wasup
Type
Article
Category
Irony
Philosophy

Language and terror: Remembering Richard Rorty

Rorty, who died in 2007, was one of our most compassionate philosophers. You can gauge his worth by the fact that he seemed to get under the skin of just about everybody, occupying a transient between-space in a manner off-putting to commentators who spend careers building conceptual fortresses behind which to protect their worldview.

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Type
Article
Category
Publishing
Writing

Death of the editor

Among the various portentous ‘deaths’ that seem to be befalling contemporary culture – the death of the ‘manly man’, the death of ‘Australian values’, the death of the personal essay – is the lesser-known apparent death of the editor. In a 2008 long-read for Essays in Criticism, Harvard University’s J Stephen Murphy lamented the slow demise of my long-beloved profession, largely as a result of the changes to the publishing landscape wrought by new media and their ostensible democratisation of writing and literature.

Tiso column
Type
Column

On the books I kept

You shall know me by the books I kept.

I realise that it is a romantic and questionable notion, applying only to some people and in limited ways. But I live by the example of my parents, for whom books and reading were tools of emancipation.

Clements fiction
Type
Fiction

Magpie

Seventeen weeks after they moved to the city, Sofia stole her boyfriend’s mouth. She’d been toying with the idea, on and off, for months. She knew it was the lazy way out. She didn’t want things to just be handed to her – she wanted to work, to grow. She had been to the Volkshochschule and sat on a hard chair for three hours waiting to be given a number to be given a lesson.

Dead-End-Drive-In-2
Type
Announcement
Category
Events
News

Dystopia on film: an Overland-MIFF panel

6.30pm, Thursday 17 August
The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne

Drawing on MIFF’s Sci-fi retrospective and looking at how cinema harnesses contemporary anxieties to show us where we might be headed, some of the best minds around dissect the darker corners of the future in this panel discussion about Dystopia on Film.

Drayton cover_crop
Type
Review
Category
Reading

June in poetry

A complete* collection of Australian Prime Ministers, Dave Drayton’s P(oe)Ms is the neat, satisfying, wordplay that haters of poetry (and me) often forget is its benchmark. These kinds of engaging, playful works are increasingly coming from younger poets – politically and technologically on top of it, and very present. Or is that prescient? Anyway, P(oe)Ms is funny. Very.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Racism

‘Our souls are in jail’: the NT Intervention ten years on

Workers are providing free labour for Shires and private companies, and they face eight weeks suspension if they miss work. ‘It’s a form of slavery,’ Matthew Ryan explains. ‘We’re working hard for peanuts. People are hungry under the CDP changes … There’s less money to provide food for the kids. It’s starving our people … you might as well give us rations, like back in the old days.’

4446340700_25ced15440_b
Type
Polemic
Category
Far right
Racism

‘Dr Goebbels’ mastheads’: on antisemitism and News Corp

A few years back, News Corp was warning, almost every week, about antisemitism in Australia. Invariably, the claims were bogus: more about slating the Greens and the BDS movement than genuinely exposing bigotry. Today, with a small but significant coterie of genuine antisemites raising their heads, we find News Corps again in the thick of the action: not calling out the racists, mind you, but providing them with political cover.

8534184304_83a105d2fc_z
Type
Polemic
Category
The media
Violence

‘Stitched up’: on what she was wearing

Clicking from source to source, I’m not surprised to find the same detailed descriptions of her clothes over and over. ‘She is believed to be aged in her 20s wearing a black long sleeved top, blue denim shorts and white runners …’ I wonder what I am supposed to deduce from this information.

jez
Type
Reflection
Category
Music
Politics

When Corbyn flicked wrist, did magic, at Glastonbury

The words come from another time, but they spoke to the real significance of Corbyn’s appearance on Glastonbury’s mainstage. Shelly wrote The Masque of Anarchy to mark the occasion of the Peterloo Massacre. An occasion when, on another summer day 198 years prior, a rally of between 60,000 and 100,000 English workers was violently attacked by a local militia, while peacefully protesting for the right to elect their MPs.

Pybus
Type
Polemic
Category
United States
Violence

‘Some dark shit’

In Ta-Nehisi Coates’s powerful polemic Between the World and Me, racism in America is seen as the equivalent of a physical law of the universe, a cosmic injustice with tenacious gravity. When a cop kills a black man, Coates explains, the officer should be understood as ‘a force of nature, the helpless agent of our world’s physical laws.’ Society is equally helpless against this natural order because in America, ‘it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage’.

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Type
Article
Category
Education
Transgender rights

Resilient to a fault

At the start of the 2013 school year I stood at the front of a school gymnasium and outed myself as transgender to 250 Year 10 students. I believed myself to be a pragmatist. I was about to commence a medical transition that would alter my voice and appearance. I had changed my name. Disclosing my transition to the students whom I saw every day was an inevitability.

Dead-End-Drive-In-blu-ray-review
Type
Announcement
Category
Events
News

Sci-fi marathon at the Melbourne International Film Festival

Screening of Dead-End Drive-In
From 9.30pm, Saturday 12 August at The Astor, Melbourne

In the spring issue of 1972, Overland published the short story ‘Crabs’ by then little-known writer from Bacchus Marsh, Peter Carey. In 1986, ‘Crabs’ was made into the film, Dead End Drive-In. To celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the story, Overland has teamed up with the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Cosmonauts_Painting_Art_497845
Type
Article
Category
Capitalism
Technology

The billionaire class won’t save us

Who, I wonder, will play Elon Musk in the inevitable biopic? Were such a film made tomorrow, it would be easy to imagine John Barrowman in the lead role. Beyond the obvious physical similarities – square-jawed and Hollywood B-list handsome – both are around fifty, and exude that slight exoticness that comes from having attained US citizenship after being born elsewhere (Musk in Pretoria, Barrowman in Glasgow).

MacDonald_OL227
Type
Essay
Category
Racism
Science

Richard Berry’s disgrace

Among the jumble of papers in my desk drawer are some disturbing notes I made in the Wellcome Library a few years ago. I was in London researching how medical scientists took possession of the dead for dissection during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was proving to be a dark tale: I found accounts of body-snatching and of mutilated corpses being unceremoniously disposed of in crude coffins alongside rubbish and animal parts. As my research continued, I noticed that details that had initially shocked me no longer did – until, that is, the day I read about Richard Berry’s activities at the Stoke Park Colony for Mentally Defective Children, near Bristol.

MacCarter essay
Type
Essay
Category
Micro-presses
Poetry

They will oxidise before you even finish reading

We must also avoid fixating on who is appearing where and in what publisher’s singularities and for how many pages. I will mention author names, but will make no judgements on the quality of writing being produced. I want to further constrain my focus to standalone typeset publications, whether they eventuate on paper or in portable document format. Once I cut into and explore the ensuing projects, they will oxidise before you even finish reading this. That is what makes micro-press publishing, specifically of poetry, exciting.