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It's time...

Gough Whitlam, the progressive Labor prime minister of Australia from 1972 to 1975, has died aged 98. [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 20, 2014 - 61 comments

"A master gambler and his high-stakes museum."

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.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 19, 2014 - 17 comments

On Sewing as a Universal Language

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.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 18, 2014 - 11 comments

Barry-gate

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.
posted by Sonny Jim on Oct 16, 2014 - 70 comments

All cities are mad, but the madness is gallant.

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]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Oct 14, 2014 - 34 comments

American mothers around the world

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]
posted by Banknote of the year on Oct 10, 2014 - 50 comments

Get ready! Fight!

Street-fighting 'roos. Irritable marsupials duke it out. Who will be crowned king of the cul-de-sac?
posted by Mayor Curley on Oct 8, 2014 - 31 comments

Censorship of the Arts in Australia

"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]
posted by showbiz_liz on Oct 4, 2014 - 20 comments

Serve the interests of the reader

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.
posted by Wolof on Sep 27, 2014 - 32 comments

Never talk about politics on the first date

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."
posted by cendawanita on Sep 25, 2014 - 51 comments

Fruit Cake - the secret ingredient

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?
posted by gusset on Sep 20, 2014 - 43 comments

The happiest place on earth: TIJUANA!

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.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 11, 2014 - 12 comments

March in August: "Liar Liar, pants on fire" (also: "Kick this Knob Out")

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.

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.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 31, 2014 - 40 comments

How to talk Australians

Delhi College of Linguistics presents How to Talk Australians. (YouTube playlist).
posted by hawthorne on Aug 18, 2014 - 68 comments

An Aussie waxes eloquent about a quirky bit of artwork

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]
posted by Michele in California on Aug 11, 2014 - 10 comments

Why can they not, I say, form a foot-ball club?

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]
posted by langtonsant on Aug 10, 2014 - 16 comments

A beacon of conscience in Australia's capital

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.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Aug 6, 2014 - 6 comments

to end all wars

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]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

1.5 meters of segmented NOPE

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]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 24, 2014 - 19 comments

considering & rethinking bathrooms

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]
posted by flex on Jul 22, 2014 - 181 comments

A1 vs. A2 milk

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]
posted by flex on Jul 17, 2014 - 41 comments

The Destruction of the Triabunna Mill

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]
posted by ob1quixote on Jul 17, 2014 - 12 comments

The Scandinavians love it!

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]
posted by h00py on Jul 12, 2014 - 14 comments

This land was never given up, this land was never bought and sold

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]
posted by valetta on Jul 7, 2014 - 7 comments

Aux armes, et cætera

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]
posted by valetta on Jul 2, 2014 - 13 comments

Oh good GOD, it is a cake recipe site

Rainbow-Cake Recipe Inspires Comment Apocalypse - sometimes you should read the comments, because they're an amazing trainwreck.
posted by desjardins on Jun 19, 2014 - 108 comments

School chaplaincy program deemed unconstitutional

Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2014] 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]
posted by wilful on Jun 18, 2014 - 48 comments

McLeod's Daughters

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]
posted by zarq on Jun 6, 2014 - 11 comments

the Romeo & Juliet of government funded digital TV social media accounts

While Australian public TV channels ABC2 and SBS2 contemplate a possible merger, on their official Twitter accounts sparks fly.
posted by divabat on Jun 4, 2014 - 18 comments

Real Estate Goes Global

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.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 25, 2014 - 87 comments

It Wasn't Shrimpy

Oldest known sperm discovered, and it's gigantic.
posted by Xurando on May 14, 2014 - 12 comments

so unless you're a rich Indon army guy in the mines, you're screwed.

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.
posted by divabat on May 13, 2014 - 118 comments

There's no place like [home].

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.
posted by Room 641-A on May 11, 2014 - 15 comments

"I’m not creating, I’m observing."

Meet Warren Kirk, the “Westographer” of Melbourne’s fading suburbs. [more inside]
posted by Lorin on May 11, 2014 - 23 comments

Trump This!

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.
posted by michswiss on May 7, 2014 - 6 comments

McCarthyism is alive and well - and it's in the Immigration department.

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.
posted by divabat on May 4, 2014 - 38 comments

There are options, so long as you choose ours.

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.
posted by michswiss on Apr 23, 2014 - 22 comments

"You can measure your life in a number of drops."

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.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 19, 2014 - 15 comments

"I'll apologize but I won't take off my glasses, because they're famous"

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.
posted by scalefree on Apr 17, 2014 - 83 comments

Abyssmal odds

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
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 8, 2014 - 188 comments

How Reader's Digest Became a Chinese Stooge

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]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 30, 2014 - 38 comments

Australiafilter: Back to the (18)50s, or a new comedic golden age

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]
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts on Mar 25, 2014 - 43 comments

"Let's have a bloke's question"

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.
posted by andraste on Mar 18, 2014 - 32 comments

why can't they dance?

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.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Mar 15, 2014 - 89 comments

The multiple characters and series of Chris Lilley, Australian comedian

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]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 8, 2014 - 33 comments

"It's not something you see every day"

There Can Be Only One Snake v Crocodile in Northern Queensland
posted by modernnomad on Mar 3, 2014 - 37 comments

A Dingo Ate Australia

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.
posted by Chutzler on Jan 14, 2014 - 16 comments

"And for this, Australia, we are sorry."

CSIRO apologises for lack of research on dragons, makes dragon.
posted by Mezentian on Jan 9, 2014 - 46 comments

He says he wants a revolution, well, you know

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.
posted by Mezentian on Jan 7, 2014 - 112 comments

Rewatching classic Australian films

In this retrospective series we rewatch Australian films that have stood the test of time. [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 7, 2014 - 95 comments

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