keywords: The Death And Life Of Otto Bloom

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The unfolding logic of euthanasia

    • Zac Alstin
    • 06 October 2014
    33 Comments

    A Belgian court recently granted permission for a psychiatrically ill prisoner to be euthanised. Having worked in bioethics, I find it hard to avoid a morbid fascination with the gradual unfurling of euthanasia in nations where it has had a chance to become firmly established. While members of the public are usually shocked to hear of each new milestone, from an ethical perspective there are no real surprises.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Our Lady of the Trap Door Spider

    • Paul Scully
    • 19 August 2014
    2 Comments

    Outside rituals, the salvation of small actions behind closed doors like the spider, my childhood friend, the silence returns, the woods of earlier times thin around me, my own tree shrinks back to its roots.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Elegy for the 298 of MH17

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 21 July 2014
    17 Comments

    The deepest questions raised by the deaths of those on the plane shot down over the Ukraine are the unavoidable questions that face us all: questions about the patent precariousness and vulnerability of our lives, about what matters to us when our grasp on the future is so tenuous, about the mysterious conjunction of love, loss, pain and gift, and about the capacity of the human heart for evil and the terrible consequences that follow.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My father's reign of mathematical precision

    • Nick Gadd
    • 16 July 2014
    14 Comments

    He was a civil engineer. His professional life was a matter of mathematics and rules. Driving over a bridge, he’d quote the equations that ensured it was safe and stable. There were formulae in his domestic life too. Strict rules about stacking the dishwasher. Knives and forks pointed downwards, to avoid careless stabbings.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Good priest walks the ruins of the sex abuse crisis

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 03 July 2014
    5 Comments

    Ensconced in the anonymity of the confessional, a man who suffered injustice at the hands of the Church informs the priest, Fr Lavelle, that he plans to kill him. The killer's reason for wanting to inflict violence is that he was, as a child, a victim of abuse that went unpunished. Lavelle is not respected by his parishioners, despite the centrality of the Church to their community. Amid the ruins left by the abuse crisis he carries little moral authority.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Cancer teens in love and death

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 12 June 2014
    1 Comment

    Augustus and Hazel meet in a support group for cancer sufferers. During the course of their ensuing romance they both prove to be pragmatic about their own mortality. They share frank discussions about God and the afterlife, and gain little comfort from them. It's an inherently sad story, but to parallel the individual horror of their cancer with the experiences of Anne Frank during the Holocaust is a step to far.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thai coup more of the same

    • Michael Kelly
    • 26 May 2014
    3 Comments

    The cycle of election, opposition protest, social and political instability that provokes a royal approved military intervention underlies how immature democracy is in Thailand. Unfortunately, in the medium term — the next five years — it will be 'same, same' unless there is a circuit breaker. That may come with the next trigger to instability which has to be set off sooner rather than later: the death of a very frail royal person.

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  • RELIGION

    Easter memory loss makes plastic of the present

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 17 April 2014
    16 Comments

    Both the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter are exercises in memory. The Jewish child who asks why this day is remembered is told a story of slavery in Egypt followed by deliverance by God. He stands in line with other children who asked the same question during the Holocaust. The devaluation of history and memory has a deeply corrosive effect on society. In our society we can see this in our treatment of asylum seekers.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sex, lies and political theory

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 20 March 2014
    3 Comments

    A new film follows the experiences in 1961 of German-American Jew and political theorist Hannah Arendt, who coined the phrase 'the banality of evil' in relation to Nazi 'desk-murderer' Adolf Eichmann. The cerebral nature of Hannah Arendt provides a counterpoint to another current film about a strong, flawed woman: Gloria is remarkable for the way it unabashedly honours the emotional and sexual lives of its older characters.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The dawning of the Age of Unpleasantness

    • Brian Matthews
    • 28 February 2014
    7 Comments

    Joe Hockey's idea of an age of entitlement is shallow and facile. Announcing the end of an 'age' is just another way of obscuring the truth that you haven't the faintest idea what the hell is going on, or that you suspect what's going on but not how to influence, redirect or stop it. So you fall back on this persuasive notion of a great shift in the times. The next 'age' for those whose entitlement is disappearing will be marked by unpleasantness.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    We created the Manus Island danger

    • Moira Rayner
    • 20 February 2014
    38 Comments

    We created this risk, intending it to 'deter' boat people and people smugglers. As a consequence, we've created racial conflict in PNG and the collapse of the rule of law in Nauru. Now, it is surely a duty to re-evaluate a policy that leads to mental illness, destruction of property, hope, imagination and civil society, and death. I think we have a duty to refugees, because we are descended from refugees and may be refugees ourselves, one day.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Devil in the detail of asylum seeker directive

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 February 2014
    23 Comments

    In the clamour of Australia's treatment of asylum seekers, an almost unnoticed government direction struck a revelatory chord. It affects people who came to Australia by boat and have been found to be refugees and have protection visas, stating that any applications they have made to bring family members to Australia must remain at the bottom of the pile. The brevity of the direction belies its enormous effects on the people affected by it.

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