In specular fashion, Key offered instead a paradoxical continuity: putting the Tories in charge of Labour’s house, and making them the custodians of Clark’s achievements. Not a new thing in the country’s political history, but done so well that the public barely noticed. It was not so much an election as a wonderfully executed burglary.
It seemed some kind of cosmic synergy that the week Donald Trump was elected POTUS I happened to finish reading a particular novel by feminist surrealist Angela Carter. The backdrop of The Passion of New Eve is an America aflame, torn apart by contradictory combinations of visions of freedom and prosperity on one hand, and the right to bear arms on the other. For me, the surprise of Trump’s victory was accompanied by the idea that an Englishwoman may have predicted its aftermath 40 years previously.
Debate: ‘Does a “common future” mean overhauling our political system?’
6pm, Friday 9 December
The Toff in Town
252 Swanston St, Melbourne
Overland and the National Union of Workers are very pleased to announce the winning entries of this year’s Fair Australia Prize.
Trauma, by definition, is a threat to life or personal dignity. Parramatta stripped us of all personal dignity. It was a place where wellbeing and personal safety was compromised on a daily basis.
Whether you’re an emerging writer or you’ve been around the traps for a while now, Overland is sure to have an opportunity for you.
If we only ever talk about representation, then we may end up forgetting that these organisations are institutionally white, even while they hold diversity up in the spotlight. What we need to do next is shift the conversation to asking how we can begin to bring in diverse audiences.
An Australia where everyone in public speaks and writes in rhyming poetry with the cadences of Henry Lawson. This is the most prized ability in the whole land. School children are prepped for gruelling contests of rhyme and wit, often with improvisations on a wide range of topics. All debates in parliament are rhymed, as is the evening news. The news takes on somewhat anecdotal quality, favoring a good yarn over factual accuracy. A whole country of Lawsonian Homers sings itself into legend by sheer metrical virtuosity.
Welcome to Giant Dog, the new Overland poetry podcast! This inaugural edition focuses on the special seventeen-poet collaboration edited by Corey Wakeling that Overland recently published, ‘On the Occasion of Gig Ryan’s Sixtieth Birthday’, and the work of Gig Ryan more generally.
Over the past few years I have been diligently collecting public pledges to abandon Facebook, a subset of the equally interesting genre of people saying they will quit the internet altogether. While I seldom agree with the arguments, I look for the sentiments hidden behind these declarations. What these pieces often don’t say but invariably mean is that the swift rise of the networked society has had a profoundly unsettling effect on people’s daily lives.
You don’t have to look too far (or even leave your home) to be reasoned into an argument over which films are the best, the greatest, most-essential, must-see-before-you-die of-all-time variety. The internet is teeming with hyperbolic lists dedicated to this. But what do lists like this tell us about who gets to (visibly) make and influence culture?
Over this past week, I’ve been watching the news roll in from Standing Rock, where protesters are fighting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline: dramatic images of police brutality woven through news of an election campaign where climate has been glaringly absent. In my newsfeed, a mix of independent and mainstream media, the images of the election and the images of #noDAPL sit side by side but never seem to interact, like an illustration of the chasm between climate policy and climate reality.
Gender oppression is only one part of this story. Simplistic analyses that see men as the problem – for which the binary solution is women – have led to a dead end. It’s time for something new. Or as the great Louise Michel summarised it nearly 150 years ago: ‘[a woman] bends under mortification; in her home her burdens crush her. Man wants to keep her that way, to be sure that she will never encroach upon his function or his titles. Gentlemen, we do not want either your functions or your titles’.
It might not feel like it right now, but there is a lot more to politics than elections.
Let’s be clear about how dire this situation is: an Australian trade union representing young, low-paid workers, who are disproportionately women, was found by the independent umpire to have knowingly pushed the wages and conditions of their members below the minimum legal standards. Why would a trade union do such a thing?
Picture the treadmill.
What could be a more conspicuous sign of our times than the sight of adult humans running on the spot compelled by nothing but the norms of society?
Notwithstanding the seismic shudders that cases like these send through the art world, what is most unsettling about art fraud are not the fakes that we know about, but those that we don’t. In criminology, this statistical and research blind spot is known as ‘dark figure’ crime, which is a suitably ominous way to describe the difficult-to-quantify incidence of a crime that largely goes undetected, unreported and unsolved.
All narratives use character types to some degree, but if those types are static, immovable, and fail to be complicated by mediating detail, we have a problem. Notions of ‘suburban values’ provide an excuse to relax into character types, encouraging us to see the other as somehow less culturally dimensional or their worlds as less complex.
Fiction is the product of the things we shied away from as children – whether that was strangers, darkness, or (in my case) a particularly scary episode of Baywatch. Fiction is the people we have loved, the sex we have had, the places that haunt us. Fiction is the stories of our families, our childhood friends. It is whether we believe in ghosts or heaven or hell.
Of all the improbable things that we are being asked to believe, it seems a growing number of people are settling for the idea that Macedonian teenagers posing as journalists and agents of Vladimir Putin posing as internet commenters swung the US presidential election for Donald Trump. It was fake news who done it, making commentators declare that Mark Zuckerberg could well be the most dangerous person on the planet.
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Overland Story Wine Prize.
Where they coexist, (and they needn’t) spoken and written language are tightly bound to the social and technological regimes that they animate. Technologies of writing – from hammer, chisel, and stone tablet, to ink and parchment or the modern keyboard – influence how specific systems of writing will emerge.
One of the most interesting developments on the internet has been the emergence of the pound (#) symbol as a linguistic figure, for its use in hashtags. What exactly ‘#’ is, is not immediately apparent.
In a piece written for Guernica, Lydia Yuknavitch talked about ‘the small violences in our daily lives’, and I couldn’t help but liken it to the queer experience. Small daily violences committed against queer people are so invisible to those in positions of power and unexamined privilege that they are rendered implausible. This is why we need marriage equality – not in a year, not next election, but now.
Wikileaks was quick to post to Facebook a video of Žižek endorsing Trump as his candidate of choice. A post-election interview has him repeating, somewhat chastened in the rainy streets of Manhattan, that Trump is unconscionable but preferable to Clinton. What do his claims amount to now that that possibility is fact? What might before the election have passed as a hope for a radical displacement of what Žižek calls ‘status quo’ Democratic exceptionalism, now promises something more radical than even Žižek had in mind.
We like to think we are an enlightened, postfeminist society, but in reality it still takes real courage for a domestic violence victim to come out to her employer, especially in such lean and mean economic times where steady and reliable jobs are difficult to find and hold. In a neoliberal society, where it is often assumed everyone should be productive, disciplined and ‘in control’ of their lives, especially at work, it can be embarrassing and risky to admit you do need help.
Remembering Tyrone Unsworth, the thirteen-year-old student who died in Brisbane last week.
We can trace imperialist feminism to the Victorian era. In 1882 Lord Cromer, a British Consul General in Egypt, claimed to be liberating women through the British occupation of Egypt. While using women’s rights to advance empire in Egypt, he was also championing the anti-suffragist cause at home.
His focus is on people who live and work here, who pay taxes and are subject to our laws, but who are not citizens and cannot vote: international students, New Zealanders, backpackers on working holiday visas, asylum seekers and refugees, the holders of 457 visas. This detailed, careful and topical book is illuminated by the personal stories of individuals and families caught up in a complex and bureaucratic system, and it leaves a lasting impression of an Australia that is becoming a two-tiered country.
Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington was onto something when he called for African Americans to lay down their economic tools a few months back. His solution to the issues of police brutality and poor race relations was a Black boycott of the American economy, or a #blackout as some named it: no work, no school, no shopping.