An enterprising hoaxer – claiming to be acting in the tradition of Ern Malley – has published a spurious article on a scientific topic in Quadrant with the aim of demonstrating that Keith Windschuttle would print “outrageous propositions” which accord with his ideological disposition. The article was also designed to lampoon Windschuttle’s mode of historical research. You can read the story – by Margaret Simons – at Crikey.
Update: There’s more from Simons at her blog Content Makers.
Update: Windschuttle responds.
Update: Robert Corr on Windschuttle and footnotes.
Update: Tim Lambert posts at Deltoid and links to a range of other commentary and discussion.
Update: John Quiggin is interested in Windschuttle’s own hoax:
Just before this, I was thinking about another hoax, namely the repeated promise of a Volume 2 of The Fabrication of Australian History. When Volume 1 came out back in 2002, Windschuttle promised further volumes on an annual schedule, covering Queensland and WA. Since Queensland in particular was the focus of Henry Reynolds’ main work, and since the evidence of numerous massacres seems incontrovertible, this promised volume was central to Windschuttle’s claims of fabrication. The promise was repeated year after year, but no Volume 2 ever appeared, and the “research” supposedly already undertaken has stayed out of sight.
Then in February 2008, Windschuttle published extracts from a Volume 2, promised for publication “later this year”, but now on a totally different topic, that of the Stolen Generation. His target this time was Peter Read, an eminent historian who’s done a lot of practical work reuniting Aboriginal children with their birth families. It’s 2009, the promised volume hasn’t appeared, and there hasn’t been any reference to it on Windschuttle’s site for some time.
The real hoax victims here have been those on the political right, who’ve repeatedly swallowed Windschuttle’s promises to refute well-established facts about Australian history “later this year” and who are now getting their “science” from his discredited magazine.
Update: Some more links in a post at Overland.
Update: I think some of the point of the hoax – that it was specifically directed against Keith Windschuttle because of his obsession with damning others for errors in footnotes – has been lost in all the wash up. Jeff Sparrow in Crikey refocuses discussion on the central point.
Update: At Club Troppo, Don Arthur thinks he may have an answer to the question – “Who is Sharon Gould?”
Update: A quick post responding to some misconceptions in the Troppo comments thread.
Update: I’m having a bit of a debate at Simons’ blog Content Makers with her on some of the inferences she’s drawn about blogging and journalism from all this.