Monday, February 09, 2015

Weekend update: Blogs, Alexander Hamilton, and Tony Abbott

Some odds and ends from the last few days

Blogs: Easy Come, easy go.

Dusty Bookcase, the blog on Canadian pulp, Canadian noir, and for years our guide to whether Stephen Harper would ever publish his hockey history, has ceased posting. On the other hand, historian Christopher Dummitt has recently had his Everyday History blog active again. These changes have probably been not much noticed  in the larger blogosphere amid the noise over the ending (or maybe not ending, who really knows?) of Andrew Sullivan's American ur-blog The Dish.

But a little ferment in the blogs is a good thing, and there's no reason any blog has to go on, but I've tweaked the blog list at right a little.

Hot-Ticket History

"Hamilton," a hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, due to open in New York City next week, sounds, ah, unpromising as a great night at the theatre.  As the New Yorker says,
Perceptions about the music aren’t the only challenge in promoting “Hamilton.” Seller can imagine theatregoers saying, 'Who wants to go and see a show about America’s first bureaucrat?' 
A Venn diagram linking hip-hop music fans, experimental theatre-goers, and colonial history fans might produce a pretty small sweet spot in the middle.

In fact, "Hamilton" is the hottest ticket in New York and the only question is whether it can get moved to Broadway fast enough to cop all the Tonys this spring.  Kinda sweet: the whole thing began when playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda started reading Ron Chernow's doorstopper biography from 2004.

Auz Parliamentary Democracy

It's all done down under. Tony Abbott survived the review of his leadership by his parliamentary caucus and will go on being prime minister, for a while at least.  It was not a ringing endorsement; he won on a 60-40 split among his own caucus members.

I'm fine with this outcome. Too much giving the boss The Heave makes the system look a little unstable, and the Australian Labor Party's recent revolving-door leadership hurt it at the polls. Instead, PM Abbott has been reminded he is a member of the parliamentary caucus, subject to caucus discipline like any other member. In future he will need to be careful about crazy freelancing or blithe assumptions that a leader can do anything that occurs to him.  A rule like that applying to Messrs Harper, Trudeau, and Mulcair.... well, it would be parliamentary.

Still, Abbott's chances of leading his party into the next Australian election are thought to be slim.

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