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Section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dickens' song for the poor

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 30 April 2014
    8 Comments

    While Dickens, staunch champion of the poor and of children, reportedly hoped that A Christmas Carol might encourage the restoration of social harmony, his narrative line can also be seen as a convenient plot device. It is a deeply Christian story, not just about Christmas, but about life itself, about actions and their consequences, the need for wrongs to be made right, and the desire for hope and potentiality of renewal.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    New Year at the Killing Fields

    • Tony Page
    • 29 April 2014
    1 Comment

    The children go holiday wild, swarms of them drenching us with holy water. Skin soaked, we fall off our bikes, flattened by their rabble-roused blessing ... Inside it's a garden, well-kept trails between the mounds, fooling us they were designed to please the eye ... Look, that tree, so graceful — against which babies' heads were bashed ... I check for red-handed stains but they have long since dissolved into complicity.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My pop's Anzac nightmares

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 24 April 2014

    As a stretcher bearer, he tended to two landmine victims, including one who had lost his leg. He spent the night darting between the two men, providing physical aid, and whatever comfort and assurance was possible. Turns out he was lucky that he didn't end up laid out alongside them: the next morning he discovered that the entire narrow ridge was riddled with mines. 'That was fairly close,' he admitted. It was an understatement.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Furze fires cast a pall over the coast

    • John Kinsella
    • 22 April 2014

    You can see them cover the red sandstone range and spread over bogs from a vantage point high on Clear Island, furze fires that heat winter to spite itself. And leaving the island you catch an old man igniting a hedgerow, fire sucking light and throwing its carpet of smoke — no yellow flowers, just flame against itself.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Exploitation in gay adoption story

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 17 April 2014
    5 Comments

    Closeted gay lawyer Paul operates under a well-founded fear that his sexuality will imperil his career. He and his partner, drag queen Rudy, find that their status as a gay couple is used against them as they fight to retain custody of Marco, an abandoned teen with Down syndrome. This is a story marked by grave injustice, though we are expected to accept on face value that Marco will be better off with Rudy and Paul than in foster care.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On the way to Golgotha

    • Various
    • 15 April 2014
    2 Comments

    A path of varicose roots rising from sodden ground showed the way to a rock placed upon a rock; a face with random nails stuck like a half-crown of thorns in the roughly groomed clay; the eyes stared out from bulbous sacs, the mouth downturned like any mouth on any face ... I was frightened that he might choose me as a resting place.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Punk's holy fools still putting it to Putin

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 11 April 2014

    Journalist Masha Gessen describes the members of Pussy Riot as 'Putin's ideal enemies'. In recent months, their nemesis has hosted the Olympics, taken control of Crimea and clamped down on media. For a group born out of 'the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights', Pussy Riot still has much to roar about, even if its signature 'punk prayer' sounds more than ever like a plea.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nightmares and daydreams about women and power

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 10 April 2014
    1 Comment

    Sex addicted woman Joe's story is marked by innumerable sexual encounters with random men. Often it is explicit, and thoroughly unpleasant. It culminates in a pointed statement about societal double standards regarding gender and sex. By contrast, Carol's story about trying to get ahead in a man's world is affirming and uplifting at every turn. Both stories are about women and power, but ultimately Carol's is the more empowering.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Confessions of an overeater

    • Isabella Fels
    • 09 April 2014
    9 Comments

    I am a wicked creature of the night. The more I munch in sinful silence the more I feel I am trespassing with the dead. Food did my head in even before I took tablets for my head. I turn into a beast with a huge midnight feast as I go wild with chocolate, cake and ice-cream. The pounds come on like thunder with all my eating blunders. I have come a long way from my bulimic teens, but I still am obsessed, and think I will always be.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Love is not rocket science

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 08 April 2014
    3 Comments

    You're hopeless, emotionally. You're like a box jellyfish that floats into my world, and stings me with silence. It's only love, it's not rocket science. That's why girls cut their wrists, because they wear their hearts there.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    North Korean propaganda pans Australian miners' might

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 03 April 2014

    An intriguing insight into the North Korean film industry, whose strangely beautiful films have been used to obfuscate serious human rights abuses. Offbeat documentarian Broinowski acknowledges this fact too lightly, approaching her subjects simply as humans, who are part but by no means the sum of a much larger corrupt system. She learns the tricks of their trade, looking for clues about how she might shut down a gas mine to be built near her inner-Sydney home.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Unready for sudden fatherhood

    • B. N. Oakman
    • 01 April 2014
    5 Comments

    My father took a train to Melbourne, watched his Swans play, fell asleep on the homeward journey, missed Bungaree, and walked miles from Ballarat to his parents' farmlet in the heart of the spud country. I see him tramping an empty road, blackness mitigated by a wan winter's moon, hear the clash of leather boots on bitumen, the baying of disturbed farmyard dogs; him scarcely more than a big boy who played bush footy.

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