A Beautiful Mind?
If you’ve never taken much of a look at Andrew Bolt’s columns in the Herald Sun, you may wonder which category of columnist he falls into. Is his the anger of a sharp mind frequently impatient with the foolishness of those around him – Melbourne’s own Tom Wolfe? Or is all the attitude just a device to fill the columns quickly? I for one am not a reader of his columns and simply did not know that much about him until today.
Everything you need to know is right there. Bolt takes a stick to work by Amy King and Andrew Leigh. “The results tended to be better for Labor politicians than Liberal,” he sniffs. He intimates that Leigh is a post-modern socialist ideologue fool and King all of that and a separatist feminist to boot. He hoes into their methodology. He remarks snidely about their choice of someone of Middle Eastern descent on a panel used in the research. And he posts pictures of them both with the declaration “As they judge, let them be judged”, inviting readers to comment on their appearance.
Except that it all falls apart for Bolt.
The pictures show two good-looking, happy young people – at least once Bolt removes a picture of someone else which he accidentally posted. (Amy King is actually a rolled-gold stunner. But this is not that sort of blog.) Commenters start noticing that King has just won a Rhodes Scholarship … so maybe not quite a debauched layabout Trotskyite after all. Someone points out that the choice of methodology is explained in the paper, at length, and seems to make sense. Someone else again notes that some of Leigh’s research produces the sorts of results that Bolt would normally cheer about – in other words, Leigh’s the very opposite of a knee-jerk ideologue. Yet another commenter asks whether it is really that terrible to have Australians of Middle Eastern descent involved in social science panels.
And Andrew Leigh himself makes the most gracious comment in the entire thread, noting that “we can hardly complain at being rated ourselves”. He also points out, with remarkable gentleness, that Bolt has one of the paper’s results 100% arse-about. The paper actually suggests Liberals are on average prettier than ALP candidates.
Bolt responds to this with an update in which he apologises for “an error” (i.e. he apologises for getting one of the study’s results exactly wrong) without explaining what the error is.
Take a look for yourself. When you have finished, you will know a little more about the decency of Andrew Leigh. And you will have the full measure of Andrew Bolt.