Vol 25 No 21

25 October 2015


 

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    School reunion cracks the amber of middle age

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 November 2015
    6 Comments

    I never thought I'd do the whole high school reunion thing. Yet here I am, nametagged and ready to face the music, along with 50 of my fellow 1985 alumni. I recognise some straight off. Others mystify. Teenagers trapped in the amber of middle age. High school was genuinely hard for many of us. Some have died. Some entered Boggo Road's then-penal walls. Some are still paying for decisions made back in those mid-80s. Memory propels the sail of our union and we've left safe harbours.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A Taliban bullet didn't keep her down

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 November 2015
    2 Comments

    Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai came to international prominence in 2012 after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, for her advocacy for girls' education. He Named Me Malala ponders whether her father shares indirect responsibility for the shooting, as he encouraged her advocacy. The question of exploitation is relevant whenever a child enters the public gaze, but here it threatens to undermine Malala's own agency, as a young woman who can think, speak and act powerfully on her own behalf.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Housing fantasy quashed by culture of entitlement

    • Ellena Savage
    • 05 November 2015
    23 Comments

    When I was a child, the house I longed for in my adult future was blonde-bricked, double-storied, concrete-paved, white-carpeted. Now I am older, and renting a room in such a house is possible, if I share the place with six other paying adults. Because it is 2015, I live in Melbourne (the sixth-least affordable city to live in in the world), and am not a merchant banker. No concrete plot will ever by mine, I say in tune with the million other people my age who have just assimilated that knowledge.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pocock and Goodes are the role models Australia needs

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 November 2015
    10 Comments

    What are spectators to make of Adam Goodes' challenge to racial prejudice? What are they to make of David Pocock's outspoken defence of the environment and criticism of coal mining, or of his and his partner's refusal to marry in solidarity with LBGT couples? They make space for us to reflect on our own response to large human questions. But that space also invites us to judge our own integrity. The opprobrium such role models meet may arise out of discomfort with unwelcome self-questioning.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Political roadblocks to Sydney's electricity evolution

    • David James
    • 04 November 2015
    2 Comments

    In the early 1990s London engineer Allan Jones took the suburb of Woking off the grid by establishing a system of tri-generation, which reduces waste by generating power locally. The Sydney City Council employed Jones in 2009 to bring the same approach to Australia. But regulations from previous eras that greatly favour the incumbent power companies are preventing any meaningful change. Once again we find that the main challenges with tackling global pollution are not technical, but political.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate justice demands more than a price on carbon

    • Nicholas Low
    • 03 November 2015
    20 Comments

    Environmental justice will be part of the discussion in Paris this month. The principle of justice says each person is of equal value no matter which nation or ethnic group they belong to. Each Australian contributes 16 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, while each Bangladeshi contributes a little more than a third of a tonne. If the principle of justice is applied, Australia will have to move from 16 tonnes per person to about a third of a tonne, roughly equivalent to what a Bangladeshi emits now.

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  • CARTOON

    The Gospel of St Tony

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 03 November 2015
    5 Comments

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Serpents dispersed by the Greek art of distraction

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In the midst of hard times Greeks are good at practising what I call the Noble Art of Distraction. Nina and I were walking one night when our attention was caught by impromptu music. 'That's Cretan,' announced Nina. It transpired that one of the young men of the neighbourhood was to get married, and had turned up in order to have his prenuptial close shave and a haircut. The barber and his mates had decided that the occasion could not go unmarked, and so the modest festivities began.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Known unknowns of the facial recognition capability

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 01 November 2015
    9 Comments

    In May, the Federal Justice Minister announced a plan to work toward a National Facial Biometric Matching Capability, due to start operating in mid-2016. The lead agency is the Attorney-General's Department, the same department frustrating telcos with its implementation of data retention. The lack of transparency around the project is concerning, as it has privacy implications for nearly all Australians. If you have a passport or driver's licence, your facial image is relevant.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 01 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Europe doesn't need Abbott's culture war rubbish

    • Sabine Wolff
    • 29 October 2015
    37 Comments

    Just when the ringing of the words 'I stopped the boats' had finally subsided and you were getting used to the idea of business agility and economic innovation as the key battlegrounds, who should pop back up but former Prime Minister and Culture Warrior in Chief, Tony Abbott. Abbott's Margaret Thatcher memorial speech — in which the words 'a hint of Thatcher about my government' were used with apparently no irony whatsoever — was a stunning example of revisionism, hubris, and confused ideology.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Modern Islamophobia echoes murderous anti-Semitism

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 29 October 2015
    7 Comments

    Invoking Joseph Conrad's story about seagoing doppelgangers, 'The Secret Sharer', Edward Said identified Islamophobia as anti-Semitism's respectable twin. Indeed Israeli PM Netanyahu's description of the Mufti urging Hitler onto greater evil contains an echo of the old anti-Semitic canard of Jews as shadowy manipulators. This trope is central to the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was a key element in Goebbels' propaganda campaigns, and is now central to contemporary Islamophobia.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Muslim children showed respect by not singing anthem

    • Justin Glyn
    • 29 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Muharram is above all a month of mourning for Shi'a. One of the ways in which the month may be mourned is by avoiding joyful music. For the pupils of Cranbourne Carlisle Primary School, singing of the national anthem was therefore recognised as a potential problem, not because of any disrespect but for precisely the opposite reason. It was respected as a song of hope and gladness, a delight in a common national identity. It was on these very grounds that the children did not want to sing it.

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  • RELIGION

    Family Synod neglects feminine genius

    • Beth Doherty
    • 28 October 2015
    28 Comments

    We can assume that despite the recent Synod's focus on families, most of the voters have never had any involvement in raising families, and certainly not of experiencing pregnancy and childbirth. None have directly dealt with an abusive spouse, struggled to regulate family size, questioned whether to stay in an unhappy marriage, or dealt with a child identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender. Last year, I spent time working in a parish in Paraguay, where, unlike the church more broadly, women run the show.

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  • RELIGION

    Betting on the Synod

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 October 2015
    6 Comments

    The journalist Claud Cockburn once said that Catholics could never bet on the election of a pope because they believed it was all up to the Holy Spirit. He was mistaken — many Catholics then and now would place a bet on anything and everything. His reasoning also overlooked the Catholic understanding that human beings cooperate with the Holy Spirit. But his association of God's action with the election and actions of popes provides a lens for looking at the recently concluded Synod on the Family.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Monsters of marriage

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 October 2015

    The Loners are not merely hapless prey, but represent a kind of ideological resistance. They enforce singleness as brutally as The Hotel does couplehood, and a night-time raid on The Hotel has strong overtones of terrorism. It's another layer to Lanthimos' kaleidoscopic allegory — a commentary on radicalisation, with this brutal underground existing as a direct result of the oppression enacted within an equally brutal mainstream. They are two faces of the same violence.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull must learn what Hockey didn't

    • John Warhurst
    • 27 October 2015
    7 Comments

    There are two broader implications arising from Joe Hockey's valedictory speech. The first is that his failure to reflect on the weaknesses of the Abbott government may be widely shared by his Coalition colleagues. They still don't understand the causes of the predicament they have made for themselves. The second is that if Malcolm Turnbull accepts Hockey's diagnosis then his government will be largely about better communication and more effective politics rather than refurbished policies.

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  • EUREKA STREET TV

    Radicalisation begins in the mind

    • Peter Kirkwood
    • 27 October 2015
    4 Comments

    'How we address radicalisation as a psychologist is to help people to examine their way of thinking. Every form of radicalisation and fundamentalism is to do with rigidity in the way people think. Our job is to help people to see that rigidity in anything doesn't work.' Clinical psychologist Shehzi Yusaf has a particular interest in the role of religion and spirituality in mental health. She is based in Parramatta, the site of the recent murder of NSW police employee Curtis Cheng by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar.

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  • CARTOON

    Selling us Shorten

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 27 October 2015
    1 Comment

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Where can Netanyahu possibly go from here?

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 26 October 2015
    11 Comments

    Benjamin Netanyahu's historical revisionism last week essentially blaming Palestinians for the Holocaust was much more than just empty rhetoric. Demonising the Palestinians is how he sets the stage for the west's acceptance of the Israeli Occupation: the more he dehumanises them, the more brutality Israel gets away with. The context that gets lost along the way is the link that exists between Palestinian actions and the abysmal living conditions imposed on them by the Occupation.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nigerian poets showcase

    • Femi Morgan and Ajise Vincent
    • 26 October 2015
    1 Comment

    A first child is a road child / He paths the field of joy / Phantasmagoria of moments / First panic, first pain, first cry / That tears the joy in your father's eyes /There is more to life / Than Sponge Bob and Ben / Be wiser than the tortoise / They may go extinct / Except in books and stories / Be careful with the holy communion / Of the boys / That dark sparkling liquid / That bitter-sweet music of the times.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My autistic superpower

    • Paul Micallef
    • 25 October 2015
    9 Comments

    My brain lacks a degree of 'pre-programming'. I am naturally open-minded and non-judgemental. When asked a question I immediately (often dispassionately) think of many possible solutions. This is great for questions like 'How can we improve this system?', and less good for questions like 'On which body part do you wear your pants?' The secret to learning social rules is in understanding emotions. Knowing what is 'appropriate' often comes down to how it makes the other person feel.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Keep Islamophobia on the fringes where it belongs

    • Fatima Measham
    • 25 October 2015
    22 Comments

    A series of protests against a mosque in Bendigo and the launch of an Islamophobic party in Perth may be cause for concern, but only if political leaders fail to invalidate fringe views. Under Tony Abbott, the conflation of Islam and extremism became mainstream. Corrections regarding racial vilification and incitement are most properly determined in the court, so it is not Muslims or lefties who are oppressing these views but the laws that operate in the secular democracy they purport to defend.

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