The masses be damned
They're a funny old bunch, the commenters at this blog. I offer them lengthy lectures about weighty subjects like rioting in East Timor, EP Thompson's 1976 visit to India, and the problems of contemporary Kiwi poetry (alright, maybe that last subject is flabby, rather than weighty), and they snub me, preferring to discourse about short, throwaway posts on vege pies and kickboxing. Anyone would think I was a boring intellectual out of touch with the masses...
Since you're all so interested in scrapping about scrapping, though, here's an interesting article about Mike Tyson, race, class and boxing which appeared a few years ago in my favourite left-wing rag, Britain's Weekly Worker. Its author, professional sports writer Mark Marqusee, argues that boxing needs to be reclaimed from big business. Money quote:
It is important to realise that over the past decade there has been a conspiracy among boxing authorities, broadcasters, municipal officials, doctors, medical experts, promoters, advertisers and of course bookmakers to keep Tyson fighting in the ring, when he should have been excluded years ago. Again, not because of his criminal record, not because of his bizarre pronouncements and image, but very specifically because he consistently breaks the rules of the game inside the ring. The rules of the ring do not represent a higher morality, but they are the basic requirement of sport. Sport simply does not work, either as a spectacle or a pastime, if you compromise them.
Sport works because it sets up parameters within which various human attributes - speed, stamina, strength, agility, tactical/strategic thinking, inventiveness, discipline and many others - are showcased and tested and explored, and can form a deeply engaging and compelling spectacle. So, very simply, what we need to regulate is not the free movement of individuals across borders, but the global industry of sport and the way it has been distorted by capitalism.
My most recent piece on East Timor has stopped in at a few places around the web, including the popular British blog Lenin's Tomb, where there has been some discussion about the situation in Timor and the rest of the so-called 'arc of instability' to Australasia's north. On indymedia, a couple of commenters have mentioned the strange position of the Socialist Party of Timor, which has joined Gusmao's unconstitutional and fervently pro-Australian government. Thanks to Urihao and the anarchists at infoshop for plugs, and to the industrious folks at the bilingual Timor Online for a translation.
Since you asked, the latest news from East Timor is bad. I don't see how the Anzac approach to door knocking is helping things, either.