Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Say it ain't so, Alan NTM!!!!!!!!!!

Like all of us, I have been waiting with 'bated breath for the "Big News" promised for Democratiya - the Summer issue was scrapped to free up time for Alan "not the front-runner for next leader of the Labour Party" Johnson to produce a massive new redesign project incorporating community features, Facebook, Twitter and all sorts of other things. All we knew about the project was that a) it would be a surprise and b) it would be in September (thus informing all game theorists that it was logically impossible for it to ever happen).

And now it's the end of September and the big project is .... He's sold[1] the whole thing to a longstanding US lefty magazine only remembered for a Woody Allen joke. Chiz chiz chiz maximus chiz in ezxcelschiz. Democratiya will live on in a page inaccessible from the front page of the Dissent website. All previous links to Decentiya are broken. And so it goes ...

[1] At least I hope he got something for it, that thing had readers once. No implication was intended that Alan NTM has personally profited (or otherwise), btw.

35 Comments:

Anonymous belle le triste said...

haha this is known as the "great news for all our readers" move! ie when your favourite comic was unilaterally merged with another one, and all your favourite stories were reduced to a quarter b/w page for three issues then dropped forever -- lion comic being the truly turbocharged asset-stripper in this game: lion (and sun), lion (and champion), lion (and eagle), lion (and thunder)... note that the earlier conquests vanished from the masthead, and thence from history

9/30/2009 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily Mail (and News Chronicle)!

Guano

9/30/2009 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Ah, if only Decentya could have reached the level of political sophistication of, say, Buster (and Monster Fun), maybe it would have had a future on it's own.

9/30/2009 11:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

Does this mean no more Decentiya material? Or will it be added to at the Discent site?

Does Alan 'Not The One Loved by Fiona Phillips' Johnson get to be a commissioning editor for Dissent?

9/30/2009 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I would have hoped he'd got something, but I can't see any indication that he's been made a contributing editor or anything - as I say, there isn't even a link to the Decentiya bit from the front page. I suspect he's got a gentlemens' agreement with Michael Walzer that he'll contribute the odd interview (ANTMJ: I've interviewed Andrew Bostrom! MW: Not that odd, Alan)

9/30/2009 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

Buster, full name Buster Capp*, is of course Andy Capp's son, and the strip was a subtle satire on the social, cultural and political gulf that opened up in the 70s between successive generations of the urban working classes in the UK.

*This sounds surprisingly HipHop and gangsta, if anyone is thinking of continuing the satire unto a third generation. I see that one of Monster Fun's strips was called "Tom Thumbscrew", which also offers a useful satirical platform, at least of matters Decent...

9/30/2009 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Actually, I now wonder about the Democratiya £100/$200 club and what happened to the money? (Also, if anyone took up the option of a regular £9/month direct debit, probably best to check it's been cancelled as banks are often surprisingly dilatory about this).

9/30/2009 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Do you think Dissent magazine are under the impression they have just managed a great coup in getting the next leader of the Labour Party's own journal?

9/30/2009 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

I would have hoped he'd got something...

Maybe a free trip to NYC?

[Word verification: "buggerph"]

9/30/2009 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have Dissent and Democratiya merged to form Diarrohea?

9/30/2009 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

The other thing Dissent is famous for (on this blog) is surely that it published Johann Hari's demolition job on What's Left and unleashed various rottweilers of Decency.

Didn't they advertise a fairly well-paid editorial job on Decentiya less than a year ago? money well spent (just like that Decentiya 100 nonsense).

9/30/2009 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a welcome nail in the coffin of Decency, though, isn't it?

Now, when did the Euston Manifesto page last get updated?

Chris Williams

9/30/2009 05:24:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

The funny/sad thing is being taken over by Dissentery will actually be a good thing. They're not a great bunch, but they do have some quality control and are not known for accepting essays from Decent professors' first year students. And they don't lay on the Eurabia quite as thick.

This also means there will be one less outlet for stuff like the SNP-Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy, the CST sounding off about Britain being on the verge of another Kristallnacht, or Marko on the Serbian threat to our precious bodily fluids. These guys all have other outlets, but a "Your View" on HP Sauce is not the same as a journal that pretends to be all academicky and peer-reviewed.

And that pretence is really the thing I always found most offensive about Decentiya. Fuck 'em, I say, and maybe we should have a whip-round for Walzer.

9/30/2009 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger FlyingRodent said...

I would like to wholeheartedly agree with and endorse every statement and sentiment in Splintered's last comment, because I'm too lazy to say the same things in my own words.

Plus, my wordcapture this time is Coctaxed. Other blogs aren't anywhere near as suggestive as this, you know.

9/30/2009 10:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would agree with Splinty but I think it's the end of Decentiya. Very little under that brand will ever appear again. Alan NTM has sold the pass in exchange for occasional squatting rights in Phyllis Chesney's spare room, while he interests New Yorkers in the future of the Labour Party and otherwise plans his exit from the Wirral. Good luck, pioneer.

rioja kid

9/30/2009 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Not disagreeing with the above, but it was clearly all over for Decentiya when no 'summer 2009' issue appeared. The previous issue was much bigger than usual and seemed to have included absolutely everything they'd been sent.

I agree with SplinteredSunrise - the main problem with it wasn't the Eurabia nonsense we saw so often in there, it was the totally un-academic practice in something that fronted as an academic journal. Articles written in American and British English despite its having a British style guide; first-year students who happen to be noisily anti-Chomsky given free rein - almost no editing, and what editing there was wasn't even done with track changes but simply left in the text itself - old speeches by Labour ministers which had already been reproduced in newspapers treated as 'exclusives'.

As usual, Decent quality control and 'Fisking' went out of the window when dealing with 'their own', which is why I do think this is another example of favouritism. It was richly ironic that when HP Sauce attacked the 'Neocon Europe' project, it was on the grounds that it was a not-especially-academic vanity project run by a professor and a graduate student...

10/01/2009 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Simon said...

"Didn't they advertise a fairly well-paid editorial job on Decentiya less than a year ago? money well spent (just like that Decentiya 100 nonsense)."

IIRC it was a temporary research role, although it did indicate that Decentiya was getting funding from somewhere rather than just being a NTM bedroom job. Perhaps whoever was funding it (Edge Hill?) told NTM to sharpen up his editorial standards if he wanted to continue, and he decided to sell out instead.

Like a lot of Decent/NTM projects, it was really a series of lengthy blog posts with pretensions to be something more. In much the same way as the Euston Manifesto was a Norman Geras blog post in pdf format.

10/01/2009 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

Obsessive I know but still...

Job advert was placed in November last year for a 6-month contract, presumably starting in January, which was to pave the way for an 'internship' model of editorial assistance.

Given that the grand total of one issue, which looked suspiciously un-edited as usual, appeard after the advertisement of the job, that Decentiya 100 money clearly went to a good cause (if indeed the extremely well-paid job was funded from that).

10/01/2009 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I don't know whether the money would have gone far enough. I count 27 members of the £100 pound club and let's say they all spent in pounds rather than the much cheaper $200 offer, that's still only £2,700. Even if some doubled their donation and the announcement got in another 27 (this seems to me unlikely - the 27 are a Whos who of Decency) that would still only be £10,800.

[Here are the 27 - David Aaronovitch, Michael Allen, Jane Ashworth, Dennis Bates, Carrie-Ann Biondi, Ladan Boroumand, Gerard Bradley, Brian Brivati, Nick Cohen, Thomas Cushman, Jonathan Derbyshire, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Michael Ezra, Eve Garrard, Norman Geras, Marko Attila Hoare, Anthony Julius, Irfan Khawaja, John Lloyd, Cathy Lowy, Kanan Makiya, Andrei Markovits, Brendan O'Leary, Michael O'Neil, Neil Robinson, Thom Seaton, and David Toube].

10/01/2009 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Whoops, I've made that mistake again - the $ is more expensive. In fact if they had paid in dollars, that would be about £140 pounds each, so perhaps we can get up to about £15,000. But most of them are British, aren't they?

10/01/2009 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

I suspect that it is because the 100 club never got beyond the 27 members listed that the whole thing closed down.

10/01/2009 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, Brian Brivati spent his time bigging up oil rich but distinctly undemocratic Azerbaijan at the Labour Party conf. in an event funded by the govt of Azerbaijan

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=146530426058&ref=mf

while Labour Friends of Iraq were reduced to an ever smaller footnote on the stallof the Islamist DaWa party in the Metropole hotel

10/01/2009 03:46:00 PM  
OpenID splinteredsunrise said...

Lordy, Azerbaijan. From the point of view of Decent geopolitics, it makes sense. Encircling Russia - check. CIA-funded Azeri separatism in Iran - check. Bigging up Turkish ambitions - that's a twofer, as Turkey is both a friend of Israel and a historic enemy of the Balkan countries that don't get sympathetic coverage in Bosnia Report. Besides, "Azerbaijan into Nato" would sit nicely with the "Georgia/Ukraine into Nato" and "Turkey into the EU" tropes the Decents seem so fond of.

What the Aliyev regime has to do with democracy or universal values beats me. But then, the Decents are willing to extend lots of latitude to their geopolitical favourites. They're as realpolitik as Douglas Hurd, except Hurd is better because he's honest about it.

Blimey, that list is a real rogues' gallery. But even so, they couldn't get Brendan Simms or Shalom Lappin or Adam LeBor to pony up a few quid for Decency's theoretical organ? No wonder it's kaputt.

10/01/2009 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

on Decentiya, yes I don't think the dontations can have funded the editorial post. Which means Alan NTM must have secured external (or at least university) funding for it. and since only one issue came out after the job was filled, he's probably now blacklisted for a while.

i think there's a good piece to be written on realpolitik in Decency generally. The opposition to realpolitik seems to come and go depending on who is advocating it. toube has (in Decent parlance) 'apologised for' the Tory alliance in the EU as realpolitik recently, for instance...

10/02/2009 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

Which means Alan NTM must have secured external (or at least university) funding for it. and since only one issue came out after the job was filled, he's probably now blacklisted for a while.

I don't think this is right; the job was meant to start with the academic year, wasn't it? So my timeline would be that the job was advertised on the assumption that funding would arrive, the Summer issue was produced with the existing skeleton staff, the funding didn't arrive so the job never existed, and Democratiya folded (btw, I have confirmed via sources in a position to know that it is an ex-magazine - Dissent is basically just hosting the archives).

10/02/2009 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

btw, our own blog title is a bit of a nod to Buster (and Monster Fun) of course, although there never actually was a blog called "World of Decency" to merge with.

10/02/2009 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

Surely 2000AD (incorporating Starlord, Tornado, and characters from Eagle, Valiant and Crisis) is the magazine with real political bite.

10/02/2009 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

The issue now is what will NTM be doing with all his spare time? I expect a new project will be announced before the end of this month.

10/02/2009 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous belle le triste said...

That would be the Whizzer and Chips model: a pretend merger, complete with totally faked-up competition between the rival fans, whizkids vs chip-ites ("a scathingly prescient allegorical portrait of the blair-brown years" -- andrew marr)

10/02/2009 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous gastro george said...

Meanwhile, on the Grauniad letter page, MacShane loses even more of his marbles:

The concepts of duty, responsibility, respect, thrift and local solidarity have disappeared. But the liberal-left despise these values ...

10/02/2009 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Surely 2000AD (incorporating Starlord, Tornado, and characters from Eagle, Valiant and Crisis) is the magazine with real political bite.

I'm sure that many of the Decents fantasise about being Judge Dredd.

10/02/2009 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

That McShane letter is unhinged, isn't it?

10/02/2009 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

you might be right on the funding BB but I could have sworn the job was to start in January; it's rare for jobs like that to be advertised quite so far in advance and it's also fairly rare for them to be announced if funding is not already in place since advertising the jobs costs quite a lot in itself (I once had a one night a week job, and was told that the price of the advert was more than my annual wages).

The McShane letter is just plain weird. and grammatically awful ("more, not less elected politicians"). Is this 'left-wing hatred of solidarity' standard Decent opinion then? And how is it differentiated from the right? it's fairly cartoonish isn't it. I know that Nasty Nick Cohen berates lefties for everything but even he would stop at this kind of claim, I'd have hoped...

MacShane also talks about 'the current hatred of any elected person' - not only do i think this is overstated, but if expenses have caused this hatred then Denis has to take some responsibility given his outrageous claims.

10/02/2009 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does MacShane label himself, then, if he isn't liberal left and he isn't right-wing? Authoritarian left? Stalinist?

Guano

10/02/2009 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Marc Mulholland said...

It's the weird of appropriation of Americanisms by Decents, isn't it - 'liberal' means coastal pointy-headed affirmative action enthusiast. The fact that it means something quite different here is neither here nor there for Scoopies of the east Atlantic archipelago.

10/02/2009 11:19:00 PM  

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