section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Home, alone and stoned

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 08 March 2016
    7 Comments

    I've run out of dope. This is my last ever toke of synthetic pot, I hope. There's synthetic people, but my heart drops like a coin into a homeless man's hat. The eternal night isn't very maternal. Of all those people sleeping on a concrete mattress under a black sky doona ... The homeless have faces like empty spaces. No solution to their heads in the pollution, and their feet in the gutter. The poor gather on the banks of the flowing street. The rain hits the roof in pain.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Humanity found in ritual amid death camp horror

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 03 March 2016

    In the history of the Second World War and the deathly screed of the Final Solution, the Sonderkommando cuts a pitiable figure. These Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz and other death camps who were forced to perform the logistics surrounding mass murder - the carting and disposal of dead flesh - though patently victims, were viewed by some as collaborators. Son of Saul provides an immersive and impressionistic extrapolation of this ethical and actual horror.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Death and the (young) maiden

    • Barry Gittins
    • 02 March 2016
    3 Comments

    This year we faced the prospect of having Wolfgang, our 16-year-old apricot Spoodle, euthanised. This was sad for me, my wife, and our son. But for our daughter, entering her first year of high school, it presented a looming disaster. Mark Twain is purported to have said that 'the fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.' Timidity equals preoccupation with mortality? No disrespect to Samuel, but it's unlikely he shared that gem with his daughters.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    In the ring with Stevens and Hemingway

    • Peter Gebhardt
    • 01 March 2016
    1 Comment

    Rounds and counts, jabs and feints. Glass jaws and upper-cuts, southpaws and the rest. It was a new word-world. Yet more colonial drill, and blood should spill. Meanwhile there was order by the key, water was washing, banter and barter in brief bargain. Then a jab to the jaw, fishbone cry, a hand cracks, skinless words.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Being myself doesn't work

    • Paul Micallef
    • 29 February 2016
    11 Comments

    Autism typically makes people less likely to care what others think. When I was younger my default was to do what I wanted, to 'be myself', and not worry if others were not doing the same thing. You can imagine what happens when I put this into action: I end up alone. I am the only one not dancing. I am the only one who wants to crank the metal music at 7am. I like people. I want to share my experiences. But often my choice often comes down to: 'Do I be myself? Or do I be around others?'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Marriage interrupted by a life-lie disrupted

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 25 February 2016

    As Kate plans a party for their 45th wedding anniversary, news arrives that the body of Katya, Geoff's long-dead first love, has been discovered in a Swiss glacier. The 'life-lie' that emerges turns out to be not so much a concealment but rather a minimisation of truth. The disruption it causes to an ostensibly happy marriage comes not in the form of shocking revelation, but slow-dawning realisation; not that Geoff isn't the man he purported to be, but that Kate may not be what she believed herself to be, to him.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Today won't be her eternity

    • N. N. Trakakis and Oscar Roos
    • 23 February 2016

    She said she'll never write a book, and she hasn't: that's no book, it's a drop of experience Infused with the spirit of Sabi ... alcoholically she soils God with sour tears. The last time I saw her was in the obituary column: golden as always walking barefoot, cigarette in hand reflecting the sun's anonymity.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Harper Lee and the death of moral certainty

    • Ellena Savage
    • 22 February 2016
    7 Comments

    My friend Z lives in Detroit and is rocked by the racial segregation she's exposed to there. When we were 15, she and I bonded over the passionate conversations Mockingbird inspired. 'I was in awe of Atticus,' she recalled as we reflected on Lee's death. 'I desperately wanted him to save the accused black man. Maybe if I had read it at my age now, I'd substitute the black man for the hero.' She articulated what I couldn't: that as moving a piece of rhetoric Mockingbird is, it is no longer adequate.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Reading in end times

    • Ellena Savage
    • 19 February 2016
    5 Comments

    There's a part in Murakami's Norwegian Wood, I told a friend, where a character loses someone, and walks for weeks around Japan until he reaches the beach, where he just stares out to sea. I feel so desolate, I said, that that's what I want to do. I don't know for sure that that's what really happened in the book, or if I was really that desolate ... Maybe that's what reading is for; to build a repertoire of emotional and social situations in order to connect with feelings that don't have words.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Gentle view of an Irish-American migrant experience

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 18 February 2016
    1 Comment

    Eilis' profound homesickness is evoked by the letters she composes for and receives from her long distant sister and mother. Her sense of awe at this new world is revealed in her interactions with the other, more brazen boarders; and at work, where she is chided by her manager for being too shy with customers. Gradually, familiarity and opportunity allow her to grow in confidence. Her coming-of-age is defined as gradual self-empowerment through the making of small, and sometimes large, choices.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fenced in

    • Cheryl Howard
    • 16 February 2016
    5 Comments

    The lonely horse stands, welcomes the approach with a nod, which doesn't dislodge the flies from his face. The proffered dry grass becomes a gentle brush, freeing him from tormentors ... Simple and pure kindness can be like rain in a land parched of understanding.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Puppets' portrait of privilege and pathos

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 11 February 2016

    As screenwriter for comic such oddities as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Kaufman delineated a particular type of over-educated, middle-class, white male character. His protagonists are artists whose alienation and self-loathing is at odds with their social privilege, and whose creative drive entails a winnowing for authenticity or immortality that leads them inexorably down the rabbit hole of their own navels: the search for meaning as the ultimate act of self-absorption.

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