Love, fidelity and Holding the Man

Type
Reflection
Category
Culture

Holding the Man is a tough narrative to summarise in a tweet, or on deadline for a six-hundred-word stock-format review. Certain themes predominate in critical and audience responses to the play and the film: the idea of a ‘faithful’ adaptation of the book, that is ‘really’, ‘above all’, or ‘fundamentally’ a ‘love story’ and ‘for all of us’.

HoldingTheMan still
aristotle
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Celebrity epilepsy

Although a celebrity’s involvement in health campaigns is a fairly recent phenomenon, history shows a notable trend of illness being aligned with famous figures. By attaching a romantic, intellectual narrative or well-known figure to an illness, it softens the blow of its impact – slightly. It doesn’t relieve the sufferer of their symptoms, but it makes the sufferer feel part of a long, historical narrative that culminates in greatness. While this obviously is rarely, if ever, the case, since not all epileptics are destined for greatness, it allows the sufferer to engage in a fairly innocuous illusion that offers respite from their illness.

Corbyn arrest2
Type
Article
Category
Politics

Corbynated politics

Although to my current taste, Medieval Death Bot is one of the funniest things on Twitter right now, Corbyn Warnings is running a close second. Corbyn Warnings is a parody account playing on the drumbeat of hostile Warnings by MPs, Labour ‘grandees’ and former leaders who have spectacularly failed, if the polls are to be believed, to warn the UK party’s membership and supporters against the allegedly unelectable Islington North MP, Jeremy Corbyn.

goose
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Latham's lament

I’ve long harboured what’s now an unfashionable affection for the politician, diarist and columnist formally known as The Real Mark Latham. His politics are incoherent and the few hundred words he had in the Financial Review hardly gave him the scope needed to address this. Naively, I thought an hour-long ‘conversation’ with Jonathan Green at the Melbourne Writers Festival might illuminate how such an intelligent man deals with these seemingly irreconcilable inconsistencies. Instead, the audience got Latham Unfiltered.

Ali2
Type
Article
Category
refugees
Writing

Neither helpless nor silent

Ali Bakhtiarvandi is an Iranian refugee who arrived in Australia in 2000 at the age of 34. Before receiving his citizenship 2009, Ali was held for four years in three different detention centres around Australia. His story is part of a new oral history project called Behind the Wire, which documents the experiences of men, women and children who have lived in Australian mandatory detention since the policy was introduced by the Keating government in 1992.

Some_Like_it_Hot
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Dressing and undressing Hollywood

Orry-Kelly worked on renowned films such as Baby Face (1933), Jezebel (1938), Casablanca (1942), and Some Like It Hot (1959) with Hollywood stars like Bette Davis, Marilyn Munroe, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck and Natalie Wood. Yet Orry-Kelly – whose costume designs garnered him three Academy Awards – is, for the most part, unknown in his home country of Australia. The perplexing question is: why?

daytriffids
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture

Can science fiction save the world?

It’s not hard to see that the future is getting bleaker. Science fiction and speculative fiction, as responses to present circumstances, are increasingly darkening to match the world as is. Consider the difference between, say, Star Trek – which had the prime directive, the innate and vital goal of exploration and intergalactic diplomacy – and Interstellar, the driving conceit of which is that Earth has run out of food. Across subgenre boundaries, and even languages, we’re bombarded with images straight out of that quintessential British apocalypse novel The Day of the Triffids.

Cursive-letters
Type
Column
Category
Writing

Cursive Letters: the prize winner’s guilt

I recently found out that I won a minor literary prize. It’s not much money, but it’ll help, and psychologically it’s enough of a boost to keep me going for some time. A lot of writers are giving their prize money away to people or groups who need it more, and I know there are a lot of worthy causes out there especially with this government’s brutal cuts to the arts, attacks on refugees, etc. So is it rude not to donate some of the money to other artists or to a charity?

3674292805_84239943d5_z
Type
Article
Category
Politics
Transgender rights

The contradictions in LGBTQI rights in India

The lower house of the Indian parliament is about to debate a private member’s bill on transgender rights that seeks to codify special mechanisms for protecting the rights and welfare of the country’s marginalised transgender community. The government fears, however, that such as debate may inadvertently lead to legislative support for gay rights, which it unambiguously opposes.

urboybangz
Type
Article
Category
Culture

The accident and art of Ur Boy Bangs

The media reception is indicative of an outdated thinking on the way art is created – that is, if it doesn’t share the qualities of something known to be successful, critically or otherwise, then it is trivial and not worthy of respect. Are the reactions of Fallon and the media just an extension of angry white male syndrome, a kind of nostalgia for the past when everything made sense and a community understood why something was being discussed and shared around?

Equal-Love
Type
Polemic
Category
Politics

Who’s afraid of the plebiscite?

Now, only Gillard knows her private thoughts. But, in 2011, her public rationale for opposing same-sex marriage was entirely unambiguous. She explained that she was ‘on the conservative side’ of the debate ‘because of the way our society is and how we got here’. Rather than attacking marriage as being innately oppressive, she defended it on the basis of tradition: ‘I think for our culture, for our heritage, the Marriage Act and marriage being between a man and a woman has a special status.’

7287171458_8b5037f98e_z
Type
Article
Category
Politics
Technology

Tales from the compliance unit

It is not totally clear whether the ghastly name given to the operation – ‘Ice Pick’, as in the weapon used to mortally wound Leon Trotsky – originates from inside the party or was thought up by an especially sardonic critic, but the contention that its ultimate aim may be to root out radicals has some intuitive merit: given the presence among the candidates of an insurgent with considerable appeal among disaffected voters and activists, trawling for past declarations of criticism in order to disqualify new members would have precisely that effect.

Gayb-Baby
Type
Polemic
Category
LGBTQI

Bully for you, Piers Akerman

The fight for marriage equality is about asking for same-sex relationships to enter fully into the public sphere. The time for grudgingly tolerating what happens behind closed doors is past. Australian children of queer parents, and indeed queer Australian children, are long overdue entry into the equal status now enjoyed by their peers in over twenty other nations.

Baiada picket
Type
Announcement
Category
Activism

How to build a union

Forty per cent of all work in Australia is insecure, and there are now 1.2 million Australians living below the poverty line who derive their main income from wages (not welfare). These facts are confronting and the NUW has made the campaign for jobs all workers can count on a priority industrially. But we know that inequality extends outside the workplace and that workers’ issues are not just industrial issues. That’s why we’ve launched a community membership program.