Search Results: Barry Gittins

  • 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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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Australian history through the eyes of a dirt digger

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 24 October 2014
    9 Comments

    Satirist David Hunt's best-selling Girt The Unauthorised History of Australia prompted Joe Hockey to offer him a job as speech writer. There’s plenty of dirt. Australia was the place to be, writes Hunt, 'unless you were black. Or a woman. Or gay. Or suspected of being Irish. Or even worse, all of the above'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    If Jesus was gay

    • Barry Gittins
    • 21 October 2014
    5 Comments

    Hope for unseen vistas Peace for travelled paths. Joy for slaughtered innocence. Love for aftermath. Grace for unsought trials. Faith for visions fouled.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    David Walsh's Catholic guilt

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 26 September 2014
    6 Comments

    A Bone of Fact is one part love letter and two parts plea bargain. That’s how Walsh can take a stab at Catholicism one minute and the next admit that in the 'thrall' of Michelangelo’s Pieta he loses all faculties. And for someone who’s gleamed much from betting, gambling gets short shrift.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bogan Jesus

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 29 August 2014
    5 Comments

    Casting Christ as a bogan will rub theological feathers awry; a larger linguistic burden for many readers, however, is the unrelenting Strine and hoary cultural references. High art? No. Engaging? Highly. Jesse Adams is on about peace; an inclusive peace that includes social outcasts.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Japanese pilgrim enters the void

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 01 August 2014
    3 Comments

    In his native Japan, the name Haruki Murakami has immense currency. In the first week of its release his latest novel Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage sold more than one million copies. Coming from a traditional culture where assimilation and social order has been a historical imperative, perhaps the book's themes go beyond the intimate to acknowledge the soul-eating, conformist nature of society.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hillary Clinton's bloodless memoir

    • Barry Gittins
    • 04 July 2014
    2 Comments

    This was akin to reading a carefully vetted resume. An intelligent and formidable first lady, senator and Secretary of State, and no shrinking violet, the author presents a largely passionless, desiccated record. There's the odd poignant reflection. Absurd depictions of Mel Brooksian secure rooms (and the reading of documents with a blanket over her head in non-secure rooms). But, overall, Clinton draws pictures without drawing blood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    My intersex wake-up call

    • Barry Gittins
    • 16 June 2014
    10 Comments

    Friends of mine had their first child recently and my first, 'obvious' question — 'Is it a boy or a girl?' — was answered by a jubilant father: 'It's a girl!' Life is complex, however, and our all-too-human desires for normalcy and 'simplicity' (embodied in my automatic query) are sometimes revealed to gleam in the light of unintended prejudice. The reality for some Australians is that my question isn't always as easily answered.

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