Give it up, Hugo. You continue to
pursue your National Arts School story by referring readers to the
Crikey website and an anonymously penned piece that again gets the
history of the NAS wrong and lays out a strategically dumb argument as
to why it would be in the NAS’s best interests to get into bed with the
neighbouring College of Fine Arts instead of Macquarie University.

anonymous correspondent accuses McDonald of not fessing up to a
conflict of interest by not telling his readers that he is a member of
the NAS teaching staff. If that is, in fact, the case then the
criticism is perfectly reasonable, except for one thing: we have no way
of knowing if the anonymous correspondent is free of conflict.

would bet a lunch that our intrepid correspondent has a vested interest
(or at least is closely connected to people with a vested interest) in
COFA getting its hands on the NAS. (And while we’re on the subject, I’m
getting a little tired of the arbitrary way Crikey grants anonymity to
people – OK for some but not for others.)

At least we now know
that the anonymous correspondent was the source for Hugo’s original
load of bile – the writing style of Hugo and his anonymous pal is
uncannily similar.

It’s completely idiotic, and probably
deliberately mischievous, to argue that the NAS would be better off
with COFA. COFA is an art school that regards itself as infinitely
superior to the NAS. It would almost certainly gobble it up under the
COFA banner and the NAS name and ethos would disappear.

Macquarie doesn’t have an art school, there’s at least a snowflake’s
chance of it allowing the NAS some degree of autonomy. Although if all
past marriages between universities and art schools are anything to go
by, the NAS should be wary about any merger.

And it’s hilarious
that McDonald is backing Macquarie given that institution’s penchant
for hopelessly hip yet deliriously dull cultural theory, the kind of
po-mo stuff that McDonald’s made a career out of trashing.

for my own interest in this – I now live in Melbourne and haven’t
spoken to any of the players in this drama, including Mr McDonald, for
a very long while.

Hugo Kelly adds:

The feisty Sydney arts blog Artlife
has waded into the dispute with this lively diatribe. And the locals
are damning of the Establishment view parroted by Stephen Feneley and
John McDonald. For those in the know, the site’s cheeky graphic of the
new Arts School site is of UNSW’s proposed Singapore campus at the old
Changi airport. Plus, you can vote on whether to merge the school with
Macquarie Uni, UNSW – or the Oporto Charcoal Chicken chain.