Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Vindication, Bemusement and Housekeeping

A while ago, I perhaps unwisely called another blogger a 'snotty nosed little provincial oik', prompting him to launch into not only an extensive defence of the provinces but also the adoption of what I had taken as an insult as a badge of honour. But this morning, on the Today Programme, I heard trails for research which indicates what every Londoner knows in their hearts: that the provinces are in fact drab and petty wastelands, inhabited only by people not bright enough to either escape to the metropolis or see its obvious advantages. That said, I live in the provinces, which must make me either a masochist of enormous proportions, or so dimwitted as to have overcome inertia and left the only decent place in the country to live.

In other hand-waving attempts at blithe dismissal, Shuggy gets this Gary Younge article all wrong. I was actually going to link to it myself because I thought it was fairly sensible. Younge's main point seems to me to be that there is little admirable about being deliberately offensive to marginalised groups, especially when one is espousing what are widely held, really rather unjustified, and degrading, views, and further, that the fantasy that by doing so, you are an oppressed minority sticking it to The Man, is fairly transparently self-delusion. Shuggy, and his commenters for that matter, seem to read it as a personal attack. Because obviously the power exerted by the anti-war half of the Grauniad's commentariat crushes them daily beneath its jackboot, and Younge is a unashamed agent of islamofascist totalitarianism.

Finally, Jim Bliss has a new site here, and I've pruned the blogroll, removing a couple of defunct blogs, and adding a couple, including Jim's.

8 comments:

Ben said...

Do you know why the blogroll thing seems to come up double spaced now? Mine does the same, which is particularly annoying as I have bullet point things.

Rob Jubb said...

Nope. There's no difference in the code that I can see, so I've no idea why it's doing it. It is quite irritating.

Shuggy said...

Younge's main point seems to me to be that there is little admirable about being deliberately offensive to marginalised groups...

Blah, blah - yeah, well if you returned to the comments box on my blog where you left your original accusation of racism, you'll see a link to a piece I wrote where I argued more or less the same point and took the view on balance that the cartoons should not have been published. Where then is the justification for your slander that I advocate the maligning of disadvantaged minorities? I'd expect an apology but it has been suggested to me that I shouldn't expect one since this is habitual behaviour as far as you're concerned. Shame.

Rob Jubb said...

Shuggy,

Although I am sorry for the offence I've obviously caused you, I didn't actually accuse you of racism. I suggested that you thought it was worthwhile to taunt marginalised groups, which is not the same thing. This made sense as a comment if, as I did, you read Younge's article as pointing out that taunting marginalised groups is hardly, qua taunting marginalised groups, morally praiseworthy. Again, I'm sorry for the offence I caused you.

Rochenko said...

The link you give re the provinces seems to provide an argument for upping sticks for Barcelona or Berlin rather than London. And I can't remember the last time I found myself sneezing black stuff into my hanky in Berlin. Or in Hull, for that matter.

Rob Jubb said...

Barcelona vs. London? Barcelona, for the weather alone. London vs. Hull? Unequivocally London. I've been to Hull. It's not an experience I particularly wish to repeat.

Shuggy said...

I suggested that you thought it was worthwhile to taunt marginalised groups, which is not the same thing.

I don't accept the proposition that the only reason for anyone to publish to cartoons is to taunt minorities but in any event, my own view, publicly-stated, is that I did not believe that the cartoons should have been published. Therefore, while I accept your insistence that this does not amount to a charge of racism, there is still no justification for your allegation - so why did you make it?

Furthermore, the conflation with "taunting minorities" and "racism", while accepting you on your word that this is not what you are doing, is precisely what Gary Younge et al have been doing. I think it's disgraceful. Do people who see in the David Irving case a genuine issue of free speech become by extension Holocaust-deniers? Of course not! There is no doubt his intentions were ones of self-aggrandisment and the propagation of malevolent historical fiction. Nevertheless, again I am on record as stating the belief that his case does represent free speech, which if memory serves, you are perfectly aware of, since you commented on the post "Fascists and free speech" - whether on your own blog or mine, I can't remember.

Whether J-P was as malign in intent as Irving is questionable to say the least (how could that be possible?) but that isn't the point: free speech is not a matter of defending either the content or the motivation behind the 'speech' or 'expression', but rather the principle that more mischief is done to a polity than not when speech is restricted beyond notions of context. On some issues I may have been, but if anyone can produce an single shred of evidence that I have been inconsitent about this issue, they should produce it - rather than making the rather insidious assumption that anyone who sees a genuine matter of principle in this cartoon issue can have any other intention than to support the persecution of minorities, or worse - racism.

Rob Jubb said...

Shuggy,

it is possible for people to change their minds, and indeed to hold inconsistent beliefs. On my reading of the article, it looked like what you were opposing was Younge's advocacy of the claim that being offensive to marginalised groups is hardly admirable. That would suggest that you think being offensive to marginalised groups is at least neutral and perhaps admirable. I think the comment was, in that context, justified. I am however, sorry about the offense it caused you.

On the substantive issue, just as it is of course perfectly possible to admit that David Irving is a mendacious racist and maintain that he should not be imprisoned for expressing his views, it is perfectly possible for Younge and indeed anyone else to argue that the J-P cartoons were reflective of nasty racist currents in Danish society and think that they had a right to publish them, and that consequently it would have been wrong for the state or anyone else to have prevented their publication. A support for freedom of speech does not mean, as the Irving case illustrates, support for every use to which that freedom is put.