Scott Wickstein, Founder & Blogger, The Eye of
the Beholder & UberSportingPundit.com: 7th
keeping with Media Man Australia's tradition of tackling
any subject, we explore the world of blogging.
Wicksteins' blogs have attracted national and international
acclaim, and now, we finally interview this blog master.
much; I grew up in what is known as the 'underclass'
in country SA; managed to work my way up into the
IT industry during the dot.com boom, but I'm back
working in a plastics factory making car parts.
of that book learning stuff; one thing that I've learned
is that you don't need it to produce a reasonable
do you blog?
first discovered blogs when Tim Blair put his url
under his column in the 'Australian'. I thought, hey
anyone can do this, and so I did.
do I keep blogging? Well, it keeps the brain cells
ticking over and it is a bit addictive.
did you come up with your bloggers domain name?
an old Metallica song, back when Metallica were good;
it's a screed against society's thought police, and
it came to mind when a blogger nearly lost his job
at a certain public broadcaster over his blogging
activities. It happened when I was searching for a
name for a domain when I moved over from blogspot.
are your aims and objectives?
I started out I hoped to become famous, wealthy and
powerful. Now I blog because I really enjoy the writing
aspect of it. I actually think I'm crap but the readers
get snarky when I don't post; there seems to be some
sort of readership. This is gratifying.
I look back at my archives and sometimes I cringe
and think "Did I really write that?"
aim now is to annoy "progressives" and to
maybe make everyone else think. More readers would
be nice; the trend is, well, positive. And my objective
is to make more friends. It's remarkable how blogging
brings people together.
love of writing as much as anything; I'm what you
might call verbally challenged. Typical country boy
who says nothing. When I write, the words flow like..
well choose your adjective!
your definition of blogging?
kind of like an elephant; you know it when you see
it but it's not actually that easy to describe. I
don't consider newspaper weblogs or link collections
as 'real blogs'; there needs to be some sort of original
content as well.
do you get your ideas from?
in my job; it's pretty repetitive and not exactly
mentally challenging. So I've got eight hours a day
to ruminate about what's going on in the world. I
like to spend about two hours a day reading other
blogs, another hour reading the papers, so I've got
plenty of time to get an idea of what is going on
in the world.
enough, that doesn't always reflect what I write.
I try to write on an angle that hasn't been considered
by anyone else.
also forever trying to give my blog a 'theme' that
makes it rather more consistent in it's content. This
never works as I don't really have an area where I'm
an expert; the one exception is cricket and I actually
have a separate blog for sport.
should a good blog consist of?
to my site; apart from that it should have good writing
and a 'theme'. A blog needs to have character. A blogger
needs to express their personality in their writing,
regardless of the blog theme. Two of my favourite
blogs, boynton (http://boynton.ubersportingpundit.com)
and Spin Starts Here
have that in spades.
never writes about politics or the news. Most blogs
are actually non political (There's a huge slab of
blogs that are devoted to knitting, for example.)
It matters not a whit what the subject is, a theme
and personality are vital.
you foresee yourself being able to afford a lavish
lifestyle by blogging?
if a wealthy woman sees my site and offers herself
as a sugar mummy. There's not a cent to be made in
US blogger Andrew Sullivan managed to raise $80,000
in a week so you could say that he's a pro blogger.
And some US bloggers have got writing gigs out of
their blogs. But in Australia, there's not really
the media market to get work out of good blogging.
you've already got a foot in the door though, blogging
can certainly help your career, of course. Tim Blair
is the classic example, but the Fin Review columnist
John Quiggin finds his blog very helpful, and I can
see Gareth Parker (http://gareth.drivelwarehouse.com)
going a long way in journalism, and his blog will
anyone ever made a donation to you via PayPal?
host a few blogs and I've billed them to help cover
my costs, so it's useful for that.
are the pros and cons of the PayPal system?
pros are that it is secure, and it's easy. The cons
are that no bastard ever donates.
do at least a donation a month to a blog or a cause
I like. If I can afford to do it on my factory worker's
wage, I'd like to know what everyone else's excuse
a month, guys. If you won't donate to me, do it for
someone worthwhile. A blogspot site is free, but to
get a decent webhost and domain name, which you need
to get the most out of Movable
Type costs $150 a year.
other excellent interview tools can you recommend,
or would you like to "rat" on some?
never been interviewed before!
the most impressive technology you are aware of?
I dipped into IT I became a network engineer, and
my one serious IT job was with an outfit called Exodus
(sadly insolvent now.) When I worked there, I got
to see the innards of the Internet and the technology
at the heart is pretty awesome.
other media experience do you have?
whatsoever. Blogging is symbiotic with the media,
but it's a strength that you don't have to be involved
with the media to be a good blogger.
have been your biggest supports and detractors, and
Blair gave me my first link and he has always been
pretty generous to the blogging community. For a Collingwood
Feral, he's not a bad bloke.
the Australian blogging community is pretty tremendous
really; there's the odd ratbag but people who ask
for help and are genuine will get it. People ask for
links; when asked, I will bookmark a site and check
it out for a month or so to see what comes up. If
they are engaging enough I will link them permanently.
has made it an object to link to every Australian
pundit-blogger he can find.
18 months of blogging, I've had precisely one piece
of hate mail.
you fearful of any legal litigation, arising from
I am. I've been a longtime supporter of Stephen Mayne,
and I've seen what happened to him with the litigation
that has engulfed him.
posted a prediction earlier this year that a blogger
in Oz would be sued before the year is out. Thankfully,
that hasn't happened yet, but it's only September,
too. I'm also worried about getting sued for a remark
made on my comments facility.
bloggers are tremendous; Australian politicians are
bastards and I don't doubt that if a blogger got too
troublesome that they'd use litigation to smash them.
Look at Senator Bolkus.
of speech? Say what you like as long as you are willing
to take the wrap for it. If you abuse it you are going
to lose your credibility but you shouldn't lose your
we don't have freedom of speech in Australia. I have
arguments with other bloggers about this from time
to time, but I'm quite jealous of my American colleagues
on this score.
site is hosted in the US but going by the Gutnik case,
that won't protect me. Only my poverty is a protection.
Sueing me won't score you a penny.
a tough one. What is 'the press'? The press are free
to print what they like subject to our defamation
laws. The press can at least afford QC's, which is
a darn sight more then I can.
worry about freedom of the press when my own freedom
of speech is secure.
Pauline Hanson deserve three years?
yes; but I've already argued that she shouldn't have
been in a position to defraud anyone. What the hell
is the taxpayer doing funding political parties?
we give Shane Warne any mercy?
Bob Hawke reputedly was quite the ladies man when
he was PM and he was re-elected four times. Warne
is probably a disgusting fellow but he has a gift
beyond the ken of most; I was a legspinner in my schoolboy
days and I can assure you he's bowling gifts are quite
a cricketer, not a school teacher. If Cheryl Kernot's
affairs are none of the public's business, why is
Shane Warne's? As far as I'm concerned it's all between
him and Simone.
got a year ban for his drug offense, and I agree with
that. When he's served his time, he should prove he's
still the best leg spinner in the world, and he should
be readmitted to the national team when ready.
question the motives of his critics to be perfectly
honest. Warne brings out the humbug in a lot of people.
are the biggest dangers of technology?
me I love technology; I'm looking forward to the future
in a big way. There's two dangers though; luddite
socialists might persuade or scare governments into
regulating new technology to death. Genetic engineering
is the prime example here; greenies are so het up
about this that they don't
seem to give a fuck that people in Africa or Asia
will continue to starve to death, so long as they
don't eat that disgusting GM food.
other danger is that governments will use new technology
to increase their intrusive surveillance of citizens
like you and me. That's a theme of a site I'm involved
in - White Rose http://whiterose.samizdata.net).
It's got a UK focus, but many of the themes discussed
there have global
are some of your favorite blogs and media related
of my favourite blogs are listed on my blogroll. I
must mention a few though; Michael Jennings (http://michaeljennings.blogspot.com)
is the smartest guy I've ever come across. Pick a
topic, or a question you don't understand, and he
will either know about it or find out about it and
write a cogent article about it.
is a contributor at Samizdata (http://www.samizdata.net/blog/),
which would probably be the ONE blog I'd choose if
I was told I was only allowed to read one blog.
is a Norwegian fellow in his early 20's who is pretty
phenomenal and I reckon he's Norway's best Ambassador
to the English speaking world.
Blair I've already mentioned, but his wit and links
make him a must read.
Well, Crikey.com.au is my favourite and with establishment
news, I read "The Australian" every day.
are your current projects?
many; I'm overwhelmed. Apart from "Beholder"
there's my sports blog "Ubersportingpundit.com"
and I try to write for Sasha Castel (http://www.sashacastel.com)
at least once a week.
I see anything civil liberties related I try to blog
it at White Rose (http://whiterose.samizdata.net).
starting to get involved in politics too; details
are sketchy yet and there's no danger of me becoming
PM out of it. But I've been asked to play a role,
and I'm seriously considering it.
else should we know about you?
drink a lot. Currently I'm working far too much and
this is curtailing my drinking, but rest assured as
soon as I can I will be back on the turps.
you been telling the truth in this interview? (GT
advises that I was tempted to remove this question
upon publishing, but in the name of "keeping
it real", the question remains. Further explanation
in the editors notes).
this a standard media question these days? I read
through all these questions and I came to this and
I was quite insulted. Not quite sure why you included
it, and I also wonder if you asked that of Phillip
Adams or other high profile people.
can assure you I wouldn't spend an hour answering
your questions on anything that isn't true.
this is of some use. Cheers
note: A fascinating interview with one of Australia's
foremost bloggers. The "truth" question
was actually a joke. That will teach me for using
a question I saw someone else ask a blogger one time.
Bloggers are often more edgy than "traditional"
writers. We consider ourselves to be more edgy than
traditional media, and as edgy as any (legal) blogger
out there. It is out pleasure to link to Scott and
some of his fellow bloggers from our website and our
blogger. Long live blogging!
Eye of the Beholder
Man Australia: Blogging
Man Australia: Web Blog