Arts & Culture

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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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 »

Mentorship key to encouraging Indigenous students into higher degrees

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It took the encouragement of two mentors for Indigenous university student Graham Akhurst to even consider the possibility of enrolling in a higher degree by research. Lucy Stone Brisbane Times Now a master of philosophy student at the University of Queensland, Mr Akhurst said without that encouragement, it would never have crossed his mind to keep studying – it just wasn’t an option. Mr Akhurst’s story is representative of what a new report says is needed to boost the small ... Read More »

Go ahead, white Australia, eat your kebabs while you remind us of your ‘values’

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When I think about white fragility and its moral pretensions I marvel at the great hoax of it all Randa Abdel-Fattah The Guardian I know who I am. Most racialised people do. History matters to us. We know that the answers to who we are as a nation lie in a story that did not start with the last election or 9/11 or Tampa or deaths in custody or the stolen generations. We know that if we were to approach the ... Read More »

Jaimen Hudson: Wheelchair-bound filmmaker to dive with great whites in new film

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His spectacular videos showcasing the southern coastline of Western Australia and the wildlife that call it home have been devoured on social media. Daile Cross WAtoday Images of dolphins frolicking in pristine waves near Esperance and a stand up paddle boarder getting up close and personal with a majestic whale are among the most well known of the images captured by Jaimen Hudson.  Around 250 million views of his videos is an impressive tally. He uses drones to make his films, ... Read More »

How a moral philosopher justifies his carbon footprint

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I recently flew to Florida to visit family. My round-trip economy seat emitted roughly two tonnes of carbon dioxide, according to one carbon offsetting website. Luke Elson The Conversation By contrast, the average person in Britain is responsible for roughly seven tonnes for the entire year, already quite high by global standards. This makes me a climate change villain. Dumping such huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere seems clearly morally wrong, because of the harm this will cause others. ... Read More »

Evidence of 250 massacres of Indigenous Australians mapped

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were killed until at least 1930, often with police sanction, researchers say Calla Wahlquist The Guardian There have been as many as 500 massacres of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. And mass killings occurred well into the middle of the 20th century, researchers have said. The disturbing revelations were released by the University of Newcastle on Friday as part of the second stage of its online massacre map, which now covers frontier violence ... Read More »

Revisiting Nelson Mandela’s roots: a photographic exploration

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South African photographer, Bonile Bam, decided that he wanted to tell a different Nelson Mandela story by documenting the landscape and physical setting in which Mandela lived as a boy. Raymond Suttner The Conversation Like Mandela, Bam also grew up in the Eastern Cape province. The entirely black and white photographs will form part of an upcoming exhibition in Johannesburg called Mandela’s Roots (revisited). Raymond Suttner interviewed Bam on his photography and how he came to develop the Mandela exhibition, ... Read More »

Photos of the Devastating Wildfires Outside Athens, Greece

A man holding a dog pushes an inflatable boat as locals are evacuated during a wildfire at the village of Mati, near Athens, Greece, July 23, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis - RC1585A91650

Strong winds drove wildfires across the villages, hills, and forests around Athens, Greece, starting on July 23, with authorities blaming the fires for at least 74 deaths. Alan Taylor The Atlantic More than 300 firefighters were quickly mobilized to the area, but many residents scrambled to safety on their own—with hundreds racing to the shore to evacuate in small boats, or to try to swim away from advancing flames. While most of the fire has now been contained, the risk ... Read More »

Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular

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“I lose sleep at night on this.” Imagine you’re the president of a European country. Sigal Samuel The Atlantic You’re slated to take in 50,000 refugees from the Middle East this year. Most of them are very religious, while most of your population is very secular. You want to integrate the newcomers seamlessly, minimizing the risk of economic malaise or violence, but you have limited resources. One of your advisers tells you to invest in the refugees’ education; another says ... Read More »

America is in the middle of a battle over the meaning of words like ‘diversity’

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You might think that the culture war over race and immigration primarily transpires in dramatic events, like the woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty to protest Trump’s child detention policy or the events in Charlottesville last summer. Jennifer Mercieca The Conversation But it also exists in the banal and everyday ways that we communicate. It involves battles over the dominant meaning of words, and how we use those words to describe our values and construct our policies. For example, ... Read More »

Cultural appropriation, you just can’t be too careful

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We all agree that racism is a terrible, unforgivable thing but even the most enlightened of us are sometimes guilty of what could be called inadvertent racism – I refer, of course, to cultural appropriation. Russel Grenning OnLineOpinion Put as simply as possible, cultural appropriation is a concept dealing with the adoption of elements of a minority culture including, for example, cultural and religious traditions, fashion, symbols, language and songs by those of a dominant culture. Critics of the practice ... Read More »