Literature is especially endangered right now: the arts have been underfunded by successive governments, and literature has always received, in the words of Stephen Murray-Smith, the least ‘superphosphate’.
An Australian politician doesn’t usually become immigration minister all at once. Generally, the portfolio takes some time to work its evil magic on new appointments. Think of the slow desiccation of Liberal moderate Philip Ruddock, transformed, over a period of years, into an animated cadaver clutching an Amnesty badge in its withered claws.
We thought of circles as inclusive and egalitarian, but of course, that was not quite right. A circle includes with open arms all that are part of it, but anyone stuck on the outside sees only backs and arses. If you had the misfortune to make the kind of error that would put you in the centre of the circle, you experienced the spotlight of attention of every one of your comrades, with no escape.
The Twitter bio for the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union reads: ‘We are Australia’s oldest and biggest union for manufacturing workers’. It sits directly above an image of Bill Shorten’s head superimposed onto a cartoon frog riding a unicycle. The Bill Shorten/frog hybrid exclaims, ‘Here comes dat boi!!!’ Welcome to Australian politics in 2016.
Once upon a time, perhaps as far back as the mid 1980s, a computer or a phone was a carefully thought out, big ticket item to purchase for families, like a car, a refrigerator, a kitchen range, or a washer and a dryer. We still expect our cars to run for more than six months. We would be upset if our refrigerators, washers and dryers did not work beyond six months. But it is not so clear-cut with personal computers and phones. We tolerate half-baked products from these manufacturers, because psychologically we have bought into a compromise called upgrades.