Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Solipsistic Left

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  • Simon Grigg,

    why do folks insist on singling them out? It feels to me that part of it at least is because we need a new bogey man, now that the USSR is no longer

    amen

    Because there are an awful lot of congressional districts which need that bogey man.

    One is that almost two decades of lobbying and logrolling stand behind that $320 billion fighter purchase plan. The fix is in with key congressional committees, and the pork has been elaborately scheduled for division among constituents and congressional districts.The aerospace contracting lobby does not want any change in the copious money flow now authorized for new fighters.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    yep there's really big $$$ in fear. just ask the fundy churches

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    This opinion piece at Huffington today is timely and I think this encapsulates a lot of what I believe:

    2) Recognize that the so called Muslim states aren't necessarily "Islamic." The majority of the laws in the Muslim world are an amalgam of European civil code, Shariah, and Anglo-Saxon common law. As such, fixing Religious Law is neither sufficient nor necessary. The most important element of human rights reform in the Muslim world is via legislation or regulation, not the clerics. We must not buy the right wing spin, rooted in Christian supremacism, that until the religion of Islam reforms, change is unlikely. Religions change and mature at their own pace; states evolve and legislate on their own.

    The Indonesian blasphemy laws he notes earlier in the piece are a perfect example...they, like much of Indonesia's law, date from Dutch times, and I take great pleasure in yesterday's Playboy decision which speaks to the theme of the above paragraph... and is quite a milestone - one that the rest of South East Asia would do well to emulate, as an aside, Singapore in particular.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    There's three trems that I know of used in France for refering to Arabs.

    "Les Arabs" - has negative connotations if refering to people living in France. Neutral to positive if refering to Arabs not in France such as in the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

    "Les Beurres" - young, urban, usually male, 2nd to 3rd generation of North African descent. Also "Beurrettes" for young females (who often fight their Beurre relatives since they are treated very badly - caught between two cultures).

    "Maghreban" - from one of the 3 former French North African colonies.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    And there are les pieds-noirs and harkis as well as reminders (and remainders) of France's rather horrendous colonial history, but...

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    And then there was this time at Band Camp. Really there's enough generalised hate to go round, but where is it going? If we want to be really silly we could say that at least the French weren't so uptight about sex when they colonised, but really, what would we achieve?
    Don't you realize it is politically expediant for the US and British powers that be to demonize France right now, due to Iraq?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    i used to think at least ex-British colonies were left in a better state once finally surrendered to independence (more physical and governmental infrastructure, less endemic corruption), but i think that's not so clear now. certainly both the British and the French haven't always been the best to their colonial subjects but i think there are probably worse still.
    singling France out for demonization is just more of the present Anglo-American foreign policies de jour, and long standing but often uninspected anti-French prejudice common in NZ thanks to a predominantly British colonial history.
    at least the French tend to judge Frenchness by how well you speak the language rather than the colour of your skin.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    certainly both the British and the French haven't always been the best to their colonial subjects

    Bengal 1942-43, which has only really been looked at in recent years, dwarfs (if one was able to measure such things, which is of course contentious), in it's conscious evil, pretty much anything the French did in terms of scale. And the culprit was one of BBC's Greatest Ever Britons, Churchill

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I'd suspect the state of each colony could vary quite distinctly, depending on where it is, and when it was decolonised. But yeah, I'm not so sure Britain can rest on its laurels as a departingg power. While you can't blame them for everything that has happened in these countries subsequantly, they are culpable, and there are few that did not get into quite a dire state quite quickly after decolonisation.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1022 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    as long as you have a country with straight lines on its national borders there will be post-colonial internal trouble.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Aghhh Post-Colonial, arrrrrr, run's screaming from the room, ears hand-cupped, and not quite sure why...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    a perfectly sensible response.
    i blame the parents myself; that and stopping the Compulsory Military Training. weren't like that in my day

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    bet it was.

    just that the post in the colonial was what they tied young coloured boys to fur a whuppin'.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Russell: that's a tricky kettle of fish. Where do you draw the line in terms of self-censorship and how do achieve consistency? It would seem the only way to do that is to avoid politics and religion altogether.

    Obviously, the reaction to the Mohammed Cartoons was stronger than to say the Chocolate and Piss Christs, but that doesn't seem like a good reason to not print them.

    But, as I said during the events, newspapers decide not to grievously offend their readers all the damn time . They play different role in the culture than, say, late TV, fringe cinema or private websites. It doesn't particularly bother me that hardcore porn is available on the Internet, but I'd think it was a pretty poor show if the Dom Post ran it as a heavily-promoted four-colour spread in Saturday's paper - as it did with the cartoons.

    Granted, sometimes, the mainstream media's desire not to offer grievous offence can be irksome - and I speak as someone who worked on a comedy programme that aired on National Radio.

    But given their generally-agreed lack of merit, the only reason to run the cartoons verbatim was to say, in effect, "you're not going to tell me what to do".

    And yet, in a way, the newspapers who ran them were being told what to do, from all sides. The orginal commissioning editor at he Danish paper subscribed to theories I generally find stupid and baseless, the cartoons were crap, and the whole thing only became an international scandal in the first place because unpleasant mullahs actively disseminated the works in question, along with a few choice ring-ins. I found it easy enough to find reasons not to play ball.

    Did I just start the thread again?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Aghhh Post-Colonial, arrrrrr, run's screaming from the room, ears hand-cupped, and not quite sure why...

    Normally my reaction, but I watched part one of the BBC's serious new doco, Racism: A History, last night, and it made me think poorly of colonialism. I was moved to silently blame colonialism for a number of things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Kennedy,

    as long as you have a country with straight lines on its national borders there will be post-colonial internal trouble

    In support of your argument I wouild like to refer you to the pub in Spike Milligan's Puckoon as the definitive example of post colonial internal trouble.

    Apologies if anybody feels upset that this post has wondered over from the "life in books" thread, consider it an "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter" moment.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 224 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    When we find that colonial post, I promise, I will be the first to tie myself to it, and deconstruct myself. The village may come and throw rotten fruit and vegetables.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    yeah the colonial post sucks. i prefer email.

    i think the old chestnut of 'it was post-colonialism what dunnit' has been thrashed worse than many misapplied excuses for all manner of ills and consequently most people who have heard it enough are rightly put off. chalk one more up for the power of widescale misapplication of an idea to render it useless in applications it could actually be useful.

    but having said that i think there are indeed many many instances where colonial legacies really are the root of a lot of horrendous contemporary problems.

    similarly, many horrendous scholastic, artistic, culinary and sartorial delusions can be attributed to deconstructionism - although its proponents are rarely as fun loving and levitous as post-colonial disaster writers.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    many horrendous scholastic, artistic, culinary and sartorial delusions can be attributed to deconstructionism - although its proponents are rarely as fun loving and levitous as post-colonial disaster writers.

    What's more, these proponents of deconstruction(ism?)really hate being deconstructed. Try it on the next one you meet.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    hey that's just because, we're, like, really narrow minded, you know, yeah. everything is like, relative, man. yeah.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    That seems a nicely relaxed ending to the thread from hell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    ending to the thread from hell.

    Well the part I was involved in was interesting. Lots of disagreement and vigorous debate. Good stuff. Did you think PA was a comfortable echo chamber or something :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    yes didn't seem hellish to me, but it wouldn't be the first time i'd missed something.
    on the issue of dippy relativism and pomo ethics, it always makes me laugh how those desperate to see themselves as hyper-tolerant (old) liberal don't seem to realise that the neocons have long since subverted that position to justify laissez faire freemarketism.

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    classic line overheard after a recent craft fair.

    "kids just don't get postmodernism these days".

    that raised a giggle.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Riddley Walker,

    yeah they're sooo post-structuralist now. all you ever hear from kids these days is "there is no author, there is no author".

    AKL • Since Feb 2007 • 890 posts Report Reply

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