Fauxboriginal history

berwickAboriginal mathematician and aeronautics historian Cindy Berwick.

Every Monday evening the Catallaxy Files blog runs a little competition that sees posters predict how many times Q&A compere Tony Jones will interrupt his guests. Last night’s tally  amounted to a mere two interruptions, which represented a record-breaking low but came as no great surprise. The topic, after all, was education in Australia, so the assembled experts were, with one exception, of the left and their consensus solution was more money … and more money … and more money. Well they were lefties after all, so the compere’s intrusive tongue had no need to stymie the flow of ABC-approved theories in social engineering and public spending. He’ll save his buttinski shtick for a future show’s conservative guests, some of whom, according to Catallaxy’s tabulators, have endured interruptions running to the triple figures. They don’t pay Mr Jones $350,000-plus every year for nothing, you know,

Still, from an ABC point of view, it’s a pity that Jones chose that moment to rediscover good manners, as one of his guests let the bandicoot out of the dillybag when explaining how Aborigines invented the aeroplane or something. It’s just the sort of assertion that might conceivably prompt complaints from parents eager to see their children attain levels of learning and intelligence markedly better than that evidenced by your typical, and typically stacked, Q&A audience.

The Indigene educator was Cindy Berwick, who is pictured above. We can be sure she is Aboriginal because she also runs a little business flogging boomerangs, emu callers, bull roarers and didgeridoos — and serves on the board of something called the Burraga Foundation which, as its website boasts, enjoys the financial backing of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Here is what Ms Berwick had to say about the lessons she delivers on her ancestors’ pioneering work with chords, cambers and dihedrals (emphasis added):

We actually look at mathematics and science and technology through a cultural lens, and so we actually teach aerodynamics through the boomerang, ‘coz the boomerang actually led to the invention of propellers, which then led to flight, then led to, you know, the invention of drones, which now patrol our coastlines, and save us  from sharks…

And that wasn’t all Ms Berwick had to say about the state of Aboriginal education. Somewhat later in the show, an audience member sought her thoughts on Tony Abbott’s recent appointment by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to the post of Aboriginal outreach ambassador. What followed (starting at about the 40-minute mark) was classic Abbott666 Dementia Syndrome.

In biting his tongue for once, Tony Jones left a favoured guest open to some quite difficult questions, should the PM choose to pose them. What might happen, do you imagine, were Mr Morrison to notice that a woman representing a body his department funds is in the habit of attacking the man he has appointed, and funds as well, to remedy the ills of Aboriginal education as overseen by specialists who preach that the Wright Brothers owe everything to long-ago hunter-gatherers and their throwing sticks?

On the subject of throwing sticks, Ms Berwick offers the full range of guaranteed genuine, authentic ones, with particular deals for corporate clients. The Kitty Hawk, Lindbergh and Kingsford Smith models will no doubt be available soon.

For more on real world levels of Aboriginal educational attainment follow this link or the one below.

— roger franklin

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