Arts & Culture

How US gun culture compares with the world in five charts

The United States. Home to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the most mass shootings in the world. Kara Fox CNN America’s unique relationship to gun ownership — enshrined as a right in its constitution — is also in the middle of an emotional and divisive debate about the meaning of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Twenty-seven words that give its citizens the right to own guns and also, in the views of many critics, helped usher ... Read More »

Friday essay: who was Mary Magdalene? Debunking the myth of the penitent prostitute

Who was Mary Magdalene? What do we know about her? And how do we know it? Dorothy Ann Lee The Conversation These questions resurface with the release of a new movie, Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara in the titular role. The question of how we know about her is a relatively simple one. She appears in a number of early Christian texts associated with the ministry of Jesus. These texts comprise Gospels written in the first and second century of ... Read More »

2018 Adelaide Biennial: Difference as the natural order of things

It is a time-honoured tradition that large museum surveys of contemporary art should have titles so vague and all-encompassing as to be effectively meaningless. John McDonald The Canberra Times Yet it may be that with Divided Worlds, Erica Green, the curator of the 2018 Adelaide Biennial, has found a title that actually feels relevant. Two decades into the 21st century the world is a long way from the Age of Aquarius, becoming ever more riven and tribalised. In the west there was ... Read More »

Princess Diana beats Virgin Mary as nation’s best mum

She may be dearly loved and revered, but Princess Diana is not yet the focus of prayer for millions around the world. Harry Farley Christian Today And yet the Duchess of Wales comfortably beat the Virgin Mary as the ideal mother, according to a Church of England poll ahead of Mothering Sunday. With one in 20 (five per cent) naming Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother as the ideal figure, Diana was easily the most popular single choice. In fact ... Read More »

Minister criticises ‘snowflake’ artists who opposed arms firm sponsorship

Jake Berry reacts after BAE Systems withdraws as partner of Great Exhibition of the North Frances Perraudin The Guardian The government minister responsible for the “northern powerhouse” has described campaigners who forced the arms firm BAE Systems to withdraw as a sponsor of a flagship arts festival in north-east England as “subsidy-addicted artists” and “snowflakes”. The Great Exhibition of the North, which will run from 22 June to 9 September in Gateshead and Newcastle, is being funded by £5m from the government’s northern ... Read More »

Why it’s so important for kids to see diverse TV and movie characters

The hype surrounding “Black Panther” has been as hyperbolic as any feat its characters might perform, with the film being praised for its layered story and what’s been described as its “Afrofuturist” cast. Authors The Conversation And “Black Panther” will be joined by “A Wrinkle in Time,” another film with blockbuster potential and an interracial cast. But no matter how much money or how many awards films like “Black Panther” and “A Wrinkle in Time” amass, our research strongly suggests ... Read More »

Monolingualism diminishes America’s stature on the world stage

Most school districts across the United States tout 21st century skills along with developing students’ global competence. Martha G. Abbott The Hill Yet, in the majority of those efforts, administrators and policymakers fail to emphasize an increasingly important skill for all Americans: speaking more than one language. At a time when there is an increasing demand among employers for multilingual skills and a national report commissioned by Congress, “America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education in the… Monolingualism diminishes… Read More »

Essays On Air: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero

One need not be a parent of a young child, as I am, to be conscious of the full-blown resurgence of the superhero in contemporary popular culture. Ali Alizadeh The Conversation But there is more to a hero than courage and strength. On today’s episode of Essays On Air, the audio version of The Conversation’s Friday essay series, I’m reading my essay on Joan of Arc, our one true superhero. She’s been depicted as a national heroine and a nationalist symbol ... Read More »

How actresses who are just starting out get pressured into ‘creepy’ nude scenes

Ciera Payton had just turned 18 when she was cast in a lead role opposite Steven Seagal in the 2007 film “Flight of Fury.” Jessica P. Ogilvie The Washington Post It was her first professional acting job, and filming would take place in Romania. But before sending her to set, neither the film’s producers nor her agent showed her the full script, Payton says. So it wasn’t until halfway through her flight that the sophomore at the University of North ... Read More »

Cinema and smart phones: the art of increasing audiences for opera, ballet and theatre

Watching an opera, play or ballet has become an increasingly cinematic experience. “Livecasting” performances directly onto screens is now a major part of these kinds of production. Alan Williams The Conversation London’s Royal Opera House has an upcoming “Cinema Season” which includes live relays of Carmen and Swan Lake. In the US, the New York Metropolitan Opera House started livecasting in 2006, while the UK’s National Theatre Live began in 2009. The Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet joined ... Read More »

We’re All Fascists Now

Christina Hoff Sommers is a self-identified feminist and registered Democrat with a Ph.D. in philosophy and a wicked sense of humor. She is also a woman who says bad things. Bari Weiss The New York Times Things like: Men and women are equal, but there are differences between them. Or: The gender gap in STEM fieldsisn’t simply the result of sexism. Or: Contrary to received wisdom, the American school system actually favors girls, not boys. When such a person steps foot on ... Read More »

Hazing and sexual violence in Australian universities: we need to address men’s cultures

The esteemed residential colleges of Sydney University have recently gained intense public scrutiny for fostering cultures of sexual harassment, rape and hazing. Ben Wadham The Conversation The Red Zone Report, produced by independent journalists for End Rape on Campus Australia, presented a harrowing account of men’s tribalism, and elitism in Australia’s universities. The report focused on 12 universities including all the Group of Eight universities. Across all 39 Australian universities there are 216 residential colleges or halls. The colleges are… ... Read More »

A Guide to Let Go of Your Perfectly Good Things

Finding our lives under everything we own is more than clearing away just junk. Often it requires removing good quality things. Note: This is a guest post from Zoë Kim of Raising Simple. BecomingMinimalist Expensive things. Useful things. Admired things. Fancy things. It means letting go of perfectly good stuff in order to pursue something more meaningful. I began de-owning my excess six years ago. My husband deployed frequently and we had two children under five. I was spending more time doing something with our stuff ... Read More »

Should you send a text or email? Here’s some advice from Aristotle

Suppose you want to get in touch with a friend. Once, your options for doing so might have been sparse: pick up the phone or write a letter. Alexis Elder The Conversation But these days, you have to decide: Should you call or text, use Snapchat, or reach out on Twitter, Messenger or Skype? Other considerations, whether it’s an old friend or new acquaintance, or whether you’re asking a favor or checking in, as well as your own conversational tendencies ... Read More »

Steven Pinker Continues to See the Glass Half Full

Book Review Enlightenment Now The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress By Steven Pinker Optimism is not generally thought cool, and it is often thought foolish. Sarah Bakewell The New York Times The optimistic philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in 1828, “I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” In the previous century, Voltaire’s “Candide” had ... Read More »

‘Crazy for books’: How Thomas Hardy understood the transformative power of reading

The English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy may be overshadowed in schools today by writers such as Shakespeare, Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. Angelique Richardson The Conversation But in times of widespread education cuts it is worth remembering what he had to teach us about access to education – and his belief in the power of books to change lives. Writing in the American symposium-based journal Forum in 1888, Hardy outlined the benefits of reading as “alleviating the effects of ... Read More »