STRAWS IN THE WIND: by Max TeichmannNews Weekly
Theatre of the bull-ring / More significant than the election
, October 27, 2007
Theatre of the bull-ring
When your editor announced that I was taking a holiday break, little did we know what was about to ensue. I went into hospital instead, where I still am.
So here is another short Straw
: hopefully, not too many more of these.
Today (October 14), we had the announcement of the federal election.
I won't speculate thereon. There may be a few still interested in this event, so perhaps leave it to them.
Having declared the contest a non-event, I immediately found myself drawn back to the theatre of the bull-ring.
John Howard has written himself a marvellous script.
An ageing toreador, taking on his last fight, against all odds, and in the face of all warnings. Just to show he can still do it. Why? And a young bull, qualities unknown.
The old toreador had virtually exhausted public favour, for they wanted a change; but they hadn't wanted his public suicide/murder - despite all our journos banging on.
Many Australians had
wanted Menzies' blood on the floor, at different times, but not Howard's - really
So it seems as if Kevin will be a cad for winning, and we find ourselves locked into a joint act of patricide, if indeed we support Rudd. And as for Maxine, if she takes Bennelong …!
I won't pursue this theatrical analogy any further, for it is really for Howard to see that his toreador doesn't turn into something far more undignified, such as the last scene of Pagliacci
;More significant than the election?
A very sad item turned up in The Australian
: where we learned that Paddy McGuinness is retiring from the editorial job of Quadrant
, which he has held for the past 10 years.
He transformed Quadrant
from an interesting read and a significant cultural voice, to a journal of international status.
With the lamentable disappearance of The Adelaide Review
, the pressure on Quadrant
and on its editor to perform has been all the greater.
The choice of the next Quadrant
editor seems, at this moment, possibly more significant than the winner of our general election.
A friend dropped in to me the last copy of Morrie Schwartz's lavishly-funded literary product, The Monthly
I couldn't but think of the uses to which we little News Weekly
people could have put what is a very large sum of money.
One item under "Arts and Letters" trails over eight pages: a book review of Saul Friedlander's The Years of Extermination
- the review being by Robert Manne.
This review contains no fewer than four half-page glossy photographs of Friedlander, Hannah Arendt, Victor Klemperer, and Primo Levi.
Why four? Because neither the review nor the Friedlander book breaks any new ground. I would prefer more analysis and fewer visuals.- Max Teichmann