keywords: The Shire

  • 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

    An Orwellian view of climate change

    • Brian Matthews
    • 12 July 2019
    6 Comments

    By 'belly to earth', Orwell meant not only the uncomplicated, hands-on approach he threw himself into at Wallington. It also denoted a quality of engagement with the natural world that he saw to be threatened by the nature of what he considered to be the 'evil' times in which he lived — a feeling familiar to many in 2019.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Boris, Brexit and taking it up to political bull

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 03 June 2019
    2 Comments

    An enduring memory of the 2016 Brexit campaign was the claim by pro-leavers that the EU was extracting some £350 million a week. The claim, ignoring EU subsidies, returns and contributions to Britain, was so outrageously proud and inaccurate, it stuck. Which leads us to a novel citizen's experiment on the issue of lying in politics.

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  • MEDIA

    Dissecting Australian media's Trump moment

    • Eliza Berlage
    • 22 May 2019
    5 Comments

    Morrison heralded his win as a 'miracle' and the media ran with it, leading to headlines like 'Messiah from the shire'. But while it was unexpected to those reporting on it, a look at deeply divided and change-averse Australia makes the Coalition win seem less remarkable.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My moments with catholic Les Murray

    • Tracey Edstein
    • 02 May 2019
    3 Comments

    I asked Les then what he anticipated at the end of what was for him a very earthed life. Les was phlegmatic — he imagined a reunion with his parents (his mother died when he was 12) but was content to 'wait and see ... we are on certain post-mortem promises after all'.

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  • RELIGION

    Prayers of connection and disconnection

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 March 2019
    12 Comments

    I've recently been reading about people who disconnect in radical ways, or else manage a balancing act between connection with society and disconnection. The recently deceased Sister Wendy Beckett was one such. So too is Brother Harold Palmer who, like Sister Wendy, began his seclusion in a caravan.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elegy for Sisto Malaspina

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 15 November 2018
    2 Comments

    What is so urgent here is not a sense of being morbid. Nor, in the main, was there even a vengeful note. This was unalloyed grief, unimpaired by manipulation and political exploitation.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Embracing moral squeamishness

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 November 2018
    10 Comments

    What might be effective is to strengthen support within their own and the wider community in order to help vulnerable people understand themselves and the feelings that might drive them to paranoid ideas and violent action if left unattended. If that is moral squeamishness, it at least offers some hope of effectiveness.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Independents and micro party success stories

    • John Warhurst
    • 18 June 2018
    6 Comments

    The contrast between success and failure shows that successful independents and minor parties cannot just be based on major party disillusionment, creative election campaigns, or attractive candidates, but also on deep listening to and engaging with their communities which enable a positive and grounded alternative to be offered to voters.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Stephen Hawking as saint and celebrity

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 15 March 2018
    22 Comments

    The rush to pay tribute to the cosmological colossus had an air of reflex about it. People paid respects, but many were not entirely sure why. He'd be missed, but in what way? Such is the way of celebrity, even those rare intellectual ones who burst the barrier of mass marketing. They become symbols in their time, ciphers of an age.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greek village rides the rise and fall of plastic

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 09 March 2018
    7 Comments

    Yiayia Aphrodite always practised frugality. She cut old dresses into strips and wove cotton rugs out of them, and used matches twice if she could. When plastic bags came into supermarkets, she immediately made use of them: I think every house in the neighbourhood received presents of circular blue and orange bathmats and doormats.

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  • EDUCATION

    Bringing the classics back to schools

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 31 October 2017
    9 Comments

    American-British writer Amanda Foreman is campaigning to return authors such as Austen, Dickens and Eliot to curricula in famous schools. But teachers have told her that a generation reared on smartphones and iPads finds such authors too ‘difficult'. So what? is my inward cry.

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