Monthly Archives: May 2009

If we do say so ourselves

They do love a bit of shameless self-promotion, don’t they?

News website for bloggers to punch above its weight

Yes, we have it on good authority (ours) that it will be awesome. So awesome its awesomeness will shine through without us having to do anything to promote it.

…no one will be paid. With no marketing budget, the site will rely on word-of-mouth.

Well, that and this article in the business section of The Australian before it launches and:

…Penberthy will also host a half-hour political discussion show on Sky TV, also to be called The Punch, and some content from the website will be available for News titles.

And fair enough. If you were about to finally bring “general opinion” and “debate” to the Australian Internets, could you stop talking about it?

What “supporting our troops” actually means

Although the phrase itself has in recent years been horribly politicised and tarnished through shameless misuse, Nilk has a genuinely good suggestion for “supporting our troops” serving overseas:

Did you know that if you are in Australia, you can send a care package to a soldier in Afghanistan for free?

She and two others have set up a blog with ideas and suggestions for how best to do it.

Kitteh chaser

Max and Polly, saving their energy for pouncing on us at three in the morning:

09-05-29 max 022

09-05-27 neenish tarts and kittehs 029

09-05-21 maxb 004


They don’t pay tim Blair the big bucks for nothing.

UPDATE: God, he really can’t get us out of his head.

We only write about tim and Andy’s published work because they’re columnists whose vicious efforts to poison public discussion in this country are sufficiently prominent – in the tabloids, on, on the television – that they really need some kind of public response. Not only prominent – but prolific. It’s not like if we ignore them they’ll go away.

But their regular posts about us? God knows why they think those’ll win them anything.

Hell, this post has been up for almost a day and has not a single comment. My commenters here don’t give a crap about those two. Why would theirs be any more interested to read about us? Sure, some readers might be interested in hearing a response to the actual content of our critiques – you know, an actual debate on the topics at hand – but that’s hardly what they’re being offered.

The whole thing’s very weird.

Glau to awesome-ify, then kill another sci-fi series

On the one hand, the addition of Summer Glau to Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse could, on her history, make the show worthwhile and encourage me to watch it again. On the other, also based on Summer’s form of being in brilliant shows that Fox screws around and then cancels, it seems likely that she’ll simultaneously make it something I care about and something that will inevitably be ended suddenly and prematurely. Maybe the sheer awesomeness of a Summer Glau sci-fi TV series is just too much for the television universe to bear, and they can only be allowed to shine painfully briefly before they have to be killed.

It’s not like Dollhouse could’ve been destroyed when I didn’t care about it – no, that would’ve been too kind. What’s the point of getting rid of something the audience is blase about? Instead, first they exterminate the Sarah Connor Chronicles in its place, and now, just to rub it in our faces, they’ll Glau-ify Dollhouse before they then kill it. Hit the sci-fi fans with two thoroughly depressing endings instead of one, or none. WE CAN DO WHAT WE LIKE TO YOU! AND EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW IT’S COMING, YOU’LL BE BACK FOR MORE! SUCKERS!

Like fireflies to a flame, they let us build up their expectations right before we terminate them.

Thank god we’re only talking about television shows.

But voters love rich merchant bankers!

Christian Kerr wonders why a wealthy businessman politician like Malcolm Turnbull should be ashamed of his featuring in the BRW Rich List:

Indeed, Turnbull seems to be the sort of leader we want in an economic downturn.

“For the first time in almost a decade, the rich got poorer this year,” BRW’s media release says. Rich Listers “lost more than $25 billion in combined wealth as the economic downturn hit hard.”

Yet Turnbull has prospered. Clearly a man for tough times!

In his revamped version he turns this exhortation to voters into political advice:

The Liberals might even try subliminally spinning Turnbull is the man for tough times.

I suspect that voters are less sold on the idea that someone’s ability to accumulate money for themselves – particularly that of a merchant banker – necessarily translates into improving outcomes for other people. Like, say, the broader public. I suspect that the politicians are downplaying their personal wealth for very good (and intensely focus-grouped) electoral reasons, knowing that Australians are much less inclined to worship the “acumen” of the rich in accumulating a fortune (those who didn’t just inherit one, and those who didn’t actually create or build anything) than to wonder who they screwed over to get it. I suspect that the Liberals’ actually following Christian Kerr’s advice would be suicidal.

But I’m more than happy for them to test the theory.

What, they’re back on again?

The Chaser: funny when it was a satirical, Onion-style newspaper and website. Funny when it was a satirical news programme.

Lame when it turned into Candid Camera. When a federal politician caught being involved in the smearing of muslims could call the stunt “a Chaser-style prank”. Ugh.

They haven’t gone back to the old stuff, have they? I didn’t bother watching last night.

A thank you might be nice

Right-wing politicians and hacks have long complained that the random audiences at ABC shows are not sufficiently supportive of their cause. So the ABC goes to the effort of bringing in affirmative action to help out these oppressed minority conservatives – and what do they get in return?

Senator Abetz congratulated the ABC but said it had acted in response to his pressure. “I’ve got a funny hunch unless certain questions were asked at Senate estimates, that would not necessarily be the case,” he said.

Very gracious, Eric.

UPDATE: But some good news for the Greens – finally “over-represented” somewhere! Sure, they’d probably prefer to have some seats in the House of Representatives even vaguely commensurate with their level of support, but half a dozen people in an ABC audience is nice, too.

Lurgi Strikes Melbourne


I have a mild soreness in my throat, and slightly unsettled sinuses.

Clearly that means I have swine flu – the most dreadful malady known to mankind – and am 0.1% likely to die.

Stay away! Stay away!

I haven’t heard of this terrible disease being transmitted over the internet, but you can’t be too careful. Please delete your links to me and wear gloves and surgical masks if you must visit someone on my blogroll.

Farewell, my friends. I hope we shall speak again.

UPDATE: Max just sneezed. Oh god! My poor little kitten!

It’s not a crime to be an idiot

I have to say, I’m not really comfortable with this at all:

Last Wednesday the Federal Court sentenced [holocaust denier Fredrick Toben] to three months jail for contempt of court.

Justice Bruce Lander imposed the prison sentence because Toben had repeatedly ignored a 2002 court ruling, which required him to stop publishing material which breaches Australia’s anti-vilification laws.

Now at least for the next two weeks Toben remains free. Justice Lander has given him 14 days to appeal against the sentence.

Toben is almost certainly a complete git. He’s pushing a line of historical argument that is, frankly, implausible – and which is contradicted by so much evidence that it will never be taken seriously by anyone other than cranks. He’s insulting the personal and family suffering of a great many people still alive today.

But so what?

He’s not the equivalent of the man in the metaphorical theatre who shouts “fire”! He’s not the man who stands up and tries to incite an angry mob to smash synagogue windows, or beat up muslim immigrants, or purge unbelievers. Not on the evidence before that court, anyway.

One doesn’t have to be “free speech without limits” extremist to be uncomfortable with people being told by courts what they can and can’t say about historical events, and punished with jail time for contempt if they persevere. Is the historical record surrounding the holocaust really so flimsy as to be seriously threatened by someone shouting “NAME JUST TEN!!!11!”?

And do these laws really keep anyone safer, or do they instead build resentment and hostility that will only make the violence they are supposed to deter more likely?

UPDATE: How about, instead of “offence”, we make the determining factor if a reasonable person in the relevant group could reasonably have felt that their personal safety was threatened by the conduct in question? Isn’t that enough? I don’t think I have a problem with legislation preventing a nutter riling up a mob and setting them on the homes of any members of minority X in the vicinity, but punishing any conduct less than that is absurd.