Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It’s okay to be a racist…

so long as you are raising a family, says cricket writer Peter Roebuck.

I haven't blogged for who knows how long because A) I was working hard, and B) the cricket's been on.

Now that I can blog about cricket and fallacies, I'm back.

Amongst all the hubbub over the 2nd test in Sydney, Roebuck has called for the boning of Australian captain, and all-round legend (the best since Bradman), Ricky Ponting. The entire article is a vitriolic diatribe but there's one bit in particular which is worth picking out as a classic Red Herring:

Harbhajan Singh can be an irritating young man but he is head of a family and responsible for raising nine people. And all the Australian elders want to do is to hunt him from the game. Australian fieldsmen fire insults from the corners of their mouths, an intemperate Sikh warrior overreacts and his rudeness is seized upon.

Never mind that Harby called Andrew Symonds a "big monkey" after he'd been told, repeatedly, that it was an offensive racist term, and after all the coverage of the incidents in India last year. To Roebuck, Harby is a "Sikh warrior" who is the head of a family with nine children. Wow. It must be tough raising nine children, what, with the millions of dollars he gets from bowling a bit of red leather. (Not to mention not being at home most of the year.)

That's all I'll say regarding a specific fallacy. Just one more point regarding Roebuck's worth as a commentator. He thinks Ponting and Bucknor should be sacked for arrogance and incompetence (respectively), I'd say the same applies to him.

Arrogance: A pom writing a deliberately inflammatory piece calling for the Australian captain to be sacked for arrogance (without any hint of irony).

Incompetence - making this claim:

But ABC cricket commentator Peter Roebuck says there are still serious doubts about next week's Perth Test going ahead.

Roebuck says there is little chance of the two captains being part of any conciliatory talks.

"These two sides are so far apart right now that I think the Perth Test has got no more than a 40 per cent chance of taking place, Bucknor or no Bucknor," he said.

And what do you know, just few hours later:

Indian cricket officials say the tour of Australia will continue, after the sport's governing body stepped in to defuse a crisis over the second Test in Sydney.

The attempted blackmail by the BCCI was obviously a bluff. If you couldn't pick that Peter, your credibility as a commentator is shot. (Who stands to lose the most $$$ if there is no TV coverage of the two remaining tests, let alone the 20-Twenty and One-Day matches?)