May 12, 2015

Bah, humbug!

A recent legal case in Australia shows how publishers can be left with egg on their faces when they don’t do their homework. Why would you accept a manuscript of an unauthorised biography of a famous living public figure and not have your legal department check it to ensure that the company isn’t risking a law suit in that the author could back up controversial assertions made about that person?

It’s well known that people in the public eye are fair game and therefore must expect the worst from those who are jealous or have axes to grind or, in most cases, are just after a fast buck at their expense, but at what point do these books end up doing more harm than good for the authors?

For Aussies, the fiery Paul Keating needs no introduction, being one of sharpest and most divisive Prime Ministers of recent years. His wit and talent with words are well-known and few can gain the upper hand in any debate or argument with him, either in speech or print, let alone accuse him of dyslexia without real evidence.

If he truly did have dyslexia, then he would be an inspiration that proves it is no bar to reaching the highest level of success, but to say he did when it isn’t true is a sad indictment on all involved, including an affront to those for whom dyslexia is a very real and difficult condition that so often prevents them from achievements that reflect their intelligence. It smacks of intellectual snobbery and sadly puts into question all the previous books by the author concerned. 

On the lighter side, the "humbug" correspondence would be fun to read. Keating has long been famous for his put-downs. Read some of them here.

And then, of course, he was also the subject of a successful Australian musical which took many of his quips and wove them into the script and musical numbers.

Cartoons copyright and CN collection

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