thumping the tub
Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. (from oed.com). This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
DEBATING THE POINT
I see George Galloway is in trouble again. He isn't guilty. I feel I can say that with confidence because if he was guilty there are so many knives out for him that he would have been convicted by now. The US (like some UK papers and politicians previously) is making a mistake pursuing him - he has a skill at turning situations to his advantage and this probably won't be any different. On the news this morning he told Senator Norm Coleman to 'put up or shut up' and said he is willing to get on the first plane to the US to face perjury allegations in court. As I said, I don't think he is guilty but I wonder if he is concerned that if such a thing happened, the court might not be as impartial as he would hope.

I watched the recent George Galloway - Christopher Hitchens debate (http://www.democracynow.org/ - scroll down) and was struck most by what a complete waste of time the whole thing was. Hitchens is 'a humbug trying to be a bugbear'[i] and I, like many others have been irate about the volte-face that he has performed in the last few years and wanted to see him brought down a peg or six, but I realised that by tuning in to see things like this I am only giving him what he wants - attention. This is exactly what the US senate are doing with Galloway.

Whilst I don't always agree with him, I sometimes do and I have an amount of respect for Galloway but it concerns me that certain sections on the left are turning into a George Galloway personality cult. The left should not base itself around one de facto leader, because, if that person is disgraced (fairly or unfairly) then a whole number of causes may go down with them. When Scargill was discredited the miners were finished. This also applies to Hugo Chavez, Cindy Sheehan and anyone else you can think of.

The origins of the idea for putting these two together came when Galloway went to the US senate and refused to answer questions from Hitchens. When asked why, he replied, "because you’re a bloated, drink-soaked, former-Trotskyist popinjay[ii]."

The plan was to have two relatively high profile figures to have an open debate in order to raise awareness of what is going on in the middle-east. There was a certain amount of promotion and it was billed as 'the grapple in the big apple'. I assume the two antagonists were paid for their exertions in the debate.

Hitchens attempted to take the intellectual high ground by conceding that he was not as good at abusing people as Galloway and thereby attempted to sidestep this part of the jousting. This was also a sly attempt to appear the 'nice' man of the two and thereby get the audience on his side.

Galloway said exactly what one would expect him to say and attacked where one would expect him to attack... "The vast majority of the people of Iraq are against the American and British occupation of their country...the vast majority of them want it to come to an end...and the vast majority of those fighting to bring it to an end are Iraqi's. Get used to it. Get over it. Understand it or you are fooling yourselves." He also still enjoys his Victoriana, no 'popinjays' this time but he referred to Hitchens as a 'gutter-snipe' and made reference to chimney sweeps.

Hitchens attempted to justify the unjustifiable just as he has been doing for the last few years citing the fact that Saddam is gone as a huge achievement and neatly glossing over massacres at Fallujah and elsewhere. This all went according to form.

Aside from some reasonably good repartee ("you've fallen out of the gutter into the sewer") the reaction of the audience was the only interesting part. Rather than listening to what either of the speakers had to say it was clear that the audience took sides very early on (probably before the doors were opened) and cheered and booed accordingly. Due to this I am not sure any deeper understanding of the issues was achieved by this whole charade and toward the end both of the speakers were visibly bored.

A much more interesting debate of the same kind is Noam Chomsky and Richard Perle which you can get http://www.chomsky.info/audionvideo.htm (toward the bottom of page). This debate is conducted between two people who, for entirely different reasons, are big-hitters but do not particularly enjoy the limelight - not two self-promoters. Even though it is from 1988, there is much more of interest mentioned in this debate than in the Galloway-Hitchens.



[i] From 'Moby Dick'
[ii] Popinjay - An early name for a parrot.
posted by michael the tubthumper @ 12:29 pm  
6 Comments:
  • At 3:29 pm, Blogger joe said…

    Hi Michael -
    This is a fine blog, sir.
    You know, I can sometimes almost understand the hubris of the neoconservatives, deciding to attempt to dominate, rape and loot the entire world...
    What I'll never be able to understand is how someone could decide to debate Noam Chomsky:
    "Toe to toe with Chomsky in a formal debate setting? Sure!"
    The Elites may be fairly bright and thorough and thoughtful - but they obviously have some glaring weaknesses, eh? Madness might head the list...
    Keep up this great work, Michael.
    - joe, from Mickey's
    PS - Yes, I much enjoyed the Orwell interview. In my twenties, I often "interviewed" Jesus. Fortunately, He was always very gentle with me.

     
  • At 4:00 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    thanks joe

    if you listen to it, Perle tried to subvert the format and in one single line chomsky puts him right down. its v funny.

     
  • At 7:38 pm, Anonymous Mickey Z. said…

    Funny meeting you guys here.

    The only problem with Chomsky debating these folks is that Noam has never learned to be concise. He just can't make his point between commercials. Part of this is because when dissidents speak, they require tons of evidence and context. Ann Coulter can step up to the mike and shriek: "America is god's country and Saddam ran rape rooms." No evidence needed. Chomsky often says he thinks if the corporate media were more clever, they'd have him on TV more often so he'd look like a lunatic when he says what he says but has no time to back it up.

     
  • At 10:01 am, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    too true mickey. no evidence required for the right-wing stuff but the research on the left has to be impeccable

    galloway gets round this by doing his own tubthumping!, if nothing else, he is good box office.

     
  • At 8:18 pm, Blogger Newsguy said…

    Hitchens is a pompous idiot, making a living pretending to know something profound.

     
  • At 8:21 pm, Blogger michael the tubthumper said…

    yup

    was going to try and write something vitriolic about him but then decided he wasn't worth wasting any more time on

     
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What is Tubthumping and who is doing it?

Name: michael the tubthumper
Home: Glasgow, Scotland
About Me: Tub-Thumper - 1. A speaker or preacher who for emphasis thumps the pulpit; a violent or declamatory preacher or orator; a ranter. This blog will be a combination of reasoned posting somedays and an occasional rant. 28 years old, I write and research for a couple of websites and also do my own stuff.
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Thumping The Tub Video

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I have made a few short movies. Here are links to free downloads for them all in the order that I made them (as far as I can remember). Please feel free to use, distribute, disagree with, shout at etc etc

  • Praise The Lord and Pass The Ammunition
  • This was a REAL song from World War 2. I was so stunned by it I had to make a movie

  • How Far Is It From Here to Nuremberg
  • This is my attempt at a video for the excellent, if worrying, David Rovics (see links) song

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  • What is going on in Iraq? Some things you knew, some you didn't. A couple of bits of info are out of date now.

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    some of the blogs I look at
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    The inaugural 'Arse of the month' award goes to our very own Scottish First Minister Jack (Joke) McConnell. He seems to spend a lot of his time sucking up to english politicians and yet it appears they don't even know his name. Follow the link to see..

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    A list of some other Scottish sites and blogs most of which, if not all, are pro-independence. I don't agree with content on all of them obviously. Some are Scots at home, others abroad.

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