Friday, April 08, 2005

More blogging on Radio 4

Update on Norm's argument over Iraq ....

On the other side, wouldn't you agree that somebody like Christopher Hitchens supported Bush for President because of his Iraq policy (Kerry might have gone 'wobbly'), rather than the other way round?

I missed the first ten minutes of Kenan Malik's programme on BBC Radio 4, but the transcript is here.
If you want time to keep a blog going, it has to be light and throwaway. That’s why the best blogs are short, pithy and angry – not necessarily the ideal template for a new kind of politics.
Surely the point is that you can be as long - or short - as you want. Issues and arguments can be analyzed in the greatest detail - as in Norm's series of posts.
So in a sense you’re saying blogging is like a high tech version of a saloon bar debate?
All you ever do is hear from the people who shout the loudest and the most confidently.
MALIK:   For Will Davis the internet has been taken over by the playground bullies.
As in a pub, people tend to group with others they find have something interesting to say and, Omygod, I'm on the same side as Iain Duncan Smith. The analogy with a pub conversation is a good one. There is always background noise - like doing a search and finding scores of hits repeating the same Chomsky rubbish.

One more thought about Iraq: it sometimes seems that the big post-war event is the failure to find WMD, a turning point in the argument, like the discovery of Auschwitz and so on discredited certain views that were held before (see here).

On the other hand, I recall Lindsey Hilsum on Channel4 News saying at the time of the deepest crisis, in April 2004, 'Bush just keeps repeating these mantras about "democracy" '. Well, now Bush and Blair have helped the Iraqi people to take the first step towards democracy. That time of crisis tends to be forgotten by those for whom the story of Iraq is 'sliding further and further into chaos'. Another quotation from that time:
These are the times that try men's souls, and — as Tom Paine's enlightened acquaintance, Mary Wollstonecraft, would have added — women's, too. This is the crisis; we'll come though it.
('Two-Front Insurgency', William Safire, New York Times, 7 April 2004)


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