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Practical magic

27 August 2014 | Megan Graham

Emma Stone and Colin Firth dancingWhile we are all afraid of the unknown, complete certainty and predictability do not make for a vibrant life. Magic in the Moonlight is a film about the lens through which one chooses to see the world. Cynicism or wonder? Mayhem or magic? It poses the question: Which way brings more joy?

Homes that enable the disabled

26 August 2014 | Andrea McQueen

Dreamhouse TV show participantsIn recent years, people with disabilities have been coming out of institutions. They are in our streets, our shops and our schools, but not on TV. We need programs like the ABC's Dreamhouse to prompt conversation about what kinds of lives are possible for people with disabilities, and how we can best use our tax money to make dreams come true.

Multimillionaire's self-indulgent science

20 August 2014 | Megan Graham

James Cameron in Deep Sea ChallengeIn Deepsea Challenge, James Cameron admits that, having desired it since he was a kid, his film Titanic was basically the excuse he needed to explore the depths of the ocean. The documentary feels like Cameron meets 'Make A Wish Foundation' with the audience acting as the benevolent donors.  

Robin Williams tried to outrun the dog

13 August 2014 | Megan Graham

Robin Williams in Patch AdamsAs human beings we do all kinds of things to avoid suffering. Drink, drugs, hobbies, television, retail therapy. The list is endless. It is our job to survive and avoid suffering: to huddle around our loved ones, to live and thrive and not let the shit of life get us down. For Robin Williams, it seems avoiding suffering was a very hard task.

What makes a girl beautiful

24 July 2014 | Catherine Marshall

Young smiling dark-skinned girlThere's something satisfying about subverting society's idea of what constitutes beautiful: female-led campaigns that flood the media with images of representative faces and bodies reinforce the absurdity of current 'beauty' standards. But this isn't really liberating. No longer is it only the physically exquisite who can pose naked; the plain and the imperfect must be welcomed, too, into the sacred circle of female objectification.

Lady legend of Jesuit Publications

13 May 2014 | Morag Fraser

Geraldine BattersbyJesuit Publications was a robust workplace, with characters enough to fill a Trollope novel. Geraldine was one of the characters, but she was also an essential ingredient in the glue that kept us together. One morning she arrived, a little overheated from the long tram ride in, and checked herself in one of the mirrored pillars. I heard the shriek from upstairs. 'I've come all the way to work, in the tram, in my black petticoat. I forgot to put on my skirt!'

Racial hatred laws 20 years on

10 April 2014 | Frank Brennan

Scan of Eureka Street page bearing Frank Brennan headline 'Thought police and racial vilification'In 1994, a year before the Parliament enacted the present section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, I wrote in Eureka Street: 'At this time, in this part of the world, thought-police armed with criminal sanctions are not the answer' to racial discrimination. Senator Brandis has now circulated a proposal to amend the existing provisions. What he has produced is the racial hatred law you have when you don't want a racial hatred law.

Golf mag's slice of sexist misery

09 April 2014 | Catherine Marshall

Golf Digest featuring Paulina GretzkyI got into an argument on Twitter yesterday about Golf Digest's use of a model on its cover rather than a female professional golfer. My opponent assured me that a 'gorgeous girl who modelled for a magazine is no harm' and that it must be 'miserable' to be opposed to every magazine that presented women this way. It is miserable. For most women, objectification is so commonplace that they have learned to live with it as one would a disability.

Turnbull's bone for the News Corp behemoth

23 March 2014 | Ray Cassin

Rupert Murdoch grumpyMalcolm Turnbull is unusual among Australian politicians in having a keen regard for the role of journalism in a democracy. That makes his blithe disregard of the prospect of handing Rupert Murdoch even greater influence over Australian politics all the more puzzling. It is unsurprising that some observers see the foreshadowed change to media ownership laws as a pay-off for News Corp's support of the Coalition in the 2013 election.

Too soon for MH370 punchlines

23 March 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Satellite photo of a plane resembling MH370There is little doubt that it is too soon and the story too tragic to be the butt of jokes. But the fact that such responses exist speaks to the ways in which this story has permeated the public imagination in unhealthy ways. The engagement is frequently marked by genuine concern, but also contains a deeply voyeuristic fascination that is divorced from the humanity of these events. People love a mystery, and an unhappy ending even more.

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