This casual acceptance of child sexual assault in detention centres is perhaps best summed up in this statement made by the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott: ‘occasionally, I dare say, things happen … Because in any institution you get things that, occasionally, aren’t perfect.’
Slavoj Žižek said that this book taught him what kind of person he really wanted to be. This book did not teach me who I want to be – but it did remind me again what literature may be capable of when it is wielded with a hideous, honest brutality, like an executioner’s sword.
These are works in which events clearly could not happen, yet the writing is considered literary rather than fantasy. In this light, speculative fiction becomes a vague term, open to interpretation to the point that it could apply to all fiction, given that the very creation of fiction requires speculation.
Overland is looking for fiction for its next special issue, ‘The idea of women’, to be edited by Mandy Beaumont and Craig Bolland and published in October. Entries for the special issue close 11.59pm, Wednesday 31 August.
The majority of British voters were, we were told, buffoons and bigots – Little Englanders too foolish to understand the self-evident virtues of European integration. Many Australians drew a direct parallel with the proposed plebiscite on same-sex marriage, a venture that would, we were told, allow a massive dam of ignorance and hatred to break its banks and drown us all.
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’.
In recent weeks, the debate over the Safe Schools Coalition anti-bullying program has intensified, taking what is in many ways a bizarre turn. One of the more interesting elements of this has been the debate it has created about the role gender and sexual politics can and should play within Marxism.
Here enters Guy Rundle.
A few years ago I received a phone call from the current Energy and Resources minister, Josh Frydenberg. He called me in response to an email I had sent only hours earlier on behalf of Jews for Refugees (JFR), drawing his attention to the case of the MV Struma. The Struma was a ship carrying 781 Jewish refugees from Romania that, on 23 February 1942, was towed from the harbour in Istanbul to the Black Sea, leaving the ship adrift. The next day the Struma was torpedoed and sunk by a Russian submarine.
It is misguided to think of piracy as either illegal, or lawless. Defining any practice against the law means that one can only ever occupy one position, either the good or the bad side of it. Piracy cancels out this semantic matrix, and imposes its own, where the law of the land, of kings and empires is not a rigid boundary, but a supple one, to be used as a porous membrane.
How to reconcile the image of the man spruiking Pizza Hut with the story of how the nice Christian boy, sponsored by a syndicate of Louisville millionaires, won his first world championship against Sonny Liston in 1964 and announced his conversion to the Nation of Islam the very next day? It was a wholesale rejection of white America and everything it stood for, and the emergence of a political identity that would reverberate through Black America and around the world.
Two dramas recently showing in Australian cinemas, 99 Homes and Time Out of Mind, vividly chronicle life in post-GFC America. Each, in its own way, is an essay on the decline of the American dream as it pertains to one of its core tenets: home ownership. But where, I found myself wondering after the credits had rolled, was Black America in all this?
But even if Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten dropped the script and spoke with more sincerity, what do we imagine the outcome could be? What sort of transcendental politics do Australians think Electricity Bill and Mr Harbourside Mansion might provide?
What Brock Turner did was horrific, abominable, almost unthinkable. But we must not allow our natural and appropriate disgust at his act blind us to the evidence about what works and what doesn’t work, if we want to prevent him and others from doing it again, and if we want to afford victims the best opportunity to heal.
Class is a deeply divisive issue in Australia, and one I have been deeply ambivalent about canvassing in my writing career. Should I write what I know, exploit my point of difference, or, mindful of future employers googling me and making snap judgements accordingly, keep the dirty little secret of my feral formative years off the interwebs?
Among a random selection of 10 comments on a recent Taylor Swift Instagram post, two are collections of heart emojis, three declare their love, with variations in spelling and length (‘Lolololoveeeeee’), one announces that ‘I drew Taylor!!’ and another disturbingly and impenetrably explains that it is ‘so good to be sweet’. One girl tells Taylor ‘You should’ve invited me @taylorswift’ to the perfectly lit scene. It’s safe to assume that Taylor does not know these people.
Last week, Scott Morrison commented that he intimately understands the persecution of LGBTIQA Australians because he, too, has been persecuted – for homophobia.
The pound is falling. Frustrated Londoners are picketing outside Boris Johnson’s home. Nigel Farage, the triumphant UKIP leader, proudly declared Britain’s ‘independence day’. Yet the weirdest thing, at least from our distance, is that the celebrations and backlash seem to come as a surprise to the British establishment: the polls were tight, but the bookies were predicting a remain result, and in any case how could one vote for Brexit when it’s an ‘act of economic self-harm’?