section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Christmas puns, fun intended

    • Barry Breen
    • 18 December 2013
    11 Comments

    Santa walks into a bar and the barman says: Sorry, we're claused. If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, then punning must have a reputation almost as undesirable. A joke that can be greeted only with a groan can hardly be a real joke now, can it? But punning has a rich history. It graces the pages of the greatest of writers. And when it comes to puns, subeditors responsible for article headings believe themselves to be a race apart.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Corroboree in the sky

    • Michael Sharkey
    • 17 December 2013
    2 Comments

    The bird that has no feathers mocks my language. Runs and flaps its wings at me but cannot fly. Throws land-things at me. We laugh like water, make corroboree in sky.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Catherine Deveny's happy diversions

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 13 December 2013
    3 Comments

    Deveny has made a career out of bungee jumping between the chasms of good taste, good writing and good sense. She's never been content to accept societal hypocrisy, and that's an occasional strength in her novel The Happiness Show. It becomes increasingly hard though to separate the author from her lead character, Lizzie. Thanks to an overly generous sprinkling of sex scenes, this quickly goes from disconcerting to downright awkward.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Four poems for Seamus Heaney

    • Various
    • 10 December 2013
    3 Comments

    I was brought up to become a Scottish Protestant boy in exile from the country that was my father's homeland. You grew up to be at home in your history and tongue; my father banned your accent, set me to elocution, as if your speech was my speech-defect. Our history lay elsewhere, even as we were living it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Children of the revolution

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 05 December 2013

    As high school students they are too young to have begun the cultural revolution. But they try to fan its flames and bring its ideals to bear. Their idealism is at times tested against the cynicism or jaded moral certitude of older revolutionaries, one of whom chastises them for entertaining legitimate doubts about the means employed by Mao Zedong. There clearly is a gulf between healthy skepticism and wilful blindness.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Colonial garden party

    • Barry Gittins, Michael Sharkey and Chris Wallace-Crabbe
    • 02 December 2013
    3 Comments

    The diggers' catchcry, liberty, saw fascism a'yawning/ enfranchisement followed suit, with racism adorning/ its streamlined passions for the cause — White Australia Policy a'borning.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Corrupt cop's crack at redemption

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 28 November 2013

    Police detective Bruce Robertson is corrupt, violent, misogynistic, and a depraved drug addict. But he is not entirely inhuman, and Filth spends much frenetic energy trying to map the ghastly inner wounds that bleed greenly into his outer corruption. But just how do you build sympathy for a character whose near-to-first on-screen act is to sexually assault the underaged girlfriend of a murder suspect?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Monster in the car park

    • Prue Gibson
    • 27 November 2013
    1 Comment

    The car park is a concrete cave, a holding cell, a sarcophagus. From the outside, it looks like other buildings, but inside, there are darker, deeper modalities. I wind down to sub level four. Free spaces, empty rows: I savour the desolate and bare space. 'Hey you,' shouts someone from up ahead. A man, in well-groomed suit pants with a snappy vest, strides towards me. I glance around at level four. There are almost no cars to be seen.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What my daughter wrote

    • Mark Tredinnick
    • 26 November 2013
    8 Comments

    She said I was 52 and weighed 68kg and stood one-and-a-half metres tall, and some of that is right. She said my hair was brown and that my brown beard prickled her when I kissed her ... She said she loved me because I hugged her all the time (but who could not?) ... He buys me Toys from Sydney, she had written — as if toys were spices and Sydney were Tashkent.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Sad life of a serial killer whale

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 21 November 2013
    1 Comment

    I was grateful that I had my back to my colleagues. My tears were occasionally due to sadness, but just as often they were a result of outrage. Blackfish finds much ground for moral outrage in its consideration of the suffering endured by trained orcas. It is an impassioned riposte to a commercial model in which death and suffering, human and cetacean alike, are merely the byproducts of profit.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    On death and preservation

    • Lorraine McGuigan
    • 19 November 2013
    2 Comments

    Laid out with care this woman lifted from a dry river-bed. Here is death but also preservation: turned-up nose, high cheekbones, long lashes fringing her sunken eyes ... Beside her a child staring, close to tears, hands bunched into fists ... a six-year-old girl and this ageless beauty. Rising between them the dust of centuries.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ricky Ponting's homilies

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 15 November 2013
    3 Comments

    Punter is a bloke's bloke, 'brung up' in a limited but nurturing suburbia of cricket, cricket, golf and cricket. I was genuinely touched by his acknowledgement of the role his wife, Rianna, and their daughters have played in his maturation. Yet while life experiences invariably expanded young Ponting's mind, it's fair to say that there remains something of the awkward teen in the man.

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