Thursday, 30 October 2008


Peter van Onselen has "edited" a "book", a large chunk of which was "written" by faceless men and women on behalf of men and women whose faces we’re familiar with, but who are incapable of writing their own material. He's also "edited" a "book" that is supposed to reflect contemporary, that is, current, Liberal Party ideology and future directions but has, instead, "edited" a "book", a large chunk of which is just recycled weasel words and cliched newspeak dating back to the 1980's and '90's.

Van Onselen is an Associate Professor in Political Science. He says about the book "if he ever takes on a book of politicians' essays again", he will be more vigilant. "If ever a book publisher is going to find out whether any publicity is good publicity, this will be the test of whether that phrase is true," Dr van Onselen said.

Here's a heads-up, Peter - If you ever take on a book of politician's essays again, pay attention boy. You're dealing with bloody politicians, not individuals of honesty, integrity or professional ethics. And no, I am not being cynical just for the sake of smartarsery. You are not dealing with people who got where they are today by being forthright, upfront and straightforward in their dealings with others. You make a study of politics, Peter, don't you know this already? Are you naive or just stupid in this regard?

Secondly, consider yourself bloody lucky a publisher expressed an interest in this slim volume of political bubble-and-squeak speak in the first place. Publishers do not take on such projects with the expectation of reaping great gobs of cash and reams of publicity in return. It’s more an exercise in goodwill for the sake of maintaining an historical record of the time rather than an exercise in the excitement of publishing and edge-of-the-seat book launches. If it were not for publishers who are prepared to lose money on publications such as this with the hope of making up the loss from, say, the latest “sword ‘n’ sorcery” epics, our “historical record” would be left in the hands of fish ‘n’ chip wrapper hacks like Andrew Bolt and his crotch-fiddlin’, dribblin’ one-tooth ilk.

The libraries and the halls of academe are grateful for such volumes as yours Peter, but the publisher is waiting to see, after two royalty periods (12 months), what the damage is going to be as far as (a) the possibility of recouping any advance that may have been paid (b) will retailer returns be copy by copy or by the palette, and (c) can they pulp what stock is then left or dump it below cost to a wholesaler or library supplier so they can make room in the warehouse for something of substance that people may actually want to read.

It’s a 280 page book for $36.99 about people who are really, really bad at losing and haven’t shut up about it for almost a year. And your publisher now finds that some of the content may be older than you are, Peter? And not correctly attributed?

I don’t think your publisher would regard this as “good publicity”, Peter. In fact, I imagine they may be more than just a little pissed off right now, mate.

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