Vol 27 No 2

29 January 2017

Mean looking border official. Cartoon by Chris Johnston


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RELIGION

Time to repeal 'ugly' Mass translation

64 Comments
08 February 2017 | Gerry O'Collins

Roman MissalIt is good news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to revisit Liturgiam Authenticam. This Vatican document, issued on 28 March 2001, provided the unfortunate guidelines that 'justified' the ugly, Latinised translation foisted on English-speaking Catholics by the 2010 Missal. I sincerely hope that Francis' commission will not merely revisit the document but strongly press for its repeal. The road will then be open to revisit the clumsy, difficult 2010 Missal and replace it.


Demystifying 'God's Rottweiler'

18 Comments
07 February 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Benedict XVI, from the cover of Last TestamentThe inflated image I once had of Cardinal Ratzinger, and that many Catholics have of cardinals and other authority figures, was shaped by fear. Fear hands over to the human beings behind the image a power they do not possess. Conversations always turn to them and inhibit the free and constructive living of faith. In helping to demystify such images Last Testament, the autobiography (written with Peter Seewald) of Pope Benedict XVI, serves us well.


REVIEWS

Fences and co. fight back against Oscars racial bias

1 Comment
07 February 2017 | Tim Kroenert

The Academy, it seems, has listened. After the #whiteoscars furore of past years, three of this year's Oscar nominees for Best Picture, Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures, are films with predominantly (if not entirely) Black casts, and focused on the experiences of Black characters. Cast and crewmembers from all three have been nominated in various categories. To be fair, all three films would have demanded attention, with or without the recent controversy around awards season racial bias.


AUSTRALIA

It's more than a game to LGBTI football fans

3 Comments
07 February 2017 | Neve Mahoney

Rainbow flag and AFL footballsLast year, I attended the AFL Pride Match with the LGBTI youth group Minus18. As I walked to Etihad Stadium, there was something profoundly emotional about seeing rainbows mix with football colours. A huge part of my childhood was no longer alienated from my lived reality. Yet as the game went on like any other, the whole experience recast itself. I felt more and more conspicuous, and I wondered how safe I'd feel if I were watching alone, waving a rainbow flag.


RELIGION

Sister Barbara and the books that changed everything

20 Comments
06 February 2017 | Julie Davies

Nun silhouetteSister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.


ECONOMICS

Trump's pro-globalisation critics miss the key questions

10 Comments
06 February 2017 | David James

CNN headline has Trump declaring globalisation has wiped out the middle classMany defenders of globalisation express frustration at the rise of Trump and what they see as an ignorant and self-defeating backlash against its virtues. But they have no answer to the most pressing question: Is the global system there to serve people, or are people there to serve the global system? They also never address a central contradiction of globalisation: that capital is free to move, but for the most part people are not, unless they belong to the elite ranks.


CARTOON

The misfortune teller

2 Comments
06 February 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Fortune teller says these days she just says the craziest things she can think of, and usually she is right. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


AUSTRALIA

Nazi punch is a non-violence red herring

7 Comments
05 February 2017 | Ann Deslandes

Richard Spencer punchedThe recent viral footage of 'alt-right' spokesperson Richard Spencer taking a punch to the chops caused considerable debate. There is no doubting the moral clarity that non-violent resistance achieved in the civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King and the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and the real result of justice for African American and Indian people. When it comes to the odd individual act of public pushing and shoving, though, asking 'Is it okay?' is a red herring.


CREATIVE

Washed in Thomas Becket's blood

4 Comments
05 February 2017 | Earl Livings

Thomas BecketNarrow, pointed arch entrance, low vaulted ceiling, stone and wood panelling - here four murderers walked over 800 years ago to rid their king of a meddlesome priest. Amidst singing and candlelight at Vespers, Thomas Becket stood at the Cathedral altar, knowing the armoured knights were coming: 'Here I am, not a traitor of the King, but a priest. Why do you seek me?' After their clamouring and brandishing of hatchets and axe, he knew his fate, bent his head in submission.


AUSTRALIA

Alternative facts in the Centrelink debacle

12 Comments
02 February 2017 | Kasy Chambers

Centrelink branchCentrelink's new policy of automated online debt collection has been subject to conflicting reports. The Minister and the department head are sticking to the assertion that everything is working fine. Yet there is another version of the truth, seen in the growing list of people talking publicly about the distress caused to them by being falsely tageted. One difficulty with the process is that the adversarial manner that it set up is unlikely to allow Centrelink to learn from the cases it reviews.


INTERNATIONAL

Obama built the foundations for Trump's Muslim ban

9 Comments
01 February 2017 | Justin Glyn

Donald TrumpThe right wingers who support stripping people of their visas, and separating families in the process, have a point when they say that the US government is not beginning a new persecution, but merely continuing and deepening the persecutions of their predecessors. While previous administrations were more subtle in their actions than Trump's, it is undoubtedly true that the nationals now picked for sanction were those who were already targeted for visa penalties in the Obama years.


AUSTRALIA

Biding time in the anti-establishment era

6 Comments
01 February 2017 | Fatima Measham

Pauline HansonIt strikes me as odd that we have mostly withstood anti-establishment agitation, as seen in the Philippines and the UK. It is not like our political class have not earned similar scorn. What if the optimism bias that kept most of us from anticipating the results of the Brexit referendum and the US election are now also in play in Australia? How long will current welfare architecture and the incompetence of nativists keep at bay the destabilising forces that have laid America so low?


ENVIRONMENT

Appeals to caring and fairness alone can't bridge climate divide

10 Comments
01 February 2017 | Greg Foyster

ChasmIf climate change were a short-term problem, polarisation wouldn't be so crippling. One side could push a solution through parliament, and by the time the other side took power it might be a non-issue. But climate change is an extraordinarily long-term problem that requires massive investment in new infrastructure and consistent policy settings over decades. It needs a supermajority of support so years of work isn't undone with each change of government. That means getting conservatives on board.


REVIEWS

Race, addiction and sexuality by moonlight

2 Comments
31 January 2017 | Tim Kroenert

The chaos embedded in these characters' world is made clear through physical symbols - Chiron flees from bullies into an abandoned drug den, where he finds a used syringe and holds it up to the light like a talisman - and by the camera, which trails and circles the characters, or locks onto their faces, a conduit for their grief or desperation or lust or rage or joy. Bursts of actual violence or dramatic confrontation are rare. Where they occur it is their emotional content that is most confronting.


INTERNATIONAL

Sifting the scat of Trump's first ten days

23 Comments
31 January 2017 | Andrew Hamilton

Donald TrumpThe shape Trump's presidency is beginning to be discernible. The likely deepening of inequality, the disregard for universal human rights and for the international and national responsibilities that flow from them, the contempt for the environment and for evidence based research, and the debasement of political speech promise a more divided society in a more divided world. In such a noisy and staccato atmosphere the beginnings of an appropriate response lie in not responding to every tweet.


AUSTRALIA

Entitlements saga asks what is legitimate political work

7 Comments
30 January 2017 | John Warhurst

Sussan Ley talks to votersThe question of proper parliamentary and government work expenses remains unresolved. Whether rural MPs should use charter flights rather than commercial airlines is the latest aspect. Every element of political work expenses is now under sceptical public scrutiny. The recent case of former Minister for Health Sussan Ley is just one of many questionable instances. The central question is what is a legitimate work expense for politicians. The matter of who should then pay is secondary.


CARTOON

From one [insert expletive of choice] to another

2 Comments
30 January 2017 | Fiona Katauskas

Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison offer advice to Trump on 'island gulags'. Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas

This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.


AUSTRALIA

The year our leaders doubled down on doubling down

6 Comments
30 January 2017 | Mark Hearn

Tony Abbott2016 was a bumper year for the political double down. Journalist Mark Kenny witnessed a dramatic manifestation: 'Mr Abbott was seen to double down on his recent indirect messaging to Mr Turnbull about a possible return to the frontbench.' A combined 'double down with indirect messaging': perhaps a uniquely Abbott adaptation. Doubling down - otherwise known as repeating yourself - is the public language of aggressive redundancy, drowning out alternative voices and ideas.


CREATIVE

Barbers of Mauritius and inner Sydney

3 Comments
29 January 2017 | Bernard Appassamy

Barber's toolsI grew up terrified of my father's barber, Andre. He announced his arrival by ringing the bell of his black Raleigh bicycle at our gate. I was dragged to the chair where the towel was passed on to me. Andre did his best to keep his calm with me. I must have tested his nerves to a limit when he told me of the day he so badly severed one ear of a young boy who wouldn't sit still that a pig's ear had to be stitched on in replacement. 'I don't believe you,' I replied, but sat frozen from thereon.


INTERNATIONAL

US-Mexico relations are officially off-the-wall

6 Comments
27 January 2017 | Antonio Castillo

Composite photo shows smug-looking Trump peering over a brick wallWriting in the New York Times, renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze splendidly summed up the US conduct toward his country. 'For Mexico, the United States has been a difficult neighbour, sometimes violent, almost always arrogant, almost never respectful, rarely cooperative,' Krauze wrote. Donald Trump is the embodiment of all these. Trump has taken the US disrespect towards its Spanish-speaking neighbour to a level even Mexicans - a resigned bunch - won't put up with any longer.


AUSTRALIA

Horror year of state care abuse justifies intervention

10 Comments
26 January 2017 | Oliver Jacques

Broken Homes logo from ABC Four CornersAllowing the Catholic Church to investigate itself was once described by an abuse victim as akin to 'putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank'. The Church now largely accepts the value of outside scrutiny, and has even endorsed a national redress scheme that would subject it to independent examination of its complaint handling and treatment of victims. But there is another institution - plagued by rampant child abuse in 2016 - where the vampires in charge are still trusted to mop up the blood.


The Australian bureaucratic Mean Virus is epidemic

23 Comments
26 January 2017 | Rachel Woodlock

Mean face emoticon'Take that out of your mouth, I have to touch that,' barked the Border Protection officer, glaring at me. I'd been juggling bags, boarding tickets, and a passenger exit card, so my passport was positioned precariously between my lips. I wondered if there was a class for teaching them how to be that special mix of forcefully domineering and nasty. It's not just at airports that ordinary people are increasingly feeling a sense of helplessness in the face of bureaucratic antagonism.