I’ve just checked the Donner Prize for this 2009. They didn’t get it. Who? Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard, that’s who. They were nominated for “Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry” etc. I agree, they don’t deserve it although I’m amazed it got as far as it did.
I noted elsewhere, the last minute PR push with full-chapter reprints got me wondering if an award could be won by chequebook rather than quality.
I’m not falling into Widdowson’s and Howard’s pre-emptive trap, to allow them to use reverse racism as an excuse, or to allow them to portray themselves as victims of political correctness. No one has sought to ban their opinions, so we shouldn’t allow them to proclaim themselves poster children for free speech either. They put their stuff out, they had plenty of opportunity to express themselves in the media (thanks, mindless bots), and their opinions have been found wanting. Too many academics have found their work wanting.
Widdowson and Howard had plenty of opportunity to flog their opinions – and that’s exactly what they are, poorly researched, flawed, and highly prejudicial opinions pretending to be academic study. The authors didn’t seem to understand or to appreciate what it was that they actually advocated. Or if they did, they didn’t care.
I think, I hope, that Canadians are wary of anything that smells of cultural genocide given their past as well as their present, as they send sons and daughters off to fight and die in foreign lands. Difficult to justify fighting for respect and human dignity out there when the opposite may be taking place at home.
At risk of taking this off on a tangent, here’s a link to a story by Mark Dowie in the Boston Globe. It’s about the past, and the present, and a centuries-old struggle to be heard and to be allowed to be heard. I think it fits the tone of this post.
I suspect that Widdowson and Howard wouldn’t agree with this story, but then I don’t really care what they think anymore.