round-up of Windschuttle discussion

I don’t think this thing’s nearly as important as what’s happening in Gaza but, still, in in these times, it’s good to have the odd  laugh. The mainstream media discussion includes articles in the Oz, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. In the SMH, David Marr opens memorably:

AFTER a terrible two hours, Keith Windschuttle convinced himself he hadn’t been hoaxed at all. He was greatly relieved. How embarrassing such a stumble could have been for this fierce nitpicker, scourge of sloppy academics and current editor of the conservative Quadrant magazine.

“It was a shock when I got the call,” Windschuttle told the Herald. It came at 9.30 yesterday morning, warning him that an article in the current issue of his magazine was a fake perpetrated by the non-existent “Sharon Gould” posing as a 41-year-old New Yorker based in Brisbane. His heart sank but he got to work.

He had published “Scare campaigns and science reporting” without checking what he called the “nitty gritty” of its facts, and he had put it in the magazine without showing it to anyone familiar with its subject, genetic engineering. But in two busy hours yesterday he was able to satisfy himself the article was “only 10 to 15 per cent invented. When I discovered that my gloom and embarrassment changed completely.”

There’s blog reaction here, here, here, here, here and here. Note, in particulary, the blogger formerly known as Helen Demidenko opining on literary hoaxes here. There will, one imagines, be more in Crikey today, including (I think) a piece by me arguing the line I ran here yesterday: basically, that any editor can be taken in by this kind of thing, and that the hoax only works because of Windschuttle’s insistence that such mistakes on the part of others were inevitably evidence of malice or fraud.

Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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  1. Please, no more publicity to Helen Darville, the mythomaniac turned literary hoax ‘expert’.

    There is a vast difference between sociopathic and culturally offensive identity fraud and genuine literary hoaxing.

    Perpetrators of the former should not be given forum to restrospectively justify their pseudologia fantastica as some kind of deliberately orchestrated expose`. Additional publicity just feeds her disease.

  2. Crikey has now outed Katherine Wilson as ‘Sharon Gould’. I would post something more substantial but it feels like I’ve said everything I have to say about the whole affair in earlier posts here and at Crikey.

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