This rush to reclaim and reposition national ‘values’ and ‘culture’ is peculiarly context free. Such statements create the strategic impression of action and leadership, but also conveniently skate over deeper cultural and political issues of how vulnerability to violence is compounded by intersections of social class, race and ethnicity. By invoking the often-repeated claim that domestic violence transcends all social class boundaries, neoliberal politicians effectively avoid responsibility for creating a ‘lean and mean’ policy environment that makes some women more vulnerable to abuse.
Kanye West’s speech at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards was lengthy, meandering and scattered, at best. At times he was humble, particularly as he stumbled through an expression of nuanced regret over his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift. Invariably, however, he swung back to the heightened dignity that he is so well-known and oft criticised for. There were glimpses of profundity, though often followed by the address ‘bro!’ perhaps scuttling the likelihood of some viewers to take his comments seriously.
Despite, or perhaps because of all this, I don’t think anyone saw that bombshell coming.
Early in September, Queensland video game developers Halfbrick fired their last remaining game designers. No, they’re not about to focus on more traditional smart phone apps, nor are they about to go out of business. They still plan on making video games, and they still remain a ‘design-focused studio’. Just, you know, without designers. The move was met with derision among many fellow developers, critics, and players, who saw it as the latest misstep of a fixture in the turbulent Australian video game development scene.
Fear of books is an ancient phenomenon. Some 360 years ago, John Milton had what should have been the last word on the foolishness of book censorship when he published Areopagitica in 1644. Milton’s treatise on censorship seems particularly relevant to the discussion of Family First’s appeal against Dawe’s novel. How is it that Milton, a dedicated Christian – in fact a radical Puritan – could advocate ‘promiscuous’ reading (Milton’s word), while the modern Christian organisation Family First seeks to restrict access to certain books?
At a recent rally to shut down Melbourne, held by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance in solidarity with Western Australian Aboriginal communities under threat of closure, a non-Indigenous member of the crowd suddenly took to the stage and spoke passionately about the need for white people to ‘do something’ about ‘the situation’ of Aboriginal people in Australia. The atmosphere became uncomfortable. It looked like the speaker had taken the stage without asking. Standing between them and the line of police backing onto Spring Street, a lot of us were exchanging nervous glances.