Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, July 23, 2003
WHEN THE COMMUNARDS at Auntie want to promote a cause, the calendar becomes as elastic as my great-aunt Gertie's garters.

You see, there needs to be some occasion for giving a plug to the thoughts of some ideological ally whose talents might not justify promotion through Radio National Breakfast.

What better occasion than the launch of a book? The internet is cluttered with blurb, and there is always the helpful publicity department if you're too lazy or stupid to work out the take-home message for yourself.

If the cause is good, and the actual launch passed you by, well, just invent one. It's better than saying "we picked this one because we like its politics."

For example, when Breakfast decided to plug this excellent book they pretended it had just been launched. Which, if your mindspace is delimited by what turns up on Auntie, is true enough for a post-modernist.

Or take today's case, a book on the inexpressible cruelty that is the mandatory detention of those who weren't invited to Australia and refuse to leave, titled Desert Sorrow. It may be a great book, or it may just be another stroking of the communards' political G-spots, you won't know unless you read it.

But you can't, according to Breakfast, because it comes out next month. From Wakefield Press. Which lists the title, and nothing else, on its website.

Trouble is, it's already been self-published, and you can buy it on-line.

Uncle, with his five readers, can't spoil Wakefield's marketing plan. Our nationally-networked and publicly-funded Auntie can sure help it.