Andrew Bolt and Indifferentiation
Poor old Andrew Bolt. Those meanies on Hungry Beast were mean to him last night:
Hungry Beast item on the ABC does underline my point, however, and increase my concern that critics are now deceitfully using the stranger comments of some reader to define my own views and to delegitimise the ones I in fact hold and express. How dishonest this is may be judged by the fact that Hungry Beast item relied on about three or four comments plucked out from a thread of more than 300, written by Muslims, atheists, Christians and Jews, expressing all shades of opinion except my specific own.
Bolt has a point, but (to use his term) one that is rather delegitimised by his one-time annual sport of ridiculing the titles of successful ARC grants—always ones approved by the Humanities and Creative Arts panel:
Have you seen a process less likely to truly consider our national interest, or more likely to have us spend, for instance, all of $710,000 on a study of “attitudes towards sexuality in Judaism and Christianity in the Hellenistic Greco-Roman Era”?
How will taxpayers be better for spending $255,000 on a research project called “Feminist theory meets indigenous art”, or $118,000 on a film expert’s musings on “The Misfits and the iconography of post-war American acting”?
And while a “new social and economic history of the Classical Greek drama” may sound interesting, is there much left to say on the subject that’s truly worth the $458,000 this will cost?
Spare us. The ARC is one reason so many academics have had so little incentive to get involved in the pressing debates of our time — and have often had too little of worth to say when they do.
[Original post no longer online, but archived here]
Science, it seemed, was doing good work, looking for ET and studying the landing techniques of bees (see, it’s really quite easy to ridicule research you know nothing about), but the HCA panel was an example of all that was wrong with the ARC.
Fortunately Bolt tired of this annual ritual a couple of years ago. But I’m sure he’d agree that it is “dishonest” and “deceitful” to pick on a few isolated examples to typify a whole group.