Salo has been discussed before here in the blue, but last week the Australian Classification Review Board determined that the DVD release can be classified R18+ (available, but with sale restricted to adults), if it includes 3 hours of additional material proposed by the potential distributor, Shock. In the decision, the Board notes that the additional material "facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film." While this decision is a win for anti-censorship campaigners and film buffs, it may not be the final chapter. The film has had a checkered history in Australia. The Board's media release is here (PDF).
The Worst Of Perth showcases the worst in public art, architecture, design, fashion, car culture, graffiti and suburban landscape in and around Perth in Western Australia, with the occasional public victory over bad art. Substantially NSFW.
In 2009, four Buddhist nuns (Bhikkunis) were secretly ordained in Australia - the first ever ordination of Bhikkunis in Australia, and a first for the Thai Forest tradition anywhere. London-born Ajahn Brahm, a long-time supporter of women's equality in Buddhism, facilitated the ordination. For this he was expelled from his community, the Wat Pa Phong Sangha, and his monastery's status was revoked. This video summarizes the conflict, and is possibly the first use of the Downfall meme related to Buddhism. This March, more nuns were ordained in the UK for the first time since the Australia controversy, but they're still not equal to male monks. This blog post discusses sexism, fundamentalism, and the conflict between East and West. The modern opposition to bhikkhuni ordination is no ancient Buddhist tradition. It can be traced no earlier, so far as I am aware, than the abhorrent 1928 ruling against bhikkhuni in Thailand, made by monks who thought it reasonable to arrest nuns and throw them in jail for ordaining. [more inside]
"Whybin TBWA Australia and The Sydney International Food Festival cooked up a clever way to promote last year’s fest — they used iconic foods from the participating countries to recreate their flags. From the green-white-red of basil-spaghetti-tomatoes to the orange-white-green of tikka masala-rice-saag, the results are both appetizing and a little reminiscent of middle-school geography class. Which brings us to our challenge: Can you correctly identify these 12 culinary flags?" [more inside]
An Australian Madoff? Trio Capital, an Australian fund manager, has been ordered to wind up its funds after being unable to account for $123 million in its Astarra fund since investigations began in October. The fund "has a total of $426 million under management - including superannuation savings of about 10,000 Australians." Some worry what this means for more potential frauds in Australia's "privatized social security." [more inside]
If you'd like something to work on today other than your pint of Guinness, why not take a crack at "one of Australia's most profound mysteries," a sixty-two-year-old unsolved murder known as the Taman Shud case? [more inside]
In January, Google Australia agreed to take down links to the Encyclopedia Dramatica. The Australian Human Rights Commission has now written to the owner of the ED threatening legal action. [more inside]
Opera lovers embrace tree-hugger! Opera Australia presented Bliss, an opera based on Peter Carey's 1981 Kafka-esque novel last night. 'Carey's story was set in a tropical city that could well be Brisbane. And the idyll depicted in the final chapter of a free, clothing-optional, communal life seemed to mirror Carey's experience: the author and former ad man once lived on a commune at Yandina, north of Brisbane.' Harry Joy is an unlikely hero, 'a bit of an idiot really' but his tree-change journey is a timely one, and is garnering international interest. Australian mefites can watch Bliss live from Sydney Opera House next week on ABC2.
Due to a serious form of tuberculosis which he contracted on a trip to South America Christiaan Van Vuuren (aka Fully Sick Rapper) has been quarantined in a Australian hospital room since January 18th. "This is starting to take it's toll on my mental stability, and this song is about the impact (or lack thereof) it has had so far." [more inside]
An Australian politician who opposes the lifting of a censorship ban on adults-only computer games has said he feels more threatened by gamers than outlawed motorcycle gangs. Talking about motorcycle gangs, and just for fun, and because it is almost Mardi Gras in Sydney,The DOB ladies.
Recently, a postgraduate researcher in journalism attended a talk about the challenges of Australia's aging population, given by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Afterwards, when a member of the group she was in introduced her to Rudd and mentioning the PhD she was completing, Rudd rolled his eyes and remarked that that is the "excuse" that "all" young women are using nowadays to avoid starting families.
The United States and Australia have long shared a peaceful alliance, but it was not always so. In 1942, U.S servicemen and Australian soldiers fought openly and violently in what is known today as The Battle of Brisbane. [more inside]
Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
Pioneers of Love - a three part documentary about relations between the Ngadjonji people of Far North Queensland, Australia & early white settlers. More about the Ngadjonji people can be found here, including early photos, language, traditional stories, ancient history & more. [previously]
KFC are in trouble after an Australian ad hit YouTube. Some say it's racist. KFC themselves say it was a light-hearted look at cricket rivalry intended to play on stereotypes. (Previously)
Ryan Strathfield has uploaded hundreds of rock and pop songs from Australia and New Zealand to YouTube, organized by year (full list inside). Here are some favorites, Marcia Hines' Eleanor Rigby, The Boys Next Door's Shivers, The Falling Joys' You're in a Mess, Split Enz' I See Red and Warumpi Band's Blackfella Whitefella. Strathfield focuses on the period 1974-89 but it extends back into the 60s and forward into the 90s. [more inside]
In response to shortfalls in organ donation, policy is undergoing a serious rethink in several countries. In Australia, the government has just lifted a ban on animal-to-human transplants. In the UK, the Chief Medical Officer has called for presumed consent, while in Israel a new law gives donor card carriers a legal right to priority treatment if they should require an organ transplant. Many are looking to Spain, which leads the world, having seen the number of deceased donors per million people - a commonly used benchmark - increase from 14 in 1989 when a new system was put in place to 34.2 last year. Interestingly, people committing suicide have a higher rate of donating organs than average.
The Australian Federal Government has decided to implement legislation filtering web content at the ISP level, despite ongoing criticism that the filter will do nothing to protect children and is diversion of funds from more fruitful policies, and is fairly simple to circumvent, and ignores peer-to-peer traffic completely. In light of March's leaked ACMA blacklist, many are understandably concerned about the list becoming a political tool. [more inside]
In 2005, the first comprehensive characterisation of decapod fauna of the continental margin of southwestern Australia was performed. 524 provisional species were identified, including 175 species (33%) that were new to science, each needing to be named. Earlier this year the naming rights for one particular unnamed spotted shrimp went up for auction to support the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Bob Rosenberry, journalist and publisher of Shrimp News International was an enthusiastic bidder, with plans to name the species Lebbeus shrimpnewsii, until he learned he couldn't name it after a commercial entity. The winner was a surprise to all involved: Lucien James "Luc" Longley, retired NBA player. (via) [more inside]
Dust Echoes is a series of twelve beautifully animated Aboriginal Australian dreamtime stories from Central Arnhem Land. The themes of these stories tell tales of love, loyalty, duty to country and aboriginal custom and law. Each story comes with descriptions on its history, what the story means and the text of the original story as told by local story tellers. Be sure to check out the downloads section for free desktop wallpapers and MP3 bonus tracks.
Australia's emissions trading scheme, the "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme", is being debated in the Senate today. [more inside]
Someone has started publishing a handy guide to the Australian bogan. One bogan is not amused. (Previously)
In its' third year, Softies for Mirabel is an appeal for handmade stuffed toys to benefit children supported by The Mirabel Foundation. [more inside]
Army Pack: Horrie the Wog Dog, 2/1Australian Machine Gun Battalion. An Australian soldier in WW2 befriended a puppy, and he went to great lengths to save him after the War. I saw it this morning on Letters of Note and thought it was great. Be sure to read to the end.
The billionth jar of Vegemite was sold in 2008. This nutritious yeast-based brown paste has been popular in Australia for decades, although its "distinctive" taste has limited its popularity in foreign markets. In July 2009, a competition was held by Kraft to come up with a name for the new cheesy variant. The result, chosen from 30,000 entries, sparked such a backlash that Kraft quickly backed down... but was iSnack 2.0 a marketing failure or a publicity coup? [more inside]
Jewish-Australian John Safran is (in)famous for his outrageous style of comedic television documentary, including the AFI award winning "Music Jamboree" and "John Safran vs God" (previously). His latest effort, "Race Relations" has already been described as the "lowest point in the history of Australian television". Including a "sniff test" comparison of Eurasian and Jewish panties and a scene involving a plastic cup and a copy of Obama's "Audacity of Hope" inside a Palestinian sperm-bank, episode one (of eight) aired last Wednesday to a buzz of controversy, and there's plenty worse to come.
Australian television show "Hey Hey It's Saturday" is currently back on the air after a few decades, running a series of reunion shows, and the other night a group that had been on the show in the 80s came back with the same act, in blackface. [more inside]
"I always had this picture in my head a homeless person is they're got torn dirty clothes, they're not shaven, they're, they're sort of sitting in the corner you know waiting for a handout and that was my and to think that - I'm not in that category - but I don't have a home for my family."
A report from Australia's Four Corners documentary TV show looking into homeless families in Western Sydney. Link has video and a transcript, plus background info.
A report from Australia's Four Corners documentary TV show looking into homeless families in Western Sydney. Link has video and a transcript, plus background info.
It was one of the biggest riots in the nation's history. An estimated four thousand sailors and locals -- an unlikely alliance of the young and unemployed, the gay community, the rockers -- fought with police, threw rocks and burned cars. [more inside]
Sir George Julius's Automatic Totalisator, first used by the public in New Zealand, and quickly taken up by racetracks throughout Australasia and North America (warning hideous HTML), automates parimutuel betting.
Sydney radio station 2dayFM earned the ire and backlash of the Australian public - rape counsellors, Australian media, and Community Services ministers - after an on-air stunt by morning crew Kyle and Jackie O went horribly wrong. During their regular "lie detector" segment, a 14-year-old girl was interrogated by the hosts and her mother over her sexual history, against her will, and revealed that she had been raped at 12 on air (warning: possibly triggering audio clip embedded in news article). [more inside]
In 1947, Thomas Ley, a virulently sectarian, pro-hanging Australian politician, died in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where he had been sent after being sentenced to death for murder. It was probably not his first.
Even after some deliberation it is difficult to find reasons to support the appointment of women Trade Commissioners. The Virtual Reading Room of the National Archives of Australia is a mine of information about Australia, its relationships and past attitudes.
Mr Squiggle, the Man from 93 Crater Crescent, the Moon, turns 50 today. Created by cartoonist and puppeteer Norman Hetherington, who would take children's scribbles and then craft it into a drawing, Mr Squiggle, along with friends Gus the Snail, Bill the Steam Shovel and the ever grumpy Blackboard (whom Mr Squiggle would use as an easel, being told to "Hu-rry u-p, hu-rry u-p" as he did) has been something of an institution for generations of Australian kids. Relive some of the magic...
An opinion piece in the Age states that the Northern Territory Government "plans to, in effect, close down indigenous outstations". [more inside]
"How do black women fight crime? They have abortions." "How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take your foot off his head." These and other 'jokes' featured in an advertisement on The Gruen Transfer, an Australian television program focusing on advertising. The ad, part of a segment called 'The Pitch' which usually produces humorous ads, was banned by the ABC, but the national broadcaster has still allowed it to be viewed online, and hundreds have now seen it. The ad was designed to sell "fat pride", with creator Adam Hunt explaining his motivation behind the ad being to say "if you discriminate against somebody on the basis of their shape then you are no different to someone who is racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic." Debate has raged online if the ad is offensive and discriminatory, as the ABC has declared, and whether or not it was effective. Watch the ad and judge for yourself.
Twenty years old this year, fifteen-minute long Australian television programme Media Watch criticises television and print journalism. (Previously).
Be glad you don't live in Bowen, Queensland. The town is being overrun by giant bird-eating spiders, which are venomous and as big as a man's hand. They're the biggest spiders in Australia, a land known for monstrous creepy crawlies.
Sixto Rodriguez aka Rod Riguez was a platinum-selling urban-poet folk-funk singer in South Africa, a hit across Australia and New Zealand -- and had no idea. He was working on a construction site in his home town of Detroit until his daughter Eva Alicia found a fansite called "The Great Rodriguez Hunt". [more inside]
Gallipoli: The First Day [flash] An ABC documentary site about the WW1 ANZAC landing at Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915.
WATIM [We Are the Image Makers] is an online publication that promotes Australian artists, illustrators, designers and photographers. Issue 19 is out this month. There have been more than 150 artist contributors in their four years online. [some art nsfw]
1980s Australian tv talent show Pot Luck, featuring -- Todd Rixon, Piffy the bell ringer, and Wenkyshafee.
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, when Australia and New Zealand remembers its fallen diggers who gave their lives (video link) in defence of our freedoms in the major conflicts of the 20th century. If you can, you really should try and attend one of the many dawn services that will be held at numerous war memorials located all around both countries tomorrow. Many of these memorials to the fallen have been documented and are now viewable online. Check out the war memorial pages for Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria (The Shrine of Rememberance in Victoria has its own web page), South Australia and the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the big one in the ACT, the Australian War Memorial. New Zealand has documented many of theirs online as well. Lest we forget, there's also a memorial at ANZAC Cove itself.
"Normally subcultures in Australia are taken from other countries and just reproduced here. Sharps or sharpies are an Australian specific subculture, developed in Australian specific conditions." Sharpies were members of suburban youth gangs in Australia mainly from the 1960s to 1980s, particularly in Melbourne, but also in Sydney and Perth to a lesser extent. "Everybody was in a gang. Everybody. Every second street there was a gang. Um -- there was like you were either in a gang or you were the victim." The time of the sharpies is part of Melbourne folklore. Forget JFK. Where were you when Frankston erupted after the AC/DC concert in 1977? While the violence was legendary, so were the fashion and the music. Lobby Loyde and the Coloured Balls, Buster Brown, Skyhooks, Fat Daddy, Hush. And nobody danced like the sharpies (which resembles skanking of some sort). Anyone over forty who grew up in Melbourne has at least one story to tell about the sharpies (PDF). Some stories are about gang leaders with missing teeth and shit-eating grins, while others look back with some sort of fondness.
Wikileaks has posted the complete list of websites that the Australian Government intends to block under its proposed opt-out internet censorship scheme. The Government has flagged plans to expand the blacklist to 10,000 sites or more. [more inside]
"With Germany arming at breakneck speed, England lost in a pacifist dream, France corrupt and torn by dissension, America remote and indifferent... do you not tremble for your children?" ― Winston Churchill, 1935. The World War II Database connects people, events, photographs, and other elements of history in relational db form to tell the story of the 20th century's 2nd great war.