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March 29th 2012 print

Professor Bunyip

Then & now

Professor Bunyip on The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, an interesting suggestion about a coming change at the ABC, and how Fairfax protects its own.


Professor Bunyip on The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, an interesting suggestion about a coming change at the ABC, and how Fairfax protects its own.


Too Cowardly To Defend Cowardice

by Professor Bunyip

GETTING ON for 10 years ago, Keith Windschuttle published a book, The Fabrication of Aboriginal History, which prompted a reaction that was quite astonishing. The author’s crime was to highlight the slack and often imaginative, er, scholarship which produced a vast bulk of titles devoted to the proposition that Australia’s early history was an endless bloodbath of genocidal racist savagery. By the simple expedient of going to the expounders of that view’s cited sources and checking them against their recappings, Windschuttle was able to demonstrate that a number of the country’s most prominent historians were inclined to play very fast and loose with both primary sources and the truth. One need not have an opinion on the extent of white imperialist bloodlust to appreciate the author’s sleuthing, which demonstrated many things sadly amiss atop the ivory tower. As Windschuttle put it, the near-universal view amongst those who teach the young was that white Australians, regardless of how many generations had passed since an ancestor stepped ashore, need to be regarded as “a kind of a vermin that arrived after 1788 along with the rabbit, the common starling and the fox.”

The reaction to Windschuttle’s book confirmed this impression in spades. Rather than demand retractions and corrections, those who dwell in the closed little world of approved academic thought rose as one to denounce the man who dared to question their mates. It was a vicious, unrelenting and spiteful campaign, one that saw every available asset brought to bear on the smearing and shunning of Windschuttle and the blanket dismissal of his book. As you might imagine, Robert Manne was at the forefront of the charge, there being no show without Punch, as they say.

Read on at Bunyipitude

 


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