Russell's Red Letter Day
A couple of months ago Russell found the time to visit this blog and denounce my defence of the Prime Ministers' Awards for Literary Achievement. According to Russell, the Prime Ministers' Awards, which see thirty thousand dollars being given every year to two or three outstanding Kiwi scribblers, are a prime example of 'jackbooted communist thugs abusing and corrupting democracy'. By handing some filthy lucre to James Belich, Peter Bland, and Fiona Kidman, John Key had shown that he had 'the same mentality as the UK rioters', and had helped to 'drag our society to its lowest point in history'.
I wasn't particularly surprised by the level of vituperation Redbaiter brought to this blog. Redbaiter is infamous in the Kiwi blogosphere for his attacks on not only the left but large parts of the right. At his own blog and in the comments threads at other sites, Redbaiter has described even conservative National Ministers like Judith 'Crusher' Collins as 'cultural Marxists', and characterised this country as a 'communist police state'. Anybody who dares to disagree with Redbaiter's judgments is inevitably diagnosed as a 'sick liberal', an 'Islamocommunist thug', or a 'leftard'.
As I said a couple of months ago, I don't believe that Redbaiter is using the Kiwi blogosphere and its thousand comments threads to fight some heroic battle with Tourette's Syndrome: I think his manner is quite deliberate.
Redbaiter wants to preclude polite discussion with the rhetorical equivalent of thermonuclear strikes on his opponents. His pre-emptive strikes tend to prompt either dazed silence or return volleys of verbal abuse, and abuse seems to fortify Redbaiter in his belief that everyone to the left of Enoch Powell is a grimly conspiratorial minion of darkness, rather than a human being who disagrees with him about certain political issues.
Redbaiter's curious online behaviour reminds me a little of some of the stories about Jackson Pollock's attempts to woo women in New York bars back in the '40s. Apparently Pollock would, after making a mess of himself by consuming copious amounts of liquor, sidle over to a woman in the corner of a bar and say something along the lines of "You got nice tits - wanna screw?" It's easy to guess the response this invitation got.
Pollock's mates got sick of his drunken mock-macho nonsense, and secretly hired an escort to hang about the bar he frequented. After Pollock had gotten drunk enough to confront her with his usual crude come-on, she answered "Sure - let's go" and grabbed her coat. Pollock fainted. The point is that, for folks like Pollock and Redbaiter, acceptance is somehow more terrifying than angry or annoyed rejection.
Taking inspiration from Jackson Pollock's friends, I made Redbaiter an offer, a couple of months ago, after reading the denunciations of state funding for the arts he left here:
As an inveterate defender of 'Western civilisation', Redbaiter, you should be honoured to have taxes go towards the maintenance of the intellectual tradition Socrates founded, amongst other intellectual traditions. And don't think that the guardians of civilisation are ungrateful. A publisher and a film maker have applications for state funding for projects involving me in the works at the moment: if the projects are approved I'll dedicate the book and the film to you...
Although Creative New Zealand isn't keen on shelling out for a movie about the Great South Road at the moment, Titus Books did recently manage to cadge some money off them for my second volume of poetry (here's a review of the first). Feeding the Gods will be launched, complete with illustrations by the late great Kendrick Smithyman, on the 27th of this month, at Objectspace Gallery in Ponsonby, alongside a collection of Bronwyn Lloyd's stories called The Second Location.
The question is: will the scourge of the Kiwi blogosphere honour me by attending the launch of the book which I have dedicated to him? I hope he makes the 27th a Red Letter Day.
[Posted by Maps]