Arts & Culture

Why have mildly erotic nymphs been removed from a Manchester gallery? Is Picasso next?

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Hylas and the Nymphs is no masterpiece. But if it has to be removed from a gallery, will the nudes of Titian and Picasso be next? My, what a utopia Jonathan Jones The Guardian Manchester Art Gallery says it has removed JW Waterhouse’s 1896 painting Hylas and the Nymphs from its displays “to prompt conversation”. Yet the conversation can only really be about one thing: should museums censor works of art on political grounds? There can only be one answer ... Read More »

Enrico Fermi: nuclear physicist and childish practical joker

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The Nobel prize-winner was an undoubted genius. But his fascist sympathies and teasing cruelty alienated his family and colleagues. Andrew Crumey The Spectator Enrico Fermi may not be a name as familiar as Einstein, Feynman or Hawking, but he was one of the greatest figures of 20th-century physics, with a reputation for infallibility. In Rome, pioneering atomic science under Mussolini, he was nicknamed ‘the Pope’. Escaping to America where he created the world’s first nuclear reactor, he was dubbed ‘the ... Read More »

Dunkirk and Darkest Hour fuel Brexit fantasies – even if they weren’t meant to

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The glorious myths of Britain’s wartime role are gaining ground Ian Jack The Guardian Unfortunately for our understanding of Britain’s past and our estimate of its likely future, the Oscars have no category for the untrue: “for the movie”, as the host might put it as he or she fingers the envelope, “that most energetically disrespects the historical record”. If there were, two contenders high on this year’s fibbers’ list would be Dunkirk and Darkest Hour – films that between ... Read More »

Invasion Day Post

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A line comes to mind in contemplating those who have come to our shores over the past two centuries ‘They came from the old world to the new, only to discover it was far more ancient than the old.’ Arnold Zable Twenty-two years ago, 1995. I am standing in front of a map of the State of Victoria as seen through Aboriginal eyes. Dated 1836 till 1853, titled The Massacre Map, it marks over sixty sites of known killings of ... Read More »

Thanks, L’Oréal, but I’m growing weary of this hijab fetish

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Amena Khan’s role in a new ad campaign, though short-lived, shows how the industry struggles to represent Muslim women Nesrine Malik The Guardian This month Amena Khan became the first hijabi model to star in a global mainstream hair campaign. L’Oréal, which featured her in its advert, apparently wanted to promote an important message: hair care is for everyone, whether or not they choose to show their hair in public. I’m not sure who exactly thinks that women in hijab don’t care ... Read More »

A life in quotes: Ursula K Le Guin

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The award-winning fantasy and science fiction author on politics, death, writing and gender • News report: Ursula K Le Guin dies at 88 Calla Wahlquist The Guardian Ursula K Le Guin, award-winning fantasy and science fiction author and pioneer of feminist speculative fiction, has died age 88. Her extensive catalogue of published works includes novels, essays, poetry and children’s books. Here are some of her most memorable quotes. On mortality: ”You will die. You will not live forever. Nor will any ... Read More »

Iranian woman skydiver looks to break down stereotypes

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For Iranian parachuting enthusiast Bahareh Sassani, skydiving is “a way to prove that women are just as capable as men” — a small step from a big height for women’s equality in her country. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The 35-year-old accountant has been skydiving less than two years but already has more than 220 jumps under her belt. “I encourage all women to try this experience. It gives you the feeling you can do whatever you want. Women should ... Read More »

Explainer: the evidence for the Tasmanian genocide

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At a public meeting in Hobart in the late 1830s, Solicitor-General Alfred Stephen, later Chief Justice of New South Wales, shared with the assembled crowd his solution for dealing with “the Aboriginal problem”. Kristyn Harman The Conversation If the colony could not protect its convict servants from Aboriginal attack “without extermination”, said Stephen, “then I say boldly and broadly exterminate!” Voluminous written and archaeological records and oral histories provide irrefutable proof that colonial wars were fought on Australian soil between ... Read More »

‘Just like show business’: why celebrities are taking over politics

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Whatever one thinks about Donald Trump, it’s hard to deny that his presidency – or what purports to be a presidency – is entertaining in the extreme. Norman Abjorensen Brisbane Times In fact, so pervasively entertaining is the 24-hour non-stop Trump show – a heady mix of feeble script, hilarious ad lib and the utterly gobsmacking tweet – that you have to wonder when he gets the time to govern (if he does it at all). Suddenly, reality TV, where ... Read More »

None but the Lonely Heart

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fortyfivedownstairs recital blurb: Melbourne-born Greek-Cypriot Australian soprano, Christiana Aloneftis, is coming home to perform with one of Australia’s finest collaborative pianists, David Barnard, an eclectic and exciting program of Debussy, Donizetti, Verdi, Rimsky-korsakov, Dvořák, Rachmaninoff and much more. Currently based in Paris, the young soprano has been described by Joyce DiDonato (The Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall) as having ‘an exceptionally warm, expressive soprano voice…. She performs with poise and graceful, nuanced phrasing’. None but the Lonely Heart, is a ... Read More »

Meet the theologian who helped MLK see the value of nonviolence

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After this last tumultuous year of political rancor and racial animus, many people could well be asking what can sustain them over the next coming days: How do they make the space for self-care alongside a constant call to activism? Paul Harvey The Conversation Or, how do they turn off their phones, when there are more calls to be made and focus instead on inward cultivation? As a historian of American race and religion, I have studied how figures in ... Read More »

Essays On Air: Journeys to the underworld – Greek myth, film and American anxiety

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A central convention of Greek mythological narratives is katabasis, the hero’s journey to the underworld or land of the dead – and it’s a theme modern directors return to again and again. Sunanda Creagh Paul Salmond The Conversation That’s what we’re exploring today on our first episode of Essays On Air, a new podcast from The Conversation. It’s the audio version of our Friday essays, where we bring you the best and most beautiful writing from Australian researchers. In this ... Read More »

Women speak out against #metoo ‘witch hunt’

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HOLLYWOOD is full of women speaking out about harassment These high-profile women are against the movement AFP FRANCE’S most revered actress, Catherine Deneuve, declared Tuesday that men should be “free to hit on” women, condemning a new “puritanism” she claimed has been sparked by sexual harassment scandals. She was one of around 100 French women writers, performers and academics who wrote an open letter deploring the wave of “denunciations” that has followed claims that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted ... Read More »

Before losing battle with cancer, this 27-year-old woman penned a heartbreaking, eye-opening letter

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“That’s the thing about life, it is fragile, precious, unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right,” Holly Butcher wrote in an emotional post on Facebook. Alex Eriksen Yahoo Butcher, 27, lost her battle with cancer this week. Her words are drawing attention on social media, garnering more than 8,000 shares, 11,000 likes, and 2,000 comments. Butcher, from Brisbane, Australia, covers a range of life topics in her letter, including coming to grips with her mortality. She ... Read More »

David Walsh on the success of Mona

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I HAVE been asked to comment on the future of our arts scene I guess I’ve been asked because the “success” of Mona creates the illusion that I know what I’m talking about David Walsh Sunday Tasmanian While I was meddling with things I don’t understand, I inadvertently became a minor celebrity. My mate Kenneth Train recently offered me some sage advice — “Celebrities should just shut up.” Unfortunately, I like the sound of my own words. So let me ... Read More »

Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.

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You can be sure that this weekend at the Golden Globes, Hollywood celebrities, not exactly known for their independent thinking, will turn the red carpet into a #MeToo moment replete with designer duds. Daphne Merkin The New York Times Many have promised to wear black dresses to protest the stream of allegations against industry moguls and actors. Perhaps Meryl Streep will get grilled — again — about what she knew about Harvey Weinstein. The rest of us will diligently follow ... Read More »