208 Spring 2012
‘The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics.’ So writes George Orwell in the original preface to Animal Farm.
Read the editorial for 208 Spring 2012
I must have watched a great many films from childhood to my teenage years (that phase when each of us becomes aware that we have particular tastes). Like many children, I devoured whatever was put in front of me, in film as in food.
Read 'Film and memory'
I’m reading Jane Austen again. As a habitual re-reader to the point of vice, Austen is one of the authors to whom I have returned more often than I can count.
Read 'Re-reading Austen'
On gender and genre
It would be exceptionally unusual, one imagines, for an emerging male author to be asked why so many of our best books are currently being written by men. And yet it would also be wrong to say that the query, asked of a female writer, is unforeseeable.
Read 'Imagining women'
A collective response to unemployment
Ken and Ruth Covington were sacked last May, along with 144 co-workers at the Heinz factory at Girgarre in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. It was the latest in a series of manufacturing job losses in the region, but after it happened, the Covingtons hosted two days of parties.
Read 'The cooperation'
CAL-Connections: On not speaking Chinese
I have the name and the face. And if it’s enough to make a stranger shout ni hao at me from across the street, then maybe it should be enough for me too. Sometimes I like a good comeback, something like ‘A-ya, dui bu qi, wo de zhong wen bu shi tai hao, xiang ni zen me cong ming de ren da gai ye hui shuo yin wen ba?’, which means ‘Oh dear, my Chinese isn’t too good, but a genius like you probably also speaks English, right?’
Read 'The name and the face'
Adult goes indie
This past spring, a trilogy of kinky romance novels penned by EL James developed into a cultural phenomenon. The Fifty Shades of Grey series first became popular as ebooks that could be quickly downloaded and read on Kindles and similar devices without arousing social embarrassment. When they finally came out in print, they sold over ten million copies in just six weeks. A Hollywood movie is already in the works.
Read 'Outsider porn '
An elegy for the newspaper
It’s 2025. After a decade of litigation, controversy and arrests on both sides of the Atlantic, the non-Murdoch equity holders have taken control of the News Corporation business. They have ended the Murdoch family’s gerrymander of stockholder voting rights and moved quickly to strip the newspapers from an otherwise profitable media conglomerate.
Read 'The end of a world '
Murdoch’s early years
Rupert Murdoch thrust his way into the newspaper industry in 1960 when he bought Sydney afternoon tabloid the Daily Mirror from John Fairfax & Sons. The conservative publishing aristocracy sold the Mirror (and Truth) to the 29-year-old ‘boy publisher’ for the bargain basement price of £600 000, with another £1.6 million to be paid over six years.
Read 'Fatal obsessions '
A response to Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee (Overland 207) writes, ‘I expect many readers disagree with what I say about weight and fat, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong’. The implication is that she’s right, and that disagreement speaks in the voice of the oppressor. It is one of many reasons why I find Lee’s article – and identity politics more generally – to be a narrow and unhelpful frame for discussion.
Read 'Fat, privilege and resistance'
Meanland: the radical terrain of social media
Twitter isn’t a map – it’s a territory.
I was in love when New York’s disintegration splashed its light onto my face and walls.
Read 'Double tap'
I have a layover in Shanghai for a night which I mainly spend getting on and off the metro and walking, sweating in crowds, buffeted by warm bodies.
Jon Dootson woke up in the morning to find he’d been transformed into a long, skinny white man.
(after Eugene’s Falls, by A Frances Johnson)
inside the invisible atlas of a wave
possessor of savage kindness two-tenths of the way
Read 'Bellbird Gully'
Gently turned the tap; small boy awe and glee.
A withered stick man smoking in his bed,
Read 'The Tap'
on the road to Ballarat
the argument thick between us
we take a wrong corner
Read 'without a city wall'
You don’t need to queue at the entrance
but then so dark your captions now unreadable
since the children left.
Read 'Old Europe (2)'
dawn starts up
the sound of a tractor
between my legs buckets
Read 'Picking Grapes'
Sometimes the voices in your head
aren’t telling you the whole truth.
Sometimes even your drugs and lovers lie.
‘not so much extraordinary but merely in touch with the emotional ebbs and flow of the Pilbara ... you’re left with the feeling that it’s the legend that counts, not the real thing.’ – Mark Naglazas in the West Australian
Read 'Australia is a film about a red dog'
You wore a white Bonds t-shirt to bed last night. A plain, white, no-nonsense Bonds t-shirt and I knew it was over. I heard the death knell. And when you asked me if I
would as I do
thought inside faces
happening, not peacefully,
Read 'Human Tissue'
Dawn, and two stars hang beside a daylight moon.
The pendulum shifts, and I can almost guess
the time by the light. The potted magnolia on the