It got better, but Slattery's prejudices against vast swathes of theoretical and critical work done in the universities over the past three decades made it dull, backward and achingly worthy -- together with the usual Oz right-shift and exclusion of anything left of Martin Ferguson. You can get away with that in The Oz proper, but Slattery was foolish to imagine that the "postmodernists" and "deconstructionists" he has no time for, have no power in the G8 hierarchies. There was general embarrassment that this was representing the best that could be thought and read, and funding duly ceased. I may have helped, showing a couple of people the contents pages of a few issues -- between the glory of the classics article (author L Slattery), neoliberals on university policy and my good friend Peter Craven on audio books of Dickens, they didn't find much to stop them pulling the plug. Which is a pity, because a genuinely wide-ranging review mediating between academic and public life would have been great, and would have retained support. Slattery -- who was the last editor of the A'sRoB and has now had the publication shot from under him twice -- should have made more of an effort to do what the best editors do: include stuff whose ideas they really don't like, and know that there is something middle way between a party line and a free-for-all -- a directed, but truly pluralist focus for debate and ideas. A good man fallen among Newsistas, and the damage may now be done. On Rupert's dime he could do as he pleased. The ALR was a semi-public resource -- and post-Stephen Romei it was screwed up by people who can no longer think outside the Anti-News Unlimited mantra that everything must be subordinated to one narrow political agenda or another. It would be wrong to say that the years and hundreds of thousands spent on the the A'sRoB and ALR were a waste. Good issues have been produced, and they added to something. But nothing enduring has been created -- and had people determined to do that 15 years ago, when the A'sRoB was created, it would be thoroughly established now. Instead ALR (II) propagated the wearying sense that of monotonous enforcement, the very opposite of the enlightened, questioning civilisation it purported to defend. Subtracting from rather than adding to genuine intellectual life, culture itself became nothing other than another place for a proxy war.
Rundle: a Review review reveals an enduring legacy of not much
One has to say something about the demise of The Australian Literary Review, especially in light of Nick Cater's somewhat freestyling herogram-to-self in yesterday's comments section.