Saturday, 15 August 2009

Trotter struts, frets, once again

Chris Trotter continues his quest to establish himself as the dominant blogger of the left. Unfortunately, tactic is not to taking the fight to the right with unparalleled ferocity but to lash out at those around him. The traditional leftwing approach, in other words. Solidarity? Combination? Good words, nothing more.

Trotter has decided that Idiot/Savant needs to be taken down a peg or two - and, presumably, Chris Trotter elevated - following a post on No Right Turn (1) about remarks made by Toke Talagi (2), the premier of Niue, suggesting it was time for Fijians to use civil disobedience against the junta.

Idiot/Savant thought this a good idea. Trotter demurred. Forgetting his own Bowalley Road rules (3) about personal attacks (again (4)) he posted a sneering diatribe (5) claiming that I/S was naive in thinking that civil disobedience could accomplish anything.

Idiot/Savant has not, as yet, replied. Perhaps he/she doesn't wish to dignify Trotter's childish squib throwing with a response, or perhaps like myself, only rarely bothers to look in on Bowalley Road these days. Sophomoric attacks on leftwing bloggers, clumsy biblical parallels, recycled columns from ten years ago and really bad poetry, all presented in Trotter's signature over-wrought style, don't make for very interesting reading.

I'm not as dignified as the worthy Idiot/Savant, however. Not only is Trotter wasting his time and obscuring his message - I would have been blogging about the substance, if the vituperation hadn't annoyed me so much - but he's also being ... well .. childish. Chris, if Bowalley Road is intended to be a "Portfolio" (6), do you really want it to be one that makes you look like a petulant brat, engaged in eternal "People's Front of Judea" type factional squabbling, trying to demonstrate your cojones are larger and hairier than another anonymous blogger's?

I hope not. If you do, pack up shop and go away. It's an unedifying spectacle.

As for substance, I note Trotter's claim that
In the case of the "colour revolutions" (so called because the demonstrators took to wearing a single, identifying colour: "Rose" in Georgia, "Orange" in the Ukraine) what appeared to be spontaneous popular uprisings were in fact carefully planned and flawlessly executed political mobilisations engineered by individuals and groups expertly trained and lavishly funded by the United States. (7)
He offers no evidence in support of this contention. Sorry Chris, but if you can' cite some evidence of this malign interference, then you're no closer to reality than you claim Idiot/Savant is. Given the total inability of the USA to effect swift, bloodless and discrete regime change in so many other places, the onus is on you to prove your claim. I might believe that the Rose Revolution was instigated by David Icke's intergalactic blood drinking lizards, but without evidence, it remains fantasy.

Why does this matter? Well, because I used to think that Chris Trotter was important. I used to be a fan. And, of course, Hell hath no fury like a semi-acolyte disillusioned. But Trotter's importance is inversely proportional to his presence. Like a semi-attractive woman in a boob-tube and overly-tight jeans, the more of Chris Trotter on display, the less you want to see. In his newspaper columns, his blogging and his appearnaces on the radio, he reveals his limitations. A handful of quotations, some pretentious brouhaha and a smearing of avuncular charm is the essential character of the Trotter mode. Re-reading No Left Turn, I'm reminded of how indigestible his style is - it is bearable in a column or a post, but when faced with a chapter of it - and how reliant he is on the work of others. So much of the book is a cobbling together of other people's research and works, with brief interludes of Trotteresque prose. There is no new insight or information, just repeating what others have said, in a painfully elaborate manner.

Does he have anything to contribute? Probably. But I'm less sure than I used to be.

1 - "Fiji: time to rise up?," posted by Idiot/Savant on No Right Turn, 6th of August, 2009. (
2 - "Niue head urges Fijians to 'rise up'," by Claire Trevett, published in the New Zealand Herald, 6th of August, 2009. (
3 - The rules for Bowalley Road state "I intend Bowalley Road to be a much quieter, and certainly a more respectful, place. So, if you wish your comments to survive the moderation process, you will have to follow the Bowalley Road Rules. These are based on two very simple principles: Courtesy and Respect. Comments which are defammatory, vituperative, snide or hurtful will be removed". Clearly, Chris feels no need to set an example, indulging in little spurts of spleen and trivial, pointless insults.
4 - "More on the Bain Case," posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, 15th of July, 2009. ( In the comments section Trotter refers to Don Franks as "ever the Stalinsit" and that he would ""
5 - ""Idiot/Savant? Well, he's half right," posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, 7th of August, 2009. (
6 - "Reader advisory," posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, 15th of April, 2009. (
7 - ""Idiot/Savant? Well, he's half right," posted by Chris Trotter on Bowalley Road, 7th of August, 2009. (

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