Readers will recall the matter of Christopher Pearson’s ignorant and malicious attack last weekend against the ABC’s bookselling enterprise. In his column today, Pearson takes up the cudgels of his cultural warriordom with renewed vigour. Very much as an afterthought, his final paragraph offers what he calls a mea culpa for last week’s stupidity.
In conclusion, I should offer a mea culpa for real offences. Last week I named ABC Books as the publisher of nine books that in fact had been produced by other publishers. It was a careless error. Visitors to the ABC website will notice that publishers’ details are often not given and create a misleading impression, but nonetheless I should have double-checked.
Yes, you should have, Christopher! And, may I say, as an apology that effort rather sucks, sheeting home much of the blame to supposedly “misleading” web content. One wonders how the fact that “publishers’ details are often not given” might mislead anyone — I mean, other than those who come to the matter with a preset agenda.
The author John Marsden, whom Pearson confused with a recently deceased Sydney lawyer, merits a more genuine apology.
A more serious error was to confuse author John Marsden with the Sydney lawyer of the same name, and I ask him and all who read the Inquirer section of the paper to accept an unqualified apology.
The bulk of Pearson’s column is devoted to a defence of his, um, integrity against attacks made in a recently-published academic critique of “conservative opinion in the Australian press”. Fair enough, of course, he’s entitled to put forward his point of view, and anyway I have neither time nor inclination to explore the minutiae of Pearson’s little ‘controversy’.
His closing denunciation of the authors, however, gave me a bit of a chuckle. He opines that “they betray little evidence of the curiosity or imagination needed to engage with world views other than their own. Their only really strong suit is bile.”
Hmm, sounds like some people we know... but, as ever, this kind of thing will play well to a home crowd. Anyway, at least in this instance Pearson seems to have correctly identified the book’s publisher (University of Western Australia Press).