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April 25, 2012

Comments

Jacob

Is the thought of some old bloke’s tackle hovering near your lettuce or freshly baked baguette a pleasing one?

No.

And isn’t that the whole point of “radical” exhibitionism - to shock, to transgress - to make others feel uncomfortable?

Yes.

Good blogging btw. Now bookmarked.

Frank
at the site of withered genitals and subsiding buttocks,

Strange really, I got a bit of situationally appropriate dyslexia while reading that and saw it as subsidising buttocks.

David

Frank,

“…while reading that and saw it as subsidising buttocks.”

As in a renovation grant? That’s the next step, obviously.

And I notice I managed to misspell ‘sight’ as site - i.e., the place where buttocks are subsiding, or indeed being subsidised.

Frank

I was thinking more in terms of state sponsored performance art in the fresh food section. Of course, site refers to the coin slot in this instance.

Tdk

I notice that Ms Penny is having Johan Hari style problems at the moment.

Personally I am impressed by this daughter of lawyers,who attended a fee paying school and reputedly lives off an inheritance but concurrently lived in poverty. In my day, feminists would never dye their hair or wear lipstick. I wonder if she wears high heels?

David

Frank,

I suppose in a sense it is performance art. I mean, setting aside the farce element – the “arse towels,” etc – the basic dynamic is theatrical and self-flattering. Here we have a group of desperate attention-seekers doing something that they know will unsettle or irritate lots of people – and doing it precisely because of that – all while claiming to be “oppressed” by those who take exception. And so when parents object to their children having to walk to school past creepy old men displaying their cockrings, this is taken as proof of the parents’ “rightwing hate” and general stuffiness. This is turn is taken as evidence of the exhibitionists’ own radicalism – and of course righteousness.

David

Tdk,

“I notice that Ms Penny is having Johan Hari style problems at the moment.”

I doubt her tendency to embellish and fabricate will do much to hinder her career. Yes, she’s a ridiculous figure, an unwitting caricature. Yes, she can generate seemingly impassioned and utterly fatuous opinions on just about anything. And do it at very short notice. And yes, she can churn out reams of operatic prose that’s absurdly self-flattering and devoid of logical content. But clearly there’s a market for what she does, and the people who like what she does don’t seem too concerned by whether it bears any relationship to reality. She’s selling attitude.

Not Lurking No More

The public funding of vandalism? The Guardian approves.

They keep telling us graffiti, squatting and rioting are good things. I say we start with their new offices and see what happens.

David

Not Lurking No More,

“I say we start with their new offices and see what happens.”

In the Guardian comments, one hip young thing insists that commercial billboards are “corporate vandalism,” which somehow makes actual vandalism totally okay. Another claims that vandalising other people’s property is “democratic” and thus to be encouraged. A third enthusiast says that if people don’t like it, “tough.” (Clearly, graffiti attracts a better class of person.) Though, as so often, I suspect the Guardianistas assume their pronouncements don’t apply to themselves, or their homes or their own places of work. They are, after all, our overlords.

And thanks for de-lurking (de-cloaking?). I wish more lurkers would. It’s not like there’s a dress code or anything.

sackcloth and ashes

'I doubt her tendency to embellish and fabricate will do much to hinder her career'.

It has done nothing to harm Robert Fisk's (see this piece in 'Private Eye', 23rd March 2012):


'MEMBERS of the Vulture Club, a closed Facebook group for foreign correspondents and aid workers, are circling the carcass of Robert Fisk, the Independent’s man in the Middle East, for his holier-than-thou rant against fellow war reporters following the Syrian Army’s murder of Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik.

Condemning the “colonialist” assumption that “the lives of western reporters are somehow more precious, more deserving, more inherently valuable than those of the ‘foreign’ civilians who suffer around them”, Fisk accused Colvin’s editors and editors like them of pro-western double standards. “The newsrooms of London and Washington didn’t have quite the same enthusiasm to get their folk into Gaza as they did to get them into Homs,” he concluded. “Just a thought.”

As a matter of fact, western reporters did get round the Israeli army’s restrictions on journalists during its war with Hamas. Led by Bruno Stevens, a brave Belgian photographer, 30 found a way in over the Egyptian border. Fisk’s innuendo that foreign hacks were glory-hunters for exposing the deaths of Syrians, and hypocrites for ignoring the deaths of Palestinians, has put the war correspondents on the war path.

On the Vulture Club’s web page, Lulu Garcia-Navarro, foreign correspondent for America’s National Public Radio, describes Fisk’s article as “unconscionable”. Catherine Philp, US correspondent for the Times, says Fisk “makes it up”. Dan Murphy of the Christian Science Monitor tells of Fisk writing a piece attacking the Baghdad press corps for being “hotel journalists” who dared not go onto the streets, while rarely leaving the safety of the hotel pool himself.

It is not only on closed Facebook groups that Fisk is being pummelled.

Hugh Pope, a former Independent colleague of Fisk’s, recently published a memoir of his three decades of reporting in the Middle East, Dining with al Qaeda. When they were both covering the Iraqi Kurd refugee crisis in 1991, he writes, Fisk reported that Turkish troops were on a “rampage of looting”, stealing refugees’ “blankets, sheets and food”, and that British forces “cocked their weapons in a confrontation with the Turkish troops”.

For his book, Pope telephoned Fisk’s main named source, a British military doctor. He also spoke to a senior British diplomat who had run the relief operation in Turkey in 1991. “Both flatly denied there was anything near a clash and thought the charges of theft and tensions were sensationalised.” In a later account of the “clash”, Pope writes, Fisk “meticulously describes a flight to the refugee camp in the crew bay of an Apache helicopter. The trouble is, Apaches have no crew bay.”

When Pope’s book came out Ian Black, diplomatic editor of the Guardian, drily noted that he was “not the first journalist to wonder with envy and irritation how Fisk ‘managed to get an amazing sounding story from a dull day’”. Meanwhile the leading Egyptian blogger Issandr El Amrani noted that “if you hang around journalists with several decades of Middle East experience, particularly ones who were in Beirut in the 1980s, you keep hearing these stories again and again about Fisk”.

Indeed you do. “It has been common knowledge for years among British and American reporters that Bob can just make things up or lift others’ work without attribution and embellish it,” writes Jamie Dettmer, another former Middle East correspondent, in his review of Pope’s book. “I recall him doing it to me on a story in Kuwait about the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Kuwaitis following the liberation of the emirate. I remember also the time Fisk filed a datelined Cairo story about a riot there when he was in fact at the time in Cyprus.”'

When Fisk talks about the 'colonialist' assumption that the plight of Western journalists is considered more important than that of the locals, I assume he's condemning the same kind of twisted journalism that led a hack to turn a minor fracas involving himself into a front-page story:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2001/12/10/my-beating-is-a-symbol-of-this-filthy-war/

Looking across the Atlantic, I can't help noticing that US journalists who plagiarise and fabricate copy end up losing their jobs, and are never employed in the profession again. When Jayson Blair was fired, the 'New York Times' wrote a full report on his distortions and admitted that the paper's reputation had suffered grave damage. 'The Independent', on the other hand, tried to cover up similar actions by Johann Hari, and the editors tried to save his career rather than end it.

Until the Hari saga happened I thought that Series 5 of 'The Wire' - in which an unscrupulous journalist invents stories, and his bosses protect him when his deceit is exposed - was a little far-fetched. More fool me.

The British media - and in particular the left-leaning elements of it - will continue to employ journalists who distort and lie, because they're telling the readership what they want to hear.

For_diddled

I think a lot of these nudists are suffering from a form of affirming the consequent: original and challenging ideas often offend people; this offends people; therefore this is an original and challenging idea. Come to think of it, a lot of modern public discourse makes more sense if you assume that this is how many/most people are thinking.


-- Mr. X

(Also, I tried posting using Open ID, but it didn't seem to be working. I'm not sure if anyone else is having this problem.)

David

For diddled,

“…affirming the consequent.”

It does crop up quite often. As, for example, when the leftwing blogger and activist Sunny Hundal weighed his credentials by the degree of annoyance his heroes caused. In this case, the unhinged activist group Plane Stupid, who broke into and “occupied” Stansted Airport, thereby cancelling 56 flights and disrupting the travel plans of thousands of people: “Frankly when people snort angrily about Plane Stupid,” wrote Hundal, “that gives me even more pleasure.” What mattered to Mr Hundal was the fact that his heroes upset “Middle England” and some readers of the Daily Mail. That the group also pissed off thousands of people who were just trying to get to meetings or weddings, or trying to do their jobs or get to job interviews, or just trying to go on holiday, didn’t seem to bother him at all. Nor did he seem interested in the group’s belief, announced three years ago, that they have only “four years to save the world.”

But then, Mr Hundal declared his “hardline” support for Plane Stupid – “Honestly, I love these guys!” - shortly after flying halfway around the planet, twice, to India then California, in the name of progressive politics.

AC1

A toddler understands that if it has a tantrum long enough, the adults will fold.

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