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.
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]
Dumb, Drunk and Racist - Joe Hildebrand, writer for the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has a new TV show coming up on Australian TV, called "Dumb, Drunk and Racist", which was the phrase famously used during a training session in an Indian call centre about Australians. The show features four Indians from varying backgrounds visiting Australia - looks like very uncomfortable viewing (if you're Australian). (Slightly NSFW because of drunken boob-showing).
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]
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)
Someone has started publishing a handy guide to the Australian bogan. One bogan is not amused. (Previously)
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]
"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.
Palm Island off Queensland’s stunning north coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth, well maybe not if you’re an Australian Aborigine. Mulrunji Doomadgee, a fit, healthy, 36-year-old man, died in police custody on Palm Island on 19 November 2004 following his arrest by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley on a charge of "public nuisance". Yet Queensland DPP Leanne Clare has described the death as "a terrible accident’ caused by a ‘complicated fall’. [via crikey.com.au- subs req’d]
A Californian's Conception of the Continental US. (Scroll down a bit for the funny fun.) In the tradition of the United States of my Racist Aunt, the World According to America, and perhaps the Aussie Projection. (Link via Anil.)
Anti-Arab violence going in Australia: It's not just in the US - In Brisbane, a schoolbus packed with Islamic children was damaged by stones and bottles and there had been abusive calls to mosques. In Perth a mosque was defiled with human faeces and obscenities were shouted from a car doing wheelies in its carpark. The Australian Arabic Council today said a hotline for people to report racist attacks had been swamped by calls. Unconfirmed attacks included children being physically harmed and racially vilified at school. Muslum women being spat on and had their veils pulled off.