Mortigi Tempo

Mortigi Tempo

UNDERREPORTED story of the week (well, last week really):
Turkish Cypriots wait at the Greek Cypriot checkpoint in Nicosia. People on both sides of the partition crossed over for the first time in decades.

But it's not about SARS, weapons of mass destruction or Labor party leadership challenges so I guess it doesn't matter. Carry on.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/29/2003 09:58:00 PM |

COW paddocks here I come. With news that the Splendour in the Grass lineup will include the Music and a number of other interesting acts, I think I will make my way down to Byron Bay for the weekend. Somewhere amidst the plethora of ageing hippies and cows there may be some good music. I also read that Icelandic wonders, Sigur Ros, may also be performing. I can only hope. Some say they are easily the best live act today, so I've got to see for myself...

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/29/2003 09:44:00 PM |

THE Crean/Beazley blogwagon has left already, by the looks of it. But before it totally disappears into the distance, I'll toss my two cents on the back. Crean may be Simon the Unlikeable but not necessarily Simon the Unelectable, if this graph is anything to go by. Crean's time as opposition leader is marked by a closeness of the polls unseen for the past two decades. On a broader level though, I can only agree with Rob Corr:
Asked about Simon Crean's performance so far, I replied that Simon Crean really hasn't been given a chance -- by his own party. Constant destabilisation by Beazley and others has undermined Labor's ability to confront the government over their horrendous policies in areas like health and education.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere on the same issue Stewart Kelly makes a suggestion that sends a shiver down my spine:
No, I think Labors only real hope is to ignore the current crop of federal front-runners and see if they can't entice a certain Queensland Premier to take on the job.

This Beattie fatigued Queensland blogger couldn't think of anything more depressing, though I admit the media whoring lad has great electoral appeal. Just don't mention actual quality of leadership. Of course there is only one thing worse than Beattie heading to Canberra, and that would be this.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/26/2003 11:06:00 PM |

'REAL' rock is back says Shaun Carney:
The guitar is back. Well, maybe not back, because it never went away. But the sound of the guitar - unmasked, distorted, squalling, angry, coy and restrained - is in favour once again. A new generation of young musicians is devoted to keeping it simple, critics have decided they're interested in raw rock sounds, the heads of the big music companies - ever on the lookout for a new market niche to exploit - think consumers are also interested and to a degree they're right: a lot of fans actually are buying this stuff and turning up to live performances.

Exhibit A in the case for the return of "real" rock music is the Detroit duo the White Stripes, whose new album Elephant meets almost all requirements. Elephant was recorded in 10 days on an old eight-track tape machine: the album's sound is intimate, unadorned and immediate. Its 14 tracks are unlikely to go down in history as the most innovative or remarkable in rock history, but in many respects that's why the White Stripes is causing such a stir.

Not a bad article I must say. But he missed some points. The new rock he talks about is hardly 'new', considering the Stripes and a few others have been doing the stripped back sound for a number of years now. Secondly, the new rock train has already left the station and it doesn't look like it has legs. Jet - who, save for something spectacular, look like going down as one of the biggest flops in Australian rock history - are case in point. And finally, why is authenticity equated with lack of technology? Kid A for example, which has the grubby fingerprints of ProTools all over it, could hardly be described as not authentic. Anyway, it’s good stuff, take a read.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/26/2003 11:01:00 PM |

SURE, Paddy:
Perhaps more serious was the attack on the Al Jazeera offices, if it was deliberate - but relevant to this is the issue of whether the Al Jazeera TV network could be considered an enemy propagandist, and therefore undeserving of non-combatant status.

Death to those who don't report in an acceptable way!

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/22/2003 09:28:00 PM |

ROBERT Manne takes a shot at The Australian, neo-cons, the war and Murdoch, in today's Age:
Among the political intelligentsia a kind of public conversation concerning values is perpetually going on. Unlike the US and Britain, Australia does not have influential intellectual magazines. As a consequence, it is mainly in the pages of our quality newspapers - The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review and The Australian - that this conversation is conducted.

If one of these papers changes political direction, the ears of the intelligentsia prick. In recent months many of its members have been privately discussing the rather rapid ideological shift of The Australian towards the kind of neo-conservatism currently dominant on the right side of the "culture wars" being fought out in the US [...]

As David Brock shows in his defection memoir, Blinded by the Right, in the US Rupert Murdoch has been the most important financier, in both the serious and popular media, of the neo-conservative cause. Given this, it should come as no surprise that in Australia his flagship paper has finally been mobilised in the service of the crusade.

Manne's article is interesting considering Chris Mitchell's comments in the article about opinion pieces a little while back:
Says Mitchell: "My view of it is that (The Australian) has to be placed at the centre-right . . . centrist, in the international scheme of ideas. Certainly not right-wing at all. Although I would hope that over time people would start to regard the Oz as a surprise packet."

That said, Mitchell does agree that, while they may be centrist by global standards, locally The Australian's opinion pages are to the political right of what he calls the "marshmallow left" Fairfax broadsheets.

"But that probably tells you more about them than it does about us," he says. "There's no point having News producing a broadsheet that simply replicates the old-fashioned '60s left views of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. I actually think that ideology on the opinion pages is most evident in The Age. I think the Herald's op-ed page is silly."

I think those two segments sum up roughly how the Oz, Age and SMH see each other, but both Manne and Mitchell exaggerate the differences that exist. They're all are closer to the centre than they suggest...whatever that means.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/21/2003 10:28:00 PM |

THERE was an interesting letter to the editor in the Weekend Australian (can't find a link for the on-line version of the letter) mentioning the silence over the sex slave issue (apart from The Australian’s coverage). It was interesting because I was wondering about the silence from the ozblogosphere over the issue. I find the silence strange considering most other issues involving immigration provoke considerable attention from many bloggers. I can only assume the silence is a result of the fact that the issue doesn't suit either the hard-line stance or the "bleeding heart" stance. Or it could be a result of people not finding it an important issue. It would be unfortunate if this the case, since the experiences of these slaves seem particularly horrific and deserves attention.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/21/2003 10:00:00 PM |

WHAT happened here?

From this: Beastie Boys, Girls, 1986 -
Girls, all I really want is girls
And in the morning it's girls
Cause in the evening it's girls [...]
Girls - to do the dishes
Girls - to clean up my room
Girls - to do the laundry
Girls - and in the bathroom
Girls, that's all I really want is girls
Two at a time I want girls
With new wave hairdos I want girls
I ought to whip out my girls, girls, girls, girls, girls!

To this: Beastie Boys, In A World Gone Mad, 2003 -
First the ‘War On Terror’ now war on Iraq
We’re reaching a point where we can’t turn back
Let’s lose the guns and let’s lose the bombs
And stop the corporate contributions that their built upon
Well I’ll be sleeping on your speeches ‘til I start to snore
‘Cause I won’t carry guns for an oil war
As-Salamu alaikum, wa alaikum assalam
Peace to the Middle East peace to Islam
Now don’t get us wrong ‘cause we love America
But that’s no reason to get hysterica
They’re layin’ on the syrup thick
We ain’t waffles we ain’t havin’ it

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/20/2003 12:56:00 PM |

THIS is the offending passage from the latest MediaWatch:
The Stars and Stripes used by US Marine Corporal Ed Chin to cover the statue in Baghdad's Firdos Square was under the debris at the Pentagon following the September 11 al-Qaeda terrorist attack.
Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2003

We asked U.S. Central Command in Qatar if the Tele’s claim could possibly be true.

I seriously doubt it…
Navy Ensign, David Luckett

I suppose you could say it is a slightly ambiguous segment. But the Tele's point seems fairly clear: a flag from under debris was used on the Saddam statue. I don't see the error. A "sensible" reading to me does not suggest Marr's point was that it is laughable the flag was flying over the Pentagon on September 11. More importantly though, it is interesting that the critics take this to be evidence of massive bias or prejudice from the people at MediaWatch. I get the feeling some of these critics made their mind up long ago Media Watch was a bastion of lefty arts graduates, and any hint of bias, no matter how slight, only confirms this. I'm sure if Marr had argued the flag did come from under the debris of the Pentagon the various critics would have argued that it didn't.

Sloppy work from Marr? Probably. Gross bias? Well, that's a bit of a stretch.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/18/2003 12:01:00 PM |

WELL, there was at least some good news today: Pauline misses a seat. Though, it's not like she is losing it to someone much better, with John Tingle gaining the final seat.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/17/2003 12:55:00 AM |

I GUESS there comes a point in every new blogger's life when they have to make decisions about what type of blog they want. Do you go with the Parishian style essay blog? A Gareth Parker style political news blog with short and snappy comments attached? A James Russell type blog with broad ranging news? It's hard to decide. Though I'm pretty sure the essay style blog is out, because 1) I don't have the time, b) I don't have the ability to blog intelligently on a broad range of issues, and 5) I couldn't be arsed, to be honest.

Should you take levels of traffic into consideration in this decision? You can take the effort to write an excellent blog like John Quiggin, and yet someone like Tim Blair gets many times the traffic (apparently). It hardly seems worth investing the effort in significant analysis if this is the case. Though, I'm sure there is something to be said for quality.

Should you include insights into personal life? After Ken Parish's mid-life blog crisis, it looks as though he has stepped up the personal blogging side of things. It makes for interesting reading too. Gianna pointed out: "There's something to be said for sharing the minutae of daily life and it's not at all adversarial." Indeed. However, a) I don't think personal blogging is my style, and 3) there is a certain skill in making otherwise insignificant moments of everyday life seem worth reading. Unfortunately, that is a skill I do not possess.

Or maybe I should just let this blog evolve into whatever form makes it a worthwhile experience...

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/17/2003 12:48:00 AM |

UNSATISFIED as OzBlog King and Australian intellectual giant, Tim Blair has a shot at comic genius. Tim suggests a new ABC site design:
Here's one I whipped up in just a few minutes. Slap some links on there and it's perfect.

Out of the way Bill Hicks!

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/15/2003 11:13:00 PM |

JACK Strocchi: Truth blogger!
...I am neither a war nor peace blogger, but a truth blogger...

I suppose I'll have to make a separate category for Jack in my blogroll now. Something like - "Blogs of Truth." I'll work on it.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/15/2003 04:28:00 PM |

STEWART Kelly says:
Seriously but, why do so many right bloggers go in for this line of self-delusion? The left is the establishment. We are the uber-cool right. Cool by virtue of our rebellion against the dictates of the stormtrooper left... blah, blah, blah.

Just bloggers, Stewart? I don't think so. It seems you can make a good living out this "rebellion"...

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/13/2003 04:39:00 PM |


What are you doing, Chuck?

That's better...

Memorable moments...

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/10/2003 12:00:00 PM |

ADAM from the Supermercado Project proves he has considerable taste in music with his suggested Rage list. Though, I have my doubts about this one: Wuthering Heights - Kate Bush.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/09/2003 02:39:00 PM |

PRESENTING news not in-line with an acceptable US view is a crime worthy of death, according to "Amos", some fellow in one of Tim Dunlop's comment boxes:

Fuck jihad TV [Al Jazeera].

They can join the long list of shitty dictator-supporting groups and institutions, like the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and Russian diplomatic convoy in North Iraq, that have been bombed or strafed by the US in highly dubious circumstances to no great sorrow.

I think I'd be wearing a Fox News jacket if I was a journalist in Iraq at the moment, just to be sure. Or at least make sure there is a O'Reilly mug close by.

On a more serious note though, I have no idea why there is such hate towards Al Jazeera from some of the more rabid war types. I find it strange that the most significant contribution to free press in the Arab world comes under such criticism. Sure, they may not be totally balanced, but nor is Fox or any number of other networks.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/09/2003 02:32:00 PM |

VICTORY has been declared in today's Australian opinion page:

Paul Kelly - The US-British-Australian operation has been an impressive, even outstanding, military outcome with a relatively small number of allied casualties. The war will be short not long. Despite initial resistance in the south, large parts of the Iraqi army, including the Republican Guard, disintegrated or declined to fight, a measure of Saddam Hussein's illegitimacy. Evidence mounts daily that more Iraqis welcome or accept the US liberation, despite their civilian casualties. The US war plan made a conscious effort (with limited success) to contain such Iraqi deaths.

Janet - There is no guarantee of a democratic Iraq. Tribal animosities run deep. The US must restrain its desire to install a sycophantic Iraqi regime. But if the government of Iraq is handed back to Iraqis as soon as possible after the war, as Tony Blair promised recently, it will help blow apart the odious "war on Islam" myth propagated throughout the Arab world and by anti-war protesters in the West.

Imre Salusinszky - Luckily for our troops, their British and American comrades, and the Iraqi people, the battle for Baghdad shows every sign of being a fizzer.

It's interesting to note that WMDs are not mentioned at all in their victory columns, except for Paul Kelly's highly insightful point that WMDs have not been used so far by Iraq. I suppose it would have been too much to ask of these characters to honestly deal with an issue that they cited as a main rationale for war. Both Imre and Janet have instead changed their focus to the horrors of 'academe'. Sure, evidence may yet appear, but it is becoming less likely any weapons, if they exist, were an imminent threat to the US or its allies. It's not surprising the likes of Janet would run, and run fast, from the issue. But I would have expected more from someone like Kelly. I await with interest to see if Kelly makes any mention of WMDs soon...

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/09/2003 02:12:00 PM |

I DON'T remember anybody having a problem with Eddie Vedder's antics at the Brisbane gig on their last tour. In fact I distinctly remember the entire room going nuts and cheering:

Fans of Pearl Jam staged a walk-out at the band's show in Denver earlier this week, protesting against frontman Eddie Vedder smashing a mask of President George Bush onstage.

I'm sure this has more to do with the NME being sensational twits more than anything.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/06/2003 09:43:00 PM |

JON PARELES is not too sure about the red, white, and black clad Whites:
The uncluttered raunch of the band's sound was enough, for the moment, to distract listeners from the fact that most songs sagged about halfway through, and that the band's two-piece arrangements often sounded like rehearsal tapes.

Well, some may say that's not a bad thing at all Jon. The backlash begins. Link via James Russell.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/06/2003 09:30:00 PM |

HAMMER pants back in fashion? Now that's a horrid thought. Link from The Modern Age.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/06/2003 09:19:00 PM |

THE New York Post is trying to get 'down with it'. Link from Melody Nelson.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/06/2003 02:54:00 PM |

More Albrechtsen

I attempted a post on Janet's latest funnies, but it came out barely coherent, and it seems Gummo Trotsky has done a much better job anyway. The point of my post was that, like the Media Watch happenings, Janet has difficulty differentiating between the stifling of free speech and criticism of her and The Australian's opinions on some issues. Janet thinks there is a famine of free speech for oppressed conservatives like herself, citing the Ross Lightfoot case. Janet doesn't note that Lightfoot didn't actually argue a defence in any meaningful way, so it hardly overwhelming evidence of Janet's politically-correct-anti-discrimination-president-as-oppressor theory.

Janet's main target, Chris Puplick, president of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, is cited as the main free speech hater. Yet Janet also fails to mention Puplick's point that: Primarily I don’t think this is a question for regulatory intervention. Puplick's concern is primarily for educational initiatives. Freedom of speech is not freedom from critique, Janet.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/05/2003 02:12:00 PM |

An honour to serve?

This is what you'll get:

In death, the first U.S. serviceman to be killed in combat in Gulf War 2 will receive what he always wanted in life: American citizenship. Marine Lance Corporal Jose Gutiérrez was shot in the chest as his unit took heavy fire in the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Everyone believed he was 22. But his true age is part of a story of epic persistence that took him from Guatemala to Los Angeles, from the life of an orphan to the life of a Marine. [...]

In honor of his military service and death in combat, federal authorities have made him eligible for posthumous citizenship. All that needs to be done is for his next of kin to take his death certificate and $80 to an immigration office and Gutiérrez will become an American. Had Gutiérrez lived, his dream for his sister could have come true. She would have qualified to immigrate to the U.S. had he been naturalized. But that dream died with José Gutiérrez in Iraq.

So not only does his sister not receive her citizenship, but she has to pay $80, which she probably doesn't have, so he can get citizenship in the country he gave his life for. Of course, this would be no use to her because he is, well, dead. Another fine example of an unbending immigration system at its callous worst.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/05/2003 01:05:00 PM |

Jessica Lynch

It was only a matter of time. I smell a movie of the week, a myth in the making, a reson to enlist, an American hero to be sure.

Having said that, she seems to have done a fine job.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/05/2003 03:02:00 AM |

I always...

...find it strange when people seek to compare Australian/US/UK actions to those of the Iraqi regime. Take for example Heath from the Catallaxy Files comparison of the honesty of Iraqi media to their western counterparts on reporting the tragic killing of seven Iraqis:

None the less - the willingness ot admit to this kind of incident is surely a sign that the western media (and even hte official PR machine) is prepared to be more open than it's Iraqi counterparts.

It reminds me of the comment Kerry O'Brien made the other night in his interview of John Howard: I don't imagine we look to Saddam Hussein for ethics, Prime Minister, but I hope we look to Australia, America and Britain for ethics.

The comparison Heath attempts to make is fairly pointless. That is, I don't suspect we look to the Iraqi state media for openness, Heath.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/02/2003 11:59:00 PM |

Gerald proves Moore is successful...

Gerald Henderson uses his column to give us a rant about Michael Moore:
As it turned out, the star of The Pianist was upstaged that night by Michael Moore who won the best documentary Oscar for Bowling for Columbine. He used his international captive audience to deliver a rant about George Bush, declaring his opposition to the war and chanting: "Shame on you, Mr Bush, shame on you."

A memorable performance, to be sure. It's just that Moore gave the impression of having been somewhat miscast. He deserved an Oscar for alienation - a phenomenon best explained as dislike for, or hatred of, an individual's society and its leaders. Alienated types tend to be relatively well-off and well-educated men and women who enjoy the freedoms and riches provided by Western societies and use their status to dump on politicians and, by implication, those who elected them.

I enjoy Michael Moore. I enjoy him because his is entertaining and quite funny; not because of his arguments. I would be concerned about anyone who takes Moore too seriously, and that goes for both his critics (Henderson, Tim Blair) and his diehard fans. Reading Stupid White Men I often wondered whether Moore himself believes some of the arguments he makes. His films and books seem to be more about having a laugh at the more extreme elements of the Republican party and the Christian right, rather than mounting completely serious arguments.

Reading Moore is a bit like reading Miranda Devine or Tim Blair: you're pretty sure the purpose of most of their writing is just to get under the skin of their opponents. And Moore seems to be able to do this brilliantly -- rants like those given by Henderson and Blair simply prove this.

Moore is about entertainment, and if he makes people think a little at the same time, that's a bonus.

posted by Tim Stevens | 4/01/2003 04:47:00 PM |
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