Subscriberthon 2012: Anwyn Crawford on the lack of phone-hacking scandals at Overland

Hey everyone. Subscribe to Overland. Between the smugness of Fairfax and the demagoguery of News Ltd, there’s barely a line of newsprint worth reading in this country anyway. (Now that they’ve sacked their journalists and editors, I think both companies are simply programming robots to file copy). And Overland doesn’t include wraparound ads for car manufacturers. Nor has Overland, to the best of anyone’s knowledge, been systematically hacking phones, or sheltering serial paedophiles among its staff. It’s been a shitty year for establishment media. What was that about ‘repositories of public trust’, again?

In every issue of Overland there’s at least one article I completely disagree with, and a handful of writers I’ve never heard of. This is a good thing. It means discovering new voices, and having one’s ideas challenged. The CAL-connections initiative, which sees writers from underrepresented communities being published in Overland, is a particularly valuable project: too often, the bylines in Australian newspapers and print magazines could have been culled from Mark Davis’s indictment of baby-boomer media darlings in Gangland. And Gangland was published in 1997.

Overland is the only Australian publication that I’m aware of – outside of zines – where capitalism is regularly and rigorously critiqued. Elsewhere, you’d think the argument is over; or rather, that there never was and never will be an argument. The radical Left in Australia is very small. The aggressive cultural conservatism of the past fifteen years or so – particularly since the War on Terror swiftly and effectively criminalised a resurgent, global anti-capitalist movement – makes it hard sometimes to remember that the Left here even has a history, let alone a present. But it does, and Overland is part of that history, and will – I hope – continue to be so. We’re still awaiting our Occupy moment here, and whether Occupy is actually a useful model for Left activism in Australia is something you’ll see argued about in Overland, and not in many other publications.

So get your cranky pants on, subscribe to Overland, and join the arguing.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Anwen Crawford is a Sydney writer. Her second book of non-fiction, No Document, will be published in 2021 by Giramondo.

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