Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Five tweses on Whalegate

Blogging has suddenly become the subject of popular fascination in New Zealand, thanks to the revelations of the manifold connections between the National Party and right-wing bloggers like Cameron Slater, the proprietor of Whale Oil. I've been too busy to post anything about the ongoing scandal here, and my services are probably not required, anyway, given the excellent coverage that bloggers like Danyl McLaughlan and Giovanni Tiso have carried. 
I have, though, been following and commenting on the bewildering events of the past few days on that bastard offspring of the blog, twitter. Here are five 'tweses' on what we may as well call Whalegate.

1. I was relieved that the anonymous hacker of Whale Oil gave his or her loot to Nicky Hager, rather than Penny Bright. A comparison of Hager's work with the stuff that turns up at Uncensored, the magazine Penny patronises, shows the truth of my mate Matthew Dentith's argument that conspiracy theories can be robust as well as wacky. 
2. Anyone who doubts Nicky Hager's ability to undertake sustained and painstaking research should read his long essay about radar stations and codebreaking on New Zealand's home front during World War Two. Hager's text was published by a peace group, and was undoubtedly motivated by his hostility to our contemporary as well as byegone spooks, but like all good pieces of scholarship it has a value that transcends its author's politics. As I've said too many times on this blog, bias is a precondition for good research. Nicky may not consider it an honour, but Paul Janman and I created the character of Felix Quail after becoming preoccupied with his descriptions of life in isolated wartime radar stations. 
3. I was amused by the way Cameron Slater attempted to dismiss Nicky Hager as a pseudo-scholar, when Whale Oil has featured plugs for such towering works of scholarship as Noel Hilliam's book-length claim that ancient Greeks sailed all the way to New Zealand and established a large society here, before apparently being vapourised by latecomer Maori. 
4. The febrile comments threads of Whale Oil and Kiwiblog have been scrutinised over the past week. I've documented a couple of forays into the Kiwiblog bear pit. Abandon hope of rational discussion, all ye who enter.
5. Talkback radio host and columnist Kerre Woodham, whose strident, unselfconscious manner would be well-suited to a Kiwiblog comments thread, claimed in yesterday's Herald that the sort of dirty politics Nicky Hager has documented have been 'around' for 'tens of thousands of years'. I know that Cameron Slater is a Neanderthal, Kerre, but I think you've made the same sort of mistake as the bank teller who adds a couple of zeros to a statement. I don't think Palaeolithic humans, like my mate Mungo Man, deserve to be associated with the primitive behaviour that Hager has documented... 

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

4 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

I'd never heard of Hagar until all this fuss. In fact I had heard of Slater but I wasn't sure who he was.

I think that you mean 'I don't think Paleolithic humans...' You left out 'think' it appears.

But interesting. I looked at the old post on Mungo Park. I was thinking of going to Australia possibly next year and I wanted to see places like that. My brother has seen a lot, as he lived at Tennant Creek once and has lived for years in Townsville. I have cousins in Australia who I met for the first time last year: so I would appreciate some tips later on as the best way to get around and what to see as well as the usual stuff.

I am clearing out the books I had for sale, I think you or Ted's wife could have the books that relate to the Pacific. I have a book for Ted. I want to sell the many history, politics, sociology etc etc and possibly keep the Australian stuff or sell it. The aboriginal history and the vastness of Australia interest me (especially as I read 'The Tree of Man' as a teenager).

This is all speculation so far but I hope to get across there, as I have never been to Australia (everyone else in my family have including Vic!)

But keep up the good work.

The acerbic Italian philosopher / writer Comrade Tiso, is the man to take on the evil men on their Blogs, I leave them alone. I will sup with a long spoon.

11:01 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Out of curiosity I looked on Slater's Blog and he had quite an attractive Israeli woman who was urging some kind of negotiation etc and she spoke quite well, and fairly reasonably, but Slater called it a rant! Then in the middle of a few videos of her, he says something like: "It shows you how reasonable the Israelis can be...'!!

Sadly rather like the wandering drivellings of a child. I mean, yes, an in depth discussion of the history of Palestine and the long oppression of the Jewish people leading up (via expulsion from Britain, pogroms all over the world including Arabic nations, the famous Dreyfuss case, and much else) perhaps to WWII and then the whys and wherefores of the Zionist movement, and that of the Palestinian movements etc But no, when someone tries to say something reasonable (the young woman, a singer I think she is, wanted negotiation and was certainly opposed to a 'solution by war', which is one idea he could have gone with...): as soon as that, he was all over the place.

So I looked a few other things but couldn't make much sense of it. I wasn't so keen on Labour-Nat but I am now thinking I should help to ditch anyone with close ties to such as Slater et al.

11:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this what dictators do?
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10400852/Law-Society-critical-of-Judith-Collins
Amazing impudence...

9:18 am  
Anonymous 132 FUK U said...

RICHARD OBVIOUSLY WANTS TO OVERTHROW OUR LAWFUL GOVERNMENT AND REPLACE IT WITH A DICTATORSHIP. OF WHAT?

1:37 pm  

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