booker_line_ad
Type
Article
Category
Culture
imperialism
Reading

Do we really need the Booker?

It was going to happen sooner or later. The shortlist for the Man Booker Prize has thrown into relief fears that were tentatively voiced in 2014, when, in the name of globalism, the competition was first opened to American authors: that a US-UK hegemony would cast its shadow over the literary world, sidelining smaller Commonwealth voices and severely curtailing any purchase on diversity.

End of the world 1
Type
Review
Category
Reading
Technology
The future

Some kind of anthropocene: The Island Will Sink

It’s interesting that at this point in time there are calls being made to name the era we’re living in as the Anthropocene – the impact of humans is now observable in the fossil record, in our plastics and chicken bones. The period of The Island Will Sink is the ‘Praeteranthropocene’ – ‘human beings are no longer capable of remedying the negative impact they’ve made on the planet’.

nirvana-nevermind-cover_crop
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture
Music

One baby to another: twenty-five years of Nevermind

Nirvana’s legacy isn’t the kind that exudes an anxiety of influence. Rather the opposite has occurred: Nevermind was the tipping point where the political and aesthetic ironies of rock music and rock culture met. If we are to believe the hype, it was the moment where rock music died one of its many terrible deaths. Upon closer scrutiny, the exact opposite occurred.

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Type
Article
Category
Publishing
Writing

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room

In order to do this we need to look at what it takes to be a writer, and admit that some writers advantage from a ridiculous amount of privilege, while upholding several myths around being a writer – myths that help us all pretend that the writing world has an open-door policy, even as it shuts the majority of people out.

Irish same-sex marriage referendum
Type
Reflection
Category
Equal marriage
LGBTQI
The plebiscite

The plebiscite and the impasse on marriage equality

But now this long campaign for equality has taken what I think is a self-defeating turn by making its main focus stopping the proposed plebiscite. And with Bill Shorten’s apparent decision to oppose a popular vote no matter what, that approach may kill not only the plebiscite, but with it any chance of marriage equality being legislated in this term of parliament.

Cast photo for Broadway stage play, Play it Again Sam, starring Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
Type
Reflection
Category
Gender
Sex

Power and consent: teenage girls and grown men

After that, Pete would tell his housemates that he was ‘off to see Jailbait’. I hated being called that. It depersonalised me, reaffirmed that I was only a plaything to him, and that he also viewed me as some kind of threat: I would get pregnant, dob him into my parents, and his whole life would be ruined.

1939-1946
Type
Polemic
Category
Nationalism
Politics
Racism

Pseudo-secularism and the French Left

‘When I was a child,’ French philosopher Jacques Rancière wrote, ‘on the day of solemn communions we’d go to school to meet our non-Catholic friends, wearing our communicants’ armbands and handing out pictures. No one thought that this was a threat to laïcité.’ So what changed? How did the onus to subscribe to secularism shift from the state to the individual?

Judenstaat1
Type
Review
Category
Politics
Reading

The end of Zionism?

While Zionism as an ideology and political project has been ideologically dominant among diaspora Jewry for the best part of a century, there are signs that there is at the very least an emerging ambivalence in Jewish communities about Zionism and the broader project of Jewish sovereignty. The appearance of groups like Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now that support the BDS movement is one sign of an ongoing sea-change in the Jewish community. Another such sign, interestingly, is a new work of alternative history by American Jewish writer Simone Zelitch called Judenstaat (‘Jewish State’).

Building collapse2
Type
Article
Category
Activism
Labour rights

‘Not even one hour of work a week’

I’ve had chefs throw hot pans at me. I’ve had customers throw glasses at me and flick their cigarettes at me. I’ve had guys at bars push their fingers up my arse and grab my tits while I was working. I have never reported it because I was afraid of losing my job. Instead, I have tried to laugh it off. I’m earning minimum wage, and speaking out has a cost, always.

Angela Schlafmutze
Type
Article
Category
Feminism
Writing

This is not a memoir: the c-word in women’s writing

Having your work of journalism sidelined into a memoir – a genre, nonetheless, worthy of good writing – still demonstrates that women’s personal writing cannot be commercially seen as journalism or ‘serious’ documentation. When women writers seek to share ‘truth’ – not confessions – it shouldn’t be sold off as memoir when those stories are about collective human experiences.

Halal Snack Pack
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Far right
Nationalism

That’s not a halal snack pack. This is a halal snack pack

Opponents to immigration often warn against accepting groups who do not ‘assimilate’ or ‘integrate’ into society, commonly using these two terms interchangeably. But in fact, the words have quite different meanings. While the likes of One Nation would accept the assimilation of all foreign cultural practices into an Australian hegemony, they remain vehemently opposed to ‘integration’.

Lamb-campaign
Type
Polemic
Category
Nationalism
Television

A chop to multiculturalism

Controversial advertisements for lamb have been a feature of our media landscape for some time, presaging Australia Day and the coming of spring with their familiar nationalistic bluster. It was the first ad, back in 2005, presented by former AFL player Sam Kekovich, which set the mould: irreverent, knowingly hectoring, casually racist and homophobic. The ad also traded on the curious, enduring invention that lamb has traditionally been the culinary centerpiece of Australia Day celebrations – and, therefore, to refrain from it is unpatriotic.

Reagan-still
Type
Reflection
Category
Culture
Politics

Resurrecting Ronald Reagan

It is conspicuous that in a year where Democrats openly fought to claim Reagan’s legacy, Netflix’s has found a hit in Stranger Things, a nostalgia-hued monument to the blockbuster films of the 1980s. As Reagan has become a revered figure in mainstream American politics, cultural memory of the postwar era has placed increasing emphasis on its stifling social conservatism (Carol, Mad Men) and its paranoid politics (Trumbo, Hail, Caesar!). It would seem the 80s are coming to replace the 50s as what Fredric Jameson called ‘America’s privileged lost object of desire’.

diy-feminismcrop2
Type
Article
Category
Activism
Reading
Writing

Dissenting feminisms: reflections on the Feminist Writers Festival

While not all women have the benefit of growing up with an explicitly feminist mother, it is common for women to feel they have the right to define their own version of feminism. In the abstract this is a good thing – but it presents some practical challenges for feminism as a social movement. It also raises the question: if we want to unite behind a common cause, do we need to start on the same page?

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Type
Article
Category
Violence
War on Terror

The census is watching: on the surveillance of Muslims

But, she points out, it can also be those minority groups who are of the greatest interest to the Australian Government for purposes of surveillance. ‘It’s mostly Muslim people who are inflicted with increased surveillance in our post-September 11 world’, says Edney-Browne. The Australian public is frequently divided over whether or not this is okay.

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Type
Reflection
Category
Activism
Art

Under capitalism, even atheist artists have saints

It was 6 August, the inaugural Feast Day of Santonatron, the artist’s saint. Largely unheard of outside a small group of artists in Puebla, Mexico, the saint has already sparked controversy. Despite historically being known as a bastion of conservatism, Puebla already has its fair share of unofficial folk saints, with the Catholic Church often condemning their followers as heretics at best, cults at worst. At first glance, Santonatron may look no different.