Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

They keep us in to pull us out… hot take exhaustion about Anzac Day

Bleurgh.  Lists.

  1. To some extent, you have to consider the possibility that outrage is authentic.
  2. If you think it’s authentic, you should try to present the strongest version of the argument.
  3. But the latest outrage about Yassmin Abdel-Magied smells a lot like racism, clickbait, and commercial interest.  If Yassmin were Phillip Adams, he wouldn’t attract nearly the outrage that Yassmin has.  Outrage, and the reporting on outrage, draws attention and so there is an incentive to blow things out of proportion.  And News Corp hates the ABC and now it has an ally in the One Nation Party who can express dunderheaded opinions about slashing its budget.
  4. If you consider the possibility that this outrage is authentic, do you just provide a flimsy shield for the racists, clickbait merchants, and commercial interests?


  1. It appears that there is a growing interest in seeing some construction of Australian identity around Anzac.
  2. This should be treated with quite a lot of suspicion.
  3. But there also seems to be an outright intolerance on the behalf of certain segments of the progressive Left not to allow an Australian identity to be constructed at all.
  4. If the reverence for Anzac Day is genuinely felt by some sectors of the Australian community, why doesn’t it get the same level of protection as reverence for other rites and rituals sought by the progressive Left?
  5. That is, why is there a tolerance for saying things in such a way that would reasonably be considered to piss off people who are reverential?
  6. I don’t believe for a moment that the majority of the outrage is in good faith, but I am also concerned that so few people are able to construct a reasonable argument for the outrage.
  7. And it’s not like it’s even hard to construct this argument.  It’s just: ‘On one of the few days that we want to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, can you just cool it with your stale takes about how terrible Australia is?’

I don’t like that argument much.  It is undercooked.

  1. A bunch of Lefties have argued that there is an inconsistency between positions on s 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and positions on Yassmin’s comments.
  2. Sigh.
  3. This is a comparison that doesn’t end well for supporters of the s 18C.  It’s also not a good comparison.
  4. First, if there is an inconsistency between positions on s 18C of the RDA and positions on Yassmin’s comments, then they’re going to flow both ways.  The complaint is intended to be ‘You thought there should be a right to offend, but now you’re not protecting this offensive speech!’  But then the person who is defending Yassmin’s comment is arguing that there is a freedom of to offend which needs to be protected, and this would be inconsistent all intellectually credible defences of the controversial provisions of s 18C.
  5. Second, the complaint isn’t merely that she said something offensive.  The complaint is that she is employed as a commentator by a taxpayer-funded organisation and making offensive comments.  The topic is whether the taxpayer should be compelled to fund an organisation which employs people who attack community values.  The complaint about s 18c is that it uses State power to infringe the freedom of speech.  These are not even close to being in the same category of complaint and so can’t be in conflict.
  6. But, fuck, they’re not complaints made in good faith so why the hell are we talking about s 18c?


  1. Is there a debate about the behaviour about ABC employees?
  2. To what extent do we need ABC commentators to be always ‘on’?
  3. To what extent should ABC employees be expected to prevent the ABC coming into disrepute?


  1. There’s a crowd of people who seem to think it’s illegitimate to seek the dismissal of a person for expressing their opinions.
  2. The problem is that media companies resist proper regulation and oversight on the basis that commercial interest will prevent them from broadcasting objectionable material.
  3. But this rhetoric — ‘Nobody deserves to be fired for expressing their opinion!’ — thwarts our social ability to informally regulate the content of media companies.
  4. Some people really should be fired for their shitty opinions.  Mark Latham.  Kyle Sandilands.  Sam Newman.  Andrew Bolt.  Piers Akerman.  They shouldn’t be given a public platform for their hateful idiocy.
  5. The further complication is that the ABC is not subject to market pressures, and individuals are required by law to pay the taxes which fund their presenters.  There seems to be a legitimate interest in ensuring that the ABC doesn’t broadcast outrageous positions.
  6. But it was her goddamn Facebook.  And the comment wasn’t even that outrageous.  What the fuck?


  1. Anzac Day shouldn’t be beyond criticism.  It is criticism which prevents Anzac Day from descending into yet another bog of insecure white male jingoism.
  2. But most of the shit that gets flung at Anzac Day is barely recognisable as ‘criticism’.
  3. Most of it is just ‘edgy’ performance of progressive angst.
  4. But why do we pay so much attention to what are, frankly, trivial sleights?

The hot takes are killing me.

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