It’s been odd in recent days to witness so much political manoeuvring around a document that no-one outside the upper echelons of the world’s power elite has seen. When the rest of us are finally allowed to read the final text of the Trans Pacific Partnership, we’ll be able to make better sense of the contortions of politicians on all sides of the ocean. Right now, it’s like watching a succession of clumsy people, all of a certain age, fencing with a ghost.
I have such a case of ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I find it really hard to believe that my work is any good at all. I thought that it would go away once I was published, but I can always seem to explain that away (got lucky; they didn’t have anyone better; they took pity on me as a friend/emerging writer, etc). I find myself not applying for prizes or submitting to publications because I’m so intimidated by the competition.
Although she is a year older than me, about the only thing that Lena Dunham and I have in common is that our introduction to computers was through Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Last week, the creator, writer and star of acclaimed HBO series Girls launched her latest project, Lenny Letter. A collaboration between Dunham and Girls producer Jenni Konner, the enewsletter aims to provide ‘a snark-free place for feminists to get information: on how to vote, eat, dress, f–k, and live better’.
Colonial comparisons are odious, as are imperial ones. There’s something a little bizarre in sections of the Australian public flagellating themselves over national policy because, say, a small number of Germans are rushing to train stations to welcome refugees. Or because Germany’s government, for a variety of reasons, many of them realpolitik, has opened up a massive refugee intake, perhaps 800,000 over a number of years. Suddenly, our policy is ‘our great shame’ as shown up by Europeans. A simplistic narrative is taking over: they are urbane and civilised; we are rednecks and arseholes.
One of the legacies of Tony Abbott’s prime ministership will surely be his tendency to misspeak. His worst lapses need no repetition, no explaining. Most of us have his best-of unfortunately committed to memory, and the quotes tend to be self-evidently racist /sexist /homophobic /Islamophobic /xenophobic /blisteringly ignorant of everything from climate change science to the importance of land and country to First Australians. Really, he covered a lot of ground.