Thursday, June 05, 2008

A Plea to Readers

This one comes under "world of Decency" I think. Can anyone explain the Harry's Place masthead? First, they had Galloway whom they don't like[1]; then they had Blair, whom they did; now there's an Obama poster.

Incidentally, Gene has asked "is it fair to say that Barack Obama (assuming he wins the November election and all) will be our [sic] first Jewish President?"

Answer: No.

Further 'World of Decency' stuff: what has happened regarding Obama? (I know I can be accused here of reifying 'Decency'.) Nick Cohen was definitely anti (the byline photo is a hoot) and Oliver Kamm quoted Charles Krauthammer (conservative columnist comes out for conservative politician shock!). Now, Obama has a flavur.

[1] Never let it be said that the big stories don't break on AaroWatch first. Harry's Place is not fond of George G. You read it here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photo on the previous site had a flavour of old leftism. What was it? a woman protesting, with banner somewhere around? was she wearing a headscarf? I never quite understood that either, but the image had a flavour of activism and action. The new images, changed every week or so, seem to be ‘what’s in the news just now’. Pretty bland, and without any single meaning -- with almost no meaning, in fact. So it’s of a piece with the new Harry’s Place: a smarter appearance, more pluralist, trying for a broader constituency.

6/05/2008 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the new Harry’s Place: a smarter appearance, more pluralist, trying for a broader constituency.

the problem is that not only do the same people run it (witness the increasingly bonkers-looking David T), but all the old reader-commenters have come with them, which means that the comments sections are still even worse than those on CiF.

6/05/2008 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What was it? a woman protesting, with banner somewhere around? was she wearing a headscarf? "
It was a member of the Iraqi Communist Party celebrating Saddam's downfall. When HP still wanted to maintain a toe in the camp of the traditional left, they occasionally attempted to imply some sort of connection with the Iraqi CP, utterly dishonestly since the party was opposed to the US invasion and calls for an end to the occupation. It is also as anti-Zionist and pro-Cuban as any of HP's usual bugbears.

6/05/2008 06:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation.
they occasionally attempted to imply some sort of connection with the Iraqi CP
and now they publish guest posts by Paul "are you now or have you ever been" Bogdanor!

6/06/2008 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Yes, that always used to amuse me, seeing as throughout the 15th February 2003 demo I was stuck with a gaggle of Iraqi communists, despite having snuck into the Lord Moon on the Mall and out again. It really was such an obsessive trope to deny that anyone like that had been there, at all, on that demo, and one that was so easily debunked by photographic evidence.

6/06/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Obama's now given his big pandering speech at AIPAC, so the HP types have temporarily forgotten that he's a secret Muslim who intends to cede America to the Caliphate.

6/06/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes Tom, its interesting to note how HP can discuss the Obama speech whilst at the same time maintaining that the Pro-Israel Lobby is not particularly powerful. The enormity of the fact that the two Presidential candidates have to make their partisanship so transparent, in an election year, doesn't appear to register.

I have always thought the justification trotted out at HP that you can't discuss the Israel Lobby because it might reinforce stereotypes and offend Jewish sensibilities a little strange. I mean would HP agree that we shouldn't discuss Muslim terrorism because it might reinforce stereotypes and offend Muslims? Should certain topics just be off limits because they might offend someone?

Poor old David T really got his arse handed to him in a sling on a HP thread today. Apparently an organisation that he had smeared as a Muslim Brotherhood front (I know their tentacles are everywhere!), was actually an inter-faith group who had also invited to the event the notorious Islamists better known as Michael Gove, Martin Bright and Nick Cohen.

Unfortunately this kind of intellectual hari-kari is the natural consequence of a join the dots, guilt by association approach to the world.

6/07/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the way Jon Stewart did the big AIPAC shindig on the Daily Show.

Obama: When I was in Israel in 2006...

Stewart: Not bad, a personal visit.

Clinton: I've been going to Israel since 1982...

Stewart: Ha! He's only been once! She's practically in the Mile Chai Club!

McCain: I was recently in Jerusalem with Senator Lieberman...

Stewart: You win, Senator, but when you go to Israel, it's not really necessary to bring your own Jew. There are a wide variety of Jews already there.

So no, AIPAC doesn't have any clout. The three candidates just had nothing better to do.

I suspect HP Sauce will soon revert to the growing Decent orthodoxy of rallying behind McCain. The Dude hates Obama, for reasons that escape me, and Marko has already nailed his colours to McCain on the incredible grounds that the Clintons aren't anti-Serbian enough.

6/07/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are comments now disabled on nick's articles on the guardian website? looks that way. so much for a commitment to open source.

If I have time, I have the, er, insider knowledge as well as sufficient annoyance to write a commentary on this latest one...

the main point being that it makes no sense. he spends ages bemoaning the fundamentally stupid idea in the RAE, where academics have to assess their peers, but then at the end suggests that teaching quality should be more prominent in the way departments are funded.

Which is, perhaps, fair enough, were it not for the fact that the only people really qualified to judge quality of teaching are, guess what, other professionals in the field, ie, academics. Student-based assessments would never work, since they normally have no experience of departments other than the one they're at, and beancounters coming in wouldn't work either. Neither would assessment based on percentages getting firsts etc, since unlike a-levels universities do generally have a fixed amount of first-class degress on offer.

essentially, it's the exact same problem as the one he's outlined with the RAE, and he knows it, which is why he has to conclude with it having barely mentioned teaching in the rest of the piece.

6/08/2008 06:30:00 PM  

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