Insight oversight

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Last updated on July 27th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

To: Gay Alcorn, Insight editor, The Age
From: Tim Blair
Dear Ms Alcorn,

On Saturday, your Insight section ran (reproduced here in part) the following unbylined piece:

Sydney Daily Telegraph columnist Malcolm Farr recently declared that ‘the right seems to be winning’ the Australian blogging commentary war. According to Farr, left-wing bloggers are a ‘bunch of whining, humourless, self-absorbed bores …’ Farr compared two blogs—Margo Kingston’s Webdiary (from the left, according to Farr) Tim Blair’s blog (from the right). Some of Blair’s comments were ‘oafish and infantile’, conceded Farr, but he reasoned that ‘someone who values and can deliver humour is, to my mind, someone who knows the world is flawed and that they themselves have the odd defect.’

And so on. The world being flawed and all, it’s inevitable that mistakes will sometimes appear in print; in the case above, your writer has clumsily altered Farr’s original line (“the views of some of his comment posters are oafish and infantile”). You’ll appreciate, I’m sure, that “Blair’s comments” are distinct from comments made by others at my site (which, it’s true, are often oafish and infantile … and usually posted by leftists).

So you’ll be publishing a correction, yes?

Thanking you in advance,

Posted by Tim B. on 11/05/2005 at 08:03 AM
    1. Um.  Given the two possible interpretations of the possessive ‘s (comments at Blair’s site/comments written by Blair), your tone might be interpreted as … touchy.  Also, thanking anyone “in advance” is considered presumptuous.  You write better.

      Posted by Rittenhouse on 2005 11 05 at 09:23 AM • permalink


    1. Perhaps it’s a minor distinction between American and Australian usage, but I don’t think anyone would read that passage as “comments at Blair’s site”, no. The possessive clearly indicates comments that belong to (IE, are written by) Blair.

      Posted by Aaron – Freewill on 2005 11 05 at 09:40 AM • permalink


    1. Did anything ever come of this one?  I’ve seen nothing about it since…

      Posted by HisHineness on 2005 11 05 at 09:41 AM • permalink


    1. Um.  Given the one possible interpretation of the possessive (in context), your tone might be interpreted as … touched.

      Posted by guinsPen on 2005 11 05 at 09:44 AM • permalink


    1. I agree with Tim and Aaron. “Tim’s comments” clearly refers to, well, Tim’s comments, not those of others who visit his website.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 2005 11 05 at 09:44 AM • permalink


    1. So Tim you will be calling your new swimming pool/car “the Age” ?

      Posted by Just Another Bloody Lawyer on 2005 11 05 at 09:53 AM • permalink


    1. Oh and by the way #1 in my world thanking in advance usually means something along the lines of “You have fucked up. I know that you have fucked up, so give me what I want and nobody gets hurt”

      Posted by Just Another Bloody Lawyer on 2005 11 05 at 09:55 AM • permalink


    1. He may have been referring to this. But if Tim wasn’t oafish and infantile at that moment, the world would have been just a little bit poorer for his maturity.

      Posted by tim maguire on 2005 11 05 at 10:08 AM • permalink


    1. Yet another freebie from the Age, in talking up Margo’s site, this time from her sister.

      Media watch?

      Posted by Nic on 2005 11 05 at 10:16 AM • permalink


    1. Curse you Tim, stealing the credit for the oafism and infantility that we have worked so hard to maintain!

      We will not take this sitting down!  Okay, we will take this sitting down, because it’s to much bother to type standing up!  But beware!  When you least expect it, there we will be, with comments that are both germane and incisive!  You will rue the day!  Rue!

      Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 11 05 at 10:45 AM • permalink


    1. #8, that post was catty, rather than oafish and infantile, and cattiness is the perfectly acceptable WMD of the linguistically talented.  It just goes to show how alike Australians and American Southerners are.  We can cause more figurative bloodshed with words than you will ever see at a Manhattan cocktail party.

      As an example, oafish and infantile would be this:  Margo is an ugly old hag who ought to give her pie hole a rest once in a while.  See?  Leaves nothing to the imagination.  Therefore, oafish and infantile.

      Frankly, when I’m being O & I myself, I hate it when someone else gets the credit, so good luck with that Age thing, Tim.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 11 05 at 10:46 AM • permalink


    1. Oaf fart poopy tinkle fart poopy! Oafie oaf weiner! Farty poopy oaf diarrhea! Pee pee!


      Posted by iowahawk on 2005 11 05 at 11:05 AM • permalink


    1. My dog used to talk like that.  We tried the newspaper on the nose bit.  Nothing worked.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 11 05 at 12:13 PM • permalink


    1. Tim, a full apology and correction will appear on page one of the Age any day now.  Or, Margot will volunteer to be your sex slave; I’m not sure which will happen first.

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 2005 11 05 at 12:40 PM • permalink


    1. Aaaaahhh come on!  Is anyone else offended by Tim giving all the credit for the oafish and infantile comments to the Lefties?

      I try really hard to make the most O & I comment o’ the day.

      Can we please have an O & I comment contest?

      Except for I think we need to divide it up between female and male-otherwise I ain’t got a chance.  {Also paco is too sophisticated to win because well the wingtips are too classy…*sigh*}

      But as for the gals-I think I have a real shot.  Nora’s too classy, Darlene is too reserved-you might actually take her home to meet Grandma and Pixy is too saguine-whatever that means…I don’t know but it sounds good.

      The only gal I feel on my six for the coveted O & I Queen prize is Rebecca-and I’m willing to mud wrestle her for it!

      Posted by madawaskan on 2005 11 05 at 01:12 PM • permalink


    1. Great misquotes from little Alcorns grow.

      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 11 05 at 02:27 PM • permalink


    1. Hmm, mud wrestling.

      Hey, wait a minute!  Are you saying I’m not classy or reserved or san…sank…that other thing??  I think I’m insulted.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 11 05 at 02:42 PM • permalink


    1. In the blogosphere, the term “comments” has a specific meaning: what visitors write in response to a “post” by the blog owner. Anyone writing a piece about blogs for a major newspaper should have understood this distinction.

      Also, I doubt a correction is forthcoming.

      Posted by Nash Kato on 2005 11 05 at 03:50 PM • permalink


    1. In a weak attempt to top IowaHawk, I will add that when pronouncing Mr Malcolm Farr’s last name, the ‘T’ is silent.

      Silent but deadly.

      Posted by JDB on 2005 11 05 at 04:11 PM • permalink


    1. “So you’ll be publishing a correction, yes?”

      😉 Nice one, Tim. Not only do you have a sense of humour, you’ve got a rich fantasy life.

      Posted by Paul on 2005 11 05 at 05:36 PM • permalink


    1. RebeccaH

      I think that Australians are more like Western Americans, specifically Californians. I base my case on the fact that we started the whole giant hot-dog-shaped hot dog stand and the giant concrete roadside dinosaur that has nothing at all to do with anything within a hundred miles thing. Is that enough to base my supposition on? I don’t want to play the Hollywood card, but I will if I have to.

      Posted by ekw on 2005 11 05 at 05:44 PM • permalink


    1. I know you are but what am I?

      Posted by Dom on 2005 11 05 at 05:58 PM • permalink


    1. “Oafish and infantile”?? Hey, I resemble that remark!

      Posted by paco on 2005 11 05 at 06:07 PM • permalink


    1. #15
      Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

      Madawaskan :: blush:: thank you for your kind remark.

      Although Nick is rather keen on mud wrestling too…


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 11 05 at 06:10 PM • permalink


    1. More seriously though folks, note how Alcorn regards her and her sister’s views as representative of the mainstream:

      Margo Kingston’s Webdiary (from the left, according to Farr) Tim Blair’s blog (from the right).


      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 11 05 at 06:13 PM • permalink


    1. As an third-generation Oafish-American, I take offense at being disenfranchised by a couple of Australian calumnists…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 11 05 at 06:31 PM • permalink


    1. We demand to be credited for my oafishness.

      Er, OUR oafishness.  Of course.

      (it’s all me me me)

      Posted by Sortelli on 2005 11 05 at 06:51 PM • permalink


    1. Oh, no, not Hollywood!  I give up, ekw.  You win.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2005 11 05 at 06:55 PM • permalink


    1. Well Nick, if they object to the classification of Margot as from the left wing, we can always classify her as “from the stupid wing” which is incontrovertible.

      Posted by Michael Lonie on 2005 11 05 at 07:13 PM • permalink


    1. RebeccaH

      Wise of you to do so; the Hollywood card isn’t pretty…and neither are the people who play it.

      Posted by ekw on 2005 11 05 at 07:13 PM • permalink


    1. I’m sure you can work all this out in a mature and responsible manner…  Right Ms. Poopypants?

      Posted by Vexorg on 2005 11 05 at 08:15 PM • permalink


    1. Cimey slunt!

      Feel free to alter that.

      Posted by Tony.T.Teacher on 2005 11 05 at 08:19 PM • permalink


    1. Has anybody checked in on Alcorn’s nutty sister the Mad Mullah of Margostan!? She has got FOUR threads on that beacon of liberalsim, Robert Menzies. The woman is absolutely obsessed with Menzies.

      The silly bat is clearly totally clueless. Menzies moved hell and high water to ban Communists, imagine what he would do if he had to face Muslims!

      It has become clear that anybody who has an IQ over 80, need do no more than read Margo’s Diaries each morning to decide what their attitude towards the issue(s) of that day should be.

      Whatever the Mad Mullah and her lap-dog Ayatollahs think is clearly the opposite of what should be done!

      Mark Latham was so right on those pissant reporters who think they are “players.”

      Posted by Noelenet on 2005 11 05 at 08:39 PM • permalink


    1. oops sorry…must’ve missed that one old chap…we can blame a subby on that one ol’ boy…these things happen you know…we’ll print a retraction…

      …in 2pt Swahili…

      Posted by murph on 2005 11 05 at 09:03 PM • permalink


    1. I still maintain that I’m more of the boorish and peurile. I demand a retraction from the insinuation that I resemble an infant oaf.

      #16. That’s gold….(thumb up on flat palm signal)

      Posted by CB on 2005 11 05 at 09:07 PM • permalink


    1. #1 Rittenhouse, you boring little twat, Tim was saying that Farr was misquoted by the writer. It has nothing to do with
      interpretations of the possessive ‘s!Get a life, midget! Oh, and you’re ugly, too!

      So, was that comment oafish and infantile? Huh? Huh?
      I do so want to be among the famous oafish and infantile commenters here. I want to contribute to making this site the standard of the world, when it comes to O&I!

      And lefties? We don’t need no stinking lefties. They just take up our precious bandwidth.

      Posted by rinardman on 2005 11 05 at 09:47 PM • permalink


    1. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!


      Posted by iowahawk on 2005 11 05 at 10:37 PM • permalink


    1. #15: My dear Mad, I can kick up as much mud in these wingtips as the next fellow can in his hob-nailed boots, thank you very much. Though you’ll excuse me, of course, if I don’t use my sky blue silk handkerchief to clean them off.

      Posted by paco on 2005 11 05 at 10:45 PM • permalink


    1. The following is from the Queensland Defamation Act 1889, and I would assume that similar laws apply nationally:

      4 Definition of “defamatory matter”
      (1) Any imputation concerning any person, or any member of the person’s family, whether living or dead, by which the reputation of that person is likely to be injured, or by which the person is likely to be injured in the person’s profession or trade, or by which other persons are likely to be induced to shun or avoid or ridicule or despise the person, is called “defamatory”, and the matter of the imputation is called “defamatory matter”.
      (2) An imputation may be expressed either directly or by insinuation or irony.

      Question:  Is Tim’s reputation likely to be injured? Will he be shunned, avoided or ridiculed?


      Posted by Kaboom on 2005 11 06 at 12:14 AM • permalink


    1. If we were at all oafish and infantile, we’d be making fun of Gay Alcorn’s name.

      heh….Gay Alcorn….teeheeheehee

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2005 11 06 at 12:49 AM • permalink


    1. Unfortunately, most of the more notable trolls around here never bother with anything beyond the “ridiculed” part, at least not without the assistance of our moderator…

      Posted by Vexorg on 2005 11 06 at 01:09 AM • permalink


    1. Akshully it were young and free who stole Tim’s oafish and infantile..he’s a ruly wild oaf.

      Posted by crash on 2005 11 06 at 02:28 AM • permalink


    1. Wron wasn’t paranoid enuff with the keys…

      Posted by crash on 2005 11 06 at 02:30 AM • permalink


    1. Tim,

      So you’ll be publishing a correction, yes?

      <sarcasm>So you’ll be holding your breath, Yes?</sarcasm>

      Re : #15 : I’m cut to the quick not to get a mention. Classy? I’m in a class of my own. Reserved? Well, I haven’t been layed (down or otherwise) in a cellar, but people often tell me I belong on some sort of reservation, or was that institution? I can Sang with the best of the Sanguine.

      Mud wrestling? Let’s not go there. Really.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 2005 11 06 at 03:49 AM • permalink


    1. Geez what a treat to be a fly on the wall at a Kingston / Alcorn Christmas.  One can’t spell (Magrok), one can’t manage (Gay), and one can’t reason (Hamish).  You’d end up with misspelt name cards, a plastic turkey and a confused young man struggling to make sense of it all.  All we need now is one who can’t keep their clothes and Christmas will be complete.

      Posted by Heminator on 2005 11 06 at 04:15 AM • permalink


    1. sang froid?

      Posted by crash on 2005 11 06 at 04:26 AM • permalink


    1. #35 CB


      Posted by Inurbanus on 2005 11 06 at 04:57 AM • permalink


    1. madawaskan – Sanguine means “bloody”.  Well, also “cheerful and optimistic”.  Interesting etymology there.

      P.S.  You can scratch me from this particular race.  Disqualified due to, uh, not being qualified. 😉

      Posted by Pixy Misa on 2005 11 06 at 05:24 AM • permalink


    1. #45. Three monkeys with their hands placed around the head in various fashions is what I’m picturing. And they are all drunk.

      Posted by CB on 2005 11 06 at 05:25 AM • permalink


    1. Dear Mr Iowahawk,

      You #37 can only be described as fucking brilliant,

      Posted by jlc on 2005 11 06 at 06:11 AM • permalink


    1. PS Mr Iowahwk – I tried to join the legion of the dumb, but either your extraordinary software rejects subscriptios fromn VN or it (even more remarkably) rejects the O&I

      Posted by jlc on 2005 11 06 at 06:21 AM • permalink


    1. So why is Mango a King Stone whilst Gay Hamish are Acorns?  Was their Mum bedded by diffeernt oafs?


      Posted by rog on 2005 11 06 at 07:04 AM • permalink


    1. If you were related to Magrok, would YOU admit it?

      Deed poll is a wonderful thing.

      Posted by CB on 2005 11 06 at 08:30 AM • permalink


    1. I’ll be joining Pixy on the sidelines.  Though setting up a betting pool … hmmmm

      Posted by Achillea on 2005 11 06 at 01:55 PM • permalink


    1. #48: “Sanguine” is used almost exclusively to mean “cheerful” or “upbeat”. “Sanguinary” is the appropriate word for something “characterized by bloodshed”.

      Posted by paco on 2005 11 06 at 03:33 PM • permalink


    1. Damn you iowahawk, I nearly choked to death on a pretzel.


      If there’s ever a blog comment Hall of Fame, #37 should be the first inductee.


      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2005 11 06 at 04:28 PM • permalink


    1. Crap! I got ahead of myself: #12[/b}

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2005 11 06 at 04:29 PM • permalink



  • Should I stop now? Typing while laughing is unearthly complicated.

    Posted by Spiny Norman on 2005 11 06 at 04:31 PM • permalink


  • #19

    Posted by kae on 2005 11 06 at 11:03 PM • permalink


  • Could have been worse I suppose. They might have called Tim “boarish and coarse,” an insult Fairfaxists normally reserve for freedom fighters.

    Posted by Andrew Landeryou on 2005 11 07 at 05:44 AM • permalink


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