section: Arts And Culture

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    In the margins of the Psalms

    • Stephen Oliver
    • 21 January 2014
    2 Comments

    I wondered how to make sense of those patterns, that portcullis of light and shadow there before the beginning, small corners of the world where angels dallied between tasks, taking a break, to toss rings of light onto lengthening poles of shadow from dawn to dusk.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2013: Sticking it to disability

    • Tim Ferguson
    • 14 January 2014
    3 Comments

    The first symbol of my 'outing' as a person with multiple sclerosis was a walking stick. I cringed as I bought one but I soon realised that a walking stick is good for more than balance and strength. One night I was stopped on the street by an angry drunk man. 'You're too young to need a walking stick,' he shouted. 'Are you an idiot?' I replied, 'You're picking a fight in a dark laneway with a tall man who wields a large stick. Who's the idiot?'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2013: Politicising the bimbo

    • Ellena Savage
    • 13 January 2014
    2 Comments

    The pleasure of not affecting one's native mode of speech to appease a kind of person who means to privilege the privileged, is unparalleled. Try speaking in a playful way to someone who's scared of bimbos, and then watch their brains literally explode. When a listener struggles to understand that when I say I 'literally died', and yet clearly am still alive, that I am using language in a playful and even ironic way, it's not really their fault. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2013: Sex and power in football and politics

    • Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk
    • 10 January 2014

    A young writer has crash tackled the ugly questions of non-consensual sex, coercion and the male privilege and misuse of power that can flow from sporting success. Yet when it comes to our football codes — let alone our political arena — a conversation needs to move beyond gender name-calling or the 'us and them' polemic.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2013: On Seamus Heaney's turf

    • Peter Gebhardt
    • 10 January 2014
    1 Comment

    Ten years ago, my wife and I went to Dublin. Upon our arrival at the hotel there were three notes waiting from Seamus; the first suggested a meeting, the second drinks, the third 'Heigho, we'll have some scrags'. He picked us up in a Mercedes Benz. I said something about a poet and such a car, 'Never mind it's got a broken window'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2013: Lament of the 21st century man

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 06 January 2014
    1 Comment

    His body itself is a symbol of his inherited power and privilege. He hears women talk about being afraid to go out at night alone. He sees the great strides women have made in the workforce, yet sits in management meetings where nine out of ten leaders are men. He sees bikini clad women on his television screen and feels guilty at admiring their bodies.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Alternatives to trash reality TV

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 20 December 2013
    4 Comments

    In Pimp my Soup Van, contestants are asked to deck out a van with items that could be used to help people on the streets. In Please Marry My Boys, they sit down with the mothers of people in gay relationships and hear about their experiences. The Refugee Factor asks contestants to listen to asylum seekers' stories, and press a red button at the point where they feel that they, too, would have fled their homeland.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Abused kids meet with Grace

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 19 December 2013

    Grace is both a character and a state of being. As the lead supervisor of a foster care facility, she oversees her charges with a combination of firmness and friendship. She strictly enforces rules and protocols while remaining unerringly empathetic, easily glimpsing the pain and trauma that lies just beneath the hostile or eccentric facade. But her power of empathy has its roots in past experience that threaten to smother her present.

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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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