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.

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.’

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.

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.

7631602942_65c59a910d_z
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Feminism

The new definition of rape

Consent should not exist along a continuum between eager and acquiescent. But consent that is half-hearted is still consent for the purposes of the law.

The principles of justice require the definition of rape to have regard to the mindset of the accused person – but there is no need for survivors to have this same regard when naming their own experience.

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?

okinawa
Type
Article
Category
Politics

History repeating in Okinawa

How has this small island has come to host some of America’s largest and strategically important military facilities? The use of Okinawa by the US began before the end of the Asia Pacific war, when the US military expropriated Japanese Imperial Army bases on the island. Okinawa remained under the control of the US until 1972 despite US occupation of mainland Japan ending in 1951. The island was returned to Japanese administration, but the US continues to use the island as a military base today. However, the long history of military occupation has not been entirely smooth sailing.

mothers
Type
Article
Category
Sexism

Demon mothers and media darlings

Readers were told that Leo’s Armenian mother, Ruzan Badalyan, and her family had abandoned him at birth and Forrest was no longer welcome in their home because he wanted to keep his son. Donors were asked to contribute money so Forrest could return and raise Leo in New Zealand, where he would be better accepted and have a higher quality of life. But amidst the wall-to-wall media coverage, pictures of Forrest and Leo, and updates on the generosity of people in many different countries, there was one glaring omission: Badalyan herself.

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Type
Article
Category
Debate
Politics

The new ice age

Our lack of debate on drugs is both concerning and a great mystery. After working in the harm-reduction field for over a decade, it seems counterproductive to pigeonhole or view this group through a two-dimensional lens. So often, when drugs are discussed in the public sphere, people who use them are divided off from those who don’t. Following on from this, they are seen as either having ‘given up’ and ‘gotten clean’, or kidding themselves about how much control they have.

doom
Type
Article
Category
Culture

Doomed to violence

It’s worth pointing out now, that when I talk about violence in games, I’m not talking about sexual or gendered violence being perpetuated by the protagonist, but rather indiscriminate shooting or slaying of monsters (human or otherwise) regardless of the gender of the protagonist. It happens that a lot of people often talk generic game violence and feminism in the same breath, and not about the actual interactions between a player’s motivation and their game narrative.

Scotch snack: a fish food
Type
Article
Category
Reading
The internet

A stack of snackable content

It is sometimes almost as fun to say that online publishing is alive and kicking as much as it is to say that it’s dead in the ground. Neither are actually true – there is a heartbeat, but it skips. Yet the debate is loud enough to sustain the careers of several ‘news gurus,’ as Dean Starkman calls them – Jeff Jarvis, Clay Shirky, Jay Rosen, Michael Wolff, and a handful of other scribblers scribbling about the state of media and journalism and content.

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? The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you think ‘Take U to Da Movies’ is a good example of rap music or not. It doesn’t matter if it was intended as a parody or if it was meant to be serious (or somehow both).