The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

FRANK Camp­bell’s ex­cel­lent Fo­rum col­umn on the ax­ing of nine Ra­dio Na­tional spe­cial­ist pro­grams should be com­pul­sory read­ing for all those dullards at the ABC re­spon­si­ble for such woe­ful de­ci­sion-mak­ing (‘‘ On the diminu­tion of crit­i­cal pub­lic cul­ture’’, Novem­ber 29-30). There’s not much point in of­fer­ing a stronger on­line and dig­i­tal fo­cus, what­ever that may mean, if there’s noth­ing of qual­ity to lis­ten to in the first place. The medium is ir­rel­e­vant. The mes­sage is the thing. Dave Robin­son Gladesville, NSW FRANK Camp­bell sums up per­fectly the dumb­ing down of the ABC. Some ABC Ra­dio Na­tional pro­grams sound like the Triple J blather of the 1990s, but th­ese are not the pro­grams that are be­ing cut. As the de­ci­sion­mak­ers are be­ing paid by us, they should be named and forced into pub­lic de­bate over the pro­gram cuts. Mur­ray Jen­nings Como, West­ern Aus­tralia EVAN Wil­liams, in his re­view of Aus­tralia (‘‘ Baz ticks all the boxes’’, Novem­ber 29-30), writes that Aus­tralia is the only film to have ‘‘ shown us the first and only at­tack on Aus­tralian soil’’. Broome in West­ern Aus­tralia was also bombed by the Ja­panese dur­ing World War II [ on March 3, 1942] with a loss of 70 civil­ian lives. The wrecks of the bombers re­main a tourist at­trac­tion in the town. Michelle McGoldrick Bendigo, Vic­to­ria Evan Wil­liams writes: I am grate­ful for the re­minder that Broome was bombed by the Ja­panese. In re­fer­ring to the first and only at­tack on Aus­tralian soil, I had in mind the en­tire bomb­ing cam­paign against north­ern Aus­tralia, not so much in­di­vid­ual raids. CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to Christo­pher Allen for his re­view of the Yinka Shoni­bare ex­hi­bi­tion (‘‘ Fleet­ing fash­ions’’, Novem­ber 22-23). It is the most per­cep­tive, hon­est and in­tu­itive art re­view I have read in 10 years. Gen­uine art crit­ics are all too rare. Partly in con­se­quence, the past cen­tury has been by far the worst of the past 500 years in terms of gen­uine artis­tic achieve­ment. Up to this point, only Robert Hughes has been game enough to sug­gest that the em­peror, in that case in the per­sona of Damien Hirst, was wear­ing no clothes. Bruce McCallum Gwelup, West­ern Aus­tralia NOT only has Christo­pher Allen con­signed Yinka Shoni­bare’s ex­hi­bi­tion of head­less man­nequins and waxed Dutch fabrics to the same woe­fully com­mer­cial realm as goldg­ilded hooves, formalde­hyde and di­a­monds, he has also de­nounced the work as medi­ocre, whim­si­cal, and so­cially in­sub­stan­tial. Artists such as Shoni­bare are en­ti­tled to take some mea­sure of them­selves in re­gards to the di­alec­ti­cal com­plex­i­ties of race, colo­nial ex­ploita­tion and cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tion. Allen’s dec­la­ra­tion that th­ese dis­courses are ‘‘ prob­a­bly in­ca­pable of be­ing ex­pressed in art’’ beg­gars be­lief. Kaila Gol­lo­gly Fitzroy, Vic­to­ria

re­view@ theaus­tralian. com. au

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