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Apr 9, 2012

Andrew Bolt does not support “Amazon bombing” critics’ books, and he wishes his readers would stop following the link he gave them

What's it called when someone tries to get a m

Pure Poison IconWhat’s it called when someone tries to get a mob of supporters to run across to the Amazon entry for an opponent’s book and leave negative reviews? Amazon bombing?

We hope no-one suggests that that is exactly what Andrew Bolt was doing with this post today:

Nor may you safely say no to Heiss, not publicly, if you live in Australia.

But the United States, unlike Australia, has a constitutional protection of free speech – and a cultural predisposition towards it.

So it will be interesting to see what Heiss, her publisher or her supporters will do to stop the US-based Amazon site from publishing the kind of comments that have been removed in Australia by the ABC and Random House.

See? He’s just ASKING QUESTIONS. He’s very definitely not doing anything more than that. And if you’re confused – or you’d already clicked on his Amazon link to race across and give Heiss’ book a negative review under the misunderstanding that that is what he was advocating – Andrew tries to set the record straight:

Note: I am not trying to incite anyone into attacking Heiss’s book. She is entitled to express her point of view. I am simply pointing out that I am not entitled to express my own, and nor is anyone of like mind who disagrees with Heiss. This is not a hate-Heiss session, but a protest against limits to free speech in debating an issue I believe is of significant public importance.

And that’s why I doubt there was a sudden stampede of WHERE IS MR BOLT’S FREE SPEECH? one-star reviews after the Southbank Martyr’s post went up. If there was, I’d be as surprised as I’m sure he would be.

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115 comments

115 thoughts on “Andrew Bolt does not support “Amazon bombing” critics’ books, and he wishes his readers would stop following the link he gave them

  1. jules

    Mondo I think Mal’s point is simply that it can come across as a bit off if you are attacking people for defending their rights. There’s clearly been no damage to our freedom of speech that wasn’t already there. Its hardly hurt Bolt.

    I don’t see this “attacking our free speech bullshit” as anything other than attacking indigenous people for daring to stand up for themselves. I’m sure thats not what you mean to do but to some people it might come across that way.

    And lets face it, people have died because they practised free speech – because they spoke up when other people directly threatened their life and liberty.

    They exercised their right to free speech and suffered for it.

    Its kind of distasteful that a whole bunch of people who will suffer no damage, pain or injury yet still go on about how oppressed and damaged their free speech is. Time and again, with no comeback against their free speech.

    If certain parties really valued free speech and believed what they were saying they wouldn’t let state oppression interfere with their message. They would be brave enough to make their stand and bear the consequences like every other hero of liberty in history. From the diggers to the diggers with many others before and after, brave people have put themselves on the line for freedom.

    Saying “I would but I’m not allowed to” is neither brave nor isa it defending freedom.

    Its like someone in Nazi germany saying “I would satnd up to the anti semeticism but I’m not allowed too.” (Sorry to go slightly Godwin on everyone but for some reason that example seemed the most appropriate.

    The current debate in the media wrt free speech is a joke. People complaining about the attack on their free speech are either cowards or disingenuous cos if free speech meant that much to them they wouldn’t let state oppression stand in its way.

  2. Eric Sykes

    mondo: “and thus fall into the special category of people who are, under our laws, legally protected from being offended”..er?…no but wait but no but hey but, y’know, mondo is really left and the rest of us are irrational for reading and responding to what he writes and we are just all attacking him personal like….. LOL.

  3. mondo rock

    EricAnd, given your broadly stated views here (this blog) and elsewhere I see absolutely nothing whatsoever that you and I share “common ground” on. LOL

    In the past fortnight I have argued here (this blog) in favour of gay marriage and the decriminalisation of drug use. Based on your assertion above, are we to assume that you oppose gay marriage and support the criminal prosecution of drug addicts?

    In the past six months I have taken a range of views here (this blog), many of them arguing for greater freedom of speech, but also arguing for an increase in Australia’s refugee intake, criticising the denialist approach to AGW science and decrying our Southbank friend for some of his more ridiculous comments. All positions that are, in my opinion, consistent with left-wing ideology.

    I understand that you don’t like me Eric – but your personal feelings are quite obviously causing you to make completely irrational assertions. And so that’s it for you and me – I don’t argue with the irrational as it is an obvious waste of time.

    Wood MalReferring to people as “arsehats” who were merely trying to get some sort of redress in the face of someone who has a powerful voice and who had clearly misrepresented them for his own personal and political gain is just about offensive as you can get.

    I don’t think you’re trying very hard if “arsehats” is the most offensive thing you can think of Mal! The mods here didn’t even censor it for crying out loud!!

    Anyway, unfortunately for you my thoroughly offensive comment doesn’t contain a racial element, so even if you are Aboriginal (and thus fall into the special category of people who are, under our laws, legally protected from being offended) you won’t be able to get a court sanctioned order preventing Crikey from publishing it.

    Which, when you think about it, is a good thing. Freedom of speech, including freedom to offend, is an important part of a free and fair democracy.

  4. Howard,B.

    Seems honesty in representing what others have said is also something not welcome in the House of Sykes, leaving plenty of space for Eric’s apparently preferred house-guest of ridiculous verballing.

  5. Fran Barlow

    Roberto Tedesco

    Interesting that Tedesco is Italian for German. 😉

  6. Eric Sykes

    “appear to be very comfortably successful middle-class citizens…” yes, shocking what? That these lower orders would deem to pull up the old bootstaps to our level. I say steady on, and then have the audacity to hold us to account on what we call ’em? Load of tosh, I mean to say, what makes them so bloomin’ special, they’d still be wallowing in the mud if us decent educated chaps hadn’t turned up….

  7. pugsley

    Those of you who persist in the calumny regarding racist comments on Amazon should just settle down. Andrew, himself, has been over for a look and found nothing, at all, which could be described as “racist”.
    And he should know, shouldn’t he?

  8. Howard,B.

    Eric Sykes

    “…arse-hats who elevated their personal grievances above a genuine commitment to liberty” about Australias first peoples. Disgusting.

    I assume you are referring to the nine plaintiffs in the Bolt case, who were indeed acting on a personal grievance, putting aside whether it was right or wrong.

    Now, why only “Australia’s first people”, Eric? Before you start talking about disadvantage, do keep in mind that none of the Bolt Nine are particularly downtrodden, but, on the contrary, appear to be very comfortably successful middle-class citizens.

    I assume your commitment to the “logical” means you enforce such standards in the House of Sykes regardless of the racial make-up of the subjects of discussion. To do otherwise would be, what’s the word you used? Disgusting.

  9. Eric Sykes

    “Jesus Eric – you won’t allow people with divergent political views into your home? Really?”.

    Absolutely not. Happy to debate in public and in a range of forums. Happy to allow a divergent range of views to be expressed across society in general. But simply riddiculous to offer personal hospitality to those who would say things like ” “…arse-hats who elevated their personal grievances above a genuine commitment to liberty” about Australias first peoples. Disgusting. By offering hospitality one therefore is seen to condone or at best tolerate such right wing bile. Nothing to do with anger at all, simply logical as far as I am concerned. And, given your broadly stated views here (this blog) and elsewhere I see absolutely nothing whatsoever that you and I share “common ground” on. LOL

  10. Wood Mal

    Mondo: this “…arse-hats who elevated their personal grievances above a genuine commitment to liberty”? Referring to people as “arsehats” who were merely trying to get some sort of redress in the face of someone who has a powerful voice and who had clearly misrepresented them for his own personal and political gain is just about offensive as you can get. The fact that you represent their concerns as “personal grievances” when distortions about their lives were circulated in a widely distributed newspaper is offensive. This was not just some private conversation between those parties. And I’m yet to see the terrible consequences of that judgement on that certain columnist. Have you?

    As to our young ex-Green candidates – I’m not willing to condone his speech, though I understand his anger. The comments were not particularly helpful were they? Adding fuel to the racist fire I would have thought.

  11. mr. peabody

    @Captain Col
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    I see that you are still refusing to address the issue that I raised with you about my Amazon post being removed due to your Right wing buddies.

    Why?

    It doesn’t fit with your argument of ‘the Left are anti-free speech’ does it?

    Do you find it a little uncomfortable to learn that the Right are trying silence the views of the Left?

  12. Roberto Tedesco

    Bolt is Dutch for dolt – flink zijn!!!!

    Heiss could be from the German verb “heissen” meaning “to be called”/”my name is…”.

    Bolt knows how to call his true, true believers.

  13. mondo rock

    However if you expressed the views you express here in my home, I’d ask you leave, politely, at first.

    Jesus Eric – you won’t allow people with divergent political views into your home? Really?

    Whilst I regularly disagree with conservatives, I don’t hate them like you seem to do. I don’t accuse them of all being racists or Nazis because . . . well . . . because they are my parents, some of my friends, and many of my colleagues.

    Let go of your anger dude – if not for its clouding of your judgement you would realise that you and I share significant common ground on most issues.

  14. Eric Sykes

    Just to clarify Howard old bean when I said “here” in regards to mondos views, I meant on this blog in general, not in regards to this particular thread. Carry on.

  15. GaryM

    “you must get your head around the fact that if we accept the principle of free speech, that speech doesn’t have to fulfil any criteria such as being factual, or any intent “to engage in a legitimate argument”. It can be absolute bullshit.”

    The last sentence Col, the last sentence. You must be finally getting it?

    Anyway what are you doing blogging again Col? Doncha know the world is falling into the hands of left wing terrorists? The North Koreans are about to test an inter Continental fire cracker, the Afghanistan war is going a treat, Iraq is practising population control with car bombs!!! You’re needed Col like, like never before. Free speech is or should be a subject for after the war is won No?

  16. Fran Barlow

    oops reminiscent

  17. Fran Barlow

    And now for someone who makes Blot look like nothing more than an unfortunate chap with cultural Tourettes Syndrome

    John Derbyshire’s rules for dealing with African Americans

    I’m not reposting it here, but let’s just say it’s reminisicent of old school r@cism.

  18. Brizben

    @CC – The comments appeared on the US Amazon site because Bolt linked to it after Random House roused to his game. I would wager the reason Random House deleted the comments was because they are trying to avoid PR disasters and sell books. The whole reason the Amazon website has crowd sourced reviews in the first place is to provide a higher quality service to their shoppers with out having to pay for it. It has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech.

  19. Howard,B.

    Fran

    Thanks for that, Fran. I genuinely hope you actually have an academic-like command of the German language and you riffed that little lesson off the top of your head, as it would be very flattering to think someone so learned would take the time to set straight my tentative sharing of high-school German.
    It would be most disappointing, however, to discover otherwise, and learn I’ve been the victim of someone’s quickly researched, one-upping pseudery.

    Speaking of “Hass” Howard, B said

    My, that was a bit of a cheap shot, Francene.

  20. Howard,B.

    However if you expressed the views you express here in my home, I’d ask you leave, politely, at first.

    Look out! Tough-guy Sykesy‘s about!

    Personally, all of seen from Mondo is a defence of the right to be objectionably offensive, as opposed to actually being offensive.

    Presumably, old mate Voltaire would be given the heave-ho from the house of Sykes as well. Politely at first, of course. *snerk*

  21. Matthew of Canberra

    “but the lefties here only want it to work in their favour. ”

    Bullshit. Sorry Col, but I disagree.

  22. Fran Barlow

    Speaking of “Hass” Howard, B said:

    [Maybe in one of its many conjugations, perhaps {hate = heiß}]

    No. Hassen {to hate) is a weak verb and its adjectival/participial declensions all keep the stem.

    Heiß always means “hot” although it also has idiomatic usages that are cognate. Thus the term “buff” is also rendered by heiß. Our aphorism, what you don’t know can’t hurt you has heiß as hurt. (figuratively it means “bother”; ‘make me hot’ {with anger})

  23. Eric Sykes

    whoops, that’s otters, what swim upside down…

  24. Eric Sykes

    mondo…I and oters here and elsewhere were calling you out as a right wing concern troll long before the Bolt issue, but of course the fact that you continually bang on about the Bolt issue as even vaguely related to “free speech” shows once more how far right you actually are.

    I do not know you “personally”; I only know what you write; I attack what I know about you, not what I don’t. You may be a splendid decent chap eh what?

    However if you expressed the views you express here in my home, I’d ask you leave, politely, at first.

  25. Captain Col

    Brizben @66, (and paul of albury) my question obviously referred to Australia. The comments that popped up on Amazon overseas are there because the US has a constitutional right of free speech, whereas Australia’s is not written but certainly implied and inherited from our mother country. So comments were removed from Australian sites (probably) on the grounds of racism and as a result of the very same worries that led to Bolt being in court.

    Disregard comments on blogs and whether or not blog owners can allow comments, you must get your head around the fact that if we accept the principle of free speech, that speech doesn’t have to fulfil any criteria such as being factual, or any intent “to engage in a legitimate argument”. It can be absolute bullshit. The point must be that people and the press are free to state their opinions (with some caveats eg slander, libel, incitement to violence – but not racial, religious, sexual preference etc).

    Mondo, I am well aware of your position on this and agree. The issue of free speech cuts both ways, but the lefties here only want it to work in their favour. That’s not free speech, that’s groupthink.

  26. jules

    Duncan @ 65 No far northern NSW actually, but I’m further north than some parts of and towns in Queensland.

  27. calyptorhynchus

    ““Heiss” is German for “hate” … hmmmm”

    Actually it’s the German for hot.

    Hate is “Hass”.

  28. Howard,B.

    “Heiss” is German for “hate”

    I don’t think so. Maybe in one of it’s many conjugations, perhaps. “Heiss” means, as far as my German goes, “hot”.
    Anita isn’t a bad looker, come to think of it.

  29. Matthew of Canberra

    *sigh*

    “You were complaining about ‘thuggish’ online behaviour. It doesn’t get much more thuggish than than what Mr Quall offered”

    I agree. I didn’t complain about it being taken down and I haven’t defended the guy in any way.

    “Perhaps what you meant by ‘distraction’, is anything that draws attention away from the object of your fixation, Matty.”

    And here was me thinking that the point of all ths argy bargy is andrew bolt’s free speech and anita heiss’ book (and matters related). I’d really rather the discussion focus on those things, given their obvious importance, than some berk who posted some stupid nasties about one of the participants. It added nothing to the discussion, and allowed one side to use it as a diversion and a way to mischaracterise their detractors. That seems simple enough to me.

    And I chose to stop posting on andrew bolt’s blog. I apologised for what I’d posted (I’ve posted all of this before, including links) and I was “reinstated”. I honestly haven’t tried posting since. I don’t know what would happen if I did.

    And my “online persona” is used for all sorts of things beyond my “fixation” with andrew bolt. I pretty much always post under the same moniker, too, so I’m easy enough to find.

  30. returnedman

    “Heiss” is German for “hate” … hmmmm

  31. Howard,B.

    Mondo

    an opponent’s obvious loss of temper.

    Before he locked-down his twitter account, Mr Quall tweeted that he was standing by his comments, and wasn’t apologetic. This would seem to suggest this was not a mere ‘loss of temper’.

    Far more likely that this is just another opportunity for the perpetually ouraged to feign wilting offense to an opponent’s obvious loss of temper. Oh mercy me I think I’m going to faint.

    Fair enough Mondo. However should someone of the far-right ever express a one off violent opinion regarding his ideological opponents, I’ll expect you’ll be perfectly consistent and deem it an allowable ‘blowing-off of steam’.
    Those of us who take a more unambiguous, hard-and-fast approach, however, will be free to call it for what it is.

  32. calyptorhynchus

    Just a little note from Planet Earth. Amazon is on the business of selling books, if a whole lot of people review a book in a hostile way then Amazon probably aren’t going to sell many of that title. They won’t lose money by this, because their business model doesn’t involve purchasing copies of books in advance, but they will lose the opportunity to make money.

    If this happens often enough they will simply restrict reviews to people who have purchased the book.

    Interesting observation, I wanted to post a review explaining the situation to bemused visitors (along the lines of MoC’s review), but I couldn’t because my Amazon account is in my real name. I started a calyptorhynchus account at Amazon, but then found you couldn’t post a review until you had made at least one purchase. So all the racist trolls must have already had active Amazon accounts. This raises the question, what do they buy there? we all know that right-wingers don’t read anything. Perhaps they’re buying Sarah Palin audio-books.

  33. Aliar Jones

    Nah, yah got more form than that Mondo…regulars here know that.

    You might not be as far gone as the gruesome crew of Howie, Col and Brown stain..but you’ve got a foot firmly in that camp.

  34. mondo rock

    Howard – I guess I just don’t see those comments as particularly serious or realistically dangerous. Perhaps I’m wrong and there are people out there who want to hunt down Bolt and beat him and are only waiting for the imprimatur of Michael Quall before acting on their violent urges.

    But I doubt it. Far more likely that this is just another opportunity for the perpetually ouraged to feign wilting offense to an opponent’s obvious loss of temper. Oh mercy me I think I’m going to faint.

    Good to see some support here from lefties for Bolt’s call for free speech … and that it’s OK to insult and offend.

    Col, I know you only visit here occasionally so you may have missed it – but I have never wavered from my commitment to Bolt’s right to insult and offend, nor in my opposition to the result of the case brought against him. It was an appalling decision, brought on by a bunch of arse-hats who elevated their personal grievances above a genuine commitment to liberty (i.e. free speech).

    It’s one of the main reasons why so many here now think I’m secretly a radical right-winger and attack me personally whenever I post. See GaryM’s comment at #35 above for a good example.

  35. Brizben

    [Will we ever be able to insult and offend Aborigines without being taken to court?]
    But is the intention of the “amazon bombers” to engage in legitimate argument or are they setting out to insult and offend? I believe a lot of the “amazon bombers” are not setting out to engage in a legitimate argument.

  36. Duncan

    “Then again it was only 5 years ago that people were lighting burning crosses on hilltops not to far from where I live.”

    I assume you’re in Queensland Jules? 😉

    “RACIST comments published on US book retailer website Amazon about an Aboriginal author have reignited debate surrounding News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt..”

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/bolt-link-to-racist-reviews-of-book-20120411-1wsa1.html

  37. ShaunHC

    http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/bolt-link-to-racist-reviews-of-book-20120411-1wsa1.html

    Bolt ain’t looking so clever now that the bomb just blew up in his face. What a fool. It would be nice if the judge saw this and decided it was contemptuous… ah well, I can only dream.

  38. mr. peabody

    @Captain Col
    Posted April 11, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    What?…no comment about Amazon removed my post due to Andy’s trolls? It doesn’t really fit yours and Andy’s argument that the Right are the protectors of free speech. It’s best to ignore it and pretend it never happen. And continue to blame the evil Left and falsely claim that they are waging a war on free speech.

  39. Howard,B.

    Coldsnacks

    Least til the next election, n’est-ce pas?

    You’re probably correct, there Coldsnacks. Though, he’s still gracing the Qld Green’s website.

  40. Howard,B.

    Matty

    Random house and the ABC (and Amazon) have no obligation to host anybody’s content if they decide that it doesn’t suit them

    Come now, Matthew. You’ve apparently made an entire part-time career (and online persona) out of obsessing over the man who refuses to publish your comments on his blog.

    Given this, I would’ve thought you’d understood that questioning why one’s reasonable and polite post is binned is not the same as insisting on the right to determine the content of other people’s websites.

    They run a comments page for feedback about their products and services, and some clown hijacks it to pursue a personal vendetta against an author.

    Like I said, my post was relevant to the topic of the page, as were many others. There were a lot of ‘clowns’ being vexatious, granted, but I made a point of addressing the topic of the page (Heiss’s Deadly award).

    What about defamation, etc, etc?

    Already assumed, but irrelevant given not all (if any) posts in question fitted into any of these cited categories. We appeared to be only talking about the merely objectionable vs the violent in this regard.

    I think it’s a mere distraction, yes.

    You were complaining about ‘thuggish’ online behaviour. It doesn’t get much more thuggish than than what Mr Quall offered. Perhaps what you meant by ‘distraction’, is anything that draws attention away from the object of your fixation, Matty.

  41. paul of albury

    Col, the point is you can’t just make stuff up. You can still insult and offend but why would you want to anyway? What does that say about you?

  42. Coldsnacks

    Mr Quall is a public representative (a candidate) for the nation’s third political party.

    *was

    The election was 2 weeks ago. So he’s now a former Greens candidate, and ostensibly, a private citizen.

    Least til the next election, n’est-ce pas?

  43. Harry Rogers

    Mondo you’re a breath of fresh air in a whingeing immature world.

  44. jules

    “Crawl back under your rock and eat a bowl of cyanide muesli” is hardly a direct threat is it? Calling for someone to be hunted down and beaten within an inch of their life … that is kind of getting near the line tho. Then again it was only 5 years ago that people were lighting burning crosses on hilltops not to far from where I live. So its not like the line means anything to a particular bunch of wingnuts in this country.

  45. Howard,B.

    Mondo

    Let’s recap what Mr Quall stated:

    “andrew bolt is a vile c*nt of a man i openly condone hunting him down and beating him within an inch of his life”

    Perhaps your understanding of the modern English language is more sophisticated than mine, Mondo, but the above does not sound like any harmless ‘rhetorical device’ or quaint turn of phrase that is not likely to be taken literally.
    It can only be described as an explicit endorsement of violence.

    Andrew Bolt is a vile dog who should be put down

    Again Mondo, I wasn’t aware that calling someone a ‘dog who should be put down’ was now a phrase widely used and known as a benign expression of simple frustration.
    Perhaps I need to get out more.

  46. Captain Col

    Good to see some support here from lefties for Bolt’s call for free speech … and that it’s OK to insult and offend.

    Where will it all end?

    Will we ever be able to insult and offend Aborigines without being taken to court?

  47. Matthew of Canberra

    HB, you can do better than that.

    “It is you who has missed something fundamental, Matty. Mr Quall’s post was one post taken down not because it was merely offensive or rude or not ‘nice’, but because it was explicitly violent.”

    Probably. Other posts have disappeared too – Mal’s, for example. I don’t actually have anything from amazon explaining why that post was removed, so I can only speculate. I’ll draw your attention the button under the comments, though – it says “report abuse”. The T&C for posting includes, as one of the reasons a comment may be inappropriate, “Profane or obscene, inflammatory or spiteful comments”.

    But I don’t actually disagree with the decision to remove that comment. It was obnoxious.

    “Now contrast this to the threads on the ABC and Random House that removed all posts on the grounds that some were merely offensive, or not ‘nice’.”

    Tough luck. Those aren’t agents of the government (and no, the ABC really isn’t – it’s a company that is owned by the government, and operates under its own charter with separate rights and responsibilities). Random house and the ABC (and Amazon) have no obligation to host anybody’s content if they decide that it doesn’t suit them. I read some of the stuff on that random house thread, and it was nasty. I don’t blame them for removing it. They run a comments page for feedback about their products and services, and some clown hijacks it to pursue a personal vendetta against an author. Not their problem.

    And you’ll notice (if you look) that I have posted several times Over There that I believe andrew has the right to publish or not publish anything he likes. I seemed to be one of the few “aggro” posters back around 2006 or so who actually said that I didn’t think I had a right to see my comments accepted. Even when he censored me, I said I agreed that he had the right to do so. I see this blog exactly the same way. If I want REAL free speech, I have to go get the means of publication for my myself. Same goes for you. Don’t moan just because somebody takes your comments off the web. It’s not their job to give you a voice.

    “Violent sentiment is where free-speech ends, Matty, for obvious reasons, whilst merely offensive speech, however unsavoury, is within this limit. Even then, the ABC and Random House took down comments that were neither.”

    What about defamation? What about genuine obscenity? What about privacy? What about publishing things that are under any sort of legal embargo (court orders, for example)? What about publishing classified information?

    See, there really are quite a lot of restrictions on free speech in practice. Not just violent sentiment.

    “Good to see you’ve got your priorities straight, Matty. A representative of a political party making explicitly violent statements is a mere distraction”

    I think it’s a mere distraction, yes. The guy was being an idiot – basically picking a fight with the whole world. The actual level of practical threat was non-existent, particularly as he had clearly handed over enough information to amazon that he could be traced by the police if necessary (not to mention being a political candidate – although I didn’t know that). He was about as dangerous as a drunk shouting at the traffic. As long as nobody claiming to be serious CONDONED that, then I consider him to be about as relevant as, well, an ex-greens candidate 🙂

    “, whilst members of the public making merely ‘offensive’ comments is ‘the real subject at hand’.”

    Actually, I thought the subject at hand was the question of free speech in australia. If you think the raving street-corner drunk is more important, then that’s up to you.

  48. Howard,B.

    Fran

    Random House can decide what appears on its website.

    Agreed. Where have I suggested otherwise, Fran? Andrew Bolt can decide what comments appears on his website but those reasonable souls who make valid contributions but do not get published are within their rights to question his commitment to public discussion.

    Presumably, it found the remarks offensive or trolling.

    Or they simply disliked what was a reasonable and polite question, used a few genuinely nasty comments as an excuse and did away with further discussion.

    It’s a clear paradox that earnest defenders of the primacy of the rights of private property are insistent that the owners of it — in the case Random House — are bound to serve the wishes of non-stakeholders in their property.

    I’ve never suggested Random House is obliged to publish any comments, but like those who complain about non-abusive posts not being published on Bolta’s blog, it is entirely proper to point out a less-than-ironclad commitment to open discussion. Especially from a publishing house.

    This is to say nothing of an entire thread being flushed down the memory hole at the publicly funded ABC, Fran.

  49. 2dogs

    Seriously, a new low for intellectual ideology. I have just read several of the “reviews” for the book in question and Mr Bolt and his knuckle dragging Neanderthals single handedly make me ashamed to be an Australian. No objective reviews of the content of the book and its literacy usage, just one angry dwarf`s bitter attempt to sabotage a person who had the audacity to call him to account on accusations he was making.

    On the plus side I now have a new unit of measurement for the industrial factory smells from over the road of my house when the wind is blowing my way.
    Neighbour: “Sheesh, it smells bad today, they must be melting plastic in dog feces over there”
    2dogs: “Yeah they must be pumping out at least 4 Bolts today” (on a 1 to 5 scale)

  50. mondo rock

    Once you start making excuses for violent speech, Mondo, where do you stop?

    This seems to be the nub of your critique Howard so I’ll restrict my response to addressing it.

    The error in your argument is that you’re trying to frame the issue in absolute terms. The reality is that absolute terms are (as they usually are) an unreasonable and ultimately restrictive way of viewing the question of violent speech. The English language is full of violence – most often employed as a rhetorical device to usefully illustrate the feeling of the speaker – and blanket attempts to declare all of it off-limits unreasonably restricts our freedom of expression.

    I’ll give you an example: “Why don’t you go take a flying leap!” – a common and not too subtle way of saying “why don’t you go and kill yourself.” It’s acceptable because it’s clearly tongue-in-cheek. Similarly when someone observes “So-and-so is an oxygen thief” or “Is it too late for his mother to get an abortion?”.

    There is a question of taste involved here, but despite their violent underpinnings the statements are obviously harmless.

    So to answer your question: where do you stop making excuses for this sort of language? Well – you stop when the language is serious in its intent, or is sufficiently reckless in its potential as to seriously create a risk of actual harm.

    We’re adults and we should be capable of distinguishing emotive language from dangerous language.