When John Birmingham went after this blog I thought traffic would 'splode, with people piling in to see why anyone would pick on a sweet, fading light-entertainment show. Barely a ripple - this blog is experiencing pretty much its normal traffic and I thank those who’ve left comments here and elsewhere. Why not click on the link above and help Mr Birmingham with his traffic? It’s only fair.I never wanted to skewer anyone, or stab anyone; literally or figuratively. The violent imagery came from Crabb and Birmingham themselves, projected onto me as though I were the blank canvas. My idea of appalling violence is what a phrase like “popcorn-scrabblingly” does to the English language. I just want to know how we are governed, and what options we have for how we might be governed. I don't agree that the status quo is our only option. That’s what this blog is about. That’s my hidden agenda. That’s what’s driven the retitling and revamp of this blog (they love a bit of reform). Confusing light entertainment with information doesn’t help anyone.Birmingham clings to the unproven theory that going into politicians’ homes and engaging them in the sorts of conversations you have with strangers on public transport is enormously valuable. He can’t provide any examples because, after four-and-a-bit whole series, there are none. Posters on the previous threads racked their brains and all they could come up with was Abbott’s fish/steak thing - which was pretty telling, but you knew he was a prick anyway.Birmingham could do worse than refer to his commenter BennO:
There's no way you see something closer to their true character in these shows. It's a chance for the pollies to show themselves as warm and fuzzy. It's as artificial as any press conference, just in a different way.
In my job, I elicit information from people. I get a lot out of passively observing and asking polite questions. Sometimes I have to raise my voice: whatever works in terms of gathering information. When it comes to political journalism, information is the thing. But in this case, I think I’m beside the point. Sir John of Birmingham has raised high his blunt instrument and smitten the imaginary skewerer to maintain the good name of Milady Annabel. Hurrah! Like most people, I haven’t met Crabb or Birmingham; unlike either of them I can divorce criticism of their work from personal attacks. They have fallen for the dreaded Journos’ Syllogism:
- No journo admits criticism from a non-journo; and
- No journo ever criticises a fellow journo; therefore
- All journos are above criticism, and it’s your shout.
If you’ve provided no information worth a damn, it doesn’t matter whether you’re nice or shouty.I’m well aware that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar - if honey-coated flies are your thing. I bet Annabel Crabb has a recipe for them (“cheap and simple over the summer!”) - why don’t you order her book and find out? Birmingham and Fairfax were too cheap to make the link; but here at PGR information, like food, is best when there's plenty of it, and it's shared.