keywords: Mark Twain

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Swearing? Won't have a bar of it

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 02 September 2019
    7 Comments

    Those were the days when children could expect to have their mouths washed out with soap and water if they uttered certain words. Fast forward quite a few years: once I got the hang of Greek swear words and realised my children were using them, I rejected the idea of soap and water, but began a system of fines.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Letters from dystopia in these best and worst of times

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 04 April 2017
    6 Comments

    Small wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, although I remember my father pointing out that people felt the same when the longbow and later gunpowder were invented. Amazon recently reported that Orwell and Huxley are selling like hot cakes. This at a time when certain purveyors of doom are lamenting the fact that 26 per cent of Americans, for example, did not read a single book during 2016.

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  • 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

    Best of 2013: Politicising the bimbo

    • Ellena Savage
    • 13 January 2014
    2 Comments

    The pleasure of not affecting one's native mode of speech to appease a kind of person who means to privilege the privileged, is unparalleled. Try speaking in a playful way to someone who's scared of bimbos, and then watch their brains literally explode. When a listener struggles to understand that when I say I 'literally died', and yet clearly am still alive, that I am using language in a playful and even ironic way, it's not really their fault. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Politicising the bimbo

    • Ellena Savage
    • 27 September 2013
    6 Comments

    The pleasure of not affecting one's native mode of speech to appease a kind of person who means to privilege the privileged, is unparalleled. Try speaking in a playful way to someone who's scared of bimbos, and then watch their brains literally explode. When a listener struggles to understand that when I say I 'literally died', and yet clearly am still alive, that I am using language in a playful and even ironic way, it's not really their fault. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Boys using violence to impress girls

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 30 May 2013

    Some lessons need to be learned more than once. A young boy punches an older peer in defence of the honour of a girl he admires. The girl is so impressed that she invites the boy on a date. Is violence, then, an approved medium for the defence of romantic ideals? The boy tests this premise twice more, with less gratifying results. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Staking out our vampire fetish

    • Brian Matthews
    • 11 August 2010
    1 Comment

    For all our modern sophistication, refinement and technology, we remain in imaginative thrall to one of the most venerable and terrifying of folk figures. The vampire combines two of human kind's profoundly obsessive preoccupations: mortality and sex.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A bookish look at cars and sport

    • Brian Doyle
    • 05 August 2009
    2 Comments

    What if all the cars and sports teams we name for fleet and powerful animals and cosmic energies and cool-sounding things that don't exist or mean anything are, effective immediately, renamed for literary characters and authors.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Lipstick on America's politcal (dog) collar

    • Moira Rayner
    • 07 January 2009
    3 Comments

    There are lessons to be learned from Sarah Palin's quip that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull terrier is 'lipstick'. In Western politics, women are acceptable if they look 'youthful' and are attached to powerful men to whose authority they defer. (September 2008)

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Lipstick on America's politcal (dog) collar

    • Moira Rayner
    • 18 September 2008
    9 Comments

    There are lessons to be learned from Sarah Palin's quip that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull terrier is 'lipstick'. In Western politics, women are acceptable if they look 'youthful' and are attached to powerful men to whose authority they defer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Revelations of a responsible literary citizen

    • Brian Doyle
    • 26 March 2008

    You find all kinds of books in people's cars — from novels and comics to atlases and bibles. The books people carry reveal something of their life and experiences.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A sea of opportunity

    • Brian Matthews
    • 09 July 2006

    A week in which Mark Latham becomes the Leader of the Opposition and begins talking about ‘rungs of opportunity’.

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