section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forget conspiracies and own your complicity

    • Ellena Savage
    • 08 August 2016
    4 Comments

    The talking heads say the same things I once heard on Illuminati documentaries. In place of Pharrell Williams making suspicious hand gestures though, the blame for the unpleasant outcomes of a healthy free market is bestowed on the western world's maligned: refugees, Indigenous people, queer people, the working poor. These talking heads, who feel desperate and inferior because they have never contributed anything to anyone other than themselves, are eschewing their complicity in harm.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Alfred Hitchcock's Catholic guilt

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 August 2016

    The interviewees regard Vertigo with awe, waxing lyrical about its psychosexual subtext; but not a word is said about the inherent misogyny of a film that is explicitly about a man's objectification of a woman. The film's most interesting segment however concerns the pre-eminence of guilt in Hitchcock's films, and the role it plays in shaping human activity. This, says Martin Scorsese (a filmmaker similarly preoccupied with guilt and sin), may define Hitchcock as an essentially Catholic filmmaker.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Buddhist traffic light

    • Lesley Lebkowicz, Andrew Madigan, Barry Gittins
    • 02 August 2016
    1 Comment

    My friend, new to Mandalay, never before in Asia, sighs as she sees the east- and west-bound cars and rickshaws slow to a ragged fringe across the intersection. The north- and south-bound take their turn in the same gentle, fearless lack of order. Ah, she says, see how aware they are, each of the other. Such harmony: you can tell it's a Buddhist country. Spoilsport, I point to where, so easily ignored, enmeshed in a thicket of wire overhead, lights flicker: green, amber, red.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mortal touch

    • Anne Elvey
    • 26 July 2016
    4 Comments

    With the same sense that meets the keys I stroke her arm. This tactility makes the tangible seem eternal, as if the want to write were training me to count on time. My mortality is misdirected thus by a capacity to touch. And when I put my arm around her shoulders, I feel beneath the skin the sharpness of the bone.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Worn and wasted by election day shambles

    • Ellena Savage
    • 08 July 2016
    3 Comments

    The OIC makes a dramatic speech about the integrity of live ballot papers, that there will be no repeat of the Western Australian kerfuffle, that we have our booklets that contain all the answers (and many typos, too). He seems nice. Maybe a little skittish. Not someone I'd imagine would be hired to run an office or manage a kitchen or even wait tables, but he must know what he's doing. This speech is the last demonstration of authority I witness on this day.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    School walk in German winter

    • Tracy Ryan
    • 05 July 2016
    3 Comments

    Our one star has departed. We're wholly dark. The clouds are shedding pretension to friendliness, flake by flake. Which of us guides the other across this glassine surface that blanks every letter, deadening words. Who is that figure, globe-headed, dirndl-skirted, vacant hand-holder. The street-sign makes Mother, her little familiar. When you were born the ground had taken more than a dusting. We were locked in, but not forever. Now you are thirteen, age of reversible prime ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The quiet torture of unspeakable grief

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 30 June 2016
    1 Comment

    This strange and engrossing Italian film proffers an unsettling rumination upon the rituals of mourning, and upon a mode of grief which itself is a kind of death. It opens with a sweeping close-up of an imposing crucifix, and the fine musculature of a graven Christ. A mass of mourners is then revealed, and before them a woman, immobile and weeping silently. The camera angle cuts to calf level, to reveal a trail of urine more copious than her tears, running down her leg to her shoes.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Happy hour reverie

    • Dougal Hurley
    • 28 June 2016
    1 Comment

    Amber brethren unified over glazed tables, cracked leather chairs groaning under the burden of another weary apprentice. Here's to the blackened crust on a Parma special and to being pricked by an unofficial entry tithe ... Douse me in the balm of mellifluous chatter. Let me move amorously down through this molten journey until I am left suckling at the dregs in my comfortably reduced environ, tending towards something that approaches what some might call contentedness.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Feminist parable's message for Eddie McGuire and co.

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 23 June 2016
    7 Comments

    That McGuire, eventually, and presumably under pressure from the club's board and a major sponsor, offered what seemed to be a sincere apology, barely diminishes the fact that the comments were made in the first place, compensates for the lack of real repercussions, or excuses the time and effort that was required to get the incident on the agenda at all. Like a good parable, Mustang illuminates the ethical deficit of such a scenario, where women can so readily be bulldozed by powerful male voices.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    War-room of a child's mind

    • Belinda Rule
    • 21 June 2016
    4 Comments

    I saw a younger girl, blonde hair in pink clips, spiral glitter sneaker laces - baubles of a treasured child that no-one ever bought for me. A girl in a parlour painting, and I the hairy spider hulking in the corner. In the war-room of the mind, I pierced my map with pins. How simple to trick her to some dirty culvert, hold her down, mar her white arms ... Civilisation was a hair draped on the head of a pin, each one of us poised, rigid, clutching our own pin still - I could see I would cramp with the effort all my life.

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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

    Losing and finding Dad in dementia

    • Julie Guirgis
    • 16 June 2016
    13 Comments

    Today I walked past the bathroom and noticed a pale yellow puddle with an odour worse than an unflushed toilet. I cringed at the stench, with the realisation that I had to wash urine off the floor ... Dad's illness sometimes causes ambiguous loss. It is unclear, has no resolution or closure. He is like someone I don't know anymore; he is gone-but-still-there. This leads to complicated grief. I can't look at him without seeing a fading picture of who he used to be, and speak of him in the past tense.

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