And so the culture wars rage on. In the latest instalment, the World Fantasy Award has decided to retire the bust of HP Lovecraft, traditionally used for the award. The new image for the award is yet to be decided. This has happened hot on the heels of the Hugo Awards controversy and Gamergate, and the world of speculative fiction has once again erupted into acrimony.
Much has been said before now about Australia’s – and Western media in general’s – assumption that if the victim of an atrocity is not white (and Australian) then it is not news; we are not interested in hearing about it. At the same time, it’s hard not to feel that such selective attention is coupled with an innate and somewhat perverse fear of missing out. Something big is happening in the world, no matter how horrific: how can we be part of it?
For the first time in the modern history of the United States, a nationally televised presidential debate revolved around the relative merits of capitalism and socialism. More remarkably still, one of the candidates vigorously defended the latter side. The Saturday Night Live take on this year’s first Democratic primary, therefore, was keenly anticipated. Few, however, expected the coup de grâce that ensued: Larry David, briefly a writer for the show in the mid-1980s who would later go on to phenomenal success with the shows Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, strode up to the podium and delivered a pitch-perfect rendition of the Vermont senator.
Terrorism operated on children as much as it did on adults. It formed us, growing up in this fear, and seeing fear on the faces of the grown-ups. It must have. However, I don’t recall ever being asked to draw those feelings.
The bullets had scarcely stopped flying in Paris before the pressure was on. There were the profile pictures filtered with le Tricolore or changed to show the user on holiday in Paris; the memes with cartoons by Charlie Hebdo illustrator Joann Sfar or words by Martin Luther King Jr; the condemnations of religious fundamentalism and pleas for tolerance on behalf of the peaceful majority of the world’s Muslims. The counter narrative went hand-in-hand: what about Beirut, we were asked with varying degrees of sanctimoniousness, where Islamic State militants had killed 41 people the day before the Paris attacks?