Define ‘Argy Bargy’

on 7 Comments

Glenn Condell says he managed to publish a letter in the Sydney Morning Herald, protesting censorship by the Israel lobby, after much “argy bargy.” It reminded me of the Aussieism, “agro,” for aggressive. I asked him to define argy bargy. Condell did, and then noted the role of Aussie’s public television:

We use ‘argy bargy’ as a
synonym for prolonged argument – here is a short para on the etymology –

I am rather pleased about [the letter] – my strike rate for
publication there is not high, especially with Israel-related issues. Ice is breaking
here too perhaps. Note that the link I provided to the Media Watch story about the
Herald’s editorial cowardice is, like the one above, from the ABC, our
national public broadcaster. Its very existence, on every TV set in the
land, is I think a good prophylactic against corporate media spin, quite apart
from the value of programs like Media Watch. I have always thought if the
US had an analogue of the ABC, they would never
have invaded Iraq
– the populace would have been too informed to allow it.

>From Weiss again (can’t unindent!): Bill Moyers said something very much like this, lately on Public Broadcasting System here. That our media are so corporatized that they could not oppose the Iraq war, and dissidents are sidelined. I feel that PBS did a lousy job overall of braking the Iraq war plans…

7 Responses

  1. Andy
    May 23, 2008, 12:43 pm

    Hi, Phil –

    You can't unindent because you're missing a blockquote element end-tag. Go into the post source code and insert a

    (less-than symbol)/blockquote>

    after "too informed to allow it." at the end of Glenn's quote – this will solve the problem.

    (Your blog won't allow me to input the less-than symbol – you'll have to do that.)

  2. Phil Weiss
    May 23, 2008, 12:45 pm

    andy you are helping me, thank you!
    now can you help me with my wife's ipod???????

  3. Andy
    May 23, 2008, 1:10 pm

    A slight mistake with respect to my first comment…

    The blockquote element end-tag in question isn't "missing" but appears at the end of your remarks – move it to the end of Glenn's remarks and you'll be OK.

    I don't have an iPod, so I can't help you out there, sorry…

  4. Oarwell
    May 23, 2008, 3:00 pm

    This fits the idea of "brouhaha:"

    Israel Arrests Outspoken Academic Norman Finkelstein

    The American academic Norman Finkelstein has been arrested and ordered deported from Israel. Finkelstein arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today on his way to the Occupied Territories. He was immediately detained and told he is banned from Israel for ten years. He’s expected to be deported tomorrow. Finkelstein is known one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

    "Finkelstein landed at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv in the early morning and was told by a representative of the ministry of interior that he would not be allowed into the country on ’security’ grounds, attorney Michael Sfard told dpa."

  5. Glenn Condell
    May 23, 2008, 11:22 pm

    My government was part of the invasion and so the ABC didn't prevent us from going to war, but considering whether to pre-emptively invade another country is not something John Howard would ever have dreamed of doing on his own. Ditto Blair.

    But once HQ in Washington had made the decision, we were always going to be there. The Alliance is an article of faith here and evena Labor PM would have joined, though conceivably with less gusto and more caution.

    I just think that if the US had a genuine analogue to the ABC, with the majority of the nation's best journos working for it, parsing government (and opposition) spin rather than promulgating it, the War Party would have had far less fertile ground for it's fantasies to take root.

    If Phil had grown up over here, the ABC would have been his natural home, as it is for our finest journos – Chris Masters, Kerry O'Brien, Tony Jones, and Maxine McKew, until last year's election, when she knocked John Howard out of his own electorate. ABC investigative programs have brought down State governments and exposed rorts (another great Aussie term) and corrupion at all levels.

    Which is why governments of all stripes try to neuter it by stacking the board. Australians love their ABC though and govts fool with it at their peril.

  6. Phil Weiss
    May 23, 2008, 11:53 pm

    glenn what's rorts.
    rorts and all?

  7. Glenn Condell
    May 25, 2008, 7:41 pm

    Rorts are corrupt work practices, dubious tax minimisation schemes… basically any actions which are designed to enrich or advantage someone or some group by fiddling the books, bending the rules, etc.

    The wharfies here were famous for their overtime and sick leave rorts before Howard confronted the union and succeeded in breaking their monopoly on waterfront labour. There's a big story here in NSW at the moment with State Rail employees in court accused of contracting rorts – awarding big cleaning or removal contracts to friends who pay a premium for the service.

    Rorts are a great Aussie tradition, though if you change the name, the tendency exists everywhere. What was Enron but a giant rort?

Leave a Reply