Vol 26 No 19

25 September 2016


 

  • MEDIA

    Unmasking Elena Ferrante diminishes her radiant magic

    • Ellena Savage
    • 05 October 2016
    1 Comment

    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?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Inquiry into data use asks the wrong questions

    • Kate Galloway
    • 05 October 2016
    3 Comments

    The Productivity Commission was charged in March to inquire into 'data availability and use'. The inquiry holds important implications for Australians because our personal information is collected and stored by business and government in nearly all our daily interactions. The inquiry's terms of reference however make a number of assumptions, making it look very much as though it will find that the benefits of making data available outweigh the costs. And those costs are likely to be our privacy.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Identity politics and the market

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 04 October 2016
    5 Comments

    In political commentary liberal politics and identity politics are often presented as polar opposites. For supporters of liberal politics the relationship between the two is one between virtue and vice, rationality and emotion, the wise against the mob. I believe that the relationship is more complex, that identity politics shares the same stunted assumptions about personal and national identity as liberal politics, sees the self-interest of the latter, and wants to despoil it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Deepwater oil disaster warns against drilling the Bight

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 04 October 2016
    1 Comment

    At the opening of the Environmental Film Festival Australia in Melbourne last week, festival patron and former Greens senator Bob Brown highlighted the movement against oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. He painted a picture wherein a major spill in the region could lead to an environmental disaster stretching as far from the site as the NSW coast. His words make the release of Deepwater Horizon, about the disaster that led to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, even more timely.

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  • CARTOON

    Piggy banks

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 04 October 2016
    3 Comments

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

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Cultural ownership and responsibility is not just a fad

    • Esther Anatolitis
    • 03 October 2016
    10 Comments

    Who owns a cultural object? Who has the right to determine cultural values? And how can public institutions exercise cultural responsibility? It's a timely set of questions as we consider the implications of the National Gallery of Australia's return of ancient Indian sculptures, the British Museum's refusal to return Indigenous objects, or Lionel Shriver's rejection of minority cultural identities. Each of these unleashes complex, painful consequences that can undermine cultural value or cultural safety.

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  • RELIGION

    Sheikh Fehmi talked me out of going to war

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 03 October 2016
    11 Comments

    Fehmi Naji El-Imam, the former Grand Mufti of Australia who died last month, taught us at a time when we had no internet and books on Islam were limited. Politicised religion was all the craze. In Afghanistan, a coalition of local militias and foreign fighters, the Mujahideen, were receiving support from Western leaders. Conservative politicians praised them for taking on those nasty Soviet Communists. It was easy to be carried away, to have one's faith shaped by overseas events. I almost did.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mediscare blame obscures government's weaknesses

    • John Warhurst
    • 02 October 2016
    5 Comments

    The main message of the 2016 election review delivered recently at the National Press Club by Tony Nutt, the federal director of the Liberal Party, was that Turnbull only failed to have a convincing victory because of the 'Mediscare' by the Labor Party. It is a message that deflects attention from the current and past weaknesses of the government and the prime minister. It is like a football coach who after a loss or a narrow win blames his team's performance on the dirty tactics of the opposition.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The heart heals itself between beats

    • Elizabeth Smither
    • 02 October 2016
    4 Comments

    I read it somewhere in a journal of cardiology. Sometimes I mention it at dinner parties. The use of time, the clenching of the heart that can be no stranger to the beats of a clock, and all that accompanies the emptying and filling of chambers where silence must be an unknown but still love sluices and cleans and restarts as the surgeons did in the old Middlesex.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The dangers of Trump and climate conspiracy theories

    • Fatima Measham
    • 28 September 2016
    6 Comments

    Trump predictably resorted to insinuation to mask his deficiencies. After the first presidential debate, he said: 'They gave me a defective mic. Did you notice that ... was that on purpose?' It is hilarious until you realise how it would be received by supporters. It captures something of contemporary politics, where the line between conspiracy theory and legitimate anti-establishment criticism is more smudged than ever. A deficit of trust is one thing; a detachment from truth is something else.

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  • MEDIA

    The language of popular music doesn't have to be English

    • Susie Garrard
    • 28 September 2016
    2 Comments

    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.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Vulnerable people must be at the heart of welfare reforms

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 27 September 2016
    8 Comments

    There is much to welcome in the ideals spruiked in Minister Porter's proposed welfare reforms. Who could fail to be delighted if people are helped to support themselves, and the welfare bill is reduced as people no longer need support? The question left hanging is what drives these changes. Is the human welfare of our fellow Australians the goal towards which the budgetary changes are a means? Or are budgetary savings the goal to which the treatment of our fellow Australians will be a means?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Oliver Stone's love letter to hero Edward Snowden

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 27 September 2016
    1 Comment

    Snowden's disclosures regarding the data-mining activities of the US government sparked a worldwide debate about security versus privacy that rages to this day. If his status as either a villain or a hero - a traitor, or the ultimate patriot - remains a matter of debate in some circles, you won't die wondering in which camp Oliver Stone sits. In Snowden the famously didactic filmmaker posits an utterly sympathetic portrait within the structure of a lithe and gripping political thriller.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Another win for 'David' Timor against 'Goliath' Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 September 2016
    19 Comments

    Timor has scored another win in the international legal forum, this time before a five-member Conciliation Commission convened under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In response, George Brandis and Julie Bishop regurgitated the Canberra mantra: 'We have a strong interest in Timor-Leste's stability and growing prosperity, and in providing a stable and transparent framework for investment in the Timor Sea.' They have no idea just how patronising this sounds in Dili.

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  • MEDIA

    Rise of Indigenous media is good for the nation's soul

    • Celeste Liddle
    • 26 September 2016
    8 Comments

    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.

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  • CARTOON

    Class warfare

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 26 September 2016
    2 Comments

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

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Aboriginal art installation quickens ancient footprints

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 26 September 2016
    1 Comment

    Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones' piece is profoundly moving. At first glance it is little more than a quirky reconfiguring of the architectural footprint of the Garden Palace that burned to the ground on 22 September 1882, taking with it a collection of precious Indigenous relics. A more informed engagement however reveals that Jones has created a provocative re-imagining and, through this, a re-membering of Australian colonial contact history which has deep resonances for today.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

    • Greg Foyster
    • 25 September 2016
    11 Comments

    In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Young man burned by Australia's detention hell

    • Lisa Stewart
    • 25 September 2016
    21 Comments

    In the early hours of Wednesday morning, 21 September 2016, a young asylum seeker was forcibly removed from the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre. With barely time to scramble his possessions together, he was taken away, placed on a plane and, along with four others, transferred to the high security detention facility on Christmas Island. Why? Because he's done something wrong? Because he's a criminal? No. Just because that's the way we now do things here.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugees returning home

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 25 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Across the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The normalisation of destruction in SA nuclear plan

    • Michele Madigan
    • 22 September 2016
    13 Comments

    On Saturday 3 September, in Port Augusta, Yankunyjatjara Elder Edie Nyimpula King was keeping up the struggle, singing again the Seven Sisters inma, strong in its demands for a clean country and protection for the future generations. Its cry: Irati Wanti ... leave the poison! Have nothing to do with it! No radioactive waste dump in our country! But why is such responsibility for country and the health of its people forever so hard? Why is the destruction of country forever allowed to be normalised?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    International ecocide law could criminalise Reef destruction

    • Bronwyn Lay
    • 22 September 2016
    3 Comments

    Last year I sat in the offices of one of the judges of the International Criminal Court as we spoke about the possibility of ecocide law becoming an international crime against humanity. An international law against ecocide at its simplest is the criminalisation of mass destruction of the environment due to human action. At that time I heard that the obstacles were not legal, but political. Last week the ICC announced it may hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes.

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