Arts & Culture

The reasons behind Australia’s racism

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No matter how much we deny it, Australia can be a racist nation, but there are several factors causing this, writes Peter Wicks. IA WE MAY LIKE TO tell ourselves we are not a racist country in Australia, but let’s face it, a lot of Australians are racist. They may not all be neo-Nazis, but they are racist nonetheless. In New Zealand, our nearest neighbour, they celebrate Maori culture with the haka at major events such as the football. In ... Read More »

How a small American Indian tribe came to give an incredible gift to Irish famine sufferers

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In the winter of 1847, the people of Ireland were suffering from a devastating famine. Padraig Kirwan The Conversation Meanwhile, members of the Choctaw Nation of American Indians, one of the five great southern tribes of the United States, met in a small town in Indian Territory called Skullyville. There, members of the tribe discussed the experiences of the Irish poor. It was proposed that they would gather what monies they could spare. This wasn’t going to be much in ... Read More »

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker review – a feminist Iliad

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This brilliant retelling of Homer’s epic poem focuses on the cost of war to women through the story of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine Emily Wilson The Guardian In The Iliad, a poem about the terrible destruction caused by male aggression, the bodies and pretty faces of women are the objects through which men struggle with each other for status. The women are not entirely silent, and goddesses always have plenty to say, but mortal women speak primarily to lament. They grieve ... Read More »

Robin DiAngelo on why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism

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Robin DiAngelo riles up a lot of white people. The American anti-racism educator teaches about an insidious and damaging form of racism that lurks in progressive people like herself: white privilege. ABC – RN – By Anna Kelsey-Sugg and Sasha Fegan for Late Night Live She believes many white people are unconscious of their privilege, but — often — that’s a message they don’t want a bar of. “For many white people the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause ... Read More »

Q&A: John Marsden says he would not have written the Tomorrow series today

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A string of questions centred around race relations and immigration were directed at a panel of authors on Q&A’s panel on Monday night. ABC On the desk with host Tony Jones were John Marsden, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Sofie Laguna, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Trent Dalton. Marsden was asked whether his Tomorrow series, starting with the 1993 novel Tomorrow When the War Began, helped raise a generation of Australians who feared foreign invasion. “I hope not,” Marsden said. “It was written ... Read More »

The stacks of cash needed to buy basic goods tell Venezuela’s insane inflation story

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In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. Edmund Heaphy Quartz The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage. New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t ... Read More »

‘We are real’: Saudi feminists launch online radio

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Operating out of a small room in an unknown country, a new internet radio station broadcasts a programme aimed at campaigning for greater women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Alma Hassoun BBC With melancholy music playing in the background, the presenter of Nsawya FM (Feminism FM) addresses the issue of domestic violence in the Gulf kingdom. The presenter’s voice shakes with emotion as she discusses the fate of Sara, a woman she says was killed by a male relative. She was ... Read More »

Who says the most liveable city is in the west? Culture doesn’t just live in museums

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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index claims Vienna is more cultured than Lagos. But it is flawed and subjective Chibundu Onuzo The Guardian A few months ago, I stepped out one morning and saw a coil of animal poo on the doorstep. My mother and I spent a long time trying to figure out what sort of animal had done the deed. We decided, in the end, that a fox was the culprit. But it could also have been a racist. ... Read More »

Julian Meyrick on why numbers and culture don’t add up

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It’s not so much a barbecue stopper as an appetite killer. Tell people you are researching “the problem of value” in arts and culture and the conversation turns soporific. Why not just experiencethem? As if engaging in culture weren’t hard enough in these STEM-obsessed, FANG-addled times. Julian Meyrick The Sydney Morning Herald Typically, the answer is “for strategic reasons”, which in policy-speak means, “for money”. For artists and arts organisations, faced with an endless tsunami of application forms, acquittals reports, program ... Read More »

Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, dead at age 80

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(CNN) – Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, has died at age 80. By Laura Smith-Spark, Richard Roth and Joe Sterling, CNN He served as Secretary-General at a time when worries about the Cold War were replaced by threats of global terrorism, and his efforts to combat those threats and secure a more peaceful world brought him the… Annan, who was born in Ghana in 1938, served as the seventh UN Secretary-General, from 1997 to 2006, ... Read More »

Bans on full-face Muslim veils spread across Europe

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Washington: Earlier this month, Denmark became the fifth country in Europe to introduce a ban on face coverings in public places. Rebecca Tan The Age Washington Post The policy is widely viewed as being targeted at Muslim women who wear veils such as the niqab. Despite protests in the capital, Copenhagen, police have started enforcing the law in earnest. On August 3, a 28-year-old wearing the niqab, which covers the entire body except the eyes, was attacked by another Danish woman ... Read More »

Four centuries of trying to prove God’s existence

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Whether God exists or not is one of the most important philosophical questions there is. And the tradition of trying to establish God’s existence involving evidence is a long one, with a golden age during the 17th and 18th centuries – the early modern period. Lloyd Strickland The Conversation Attempts to prove God’s existence continue today. But they are on nothing like the same scale as they were hundreds of years ago, with secularism now being as common among philosophers ... Read More »

Photos of the Week: Sun Biter, Solar Probe, Belgian Bovines

Tim Delaney steadies his dog, Midnight, before tossing a ball while working on retrieving training in the Presumpscot River, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018, in Windham, Maine. Swimming holes and beaches have been popular spots as a stretch of hot and humid weather lingers in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Flowers carpet Brussels, an alt-right rally is met with overwhelming opposition in Washington, D.C., City2Surf takes off in Sydney, the Women’s Softball World Championship is underway in Japan, a farewell is bid to Aretha Franklin, the Obon prayer is made in Japan, abandoned share bikes find homes in Germany, record-setting hot dogs are lined up in Mexico, a cardboard Viking church collapses in Liverpool, a bridge collapses in Italy, a newborn gibbon shows off in Prague, and much… Alan Taylor ... Read More »

Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

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In 1986, the Adelaide Festival staged an operatic adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning writer Patrick White’s 1957 novel Voss, a pivotal work in the Australian literary canon. Michael Halliwell The Conversation The opera, with music by a leading figure of the classical music avant-garde, Richard Meale, and libretto by acclaimed novelist and poet, David Malouf, was conceived in the period leading up to the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988. It certainly tapped into the zeitgeist. The 1980s saw increased questioning of the ... Read More »

Aretha Franklin: A Legacy in Music

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Aretha Franklin’s voice was a pure, painful, and unforgettable expression of American history and American feeling, the collective experience of black Americans and her own life. David Remnick The New Yorker The Queen of Soul, who died Thursday morning, was the daughter of the most influential black pastor in Detroit, a charismatic, often cruel man who filled the house with musical friends—Duke Ellington, Della Reese, Nat Cole, Mahalia Jackson—and a… Aretha Franklin rarely spoke of her inner life, her crises—she was wary of ... Read More »

Europe Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle

Gen, Charles de Gaulle leads a triumphant procession down Champs-Elysees as part of the celebration of the liberation of Paris. To the right of de Gaulle is General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc, Commander of the French Armored Division. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

There’s nothing wrong with today’s European Union that France’s legendary 20th-century leader didn’t see coming—and didn’t try to fix when he had the chance. Βy Bruno Maçães FP Julian Jackson’s new biography of Charles de Gaulle is a gripping and enlightening reflection on political power and its mysteries. The book fulfills the minimum requirements, of course, by recounting the major events of de Gaulle’s life: his heroic service in World War I, his prescient warnings in the interwar years about ... Read More »