Gough Whitlam, the progressive Labor prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. [more inside]
Walsh agreed to pay Boltanski for the right to film his studio, outside Paris, twenty-four hours a day, and to transmit the images live to Walsh, in Tasmania. But the payment was turned into a macabre bet: the agreed fee was to be divided by eight years, and Boltanski was to be paid a monthly stipend, calculated as a proportion of that period, until his death. Should Boltanski, who was sixty-five years old, live longer than eight years, Walsh will end up paying more than the work is worth, and will have lost the bet. But if Boltanski dies within eight years the gambler will have purchased the work at less than its agreed-upon value, and won. "He has assured me that I will die before the eight years is up, because he never loses. He’s probably right," Boltanski told Agence France-Presse in 2009. "I don’t look after myself very well. But I’m going to try to survive." He added, "Anyone who never loses or thinks he never loses must be the Devil."—Tasmanian Devil is the story of David Walsh and his Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania, as told by recent Man Booker winner Richard Flanagan.
Cousu Main (which starts here) is an adaptation of The Great British Sewing Bee, and the blog of one of the participants features significant spoilers for this season. Although it's in French, the show is not hard for an English speaker to follow, just as Project Runway Vietnam (2013: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8), Project Runway Korea (2009: 1 2 3 4 5 6 ...), and Projeto Fashion from Brazil--among others--make some sense to those familiar with the English-language series Project Runway Australia, Project Runway Canada, Project Runway Malaysia (2007 finale: 1-5 and 6), Project Runway Philippines (2008: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15), and Mission Catwalk from Jamaica.
Barry Spurr, an expert on T. S. Eliot and the Virgin Mary, is Australia's first Professor of Poetry and Poetics. Appointed as one of two English subject specialists to the new Australian Review of the National Curriculum PDF, his concerns that "the Western literary canon" has been neglected and "the impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on literature in English in Australia" overemphasized in the existing curriculum are quoted liberally in the final report, which recommends that: "There ... needs to be a greater emphasis on dealing with and introducing literature from the Western literary canon, especially poetry," in Australian schools. The report has met with approval in the right-wing Australian press. Now, emails leaked to the New Matilda show that Spurr has spent the past several years sending messages from his University of Sydney email account referring to Native Australians as "Abos" and human "rubbish" and Asians as "chinky poos," calling Nelson Mandela a "darkie," Desmond Tutu a "witch doctor," and his own Vice Chancellor "an appalling minx," comparing Methodists to "serpents," and referring to women generally as "whores." Now, in the wake of the New Matilda exposé, the University of Sydney is investigating the emails and the Australian Education Minister is denying that the Abbott administration had anything to do with Spurr's appointment. Spurr, meanwhile, maintains that the emails were nothing more than "a whimsical linguistic game" and "repartee" shared with friends, which went right over the heads of the New Matilda journalists. There is also a petition to dismiss Spurr from the Review Commission.
Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
Joanna Goddard has been interviewing American women raising their children in other countries, to hear how motherhood around the world compared and contrasted with motherhood in America. She's talked to parents in Norway, Japan, Congo, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, India, England, China, Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Chile. [more inside]
Street-fighting 'roos. Irritable marsupials duke it out. Who will be crowned king of the cul-de-sac?
"Not since the days of Mike Brown’s conviction of obscenity over 50 years ago have Australian police successfully prosecuted an artist over such charges. These repeated failures have not, however, stopped the police from trying." [more inside]
Australian journalists must ask what agenda they serve At the end of a week of much media hysteria about terrorism, the Senate passed arguably the most significant restraints on press freedom in Australia outside of wartime.
We Made Young Liberals And Young Labor Date Each Other Vice Australia: "Who are those students who join political clubs at university? They wear suits, push flyers, and disagree by default, but what makes them tick? To find out we paired them up with the people they disagree with most—students from opposing parties—and made them go on dates with each other."
The secret ingredient in Geoff Beattie’s rich dark fruit cake. Need a heartwarming story? "Geoff Beattie had arrived. Show after show, city after city, state after state, word began to spread about the mysterious widowed dairy farmer who was toppling the greats of Australian show cooking." Might you or someone you know have had a similar experience?
I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
March in August: thousands rally against Tony Abbott by taking to streets:
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for the latest wave of protests against the federal government.[more inside]
Demonstrations were held in cities across the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, to protest against a range of of social and economic policies being implemented by the Abbott government.
About 3,000 protesters marched through Sydney, voicing their concerns on a range of issues, from Australia's asylum seeker policies, to education cuts and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Delhi College of Linguistics presents How to Talk Australians. (YouTube playlist).
Up, up and g'day: Superdoreen is Miss Galaxy 1982 A fascinating peek into Australian history and culture through a tiny sliver of artwork. [more inside]
The true origins of Australian rules football, first codified in 1859 following a famous letter by Tom Wills, have been the subject of sometimes bitter disputes that have been referred to as football's history war. Although the earliest formal football clubs were founded in 1858 (and the earliest known women's clubs in the 1910s), informal football games were widely played in the early 1850s. Scholarly and public discussions about the origins of the game centre on Marn Grook, a collection of indigenous games played with possum skin game balls. Although the lack of documentary evidence makes definitive answers hard to come by, the link between Marn Grook and Aussie rules in modern culture is very prominent, showing up in documentaries (clips: 1 2 3), TV shows, and even children's books. [more inside]
Featured in the Australian literary journal Meanjin, Restless Indigenous Remains is a Paul Daley essay on how the Australian government's National Museum handles the remains of Indigenous people accumulated during Australia's colonial period. An engaging, thoughtful and sobering piece, it covers the history of 'remains collection' in Australia, as well as the current debate concerning whether the Indigenous defenders against colonial expansion should be recognized by the Australian War Memorial.
First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers "On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
Stephen "Hoppy" Hopkins reports finding a large-bodied earthworm, tentatively identified as Martiodrilus crassus, in Provincia de Napo, Ecuador. The internet weighs in: real or fake? [more inside]
Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
You're Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk: "The A1/A2 debate has raged for years in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe, but it is still virtually unheard of across the pond. That could soon change..." [more inside]
In the July issue of The Monthly, John van Tiggelen tells the tale of “The Destruction of the Triabunna Mill and the Fall Of Tasmania's Woodchip Industry,” detailing how “How the end of Gunns cleared a new path for Tasmania.” [more inside]
The Umbilical Brothers are the best mime with words duo act you might ever have the chance to see. Their performances combine mime with ordinary dialogue and vocal sound effects. They use puppetry, slapstick, mimicry and audience participation, and make scant use of props and lighting. [more inside]
It's NAIDOC week in Australia. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which dates from the 1920s. NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society. ... Music and more inside. [more inside]
From the album of the same name recorded in Jamaica in 1979, Serge Gainsbourg smokes, samples and sings "La Marseillaise" to a loping reggae beat, leaves out some words and titles it "Aux armes, et cætera", thereby deeply offending some of his co-citoyens. I was recently discussing the Marseillaise with a French person, who linked me to Gainsbourg's version. My friend agreed that musically his country's national anthem was wonderful, but said the violence of the lyrics disgusted him. It's interesting to consider a nation's official anthem in the cultural and political setting of its birth, and then contrast with the present day. [more inside]
Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse - sometimes you should read the comments, because they're an amazing trainwreck.
Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia  HCA 23) for the second time that Commonwealth funding of school chaplains was unconstitutional. This is in direct contradiction of the Abbott government's recent budget moves to totally defund secular counsellors in favour of a $244M school chaplaincy program[me]. [more inside]
The award-winning Australian television series McLeod's Daughters aired from 2001 – 2009. A drama, the story begins by following the lives of half sisters Claire and Tess McLeod, reunited after they inherit a vast outback cattle farm (“Drover’s Run”), that has been handed down through the men in their family for generations. 224 episodes were produced, and all are available on YouTube. [more inside]
While Australian public TV channels ABC2 and SBS2 contemplate a possible merger, on their official Twitter accounts sparks fly.
We’re all familiar with the stories of Russian oligarchs buying up mansions in London, but this is a much broader phenomenon. A torrent of capital from wealthy people in emerging markets—from China, above all, but also from Latin America, Russia, and the Middle East—has flowed into the real-estate markets of big cities in other countries, driving up prices and causing a luxury-construction boom. ... The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals—above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case.James Surowiecki writing in the New Yorker on the rise of a truly global market in real estate.
Australia's 2014-2015 budget was just released. Amongst the casualties: television, young people (and the organisations that help them) and old people, tech startups, postgraduate students, people with disabilities and anyone seeking medical care, foreign aid, Indigenous people, the arts, renewable energy, and the environment. However, if you are in defence, mining, or Indonesian immigration, you should be fine.
Hello, [insert tv market name]!! A collection of the ‘Hello News’ package produced by Gari Communications, sold to various TV networks, nationwide (and Australia.) Hello Bonus 1: Florence Warner sings “Hello Nashville” live, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Hello Bonus 2: The Osmonds record a “Hello Utah” promo.
The Three Languages of Arts and Cultural Funding : It is a truth universally acknowledged that the public funding of arts and culture will cause political strife. Reasonable people just do not agree on this, and can be surprisingly quick to accuse others of ideological warmongering. An Australian application of The Three Languages of Politics [interview: podcast and transcript] by Arnold Kling. Via The Conversation.
The Department of Immigration and Border Patrol of Australia's secret blacklist of immigration lawyers and agents has been discovered. DIBP claims that the list is used for "risk assessment" for partner visas and has "no impact" on assessing cases. The Migration Alliance, the lobby group of Australian migration agents that broke the news of the list, is not convinced.
It's simple. Just say Yes. Campbell Newman’s LNP government has asked the residents of Queensland to help balance their budget. Strong Choices is an online survey giving respondents the opportunity to suggest reduction targets by selecting taxation or reduction in services or benefits. Problem is, there doesn't seem to be much choice. If you’d like to play along, you’ll need a Queensland postcode. I chose Mooloolaba.
World's longest-running experiment captures elusive tar pitch drop fall on video after 84 years of waiting — though, sadly, too late for physicist and former pitch drop custodian Prof. John Mainstone, who passed away last year.
When his parents went out of town, 16 year old Corey Worthington threw a party. When 500 people showed up, things got out of hand. Eventually the police were called, who mobilized units including their air wing & canine teams to quell the disturbance (for which Corey is being billed $20,000). And in the aftermath, Corey gave this awesome interview.
The depth of the problem - this WaPo infographic hints at the immense challenges that Australian and Chinese search teams will face in recovering the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 black box from its suspected location at the bottom of the Indian Ocean
How Reader's Digest Became a Chinese Stooge Larkin was delighted when Reader's Digest said it would take her work for one of its anthologies of condensed novels. Thirst would reach a global audience and – who knows? – take off. Reader's Digest promised "to ensure that neither the purpose nor the opinion of the author is distorted or misrepresented", and all seemed well. [more inside]
Since winning government in September 2013 (previously) Australia's conservative Coalition Government has been causing controversy, recently leading to nationwide protests (previously). Undaunted, this week the Coalition voiced support for the rights of bigots (more on that issue here), and reintroduced Knights and Dames. So, where's a depressed politics junkie to turn? To comedy, of course! After a successful crowdfunding campaign, satirical political comedy collective A Rational Fear are producing a 10 week season of Australian political comedy. [more inside]
When Australian prime minister Tony Abbott paused on the lawn of Parliament House to engage a group of high school students in conversation, he may have been hoping to impress some future voters. However, the questions fired at him by the 14-year-olds - about asylum seekers, gay marriage and why he has appointed himself Minister for Women - seemed to take him aback (warning: camera is level with Abbott's crotch.) The students involved later participated in the March in March – a series of protests against current government policies which took place in 29 locations across Australia over three days. Despite over 100,000 turning out, the protests was little coverage by mainstream media – leading to criticism even from within the media’s own ranks.
As the twittersphere ridicules a White Man March in NYC, perhaps now is the time to watch Aamer Rahman, one half of the comedy tour Fear of a Brown Planet (with Nazeem Hussain), on the topic of Reverse Racism.
Chris Lilley is an Australian comedian, television producer, actor, musician and writer, who got his major start as the drama teacher, Mr. G., in the sketch comedy series Big Bite. The series ended after one season, and Lilley went on to create four subsequent mocumentary-style series, We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, and most recently Ja'mie: Private School Girl. Each show consists of primary characters all played by Lilley, ranging from a 47 year old woman with skeletal dysplasia, a 13-year-old school boy with a Tongan accent (NSFW language), a 24 year-old African American rap artist from Los Angeles (NSFW language), and a 16 year old girl from a grammar school, to name a few. [more inside]
There Can Be Only One Snake v Crocodile in Northern Queensland
Australia’s prowling predator is either a vicious wild dog that attacks children and devours farm animals, or a loving and devoted pet as cuddly as a kitten. It just depends on whom you ask.
Hard right Conservative South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, who in 2012 year was removed as parliamentary secretary and opposition whip to Tony Abbott as a result of arguing that same-sex marriages would lead to legalised polygamy and bestiality, is no stranger to controversy. A noted climate change sceptic, and critic of both Islam and publicly-funded broadcasting, Bernardi has just published his manifesto -- The Conservative Revolution -- calling for "a reversal back to sanity and reason". Reviews on Amazon have been less than favourable, but his book has put contentious issues such as abortion, the structure of the modern family and WorkChoices firmly at centrestage as the unpopular conservative government seeks to reconnect with voters who so comprehensively removed the Labor Party from Government in September 2013. Some argue that the danger in Bernardi's comments is that they shift the goalposts on what is considered outrageous, and re-ignite the culture wars. Or is it too late? The Prime Minister has again been forced to distance himself from Bernardi's views, and Warren Entch has criticised him for his "gay obsession". In 2012 the Global Mail called him Australia's Sarah Palin, but he also shares the Six Fs philosophy of Rick Santorum: Faith, Family, Flag, Free enterprise, Federation and Freedom.
In this retrospective series we rewatch Australian films that have stood the test of time. [more inside]