ISSUE 3: FREUDIAN SLIP
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ISSUE 3: FREUDIAN SLIP
CONTENTS 5 NEWS
18 POP CULTURE REWIND: WHO AND WHAT IS FREUD?
6 THE CAMPUS LOWDOWN
20 I DON’T GET IT: ANARCHY
8 SRC ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS
22 YOU ARE HERE: CHATSWOOD
38 SCHEDULE: FOURTH YEAR, SEMESTER 2
9 THE LOST SOCIETIES OF MACQUARIE
24 WRITING ON THE WALL: STRIPPING
10 INDIA: OVERFLOWING WITH BODIES 12 FIGHTING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE
26 FEATURES 27 GHOST IN ASIAN HORROR MOVIE V SEXC
28 DUDE, SHE’S GOT DADDY ISSUES
15 MOB: THE SCREAMS THAT FILL THE LAND
30 FREUD AND CANCEL CULTURE
16 CHALLENGE: PRACTICING STOICISM
32 RANKING PSYCH-THEORIES AND PHILOSOPHIES I HATE 34 DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS
42 LADY LINEN 43 COBWEBS 44 ATIVISM
46 REPEAT OFFENDERS 47 TV SHOW REVIEW: BRIDGERTON 50 THEATRE REVIEW: HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL 52 MUSIC REVIEW: ‘MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)’ BY LIL NAS X 54 BOOK REVIEW: OUTLAWED BY ANNA NORTH 55 HOROSCOPES
Views expressed by the authors are not those of the publisher.
EDITORS’ LETTERS A psychology student once told me that her lecturer got the class to purge their misconceptions and chant “FREUD IS FRAUD.” Yet love him or hate him, the presence of the founder of psychoanalysis has endured throughout the centuries in literature and science. Despite many of his theories being disproven, Freudian concepts like the id, ego, superego, psychosexual suppression, penis envy, and the Oedipus complex, are well known in the pop-culture sphere. From absentee father Darth Vader telling a distraught Luke, “I am your father,” to a vengeful Inigo Montoya dedicating his life to the study of fencing so that he can one day spout the iconic line, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Our society often unfairly makes assumptions based on whether somebody has ‘daddy issues,’ something that Eleanor Taylor unpacks with insight in her article ‘Dude, She’s Got Daddy Issues.’ In line with our theme, Freudian Slip, this issue our writers let their subconscious feelings OUT. Kathleen Notohamiprodjo tells us how she really feels about her experience watching the cultural phenomenon Hamilton at the Sydney Lyric Theatre—does it live up to the hype? Tori Barendregt reviews the music video ‘Montero (Call Me By Your Name)’ by Lil Nas X, which sparked a slew of selfrighteous Christian outrage and controversy. In our Regulars segment ‘Mob,’ Ky Stewart’s poem ‘The Screams That Fill The Land,’ explores the memories of colonial violence and intergenerational trauma Indigenous Australians continue to face today. An anonymous contributor opened up about her experience of becoming a stripper and entering the world of exotic dancing at the age of eighteen in our other Regular segment ‘Writing on the Wall.’ This issue is filled with discussions on gender and philosophy. Our Creative Director Kathleen Notohamiprodjo outdid herself with the cover which depicts an introspective Alexander the Great crying gold tears. Put your critical thinking hats on and enjoy perusing this issue of Grapeshot! Jodie, Editor-in-Chief
Do you believe in the Freudian Slip? Do unintentional errors reveal your true subconscious feelings and unconscious desires or are they simply a mistake? I’m not really sure where I stand on the term, but it does sound believable to an extent—are you really trying to convince me that when Ross said “I take thee Rachel” instead of “Emily” that it was just a mistake? I don’t think so. Freudian Slips have littered media since the beginning of time, with many quickly agreeing that a simple slip of the tongue can be a clue for what people are really thinking. In 2012 UK Prime Minister David Cameron told the House of Commons that “we are raising more money for the rich,” A US news channel once referred to Prince William as the “Douche of Cambridge,” whilst another discussed Tiger Woods withdrawal from a competition due to a “bulging dick.” But fear not if all this psychology talk is reminding you too much of uni work, the third issue of Grapeshot has covered a very entertaining variety of topics. I dive deep into the archives of StudentVIP and Macsync to find Macquarie’s long lost societies, Eleanor Taylor explains the inner workings of Anarchy, Rayna Bland gives you the Campus Lowdown and our editor-in-chief Jodie Ramodien takes on the challenge of putting Stoicism into practice. If reading this issue helps you discover your inner Carrie Bradshaw and you want to write for us, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for contributor callouts, or reach out via email – I promise it isn’t that scary. As always, an amazing team of writers and designers have put in a lot of effort to make an amazing issue. So, settle in and enjoy issue three of Grapeshot. Madi, Deputy Editor
EDITORIAL & CREATIVE PRODUCTION EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Jodie Ramodien DEPUTY EDITOR: Madison Scott CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Sam van Vliet CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kathleen Notohamiprodjo NEWS EDITOR: Saliha Rehanaz CAMPUS NEWS EDITOR: Rayna Bland REGULARS/REPEAT OFFENDERS EDITOR: Eleanor Taylor FEATURES/CREATIVES EDITOR: Rhys Sage EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS: Tori Barendregt, Nikita Byrnes, Mykayla Castle, Olivia Chan, Lachlan Hodson DESIGN ASSISTANT: Rhys Sage
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tiffony Fong, Max Ghent, Bruna Gomes, Lachlan Marnoch
COVER ART Kathleen Notohamiprodjo
SECTION OPENERS Sam van Vliet
EDITORIAL REVIEW BOARD Allastassia Carter, Marlene Khouzam, Amanda Mathews, Jay Muir, Amanda O’Neill, Ateka Rajabi, Eryna Tash
GRAPESHOT acknowledges the Wattamatagal clan of the Darug nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and meet. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded, no treaty was signed, and would like to pay our respects to Elders, past, present, and emerging. We would like to extend those respects to all First Nations people reading. Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land.
GOT SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE? SEND PITCHES, IDEAS, QUESTIONS, WORDS, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ART TO GRAPESHOT@MQ.EDU.AU
BY RAYNA BLAND Penalty Increase for Arts Students Starting from Semester 2, the penalty for late assignments will supposedly be increased from 2% per day to 10% in the Faculty of Arts. Staff have expressed their lack of approval and this move is allegedly being pushed by the Dean of Law as told from MQ staff. A Faculty of Arts spokesperson has advised Grapeshot that the Faculty has made this decision following a review by the University in 2020 to have a “standardised approach to late penalties to make the rules fair and remove inconsistencies.” Considering other faculties have already been under this 10% penalty that seems somewhat understandable or perhaps, everyone could have chilled out and just kept it at the 2% but I guess we are here now. While this approach may achieve more consistency there are also things to consider such as a higher administration load. As one MQ lecturer stated: “In terms of impact on staff, I would say there would be an increase in special consideration requests to process or make note of, as well as the potential for more individual consultations with students who have been adversely affected by the change. This change will clearly add more stress for both staff and students.” This move also comes as another blow after the 113% fee hike introduced by the Liberal party in their 2020 education bill. This same bill also states that any first year student who fails 50% of their course will be kicked off HECS. An overwhelming majority of domestic students rely on the HECS system to study, therefore many students would be kicked out due to their financial standing. This is an abomination and privileges those who are luckier fiscally. Arts students and stuff are getting kicked to the gutter. There have been countless cuts, restructures, and sackings. Staff and students fear what more is to come for their futures.
SRC Elections In March, nominations were sent in for students to become a part of the Student Representative Committee and the University Council. Throughout April you may have noticed the candidates campaigning. What do these candidates and groups do exactly? The University Council is the governing authority of the University. The student member on The University Council is an integral part of the governance of the University at the highest level. The SRC is the University’s peak consultative body for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Committee includes elected members and appointed members and, collectively, represents the voice of students.
Phallic Statutes and Forbidden BJs Just next to the Macquarie lake on the lush green grass, there stands a big black cock statue. Well, at least that is my interpretation of the incredibly phallic statue. The statue can be seen from the Ubar deck but the best view is definitely up close and personal. A great place for a cute picnic with plenty to look out. Check it out! Also, this is just a little note for all the hornbags out there. The bushes next to the Macquarie Lake and opposite the Ubar deck are not thick enough to hide the blowjobs. You are not invisible. If you want to give out blowjobs please find some deeper bush or find a spot that is not so viewable from Ubar, or better yet, keep it at home ya filthy animals.
Queer Collective and Queer Space Macquarie University’s Queer Collective is a student society that ensures LBGTIQA+ identifying students and staff are safe on campus as well as creating a social atmosphere for students and staff. The society is there to support and represent all students on campus who identify as queer, including people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, genderqueer, asexual or anywhere within the spectrum! There is the Queer Space for all of these wonderful souls to gather. The Queer Space is located in Level 3 of the MUSE building. You can contact the Collective at macqueer@gmail. com or find them on their Facebook page where you may request to join their Facebook group.
MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY BEER AND WINE SOCIETY Please give a warm welcome to Macquarie’s newest society, the Macquarie University Beer and Wine Society! “We are a social club dedicated to tipping back skews and sipping on some reds. We want to hold pub crawls, themed parties, trips to the vineyards, balls, dinner cruises, or any other event to show our love for beer and wine.”
Women Entering Business (WEB) A word from the Publications Team at WEB: WEB is an extensive network of supportive, high achieving and hard-working women. The passionate and driven leaders within the society work towards reflecting their dedication to create a community of women who inspire each other and achieve their career goals. WEB offers its members social and professional networking opportunities throughout the year, hosted in collaboration with its sponsors. They are proud to be working with prestigious organisations including Deloitte, EY, Grant Thornton, BDO, CAANZ, FTI Consulting, Gresham and Pinnacle. As WEB approaches Semester 2, it is a key time to begin the celebrations of their five year anniversary and they extend this invitation to their members. Members can also look forward to multiple intervarsity events alongside WEB’s own sponsored professional events. To further expand opportunities for its members, they are committed to collaborating with various other societies and organisations to host events. Each year, WEB’s flagship Alumni Night is an eagerly anticipated event as it provides members with access to highly esteemed panelists and guest speakers and offers valuable insight across a range of industries. Make sure to engage with these events to build your network and gain skills, with the benefit of meeting like-minded women who value succeeding together. To learn more and register as a WEB member, scan this QR code!
So let loose, let the liquor enter into your system, and let those Freudian slips out! Disclaimer: This is not an affiliated society. Find their Facebook page to join the society today!
SRC ELECTIONS AND APPOINTMENTS BY SALIHA REHANAZ
Unity, All1nce, Left Action for SRC… posters, flyers, and pamphlets decorated the walls of Macquarie for the past few weeks. With an array of suitable candidates, campaigns took place in full swing with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. On May 6th, election and appointment positions were finally announced. The members of the SRC have to meet the requirements of the Capability Framework and are appointed by a Selection Panel. Each member’s term begins from May 14th 2021 and will end on May 13th 2023. Take a look below to see if your vote counted towards the results. Undergraduate Student Representatives Amy Lamont Claire Wescombe Peshala Denagamage Overseas Students Representative Sheel Bhansali Undergraduate Student Representative from the Faculty of Arts Fatima Khan Undergraduate Student Representative from the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences Zarah Sully Undergraduate Student Representative from the Faculty of Science and Engineering Kaitlin York Undergraduate Student Representative from the Macquarie Business School Sadra Yousefi Postgraduate Student Representative Curtis Micallef Postgraduate Student Representative from the Faculty of Science and Engineering Harry Stone Postgraduate Student Representative from the Macquarie Business School Aakanksha Jadhav Women Students Representative Saliha Rehanaz
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students Representative Allastassia Carter Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students Representative Eryna Tasha Distance Students Representative Amanda O’Neill Students with a Disability Representative Jarrod Currey LGBTIQ Students Representative Jeremiah Dixon Regional and Remote Students Representative Pavel Pfitzner Student Representatives from a Major Student Organisation Ziyan Tejani Udai Kamath
THE LOST SOCIETIES OF MACQUARIE Midway through my fourth year at a university that boasts about having more than 130 affiliated student clubs and societies I feel like I’m missing something. Sure, I’ve seen the stalls at O-week and even signed up to a few in my first year, but I haven’t really participated much in society-life. The few groups I joined on Macsync fizzled out in a few weeks after the obligatory introduction drinks and then… nothing. After that I kind of gave up, and I don’t think that’s an unusual story at MQ. I have many friends who have had similar experiences and I haven’t really given it much thought until I stumbled across an old poster for the MQ Nudist society in the depths of MUSE, which got me thinking about all the random societies I missed out on (for better or for worse). Surprisingly I couldn’t find much on MQ’s Nudist society, apart from one lost poster. But after some deep diving on StudentVIP I found proof that it isn’t just my anti-socialness that has led to my lack of an extracurricular uni life, we just don’t have the societies that we used to. Sure, Macquarie has a lot of societies and I’m sure their members love them, but apart from the occasional free food on Wally’s Walk, we have nothing compared to past MQ Alumni. The Mountaineering Society The Macquarie University Mountaineering Society really made a name for themselves in 1993 when members of the society scaled the University library during O-week. Founded in 1967, society members still keep in touch, with a reunion held in 2019. Bushwalking, cannoning, canoeing, climbing, caving, and even the implementation of a climbing wall in the sports and gymnasium building – this society definitely did more than an occasional sausage sizzle and Facebook post. Macquanauts The Macquarie University Scuba Diving Club was formed in 1967 and up until 2014 regularly hosted lessons and trips. Teaching a variety of SCUBA diving courses from beginner to divemaster qualifications, Macquanauts gave affordable scuba diving to Macquarie staff and students. The W.A.N.G Club The ‘We All Need Grub Club’ began in 2001 providing free BBQs and social events for members. Last active in 2017, the club offered everything from Democracy Sausages to Re: Conception survival breakfasts. FABSOC One of the only societies I joined in my first year, the Fashion and Beauty Society enticed us at O-week with promises of freebies and events. Almost four years later I can’t even remember if any of that eventuated. Looking back at their Facebook page that was last active in 2018, they definitely did run a few events, so it looks like this one was just my own fault in not actually participating. Unlucky for me as that was the last year they were active. Societea The Macquarie University Tea Society was a student group for all lovers of tea. Hosting tea parties on campus, Societea was formed in 2013 and offered recipes, interesting facts, and various events held in conjunction with Sweets by Sweets – another now defunct MQ society dedicated to baking. So there we have it; just a few of the many societies and student groups of Macquarie University. It is understandable that many societies seem to fizzle out, with members graduating every year; it can definitely be hard to keep the ball rolling. Although I’m feeling a bit gypped as I inch closer to graduation that I have never passed bake sales, tea parties, or been invited on a trip to scuba dive or illegally climb the library – it stands to reason that we need to bring back society culture. We need to bring back the Macquarie University “Experience” and make memories that are more than stressed nights finishing assessments and lining up for Boba Tea… by Madi Scott
INDIA: OVERFLOWING WITH BODIES With shortages of oxygen, medical supplies, hospital beds, cremation supplies, and vaccines, an abundance of hope may be the only thing that helps India cope with the second wave of the new COVID-19 variant.
As more than a year passes since the first death was reported in China due to the novel coronavirus, the world still grapples with heart-breaking devastation over the loss of loved ones because of this pandemic. For many individuals, the pandemic has allowed opportunities to launch small online businesses, become TikTok influencers, or even master the art of making banana bread or Dalgona coffee. But for others, and right now, especially for India, the largest necessity appears to be a gasp of air. In countries like Australia, strict travel restriction measurements have enabled the condition to be contained with the number of cases reported decreasing every day. However, a devastating second wave of the virus has left India helpless. As the numbers of cases rise in India, the biggest issue arises due to the lack of space in intensive care units in hospitals and widespread shortage of oxygen and medicines. With no places available in local clinics and hospitals, patients are travelling miles to find a bed or lying on the ground outside hospitals, in the hopes that someone inside either recovers or dies, so the bed can then be occupied by them. As I write this, there are currently over 300,000 daily officially reported COVID-19 cases in India, and it is anticipated that this number will continue to increase over the next two to three weeks. Pictures on social
media and news articles capture the horrific situation in India, as hospitals turn away patients due to the lack of medical oxygen available. International help has been arriving to India over the last week as Britain sent over 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators. France sent eight large oxygengenerating plants, and Ireland, Germany and Australia, have also dispatched oxygen concentrators and ventilators. US President Joe Biden has also reaffirmed the nation’s commitment to help India, as he is expecting to send over vaccines to India, however President Biden’s senior officials have warned that the US is still at the “front-end” of the crisis themselves. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also said it is working to deliver 4,000 oxygen concentrators to India. The Chief Minister of Delhi, India’s capital, Arvind Kejriwal has warned citizens of the contagious nature of the virus and hopes to convert a large public area in the capital into a critical care hospital. There have also been reports of overcrowding in front of hospitals as patients and loved ones wait for a hospital bed to become available. This poses another risk as family members that may not have had the condition before, soon end up becoming affected as they wait, contributing to the large number of daily cases. Even though family members are seeing the consequences of the virus first-hand, they have been refusing to leave the side of their loved ones who have
been affected. As people become more frustrated with the lack of medical resources, cases have been reported of assault and brawls taking place in hospitals against staff.
is the greatest example of how interconnected the world really is and if places like India have a high level of infection, then there is a great chance that it can easily spread to other countries.
In a hospital in the southeast of Delhi, the relatives of a recently deceased COVID-19 patient assaulted staff with knives, causing injury to one person. After the incident and many others, Delhi High Court has advised local authorities to provide security to hospitals.
Even with great travel restrictions, numerous diagnostic tests, and quarantine periods, it is highly likely that the infection will leak out. This is especially relevant if a traveller has come from somewhere where the virus is very prevalent since they have a higher chance of carrying the virus with them. It has been reported that in a recent flight from New Delhi to Hong Kong, around 50 passengers had tested positive for COVID-19. This has also encouraged numerous countries to close their borders to India, including Australia.
The surge of cases has resulted from the new B.1.617 variant of the COVID-19 virus, and it has also spread to other nations, including neighbouring Bangladesh, which has a population of over 164 million. India also faces another issue as vaccination supplies are running incredibly low in the country which houses over 1.4 billion people. Besides the devastating images of people hopelessly waiting outside of hospitals, pictures of mass cremation grounds have sparked grief and memories of New York last year, when death numbers were beyond control. While hospitals have no place for living people, the country’s crematoriums are also running out of places. Additionally, with a significant portion of people living in poverty, many family members cannot afford the cremation or burial costs. With no place for dead bodies to be cremated or buried, as many as 100 bodies have washed up on the banks of the river in Buxar, on the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. It appears that with no other option, family members dispose of the bodies of their loved ones into the holy Ganges River, which is personified as a goddess in Hinduism. This is not the first-time bodies have floated up in rivers in India during a pandemic. During the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu, the Ganges River had overflowed with dead bodies, as supplies of firewood to cremate bodies were limited.
Speaking to BBC World News, World Health Organisation’s chief scientist, Dr Soumaya Swaminathan, says “The virus doesn’t respect borders, or nationalities, or age, or sex, or religion.” Dr Swaminathan’s words cannot hold greater power, as they sum up the contagious nature of the virus and the relevance of coming together as a community to fight against this battle. After all, this is not just a crisis for India – it is a crisis for everyone. To help those affected in India, you can donate to the following organisations which are working to provide medical supplies like oxygen and PPE: -
Direct Relief (directrelief.org) Oxygen for India (cddep.org) Project HOPE (projecthope.org)
by Saliha Rehanaz
With not only worrying about containing a deadly virus, medical authorities now also have to ensure water purification systems of major cities are not congested by dead bodies. As the proverb goes, “What is sport to the cat, is death to the rat,” a similar situation unfolds in India. While family members grapple with the loss of their loved ones, others see this as a profitable opportunity. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, seven individuals were held for allegedly stealing clothes and items from dead bodies from the local crematorium. The accused would apparently wash the shrouds, sarees, and other clothes taken from the dead bodies, and package them again to sell in the market. The situation in India is not and should not be something the country has to handle and face alone. The pandemic
FIGHTING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE The pandemic has taken up all news for the last 12 months, however we should not forget how the dreadful year that was 2020 started. A suffocating blanket of smoke enveloped towns, cities, and bushland all across the east coast. Fuelled by devastating bushfires, we all saw the confronting images and videos of people fleeing into the sea as flames hundreds of metres high engulfed the earth around them. Despite years of scientific research pointing to the increasingly dangerous fire conditions, as well as the multiple attempts by firefighting authorities to meet with the government and plan for the summer, Scott Morrison refused to prepare for it. His government (and previous governments) were given all the time in the world, however they deliberately chose to forgo all warnings. Instead, they ramped up subsidies for the fossil fuel industry and continued profiting off of the planet. The effects of climate change are already upon us and it is the poor and working class of the world that are suffering the most. Yet, our political leaders and media castigated us for daring to point this out, as they conveniently took trips to Hawaii and spoke from their air-conditioned offices. Just months beforehand, Prime Minister Scott Morrision angrily attacked school kids for daring to protest against climate change. We cannot expect the political establishment to solve the climate crisis. Both the Labor and Liberal Party are intent on burning fossil fuels well past 2050, and no amount of lobbying and asking nicely will shift their commitment to the coal and gas industry. We need climate action, and we need it fast. But as Greta Thunberg has rightly repeated, empty promises and commitments by politicians at climate summit after climate summit are not enough. Clearly, the only people coming to save us from this disaster is us.
From late 2018, the environment movement has taken the world by storm, mobilising millions in massive demonstrations; walking out from classes and jobs to protest inaction on climate change. The school strikes were a great step forward in the environment movement, as it is precisely mass rallies and demonstrations that involve as many people as possible that will push the movement forward and win us victories. It rightfully shifted the blame and responsibility for this crisis on the inaction of governments and corporations, rather than focusing on individual lifestyle and consumption habits. It also pointed to a strategy for addressing the crisis; the only way we have ever won anything – from civil rights to stopping the Franklin Dam development – has been through mass action in the streets and workplace. This upcoming Friday May 21st, another Climate Strike has been called by School Strike For Climate; a great step to restart the winning strategy of mass actions, protests and strikes. Macquarie Uni Students For Climate Justice has taken up the call to organise students here at university to get to the demonstration. We encourage all Macquarie students to join the fight to end fossil fuels and for real action on climate change by coming to the demonstration and getting involved in climate activism on campus. As was shown last year, it was ordinary students and workers that took to the streets multiple times in their tens of thousands as politicians asked us to keep quiet. We will not forget the Black Summer bushfires, and we won’t let those in power forget it either.
Join Macquarie Uni Students For Climate Justice on Friday May 21st here: https://fb.me/e/RTsAAb1w Follow MQ Uni Students For Climate Justice on FB: https://www.facebook.com/MQus4cj
“Life and experience. If one notices how some individuals know how to treat their experiences (their insignificant everyday experiences) so that these become a plot of ground that bears fruit three times a year; while others (and how many of them!) are driven through the waves of the most exciting turns of fate, of the most varied currents of their time or nation, and yet always stay lightly on the surface, like cork: then one is finally tempted to divide mankind into a minority (minimality) of those people who know how to make much out of little and a majority of those who know how to make a little out of much; indeed, one meets those perverse wizards who, instead of creating the world out of nothing, create nothing out of the world.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
THE SCREAMS THAT FILL THE LAND For our brothers and sisters that were taken from us without mercy. How are we supposed to recover When you took us from our mother Telling us that it was because of our colour? Whilst we live in your regret For creating our debt Are we just supposed to forget? The land that has been ripped from our feet For generations starting from that first fleet For our ancestors, we could never meet So we march together, one mob under the same sun For we are tired of having to run From your constantly loaded gun We will never be silenced so long as we understand How long the screams have filled this land And how you still hesitate to hold our hand While you can live without the pain You tell us we only complain When your sorrys are all in vain And my only hope for the new generation Is that they can have a strong nation That is free from discrimination by Ky Stewart
PRACTICING STOICISM For our first issue of the year our Regulars Editor Harry undertook a 30day yoga challenge, guided by Adrienne, a popular yoga teacher on YouTube. For our second issue we deprived Harry of caffeine for a week, meaning he had to go without his usual Matcha Green Tea Iced Latte from Starbucks—the horror. For this issue Harry’s taking a break and won’t be forced to do physical activity or have to give up his favourite beverage. Instead, I’ll be undertaking a philosophical challenge, and will be applying the fundamentals of Stoicism to my life for a week.
his students to complete “Stoic Week” whereby the days were segmented to cover an array of stoic concepts and ethics. The week plan will go as follows:
I discovered this ancient philosophy in my first year of uni in a loosely structured unit where my tutor only turned up to class around half the time. When he did grace us with his presence we’d sit in a circular formation and discuss large grandiose ideas, Epicurean monks, Aristotelian ethics, moral law, Utilitarianism, and how to live a good life according to ancient Greek and Roman ethics. We didn’t solely discuss Stoicism, that was only a portion of the course, but Stoicism was the philosophy that struck a chord with me. The stoics seemed unshakable, fortified by their guiding principles, and in complete control of their emotions. My first year of uni was a tumultuous time filled with constant change, and the stoics provided clear instructions on how they believed we should deal with change. In his book The Consolations of Philosophy, Alain de Botton notes that “at the heart of every frustration lies a basic structure: the collision of a wish with an unyielding reality.” In its most simplified form, Stoicism essentially just tells you this: never get your hopes up. It’s fatalistic sure, but thinking this way helped me relinquish some of the built-up stress I had about the things out of my control.
This first stoic principle isn’t what you’d expect it to be. “Living in accordance with nature” in a stoic context means adhering to our inborn “rational element” and the “universal reason” that separates us from other animals. It involves training oneself and one’s mind to only need the necessities, “plain food, water, basic clothing and shelter.” Seneca, senator and advisor to the Roman Emperor Nero became immensely wealthy at one point during his life. Robin Campbell, who translated Seneca’s letters, notes that when criticised for his wealth, Seneca’s rebuttal was that “What counts, he says, is one’s attitude to wealth, which is the wise man’s servant and the fool’s master; he, like any good Stoic, could lose all he had at any moment without being a whit less happy.”
Knowing what the philosophy is and actually holistically applying it to my life has been something I’ve never been able to achieve. The key figures and practitioners of Stoicism include its founder Zeno of Citium, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, and Seneca, and even these figures faced difficulty in applying its principles. Nietzsche reflected that “The only critique of a philosophy that is possible and that proves anything, namely trying to see whether one can live in accordance with it, has never been taught at universities; all that has ever been taught is a critique of words by means of other words.” I decided to undertake this challenge because of Dr. David Bronstein, a lecturer at UNSW who taught a course over this past summer that did force students to actually apply the stoic principles to their lives, at odds with this Nietzschean sentiment. Bronstein organised for
Monday—Living according to nature. Tuesday—cultivating indifference. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—considering the stoic concept of fate. Saturday—expanding your circle of affinity. Sunday—contemplating your own death—I’ll also be working at my retail job this day so this should be interesting. Living according to nature
For me personally, I can see things from both a rational and emotional angle, and sometimes still feel tempted to go with the emotional reaction over the rational one. Nothing insane happened on Monday that really tested me. When things happen that do test me, I tend to give things a day or even a week before deciding what action to take. This usually curbs that first and worst impulse to react with anger. Cultivating indifference “The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.” That’s not a quote from a famous Stoic, but rather is by an animated Labrador Retriever called Mr. Peanutbutter from the Netflix series Bojack Horseman. If you’re into existential nihilism then I highly recommend that show. Rather than
CHALLENGE distracting themselves from painful events until their ultimate demise, the Stoics believe that “there’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” They’re all about selfdiscipline and focussing on our reaction to the world rather than the world itself. Campbell surmises that this “enables a man to be ‘selfsufficient,’ immune to suffering,” and “superior to the wounds and upsets of life (often personalised as Fortuna, the goddess of fortune).” On this day Bronstein got his students to give something up for a day. Following the same path as one of his students, I chose to give up my earphones, which are a luxury rather than a necessity. I’m an overthinker and I listen to podcasts to fill the quiet moments during the day when I’d otherwise be agonising over something or another. I listen to podcasts when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m driving somewhere, walking somewhere, folding laundry, and occasionally before I fall asleep. Removing this crutch left me completely alone with my thoughts. It wasn’t terrible. My thoughts didn’t eat me alive or send me into a chasm of despair. Really, I think the point of the exercise was to remind us to pare back to just those necessities, and to remind us that’s all we really need. Considering the stoic concept of fate The Stoics believe that everything is predestined and that we should learn how to accept our fate. They encourage consideration of the things that can and cannot be controlled and value the power of choice in matters where our actions can instigate change. Bronstein stipulates that “The crucial idea here for the stoics is that the only thing truly within my control are my choices, my decisions, my intentions, my mind.” When making a decision the stoics believe we should not “assent to our impressions.” To give an example, the stoic Epictetus believes that “Faced with pain, you will discover the power of endurance. If you are insulted, you will discover patience. In time, you will grow to be confident that there is not a single impression that you will not have the moral means to tolerate.” Following this stoic principle was one of the easier ones for me. While I don’t believe things are fated in the same way the stoics do, I do believe in their way of dealing with everything life throws at you. I love when British people say “it is what it is,” because it’s a way of accepting things exactly as they are, not as you wish them to be. Applying this aspect of the philosophy to my life was helpful as rather than focussing on the stress associated with ‘bad’ situations or problems that arose throughout my week, I instead just focused on what my role was in the situation and what action I needed to take.
Expanding your circle of affinity The idea of expanding your circle of affinity involves treating every other human being that you come into contact with as a “co-equal citizen of the cosmopolis.” This means treating strangers as though they were as close as family. This one was hard for me to wrap my head around. I treat strangers with politeness, respectfulness, and empathy, but I don’t treat them like family. It felt impossible to replicate that kind of familial bond, which begins at birth and is strengthened through the decades, and then apply that to somebody I just met. The plan was to spend this Saturday going to the Sydney Writers’ Festival with a friend but she cancelled and I ended up sipping coffee and watching surfers ride the waves at the beach with my Mum. Spending the day with the person I’ve known since I was a fetus probably doesn’t count towards “expanding my circle.” My takeaway here is that I failed this aspect of the course. My other takeaway is that now that I’ve identified this failing I can strive to do better moving forward. Contemplating your own death Seneca writes in his letters about the importance of spending the time we have wisely. A part of the criteria for this day was to make a time-use chart which tracked the day’s activities. The purpose of the activity was for the students to think about how they used the time they had for that one day. On this day I worked from 9:45am-6:15pm, open to close, at my retail job. Sundays in retail can go one of two ways. Either customers happen to collectively decide to stay home and relax before the new work week, or everyone manically decides they need to shop, and they need to shop now or the world will implode. This Sunday it was the latter situation. There was no need to create a time chart for this day because in retail this is done for you. You can see exactly what you sold and how much of it you sold per hour. Between taking inventory, replenishing stock, and serving customers, I didn’t give much thought to contemplating my own inevitable death. After my shift I was exhausted but I felt that it was overall a good way to spend my time because I realised I love being busy. Eudaimonia So what was the point of undertaking this challenge? To the stoics the end goal is to achieve “Eudaimonia,” which means “to flourish.” I found that the enforced introspection ultimately improved my mental state overall and made me think more logically about my actions and emotions. While being the perfect stoic is practically impossible, following their principles helped me better equip myself for handling unforeseen events and taught me to simply just take things, as they come, in my stride. by Jodie Ramodien
POP CULTURE REWIND
WHO AND WHAT IS FREUD? BY NIKITA BYRNES “Our bodies are the texts that carry the memories and therefore remembering is no less than reincarnation.” – Katie Cannon You’ve heard of him, sure, but who was Freud? What does it mean for something to be Freudian? What is psychoanalysis? What is a ‘Freudian slip?’ What does this have to do with pop culture? Let’s break it down. Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939, was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of the field of psychoanalysis. While he is considered to be one of the most influential minds of the 20th century, he is also regarded as one of the most controversial. His infamy surrounds his focus on inner conflicts, defences, and instincts, and how they are at the root of mental suffering – he tried to expose the secret ways in which our minds work for and against us. Therefore, for something to be considered ‘Freudian,’ it either is a theory submitted by Freud, or influenced by Freud’s theories and methods of psychoanalysis. But what, then, is psychoanalysis? If psychology is the study of the human mind and the way the mind functions in relation to behaviour and context, psychoanalysis is essentially the system of theory which aims to treat mental disorders specifically. According to Oxford Languages, the goal is to investigate the “interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and [to bring] repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind.” And while this might not seem extremely far-fetched, or sound like something unheard of, modern psychoanalytic practices are being marginalised and struggle to survive hostile academic and clinical analysis. The analysis of psychoanalysis just isn’t holding up.
The unnervingly common, and yet broadly-understood psychological disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) only “become” a diagnosis in 1980, when the American Psychiatric Association added PTSD to the third edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-III”). The effects upon veterans internationally after two world wars were only “accepted” in the medical and scientific community around 35 years after WWII.
Freud’s theories centre around motivations and behaviours: that people are driven by unconscious desires and repressed memories, which can re-emerge to the conscious mind through therapies such as talk-therapy – which, I suppose, we now just call ‘therapy.’ He pushed past the machismo social diagnosis of female hysteria and forced the medical establishment to acknowledge psychological disorders were real.
POP CULTURE REWIND So, he did a lot of good. But, he also invented baseless figures that were behind traumatic events in the minds of some of his patients. He misrepresented some of his most famous case studies (see: the case study of ‘Dora’), claiming he had cured his patients with the treatments he developed, when some of them had, in fact, only gotten “worse.” His followers have been accused of coaxing patients into recovery by revealing supposedly repressed memories of childhood abuse that never happened. Of course, both ‘sides’ of Freud have slipped into the public consciousness, with many people only knowing (or, rather, wanting to know) one perspective or the other, rarely knowing (or, again, wanting) a nuanced viewpoint. There are rarely more than dichotomous Good-/Bad-faith actors in social history. It’s important to note that some of (if not most of) his perspectives were flawed. For example, Freud saw homosexuality as a “developmental glitch,” and as a perversion. He coined the infamous term “Freudian slip,” which is defined as “an unintentional error regarded as revealing subconscious feelings” – accidentally calling your teacher “Mum,” for instance, might reveal… something (if not, at least, a long period of embarrassment). And the reason for his falling out of favour with the medical and scientific community is that his theories, nowadays, are considered pseudoscientific. His theories predominantly lack empirical evidence or support. Freud and his followers actually believed that prehistoric traumas of individuals and societies long past – deaths in the ice age and the death of Moses – had ongoing impacts on human psychology. But the fact of the matter is that he opened and expanded a whole field of study to investigate and build upon, which has, and will, aid generations. His concepts have, as a matter of fact more than opinion, become everyday household terms which shape the way our society understands and talks about individual and collective experiences. This is somewhat problematic when we consider that some of these ideas aren’t completely true; the average person understands and knows about the subconscious, but the knowledge that modern psychologists only believe in the “cognitive unconscious” has not superseded this pop culture relic of understanding about the self.
Freud termed the following notorious theories and concepts: • The Oedipus Complex • Ego & Superego • Defence Mechanisms
Freud’s theories were framed in ways that could not be empirically tested. His clinical practices definitely don’t meet today’s ethical standards. But it is important to note that he gave western society a vocabulary with which to discuss emotion, even in the most primitive of ways.
“From error to error one discovers the entire truth.” – Sigmund Freud
I DON’T GET IT into a socio-anarchist but to provide an insight into what anarchism really is. Of course, as with any movement anarchy sits on a spectrum and there are lots of different branches one can go down. Because of that, there is diversity of thought among anarchists and some genuinely interesting debates happening. I also want to try and reference a diverse range of figures. Anarchy has been literally whitewashed which is bizarre given that the people with the biggest stake in overthrowing the government are normally the groups who have been marginalised by the ruling class. This is a direct result of ideological colonialism, and neglects the key contributions of people of colour to the theory of anarchy.
ANARCHY BY ELEANOR TAYLOR
“We are governed best, when we are governed least.”
When it comes to anarchy, there is an image we as a society collectively hold in our heads; anarchists are dumb teenagers who are rebelling against authorities, probably hate their parents and think violence is cool. When I first discovered anarchy late last year, I genuinely was imagining some postapocalyptic Walking Dead or Mad Max: Fury Road future. There’s probably some sort of deep analysis I could do with that, the way we associate government with order means that we believe the absence of government equals disorder. Its also worth noting the fact that we often characterise left wing movements as being for edgy angsty stupid young people. I can’t help but feel like these attitudes are ones that have been deliberately formed by people in power in order to discredit left wing ideas. I used to dismiss anarchism as something my weird high school classmates were into. Framing it this way gave me an excuse to avoid taking the ideas behind it seriously. Then I fell into the gateway of progressive YouTube channels like Thought Slime, and discovered that pretty much all my preconceived notions about the anarchist movement were wrong. My hope in writing this article is not to convert you
American anarcho-communist, Lucy Parsons (18511942) summarised the key philosophy behind anarchy; “We look away from government for relief, because we know that force (legalised) invades the personal liberty of man… from this exercise of force through governments flows nearly all the misery, poverty, crime and confusion existing in society.” In Anarchic theory, poverty is violence, unfair hierarchies (such as those in the workplace) and homelessness are forms of violence which are perpetuated by the state. Any infringement on individual liberties can also be viewed as violence, as a result the government’s existence is criminal and it should be abolished. Those in government will not abolish the government because it goes directly against their own interests. Therefore, anarchists such as Parsons often argue that anarchy will only come about as the result of revolutions. Parsons also argued that sexism was created by capitalism, and consistently applied an intersectional lens to her theory. So what would an anarchist world look like? Here is where things get tricky. The problem with living in a world dominated by liberal democracies and capitalism as a sort of default government, is that we have no creativity when it comes to brainstorming new ways to live. When we grow up in a world surrounded by these institutions, it is impossible for us to imagine a world without them. As a result when people visualise anarchy they have a tendency to see violence, an apocalyptic scenario, something straight out of Mad Max: Fury Road. When we associate the government with order, the absence of the government is disorder. There are also numerous ideas surrounding what an anarchist state would look like. Generally, anarchists argue that we should all live in stateless communes. For example, we would take the population of Sydney, about 5 million, and then divide it into communes based on how big we think an effective community can be. Some social scientists argue that communities stop being effective once they are bigger than 150 people. In a city as big as Sydney, that would mean creating A LOT of communes.
I DON’T GET IT However, there isn’t any real research giving us a number to limit communes to. Maybe this would look like all the suburbs in Sydney functioning individually or separated into councils. Then there would actually be a form of government and authority. Here’s the irony of anarchy, the stereotype is that there is no authority, no one enforces the law, and we would all be able to murder each other if we felt like it with no consequences. But anarchy is fundamentally antiviolence. Our current government causes violence because it is a hierarchical system, hierarchies are violent. Because of this, many anarchists advocate for a government which is non-hierarchical. It’s called horizontal government, and the main idea is that it is direct and there aren’t any executive members. Basically everyone has the same status and we all vote for all the people involved. There would be no permanent member of an anarchic congress with Parsons stating that leads to inevitable abuses of power. By having a much more localised government, for example one council for about 100 000 people, our interests would be represented. We would have governing bodies who we vote in, come from our areas and because of that understand our interests. Some anarchists argue that there should be a random lottery to decide our representatives (that’s called sortition). Parsons actually suggests society should be split into unions, different workforces being able to vote and make decisions without hierarchies. This is because she was an anarcho-syndicalist/socialist so viewed things through the lens of class and labour. Makhnovia from 1918-1921 was a stateless anarchist society formed as the result of the Ukrainian revolution. With a population of around 7 million, Makhnovia was named after its founder, iconic anarchist Nestor Makhnov. Makhnov served as a military leader to protect Makhnovia’s interests. Makhnov himself was a complicated character, like most famous revolutionaries he was seen as both a Robin Hood like iconoclast but also as a traitor who sacrificed his own libertarian principles to maintain power. Unfortunately, we don’t really have examples of anarchist states outside of times of warfare which means it can be hard to find precedents. One lesser known example of an anarchist society is Zomia, a region in the South East Asian Highlands with a population of about 80 to 100 million people. The name Zomia was coined by James C. Scott who argues that this is “the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation-states.” Zomia has a totally decentralised stateless culture, and comprises a multicultural multilingual population. Every aspect of this society has been designed to prevent autocracy from developing. One example of this is the reliance on oral storytelling and history, written records can create an unfair hierarchy depending on who
possesses them. This can be seen as the result of the Chinese, Vietnamese and other authoritarian governments whose crackdowns on individual liberties have historically forced people to flee to the mountain ranges. Sam Mbah and I. E. Igariwey make the interesting argument that many traditional African cultures had anarchic elements. For example, often tribal groups had horizontal structures and a lack of laws but would persecute murderers and violent individuals. The leadership of tribal elders did not function the same way as the authoritative governments we have today. In 2001 there were a series of violent protests called “the Black Spring” in Kabylie, Algeria. Since then a decently sized part of the region is now actually an anarchic community. Algeria is a country with a long history of anarchic movements in response to French colonisation. Within Algeria, Barbacha is often praised by anarchists for its anti-authoritarian system of governance. There are about 34 villages with a population of 27 000 people, who forced the military and police out of the region during the Black Spring and saw a massive decrease in crime. Now the area is governed by traditional village systems who coordinate everything from school maintenance to garbage collection and welfare for the population. Once again, we can see that in countries with authoritarian governments which seek to limit individual freedoms, inhabitants often attempt to form their own states where they can protect themselves and their communities. There is no one theory of what an anarchist world would look like or how it would be structured. Anarchists tend to agree on the issues facing our society today but often disagree about what the solution is. Different philosophies focusing on certain areas include: anarcho-feminism, anarcho-socialism, anarcho-syndicalism, post-colonial anarchism, queer anarchism, and green anarchism. If you aren’t an anarchist fair enough, but at least now you know more about it. I think there are a lot of zesty ideas about the role of government in society that we can take away from anarchism, and it would be wrong to throw the whole thing away. Maybe by seeing how alternative systems of living work, we can get inspiration for how to improve our own.
YOU ARE HERE
CHATSWOOD Chatswood was founded in 1876 but the Cammeraygal people had been living in this area for between 35 000 and 50 000 years earlier. Chatswood was named after Charlotte Harnett, wife of Richard Harnett who was the mayor of Willoughby. Her nickname was Chattie and because Chatswood was — and still is, densely populated by trees and parklands, the suburb was called Chattie’s Wood. Henry Lawson, one of Australia’s most famous poets wrote a poem about it aptly titled “Chattie’s Wood.” During the early 1900s, Chatswood was largely dairy farms and fruit orchards. Home to 25 000 people, the postcode here is 2067. Notable figures include poets Banjo Patterson and Kenneth Slessor as well as our former prime minister, Gogh Whitlam. What Wikipedia doesn’t mention is that ours is a suburb plagued by brush turkeys. Growing up in Chatswood —I’ve lived here for my whole life, I’ve watched the local brush turkey population explode. Because Australia has so few natural predators and because brush turkeys are a protected species, their numbers have rapidly increased over the years. When I was younger I didn’t notice them, then when I was about 13 I realised there were more than before. Then I started hearing them on the roof at night, from there I started noticing holes in the garden. Things escalated quickly, the brush turkeys started digging up plumbing, vegetable gardens and upsetting the entire canine population. They were a nuisance and we were all mad they were protected. Then gradually, they just became a part of life. My family and I went from mad rage at these birds for tearing up our garden and keeping us up at night to absolute peace. Their numbers are insane now, growing every year to the point where I’m used to it. But the other day I was reflecting on it and realised that now I can never drive down my street without almost hitting four turkeys. But when I was 13, I would go days without seeing one. I’ve developed a fondness for these ugly ass birds, even though they dug up my pea plants, my carrots and destroyed my cactus. Now they are migrating across the bridge, showing up in Newtown and terrorising a new group of people. I guess when you have a huge pest problem you can’t do anything about, you have to lean in and embrace it. I love Chatswood. It’s convenient, a 15 minute drive to the city and a 15 minute walk to both Artarmon and Chatswood train station. It’s amazing how quickly I go from Lane Cove Reserve’s remote feeling bushland to Sydney’s bustling centre. I love that I can enjoy a huge Westfield but also some fantastic bushwalks. I love that I’ve been able to watch this suburb evolve and to see the introduction of Lunar New Year celebrations and Asian specialty food stores which have introduced me to all sorts of new things. The smell of smoke emanating from chimneys, the classic sound of kookaburras laughing and even the possums having sex at night. Every couple of years we get frogs in the shower. They come up from the creek nearby and set themselves up in the bathroom. The other night when my sister went to check the mail, I heard a scream. She came inside and told me she was spooked by a huge toad on the letter box. I just laughed. We can always hear frogs at night but it’s rare to spot them. These are things I’ve learnt to associate with home, belonging and family. There is a preschool down the street from me which means during the day I can hear kids playing. It’s nice seeing families bike around the neighbourhood and kids exploring in their gardens. In this area where the wild and urban meet it is easy for kids to find magic. There’s a footpath from Chatswood station partway down the Pacific Highway and when I was little my parents would walk
YOU ARE HERE me and my sisters down it after school. We called it the ‘fairy path’ and used to try and spot fairies. I walk down there now sometimes, it follows the trainline and is far less whimsical as an adult. But it still holds a lot of nostalgia and I smile whenever I use it. Of course, there are things I don’t like here. The property market has gone insane and I doubt I’d ever be able to raise a family of my own here in the future. It reflects Sydney as a whole becoming increasingly more expensive to live in. Sure, the evolution of Chatswood into a trendy CBD has been great but the cost concerns me. Small cottages that are often a century old have been demolished for apartment complexes and I’m scared that the bush which I’ve gotten to enjoy will be gone when I’m older. That magic I experienced when I was small, it was all related to the bush and I want that preserved for all the generations that come after me. Recently the interchange has developed a reputation for youth violence. The memorial garden where I used to eat sushi with friends has been the host of several brawls and our local police went so far as to warn us to avoid spending time at the station. The remembrance garden, filled with roses grown from clippings brought from the Somme in France is somewhere I would never go alone now. I see young people being searched at the station pretty regularly, the police have used these incidents to increase their presence and their power in the area. It’s no secret that the police force have been intimidating children, especially children and young people from marginalised communities for a long time now. It’s a bizarre change, from primary school when I used to run around the station with my friends, exploring the shops and thinking we were so mature and grown up. Back then I trusted the police, now I look back with a level of disillusionment. It makes me sad to see how urbanisation and increasing living costs lead to more people experiencing homelessness. When I was younger I never saw people living on the streets in Chatswood, now I know about 4 regulars who have to sleep on Victoria Avenue at night. I know this isn’t as remotely bad as other areas of Sydney but in a country as wealthy as Australia no one should be without shelter or safety. Living in a city is fun, Sydney is huge with so many different suburbs and people in them. But I also know that development causes issues. The brush turkeys aren’t invading for no reason, we have expanded onto their turf. Homeless people don’t just appear out of nowhere, we have a growing income inequality gap worsened by rising living costs and a lack of support to help communities keep up. Although my feelings have become more complex as I have gotten older, I love Chatswood. Maybe that’s just because it’s the first and only place I have ever lived, or maybe because I still feel drawn to the parks and the wildlife which makes itself seen on every street. By Eleanor Taylor
WRITING ON THE WALL
STRIPPING As soon as I turned 18, I became a stripper. For some unintelligible reason ever since my adolescence I was driven to become an exotic dancer the moment it was legal. I could shake my ass, earn some cash, and have a good time. That really was not the case. Being a stripper is hard, long, and dangerous work. Not to mention excessive on the feet. You have to listen and smile along to the ramblings of foolish men while pretending to give a shit. I worked at The Dollhouse in Surry Hills. This is how it went.
The lovely lady was called Chloe. I liked to call her coke Chloe. You’ll find out why. She kindly offered to drive my home one night. As I hopped into her calf-high-trashpacked car I began to wonder if I should change my decision. It turned out before dropping me home she just needed to pick up her bikie mate. We trekked an extra half an hour to pick up her 50-year-old bikie mate. He was actually quite warm and friendly. He even offered me a line of coke but I politely declined. He offered two to Chloe, which she took gladly.
As a dancer, your body is your business. You are an independent contractor. Some places charge you rent for working in their facilities. Luckily, Dollhouse didn’t. You were paid for each private dance you did. $50 for 15 minutes. To attract customers for a private dance every dancer had to hop on the middle main stage and have a go on the pole. As a novice pole dancer I did not really know what I was doing but I gave it my best and had a swing. Once you had your prey you took them to the dance room. The private dance room was a dark rectangle room with a runway stage in the centre. Couches surround the perimeter of the room. A bouncer waited outside watching the security cameras, making sure no one touched the dancers.
The coke really pepped her up and sent her speeding down the M2 as I clung to the car praying for my life. She had also been drinking. I definitely should have just caught the train.
A dance required undressing. Bras and panties off. But only for a minute at the end. Suckers.
I think that strippers should have better working conditions and at least a base rate of pay for the hard work they do. It’s not easy pretending to listen to the “woes” of cis men all while wear chinky heels and a thong.
Not going to lie. Watching men be gobsmacked and open mouthed at the sight of my body was a pretty powerful feeling. I had to hold back from laughing at some of their stupid faces. It was best to work in a pack with other girls and try to convince the mates of friends to pay for each other’s lap dances. Once I was working with another student from UNSW called Rory*. We were called to dance with these two gentlemen. During the dance it was revealed that the man Rory was dancing for was actually a lecturer at UNSW. I wonder how that went down on campus. There were a lot of striking, bold and beautiful women at the club. Some carried the heavy look of a hard history on their faces. It was also hard to trust the other women there. No one left their valuables in the back alley locker room. I remember when I was having my interview at the club I saw this beautiful young woman working there as a dancer. She looked elegant. When I met her though I was reminded how appearances don’t equate to personality.
On another night a to-be-married man refused to buy a private dance despite talking to me for over an hour. He then had the audacity to ask me to come back to his hotel for sex. Gross as fuck! No thanks. I was not a stripper for long. It was hard to get to, hard to endure and made my whole soul feel sore. A few times after a long night I would wake up in my bed and cry feeling gross from the night before.
I am glad I got to experience that night and who knows, maybe one day I will be a dancer again if urgency calls. If you are reading this, I ask you that next time you go to a strip club, tip the girls, buy private dances, and please don’t be a dick. by Anonymous *Names have been changed.
“All the greatest blessings are a source of anxiety, and at no time should fortune be less trusted than when it is best; to maintain prosperity there is need of other prosperity, and on behalf of the prayers that have turned out well we must make still other prayers. For everything that comes to us from chance is unstable, and the higher it rises, the more liable it is to fall. Moreover, what is doomed to perish brings pleasure to no one; very wretched, therefore, and not merely short, must the life of those be who work hard to gain what they must work harder to keep. By great toil they attain what they wish, and with anxiety hold what they have attained; meanwhile they take no account of time that will never more return.” —Seneca
ghost in asian horror movie v sexc Although a very catchy and clickbait title, it is not entirely true. Horror movies provide a stage for social and cultural anxieties to be played out and explored, and what better taboo is there to explore than female sexuality? The portrayal of female sexuality in horror and society by extension is paradoxical. On the one hand it is something desired, while on the other it is something shamed. On the big screen female sexuality is performed for the patriarchy, but Asian Horror transforms women who have claimed and embraced their sexuality into monstrous ghouls. Even in western horror female sexuality is portrayed as something forbidden, regardless of whether it is their physical sexuality, sexual attraction or interest in sex. Similarly, Asian horror undermines societal expectations that women are innocent, modest and submissive. Once they have embraced their sexuality — even at the price of death, they can no longer be controlled through shame. Sexuality is embraced by the monstrous female as power they wield over the patriarchy, if women are able to take ownership of the very thing society tells them to hide, it can no longer be used to force them into submission. It is no coincidence that Asian horror’s growth and popularity occurred during the late 1990s to early 2000s, corresponding with Asia’s economic growth. Immediately following the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, this rapid economic growth was fronted by Japan’s technological advancement and South Korea’s successful Hallyu wave. These developments led to a perceived breakdown of the traditional family structure where men were the breadwinners and women stayed at home to take care of the house and the children. With a growing economy there were more opportunities for women to further their studies and venture into their careers. Thus, Asian horror movies provided the perfect site to play out cultural anxieties regarding the opportunities economic growth presented to women, challenging patriarchal values. Barry Keith Grant claims that cinematic horror provides a stage for conflicts between pre-Oedipal desire and postOedipal order to play out. In horror the pre-Oedipal desire is repressed, only to emerge stronger and more forceful, presenting a threat to the societal norms of symbolic male power.
Feminist theorists to describe horror as misogynistic due to the way it punishes women who embrace their sexuality. Women are repeatedly punished in Asian horror for prioritising their careers, embracing their independence, accepting their sexuality and neglecting their domestic duties in this process. Where western horrors usually have both male and female monsters, Asian horror is mostly preoccupied with female monsters. Unlike western horrors which often feature a ‘final girl’ where a shy female character transforms into someone sharp and intelligent, facing the killer wielding some kind of phallic weapon. Asian horror movies rarely have phallic symbols, instead they are abundant in yonic motifs. Sadako’s emergence from the well and through the television in Ringu can be read as a passage through a birth canal — the birth of a monster. Many of the women in Asian horror who become ghosts are sexually deviant, either single mothers or working as a prostitute, falling outside the norm of what society expects from women. Quite often, their circumstances are a result of trusted males — usually romantic partners or father figures betraying them or preying on their vulnerability, whether this be through abandonment or sexual violence. Yet despite this, women are the ones who bear the punishment, transforming into a vengeful ghoul, challenging society’s expectation of feminine modesty and subservience. These female ghouls are firstly portrayed as victims of society and the patriarchy, but their act of revenge transforms them into violent antagonists. It is a depiction of what happens once a woman finally cracks from years of repression and concealed rage and how it drives them into becoming monsters. Thus, demonstrating the tension between women as both victims of the patriarchy and their ability to invoke fear in the patriarchy through embracing their sexuality and transforming literally into monsters. Decades of suppressed sexuality implodes, transforming a once submissive and innocent woman into a vengeful ghost wielding her sexuality as power. The female body, once a site of male desire and female shame, becomes something unrecognisable and untameable by the patriarchy. by Tiffany Fong
The vengeful female ghoul is a warning of the consequences of societal expectations being forced onto women from a young age. Despite horror being a genre that has more female protagonists and equal speaking lines for female characters, it is one whose directors are still primarily male — thus leading to the tension. On the one hand, horror appears to be a progressive genre, providing female characters with agency and placing them in lead roles. Yet depictions of female sexuality either emphasise the need for it to be suppressed or depicts it as monstrous. This has led to many
What are Daddy Issues? Urban Dictionary defines “daddy issues” as “When a girl has a messed up relationship with her dad. Usually the fathers fault. Either he left or is acting like a total bitch… as a result the girl might be attracted to older men, or men with anger issues if her father was an angry man, and sometimes will stay in an abusive relationship because it would just feel like home.”
DUDE, SHE’S GOT DADDY ISSUES Whether it’s your sperm donor or sexual partner, we don’t care who you’re calling ‘daddy.’ But the word ‘daddy’ has transpired over the years from meaning a paternal figure to now a whole array of things. Eleanor Taylor talks about the intricacies of every man’s fantasies,‘daddy issues.’
It is a generally accepted truth that growing up we develop our idea of how relationships work by watching our parents; people who lack examples of healthy relationships often struggle to consolidate their own in adulthood. Therefore, when a child has a poor relationship with their father, it can cause them to distrust men when they are adults, especially in romantic and sexual relationships. Put simply, how we are treated by our parents, shapes how we allow our partners to treat us. Our parents are our first and most important relationships in our lives when we are children, so it is obvious that they have a lasting impact on how we relate to other people. This idea originates from the Freudian father complex which originally focused on the relationship between father and son. This makes it bizarre that “daddy issues” has become gendered towards women. Freud saw the father complex as existing in the form of ambivalent feelings from boys towards their fathers, while Carl Jung actually argued that both girls and boys could have a father complex. With the idea of the family patriarch being gradually eroded, psychoanalysis began to focus on the impact of absentee fathers and often suggested that we all have a deep longing for a father figure to lead us. Jung argued that when girls had negative feelings towa The Misogyny behind “Daddy Issues” Calling a woman’s problems “daddy issues’’ immediately trivialises her experiences, and tells her there is something wrong with her for being impacted by them. To simplify the traumatic things that a woman has lived through as being “daddy issues’’ removes any accountability from the men in her life that have caused said issues and is a way to belittle and demean a woman based on her lived experiences. Furthermore, “daddy issues” is the label we give to women when they are impacted, not only do we shame them for their past but we also blame them for their reaction often to men now, and create the idea that it’s melodrama. As soon as
you can classify a woman as dramatic and emotionally unstable, you can dismiss any harm you do to her. When women react poorly to the things their significant others do, “daddy issues” is a term that is often brought out. In this way, it is really a form of gaslighting, designed to make women feel like the crazy one in their relationships.
to. Although “mummy issues” is a less common term, it is a label which is just as deeply harmful as daddy issues. It also emasculates men for experiencing trauma and other issues, once again implying that there is something wrong with experiencing and being affected by these things.
“Daddy issues” has become a term to describe anything women do in relation to sex and relationships. If a woman is very sexually active and doesn’t maintain relationships, she must have “daddy issues” and be deeply insecure. If a woman is in a relationship and anxious about it, she must have “daddy issues” because she is so needy. This is specifically weaponised to slut shame women, and suggests that there is something inherently wrong with female sexuality. Daddy issues is honestly a catcall term which can be used to criticise women for anything.
There are other branches from these ideas such as the “Electra Complex,” which is when girls hate their mothers and view themselves as being in competition with them for their fathers. And the Oedipus Complex where men are subconsciously attracted to their mothers. The thing with psychoanalysis is that it can often be classified as pseudoscience due to the fact that you cannot empirically prove these weird ideas.
Saying a woman has “daddy issues” stigmatises issues like abuse and manipulation and discourages women from speaking out about these things for fear of being labelled a stereotypical case of a woman with “daddy issues.” “Daddy issues” is a term used to degrade women, dismiss their experiences and ultimately label them as damaged goods. Is There a Male Equivalent? “Mummy issues” is the counterpart to “daddy issues’’ but if you thought it would be essentially the same thing but with mothers, you would be wrong. Both issues are about estranged parents and their children and the ramifications in adulthood. “Mummy issues’’ are normally when men have mothers who instead of being absentee parents, are overly involved in their life and prevent you from gaining independence. Men with “mummy issues” are generally percieved as easily dominated by women, e.g. their mothers and romantic partners, and also as being generally incompetent and unable to cook or clean for themselves. “Mummy issues’’ can also manifest when men feel as though they have disappointed their mothers and it destroys their self-esteem which relies on maternal approval.
Obviously both mummy and daddy issues are very problematic things. I cannot emphasise enough how weird it is to use the same term to describe a woman who experiences serious psychological trauma and abuse and also to describe a woman who is mildly kinky and calls her boyfriend “daddy.” It is clearly wrong to assume that if a woman has any issues they stem from her father and if a man has any issues they stem from his mother. Also it’s important to note that neither “daddy issues” or “mummy issues” are legitimate psychological terms or diagnosis, rather they are just stereotypes which are deeply harmful and sexist. In case you can’t tell, I really hate the whole “daddy issues” concept and everything which comes wrapped up with it. There are so many problems with this idea that it’s like a gross game of pass the parcel, where each layer is just more shit. No tea, no shade to Freud, but he truly needed some psychological analysis himself. People should be the subject of your compassion rather than ridicule. by Eleanor Taylor
Women can also have “mummy issues” in the way men experience “daddy issues” but this mostly pertains to another Freudian idea (think Oedipus complex) which suggests that it is solely men who have this problem. One fun pop culture example of a man with extreme mummy issues is Norman Bates from Psycho, a serial killer who dresses up like his dead mother’s corpse which he of course keeps in his spooky house and talks
FREUD AND CANCEL CULTURE The problem with Freud — and I would like to point out that I am not a psychology student, is that his theories were based upon the results of situations, rather than the situations themselves. The ‘Freudian Slip’ theory confirmed peoples’ worst fears about the subconscious breaking through to the conscious. And people love having their worst fears confirmed. Freudian theories wandered into pop culture because his explanations felt like the truth. Doesn’t it make sense that to say your exboyfriend’s name in a conversation with your current boyfriend means you are still in love with him? Hint: re-read the question with a selfimportant, drawling, sarcastic tone. Thinking about Freud’s popularity also got me thinking about his lack of popularity. While he remains a large part of popular culture’s understanding of the mind, he was mostly well, kind of wrong. Psychoanalysis is not testable or consistent. Freud lacks the empirical evidence to back up his philosophies because it’s almost impossible to get the empirical evidence.
And so, in the same way that many important pop-culture figures have been, Freud has been cancelled, for lack of a better word — over and over and over again. It’s interesting that when the idea of ‘be critical of your media’ wandered into popular consciousness, it developed into the accurately termed cancel culture that dominates the internet. I think this is because there is confusion about what it means to think critically about something. To be a critical thinker is to subject the things you see, hear and feel to an objective examination. It means to be open to having your beliefs challenged and changed. It means considering multiple perspectives and contexts; being empathetic and emotionally literate. It means always being in pursuit of the truth.
However, society has taken the word critical at face value —ironically missing the point by driving straight past it, a million miles an hour. Most people would hear the word critical and think of the negative connotations: picky, awful, inferior, critical. People think that to think critically about something, they need to scrutinise every minute detail and air only its dirty parts. They think it means to subject the thing to the worst thing we’ve discovered we can hurt people with: online public shaming. You’ve seen it. I know you’ve seen it. You woke up one morning and looked at Facebook to see gossip websites filling your feed with how ‘Louis CK [was] cancelled by everyone.’ One morning I found out that JK Rowling made some hideous transphobic comments and even wrote an essay extending those comments. And what about when Dr Suess’s estate only decided to recall certain books because of 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement? The issue with cancel culture in this context, is that people like Louis CK and JK Rowling still retain their wealth, influence and lives of luxury. Their reputation may be damaged, but how can that truly affect them, outside of their egos and whether or not they move outside of their personal spheres? Cancel culture hurts people, just as it would have hurt these two significant pop-culture figures. But the cancelling in itself did not achieve what it set out to do, which was to break them.
be human is to be neither good nor bad, but the gooey space in the middle? The point shouldn’t be to stop reading Dr. Seuss books to your children, to throw them out or burn them in a fire. The point should be to read Dr. Seuss books to your children but show them that some representations or portrayals should not be valued or repeated in literature in the future. The point should be that we understand that everything is flawed. We can consume media even though it is flawed because everything is inherently flawed. Just ensure that you don’t promote particular media as gospel. Be wary. But also remember that being wary isn’t a bad thing. You can still read Harry Potter, but you should read it knowing that the author of the series isn’t some almighty powerful God-like figure with endless wisdom, just a woman challenged by her own internalised prejudices and bigoted beliefs. As Ronson writes, “Prurient curiosity may not be great. But curiosity is.” I wonder what Freud would say about cancel culture. He probably would have appreciated the term for its alliteration —it’s catchy. by Nikita Byrnes
I recently read Jon Ronson’s 2015 book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which is all about this specific topic. Ronson writes, “I think our natural disposition as humans is to plod along until we get old and stop. But with social media we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high dramas. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain. It’s all very sweeping, and not the way we actually are as people. What rush was overpowering us at times like this? What were we getting out of it?.” Whilst I personally had some minor issues with Ronson’s writing —I’m an English major, so this shouldn’t be surprising, this quote stands out to me on so many levels. Why do some people crave “artificial high dramas?” Do I crave it, on a subconscious level? What would Freud say about this? Why do we create false dichotomies out of real people, even when we know that to
RANKING PSYCH-THEORIES AND PHILOSOPHIES I HATE There is much to be said about the ‘Important Thinkers,’ about their legacy, how we’ve grown from their study, and so on and so forth. Happily, I shan’t be saying any of it, and will instead treat you all to a scathing report on my absolute least favourite products of their vaunted theories. Mankind is not meant to think so hard about these things, lest mankind fall into a depressive spiral and refuse to emerge from mankind’s collective Room of Despair for several decades. I will be accepting zero questions at this time, thank you. #9: Constitutional Psychology According to 1940s William Sheldon, not only is it not ‘what’s on the inside’ that counts, but it’s actually the outside that determines the inside. Making a case for different body types producing different personalities, he identified three and ascribed them traits. In case anyone’s looking for this week’s Weird Personality Quiz, here you go. If you’re round/soft, you’re an Endomorph— relaxed, tolerant, and extroverted. If you’re square/muscular, you’re a Mesomorph— dynamic, assertive, and aggressive. If you’re thin/ delicate, you’re an Ectomorph— introverted, thoughtful, and sensitive. Obviously, the jury’s out on whether any of this is at all accurate; body chemistry probably does have some sort of impact on personality, but so does like a zillion other things. I can’t say if it’s scientifically wrong or not, but I absolutely can say I think it’s stupid and his later analysis of it for delinquency is absurd. Don’t typecast people based on their looks. 1/5 stars for lack of sociological awareness. #8: Nihilism ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!… Everything is meaningless.’ While the Ecclesiastes forerunner comes to a very different conclusion to possibly the most depressed of the 20th Century philosophical movements, it certainly sums it up well initially. What’s life without a greater religious or moral purpose, in the absence of those structures? Meaningless, says the Nihilist. Utter bullshit, says I. If your superiority complex is big enough to demand you have some sort of overarching cosmic plot for your life in order for it to mean anything, then I pity your friends and family. How shallow life must be, to value the people around you so little that you believe you have nothing of worth. Optimistic nihilism is a different ballgame, but the traditional version is the worst. 2/5 stars. #7: Misanthropy If you hate your fellow human beings, be it for their lack of knowledge, inexplicable but insufferable ways, or how they all seem awful, then congratulations— you are a misanthrope, and I don’t like you either.
You will likely be unsurprised to learn that a lot of philosophers are said to be misanthropic— Emmanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre, for instance. What really gets me about this is not just the outright dismissal of the goodness of people, of family, or art, or culture, or literally anything else that we are privileged to experience as thinking beings (although that definitely grinds my gears). No, it’s that misanthropes are people too. Like, dude, how much do you have to hate yourself to create an entire branch of thought dedicated to it? 2/5 stars, incredibly obnoxious. #6: Brutalism …architecture has theory? Yes, yes it does, and this one is the ugliest branch of concrete box design that you can imagine. The Cold War had a huge impact on the generations within it, and architects are no different. Brutalism took the uncomfortable, threatening air of the late 60s and 70s and turned it into buildings that reflected an underlying concern with exposure and society’s ugliness, long hidden away. Unfortunately, this was just popular enough (and cheap enough) to make it into a lot of Australia’s government-designed buildings, such as libraries, schools, hospitals, police stations, and universities. The infamously ugly UTS Tower is one of these and is a pebblecrete-clad blight on the general landscape of Sydney. I’m absolutely devastated that, as a country, we didn’t get the airy lines of Art Nouveau, or even the geometry of Art Deco, in favour of boxy concrete and a lack of windows. 2/5 stars. #5: Radical Behaviourism This is one of those big thoughts by an important man, this one by the name of B.F. Skinner. He states that free will is an illusion, and that all human behaviour is essentially the direct result of conditioning, either positive or negative. First of all, I’m going to point out that Skinner is a terrifying name for a psychologist. Second, I am absolutely enraged by this because while I disagree with it on a fundamental level, I can’t prove him wrong or anything else right. It’s just one of those things you can’t have a full answer to, like why a friend would get back together with an ex-boyfriend who’s clearly bad for her. There are a thousand possible answers, and they’re all up in the air because we can’t test them adequately enough, or we’re as confused about it as our friend is, despite being in the situation. Life, as it turns out, is troublesome to analyse. Mainly my offence at this boils down to the fact that I Am Not A Computer And You Cannot Simply Program Me. If I’m making decisions based on prior experience in an environment, either positive or negative, then that’s not
a lack of personal choice or the illusion of free will on my part— that is choice. 3/5 stars, this theory makes me mad. #4: Meninism Ah yes, the cesspit of ‘not all men’ and ‘but we men deserve rights too, minority groups!’ I’m all for equality, which is why I’m telling you in the absolute nicest of ways that Feminism advocates for equality for all genders. Meninism isn’t where you go to bring up serious issues that men face, like emotional, physical or sexual abuse, it’s where you go to whine about losing privilege that shouldn’t have been yours in the first place. I guarantee you Peter Pettigrew was a meninist. Rethink your choices. 3/5 stars. #3: Hysteria Hysteria, though originally deemed a medical issue by Hippocrates way back in Ancient Greece, became viewed as a psychological disorder in the late 1800s. Though today we don’t acknowledge hysteria as a disorder in and of itself, instead identifying more specific disorders with similar symptoms, hysteria has its fingers in sooo many pies when it comes to how women are treated medically. The word itself means ‘uterus,’ is strongly associated with women, and its symptoms are pretty much ‘excessive or out of control emotionally charged behaviour’— you have intense pain, dear? You must be hysterical or making it up for attention. Shockingly, this still happens today, with many doctors dismissing symptoms such as heart pain or extreme stomach pain as ‘just anxiety’ or ‘probably not as bad as you think it is.’ One such case led to a woman’s death by stroke after a five hour wait for an ambulance, and in less severe cases has still had a long-term impact on the health of patients. There’s been a vast number of studies done on the gender inequality between medical treatment, so it’s not like we aren’t aware— but it’s the sort of pervasive narrative that floods our collective cultural consciousness, so you might not even notice yourself doing it, even if you ARE a woman. Take note, med students. It’s influenced by broader culture too, but medically I’m tracing it back to Hysteria. 4/5 stars for admitting we have a problem.
operating or prescribing hard drugs. It’s still a 5/5 stars for me. #1: Genetic Determinism You’d think, with Eugenics and associated theories being one of the main causes of WW2 genocide and US government sterilisation programs in the mid20th Century, that we’d be over this by now. Genetic Determinism is the classic Nature vs Nurture, tipped towards the opinion that your genetics are the ultimate determining factor about who you become. Distressingly, I saw a TikTok comment section in the last month which wondered, under a video about how science has bred tamed foxes, why we don’t do this to people. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this theory opens doors to discrimination, racism, ableism, and so much more, with the tagline of ‘building a better human race.’ What, dear reader, counts as ‘better,’ and who decides it? Who implements it? As a child of a narcissist myself, would someone who ascribes to this theory kick me off the island for a trait that I don’t display? Genetic Determinism revokes the agency of the individual in choosing their own life, with horrifying implications if left unchecked. It’s also a dangerous theory, because it requires critical thinking to unpack, and I think we’ve all seen from the American elections how quickly people can be hypnotised by rhetoric. 5/5 stars. Leave it in the 20th Century. by Mykayla Castle
#2: Freud’s Oedipal Complex Look, it’s not a serious social issue nowadays, but this one ranks up here for sheer squick factor. This guy is arguing that children from the ages of 3-5 experience possessive sexual desires towards their opposite-sex parent and want to ‘get rid’ of their same-sex parent to take their place. Freud’s theory was that if the child doesn’t resolve this properly, they would be influenced towards homosexual tendencies. Big Yikes. There’s also a weird emphasis on the penis and how it influences morality, which I’m not even going to address past Why and This Guy Needs Therapy, Ironically Enough. He has a sum total of one case study for this theory and is a raging misogynist. I hate that he’s not even the worst for his time period— he talked to people, instead of
DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS There are millions of artists in the world, but only one who paints with his penis. Tim Patch better known as Pricasso is a man who earns a living by painting caricature portraits for complete strangers online, using his flaccid dick as the brush. I wouldn’t exactly call Tim an artist struggling to make a living, he commissions these paintings for 300 US dollars and tells me he comfortably receives ten plus orders a week through his website. Combine these personalised portraits with his hefty international touring schedule; performing at sex shows and private events, Tim tells me he is consistently raking in an impressive 2000 Australian dollars weekly. But is it all worth it? Like so many others, I asked myself the obvious question when first hearing about Pricasso; why the fuck are you doing this? And the answer to that question, at least at the start of Tim’s journey seemed to point in one obvious direction: a full blown mid-life crisis. Before Tim became Pricasso, he spent the best part of forty years unsatisfied with his career — working as a carpenter in Queensland. Carpentry and building came to Tim after he dropped out of art school at the age of 21, insisting he was “too realistic. This was back in the 1960’s and everyone was into cubism and modern art.” Tim describing his time at art school as “…a good waste of three years. I got married and had kids at the same time.” With Tim not exactly giving a glowing review of his youth, it came as no surprise to me when Tim revealed his first marriage ended in divorce. Not long after immigrating from his home in the UK to the Gold Coast, his second marriage suffered the same fate. After an unfulfilling life as a carpenter and two failed marriages under his belt, Tim said “well, I’ve wasted my life so far!” and begun painting again as a hobby, using actual brushes to begin with. That all changed when he saw a show called ‘Puppetry of the Penis’ and thought “God, those guys have a great job…” and in turn realised “I’m sure I could paint portraits with mine!” After leaving the theatre, Tim did what any man would do in that situation. He locked himself in his private art studio for two years and painted with his cock without telling a soul. Choosing not to tell anyone until he perfected the art, out of fear people would “think he was weird.”
Flash forward to today and Tim is a lot more open with people he meets about his chosen profession yet feels many of us are becoming a lot more prudish when it comes to nudity, and wishes people were more confident and comfortable in their own skin. “I think it’s getting worse actually, with everyone not touching each other [during the pandemic] we are getting much more self-conscious about what we look like. I can see it getting much more Victorian in the attitude to people in the future, so I think we are fighting a bit of an uphill battle.” I’m jealous in a way. He appears to be the most confident man in the world, completely at ease in his own skin. He sports a bright pink top hat and pink cowboy boots whenever he has a show. This outfit is accented beautifully by two nipple piercings and a lone tattoo sprawled across his back. “WWW. Pricasso.Com” the tattoo reads, in Comic Sans font for some reason. Tim is also fucking jacked and works out like 6 times a week, and the brush he uses is of an above average size. After realising all this, it’s easy to see why Tim radiates confidence. I tried to gain an idea of something Tim was insecure about; just to make myself feel less inferior and at first glance there wasn’t much. But there is one insecurity Tim is pretty open about, his age. Tim is 71 years old and has been earning a living as Pricasso for the best part of 20 years, “I’m getting a bit old for it really. I’m 71 now and when I go into a room full of 18 year old girls for a party they always think; what’s this old bloke doing here? It always goes well in the end. I always feel about three or four generations ahead of them though.” Pricasso isn’t just booked for small parties. In fact, Tim is known all over the globe. Appearing on Sweden’s Got Talent, Good Morning, The BBC, The ABC and more recently Britains Got Talent, where Simon Cowell walked out of the audition and left the set entirely for the day — perhaps annoyed he wasn’t presented with the next One Direction.
Something I noticed in these TV appearances surprised me though, Tim appears noticeably uncomfortable and out of place. He is asked to sum up what he does in a very short amount of time, whilst simultaneously shrugging off giggles and jibes from presenters, audiences, and judges alike. The Pricasso on TV is a far stretch from the confident man he appears to be on the surface. So it seems, earning a living painting with your cock and balls isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. To be honest, Tim is actually laughed at by a majority of his audiences, he appears to be a gimmick to so many he performs for. The tragic thing is, Tim’s penis art is actually really good. His caricature work that is done on these shows is done in about 5 minutes and doesn’t truly showcase the depth of Tim’s artistic talent. Instead, the work Tim spends 7-8 hours completing is where Pricasso really earns his stripes as an artist. Yet still, Tim is seen as a laughing stock and is outcast by Australian art communities and critics alike. “I think Australia is a very hard place to do something totally different. If I was in New York or something I’d probably have a lot more success but I’m stuck in Queensland…I think the critics here they just say what they’re expected to say and they’re always focused on younger people. Up and coming artists instead of old fogeys like me.” This has sent him down the unfulfilling yet lucrative path of performing at the only place that will accept him — sex conventions. Tim performs at these shows all over the world and often feels like “just another naked guy. Most of the shows I do there is live sex
going on in the booth next to me; so what are you going to watch? Some old guy painting or some sex? I’m not that appreciated. The people who go to those shows are more interested in sex then they are art.” Tim tells me of his dreams to be accepted as not just a gimmick, but as a genuine artist accepted in a gallery space, wherever that may be. “I did a show in Sweden once. I had to do 16 paintings at an art gallery and that went down really well. I sold a lot of art and It wasn’t at all sexual. It was just fun and had a great reaction, but I don’t get too many of them. Yeah, its disappointing in a way but you can only do so much.” It appears his Pricasso alter-ego has become a two-edged sword. On one hand, it has given him a platform and uniqueness that has seen him recognised the world over, but at what cost? He has lost integrity as an artist in his own eyes and is not taken seriously by the art community, too. “I’d like to be recognised one day by the art world but I’m pretty sure I never will be…All I’ve been doing is travelling around to different shows doing a few orders for people, that’s all I’ve really been doing for years and I haven’t done too many things I want to do myself.” “I’m going to keep going and get a body of work, a bit like Van Gogh he hardly ever sold any in his life… I’m quite happy being completely insignificant. I do like painting with a brush, but I’ve never actually sold a painting with a brush in my life.” by Max Ghent
“If I do not say what ought to be done, it is not because I believe there is nothing to be done. Quite on the contrary, I think there are a thousand things to be done, to be invented, to be forged, by those who, recognising the relations of power in which they are implicated, have decided to resist or escape them. From this point of view, my entire research rests upon the postulate of an absolute optimism. I do not undertake my analyses to say: look how things are, you are all trapped. I do not say such things except insofar as I consider this to permit some transformation of things. Everything I do, I do in order that it may be of use.” —Michel Foucault
• This is it, this is your last semester. Make it a good one. Make the most of every single chance, study hard, have fun while doing it.
• Start the semester full of enthusiasm, with study plans, with daily exercise, with a reasonable sleep schedule. Remind yourself: set out as you mean to go on. • Love your classes. You can’t wait to learn more.
• Take a shortcut through a butcher bird’s territory on the way to uni, and don’t notice the clack of its beak. Get swooped. • Ask your friends, the ones who mostly graduated last year, if they want to hang out. Hear that they’re too busy. Wonder if you’re being too clingy. • Recognise the same old cycle repeating itself again, the same cycle that’s been turning since you moved primary schools in year 2: make friends, fall out of touch, lose friends. Try again. • Wonder what’s wrong with you.
• Produce a spreadsheet of your grades for the semester to calculate a running mark. Fiddle with the pending assignment marks to determine the minimum required for a distinction. Reason that Excel is an important workplace skill and that this is not a waste of time. Suppress the anxiety of looming assignments. • Wonder if it was a mistake to break up with Rhea, and if it was your last chance at love.
• Census date. Last chance to drop a unit without financial penalty. • Make a second spreadsheet, this one for your entire university career. You need an above-distinction average to get into Masters. You think you can do it, but you want to make sure. • Go for a swim at the gym. The water is warm, warmer than the air. They must heat it up during winter to compensate. • Feel great afterwards. Be more productive than usual as a result. Resolve to swim a kilometre every day. • Stay in bed and scroll through Twitter instead of swimming.
• Slip back into old habits. Stay up too late. Procrastinate. • Trudge home at midnight from your job at Grill’d, knees black with grit and face wet with grease, wishing for the millionth time that you hadn’t needed to work fifteen hours a week all through uni. Think wistfully about what you could have done with all that extra time, wonder how much better your marks could have been, how much more writing you could have done. Conclude that you would have wasted it.
• Spend three hours on hold with Centrelink. • The break starts tomorrow. You’re going to have so much time to finish all those assignments and study for your mid-sems. You can’t wait.
• Have your 23rd birthday. Surprise yourself with the realisation that another year has passed. The passage of time is the most predictable thing possible, and yet somehow it shocks you the most. • Note that what used to be a flood of “Happy birthday”s on Facebook has shrunk to a withered trickle. • Last date to drop classes without academic penalty. Consider dropping your quantum physics unit, the one you thought would be awesome thought experiments and strange paradoxes but is actually just complicated linear algebra that you can barely follow. Decide to stick with it; you’ll have to stay an extra semester otherwise.
• Stay up late doing assignments due tomorrow even though you had two whole weeks to get ahead of them.
• Get swooped by that butcher bird again on the way home, only this time it makes contact with your forehead. Name it Boris. • Feel the highest hopes for humanity. Things are bad, but we’ll work it out. It’s what we do.
• Wonder why people can’t recognise that everyone is human; that there are seven billion dramas playing out at all times, seven billion lives, all full of love and loss and ambition and will to live.
• Detest humanity. There’s no hope for any of us.
• Read a narrative told as a series of tweets. Think that you’ll never be as pithy or as clever.
• Remind yourself that you need to save money.
• The Thai kiosk in the uni food court is shutting down because there’s no room for it in the new building. Feel sad. It’s your favourite food here, and the man who serves you is always so friendly. It’s very popular, there’s always a queue. Wonder how they didn’t make the cut. Hope that the staff land on their feet.
• Want desperately to talk to someone about everything you’re going through, the teeming emotions at constant war inside. • Want to be alone. • Wonder if you’ll ever fall in love again. • You don’t deserve to be loved.
• Try to express everything you feel in writing, but have the words come out clumsy. Think: you’re not expressing anything new, you’re not expressing it in a new way. Maybe if you practiced more, you could get there, but it’s so much easier to put on Stranger Things and zone out. • You’re not smart enough. • You are smart enough, just not motivated enough. You can do it, you just have to push a bit harder. • Get drunk. Go to a party. Make a fool of yourself. • Run into one of those friends you made back in your first semester, the ones you were convinced would be your mates all through uni but who you barely saw after first year. Smile through a quick chat, then go on your separate ways. Wonder if you’ll ever see them again. • You’ve always wanted to be a scientist. You’ve always wanted to be an author. What if you can’t do either? What if you end up in a tedious job that you hate, all that potential you once felt swelling inside you wasted away. You want to do more than that. You want to contribute something. • Procrastinate literally all day.
• There are millions of writers just like you, hundreds of thousands of whom are better, want it more, are willing to work harder. The same goes for astrophysicists. What’s the point? • Feel like you should have done more, tried more, seized every opportunity. You’re near the end now, and have you grown, have you changed? It doesn’t feel like it. Everything you’ve ever learned has faded as though it leaked out your ears.
• Leave your COMP lecture with a sad weight in your chest and behind your eyes. Find that empty theatre where you had that first Physics lecture, when the future seemed so bright - where you were filled with nerves and optimism and there were new relationships and new classes and you felt like you could learn anything if you tried. It seemed like you would be at uni forever, four years is such a long time, and you couldn’t think of anything you’d love more than to extend this novel challenge ad infinitum. But second year comes right after first year, then third comes right after second, followed promptly by fourth; and somehow, in that time, four years have slipped by, and you can’t think of one thing you’ve really achieved. Sit in the back row to the left, like you did with your new friends four years ago, and cry.
• Try to imagine life after university. Fail. • Begin the paperwork to apply for Masters. • Remember the expression, but not where you heard it: ‘bite off more than you can chew, and chew like fuck’. You bit off more than you could chew, but your jaw muscles have worn out. • Your exams are coming. Spend more time planning your study schedule than actually studying. • Think that you want to be single forever.
• Long to be with someone who understands you. • Watch ten hours of Bojack Horseman instead of doing your final assignment. • Finish your final assignment at 4am in a caffeinated haze.
• Study some more. Get some done, but not enough. • Open your maths notes to Week 8, and find nothing but an unintelligible scribble, accompanied by the caption ‘planets are people too.’ Become very annoyed at your past self. • Complete the final exam of your degree. That’s it, it’s over, it’s done. • Expect to feel proud and accomplished at what you’ve achieved. Instead, feel strangely hollow. Feel like you should be partying; fail to think of anyone to party with. Go home and play games instead. • Sit at your desk. Stare out your window at the path below. Worry that you’re not going to find your way, that you’re going to end up lost and sad and alone. • A breath of air blows in the open window, cooling your cheeks. For a moment, it all seems like it might be okay. by Lachlan Marnoch
LADY LINEN When I got the fitted sheet to slip around the mattress corners creaseless and smooth was the first time I felt like a woman.
I fed the pillow into its sleeve like my brain wrapped in floral linen and thought about the hundreds of times I’d seen my mother make my bed perfectly, just had to lie in it / die in it / mattress / sheet / doona holy trinity that a woman ought to swear by.
I’m not saying my road is the domestic one, I’m saying I wish I didn’t feel so accomplished with a bedsheet.
by Bruna Gomes
I’ve strung these webs over a thousand times running back and forth, round and round. But the wind, the rain, the hands of children tear them down – swindling, dwindling. Autumn gossamer threads forming in the mind cobwebs in corners but no spider can be found. I just wanted the world to see, this twine of me. It’s times like this that I wonder why my art is made only to die.
by Rhys Sage
ATAVISM I never pictured my heart with jaws of a fish a deep sea spiny thing, found too far down to be familiar.
i think it had wings once—
No. I pictured it a box, an egg, a pomegranate. I held my empty hand to my chest and clutched at my silly heart, too soft to start with, and so it floated, algae in the ocean, and subsisted off sunlight and— nothing, really, except the shadow of the viper that curled around the core of me, like I could pluck only the pit which sucked my chest in with promises, and the edges are blurry on how i grew my legs and struggled to land, how did i grow hungry, grow teeth inside a mouth— I look again, spy in rib bone coral the blind, swimming thing that hides with frilled fins and flinches away, unfamiliar with how life goes outside the palaeozoic era is the thing i was at the very beginning still me? by Mykayla Castle
“Without any change (or any noticeable change) in our minds, time does not seem to pass, as in the story about those who sleep in the sanctuary of the heroes of Sardinia, who wake up and do not think time has passed; what they do is amalgamate the later now into a unit with the earlier now and eliminate all the time in between because they have not noticed its passage. There would be no time if there were only a single now, rather than different nows, and by the same token, if the difference between the nows is not noticed, the time between them seems not to exist. So, if thinking that time does not exist is something that happens when we do not distinguish any change and when the mind seems to remain in a single, undifferentiated condition, and if when we do notice and discern change, we say that time has passed, then clearly time does not exist without change.” —Aristotle
REPEAT OFFENDERS 46
TV SHOW REVIEW
BRIDGERTON Feminine Constructs and Feminism in a Traditionally Feminine Product Warning: this article contains spoilers Season 1 of Bridgerton dropped on Netflix in Australia on December 25th 2020 and blew up around the globe, ranking #1 in 83 countries according to Netflix. It is a romanticised period piece set in regency England inspired by Julia Quinn’s early 2000 novel series. The tone of Bridgerton is not too dissimilar to that of a Jane Austen novel in regard to dated female-life revolving around courtship, finding a husband, and starting a family (although a lot more sexually explicit). There is a lot to be commented on about this first season, but I am interested in reviewing how it depicts its female characters and femininity and what commentary it has to offer on traditional feminism. Season 1 of Bridgerton closely follows the first novel in Quinn’s series, The Duke and I. It is set in Regency England in Grosvenor Square with a particular focus on the social season of the ‘ton,’ that is, the time in the year where the ton’s eligible young women enter the marriage mart, courting with the ton’s eligible bachelors in the
hope of securing themselves a husband before the season’s end. The women of this world aspire to be ladies, preparing their entire lives for this moment, training in what can be called the ‘art of femininity,’ practicing their posture, curtsies, flattery, and beauty. The first season thus follows the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne (played by Phoebe Dynevor), in her exploits in this world. We understand that feminism is a desire for equality among men and women, perhaps poignantly characterised by the value of the second-wave. One aspect of this was the publication of The Feminine Mystique by Betty Frieden which brought around the idea that women could offer more than just being wives and mothers and raising a family. A traditional feminist would thus be one that aspires to an education and a career, something more than finding a husband and settling into domesticity. This, however, is very different to the content in Season 1 of Bridgerton. There is hint of a feminist voice in the disembodied
TV SHOW REVIEW voiceover of Lady Whistledown’s satiricalsounding gossip (voiced by Julie Andrews). Andrews’ posh English accent provides the perfect tone of superiority and amusement over the eligible women’s desperate clamouring for approval and attention, be it the queen’s or the suitors’. In her commentary, she uses a variety of phrases that prompt a slight self-satirical view of the content of this series as she addresses the conduct of the women of the ton who are “Thereby avoiding the dreadful dismal condition known as ‘the spinster’,” (it must really be heard in Andrews’ voice for the desired effect). The ton is obsessed with the happenings of the social season and Lady Whistledown’s gossip in part pokes fun at them, especially to a modern-day feminist-informed audience. The most typical depiction of a feminist in the series, however, would be the character Eloise (played by Claudia Jessie), the second Bridgerton daughter and the fifth Bridgerton child. Her first line in the entire season is a complaint about the frilly dress she is forced to wear at her sister Daphne’s debut to the queen. She quickly demonstrates that she is not at all lady-like through her uncomposed walk and yelling through the house. Although she is highly engaged in Lady Whistledown’s commentary on the social season, amused by her writings, she is more fascinated with her autonomy and agency than anything else. She herself is more interested in her education and becoming independent and self-autonomous. She believes university is an accomplishment as opposed to gaining the attention of a man because she may possess a pretty face, repeatedly expressing her disgust at marrying. She compares the behaviour of the women around with an artful metaphor to birds: “I have never understood the fashion for feathers in the hair. Why would a woman want to draw more notice to the fact that she is like a bird squawking for a man’s attention in some bizarre ritual? … Why must our only options be to squawk and settle or to never leave the nest? What if I want to fly?” As her sister progresses through the social season, appearing to grow closer to a certain eligible bachelor and on the cusp of marriage, Eloise expresses her desire for Daphne to stay on the marriage mart so that she might not have to enter. But Eloise is not the leading-lady and the season does not follow a main plotline that focuses on her struggle against her mother’s wishes and breaking
free of the social tradition to successfully pursue higher education, proving that women are more than just wives and mothers. And so, how can Bridgerton be considered feminism in this light? Often, traditionally feminine things are considered frivolous and trivial and they are not given much attention, thought or value. Things like fashion, gossip, and romance are eye-rolled at and cast aside as inconsequential, and girls who like these things are often chastised and ridiculed for their interests. Such expressions of traditionally feminine things can broadly be considered anti-feminist or at best non-feminist as they can be seen as ignoring all the hard work feminists have put in for women to be considered equal. Bridgerton itself falls into this category but through its textuality, it offers a pro-feminist commentary on these things. The first season is all about Daphne’s story, her personality, feelings, and ambitions. Daphne has been preparing her entire life to enter the marriage mart and is the polar opposite to Eloise. On her debut to the queen, she was declared the season’s “incomparable,” indicating the success of her training in the ‘art of femininity.’ She quickly establishes herself as ‘boy-crazy,’ completely embracing the role society has laid out for her, obsessed with socialising, charming, and securing a husband. Unlike Eloise, she does not complain about the social engagements and is excited by new dresses and male callers. Her entire life has been about marrying, having children and becoming a mother. This lead character is not what we would identify as a typical feminist. However, although a complete lady and happy with it, Daphne is far from being a quiet, subordinate, ignorant woman completely at the whims of the patriarchy. Just because she embraces her role does not mean that she is unaware of the restraints placed on women in her society when she states that “I cannot simply declare I do not wish to marry. I do not have such privilege.” But she believes in true love and will not marry just any man just because her eldest brother Anthony, the head of the Bridgerton family (played by Jonathan Bailey), has arranged it. She refuses the proposal of an undesirable suitor and when he makes inappropriate advances on her, she retaliates with a swift punch to his face. She is not easily impressed by a man simply because of his station but requires him to possess the same manners she is required to display.
TV SHOW REVIEW Dynevor’s character also explores the female gaze, a concept not unfamiliar to second-wave feminist discourse. The women of this society are kept in the dark about their sexuality and this is no exception for the Bridgerton girls. Dynevor and the other female cast members must be praised for their convincing acting of innocence and cluelessness. They do not even have the slightest clue of basic reproduction. When Eloise’s best friend, Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan), learns that a young maid under her mother’s care has fallen pregnant out of wedlock, they are baffled at how this has happened and are fearful that it may happen to them, believing marriage is required to have children. For Daphne, she desires children although she too does not know how it happens. These things are not kept from girls forever and as Daphne’s emotional connection grows stronger with the Duke of Hastings (played by RegéJean Page), she experiences her first physical attraction to a man and wonders about the physical component of marriage. The Duke himself explains masturbation to her and when Daphne explores this in the privacy of her room that night, she experiences her first encounter with female sexual pleasure and desire as the scene is intersected with cut-shots of the man she lusts after. After her marriage, this desire is not shadowed and though the second half of the season is more focused on the complexities of her marriage and relationship, it is not devoid of a variety of steamy sex scenes. But the question is, if Eloise and Daphne are polar opposites, does this mean these two types of women are mutually exclusive? The mysterious character of Lady Whistledown can answer this question. Up until the eighth episode, Lady Whistledown’s true identity is unknown despite Eloise’s attempts to uncover her. No one knows what she looks like, what her age is, what her occupation is, whether she is married, single or widowed. Nevertheless, despite her facelessness, Lady Whistledown’s approval is most sought after, a particular achievement for a woman of this society, even if it is in the ‘frivolous’ lives of women. Lady Whistledown is not immune to critique, though. She is often called a “sandalling mongering writer” or names to that effect but only by those she insults in her writing and she herself recognises that “a scribbling woman is the most
canine.” But through her intermittent voiceovers, she demonstrates the power of women, especially female gossip and scheming. And though the ton is filled with strong women, none quite have the ability to affect people’s lives as Lady Whistledown. Everyone is desperate to know what she has written about the previous day’s social event. Lady Whistledown’s word is law, maybe even more so than the queen’s. At the end of the last episode of the season, Lady Whistledown’s identity is revealed as Penelope Featherington. Though there are many unanswered questions as to how this is possible, this reveal reconciles the two types of women embodied in Eloise and Daphne. Before we know Penelope is Whistledown, she is seen reading a book when her mother tells her to stop and study her miniatures (the season’s eligible bachelors). She further expresses a desire to sit out this social season, offering a desire to focus on her studies like Eloise. However, it quickly becomes obvious that she has eyes for a man, Colin Bridgerton (played by Luke Thompson), who is a bit on the young side (for a man of this time) to be settling down and looking for a wife. This is indicated by his desire to travel and his pending tour. And when Colin takes an interest in another young lady, Penelope’s distress is clear. She is, as Lady Whistledown puts it, one of the “marriage-minded misses” and considering she is Lady Whistledown, it offers an interesting perspective on all the previous satirical commentary. However, what this resolution of two characters hints at is that a woman can possess both traditional feminine interests and education and authority. There is a lot more to be commented on about the first season of Bridgerton, about feminism, the patriarchy, masculinity, race, responsibility, social class and rules… but alas, it would be impossible to fit them all in this article. Instead, what I hope I have offered about Bridgerton, or at least the first season, is this: Bridgerton explores different types of women and, through this exploration, opens up to the idea of a feminine feminism, one that recognises that there are traditional feminists who desire education and career above all else, but there are also feminists who have traditionally feminine interests, who want to be mothers and have children… and that is okay. by Tori S. Barendregt
HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore,” become the titular character of a critically acclaimed rap musical? The “bastard” in question is Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the Caribbean who became an indispensable asset to the American Revolutionary War, and later, the first Treasury of the Secretary of the United States. In 2015, his life was brought onto the Broadway stage in the form of a genre-bending musical, written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Using a combination of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz, the musical features contemporary tunes to embody the transformative spirit of revolution and bring spice to the stories of long-dead, white men. You would be right in thinking that rap and hip-hop is an unexpected way to narrate Hamilton’s story, and yet it oddly works. Averaging 144 words per minute, the use of rap is used to mimic Hamilton’s quick mind, overly talkative nature, and prolific writings (he did, for example, write 51 essays in the span of 6 months). And with Hamilton earning its place as a cultural phenomenon – see the 11 Tony awards and Pulitzer Prize for receipts – it seems that portraying historical figures as hip-hop stars is a winning formula. I have to admit, I spent a few years consumed by the Hamilton hype, to the point where I will willingly recite the entire soundtrack if asked. As you can imagine, I was extremely excited to hear that Hamilton was coming to the Sydney Lyric Theatre, and it appears I wasn’t the only person. Even before opening night on the 27th of March 2021, Hamilton broke Australian box office pre-sale records, with an estimate of over 250 000 tickets sold. What’s more, COVID-19 has meant that the Sydney production is currently the only production of Hamilton being performed in the world, a fact which Gladys Berejiklian has very smugly promoted. Diverse casting has been a large part of adapting Hamilton’s life into a stage musical, a notion which the Sydney production has similarly emphasised. The 36 person cast features Indigenous, Samoan, Maori, Filipino, South African, Nigerian, Egyptian, Japanese, and Italian performers together on the
stage. In the words of Miranda himself, casting people of colour portrays the “story of America, told by Americans now.” While this line doesn’t necessarily work for the Sydney production (they are all local, Australian and New Zealand performers), it makes a statement to the irreplaceable contributions immigrants and minority groups have made to America’s history. Seeing the show in early April was everything I wanted it to be. Even if you’re not a musical theatre fan, it’s hard to deny that the show is incredibly impressive. Cast members not only have to be triple threats, but are also required to dance on a rotating stage while occasionally holding bits of furniture upside down. Other roles, such as the role of Lafayette, demand a leap off a table while rapping 6 words per second in a French accent. Jason Arrow took the leading role of Hamilton, with big shoes to fill considering the role was originated by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. In my opinion, and judging by the audience’s standing ovation, he absolutely nailed it. Hamilton is a difficult role, not only due to the endless rapping, but also because the character of Hamilton is… not a great person. He’s egotistical and impatient, doesn’t know when to shut up, and gets so easily offended he’s constantly challenging people to duels. And yet, Arrow’s passion was such a refreshing take you couldn’t help but root for him. His version of Hamilton was relentless while also vulnerable, and unafraid to moonwalk in order to win a rap battle. Arrow was also as good a singer as he was a rapper, and at some stage sang a riff so high the man behind me gasped in shock. In summary, if you’re concerned that the Australian cast doesn’t live up to the hype of the original production, there’s no need to worry. Lyndon Watts played the role of Aaron Burr, who is labelled as the “villain in your history” and, for lack of a better word, Hamilton’s frenemy. Whilst desperately wanting to be involved in shaping a new nation, Burr is unwilling to make impulsive decisions and chooses instead to ‘wait’ for the right opportunity. The right opportunity, apparently, is to shoot Hamilton in a duel after a long, ongoing rivalry between the two characters. Despite being
THEATRE REVIEW the antagonist of the musical, Watts played Burr in an enchanting way that is best described as Disney Villain Energy, complete with arched eyebrows and a dance number that, in my very humble lack of knowledge for anything dance-related, had an impressive amount of high-knees. In addition, his voice and acting was so incredible that if they had retitled the musical as Aaron Burr: An American Musical, I wouldn’t have objected. The Schuyler Sisters were performed by Chloe Zuel as Eliza, Akina Edmonds as Angelica, and Elandrah Eramiha as Peggy/Maria Reynolds. All three were exceptionally powerful, and equally good at making 1700 audience members cry. There seems to be a pattern in musical theatre where Act 1 is incredibly happy, while Act 2 slams you in the heart. Hamilton certainly follows this pattern, with Eramiha depicting the devastation of being exploited and used as a tool for extortion, whilst Zuel and Edmonds portrayed grief with such conviction that you could legitimately hear people shedding tears.
has stated that “all criticisms are valid” and that he found it difficult to portray the “sheer tonnage of complexities and failings of these people” within a musical format. Ultimately, while the musical is often celebrated for its diverse representations of America and its role in introducing new audiences to theatre, it is important to recognise that the idealisation and romanticism of the Founding Fathers is problematic.
Hamilton continues to be a sold-out show, with dates extending at the Sydney Lyric Theatre until December 2021. This review was basically a round-about way of saying that yes, it is definitely worth seeing Hamilton in the “room where it happens.” And if you’ve already seen it and are thinking of going a second time, sign me up. by Kathleen Notohamiprodjo
This wouldn’t be a complete review without mentions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and King George. Played by Matu Ngaropo, Washington was a suave man with a voice so smooth he was basically the human equivalent of honey. Jimmie “J.J.” Ketter performed as both Lafayette and Jefferson on the night of my performance, switching effortlessly from America’s “favourite fighting Frenchman” to a scheming Virginian who owned the stage. Finally, King George was portrayed by Callan Purcell with the confidence of someone who’s the life of the party, and knows it. Supported by a spectacular ensemble, and lighting that emphasised the masterful staging, the show was captivating. As celebrated as the show is, Hamilton is not free from criticism. Most notably, in the process of making its characters relatable and entertaining for its audience, it is argued the musical has glorified slave-owning historical figures. Hamilton refrains from explicitly addressing that many of its main characters were involved in slavery, despite Thomas Jefferson owning more than 600 African-American slaves in his lifetime, and spending years sexually assaulting 14-year-old enslaved seamstress, Sally Hemings. Alongside George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette’s involvement, Hamilton himself assisted with the purchase of slaves for the Schuyler family. It seems that Hamilton’s revisionist portrayal of a diverse America is too optimistic in its attempt to highlight the erased experiences of Black and Indigenous people, and the marginalisation of female characters. In response, Lin-Manuel Miranda
‘MONTERO (CALL ME BY YOUR NAME)’ BY LIL NAS X Music Video Controversy
Lil Nas X had his music video for ‘Montero (Call Me by Your Name)’ released on YouTube on March 26th and it has since become the subject of controversy amongst some conservatives. Rap has never really been my thing but then my Facebook feed became flooded with memes about this particular video. Most of my friends were in overwhelming support but one post expressing their disgust about it stood out and I thought I should check it out for myself and see what all the drama was about. The conservative backlash against ‘Montero’ seems to be largely focused in terms of the religious right. While there has been some comment on the video’s lack of disclaimer for explicit content (notably Joyner Lucas tweeted along these lines and Lil Nas X responded with a good point about parents regulating their children’s online consumption – and, I mean, isn’t most rap music generally explicit anyway?), more of the concerns have been about the video’s promotion of devil-worshipping. To sum up the plot of the music video, it begins in what can be identified as the Garden of Eden where Lil Naz X, calling to mind Adam, is enticed into temptation by a snake (or rather the devil) with a human male’s torso. But instead of knowledge, temptation here is homosexual relations. This is followed by a trial where the rapper is chained and brought in front of a court for his relations with the devil. Amongst the outrage from the gallery, someone throws a rock at his head and kills him. He is ascending to heaven when a pole rises from hell which he grabs and slides down to give the devil a lap dance. Lil Nas X then breaks the devil’s neck and takes the crown for himself. While I can understand how some offense can be taken at the appropriation of religious beliefs that trivialise and poke fun at Christians – in this case,
you can argue that Lil Nas X is suggesting that those who believe in hell and eternal damnation are wrong or it isn’t a big deal, perhaps even suggesting that their god isn’t real – I do not see this video, nor the song, as promoting devilworshipping. In fact, I have a hard time believing that it was made to trivialise Christian beliefs but rather it was made to support a LGBTQI+ agenda. What I find interesting is that most of the backlash has been focused on the video and hasn’t considered the meaning behind the lyrics or the video’s connection to them. If you are like me and have a hard time understanding rap lyrics when sung, then it might be a good idea to give them a read to see what it is Lil Nas X is speaking about, but I’ll give you the gist of the message here: The song does draw on religious intertextuality, saying “If Eve ain’t in your garden, you know that you can / Call me when you want…” There is also mention of “God was shinin’ on me,” but absolutely no mention of Satan, the devil or even hell. Rather, it is discussing a secret same-sex relationship with someone who has yet to come out and the song becomes a critique on this lifestyle: “Cocaine and drinking wit’ your friends / You live in the dark, boy, I cannot pretend.” So, what’s with the seemingly pro-devilworshipping video? It is a stand against Christian persecution towards queer people. The LGBTQI+ community has been persecuted in society for centuries, portrayed as deviant, criminal, and even as a mentally ill. Homosexuality was a crime in the entirety of the United States until 1962 when Illinois decriminalised it. South Australia was the first state in Australia to decriminalise homosexuality but not until 1975. But it is popularly known that Christianity labels
MUSIC REVIEW queerness as a sin and queer people continue to face persecution and discrimination today. “In life, we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t want the world to see. We lock them away, we tell them no, we banish them. But here, we don’t… Welcome to Montero.” This is the prologue that opens the song in the video, and it offers insight into the rapper’s view on queerness as a sin. In light of this statement, the religious intertextuality in the first half of the video speaks to Christian beliefs about queerness, demonstrating homosexuality as a temptation of the devil and a sin. What follows is Lil Nas X’s demonstration of his disregard for Christian beliefs about his sexual orientation. While Christianity expects homosexuals to be ashamed of their ‘condition,’ to want to be ‘normal’ and to fear going to hell and suffering eternal punishment, Lil Nas X is saying that those aren’t his beliefs and he is not
going to let them affect the way he feels about himself or the way he lives his life. If he is sinful because of the way he was made, then he will embrace it. Considering the message of the song and the lyrics themselves, the religious intertextuality can make sense for the music video. The outrage, then, comes from its failure to use religious intertextuality that is conducive with Christian beliefs. We need to remember that Lil Nas X belongs to a minority and he is in a position to represent that minority and push its agenda. Queer people have been struggling and continuing to struggle to fit into a world that refuses to accept them, and he is merely trying to encourage them to be themselves and not let other people’s beliefs hold them back. We all deserve to be free to who we are. by Tori S. Barendregt
OUTLAWED BY ANNA NORTH “In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.”
Outlawed, the latest novel from Anna North, is definitely one to add to your to-be-read list. Set in late 19th century America, this old western setting is not quite consistent with historical fact. Instead, the book explores an alternate past where patriarchal Christian societies have emerged following the Great Flu of the 1830s, a flu that killed 90 per cent of the US population. Set 60 years after this plague, when society has become centred around the idea of fertility, Outlawed follows the journey of Ada, an outcast on the run who is forced to leave her husband and job as a midwife once it is evident that she is unable to have children. Joining up with the ‘Hole in the Wall Gang,’ headed by the charismatic leader known as ‘The Kid,’ Ada quickly finds herself in the middle of an audacious plan to create a safe haven for outcast women. Whilst one can definitely draw similarities between the fertility focused society with Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 novel, The Handmaids Tale, Outlawed presents a feminine outlook at frontier lands in a genre subverting, feminist western tale.
Outlawed challenges the traditional heteronormative tropes of the wild west whilst exploring sexual politics, gender roles, and sexuality. The novel is an easy, quick-paced read in which North has been able to create an emotional attachment between the readers and all the female and non-binary members of the Hole in the Wall Gang. This novel is the perfect book if you find yourself in a reading slump. I initially picked it up thanks to its striking cover and whilst it was definitely outside of my usual go-to picks (think rom-coms or thrillers), it has definitely opened my eyes to reading outside of my usual genre. This book has a little bit of everything you need in a good read, it has witchcraft, bank robberies, nuns, outlaw gangs, cowboys, and even a few juicy relationships. The characters are memorable, and the quick pace is enticing. North’s attempt to
subvert the traditional western genre has resulted in an interesting novel that touches on sexual politics, racism, and female identities within a patriarchal world. Whilst I think this book is up there as one of my favourite reads of the year so far, it doesn’t come without its faults. I found the ending lacklustre and rushed. Maybe that was inevitable when most of the book leads up to one big finale, but I couldn’t help but feel like I needed more at the end. Questions were left unanswered; problems were resolved instantly, and I was left longing for more. I won’t lie, it’s a bit of a bizarre story and I definitely wouldn’t think I would ever enjoy an old wild west type of setting, but the book just works. I think this also comes down to how strangely relatable Outlawed is from our current life. Not only does reading about a society post-pandemic hit close to home, but North explores the power of misinformation and religious dictation in a way that makes you ponder.
“Knowledge can be very valuable... but only if people want it. If they don’t, it can be worse than useless.” Whilst it’s not a perfect book (is there ever?), I would definitely recommend Outlawed. It’s a refreshing yet emotionally turbulent read that is exciting and thought-provoking. This book has not only made me anticipate North’s future works, but also challenged my usual reading tendencies, which is probably a good thing when I read more than the appropriate amount of cringy rom-coms. by Madi Scott
horoscopes by Lachlan Hodson
Existential dread doesn’t meet the eligibility requirements for an extension. Do your damn essay and sulk later.
Words have infinite combinations to create infinite possible meanings. Yet you struggle to put two together and have an essay demanding 3000 of them due tomorrow.
Small things can have extraordinary strength. Ants lift 50x their own weight! Your ability to crumble under a study load of four units proves humanity does not top the food chain.
Every situation has a sunny side, but you didn’t bring any sunscreen. That’s too much sun, pal. You know what that’ll do.
Your smile is contagious and spreads to all who see it. Wear a mask.
You cut out whatever you deem unnecessary. Non-mandatory classes? Cut. That lengthy essay draft? Cut. Bourbon? Cut… with coke, yes please bartender.
Every door presents you a new world of opportunity. Oh? You chose the English degree door? That’s a revolving one.
The scorpion defends itself with sharp pincers and a venomous sting, but even the crafty scorpion has no defence for you slacking off in a group project. For shame.
You set a high bar for yourself. However height is relative, and your bar is also being used by anglerfish in the Mariana Trench to play limbo.
You should never let a bad day distract you from all the good you’ve done. And more importantly, vice versa.
You claim that patience is your greatest character trait, but really you mean proficient procrastination.
If they do psych, get on your bike. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.