Are free expression jellyfish growing backbones at last?

Caption: It was at this moment that Dave decided that a backbone might come in handy, after all.

When Lionel Shriver appeared at the Brisbane Writer’s Festival in a sombrero and rubbished the faddish SJW nonsense of “cultural appropriation”, it sent the luvvy set into a tizz from which they’ve never fully recovered.

It must have come as a shock to the luvvies, this week when some of their own pushed back. Indeed, it came as a deep surprise to those of us who unflinchingly defend free expression, to find just who is finally growing a semblance of a spine. Quote:

The organisers of the $15,000 Horne prize have scrapped new guidelines that restricted entries about minorities after a backlash from writers, including the prize’s own judges. End of quote.

Donald Horne was a giant of Australian letters, who would certainly have had little truck with such yattering ninnyism as “cultural appropriation”. The Saturday Paper is a bien pensant luvvy rag: The Guardian with delusions of intellectualism. Only such soy-infused, middlebrow chatterers as those would embrace the self-evident nonsense that the way to “embrace diversity” is by telling people to shut up. Quote:

David Marr has joined author Anna Funder in withdrawing as a judge of the Horne Prize over guidelines designed to limit the representation of minorities among entries.

In a piece for The Guardian today Marr said the criteria for the $15,000 award had been narrowed without warning to restrict entries of work that “purports to represent the experiences of those in any minority community of which the writer is not a member.”

Marr said he had contacted Erik Jensen, editor of The Saturday Paper which sponsors the prize, after The Weekend Australian revealed the changes on Saturday.

He told Jensen: “I’ve been a big critic of such restrictions. Men can write about women, gays about straights, blacks about whites. You judge, as always, by quality. That’s likely to be higher when there’s direct experience. But you can’t disqualify for lack of it. And if we’re not going to accept whites writing about Indigenous experience, how can we have whites judging Indigenous writing?…I made it clear I wouldn’t be a judge on those terms.” End of quote.

David Marr is the luvviest of the luvvies, who usually witters the standard lefty palaver about free speech. Where his ABC colleague Jonathan Holmes called the Eatock v Bolt case “a profoundly disturbing judgment”, Marr merely flapped his hands and babbled jejune nonsense about free speech not being threatened because that big ol’ conservative meany deserved it.

To find him taking an unequivocal stance against the tribe, for once, is pleasantly surprising.

Above, Shriver dons her–gasp!–sombrero.

The simple fact is that the argument of “cultural appropriation” is just so much Cultural Marxist nonsense. Quote:

Funder said that the idea of these “prescriptions” spreading into fiction prizes was unthinkable, and defended the rights of writers to engage their curiosity with the world around them. She added that she understood where Mr Jensen was coming from, but thought the new rules were “extremely misguided”.

“I’m interested in the world, including in particular people who are underdogs, or haven’t had much of a voice, or who were being swept under the big beige carpet of history,” Funder said.

“I am not them, I don’t speak for them, but I can, in a small, piecemeal and partial way, make them visible.” End of quote.

George Orwell was an upper-middle-class scion of Eton, but his Road to Wigan Pier is one of the most powerful accounts of Britain’s underclasses ever written. Brian Wilson tried surfing once, fell off his board, and never did it again. Emily Brontë was a spinster who only left her homegrounds once in her life. Quote:

Historian, author and critic Ross Fitzgerald said Horne “…would have found this situation absolutely ludicrous…It is so typical of the absurdities the intellectual classes are foisting on the general public; it is self-defeating and Orwellian.” End quote.

Still, there is no shortage of absurd intellectuals willing to chatter in defense of such nonsense. Quote:

Kerryn Goldsworthy, saw the rules as the expression of common sense.

“I think they are absolutely fair. With non-fiction you have an important responsibility not to represent experiences you haven’t had, or things you don’t know first-hand about.” End of quote.

That’s not what the rules said, though. You can know first-hand about, say, Aboriginal Australians, or homosexuality, or Islam, without being one. These rules are absurd, divisive nonsense.


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Who is Lushington D. Brady?

Well, a pseudonym. Obviously.

But the name Lushington Dalrymple Brady has been chosen carefully. Not only for the sum of its overall mien of seedy gentility, reminiscent perhaps of a slightly disreputable gentlemen of letters, but also for its parts, each of which borrows from the name of a Vandemonian of more-or-less fame (or notoriety) who represents some admirable quality which will hopefully animate the persona of Lushington D. Brady.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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