Tags: tim blair

12 Jun 2007, Comments Off on My Obstreperal Lobe is set to explode

My Obstreperal Lobe is set to explode

Author: Helen

The obstreperal lobe, of course, is the part of the brain discovered by the great Twisty Faster, gentleman farmer and spinster aunt. Mine sent me to the cupboard in search of panadol, as so often happens, following a look at a Fairfax thinkpiece.

Kim of LP has been pretty extensively insulted and misquoted lately in the ozblogosphere by right-wingers who have just gleefully discovered the disgusting practice of FGM (Most of you won’t need an explanation, but here’s one if you need it.) Because she refuses to take their simplistic “If you haven’t denounced X loudly in the last week, that means you’re too weak to oppose it!” statements seriously, and tries to explain some of the complexities of this rare but deeply embedded problem.

For her trouble, she’s been pilloried in the OpEd section of the AGE by Julie Szego.

Consider this little blogosphere spat inspired by [Ayaan Hirsi] Ali’s visit. During a discussion about female circumcision on left-leaning site Larvatus Prodeo, blogger Kim said: “It would also be useful to know more about what sorts of methods those working against the practice in Australia are using. It would seem to me counterproductive to have loud denunciations of it – the key thing should be to convince people it’s wrong.”

Which just goes to show, dear reader, that Kim and the rest of us feminists must support female genital mutilation; it’s logical isn’t it? Can’t quite see it? Well, Szego gets a quote from someone sensible on the other side to show what we should be thinking:

Conservative blogger Tim Blair pounced soon enough. “You’d think if there was one issue on which a Western feminist might be moved to loud denunciation, it’d be the genital mutilation of little girls. But no; this instead turns out to be an issue (one of the few) about which the likes of Kim are inclined to shut the hell up. In the rock-scissors-paper hierarchy of the modern left, sensitivity to Islam trumps clitoral scissors every time.”

This is the quote that Szego has chosen to single out for admiration. The sheer bad-faithness of the argument is bad enough – and there’s something perversely brilliant about someone who, in one short paragraph, can simultaneously accuse feminists of not being feminist enough while making it clear that it would be better if they shut up more. Then there’s the comments thread on the post she quoted:

Commenter “Blogagog” tries to lighten the thread up hurh, hurh:

Hey, this girl just ticked me off (she said ‘no’ when I asked her to dance in the club). Can I legally apply to get her genitals mutilated? I’ll become a muslim if it will help grease the wheels.

(Just a joke! I want no woman’s genitals mutilated. Wow, it really crushes the humor quotient when it’s attached to a disclaimer, huh.)

“MareeS” displays her touching concern for Muslim women thus:

re genital mutilation reducing odour, the women of islam wouldn’t smell if they washed each day (which many of them in Europe seem not to do with any regularity). Girls are taught from the outset that “down below” is a no-touchy zone for them. Slicing and dicing the offending spot removes the temptation but not the odour.

“Mojo” displays his:

An experiment: Let’s slice Kim’s clitoris off and see how she feels about it then.

While “Dave Surls” froths:

“FGM is an abhorrent practice, and I am very sorry that it was inflicted on Ali. But rather than preaching about allegedly universal values and some sort of right that “we” have to intervene…”–Lil Kimmie

Got news for you, twat. If I witness a little girl being tortured and mutilitated, not only do I have a right to intervene, I have a duty to do so.

Don’t tell me I have no right to intervene to put a stop to the torture and mutilation of little girls, you worthless piece of shit.

If this is the kind of company that Szego prefers to keep, good on ‘er, but it’s not going to do much for the AGE as an alternative to the tabloids.

Feminists have known about FGM (as well as many of the other atrocities taking place in “traditional” societies”) for many years, because other feminists have written about it, as well as other dreadful lefty organisations. The “conservatives” have paid scant attention to it until now, when it’s been discovered as a handy wedge. This is a truly disgusting attempt to use genuine suffering to try and score off your perceived enemies, and professional journalists should surely be alert to the faux “feminism” espoused by some people who really have no shame at all. Excuse me but I have to go and have a shower with steel wool now.

25 Jan 2006, Comments Off on He Died with Fluffles in his hands

He Died with Fluffles in his hands

Author: Helen

What a sad piece of mediocrity coming from John Birmingham, author of Leviathan, which was a great read. (Thanks to Flute for the link.)

I can’t believe people- people under 50, at that- are still using “PC” like it’s some kind of devastatingly cutting edge concept, instead of a woolly spin-doctoring cliche. If you expand it to its literal meaning, “politically correct”, then you would be referring to a low-tax, anti Social security, hawkish neocon. Because that’s what’s “correct” in today’s political milieu. Even the supposed “opposition” doesn’t really argue about it. But I digress.

This article is deeply embarrassing – to the writer. He seeks to prescribe what we should and shouldn’t find funny – and then claims the Left is over-earnest and over-prescriptive. O-kaaaay. Worse, the people he finds funny are such thigh-slappers as Imre Saluzinsky, Tim Blair, and this guy who Birmingham quotes approvingly:

“When it comes to taking chances, some people like to play poker or shoot dice; other people prefer to parachute jump, go rhino hunting. or climb ice floes, while still others engage in crime or marriage. But I like to get drunk and drive like a fool. Name me, if you can, a better feeling than the one you get when you’re half a bottle of Chivas in the bag with a gram of coke up your nose and a teenage lovely pulling off her tube top in the next seat over, while you’re going a hundred miles an hour
down a suburban side street. You’d have to watch the entire Mexican air force crash-land in a liquid petroleum gas storage facility to match this kind of thrill.” (My emphasis)

Birmingham goes on to say

There’s a certain judgemental type who’d recoil in horror from this sort of thing; a gimlet-eyed punisher and straightener, who would suppress such recklessness on the grounds of sexism, racism, cruelty to endangered rhinos and Sending The Wrong Sort Of Message To Our Kids.

Well, who’d want to be a judgemental, gimlet-eyed punisher and straightener? Right-wing humour obviously wins, whoa yeah, wheee-hoo! Only, it’s not really funny. What’s funny about a drunk guy driving too fast? Come over here to Melbourne’s western suburbs, they’re a dime a dozen. We simply roll our eyes as they scream past and hold up our hand with the finger and thumb to indicate the probable penis size of the puerile wanker. The statement might raise a weak laugh as hyperbolic satire on these people, but the problem with us lefties is our damned imagination.

I admit I can’t help wondering whether Birmingham would like it so much if this charismatic drunk driver came roaring down his suburban side street just as his curly haired toddler, white haired old Dad, or cat Fluffles came wandering out (the last of which could lead to a laboured pun which is also completely unfunny.) And, as is so popular these days, perhaps the guy woudn’t even stop! Oh, hold my sides.

The rest of the unfunny stuff in Birmingham’s article just confirms my suspicion that people just find different things funny. Some people laugh at Jimeoin, Billy Connolly, Judith Lucy, Lano and Woodley. I like some ber-loody feminists, who Birms says are merely “angry” (original, isn’t he?)… like Ms Fits and Twisty Faster. But also Father Ted and The Office and the list goes on…Some people, in contrast, think Anne Coulter and Kevin Bloody Wilson are funny. Why can’t I just say Imre Saluzinsky and PJ O’Rourke don’t amuse me and leave it at that? Who’s the one seeking to impose the jackbooted uniformity, mmm?

But on the whole I find the whole “we vill define what’s funny” thing a complete turnoff; Like sexual desire, if you sat around and talked endlessly about it (in a competitive, nerny-ner, boys in the locker room kind of way) it just would evaporate. By making their own brand of humour compulsory, the rightwingers bludgeon laughter to death.

17 Jan 2006, Comments Off on Barista Kicks Ass

Barista Kicks Ass

Author: Helen

Hello, balcony dwellers, I’m back. I’ve been having a bit of a hiatus and reading all the interesting blogs out there, and even actual books!

Cast Iron Balcony seemed to bumble along in a minor way in 2005- a wee microbe in the blog ecosystem. But Media 2 – that’s the domain which incorporates Barista and Cast Iron Balcony – didn’t do too badly. In his December 30 post, Least Unpopular Australian Leftoid Blogs (Shucks! Such praise!) Tim Blair points out the Alexa.com traffic rankings for leftie blogs in… well, for once I’m completely in agreement with Tim in that I haven’t the faintest what the numbers refer to, except that in relative terms we are doing OK:

1. Tim Lambert: 122,559

2. Troppo Armadillo: 131,292

3. Larvatus Prodeo and Rob Corr: 211,441 (Note: the daily ranking at LP’s new site is 159,263)

4. Catallaxy Files: 225,663

5. John Quiggin: 320,092

6. David Tiley and Cast Iron Balcony: 382,880

7. Gary Sauer-Thompson: 388,696

8. Singing Bridges (Australia’s best blog): 595,755

9. Tim Dunlop: 708,228 (Note: Dunlop’s daily ranking is 266,229, which may be more representative)

10. Daily Flute: 825,427

This means that (a) my stats are better than my site counter would make out or, more likely, (b) that Barista is blogging a blue streak and I’m enjoying a ride out of obscurity on his fabulouous coattails.

Barista is also nominated for best overall Australian blog on the Australian Blog awards over at Collective Apathy. Go over and vote now!


As far as I know, not many of the local bloggers have done a Best Of for 2004. Tim’s had a go and Scott Wickstein at Troppo and Tim Blair have Quotes of 2004. So I thought I’d have a weak stab at it myself.

Last year I quoted my favourite soundbite (OK, writebite) from the Entire Internet for 2003.

Here are the contenders for my Favourite Quote from the Entire Internet for 2004. None of them are from non-blog sources, though I didn’t purposely exclude anything.

From Barista:

Confrontational journalism on teev often looks like an over-excited chook trying to argue with a lawnmower. There’s a lot of pecking but the machine just trundles back and forth, back and forth..

From Rob Schaap, a comment that was loved and re-posted all over the Ozblogosphere:

I want Labor to win – much in the way I prefer my ageing cat’s vomit to its diarrhoea.

Which prettywell summed up most of us’s attitude to the major parties (sorry, Rob and Guido. You are the cream, but there’s still too much whey in there.)

This entire Fafblog post, which came at a time when I needed the helpless laughter.

* brush teeth
* buy eggs
* aerobicize!
* do not kill Yasser Arafat.

Last… Theresa Neilsen Hayden’s Making Light is usually more a source of wisdom and Hmmmm! moments than belly laughs. But that’s where I found this quote from a literary blog, unknown to me, called Hitherby Dragons. (The permalink’s gone now.)

“It was, perhaps, a mistake,” Dr. Oboli admits.
“Pardon?” asks General McCoy.

“It might have been a mistake. To harvest the genetic material of Johannes Agricola, and bring him back to life– fifty times his normal size!”

(Substitute name of your choice – Alexander Downer, Bruce Ruxton, whatever…)

OK, that’s my short list. Comments welcome, one way or another.

Which brings me to the Christmas Gift.

Commenteur, Lecteur, mon semblable, mon frere! This is for you, if your workplace has an unreasonable and hysterical WebMarshal or other piece of software which is set at such hair-trigger sensitivity it thinks Road to Surfdomis pornography.

Granted, it recognises links to Andrew Bolt and Angela Shanahan as pornography, which is sensible, but it will also allow you to look at all kinds of silly and timewasting sites. And before some of you jump on me – I think I am as entitled to read blogs in my lunch break as I am to read the dead tree paper. It’s probably not good for me, but it’s my eyesight, innit?

David Tiley kindly suggested TinyUrl, but that didn’t get past the moronic monster of Marshal.

So, all you oppressed, rise up, go to this page and type your desired URL into the Kniff Anonymiser and simply click Aufrufen!

Or you could try this page (anonym Surfen!) which is a better starting point. But for some reason, the evil Marshal didn’t like that, so I just use the WebDiary page.

So, I can read Surfdom and Barista and Troppo and Fafblog and Flute and……. Hooray! it still has some problems– with some blogs you won’t be able to access the archives or read below the fold, but it’s an improvement on my previous torment.