Friday, December 27, 2002

Since Tim Blair appears to be the golden child-interrupted [= baby boomer] of the Oz blogging scene, I fell that I may as well have a go at him. Normally, I’m wary of giving the intellectually marginal any third party endorsement whatsoever – good or bad – but since Blair gets a regular gig in print, and given the spectacular, arrant stupidity of his latest column in The Australian,5744,5741853%255E7583,00.html, I’ll make an exception on this occasion.

To, as Blair does, admonish a crackpot Islamic youth website with the labels “racism” and “Pauline Hansonism” is to throw sledgehammers used to crack nuts in glass houses – galore. It is overkill, but only in the specific, culturally arrogant way of declaring an adverse link between a generally discredited, but once-serious threat (Hanson) and a freshly-discovered, authorless piece of sectarian cant and hokum.

Otherwise, the comparison is simply ludicrous – more ludicrous, indeed, than the Islamic website which Blair is angling to have banned. Racism in Australia has a long pedigree, and one in which religious difference has only intermittently figured as a co-factor. Skin colour and, most importantly, perceived willingness to undercut existing (“white”) wages and conditions have always been the primary drivers and determinants. If my rough working knowledge of Islam is correct, race/colour-blindness and broad economic justice go very much with the territory. All of which makes Blair’s comparison of Islam to Hansonism not so much insulting (although plainly it is) as ultimately anaemic – pale white and whimpering.

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