keywords: Biography

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Finding the high way

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 26 July 2017
    11 Comments

    In our society ethical questions such as those to do with marriage, crime and punishment, the beginnings and endings of life, and freedom of speech are often highway issues. Protagonists establish in advance the right way to go, keep their foot down and their eyes on the road without noticing the terrain the highway traverses. Road signs indicating another destinations or alternative routes are ignored and towns by-passed. Certainty is gained; understanding of country is sacrificed.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Who was that luckless politician?

    • Geoff Page
    • 01 May 2017
    3 Comments

    Who was that luckless politician, federal, I think, gone now from so many memories, including mine? Male, a sort of suited fledgling, older maybe than he looked, the guy who feelingly achieved, while reaching for the aphoristic wisdom of his people, the verbal train-wreck we remember so much better than than the 'issue' or his features as they pleaded with the swooping of a lens: I'm torn between two places and a hard rock?

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  • RELIGION

    Demystifying 'God's Rottweiler'

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 February 2017
    18 Comments

    The inflated image I once had of Cardinal Ratzinger, and that many Catholics have of cardinals and other authority figures, was shaped by fear. Fear hands over to the human beings behind the image a power they do not possess. Conversations always turn to them and inhibit the free and constructive living of faith. In helping to demystify such images Last Testament, the autobiography (written with Peter Seewald) of Pope Benedict XVI, serves us well.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Left doesn't own the fight against racism

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 15 November 2016
    8 Comments

    Cultural totalitarianism, embodied in Trump in the US and Hanson in Australia, is a major injustice of our age. To fight it effectively, we have to enter into coalitions with those whose opinions we otherwise find distasteful. An anti-racism rally with only leftwing speakers is not going to make as big an impact as one with speakers across the spectrum. To insist the fight against racism is necessarily a leftwing issue is in some ways its own form of cultural bigotry.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Girls are not to blame for their own exploitation

    • Madeleine Hamilton
    • 24 August 2016
    14 Comments

    The response from police and others in authority to recent cases involving the abuse or exploitation of adolescent female sexuality is depressingly reminiscent of attitudes held more than 50 years ago. While it was no defence to argue that the girl had consented, if it could be proven she had had consensual intercourse with other men previously, the offender could be acquitted. Consequently, in carnal knowledge trials, girls were frequently accused of having rich histories of sexual activity.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Young George

    • Geoff Page
    • 23 August 2016
    4 Comments

    What's he doing in my dream, that cardinal from Ballarat? He's in some sort of seventies presbytery or hardwood hall, shirt-sleeved but with collar on and playing ping-pong like a pro, fully-focused, yet relaxed. Forehand, backhand, lob or smash, nothing is beyond his reach. The other player is unseen but plainly worthy of attack. There's just the click of celluloid foreshadowing the rise to Rome. No ball hit that's not hit back.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Frank Brennan on John Molony's Don Luigi Sturzo: The Father of Social Democracy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 26 July 2016
    3 Comments

    John traces the political ascent and descent of Sturzo whose first public office was as mayor of his own town. The chapter headings mark each step up and down the Everest of Italy's experiment with democracy and fascism: the emergence of political Catholicism in Italy; the dream takes shape; democracy without direction; democracy in decline; the search for a leader; the stick and the carrot; the voice of the watchman; and enter the night. Sturzo goes into exile; Mussolini takes over; and the Vatican is well pleased because the Roman Question is finally resolved in 1929 with the Lateran Treaties negotiated by Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, each of whom got what they were looking for.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Miles Davis drama diminishes domestic abuse

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 17 June 2016

    In one scene, as Taylor and Davis argue, the dialogue comes down and the score comes up; her voice is literally taken from her. When Davis then physically assaults her, the message is clear: his music and his violence are notches on the same spectrum. This conflation of creativity with destructiveness is a typical error of mainstream biopics about great artists who were not nice people. Yet applied in the context of spousal abuse it is not only specious but ethically dubious, even dangerous.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Singing and subverting White American history

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 14 April 2016
    1 Comment

    The show's implicit subversiveness runs deep. It is embodied in the fact that its cast consists of mostly Black and Latino performers portraying White characters, using a vernacular and musical styles popularly associated with these cultural groups. It thus stands as a riposte to the history of black/brownface and whitewashing in popular entertainment. Crucially, in a show about 'founding fathers', it is the story's women who not only provide its emotional core but are also the most fundamentally heroic.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Queer experience is not limited to trauma

    • Ellena Savage
    • 18 March 2016
    24 Comments

    'Coming out' is a gesture specifically, politically required of queer people but not of straight people. Another statement demanded of queer people is that they are injured and traumatised by the fact of their sexuality or gender. But why call on individuals to testify when the statistics are heartbreaking enough? This demand on queers to continually deliver narratives of oppression limits their social roles, and even invalidates their voices on matters other than their sexualities and genders.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greg Hunt and the Sheikh Back-Scratching Theory

    • Greg Foyster
    • 15 February 2016
    16 Comments

    It would have made a great April Fools joke, if it wasn't February. On Wednesday, we woke to the news that Greg Hunt, environment minister in the most anti-environment government in Australian history, had been awarded 'World's Best Minister' at an international summit in Dubai. But maybe the award had nothing to do with Hunt's track record at home. In the grubby way of politics everywhere, maybe it is a favour returned. A thank you from an oil-rich nation for making it look good in the past.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Turnbull must learn what Hockey didn't

    • John Warhurst
    • 28 October 2015
    7 Comments

    There are two broader implications arising from Joe Hockey's valedictory speech. The first is that his failure to reflect on the weaknesses of the Abbott government may be widely shared by his Coalition colleagues. They still don't understand the causes of the predicament they have made for themselves. The second is that if Malcolm Turnbull accepts Hockey's diagnosis then his government will be largely about better communication and more effective politics rather than refurbished policies.

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