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18 June 2017 |
The NBC has pushed ahead with its plans to air Megyn Kelly's interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones despite criticism from friends and family whose loved ones were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, which Jones claims was 'staged by actors' and 'never happened'. This contentious interview has sparked a conversation about which forums should allow dissenting viewpoints and whether dangerous ideas should be given public airtime in a news context.
15 June 2017 |
An article focusing on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings reported that people 'exposed to more than six hours of daily media coverage of the tragedy were more likely to experience symptoms of acute stress than those directly affected by the event'. News junkies, or those who saw extended coverage, were found to be worse off than those who actually survived the bombings. This is sobering as we consider how we deal with our children's exposure to traumatic events playing out on TV news.
31 May 2017 |
Reports that the ABC will no longer require the head of the religion unit to be a religion specialist are more than a little surprising. The ABC has a commitment in its charter to 'reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community'. Without religion reporting from people with specialist journalistic backgrounds, the ABC jeopardises its ability to fulfil its ongoing functions and responsibilities. Like it or not, religion still plays a huge part in public life in Australia, which affects the lives of everyone.
27 April 2017 |
Even though the post was quickly withdrawn and an apology issued, the backlash has lasted more than four days. It was enough to warrant a front page story on The Daily Telegraph, a call for Abdel-Magied's dismissal by the deputy prime minister and public repudiations by half a dozen government front benchers and other politicians, including Pauline Hanson. It's ironic that the very commentators who constantly rail against political correctness are apoplectic about a woman being politically incorrect.
09 April 2017 |
Pepsi's advertisement has been accused of appropriating the struggle for race and gender equality in the name of its product. It makes sugar filled drinks seem like the key to stopping police brutality against people of colour, and simplifies the way people engage and make change in the world. The image of Kendall Jenner approaching police has been compared to the actions of Black Lives Matter protestor Leshia Evans. While Jenner manages to strike up a friendship, Evans was thrown to the ground.
02 April 2017 |
I can think of many films I saw in childhood which still resonate because of their morals and characters. The dark and dangerous fire swamp of The Princess Bride, where Westley must wrestle with rabid beasts to save the damsel in distress, taught me about bravery. The Harry Potter series shows a boy who has suffered a great loss but finds community and purpose during his time at Hogwarts. There's something all these movies have in common: they were all about men.
22 March 2017 |
Elite athletes wear Nike. Celebrities wear Nike. Beautiful people. People who take their sports seriously. Well, that's what decades of advertising around the little swooshy tick and 'Just Do It' trademark told us. Fat girls don't deserve to wear Nike because they are supposed to feel ashamed of their ample girths. They should exercise, of course, but in sackcloth and ashes, with downcast faces, signalling they understand their moral depravity. Some people, it seems, still feel that's the way it should be.
16 March 2017 |
The Bible Society didn't think its video promoting civilised discussion about same-sex marriage would be a problem, but it pushed a lot of buttons they didn't even know existed. There are a lot of layers to the public's reaction, but here's one: the Bible Society has never taken an explicit public position on the present marriage debate, but its sister organisation, the Centre for Public Christianity, only features videos and essays by people who hold an exclusively man-woman view of marriage.
13 March 2017 |
Arguments for repealing 18C ignore the symbolic force of law in an imperfect society in which we live. In public life the One Nation Party, which is able to exert some influence on legislation in a fragmented parliament, regularly criticises Muslims. These views are also retailed by commentators in some mainstream media. They increase the anxiety of immigrants from Muslim nations. In such a context any weakening of 18C will be seen as the declaration of open season against such groups.
08 March 2017 |
Last Monday, there was a Q and A discussion about feminism and women's rights. On the panel was Thordis Elva, an anti-violence campaigner known for hosting a TED Talk with her rapist Tom Stranger. The debate emulated my own internal monologue. Is there a place for rapists in the conversation about rape? Did I want to hear what a rapist had to say? At the time I was on the phone to someone close to me who had been sexually assaulted in the past. Would I want her anywhere near her rapist again?
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