Passions flit and fly across the stage of public debate with such speed and frequency that important matters are often swept from view before their significance can fully register. Take the case of Barry Spurr, for example, Sydney University’s now-former Professor of Poetry, who was forced from his job after UTS journalism academic Wendy Bacon’s acolytes at The New Matilda published excerpts of his private and purloined emails. Reading other people’s mail has never been considered good form, but Bacon justified the intrusion and theft with many self-righteous words to the effect that, as Spurr had a hand in reviewing the national curriculum, his private words needed to be laid bare for all to see. As Bacon put it, “Spurr’s racist and sexist obsessions are relevant to all of us.”
But what of Bacon’s own obsessions? As someone who professes to educate aspiring journalists — a claim that cannot be refuted, as many newsroom youngsters have aped her example in not quite mastering punctuation and spelling — surely her views should be as open and accessible as she maintains Spurr’s need to be?
And so they are, but only to her admirers. A recent check on Professor Bacon’s Twitter feed produced the roadblock above. “You are blocked from following @Wendy_Bacon and viewing @Wendy_Bacon’s tweets”, it advises.
What could have inspired such an exercise in hypocrisy, which is the only word to describe someone who broadcasts other people’s private mail to the widest possible audience while wrapping her own public thoughts in a cowl of selectivity?
Could it be that she bears a grudge for Tony Thomas’ observation at Quadrant Online that Bacon’s scholarly, er, appraisal of climate-change coverage was shallow, silly and more than a little sinister?
What Bacon doesn’t seem to grasp — one of the very many things — is that a simple googling of “Wendy Bacon Twitter” brings up her 140-character profundities as they are published, regardless of whether the professor likes you or not. To keep up with Bacon’s thoughts, follow the link below.