Saturday, 9 August 2008

Juxtaposed with U

My blogging inertia over the last few days has partly been because of Deasy (turned out it was a massive heart attack; surprising because he kept himself in good shape, exercised a fair bit, ate healthily, smoked, but please let's not go there) but also because I've been looking at more other blogs than usual. And whenever I've had the germ of a blogging idea in my head, you can guarantee someone - or usually several someones - has already beaten me to it. So you end up with blogs which simply refer to other blogs, in ever decreasing circles and with ever greater repetition, until we're all saying exactly the same thing, and before you know it, Blogs will Eat Themselves. Hence my focus on music, and girlie things, and disturbing dreams about my whiteboard being violated. (I had an even more disturbing dream last night about my eldest sister morphing into Nadine Dorries... well, she's blonde, she lives in Mid Beds. I think it was an anxiety dream about the fact she's coming to stay with me in August).

Speaking of girlies, I've been looking at Lucy Powell's blog on The Guardian website, about latest Lib Dem strategy. And this comment, from a pleasant fellow called Rob:

"For Christ's sake girlie, didn't the tactical voting, predominant in the South-West that went on in the late 80's due to Lab-Lib stitch ups bother you?
Oh no.
You're far too young, naive and inexperienced to know anything about it.
Strangely, despite this ignorance, you consider yourself suitable to become a member of parliament.
Heaven help us all."

Well, Lucy is 33. She's been a Labour Party member for 18 years. She went to Oxford. She worked for a Government Minister (Bev Hughes). She ran Britain in Europe, which took her to high-level meetings in No. 10 on a regular basis. And yes, she's done normal, non-political things too. She's fighting the Manchester seat where she grew up, went to school, etc, and was described to me by one Cabinet minister as 'the perfect parliamentary candidate fighting the perfect campaign'. (Worth noting too that her age/background isn't much different to that of two present party leaders when they got into parliament, and Labour's last one - except she's not a product of our public school system).

She's making a perfectly valid political point about the Lib Dems getting into bed with the Tories, and in doing so, reminding disillusioned Labour voters that voting Lib Dem might well result in a Tory/ Lib Dem coalition running the country. And yes, I'm sure she's well aware that a lot of Labour supporters voted Lib Dem in the 1980s/ 90s, and vice versa, to try to get the Tories out. (Dorset being a prime example). So? That doesn't in any way invalidate the point she's making. What is noteable is that Rob is resorting to the tactic employed by many who comment on blogs - attacking the person, not the post. After all, it's much easier to describe a woman as a naive, ignorant girlie than it is to construct a proper critique of what she's saying, isn't it? (See more than a few of the comments on my site too, if you want more examples!) I can't say I've conducted an authoratitive survey, but it does seem that women are particularly likely to be subjected to this kind of response. But of course that's only to be expected if we have the effrontery to express political opinions in public.

P.S. In checking out Lucy's blog I noticed that Michael White's blog begins: "As regular reader(s) may well have spotted I love quarrelling with the Daily Mail, many of whose vices I have been enjoying first thing in the morning for decades." See what I mean? There is nothing new in the blogosphere. I'm going to check out Nads' site now to see what she's saying about my sister.


Mrs Blogs said...

...who was it that said 'when a man gets up to speak people listen, when a woman speaks if people like what they see then they listen'

Even that isn't true if there is no face/body to accompany the words on the internet. The mere fact of being female seems enough for some!

I think the instant reaction nature of the internet/blogosphere allows people to spout off without thinking.The fast pace of the news agenda means by the time one has read a full article/book/idea/issue and given it some thought for those inclined to get acquainted in depth, the next days news is already here to be commented on.

However, you have done a good job here of picking up on the irrational nature of a particular comment and as you say others like it. Serious and thoughtful bloggers can only try to redress the balance by challenging such a current of commenting so that when others come to the 'debate' there is hopefully some balance.

Anonymous said...

A male bore writes ...

Tut, tut, typical woman, doesn't understand simple science.

Clearly you can't have had 'blogging inertia' since intertia is the resistance an object has to a change in its state of motion.

Since when you stopped blogging your blog effectively stopped, there was no inertia involved.

Presumably blogging inertia would involve blog posts still appearing after you had stopped blogging?

Kerry said...

Sorry, that's gone way over my head.

Mad said...

Kerry referred to
'My blogging inertia over the last few days'

not simply blogging inertia

if inertia is the resistance an object has to change in its state of motion...

the object here is 'my blogging over the last few days' ...which had come to a stop so the inertia applies to the stopped blogging state which was it seemed resistant to change in its state of motion so no posts appeared. if the inertia applied to Kerry's blogging when blog posts appeared then you would indeed be correct.

But don't worry your pretty little head about it Kerry, someone's just waving their maleness around, gets us blokes a bad name unless he was being very 'clever' and being ironic ;)

Kerry said...

Nope, still don't get it.

Reminds me of John Peel announcing the line-up of a particular band doing a Peel session many, many years ago, and saying 'I say Emulator as if I had the slightest idea what one is, but please don't bother writing in and trying to explain as I'll only get one of my "heads" and still won't understand'. For some reason that has always stayed with me.

Bear in mind you are communicating with someone who has been without a motor for the past two months because of a failure to grasp the concept - 'car needs oil'. (And no, I'm still none the wiser as to why it does).

Anonymous said...

Surely inertia applies equally to a body whether in motion or at rest?

So the fact that Kerry was able to stop blogging immediately without inertia suggests it was not inertia stopping her starting again?

I am, however, prepared to concede that her inability to start blogging again does resemble, in some senses, an inertia-like state.

However, dare I be so bold as to suggest that the laws of physics may not be able to wholly explain Kerry's lack of blogging?

Kerry said...

You two just carrying on talking among yourselves, don't mind me.

On Tom's site he has this quote from John Rentoul:
“What is the point of this blogging business if someone else is just going to say what I want to say but say it better?” Which is kind of the point I was making before we (or rather, you) got sidetracked.

Anonymous said...

More to the point: what's the point of John Rentoul? My cat could say it better than him.

On a serious note, I'm not sure all blogs just reflect mainstream media in the way mainstream journalists like to flatter themselves that they do. There's much more out there.

Blogs like Harry's Place and the Drink Soaked Trots, for instance, seem to have a fairly original take on things from a left wing perspective that you don't find in the mainstream media.

But the reason why people might bother to blog is probably best summed up by Fatman on a Keyboard (who at his best, when he's got the time and is on form, is probably the best left wing blogger in the country) in a review of Andrew Anthony's The Fall-Out:

- There are plenty of blogs that reflect the orthodox left lunacy and ones that use seductively more 'reasonable' language to reach similar conclusions. However, there are two other broad categories of sites that can be found. Firstly, there are those that are firmly anti-totalitarian but have little or no critique of domestic politics. They have made their peace with the establishment and the legacy of Thatcherism. However dramatic their declarations of human rights, they are Tom Paines abroad but Edmund Burkes at home. Whilst the finely tuned English ear is quick to pick up the contented cadences of the privilege of class.

As for the other, it is a, sometimes fractious, cacophony. There are humanist Marxists, left libertarians, social democrats, Old Labour diehards, those who would combine Marx with Mill, querulous liberals, and others who place human emancipation at the centre of an ecological understanding of the diversity of the natural world. It is where I feel most at home and where the more interesting, and idiosyncratic, writing is taking place.

What will emerge is unclear, but socialism, in the broadest sense of the term as an emancipatory, egalitarian social movement, is alive, well and thinking. Come and join in." -

Kerry said...

I thought this paragraph was particularly perceptive:

'Liberalism consists of three facets; indivisible rights and liberties, forms of democratic governance and a liberal political economy. One of the intriguing aspects of much recent writing about the 'liberal left' is that it strongly reasserts liberal rights and the defence of existing democracies, however flawed. It has less to say on political economy and the sharp inequalities that are NOT the 'root causes' of terrorism, but ARE of hunger, misery, environmental collapse and human despair. It is a telling omission.' It's very true of the commentariat and, it has to be said, many left-leaning voters too - and v. frustrating at times.

On a lighter note, I was on the phone to my friend O'Shea when your post came through (and yes, his first name is Rick and to make things even better he used to be in the army - Corporal Rick O'Shea - you couldn't make it up). Anyway, I digress. His mind has turned to more intellectual pursuits in later life, and when I quoted a small section to him, he said 'Sartre, that definitely sounds like Sartre'. I had to tell him no, it was someone called Fat Man on a Keyboard.

Kerry said...

P.S. I am now slightly worried that it looked as if I was genuinely apologising for not understanding what the BB was on about. I wasn't, and I did. Sort of. OK, not really. But I didn't try very hard.