A narrative of war, love, haiku

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Article
Category
Culture
Reading

After the Second World War, a related genre of narratives of captivity emerged. These follow the same pattern of youthful innocence and immersion in war, but there they diverge to a place where the individual is subject to deliberate abuse, loses all power but must keep going. The pattern shifts from the epic of battle to the journey of quest, where the hero is trapped in a slough of despondency. At its lightest, this genre comprises heroic tales of capture, resistance and escape. At its strongest, it includes memoirs of the Holocaust, and later the Gulags, where the life of the individual lacks even the desperate coherence found in soldiers’ accounts.

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Type
Column
Category
Culture
Reading

For whylom the bell tolls

Words are added to dictionaries when their usage gains currency. Merriam-Webster advises that a new word must have ‘enough citations to show that it is widely used’. The Macquarie says ‘to earn a place in a dictionary, a word has to prove that the community at large accepts it’. This isn’t something the linguistic powers-that-be take lightly. ‘Twerk’ didn’t make it in because an Oxford editor went to a Big Freedia show and decided to (literally) spread the good word.

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Announcement
Category
Events

Overland in Aotearoa / New Zealand

5:30pm Thursday 4 June
Vic Books (Kelburn Campus), Wellington
Come celebrate Overland‘s first-ever edition dedicated exclusively to the work of some of their closest writerly neighbours. Guest edited by Giovanni Tiso, Jolisa Gracewood and Robert Sullivan.

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Type
Article
Category
Politics
Technology

Terror at home

‘I think it would also be fair to say that we should have made more of a fuss at the time.’ It was April 2015. In a brightly lit Australian National University lecture theatre, Seven West Media’s Bridget Fair was lamenting the passage of a terrorism law. Depending on how you count such things, it was either the sixty-fifth or sixty-sixth anti-terror law passed by Australia’s parliament since 2001. This one had far-reaching implications. Among other things, it criminalised the conduct of journalism.

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Type
Article
Category
Politics
Sexism

The middle-class feminist fraud

This inconsistency is a little uncomfortable to discuss for feminists on the left, who favour a movement which places more emphasis on issues such as poverty, precarity, racism and inequality than on concerns primarily affecting middle-class women. Media-friendly feminism has often been tone-deaf or worse on issues of class or race, and this tendency can be seen in a constant emphasis on the need for affordable childcare to assist mothers to return to work – an emphasis which often entirely overlooks the pay and conditions of the mostly women who work in the childcare sector.