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When rape is a joking matter

19 July 2012 | Ruby Hamad

David ToshUS comedian Daniel Tosh sparked a furore with his now notorious rape joke. Many women have at least one story about being inappropriately and non-consensually touched — it first happened to me when I was 13. While jokes like Tosh's perpetuate such a culture, other comedians' 'rape jokes' seek to enlighten as well as entertain.

Orwell in 2012 Australia

16 July 2012 | Fatima Measham

George Orwell 'Big Brother', 1984As word of the national security inquiry filtered through Twitter last week, one wit remarked, '1984 is meant to be a cautionary tale, not a manual'. The proposed reforms constitute a disturbing concession that our intelligence sector is not equipped to deal with the increasing sophistication of covert online activity, without resorting to questionable laws.

Justifying garden-variety torture

11 July 2012 | Max Atkinson

Abu GhraibAny discussion of the morality of torture must distinguish two kinds of justification. The first is concerned with cases so exotic they have nothing to do with the ordinary affairs of mankind, such as the nuclear bomb ticking away in a New York basement. A real-life justification must provide a rationale for a wide range of common garden cases. 

Requiem for quality journalism

21 June 2012 | Chris McGillion


There’s no doubt that quality and depth will both suffer, not just from job cuts, but also due to the cultural shift from a world of lasting tangible hardcopy that rouses you at 5 am to fleeting virtual postings that can keep you awake all night. But let’s hope Fairfax management remembers that in a crowded digital environment, quality and depth are the only things that can continue to distinguish its brands.

The feminist diet

07 June 2012 | Ellena Savage

Woman squeezing body fatSqueezing my own body fat in front of the mirror is a horrible, but familiar experience. Reflecting on the self-loathing involved makes me red with rage and embarrassment. I should be above that. Today's women are united more by their collective disgust of their bodies than they are by any other factor.

How to tame free speech extremists

04 June 2012 | John Wright

Unabomber global warming billboard'I still believe in global warming. Do you?' These words graced a Chicaco billboard above an image of 'Unabomber' Ted Kaczynski. It was removed, not because it broke any law, but because it was deemed to have 'gone too far'. In a society that supports free speech, who decides how far is too far?' 

Bewailing Wikipedia's white male bias

12 April 2012 | Ellena Savage

Trayvon MartinNearly 90 per cent of Wikipedia's editors are men, the majority in their 20s. This is not Wikipedia's fault: it exists in a world that is already weighted towards the white male experience. The murder in Florida of African-American teen Trayvon Martin has catalysed criticism of the effects of white male privilege.

Elitism in online dictionaries

26 March 2012 | Philip Harvey

Oxford English DictionaryFree dictionaries on the internet are often bland and incomplete, while those that are complex and exhaustive require a credit card. Quality comes at a price, and this is an increasing educational issue. Rich institutions and individuals can pay for the words we all use, while others cannot, or just do not.

Eureka Street comes of age

14 March 2012 | Andrew Hamilton

Eureka Street coversThis year Eureka Street celebrates its 21st birthday as a small fish in the ever turbulent lake of global media. Like other print and online media it has had to adjust to its environment. It has had to negotiate the particular challenge of the polarisation of attitudes within the Church.

How Google is narrowing our minds

13 March 2012 | Edwina Byrne

GoogleGoogle's personalised search aims to supply us with content that reflects our interests. The problem is that, exposed only to the views of those like us, our position is reinforced and may tend to the extreme as we become unsympathetic to alternative perspectives.

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