A kingfisher swallowed a cane toad near Kakadu | A woman in south-east Queensland saw rainbow lorikeets fall from the sky | A flock of brolga fished for frogs in an algal bloom | Just outside Cairns, a bush-stone curlew bounced off the bonnet of a speeding ute | In Broome, a grey nomad pulled a blue-faced finch from the radiator of his 4WD
Reading the politics of Rooney’s novels articulates a central problem of modern life: our personal anxieties and insecurities as individuals are always intricately part of the estrangement and disenchantment of the modern, social world.
Problematic places have stories to tell and there are many ways to do so. When outsiders tell those stories, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It would be a dull monochromatic world indeed, void of empathy and intellectual engagement, if we could only write of what we know of personally. But the outsider with the capacity to speak, publish, and represent carries a special burden of responsibility.
Contrary to what many progressives imagine, the Murdoch press lacks the authority to tell its readers what to think. Every election, the tabloids back the Liberals. Every election, their blue-collar readership overwhelmingly votes Labor, with surveys consistently showing the Telegraph to be the least trusted media outlet in the country.
What it means is that this pandemic, and the near universal inability to properly contain and manage its spread, are a function of the particular material form that disability takes under capitalism. We must understand disability, itself a category historically located within capitalism before we can understand the pandemic. To avert another such global catastrophe in the future, we must confront the structures within which this most recent catastrophe is comprised.