Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Few Observations

I have been very busy the last few days. That's number one.

A second observation: Aren't BiasedBBC doing well? It's great to see Toby back posting and posting so much so quickly. He's a clever guy and it interests me just how distinctive is everyone's mode of writing. You could extract sections of writing from bloggers that I know and mix them up, and still find yourself recognising authorship correctly. Toby's terse and forensic; Natalie wistful and seductively newsy; Andrew blending the barnstorming with the sardonic. No, I'm not all misty-eyed about group-blogging; No, this is not a meander in place of a post; I certainly hope it's not vainglorious blog vanity-card broadcast into a void; It's just that sometimes it pays to reflect on the evolution of the blog and perhaps what's fun about it and what it can do.

What, for example, is the difference between the equally thoughful posts of Natalie and Adloyada, who, being 'sort of' a woman and vetted as having a sound mind, has been doing the anti-Beeb bit on the Beeb (sort of bringing the militants in-house, which one can do when they're not packing bomb-belts or bringing in friends with bombbelts)? Answer: Natalie kind of meanders around a bit, like a country walk along the riverside, making allusions which you only get at the end as you reach the vista you were seeking all along; Adloyada picks a thread and then pulls and pulls, taking care to straighten the material so as not to hurt the threads she doesn't object to. Both I enjoy- and naturally, regarding their styles I generalise rather.

A third observation: I really admire America; not so much for getting everything right (although, in my view they do that with a startling frequency) as simply for getting. Getting a murderer some justice; getting a country a vote; getting an economy with draws people in and builds them up. All this takes conviction, and that's actually the only fault I find with the US in their Iraq mission (as in other fields, such as taking on the Iranian menace). I think the only thing they really GOT wrong, was not believing in themselves enough. But of course not believing in oneslf is not a crime, I suppose.

A final observation
: Toby was a little off when he said sorry to me for posting approvingly about a Paul Reynolds' article on the Beeb. Having recently had to digest some of John Simpson's rants on the BBC website I have come to feel that Paul Reynolds wasn't so bad after all (but, dear reader, read on, for I have hopes even for Mr Simpson). Or rather, it seems to me that he has adjusted his style, retreated a little into observations drawing from a much deeper pool of experience and a drier, more intellectual approach rather than trying to hit populist (popular according to Beeb groupthink) contrarian notes re US policy. It's at least possible that contact with the wider blogosphere and the reactive media therein have modified his approach, maybe even changed a few little pieces of his mind- possibly out of awareness that a decisive critical audience exists which can and will undermine his authority to speak if he fails to give it some of its due. It's all good I feel! I've never questioned his savvy, or his skills, and least of all I hope his experience, and I feel that just now these gifts are being more responsibly deployed. Thus, I agree with Toby, largely.

Final, final observation: this Reynolds' article is a case in point- from 'One is tempted to say' (but of course, doesn't), to 'All this is not unhopeful for US policymakers.' Even the sceptical note at the end is a kind of 'one never knows' point, based on the events in the real mad world out there, as experienced selectively by the writer. In other worlds [a typo I have allowed to stay in- should be 'words'], Mr Reynolds has written a good piece. Maybe another good piece, Toby. Bravo.

And the last one: Check out this article from a different kind of Reyolds, in May 2004. Back then Reynolds was saying 'Events in Iraq have been spinning out of control - and out of control of the spinners - so fast on so many fronts that the W word - withdrawal - is now being mentioned.' . This one was googled from the memory association of 'Reynolds' with 'quagmire'- though this time Reynolds' mention of quagmire was via what he called the 'gadfly' pro-war journalist Christopher Hitchens. It certainly seems like Mr Reynolds has done a bit of gadding since then. And since then too, the US, and GWB, along especially with the Iraqi and Afghan peoples, has done a fair amount of getting.

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