Why don’t we commemorate Gallipoli by taking a clear, cold-eyed look at what war is and what war does? Instead of featuring members of the Australian cricket team, why doesn’t every Camp Gallipoli event include speakers who have lived through recent wars and can talk about their experiences?
A woman deals with a mysterious affliction. A couple invite new friends over for dinner. A young man faces his own guilt after a terrible event. A woman and her new lover visit a terminally ill former lover. In each of these very different stories there is a confrontation. A truth is revealed, but often the truth is a terrible, strange and unwelcome thing.
In recent weeks a culture war has raged in the field of science fiction and fantasy. Hot on the heels of the Gamergate controversy – and to a significant extent running parallel alongside it – in this latest case, a right-wing group known as the ‘Sad Puppies’ have campaigned to correct science fiction of its ‘Leftist’ bias. The fight again highlights the deep schisms running through contemporary popular culture.
Recently Australia has rediscovered an old crime, one it intends to charge Indigenous people with: identity fraud. Apparently the ‘white blacks’ of Andrew Bolt’s imagination are back. Somewhere in Australia there is a mob of pretenders who are lining up to claim the privileges of Indigeneity.
It is not just a matter of ‘white over black’ as Fulton tends to stress. The judges and winners are solidly Anglo-Celtic with a few minor variations. It is also notable that they are nearly all creatures of the academic world at some level as are poets of the award-eligible class in Australia generally.
This is not only an argument for ‘representation’ – that is, the idea that if we decentre whiteness and increase representation of non-white poets everywhere, racism will be solved. But representation within poetry is a practical reality: who gets books published? Who gets asked to read or speak on panels? Who is offered residencies at major art/writing institutions? Whose books are added to teaching courses?
In that sense, then, #freshinourmemories can be seen as exemplary rather than anomalous – a reminder that there’s no human misery from which someone won’t try to make a buck and that profiteering was widespread during the war years. Indeed, Woolworths’ specific slogan actually tells us more about the Great War than the anodyne rhetoric of the official commemoration.
Over 130,000 students voted to strike, with more student associations to hold votes in the coming weeks. Organisers are hoping for the return of the famous ‘Maple Spring’ a student movement in Quebec in the summer of 2012. It successfully prevented 75 per cent tuition hikes, overturned an unpopular anti-protest law and brought down the provincial government.
It’s very common. It happens to millions of women. It’s hard to talk about because you feel culpable. It must have been your fault – you are the slut those men said you were. Or you feel the shame of being made a victim. I never wanted to be made a victim. I am a victim. I am not a victim. It took me a long time to work out that I had agency in relation to men. I was raised to please a man. My mother told me I should take care never to appear more intelligent than a man.