a cabinet minister.
The much maligned foreign minister, Phil Goff, has already shown he intends to maintain the tradition begun by Don McKinnon of taking a planeload of New Zealand MPs, officials and journalists to the region on a regular basis, precisely so decision makers can get first-hand experience of local conditions.
And his associate minister, Matt Robson, has long been a vocal critic of Tonga’s feudal monarchy, going back well to when he was a lowly opposition MP.
One of the reasons for his focus on Tonga, he says, is input from his Tongan constituents.
And this points up another factor - New Zealand is increasingly influential in internal politics in many island states precisely because of its growing Pacific population who are knowledgeable about conditions back in their countries of origin.
And this perspective is feeding back into New Zealand’s political system, as well as into local politics in the islands.
Tongan families in New Zealand have been sending back videotapes of a New Zealand television expose of the Minister of Police, which are now being played at faikavas all over the Kingdom.
The Times of Tonga is published in Auckland in part because publisher Kalafi Moala can be reasonably assured he won’t have his door kicked off its hinges at 3am and be dragged off to prison on a trumped up charge.
Samoa’s opposition SNDP election campaign this year was in part organized with the assistance of New Zealand-based Samoans, who brought a more professional approach and brought the party its best result in years.
New Zealand is also the home base now for the Niuean and Tokeleauan languages and cultures, as there are more Niueans and Tokelauans in New Zealand than in their home countries, and that is becoming true of the Cook Islands as well.
The Samoan language is now the third most widely spoken tongue in New Zealand, behind English and Maori.
Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin of Victoria University is working on a definitive Samoan dictionary, after getting Samoan adopted as an official School Certificate subject.
And Victoria University’s new Pacific Studies Degree is taught by Teresia Teaiwa, who wote the single most insightful article on the real reasons for the May 19th coup yet published.
I have been lucky enough to work for both Radio New Zealand International and Radio Australia, and in my nine years of covering Pacific affairs I have become more and more convinced that the future of New Zealand is inextricably linked to the islands.
Not as an outsider, lecturing and hectoring, but as a friend who sincerely wants to help.
Sometimes that friend will have to tell you harsh truths.
But do not write this off as insensitive or ignorant.
More and more, New Zealand’s approach to the region is that of an insider.
And as the university-educated, middle-class second and third generations of Pacific people continue to grow in influence and political savvy, that insider understanding is becoming more apparent in policy decisions.
Perhaps the real problem is not that Wellington doesn’t understand the Pacific, but that it understands only too well.
Bruce Hill has reported on the Pacific for nearly nine years, first with Radio New Zealand International, and currently with Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat. He won the NewZealand Institute of International Affairs Radio Media Prize in 1997 for his coverage of New Zealand’s role in the Bougainville peace process, and was runner up the next year for his coverage of the Aitape tsunami disaster.
"HEAR, HEAR, WELL SPOKEN BRUCE!"
Or in this case, Paul - Paul Wright of Tanstaafl. Hear what he has to say.
Couldn't have put it better myself. As a matter of fact, these issues resonate strongly with me, because my job centres of the Pacific islands, a region which is struggling to make the transition from tribal cultural origins to the modern world. Most recently, some Pacific Island leaders have been muttering darkly about "failings" of the Westminster system, and some are trying to promote something called "Pacific Democracy", which as far as I can tell means them staying in power forever without bothering with useless western fripperies like elections.
Look at Fiji - what a model of Pacific values they are! I actually wrote something about this for the Pacific Island Report a year or two ago. I think I'll post it above this one. It's not entirely dissimilar to Paul Wright's effort actually.
TOKEN STRAIGHT CHICK
More good blogs keep popping up like mushrooms after rain. Here's Nora Cox, aka Token Straight Chick, who claims her blogfather is Sine Qua Non Pundit and that Dawn Olsen is her blogmother. A superior bloodline t be sure. And to the person who, when hearing that Andrew Sullivan was my blogfather quipped that he was my Fairy Blogfather, I know where you live!
Anyway, like me Nora is a huge Buffy fan, and takes a big ol' whacking stick to some criticism of the show on the grounds that it is "lewd and offensive" and being marketed to children.
Buffy is a work of rare genius, and even at it's worst (last season for example) it still stands head, shoulders and thighs above almost anything else on that little box in the corner. I'd say it's core audience is grown-ups and those on the brink of becoming grown-ups. It's not afraid to tackle big issues, but it does so through the lens of gothic/horror/martial arts movies. It can tackle things at an angle, so to speak, in the way that George Orwell could tackle the reality of Stalinism through the hoary old trick of a barnyard fable.
Buff is about a lot of things. Growing up, taking resonsibility, friendship, love, loss, life and (memorably in "The Body") death. Right now, this TV series about a young woman with a ridiculous name who fights vampires and demons is about the most adult show around.posted by | 5:04 PM
NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN UPDATE
There's a bit of a traction problem, I have to admit. But it does feel very cool. Possibly you wouldn't have it for everyday use, it's more of a...ah..."special occasion" thing. As soon as you slip between satin sheets, the old Barry White soundtrack starts playing in your head.
I have GOT to stop watching Ally McBeal....posted by | 2:56 PM
WEIGHT LOSS UPDATE
As of Sunday morning I weighed 115.6 kilos. That's a loss of 1.4 kilos in only a week - excellent! Of course often there's a big initial sucess with such things. The trick is to stick with it when you hit a plateu and the weight gets to a certain point and refuses to reduce any further for weeks on end. It's Monday now, so back on the treadmill this evening. Wish me luck.posted by | 2:52 PM
MORE ON GOLDSTEIN
Nutter or not, this Goldstein character was definitely NOT a harmless eccentric podiatrist. If he'd been able to implement his plan, the repurcussions would have been terrible. I don't care if he goes to Gitmo or a nice padded room somewhere with a jacket that straps up the back, so long as he's safely under lock and key and unable to hurt anyone.
posted by | 2:47 PM
IT'S YOUR ABC
This week we're defending Louis Farrakhan on "The Religion Report".
Oh, well that's all right then.
My heart bleeds lumpy custard.posted by | 2:21 PM
PERRY DE HAVILLAND EXPLAINS IT ALL
What he said.
And to those who croak that all this would "destabilise" the Middle East, may I point out that that isn't a bug, it's a feature.posted by | 9:55 AM
NIGHTS IN WHITE SATIN
Chilling out on a Melbourne Sunday afternoon, I took a walk down Brunswick Street, as one does. I guess the nearest equivalent would be Soho (the London Soho) or the East Village in New York. It's a funky, inner-city, bohemian sort of neighbourhood, with trendy but still low-cost restaurants all over the place. I had not a bad Ethiopian meal, a spicy stew of some description, and wandered around the shops.
There were op-shops selling retro-funk 70's furniture (why was everything orange back then?), the BD/SM store was having a sale on leather wrist cuffs, the Green-Left Weekly was being handed out on the corner to anyone who was interested (most weren't, I noticed) and far too many teenage girls were STILL wearing crushed velvet dresses as if they were the Latest Thing. Should someone tell them? All that was missing was a soundtrack by Donovan or Marc Bolan, but that's what your imagination is for, right?
All in all, it was a nice sunny winter afternoon in the heart of Alternative Melbourne. Then as I passed the trendy manchester store, Holy Sheet, I saw something in the window and immediately went in and made an impulse purchase. A set of white satin sheets and matching pillowcases! Mmmm...satin sheets...I felt quite naughty buying it, but I figure you only live once.
There will be drawbacks I assume. Pleasant thought the sensation of sleeping between satin may be, I imagine they'll be a bugger to wash and dry, and it's possible they have to be ironed, which I personally loathe beyond all household chores. I'll tell you what they're like to sleep on after I wake up tomorrow.posted by | 12:54 AM
Sunday, August 25, 2002
ALLEY DOESN'T SEEM TO WANT TO LET IT GO
Rust never sleeps, and neither, seemingly, does the increasingly thin-skinned Alley Writer, who in addition to getting rid of his comments section (presumably because people were disagreeing with him) has now made the ultimate mistake of pissing off my brother Murray. As anyone who went to Westlake Boys High School on Auckland's North Shore circa the late 1970s could tell you, getting us both mad is invariably fatal.
For a start, it's my blog, and my name is Bruce. Murray, my brother, writes occasional peices, usually on military affairs, and is active in putting comments on various posts, often making fun of me. It's what little brothers do. Can you understand this concept? Two...seperate...people. Murray is one. I (Bruce) am another one. Not siamese twins, not joined at the hip. Ok?
Murray is working on a laser-guided, uranium-tipped, bunker-busting fuel-air response as we speak, and as soon as it's been loaded into the bomb bays, it will be on its way to you. In the meantime - he's not Jewish, numbnuts! I am, but as it says in the Bible, I am not my brother. Or his keeper. We had trouble getting keepers after what happened to the last one. Got too close to the bars while throwing the slabs of raw meat in. We were hosing stuff off the walls for days afterwards....
ALLEY WRITER IS AN ENEMY OF CIVILISATION
And that's civilisation with an "S" for those of us who speak standard English, you ignoramous. Writing (sic) after a word that uses an "S" rather than a "Z" (or "Zed" as it is correctly pronounced) simply marks you as someone who has no idea that his own world view is not neccessarily the only possible one.
Alley Writer has gone so far off the deep end that he is actually supporting Dr Richard Goldstein, the lunatic who was planning to blow up a Muslim school in Tampa. Unbelieveable. What is it with doctors named Goldstein anyway? First Baruch Goldstein murders those Palestinians at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and now this! Do you think it's time we hauled in all medical professionals with the last name of Goldstein for a full head-check?
His post is titled "Ethics vs Spine". How about "Ethics vs Evil Stupidity"? Don't you understand? We can only win this fight if we are, as we say we are, better than the enemy. Our western values are NOT our Achilles heel, they are in fact our unique strength, the strength which ultimately guarantees us victory. Alley's way simply turns us into a better armed version of the enemy, and would cause so many of us to turn away in disgust that we would be unable to win.
You cannot use the Ring. It's nature is evil, and those who use it will be consumed by it.posted by | 10:30 AM
FOR ANY OF YOU WHO STILL THINK THERE IS ANYTHING LEFT TO TALK ABOUT...
...here is a list of links to Jewish-Palestinian dialogue projects. I used to be heavily into this sort of thing, but I have to tell you it was like trying to negotiate with the Daleks, or the Borg Collective. There's just no common language. Words themselves seem to have different meanings, and just when you think you've made some sort of breakthrough, it becomes obvious that it's because you've not properly understood the other side.
I've had it up to here with smashing my head against the brick wall of the Islamic world view. Muslims good, pure, holy, kufar bad, evil, treacherous, you may live on as dhimmi (slaves) provided you do not resist us. You will serve the Muslims or you will be exterminated. After a while they even started to SOUND like Daleks.
The really shocking thing, for me anyway, is that after a while I think I DID understand them. They genuinely believe it is their God-given destiny to conquer the world and either kill or enslave the rest of us. I am not making this up. They seemed quite happy to admit this, and seemed nonplussed when we objected. The attitude seemed to be that this was the revealed Will of God, so trying to stop it was rebellion against the Almighty. They seemed to think that once they'd patiently explained to everyone that this was in the Koran, we'd all have to admit that we were quite wrong to resist.
But it's the old story - if you're in a pit full of snakes and as you cut one snake's head off, seven more grow in its place, someone really ought to start looking around for a way out of the pit. WITHOUT HELPULLY PUTTING YOUR HEAD IN THE SNAKE'S MOUTH I mean. These folk mean terribly well, and who knows it may lead to something. I very sincerely doubt it though, at least until after a massive military defeat has been inflicted on the Arab world and they are a bit more receptive to suggestions that their world view might need a few adjustments.
posted by | 10:00 AM
THERE ARE CONSERVATIVES, AND THEN THERE ARE CONSERVATIVES
And then there are snotty Spectator columnists like Mr Taki Takealotofcockeupthenose. He's usually funny, which means I will have him sent to a re-education camp rather than summarily shot, but he's definitely on the paeleo-conservative side of politics, which I refuse to have anything to do with. Anyone who aids and abets Pat Buchanan goes on my shit list.
I also think he's having a go at people like us too, which is never good.
I think Pej has already dealt with this feeble sally in a more than adequate manner, and the feeble droning from the strap-ons at Warblogger Watch has been dealt to severely by our very own attack Rottweiler. Wot he said...posted by | 1:09 AM