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January 10th 2009 print

Michael Connor

David Marr goes Quadrant bashing

It took less than five minutes for David Marr to turn the conning of Quadrant into an excuse for attacking Keith Windschuttle and Quadrant in the Sydney Morning Herald. Was it payback for having laughed at Marr?

It took less than five minutes for David Marr to turn the conning of Quadrant into an excuse for attacking Keith Windschuttle and Quadrant in the Sydney Morning Herald. Was it payback for having laughed at Marr?

Quadrant Online’s previous comment on Marr’s “Home Brand Literature” pointed out that most essays (13 of them) in his collection The Best Australian [Left] Essays 2008, published by Morrie Schwartz’s Black Inc, came from the magazine owned by his employer – The Monthly.

David Marr: Determined to be fair, I settled back with the January-February edition of Quadrant and read it cover to cover. I must confess my opinion of these journals, left or right, isn’t high. Gathering material last year for Black Inc’s Best Australian Essays 2008 I ploughed through Meanjin and Overland and the rest [but not Quadrant] in despair at what I couldn’t find. Let me tell you, The New York Review Of Books they ain’t.

There is little evidence that David Marr read widely to compile The Best Australian [Left] Essays 2008 and authors were asked to submit essays themselves to him for consideration. See submission form here.

Marr’s in-house choices even drew criticism from the Left:

It seems to me there are two possible ways of understanding Marr’s mix. The first is the conspiratorial explanation — what a racket on the part of Black Inc.! But the second seems far more plausible, and is at least worth discussing. That is that this collection is as myopic as the particular sliver of Australian cultural life from which it is drawn.

Yesterday: The Australian Conservative suggested that when Sally Warhaft, editor of The Monthly, was interviewed on ABC radio about the hoaxing of Quadrant her comments may have been influenced by an earlier Quadrant Online post about her magazine.

Today: Choosing material to bash Quadrant in the Sydney Morning Herald Marr cites text published in the January-February edition of the magazine without informing his readers that some of the words he uses came from a reader’s letter to the editor (is that a hoax or just lousy journalism?). The Monthly itself, the magazine which Marr reads and promotes, does not have a letters to the editor section.

Is David Marr humourless? Don’t ask, it’s a Left thing.