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24 July 2014 |
There'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.
13 May 2014 |
Jesuit 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!'
10 April 2014 |
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.
09 April 2014 |
I 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.
23 March 2014 |
Malcolm 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.
23 March 2014 |
There 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.
20 March 2014 |
Andrew Bolt's response to Q&A's airing of accusations of racism was surprising. While no human is immune to emotional distress, it seems excessive for a man whose career has taken him to the edge of defamation laws to publicly wither under his opponents' attacks. This matter brings to light the discord between Australian conservatives' rhetoric about liberty and free speech, and the reality their policies and opinions impose.
09 February 2014 |
The ANZ Bank faces a huge payout after a class action by its customers secured a partial but significant victory against the bank's unfair and illegal credit card late payment fees. This is happening because we have laws to protect consumers. The Federal Government is well advanced in its efforts to wind back existing and planned laws that protect consumers, as they are considered red tape that places an unnecessary burden on business.
01 February 2014 |
Tony Abbott's suggestion that the ABC should be patriotic in its news reporting is not compatible with its Charter obligation to truth and impartiality. But it is a reminder that the ABC has muddied its own waters by taking on the running of the Government's Australia Network international television service, which gives patriotism priority over truth.
23 January 2014 |
Last week a troubling story broke on sports journalism site Grantland. While investigating the background of Dr V., an avowed physicist who had invented a revolutionary golf putter, journalist Caleb Hannan discovered that Dr V. was a trans-woman. In the course of the investigation, Dr V. committed suicide. This tragic case raises questions about journalistic ethics, not least of which is if journalism is, by its very nature, unethical.
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