Paul Keating ripped into it last night as he launched Stuart Macintyre’s new book, The History Wars – upon which Chris Sheil blogs below.
It was colourful, controversial and indeed ground-breaking as interesting words like “Tintookies” (puppets apparently) emerged from etymological obscurity into the “smouldering incandescence” (as Paul would have it) of current Australian discourse.
Howard was the subject of course – not Stuart Macintyre – though I’m sure that taking a momentary back seat to the greater cause of attacking Howard’s “vitiation of the spirit” (upon which evil enterprise Geoffrey Blainey collaborates apparently) was a small price to play.
At one point he imperiously dismissed a range of Right Op Ed commentators – Mcguinness, Albrechtson, et al as, “simply a smudge in history”, declaring: “What have they put in place which is enduring, which makes the heart skip a beat? Nothing.”
I’m not inclined to argue with that. I was wondering more whether the antipodean Aristotle might have a range of Op Ed commentators in mind whose prose might “make the heart skip a beat?” Whose legacy might be enduring? Any ideas?