You will all be overjoyed to discover that HIV does not cause AIDS. Lord Malcolm will be especially pleased, I should think, as this means he isn’t really sick at all and must have been in hospital all those times for work experience, or a vacation, and all that pain he suffers must just be imaginitis…
…the conclusion that HIV is not a sexually transmitted infection, and that it did not cause the AIDS outbreaks of the 1980s, is no suggestion or inference of mine–it follows directly and inevitably from the publicly available data.
See? Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Science Studies (but not, one notes, of Immunology) Henry H Bauer says so at the end of his pathetic article in the Golden Jubilee edition of that increasingly batty magazine Quadrant, with the emphasis on the last syllable please. Before you start believing this crap, which has been around for almost as long as AIDS has and has also had deleterious effects on some leading South African politicians but on very few others, then read Evidence that HIV Causes AIDS with its 137 footnotes to learned organisations and articles (all retrievable online) from the UK organisation ALERT.
Only P P McGuinness could have thought this crap worth printing, even in this crappy magazine, which happens also to be John Howard’s favourite bit of intellectual food. I look forward to “Why the Earth is Flat” in some future Quadrant; I think we have already had articles on why climate change is a left-wing fantasy.
There is also a rather fawning piece — enthusiastically partisan perhaps is better — on our very own Dear Leader: John Howard and the Art of Democratic Leadership by Gregory Melleuish, which is at least, I suppose, sane and respectable, and even has some arguments of merit, even if I don’t go along with them. We also have some spirited defences of Zionism.
The best thing I can say about this Quadrant is that it has lots of poems, some of them good; in fact Les Murray’s “Bluelookout Mountain” is very good.
For Kevin Donnelly fans there is an article I was going to return to, but I suppose I should say something, even if Kev is just as much a goose in 2006 as he was in 2004: “Sociology One Meets Othello“, in which the good Kev wants us all to return to Sam Goldberg’s golden days.
As one who wrote a thesis on King Lear in Good King Sam’s Golden Era, and who has taught the play in numerous HSCs since, and is tutoring a student on it under the new HSC right now, I think I do have something to say. I should add that King Lear itself is doing fine… And what Kev wants won’t actually lead to better teaching about King Lear (or Othello), that I guarantee.
Guess what? There have been NEW IDEAS about King Lear since I wrote my thesis in 1964, and some of them are quite outside what Sam would have said was literary criticism — but then Sam didn’t know, did he? Good as Sam was, I must say, and undoubtedly inspiring. Nonetheless, he even thought what Leonie Kramer and Gerry Wilkes did wasn’t literary criticism either. A bit narrow, the old Sam really. He didn’t think we could read Latin and Greek poetry either. Shame about the Iliad. Or Virgil. Not to mention in English, Tennyson, the “Faerie Queene”, and a whole host of other things Sam was sure were not worth reading. This included almost all American literature, I may add.
One concession I would make to Kev is that I certainly would place reading and experiencing King Lear (or Othello) at the top of my list of things to do with it in class; the nature of the discussion which ensues is something else again and students are not harmed by the knowledge that this play has been read in a variety of ways over the years, and isn’t actually a sacred text. His version of what actually happens in HSC study these days is a grotesque exaggeration of its worst possibilities, and quite unlike the way I do it for one (and I know I am not alone), though that in turn would not be quite kosher for Kevin. It is true that, as Curtis White also says in his otherwise rather muddled book The Middle Mind, much of the newish Cultural Studies style of criticism can be arid and can level distinctions in an unhelpful way. On the other hand, considering Othello, to return to Kevin’s example rather than mine, from a postcolonial perspective or as a feminist might read it can in fact enrich understanding. Any theatrical director worth his or her salt would examine a host of such readings in order to make the play resonate in a modern theatre. That can be a productive way of working with the new HSC: considering actual performances on stage or film and asking how the director must have read the text, based on what we see.
I can’t remember Sam ever talking about theatres, not even in the Shakespeare seminars he shared with Derek Marsh and Gus Cross. See also Elizabeth Butel on Text Messages, Right-wing non-news story #20563 , June Monthly out now , Where are the crazy left-wing professors? , Turning curriculum to the Right , Dumbed down syllabuses?, Reactionary myth-makers and education , and Elite girls school ‘kills the study of literature’ — all in this current blog.
Kevin’s article ends with a resounding quote from Sam. My theory is that the right-wing attack on “critical literacy” stems from the knowledge that the critically literate are just too damned critical.
I guess I should add that of the other articles I have tasted so far in this Quadrant, I can commend Robert Murrays’ “Growing Up Under Hitler”, and Neil McDonald is usually good.
2. The Atlantic Monthly
If you want to read a really intelligent conservative magazine that shits all over Quadrant, read The Atlantic Monthly instead, which may be a few more dollars, but it won’t do your head in as much.
3. The Monthly
In Australia, you really ought to choose The Monthly, the July issue of which is out now. I love what Mungo MacCallum has to say about Keith Windschuttle.
Starving the ABC into submission hasn’t worked, nor has stacking its board with serious conservatives. The economist Judith Sloan went over to the enemy, as did Howard’s personal friend Donald McDonald. Peter Costello’s mentor, Michael Kroger, resigned in impotent frustration. So, if the moderates can’t win, it’s time to send in the maddies…
…the problem is not that he is a right-winger. but that he is a nincompoop. Windschuttle runs an ongoing crusade against what might be called the orthodox view of Australian history, which hold that the occupation of the continent by Europeans involved considerable violence against Aborigines, including a number of massacres. His central thesis is that most of these massacres did not occur, because they are not mentioned in written records kept by white authorities at the time. This childlike innocence about the way Australian police have always operated may have a certain naive appeal, but it is hardly a qualification for the administration of a national institution…