Monday, January 14, 2019

In The Beginning

After many years of  commenting on various forums, mainly Kiwiblog, I was surprised and pleased to be invited to join the blogger community at No Minister, so thank you to all who invited and permitted me, to join.

I've been commenting on blogs since they first appeared in the early 2000's, including on Sir Humphrey, the ancestor of this blog. For several years I did so under a pseudonym, and then under my own name after Kiwiblog began registering commentators. I decided to put my name out there as an act of self-discipline; I would be willing to stand by what I wrote. Having no plans or desires for a career in politics or the arts and having retired some years ago I figure that my words cannot be used against me in any forum that could be detrimental to my life in any practical sense. I note with some trepidation that none of the other bloggers here use their own names so perhaps I'm making a mistake in dealing with the nutters of the blogosphere? But in the words of McWatt, "Oh well, what the hell". I've survived a decade in this situation as a blog commentator. How much worse can it be as a blog writer?

Nevertheless, starting to blog in 2019 is curious because even though the MSM has continued in its death spiral as Google and Facebook plunder its advertising revenues and deprive it of the money needed to pay for good reporting and reporters, the same social media forces have also ripped away a huge part of what blogging was circa 2000-2010. In that decade it seemed at times that blogs would take over from MSM sites, being more nimble, "crowd-sourced", and better informed on most topics. The complete and total destruction in 2004 of "Big Three" US news anchor Dan Rather, at the hands of the Powerline blogger team, seemed a future guide.

But it was not to be and now we live in a world of cryptic 140 character Twitter outbursts and Facebook group peer pressure, a world not unlike the high school girl cliques of my youth, absent the loud whispering, the knowing smiles and the hitched up skirts.

A great many blogs, even formerly big ones like Public Address, are very quiet nowadays and almost all seem to be filled with folks aged forty and up.

So..... What to do in the face of the hideous blobs of Zuckerberg, Page, Brin and Dorsey - and their Millennial and Gen Z spawn?

Keep reasoning and see what happens! Ours is not the first age to fall victim to mindless bullshit and it won't be the last. So screw it! I intend to comment on the following, in no particular order:
  • US politics, culture and ... everything US. Having lived in the Second City for a decade and with strong family ties there I cannot deny that the city is my second home and of great, if sad, interest to me. So too the rest of the nation. I don't comment on or watch much sport but when the Chicago Cubs are in the playoffs I'll likely write something about that. I also think that most of the crap that emerges in the US, ends up in NZ eventually, so there's no use being smug and pretending it doesn't matter.
  • Other events around the globe.
  • Science, especially anything to do with space (yes, I'm a nerd).
  • Book reviews.
  • Movie or TV program reviews. I rarely go to the movies and have not watched broadcast shows or SKY TV since 2004, let alone things like ONENews. So We're talking Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.
  • History.
  • Whimsy whatever on any given day. 
What I won't be commentating on is NZ politics (much). I've read almost no NZ media since the turn of the Millenium and am therefore often very unaware of what's happening here. There may be the occasional event that's big enough to notice and that pisses me off enough to comment, but basically NZ politics is parish pump stuff. Especially in regard to National and Labour it is - as Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges declared in another context - "Two bald men fighting over a comb".

It's also clear that after two decades of debate, NZ has settled into a comfortably smug world of welfare state crony capitalism, as one look at Peter Cresswell's Objectivist blog, Not PC can reveal ("0 comments, 0 likes, 0 dislikes"). I've voted ACT in the past, as well as Labour in '87 and '99, but have been a "two-ticks Blue" man over the last few elections, more out of morbid fear than anything hopeful. But I'm almost done even with voting in NZ.

Which brings me to the last bit about my blogging here: censorship.

I'm pretty much in the David Farrar world, in that I intend to allow a wide-range of raging, argumentative, informed, occasionally aggressive debate to occur. This is basically because I'm a very lazy person and deleting or banning people is work. My best guidance is to put up some examples of what I won't accept:
  • THE CRETIN. Prime example here is Kiwiblog's Dumbest Commentator. I labeled him thus, several years ago. If you've been around that blog you will know of whom I speak and as with Voldemort I refuse to say his name. Dozens of mindless, incoherent, infantile comments day after fucking day. Deliberately goading everybody with zero contribution to debate. Often mis-reading what people have said, he's even applied his classic lines on fellow Lefties who were trying to support him. Yes! That dumb.
  • THE ABUSER. I rather like the give and take of abuse and there are times when it's justified. I even appreciate some if it's clever. But if I find someone who arrives only to abuse me or others, all in the dullest manner, and with nothing else, then they're gone.
  • THE TROLL. This can vary. Taking a thread deliberately off topic is my personal bugbear. If it moves that way with multiple comments then so be it, but something that pulls that stunt right from the start is out. Hugh Pavletich on KB is a classic: multiple comments of massive cut-and-paste screeds about housing, with links back to his own blog. I even agree with some of his points, but he demonstrates every day that he does not give a shit about others and is simply banging his own drum. Denis Horne (aka "William of Ockham") and Robert Guyton are much the same.
  • THE ASSHOLE: IPrent from The Standard. Admittedly SysOps are of low breeding and lower moods, convinced that their giant brains are the only thing keeping companies afloat above their basement hovels, that everybody else is stupid, and with all the social skills of an autistic eunich. I've fired more than a few and felt immense gratification every time. A full definition of the asshole would take too long: I think we'll all know one when we see one.
Obviously some commentators can fit most or all of these categories, "Kea" from KB is one. Then there are those like "EAD" - a full-blown, Jew-hating National Socialist on KB who really does think Hitler was great. Or Mao/Stalin apologists. They're all rare birds and I'm likely to let them stay and talk, on the assumption that sunlight is the best disinfectant, but YMMV and my fellow bloggers here may have something to say about it, since it reflects on them too.

So with all that in mind, here we go.

13 comments:

Johno said...

Well then, young Tom Hunter, nobody can complain you didn't lay your cards down from the beginning!

Look forward to seeing your work, and hope I can keep myself out of the above mentioned categories!

RosscoWlg said...

Congratulations!

A well deserved appointment. All the best and I'm sure you will continue the tradition of difference that is No Minister.

I also look forward to reading your contributions and if the page views are anything to go by it would appear that No Minister is improving its readership.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

I cant believe that I took the time to read this when all the time my sock draw needed attention.

I see the usual suspects (sorry Bogy) have clapped their stumps

Psycho Milt said...

Nice to have you with us.

Shouldn't be a problem using your own name. My pseudonym isn't for fear of Internet trolls, it's just that I'm not retired so I have to give a shit what people see when they Google me - better that prospective collaborators or employers see nice professional-looking stuff when they search my name, rather than screeds of opinions mostly full of, er... let's call it "informal" English.

Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

Tom Hunter (A big maybe)...........Given that I posted my real name, which can be verified by Veteran, a few posts ago I do not believe a word you say.

As the veteran is the most respected member of this blog perhaps you would like to privately establish your credentials through him...otherwise????

Tom Hunter said...

@ Mr Eggburt
Every blog needs at least one Conspiracy Theorist and it looks like you're it for mine.

I've always enjoyed CT's but never actually been the subject of one. Fantastic stuff.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Welcome to the show, Tom.

The pay is not very good but it has its moments.

Kimbo said...

To generate a readership it is best to start off by offending someone...so let’s find a topic guaranteed to piss someone, anyone, it doesn’t matter who off. What is your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? ��

Best wishes.

Tom Hunter said...

Heh!

I'll leave the piss-off topics to be the pieces I write rather than starting a Kiwiblog GD-type shitstorm in just any old thread. :)

nasska said...

....."rather than starting a Kiwiblog GD-type shitstorm".....

Live dangerously!

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Interesting comment Milt.

When Sir Humphrey/No Minister opened during the malevolent regime of Helengrad, a number of contributors had government contracts. They were quite sure they would lose their contracts if they blogged under their real names.

Legbut, as the second most rejected commenter at this blog, perhaps you'd like to privately find a small lake in which to jump. The lake needs to be small, otherwise nobody will notice.

The Veteran said...

Hi Tom .... welcome. I don’t have a problem with negative comments as usually I return the complement with interest. That some agree with me when I indulge in creating ‘Happy Mischief’ is of perhaps greater concern. Above all I don’t take it personally. It can be a fun ride if you want it to be. Above all .... enjoy. Again, welcome.


Lord Egbut Nobacon said...

In the interests of accuracy can I point out that there is no such thing as a basement hovel, perhaps in doing so have inadvertently strayed into arsehole territory but then again arseholery is much like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.

I can tolerate any point of view as long as it is accurate and without malice, opinions disguised as facts do not wash with most thinking people. On the subject of censorship you better have an off line chat with the aptly named Adolf as no one in the entire blogasphere wields the blue pencil with the enthusiasm worthy of Goebbels.

However you do seem to have got off to bad start by blaming the worlds ills on "lefties" whatever they are