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Windyware

In the computer business, the term “vaporware” refers to products that are announced, described in glossy brochures, and even offered for sale, but never actually delivered.

A similar term is certainly needed for books. My own book-in-progress, Economics in Two Lessons is years behind schedule, but a first draft is, at least, in sight.

The prize, in this respect, must surely go to Keith Windschuttle. His Fabrication of Australian History: Volume I, released in 2002, made a big splash This was not so much because of the contents (some quibbles over footnotes, along with a lawyerly attempt to blame Tasmanian indigenous people for their own disastrous fate). Rather, it was the promise of future volumes II and III, on a yearly schedule. Volume II, in particular, was supposed to be in advanced state of preparation and would refute Henry Reynolds’ work on the violence of the Queensland frontier. Volume III was to do the same for WA.

Year followed year, and nothing appeared. Windschuttle got a number of gigs on the strength of his promises, notably including a seat on the ABC Board and the editorship of Quadrant. He also turned out a book on White Australia and then, confusingly, a Volume III of Fabrication, which was not the promised WA volume, but a rehash of the rightwing side of the Stolen Generations debate. He then promised a Volume II, for 2015, which of course has not appeared.

In all the time since 2002, as far as I can tell, he hasn’t released so much as a magazine article backing up his claims about WA and Queensland. I doubt that this can be simple laziness. More likely, he started the research and realised that the evidence wasn’t going his way. Rather than act like the objective historians he claims to admire, and report the facts, he strung along his fellow-believers in the inherent goodness of British civilization with promises that, Real Soon Now, he would come up the facts to refute those nasty leftists.

I was going to let sleeping dogs lie, but Windschuttle has appeared with another new book, this time attacking constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians. So, in honour of the non-appearance of the book that was going to set the historians straight, I propose the term “Windyware” for all such non-books.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    January 6th, 2017 at 14:02 | #1

    Extraordinary…. that Windschuttle could invent enough specious arguments to fill a book. Dishonesty is endlessly inventive but a verifiable truth needs only one formulation.

  2. Smith
    January 6th, 2017 at 14:44 | #2

    Windschuttle didn’t get the ABC and Quadrant gigs on the strength of what he promised. He got them because he was already the most established right wing cultural warrior of the time. What’s more he had nothing to gain by publishing vols 2 and 3.

    These squabbles about Aboriginal history all seem so ancient now, and were effectively, at least politically, put to bed when Rudd made the apology, nearly a decade ago. Among the cultural warriors, other than yesterday’s man Windschuttle, only Andrew Bolt is still litigating them. The other cultural warriors have moved onto Muslims.

  3. John Quiggin
  4. Smith
    January 6th, 2017 at 17:31 | #4

    @John Quiggin

    I stand corrected. All the same, the fact that Tony Abbott as PM was sort of in favour of constitutional recognition muddied the waters. And while the aboriginal history issue lingers among the revanchists, it’s not nearly the big thing it once was. Until I read your post, I thought Windschuttle was dead.

  5. January 6th, 2017 at 20:33 | #5

    The car industry has its own flourishing form of vapourware in concept cars shown at motor shows to a fawning trade press. They have become more salient in the transition to electric cars, as laggard companies like Fiat-Chrysler need to disguise their lack of real products in the pipeline.

  6. D
    January 6th, 2017 at 22:51 | #6

    There are lots of Indigenous people against, or deeply suspicious of, the “Recognise” agenda.

    Sadly, rather than have a proper discussion consulting those people and their views/concerns, it is being used as yet another false “left/right” circus.

  7. Tim Macknay
    January 6th, 2017 at 23:21 | #7

    @Smith
    I’m pretty sure Windshuttle is spiritually dead, so your assumption may have been essentially correct.

  8. Nick
    January 7th, 2017 at 01:49 | #8

    James, this looks pretty looks good though:

    http://www.fiatusa.com/en/500e/

    4 years isn’t too bad to bring to market after first concept presentation (Nov 2012)

  9. Nick
    January 7th, 2017 at 02:04 | #9

    Actually, it looks like they’ve been on the market for a good few years now. I think I completely missed them, as they’re only available in the US.

  10. Ikonoclast
    January 7th, 2017 at 07:13 | #10

    @Tim Macknay

    Harsh. But true in a sense. To be pedantic, there is no reliable evidence that spirits or a spirit nature of man exist. Perhaps I would use the phrase “morally dead in certain compartments”. He would not be totally morally dead but he has compartmentalized certain issues.

  11. James Wimberley
    January 7th, 2017 at 09:28 | #11

    The Fiat is the next worst thing to a concept car. It’s a compliance car sold in tiny numbers at a loss to meet Californian fleet requirements. Oddly, reviewers like it more than the company that sells it does.

  12. Nick
    January 7th, 2017 at 11:22 | #12

    Fair enough.

  13. may
    January 7th, 2017 at 13:10 | #13

    James Wimberley :
    The car industry has its own flourishing form of vapourware in concept cars shown at motor shows to a fawning trade press. They have become more salient in the transition to electric cars, as laggard companies like Fiat-Chrysler need to disguise their lack of real products in the pipeline.

    taint just carz’n’histry.

    remember the flavrsavr “you beaut-last-forever-on -the-supermarket-shelf”tarmarta?

    then there’s the brand name rapeseed crossing with it’s rapa rellies to breeze through a glyso drenching.
    (tough luck cocky! your grain is now not only weed seedy (lower price) but tests for gmo contamination.(lower price)
    and on top of that you are in unauthorised possession of proprietary property and even if you are reassured by well thought out PR ,the law is not on your side.)

    then there is the incredimarvellowonderous yellow rice that’s gunna be so cheap and vit A and etc.
    the target market has thing about yellow rice.

    and on and on.

    vaporware indeed.

    any way. Happy New Year.

  14. Tim Macknay
    January 9th, 2017 at 10:38 | #14

    @Ikonoclast

    To be pedantic, there is no reliable evidence that spirits or a spirit nature of man exist.

    Not so much pedantic as tone deaf. It was a metaphor.

  15. Ronald Brakels
    January 13th, 2017 at 13:44 | #15

    May, vitamin A fortified rice has been used to prevent children dying, which is considered an important thing in many cultures, for years now.