Dissecting the vivisection of the ABC

Type
Article
Category
The media

On the face of things, this needn’t be fatal to the ABC’s mission as a public sphere broadcaster. The ABC is infamous for its internecine warfare, and its website is a bewildering maze. The national broadcaster can and should do better on certain basic aspects of accessibility and audience engagement.

But it is also true that, in terms of its place and importance in the Australian public sphere, the ABC is in rude health.

Eltham piece
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Type
Article
Category
Reading
The environment
Writing

Greener pastures and tangled gums: the rise of Australian eco-fiction

Ecocentric writing and ecophilosophical thought has a more established history in Australia than many would believe. One of the most well-known figures of the field is Val Plumwood, a Sydney local who, in the 1980s and 90s, wrote comprehensively on issues of Australian forestry, the human role in the food web, and the importance of feminist teachings in our perception of ecology.

Mafia III
Type
Review
Category
Gaming
Racism

What Mafia III’s portrayal of 1968 says about 2016

Recently, videogame company 2K Games released the third instalment of the open-world crime series Mafia. By most accounts, it’s a fairly average game, a mix of the original Saints Row with Grand Theft Auto V, marred by bugs and partially implemented gameplay. But where it truly shines is its depiction of the world, a gorgeously rendered simulacra of New Orleans in 1968 called ‘New Boudreaux’ that operates on two distinct levels: as a political commentary on the history of racism in America, and as a left-wing power fantasy targeted at white supremacy.

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Type
Polemic
Category
Feminism

Deveny’s ‘financial abortion’ is a form of coercive control

Unfortunately, while liberal feminists do fight for women’s access to safe, accessible and affordable contraception and abortion, they often ignore or even undermine the related issue of supporting women who choose to carry a pregnancy to term. Too much of the liberal feminist discourse around pro-choice campaigning focuses only on the choice to have an abortion. There is little ‘choice’ or support for women who either can’t or don’t want to undergo a medical termination.

balance-the-books-sooner
Type
Polemic
Category
Politics

The man without a legacy

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.

ABC-logot
Type
Polemic
Category
Publishing
The media

Yet more cuts to the guts: on the recent ABC funding cuts

Under the aegis of Natalie Kestecher and Claudia Taranto, I wrote, voiced and co-produced four short monologues for PocketDocs, three of which might never see the light of day now that this brilliant, diverse, challenging, moving show has been poleaxed. As a freelancer writing for PocketDocs I received a level of support and creative freedom unrivalled by any Australian publication I have had the privilege of writing for.

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Type
Polemic
Category
Activism
The environment

The 400ppm tipping point

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.

Kath and Kim_article
Type
Article
Category
Class
Culture
Television

Our suburban contempt

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.

cake
Type
Polemic
Category
Homophobia
LGBTQI

The small violences

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.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Misogyny
Violence
Writing

Writing trauma

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.

Danish Royalty
Type
Article
Category
Feminism
imperialism

Feminism, not fempirism

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.

crop22
Type
Review
Category
Reading

November in nonfiction

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.

Apocalypse-Albert_Goodwin
Type
Review
Category
The future
United States

Angela Carter, Donald Trump and the American nightmare

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.