Promise is a company that aims to reduce the population of people detained while awaiting trial because they cannot post bail (what Australians call being on remand). There are currently 450,000 people in the US in this category. Through a variety of technical tools, from tracking devices to intelligent calendars, Promise would allow the state to keep tabs on these people, but without the need to keep them in jail.
The woman I knew best, of course, was my own mother. I could see my hips, legs and breasts becoming hers, and I heard her every self-abasement as my own. She’d take up walking regimes, or cut out bread for a month, and then on weeknights I’d come into the kitchen to find she’d caved and drunk an entire bottle of white wine. It was a cliche, a stock-standard Electra complex, but there was no way in hell I was going to become her.
There is a growing wave of back-to-the-land millennials seeking to engage with a slower, more humble, more natural lifestyle that look towards agricultural self-sufficiency – but questions of education and options (often socioeconomic in nature) are pivotal here. Not only does such thinking show a glaring lack of historical reckoning, it also reveals that the modern appropriation of peasantry hides a warped understanding of class, because peasantry was never about romantic walks behind the plow and gleaning fallen fruit.
If settlers are to see a treaty substantively address injustice, power, and inequality, we need to listen to Aboriginal people, especially to Aboriginal women, whose views, anger and pain are routinely silenced by nationalist discourses. We need to ensure that the state moves beyond the symbolic politics of recognition.
The other day I was trying to write a short story. While procrastinating, I googled ‘How to write a short story?’ The search yielded 1.75 million results, the first being ‘How to write an amazing short story’. This article’s number-one tip was to ‘know what a short story is’, and the author even provided a helpful definition: a short story is just like a story, but short. It shouldn’t be a novel, the article advised, and it should have limited characters. (I assume numerically, but perhaps psychologically. Then I tried to think of a story that had unlimited characters. Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate came close, but not quite. I concluded that on this basis, all stories are short stories.) ‘Keep it to 3000 words’ was another suggestion.
Friday 25–Sunday 27 May, Queen Victoria Women’s Centre
Three days of feminist politics, feminist perspectives and collective solutions. Catch the editor of Overland Jacinda Woodhead, with fiction editor Jennifer Mills and writer Natalie Kon-yu in conversation on mentorship in the arts – then stick around for special event presented by Overland on writing and activism with Santilla Chingaipe, Tarneen Onus-Williams and Asher Wolf.
Gaza has been under siege for 11 years, during which time its borders with Israel and Egypt have been almost hermetically sealed. Every few years Israel bombs Gaza, and then refuses to allow the provision of the construction materials that would enable rebuilding to occur. Unemployment rates are astronomical, and there is little access to sufficient electricity, clean water, food, or proper sewage systems. Hospitals are unable to provide proper care, and many are highly dependent on foreign aid in order to subsist.
I flew to Hobart to pay my respects to an ecosystem already long gone. Tasmania’s giant kelp forests, Macrocystis pyrifera, once fringed the eastern coast. Each languid frond of these once-towering marine metropoles harboured multitudes of fish, invertebrates, plankton and algaes. But giant kelp forests are fragile. As of 2017, only five percent of the original Tasmanian kelp forests remained. For the Aboriginal community in Tasmania, the sea is women’s business, and so their relationship with the kelp forests is strong.
In the late 1970s in New Zealand, a group of young people in their twenties left their middle-class lives and got working-class jobs, joined working-class unions and lived in working-class communities. Why? They were activists and communists and they wanted to bring radical politics to the working class, to shift their focus from the university campus to the industrial workplace.
The Nakata Brophy Short Fiction and Poetry Prize recognises the talent of young Indigenous writers across Australia. Sponsored by the University of Melbourne’s Trinity College, the prize alternates each year between fiction and poetry; this year’s prize is for the best poem (up to 88 lines) by an Indigenous writer under 30.
This book is a glowing accomplishment, scathing and funny and apt in its lambasting of well-meaning Australians, so good it is atrocious. We can’t help but laugh along with de Kretser, just like we can’t help but ugly-sob when she rips her character’s lives apart at the seams. You might feel uncomfortably implicated somewhere along the line, but soon you realise the joke is not only on the tolerant, but on everyone. The lightness of the prose carries us into desolate landscapes, but we are never dismayed, only moved.
The dismissal of Dame Glynis Breakwell, vice chancellor of the University of Bath, over her annual salary of £468,000 (AU $812,500), has focused public attention upon this new breed of university moguls. It has raised eyebrows, particularly in Australia, where 12 VCs take home over $1 million a year, and Breakwell’s salary is only half that of our highest paid VC.
In the wake of Invasion Day 2018, two works – Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country and Richard Lewer’s exhibition The History of Australia – highlight Australia’s desperate and increasing need to confront its foundations. Here are two art projects that swipe and paw at Australia’s historical consciousness and demand that we do better.
Massy’s vision for a new agriculture is to move away from industrial inputs and land clearing, and instead raise productivity by encouraging biodiversity and healthy soils. His book is so important (and long, and dense) that I keep the library’s fresh copy for far too long. It’s reported missing, but I’m spurred on to finish it, to reread it and lend it out, so I pay for it, and peel off the barcodes. My friend’s mum bought her a copy, only to flick through it, begin reading and realise she could not give it up. ‘I bought you another one,’ she tells her daughter. ‘It’s too important.’
It is supposed to be a good time to be single and trans. We’re hot property, after all – the flavour of the month. We’re on magazine covers and winning civic and cultural awards. We’re mostly allowed to use the bathroom in public, and you can even marry us in any number of uncomplicated ways.
There is something sinister about Verónica’s assertion that the film is based on reality. It seems it was inspired by events that occurred in Madrid in 1991 – its major claim to truth is that it uses an actual police report from the incident, in which an officer reports something to the effect that ‘inexplicable phenomena’ occurred at the house where events occurred. Apparently, residents of the house were equally convinced of the supernatural.