4624047535_5e9414c054_o
Type
Reflection
Category
Mental health
The Body

Lines of disorder

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.

img_3321
Type
Polemic
Category
Class
farming

Against ‘neo-peasantry’ and the desire for self-sufficiency

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.

Rise from this grave

It’s now been over a decade since Indigenous activist group Black GST – Genocide Sovereignty Treaty – occupied Kings Domain, an ornamental parkland in the centre of Melbourne. The occupation, known as Camp Sovereignty, coincided with the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, which presented an opportunity to draw the international media’s attention to a range of Indigenous political struggles. What began as a two-week occupation soon morphed into a contest over place and memory, an act of resistance on a picturesque parcel of colonial land.

Rawson crop 2
Type
Essay
Category
Reading
Writing

One plot, at most

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.

FWF-rectangular-shelf-600x250
Type
Announcement
Category
Events
Feminism

Overland at the 2018 Feminist Writers Festival

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.

DaGoxjAVAAgW9IL
Type
Polemic
Category
dispossession
Palestine

On solidarity with Gazans

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.

haunted
Type
Article
Category
Aboriginal Australia
Climate change

Hauntology on country

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.

this
Type
Article
Category
Activism
Class
New Zealand

The ‘turn to industry’: what happened when left activists joined the working class?

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.

Hosier and Rutledge Lane, Melbourne
Type
Announcement
Category
Prizes

Final results of the 2017 Nakata Brophy Prize!

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.

yyuu
Type
Review
Category
Fiction

April in fiction

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.

34903997206_63b897bb59_k
Type
Polemic
Category
neoliberalism
The university

The wolves of the sandstones

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Type
Review
Category
History
the arts

Confronting the national narrative

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.

15716827513_cd994f1c73_z
Type
Article
Category
farming
Reading

An agricultural uprising: on Call of the Reed Warbler

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.’

14168867527_4f1c88e421_z
Type
Reflection
Category
Queer politics
Sexuality

Are you looking for a real man

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.

V
Type
Article
Category
Film
neoliberalism

A dark truth behind ‘the scariest film on Netflix’

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.