A couple of weeks ago, ABC’s Jonathan Green wrote an article about journalism. In it, he claimed that ‘Journalism is a trade in which personal conviction is one of two things: an irrelevance or a death sentence. Journalism tainted by conviction just isn’t. That’s the simple truth of it.’
At 4:49pm on 10 July 2011, someone in a suburb of Geelong clicked an online box that said ‘Yes! I pledge to turn my air-conditioner on 24 hours per day for at least the next 6 months!’
Over the next twenty-four hours, hundreds more from all states and territories followed links from mass circulation newspapers to an online form that invited them to leave their air-conditioners on the coldest setting for the next 6 months. Among them were a few bogus pledges – ‘John Howard’ pledged to leave on 98 air conditioners; ‘Retarded Foolsworthy’ with an email address of email@example.com pledged 99 – but the vast majority were genuine.
There is a problem of ethnic persecution in Sri Lanka. The civil war, which began in 1983, was forged by the persecution of Tamil communities, and when the civil war ended in 2010, it was terminated in violent acts that targeted the ethnic Tamil minority. Few people seem to have learnt anything from this war, and this is illustrated by the persecution of minorities that persists today.
My feelings are this: that paid maternity leave is a toxic and potentially harmful idea and it’s high time we spoke about it in an inclusive, thoughtful and intelligent manner.
Helen Razer’s broadside against ‘the Left’s’ obsession with symbolic politic – dumb articles on newsreaders, rainbow-painted street crossings – got a strong vote of support when it appeared on Crikey last week. It was difficult not to join in. These mini-debates that flare up around gestures or dumb remarks, frequently related to gender and sexuality, sometimes seem to have become the only thing that resembles politics in a society where, more than perhaps anywhere in the world, the material/economic question has been written out of daily discussion and struggle.
I’ve always enjoyed ironic living, even (especially) before it was fashionable. I found it a useful coping strategy that helped me navigate late capitalism, especially in the long stretches of my life when I was broke. It allows me to appreciate the things that are discarded or disregarded by the dominant culture, as ugly, uninteresting, charmless or tasteless.
There’s been much debate among politicians, university staff and the Muslim community about the gender-segregated seating at a lecture at the University of Melbourne organised by Islamic education group, Hikma Way. Responding to the Australian’s inquiry about the event, Melbourne uni gender studies academic Sheila Jeffreys described it as ‘gender apartheid’ and ‘ritual humiliation’. Opposition leader Tony Abbott responded with the all-too-familiar label, ‘un-Australian’.
Helen Razer’s piece about the failures of the ‘Left’ is a political version of an Escher drawing. Chastising what she sees as vacuous symbolism and disintegration into individuality, Razer appears wholly unaware of the intense irony in calling this out in the exact manner she decries. Her criticism doesn’t take you anywhere; you just end up talking in circles of pithy cynicism.
On Saturday 27 April, the Canberra Times published an article entitled ‘Push to add soldier to honour roll despite “objections”’. Two days earlier, 35,000 people attended the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial, with other ceremonies around Australia reporting larger crowds than the previous three or four years.