Until last Friday, around twenty homeless people had set up camp in Melbourne’s City Square, creating shelter where it elsewhere eluded them, as a public petition for more secure, affordable housing in Australia’s second most populous city. The presence of the camp was also a visceral risposte to claims, which appeared in the mainstream media last week, that homeless people had been behaving unpalatably, including asking passers-by for money in an aggressive fashion.
Yes, Dutton’s comments were insulting. But more inclusive language won’t change the brutal reality of the detention regime. Refugees don’t need an apology from the immigration minister and they don’t need verbal acknowledgements of their capabilities. They need release from the camps in which they’re languishing.
Originally a women-only tradition, this branch of occultism is now dominated by queer – and particularly trans – people. They’re young, they’re politically engaged and they’re embracing spiritual experiences. They are melding together, in the nature of their tradition, their politics and their spirituality.
In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the fiction that appeals to women, reflecting wider cultural changes in the way men and women relate to each other in neoliberal, post-feminist times. The new chick lit is far more daring, dark and subversive. It reflects back the harsh realities of an increasingly competitive and individualistic post-GFC economy and society. While chick lit still addresses the dilemmas of being a modern woman, it increasingly includes noir elements, merging with crime fiction and psychological thrillers. There is a new woman in popular fiction and she is nobody’s fool.
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’.