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05 October 2016 |
Happily, I do not know who the 'real' Elena Ferrante is. Happily, I have blocked my eyes and ears to the unfolding, the unmasking of the Italian author whose anonymity allowed her the freedom from scrutiny to give us seven novels that document the slow burn indignities of poverty and sexism and ambition. How can we accept this gift, a woman writing about the most abject of female pleasures, the darkest impulses, and then demand that she answer inane questions at a writers' festivals?
28 September 2016 |
Almost all territories have their own popular artists, writing and performing in their native languages. However, many of these musicians seem unable to break into the wider market. In terms of marketed music, there is no doubt that English speaking artists hold sway. Yet some artists, such as Sydney Aboriginal band Dispossessed, who perform in both English and in language, and Cardiff native Gwenno, whose debut solo album is sung entirely in Welsh and Cornish, are bucking the trend.
26 September 2016 |
When I started my blog Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist four years ago, the major motivation was that I wanted to claim some space in the worldwide web for Aboriginal feminist left-wing discourse. I strongly felt that the mainstream media continued to ignore these types of opinions and, thanks to the internet providing public and freely available space, for the first time ever there was the ability to circumnavigate these traditional channels of communication. I believed no one would read it.
21 September 2016 |
The relationship between the whistleblower and journalism has not always been a neat one. The tendency for symbiosis to become positively vengeful is evidenced in the Washington Post stance on Edward Snowden's whistleblowing activities. Having scooped up a Pulitzer working on the Snowden findings, the paper got nasty. There was little need for the paper to wade into these waters, but the editors obviously felt so strongly about Snowden it went for the jugular with seething conviction.
06 September 2016 |
China is out to undermine every aspect of the Australian way of life, from our Census to the integrity of our democracy. Any day now the red flag of the Communist Party will be flying over Parliament House in Canberra ... Or so, you'd be forgiven for believing. Chinese fear-mongering has hit a fever-pitch in Australia's media in recent months and the lines between genuine concern and sensationalism is becoming increasingly blurred. How can we make sure journalism keeps level-headed and fair?
28 July 2016 |
Though the internet has stretched and expanded the number of people and places we have access to, it has also constrained the range of ideas and opinions to which we're exposed. Research has found that Facebook users tend to read and share information that reinforces their own beliefs. This phenomenon has been particularly noticeable in the past month, with the emotion whipped up by the Brexit campaign, the election, and a spate of shocking, apparently Isis-related killings.
17 May 2016 |
To put it bluntly, this is the point at which the free speech argument, like the Ouroboros serpent of ancient myth, eats its own tail. While the newspapers claimed that they were exercising their rights to free speech in their daily articles against Storrar, the effect of their dragging his name and life through the mud was undoubtedly that any other member of the public who dared ask awkward questions of their rulers would think again.
01 May 2016 |
Arguably, as a society, Australia's tolerance for violence is waning, and both the AFL and the NRL have been proactive in diminishing the prevalence of deliberate and reckless violence that might endanger players' safety. Unfortunately, despite the AFL's desire to stamp out the more dangerous incidents, many televised football commentators are hindering the cause by making excuses for players, playing down the severity of their actions, and failing to condemn them.
26 April 2016 |
There have been attempts by some in the media to mount a moral justification of 60 Minutes' actions. At least they were trying to do the right thing, by helping a mother who would not have been denied custody in Australia But that opens another slimy can of worms. Do we think 60 Minutes would fund a child abduction in Australia, rather than a Muslim country with religious courts, however much the parent they were purporting to help might seem to have been denied custody unfairly?
05 April 2016 |
When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.
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