blogorrhoea
Friday, October 15, 2004
 
APROPOS NOT A LOT

I've just given the blogoshed a big old print of a square-rigger chasing a lateen schooner downwind into an early 19th century dusk and I've been watching Last Tango In Paris. Had to consult Danny Peary's *Guide For The Film Fanatic* afterwards to check I'd not been wasting my time and was most gratified to discover I hadn't.

I'm very pleased with the AU2 Falcon that replaced the burned out XF Falcon that replaced the given away XE Falcon - it's all modern'n'stuff - feels like I've nicked a grown-up's car every time I get in - sports a thumping stereo, too - one that'd be booming out Fleetwood Mac Live At Chess if Number One Loinfruit didn't have his Prodigy CD araldited in. I suspect he knows I hate it, but buggered if I'll give him the satisfaction of admitting it. Number Two Loinfruit likes Green Day and is still of an age where it's nice that Dad likes what he likes. There, methinks, lies my salvation.

On the political front, I see the Captains Of Industry are already swarming all over the Coalition with lots of good ideas for reaming workers; that ol' Coodabeen is already scrubbing up for the traditional post-election porkectomy; and that people for whom only their mums voted are gonna get into the Senate instead of people for whom hundreds of thousands voted because above-the-line voting is an undemocratic rort just waiting to be exploited by anyone unscrupulous and clever enough. Labor got half way there, I s'pose ...

Tomorrow morning I don pith helmet and backpack and march into the lawn - the Victa's in there somewhere and it has been suggested to me my plans for an arvo's pint'n'punt might well depend upon its recovery.
 
Sunday, October 10, 2004
 
I AM NOT TAKING THIS WELL

A weekend's contented trudging, nibbling and sipping my way through the Blue Mountains has come to an end (I especially recommend the Fairfax track just behind Blackheath, btw - the panoramic vista waiting for you at the end of that gratifyingly short trundle is beyond the reach of words), and I am (somewhat reluctantly) returned to the Australia of pollies and bloggers.

Tim Dunlop can always be relied upon to shed light on the dark matter that is modern politics, so Surfdom was my first port of call, and this post the one to excite a fresh week's dismarrhoea.

Dismally enough, it got me thinking about old Uncle Joe Stalin. An old tale (of which I read just recently, but I can't remember where) has it that he once delivered an eloquent lesson on governance at the expense of a caged bird. He removed the creature from its home and proceeded carefully to pluck it. Upon finishing, he held the doomed bird in his fist for a minute and then opened his hand to reveal the shivering little mass within. "See how grateful is this bird for the protection and warmth I now afford it" was all he needed to say.

This latest burst of 'globalisation' has had a thirty-year career in which to produce its inherent contradictions. For increased, if selectively distributed, wealth and heightend expectations we have paid the price of a generalised fear of its defining traits, effective proximity to 'the other' and local fluctuations caused by irresistible remote forces.

Perhaps it should not surprise us that those who so carefully imposed the new order are best prepared to exploit this fear.

It does gall, though.

In my view, winning elections in an age such as ours necessarily entails an umbrella strategy aimed at countering, accomodating or exploiting inevitable generalised fear.

Fear of 'the other' can be countered by being content with the number of enemies you already have and judiciously minimising potential enmities for a country which is, after all, of only middling international significance.

It can be accomodated by making a show of fighting the enemies you already have and consolidating alliances insofar as this can be done without adding to the stock of enemies.

And we already know it can be exploited.

What can not be countered in the short-term (eg. the vulnerability of an indebted and narrowly commodity-dependent economy) must be either:

- accomodated: eg. the promulgation of such costed and funded strategic industry policy as 'globalisation' currently allows, with special reference to projected 'value-adding' opportunities, thus highlighting the shortcomings of FTAs that further inhibit our capacity to diversify, integrate and consolidate across national industrial sectors;

- or exploited: here again a blood-and-soil xenophobia can carefully be nurtured, albeit at the expense of different phobic others.

Labor got everything wrong in 2001 - 'small-targetism' allowing Howard to set an uncritiqued fear-mongering agenda on all fronts.

Sad, then, that it still got most things wrong in '04:

- having begun the attack on Howard's foreign policy, Labor squandered all by shutting up about Iraq, razor wire camps and the FTA just when people were actually listening

- if Labor had the medium-to-long-term policy to ameliorate Australia's exposure to rate inflation, I didn't hear about it;

- meaning Labor effectively denied itself the high ground from which to wrest the agenda from Howard;

- meaning a singularly uninspired advertising team would have less ammo with which to attack Howard on ground they allowed him to choose;

- meaning mounting debt and an export sector of unaddressed fragility never became the issues they should have been.

Our 'truly humbled' prime rodent is right about one thing, Tampa and S11 alone do not explain Labor's woes. The Aston by-election took place before Tampa, and any Labor strategist watching the point-blank refusal of the mortgagees of that electorate to grant Labor even the normal anti-government swing should then and there have jotted but one word into their laptops. Fear.

Labor never got Aston back; not least because Aston's even more scared now. And quite rightly, too.

We've been plucked, you see.


 
political economic and cultural observations in the register of dismal dilettantism

ARCHIVES
06/30/2002 - 07/07/2002 / 07/14/2002 - 07/21/2002 / 07/21/2002 - 07/28/2002 / 08/04/2002 - 08/11/2002 / 08/11/2002 - 08/18/2002 / 08/18/2002 - 08/25/2002 / 08/25/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 09/08/2002 / 09/08/2002 - 09/15/2002 / 09/15/2002 - 09/22/2002 / 09/22/2002 - 09/29/2002 / 10/13/2002 - 10/20/2002 / 10/20/2002 - 10/27/2002 / 10/27/2002 - 11/03/2002 / 11/03/2002 - 11/10/2002 / 11/24/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 12/08/2002 / 12/08/2002 - 12/15/2002 / 12/15/2002 - 12/22/2002 / 12/22/2002 - 12/29/2002 / 12/29/2002 - 01/05/2003 / 01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003 / 01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003 / 02/02/2003 - 02/09/2003 / 02/09/2003 - 02/16/2003 / 02/16/2003 - 02/23/2003 / 02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 / 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 / 03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003 / 03/16/2003 - 03/23/2003 / 03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003 / 03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003 / 04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003 / 04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003 / 04/20/2003 - 04/27/2003 / 04/27/2003 - 05/04/2003 / 05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003 / 05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003 / 05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 06/08/2003 / 06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003 / 06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003 / 06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003 / 06/29/2003 - 07/06/2003 / 07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003 / 07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003 / 07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003 / 07/27/2003 - 08/03/2003 / 08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003 / 08/10/2003 - 08/17/2003 / 08/17/2003 - 08/24/2003 / 08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003 / 09/07/2003 - 09/14/2003 / 09/14/2003 - 09/21/2003 / 09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003 / 10/05/2003 - 10/12/2003 / 10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 / 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 / 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 / 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 / 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 / 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 / 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 / 01/04/2004 - 01/11/2004 / 01/11/2004 - 01/18/2004 / 01/18/2004 - 01/25/2004 / 01/25/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 02/08/2004 / 02/08/2004 - 02/15/2004 / 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 / 02/29/2004 - 03/07/2004 / 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 / 03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004 / 06/27/2004 - 07/04/2004 / 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 / 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 / 08/22/2004 - 08/29/2004 / 08/29/2004 - 09/05/2004 / 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 / 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 / 09/26/2004 - 10/03/2004 / 10/03/2004 - 10/10/2004 / 10/10/2004 - 10/17/2004 / 10/24/2004 - 10/31/2004 / 10/31/2004 - 11/07/2004 / 11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004 / 11/14/2004 - 11/21/2004 / 11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004 / 01/30/2005 - 02/06/2005 / 03/27/2005 - 04/03/2005 /


links
The Road to Surfdom
Sauer-Thompson's Public Opinion
John Quiggin
William Burroughs' Baboon
Tugboat Potemkin
SheSellsSanctuary
Southerly Buster
Barista
Back Pages
Cast Iron Balcony
No Sanity Clause
Jeremy Williams
Mr Zilla goes to Washington
Troppo Armadillo
Dolebludger
Virulent Memes
Lakatoi
Vigilant TV
Whom Gods Destroy
Tim Lambert
Keks
Lan Down Under
Cross Words
Paul Watson
A Media Dragon
Mt Disappointment
Spin Starts Here
What's New Pussycat
Even Dictators Have Friends
Riot ACT

The UnAustralian
Antipodean Journal
No Right Turn
NZPols

After Grog Blog
Ubersportingpundit
Supermercado Project
Michael Jennings
Bargarz
AE Brain
The Daily Slander
FridaySixPM

Crooked Timber
Pedantry
Fist Full Of Euros
Xymphora
NormBlog
Ken MacLeod
Socialism in an Age of Waiting
D-Squared
K Marx The Spot
Reasons to be Impossible
Histologion
Sitting On A Fence
The Common Man
Wis[s]e Words

Max Sawicky
Nathan Newman
Whiskey Bar
Noam Chomsky's Turning The Tide
Brad DeLong
Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Josh Marshall's Talking Points
Conceptual Guerilla
Discourse.Net
Interesting Times
Coherence Theory of Truth
The Modulator
Critical Montages
Scott McLemee
Doug Kellner's Blogleft
Daily Dystopian
Demosthenes
Ethel The Blog
Body & Soul
Daily Kos
Alas, A Blog
Sisyphus Shrugged
Skippy The Bush Kangaroo
Uggabugga
Slacktivist
Idols Of The Market Place
Talking Dog
Exposing The Right
The Poor Man
Busy Busy Busy
Estimated Prophet
Big Picnic
Steve Perry
Pen Elayne
Hammerdown
Electrolite
I Protest
Reach'MHigh
Sassafrass Log
Orcinus
Wampum
CalPundit
Public Domain Progress
Dystopia
War In Context
TBogg
Flagrancy To Reason
High Desert Skeptic
Braganza
Magpie Blog
Sadly No
TalkLeft
Arms And The Man
Back To Iraq
JR Mooneyham
a buddha's memes

Salam Pax
Riverbend

Cursor
The Agonist
BuzzFlash
TomPaine.com
Common Dreams
Arts & Letters Daily
The Memory Hole
Counterspin Central
TomDispatch
The Smoking Gun
UnMedia
Tapped
Tim Porter's First Draft
Cooped Up
Take Back The [US} Media
Media Whores Online
PR Watch
News Hounds
Lawrence Lessig
Kim Weatherall
JournOz
Danny Yee's Pathologically Polymathic

The Loom
The Green Man
Sauer-Thompson's Philosophy
Marstonalia
Experimental Philosophy
Orange Philosophy
Half the Sins of Mankind
Quiggin's Modern Thought Dictionary

General Glut's Globblog
Goodbye Maggie
Angry Bear
Bonobo Land
Hegemoney
Ross Gittins' Archive
Econoblog
Institutional Economics
Knowledge Problem

Margo Kingston
OnLineOpinion
Australian Policy Online
Heap Of Junk for Code
Joanna Sheldon's Tadorne
Silentio
Boynton
Pinocchio Theory
Tripe Soup
Scribble
Joe Duemer's Reading and Writing
Wood's Lot
Tom Tomorrow
Purse Lip Square Jaw
Michael Berube
Mikarrhea
Yorkshire Soul
Blogging About Blogging
Fragments

Jay's Lefty Internet Resource s
Progressive Gold
Lefty Review
Liberal Oasis
Link Crusader
link
Powered by Blogger