March 31, 2003


THE SAME AUSTRALIANS who pay his ABC wages are philistines, according to David Marr:

Novelists and other artists must cease "flinching" from their marginalisation and work "to shake off the new philistinism of John Howard's Australia", the author and journalist David Marr says.

Delivering the annual Colin Simpson Lecture at the Australian Society of Authors' general meeting at the weekend, Marr derided the "exaltation of the average" among the Prime Minister's "radical populist" supporters.

"Exaltation of the average" accurately describes the critical response in Australia to Marr's work. He is adored by sump-witted intellectual slobs. And isn't it cute when leftists attack the average folks?

Marr suggested that political and business "elites" had inverted that term and directed it towards mostly poor and marginal artists. In response, literary novelists had retreated from the sharp edge of public debate.

He says this like it's a bad thing.

"So few Australian novels address in worldly, adult ways the country and the time in which we live. It's no good ceding that territory to people like me - to journalists. That's not enough. Even the best journalism dies because so much journalism is written in the air. But fiction lives - an essential in a country with a dramatically short attention span."

That's us; philistines with no attention span to speak of. Marr is an air-writing pseud.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 31, 2003 02:27 PM