Dear editor,I wondered about closing with a Tennyson quote, but I figured my sounding like a pompous git would give the editors something to sympathise with.
In your Saturday editorial (Weekend Australian, September 20-21), you claim that "there cannot be too much emphasis on Australian literature". You also write that the English Teachers Association of NSW reasonable criticism of the latest attempts to politicise the English syllabus is "in a word, nonsense."
Your editorial is, in a word, nonsense.
The literature of Australia, the nation, is two hundred years old. But all Australian writers draw on much older, more substantial traditions - principally the tradition of English literature, which is over one thousand years old. One Australian playwright you mention is David Williamson: he writes in the shadow of a much greater English playwright, William Shakespeare. You also cite Banjo Paterson, a popular bush poet; but he writes in a tradition that has been shaped by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, by Byron, by Tennyson, and by Thomas Hardy. Clearly, any emphasis on the study of Australian literature that caused these writers to be sidelined or ignored would be 'too much emphasis'.
Your peevish criticisms of the ETA are horribly misguided. It is regrettable that the ETA felt the need to use such language as 'hierarchies in generic form' when describing ministerial suggestions for the syllabus. But their criticism is sound: any course for high-school students that focuses on Australian literature purely for the fact that it is Australian, and not for the inherent qualities of the writing, will tend to either mislead the students, or put them off literature altogether. The basis for any English literature syllabus should not be a bastardised, inward-looking cultural jingoism; rather, it should be a humbling, outward-looking curiosity, that explores and discovers. In such a spirit of discovery students will find their true strength. In the words of an (English) poet, Tennyson, who you would do well to read: 'To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.'
Sunday, September 28, 2008
On sounding like a pompous git, #451: letters to the paper
The Oz had a shocking editorial last weekend about how the New South Wales English syllabus needed more Aussie literature, or something like that. Anyway, that prompted me to send in the following email to their letters page. It never got published, so here it is for posterity:
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2017 (38)
- ► 2016 (71)
- ► 2015 (106)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- On sounding like a pompous git, #451: letters to t...
- Duck Cat Dog Friday
- Muslim cemetery decreases quality of life for dead...
- Etiquette quiz
- Biographica critica
- On poetry by journalists
- A poem about the curly clouds outside my work wind...
- Quadruple entendre
- A horrifying confession
- Foot-in-the-door-in-the-foot journalism
- Confusing confusion, and passwords
- Ad Homonym!
- Buddy, you got any faith to spare?
- The live dog and the dead lion
- It's a party at my house and no-one's invited
- Bloody hell
- Yet another further further fable for our time
- I also liked their plastic icecream desserts
- Sweeping generalisation
- On the eve of ultimate destruction, I have a sligh...
- Disaster strikes in the wrong place!
- Important things to note on a Saturday morning
- Gentlemen, cognite your engines...
- Guess the headline!
- Stuff sold on ebay
- Short short story
- Pay attention, drones
- It's a coffee cup catchphrase masquerading as a bl...
- ▼ September (28)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)