Consider a notebook. Thick parchment, licked yellow by salty air, and brown ink in a grand loopy hand. It sits in the cabin of one James Cook, and specifies, in no uncertain terms, that a “discovered” land may only be claimed in the name of the King under one of two conditions – that it is unoccupied, or “with the Consent of the Natives.” But Cooky’s a boisterous sort, raised on Magellan and St George, and when they’re there and obviously not consenting he decides to seize it anyway with oratory and lead, notebook and orders be damned. This means that even under British law at the time the invasion of Australia was illegal. Continue reading “Consider a Notebook”
LUCIFER, Prince of Darkness and Emperor Apostate of hell, has officially disendorsed Republican presidential nominee Donald Jeronimo Trump.
“His actions comments are beyond the pale,” announced Satan, a key backer of the Reagan and Bush administrations. “On behalf of all of the legions of the damned, I’m cutting all ties to the Trump campaign. I may be the cloven-footed embodiment of evil, but being assosiciated with this blabbering fascist is starting to hurt my brand.”
Lucifer claimed that his stunning denouncement was inspired by Trump’s recent rise in the polls. “We put him up as a bit of a joke, but we never expected it to go this far. He’s facing over a dozen unresolved rape allegations, including from his ex-wife, and is still on the brink of becoming president? How can I support him when I myself am a father? How could I look the abstract concept of lies in the eyes?”
Content Note: The following piece contains reference to mental illness and suicide
A fortnight ago, the Weekend Australian published a profile of Jeff Kennett so glowing you’d be forgiven for thinking he wrote it himself. The obsequious puff-piece gushed about the resigning chair of Beyondblue, citing the “indefatigable can-do spirit hard-wired in his soul” and painting him as a maverick saviour of the anguished and bereft.
The anguished and bereft might beg to differ. While there’s no doubt Beyondblue has done internationally groundbreaking work to destigmatise and alleviate mental illness in Australia, this is largely in spite, not because, of the organisation’s public face. As Kennett steps down after sixteen years with the charity, it’s only fair that we acknowledge his generous advocacy. But let’s also not forget the tireless work he’s done throughout his career to champion forces that contribute to and exacerbate mental illness on a mass scale.
There’s worse news every day.
Thursday, 15th of September: in her maiden speech to the Senate, Pauline Hanson declares that Australia is “in danger of being swamped by Muslims”.
Sunday, 18th of September: speaking to a forum of European conservatives, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott describes the influx of refugees to Europe from “Middle East and Africa” as a “peaceful invasion”.
Wednesday, 21st of September: an Essential poll of 1000 people suggests that 49% of Australians want to ban the migration of people of people of the Islamic faith to Australia. A further 11% aren’t sure either way. If the poll is accurate, those of us who oppose such a measure are in the minority.
As the sky cracks and the earth burns, our hearts are afroth with Pokémon Go. I hate the sneering dismissal of pop culture – it’s elitist, patronising and hypocritical. But with a world in crisis from Baton Rouge to the South China Sea, it is important prioritise where we invest our attention and energy. And as I look at the the levels of interest different topics receive on social media, I can’t help but think that that something is amiss.
To take an example completely at random, the other day I posted a status to Facebook about the new British Prime Minister, Theresa May. It was a three word joke – “Yes We May.” Hardly the funniest thing ever written, though at the time I thought it was pretty sharp and accessible. Twenty four hours later, it only had one like. Now obviously I don’t care about how many likes my statuses get on Facebook, but doesn’t that say something interesting about the trivialisation of our cultural discourse? Here was a well-crafted nugget of timely political satire, and people were too busy catching Jigglypuffs to notice. Continue reading “Autopsy of an Unappreciated Joke”
What a wild ride it’s been. And although this roller coaster campaign hurtles to its thrilling conclusion, the zany gaffes and nail-biting drama will be with us forever. Who could forget Malcolm’s cold? Or Tanya Plibersek’s game changing snafu in week two, when she accidentally said “good morning” at 12:17pm? Or the unforgettable moment in week four when Matthias Cormann’s leg got caught in a rotating door and was mangled from the knee down?
Continue reading “2016 Senate Guide: The Cooked-O-Meter”
It is closing time in the gardens of the West.
– Cyril Connolly
Yesterday’s news from Britain has bought the world to its knees. Europe’s most powerful institution has lost a crucial pillar and the hopes and dreams of millions dangle on the brink. It’s difficult to guess what brought us to this place – the path behind is tangled and dim, the path ahead is subsumed in darkness. As we stumble, blind, into the thicket of history, the only thing that’s certain is the stark reality of this uncanny severance – Harry Styles is leaving One Direction.
Things simply cannot go on as they were. Who would want to see Louis, Liam, and Niall in concert, a hair-gelled triumvirate of pure dead weight? 1D is finished. And, to add insult to injury, the United Kingdom is leaving the EU.