The Australian ran this story today previewing a lecture at the University of Melbourne by renowned literary/art theorist Homi K. Bhabha. It consists almost entirely of Bhabha’s words describing his work and lecture. While I don’t agree with everything Bhabha says in the article (that art should be understood as another form of “text,” for instance), what struck me was that this piece was considered “newsworthy” at all. Everyone laments the death of arts and literature coverage in mainstream newspapers, but here’s a piece that tries to introduce an uninformed audience to the basics of Bhabha’s ideas and whet their appetites for the upcoming lecture. At first I was tempted to write some post excoriating Americans for not including this kind of coverage of events like lectures in their newspapers, but then I realized that the Australian is owned by the same media conglomerate as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and London’s Times Literary Supplement: News Corp., the company built by the much-maligned Rupert Murdoch. Is theory so rare in Australia that it gets covered by the press as an oddity? I’m left scratching my head.
Picture of Homi K. Bhabha from the Harvard English Department.