Now we know – the very youthful Ben Naparstek, aged 23, has the job. Having googled him this morning (I was not the only one – I’d got as far as ‘Ben Nap..’ and google was already correctly suggesting that I wanted ‘Naparstek’) he’s done some good journalism about big-name intellectual and literary figures. Apart from doubts about whether someone so young will be able to stand up to Morry Schwartz and Robert Manne and win the respect of the many contributors old enough to be his parent or grandparent, he seems to have the right background for the job.
In any case, he’s clearly not lacking in confidence. I liked this part of the Weekend Australian’s version of the story:
He applied for the job when he was 18,” Mr Schwartz told The Weekend Australian yesterday.
“I said, ‘no you’re too young’. He said, ‘I’m not too young’ and I said, ‘yes you are’, and so I appointed Christian Ryan instead.
“Now it’s his turn. He starts Monday morning.
Update: Monday’s Australian says that Naparstek has been dubbed the ‘boy Manne’. There could be many variations on this theme: Manneservant, Manne Friday… but let’s give the guy a chance.