Monday, September 07, 2009

Nuffink to do wiv me, guv

And Aaro notices the casuals and their Muslim equivalents, duking it out on the streets of Birmingham, and concludes … well, not very much, as far as I can see. Young men (or at least, British young men) want to have a fight, and so that's what they're doing, in Birmingham because there wasn't much to do in Brum over the summer while the footie wasn't on.

And so, of course, avoids discussion of the awkward subject of where it was that a load of soccer hooligans (who, frankly, don't look all that young to me, and the fact that they are referring to themselves as "casuals", a roughly twenty years' past tense youth cult, seems relevant) got the idea that England needed defending against a tide of Islamist immigrant bogeymen, and that you could march around protesting about this without being necessarily racist. Wonder who (and whose mates) have been spending the last five years getting that idea front and centre in the national newspapers then?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/07/2009 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Comment deleted per the AW "either a name or a point, one or the other" policy.

9/07/2009 04:16:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

The link in the post doesn't work, I'm afraid...

the entire article is built on dodgy ground. He cites their website saying that the Casuals organisation wants no islamophobic paraphenalia but there are photos of people at the rally holding signs saying 'no more mosques'.

Also - just to underline the point you make -

today there is no continent-wide rise of fascism, no Spanish Civil War, no Adolf or Musso, no dead Lorca, nothing indeed that would make the comparison stick.

now - I wonder where people could have got the idea that these things were, in fact, happening? remind me what Aaro's 'favourite political website' is again...

9/07/2009 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

fixed, thanks

9/07/2009 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

Perhaps the reason that Aaro seems not to have any significant comment on the topic of this minor kerfuffle is because the point is just to mention it, and the fact that there are lots of protestors, all violent and unpleasant, who need to be rounded up.

New powers ahead of demonstration (BBC)

He's certainly ramping up his extreme authoritarianism by defending this proposition:
The threat to our civil liberties from an overmighty state has been much exaggerated

Aaro and Ian Blair joining forces with an LSE type to spout this sort of stuff would almost be enough to get me to side with, say, a vapid, preening meeja 'philosopher', or an unreconstructed hang-em-and-flog-em Tory.

9/07/2009 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

from the Intelligence squared link

In the name of combating terrorism, keeping public order and often just plain old efficiency, the modern state is slowly but surely depriving us of our fundamental freedoms. That's the common lament of self-styled lovers of liberty
I suppose Richard Gere is a self-styled heterosexual.Don't you just feel a bit suspicious of anyone self-styled?

9/07/2009 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

I actually have some experience of this sort of thing, having been singled out for attack at Oxford United away games a little more than a decade ago, in an operation organised by a BNP member. (The police, by the way, were useless.) It's my opinion that while football hooligans have views on subjects not actually connected to football, they don't start acting in this sort of organised way unless somebody is behind it - basically, because what they're interested in is having fights at football matches.

I would be astonished if this wasn't connected to the BNP and I would imagine that it involves somebody having read the playbook and understood that you want a relatively repectable party over here and a deniable but useful following of goons over there, just to keep the pot boiling.

9/08/2009 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Off I wander into the meadows of OT:

I am unable to give this piece the coveted AW endorsement, because it frequently strays into quite crude and bullying sexism, but on the other hand I have always independently disliked Sunstein and Power (Nussbaum, not so much) and didn't know previously that their irritatingness was symbiotic off each other.

9/08/2009 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous bunbury said...

I imagine someone wants some of this.

9/08/2009 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Crude and bullying sexism, and also stupidity and/or ignorance. There are many reasons why you might reasonably be annoyed by Martha Nussbaum, and the books she churns out these days do have a bit of a production-line quality to them, but she's compiled a remarkable body of work over the years, and dismissing something as good as The Fragility of Goodness as a "hokey do-gooder" book just makes the writer come across as a fool.

9/08/2009 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

Yes, although he is spot on about Samantha Power's genocide book.

9/08/2009 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Yes, he does, but others have made the same basic criticism, e.g. Joseph Nevins in The Nation over here:

9/08/2009 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

"Is", not "does".

9/08/2009 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Me personally—I have a little figurine of Martha Craven-Nussbaum pinned between two crosses, because I figure she suffered twice as much as Jesus did.

Very good. Ames can be a real arsehole (much more so than Taibbi, I think, though the latter has occasional moments) but very good nevertheless.

9/08/2009 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

shrrrm, that was one of the bits I objected most to, as whether or not she's posh, what he's actually doing there is mocking her for being the plaintiff in a sex discrimination case

9/08/2009 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger The Couscous Kid said...

Why "very good"? Ames doesn't give any evidence at all that MCN has made a fetish out of her own supposed suffering, but just mentions that she's complained that people said sexist things about her when she was teaching at Harvard, which is wholly believable. And Harvard did get a deserved reputation in those days for not tenuring very, very able women scholars -- Theda Skocpol was also turned down in the early 1980s, though she's back there now.) I don't see why we shouldn't file this remark under "crude and bullying sexism", in fact.

(The remark about Buber and Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, is idiotic, and it's good to learn about, but that's not really enough on its own to hang the crucifixion joke.)

9/08/2009 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'[Sunstein is] brilliant, he’s dazzling, he’s aggressively masculine and has a tremendous level of emotional articulateness'

9/08/2009 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Tim Wilkinson said...

EJH - yep - I haven't found any mention of the single organising principle of football hooliganism: football teams.

9/08/2009 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

"Very good" in the sense that people, say of PJ O'Rourke, I think. But I don't think this

what he's actually doing there is mocking her for being the plaintiff in a sex discrimination case

is really right: that's how the paragraph starts all right, but where it gets to is where he's talking about the suffering involved in not being at Harvard rather than the experiences undergone while there. He's somewhat short of fair about it, no doubt, but it's still worth seeing what comparison he's actually making.

I'm in a position to see this personally, as it happens: I went to Oxford and had a grotesque time there, and I'd be absolutely the last person to maintain that people at elite universities aren't just as capable as everybody else of holding and expressing appalling opinions, or for that matter, of bullying, dishonest and objectionable conduct of all kinds. Believe me - been there, seen it. Hate the place, permanently affected by the experience, would be prepared to see the place turned into a car park.

However.... I wouldn't for a moment suggest that had I never gone there, or had my experiences there deprived me of a glittering career (which might arguably be possible, I suppose, though I won't make the claim) then that would have constituted injustice of some sort. That seems to me to be Mark Ames' point. You can be badly treated and still have been incredibly fortunate in your overall situation.

9/08/2009 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger The Rioja Kid said...

hmmm, but by that kind of standard, the only person allowed to complain about anything would be some Job figure picking worms out of his boils somewhere in Dr Congo. If you've been badly treated, you're allowed to complain about it in my book (also, there is no direct quoted speech from Nussbaum in that piece, so we're being asked to take Ames's word for it about her attitude, which I am not going to do).

9/08/2009 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By that logic it might be said that Ames' social position (college educated white American man) doesn't really put him first in the right to moan line either.


9/08/2009 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Well, I doubt that Ames would see himself as one of the oppressed: it's other people who tend to be his concern, and who are in his paragraph, no?

If you've been badly treated, you're allowed to complain about it in my book

And mine too: but mine also has a big reminder on the cover that if other people may put your problems in their context rather than your own.

I think it's very reasonable for people to say look Martha, what happened to you wasn't right but you're still a very long way ahead of the game, especially compared to most other people. This

by that kind of standard, the only person allowed to complain about anything would be some Job figure picking worms out of his boils somewhere in Dr Congo.

is a reductio ad absurdam: it's perspective we're looking for here, not a competition to see who's absolutely the worst off.

(Incidentally, I don't claim wthat what I think is identical to what Ames thinks. It's not, and anybody who wants to observe that he's got a sexist as well as a misogynist streak won't get any disasgreement from me. But that's not what his punchline was about.)

9/08/2009 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

I must admit to having found Ames on Nussbaum slightly more delicious that I should have. Crude, sexist, bullying, yes. But MCN's academic work is way overrated, and part of the explanation for its overratedness is her networking. Also, she didn't have to do that "power couple" piece did she? The picture of Sunstein and Power on the squash court was also excellent.

9/09/2009 05:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've not had time to read it yet, but I'll approach it with my usual attitude to Ames - he is not a very nice man, but he is a very good journalist. Insert obligatory reference to Orwell's _Benefit of Clergy_ here.

Chris Williams

9/09/2009 08:34:00 AM  

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