Three Cheers for Nick Riemer, a Most Useful Idiot

Three Cheers for Nick Riemer, a Most Useful Idiot – Quadrant

In the debate over the establishment of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, no one has sniped and sneered from the opposing camp with anything quite like the ferocious energy of Dr. Nick Riemer, senior lecturer in English and Linguistics at the University of Sydney. No doubt, his noisy interventions must leave many longing for the days when the musings of academics were only available in the mercifully unreadable journals of the academic Left. Riemer, with his endless tweets, op-eds, essays, and campus protests, has been very difficult to avoid.

Not that I really mind, I have to confess. Surprisingly, whenever I come across Riemer’s latest hissy-fit in the Sydney Morning Herald, I react with wry appreciation rather than annoyance. You see, those of us who support the goals of Ramsay couldn’t have asked for a better enemy. His arguments — I’m being charitable when I use such a word — are so risible that I’m doubtful that he has persuaded anyone at all. If anything, he has powerfully made the case for the Ramsay Centre in a useful albeit unwitting manner.

Read this essay at Quadrant

Misandrist Windbaggery as Journalism

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The results are grim: in some quarters, the goal of objective news reporting seems to have been replaced by a kind of advocacy journalism, where the social justice issues du jour receive uncritical reverence.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.

Read this essay at Quadrant

A Good Word for the Contemptible Straight White Male

A Good Word for the Contemptible Straight White Male – Quillette

I’m always on the lookout for new writing opportunities, especially with publications funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, as one can usually expect modest remuneration. I was initially pleased, then, to discover the literary magazine called, quite appropriately as you’ll see, SCUM. Its About section notes that it “has filthy feminist leanings and a disregard for propriety.”

Terrific, I thought. Perhaps I could pitch an essay or two. I have often detailed the squalid nature of contemporary feminism à la Clementine Ford and the rest of the gang. While I haven’t dipped into her new book, Fight Like A Girl, I’m keeping an open mind, should the opportunity to read it ever come up. To update the old joke, I imagine that Ford’s oeuvre, along with every copy of Fairfax’s Daily Life, will be the only reading material available for borrowing at the single library in hell.

There, how’s that for propriety?

Read this essay at Quillette

Are the Gender Wars Just Getting Started?

Are the Gender Wars Just Getting Started? – Quillette

The Victorian government has delivered an unexpected Christmas present to Australian conservatives: a parting of the ways with Roz Ward, the co-founder of the controversial Safe Schools program. Score one for the cisheteropatriarchy, as the kids call it.

It may not be in the spirit of Tiny Tim to gloat over someone’s misfortune and dismissal at this time of year, and many people would resist the impulse. But I am not among such people. Since her emergence in the public spotlight, the problem with the criticism directed against Roz Ward is that it has not been relentless enough.

Read this essay at Quillette

Fight Like A Termagant

Fight Like A Termagant – The Spectator Australia

From time to time, I open the pages of Fairfax’s Daily Life, just to check that Clementine Ford still isn’t interesting or insightful. Once assured, I resume my dislike of the feminist firebrand.

In her most recent column, her outlook, as ever, is rather cheerless. That’s understandable, I suppose: despite her best efforts, the patriarchy remains unsmashed and all those pesky males have somehow avoided extirpation. On this occasion, there is an additional weight upon her spirits. Allow me to explain.

Read this essay at The Spectator Australia

In Praise of Hurt Feelings

In Praise of Hurt Feelings – The Spectator Australia

In the keynote address at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival in September, the novelist Lionel Shriver took aim at some of the prominent idiocies of the contemporary Left, namely political correctness and the politics of identity. For Yassmin Abdel-Magied, one of the more sensitive plants in the audience, the prospect of encountering an idea that challenged her worldview was simply too much to bear. She stormed out during Shriver’s throat-clearing introductory remarks.

I highlight this incident to demonstrate the tremendous publishing opportunities available to writers and artists willing to parade their stupidity and ignorance as virtue. In an essay in The Guardian, Abdel-Magied described her unmannerly exit in excruciating detail and critiqued a speech that she had not even heard.

The Saturday Paper invites similarly fatuous submissions. Maxine Beneba Clarke wrote of her post-speech confrontation with Shriver in the hallway, where heavy words like racist and disgrace were thrown around with unusual ease. Clarke, of course, didn’t think it necessary to attend the event in question. Her knowledge of the speech was based entirely on a casual scroll through the opprobrious remarks of her Twitter comrades.

A stern but sensible editor would rightly reject, say, a book review if the reviewer admitted that the book had remained unopened. No such editorial standards apply to the professionally outraged.

Read this essay at The Spectator Australia

A Defence of Lionel Shriver

A Defence of Lionel Shriver: Identity Politicians Would Kill Literature If They Could – Quillette

Saul Bellow once described the experience of reading the literary quarterlies of the fifties and sixties, after their takeover by the academy. He recorded feeling “first uncomfortable, then queasy, then indignant, contemptuous and finally quite bleak, flattened out by the bad writing.”

If you have followed the events and aftermath of the recent Brisbane Writers Festival, you may have experienced a very similar emotional reaction. In this essay, I hope to arrest that sense of bleakness, but first, a brief summary is in order.

To put it uncharitably, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a sensitive plant, had a tantrum during the keynote address by Lionel Shriver. Her ire was caused — or triggered, as the kids say — by what is a very conservative notion nowadays: writers of fiction can write about whatever they damn well please.

Read this essay at Quillette

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