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Australia, April 2000


An Assault on the Censors

In the last issue of Australian Style we ran a story by Helen Darville about British historian David Irving, who Helen interviewed.

IN THE weeks that followed. . .

Associate Professor Robert Manne, who wrote a lengthy book some years back about Helen's book, The Hand That Signed The Paper, wrote a lengthy article for The Age complaining about the piece, seeing fit to refer to Australian Style as a "lightweight" publication and mentioning in passing that Helen "shed tears" for Irving, which is quite untrue.

Gerard Henderson from the Sydney Institute, who appeared on television some years back complaining, too, about Helen's book, appeared on ABC Radio National complaining about the article, seeing fit to refer to it as "not real reporting … it's polemic".

Jeremy Jones, National Vice-President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, appeared on 2BL's Sally Loane show in Sydney, complaining about the article, referring to it as a "gimmick" and seeing fit to refer to Robert Manne's piece in The Age as "a very rational discussion". He then proceeded to write an article for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, whereupon he interviewed several prominent Jewish citizens, but nobody else and certainly nobody involved with the article or Australian Style, on what he described as somehow less than what an "independent observer" might have written.

  • Firstly, these three people can shove a dramatic recreation of the battle of Roark's Drift up their dates.
  • Secondly, the collective claim that Australian Style "commissioned" Helen to "cover the trial" of David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt is horseshit. I commissioned nobody to cover the trial. I published an interview with David Irving by Helen Darville. If you can't tell the difference between those two ideas, then you're a moron who shouldn't be reporting on the publishing business.
  • Thirdly, Helen's piece was a balanced review of a public figure -- she both celebrated Irving and shot him down. If anyone disagrees with me, I'm happy to listen. Just make sure you're not someone with a published history of distaste for Helen Darville -- I won't listen to you on the grounds that you're clearly prejudiced.
  • Fourthly, I won't be told who to assign to what story by anyone -- not even the chief censor has the right to try that fascist boot on.
  • Fifthly, thanks for the publicity, everybody, which was provided without invitation.

And sixthly, I'd like to draw everyone's attention to a small piece we ran about Helen Darville in the December issue of Australian Style:

"Masquerading for a fleeting moment as Helen Demidenko, this wily Queenslander performed a national service of inestimable value. Her book, The Hand That Signed The Paper, kept several dozen boring old bastards out of action for months on end as they composed their massively unread thinkpieces on the issue for the national press. Many of these have since been anthologized and can be picked up for a song at any reputable remainder bin."

Now, unless you're paid to be inaccurate and predictable, I'd suggest you go back to whatever job you are paid to do and do it.

Mine is making magazines and selling them, which is what I'm now going to try to do.

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April 2000
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