Dear Ed ...

Dear Ed ...

I thought your report on the 2013 IPEd conference was a real cop-out. It was full of sound and fury but meant less than zero. It was just a box of stale crackers with a bit of gift wrapping from the last conference draped around the outside and tacked on with hot glue. How about having a second go at it, you cantankerous clacker-meister! How about telling us about the proceedings rather than paraphrasing them and couching them in some vaguely surrealistic fairyfloss?

Wally the Whinger, Bell Hill


Dear Whing-o-Matic

If cant, cliché and pre-formed thoughts are the first sentences that get into your head, there's no room for thought. Impressed at that turn of phrase? You should be. It's me paraphrasing conference keynote speaker Don Watson, who was in turn paraphrasing one of the themes of his book Death Sentence (but that's okay, because he wrote it).

Deconstruction was all the rage when I was at university, which was back when Australian culture consisted of a) Bodgies, and b) Widgies. If I deconstruct your second sentence, I get a bit of Shakespeare, probably arrived at via that unread Penguin Modern Classics copy of The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner that's sitting on your bookshelf. I also get a bit of 1970s-era Elvis Costello, just for an almost-contemporary reference.

Now, Elvis Costello was paraphrasing Bob Dylan, who was paraphrasing Woody Guthrie, who stole Leadbelly's songbook and never gave it back - and the combination, while pleasingly eclectic, just leaves me wondering:

a) Why, if quoting Shakespeare or Faulkner means you are well-read, does quoting Elvis Costello mean you're just stuck in the mud up to your eyeballs (and probably breathing through straws inserted in your nostrils), despite the obviously historic route the quotes trace?

b) Why, if paraphrasing is evil, is your letter full of paraphrasing? Not to mention a seasonal smattering of cant, cliché, pre-fab thoughts and the contents of your kitchen junk drawer?

c) What have you got against surrealistic fairyfloss?

The rest of your invective, while colourful and full of picturesque images, fails to move me. However, given you are the rudest, most unhinged person to write to me, and only my third real letter in five years, how would you like to take over when I vacate the editorial advice hot seat? Then you can write letters to yourself AND answer them, giving both halves of your brain a workout.

Yes we cant,


PS: You are vile and unable to string an unclichéd sentence together. Are you interested in writing the foreword to The Dear Ed Omnibus?