Search Results: Barry Gittins

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and the (young) maiden

    • Barry Gittins
    • 02 March 2016
    3 Comments

    This year we faced the prospect of having Wolfgang, our 16-year-old apricot Spoodle, euthanised. This was sad for me, my wife, and our son. But for our daughter, entering her first year of high school, it presented a looming disaster. Mark Twain is purported to have said that 'the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.' Timidity equals preoccupation with mortality? No disrespect to Samuel, but it's unlikely he shared that gem with his daughters.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Not racist but

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 December 2015
    5 Comments

    I'm not homophobic, but if you question my relished prejudice, satirise my hissy fits, you're not playing fair. I'm not racist, but don't you call out my revulsion, or reveal cultural discrimination (not here over there). I'm not sexist but your flaunting of sexual freedom, power, makes me long for lost hour ... If you peer quite closely you will notice I am mostly not a loving breathing person (that's rare).

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    School reunion cracks the amber of middle age

    • Barry Gittins
    • 06 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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  • AUSTRALIA

    The seven Dadly sins

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 September 2015
    7 Comments

    As Father's Day looms, I embrace zen introspection. My beloved Keeper and I have two offspring, a daughter — a sweetheart aged 12, turning 30 — and a son — boisterously nine. Life changed unrecognisably with their arrival, and overwhelmingly for the better. This Sunday I will join the ranks of sleepy paters, gingerly drinking dubious coffee, eyeing off culinary abominations and graciously acknowledging new socks.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Confessions of a news junkie who hides the news from his kids

    • Barry Gittins
    • 10 July 2015
    8 Comments

    Fielding questions about the latest shark attack or car crash, or government culling of charities, is relatively straightforward. But not the horrific patricide committed by Cy Walsh, son of Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, and the wounding of his wife Meredith. It baffled my family and I couldn’t come close to explaining it.

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  • CONTRIBUTORS

    Child care in reverse follows Dad's health emergency

    • Barry Gittins
    • 15 May 2015
    6 Comments

    A belated early April referral to the urologist led to an alarming ultrasound and a blunt instruction to head for the nearby emergency triage. My bladder was a water balloon waiting to go splat. When the kids and their Ma picked me up from emergency, Emily stood guard over her Dad while the others got the car. The kids helped Trude with cleaning and chores as school holidays beckoned and my body needed time to reset before surgery was advisable.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Politics beckon, we're better off dead than alive on Nauru or Manus

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 May 2015
    2 Comments

    Anglo-Saxons and Germans and Dutch and the Frisians all saw ‘the evil’ as inferior breeding. When you’re tagged as ‘bad’ or evil it seems you’re guilty of dreaming non-tribal dreams. The African-American ‘n-word’, ‘bad nigger’ was tribal rejection by white folks de rigueur.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The General of the poor and the Iron Lady of industry

    • Barry Gittins
    • 01 April 2015
    15 Comments

    Former Australian Salvation Army world leader General Eva Burrows, who died on 20 March, tried in vain to engage the former British PM in making the preferential option for the poor. ‘Margaret Thatcher was a disappointment,’ the General said. ‘I felt she didn’t have a deep, true feeling for the poor. I invited her to come out on the soup run indirectly and said it wouldn’t be a media event, we’d go incognito, but the answer was no.’

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    God's bikie trashes New Age feelgoodism

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 13 March 2015
    5 Comments

    A new book by counter-cultural warrior and Christian God Squad motorbike club founder Rev John Smith says that feeling good about yourself may not actually be that good for you in the long run. It's not that he wants you to be depressed, but rather let your discomfort prompt self-reflection.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Helen Garner's 'Best Essays' triumph

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 13 February 2015

    The Best Australian Essays 2014 finely illustrates the unnervingly unclear line between essay and short story, but no-one plays with form quite like the indomitable Helen Garner. She offers such a brooding, aching ode to her mother. Proof again that good writing is an inexorable, spiritual exercise that seers itself into the reader's memory. How does she do it?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Paul Collins illuminates sectarian divide in Australian history

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 19 December 2014
    4 Comments

    The chasm between Catholics and Protestants is thankfully unknown to my children. Paul Collins' new book A Very Contrary Irishman - The Life and Journeys of Jeremiah O'Flynn is a labour of love that presents a very driven man of the colonial era whose actions - and attributed actions - changed lives and helped shape our culture.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Richard Flanagan sorts suffering from virtue

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 21 November 2014
    4 Comments

    Winning the prestigious Man Booker prize has given Richard Flanagan's 2013 novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North precious new shelf life. I've long considered Flanagan an alchemist - giving everyday words an unmistakable verve and turning a phrase until it takes flight. But he's also a proud Tasmanian storyteller who now has the world's ear. 

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