Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

The Brisbane Writers Festival proves that literature is dead.


stop culturally appropriating those spectacles …

There’s been a blowup at the Brisbane Writers Festival that has reverberated around the globe with concussive force. I didn’t even know or care that there was a writers festival in Brisbane so the organizers must be happy with this free publicity. Seriously, writers festivals are the biggest load of dreary wank. There is nothing more nauseating than being surrounded by people who are there solely because they happen to do something and they want acclaim from their peers. Fragile egos and sanctimonious fools. Let it go on record that if I am ever invited to a writers festival I will tell them to go away or I will taunt them a second time.

Anyway, to sum up what happened:

Some chick called Lionel Shriver, (that’s not a chick’s name – wtf?), made a presentation where she deplored the unstoppable behemoth of political correctness that is now dictating that writers may not write about things that they have no experience with. In other words, being a straight white male I am now not permitted to write books with black, gay, or female characters as to do so is some form of cultural, sexual, and vaginal appropriation. Go figure. I suppose that means that everyone will only be allowed to write memoirs now. Hey! I’m good at that!

Some other sub-Saharan dimwit named Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who writes dreary dreck that is only published due to the fact that she is a pedestal minority hire, walked out due to the extreme stress that hearing words caused her:

“ ‘Mama, I can’t sit here,’ I said, the corners of my mouth dragging downwards. ‘I cannot legitimise this …’ My mother’s eyes bore into me, urging me to remain calm, to follow social convention. I shook my head, as if to shake off my lingering doubts.

“As I stood up, my heart began to race. I could feel the eyes of the hundreds of audience members on my back … My mind was blank save for one question: ‘How is this happening?’ ”

She then wrote about it in an incredibly boring rant in The Guardian, (where else?)

Larry Correria took the whole lot of them to task with a good fisking as only he does.

But then Caroline Overington, assistant editor at The Australian, wrote a piece titled, New age nonsense seeks to censor writers’ imagination.

The freedom to write as one pleases is a cornerstone of liberty. Poets and librarians are imprisoned for the distribution of unapproved ideas in Cuba but not here. Change comes from our willingness to see the other point of view.

One of the volunteers at the festival told me she thought critics of Shriver’s speech were suffering a terrible kind of victimhood … but she would never dare say so.

“I’ll be crucified,” she said.

Well, OK, but I can’t be silent. It’s fiction. People can write whatever they want, from whatever perspective they want, forever and a day. If you’d rather read a book about a black woman by a black woman, buy one, starting with anything by Toni Morrison. If your own perspective is missing from the canon, get out there and write something at least as good and let nothing as ridiculous as self-pity stand in your mighty way.

You may presume to think that I am happy that Overington has come out so robustly in defense of literature. But I am not. All I can think to say to her is this:

Fuck you, Caroline Overington, you prissy, jumped-up, hypocritical halfwit.

Why? Because literature is dead and it has been dead for over 20 years precisely because of political correctness. The volunteer that she writes about is typical of the craven silence that has greeted the progressive takeover by these authoritarian thugs of every facet of the arts. Only now is Overington getting on her high horse to denounce the Marxist invaders.

Well, it’s too late, sweetheart. What you berks never understood is that there is no endgame with regards to political correctness. The very first time that it surfaced was the very first time in which it should have been stamped out like the tiny fire that it was. But you all did nothing. Now that it’s a raging and out of control bushfire you’re suddenly panicking. Why are you even acting surprised? Literature has been subverted from an art medium that used narrative, character, and juxtaposition to one where the only thing that matters is how much virtue signaling the writer manages to pull off in whatever rubbish she writes. I use the female pronoun because the entire industry is dominated by mindless and stupid banshees from top to bottom. Which is why talentless hacks such as Yassmin Abdel-Magied get published.

And when did that little fire begin? Why, with an episode concerning a certain English writer who released a book called, The Satanic Verses. That was the moment and apart from a few very rare brave souls such as Christopher Hitchens, everyone else in the publishing businesses covered their eyes and ran for the hills.

And now that the same forces who demanded Rushdies’ head be sacrificed have moved to their next step, (and it’s not the final one), of advocating for the total absurdness of cultural appropriation, now you decide that enough is enough and you’re going to get outraged. The time for getting outraged was long ago. You write about feeling a chill. My God, woman. It’s not a chill, it’s a red hot poker that’s being shoved up your bottom.

But Caroline is a woman, and as a female writer she has undoubtedly benefited from the same PC matriarchs against whom she is now finally protesting. Which is why I cannot stomach her hypocrisy. Literature is dead, it was lost long ago. The sooner that you all understand that and slink off to your forgotten writers retreats the better. Let the rest of us recreate something from the ashes that has been so completely betrayed by those who were trusted with its protection by the former giants of literature.


Opinions versus soundbites.


Projecting Hillary


  1. Literature, like news, is now so unprofitable that it is mostly published for political and social reasons. Self publishing is the firm kick in the teeth that these clowns need.
    But we’re not out of the woods yet. At the moment Amazon and WordPress will let one publish pretty much anything. The world is safe . . . but, for how long?

    • Adam

      They let us publish anything because they know that if they don’t, others will rise to take their place.

  2. Carl-Edward

    Literature is indeed dead – but it died more than twenty years ago! Equally, the theatre, cinema, music and art are dead. To that list, let us add civilised discourse, wit, brilliance and manners.

    I do not read what now passes for writing. I read books and stories by writers who had a feeling for language, and did not mangle it, either trying to prove a point, or out of their own ignorance. I am steeped in the Old Masters, listen to historic recordings (Baroque, classical – and the wonderful popular music of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties), and love classic cars, rejecting the nasty rubbish most people now drive. In short, I have shut out the vile modern world. (I recently banished an acquaintance, who with great intensity tried to persuade me that I must care about what happens in foreign countries, thousands of miles away.)

    Your column has prompted me to write all this, and I am aware that most of it is tangential to the subject at hand. There you are.

    • Adam

      I don’t think it’s tangential at all. They are all connected, the common theme being one of an appreciation of honest endeavor for its own sake and not for sinister or superfluous ulterior motives.

  3. Patrick Albanese

    Gee, it seems to me that a fiction writer could just say that they “identified” as each of their made up characters in order to write from that perspective.

    I’m a big fan of creating infighting between groups that claim victim hood. In fact, I think they should be pushed to publish an Hierarchy of victim hood. Just let me know who sits at the top.

    For example: Killing a White Heterosexual Man will get you zero jail time, but stealing the purse of a Black/Hispanic/Muslim/Elderly/Disabled/Transsexual/Lesbian will get you the death penalty.

    All in the name of fairness of course.

    • Adam

      I like it on one level but on reflection this just serves to make us as dumb as they are.

  4. Isaac

    Caroline Overington had me fooled for a while. I used to read her in the Australian and got the impression she was on the right side. But the other week she wrote a defense of same sex marraige which was cringe-worthy, embarrasing emotional drivel. Not addressing legal consequences or making any logical arguments. Even if it wasn’t currently paywalled, I wouldn’t suggest reading it – it will only make you feel dumber. I think I’m done buying the Weekend Australian.

  5. The metaphor fails. Literature does not die. Neither does philosophy. Nor the humanities. Nor scholarship. Nor theatre. Nor art. It does go through fallow and decadent periods. The situation re the visual arts is severe compared with the situation in literature.

  6. eamonkelly

    To wit, one need only go so far as their local rag (newspaper) to discover what masquerades as intellectually-erudite…and that’s from the editorial staff.

    We’re doomed.

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