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A farewell to Surfdom

November 8th, 2008

Tim Dunlop has announced the closure of the Road to Surfdom blog. It’s been a gradual process. Tim moved to the News.com blogocracy site a couple of years ago, and recently announced his retirement from blogging there.

Tim was one of the pioneers of Australian blogging. He started Surfdom in May 2002, at a time when the dominant voices in blogging where those of the US-centric warbloggers, beating the drum for war with Iraq. Tim joined Rob Corr and a handful of others putting forward more an alternative view.

I started blogging a few weeks after Tim and in those long-gone days, we found we thought very much alike, not only sharing the same views, but often writing almost identical posts, to the extent that we seemed to be blogtwins.

That was when the Iraq war and the merits or otherwise of the Bush administration were matters of lively debate, and much of the news was viewed through that prism. Bloggers had something to prove, particularly given the acquiescence of the mainstream media in the spurious case for war. Most of the pioneers from that time have proved their point and moved on, but the space they helped to create has been filled by millions more blogs, including dozens (maybe hundreds, I don’t keep up as well as I should) of Australian political blogs.

Blogging is going to be very different now in all sorts of ways, and Tim is taking a new direction, with plans to write a book. I wish him all the best.

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  1. November 8th, 2008 at 16:14 | #1

    In fact Tim Dunop has already lost his labial.

    Fixed, thanks – JQ

  2. November 8th, 2008 at 22:46 | #2

    Beh.

    I left the following comment (or something close) at Surfdom and it was deleted.

    I left the same comment at Lefty’s blogpost farewelling Tim and it was deleted.

    I hope and trust that you have a little more tolerance, Prof Q.

    Basically I said it was a bit hypocritical of Tim to be lamenting the over-riding power of the media elite when he himself has been courting traffic for newslimited.com for the past year.

    And I said it was a bit hypocritical of him to criticise said media elite for being unable to recognise or tolerate valid criticism, when he himself regularly spike critical comments.

    Not the most horrible comment is it? And yet spiked repeatedly. Some people obviously have thin skins.

    Ozblogistan has never lived up to its potential as an agent of real political change, and probably never will. The ironic thing is that it was the blow up over Tim’s comments at News Ltd being censored which offered the best hope of “crashing the gate”, and yet it was Tim himself who decided that his paypacket was worth more than the principle at stake.

    So Ozblogistan (aside from a few genuine intellectual like Prof Q) is basically now a little social clique of people who like to hear themselves talk. Cucumber sandwiches anyone? Oh yeah, a short message of congratulations to everyone at L.P. following Obama’s victory was also spiked.

    We do not defeat our enemies by becoming them.

  3. November 9th, 2008 at 06:20 | #3

    ‘Our enemies’ gandhi? You sound like George W Bush. Perhaps some bloggers simply prefer not to give oxygen to those who see the world as a network of conspiracies and ‘enemies’.

  4. November 9th, 2008 at 07:24 | #4

    You see, Ken? QED? I thought it was the wingnuts who labelled everything they didn’t want to hear a “conspiracy theory”, and used that as justification for shutting down genuine, informed debate.

    Just one example among many: I was originally censored years ago at Surfdom just for suggesting that another commenter might be getting paid to sow talking points. We have since learned that both rightwing political parties and the US military were doing that.

    It’s always a “conspiracy theory” until it’s proven true, but you will never uncover the truth if you do not have some tolerance for dissenting views. My enemies are people who deny the truth, suppress dissent and distort facts.

    People like Rupert Murdoch, whose FAUX News has played an absolutely reprehensible and dangerous role in US politics, and whose editorial staff at The Australian and elsewhere remain in thrall to his megalomania.

  5. November 9th, 2008 at 10:47 | #5

    Ghandi, your point about news ltd is probably a good one, though I suppose blogging is a bit of an evolving medium, where things might seem like a good idea and we might learn from our mistakes afterwards.

    However flaming, personally directed attacks, is something many of us start with, but soon realise is to our detriment and that of good discussion. So without taking sides in your own incidents, on a bigger level I think deleting personal attacks is something wise blog owners do.

  6. Tim
    November 9th, 2008 at 10:58 | #6

    Thanks, John. Different times ahead, indeed. All the best with your continued work here and at CT.

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