Writer’s festivals have long been a joke in this country – well known as lovefests of ideologues preaching feminist and leftist claptrap to their rapt devotees. Even Germaine Greer found herself banned from a writer’s festival last year for daring to challenge the party line on rape.
Imagine my surprise when I received an invitation recently to appear at this year’s Canberra Writer’s Festival, to speak about my new book #MenToo. I happily agreed to take part in two panels, one on “Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing” – supposedly on the consequences of #MeToo – and the other on women over 50.
But then Michaela Bolzan, the Artistic Director of the CWF wrote excitedly informing me of the “super” panel they’d put together for the first women/men panel:
- There’s self-described “card-carrying feminist”, our former Human Rights Commissioner, Gillian Triggs.
- Domestic violence campaigner and journalist Jane Gilmore, known for her anti-male bile.
- LGBTIQ activist, advocate for Safe Schools, and former GetUp campaign director, Sally Rugg, currently embroiled in a campaign to take down rugby player Israel Folau for posting his religious views on social media.
- And writer David Leser whose virtue-signalling article (and forthcoming book) produced the title for this panel. “Why is it that men have killed, enslaved, scarred, diminished and silenced women of every age, race and class, on every continent, for so long?” Leser ponders. I advise you to read the rest and marvel at the stupidity and misandry of this man.
So that was the “super” panel now proposed to talk about women and men in the age of #MeToo. There was no longer any pretence of including balance in this proposed orgy of male-bashing – I was dropped from the panel and asked to moderate the session.
Ditto the panel on women over 50, where I was asked to moderate a panel which included – wait for it – the dreaded Jane Caro, now notorious for her foul-mouthed election night tweet accusing “truculent turds” of sending Australia backwards by voting conservative. Her anti-male tirades are equally well known.
Unsurprisingly, I have pulled out of the event, pointing out I have no interest in being a punching bag for this line up of loonies and their followers. But it says a great deal about the huge waste of government funding supporting this divisive rubbish. The Canberra Writers Festival is supported by the ACT Government, ACT Libraries and ABC Radio Canberra plus there’s an annual grant from ACT Labor of $125,000. How about some of you lobbying these organisations to provide more balanced discussion at these events?