If you visit the Quadrant homepage today, you’ll find, nestled amongst the usual batty climate denialism, a section entitled ‘Quadrant TV’. The lead headline runs: ‘We’ve found a new editor for the Monthly‘. Beneath it, there’s a You Tube clip entitled ‘Dumb blonde: are you smarter than a fifth grader’, in which a young woman provides wrong answers to a quiz show, to much canned hilarity.
The joke, you see, is that former Monthly editor Sally Warhaft is a woman with blonde hair. Therefore, her academic and other accomplishments count for naught. Under her editorship, the Monthly defied all predictions to became a financial success, building a circulation far higher than any comparable publication (including, it goes without saying, Quadrant). But that doesn’t matter. Though no-one in the current dispute has ever suggested that Warhaft is stupid, for Quadrant, she’s just a dumb blonde, not as smart as a fifth grader.
Now, websites are less considered than print journals, particularly since most of us maintain them on top of our normal workload. So one has to ask, is Keith Windschuttle aware of what’s passing for humour on Quadrant‘s front page? Does he consider Benny Hill-era sexism appropriate for a supposedly reputable publication? If so, where next? Back in the days when crass misogyny passed without comment, there was a wide array of other prejudices into which humourists regularly dipped. So will Quadrant TV showcase gags about the sexual preferences of Quadrant‘s enemies? Their skin colour, perhaps?
Quadrant‘s supporters need to ask themselves where their journal’s heading. It’s not a good place.
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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