Quadrant’s vacancy filled

As The Australian reports this morning, the Quadrant editorial vacancy has been filled – by controversial historian Keith Windschuttle.

Windschuttle’s first target will be the arts:

Windschuttle is not feeling charitable towards luvvies. “I’ve become concerned in recent years about the cynicism and decadence that you get in the opera, in the theatre, in other parts of high culture – even the dance companies,” he said.

Consider Wagner’s Tannhauser, that myth of the sacred and profane now on show at the Sydney Opera House. “There’s a guy painted in gold (who) stands there with a giant erection – symbolises lust or something,” Windschuttle said yesterday. “That kind of gratuitous offensiveness is almost everywhere.”

Those who have the print version of The Australian will see a photograph of Windschuttle next to one of the ‘Look Right’ warnings painted on Sydney streets, to try to reduce the number of tourists run over after forgetting which side of the road cars drive on here. That perhaps doesn’t bode well for the ‘sceptical and non-ideological’ spirit Paddy says he has tried to revive during his editorship.

The end of the Cold War made Quadrant a less necessary place for the anti-totalilatarian left (as opposed to the merely non-totalitarian left), so it was always bound to narrow ideologically in the 1990s. But it would be good to have a magazine in which genuine diversity and debate was a constant feature, even if only within the broad centre-right and right.