Misandrist Windbaggery as Journalism – Quadrant
Saul Bellow memorably described his experience of reading the literary magazines of the Sixties, after their takeover by the universities. He recorded feeling “first uncomfortable, then queasy, then indignant, contemptuous and finally bleak, flattened out by the bad writing.” Such a remark is depressingly relevant: it could easily apply to some of our shabbier newspapers, not to mention the national broadcaster. Bellow’s emotional response, especially the queasiness part, ought to be immediately familiar to any reader dipping into Fairfax’s Daily Life, for example, where the misandrist windbaggery of Clementine Ford continues to fill pages and pages.
Bellow noted the harmful influence of the academy, and this has echoes now, too. After all, students who imbibe the compulsory left-wing politics of the campus have to go somewhere after graduation, and newsrooms seem happy to put out the welcome mats for Gender Studies majors and the votaries of the cult of identity politics.
The results are grim: in some quarters, the goal of objective news reporting seems to have been replaced by a kind of advocacy journalism, where the social justice issues du jour receive uncritical reverence. Take, for example, last week’s report in the Sydney Morning Herald by Jenny Noyes. She drew attention to the upcoming #FEMINIST speaking tour, where feminist heavyweight Roxane Gay will debate the decidedly more moderate Christina Hoff Sommers.