Author: Philip Harvey

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Time to re-imagine the Australian flag

    • Philip Harvey
    • 10 May 2012
    50 Comments

    The readiness of Australians to design a flag that is agreed to and honoured ought to be on the agenda of any forward-looking party. Otherwise a day will come when a design will be foisted on us that no one likes and has no distinctive meaning. One only has to listen to the national anthem to know Australians are capable of embracing second best.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Getting personal with Anzac Day

    • Philip Harvey
    • 24 April 2012
    16 Comments

    Should I even be saying all this to people I have never met? What do I say? How far do I go? My paternal grandfather, Edgar, was not only an Anzac but among those who landed nearly 100 years ago at the Turkish cove. Even among my family his experiences are still largely passed over in silence.

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  • MEDIA

    Elitism in online dictionaries

    • Philip Harvey
    • 26 March 2012
    19 Comments

    Free dictionaries on the internet are often bland and incomplete, while those that are complex and exhaustive require a credit card. Quality comes at a price, and this is an increasing educational issue. Rich institutions and individuals can pay for the words we all use, while others cannot, or just do not.

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  • MEDIA

    Weighing Wikipedia

    • Philip Harvey
    • 15 January 2012
    12 Comments

    Somedays it looks like the most extravagant love letter to the humanist project, other days like the biggest ragbag of unsorted intellectual capital. The sheer scale of information is truly amazing. But as a reference, the time has come for Wikipedia to up its game.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2011: Songs of England at war

    • Philip Harvey
    • 04 January 2012
    1 Comment

    Gallipolli was a disaster and a relatively minor conflict, but it is upon such 'minor' conflicts that Empires are built. These songs go to the heart of a contradictory dilemma: the love of country on the one hand and the ugly extremes of patriotism on the other. Published 23 February 2011

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tribute to the non-defeatist graffitists

    • Philip Harvey
    • 29 November 2011
    14 Comments

    I harbour a quiet pleasure at seeing dull square buildings of grey concrete slabs scintillatingly covered with outlandish swirls of colour. We know why they do it: to resist boredom, to challenge conformity, to strike out at a world that is not listening, to leave a mark when all other avenues are closed.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Why we swear

    • Philip Harvey
    • 05 June 2011
    6 Comments

    Fining people for swearing is silly. We can no more control what people say than we can hold the wind, or even a very large fart. Victoria's swear-fine laws are likely to be used either as threat or reality on those who can least afford the fine and cannot fight back.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Gospel bit players

    • Philip Harvey
    • 20 April 2011
    7 Comments

    The conventional homily on the miracle of the lame man focuses on his faith and hope. But Irish poet Seamus Heaney draws attention to the faith, hope and charity of the man's friends, who will go to any trouble to help their mate in his hour of need.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Songs of England at war

    • Philip Harvey
    • 23 February 2011
    3 Comments

    Gallipolli was a disaster and a relatively minor conflict, but it is upon such 'minor' conflicts that Empires are built. These songs go to the heart of a contradictory dilemma: the love of country on the one hand and the ugly extremes of patriotism on the other. 

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  • RELIGION

    King James Bible a masterpiece but not an idol

    • Philip Harvey
    • 01 February 2011
    29 Comments

    2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. It will be said that the King James is the soul of our language and that it shares pre-eminence with the Bard. But all of this talk will be at odds with the actual purpose for which it was created.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Keith Richards' other church

    • Philip Harvey
    • 08 December 2010

    'When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully — the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you,' writes Richards. Librarians know better than anyone that the library attracts the most unlikely clientele.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Black Saturday gibe mars Murray's might

    • Philip Harvey
    • 16 April 2010
    6 Comments

    In one poem Les Murray would reduce the causes of the Black Saturday fires to differences in forest management between 'hippies' and 'rednecks'. Utilising poetry to play the blame game demeans our understanding of the complexity of that disaster.

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