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57 responses to “And it's goodnight and goodbye from me as well”

  1. BilB


    Thankyou for your thoughts and guidance. I have to say that I wondered where you found the time for the copious volume and depth of thought. You certainly set a very high standard.

  2. Graham Bell

    This is very disappointing news for me ……. but the best of luck …… and thank you very much for your patience and encouragement …… I do wish you well.

    You have here touched on two aspects of life in 2007’s Australia:

    [i] The rapidly worsening lack of discretionary time for so many people now, even for pensioners/retirees and the unemployed.

    [ii] The dumbing-down of Australian universities by “saving money”[WTF!!!] and by regarding secure tenure for academics and other long-term measures as “inefficient” [????].

    Please don’t disappear altogether …… and any lurking you may do is welcome.

  3. Cristy

    All the best Mark. I hope that you have a great semester and then come back refreshed (if that is what you decide to do).

  4. steve

    Sorry to see you go but what I want to know is where has all this leisure we were supposed to be settling into about now gone. Everybody I know is working 70 to 100 hours per week and it is all totally unsustainable over the longer term.

  5. Andrew Norton

    Those of us who have been reading Mark for a long time know that he is very bad at sticking to his decisions to blog less, so expect to see him back soon.

  6. Andrew Leigh

    Mark, sounds a wise decision indeed. Look forward to reading your stuff in other forums, and hope to have you back in the blogosphere at some point.

  7. Wayne

    Mark, whether Andrew is right, or whether you stick with your decision in the short term, I do suspect you’ll be back – this seems to be in your blood now. And, that’s a good thing. As you know, for my work I visit hundreds of blog sites around the world each week. Few are in Australia, because most are not worth the click. But LP is, so it’s a regular for me, even if I don’t comment often. I don’t always agree with you, as you know, but when I’ve let you know that, I’ve enjoyed the discussion we’ve had about it. I have scant knowledge of what has happened with SkepticLawyer, but the ultimately puerile culture wars that have fed a climate of bitterness and ugly personal attacks seems to have been a part of it. You (and LP) have been above that for the most part, which has promoted a space for more serious debate, and a sense that “after the game”, so to speak, you could laugh over a beer with someone you had disagreed with earlier. (That’s as it should be, but mostly as it is not. Public debate should be vigorous, but common humanity should prevail.) Given what is going down on most blogs, that is no small achievment achievement for you and LP. Don’t go too far away.

    PS I don’t know the blog night details, and it’s unlikely I could make it, but if you let me know when and where, I’ll shout you a beer if I can.

  8. Tony

    Wayne’s said it all. There’s some voices that come and go and don’t add anything distinctive anyway – but others are the lifeblood of a blog. As others have said, I’ve never known where you found the time either. I hope LP can maintain that ebb & flow of opinion without you – it’s a steep challenge you’ve handed to the rest of teh hivemind.

    Good luck – I could probably still find a job for you up here at the coalface if you want some more free time…

  9. Enemy Combatant

    Mark, 18 hours at uni is a monster teaching load. I’ve been amazed at how you managed to blog so prolifically while living such a busy life. I’m sure there were intervals where the movers and shakers of the coffee houses of a former Europe-of-the-mind, in the times before noospheres and cyberspace, had to either spell themselves, or burn out.

    You’ve catalysized something rather special at LP which seems to have achieved critical creative mass. Looking forward to you being on the loose again in the lead up to the Fall of the House of Howard.

    Thanks for all the fish; and remember Melba.

  10. skepticlawyer

    Go well, Mark, and thanks for making me think lots – about all sorts of things. See you at the BrisGrogBlog, were we can say proper farewells over a glass of red.

  11. David Jackmanson

    A great pity. It’s good, however, that, as EC said, you leave behind a critical mass that can keep on blogging in your absence. An excellent example of setting up a institution and not just a personal “online diary, or ‘web-log'”

  12. Geoff Honnor

    I’m very sorry to read this but I’m buoyed by the fact that it will be nigh impossible for you to resist the irresistible pull of what is shaping as a landmark political year. I’ll look forward to your re-emergence.

  13. Mercurius

    So, looks like cold turkey is on the menu for the forseeable future?

    Bon appetit!

  14. Ken Lovell

    Terrific. I finally get confident there’s enough decent content to justify making blog analysis a compulsory part of assessment for an undergraduate course and everyone starts baling on me. Thanks a lot guys.

  15. tigtog

    Sad to see you taking a break, Mark.

    Thanks so much for inviting me last year to take a place on your platform. It’s been fascinating so far.

    You’ve left us big, thoughtful boots to fill.

  16. Christine Keeler

    You’ll be back

  17. Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Making a public statement like that Mark makes me think of smokers and substance abusers who announce they are giving up to improve their chances of kicking the habit; fear of public exposure of breaking one’s undertaking being an instrument to help one to stay away.

    But there’s a way of sneaking back, Mark, without opprobrium. Larvatus Prodeo: just blog under an assumed name!

  18. Jason Soon

    Good luck Mark, and come back when you start enjoying it again. Blogging should first and foremost be thought of as a source of pleasure, like reading. When it starts raising your blood pressure it’s wise to reassess priorities. You made a great blaze when you first arrived on the blogosphere on Troppo and I’ve always enjoyed your thoughtful contributions.

  19. emmjay

    Mark, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts – they have always made me think. You will be missed, and I do hope you can find the time to return.

  20. Christine Keeler

    On reflection, I don’t think it has anything to do with Mark’s workload. I think he’s met Brian Burke and has just decided to lay low for a bit.

  21. Alex

    That sucks!!


  22. Sinclair Davidson

    It has been a sad weekend. Good luck.

  23. sublime cowgirl

    fare thee well!
    I hope we can grogblog before the month is out,
    I’m off backpacking for 3 months with the fam from the 1st April.
    x t

  24. parkos

    You are right Mark, blogging is crap and even more so in Queensland. Get out and enjoy loife.

    Take some time out to explore the work of Thomas Ezra Park, the father of sociology and founder of the Chicago School. His urban ecology programme was handing out phds to black Americans when their were no phd programmes in Australia.
    You can then go on to make Queensland a better place rather than the state that was a consultant in the formation of apartheid in South Africa.

  25. david tiley

    In an election year?

    Fat chance.

    Time is the true economy of the blogosphere – where we get the time to blog, how people get the time to read, how they choose to deploy it across the blogosphere.

    It is not possible in the longer term to deploy a demanding job involving words and knowledge – like the law or academia – and also write formally in public on Crikey or news articles or books, and blog as well. Sooner or later your head explodes.

    It is the recollection and meditation bit of blogging that goes first.

    The story of the average documentary filmmaker might reveal the shape of progress in the blogosphere.
    a) someone has access to an interesting story. Nana came here in a packing crate etc.
    b) film is made with huge sacrifice of time and energy. Public money is deployed as well, but mostly to the other people on the team.
    c) “someone” has now become a “documentary director”. Attempts to get another project up disrupt the rest of life.
    d) “director” either gives up honourably – and why not? – or slowly joins the ranks of addicts who make a scratchy living on bits and pieces in between projects, which are the main game.
    e) many discussions follow about stabilising documentary as a profession, many of which involve stopping the entry point Nana opportunity.
    f) no-one talks about projects any more. They just talk about “monetising IP”.

    This model is probably familiar to many people in the world of culture; one of the fascinating twists is the democratic entry and the way the net has made or changed the distribution possibilities and therefore the control of content.

  26. Robert Merkel

    Mark, enjoy your blog sabbatical, however long it lasts. For our sakes, I hope it doesn’t last all that long… :)

    But seriously, teaching loads can be hell, and I understand perfectly.

  27. steve


  28. Kate

    Good luck Mark!

  29. j_p_z

    “Hopefully, this will be a sabbatical rather than the closing of a final curtain.”

    The sabbatical! Go for the sabbatical!!

    In any event, enjoy your re-fueling time, which I’m sure is much-needed and well-earned. Great good luck to you in whatever you’re doing, and as always, congratulations for being at the center of this remarkable creation. Thanks for your extraordinary efforts.

    “The finest achievement of human society, and its rarest pleasure, is Conversation.”
    — Jacques Barzun

  30. Graham Bell

    Steve, you said

    Everybody I know is working 70 to 100 hours per week and it is all totally unsustainable over the longer term.

    How right you are! Despite all the window-dressing, the fancy labels, the glorious slogans, the spinning propaganda machinery …… Australia has been running as some sort of a privatized command economy for quite a while now and it has some features of a wartime economy without there being a war that affects our daily lives.

    Of course it is totally unsustainable over the longer term …. even the medium term. As soon as it is put under real stress, it will fall apart.

    The trick is, what will you yourself do to put food on your own plate when it does collapse in a smouldering heap?

  31. FaceLift

    All the best with the rest, mark. We don’t always agree, but I appreciate your open and fair approach. You’ve helped me immensely in the short time I’ve known you in a blogging sense. Cheers! Look forward to your return!

  32. Darlene

    “As you know, for my work I visit hundreds of blog sites around the world each week. Few are in Australia, because most are not worth the click.”

    Gee, Wayne, you don’t work in the real world, do you?

    Your comment about the quality of blogs is subjective nonsense. Sounds like good old-fashioned cringe to me. There are plenty of good blogs in Australia. There are certainly some that obsess far too much about aligning themselves politcally one way or the other (what I like to call, “see how far you can stick your tongue up a big time blogger’s clacker syndrome”). See, for example, JFB.

    However, there are some interesting voices out there in Oz Blogville, and to dismiss them in favour of overseas content makes me feel like we’re back in the 1950s when intellectuals went to the UK because Aussies were a pack of dumb pricks. “Crack open another Fosters, Bazza”.

    Good luck with the break, Mark. Blogging is not the end of the world as we know it, and more important things should always prevail.

  33. Daniel Donahoo

    Dear Mark –

    Strange that as you decide to leave the blogosphere, I decide to take up residence:


    Enjoy life free of your online commitments.


  34. Mindy

    Don’t fight the cravings too hard.

  35. Nabakov

    Cutting and running hey Mark?

    I trust though it doesn’t mean you’re also be laying off the booze too on your next Melbourne jaunt.

    But at the very least, when Howard’s comcar whizzes past the lurking media and through Yarralumla’s gates, I reckon you’ll get the urge to blogsurge again.

  36. Chris

    God speed Mark. Sad to see one of the nations few sensible commentators go, hope you will be back at a later date.

  37. Wayne Sanderson

    Snap! Dan. This is not consciously related to the news about Mark and Helen, but perhaps the blogosphere abhors a vaccum. Having set up the site months ago … only to play “will I or won’t I” thereafter … I’ve finally put a toe into the blogging waters, today of all days, here.

    The blogosphere giveth and the blogosphere taketh away.

  38. Phil

    Enjoy the break Mark, and I look forward to seeing you back in time. I’d also like to publicly thank you for inviting me to write at LP, my time here was an exciting and energising experience and I learned a lot. I was always grateful for the opportunity to reach the wider wider audience you created at LP.

  39. Helen

    Essentially, what Graham Bell said (all of it, that is, including the observation that sessional academic employment sucks). I hope very much that you’ll take it as a sabbatical rather than exiting the blogosphere entirely. We will miss you. I hope you make it to another Melbourne grogblog this year.

  40. Harry Clarke

    Mark, Why not cut back your commitments? Why the need to make such a definite move and why the need for a public declaration? Are you, as Sir Henry suggests, suffering from a blogging behavioural addiction.

    Like a relapsing cigarette smoker you want to try to pre-commit to overcoming your addiction but the chances are you’ll be back.

    BTW the issue of heavy teaching loads of untenured staff at universities seems worthy of a post in itself. This is an indirect cost-cutting measure that affects the quality of programs. I think the maximum load should be about 7 hours with a maximum of 2 units being lectured per semester.

    You have certainly established a widely-read blog in LP and deserve congratulations for that. Good luck with your resolution.

  41. wpd

    Decisions made at 1:46 am on a Sunday morning are rarely good decisions.

    I hope (know) he will be back.

    LP without Mark would be akin to the Catholic Church without a Pope.

  42. Tony

    …and, unless Kim keeps up her end, LP without Mark will also be LP without references to the Pope!

    To more seriously continue your church analogy, wpd, does that make LP now more Anglican, or Lutheran?

  43. Graham Bell

    Robert Merkel [11:32am}
    I would like to Second your Motion …..

    David Tiley:
    Your wisdom and your encouragement …. again ….;-)

    Thanks ….. sessional employment does have its place [done a bit myself] but rarely in something that demands continuity, like education.

    Don’t be bashful …… is there anything WE can do for YOU now?

  44. Brian

    Mark, when you joined Troppo as a blogger, on 18 October 2004 from memory, I thought (but didn’t say) it imprudent in terms of what your objectives were at the time. I could mount an argument that I was right.

    But what then unfolded at Troppo and here at LP was a revelation that makes my opinion at that time irrelevant.

    I was always lousy at time management, so I respect your decision to trim your commitments. But what Nabs said about the election.

    I’ve learned heaps and thanks for the opportunity to get on and have an occasional rant.

  45. Kim

    It’s the right decision for Mark, but very sad for the rest of us! We’ll certainly try to keep the joint ticking over in anticipation of his return!

  46. Dr Marvin Monroe

    Decisions made at 1:46 am on a Sunday morning are rarely good decisions.

    True, all too true. When, oh when, will the government ban late night blogging?

    Sure, it’s “edgy”, “wild” and “crazy” fun, and “everyone’s doing it”, but occasionally some unfortunate kid has to pay the price for this reckless abandon.

    This weekend it was poor, young(ish…) Marco. Now that he’s kicked blogging in public, it’ll be at least a couple of weeks before he comes back for another hit.

    All I can say is that it’s a damn good thing he didn’t give up something important. Like smoking, say, or purple.

  47. Guy

    You’ve probably made the right decision Mark but I am quite sorry to see you go, even temporarily as the case may be. Be sure to make the most of your newly available free time!

  48. James Hamilton

    All the best Mark, but first it was the OC and now you. Where will I get my humanity. Sigh, I guess I’ll have to just lurch to the right.

    Please hurry back as soon as you have the opportunity and until then I hope the break makes your day to day life easier.

  49. Sacha

    Sometimes you have to prioritise. Hope that your focussing is productive, Mark!

  50. jo

    decisions made at 1.46am on a sunday morning are often the most significant – leave the husband, quit the job, come out, change cities, tell the sister-in-law you hate her guts…

    and take time out from your own blog, in a federal election year.

    thanks mark – for what you’ve set up here – i do hope under your new policy – that you might find time to log on and say hi and “have a laff” (are you having a laff?”) on the sat forums etc.

    whatever, your students are the big winners here.

    hope to see you back in june, if not before.

  51. jo

    should that be larf?

    or larrff


  52. Ralph

    sad news for Oz blogland

  53. Lefty E

    Well, I can understand Mark. 18 contact hours. Its a wonder you find time to log on and even read.

    I trust you’ll allow yourself the occasional dabble though. Its a big year; with reasonable odds on Rodentus Terminus.

    Steering clear for good may prove burdensome!

  54. Steve Edney

    Another piece of sad news, your contribution will certainly be missed Mark. All the best with the teaching and hopefully you’ll rejoin the neverending stoush down the track.

  55. Mark

    Thanks very much indeed, folks, for all your kind words. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a sabbatical rather than a departure – so I imagine I’ll be seeing you all in June. And the horrendous task of marking 120 essays when it comes around might see an earlier temporary visit! :)

  56. dj

    Sad but understandable. Hope to see you back blogging if and when you have the time (or passion overrides better judgment).

  57. gandhi

    I am also joining the exodus and taking a break from blogging.