Daily Archives: September 24, 2008


Much as I liked the (temporary) template you saw, perhaps, I have had to ditch it because, and here is something WordPress should never do, it won’t allow you to close comments without hiding all the comment thread already there! Discovered this by accident, and I have no desire to go back reopening old posts!

Doesn’t matter so much on Ninglun’s Specials as comments there tend to stay open, with some exceptions which I must now check.


This is the older Journalist template (1.3) and does not have the comment thread problem that occurs on the new 1.9, which I still retain on Ninglun’s Specials and English/ESL where the problem doesn’t matter so much. I do like 1.9 better. Hope WP address the problem.

UPDATE 2 Friday 26 September

I have had an email from Heather at WordPress who originally announced the new 1.9 version of Journalist. On the comment thread issue she writes: “We’re looking into this issue and will respond when it’s resolved. Thanks for reporting it.” I have closed comments on 10. But is it art? Responses to the Bill Henson controversy of 2008 over on Ninglun’s Specials, which has the 1.9 version. As soon as that thread reappears I will know the problem has been solved. Then this blog will go to the new version. I think it is much nicer than the old one, though not all agree.

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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in blogging, site news


Moving post from gay ex-Marine

Earlier this month I reviewed Code of Conduct by Rich Merritt. I have to confess I put the book on one side and have only just finished it, after extending my library loan. I still have some reservations about some of the plot devices and dialogue, but it really is a very powerful and important story nonetheless, and offers considerable insight into US military life — quite different in many respects from the Australian version — and into US conservatism.

Just yesterday I highlighted a post on Rich Merritt’s blog in my new blog collector in the side bar. It is a post I don’t want you to miss, and so important to the writer that he came out of blog hiatus to write it:

10 years ago this month I resigned from the United States Marine Corps as a captain after thirteen years of service, receiving an honorable discharge…

In 2000 I voted for John McCain for President in the republican primary. I believed that as a former military man and POW, he understood my beliefs even more strongly than I did.

I was wrong.  At some point in the last thirty-five years John McCain lost his way.

Since 9/11, one-by-one John McCain has violated many of the beliefs I expressed above by supporting the George Bush administration’s assault on our liberties. A once honorable man has been corrupted by his ambition to be President, no matter what former “principles” he must sacrifice to reach that ultimate goal.

Barak Obama may not have the experience to be President but over 18,000,000 of my countrymen and women believe that he has. That’s how democracy works. And now Barak Obama is our last, best hope to resurrect this nation, a land I love so much that I was willing to sacrifice my life to protect its values.

With this posting I’ve broken my personal vow not write about politics. (I’ve also come out of a blog hiatus into which I will quickly and gladly retreat.) I believe this election is the most important at least since 1932. And as an optimist, I believe that we will do the right thing.

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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in America, current affairs, Gay and Lesbian, gay issues, politics, USA, writers


Cutting Edge: Embedded with Sheik Hilaly — SBS

hilalytitlesstillforweb I watched this documentary from 26 years old Dave Zwolenski on SBS last night. The Sydney Morning Herald has a video preview here, but I am not sure how long it will be staying. Zwolenski has a YouTube site, but the doco isn’t on it at this stage. It deserves to be widely seen, so I hope at least a clip goes up, Dave.

This Murdoch press reviewer can’t have seen the show, as she comprehensively misses the point: that for all his reservations, Zwolenski actually found himself liking “Taj”, as he insisted on being called, and that if anyone came across as a sad goose in the show — and she wasn’t set up — it was the famous Kate from Camden. The show was about transcending prejudice and difference, on both sides; that reviewer is a case study of filtering information through stereotype and prejudice. As Dave said at the end, Taj helped him put the us in Muslim.

SBS summarises:

Cutting Edge – Follows Dave Zwolenski a 26 year-old man who decides to move in with Australia’s most controversial Muslim figure, Sheik Taj El Hilaly, in order to learn more about the cleric, Islam and the Australian-Muslim community. Dave likes girls and drinking beer. Raised a Catholic, these days he prefers to stay away from religion altogether. Sheik Hilaly is 66, born in Egypt and a devout Muslim. He likes praying and drinking ‘man tea’ (his own special blend). Together, Dave and the Sheik form an odd couple, but for the next few weeks they are going to be inseparable. The documentary is the first of a three-part observational documentary series called Embedded, where young Australians from a variety of backgrounds are placed into very different cultures to learn and share in their experiences. The complete series will be broadcast over the summer period on SBS. Executive Producer – Michaela Perske, Writer/Director – Gary Doust. 

Some on this Muslim blog, taking their cue from the Murdoch article mentioned earlier, had reservations about the program, including, I notice, Irfan Yusuf. Some of those reservations seem to stem from embarrassment with the often media-unfriendly Sheik. They needn’t have worried; it was as good a cross-cultural exploration as you could get, in my opinion, and has the potential to do us all some good. As the print review in this week’s Herald TV Guide — the particular article not online — says:

Dave agrees to live with the sheik…, observes Islamic practices and meets ordinary Muslims in order to learn something about the much-maligned religion. The results are contrived (there is, after all, a camera present, and Dave is the one compromising his lifestyle) but this is one of the most watchable and objective portrayals of Islam you will see.

For what it’s worth, the sheikh comes across as an affable and stubborn bloke with the sexist attitudes of many men of his generation — regardless of religion…

Much about that religion — or that particular expression of it — is unattractive to me, but then I have to concede that many of the attitudes expressed would be quite familiar to anyone brought up in a strict Orthodox Jewish or Christian fundamentalist background — and that includes the sheik’s much-publicised views on women’s clothing! It was good to hear the sheik affirm that he is not in the business of prescribing dress codes for all Australian women, and that all women, whether or not they are wearing bikinis, should be treated with respect. The sheik also described the 9/11 perpetrators, and those who follow that path, as “crazy people”.  As I said, his particular puritanism doesn’t appeal to me, but the program did open a sane path to accommodate with one another in the interests of a more harmonious Australia, the sheik did concede he was a bit of a fossil, and Dave survived the experience.

Great to see this totally Aussie 20-something taking on such a thorny issue in a manner that really did transcend prejudice without knee-jerk political correctness.

I should mention my first heads-up on this program came from James O’Brien’s blog.