section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Called or shunned by Vietnam war conscription

    • B. N. Oakman
    • 10 November 2015
    7 Comments

    I'd never met a Vietnamese, couldn't figure what we had against them. But we were raised in shadow of returned men, the shimmer of lapelled bronze, a presumption we in our turn would go when ordered ... Most of us dodged gap years of sweat and khaki, missing madness, maiming, napalm, agent orange, learning how to kill and to piss ourselves out of fear. Instead we were granted head starts with women, front marks in the greasy pole dash, a less congested clamber to unremarkable lives.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    School reunion cracks the amber of middle age

    • Barry Gittins
    • 06 November 2015
    6 Comments

    I never thought I'd do the whole high school reunion thing. Yet here I am, nametagged and ready to face the music, along with 50 of my fellow 1985 alumni. I recognise some straight off. Others mystify. Teenagers trapped in the amber of middle age. High school was genuinely hard for many of us. Some have died. Some entered Boggo Road's then-penal walls. Some are still paying for decisions made back in those mid-80s. Memory propels the sail of our union and we've left safe harbours.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A Taliban bullet didn't keep her down

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 06 November 2015
    2 Comments

    Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai came to international prominence in 2012 after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, for her advocacy for girls' education. He Named Me Malala ponders whether her father shares indirect responsibility for the shooting, as he encouraged her advocacy. The question of exploitation is relevant whenever a child enters the public gaze, but here it threatens to undermine Malala's own agency, as a young woman who can think, speak and act powerfully on her own behalf.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Monsters of marriage

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 29 October 2015

    The Loners are not merely hapless prey, but represent a kind of ideological resistance. They enforce singleness as brutally as The Hotel does couplehood, and a night-time raid on The Hotel has strong overtones of terrorism. It's another layer to Lanthimos' kaleidoscopic allegory — a commentary on radicalisation, with this brutal underground existing as a direct result of the oppression enacted within an equally brutal mainstream. They are two faces of the same violence.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Nigerian poets showcase

    • Femi Morgan and Ajise Vincent
    • 27 October 2015
    1 Comment

    A first child is a road child / He paths the field of joy / Phantasmagoria of moments / First panic, first pain, first cry / That tears the joy in your father's eyes /There is more to life / Than Sponge Bob and Ben / Be wiser than the tortoise / They may go extinct / Except in books and stories / Be careful with the holy communion / Of the boys / That dark sparkling liquid / That bitter-sweet music of the times.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My autistic superpower

    • Paul Micallef
    • 26 October 2015
    9 Comments

    My brain lacks a degree of 'pre-programming'. I am naturally open-minded and non-judgemental. When asked a question I immediately (often dispassionately) think of many possible solutions. This is great for questions like 'How can we improve this system?', and less good for questions like 'On which body part do you wear your pants?' The secret to learning social rules is in understanding emotions. Knowing what is 'appropriate' often comes down to how it makes the other person feel.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Soft sympathy and hard redemption for scarred chef

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 October 2015
    2 Comments

    Brilliant but volatile chef Adam humiliates and physically assaults a female colleague, Helene, over the heinous crime of mis-cooking a piece of fish. The encounter ends with Helene telling Adam to keep his hands off her and storming out. Yet clearly her justified indignation has its limits: in the very next scene she is shown madly rehearsing cooking the dish whose mangling sparked the incident. The glossing over of this abuse reinforces the notion that creative genius somehow excuses arsehole behaviour.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 21 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Persian poetry pastiche

    • Paul Smith
    • 20 October 2015
    4 Comments

    Where is one who through friendship will be faithful to me ... who with a reprobate such as me will act kindly, mercifully? / Real friendship is so difficult to find because it means of the other thinking more than oneself, loving the other, sincerely. / True friendship means equality, listening, putting oneself in the other's shoes and seeing out of those eyes ... differently! / Friendship that matters is not one-sided, lacking in interest: a lasting friendship is one of selflessness, a thing of beauty!

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The man who gave the Twin Towers their soul

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 15 October 2015
    1 Comment

    In 1974 eccentric French acrobat Philippe Petit walked a tightrope between the recently completed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He and his team of accomplices, aware of the illegality of what they were doing and the complex physical challenges of rigging a cable between 400-metre-tall skyscrapers (let along walking on it), spent months scheming in secret. On the day, any number of unforeseen circumstances could derail the intricate plot. The Walk recreates the feat in vertiginous detail.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Learning how to die with chimera Montaigne

    • Patti Miller
    • 14 October 2015
    13 Comments

    I have always felt guilty about an inability to commit to any belief system. So when Montaigne said 'Only fools have made up their mind', I felt an enormous sense of relief. He knew that those who are certain are the ones to shut down newspapers, lop off heads, blow up planes, burn books. There is a thread throughout his essays, too, of him finding sex undignified and therefore unfitting for grown men and women. It is one of his many contradictions and confronts me with my own contradictory attitude.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Windows to grace on the school bus

    • Brian Doyle
    • 13 October 2015
    6 Comments

    I am present in the kitchen window at 7.39 exactly if at all possible, to be given the gift of a kid licking his window, or a kid waving at me, or one little kid inarguably and thoroughly picking his nose. You wouldn't think that a boy picking his nose would be a glorious and poignant and thrilling and joyous sight, something that seemed truly and deeply holy, but it sure was, to me. All children are my children and yours and the bus bounces down the street every morning and we are not dead and all is grace.

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