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Monday, 19 June 2006

The Australia Council for the Arts is the premier funding body for the liberal arts in this country. It provides much-needed funds for start-up activities. I was once involved in a small magazine (we only lasted one issue) that received funds from them. Now, a new chairman has been appointed to the Literature Board.

Imre Saluszinsky is well known to readers of The Australian, one of the leading broadsheets here and the flagship of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd. He writes intelligently, mainly on political topics. But he's also involved in the magazine Quadrant, which is considered to be right-wing in outlook. This is what has caused consternation in some quarters.

Accompanying Saluszinsky's appointment recently has been the move of controversial historian Keith Windschuttle to the ABC's board.

These two appointments have caused a lot of anguish and gnashing of teeth among liberal (left-wing) intellectuals. Windschuttle is a regular contributor to Quadrant, where Saluszinsky is a member of the editorial advisory board.

Well, I vote for The Greens at both state and federal levels and I buy Quadrant. It's a great magazine that takes public life seriously and publishes new fiction every month. I was a bit surprised that Phillip Adams didn't bring the magazine into the discussions of the panel of New Yorker staff who visited Sydney for the Writer's Festival last month. But being an unregenerate leftie, it wasn't ever likely.

6 comments:

Ron said...

Quadrant's historical involvment with the CIA should be enough to warrant not buying the magazine. The current editor is a strong second reason.

It is an overt right-wing publication and purchasing (ie supporting it) it is just something I couldn't in all conscious do.

Overland, Meanjin, Tirra Lirra etc are better buys, and publish fiction too.

Ron said...

Quadrant, allegedly one of John Howard's favourite magazines.

Shudder. :-)

Lucy Tartan said...

Actually Dean, I don't think the Quadrant conection is that much of a problem, though I wouldn't subscribe to it myself. Like Ron I think there are other mags around that are much more interesting and less ideologically weighted. I am disappointed by this appointment because he appears to go along with the views of his good friend Tim Blair about government funding for the arts being a questionable good at the best of times, and never appropriate for anything 'elitist' or experimental or of limited appeal.

Dean said...

The thing about Quadrant is that you can pick it up at many, many newsagents. If you want Overland or Meanjin you either have to subscribe (and I've got a very small letterbox ;) or go to a good independent bookseller like Gleebooks.

Quadrant is culture for the masses.

Also, I don't think it's good policy to ignore what the other side is doing and thinking. If true liberals like you and me are aware of the posturings and agendas of the conservative opposition, all the better for us.

TimT said...

I prefer Quadrant. Overland is probably it's left-wing equivalent; Meanjin and Southerly are far too academic and obscure to be interesting. And when they try to make political points, they usually end up looking silly. It's not the case with either Quadrant or Overland: I lean more to Quadrant, politically, but Overland does present decent arguments for those who think the far-left/socialist alternative is still viable.

Very curious, Dean - what was the literary magazine you were involved with?

Dean said...

It was called Active:Reactive. This was twenty years ago. Another guy involved with it now works as an academic at the University of Wollongong.

I also worked on another magazine called Neos before that. Neos was for young writers and was also supported by the Literature Board of the Australia Council.