I have written for my bread and butter (usually margarine!) ever since I failed high school in 1965. I have made both a fortune from it as well as nothing. I have had popular daily or weekly newspaper columns that pay exceedingly well with The Age and The Australian and The Herald Sun and have often spoken brilliantly at office Christmas parties and just as often sat on the same Brunswick Street seat with not a single solitary crumb of pudding to nibble. I have been famous and fucked. But there is no feeling quite like seeing yourself in print.
Ben Carson comes from a long tradition of Black conservatism, ‘one that is rooted in a belief in religious morality, personal responsibility, self-help, individualism and free-market enterprise.’ Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Black leaders such as Booker T Washington espoused an accommodationist strategy for Black advancement. Rather than directly challenging white supremacy through political means, Black conservatives argued the most effective way of improving African-American prospects was through economic mobility.
ICYMI, 20 October was Drop the Jargon Day. I missed it, which was a minor bummer, because I hate jargon. My current beef is with the phrase ‘reaching out’. I don’t even know why I hate it so much. I think it’s to do with the insidious way strangers started reaching out to me via email, when writing to or the similarly tactile getting in touch used to suffice. I also hate ‘touching base’ and virtually anything that involves the word ‘paradigm’.
As an Australian colonial possession from the First World War to 1968, Nauru was the ‘prize of the Pacific’, in the words of historian Nancy Viviani. Nauru, along with New Guinea, was part of what the Australian ruling class felt to be its legitimate claim: colonial control over the Pacific. Often called the ‘Father of Federation’ in Australia, Henry Parkes thought ‘we ought to hold mastery of the hemisphere’. Australia ousted Germany from both Nauru and New Guinea, and fought for joint British-French control of the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), where Australia also sourced slaves.
An adult psychosis in this reading of Bond is not, as it is often represented, a florid display of hallucinations and delusions. The psychotic episode is actually the last ditch attempt to cure oneself of a psychosis, to come up with a master narrative: it was always the fault of the CIA; I am a mighty wizard who can speak to Jesus; television communicates mystical truths to me. Or in Bond’s case: Nothing was my fault; I have been manipulated by an all-seeing secret organisation whose tentacles are everywhere.
If until recently – in the minds of Jewish-Israelis – Palestinians found themselves inheriting the Nazi legacy and perhaps just competing with it, the last twenty years or so have changed their positioning on the hate ladder. In their ambition to have it all – land and domination from the Sea to the River – Israeli institutions, law, and policies went too far with their disciplinary and violent logic against Palestinians, to the point that it makes sense today, for a well-trained Jewish-Israeli, to conceive the ‘Palestinian threat’ as not any less ominous than the Nazi regime was.
Start with yourself, but don’t finish with yourself.
All my life, I’ve been a pretend man. I thought I was a person, like the other seven billion people on the planet, and although I’ve always been aware that being a person of a female persuasion is sometimes tricky, I also thought that my sex was irrelevant to my personhood, especially if I wasn’t personally present to affirm it.
The bullets had scarcely stopped flying in Paris before the pressure was on. There were the profile pictures filtered with le Tricolore or changed to show the user on holiday in Paris; the memes with cartoons by Charlie Hebdo illustrator Joann Sfar or words by Martin Luther King Jr; the condemnations of religious fundamentalism and pleas for tolerance on behalf of the peaceful majority of the world’s Muslims. The counter narrative went hand-in-hand: what about Beirut, we were asked with varying degrees of sanctimoniousness, where Islamic State militants had killed 41 people the day before the Paris attacks?
Terrorism operated on children as much as it did on adults. It formed us, growing up in this fear, and seeing fear on the faces of the grown-ups. It must have. However, I don’t recall ever being asked to draw those feelings.
And so the culture wars rage on. In the latest instalment, the World Fantasy Award has decided to retire the bust of HP Lovecraft, traditionally used for the award. The new image for the award is yet to be decided. This has happened hot on the heels of the Hugo Awards controversy and Gamergate, and the world of speculative fiction has once again erupted into acrimony.
Everyone except the most flagrantly freeloading of publications, it seems, agrees that something needs to be done about the parlous state of writers’ pay – but what, exactly?
For the first time in the modern history of the United States, a nationally televised presidential debate revolved around the relative merits of capitalism and socialism. More remarkably still, one of the candidates vigorously defended the latter side. The Saturday Night Live take on this year’s first Democratic primary, therefore, was keenly anticipated. Few, however, expected the coup de grâce that ensued: Larry David, briefly a writer for the show in the mid-1980s who would later go on to phenomenal success with the shows Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, strode up to the podium and delivered a pitch-perfect rendition of the Vermont senator.
Much has been said before now about Australia’s – and Western media in general’s – assumption that if the victim of an atrocity is not white (and Australian) then it is not news; we are not interested in hearing about it. At the same time, it’s hard not to feel that such selective attention is coupled with an innate and somewhat perverse fear of missing out. Something big is happening in the world, no matter how horrific: how can we be part of it?
Since the new pay structure has been in place for a few months now, authors have had the chance to experience the change in their royalty payouts – sums which have sparked a great deal of debate within the independent and self-published community. Some established writers of longer fiction have done quite well out of the arrangement. Others, not so much.