When will Jesus show up?

Type
Polemic
Category
Culture
Television

At very least, the choice of historical inspiration is suspect. Brutal moments from the past are overrepresented on television: there’s a Manson murders show, a Hatfields-and-McCoys show, and angry history-inspired action-sex dramas set in a lot of different time periods. If an alien tried to understand human history based on our cable shows, they would probably think we have spent most of our time on top of this planet trying to hurt one another. We do not seem like a very cool species.

1280-2-game-of-thrones
TNWOT2
Type
Polemic
Category
Publishing
Reading

Enter Stella: on why we still need women-only literary prizes

Yet in Wood’s novel we get the feeling that her dystopian future is not so far away, that the brutality that is levelled at the women in the book is right around the corner. So when I finished reading Wood’s novel, I was relieved and grateful that it had won The Stella. And I wondered if a book like this would have won a prestigious national prize in Australia before Stella was established.

2796551599_cfe715e090_b
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture
The media

Leakism: a guide

A ‘good caricature, like every work of art,’ said the Italian Baroque painter, Annibale Carracci, ‘is more true to life than reality.’ This is why, I think, Bill Leak’s cartoons are so often failures. Like several pundits that take up column inches at the Australian these days, his views are so out of touch with the majority of the population that they can – in moments of ideologically charged rage – seem almost deranged.

Elec-belt-lge
Type
Polemic
Category
Electioneering

Pants on fire!

It would take a special sort of demagogue to argue against the essence of Thomas Jefferson’s famous assertion that ‘an enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic’ but we might also reasonably wonder what the upshot of Fray’s ideal of political accountability by fact-check is. Are politicians any more truthful, or even careful, as a result? (There is, in fact, some evidence that the more politicians lie, the better they poll).

Landscape
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Gender

Interlopers in a masculine city

Since at least the 1970s, writing on the experience of women in cities has focused on the ways in which the built environment acts as an expression of or enabler for the violence enacted upon women’s bodies: sexual assault and other violent crime, and the spatial separation of supposedly ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ space – that harmful dichotomy of public and private dividing the home from the street and workplace.

Public-toilet-2
Type
Polemic
Category
Politics
Transgender rights

The anti-trans backlash is here

One might be under the impression that transgender people have never been so visible nor been so accepted, from the Time Magazine cover declaring the ‘trans tipping point’ to the coming out of reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, to more meaningful progress in access to medical treatment and human rights across much of the world. But visibility has always been a double-edged sword for transgender people, and while there have always been transphobic responses to trans gains (Germaine Greer, for instance, has been predictably awful for forty years), it was inevitable at some point that a substantial political backlash would emerge.

PicassoLeReve
Type
Polemic
Category
Culture
Gender

The politics of genius

But surely the question of genius is not an economic concern? Or is it? We certainly live in a world where economics is central in all areas of life, including art.

Genius is a tantalisingly vague concept. And yet its historical association with dead white males such as Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein, and in contemporary times, with Steve Jobs and the still very much alive Stephen Hawking, suggests its distinctly masculine character.

Stonewall 45
Type
Polemic
Category
Activism
LGBTQI

Erasing LGBTI history

I was surprised to read the news that Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, was going to fund Australia’s first Pride Centre to the tune of $15 million. Mostly because I used to work in one in Sydney more than fifteen years ago.

Autumn-Fiction-2016-(anti-dis-un)
Type
Editorial

Anti-/dis-/un-Australian fiction issue

I’ve been so bored with realist Australian fiction; sleepy stories that perhaps have one eye open, but aren’t looking at anything worth seeing. I’m guilty of it too. You should see the piece I’m working on at the moment; it’s terrible, and leaves me wanting to turn the pages inside out. Still, I summoned the nerve to plead for something different.

ghost-shell
Type
Polemic
Category
Cinema
Culture

Space racism: on Hollywood actors & their whitewashing

This is how the future looks through Hollywood’s eyes: Asian trappings, but minimal Asian people. Our real future will probably not look like that: with the likelihood of China continuing to dominate economically and scientifically, the points of difference between Earth now and our space-faring future aren’t going to be white people in Chinoiserie; it’s going to be brown people in modern Chinoiserie. And it’s going to be people speaking Japanese and getting to space on Japanese tech and actually being Japanese.

ryan-trecartin
Type
Review
Category
Art

Ghost of the future past: on the work of Ryan Trecartin

The game is ultimately one of endurance: the video-works total six hours screened back to back, and experiencing them is akin to stumbling upon a raucous sorority party, and fighting the urge to simply shut the door. While many of my fellow gallery-goers bowed out of the competition after mere minutes, I persevered, irradiating elitist triumph. Yet the truth was that I too felt alienated by the hyper-verbal characters on the screen before me; that their private speech codes and aspirational posturing made me feel old.

14781461154_b2fb05a594_b
Type
Polemic
Category
Refugee rights

Australia, exceptional in its brutality

To implement the state of exception, Agamben argues, governments frame challenges and subjects in the language of national security or national interest – a political process where the language of war is used to justify an increase in government powers. Issues are represented through a militaristic language and the government is given rights to solve any issues seen as relating to security by any means.

cambridge
Type
Article
Category
Higher education
The media

Specialisation is destroying my generation

Never has the requirement of specialisation been more prevalent than in the current Australian media landscape. Even when a story is written specifically about millennials, the resultant article will likely be written by a fifty year old. Why? Because millennials lack the requisite qualifications to write about their own lives.

orchard
Type
Announcement

Announcing the inaugural Overland Writers Residency

The Overland Writers Residency, supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, is a new initiative aimed at addressing a lack of opportunities for marginalised writers. In 2016, the Overland Writers Residency will focus on providing an opportunity for women writers who are also the sole primary carers of one or more children.

kingcharles
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture

Of cabbages and kings

What is different in Bartlett’s King Charles III is that he does not merely reframe a Shakespearean character drama with a contemporary background, in an attempt to demonstrate the timelessness of the human condition. He does rather the opposite: he takes contemporary social struggles and applies to them the context of an aristocratic political drama. While obviously a conceit, it is also quite a sweeping statement, brushing aside two hundred years of mass democracy within the United Kingdom in the name of pursuing the private dramas and ambitions of Britain’s elites.

Groman2
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Labour rights

Confessions of a Gormanaholic

Indeed, what is most illuminating about the World Aid report is the difference on display between company policy and company practice when it comes to the rights of production workers. Almost all of the companies evaluated by Baptist World Aid had supply and production policies in place, and 23 of the 87 companies (73 per cent) received an A rating or above for those policies. Despite that, only 4 companies received a rating over a C+ for ‘worker empowerment’: a rating based on workers receiving at or above a living wage.

Synnott
Type
Fiction

In the end, in the head

The accident happened on a Friday. It was reported on the six o’clock news. At half-past four the cameras found the street and interviewed the nurse on the lawn. His neighbour; she just happened to be a nurse. She rolled him; he screamed. A tragedy, he was such a nice man. A young man, a teacher at the local school. A nice, quiet man.

Croggon col
Type
Regular
Category
Writing

On art as therapy

I’ve long held a visceral hostility towards what I’ve called the ‘muesli theory’ of art. This theory maintains that art should be consumed because it’s good for you. Aside from anything else, the idea that art is good for you takes all the fun out of it. It gives art an air of lugubrious obligation that is completely at odds with the involuntary suspension of the self that is art’s most beautiful side effect.