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ON DIT

80.1


contents. featured contributors

3

letters

4

president(s)

6

o’week spectacular

8

the blood club

12

110 years of ‘europe 101’

16

how to: create an imaginary friend

18

babies

20

lexofabrication

22

the arab spring

25

canada

29

a cuppa sopa

33

creative writing

36

stuff you like

38

open letter: tyra banks

40

the return of wild horse

41

columns

42

diversions

44

retrospective

46

Editors: Galen Cuthbertson, Seb Tonkin & Emma Jones Cover artwork by Madeleine Karutz Much needed design advice by Connor O’Brien On Dit is an affiliate of the Adelaide University Union Published 06/02/2012 Visit ondit.com.au, or hit us up on facebook.com/onditmagazine. Go on. You know you want to.


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INT. On Dit Executive Editorial Lounge - 3am. ‘The Pit of Despair’. Hey you there - the doe-eyed first-year on the Barr Smith lawns, the hungover fourth-year staying as far away as possible. Welcome, or welcome back, to On Dit magazine. We’re Emma, Galen, and Seb. It’s three o’clock in the freaking morning, and we’ve been busy. The learning curve has been steep. Editing a magazine, it turns out, is a bit like murder. It happens more often at night, there’s lots of blood (see page 12), and sometimes you’ve got no choice but to cut a lot of body.

Even though we’re still finding our feet (or yours...), we think this first issue gives a pretty good overview of the sort of thing we’ll be bringing you (and, hopefully, you’ll be bringing us) throughout the year. Get your briefing on this year’s O’Week, ponder the eurocentricity of the history faculty, and check out the return of the creative writing section - it’s back with a vengeance. More importantly, we’re taking it on ourselves to get you the information that’s relevant to you as a student, and part of that means you guys need to speak up. Have your say by sending us your comments, contributing work of

your own or dropping by to visit. If you dare. (But do. We don’t bite and we even have tea.) So, dear reader, whether this is your first On Dit or your 1390th (we counted), read on, avoid milk and enjoy O’Week! We’ll see you in Week 3. Til death do we part, The eds.


featured contributors Alison Coppe

Joel Parsons

Stella Crawford

(‘Knocking’, p36)

(‘O’Week Spectacular’, p7)

(‘The Blood Club’, p11)

Alison Coppe studied a Bachelor of Arts at Adelaide Uni and is now studying Honours in Creative Writing. Her main aim when writing is to create, always to look for something new or unique in the everyday. She’s Adelaide’s biggest k.d lang fan and an identical twin, and is looking forward to contributing to On Dit this year.

A media/law student, perpetually frustrated and intrigued by both degrees, Joel utilises a variety of enjoyable time-consumers to forestall coursework. Said time-consumers include Facebook status stylisation, ever-present life soundtrack implementation, tediously noting that ‘context is all’, consumption (of food and in general), staple position rectification and radio directoriness (Student Radio, 101.5FM). On balance Joel is a person who enjoys things. Along with Sudoku, evidently Joel does not specialise in the composition of eleventh-hour bios. Nor do the On Dit editors, who stole this bio from 2011 six hours before print while Joel was probably asleep.

Google Ads Preferences: Comics & Animation, Movie Reviews, Rap & Hip-Hop, Photo & Video Software, Computer & Video Games, Puzzles & Brainteasers, Social Issues & Advocacy, Psychology, World Localities: Florida, Age: 18-24, Male. More accurately, Stella is, this year, sworn off shame and GrandDesigns-envy and sworn onto Sunday afternoon rollerskating, First Aid Kit and finishing the science part of her science/law double degree silliness.

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letters to the editor in which the enthusiastic Jane Wallace waxes lyrical on invasion day. PAGE

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January 12,2012 Dear Editor, Have you ever wondered why USA Thanksgiving Day is November 25, Xmas Day is December 25, and Australia Day Is January 26? Americans like to give thanks for Xmas Gifts one month before Xmas whereas Australians give thanks for Xmas Gifts after Xmas. Australians want to see their Xmas Gifts firstly before they give thanks for their Xmas Gifts. Australia Day gives Australians the chance to return their unwanted ungrateful gifts, to recycle unwanted Xmas gifts to other Australians if they cannot get the money back on Xmas Gifts, and to use up old unused fireworks from New Year’s Eve fireworks displays.

Australia Day is also called Invasion Day by aboriginals as January 26 1788 was the day England invaded Australia and white settlement arrived at Sydney Australia. The Australian Aboriginals wanted to return their white Xmas Gifts to England. Australia Day is also the day when husbands try to show their usefulness to wives by cooking burnt meat on the barbecue. Wives reward husbands with bikinis, children, and other animals. Australia Day is usually as hot as, as sunnyas, and as bright as Xmas Day but there are no unwanted relatives. Thats why Australians celebrate Australia Day on January 26 each year. Its a public holiday! Happy Australia Day, Jane Wallace


NOTICE TO ALL STUDENTS: ONLINE ELECTION OF STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES TO FACULTY BOARDS Nominations are hereby called for the election of student representatives to faculty boards. Each faculty board must contain two student representatives – one undergraduate student and one postgraduate student. Student representatives are entitled to receive all information put before the board and are entitled to vote in decisions made by the board. Student representation is an important means by which student issues may be raised officially at faculty level. Undergraduate students: Students who are: 1. enrolled in semester 1 and semester 2 as students of the University proceeding towards: (a) a bachelor’s degree or (b) a diploma other than a graduate diploma in a faculty; and 2. not members of the staff of the University; are eligible to vote and/or stand for election to the board of that faculty. Postgraduate students: Students who are 1. enrolled in semester 1 and semester 2 as students of the University proceeding towards: (a) a degree other than a bachelor’s degree (b) a graduate diploma or (c) a graduate certificate in a faculty; and 2. not members of the staff of the University; are eligible to vote and/or stand for election to the board of that faculty. Nominations: Nominations may be made anytime from 5 March 2012 and must be made on the official form, which can be obtained from http:// www.adelaide.edu.au/governance/elections/facultyboards. Nomination forms must be received by the Returning Officer before 12 noon, 13 March 2012. Terms of office: Each position is for a term of one year from the day after the announcement of election results in the current year. Heather Karmel Returning Officer

been sexin’?

check out shinesa.gov.org.au or letthemknow.org.au for more info. no shame!

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state of the union

monitoring where the money goes to ensure that is legitimately being spent on services that students want. Additionally, most of you don’t actually have to pay the SSAF right now. You are able to defer the fee by including it on your HECS/HELP loan, which means you get access to important services, while you’re a student, that you might not be able to afford just yet. I couldn’t possibly finish this column without a little shameless plugging. The AUU provide a set of essential services, such as our Education and Welfare Officers, tax and employment help, and student representation and advocacy, plus funding for clubs, student media, events and much more. Visit us online at lifeoncampus.org.au to find out about everything we have that can help you through university (except for the learning bits; you’re on your own there). Also, consider buying a U-Pass for only $25. It gets you unlimited discounts across the country at heaps of restaurants, cinemas, shops, and much more. Plus all of the profits go into funding student services provided by the AUU (like the magazine you’re reading right now).

with CASEY BRIGGS, auu president. Welcome (back) to university! I hope you’re looking forward to a great 2012, full of fun, adventure and hopefully some study. Throughout the year I plan to bring you news and information about student and university issues. First up, the issue that I’ve had more questions on this year than anything else: the Student Services and Amenities Fee (I’m just going to call it the SSAF though). The SSAF is a new fee that universities can charge to students to fund the provision of student services. This year that fee will be $263 for full time students, but it will not be charged to all students – notable exceptions include international students and higher degree by research students. Importantly, the SSAF is not a union membership fee. It is being collected by the university, and the university is deciding how it will be spent. We’ll be

Pick up a ticket to O-Live and kick off the year with a great night of live music, featuring internationally famous bands Stonefield and Tracer, plus The Medics from Queensland and some heavy loop pedal action from Tim Fitz. It’s all happening on Saturday February 25, and tickets are only $20 for students. Buy your ticket from The General in Hub Central, or online at Moshtix. Finally, I’ll mention a couple more of our many events this year. On Tuesday of Week 1, head out to the Barr Smith Lawns for some live music and information about joining a sports club and our Education and Welfare Officers. The following Tuesday, there’s more live music on the lawns with a demonstration from the runner up of a certain popular cooking program (rhymes with Pasta Death). Have a great year! Casey Briggs President, Adelaide University Union Email: auupresident@auu.org.au Twitter: @CaseyBriggs


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student representative column

Once the semester gets going, we’re holding the Fair Trade and Social Justice Expo and then a Remembrance Day for the 40th anniversary of Dr George Duncan’s murder. And this is just part of what we’re bringing to you this semester! Through the year, look out for campaigns combatting sexual assault and getting all your course readers provided online for free. While we’re at it, we’ll tell the university to stop cutting our classes or we’ll start kicking their asses because that’s what we do – that and listen to you. So visit us on the Barr Smith Lawns during O’Week and have a chat to our Office Bearers. Let us know what you think about anything. Finally, if you’re thinking about how to get involved, we’ve got two casual vacancies ready to be filled. We need an Indigenous student who wants to campaign on and represent issues affecting Indigenous students to be our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Officer. Secondly, any student with an interest in education issues affecting tertiary students should look at applying to be the SRC Education Officer. To find out about either of these positions, get in contact with me!

with IDRIS MARTIN, src president. An On Dit contributor covering the elections once referred to student representatives as ‘your benevolent overlords’. That set me up for disappointment. About five minutes into lording around in my new position, I realised the only thing that I was lord of was my swipe card that gave me access to a room no one except SRC members use. I was disabused of any notions that the SRC had any authority over students long ago. At least I still had my card. For those of you new to the university, we kick off each year with O’Week. This year, the SRC is making it about sex; great sex, in fact. Before you start getting nosebleeds from excitement, bear in mind that we’re running a forum on healthy sex lives and how to have the best one you can possibly have. Trust me when I tell you that you need this. Sex matters. If you’re cocky enough to think you don’t need it, bring along someone you know needs it.

The SRC holds fortnightly meetings, which you are welcome and encouraged to attend and speak at. Just find us on Facebook or visit www.adelaidesrc.com to find out when meetings are. Welcome to the University of Adelaide, have a great year and don’t forget to pick up your copy of the 2012 Counter Guide! Idris Martin President Student Representative Council Email: srcpresident@auu.org.au Twitter: @IdrisMartin

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SPECTACULAR words: joel parsons art: ann nguyen-hoang In my mind, Orientation Week has often been a Yin and Yang type of affair, in which the straight-laced edification of preliminary lectures and faculty talks is balanced against the frivolity of union events. While retaining content from early lectures is preferable, in reality the shit that goes down on Barr Smith lawns is far more memorable. In just several weeks when that preliminary media lecture is long since forgotten, the scent of freshly regurgitated milk drying under the heat of a warm summer’s day will remain with you. 2012 will be my sixth year at the University of Adelaide, and campus life seems superficially unrecognisable from that of just six years ago. Student amenities fees disappeared in the era of VSU and have returned, there is now a ‘Hub Central’, you can download an iPhone or Android app for O’Week, and many orientation events have changed their name and/or format.

There has been a concerted effort in 2012 by all involved to rejuvenate and refocus the O’Week experience, though the underlying spirit of O’Week remains. Running from Monday the 20th of February to Friday 24th, there is a mindboggling number of things to do. With this in mind I now impart to you some no frills nuggets of O’Information.

Preliminary Lectures Lectures generally start in week one, although a glitch in the matrix means that many courses will have a preliminary class during O’Week. During this session you’ll probably receive some juicy tidbits including when your first online quiz occurs, at what percentage assignment late penalties accrue per day, and the details of the expensive textbook1 1 You can always borrow a textbook from the library. Further, if you do plan on buying, try to hold off if you can until after O’Week. Often there are lines to get books during O’Week, and some lectures leave it until the first week to reveal that one listed textbook is actually not very useful

you’ll require (I hear you can get crates of instant noodles cheap at the markets). The question really is: ‘Do I want/need to attend my preliminary lecture for that subject I am doing, or should I forgo it in favour of that Zumba demo on the Barr Smith lawns?’ As enticing as instructor Joanne’s samba-inspired routine may be, it is probably prudent to attend these lectures. They will help you to ease into the rigors of 2pm lectures a few times a week. On the other hand you could dance and get a workout – all at the same time.

‘Journey to the Centre of the University’ If you enjoy moving between various locations in a group of individuals guided by a single individual, you should enjoy a good tour. Particularly popular is the Barr Smith library tour. Chris of and should be avoided. Be warned though, sometimes stock runs out, and you could get behind on readings.


the Barr Smith library says that ‘the tour is a great way for people to get down and dirty with the Dewey Decimal System’. Chris recommends taking the library tour multiple times for maximum Dewey effect. In 2012, this tour has been combined with a tour of the new study and food zone for students, Hub Central. Amongst the profusion of cardboard stools and beanbag-cum-doonas, now you too can witness the firepower of this fully operational Hub Central. During the tour you will learn how to use the library catalogue, how to operate the new follow-me printer system, and how to locate convenient study nooks. The tours run from 10am-3pm every hour from the 20th to the 24th of February, starting from the western forecourt on level four of Hub Central. There are also several facultyspecific options including the Law School library tour and the Elder Music library tour. From the asbestos clad Ligertwood Building, to the monolithic Schulz building, and all that is in between, a campus tour will introduce you to the university’s array of steps and stairs (and the various relevant locations nearby). The tours run every half hour between 10am and 3pm on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st of February from the Welcome Centre and hourly from the information table at Hub Central on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd between 10.00am and 3pm.

Information Sesh If your brain sponge isn’t sufficiently saturated by preliminary lectures and tours, you can attend a slew of information sessions. The ominously titled ‘Reality Bites’ series is designed to show you how university differs from school and other entry pathways, and possibly scare you into completing assignments. The university has also realized that a short concentrated barrage of information isn’t always effective, and that the gradual provision of advice can be

beneficial. This is the idea behind the UniStep information session schedule for new students that run throughout the semester. Sessions such as ‘Step Forward With Feedback’, and ‘Drop In, Not Out’, will help you adjust to university life. For more information on these sessions, visit www.adelaide.edu. au/student/firstyear/unistep.

Barr Smith Lawns Basically, this is where most of the good stuff happens, including events like the previously mentioned Zumba demo. From 10am until 4pm, Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd, the Adelaide University Union hosts live music, games, and the drinking of various liquids. In fact much time is usually devoted to the consumption of liquid during boat races and ‘the Fears’. For the uninitiated, boat races are team-building exercises during which you and your teammates consume multiple cups of beer as quickly as possible. This is a fairly standard exercise in rapid intoxication, and there isn’t usually any vomit. Vomit, however, is pretty much guaranteed during ‘the Fear’ events. Participants are given several litres of milk, while some rousing background music plays and the crowd looks on in both adoration and ensuing disgust. The winner is the individual who consumes all the liquid first. However, due to the sheer amount of milk, the participant will usually return the milk to the outside world from whence it came within a short span of time. This makes for repulsively engaging viewing. Like a metaphor for the tertiary experience, students launch into their task, before feeling the bite of reality (in the form of vomit), and eventually giddying glory (or crushing defeat). Each fear is given its own name; white fear for ordinary milk, brown fear for chocolate and pink fear for strawberry, though honestly for the most part the flavor is quite irrelevant.

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Sports and Clubs There is an overwhelmingly exciting amount of clubs that you can join at university. So overwhelmingly exciting that you’ll likely lose your shit and sign up on the spot, and, in step with the long-standing student tradition of joining clubs and never attending, never attend. I’ve been a member of the Adelaide University Film Society for four of my five years (possibly five, or three, eventually it becomes a haze), and haven’t viewed a single Keanu Reeves film. Whether it be Nerf or LAN, there’s likely to be an obscure club for you. Most clubs will have information and demonstration stalls on the Barr Smith Lawns.

O’LIVE A long time ago there was an event called Orientation Ball, where people actually wore black tie to a ball. Over the years the encroaching appreciation of tshirts has seen the event mellow significantly to become a music festival style event held on the Barr Smith lawns or around the Union Cloisters. I recommend attending; I can remember moshing to a cover of Rock The Casbah by Something for Kate during one O’Ball event. During another, Peter Combe, who recently contributed rejected rearrangements of ‘Newspaper Mama’

and ‘Mr Clickerty Cane’ to the Black Swan soundtrack (Wikipedia), provided an enjoyable jolt of nostalgia. However, the antiquated ‘O’Ball’ name lingers no longer. The event is now known as O’Live and will be held at UniBar on February 25th. This year the lineup includes Stonefield, Tracer, The Medics and Tim Fitz. For more information visit O-live.com.au.

Miscellanea Aside from the planned events, there are some less exciting things that I recommend investigating. If you plan on using a laptop on campus, get your wireless internet connect set up between 11.00am and 1.00pm during O’Week at Information Services on Level 4 of Hub Central. Look into securing a locker and a diary from the Union. Get your course reader from the Image and Copy Centre on the bottom floor of the Hughes Building. There is no shortage of dazzling events to attend or banal tasks to complete during O’Week. This outline is merely a cursory glance, and other documentation such as the University’s O’Guide or the iPhone or Android Orientation apps provide timetables for information sessions and more guidance on events that occur during the week. Like a delicious potato

bake, the key to tertiary success is a solid foundation, so seize the O’pportunity to become learned in your course structure and assessment, and the ways of milk regurgitation, which will hold you in good stead for the semester and the years ahead.


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the blood club. This year, the hallowed grounds of the University will hopefully be full of students sporting pockmarked veins and plasma-deficient arteries. That is to say, welcome to the SA University Blood Challenge. The Red Cross Blood Service (which interestingly is distinct from the Red Cross charity, relying solely on government funding, to the point where they can’t even accept donated food for their donor centres. Students who have suffered as a result of only being able to eat Jatz in blood centres: unite and protest this injustice!)—sorry—anyway, the Blood Service has

worked out that egotistical competition and the promise of cooked food is the way to a student’s heart. And the blood within. Here, in list form, is why you should agree with them:

1. BarBeQue Yes. If we win, Adelaide Uni will get a barbeque. Think about it. What’s more fundamental than food? Especially food of the chemical-structure-altered-by-fire kind; being as it is altered to taste really super good. Think of the crispy bits, people. I know I’m trying to appeal to

an ethical market here and so I should probably segue before I alienate some fair lump of potential patrons. While the animal-flesh word has been carefully avoided, barbeques tend to exude, if nothing else, the aroma of it. Almost certainly, though, to be needlessly honest, the rest of it will be there as well. My point is, though, don’t despair, o civic minded friends of mine! Don’t think that the crispybit rationale doesn’t apply to those lip-smacking1 veggie patties which the smarter, less carnivorous of us choose because they tend to weigh 1.  Did you know this is a listed synonym of ‘yummy’ in Word? I’m sorry. I couldn’t say no.


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‘whoever bleeds, succeeds.’

words: stella crawford art: alexandra stjepovic more on a gram by gram basis; they too can have crispy bits, and they too can be yours. Furthermore, it’s been conclusively proven that free barbeques only come in quantities of notenough and the-perfect-amount and hence the ‘we already have enough BBQs’ argument doesn’t compute with the science. Don’t even try it. So: yes. When you next contemplate giving red sticky stuff, please, won’t you think of the crispy bits?

2. Winning The next, more tenuous connec-

tion I have to offer you is based on envy. A pretty fundamental emotion, you might say, appearing in all sorts of notable places: famous lists of sin, red carpet events etc. If things go to plan here, it should be notable only by its complete absence. I’m trying to remind you, in other words, that this is a competition. In more other words, if we don’t win, we lose. That is, we might lose to Uni SA.2 As Adelaide Uni students, both new and continuing, it’s about time that you started showing a decent amount of competitive distaste towards

the poor suckers at Super-TAFE. I don’t even think I need more reasons; if you’re not jabbing a needle in your arm right now, I’m not sure we can be friends.

2.  Guyyyss, they might get our crispy bits!

3.  That’s a joke, you see, because all genetics is real life genetics.

3. Free blood typing! It may be only me that’s keen on a bit of real-life-genetics,3 but they’ll give you your blood type after the first go, and also a key ring, and think of the admittedly few (but maybe lengthy!) conversations this information may spawn. This is probably only a reason if you’re not already a blood donor, but then


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again, there’s always the possibility of convincing your friends to donate and discovering if they contain the blood suitable to save you should you suffer a horrible accident. What are friends for, right?

Choose your partners based on whether they’re regular donators: it confirms that they’re awesome and STI free.6

4. Free other things!

Blood donation saves lives. They need it. It doesn’t go to waste. The federal government have kindly changed over their system of funding so the Blood Service only gets paid for blood that gets used, rather than for blood collected; which means that they’re now very careful to only collect it (a process that costs them money in wages and equipment) if they’re confident they’ll use it. So if they take your blood, someone’s going to get it. Someone who needs blood. With an ageing population of blood donors and an ever increasing demand for blood and blood products, they literally need your blood.

In fact, they test for a whole bunch of stuff. For free! Fuck doctors! If you’re worried about having Hep-Anything, or Sexually-Transmitted-Anything, or, well, basically any blood transmittable disease other than Mad Cow, they’ll test it for you.4 They’ll test your blood pressure, and iron levels. Sure, they only do it to confirm your vein-liquid meets their minimum requirements, but they’ll probably inform you if it does turn out you’re dying. So spread the word. Test your friends, neighbours, countrymen! Think about donating as ‘getting tested’ and ignore the fact that doctors don’t normally require a full pint5 of your life-blood. 4.  Except if you’re at risk of Mad Cow; they just refuse to take your blood. Also, if you may have HIV/AIDS, if you’ve had a tattoo recently, been overseas (mostly to malaria-risk countries), or controversially, if you’ve engaged in male-male intercourse – a restriction that’s getting them into trouble with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission. 5.  470mL is a standard American pint, the British standard imperial pint is 568mL. Wikipedia will also tell you about the history of different shapes of pint

5. Blood saves lives

Even if you find my sudden seriousness boring, I would be remiss if I didn’t spare a sentence to plead for your support of this system. In my books it’s a celebration: of humanity itself as un-purchasable, sharable life – no economic justification needed, just a gift that is freely given. *** glasses. 6.  It’s like only sleeping with people who read books.

This competition is spurred on from an understanding of the student psyche – ‘the laziness factor’ is never to be underestimated in the game of voluntary donation of vital-fluids. Ultimately, though, what the Blood Service offers is the same as it always did: vampire joke opportunities and blood to those who need it. It may be a silly competition, and this may be a tacky article, but regardless, this year, between the months of February to October, your red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets can do more than make you feel literally warm and fuzzy inside. To have your circulatory juice count towards our collective digestive happiness, you should either sign up online or fill out a form when you donate counting yourself as part of the Adelaide Uni RedClub– failing to do so will not make the process futile, but it will make it less tasty. And then you should give some blood. Did I mention there’s a trophy as well?


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Wanna give your human blood so that others can live/eat BBQ? The SA University Blood Challenge runs from February 20 to October 26, and if you work or study at any university in the state, you’re eligible to take part. Register as a donor at donateblood.com.au/club-red/join-a-group or visit a Red Cross centre near you (if you’re near Pirie Street, Currie Street, Marion or, later this year, Regent Arcade). Also keep an eye out for the Red Cross Mobile Unit. It’s a van. That takes blood. A vanpire.


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110 years of ‘europe 101’ Anniversaries are a time for contemplation, and the year 2012 marks two special anniversaries for me. As a student, I can celebrate a year of young people taking to the streets to topple tyrants in the ‘Arab Spring’. Also as a student, but specifically of the University of Adelaide, I bear witness to the 110th year of history being taught in its own right at this University. Sadly, I write of History’s declining value – and it has been the Arab Spring that has brought this into sharp focus. As someone who has been studying History for five years, what shocked me about the Arab Spring was how little I was prepared to answer the basic questions required for a critical analysis of the situation. What is the history of the regions in turmoil? What are the politics, origins and issues of the ‘Arab’ world (contrived a creation as it is)? Looking through the Course

Planner for the phrases ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Arab’, ‘Arabic’, ‘Middle East’ and ‘Africa’ yielded one result: an English course on African literature. There can be no denying it. History is in a sorry state, due to a lack of diversity in teaching staff and a lack of an overall plan of what to teach a student of History. Consider this: for a population of over 1000 history students, there are only 13 full time staff members. In comparison, for the same student population in the late 1960s, there were 26 full time staff members. Since the early 1990s, teaching staff who have retired have simply not been replaced. At a Symposium in December 2011, which celebrated the upcoming 110th anniversary of teaching History, one presenter quite bluntly informed the audience of the means of selecting courses: the University has always just taught whatever the History lecturer wanted to teach.

In 2012 this has reached an absurd outcome for the student. Once you have completed the first year (general) History courses, a student could take two courses on Medieval Europe. Or they could take three courses on England before the 19th Century. There are two courses on European history since the 19th Century, and one course on United States history that they could potentially choose. If you need some extra units, you can do Indigenous Culture & History, but only as an intensive winter school course. If that doesn’t satiate your desire for Australian History (which it shouldn’t), you can do a course on Australia’s migration policies and their affect on society – one of only three History courses located outside Europe. There is no Asian history. There is no Latin American history, except where it bisects with the Atlantic slave trade. And there is no Middle Eastern history, beyond the Crusades of the 13th Century.


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words: fletcher o’leary Just to repeat: the history of Asia, the Middle East and Latin America have been deemed not worthy of being taught by the University. History at the University of Adelaide is, almost entirely, the history of less than a quarter of the world’s population. This is not to say that the type of History courses taught at this University could not be part of a well-rounded education. It’s just that the idea of ���well-rounded-ness’ in History teaching appears to have not even been considered by the School, along with the priorities and future needs of students in Australia. There is the most distinct odour of the ‘Old Adelaide’ mentality in the courses on offer. You know what I mean – the automatic cultural cringe, deeming unworthy anything that has not come from God’s own England. Proud declarations that South Australia was founded by fit and proper Englishmen, not the convict rabble

of elsewhere. The faintest whisper of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ in the wind. The lurking suspicion that people actually think of Adelaide as a suburb of London accidentally transposed to the opposite side of the Earth, and that if only that hadn’t happened life would be so much better. While the cultural affectations of anguished colonists longing after the metropolis is at times most amusing, when it comes to educating the next generation of Australians, being told that anything outside of Europe (and especially England) isn’t worthy of teaching is going to leave an indelible impression on the next generation. It has been nearly twenty years since Paul Keating, as Prime Minister, prioritised our relationship with our Asian neighbours, and encouraged our nation to be more confident and less reliant on our European heritage for gratification. It has been a year since the Arab

Spring shook apart all of our preconceived notions (few that they are) of what the Middle East is. And yet History appears to be taught from the same mindset as 110 years ago. This does a great disservice to the students and the University and needs to be urgently rectified. Whether the University recognises its own failure remains to be seen.


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how to ... create an imaginary friend.

words: michelle bagster art: alexandra weiland Yes, I heard you! You read the title and thought ‘Pssh, what do I want an imaginary friend for?’ Well, before you dismiss this incredibly important guide, take a moment to ponder the possibilities that open up to you when you have an imaginary friend… For example, not all of us have the stamina to keep up with the party circuit. Consider the following: • Your aunty who wears too much powder on her face is hosting a family reunion. • The weirdos you don’t quite remember becoming friends with want to stop by at your place. • You get invited out on a night you just plain can’t be bothered to go. You know you’ll look like a killjoy by point blank turning down the offer, but what other solution is there? Just the most spectacular solution on the planet: your imaginary friend!

‘I’m sorry, but Steve and I already have plans,’ you say in a regretful tone. ‘Oh, of course, some other time, then,’ they shall reply, completely understanding of your conundrum. They need never find out that ‘Steve’ doesn’t actually exist. But to pull it off, your imaginary friend must be convincing. Here’s how:

1. Start generic The example friend from above is called Steve, and this is a good start if you’re stuck. Don’t go overboard with a name that is bound to raise questions, like ‘Hermione “The Claws” Xavier,’ as tempting as it is to have a friend with that name. Your imaginary friend should be a little like a shop mannequin; a rather bland, uninteresting character that people will be unlikely to press you for information about. On the subject of being generic, your imaginary friend should be male if possible. This is because

research by some important smart people that I didn’t make up shows that men don’t like to ask lots of questions about other men, and whilst woman tend to want to get details about other women, the questions they would usually ask don’t really apply to men, because all they want to ask about is hair.

2. Invent some background You will need to know a little about this person if you’re going to successfully pretend they’re your friend. How you met them is a good start, and plausible options include ‘he’s my second cousin’, and ‘he lived up the road from me from when I was growing up’. These hopefully explain why you are spending so much time with him, and if you throw ‘Steve’s parents are pretty strict about him going out’ into the equation, you should avoid further questions about why nobody else seems to have met him.


Again, don’t go overboard with background. It would seem suspicious and just a little creepy if you were able to recite instantly, ‘Steve enjoys hiking on weekends and is on level 21 on Skyrim, his favourite colour is eggshell blue and he is very particular about the way his coffee is prepared’. Unless you talk like this about all your friends, in which case, go ahead. Creep.

3. Throw their name into conversation Not all the time, but it certainly would seem odd if this mysterious friend of yours was only brought up when you need to get out of something. Practice with these example sentences, which, according to an objective party that I did not make up, sound natural and not overdone when used in your normal voice in day-to-day conversation: • ‘Oh yes, (insert friend’s name) and I were talking about that the other day. He didn’t share your opinion, though.’

• ‘I haven’t eaten this in ages; (insert friend’s name) is allergic to dairy.’ • ‘This is ridiculous, how long have we been waiting for this light? Let’s just cross, (insert friend’s name) always does, he’s insane.’ Don’t reference your friend too much, or you’ll undo all the boringness you have worked so hard to invent him with, and you’ll make people curious. Then your ploy will be uncovered, and you’ll be stuck.

4. Enjoy your new freedom! With your imaginary friend the perfect guilt-free excuse to be lazy, you’ll find the time do whatever you want! Learn to paint, take up jogging, or more likely, spend a few extra hours on YouTube, working on your healthy computer-screen tan. If you decide that this life is not for you, you can simply forget your imaginary friend altogether, and the

next time someone asks about him, say something like ‘oh, him? He got run over jaywalking. He was insane. Haha, jokes! We just stopped hanging out. He’s still insane.’

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Do you ever wonder what the future will be like? Will you have the job you’ve always wanted? Will you be happily married? To whom? Do you ever think of things, and think to yourself, ‘this is definitely going to happen’? Is there one certainty that, no matter what, will be a part of your future? Well, what I see in my future is fatherhood; one day, I will be a dad. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Sam, you’re a 19 year old uni student doing a BA, what are you doing thinking about children?’ and I hear you, I hear you loud and clear. However, let me take it one step further, for this is the real tragedy of the whole thing: I’m an out and proud homosexual. Yep, I’m that wonderful breed of gay man who just can’t wait to have a brood of offspring to call his own. This is something I think people have difficulty understanding about me. Why am I so invested in the idea of being a father? For the most part, I don’t really understand it myself. I think at the end of the day, I want to be a part of bringing a human being into this world, and I want to make a grand one. I want to be a parent who is proud of their child, because they have done something amazing. I want to be the creator of some friendly, kind human being who makes people happy. Maybe I just want to know there is someone who will always love me, I’m not sure, I haven’t quite decided what my reasons are. I think what people find most difficult to understand about my situation is this: how do I actually plan on having children? I don’t possess a womb, and unless I have very risky, pseudo-impossible, entirely illogical womb-implantation surgery, I never will. I’m also never going to be in a situation where I am dating, or married to, someone else who ‘owns’ a womb. I do want biological children, though. Well, I want there to be one person on this planet who is biologically mine, and who sees me as their father. I get a lot of people telling me that

words: sam lane art: louise vodic

I should ‘just adopt’, save myself the trouble, and I think their hearts are in the right place. Still, I can’t help but feel a tad annoyed by those comments. I mean, it’s not like I am the reason for the strain on the population. In fact, as a member of the gay community I am theoretically helping to restrict the influx of people we are currently facing. I find it annoying because when you talk to a woman, or even to a heterosexual male, and they talk about being a parent, your first reaction isn’t to tell them to adopt. It’s all right, though, I get why people jump to that conclusion; I entirely understand the difficulty of what I want. I look at my future, and I know there is going to be a moment when I am settled down and perfectly ready, but will have to research how to have a child. Research how to have a baby, like an 8 year old whose mother is pregnant. I think the strangest moment of my life will be when I am searching for an ovum. I’m hopeful that

I may be able to find a stranger to ‘lend’ me an egg, so we can move past any legal issues, but honestly I don’t think it would be that simple. I mean, how does one acquire an ovum? Is there a bank, like they have for sperm? No, of course not, because collecting ova is a much more invasive task than ejaculating into a cup. Am I going to have to steal one? I feel like becoming an egg thief is kind of a pointless game, because if you do make a child from it, the evidence of your theft is there forever. One thing I don’t think I will have to worry about, however, is finding a surrogate. I seem to be surrounded by wonderful and supportive women. From my brother’s estranged girlfriend, to people I met only months ago, and people I have known for years. Even my darling sister has offered her womb to me, all Pheobe Bouffay style. There is something I feel is quite interesting about the surrogacy thing. Even though that child will be mine, and not the


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surrogate’s, there will be 9 months where the surrogate will have all control and possession of my child. One lucky, trusted friend will feel my child before I can, will know my child before I can even see them, and they will be the one to feel every kick and movement before I even have a chance to pick a name. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really an issue, because I will still be this child’s father and it will just a blip on the life they will live. I just know that during those 9 months, I will be on edge every day, eagerly awaiting the bundle that my surrogate will bring me. My biggest fear in all this, though, is how society will treat my child. I fear that they will be looked down upon, and be treated as less, or as different. If my child were born today, or had been 10 years ago, I think society would turn their nose up at them. I fear that people will look at me, and maliciously make the judgement that I am an unfit parent. I know

the world around us is changing, improving somewhat, but I still feel this sense of concern for my child. I don’t want something that was not my choice to become an even bigger burden on my child. This is what I think about these days when I see news reports about bashings and bullying. I no longer think of myself, and what it means to me; instead I am thinking of my future child. I don’t want my child to grow up believing that they aren’t safe, or that they are less, because of things they have no control over. I will be a wonderful father, if given the chance. I know it’s not something you really say out loud, but I honestly think I was meant to be a dad. I don’t see how I would fail at creating outstanding human beings, who are nice to everyone and who are happy every day. I will have a child, who will be loved, and will know they are loved. I will fight for their safety, and protect them from all the things that might get in their way. That’s who I fight for now.

When I am in a room full of people discussing same-sex marriage, and I start talking for it, I’m not really fighting for me, but for my child. I don’t want my child to grow up thinking my love isn’t valid, or that their family doesn’t count. When I read news articles about bullying, I see my child having to stand up against a bully because of me. If I can be a part of building a world where children don’t see having a gay parent as an issue, then my child won’t have to have that fight. If I can fight now, then that wonderful little person that won’t have to fight then. At the end of the day, I know I was meant to be a father. It just feels like the right thing and when that day comes - whenever it may be - I know there will be another human being on this planet who will always feel loved, who will always be looked after and who without a doubt will be happy. I can promise you that.


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lexofabrication words: max cooper art: daisy freeburn Verb [trans.]: the art of making up words. From the English fabricate: invent or concoct, and the Greek lexis: a saying, speech, word. I could go deeper, but you’re probably not reading On Dit out of etymological curiosity. ‘That’s not a word,’1 you might be saying. But this is an article, not a conversation, so I get to explain while you talk at the magazine. I mean, I’m not an expert. Don’t go thinking that. I’m not a linguist, or a man of letters. I don’t work as a professional lexicographer, or a loquacious lord of languages. What am I then? I’m just a man who mixes words in a madcap manner. And it’s excellent.

Step 1: Justify; or ‘How I learned to stop worrying and love the lingo’ Lexofabrication is a time-honoured practice. (I mean, Shakespeare did it. You could be the next Shakespeare if you make up words!2) Without it, we wouldn’t 1 This is, incidentally, the most common and most infuriating reaction. Cats scratching their nails down a chalkboard would be less annoying than ‘That’s not a real word’. 2 Not actually true. You’re

have new words, and new words keep the language fresh. We’re constantly renaming things in everyday life, and change is good, right? If you take a prescriptive approach to language you’re basically asking for words to be boring. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you’re Shakespeare or not,3 you can make up words for good effect. Sometimes, in language, a lexical gap occurs: this is where one language needs a convoluted sentence to explain a single word of another language. Sometimes, though, there isn’t a word for an idea in any language.4 And thus is formed a lexical superalmost certainly not the next Shakespeare. You actually can’t be Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s dead. If you want to be anyone, you can’t be him. He’s taken. And because he’s dead, you can’t even murder him and steal his identity. It’s a shame, I know. But anyway, let’s be clear: you’re not Shakespeare. 3 You’re not, just to clarify. See above. 4 As far as you know. I’m making it up as I go along here. So let’s just count ‘in the languages you’re aware of’. Klingon doesn’t count. Nor do languages you ‘know’ on Facebook. Unless you’re actually fluent in them.

gap.5 Sometimes you lack the words to communicate something, and here is where you’re going to want to start making things up like the parents of a kid who just saw their cat get hit by a car. Sure you could talk around a topic, but that’s a lot of effort, and your kid just saw their beloved pet get hit by a car. So really, the most important reason to make up words is the same reason we use words in the first place – to communicate with others. Also, because it’s so much fun.

Step 2: Rationalize; or ‘Enlightenment Thinking for Dummies’ Seriously though, some people have objections to using made up words because they view English as something to be safeguarded and upheld. And honestly, they can make all the arguments they want for ‘Proper English’,6 but languages 5 Not actually a thing. 6 I now hope no one thought of using this article to justify making up words in assessment tasks. I mean, can you imagine that? Someone sees this, thinks ‘this’ll be super fun’ and then they talk about the hillaribad nature of Shakespearian comedy or the omnibordeom created by reading legal case


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are constantly changing and evolving, and I’d much rather see where that takes us rather than try and protect myself from change. In conversations, if you don’t know a proper word for what you want to say making something up to communicate it quickly and easily is valuable. Even though no one is Shakespeare,7 it’s worthwhile acknowledging how he made up words we still use today – before Macbeth the word bubble didn’t exist, yet it makes perfect sense to us now.8 Finally, words define what we can reports. Then, one of them loses marks because their tutor is in a bad mood, and they lose a scholarship or something from that one bad grade, and they decide to take it out on me, and then I get shot walking from Napier to the bus stop. So obviously in order to prevent that entirely predictable turn of events no one should do that. I mean, you make up one word and I get shot. How cruel is that? 7 Except Shakespeare, obviously. But like I said, he carked it awhiles back. 8 Exempli Gratia: The bubbles in my bong have a bold, bodacious aspect. See, if nothing else you understood the bubble bit. Shakespeare is good at what he does. Or was, pre-carking.

talk about. This sounds obvious, but if you want to have a conversation about something, you need words to do it. And you can talk around concepts all you like, but when you distill something down to a word you make it easier to work with and you can even get good discussions9 out of it. And sometimes you won’t know a word, or be able

‘Cats scratching their nails down a chalkboard would be less annoying than “That’s not a real word”.’ to think of it, and lexofabrication is the next best thing. Sometimes you might even be able to make it into the best thing available.

Step 3: Fabricate; or, ‘Words, words, words…’ So, you might be asking how you make up words. Obviously just spouting nonsense and expecting people to know what you mean is pointless. But here are some easy ways to mess around with language for… no real reason, but it’s good for fun: 9

Read: arguments.

Verbing – this is simply shifting a noun into a verb. For example, the practice of verbing turns the noun ‘verb’ which describes a ‘doing word’10 into the verb ‘verbing’ which describes the act of using a noun as a verb, allowing you to communicate actions relating to nouns through their verbed forms. Verily, such vivacious verbing even gives vain arguments verisimilitude, and via valiant ventures in various varieties of fabrication one’s views seem valid.11 Of course, this shows the downside of verbing, which is that it quickly goes from good fun to absolute ridiculousness. Onomatopoeia – this describes a word that sounds like what it describes. For example, the word ‘bam’ sounds like a sudden loud noise. Similarly, if you can’t think of a word for a sound, you can just create a word from the sound. A ‘smoosh-y sound’ is a natural extension of ‘well it made a sound like smoosh’. Evocative Words – This is just the practice of using words that evoke the feeling you’re trying 10 Now I’m just earning brownie points with my old primary school teachers. 11 Read: you can make shit up and sound like you know what you’re talking about if you’re careful.


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to convey. Personally, I’ve used the word ‘blargh-y’ to describe a specific mood that isn’t sadness or anger, but a mix of both with frustration and tiredness. It’s not my own, but it’s a good one. Portmanteau – this is simply joining two words together to create a single word that communicates the combined meaning to the two words. For example, the word ‘jeggings’12 has come into common usage in describing ‘jean leggings’, or leggings that look like jeans. Even though the fact that you can need to talk about them to the point of portmanteau should make people cry enough to make conversation impossible. Seriously, jeggings make me feel worse than seeing my cat get run over by a car.13 (Ed: Please no letters about jeggings.)

12 Inexplicably. 13 Not really. I don’t think I could ever feel that bad unless someone died. Someone I was close to.

Step 4: Avoid; or ‘Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but using the wrong words makes me look dumb’ Of course, this isn’t a perfect system. Sometimes you’ll need to explain what you mean and it will take much more time. But it’s still worth the chance if it’s a word you think people will get, or even if it’s just one you like.

Step 5: Parting Words So now I’ve spent well over 1,000 words on words that, by a purist’s standards, don’t exist. And now, so can you. The world of words is a well-worn way, and it contains many wonders. And now you too can venture into this brave new world,15 and discover what strange things it holds. I hope you take what you’ve read and put it to good use, but most importantly have fun with it.

Of course, you’ll want to look out for common mistakes like trying to rename something (different from giving it a descriptive name because you forgot the proper one) or just spouting nonsense and trying to justify it as communicating creatively. Also, making something that sounds dumb. For example, a friend of mine tried to jump on the jeggings bandwagon and refer to jean shorts as ‘jorts’.14

14 Inexplicably.

15 It’s clichéd. But it’s also such a good cliché.


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Photos: Sarah Carr

POWER TO THE PEOPLE


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‘No country can reach its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs.’ - US President Barack Obama. On the 17th of December 2010, a Tunisian street vendor by the name of Mohamed Bouazizi doused himself in petrol and set himself alight. After a day of harassment and humiliation, and a lifetime under a repressive government, Bouazizi shouted, ‘How do you expect me to make a living?’ and then struck the match. He left behind a loving family and a country howling for revolution. His spark toppled giants; in less than a month Tunisia’s then-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had fled the country. The street vendor’s desperate actions one year ago underscored Tunisia’s disillusion with the tyrannical workings of their country. Bouazizi’s sacrifice empowered thousands to rise up upon their shared experiences of exploitation under a corrupt and oppressive government, in turn empowering the people of other nations to demand freedom of their own. In a wave that became known as the Arab Spring, revolution came to Egypt, civil war came to Libya

and mass uprisings occurred across the whole Arab world. Suddenly, the people had found their voice. Common to each of the countries affected by the groundswell of protest was the traditionally patriarchal nature of their societies. In general, women were sidelined from political processes; female voters were often manipulated, women who stood for election harassed and there was low female representation in public office. As an example, only nine of the 454 seats in the Egyptian parliament were held by women after the 2005 elections. Women were also the victims of discrimination and human rights abuses in their daily lives. The Egyptian Penal Code did not fully protect women from domestic violence, cases of sexual harassment were widespread, and the practice of female genital mutilation continued. Not only was this morally reprehensible, but legally disgraceful as well; Egypt had reneged on its gender equality obligations under international law as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The odds were against them –

and yet, in the face of this repression, women stood up to take an instrumental role in the uprisings. Defying the stereotypical silence of Arab women, female demonstrators worked side by side to lead public demonstrations, care for the wounded and report on the events – all at great personal risk. Wrapped in black abayas, women organised mass demonstrations and distributed leaflets, undertaking strong, central leadership roles despite living in societies where female activists were once repressed. Images and reports of female protestors being shot and killed, beaten with metal poles and sexually abused by government forces depict the valour of these women. In Egypt—a country where the female body is highly protected—the images of a woman being stripped to her underwear, stamped on and ruthlessly beaten unconscious shocked Egypt and the world. Yet such violence and intimidation against women only steeled their resolve further. Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Tawakkol Karman, a female leader of the revolts in Yemen. Dubbed by her people as the ‘Mother of the Revolution’, the journalist and political activist founded the organization Women


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words: sarah swan & justin mcarthur Journalists Without Chains to promote the freedom of expression. She also peacefully mobilized Yemeni youth during the revolts and worked to improve the rights of women. With the award Karman became the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate ever, the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman and only the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize. Although awarded to Karman, she was quick to assert that the award was an honour ‘to the Arab women, to all the women of the world, and to all the people aspiring freedom and dignity’. Across many of the nations of North Africa and the Middle East, the Arab Spring signalled a new beginning, and with this came a sense of optimism for the future rights of women. As dictators were toppled, many women who had experienced political empowerment were eager for further freedom. For the women of the front line the revolts had opened up an opportunity to begin afresh on a basis of non-discrimination for all citizens. However, despite the recent engagement of women, there is no guarantee of long-term empowerment. Since the appointment of transitional governments in the Arab world, much hope for durable equality has been crushed. The

rights of equality that women fought so hard to attain during the revolts may be a fleeting victory if women continue to be excluded from ongoing reform discussions. In December, Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) had only two women among its 61 publicly named members, and the new government included only two women among its 27 members. Mustafa Abdel Jalil, leader of the NTC, has also expressed public support for polygamy. The transitional government in Tunisia has made a positive step towards affirming women’s rights through its withdrawal of Tunisia’s reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Yet there are still concerns that women were marginalised by contesting political parties, which put forward mostly men as their main candidates during elections in October. In Egypt, the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), which assumed power after president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, has excluded women from decision-making bodies entrusted with the huge responsibility of rebuilding an embattled nation. With no women appointed to the committee that drafted Egypt’s

transitional constitutional declaration, the country is at risk of only protecting the rights of half the population. Not only this, but the SCAF has also repealed quotas for female representation in parliament concerning many women’s rights activists who fear that the political freedoms of women are at real risk of backsliding. Already, Egyptian parliamentary elections—in the lead up to a June presidential elections—have seen women win less than two percent of the parliamentary offices. The Islamist Freedom and Justice Party have won the majority of the parliamentary positions with policies that call for separate educational curricula for boys and girls, and for women to be covered head to foot. Ahead of these elections the human rights group Amnesty International asked each of Egypt’s political parties to sign a ‘human rights manifesto’ containing 10 key measures to signal that they were serious about delivering meaningful human rights reform. These included commitments on civil and political rights, promises ending the three-decade-old state of emergency, combating the use of torture, upholding freedom of expression and an obligation to fair investigation of the abuses com-


mitted under Hosni Mubarak.

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This summer Amnesty International will campaign against the erosion of the political rights of women in Egypt. At a time of reform across the Arab world we must advocate for the full participation of women by ensuring that: • Women and women’s rights activists form part of any reform process, and that human rights, non-discrimination and equality are at the heart of reforms during and after elections; • Women can vote in all elections and referendums and run for public office on an equal basis with men, without restrictions, harassment or coercion;

This period of institutional reform in the Arab world is an opportunity for significant advances in women’s rights. However, equality can only be achieved if further action is taken to ensure women have the power to participate in decision-making processes on the same basis as men. The involvement of women is key to the success of democracy in the Arab world. Women have played a central part in the Arab Spring uprisings and in return for their commitment to their country they should be entitled to be equal and active participants in their societies. The women of the Arab world who died, were beaten, arrested or tortured did so because they believed in a brighter future. Don’t let their sacrifice amount to nothing. Join the outcry and help protect the rights of women everywhere.

• Women can participate in the formulation of government policy. Barriers to equality need to be removed by amending existing legislation to better protect women’s rights to equality and non-

Photo: Ilya van Marle

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While only two parties signed up to all the pledges in the manifesto nearly all of the 12 parties who responded agreed to all of the first seven points of the document. Worryingly The Freedom and Justice Party that now holds power in the Egyptian parliament was one of only three major parties not to respond substantively to Amnesty International’s request.

discrimination and ensure they can play an active role in reforms.

This Orientation Week, Amnesty International’s University of Adelaide group will be raising awareness in support for these women and the protection of their basic human rights. Come and show your support at the Adelaide Uni stall during O’Week and find out how it feels to change someone’s life. To add your voice to ours visit the Amnesty International O’Week stall or visit amnesty.com.au. For more information on Amnesty International or the Adelaide University Group contact Emily Gore (emily.gore@student. adelaide.edu.au)


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culture shock and oranges words and photographs: gemma killen


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It’s raining the first time we meet. Actually, it isn’t. The weather is mild and annoying—cloudy, but still sunny enough that the white glare is giving me a headache. But that is no way to start a story. No one would read that shit. And while I’m being honest, it isn’t our first meeting. I’ve known him all my life and could sense him the moment I stepped off the plane. Mostly because he smells of plastic cheese slices. CultureShock™ had killed my mother. Well, that’s not true. He did make her cry though, more than once. And no one makes my mother cry. You know, apart from my father. And mean people in supermarkets. I’m fresh from the big smoke with a head full of dreams and a suitcase full of woolly garments. Adelaide isn’t really big and it’s not that smoky, but it has two cathedrals so it qualifies. The vast Canadian wilderness stretches out before me. Bears and cougars battle it out gladiator style while the beaver queen looks on approvingly. I was going to make the beaver a king, but I’m a feminist and everyone knows all beavers are female. A lone moose stands atop a mountain, icicles dangling from his antlers. At first, I’m determined to ignore CultureShock™ (or ‘Shockie’ – what can I say, I’m Australian). I do what any well developed superhero with a troubled past would do. I shun my responsibilities and throw myself into reckless abandon. For me, this means hiding out in my tiny Canadian apartment, sleeping till 10am, eating vegan hot dogs for breakfast and staying up late to practice my laughter repertoire with the beautiful girl in my bed. I’m getting quite good at hahaha but my hohoho could use a little more work. Eventually, I get scurvy and I have to go outside to buy some

oranges. I know the Shockster will be waiting for me and I’m filled with The Fear™. I’m not ready but I know it’s time. Spice up your Life plays while I montage into the costume that will become a symbol of hope for travellers everywhere. I break with tradition by avoiding skin-tight attire. I’m a rebel. Also, Canada is fucking cold this time of year. I’d like to see one of those spandex men battle it out in these snowy conditions. I opt out of the whole cape thing too because that shit is just impractical. I’m a fan of the subtle approach. In fact, by the song’s end I look very much like every other girl with a buzz cut in an oversized jumper, purple jeans and 12-hole Docs. The only thing that gives me away is the glint in my once-dead eyes. I don’t see my nemesis at first because he looks a bit like everyone I’ve ever met, only the wrong age, wrong height and with the wrong nose. My boots crunch over the gravel and I’m almost convinced I will make it to the grocery store unharmed. The smell of cheese fills the air then, POW! My scarf hits me in the face. As I pull it away from my eyes, Shockalicious himself jumps into my path, his clothes made entirely of foreign food packaging. Before I have a chance to react, he pulls an über solar-powered sonic ray gun from the depths of his billowing candy coat and shoots me. Foreign coins rain down on my adequately sized and nicely shaped head. The next shot stuns me with an array of ever-fluctuating exchange rates. I stumble in his direction because I figure my clumsiness is bound to harm him somehow. I swing out an arm and KAPOW. I hit a wooden telephone pole (whose average lifespan is 40 years shorter than a stobie pole) and the momentum throws me into an

elderly passer-by. The ShockJock chuckles and fires again. Time slows down as giant Canadian tampons fly through the air. The senior citizen shuffles out of the way but I’m not so lucky. Who knew Australia was such a world leader in the field of feminine hygiene products? Tourism Australia should get on that. The biggest tampon I’ve ever seen, accompanied by an ungainly apparatus called an ‘applicator’ hits me in the eye. I crumple. ‘Welcome to Canada, eh.’ The Shockmeister aims his über solar powered sonic ray gun at my ear. Just as he is about to finish me off with a tirade of strange dialects, two things happen. The sun slips behind a crisp white sheet of snow clouds. Snow hits my cheeks and I remember my secret weapon. I’m Australian; I can mock anything. My laughter hits him like a pigeon into a freshly wiped sliding door. ‘In my culture, that’s what we call a shock to the system.’ Nobody else laughs because Canadians are afraid of puns. Perhaps we could learn something from them. Fighting back tears, Shockerino climbs into his electric car and races away at a moderate speed. I can’t hear anything over my hyena-like guffawing but I’m sure he yelled something generic about coming back to finish me off when the weather had improved somewhat. Back in my tiny Canadian apartment, I sink into my giant Canadian armchair. It feels like home. For now, all is well. I have finally earned the name Captain GigglePants. What happens next, nobody knows. I might die from a rare case of scurvy because I forgot to buy the fucking oranges.

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wash your mouth out with

SOPA words: galen cuthbertson A while back — well, January 18th — Wikipedia went dark for 24 hours. If you spend any time on the internet, or look at any news, you probably encountered the basic explanation: two US Acts (SOPA and PIPA) were soon to be passed, and they were bad, bad news for the internet at large. As a result of the protest, both Acts were shelved. Now, I’m not going to trot out the full extent of the ‘badness’ inherent in SOPA and PIPA. Even if they weren’t shelved as a result of the protests, you can go elsewhere for that. What I will do is give you some background — enough to get by and bring you up to speed. Once we’re through that, I want to argue for something far more interesting and important. SOPA and PIPA aren’t just one-off pieces of poor legislation. They’re rewrites of law that we’ve seen before and will see again. They’re skirmishes in ‘a war,’ as the writer Cory Doctorow put it, ‘on general purpose computation’.

The things that make SOPA and PIPA ‘bad’ aren’t kinks that can be worked out by redrafting the legislation. They arise from a fundamental misunderstanding as to the nature of computers and computer use. It’s a misunderstanding perpetuated by the fear of an outdated industry. SOPA may be dead, but the larger fight isn’t over. And it’s time we all understand why the fight is important.

Bodywash/Background Both ‘SOPA’ and ‘PIPA’ are the abbreviated short names of the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’, and the ‘PROTECT IP Act’. Of course, ‘PROTECT IP Act’ was itself an acronym. The full thing expanded to ‘Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Threat of Intellectual Property Act’. Clever, right? You can see why they shortened it. The stated aim of SOPA and PIPA is simple: deal with the problem of piracy once and for all. Reg-

ulate the dark and lawless frontier net, and functionally remove all unauthorised copying … which is, in the minds of the entertainment industry, ‘all copying’. How do you do that? Well, according to Professor Clay Shirky, ‘the way they propose to do this is to identify sites that are substantially infringing on copyright — although how those sites are identified is never fully specified in the bills — and then they want to remove them from the domain name system.’ At this point, I should probably bring all you non-comp-sci students back into the discussion. The domain name system is what takes human-readable names (like ‘ondit. com’) and turns them into the IP adresses that machines expect (like 141.8.224.25). Now, there are two problems here. One is functional and the other is philosophical. The functional problem? This model of censorship simply doesn’t work. You can still type 141.8.224.25 into your

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(off-campus)

address bar, or make it a clickable link, and you’ll still go to ondit. com. The result, as Clay Shirky puts it, is that ‘the policing layer around the problem becomes the real threat of the act.’ They can’t stop at taking ‘ondit.com’ out of the system, they also have to take out any site which points to its IP address. That means that ‘Google’ gets removed if it ever links to 141.8.224.25. In short, you have to break the ‘net’. That’s the functional problem. The philosophical problem takes a little more unpacking.

Policy Heuristics Politicians don’t always have expertise in the areas in which they make laws. And, surprisingly, that’s not really a problem. Politicians — in fact, any decision-makers — rely on heuristics, which is really just a fancy term for ‘rules of thumb based mostly on experience’. This is pretty abstract, so I’ll try to make it approachable. To borrow shamelessly from Doctorow (mentioned supra), I want to explain the relevant ‘policy heuristics’ in terms of cars and car regulation. I know, it’s weird. Bear with me. Let’s say I go to Parliament, and I get all up and paranoid in their stuffy, lawmaking grills. I say: Have you ever noticed that every bankrobber gets away in cars? And that all those cars have four of these wheels? We need to do something about that! You guys should, like, regulate wheels! Now, no sane-thinking Parliament would regulate wheels. Society might be crumbling, even on the verge of collapse at the

hands of wheel-wielding bankrobbers, but Parliament wouldn’t ban them. Why not? Well, two heuristics are relevant. First, the cost would always be higher than the relevant benefit. As a policy-maker, you have to weigh up the costs of the law against its benefits. That’s heuristic one. And in the case of wheels, there’s just no realistic situation in which banning wheels does more to help the populace than it does to harm them. Second, and far more important to our discussion, is the issue of complex systems. Cars are complex systems — so are computers, so is the internet. We understand, re cars, that the wheels are fundamental. Without them, all you’ve got left, really, is a hunk of metal on some cinder blocks. The complex system ‘car’ cannot do what it has been designed to do. By contrast, however, we understand that the CD player isn’t fundamental; it’s a feature. Take the CD player out, and the car still does precisely what it’s meant to do: it drives. Hopefully, you get the point of this second heuristic, but I’ll try to make it even more explicit. As a general rule, systems have primary ‘functions’, but they also have lots of ‘features’. And you can regulate the ‘features’ without destroying primary ‘functions’. That’s the heuristic that’s causing all the mess.

Water That Isn’t Wet How, exactly, is it causing all the mess? Well, the problem is that digital information is essentially and inherently copyable. Making a bit that isn’t copyable is, to borrow from Ed Felton, ‘like handing out water that isn’t wet.’ Copying is

what computers, and the internet, do. It’s not a ‘feature’ of general purpose computation. It is general purpose computation. It’s the primary function. SOPA and PIPA fail, and are frankly downright dangerous, because they think of copying as a removeable feature: like the CD player in your car. But the ability to freely copy is a fundamental aspect of the system. The internet falls down without it.

Scarcity, Abundance, And A Barrel of Free Ink Now, I know what you’re thinking: where’s the ‘war’ that I mentioned earlier? Okay, 20th Century media companies (the ones who want SOPA and PIPA and their international siblings to be law) were born into an incredibly friendly economy. Scarcity was squarely on their side. When they first came about — I’m talking turn of the century here — copying was hard. If you wanted to watch a movie, you had to go to the movies and pay to see the movie. Later, if you wanted to watch TV, you had to turn on and pick one of, like, three channels. Your choice, as a consumer, was seriously limited. As Clay Shirky put it: If you were making a TV show, it didn’t have to be better than all other TV shows ever made; it only had to be better than the two other shows that were on at the same time — which is a very low threshold of competitive difficulty. Which meant that if you fielded average content, you got a third of the U.S. public for free — tens of mil-


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lions of users for simply doing something that wasn’t too terrible. This is like having a license to print money and a barrel of free ink. Today, it’s not like that. Copying is easy. Not just with the now-obsolete video cassettes and tape recorders; not just with CDs and DVDs. Today, we have the high-speed, cheap, near-universal internet. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Google. The sheer tonnage of available, copyable information is huge. You can upload what you want, download what you want, and there’s nobody to stop you. Not only that, but copying will never be harder than it is today. Understandably, all of that freaks out the media industry. A lot. And they want it to stop. They want this infernal ‘copying’ to stop. The problem, however, is that copying is often sharing. And sharing is social. The majority of content on the internet isn’t produced by media companies. It’s produced by us. Because it turns out that, when given the opportunity, humans don’t just want to sit back and watch TV. Granted, we do want to do that, we also want to talk, and make, and share. As Clay Shirky says: Some of the stuff we share is stuff we’ve made. Some of the stuff we share is stuff we’ve found. Some of the stuff we share is stuff we’ve made out of what we’ve found, and all of it horrifies those industries. And on the internet, on computers, all of that sharing and making and remixing — literally all of

it — involves copying. It requires copying.

Positional definitional The position of the 20th century media industry, and the politicians they fund, is therefore essentially this: when you copy our content, you do it without our permission. We lose money, and that hurts, and that’s scary for us. And so, we want to take away your ability to copy and, incidentally, create. We want to put you back on the couch. We want to be the only producers of media, and we want you to be passive consumers. We were here first. We were the first to have wheels on our cars. We were the first to have cars. And frankly, we want the roads to ourselves again. So if we can get it by you, and you don’t fight to stop us, we’ll take all the wheels off all of your cars. We will police the roads with our sharktoothed lawyers, and if you try to use them, and you’re not from our gang, we will rip you to shreds. We will run the taxis, and the buses, and the trains, and the trams. And they’ll only take you where we want to go. What they risk doing, according to our oft-quoted Clay Shirky, is taking a centuries-old legal concept, innocent until proven guilty, and reversing it — guilty until proven innocent. You can’t share until you show us that you’re not sharing something we don’t like. Suddenly, the burden of proof for legal versus illegal falls affirmatively on us and on the services that might be offering us any new capabilities. And if it costs even a dime to police a

user, that will crush a service with a hundred million users. That’s their position. That’s why it sucks. It’s not a position isolated to SOPA and PIPA. There are countless other examples of the same war being fought by the same people to the same ends. SOPA and PIPA are renamed reworkings of an earlier bill, which also didn’t pass, called COICA. On a more sinister, worldwide scale, there’s a treaty being negotiated behind closed doors called ACTA: the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which aims to deal with copyright enforcement on an international scale (and has some pretty terrifying drafted provisions).

The Reason This Matters The war matters, ultimately, because it’s not about piracy. It’s an attack on the same ‘function’ of the internet, and of computers, that lets us communicate freely. Without the open net, the social progress we see today would grind to a halt. Coordinated, simultaneous movements like Occupy would be impossible. Free encyclopedias would cease to be free — and the equal education that that provides would disappear. We would, as a society, be forced to share, and talk, and create only slowly and physically. In my view, that sucks. It doesn’t suck because I like Facebook, or because I like downloading pirated music. It sucks because sharing, and talking, and creating is how we work together. It’s how a culture — a group composed of us — works together to fix our culture’s problems and celebrate our solutions. It’s how we make ourselves better. It’s how we make ourselves great.

(off-campus)


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(creative)

knocking. by alison coppe

I am a white rock from some other beach. My fingers hover above the keys as they do over her body. Can I write this? Can I touch this? This touching and not touching. This unspeakable. This relocation, this stolen, this dark rock uprooted. Kelp is American. Or is it English? Seaweed slides against the girl’s fresh leg. Passing through. This stolen rock. This relocation. The talk is different now. Who are we? We settlers. We invaders planted territorially in this sand. The waves are accidental to our to and fro, our left to right. Our indifference. Spread against the palm of time we’re just a line in a fingerprint; indecipherable, unmarked, and passing through. Alison is the product of her Catholic school. Alison is more conservative than she imagined she would be. Alison called the Liberals pigs in the music room of her publicly subsidised private school. Alison bashed her head on the convent ceiling and fought the impulse to become a nun. The convention killed the romance. Pass the salt. The water laps and dries white rings on her ankles. The drink overflowing. I want to lie down beside her. Locked in our sand. Clinging to our spot in this dirt lung. Moving but not mobile. Tide changes our shape and colour. We are not those peach stones thrown back into the sea at Christmas time. We are the dirt; we are all the damage we’ve ever done. This can work for all of us. This nation guilt free; smile, smile, smile. I’ve only ever seen red dirt on the

television. Until that day, that day when I tiptoed down the cracked-heel road, when she was still down my throat, despite the heat, despite the distance, she remained. Inhaling red dirt down red throat, down to the pit and the pity. Snapper wrapped in foil smokes on a barbecue. Lemon, thyme, chilli, and coriander buzz beneath the surface. A man chews on a cigar at his cooking post. His watching-the-kids-while-the-table-is-prepared post. Three teenagers smoke and laugh by the side gate, giggling as they approach the table smelling of cigarettes and their uncle’s aftershave. They’re all pimpled and prickling from the nicotine. The little ones spin around the clothesline: their dance makes sense to them now. Joining hands and spinning until the grass tilts and they’re called in for lunch. Venire qui! Knocking at the heart of me. Knowing and not knowing. Stolen time. Stolen life. Pounds at the sides of me, tears down these fences, these doors, these shower screens. These parenting magazines. These protection agencies, these interventions, injections. I’m in a mode of alienation. Let’s talk ocean breeze. Wild, it cups the sides of that long cardigan trailing behind her, a little brown from the wet sand. Salt stings our faces as we head back to the house. A little pink from the sun, peach, and rocks click between my fingers as I throw them back and forth. Connect the dots under the tide, the water opens and closes like history. The stones, peach, black, grey and white mark the face of the shore, spotty and isolated, we don’t live here, we’re just visiting. We’ve taken up this space.


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. King Courage

by benjamin zubreckyj

Don’t you find it funny, How things disappear? As if my back pocket Is some kind of peculiar abyss, Of which only I am aware. For it houses a leather-bound Pandora, Containing money and plastic and a token prophylactic! Charlie-Orwell’s ‘curious specimen’, and I Share an ideology. And on those rare occasions where I find myself with money It exits hastily (and with purpose), Through the revolving door of That peculiar abyss. In that Paris Quarter, Sitting in a booth in the Bistro, A soul not unlike mine Contemplates life and life; Half-drunk Half-starved. Even poverty is romantic in Paris. But it seems my situation causes me interest, Because, for me, Money (or lack thereof!) causes grief. For I am torn between an Inevitability as certain as gravity, And my yearning for anything but. This realisation- A Paradox! Like a child, Tugged by the inhumanity of their parent’s divorce. I know not what to choose, For both roads Are neither shortNor straight. But I know exactly what I must do, And I MUST do it for the wheelers. I need only summon King Courage. For it is something which any man can possess, Yet is found, But by a few.

(creative)


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stuff you like

(miscellany)

cloud nothings - attack on memory: seb tonkin likes this

roderick on the line: galen cuthbertson likes this

This has been my first, only, and favourite album of 2012. Cloud Nothings started in 2009 as the catchy lo-fi solo project of 18-yearold Clevelandite Dylan Baldi. Since then, Dylan’s gained a couple of years and the project a number of members. Produced by Steve Albini, Attack on Memory seems like the creation of a more ambitious band, and its arrival just after last year’s self-titled maybe signals some welcome Thee-Oh-Sees-style prolificacy. Check out ‘Wasted Days’ for a lengthy psychy jam from a punchy punk posse that works much better than that should.

‘Roderick On The Line’ is the hipster podcast to end all hipster podcasts. It is, in its makers’ own words, ‘a frank and candid weekly phone call’ between ‘indie writer’ Merlin Mann and songwriter/raconteur John Roderick. Though they claim to be ‘trying to help you’ and fix the many (hilarious) ‘problems’ they think exist in the world, really they just talk. About anger, fear, frustration, life. Also, with regularity, about the finer points of WWI history re the modern vintage fashion economy. Yeah, okay, it’s nerdy. So shoot me. It’s the strangest and greatest podcast I’ve ever encountered, and after 20 episodes, I’m a rabid fan.


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Photo: Sebastian Petrovski

(miscellany)

catpaint: emma jones likes this

san cisco @ jive feb 4: elizabeth flux likes this

your submissions: on dit likes this

This app is possibly the best thing ever. Nothing will sell iPhones like this app. If you haven’t got one, you’ll want one once you’ve seen what it can do. When I saw photos on my Newsfeed of my friends surrounded by laser-shooting cats I immediately blew the $0.99 and MY WHOLE LIFE IS WONDERFUL NOW. Just look at this fucking photograph. LOOK AT IT. Take a picture of yourself alone at home and literally surround yourself with laser-shooting feline friends. You’ll never be lonely again.

Once you get past the borderline legality of Fremantle band San Cisco performing in an over 18s venue, you can settle in to enjoying a show somewhat reminiscent of going to see a friend’s band perform. Playing alongside The Jungle Giants and Messers, the atmosphere was relaxed, the crowd was keen, and the music was cheerful to the point of threatening to jump from indie-rock to twee pop. Finally and somewhat fittingly their hit song ‘Awkward’ ended on a mildly uncomfortable note with lead singer Jordi participating in a half-successful but enthusiastic crowd surf.

Sharing is caring. If you like something, tell us about it here. Review anything at all, whether it sucked or blew your mind. You’ve got 50100 words and our email address is this: ondit@adelaide.edu.au. KGO.


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(miscellany)

an open letter to... tyra banks

Just because you masqueraded as a stripper and wore a fat suit does not make you a television sensation.

Dear Tyra Banks, Who the fuck do you think you are? I mean, seriously, a novelist? Perhaps declaring yourself a supermodel turned ‘businesswoman’ we could have let slide, but let’s be honest. Please. You are no more a novelist than I am a Catholic, and I’d sooner be admitted to Heaven than somebody finish reading your novel without cringing/killing themselves. Tookie De La Crème is not a good name for a sciencefiction-inspired character ‘loosely’ based on yourself. We’ve all seen America’s Next Top Model, and we all know the story. I understand that you have a rather large forehead, and for that you suffered extraordinary hardships in your youth. I also understand that you were the first African American woman to be featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated. We get it. Naomi Campbell is intimidated by how fierce you are, and obviously we can all understand why.

Query: what were you thinking with the Tyra Show? You’re not a baby Oprah, and Christ knows you never will be. Just because you masqueraded as a stripper and wore a fat suit does not make you a television sensation. I have, however, gotten a great deal of satisfaction watching you lecture teenagers about their life choices, so kudos. You are not a psychologist. Please stop wearing blonde wigs. And were you ever actually a supermodel? I’m intrigued, because prior to ANTM I had never actually heard about you. Had everybody else? To be fair, you actually look quite sexy in those photos that you force down our throats on the show, but I’m pretty sure that’s a completely different person as you certainly don’t look that way now. Suspenders do not flatter your shape. Nor do jumpsuits. I guess what I’m saying is,

please stop. I accept your interest in woman power and all of that shit, but if you had the intellectual capability to acknowledge the disservice that you encroach upon feminism, you would just stop. I shouldn’t have to tell you. Calm the fuck down. Also, explain why to us all why the fuck Angelea got disqualified, because that is the most intriguing thing about you. Seriously, does she have a criminal conviction? Goddammit, Tyra, tell us.

Love, Rhia Rainbow

Got an open letter you need to send? It could be printed right here on this page. Send your open letter to anyone or anything to us: ondit@adelaide. edu.au. You vent that spleen. Vent it REAL GOOD.


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(miscellany)


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(columns)

this much inspiration

around me for ideas. I’m not sure why I do this. Maybe I just enjoy frustration. I’m positive that if a person has a really good idea, there’s no way they’re just going to hand it to me. They need persuasion, and preferably the chocolate-coated kind. Rather than hand over their treasured ideas, they give me random topics nobody cares about. And of course I get the occasional smartass saying ‘write about me!’, which is probably just a distraction so that I’ll be too irritated to notice them reaching for the spoons. If I actually get a genuine answer, I usually ignore it anyway, because while the topic they suggest might mean a lot to them, I just can’t fit a voice to it that has enough to say. The voice just peters out gradually until I can’t hear it, and any column I could write like that would have a font that slowly decreases in size until it’s just … which would never do. unreadable

I do my best thinking late at night, just before I fall asleep. This is a problem, because I generally don’t feel like writing just as my brain is switching to ‘power save’ mode. I deal with this by promising myself to remember strokes of genius in the morning, but Inspiration, being one of those children who like to carry a large, poorly concealed meat cleaver behind her back, ensures that the next morning all I can remember of my idea was that it was ‘really, really good. REALLY GOOD.’

MICHELLE BAGSTER stays up late at night. Inspiration is a sick, twisted child who doesn’t understand why nobody wants to play her games. Oh yes, this is the inevitable column about writing columns. Because, you see, nothing has happened to me in these past couple of months of holidays. Well, actually, I did try to toss a pair of shoes over the electric wire running across the road, just to see what all the fuss was about. I thought actually giving it a go myself would help me explain the phenomenon. I still don’t know. Please, someone enlighten me? Anyway, as relaxing as it has been to wake up and have whole days to myself, monotony provides no fuel for writing. I didn’t get angry at anything I need to vent about, I didn’t come across a sudden new perspective on life, and nobody even once tried to brain me with a dessert spoon. Suffice to say, nothing really noteworthy happened. When monotony attacks, I turn to the people

After forcing myself to switch on my desk light late at night and actually get these thoughts on paper, I have (sadly) discovered that maybe I was wrong about having Good Ideas just as I’m drifting off. I came back to my pages the next morning with a clear head, only to be shocked by half-readable scrawls, a page full of pictures of what it would look like if Pikachu was a doctor, and another page completely empty except for the word ‘cranberries’, which was crossed out. I guess the message you can take away from my stupidity is that, unless you have some kind of super power, you will get nothing unless you’re willing to put in proper, awake work. And I will not write about you just because you asked. Put the dessert spoon down.


irrational irritations sensor sensibility ELIZABETH FLUX is a-door-able. Sometimes I leave my house. On the odd occasion this happens, what I don’t want is to be confronted with big, life-affirming questions of a confusing and disquieting nature. Or to smack my face on a pane of glass. However, you don’t always get what you want, and I generally return home with a bruise and a generously sized existential crisis. The reason for this physical and psychological pain is not parking, or dealing with suspicious shop attendants, or futile attempts to escape the wrath of old ladies determined to smack you with their handbags as they browse the shelves. Instead, the source of my problems lies with the menace that is… door sensors. There are three types of door sensor, each with their own brand of fiendish electronic magic to perplex and sometimes injure you:

The Oversensitive: This is the kind of door sensor that casts its net so far and wide that it basically picks up your presence from across the street. Whilst you’re inside another shop. In the change room. Poetic licence aside, the main reason I dislike this is because I’m an indecisive introvert, which means that if I’m lingering outside a shop, there is a high chance that I will change my mind and head back in a different direction. If you smack an over-zealous door sensor in the middle of this, every time you so much as blink or move an arm, the doors will open and attract the hopeful gaze of shop assistants, making my not-so-inner introvert shrivel. When this happens to the same shop multiple times, hopeful turns to suspicious, and then finally to pity as they watch you trying desperately and unsuccessfully to find somewhere ‘safe’ to stand. The Insensitive: In the true spirit of first world problems, I also have issues when door sensors don’t recognise my presence at all. You can witness person after person successfully enter an establishment, but when you arrive at the doors... nothing. Maybe you just chose the wrong trajectory. Backtrack. Nothing. Maybe you aren’t waving your arms enough? Flail emphatically. Nothing. Fail emphatically. At that moment somebody else sidesteps you and successfully enters the shop. Maybe you just chose the wrong mode of existence. The Deceptive Speed: Classically, doors were predictable. They opened at whatever speed your hand was moving, and the only thing you really needed to be concerned about was avoiding a Laurel and Hardy type situation where you would have two people pulling on each side of a door with slapstick hi-jinks a plenty. Automatic doors follow no such rules, and indeed seem to take great delight in opening at an unpredictable speed. Too slow, and people like me channel their inner pigeon. Too fast theoretically shouldn’t be so bad, but when you tack this on to midway through a normal speed, what results is me and a friend being pinned together by the door to our faculty for daring to leave the building at the same time. Sure, we can now joke about ‘crushing’ on each other, but frankly, I was happier with light-bulb jokes. There’s probably a metaphor for life buried amidst all of this. However, it is unlikely I will be able to get to it as there’s probably a sensor-driven door in the way. Oh well.

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(columns)


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(diversions)

DIVERSIONS

Caption this photo of the editorial cat and win yourself a 2-for-1 pass for the Palace Nova cinemas! Tweet us your caption using #onditcaptioncontest, add your caption as a comment to the image on our Facebook page, or come visit us in the AUU Marquee at O’Week! Entries close end of Week 2.


crystal bollocks with psychic psusan

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Aries: You’ll hypnotise thousands (or maybe tens) of people when you pull shapes this Saturday. Your hips don’t lie. Or do they?

Libra: Life’s a beach. Or is it a bitch? Either way, then you die. This fortnight. So maybe, you know, write a will or something.

Taurus: They say a true friend stabs you in the front, but a true friend probably shouldn’t be stabbing you at all. Just in case, be careful of friends with knives.

Scorpio: Sneezing is one eighth of an orgasm, apparently. If you sneeze eight times, that’ll be this fortnight’s sex life.

Gemini: The cosmos has been watching you, and it knows what you do at night when everyone’s asleep. It knows, and it wants to join in. Cancer: Good things come to those who wait. Have you been waiting? If you haven’t, you probably won’t get anything. Just saying. Leo: Be wary of the internet this fortnight. Terrible things will happen, like a nude photo of you on isanyoneup.com… or a new Facebook layout. Virgo: Someone’s in love with you, and it seems like they’ve finally garnered the courage to tell you so. I hope you like bad poetry.

Sagittarius: Get drunk! Everybody else is. Capricorn: Just when you think the worst is over, you’ll get on a bus only to realise you left your headphones at home. C’est la vie. Aquarius: Stress and negativity are a pain in your ass. Banish them with some powerful herbs and then eat 400 bags of Doritos. Pisces: This fortnight, finance is not your friend. Don’t make any stupid investments or get drunk and leave your wallet in a cab because you’ll need those dollars later.

targedoku Find as many words as you can using the letters on the Sudoku grid (including a 9 letter word). Words must be four letters or more and include the highlighted letter. Use the letters to solve the Sudoku (normal sudoku rules apply).

I S M

S

D

W

O

M

T

D H

R

I

W

M

T

I

R M

O I

W S

O

D

S I

H

S R

I

R O

(diversions)


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retrospective

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(retrospective)

orientation week


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(retrospective)

clockwise from top left: 1. Freshers’ Gas Lash from 35.1, 1967 2. Cartoon from 34.1, 1966 3. How to ‘Be In’ from 35.1, 1967 4. Catacombs gig flyer from 34.1, 1966 5. Freshers’ Party from, 35.1, 1967


writer? illustrator? photographer? student? ON DIT. The University of Adelaide’s On Dit magazine is seeking the above (and associated passionate and creative folk) to help fill its 48 fortnightly pages. On Dit is Australia’s third-oldest student magazine, and in 2012 celebrates its 80th birthday. Famous Adelaide alumni like Colin Thiele, Shaun Micallef, and Julia Gillard (and Christopher Pyne!) have graced its pages. Now you can too. If you’re interested in contributing, come visit us in the AUU O’Week marquee, slide something under our door, or check out ondit.com.au. We can’t wait to hear from you.


On Dit’s Executive Editorial Lounge is located in this basement, adjoining the Barr Smith Lawns.



On Dit Issue 80.1