Arts & Culture

Jewish leaders question timing of EU summit

Kop 5e

Scheduling conflict with Yom Kippur holiday raises concern amid rising rhetoric about ‘Christian Europe.’ By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico Austria’s scheduling of an EU leaders’ summit to begin on Yom Kippur — the Jewish Day of Atonement — is raising questions of cultural sensitivity at a time of rising pro-Christian rhetoric among European politicians and… Jewish leaders said the scheduling conflict reflects an unfortunate but unsurprising lack of attention to their religious calendar. The situation is especially awkward for Austria, which ... Read More »

A man on a mission to capture the Great Barrier Reef

Omor 2b

Welcome to the underwater world of photographer Gary Cranitch who has spent decades documenting the Great Barrier Reef and work of scientists trying to protect it. Tony Moore Brisbane Times It is called a mantis shrimp and “pound for pound” it is one of the strongest creatures on planet Earth. It is one of the Queensland Museum photographer Gary Cranitch’s favourite images from his extensive portfolio. “It goes back quite a few years and I probably photographed it on Heron ... Read More »

Are Turkey’s Christians as ‘fine’ as they say?

Keri 2c

As tensions simmered between Ankara and Washington over detained American pastor Andrew Brunson, the leaders of Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities issued a joint statement July 31 to deny that they faced any oppression in the country. Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor The timing of the move was rather remarkable, and for Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian lawmaker for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the issuance of such a declaration was “in itself a proof that we are not free.” The 18 Christian and Jewish community leaders ... Read More »

Profit, not free speech, governs media companies’ decisions on controversy

Xap 6f

For decades, U.S. media companies have limited the content they’ve offered based on what’s good for business. The decisions by Apple, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube to remove content from commentator Alex Jones and his InfoWars platform follow this same pattern. Amanda Lotz The Conversation My research on media industries makes clear that government rules and regulations do little to limit what television shows, films, music albums, video games and social media content are available to the public. Business concerns about ... Read More »

What philosophers have to say about eating meat

Melo 4d

WeWork, a co-working and office space company, recently made a company policy not to serve or reimburse meals that include meat. Joan McGregor The Conversation WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, Miguel McKelvey, said in an email that it was the company’s attempt at reducing its carbon footprint. His moral arguments are based on the devastating environmental effects of meat consumption. Research has shown that meat and dairy production are among the worst culprits when it comes to the production ... Read More »

Giants: why we needed them

Giad 3c

Think of any sizeable water gap. It might be that between you and the island many kilometres off the coast, a place like Kangaroo Island (South Australia) or Sri Lanka as viewed from nearby India. Patrick D. Nunn The Conversation It might be the gap between Wales and Ireland, or that separating France from England. Were I to tell you that someone once walked across that gap, you might look askance at me, maybe fear for my sanity. But if ... Read More »

What makes a good friend?

Purus 2b

Good friendships seem worth celebrating. But for many of us, tensions can appear from time to time between being a good friend and doing “the right thing.” Alexis Elder The Conversation When faced with, for example, a situation where it’s tempting to lie to cover for a friend, it can seem as though friendship and morality are on a collision course. I am an ethicist who works on issues involving friendship, so this tension is of great interest to me. ... Read More »

Your choice of holiday destination is a political act

Faud 2b

Tickets, money, passports! We all know what to check for during that last minute packing panic. Brendan Canavan The Conversation But preparing for your holidays is about more than what you squeeze into your suitcase. It is about making a political choice. Tourism is an industry tied up with national and international politics like no other. Tourists are a source of foreign exchange, governments promote themselves through visitors, and politicians quite often worry about the social freedom that tourism can ... Read More »

Why I love my library and you should too

Diav 1a

When I talk to people about libraries, they either tell me how much they love their local or confess they haven’t set foot in one for years. Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re the type of person who used to read but somehow no longer has the time, or if you only ever buy e-books these days, it’s easy to imagine that you’re riding a trend and libraries are on the wane. But you’d be wrong. I’ve been going to ... Read More »

Why the mainstream media should stop giving extreme views a platform

Buno 2b

In recent weeks, a number of quite astounding articles have appeared in the British press. These have included among others, a Times columnopining the benefit to Britain in the current climate of having a political leader like Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin or Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; referred to as… Chris Allen The Conversation In the Daily Telegraph, a similarly toned piece contemplated the reinstatement of the death penalty after Brexit. Somewhat appealing to the lowest common denominator, these and similar articles prompt questions ... Read More »

Acute Misfortune first-look review – Adam Cullen biopic is an enthralling, complex triumph

Cul 9i

With a brilliant performance by Daniel Henshall, this hauntingly poetic film asks if we celebrate the wrong kind of people Luke Backmaster The Guardian Does Australia celebrate the wrong kind of people, and the wrong kind of art? This question bounced around my mind for days after watching Acute Misfortune – a beautifully made and intensely thoughtful portrait of the life of controversial Archibald-winning painter Adam Cullen, based on the journalist and Saturday Paper editor Erik Jensen’s wild and compelling ... Read More »

Neil Sedaka’s 1975 song revived for anti-immigrant era

Peruk 1a

Neil Sedaka is an American singer-songwriter who has written dozens of hit songs. Many of them he sang himself. Others are better known in cover versions by artists ranging from Elvis Presley to Ariana Grande. Robert Morrison The Conversation Sedaka’s wholesome image and infectious cheerfulness are easy to slight and have too often belied an extraordinary career. His song “The Immigrant” was a Top 30 hit when he released it in 1975, but today it seems even more relevant, as ... Read More »

Friday essay: the ‘great Australian silence’ 50 years on

Shep 8h

It’s 50 years since the anthropologist WEH Stanner gave the 1968 Boyer Lectures — a watershed moment for Australian history. Stanner argued that Australia’s sense of its past, its very collective memory, had been built on a… Anna Clark The Conversation It is a structural matter, a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape. What may well have begun as a simple forgetting of other possible views turned under habit ... Read More »

Ancient Greek music: now we finally know what it sounded like

Avl 1a

In 1932, the musicologist Wilfrid Perrett reported to an audience at the Royal Musical Association in London the words of an unnamed professor of Greek with musical leanings: “Nobody has ever made head or tail of ancient Greek music, and nobody ever will. That… Armand D’Angour The Conversation Indeed, ancient Greek music has long posed a maddening enigma. Yet music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, ... Read More »

The lifesaving power of gratitude (or, why you should write that thank you note)

Grat 1a

Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Richard Gunderman The Conversation Another study assessed the health benefits or writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improved life satisfaction, increased happy feelings ... Read More »

I didn’t want to write this, but the courage to listen to different ideas is vanishing

Lae 7g

After a week in which we lost Fairfax and the Brisbane Writers festival banned writers, we need more than ever places where we can listen and reflect on different perspectives. Richard Flanagan The Guardian A writer, if they are doing their work properly, rubs against the grain of conventional thinking. Writers are often outcasts, heretics and marginalised. Once upon a time writers’ festivals celebrated them, and with them the values of intellectual freedom and freedom of debate. Writing that mattered ... Read More »