Sunday, May 23, 2004

The (Tim) Blair Watch Project, Volume I

For those who don’t know, Tim Blair is like the Godfather of Australian bloggers – ever ready with words of wisdom and support, a (non-gay) kiss or two and a helping hand, punctuated by extreme violence for dramatic effect. (I’m not sure who I’m explaining this to. He has, like, two million readers; somewhat fewer are reading this.)

I’ve read a fair bit of Tim over the last couple of years. He has an amusing turn of phrase, strong (right-wing) opinions and he’s fast on the break. But sometimes he, well, talks shit. So, to act as a check and/or balance on Australia’s Blogger of Record, I present the (Tim) Blair Watch Project. (Also, of course, I’m hoping that he’ll acknowledge this blog and fling some meagre traffic morsels my way. Everything is self-interest, no?)

On to volume 1: I looked over the last ten or so posts and sure, there’s plenty to annoy the casual reader and there’s plenty of the same sort of material that Tim purveys on a daily basis (Michael Moore is a big fat liar, David Marr of Media Watch is, er, a skinnier liar) but there’s little there that is absolutely head-kickingly stupid. (Soft targets are easier and therefore my preference).

Luckily, there was something upon which I could cut my teeth. Tim’s post here puts the boot into Gary Trudeau (Mr Doonesbury) for following the lead of Ted Koppel’s Nightline and publishing the names of all US servicemen and women to die in Iraq. Tim claims: (i) it’s easier than actually drawing a cartoon (well, duh!) and (ii) that its essentially motivated by anti-war sentiment rather than a genuine motivation to honour the dead because they could have screened/drawn the names of the victims of September 11.

Granted, those who post the names of the US war dead are perhaps motivated to some degree out of opposition to the war. But is it really more appropriate to list the victims of September 11?

Firstly, the situation in Iraq is the number one news story day in, day out. The deaths of US soldiers and marines are relevant to that. The victims of September 11 are not. There is no proven connection between that terrorist atrocity and the regime of Saddam Hussein. Why not post a list of men who died building the Brooklyn Bridge? There’s no connection there, either. (There were 27, by the way).

Secondly, surely the victims of September 11 are some of the most honoured people in history. Their names (all of them) have rolled across television screens several times. Hundreds of websites are devoted to their memory. Major benefit concerts have been held for them. A hugely expensive memorial will be built for them and each and every name will be included. Is it really some kind of injustice that their names are not broadcast one more time instead of another set of dead being honoured?

By contrast, 1.3 million children die each year from diarrhea, for cying out loud. Where’s their memorial? Where the list of their names? Did all of them even have names?

Perhaps Tim might pause to consider the deaths of some people who have nothing to do with any of his political causes? (Of course, the same can be said of Messrs Koppel and Doonesbury, but I only signed up to bug Tim.)

Well, jeez, that started out light and upbeat and wound up kind of depressing, didn’t it?

[The (Tim) Blair Watch Project. Witty, huh? Alas, some Pommy SOBs got there first with reference to Mr Tony. But the really witty part is the ‘Tim’ in parentheses, eh readers?]

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