Sunday, April 1, 2012

Robert Manne Writes...

WHILE traipsing about the countryside last week, terrorising fish and cadging soft beds off rustic friends, a note from Bundoora Bob lobbed in the letterbox:

Bunyip,
You seem intelligent if rather, hmmm, right-wing. Did you realise that I have written an extensive comment on the subject of Keith Windschuttle and Robert Edgerton? It is available via The Monthly website. Indeed it has been available there for years. So far not one Windschuttle supporter has commented on it. Nor of course has Windschuttle, who refuses me the opportunity to write about his egregious articles on Aboriginal history in Quadrant, a magazine I edited for eight years. My challenge to you, Bunyip, is to read my Windschuttle/Edgerton analysis and then offer your views. I wait your response with keen anticipation. -- Robert Manne
Alas, Robert, you will be waiting a little longer - and it will not be, as you suggested in a subsequent note, because censorship is the policy at the Billabong. While it will come as a surprise, the reference to your tussle with Windschutle was not primarily about you or, indeed, the current Quadrant editor. Both of you are big boys and can duke it out amongst yourselves -- although Windschuttle may be at something of a disadvantage in that the news and opinion pages of the Fairfax press do not put themselves immediately at his disposal, as they appear to do with you.

Just to recap, the point of the post was to note the different tacks Fairfax takes when investigating accusations of plagiarism. When Ross Gittins, one of its own, lifts and borrows, Fairfax rationalises with an enthusiasm that puts the wiliest Jesuit to shame. When it is a demon of the right on the receiving end, sim-salah-bim, it is on the front page before the author can say "I'm off to edit The Drum".

Robert, there is much pain in this cruel world, and the Professor has no desire to boost its volume by denying you the attention to which, conditioned by ABC and Fairfax's feting, you have come to regard as your due. So, Bob, what about a bargain? Your counterpunch at Windschuttle will get a good look at the Billabong if you undertake to give an opinion on Ross Gittins' plagiarism and his deputy editor's defence of it. The respective analyses will be published on each other's websites and there will be no censoring of reader comments. (Only salty language is censored here, by the way.)

What could be fairer? Gittins is one of your statist allies, and the Professor is kindly disposed to Windschuttle. Let this be an interesting exercise in dispassionate analysis.

42 comments:

  1. Ha Ha - well, I reckon you might have him there Prof., got him by the short & curlies to be sure, to be sure.
    "Let this be an interesting exercise in dispassionate analysis"
    If you get a response to this gotcha I will be surprised - or if he agrees & lives up to his side of the bargain I will be doubly surprised.
    You do know he is an intellectual wanker ?

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  2. That's the last you'll be hearing from the Bobster.

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  3. Amusing how Mr Manne cannot send even a brief missive without innate condescension! The patronising tone, the self-important puffery, they reveal a narcissist.

    And he asks you to respond to him, what hubris.

    I sincerely doubt if you will see a work from mr Manne about Gittin's plagiarism.

    The narrative, Bunyip! The narrative must be preserved at all costs.

    Mk50
    Brisbane

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    1. PhillipGeorge(c)2012April 2, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      Some say narcissism is incurable sociopathic behaviour. It may be among the deepest of all forms of self delusion; as understood through generals and despots who move fictitious brigades in their agonal breathing end game. Narcissism may be the sign of terminal decline, even at its earliest inceptions - like the very first portent rich scenes of the Greek tragedy.

      Anonymous at 9.04 mentions the 'wanker' -alas all too scant with pragmatic specificity. Here is one who scratches around for the fading scent trails of meta narrative - in what maybe Orwell's days of universal deceit - its worth lingering with the dick metaphors.

      With homophobes and homophiles anathema is the default condition of each and any who fail to endorse the other. The thin red line/ line in the sand quickly becomes the unbreachable chasm making the Grand Canyon look trivial - the Mariana Trench minus water is a better image.

      Robert Manne may understand Bunyip but be incapable of doing anything about it; like Shakespeares Macbeth he is as committed as certifiable, yet the insight is there - maddeningly there.

      Is there a day when a pompous prick's only friends are all balloons; and having all been burst he shall be truly seen - the final scenes unfolding.

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    2. 'Wanker' is such a common term. I much prefer 'owner operator'.

      NK

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  4. Manne: Hmm. How about I name 10 stolen people instead, huh?

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  5. Dear Bob. Having seen the quality of your recent "intellectual" opinions, I would recommend that you engage the services of an editor and/or adult before publishing. They just aren't any good. Now other commentators may have recognised brief touches of ennui in your political writings, yet you really seem to only focus on the things that your are familiar with. That is to say, yourself.

    The gall, the biting and acidic vitriol that must course through your veins to actually drive you to write to a private citizen online and demand that your philosophies and treatises be acknowledged. More front than Myers. You sir, are the epitome of the pompous, self-indulgent windbag, the arbiter of all that is wrong with political discourse in Australia. I would not quench your tongue with urine if your mouth was aflame.

    Fondest regards, Joe Public

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    1. Mr Joe Public, That's a bit mean I thought. Bunyip is a fine fellow who spends a little too much time on his golf and fishing. He should, I greedily admit spend more time skewering Lefties as it's a sport I enjoy reading about. But do let him have a life old chap. Pissing in his mouth is poor form. There are many here that would ease his pain - if his mouth were aflame. Did I say he's got an excellent sense of humour as well? Lighten up for heavens sake. We still have Gillard around. Before you know it she will be gone. Enjoy the moment...

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    2. I think upon your re-reading,you will find it's the
      Manne tongue which in danger of burning to a crisp.......

      Delete
  6. Bunyip, take care - I assume you have satisfied yourself by some means that the poster in the relevant thread was in fact Prof Manne? As I have opined in that thread, it doesn't sound like him at all - the style is clumsy ("egregious articles"), and weakly frivolous ("rather, hmmm, right-wing"). However, you seem convinced.

    For whatever reason, I doubt the challenge will be met.

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    1. I agree. Doesn't sound much like Manne at all.

      Professor, I assume that either you or colleagues and acquaintances of yours have had some experience with Manne in the past. So tell us - in your opinion, is this really Robert Manne?

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  7. It's Manne. I have just received a response to a note sent to his LaTrobe University email account. He has agreed to the bargain so long as I review his matter first.

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    1. No. Don't trust him, Professor. He's the one desperate for your review, so you damn well wait it out until Manne has completed your challenge first.

      Hugs and kisses
      Gab

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  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 1, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Professor, you provide a solution worthy of Solomon. But apropos your last comment, are you sure that if you decide to review his matter (and you are under no obligation to do so at all, because he is a pompous and condescending git), he will keep his part of the bargain? We must all make sure that he does.

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  9. I had a read of Bundoora Bob's piece. Hmm, looks more like a square up for Widshuttle 'daring' to "describe Aboriginal society as dysfunctional and misogynistic, and where he accuses Aborigines of being ‘active agents in their own demise' Strange that Prof Manne cites two Fairfax journos rather than academics in such a matter. One other point. Each source quotes similarities in describing tribal Aboriginal behaviour, such as using spears, digging sticks and fishing. Isn't that what the tribes did? No matter the source the findings are likely to be the same. What's the bet both sources refer to the eating of wildlife and the building of camp fires. As to Prof. Manne's distaste that tribal societies were misogynistic, I'd like to see him supply the facts proving the contrary.

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  10. The battle begins! Why would Manne deign to have a third-party independent review the matter viz-a-viz Windschuttle/Manne? What is to be gained from this, does Bob seek the opprobium of the masses, garner wider support to his cause, or truth be told, expose himself to a broader audience than the otherwise junior masochists that submit themselves to his tutorial guidance?

    Bob is displaying the classic signs of egotism writ large. His self-conceit, the condescension towards opposing arguments, the over-inflated sense of his own self-importance. There must be only so many winds to be blown through a single orifice before it becomes a perpetual breezeway. It suggest that Bob has more than a passing acquaintance with the sycophant, the lick-spittle and lackey. To be challenged on his ideas, now there's the thing. He remains an intellectual pygmy, drowning in the shallow pool of university mediocrity. Never mind Bob, let Fairfax keep throwing you the Buoy of Sophistry.

    Yours in enduring condescension,
    Joe Public

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  11. Only one paragraph from Robert Manne? Is he getting tired at last?

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  12. Professor Robert Manne is Dr Sharon Gould.

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  13. Someone informed him that there was an actual word, "concision"; he is testing it.

    Cheers

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    1. I think you mean 'conciseness'. Concision is something else.
      DrBeauGan

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  14. In Manne's piece, linked in his note, he describes Windshuttle's book thus:

    'Fabrication argues that the Tasmanian Aborigines were treated admirably by the British settlers but that, because they were common criminals and because of the dysfunctional nature of their society, they deserved their fate.'

    Is this a fair description?

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    1. Here are 3 long essays which are said to have paved the way for Fabrication of Aboriginal History:

      http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/history-wars/2000/10/myths-of-frontier-massacres

      I never read the book but recall reading either these essays or other extracts and found it all quite revealing.

      Manne's argues whether Windschuttle used an original source or another author's derived work -- and he seems to have a point, though it's really just a side issue which has no bearing on the fabrication claims (which I would add are well supported and for all the bickering and smearing from the left are never confronted head on).

      Delete
  15. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 2, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Professor, perhaps if you contact the IPA they could put you in touch with Ron Brunton, anthropologist and critic of poor anthropology (plus Howard appointee to the ABC Board along with Janet Albrechtson). He wrote a major critique of the 'Stolen Generations' material. He may too have a useful view on the Windschuttle debate re Mann. Anything that assists your case should be pursued.

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  16. Robert Manne claims I deny him the right of reply in Quadrant. Not true when I accused him of plagiarism in Quadrant in May 2008 ("A Cribber and a Fibber") since I published his reply in the issue of June 2008 ("I am Totally Innocent"). I did deny him space in the printed magazine to reply to my rejoinder to his review of my book on the Stolen Generations but instead offered to put it on Quadrant Online. This was because The Monthly, of which he was then chairman, had already denied my request for a reply to him in the printed magazine but said I could place it on its website. Goose, gander. Robert himself declined my online offer so he is dissembling when he complains now. My personal website www.sydneyline.com still has the text of the discussion about Manne's plagiarism, plus his reply, and also my extended response to his accusation of plagiarism against me.

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  17. Robert Manne is dissembling yet again when he claims I deny him the right of reply in Quadrant. When I accused him of plagiarism in the May 2008 edition ("A Cribber and a Fibber") I gave him the right of reply in June 2008 ("I Am Totally Innocent"). In our debate over my book on the Stolen Generations, I did reject his request for space in the printed magazine but instead gave him the option of a posting of any length on Quadrant Online. I did this because these were the terms I had already been offered when I sought space in The Monthly, of which he was then chairman. Goose, gander. My accusation of plagiarism against Manne and his response are both still on my personal website www.sydneyline, where readers can also see my extended response to his charge of plagiarism against me.

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    1. Ah, Keith, you are ignoring the fact that dear Mr Manne is firmly of the view that turn-about is NOT fair play.

      I have read through large sections of your works to examine your forensic methodology.

      It is admirable, sir.

      To state a bald fact 'you murdered the bums' and exposed a remarkable academic collusion which twisted history to fit a political narrative.

      I understand why the fabricators loathe you, but please understand that a lot of postgrads (even old ones like me) in history paid very close attention indeed to what you did. Your reputation is set in cement because you shone a pitiless beam of academic rigour on them and my, did not the cockroaches scuttle away from the light.....

      Mk50
      Brisbane

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  18. In the 2002 article in the AGE the follwing appears:

    'Andrew Alexandra, a research fellow at the University of Melbourne's Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, who examined both books, said Mr Windschuttle's lack of footnoting "looks pretty slipshod" but did not believe it constituted plagiarism.'

    That ends the argument and Manne lost. That was 6 years before he wrote his Monthly article.

    Don't talk to him Prof, he's the mad man in the attic of Australian intellectual life.

    Rococo Liberal

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  19. Manne certainly puts tags on himself.
    Some people just aren't worth the effort to bother reading,and Manne is one of them!

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  20. So the crux of the argument falls to the quality of research skill? The efficacy of foot-notes and the referencing of other opinion within the scope of an individual analysis? Am I missing something fundamental here?

    Either Bob refutes and repudiates the central thesis of Windschuttle's arguments on the basis of proven facts, or revert back to the status of interested commentator, with no new information to provide to the subject. I've always been wary of the pissing contests between opinionated academics, who consistently will give you 3 versions of 2 sides of a subject. It would seem in this case that egos have gotten between subject matter, and for that, the overall collective knowledge of the subject is poorer for it.

    Not sure how arguments are settled in Bobville, but in the broader Australian society, the quality of your argument doesn't usually get to the point of 'I know you are, but what am I?' without a robust physical response. Apparently, that appears to be what Bob deserves.

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  21. wow, given the response of Windshuttle here:

    http://www.sydneyline.com/Manne%20reply%20table.htm

    I cannot believe Manne is still persisting with this crap.

    His gotcha is really just a classic strawman to deflect from the real debate, being the substance of his work.

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  22. It's getting harder and harder to get away from Robert Manne and his endless grievances. he appears everywhere I read, and with so little to say.
    Between Manne and the Bunyip, it's obvious who sounds more like a Professor.

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  23. What happened (in Tasmania, for example, where a population of 15000 was reduced to extinction between 1803 and 1905) is to me more significant than academic argument as to why it happened.
    This debate is quite simply a distraction from this simple fact of history. To state it plainly, a race of people was destroyed in about a hundred years.
    Lest we forget.

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    1. 1. You are incoherent.
      2. You neglected proper footnoting.

      Cheers

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    2. Only a Canuck would require footnoting of this basic fact of Oz history. Resume playing with your plastic tanks.

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    3. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.April 3, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Lack of resistance to introduced diseases is usually the clincher for the population decline of indigenous peoples upon wider social contact. Their harsh environment would have made survival even harder, and the impact of a vastly different society, often unsympathetic, was the final blow.

      Numbers, you are right to memorialise their passing. That was very sad. I think you often have good impulses.

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    4. You remain incoherent. Referencing the quality of armour will not improve the quality of your argument. Yet to see the referential link between a Canuck and these allged 'basic facts'.

      Every time I read your drivel, I'm more and more convinced you live in a small flat in Adelaide, surrounded by cats and cockroaches. Quite simply, you are barking effing mad.

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    5. … them that can't teach, qualify as special needs pers. Or Spud Peelers of the Minty Jungle.

      Cheers

      Delete
  24. Imagine spending a winter living in Tasmania with nothing but what you can scrape from the natural environment. They were always living precariously, and it's not surprising that such a small population died out over such a long period.

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  25. "and it's not surprising....."
    Even genocide can be rationalised. Moral relativism lives.
    But, wait; surely only those on the left can be guilty of that.

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  26. Is there something in Latrobe's water supply? Someone from there has described this pic as 'incredibly offensive'.
    I invited him to elaborate, but so far nothing.

    NB: For those who don't spruchen sie deutsch, the caption reads "My People - united under one redhead you will rediscover the socialist dream! Or else."

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  27. Gosh. I find Manne's description of the alleged plagiarism pretty weak. If I had written what Windshuttle wrote, and was presented with Manne's comparisons, I think I'd be pretty comfortable. The available source material is very limited, and I'd be happy with the precis.

    Back in the day, I actually read both "Fabrication" and "Whitewash". I didn't (and don't) have a dog in the fight, it was just an intellectual exercise. I thought that the authors of "Whitewash" hardly landed a glove on Windshuttle.

    BTW, I was aware of the technological poverty of the Tasmanian aboriginals long ago, from reading reports from the La Perouse expedition. If I'm not mistaken I think Darwin commented on it when he visited the antipodes.

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