Published 6 January 20096 January 2009 · Main Posts the biter gets bit Jeff Sparrow Margaret Simons has a corker of a story in today’s Crikey: Keith Windschuttle, the editor of the conservative magazine Quadrant, has been taken in by a hoax intended to show that he will print outrageous propositions. This month’s edition of Quadrant contains a hoax article purporting to be by “Sharon Gould”, a Brisbane based New York biotechnologist. But in the tradition of Ern Malley – the famous literary hoax perpetrated by Quadrant’s first editor, James McAuley – the Sharon Gould persona is entirely fictitious and the article is studded with false science, logical leaps, outrageous claims and a mixture of genuine and bogus footnotes. In accepting the article, Keith Windschuttle said in an email to “Sharon Gould”: I really like the article. You bring together some very important considerations about scientific method, the media, politics and morality that I know our readers would find illuminating. “Gould’s” article, which is blurbed on the front cover of Quadrant and reproduced online, (subscribers only) argues for the insertion of human genes in to food crops, insects and livestock. It contains the bogus claim that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation planned to commercialise food crops engineered with human genes, but abandoned the projects because of “perceived moral issues”. The hoaxer, who intends to remain anonymous, has provided details of how the hoax was constructed, including a blog-style Diary of A Hoax, liberally studded with ironic quotations from Ern Malley’s poetry. In normal circumstances, you’d feel a certain sympathy for an editor thus taken in. Most small journals (like, say, Overland) can’t afford fact checkers, and the refereeing process depends on academics freely giving of their time to study a manuscript. It’s all too easy to publish bogus material. But this is Keith Windschuttle, a man who made his reputation scouring footnotes and then accusing their authors of overt fraudulence. If, say, this had been an article documenting Aboriginal massacres, he’d have been all over the references like a rash. Clearly, he let this one go through because he agreed with its politics — precisely the accusation he made of others during the History Wars. In this case, if you live by the footnote, you die by the footnote. Jeff Sparrow Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland. More by Jeff Sparrow Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 25 May 202326 May 2023 · Main Posts The ‘Chinese question’ and colonial capitalism in New Gold Mountain Christy Tan SBS’s New Gold Mountain sets out to recover the history of the Gold Rush from the marginalised perspective of Chinese settlers but instead reinforces the erasure of Indigenous sovereignty. Although celebrated for its multilingual script and diverse representation, the mini-TV series ignores how the settlement of Chinese migrants and their recruitment into colonial capitalism consolidates the ongoing displacement of First Nations peoples. First published in Overland Issue 228 15 February 202322 February 2023 · Main Posts Self-translation and bilingual writing as a transnational writer in the age of machine translation Ouyang Yu To cut a long story short, it all boils down to the need to go as far away from oneself as possible before one realizes another need to come back to reclaim what has been lost in the process while tying the knot of the opposite ends and merging them into a new transformation.