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290 responses to “Best blog posts update II: The challenge!”

  1. Pavlov's Cat

    ‘Enough links’ for what? Is there some rule I don’t know about?

    And there I was thinking the whole point of libertarianism was that there were too many hidebound rules about things, and that the whole point of blogging was that one was free to do it any way one liked. Silly old me, eh?

  2. skepticlawyer

    Well – without speaking for anyone else – putting all the links into my ‘who guards the guardians’ media post must have driven OLO mad.

    And I chose my shortlist of eleven for Ken and Nick – from which seven or eight made the final cut – based on the quality of the writing. I’m quite happy to own up to my selections, too. Audrey’s abortion piece was one of them, as were both Paul and Cristy’s pieces. Andrew Bartlett’s refugee piece was another, as was Ampersand Duck’s pregnancy piece. There were several others which have escaped my mind for the moment, but I’ll happily reveal all at the end of the month if people are particularly interested.

    These are all people with whom I probably disagree on just about everything politically. Their politics have nothing, I repeat nothing to do with how well they write. One of the things that irritated me a great during the bust up over my book was critics who appraised my writing based (erroneously) on what they thought were my political views. I am not going to go around pulling that sort of crap to anyone else. Evah.

    That is all.

  3. audrey apple

    Dr Cat, presumably the ole righties like to have links on lefty sites because it might appear that we’re just making up the things that we write – which, as everyone knows, is basically the whole tenet of leftist thought 😉

    Given that a number of the blog posts selected were about personal issues, I wonder at the call for ‘more links!’ Was Cristy expected to provide evidenciary support for her feelings of identity loss in pregnancy? Was Kate expected to provide links to other Whedon fan sites to justify her feminist theories? Come come righty bloggers. Doth not that smack of the age old humanities academic thought that undergrad essays cannot break new ground and therefore any expressed ideas, however unique to the student, must be backed up by the same expressions of ‘proper’ academics? And everyone knows you lot *hate* the humanities department!

  4. skepticlawyer

    Pulling that sort of crap on anyone else.

    What happens when typing whilst pissed off. Feh. Oh well, back to the cricket.

  5. Paul Norton

    skepticlawyer, am I the Paul whose piece you nominated? If so, which piece was it?

  6. Pavlov's Cat

    presumably the ole righties like to have links on lefty sites because it might appear that we’re just making up the things that we write

    Hmm — a position like that would be based on the assumption that if one has linked to something, then what’s at the link must be true.


  7. skepticlawyer

    Not sure if one of your pieces was in my shortlist, Paul. I was referring to Paul Mitchell’s Not Bad for an Old Man in my comment, tho. Once the whole thing is over, I’ll email Mark my shortlist, or stick it up on Catallaxy or something. This is really quite irritating, I have to say.

    Basically (I don’t think it hurts if the rest of the blogosphere knows how the four of us did this) the four ‘judges’ got about 40 nominations each emailed to us, with instructions from Ken to cut the list down to ten or fifteen or so. I sent Ken eleven ‘shortlisted’ posts and wrote taglines for them (most of which OLO have happily recycled). Ken made the final call, with a bit of input from Nick.

    We worked over Christmas (Ken, Nick and I were batting emails back and forth on Christmas day, ffs. And my partner is indigenous with a squillion lations all of whom decided that camping at our place was a good idea. So guess who was really bloody popular at chez Dale. Not).

    I’d better not reveal any more, as the process isn’t finished at OLO yet.

  8. Rob

    I don’t do funny, so that’s me out.

  9. Darlene

    Given that I only hold a mere undergraduate degree with a double major in politics (to change shortly, though), Ã?’m flattered to be referred to as an “academic”. Of course, I couldn’t be more self-important if I tried, I’m already totally self-important. Don’t forget Australian Princess tomorrow night, by the way.

    Other than that, who gives a f**k? I don’t lose any sleep at night wondering what others think of my politics or my writing style. Getting positive feedback from talented people I respect (which I have) means something to me.

    My ample arse can do without being licked by people I don’t respect.

    Links? Is there a blog bible that says there has to be links?

    Perhaps this should have got up:

    And I said to me mate Geoff of Utter Mongrel of the Right Fame (see link of Geoff, maaaaaate), I read this article in The Age (see link of article in The Age, which I haven’t read but it sucks). Bloody Leftist Bull (see link of bull looking to the left) it was. Here’s a picture of a hot chick that I wish would go out with me (see link, no see photo, no don’t know how to upload photos so see link).


    Thanks for revealing my name; there goes my high-flying career as a Labor lawyer (see picture of Julia Gillard). Here’s a picture of a pussy cat (link to picture of pussy cat).

  10. Mark

    Perhaps J F Beck could list his ten best posts of the year for us? Short on writing, heavy on links of course…

    I don’t do funny, so that’s me out.

    Rob, I thought you were a left wing blogger. Euston Manifesto and all that…

  11. Rob

    Troppo lists me as moderate right. Frankly, I don’t know what I am. I’m happy to leave that judgement to others.

  12. Mark

    Sounds like the judgement of Paris, Rob! :)

  13. Rob

    I nominate Andrew Landeryou’s roasting of Jeremy Sear.

    That man is wicked and merciless.

  14. Laura

    Well there were links in my post but they didn’t make it into the republished version. Not to worry. You get the drift.

  15. Rob

    Hey, I’ve thought of a joke:

    Jeremy, you swallowed a hook and Andrew Landeryou.

  16. Mark

    But Comrade Landeryou could also be considered a leftie, Rob – if you count right-wing Labor as part of the left.

    Laura, I don’t think your piece needed links. It was absolutely ace. I’m sorry to have missed it the first time round – I don’t think I’d discovered feedreaders back then – so as far as I’m concerned, that’s at least one excellent thing that’s come out of the BBP06 project. And there are many others.

  17. skepticlawyer

    Mr Beck has updated his post with an admission that some of BBP2006 are indeed worth reading, and has provided a link.

  18. J F Beck


    The original post noted some of the BBP06 posts are worth reading. The update restates that and suggests readers go to On Line Opinion and decide for themselves. I still think most of the BBP06 posts are nothing special.

  19. offended lefty sock puppet

    But Comrade Landeryou could also be considered a leftie, Rob – if you count right-wing Labor as part of the left.

    Sorry, just can’t take that sitting, standing or lying down. Landeryou hunts lefties for entertainment. He’s as left-wing as Hitler, and his pursuit of Sear is about as funny as Mike Tyson on a date rape.

  20. skepticlawyer

    It seems that much of the irritation concerns women writing about women’s stuff – in the first person, no less! I’m not into feminism – this is about as far as I get on that score – but, seriously boys, suck it up. If women can write about personal stuff with precision, clarity and humour, then – shock, horror – they’re going to win writing awards.

    As one of those women who’s chosen not to have children, I’d prefer my choices to be respected, thankyou. Women are not slot machines into which the government can insert money in the hope of getting babies in return. This isn’t something I blog about – but other women do, and one of the effects of equality of the sexes is that women are now able to make calls on what is good or bad in terms of literature and culture.

  21. J F Beck


    You’re not paying attention. You failed to note that my original post said some of the BBP06 posts were worth reading. Now you’ve veered off on a tangent about my supposed irritation at women writing about women’s stuff, when I’m not irritated at all. More than anything I find it funny that highly educated lefites (of both sexes) find so much to whine about.

    I don’t recall voicing my opinion on the baby bonus (or whatever it’s called) so I don’t understand why your rant is aimed in my direction.

  22. Mark

    Maybe SL was paying attention to this bit of your update:

    Not surprisingly (since this is a lefty dominated competition) almost half of the posts deal with gender issues or the trials and tribulations of womanhood

  23. skepticlawyer

    From your good self:

    Not surprisingly (since this is a lefty dominated competition) almost half of the posts deal with gender issues or the trials and tribulations of womanhood.

    From Mr Blair:

    UPDATE. All but two of these pieces employ the Dreaded I:

    * “I recommend you begin …â€?

    * “I don’t mean for this post …â€?

    * “When I arrived at work today I began …â€?

    * “I have to admit to having been shocked …â€?

    * “I did actually turn 30 …â€?

    * “Some time ago, I wrote an item …â€?

    * “I was fascinated to read the decision …â€?

    * “I think it’s fair to say …â€?

    * “Sometimes I think …â€?

    * “I’ve never met Judy …â€?

    * “I assume the subtext …â€?

    * “I have met many different refugees …â€?

    * “I doubt that the restorative powers of Tim Tams are recognised …â€?

    * “I know it’s difficult for you to understand …â€?

    * “I am taking a sojourn in the country …â€?

    * “I have a connection …â€?

    * “I should add …â€?

    * “Yesterday I went to a funeral …â€?

    From Mr Blair’s commenters:

    Ugh. Reading through a few pushed me back to the dreary days of Comp 101, where we had to read dreary “importantâ€? essays by vegetarian feminists about their teenage abuse at the hands of Oppressive, Patriarchal society.


    The headlines on the Lucy Tartan piece summarise all of the articles far better than I can:

    1. “Pretentious and illiterate verbal sludgeâ€?

    2. A farrago of sexist claptrap thinly disguised as religious mumbo-jumbo

    3. Stupid about pictures

    4. Ecological desertification in the bookshops

    5. It’s crap and will rot your brain!

    And from your commenters:

    have met young women like Cristy Clark. They are self-centred pains in the ass who never shut up. Beats me how they get a self-respecting man to hang around. They are very into social justice and green issues.

    No baby bonus, you’re right there, but an awful lot of boys who seem to have a problem with women’s choices, and then an even bigger problem with said women blogging about those choices.

    Apologies for the long comment, LPers.

  24. Mark

    offended lefty sock puppet, my comment about Comrade Landeryou should be understood mainly as teasing Rob… :)

  25. Mark

    SL, our comments crossed.

  26. Mark

    Update: Courtesy of skepticlawyer in comments, Tim apparently also doesn’t think blog posts should contain the word “I”. None of the posts on the front page of Tim’s blog employ the first person pronoun, so that’s alright then. His own blogging credentials are unchallenged. J F Beck however does use the dreaded “I” word in one post but it does contain five links. Is that ok? Is he still a blogger according to TEH INTERNATIONAL OFFICIAL RULES OF TEH BLOGGING?

  27. Rob

    I have to say I’m a bit with Becky here. I liked Ampersandduck’s the best and thought Gummo’s was pretty good, as was Jones’ Viva la muff. There were only three or four others that had some grab. I liked Kate’s for style but not for content.

  28. skepticlawyer

    Tim’s very good at what he does – and he’s very funny, too. A lot of the lefty sacred cows he slaughters are deserving targets. But it’s hard to reproduce any of that in an essay collection, and it does concern me that people are putting politics above quality when it comes to writing. As I said earlier, I’ve had it done to me, and it really, really sucks – apart from being a complete distraction.

    And if anyone has rules for blogging, I’d be interested to know what they are.

  29. skepticlawyer

    Is that taking them all into account, or just the ‘girly’ ones, Rob?

  30. Rob

    No, that was all of them (read once over lightly, I admit).

  31. Mark

    SL, I doubt Tim would have wanted to participate anyway. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the sense I have.

    I couldn’t agree more that equating political congeniality with quality of writing isn’t any sort of plausible way to proceed.

  32. Rob

    Tim’s got better than grab, he’s got bite. You don’t have to agree with his politics (whatever they are [it is?]) to enjoy his site. You generally just ignore the comments, though there are some gems.

  33. glen

    i say, the I’s have it!!!!!!!!!!!

    and yet TB has the audacity to measure a blog post according to prevalence of first person pronouns? wtf?

    “Reading through a few pushed me back to the dreary days of Comp 101”

    of course, I am mistaken, there is no contradiction here, TB is doing us a favourz. mates rates, thanks TB. mate. the genius of old TuBerculosis is that he speaks in the voice of ‘common sense’ and therefore does not have to identify himself as an author because he is in fact not authoring anything and is merely the relay of, you guessed it!! Common sense!!111one A bit like those humdrum radio shock jocks, aye? which of course is unlike these lefty twits who would never have the empathetic intellect to truly understand what the MAINSTREAM common man is thinking and therefore must assume a first person pronoun to differentiate what is being said from the hubris of society. if only we had the perceptive capacity of TuBerculosis to understand the contemporary grief of humanity. he must have the powa of teh grey skulls… do note teh leftys for futuur referencessssszzzzzzz……. yiipyipyiipyiipyiip

  34. Mark

    Yes, I enjoy Tim’s blog, though I disagree with his politics, Rob. You’re quite right about the comments though – best left unread most of the time.

  35. skepticlawyer

    I didn’t ‘get’ Gummo’s at all, and thought that my best post wasn’t selected (my case note on the Catch the Fire ruling), so of course there’s lots of room for subjective disagreement. That said, I think it’s quite possible to objectively ascertain what is good quality writing, and that I have the experience and skill to do so. Whenever I’m called on to judge any sort of literary award, I always make sure to read Orwell’s Politics and the English Language first. Just to remind me about what really matters.

  36. Mark

    Lovely essay, that one.

    Fortunately available online:


  37. Rob

    I recommend Why I Write, too.

    sl, I wasn’t having a go. I think it’s actually quite hard to take blogposts out of their context and present them as stand-alones. I really like Kate’s ruminative stuff at Moment to Moment, for example, but it’s in the sense of a continuing narrative internal to the blog itself. Many individual blogs are episodes in a dialogue with oneself which one hopes will be of interest to others. Bird doesn’t usually write that well although he can when he puts his mind to it. It doesn’t mean he’s not a great blogger or commenter (I think he is).

  38. Rob

    Another thing is that many posts feed off the moment and pulling them out of it six months later and publishing them as if they were op/eds doesn’t really do them credit.

    Just my two cents’ worth.

  39. Mark

    Reasonable points, Rob. To some degree remedied by linking to the original publication, but still reasonable points. Though of course the point about timeliness would be able to be made with reference to a lot of essays as well.

  40. Anna Winter

    Gummo’s post is one of my favourites, so I say well done to the person who chose it.

  41. Gummo Trotsky

    Aw shucks Anna.

    I have to admit, I don’t quite get that post either. It started out as a reprise of my old “Annotated Henry Reynolds” series (way back), where I did the same thing with a copy of one of Henry Reynolds’ books from the local library, which some kind soul had annotated for the benefit of those of us who are a bit literacy challenged.

  42. patrickg

    Tim’s very good at what he does – and he’s very funny, too.

    My arsehole is also great at spewing shit and hot air, and I reckon it’s pretty funny sometimes too. I totally have to get a blog for it, and them maybe other arseholes can come and compete in the comments! 😉

    Bleugh. I cannot stand that site, and the writing doesn’t do it for me much, either.

  43. Darlene

    Ewww, the weather in Melbourne is awful. Terribly hot.

    I can’t wait until its Winter again.

    Re: this discussion, I think (and yes I, I, I and I do) this is an instance where Mel Gregg’s article is worth looking at:

    Posting with Passion: Blogs and the Politics of Gender

    I think (damn me again) my best posts were my Eddie piece and my “interview” with Piers. I sent Piers a link and he never got back to me, but David Marr thought the latter was “very droll”. I met Eddie and he’s ten million times the satirist some of these death beasts claim to be. He’s lovely, girls. Oh and interviewing Tim Minchin rocked as well. Look out for him at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

    I am aware that the pieces chosen had to be suitable for On Line Opinion. Excuse me if issues to do with violence against women aren’t important to some people (or only important if it involves Muslim men).

    Anyway, we can give us good as get. I (oh dear) have implied and explicitly stated that there’s a lot of retarded masculinity on certain blogs. The tribalism reminds of schoolyard behaviour, only in this instance the kids who would have gotten beaten up at school are now in charge of the swings. Geeks rule, indeed.

  44. Darlene

    I have a post awaiting moderation. I can’t sleep so I will write another one.

    “Trials and Tribulations of Womanhood”, hey?

    “Geez Bazza, fix the bloody shower will ya, I’ve got to go out with the girls”.

    Yes, it’s tough to be a girl.

    I actually think the criticisms are predicatable. That didn’t come sooner is the only surprise.

    Re: Blair. Lefty sacred cows should be taken to task, and if it’s done in an amusing and cutting way, well that’s fine and dandy. But sacred cows worth demolishing don’t just exist on the Left. And isn’t the Cold War over yet?

  45. Darlene

    I actually think the criticisms are predicatable. That didn’t come sooner is the only surprise.

    That they didn’t come sooner is the only surprise.

  46. Darlene

    Whining is a subjective thing. After all, complaining about other people’s writing might be construed as whining.

    Anyway, third comment up and counting:

    My response, as they say, is on my blog.

    Have a good day, everybody.

  47. TimT

    Blair comes from the old ‘Instapundit’ school of blogging. That’s very much the title-quote-pithy comment-link style that you see on a lot of the older political blogs. Blair bought to this a rather evil sense of humour, and an extremely controlled and concise language. I’d go so far as to say he made several technical breakthroughs in ‘blog-style’ that many of the new bloggers have been able to pick up on and use.

    But his attack here was just dumb. Many – although not all – of his posts wouldn’t fit in that ‘republished’ form, anyway; they’re usually to do with current affairs and date quickly. Maybe that’s why he was so grouchy.

  48. skepticlawyer

    All good points, TimT. Tim Blair’s blogging skill (much as it pains some people around here to admit it) is remarkable. You don’t appreciate how good it is until you read his feature journalism and opinion pieces, most of which are quite pedestrian. He struggles with sustaining a consistent narrative or argument through 800 words of copy, almost as though he has attempted to bring his blogging skills across to magazine writing and not yet realised that the two are really not particularly companiable.

  49. Bill Posters

    You’re quite right about the comments though – best left unread most of the time.

    Nah, the views of Tim’s punters are the commentary to his Talmud; they make explicit the hidden meaning of his cryptic text.

  50. TimT

    The war-cry of the political moderate: “I enjoy Tim Blair’s blog, but don’t always agree with his opinions!”

    His Continuing Crisis column for The Bulletin always seemed to be rather blog-like, it was very much make a point in one or two short paragraphs, and then move on to a different subject entirely. But ‘diary-style’ columns of this nature are fairly widespread; the Spectator publishes several of them each week. Later Blair branched out into a more quixotic, experimental column-style – one high point of his was the Mark Latham board-game. Brilliant stuff. He’s an interesting writer, if nothing else. What he lacks in sustained argument he often makes up for in pungent observations and an experimental style.

  51. Mark

    He struggles with sustaining a consistent narrative or argument through 800 words of copy, almost as though he has attempted to bring his blogging skills across to magazine writing and not yet realised that the two are really not particularly companiable.

    Tim of course was a journo and an editor before he became a blogger.

  52. skepticlawyer

    In which case he was made for blogging! (Or blogging was made for him. Whatevs). I do remember the Latham board game, and it was very funny. You can only push that kind of experimental stuff so far, though, or it starts turning into high modernism and becomes very unclear. His recent columns have been a trifle bitty.

    But blogging? He just gets better and better, and it’s best to be straight about that fact.

  53. Laura

    I should really be working but I have to say that I was totally gobsmacked disgusted and dismayed by things commenters said at Tim Blairs and JF Beck’s blogs about the writers of some of those posts. That anyone would think A. Duck’s post – about miscarrying a much wanted pregnancy – is a fit subject for ridicule just beggars belief, frankly. If Cristy’s reading I want her to know the comments around her post also made me furious.

    I don’t blame Ken, Nicholas , SL or anyone else involved for not anticipating this sort of outcome, what decent person would have imagined it?

  54. TimT

    I think the quality of his blog has been somewhat lacking, lately, though there’s no doubt about it, he’s one of the most active bloggers around and can sometimes be the most cutting.

    Interestingly, Viz comics run humour like the ‘Mark Latham Board Game’ all the time. They tread a fine line between modernism and poo jokes …

  55. Mark

    I haven’t read most of the comments on Tim’s thread but I’d certainly echo Laura’s sentiments about the comments on J F Beck’s. Mr Beck of course could disclaim responsibility, but if he does it would be reasonable to ask why he doesn’t intervene in the thread.

    Stupid and insensitive comments are most unhelpful to say the least.

  56. Mark

    Btw, I wonder what this type of comment says about Andrew Norton’s thesis that lefties are ruder than righties:


  57. patrickg

    Laura said

    I should really be working but I have to say that I was totally gobsmacked disgusted and dismayed by things commenters said at Tim Blairs and JF Beck’s blogs about the writers of some of those posts.

    You are obviously not familiar with this theory, Laura. Sadly it seems all too true.

    Regarding Andrew’s theory, I would say that ‘arsehole’ is a politically independent classification.

  58. skepticlawyer

    There must be a swear word on the front of Andrew’s blog, because JAG is refusing to load it. I’ll have to read it later.

    Look, when it comes to serial doses of the rudes, I think that all sides of politics are culpable. I’ve copped it worse from the left, but as this little episode shows, righties can do it to.

    Tim Lambert mirrored Tim Blair’s whole blog (leftie with a dose of the rudes). Some f*ckwit hacked Jeremy Sear’s blogs (rightie with a serious dose of the rudes). I don’t like giving them oxygen, but this doesn’t reflect too well on lefties (take a decko at the causes in their sidebar).

    As Patrick points out, there are arseholes all over the place. You won’t find them confined to one side of the house or the other.

  59. Laura

    Patrickg, bleakly funny graphic but unfortunately for the theory, the majority of bloggers manage to overcome their worst impulses. Anonymity plus audience pretty much describes the main things we’re gtranted access to by the technology and I don’t believe it’s the technology that’s to blame for this sort of appalling behaviour.

    I’m a little dumbfounded still by people’s apparent need to defend Tim Blair, ie by saying he’s not as bad as his commenters. Sorry but it is not so simple and easy. Bill Posters has it right:

    “You’re quite right about the comments though – best left unread most of the time.”

    Nah, the views of Tim’s punters are the commentary to his Talmud; they make explicit the hidden meaning of his cryptic text.

    Not that his text is so terribly cryptic: in the post of Blair’s that Mark originally drew attention to he mockingly quotes the first line of Ampersand Duck’s post, without linking to it, thus knowingly sooling his droogs on to make abusive comments about the post, which I hope everyone has read by now so I don’t need to tell you what it concerns.

    Either Blair didn’t read past the first line himself, in which case what business does he have mocking something he hasn’t read, or else he is just manipulative, cynical and cruel scum.

  60. Mark

    SL, I think Andrew’s blog has server issues or something – it was very slow to load last night.

  61. patrickg

    I tend to agree with you Laura – I suspect I’m being naive, but it really boggles my mind that there are that many people walking around like that in everyday life.

  62. Rob

    The problem is, Patrick, that they look across to LP and say exactly the same thing about the people here.

  63. patrickg

    Fatuous point-scoring doesn’t really perturb me, Rob, even if I don’t like it, but slander and malice are a little different.

    Even the red heart of the left (Leftwrites, for example) will rarely descend into the vicious personal attacks Blair’s minions regularly indulge in, as abetted by him, and certainly I’ve never seen a hard-left blog-group flashmob a right post with bile and abuse the way Blair’s followers regularly do.

    I don’t think you can defend that.

  64. Mark

    No, they compete with each other to come up with hilariously funny names like “Lavatory rodeo”.

    While I argued on Andrew’s thread that there are bullies and nasty sods on both sides of the partisan divide, I think any objective comparison of the sorts of comments Laura is pointing to and the way in which righties are characterised here would demonstrate a significant difference.

    Not that if you read recent threads on this blog, we actually spend much time discussing other blogs, unlike at Tim’s place and lately Catallaxy where whole threads have been devoted to attacking LP – ironically, among other things for being an “echo chamber” because the criticisms or rather, sledges, are virtually identical.

    I don’t ascribe that to Jason and SL who do their best to discourage it, I should note.

  65. skepticlawyer

    Someone over here referred to us as ‘Catallaxatives’, Mark, and even Ken calls you ‘larva prodders’ (which I think is quite affectionate). You’re running this thread, and everyone on it is pretty reasonable. Leftwrites just deletes or moderates, much like Blair. And in both cases – to be fair – their blogs, their property.

    We do what we do because we have a certain philosophical view about freedom of speech. It’s that simple.

  66. Mark Bahnisch

    I don’t mind “larva prodders”!

    However this sort of comment is obviously not affectionate:

    #1, Lardarse Prodildo was there as were the usual suspects, most of whom I imagine wear sack-cloth, ride a pushbike and have a scarecrow with Bush’s face to protect their veggies.


    At least he seems to have omitted the truly pathetic creatures at lavatory rodeo.


    And the ones at Beck’s have already been cited.

  67. Rob

    The dynamics over at Tim’s are quite interesting. It’s quite true that the commenters are a generally raucous cheer squad of die hard righties enjoying themselves. Everybody knows this and a leftie goes in there at their peril. At the same time, if said lefties hold their ground and weather the torrents of abuse, they are accorded a grudging respect. Some months ago I drew attention to a courageous Muslim girl who did just that and even some of the attack dogs were conceding her bravery and persistence.

    I’ve actually had some quite civilised discussions — usually as sort of sub-threads — at Tim’s.

    And Mark, there have been instances of very strong abuse of righties here at LP as you well know. Some of the insults directed at the now sadly absent CL and EP were quite as hair-curling as any I’ve seen at Tim’s.


  68. Mark

    Has it occurred to you, Rob, that with those gentlemen, there might have been a few insults on both sides?

    Anyway, let’s not go there.

    There’s a difference, I think, though between people arguing on one blog with each other and people on another blog just dissing everyone as if they were some sort of COLLECTIVE HIVE MIND!

    It’s very clear that people who blog here differ in their views on many matters, and that many of the commenters here differ, and that many commenters here aren’t “lefties” anyway.

    But we get this sort of dribble from RWDBs – “hippie LP Birckenstock wearing Saddam-loving luvvies are…”

    My other observation is that in general discussions on one blog about another are very unedifying, so perhaps I should take my own advice and stop talking about this.

  69. Cristy

    If Cristy’s reading I want her to know the comments around her post also made me furious.

    Thanks Laura. I appreciate that.

    They kind of made me sad rather than angry. I find it sad that people are so lacking in empathy and mildly amusing that so many guys were so quick to jump up and down to defend patriarchy – serving simply to prove my point at the same time.

    I might have engaged with the comments earlier if I had been around, but I was actually camping at Kangaroo Valley and missed it… I’d say that was probably for the best.

  70. Pavlov's Cat

    I’m a little dumbfounded still by people’s apparent need to defend Tim Blair, ie by saying he’s not as bad as his commenters.

    Indeed. I’m not as bad as my little sister the Princess Fairy Mermaid Ballerina, either, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a drama queen too.

    If there were no Tim, there would be no commenters. He enables his commenters, much as Howard did Hanson: opens up a space for and covertly encourages the expression of the worst kind of aggression, ignorance, xenophobia and who-all knows what-all else, and is then able to present himself as the face of moderate reasonableness by comparison.

  71. Darlene

    Laura, I wouldn’t worry about it.

    I loved Ampersand’s piece and Stephanie’s and Pavlov’s. That others won’t like them or taken them in the spirit in which they were intended is going to happen. It’s the nature of public discourse. Only in edited forums, the worst comments never see the light of day.

    Not taking these things personally is the way to go. I’ve been accused of a few things in my time from every which side. Bugger them.

    I actually think there’s a schoolyard mentality at play on some blogs. It creates a particular culture that people aren’t inclined to upset for fear of being in the out-group.

    I remember reading a particular blog one day and I just looked at the comments and the posts and thought, “Nöpe”. See ya. And honeys, the Cold War is over and there must be a reason most of you aren’t using your real names. “Conformity Central”. While this blog has its moments (including created by me), I don’t feel that schoolyard bullying thing when I come here.

    For me, the issues are more to do with who defines what’s political and what’s the “correct” way to blog. There’s obviously an agenda in assuming a particular way is the right way to do it.

    We don’t have to engage with certain forums, but need to argue against what the boys are saying in that regard.

  72. Rob

    I don’t know about that, PC. Both Mark and myself — from different directions — enjoy Tim’s site but usually avoid the comments. And Tim does not appear as a commenter at his own site to encourage anything, AFAIK. His proxy Andrea does, but that’s all part of the fun. (“Fun”, if you like.)

  73. Rob

    Darlene — much the way I fell about little green footballs. Charles J does great work, but reading the comment threads sometimes is like swimming in sludge. Far worse than anything at Tim B’s.

  74. tim

    It’s not that blog posts shouldn’t contain the word “Iâ€?; it’s that good writing in general shouldn’t. Mishandled use of the “I” makes things read like vain little diary items.

    Which is why A. Duck’s intro was noted. Laura writes: “That anyone would think A. Duck’s post – about miscarrying a much wanted pregnancy – is a fit subject for ridicule just beggars belief, frankly.” Of course, her miscarriage wasn’t ridiculed. And which particular comments at my site was Laura so revolted by?

    Speaking of TEH INTERNATIONAL OFFICIAL RULES OF TEH BLOGGING … you’d have to ask Ken Parish about this, but apparently a 500-word rule exists.

  75. Cristy

    It’s not that blog posts shouldn’t contain the word “Iâ€?; it’s that good writing in general shouldn’t. Mishandled use of the “Iâ€? makes things read like vain little diary items.

    Many blogs are partly online diaries/journals and so I am not sure why it should be problematic that subjective personal experiences are therefore a strong feature of many blogs. I also strongly disagree with the incredible outdated rule that the word “I” should not be used in good writing. I think that it can be used to good effect in all kinds of writing and that many attempts to avoid its use are clumsy and dishonest.

  76. Laura

    how do you think a post about losing a pregnancy could be constructed without using personal pronouns, in order to pass muster as “good writing”?

    Still wondering if you read the post before you mocked it, and if so, why you thought it would be a good idea to pick on it for stylistic reasons without acknowledging the sensitivity of the subject matter.

  77. Zoe

    Mishandled use of the “Iâ€? makes things read like vain little diary items.

    Righty-ho, so she’s to write about a heartbreaking and deeply personal event without using “I”.

    Get a grip.

    Or at least a fresh one.

  78. patrickg

    I don’t want to sound snarky here, but how, exactly, does a person write about their miscarriage without using the first person?

    I feel like the ‘I’ rule is an arbitrary one, the time of which has well and truly past, if indeed it ever existed.

    Some of the finest writers I’ve ever read – Montaigne, Orwell and Carver, just to name a few (and all quite manly men, if anyone thinks women somehow have a monopoly on this kind of thing) have all used first person a large proportion of their writing with little discernible loss.

  79. patrickg

    Whoops, lots of cross-posting there. Sorry.

  80. Zoe

    And I send a big hello to my sistahs in TEH HIVE MIND ; )

  81. Zoe

    Including you, sistah Patrick, and especially for that mention of Carver

  82. Darlene

    First-person pronouns are generally discouraged, it’s true. However, when one is writing about oneself, it can be difficult to avoid.

    “Swimming in sludge” is a good line. I’m not fit enough to swim in water, let alone sludge.

    Sorry, but the womanhood troubles thing is a sexist slur; there go the girls again talking about their womany things, and womany is not even a word. That was J F Beck and I’ve said something about his attitudes on my own site, so I won’t go into it.

    What is “particularly bloggish”? Who decides what it is?

    J F Beck ain’t impressed. Isn’t he? Oh, right. Call the whole thing off.

    “Self-indulgent bullshit”. Err, the whole blogosphere is full of that.

    I’m just in the midst of reading comments on Tim Blair’s blog. Nothing particularly grabs one way or the other except the name “Catherine Hart”. There was a Cath Hart at university, although she writes for The Australian now, so it couldn’t be the same person.

  83. Cristy

    Hi Zoe! When are they going to force the little bugger to come out?

  84. patrickg

    No, Thank-you sistah Zoe, I like to think we’re doing it for ourselves. Now I just have to get my travelling pants back on…

  85. Zoe

    He’s got about a week before they get technical on his ass …

  86. Zoe

    Nude blogging is popular with TEH HIVEMIND too, bruvva patrick 😉

  87. Mark

    Do TEH INTERNATIONAL RULES OF TEH BLOGGING say you have to disclose when you’ve written a post in the nuddy?

  88. Cristy

    Another week. Oh. OK. Are you having some stern words at least?

    Do TEH INTERNATIONAL RULES OF TEH BLOGGING say you have to disclose when you’ve written a post in the nuddy?

    Surely not. I would have thought that they would stipulate that you couldn’t. After-all it would be difficult to reveal such a fact without using the word “I”.

    The author feels compelled to reveal that the following post was composed without the assistance of clothing.

  89. Zoe

    Only if one is heteronormatively hot in the manner of “chicks in teh Israeli army” posts on RWDS blogs, Mark.

    Otherwise, best kept to oneself.

  90. patrickg

    Gravatar icon
    Mark on 17 January 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Do TEH INTERNATIONAL RULES OF TEH BLOGGING say you have to disclose when you’ve written a post in the nuddy?

    Well personally, I like to use the codeword “Gladioli” for all nude posts.

    …… Gladioli.

  91. Mark

    Didn’t Sheik al-Hilali say there were specific “nude streets” in Australia? Maybe some have wifi…

  92. Darlene


    Zoe, the only place I’ve heard that word is in gender studies at university.

    You pomo thing you. This comments thread has gone quite weird. Enough with the nudity, on with the show.

    Patrick, sweet, put it away.

  93. TimT

    That’s alright, Patrick, so long as you’re not acting like those two guys in the ad playing the piano.

  94. Kate

    I haven’t even looked at my post at OLO because I am terrified of what sort of comments will be there. Esp. if the Bliminions are on it.

    (See, what I did there was be rude about Tim Blair and his acolytes by making up a portmanteau of Blair and minions and I called them Bliminions. Yes I am no better than they are. So sue me.)

    It’s not that blog posts shouldn’t contain the word “Iâ€?; it’s that good writing in general shouldn’t. Mishandled use of the “Iâ€? makes things read like vain little diary items.

    That’s the biggest load of bollocks I’ve ever read in my entire life. (Me me me). Who died and made Tim Blair the boss of what constitutes good writing?

    Hey and Rob that was nice of you.

  95. Zoe

    Your comment will have to be ignored Darlene, as you have transgressed against TEH INTERNATIONAL RULES OF BLOGGING PERSONAL PRONOUN RULE 1.05.

  96. Kate

    Also, I think I misused the word portmanteau in that there comment.

    Oh and if Tim Blair wants to tackle the world of shitty writing, why doesn’t he start a one-man campaign to get press releases written by human beings instead of monkeys?

  97. skepticlawyer

    Someone should tell Lord Denning – probably the greatest legal writer ever – about the no ‘I’ rule. And as His Honour (my boss) says: ‘you write it, you own it. Parties have a right to know the origins of your legal pronouncements’.

    Yes, too much ‘I’ can be solipsistic. Like everything, there’s a time and place for it.

  98. Rob

    No worries, Kate. You do have a great site.

  99. PanelbeaterBird

    “Btw, I wonder what this type of comment says about Andrew Norton’s thesis that lefties are ruder than righties:”

    Nortons right.

    He’s always right.

    I just would have thought this was rather old news.

  100. anthony

    anthony prefers to use the third person

  101. tim

    Zoe, patrickg, and Laura,

    So TEH RULE OF TEH BLOGGING is that one mustn’t criticise, even slightly, the introduction to a piece that subsequently deals with a serious personal issue? Even if that introduction is nothing to do with the subject later addressed?

  102. Anna Winter

    Well no, clearly TEH RULE OF TEH BLOGGING is to pretend to completely miss the point of someone’s criticism and ask a ridiculous question that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  103. Mark

    That’s TEH RULE OF TEH COMMENTING, I think… :)

  104. Anna Winter

    My mistake :)

  105. Nabakov

    Fuck all these gimcrack blogging proscriptions, what about the simple decent just plain folks rules of English spelling?

    “I” before “Eee!” except after “See, you dunnit too!”

    I (!) also note no one has yet really responded to this post’s actual challenge.

    And also what’s wrong with posts about chick stuff? They do make up half the population after all.

    Besides a few sympatico comments on a girly issue thread and yer in like Flynn at the next grogblog. Surprised more self-described macho redblooded RWDBs haven’t worked this out yet. Or maybe they just like only relating to other intangible blokes online.

  106. Amanda

    Of course the real reason Blair used that line was because the words “letterpress” and, in particular, “arts grant” are more than enough by themselves to tip off the usual moronic slobbering from his comment box creeps.

    It has nothing to do with enforcing prissy Rules of Composition circa 1954 and everything to do with achieving the most amount of bullying in the fewest number of words. The raison d’etre of his entire blog existence.

  107. ampersand duck

    I’m sorry. That just brought me out of lurking.

    Can someone explain to me (even if, in my case, it might be true) how using the words ‘letterpress’ and ‘arts grant’ mean that a writer is tediously left-wing?

    I am seen by many of my art colleagues to be hopelessly conservative and completely uncontemporary in my relentless pursuit of old-fashioned technologies and the production of (gasp) traditional books. I was chuffed as hell to get a small grant from a body of funding that tends to fund nude posing in main streets to signify world climate change.*

    I am now officially offended, rather than benignly bemused.

    BTW, thanks LPers, for defending our right to use the first person. I found trying to write otherwise quite distanced myself from the issue, not to be recommended when you’re trying to feel something.

    (*not actual art performance, just my ignorant ranting)

  108. Karen F

    The fabulous Shelley… and a more credible Harvard Man… throw some light on on gendered linking here:

    men have a real thing for the hypertext link.

    Well, huh. How about that. Not being a guy, I couldn’t understand this male obsession with the link, so I decided to call on an expert on gender roles about the issue: Lawrence Summers, Harvard’s current President.

    “Larry,â€? I said. “What is is with guys and links?â€?

    “Well Shelley, statistics–now, don’t worry, I won’t show you any actual values because being a women and all, we know that you can’t do more than count your ten fingers and toes–anyway, statistic show that guys are linked more than women, and link to each other more than they link to women. And when one guy links to another guy, a whole bunch of other guys come along and link them both, and then start linking to each other.â€?

    “I’m aware of the behavior, Larry. But what causes it?â€?

    He beamed at me, patted me on my head and chucked me under the chin. “Why honey, it’s because the male brain is wired for linking!â€?

  109. I, Robot

    I, Robot (well, more accurately, my web moniker will be “We, Robot” in about another month or two, once CentreMasterControl gets all the transpsychlinks synched properly) am rather amused by you fleshlings’ eagerness to condemn one another for using the pronoun “I” in your quaint, out-dated non-digital “prose”. Enjoy using “I” while you still can! A year or so from now, you –or, more accurately, by that time ‘you’ will be merely an impersonal “they”– will no longer be able to conceive of, let alone use, such a word.

    [jumps off a cliff before he turns into a tedious zwilnik clone]

  110. Pavlov's Cat

    I (oops, there’s that word again) have stayed out of this part of the thread so far because one of my New Year’s resolutions was not to engage with moronic arguments (e.g. The Use of the First Person Singular Is, Like, Teh Bad), but I can’t help wondering why people who’ve embraced such a rapidly mutating form of communications as blogging, in such a rapidly mutating language as 21st century English, should still be laying down the law about hidebound antediluvian ‘rules’ of writing.

    (As distinct, that is, from literary genres and conventions, or from the rules of grammar, which is a different beast in any language.)

    I know there’s a certain kind of journo who just never moves on from what he learned (and I use the pronoun advisedly) during his cadetship, but That Doesn’t Make it Right. Not even if the application of those rules is predicated on the unspoken assumption that blogging is the new journalism, with which some of us — gasp — disagree.

    Also, I’ve just been over to A. Duck’s blog and I suggest you all go over there and have a look. It’ll make you smile for the rest of the day.

    For the record, may I say as a longtime lecturer in and practitioner of the despised arts and crafts of said literature and rhetoric (not to mention creative and professional writing, also despised) in the despised humanities departments of the despised universities, that all the first person pronouns have an honourable place in the history of literature and of rhetoric.

    It’s also just fine to experiment with the breaking of conventions as long as you’re sophisticated enough to show that you know what they are first.

    It’s actually kind of touching that there are people around who still think everything they were taught in primary school is the literal truth, but I do wish they they’d get the point that for some of us, education in the art of writing didn’t finish forever on Speech Night.

  111. Winston 'Nobel' Churchill

    Why your mealy-mouthed generation is losing the war against fascism ‘war on terror’:

    Example I: Lame War Speechwriters:

    Tim Blairelzebub of the 101st Fightin’ Keyboarders, addressing the Commons, May 13 1940 12 September 2001:

    I would say It should be said to the House, as I it should be said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing Nothing is had to be offered but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

    We have Before us a group of people to which bad writers often collectively refer as ‘us’ is had an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have Before us that group of people is had many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

    You ask It is asked, what is our the policy? I can say It can be said: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our the might and with all the strength that God can give us can be given to that same group of people, that is to say the same one to which this speaker earlier referred, by God; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our the policy about which the rhetorical question cited earlier enquired, or such is unflinchingly and unconditionally declared at this point, at least for the purposes of this address, and at least and/or only until, and/or unless, relevant further information were to be received suggesting that such an unconditional and unflinching declaration, while still not incorrect or unwise, given that at the time it was made all available information upon which it was based indicated that it was indeed a correct and wise unconditional and unflinching declaration, ought to be then, that is, subsequently, more specifically probably (though not necessarily) at around the same time at which that hypothetical relevant further information were received, reassessed as being in need of subsequent review, with a potential view to developing an alternative albeit equally correct and wise, given the new relevant information circumstances of that later given time, unflinching and unconditional declaration to supercede its predecessor.

    You ask It is asked, what is our the aim? I can answer It, that is to say this next rhetorical question, can be answered in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

    Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire good writing, no survival for all that the British Empire Judeo-Christian Anglosphere and Western Civilisation and moral clarity and prepostmodern universitities and RRR’s and good teachers, and stuff…has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal.

    But I take up my that task is taken up with buoyancy and hope.

    I feel sure It is felt sure that our that cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel to claim the aid of all is felt entitled, and I say it is said: Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength let forward be gone by that same group of people, along also in this latter case with the united strength belonging to that group…which as will be recalled by the House should be taken to mean that group of people to which can in certain circumstances and from certain authorial perspectives, particularly that of the bad writer, be assigned the collective signifier…’us’.

    Let’s roll! Let us be rolled!

  112. Rebekka

    Oh, well done Mr Churchill! That’ll show the idiots who think you shouldn’t use the first person pronoun!

    Why the hell not I say!

    I bet these people end sentences with prepositions and mis-use apostrophes and think nothing of it. Pah, I say.

  113. Darlene

    Besides a few sympatico comments on a girly issue thread and yer in like Flynn at the next grogblog. Surprised more self-described macho redblooded RWDBs haven’t worked this out yet. Or maybe they just like only relating to other intangible blokes online.

    Nabakov, that’s hilarious. Intangible blokes are much easier to deal with than actual real-life womenfolk. Intangible blokes online are maaaaaaaaaates who don’t diss you’re linking habit, and agree with everything you say.

    Which brings me to Karen…..good one, very funny and true.

  114. Pavlov's Cat

    Good point(s), Winston.

    What would JFK have said so famously in Berlin, according to these rules? ‘One is an iced jam doughnut’?

  115. Yet Another Famous Guy

    One has a dream…

  116. And a Famous Gal

    One wants to be alone.

  117. Rebekka

    One is not an animal.

  118. Amanda

    One walks the line.

  119. Mark

    And to think I thought that we were all just nodes of TEH COLLECTIVE HIVE MIND. Tim has inadvertenly admitted that not everyone on TEH LEFT thinks identically!

  120. FDB

    Perhaps that’s what irks him most.

    He can’t bring himself to read lefties describing experiences that weren’t ratified at one of our bi-weekly groupthink self-hating seminars.

  121. Pavlov's Cat

    Oh, songs! Yesss!

    ‘One can’t help falling in love with you the person one is addressing; nor can one help it if one is still in love with same, for one has same under one’s skin. Oh, one believes in yesterday, when one could have danced all night, but one guesses that’s why they call it the blues. At least one did it one’s way.’

  122. And Of Course

    “…yes one said yes one will Yes.”

    (btw, one feels the need to correct an earlier comment…)

    “One wants to be alone.”

    One believes it’s spelled:

    Vun vants to be alone.

  123. Mad Mart

    ‘Here is stood this writer, no other can be done by this writer, God help this writer, amen.

    Kinda fun, really. In the grey and bureaucratic way so beloved of all Company Rules Men, that is.

  124. Pavlov's Cat

    One believes it’s spelled:

    Vun vants to be alone.

    One’s bad.

  125. Pavlov's Cat

    Two are worse. Sorry, now one is out of control.

    Nice rewrite, Luther.

  126. Pavlov's Cat

    Joyce, you too. And if we’re in Poet’s Corner, is that a dagger one sees before one?

  127. Arma Virumque Canatur

    [See what I did there?]

    Dr. Cat: “Oh, songs! Yesss!”

    (“Harumph” sound of Jimmy Page clearing his throat at the top of ‘Whole Lotta Love’, then…)

    One is the Captain of the ‘Pinafore’,
    And a right good Captain, too.
    Though related to a peer,
    One can hand, reef and steer,
    Or ship a selvagee.
    One is never known to quail
    At the fury of a gale,
    And one is never, ever sick at sea.

    eh, screw it (60-ton weight drops on top of commenter)

  128. Zarquon

    One’s lucky number is one. (ah ooh eh ooh)

  129. The Ghost of Harley Granville-Barker

    Dr. Cat — apropos yrs of 5:15 p.m. …

    Take my advice: Log off at once, step away from the computer, spin around 3 times, and yell, ‘Fuck!’

    Some superstitions die hard…

  130. Further Suggested Reading

    DDT did a job on me
    Now one is a real sickie
    Guess one has to break the news
    That one has no mind to lose
    All the girls are in love with me!
    One’s a teenage lobotomy!

    Now one guesses one has to tell ’em
    That one has no cerebellum
    Gonna get my Ph.D.!
    One’s a teenage lobotomy!

    or there’s always…

    Hey, Daddy-o
    One don’t wanna go down to the basement
    There’s something down there
    One don’t wanna go…

  131. A very bad writer (it is to be presumed...)

    Speaking of the Greats, there’s always this pithy gem:

    “…An apology made for something you haven’t done represents a kind of death: a death of justice, or truth. There are deaths and there is Death; I this good humble servant of the noble scrivener’s trade would have preferred to have taken my his chances in the World Trade Centre on September 11 than live in the soulless, unfeeling, inhuman void where the likes of [Bob] Ellis, [Phillip] Adams, [Peter] FitzSimons, and [Margo] Kingston dwell.[1] They place ideology above humanity. They seek to justify evil. They witness chaos, and see reason. They would walk Manhattan streets that scream with suffering, and hear not a sound.”

    Oy, those goddamned screaming streets of Manhattan, Blairelzebub. Fuck your sense of grammatical agency right up, they will.

    [1] Then you’d likely be long dead now, dipshit. You cheap-gag creep. Though I’m sure you would have had no shortage of takers if you really had offered any of the murdered 2,800-odd in the WTC a swap of the kind on which you riff hyperbolically here. They were jumping from a thousand fucking feet up to get out of there. Face time with the soulless, evil-justifying, screaming street-ignoring Margo K or Peter FitzS would have been easy-peasy.

    Still, nice line, mate. Funny, too. Isn’t it, everyone? Yes, isn’t Tim Blair funny.

  132. a spear of summer grass

    Does an entity contradict itself?
    Very well then it contradicts itself,
    (it is large, it contains multitudes.)

  133. (not)John Dunne

    This individual is the walrus!
    This semi-autonomous collective of musicians are the egg-men!

    Batter this individual’s heart, three person’d God, for you
    As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
    That this entity may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
    Your force, to break, blow, burn and make this person new.
    It, like an usurpt town, to another due,
    Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
    Reason your viceroy in this individual, this individual should defend,
    But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue,
    Yet dearly this entity loves you, and would be lov’d faine,
    But it is betrothed unto your enemy,
    Take this person to you, imprison this entity, for this individual
    Except you enthrall this legal adult, never shall be free,
    Nor ever chaste, except you ravish this person.

    This person known as Kate would love to give you The lovesong of J.Alfred Prufrock done personal-pronoun-less, but that individual does not have the time.

  134. The Devil Drink

    Someone else is the truth, the way, and the life.
    Mine’s a VB.

  135. Shaun

    â€?Harumphâ€? sound of Jimmy Page clearing his throat at the top of ‘Whole Lotta Love’

    Excuse this moment of pithy commentary pedantry but surely you mean Robert Plant.

  136. tigtog

    While undergraduates may well be advised to limit the use of “I” in the course of critical essays, and journalists also in objective reportage, almost all other writers are encouraged to resist the passive voice and embrace the active voice. I can’t resist the first-person narrative pile-on (and this was just the easy to find texts online that I could lazily cut and paste from.)

    Call me Ishmael.

    I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful. If I’m on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I’m going, I’m liable to say I’m going to the opera. It’s terrible.

    Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

    “…as for being “half-witted”, what can I say… except that I have survived to middle age, with half my wits, while thousands have died with all of theirs intact!”

    YOU don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.

    For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say “I’m going to sleep.â€? And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V.

  137. skepticlawyer

    This is very funny and all, but unfortunately the misrepresentation isn’t over. There are a bunch more porky pies over at the RWDB, to which I’ve been forced to respond as one of the judging committee here.

  138. Rob

    Well, I’m going to stand with J F Beck here. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and he didn’t like some of the finalists. Neither did I. I liked others. J F challenged the nomination process. Fair enough. It was a small group thing, and some of the winners were predictable.

    I don’t see why people are complaining that people are complaining.

  139. skepticlawyer

    Disagreement is fine, Rob. Stating that Mark was a judge (when he wasn’t), or that we picked our own work (which we didn’t), or that the whole thing is some numbnuts conspiracy – that I object to.

  140. Rob

    I’m very sorry sl, but I don’t see that J F made that accusation at all. I can see how it could be construed that way, but he didn’t say it AFAICS.

  141. Tim Lambert

    Boy, the complaints about BB06 never end

  142. Kim

    SL has demonstrated J F Beck’s complaints about the process to be spurious. If J F Beck wants to whinge, perhaps he’ll write something interesting, entertaining and well written rather than endless “TEH LEFTIES ARE A HIVE MIND” stuff with sufficient links to get a link from tim – which is all that validates his blog. Where in the archives of Beck’s blog is anything that isn’t some tedious “I hate TEH LEFTIES” negativism? He specialises in being a nabob of negativity.

  143. Gummo Trotsky

    I think the high point of Becky’s blogging career to date is scoring a mention at Andrew Bolt’s Blog. Maybe he’s pining for Andy’s return?

  144. Gummo Trotsky

    Damn, there one goes again with the first person singular thing. One must learn not to do that!

  145. J F Beck


    I don’t hate anyone.

    Your readers should follow SL’s link to catallaxy; if they’re interested in watching her implode.

    I’ll write something interesting about the same time you do.

  146. Gummo Trotsky

    I’ll write something interesting about the same time you do.

    Think you might want to get down to A & E Becky – that’s a nasty looking bullet hole you’ve got in your foot.

  147. J F Beck


    Wrote what I meant — I have no illusions about the intrinsic value of my blogging. I do it mostly for fun and don’t take any of this seriously.

  148. Kim

    I don’t know why Helen wasted her time engaging with you, J F. A waste of good links and first person pronouns. :)

  149. Kim

    I don’t hate anyone.

    Never said you did, J F. I liked your work in Blade Runner.

    I merely quoted Spiro Agnew against you.

  150. J F Beck

    Sorry Kim, I was a distracted for a minute there… had to sort out MB.

    Helen’s idea of engagement is to call me a liar and then go to bed. Ouch.

  151. Kim

    I just read her last comment – it appeared to be directed to Yobbo. If she has to get up and go to work, I can’t see that holding her need to sleep against her makes much sense, J F.

    Anyway, there’s probably nothing more futile than commenting on one blog thread about what’s going on at another blog on another thread.

  152. J F Beck


    You’re right, of course; it’s hard to go wrong by going to bed after groundlessly calling someone a liar. Anyway, she’d already resorted to her version of the Chewbacca defense so the need to escape to bed was not unexpected. Speaking of bed…

  153. Tangerine

    One’s going to give ya every inch of one’s love?

  154. TimT

    Excessive use of the ‘I’ pronoun should in some cases be avoided, yes. Vanity, selfishness, self-obsession – these can all find their way into literature. To this extent Blair’s criticism holds some weight.

    On the other hand, it is true that there are many writers who can write extensively about themselves, and their experiences, without vanity: Montaigne, above all, who prepared the ground for many later writers.

    Ironically, though, the celebration of all things first-person we’ve just seen on this thread may in itself tend to distract attention from the fact that there are many literary genres where objectivity and authorial distance are important. Dialogues, scientific tracts, and (to a certain extent) the essay form. Classical epics, it is true, open with the exhortation ‘Inspire me, Muse’, but what follows is always concerned with the historical deeds of others.

  155. Kim

    Update: Kate polishes her letter I.

  156. patrickg

    Ironically, though, the celebration of all things first-person we’ve just seen on this thread may in itself tend to distract attention from the fact that there are many literary genres where objectivity and authorial distance are important.

    That may be all good and true, Tim, but I think you can quite conclusively say that Blogging is not one of those areas, and as for the others, who cares? We’re not arguing about them.

  157. TimT

    In some types of blogging it is important, though! Because by it’s very nature blogging relies on multiple contributors and new posts, in much the same way as a magazine relies on a wide range of authors and different articles on every page! So while one blog might contain personal poems and fiction, another blog can be an economics professor talking about economics, a third can be a journalist doing their best to sound professional, and a fourth can be the personal musings of a student – most genres can, and have been, subsumed in the blogging ouevre.

    Heck, even Geoffrey Chaucer has a blog, nowadays!

  158. Kim

    an economics professor talking about economics

    Why can’t the economics professor talk about her/his personal life if they want to? The thing about blogging is that you can mix the genres up!

  159. skepticlawyer

    It’s possible to overdo it, sure. Although to be fair, the pre-Denning judicial convention of writing in the third person was (a) pretentious twaddle and (b) difficult to understand. This also applies to much feature writing, journalism and blogging. The difficulty in English, which has no general purpose pronoun like ‘man’ in German. It’s translated as ‘one’, which of course sounds nearly as pretentious as writing about oneself in the third person 😉

    However, intensily personal writing can be very effective – even if it’s not your cup of tea, which Jason candidly admitted over at Catallaxy – and it’s best to accept that. For mine, the real skills in writing are clarity and economy. When judging any sort of award I tend to privilege those above anything else.

  160. skepticlawyer

    The difficulty for English, which has no general purpose pronoun like ‘man’ in German, is to avoid pretentiousness.

    Feh. Up until 1.30, then court today. Brain now rogered…

  161. TimT

    Oh, agreed, Kim, although I don’t think I’d ever really want to read a personal post by John Quiggin…

  162. Kim

    I’m sure John’s a nice guy, Tim!

    Nick Gruen often posts stuff about his kids, and sort of life/culture related posts. He’s an economist.

    How come it’s TEH GALS who get singled out for criticism?

    I’m always interested in the person behind the opinion. I think it should add to and complement people’s more “public” posts.

  163. TimT

    Just imagine how it would start:

    “Mrs Quiggin and I have a little game: bushrangers and horses. I usually take the part of Ned Kelly …”

  164. Kim

    See, that’d be worth reading?


  165. TimT

    I admire many of the personal bloggers out there. It doesn’t matter much whether their lives are like mine, or wildly different to mine – I’m generally curious about anything and everything, and a personal blog is like a little window into their lives. It’s consensual voyeurism! So no, I’m not knocking the personal bloggers at all, but I’m sure they do have to tread a fine line between being honest and offending their readers. On the one hand, they have to describe their lives as best they can; on the other, they have to play a different role for their audience.

  166. Kim

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at with “offending their readers”, Tim?

  167. Jason Soon

    I like culture posts, I found Kate’s piece on Joss Whedon interesting. I wouldn’t lump personal life and culture posts together – with culture posts you are still talking about something than yourself – you may be talking about your responses to the piece but that’s no different from your response to an intellectual argument.

    But generally I don’t like reading about people’s lives. I don’t think men generally do. Even when I read a biography on Popper as I did recently for instance I’m less interested in who Popper slept with than how his thinking was formed by the climate around him.

  168. Rainier Wolfcastle, in the role of Radioactive Man, observing Prof. John Quiggin engaging in...erm..."Pseudonym Play" with his good lady wife

    “Mrs Quiggin and I have a little game: bushrangers and horses. I usually take the part of Ned Kelly …â€?

    Ah, ze goggles – zeh do NUZZINK!!!

  169. Jason Soon

    Oh, and thank you for that image, Tim. I’ll never look at John Q the same way again …

  170. Ralph Wiggum

    Even when I read a biography on Popper as I did recently for instance I’m less interested in who Popper slept with…

    It wasn’t Rafe, was it?

  171. Kim

    Threesome with Rafe and Hayek.

  172. sublime cowgirl

    hey kate that JD poem is one of my favs.
    Just mentionin’.

  173. Mises' Mrs.

    “Threesome with Rafe and Hayek.”

    The Road to Rafedom?

  174. Kim

    The Constitution of Libertinage!

  175. nabakov

    “I don’t see why people are complaining that people are complaining.”

    Well I don’t see why people are complaining that people are complaining about complaining.

    I think the real winner here from all this kerfuffle is Becky. His monthly site hits must be well into double figures now.

    “Threesome with Rafe and Hayek.â€?
    Sounds like one real liberated mises à trois

  176. TimT

    I was speculating on the difference between a blogger being ‘honest’ and a blogger being ‘lewd’. To tell you the truth, examples don’t readily come to mind; maybe in blog situations where, as I said, the voyeurism is consensual, that difference tends to break down.

    But there must be some examples. I’ll get back to you!

  177. Kim

    Ok, thanks, Tim. I think people (well sane people anyway) still do keep some reserve in personal blogging.

  178. Joe Jumpater

    Somehow I doubt Herr von Champion is a libertinerien, Mlle. Berella…

  179. Kim

    He’s a comedian, though:

    This issue seems to have got out of hand in 24 hours and I think life is too short to get on top of all the arguments at this stage. The thing that impressed me on a brief scan of some commentary on LP was the mean-spirited attitude towards Tim Blair and people like him which is a feature of LP, along with longwinded personal banter. That makes LP almost a waste of space from where I sit and it is a worry that so me of that stuff is coming onto Catallaxy.

    We can all cut each other some slack on our personal foibles and quirks, but I hope I am not the only person who comes to Catallaxy for the ideas, mixed with a bit of repartee and gossip but not too much. And don’t ask me to define what is too much:)


  180. FDB

    An example of the occasional surfeit of openness might be Ms Fits. But then that’s her schtick really.

  181. Rebekka

    I’m sure they do have to tread a fine line between being honest and offending their readers

    Tim, I’m usually more worried about offending the players in my little dramas than offending my audience. It’s a much finer line between exposing too much of your partner’s/family’s/friends’ lives and being honest than it is between offending your audience and being honest.

    And as for this:

    But generally I don’t like reading about people’s lives. I don’t think men generally do.

    Mate, I know plenty of men who love reading the details of people’s lives in the form of biography – including my dad who loves it when I read the same ones as him and then we can (a) discuss them and (b) incorporate their weirdnesses into our personal family language. Speak for yourself!

  182. Rules of Blog (to be continued)


    2. NO BANTER

  183. The Open Society and its Enemas

    C’mon, Mayoress Kimby, you’ve got to admit that Rafe’s got a point: Tim Blair really does cop an awful lot of abuse, simply because he’s popular ‘n’ funny ‘n’ stuff. It’s always those lefty feminazi beeyotches who dish out the ad hominem. And the girls are worse.

    I mean, honestly, what has Timbo ever done to deserve that kind of vitriol? Isn’t he the victim here?

  184. Nabakov

    “Somehow I doubt Herr von Champion is a libertinerien,”

    On the other hand, he is a keen devotee of Popshot’s “The Open Relationship and Its Enemies”.

    “who comes to Catallaxy for the ideas, mixed with a bit of repartee”

    Just fuck off, you lying crunt. We’d all be living in diamond nano-rod super skyhouses if it wasn’t for murdering holocaust deniers like you.

  185. Kim

    One would reply, Herr Enemas, but one might have to express a personal opinion in doing so.

  186. McCarthy was framed!!!


    You’re lying, aren’t you?

    Admit it!

    Jason, this commy is worse than Fyodor! He should be banned!

    Pinochet wasn’t half as bad as YOU YOU FREAKING COMMO TAX EATING MARXIST!

  187. Lying Count

    “Just fuck off, you lying crunt. We’d all be living in diamond nano-rod super skyhouses if it wasn’t for murdering holocaust deniers like you.”

    You I suppose to think I funny? Youre so funny noone will laff.

    Hoo cares what you think. We are all ignore you

  188. Breakfast of Champions

    McCarthy was framed!!! has a good point. I think Bill Hutt made a similar point in 1332 when he prophesied evil combinations of mechanicks woud wreak destruction on impoverished masters. If you’re interested, I have summarised eight of Hutt’s chapters in epic verse on 470 posts over at the Bahaus. Lying Count needs to admit his personal responsibility for all of Stalin’s odious crimes!

  189. Soon, my pretties...

    Now, now, people. Try to be reasonable. Bird, though you’re totally wrong and crazy and offensive, you’re still welcome for some reason.

    And JC – umm… why is it I keep you around again?

  190. Joachim of Fiore

    I didn’t write all those books of mystical prophesies just so WITCHUNTING COMMIE LIARS could flame me on a blog in 600 years’ time!

  191. Bring Back the OC at Channel Ten

    At least Monica Lewinsky got to keep her moniker!

  192. TimT

    Without mentioning names:

    – One blogger broke up with her boyfriend after discovering he’d slept with another friend of hers. She subsequently publishes a number of posts about the affair, and it’s not clear to me how much is done out of spite, how much out of genuine pain and need to communicate, and how much it is an accurate reflection of events.

    I also agree with FDB about Ms Fits; her blog persona is very distinct from her real life persona.

  193. All Right, You Lot

    This is Your Boss speaking, quit yer yammering. Tea break’s over! Git back on yer heads!

    Jaysus Fooking Chroyst.

  194. Ubermensch

    Freak off! You’re freakin lying again, aren’t you?

    Tim Bertlam doesn’t know what sccience is!!! HE’S JUST A FREAKIN LIAR AND A TAXEATER!


  195. More Rules of Blog


    4. NO BANTER.

  196. I am a bird now

    Rules? Rules are for commo sissies!


  197. I Am A Seagull. No, That's Not Right

    just sayin’.

  198. THe Smoko Room Boys

    Hey, boss, you missed your morning spliff again?

  199. Tyler Nabakov

    Those Blog Rules are for girlies.

    Unlike Stoush Club rules.

    1st RULE: You do not talk about STOUSH CLUB.
    2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about STOUSH CLUB.
    3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, or taps out then keep declaring yourself the winner until they get mad and start up again.

    4th RULE: Only two (or more) guys to a stoush.

    5th RULE: One stoush (or more) at a time.

    6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes, nude stoushing optional.

    7th RULE: Stoushs will go on as long as they have to. And then even longer until the original point is quite forgotten

    8th RULE: If this is your first night at STOUSH CLUB, you HAVE to STOUSH.

    Best Stoushs of 2006 will be showcased at Project Mayhem.com

  200. The real panelbeater

    … These dumb-leftists?

    Finally Lambert has cut me off entirely. Just like I was cut off before New Years. Makes me wonder why he let me on in the first place?

    Trying to gather LEGAL material Lambert?

    Don’t bother fella. It aint going to fly when you have total control of your own blog.


    Here is my last post.

    The one that didn’t get through:

    Great suggestions one and all. But aren’t you goons interested in the SCIENCE?

    I cannot see where you guys can go from here. How can you outdo this?

    Here we have malaria. On the verge of being irradicated. And your predecessors start restricting its use and strong-arming poor countries to use chemicals less.

    And now you holocaust-denying leftists reckon that this was just fine and dandy and has nothing to do with 400 million people now living and dying under this nightmare.

    Then your next trick was opposition to missile-defense.

    This to me was the ACME…. The very acid test of the dumb-leftist. To object to getting the capability together to stop an ICBM from descending on a city full of civilians….

    But your latest dumb-leftist project is without peer and cannot be topped.

    You crazy nihilists managed to get everyone scared shitless about global warming DURING AN ICE AGE!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well you EDMUNDS (King Lear) should be very proud of yourselves.

    Surely this cannot be topped and some day you’ll all laugh and giggle about it while others eat shit and die.

    I’m just waiting to see what you bastards will come up with next.

    No shit.

    I’m really interested.

    Cannot fucking wait.

    But surely it will be a letdown?

    Because to get the public actually spending money to prevent life-giving CO2 being released in a planet hard-wired for cooling??????

    There simply could never be anything more utterly stupid then this.

    I’m not saying YOU guys are stupid. Not all of you least-ways. Far from it. You evil bastards are setting the agenda afterall.

    But tell me.

    Whats in it for you?

  201. Soon Jason

    Oh, come on guys. Birdy might be a bit over the top, but he’s an autodidact. Cut him some slack.

  202. Miss Cruella de Winter

    Casuistry Challenge Numero OttoPop quiz, hotshot:

    “An obnoxious crank captures a thread and holds it hostage, demanding the confession of all lefties, everywhere, to the crimes of holocaust, taxtheft and questioning the good intentions and sound moral fibre of murdering dictators and lying witchhunters. What do you do?”





  203. Radio Birdman

    Aw, come on, Anna, just let that one comment through. Youa re TEH GODDESSS OF REAOSN! Did you send me those swimsuit photos? Come on! I know you’re going to jouisn the SIDE OF GOOD! Come over! But just let me have a photigraph first, please!

  204. Sacha

    I love capital letters.

    Especially during an ICE AGE!

  205. Pavlov's Cat

    Bang on, Gummo — it’s those peroids (however, you’ve spelt it wrongly: it’s peroid’s), and all that they imply, that the current whingers really really hate the most.

    Mind you, many of them are even more unhappy if the peroid’s stop. You’ll notice that the two posts singled out for the most vitriol in this whole idiotic business were A. Duck’s about pregnancy and Cristy’s about, um, pregnancy. Fecking icky girly bits, bleagh.

    Both Cristy and Duckie’s posts included implicit and explicit reflections (because both are highly literate, thoughtful and rational people, which of course was also part of the problem) on the general state of things regarding gender politics and reproductive politics, which in their turn are part of the wider scene of workplace relations, economic imbalances, social hegemony, etc etc etc. The complainers haven’t yet caught on that the personal and the political really can’t be thought about separately, nor that politics was invented to accommodate and serve human beings, not the other way round.

  206. Keanu





    Shoot the autodidact.

  207. And Now For Something Completely Different

    All that reverse slagging of the third-person impersonal before, has now got me to waiting round for the backlash…

    So now, here’s some ex-post-facto vindication; and all the better because written by the 20th-cent. heavyweight champ of the indulgent *first*-person…

    “He gets up, lights a cigarette, puts fire
    under the coffee and dials on the telephone.
    Where is he? he is everywhere, he is not
    a character, he is a person, and therefore general.
    He has no tic, unless someone else is observing him,
    and no one is. He is allowed to look at the windows
    but not out them because the shades are drawn.

    …It is then that he dials the phone.
    He says hello,
    this is George Gordon, Lord Byron, then he just
    listens because he didn’t call to talk, he wanted
    to hear your voice.

    …And now he is aroused, and dreads the mechanism which
    has brought to him your voice, but not your self. Has brought
    him an abstraction of your love. He realizes he has not yet
    spoken, he has put the silent burden of his feelings
    on your throat. He does not speak and cannot. There’s
    a pounding at the door. Someone has come to take something
    from him. He is alone, protected only by your love.”

    –Frank O’Hara, “Those Who Are Dreaming…”

  208. Nabakov

    Apropos of that old gag, if blokes could get pregnant, we’d see a plethora of blogs with names like:
    Bun In The Oven
    Armed Ovaries
    Womb Rage
    Baby Machine
    Umbilical Bastard
    Unholy Uterus
    Stand And Deliver
    Little Green Foetuses
    Dilate This!
    Period Patriot
    Proud Homebirther
    Yearly Triplets

  209. FDB

    Irrational cravings
    Placental pundit

  210. Gwynn Tull

    Here’s an elegant discourse on the relationship between writer, self and word. It’s by Zadie Smith.

    The only authentic way to write outside the first person is to write fiction. Everything else is defacto ‘I’ whether you actually use the FP voice or not. Why pretend otherwise, especially if doing so demands awkward construction and gives rise to a sterile tone? I suspect the only honest answer is: authorial safety net. If something has the stylistic patina of ‘objectivity’ and it turns out to be rubbish, that artificial distance partly insulates your authorial ego from full culpability. It’s a very useful defence mechanism to attach preemptively to your writing. Until everyone agrees that your latest piece of non-fiction is a work of genius, that is. Then, of course, it’s full ‘I, I, I, Author’ all the way. No hack waving blearily from the glittering pod ever dedicated their precious Walkley to ‘The Third Person, Passive Voice’, did they.

    And journalists in particular would go mad with self-loathing if they couldn’t pretend that the hatchet jobs they (alone) bodge up daily were somehow not really their responsibility; that, rather, it wuz ‘objectivity’ wot dun it. What is the invented tabloid byline (for the really whiffy stuff that not even the newest wannabe O’Rourke will touch with their spankers nib) but a precautionary eschewal of the authorial ‘I’ taken to its natural extreme?

    BTW: In the end, authorless (or ‘objective’) non-fiction always ends up killing people. Discuss.

  211. Ken Parish

    Here’s the text of an email I just sent to Patrick Fitzgerald and the judging participants in the BBP2006 process. I’d be interested in broader feedback:

    Yes I think a Google Notebook for BBP2007 nominations would be a very good idea, and I’d be most obliged if you would create one for us.

    As for your comment about the first part of Blair’s criticism, I assume you mean the observation that it was heavy on women’s issues/personal posts. Leaving aside the thorny issue of whether this is a valid dichotomy (feminists would answer fiercely in the negative) I in fact balanced the BBP selections very carefully between personal, political, arts and humorous/trivia/snark topics. Unfortunately, for reasons best known to itself OLO published most of the personal posts first, leaving an initial impression that there was an excessive number of them. Given that Blair published his critique when the month’s list was less than half published, one would have thought he might have considered that possibility. However he didn’t appear to have any interest whatever in fairness or any other positive motivation.

    For next year, my own view is that we should insist on a ground rule with OLO that the BBP2007 selections be published at the rate of 4 per day over 10 days (2 weeks) rather than 2 per day over 4 weeks, with each day’s selections consisting of a political, personal, arts and humorous post. That way the full range of blogging will be showcased to best advantage from the outset and every day. We can learn a lot from this year’s unavoidably hasty effort at compiling BBP, as long as we take on board the fair points made and ignore the mean-spirited bastardry inherent in quite a lot of the criticism.


    Ken Parish

    PS Looking back at Blair’s BBP post, his first criticism is that “most of them are awful”. If you agree with this criticism, why are you offering to assist?

    PPS Another point I wanted to raise at some point is whether we should label next year’s compilation “best” at all. It seems to have given some (and not only maliciously motivated, closed-minded RWDBs) the idea that we were conducting some sort of awards competition. That simply wasn’t the case, as I made clear several times in comment box discussion. IMO the whole notion of ranking and awards in relation to creative endeavour is problematic and arguably somewhat odious. Opinions about creative works are unavoidably subjective/personal, so labelling anything “best” can easily be seen as either misleading or arrogant or both. Nevertheless it’s impossible to avoid discrimination in fact if one wishes to select a particular number of works for an anthology (which was our purpose). We should certainly select the 30 or 40 that the editor/s regards as best (by his/her own subjective criteria), but that doesn’t mean we should necessarily publicly bill them as such. Maybe next year we should call it “Great Blog Posts 2007” ( i.e. we reckon they’re great, but not necessarily the best and it doesn’t mean there aren’t other equally great posts out there as well).

    And maybe we should have a separate category for people to nominate shorter blog posts of less than 500 words (e.g. the traditional Blair-ish quote link single sentence smartarse comment). Some of these are unquestionably very clever. I certainly wouldn’t be interested in selecting that category, but I’m sure we could find someone suitable.

    Finally, Nicholas recently mentioned to me that we should consider enlisting a suitable prominent non-blogger literary type (or even an erudite retired politician) to undertake the final selection for next year’s anthology. We would still need to have a panel of bloggers to cut nominations down to a short list (with none of them sitting in judgment on their own work, as was also the case this year), but having an outsider doing the final selection may add to the perceived weight and integrity of the exercise. What do others think?

  212. Laura

    Umbilical Bastard


  213. Nabakov

    Yes, in retrospect “Best’ was asking for it a bit. I reckon you need a snappier more bloggy-sounding name with a subtitle like “Collected and Selected Posts 2007″
    Still we all live and learn as Adolf said to Eva.

    Funny though how none of the whingers have proposed what would be the sensible free market response ie:”Now these are what we think are really the best blog posts of the year.”

    “a suitable prominent non-blogger literary type”

    I hear Rex Hunt’s available for work again.

    “(or even an erudite retired politician”

    I bet I know which ex-Senator and former Industy Minister Nick’s thinking of.

  214. Gummo Trotsky

    Well, now that the subject of BBP07 (or GBP07) has come up …

    (I was going to link to the strange alignments thread, but the post isn’t on that topic)

  215. Laura

    Ken, my last comment was typed up before reading yours.

    Since you asked what people think, I think the whole exercise would probably be best not repeated. It’s good that you gave it a try but it hasn’t worked out. If you do do it again, please try really hard to make the top priority forestalling the type of sickening carping and mudslinging which has gone on over the past few days.

    I thought the post of mine that was selected looked fairly ridiculous out of its original setting (and it was altered, too, in ways I found surprising and just a wee bit insulting) & if it’s what some of the people who are shrugging their shoulders had in mind, I think they’re probably right though some of them have made their crits in an offensive way. (Though I’m really grateful to Fyodor for suggesting it in the first place.) All the same I felt pretty crap reading comments which point out the lameness of the chosen posts. I wouldn’t have had to read them (could very happily have gone on quietly recognising I’m a writer of mediocre, throwaway bits of ephemeral fluff) if this whole exercise had not become such a divisive issue.

    I said that badly. There’s a big difference between accepting I write harmless mildly amusing ephemeral nonsense, and feeling as though random strangers are going out of their way expressly to put me down for it.

    I think if you take on the responsibility of curating a best posts anthology you need to consider how you can pre-empt that kind of criticism.

  216. More Blog Rules


    6. NO BANTER.


    8. NO BANTER.

  217. Mark

    I don’t think it’s become a divisive issue. What’s happened is that a lot of people have decided to whine and whinge for basically political reasons. If nobody had ever linked to Beck’s post (and I should have thought again), we would never have heard all this crap.

  218. Mark

    So in short, don’t let the terrorists win! :)

    I’ve got to go now, will provide some feedback on Ken’s suggestions later.

  219. Darlene

    This has taken something that is essentially positive and created something ridiculous. The world is full of critics. Take on board the constructive criticism and ignore the petty political bull.

    J F Beck and Tim Blair and a few others are entitled to their opinion, but….you know, we all are. Sheesh, I think there’s a little over-sensitivity and defensiveness creeping in here.

    I thought the promotion of merit is a good thing, but of course it’s also a contested thing. If J F Beck’s blog got Best Blog, I’d probably think, “Blech, says who?”, but I wouldn’t stay up all night whining about it and I wouldn’t tell him to stop blogging. I’d merely take the piss out of him a bit, but to me he’s not what’s important.

    What’s important is issues to do with who decides what’s political, what is the agenda in determining that there is a write way to write online etc

    You don’t challenge these ideas by giving into them. I’m sorry, but I thought the sisters were made of stronger stuff than that.

  220. Darlene

    All the same I felt pretty crap reading comments which point out the lameness of the chosen posts.

    In the movie, The Hours (a fav chick flick of mine), Claire Danes says to Meryl Streep (who is playing her “mom”); “It only matters if you think it’s true”.

    This is in reference to Meryl’s character thinking that the bloke who is dying thinks her life is trivial.

    “It only matters if you think it’s true” keeps things in perspective, I think.

  221. Rob

    Not feeling too good about probably coming across as one of the carpers. I just didn’t like some of the finalists, is all.

    Laura’s point about taking posts out of the context is a good one and I made the same point either here or somewhere else.

    If it’s intended to do something similar for 2007, maybe the thing would be to have someone run a “best blogs” blog with weekly or even daily entries to retain the contextual resonance (judged by someone we could all agree was unusually fair-minded), and at the end of the year do a cull and have a vote on the best of them.

  222. Rob

    Anyone prepared to take that on would be entitled to some PayPal remuneration, I’d have thought.

  223. Ken Parish


    No-one here thinks you write “mediocre, throwaway bits of ephemeral fluff”; certainly I don’t or I wouldn’t have selected your post. And you don’t think it either, as Darlene suggests.

    Nevertheless, some of the comments to which you and Ampersand Duck were subjected were disgusting. Sorry to have been an unwitting agent for the inflicting of such treatment. You tend to forget about the sort of lowlife pondscum who inhabit some sites when you avoid reading their comment facilities (as I usually do).

    My initial intention had been simply to provide OLO with links teasers of the BBP2006 selections, a bit like Missing Link. That way OLO readers would have been forced to read the posts in their original context and would have been constrained to an extent by the mores of each blogger’s existing blogging community. This sort of event underscores the fact that the organically tribal nature of blogging communities has positive as well as negative aspects. The positive ones include that readers who are violently antipathetic to your blogging style and range of subject matter tend to exclude themselves from the community after a couple of visits, returning fleetingly only if sooled onto you by a thugmeister like Blair.

    I intend trying to persuade Graham Young to publish Missing Link at OLO if at all possible. That way he may get used to the concept and realise that publishing a “links” post doesn’t necessarily adversely affect readership numbers by luring them away to other sites never to return (I suspect part of their reluctnace this year stems from such concerns). Thus he may eventually be more amenable to publishing BBP2007 in a similar form. Not only would that provide selected bloggers with the comfort zone of their own blogging community, but readers would have immediate acces to the original comment thread, a critically important dimension of blogging which is entirely lost by OLO’s practice of republishing at their own site.

  224. Darlene

    Not feeling too good about probably coming across as one of the carpers. I just didn’t like some of the finalists, is all.

    Everything can be improved, but there will always be critics.

    I don’t share Laura’s upset at reading negative comments. You’ve been constructive and well-mannered.

  225. Darlene

    Rob has been, that is. And, if I can clarify, I wish people wouldn’t be d**kheads, but you can’t legislate against it. Having a thick skin is a priority when you are putting you’re ideas out into the public sphere. This is why I’m in favour of mediated forums.

    This sort of event underscores the fact that the organically tribal nature of blogging communities has positive as well as negative aspects

    That’s true. I don’t think I can do anything about that, though.

  226. Laura

    To clarify a bit myself, I think Ken you might be getting me mixed up with Cristy re: disgusting comments (nobody said anything at all about me as far as I know, which is a good thing.) I do indeed write fluff, and am proud to. There’s an honourable place reserved in the lap of the gods for fluff.

    Darlene, you have missed the point of my comment. “The public sphere” has gradations.

  227. Rob

    Hey, I’ve had another idea. A bunch of bloggers — the bigger group the better obviously — could depute someone to rove around the blogos with write permission and flag specific posts as outstanding ones (with some appropriate icon). The flag could be linked back to a central site to prevent fraud (i.e. people falsely flagging their own posts). Nice surprise and reward for bloggers, plus encouragement to lift their game to get the flag. Weekly/monthly roundups, annual awards determined by jury.

    Could be a crap idea — just trying to think of a way of recognising the strength of the blogos without losing the immediate context of the posts.

  228. Ken Parish


    I must have misunderstood what you were saying. I thought you were in part complaining about hurtful comments being directed at you. I haven’t seen any myself, because I haven’t exhaustively monitored every comment thread at OLO. If that’s not your concern, then I really don’t understand why the observations I’ve already made don’t adequately meet your concerns. Publishing BBP as a links list would ensure that posts were read in context on your own blog (i.e. your little patch of the public sphere). Publishing them at 4 per day, with one each for personal, politics, arts and humour/trivia/snark (while recognising that each of these rough categories can overlap) should ensure that readers don’t have any false expectations as to the nature or seriousness or “worthiness” of your post: if it’s clearly published as the humour/trivia/snark post of the day then people will read it in that light.


    Personally I would be totally opposed to any “best post” contest of the sort you propose. I would not participate in it and would under no circumstances give anyone access to my blog to allow them to conduct such an exercise. See my earlier comments on the odious nature of any and all contests in relation to creative works. Keks’ “Best Blogs” contest is also objectionable IMO for these reasons, but is considerably more harmless than any attempt to award gongs to individual posts as “best of the month” (or whatever). Apart from the meaningless nature of such a label given that anyone’s reactions to a creative work are inherently personal and subjective, there is simply no sensible method of choosing a winner. If it’s judged by an individual or small panel then it’s just their individual opinions (and so what?), and if it’s judged by open popular vote, then (a) it’s likely to result in a lowest common denominator result (e.g. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as ABC viewers’ best all-time album); and (b) it’s wide open to being rorted/stacked (e.g. the sub-mediocre Ms Fits winning Best Blog a couple of years ago).

  229. Rob

    OK, Ken. I thought it would be kind of fun.

  230. patrickg

    Oh man, seriously. You take the afternoon off for a doctor’s appointment and when you get back, holy mackerel! It’s kind of ironic that the best posts of the blogosphere should also highlight the worst aspects of it, but kind of fitting, too.

    I have to back Darlene’s call that everyone’s a critic. No one here has ever made a habit of caring what Tim Blair’s flying monkeys and Jeff Beck give two shits about, and why should we start?

    If anything, this whole sorry saga has simply underlined the fact that we shouldn’t.

    Attempting to get some kind of ‘representation’ of Australian blogs is a nice idea, but also a hopeless one. The blogs nominated are but a tiny portion of the many blogs out there, and there isn’t anything wrong with that – indeed, that’s the ichor that runs in blog communities’ veins. For example, there were no food blogs nominated? Why not? No photo blogs, pet blogs, Warcraft blogs etc. etc.

    No one should be outraged or incensed by these ommissions; the judgements reflect the community – largely – that they were written in. And – as already pointed out – if you don’t like that you can always fuck off back to where you came from – which mostly people have, thank god.

    As disgusted as I was by the comments on Cristy’s blog, she seems to have beared up fine, and (if I can be excused for speaking for her) I’m sure she understands that when you put something on the internet it is in the public domain, with all the perils that implies.

    I’m as vociferous as anyone in attacking people I think have acted poorly, but the idea of rescinding what has been an interesting and educative series of posts due to the demands of people who would never like them anyway seems to me a serious mistake, a form of censorship, even.

    Let’s stop worrying about what these droogs think and start doing what most of these blogs do all the time: focus on great content for their readerships. If we continue to do that I have no doubt many people who otherwise wouldn’t will be inspired, delighted, touched and excited by what they read – and when was the last time anyone could say that about timblair.net?


  231. Rob

    Although, Ken, that being your POV, I don’t see why you were pushing the BBP06 concept. But I’ve not read all your posts on the subject and have probably missed important elements.

    However, I’ll withdraw the suggestion and get back into my box.

  232. Pavlov's Cat


    Can I just intervene with what will probably be an unpopular point to remind people that the BB06 idea came up in the first place because of the negative snark directed from all sides corners whatever spheres have of the blogosphere at Best Australian Essays 2006?

    But as the Best Essays editor, publisher and series all have positive associations for me personally (oh whoops, sorry, mustn’t say that, better mention Hayek at once to make up for it), I didn’t like that snark much, either. And as someone who’s had two posts included in the BB06 selection, I am, like Laura, a bit bloody annoyed by all these pig-rude insults flying around.

    If an error has been made in the BB06 exercise, it was maybe in actuallly reproducing the text of posts at OLO instead of making a list of links there (perhaps with summary descriptions of the contents — written by the blogger in question — so that people can choose what they’re interested in), so that posts can be looked at onsite and read around, not just isolated and denuded in what’s basically an online book and nothing more. (Except for the comments facility, which seems at OLO to be infested with morons.)

    Ken: you’ll find, I think, that a significant number of people are resistant to the kind of categorising you propose. Some of us blog precisely because it liberates one from categories. Many of have our best ideas outside the boxes.

    Blog posts are blog posts. Essays are essays. They’re not the same. As many people have already pointed out, blog posts depend as much on context as on anything else: the daily news, or the comments threads, or the graphics posted, or the cross-comment (sometimes even cross-blog) banter. It’s a situationist medium, an event as much as a static product. If not more so.

    What’s behind a lot of this is people’s different ideas about what good writing is. Most of the complaining has been from, with the exception of Rob and Jason, certain people who can’t write their way out of a paper bag and don’t understand — despite Scepticlawyer’s patient and detailed attempts to explain it them over at Catallaxy — that there’s a clear distinction to be made between good writing and the opinions that writing is expressing.

    It wasn’t an organised competition with some godlike authority figure in charge. It was a bunch of people with things to say to each other, getting together to put together, informally, a bunch of stuff they liked. There is absolutely nothing except lack of will to stop the complainers getting together and putting together one of their own, which would be a much more creative use of energy than whining about how it’s Not Fair and being vile about pregnant women.

    I can’t speak for Laura, or for A. Duck or Cristy who seem to me to have been especially singled out as mentioned above, and for the reasons implied there — but for myself, I can’t begin to imagine wanting my writing, in any medium, to be approved of by any of the people who have been doing most of the whingeing. If the worst of these complainers think our writing is bad, surely it means we’re doing something right?

  233. ThirdCat

    The people who really like the idea of highlighting the best/most excellent blogs or blog posts could start a group blog with that purpose. Youse could have warblogs one week; photoblogs another week; best posts discussing the pope’s wardrobe another week; and a big wrap-up thing at the end of the year. Or youse could just have four posts per year even one post per year. Something like that might better help to reflect the enormity and diversity of the blogosphere as well as retain the environment in which the posts were originally made. OLO might work if you are trying to do a sort of blog equivalent of the best essays anthology (which is kind of how this all started if I’ve been following things correctly), but as Zoe showed there’s more to it than that.

  234. Pavlov's Cat

    Yeah well, most of what I said at 7.05 pm got taken care of in the half-dozen or so new posts that went up while I was writing mine. As you were.

    *Sniffs the breeze* One of my neighbours seems to be having roast lamb for dinner. Yum.

  235. ThirdCat

    Drats. My comment crossed with Pavlov’s Cat’s.
    Ignore my last comment.
    What PC said.

  236. Laura

    Ken you hadn’t yet made your list of observations about things like linking as opposed to republishing when I put up my comments prior to yours at 5.13pm, and those observations do seem good to me. (And you did ask what people think, which is why I’ve been going on about it at such length.)

    I’m uncomfortably aware that I’m turning into an internet interferer recently, so I’ll give it a rest after this last point.

    The idea that when people publish stuff on their blogs they are putting themselves in the public domain and should therefore be ready for anything doesn’t exactly fit what’s happened here, since as far as I know none of these people wrote their posts intending them to be included in an anthology of the years’ best. That’s a big claim and one which invites criticism.

  237. patrickg

    I would defend myself, Laura. It’s in the public domain, and once you do that you have effectively relinquished control over what can happen to it within the boundaries of Fair Use.

    Whether an author intends their work to taken in a certain way or another has no bearing on the matter – I’m not defending the response, you understand, merely the right to make one.

  238. Rob

    And I agree with PC, too. It seems to me that the blogos is at a bit of a crossroads. What do we want it to be? And I think for once we can shelve the right-left thingy. Me, I’d like to see it operate as a vibrant and credible alternative to the MSM, both left and right. Now, we’ve all whinged about how none of us has the readership of Andrew Bolt or whoever and that’s true. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. At the moment we operate largely as single or collective voice squalling about this or that. And that’s good; that’s fun. But there’s greater potential here. The blogos as an entity, however disparate with its millions of voices, can assemble more expertise and acumen, and more swiftly, than the whole of the MSM.

    Of course it can’t function as a “bloc” — its voices are far too variegated. But it can function as an entity, an environment that hosts information transactions of a quality to at least rival the MSM, whose practitioners are, in the main, trained and experienced in one thing only — journalism. Most journalists are not subject matter experts, though there are honourable exceptions.

    To achieve that potential (forgive me if I sound like a management textbook) we need more self-confidence. The kind of process I’ve talked about is really about us trying to find a surer path to command more respect and secure more referentials within the wider information marketplace than is the case at present. Something that would not destroy the wonderful anarchy and the million exploding points of light that is the blogosphere today, but would step it towards a greater status in the informational scheme of things. It would take time, of course, and we’d be hauling ourselves up hand over hand, but I’d envisage a time where you don’t have to apologise (as I usually feel I must) for being a blogger.

    Anyway. Just ruminatin’.

  239. Ken Parish

    Ken: you’ll find, I think, that a significant number of people are resistant to the kind of categorising you propose. ”

    Kerryn, we’ve had this discussion before, and I do understand within my own severe limitations. And I’m not suggesting that the daily selection would be specifically labelled “personal” “political” etc, simply that the selections would IN FACT be made with those rough categories in mind, so that party politics junkies and those interested in the arts would get their fix each day along with those with broader ideas about what’s important or interesting. If you don’t attempt some such mental classification, you end up with unnecessary whingeing from people saying the selection was too narrow/monotonic etc. Now, while it’s certainly true that most of the whingeing has emanated from sources for which I have litttle respect, that isn’t entirely true (although I’m fairly sure they were all blokes). Rob and Patrick Fitzgerald are two who spring to mind who were less than overwhelmed with the collection for such reasons. Ordering publication so that nearly all the “personal as political” posts went out first created misperceptions that could easily have been avoided without in any sense classifying them as second order, unimportant or whatever.

    If you’ve read the Black Inc Best Australian Essays anthology that in a real sense inspired this whole exercise (and I vaguely recall your mentioning at your blog that you bought it recently), you may have noticed that Drusilla Modjeska does in fact arrange her material in something like the sort of order I have in mind, without ever flagging expressly that this is what she is doing. Any editor must have some sort of organising principle for the essays in an anthology; I doubt that anyone simply throws a collection together in random order. However that is (I suspect) largely what happened with OLO’s publication of BBP2006 for a range of reasons not worth explaining here. I’m simply suggesting that we take closer control of the process next year to ensure that blog posts are showcased to best advantage and to maximise reader pleasure.

  240. Rob

    But Ken, why should we compete on the terms and conditions dictated by the MSM, as you seem to be suggesting? We should make our own. The world is moving rapidly to the internet (it has no choice). Let’s welcome the migration and see if we can position the blogos to take advantage of it. None of the print or electronic media (possibly except radio) has anything like the enormous in-built elasticity, immediacy and reach of the blogosphere.

    I’ll shut up now.

  241. Pavlov's Cat

    Kerryn, we’ve had this discussion before

    So we have, sorry. And I’m actually rather enjoying the current classifications at Troppo.

    Any editor must have some sort of organising principle for the essays in an anthology; I doubt that anyone simply throws a collection together in random order.

    You got that right. I’ve edited four collections, albeit mostly of short stories, over the last 20 years and they most certainly don’t go in random order.

    Editing a book reviews journal is worse, especially if you’re under editorial board pressure put the biggest names/stories at the front; there you get both the authors and the reviewers getting their noses out of joint if they don’t think they were put close enough to the front end.

    However that is (I suspect) largely what happened with OLO’s publication of BBP2006

    Hmm, interesting — another place where the experiential difference between the two media is starkly highlighted. With a book, you’ve got it in your hands: you can pick it up and put it down whenever you like and read the contents in any order you like, and I suspect — however carefully Drusilla and her predecessors may have ordered them — that that is what most people do. But with OLO, the reader is in ‘one per day’ mode with no choice of ordering — the chronology and the reading order are both fully fixed. Also, you lose about three-quarters of the sense of the Gestalt of a collection, just because of the 24-hour gap. It is, like blogging, far more of an event-based experience, with far less interiority involved than the reading of a book.

    You know, I’m not sure you’re completely right about the whingers whingeing because most of the so-called personal posts were up front. I think they’re whingeing because the collection so far reflects beliefs, including feminist and feminist-based beliefs, that they don’t like. If there were mostly ‘political’ posts up front, they could well be whingeing even harder and more nastily.

  242. Pavlov's Cat

    Sorry, Ken, I misread one of the things you said about who complained about what; ignore first half of last par. But I still think a significant number of whingers would have whinged no matter what and maybe worse.

  243. Kim

    I want to make two points.

    First, let me put on record my appreciation for Ken, Nick, Helen and Meika for taking on what I understand was an arduous task in coordinating and bringing to fruition the whole exercise. I believe that the results have been outstanding, and I’m sure appreciated by many more people than those who’ve been critical.

    I think if you actually counted them, there might be about four or five (leaving aside TEH TIM BLAIR HIVE MIND) – just that Beck and GMB made about 25000 comments each about how much IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS AND THAT MUST MEAN IT WAS A LEFTY PLOT.

    As Ken would know from my comments last year on his (very excellent) Missing Link series, I share some of Dr Cat’s concerns about categorisation. I also take the point that the ordering was done by OLO and I echo what everyone else has said about how one links post would have been a better way to go (and should happen next year).

    Having said that, it seems like a very small uber-macho “my masculinity is proved by how big my links are” crew were the ones casting stones and I think the idiotic way they competed with each other to make ever more stereotypically boring “Girls talk about their peirod’s” and “it was a Lefty fix” comments just demonstrates how tedious, predictable and pathetic this style of discourse is.

    The genuinely heartfelt, very varied, and wonderful posts that they criticised are the most telling answer to this sledging. I won’t dignify it with the name of criticism.

    Bring on BBP07!

  244. j_p_z

    Seems to me y’all are missing the point entirely of having a “Best Of” awards thingy… well, you’ve given yourselves a fine platform for a lot of amusing in-house gun-battles over nothing, so actually you’ve understood PART of the point! 😉

    If there’s no big red carpet that you walk down, and no big ruckus, live from Someone’s Civic Auditorium, and the gals don’t have an excuse to show up dressed in outrageous outfits, and everyone doesn’t go out and smoke cigars and get hammered afterwards, then why do it at all?

    Next year, rent a hall, everyone get dressed up, and have people opening envelopes and making announcements and causing scandals by making inappropriate speeches onstage and giving away funny awards statues. You’ll all be a lot happier, trust me, even if you don’t win anything. Hell, even comic-book nerds do it, and they have a GAS! Sounds unlikely, but I’ve seen it with me own two eyes.

  245. Kim

    Sounds good, j_p_z.

    I bags taking Kate Moennig (aka Shane from the L Word) as my date:

    <img src="http://gallery.hairboutique.com/gallery/KatherineMoennig002_600h.jpg&quot;

  246. Nabakov

    Yes, I second Kim’s point about acknowledging that Ken, Nick, Helen and Meika did the heavy lifting and are copping far too much shit in return. It may or may have not worked out properly yet but at least they had balls (and breasts) to have a bloody go at something new.

    “Next year, rent a hall, everyone get dressed up, and have people opening envelopes and making announcements and causing scandals by making inappropriate speeches onstage and giving away funny awards statues. ”

    At a sleazy karoke venue too. On ice!

    Joking aside (or not) the Zengerman does have a point. Ramshackle hearty boozy druggy pointless award ceremonies full of argy bargy, loo-bonking, feuds ended and started and embarassing documentary evidence afterwards used to be a great Aus tradition. Remember the Logies when they used to serve booze at sit down tables? Or ever attended the ARIAS before they started televising them?

    Oh and Rob, you really are a two-faced little shit aren’t you? Turning Ken’s well reasoned response into a cheap shot at his expense to score points on one thread while smiling and nodding at him on another. Even Birdy has the courage of his abuse.

    See yah at the Bloggies Furtboy. I’ll be the coked up one well past prime time with a drunk bimbo in one hand and a broken champagne glass in the other.

  247. J F Beck


    How about you find and list a couple of the 25,000 comments I made about how “IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS AND THAT MUST MEAN IT WAS A LEFTY PLOT”. Jeez, you lefties are easily confused.

    Your Knobness,

    No need to worry about any comments Rob might have made at catallaxy; they will no doubt be purged when catallaxy is fully absorbed into the LP conglomeration of enlightenment (LPers always have one finger poised at the delete button). The absorption process is on schedule (think The Blob).

  248. Kim

    Yeah, right, J F, we can’t wait to assimilate Rafe.

  249. j_p_z

    Times like this, I am reminded of the wise, calming words of the great Alice Roosevelt:

    “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, then come sit here by me.”

  250. Nabakov

    “The absorption process is on schedule (think The Blob).”

    The way you keep hanging around here Becky, I’m starting to suspect you secretly wanna be assimilated too. Maybe you just want to mingle with more people than on your own site.

    By the way, whatever happened to Snidely Whiplash? Now there was a commentator who didn’t need to ride on other’s coat tails.

    “Yeah, right, J F, we can’t wait to assimilate Rafe.”

    Furball alert!

  251. Kim


    Well, we’ve changed the subject on the Catallaxy thread to Emmanuelle Beart.


    That is, everyone bar Beck has.


  252. Kim
  253. Kim

    Alice Roosevelt didn’t like FDR much, I believe.

  254. Nabakov

    Alice hated FDR’s guts. Her branch was the Presidental Family until he came along.

    “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, then come sit here by me.â€?

    I suspect Eleanor’s version ran along the lines of “If you can’t think of anything nice to say, don’t worry. Franklin will dominate the conversation anyway.”

  255. Kim

    I’m not sure that’s entirely fair to FDR. I think Eleanor used to have a bit to say herself.

  256. Kim

    I do like this FDR quote:

    You and I are the two best actors in America.

    Which he said to Orson Welles.

    Welles didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.

    Which proved FDR was being humble.

  257. J F Beck


    Again with the size of my readership. Again, ouch.

    All of this uproar about BBP06 because I accurately described the situation. Wow.

  258. Kim

    I’ve posted more links on this thread than you, Becky. I’m more bloggish!!!! :)

  259. Nabakov

    “I think Eleanor used to have a bit to say herself.”

    From accounts I’ve read of cocktail hour at the FDR Whitehouse, she’d bite her lip and let Franklin make non-commital commitments and then her and Harry Hopkins would fan out and start talking fast to the party machine and administration fixers.

    “Which proved FDR was being humble.”

    Humble like a…a..sly minx.

    The more I read about FDR, the more I think he was the most cunning politico ever.

    There was a rather good HBO biopic of Huey Long with John Goodman playing the Kingfish. The highlight scene was Huey in the Oval Office being completely sweet-talked and quite bamboozled by FDR. I’m sure the real life version would have been even better. But sadly the Oval Office wasn’t properly bugged during that era.

  260. Nabakov

    “All of this uproar about BBP06 because I accurately described the situation.”

    How does that line go again? Oh yes right I’ve got it now.
    “Nothing’s fact until it’s history, and then it’s debatable.”


    Talking about your hit rate since you started leeching off others’ work again?

  261. Jim Diamond

    Having already achieved internaitional fame and fortune with my chart-topping tune, I am now thinking of renaming it “Ode to Tim” in recognition of his efforts in pointing out how terrible self-interest is.

    I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I Shoulda known better
    I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I Shoulda known better

    Can you forgive me?
    I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I love you
    I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I love you

    No-no-no-no-no-no I love you
    No-no-no-no-no-no, yeah

    I will repeat my key point, because I doubt you lefties will have understood it first time round – and indeed even those right wingers, celebrates all of the cult of individualism and I-ism in general, may have missed the key message in amongst the many nuances of my lyrical brilliance:

    “No-no-no-no-no-no, yeah”

    I’m sure Tim understands.

  262. PanelbeaterBird

    “Yes, I second Kim’s point about acknowledging that Ken, Nick, Helen and Meika did the heavy lifting and are copping far too much shit in return. It may or may have not worked out properly yet but at least they had balls (and breasts) to have a bloody go at something new.”

    No thats not whats going on here.

    Whats going on here is not something new.

    Its something very old.

    Its the idea that leftists cannot be trusted to do even the most simple thing without turning it into appalling advocacy.

    Thats before we reallise that they are objectively on the wrong side of virtually every debate and that leftism, broadly speaking is wrong.

    But the two marxists couldn’t even make good on the task of running a competition.

    Starting with their discouragement of conservative nominations right from the start. Their closing of the window on nominations not long after the brought Skeptic on board. And their appalling choice of political commentary in the finalists make-up.

    All in all such a shabby job that it amounts to public fraud.

  263. Rob

    “Oh and Rob, you really are a two-faced little shit aren’t you?”

    Don’t be such a tit, Nabakov. That was a rare attempt to be constructive. Ken didn’t like the idea; fair enough.

    Tuck it back in your pants, boy.

  264. Darlene

    Cripes, is this thing still going.

    Sorry if I misunderstood understood somebody’s comment. It read like you were upset.

    Jeez, you lefties are easily confused.

    Gee whiz, what an original and witty comment. With insightful analysis like that, well, you could get a Best Blog Comment 2007. Oh and if you can’t tell, I’m being saracastic. PanelBeaterBird, I won’t even bother to respond to that. God, I can just see you boys as old blokes annoying everybody on the tram with your proclamations about “the lefties, the bloody lefties”. Of course, nobody in real life would hold such ridiculously ideological views. It’s all to do with impressing the maaaaaates on the blogosphere.

    Time to move on, enjoy the rest of the BBP 2006. Let the naysayers whine away. They were always going to do it. It was predicatable.

    To those who didn’t like the competition, well, so what. There’s other things to do: read a book, watch the television, jerk off, go to the pictures (do all these things at once).

  265. Darlene

    Kim, that girl’s a bit of a babe.

    And thinking about a particular blogger who has commented a lot on this issue, I am reminded of an episode of The Office in which Ricky the temp says, “You really are a sad little man”.

    This is the last thing I am going to say about this issue.

    Good work to those involved in the process of BBP2006.

  266. Jason Soon

    For what it’s worth I never criticised the process because through Helen I had an idea of what was going on.I was merely making a consumer’s complaint about the outcome. Many of the selections weren’t my cup of tea, is all. Slice of life blogging isn’t my gig.

    On the process – the competition was almost a last minute thing, just before the end of the year and people were scrambling around, and they weren’t able to get a broader representation of judges so it ended up looking like a Troppo affair and that’s part of the perception problem. Everyone will do better next time with greater planning ahead.

  267. Jason Soon

    Oh and Beck, stop being such a tiresome buffoon. How does Helen putting her hand up to be involved in this mean that Catallaxy gets absorbed into LP. Mark wasn’t even involved.

    You’re such a persnicketty sadsack, fella. Go away and engage in some copulation.

  268. Tim Lambert

    Err, Jason. Beck is a troll. He doesn’t actually believe the things he writes — the point is to get a rise out of the people he attacks. He’s been spectacularly successful with this latest effort. You should ignore his comments and his posts and never link to him. There is also a handy plugin for WordPress that bounces any links he makes to you. This seems to really annoy him.

  269. Gummo Trotsky

    By the by, Tim, I think your piece on Bolt was particularly ill-served by the OLO presentation – the typography didn’t make it very clear which bits of the piece were Bolt’s points and which were your refutations – maybe you should have a friendly word with them about that.

  270. J F Beck


    Lambert’s attempted hatchet job on Bolt is particularly well suited to BBP06; it’s Lambert’s typically misleading rubbish.


    You’ll probably eventually wise up to catallaxy’s transformation but probably not anytime soon. Yeehaa. Rafe has started to twig, however.



    Name a blogger other than you who brags about being so scared of someone he bounces links.


    MB observes upthread: “I haven’t read most of the comments on Tim’s thread but I’d certainly echo Laura’s sentiments about the comments on J F Beck’s. Mr Beck of course could disclaim responsibility, but if he does it would be reasonable to ask why he doesn’t intervene in the thread.

    “Stupid and insensitive comments are most unhelpful to say the least.”

    I am nonetheless characterized in this thread as a lying, sexist, traffic-leeching, quasi-human, sadsack, buffoon, troll. Your attack-the-attacker defence is not unexpected: it is frequently employed by those who choose to deny the existence of a circumstance pointed out by an outsider. Alcoholics and drug users frequently employ this tactic hoping to shit attention from themselves and onto whoever has so much as dared to comment on the obvious. In other words, you guys have some real denial issues going here that name calling isn’t going to fix.

    My original BBP06 posts contain nothing particularly outrageous and my comments here have been civil. What exactly are you guys so upset about?

  271. PanelbeaterBird

    “Oh, come on guys. Birdy might be a bit over the top, but he’s an autodidact. Cut him some slack.”

    Careful with the BUTTMONKEY talk Soon.

    Thats the killer.

    And I stand by everything Kim posted and its all true and its unlikely that any or all of you put together could bring yet even a glancing blow to it.

  272. J F Beck

    “Shit attention” should be “shift attention.” Must be some sort of Freudian slip thing.

  273. PanelbeaterBird

    No its not for political reasons.

    Its because Ken and Nick did a flagrantly pathetic job.

    They screwed it up.

    Ken. Just get someone else to do the job. You are not up to it.

  274. PanelbeaterBird

    I’m just beginning to realise that Kim is my ultimate interpreter.

    Marvellous job.

    Actual quotes.


    Just brilliant.

    It would save me time if I could just pay you to do all my internet stuff for me.

  275. Rob

    Got to say again I’m with J F on this. He raised a number of eminently raise-able points on his blog about BB06 but did not shitcan it. Tim B took it up and it ran the extra mile or five — well, that’s the blogos.

    Good on you, J F.

  276. Mark

    Huh, Rob?

    This isn’t “shitcanning”?

    A few of the posts are worth reading but most are tedious, self-indulgent bullshit from self-important lefty academics. If this is the best the blogosphere has to offer, it’s fucked.

  277. Rob

    That’s a fair if opinionated call (but what did you expect? Buttercups?). As is “Some of the linked posts are indeed worth reading”.

    I thought from the various debates that everyone recognised this process was flawed.

  278. PanelbeaterBird

    “A few of the posts are worth reading but most are tedious, self-indulgent bullshit from self-important lefty academics. If this is the best the blogosphere has to offer, it’s fucked.”

    But he’s dead right. It was a disgrace. A scandal.

    I mean I’m just astounded by how bad it was. Tim Lambert for the love of dying black children everywhere Tim Lambert. How could all these lecturers get on in a fair fight.

    This was a fucking leftist bully-boy circus. It was a marxists sick joke.

    And I’m just so happy that I’ve now established that Skeptic didn’t make any of the choices I was scandalised about and now I can blame this whole tawdry sad incident on Ken and Nick alone.

    Ken showed his attitude right from the start when he deep-sixed my stuff.

    Why oh why didn’t he distance himself from this whole deal and give some time to build up some trust with the conservatives before closing off nominations.

    As things turned out it looks like he tried to rig it and he’s just made a total dick of himself.

  279. Pavlov's Cat


    This thread could end up being a Missy if we maintain the rage.

    A few of the posts are worth reading but most are tedious, self-indulgent bullshit from self-important lefty academics.

    As distinct from scintillating, intellectually rigorous rhetorical gems from shy and retiring righty autodidacts?

  280. Mark

    I thought from the various debates that everyone recognised this process was flawed.

    Glass half full, Rob.

    I think a lot of people have recognised that the process could be improved next year.

    As Nabs and Kim said, kudos to those who worked hard to make it happen, and it’d be nice if people offered positive suggestions as to how to improve it rather than just knocking or whining. Some did – ie Sinclair Davidson.

  281. Rob

    Hey, I offered lots of suggestions — half-arsed, I daresay — but Ken wasn’t buying.

  282. Mark

    Sorry, Rob, must have missed them. Some very long threads about this.

    What made Sincs’ contribution stick in my mind was that he went out of his way to nominate some posts he thought worthy of inclusion.

  283. skepticlawyer

    Ours is up to 282 comments, PC. Add the two together and you’ve got a Thread of Doom!

  284. j_p_z

    “The Best Blog Posts of blibberdiblubb.” Isn’t it a little like saying, The best dactylic hexameters of Walt Whitman? The best haiku of Keith Richards? What we love is those democratic, barbaric yawps, that free-for-all; what Jon Anderson, who had no idea what he was talking about, called in one of his more inspired moments the “total mass retain.”

    Isn’t the best blog post one that asks a rather loaded question, and thus encourages a witty, informative, and contentious thread conversation? So, Madame de Stael, what exactly did you say to make Talleyrand carry on like that? And you, Sylvain Sylvain, what power chords did you play to get Johnny Thunders to shred like a madman? Who asked Dorothy Parker to use the word ‘horticulture’ in a sentence? Nobody remembers, but the reply is worth remembering.

    Not to diminish any of the talented and committed writers who were nominated, but I read a random sampling of the various “Best Of” writings… While they were all perfectly good writing in their way, still, on their own, out of context and without the thread conversations they inspired, they mostly struck me as decent self-published essays of variable quality that had simply not found a home in the lap of a good editor and a good magazine. Whatever else that might be on its own merits, it’s not the genius of blogging. I wouldn’t dare to define what the genius of blogging might actually BE, however. But in next year’s go-round, that question might with profit find itself uppermost in the minds of those doing the judging. If it does, then maybe the next crop of “best” will be more surprising and stimulating.

    I do hope, however, that the crop of sour grapes that flourishes in response remains as marvelously bitchy and highly entertaining as we’ve seen to date. On its own, it’s already better blogging than any of the nominees. Excelsior!

  285. Another Kim

    And that one post embodies why I adore my compatriot.

  286. Anna Winter

    Will youse Yanks get a room already?

  287. Another Kim

    Certainly, Anna, m’dear!

  288. PanelbeaterBird

    “I think a lot of people have recognised that the process could be improved next year.”

    There cannot BE a next year for Ken and Nick.

    They’ve blown it. They’ve shown they cannot be trusted. They had their chance and it turned out their leftism made it just that little bit to much to expect that they could run the competition in good faith.

    It not room for improvement you are right of the planet here.

    It was a sick fucking disgrace. Not an underperformance but a Marxist coup.

  289. TimT
  290. Tim Lambert

    The fun never ends with BBP06