July 23 - July 25, 2002
Thursday 25th July, 2002
Bene Diction posts:
G’day and bonjour to the new kid on the blog!
Bene Diction Ambles Through the
Yesterday I looked at some cautionary posts and tales;
today I’m going to look at some of my favorite posts and links.
The only time I’ve done an apologetics post was on Sunday
May 26th. Martin handed the opportunity to me on a silver platter
with his piece on Soka Gakka oni May 25th.
I’ve posted two rants, both about things I am involved
in. The first was May 28th about journalists and their
entitlement issues. The second was June 10th, an all over the map
sputter about blogging. What set me off was a lack of posts on Christian
websites about the Burnhams. Going through the archives I’ve noticed I have
not held back criticism of my profession. I’ve been a lot kinder and gentler
on bloggers after my blogging rant.
Kicker is a broadcasting term for a light hearted story
at the end of a newscast that helps you and your audience emotionally
breathe after hard news. This is my all time favorite
This is one of my favorite articles I’ve linked to. And so is
I’ve certainly played up and exploited the clichés and
misperceptions about Canadians. It was refreshing and a bit surprising to
article. I got warm comments from my fellow citizens. I certainly hope
Scalzi heard from us too.
Martin asked me for a specific post only once, on
June 26th. What a joy that was to write!
And my favorite all time post I’ve linked to? Hands
Redwood Dragon’s brilliant piece that played off an equally sharp, and
hysterically funny post by
-posted 2:05pm, by Bene Diction
Wednesday 24th July, 2002
Bene Diction posts:
G’day and bonjour to the new
kids on the blog!
Mystique et Politique
Glen & Paula Davis
Woodward Family Weblog
Ideola is now
IdeaJoy. Update your link!
Bene Diction Ambles
through the Archives
Today and tomorrow I’m breaking away from my Meta blog
routine. It’s summer here in my beautiful country, and I’m in the mood to
amble and ponder.
The first part of June I linked to a
web journal that was quite beautifully written. Despite my lack of
enthusiasm for that particular genre, I found myself drawn back. About a
week after originally linking I popped over and was stunned to see a post
about an abusive spouse. Christian abusers are as dangerous and duplicitous
as non-believing abusers and although I was pleased this blogger was out of
denial, I was concerned that if her husband or his supporters read her
journal she would be in danger. I didn’t want to be party to that. And I
concerned she’d be bombarded with bad advice. I did nothing. I didn’t email
her, I didn’t link her. I prayed, but that’s all. It was protective and
perhaps cowardly on my part and indicative of my aversion to tell-all
journals and the pseudo-intimacy of the web clashing with the vulgarities of
real life. This journaling blogger appears to be doing well. She has a
faith, a network, and has taken a few small steps. What would you have done?
On Friday, June14th I linked to this post at
The Christian Conscience. I said in that post that this was a timely
warning to us all. The message bears repeating. Real people are behind all
blogs and comments. His post captures that pain and realization.
On June 29th, I posted an update from blogger
Joyful Christian about his health. He had posted about feeling unwell
June 21st. Despite his difficulties he has carried on encouraging
others, and remains a strong presence. He is one of the best linkers in the
blogosphere. Here is his latest post Monday, July 22,2002.
Sorry for the lack of posts
the last few days. My balance is still messed up. The doctors still don't
know what's wrong. Now I'm having horrible headaches. I've got some medicine
for the headaches now. If that gets them under control, then I'll be try to
blog some tomorrow. Otherwise, it looks like I'm offline for a while again.
Tuesday 23rd July, 2002
Martin Roth Christian Commentary
Black Sheep of the
New Zealand, where I was born, holds its
general election this Saturday. Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour
Party are expected to cruise to victory over the opposition National Party
and more than a dozen other smaller parties, including the Christian
Heritage Party, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Outdoor Recreation NZ
and the Mana Maori Movement.
Candidates include the
world’s first Rastafarian Parliamentarian and the
world’s first trans-sexual Parliamentarian.
And those who thought that Communism was
about as relevant today to life in the West as, say, Gary Glitter, may be
surprised to learn that there are even two Communist candidates in the
election. One of them is my younger sister
Janet, Communist League candidate for the electorate of
Maungakiekie, in south Auckland.
Every family has its black sheep.
Actually, my father was a Communist too.
Growing up in Vienna in the 1930s he became at the age of 19 Austrian
national leader of the Red Falcon underground Communist group, before being
forced to flee when the Nazis occupied the country. He arrived in New
Zealand in 1940 as a Jewish refugee, and became prominent in many left-wing
activities and in the trade union movement.
Here are two excerpts from a private
memoir that he wrote before his death in 1994, about his activities in
Every Sunday, weather
permitting, our group would go for a trip into the Vienna Woods. They were
outside the city boundaries and thus outside the jurisdiction of the police.
Gendarmes were few and far between and the Woods were always full of
underground groups, Communists, Socialists, Nazis and whatever. We had our
own regular spot, a little clearing, and first thing after arriving the food
was collected from those who could afford to bring some (many couldn’t) and
handed to the fatigue party for equal distribution at meal hours. Mornings
were usually taken up with political study, lectures and discussion.
Afternoons were devoted to sports and games…. In the evening we sang and at
the end of the day we had a regular break-up ceremony when the whole group
stood in a circle and sang the Internationale, all three verses, finishing
with a shouted Rotfront that would have raised any roof. Then we marched
back in orderly ranks, still singing our fighting songs, “Die Arbeiter von
Wien” or “Roter Fliegermarsch”. As we marched singing towards the town,
people on all sides would cheer us and in the semi-darkness many joined our
ranks and joined our singing. We usually dispersed at the train terminus but
sometimes, forgetting caution, we would go on marching and singing right
into the suburbs.
Although I never again
worked for the GRSV [United Red Students’ League], I knew its members and
they usually gave me advance notice of their “actions” so that I could clear
my house of incriminating material in case the police made random arrests.
They had teams of chemical and technical students developing ideas and
manufacturing mechanical devices, and their “actions” were usually of a high
standard. I was present when the famous German physicist Nernst spoke at our
Institute and a shower of leaflets denouncing Nazism descended on the
audience. They fell out of a gadget with a time-mechanism which had been
fitted to the banister of the balcony seats. Another favourite device was to
write slogans with fluoric acid on glass windows. They generally remained
visible for a long time, but when “Long Live the Soviet Union” appeared on
the huge glass door of our Institute on 7 November 1937 the doors were
boarded up. Another time a red flag unrolled slowly during one of the
compulsory lectures on Catholic Doctrine of the State, which all students
had to attend. It had been rolled up in the neon lighting tube above the
blackboard and the time-mechanism consisted of an acid which slowly corroded
the supporting string. The professor called in the policeman who always
stood guard outside this lecture, to remove the flag. This he did, but as he
was not supposed to leave, he then stood outside until the end of the
lecture with a red flag in his hand, much to the amusement of students who
After my father died,
Prime Minister Helen Clark (then opposition leader) described him as a
“remarkable man….His commitment to economic and social justice, and to
peace, was a shining example for all of us”. You can read more about him at
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (enter “Herbert Roth” in the search
engine). And I have
a chapter in my book about our sometimes strained relations.
My mother? She was for
many years active in the New Zealand feminist movement, before moving to a
retirement village near us here in Melbourne three years ago. On her study
wall is a plaque naming her as the first honorary life member of the
Women’s Studies Association, for her contributions to feminism. She
turns 81 this Sunday, and when she’s not surfing the net she continues to
write columns for feminist publications in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, I’m a pro-American,
The black sheep of the family? Yep, it’s