13 December 2006

The 2006 Golden Bull Awards, or, Germaine Greer on the defensive

The Plain English Campaign has released their Golden Bull Awards for 2006.

And among the usual gobbledegook from local councils, legislation, disclaimers and legal fine print, this choice bit of journalism from our good friend, Germaine Greer received a gong:

'The first attribute of the art object is that it creates a discontinuity between itself and the unsynthesised manifold.'

This quote came out of an art crit piece that she wrote for the London newspaper, The Guardian. To be honest, it was an arts review, so I'm inclined to let her have some room to stretch her monumental ego here, if purely for that.

The Guardian, incidentally, won an award for 'crystal-clear' reporting - an award for excellence, in other words. Quite unlike Greer's award.

But Greer herself was most unimpressed by this award, and devoted valuable column space to defending herself. In a nutshell, as she so well put it, '...on the rare occasions when I've been shortlisted for anything, I've been obliged to play the gallant loser. This time I've been granted an award outright...' which naturally seems to give her the right to play a phenomenally ungracious winner.

You just have to read her defence. It's seriously like watching a car crash in slow motion.

She frames it initially as a right of response. But from there, it goes rapidly downhill, as she, at various stages;
  • foolishly criticises the campaign for not using the honorific Doctor or Professor to which she is entitled;
  • explains that her original article constituted valid criticism for readers of The Guardian;
  • justifies her theft of the offending phrase from Immanuel Kant;
  • berates the campaign for their use of the word 'somewhat';
  • shifts the duty of explaining her own words back on to readers with access to the internet; and
  • snobbishly derides anyone who hasn't studied classical philosophy.
The claim she makes that in the intervening years since Kant originally came out with this rubbish no one has been able to better explain it demonstrates the campaign's aims probably better than Greer could have possibly intended.

It's also irrelevant - Greer resorted to quoting someone else's nonsensical jargon in order to illustrate a point that she could not, or would not do.

It smacks of elitism, plagiarism, sour grapes, laziness and (maybe) incompetence and the gall she displays in this article is flabbergasting.

She has the temerity to complete her penultimate paragraph with this sentence:

'It was Kant who explained that the art object exists only as the concept of itself, all its other sensory qualities being associated with pleasure or desire and therefore ulterior.'

Oh really, Germaine? Then why bother painting the sodding things in the first place? The campaign was quite right to call bullshit on you, "Professor" Greer.

Out of 5 stars, I give Greer's response a single 'up yours'.

6 comments:

beep said...

Germaine is arrogant,egotistical, and aelf-serving. Sometimes I love her for it.

Other times, she is just a pain in the arse for the sake of it.

Dikkii said...

Hi Beep.

I must say, I echo your thoughts.

I just found it interesting that she appeared to be unaware throughout the whole article that she was digging a deeper and deeper hole for herself.

She must've written it in a hurry.

china said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ted said...

It's the way she digs herself the hole that's entertaining though, I think. Still, it's hardly surprising I suppose. She's always been able to fit both feet in her mouth at once...:)

Adam said...

Ah, Germaine. I tend to agree with about half of what I've heard her say (mercifully little thankfully), and think she's batshit crazy for the other half. My next post is going to tackle the batshit crazy half in some detail. She had the audacity to appear on television bagging Dawkins' new book. Bad move love - you're going down.

Dikkii said...

Ted - I get entertained by Greer all the time. She's great for it.

Adam - I'm curious to see what Greer said about Dawkins. Knowing her, Dawkins just happened to be the nearest academic while she went off about the gardens being overwatered or something.