LOT ’S WIFE — EDITION FOUR —
SHOULD I HELP? Everyone is a bystander at some point. Being a bystander is simply when you witness behaviour that is inapropriate or harmful. In these sitautions, it's easy to ignore it, and assume that someone else will help or step in, but a lot of the time everyone else will be thinking that as well. Even if you're not sure how to help, a Oot of the time, trying to do something is better than doing nothing. MONASH SAFER COMMUNITY UNIT T: +61 3 9905 1599 E: email@example.com monash.edu
If you witness harmful or inapropriate behaviour, FRQVLGHU: Ć” 'Is it safe for me to stop in myself or should I call security? Remember, it's important to do the right thing, but your safety is paramount. Ć” 'What kind of negative behaviour am I seeing?' $UHWKH\ EHLQJdiscrimnatory? $UHWKH\yelling abuse? Is someone being physically violent? Different situations require different intervention.
Ć” 'What can I do?' Should you calmly confront the person andexplain why it's wrong? Should you FRPIRUWWKHDIIHFWHGSHUVRQ? Should you call someone else in? Ć” 'Can I support anyone else who is helping?' If someone has already stepped in, what can you do to back them up? ,I\RXKDYHEHHQVHURXVO\DIIHFWHGE\XQDFHSWDEOHEHKDYLRXUWKH6&8FDQKHOS For information, advice and support in a safe environment, please contact the Monash University Safer Community Unit on 9905 1599 or just dial 51599 from a Monash phone.The Safer Community Unit website also lists resources and links to external agencies http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/safercommunity/
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C U LT U R E
T h e wit c h ’s rol e i n h e a l t h c a r e
Why watch foreign films?
Sc ie n c e jour n al i s m
G e t a w a y Vi c t o r i a
Borde rl in e p e rs o n a l i t y d i s o r d e r
TED: Ideas worth shredding
H uman it arian t e c h n o l o g y
I s p o p m u s i c l o s i n g i t s i n t e l l i g e n ce?
Wh e re do our p i z z a b o x e s c o m e from?
L a To m a t i n a
Sc ie n c e c rossw o r d : e n v i r o n m e n t
C R E AT I V E 53
P oe m: P a rl our G a m e s
P oe m: Sire n s
Sh or t fic t ion : Fu n d i n g
P oe m: In se a rc h o f l o s t t i m e
Pattern by R achael Park
Centrefold: Pull-out calendar and poster
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Timothy Newport Carina Florea Lisa Healy
D ES IG N
Natalie Ng SU B - E D ITO RS
ST U DE NT Tricia Ong
Jermaine Doh Rajat Lal S OCIE T Y
S CIE NCE
Matthew Edwards Ishana Srivastava-Khan Maddy Luke Kinto Behr Kathy Zhang Mevani Amarasinghe
CU LTU RE Lachlan Liesfield
Layla Homewood Melissa Fernando CREATIV E Amber Davis
Audrey El-Osta Sarah Kay Lot’s Wife Edition Four July-August 2016 © Lot’s Wife Magazine Level 1, Campus Centre Monash University Clayton, Victoria 3800 Published by Mary Giblin, Printgraphics, Mount Waverley As you read this paper you are on Aboriginal land. We at Lot’s Wife recognise the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nations as the historical and rightful owners and custodians of the lands and waters on which this newspaper is produced. The land was stolen and sovereignty was never ceded. Lot’s Wife condemns and will not publish any material that is racist, sexist, queerphobic, ableist or discriminatory in any nature. The views expressed herein are those of the attributed writers and do not necessarily reﬂect the views of the editors or the MSA. All writing and artwork remains the property of the producers and must not be reproduced without their written consent.
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L I S A H E A LY Hello! Welcome back to the second half of the year where we are all welcomed back with a deluge of rain and shitty, shitty weather. Hopefully your winter break was as **RIVETING** and ~STIMULATING~ as mine. A few of my highlights included: - Discovering the many beneficial healing properties of nasal spray. It was definitely written in the stars to have it bless me with its presence - Encountering a teenager who managed to polish off a bottle(s) of red wine by himself at 2am and who tried to philosophise with me about how oxygen, water, and pomegranates must all be drugs. I almost had an aneurysm - Only just now stumbling across Arrested Development. It appears I am a bonafide late bloomer Don’t feel too bad if yours wasn’t as exciting as mine; you still have the mid-sem break to catch up and possibly surpass it. I imagine it’ll be pretty difficult to do so but I’m sure y’all could manage.
TIMOTHY NEWPORT Well, crap. It’s Semester 2, the election is over, and can you believe that [insert current event here] happened? Me neither, my friends. Through the magic of timetravel and print deadlines, I’m actually writing to you from the far-off land of June. It’s raining terribly, US politics is fukt, and my internet is slow. I think it’s safe to say that it hasn’t changed much. It’s at times like these that we often reflect on our progress so far, and look to the future to see what struggles lie ahead. Looking back, I see four issues of a stellar magazine (thanks, team), and looking forward, I see another two issues, as well as the summer break, and the sweet embrace of bed. So keep your chin up, your back straight, and your Netflix paid. It’s been a rollercoaster year so far, but the struggles of the ascent are behind us, and we’re holding our breath. Get ready. It’s time for the dive.
Hey there! The special furry guest featured in my editorial photo is my lovey cat Pepper. I’d like to think that we’re friends because we share a mutual interest in lying next to warm things, meat and shedding hair everywhere. However, we both lead vastly different lives. While Pepper is alternating between sleeping and attacking rouge socks on the ground, I am attempting to finish a uni degree while also editing this lovely magazine. Attempting to juggle all these things at once has proven to be a really challenging task but with the help of my fellow editors, writers, sub-eds, illustrators (and everyone in between) and all those sweet sweet spiderman memes/simpsons quotes have gotten me through. So with one semester down and another one about to begin, we are all getting scarily close to the end of another year and possibly one step closer to getting out of uni into the scary as fuck ~realworld~ that no one prepared us for. So brace yourself and remember that if some gangsta is dissin’ your fly girl, just give em one of these.
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LODE of crap By Ruby Muller Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges
et Job Ready with an Internship Today from LODE!” No doubt you’ve seen these bad boys plastered all over your Facebook page. Maybe you’ve even been tagged in one by a mate or an over zealous parent. I was, which is why I filled out an an application. Silly, silly me. These things always come at a price, something I wish I had remembered as I started giving them my personal details and wasting time thinking up a witty 100 character response to “How will your colleagues remember you after you have completed your internship?”. The real answer is they won’t, because I won’t be doing one. At least not through a third party company. Which is exactly what those ads are for. So I got a call at 11:00 in the morning, bleary eyed and non-functioning until I got put on hold long enough to pour myself a coffee. It was from the internship people—hurrah! I had succeeded! Or not. But kind of. They loved me. They loved me so much they wanted me to do a Business Administration and Management double diploma on top of my Science and Journalism double degree (yay!). All so I could get a 3 month unpaid internship. It’s all going on my HECS anyway, right? So I persisted with almost an hour of questions and career coaching, which was all very helpful. But then the wonderful lady on the other side of the receiver said those magical words (or rather, numbers). “Fourteen thousand dollars.” $14k. On HECS, but—geez! Fourteen thousand dollars. For a 12-month online course. Through a college called “Ivy”? Sounds super legit. So I hopped on Google and found some alternatives that are all less than $3000 for almost the same thing. While the lady over the phone seemed to think that the extra $11k was well worth it just for the coaching and the internship, I’m not going to pay that much so I can not get paid for three months. According to LODE’s Facebook reviews, I’m not the only one either. Their single star reviews cite a myriad of false advertising, misleading sales tactics and unsolicited calls in order to get people to pay up to $16000. But it gets worse. It turns out their “winners” don’t even get an internship. One of these winners, who would rather remain anonymous, said that they only received a referral to another company, Navitas. Though they weren’t talked into paying for a diploma they didn’t need, the company was so hopeless at placing them into an internship, the entrant took another one in the meantime. So if you’re looking for an internship, or to improve your employability by completing a short course, do yourself a favour and shop around. Do your research and know your consumer rights.
For instance, if you have just read this and are now amidst a panic attack because you yourself have accepted a course through one of these organisations, know that you are entitled to a 10-day cooling off period. At any time during this period you may cancel your purchase with a full-refund, even if it was loaned against your HECS. And if the business mislead you about their services, or coerced you into signing a contract, that contract is void. See? Research is your friend. And if you can’t be bothered doing the research yourself, here’s some I whipped up earlier. Certificate III in Business Administration at Monash. Government Funded Full: $1600 Concession: $320 While it’s not online, a bonus is that it involves real actual human beings teaching you. Neato! There are even courses specific to education and medical admin which are cheaper. Diploma of Leadership and Management at Monash. Government Funded Full: $2300 Concession: $2100 That’s right, this two day a week course is still a seventh of the cost of Ivy’s online option. And again, there are flesh and bone people involved. And if that’s too much of a commitment for you, how about a measly $600 for the Certificate IV? Dual Diploma of Business Administration + Diploma of Leadership & Management at the CAE 12-16 month course. Full fee of $2995 Payment plan of $44/week available, although total course fees increase due to banking charges. If you want the full package but don’t want to be an extra $14k in debt, how about the exact same thing for less than a third of the price? While it is upfront, it’s nothing a part-time gig over the summer holidays can’t pay for. Plus, it’s online if you decide to complete it while also working or studying full time. Career Connect at Monash Offered across all campuses, Career Connect assists students with career planning, course advice and practicing interview skills. While there’s no promise of an internship, they do provide free help to both current Monash students and recent graduates by polishing the skills required to get one. Individual Faculty Programs If you’re feeling really lost, contact your faculty. Most Monash faculties offer subjects or help services based around locating and completing industry experience. So call them up and discuss your options! Now you have no excuse—so get searching!
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Writing the lived experience: in conversation with Anna Poletti 8 | Lotâ€™s Wife
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nyone who has recently taken first year literature would know Anna Poletti; a funny, authentic, and bright star radiating an energetic brilliance, not only into Monash’s literary department but into the contemporary literary scene at large. Ruby Kammoora was lucky enough to interview this much beloved lecturer before she jets off to her next academic adventure in Utrecht, Netherlands. What differentiates good writing from exceptional writing? I guess it depends on whether you are asking about intellectual writing or creative writing. There are things we say in the discipline that we generally agree upon; literature that is complex, evocative, and that can have more than one meaning. But good writing can also be interested in how language itself can shape - but also sometimes split open - active communication in really interesting ways. When really good creative writers are at the peak of their powers, they seem to be creating works that strike you with their clarity, and thus seem very singular because of their sensibility, and the topic and way they are doing what they are doing. So they feel very particular, but then when you try and focus in on what makes it specific, it shatters into all these different pieces. And you think, actually, this could mean all kinds of things! But I recognise that there is also a subjective element there. I don’t think everyone responds to great writing in the same way. And some people don’t get it. And they might not get it at that point in their life. So it is also a question of: is this the right time for someone to read this book? And I think that is one of the real challenges of teaching literature. Why do you study literature? The particular kind of literature I study is essentially nonfictional writing about lived experience. So life writing and zine culture was my PHD project. In particular, life writing in non-professional spaces, so youth life writing and self-published life writing. I think people read these kinds of writing for very particular reasons, and they read them differently to the way they read fiction. There are things people feel that they can do with nonfictional writing about their lives that they can’t do in the novel or they don’t want to do in the novel. I think writing in this way explores the larger role that all literature has in the social and cultural dynamic of a given time and place in history. Literature is one of the key places where we can have a conversation about what it means to be a human, what matters to humans, what particular experiences of being human are like. But I also like the way that theorists in the post-humanist tradition are also pushing back against that human-centred way of thinking about literature. So literature can also be about things that aren’t human. I am interested in that, and how that could disrupt some of the assumptions that we make about what culture does and what culture can teach us about.
expectations that come with publishing, and that are free from the kinds of influence that editors can have over the decisions people make artistically around their work. I’m interested in the sociological questions that come from these areas, but a lot of DIY culture is studied in a sociological vein and I don’t find that satisfactory. So, and I feel like I should say that something like “some of my best friends are sociologists,” often sociologists will read these texts as evidence of social trends and social experiences. Or for insight into, for example, ‘what it means to be a young person these days.’ But they’ll already have in their mind a set of ideas about what that is. Where I feel that the ‘close reading’ literary studies approach is more open to letting the text (or group of texts) tell you what they are about, which produces a different perspective on why people might be writing in these spaces. So I guess my contribution to the study of DIY culture is to provide that more textual and narrative focus. With such an interest in DIY spaces, how do you find working in an institution like Monash University? Well I feel like I’ve been very lucky, in the sense that most people take what I do seriously – at least to my face. And I feel very lucky that doing a PHD on something as obscure as zines hasn’t gone against me. But if I am honest, I think like most people, I have a little bit of an ambivalent relationship with the institution. And women in academia are often plagued by imposter syndrome, where you spend most of your time waiting for someone to discover that you are not supposed to be there and tell you to leave. It is a very common experience, because of the history - you know, because of patriarchy. But the flipside of that, is that I really enjoy being in a university. I really enjoy teaching. It is challenging and tiring. At least the way I do it, I feel like I have to be very present. I used to make theatre, and I feel like there is a little bit of the improvising attention required when you are teaching. You need to be reading how the room is working and listening to what people are saying to you but also listening to what they are trying to say to you. And I really enjoy that. I really enjoy working with students. It is not quite playing - it is too serious for playing – but being in the room with people and listening to their perspective on what we are doing and listening to them trying to nut out for themselves what that actually means… I find that intensely interesting, rewarding, and enjoyable. Is there any advice you wish you were given as a budding scholar? I think what I could have done, earlier than I did, was identify that people want to mentor you and want to be generous with their time. But you have to ask them for it. If you are asking questions that are directly related to what someone does or what they are good at, they love it if you want to pick their brain!
Why do you study life writing? So life writing outside of the book and outside the professional publishing industry is my thing. I’m interested in DIY cultural spaces, where people are making culture and making stories about their experiences that are not structured by the
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Junk in the trunk: a day in the life of a junk mail deliverer By Jessica Suares Illustration by Angus Marian
o I’m broke, as I’m sure a lot of you reading this are. Previously I was just regular poor…. but then I spent $244 on musical tickets… and splashed out on concert tickets… and the comedy festival was in town (I couldn’t not go!).... Also, the superman costume for my cat was really necessary. Like a true uni student, I searched long and hard for the easiest possible solution to my money crisis. Long hours slaving away in retail just did not appeal to me – I wanted easy money and I wanted it very soon. Something with flexible hours and minimal brain power involved. This was the motivation that lead me to apply for a job as a junk mail deliverer. This is my story. SATURDAY 12TH MARCH 4:30pm See an ad for a catalogue distribution company. Realise I have found my calling. TUESDAY 15TH MARCH 6:30pm Arrive at non-descript, if a little ominous, warehouse out the
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back of Monash University. Put my massive guns to the test by shunting 5 piles of 581 catalogues each, and 550 copies of the local Leader newspaper from the warehouse to my car. Praise the heavens above that I bought a car with collapsible back seats. 8:00pm Set up my work station on the deck facing the backyard, so that as I sort my precious catalogues into neat piles, I can enjoy the sight of the trampoline slowly swaying in the wind. My cat approves of the Target catalogues, but refuses to accept the K-Mart ones as friends. 8:30pm Left shoulder is cramping… but I struggle on. Newspaper – open to centre – insert Kmart – Target – then Barry Plant – Homewares centre goes in horizontally – close paper – move to “completed” pile – rinse and repeat. 9:30pm My mother takes pity on me and helps sort. She even seems to be enjoying this… but is in bed by 10:30. 11:00pm Why the hell am I still here? Please let this end!
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11:27pm FINALLY DONE! WEDNESDAY 16TH MARCH 7:30pm Uni finishes at 6:00pm today, which means I have been forced into an evening delivery shift. Time for the easy part of the job – simply slotting catalogues in mailboxes. I park my car at the far end of a street, assemble my over-60sonly trolley and realise the papers are too big to fit inside. 7:32pm I make them fit regardless. 8:00pm Get to the other end of the largest street in this area (so I’m as far away from my car as physically possible) and run out of newspapers. Jog back to my car with my trolley, restock with difficulty and then run back to the other end of the street, so I can continue delivery. 8:15pm Wow…. it got dark very quickly. 10:00pm Walked face-first into my second mailbox (quite an achievement considering the height difference). Definitely too dark to continue - time to call it a night. THURSDAY, 17TH MARCH 8:00am Wake up in the morning, only to discover I sneakily received 22 mosquito bites during my delivery round last night. 17 of them are on my left calf. 8:25am Update: It’s 24… I forgot to check my arms. 8:30am Need to finish delivery round by 3:00 today, but class starts at 1pm. Decide to leave for a super early delivery round. 9:30am The wind has really picked up and half my newspapers fly out of my trolley. I abandon my trolley in a driveway as I frantically chase after these drunken newspaper birds. Arms stuffed full of runaway newspapers, I return to find my trolley has rolled down the driveway and onto the road. 9:45am Use my Linear Algebra textbook as a paperweight – finally it’s been useful for something. 10:10am 32 degrees outside. A black t-shirt was a bad idea. Grime on my hands means I can’t even wipe the sweat from my eyes. Help meh. 10:15am This mailbox is tiny. Nothing fits… I don’t understand, WHERE DO YOU WANT ME TO PUT THIS NEWSPAPER!?! 10:40am I see you haven’t taken your paper from last week, number 22. Well then…you don’t deserve my love. No paper for you. God how many more houses can there be? 11:00am Why do I have 6 Target catalogues leftover…? I was not trained for this. I’m sure number 34 wouldn’t mind if I put all 6 in their mailbox. 11:35am
Oh hi, old man standing on the porch watching me struggle. How’s your day been? I really appreciate the moral support you’re giving me right now. Your condescending leer and the offensive stance you’re adopting really makes me feel like you value me. 11:40am How. Many. More. Streets. Are there?!?!?! It’s. Been. Three. Hours! 11:45am So… I give up. Wait let me just check my map, how many more streets do I have to – hahahahahaha yeah nah fuck it. They’ll live without their junk mail for a week. I’m sure people’s lives will go on 11:46am Hops in car and legs it back home. 12:01pm Considers the possibility that one of the skipped houses could be the house of the council mayor. They would realise for sure that the council newspaper was not delivered. Can I be sued for this? 12:15 pm What do I do with all the leftover catalogues… 12:19pm Have just snuck into the local retirement home. Going round the back to find a dumpster. 12:20pm Dumpster found next to a gate about 40 metres away. All I have to do is get from here to there without anyone seeEMPLOYEES. FUCK. WHAT DO I DO? Act natural? Act natural. Walk like I’m meant to be here. No one will suspect me. 12:21 pm The retirement home employees totally suspect me. I reek of dodgy. 12:22pm Could only discard 50 or so catalogues. Can’t risk the retirement home again. Need to look for another dumpster. Coles will have one, for sure. 12:32pm Park the car to scout the Coles dumpster situation…. the same two employees from the retirement village walk past me “not-judging” me. I may actually have the cops called on me very soon. 12:46pm I have 14 mins left to get to uni. I get home. Dump all catalogues I have left into my recycling bin, and cover it up with some miscellaneous refuse so that no one suspects I missed any houses. #nailedit FRIDAY, 18TH MARCH Quit my job at Junk Mail Incorporated ™ Still poor as fuck.
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What we’re wearing: winter edition Presented by FABSOC
Fashion Focus: Ethical and Sustainable Clothing Ethical fashion is currently a hot topic, with celebrities like Emma Watson, Lupita Nyong’o and Margot Robbie, recently wearing gowns made from recycled materials on the red carpet. It is fashion houses that will be the drivers of green fashion, where designers are able to collaborate with brands to create a sustainable vision for the future. The iconic denim brand Levi’s has collaborated with Seattle-based start-up Evrnu on creating the first pair of 100% recycled jeans from five used t-shirts. The process uses 98% less water than growing virgin cotton, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint. This is the first of many that is driving Levi’s to perfect this process and to accomplish their mission of making a pair of recycled jeans that feels identical to their current line of products. As tonnes of textiles end up in landfills every year, these brands are starting to recognise this problem and are trying to create innovative solutions to satisfy the continual consumer demand. So, look up your favourite brand at www.behindthebarcode.org.au and see what they’re doing to keep fashion sustainable! 1. Where do you find your style inspiration from? 2. Where do you shop? 3. What do you know about ethical fashion?
1. I haven’t really caught onto any fashion inspirations unfortunately! I see a lot of bloggers pop up on Instagram, but I usually just see stuff my friends are wearing and get ideas from them. 2. I’ve never actually bought anything online, always preferred going into the store. Should probably get onto that though. 3. To be honest I don’t really know much about it but I think that it’s really important for company management to start prioritising ethical issues like these in their global strategy. I think it’s also clear from past cases of sweatshop usage in companies such as GAP that investors and consumers don’t react well to hearing that unethical practices are being used. I don’t know much about fashion but I’m sure this will be a really important issue in the years to come.
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FABSOC is the Fashion and Beauty (Appreciation) Society at Monash University. We host careers and social events on campus. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, where we hold giveaways, competitions and post our weekly street style photos. Through the society, we hope to promote more self-confidence, celebrate diversity and support ethical causes within the fashion industry.
1. Just from around the streets and what people are currently wearing. I don’t particularly have anyone that I follow for style inspiration. I feel that I tend to wear what I think looks nice and interesting and not care too much about the fashion rules. Whatever that’s most comfortable and that I feel good in. 2. I shop at a lot of op shops. I’ve sort of got a combination of op shops and then Gorman. Most recently I was studying in England and I shopped at Urban Outfitters. 3. I know little about ethical fashion, but I would definitely want to know more. I think Gorman use to be ethical and now it’s not really, because of the factory exports. I think it’s quite hard to have ethical shopping on a budget, not that it’s a good excuse. But I feel like a lot of the time people forget about the people that make it, like they’ll be focused on having vegan clothing instead of having nonchild labour made clothing. That’s why I like op shopping because at least I’m buying something second-hand, or even through buy/swap groups on Facebook.
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What’s mine is mine, what’s ours is broken By Writey McWriteface Illustration by Karla Engdahl
You’re woken up in the early hours of the morning to a loud thumping outside your room. After a few more seconds, you hear the voices of your housemate and his friends next door. Checking your phone, your confusion grows when you see that it’s 4am, and a Monday morning. Then again, this is the housemate that you haven’t seen go to uni since you moved in, so you’re pretty sure his status as a student is just a cover for something. Managing to get back to sleep, you’re again woken too early because some asshole has decided to turn on the central heating, when the sun’s already warming up the house. Cheers for that. You try to sleep for a little longer, but your room is slowly becoming an oven, and the amount of work you’ve got to get done propels you out of bed. As you get dressed, the floordrobe well and truly in action, you think about what you’ll have for breakfast. You’d prefer eggs, but somebody stole your carton the other day, so that plan’s out the window. You instead decide to continue demolishing your huge box of cheap cereal. In order do that, you need a bowl, all of which are on your desk. Stacking them atop each other, you know that your future self would love it if you washed them all now, but when the time comes to head out to the kitchen, you only take one. It’s okay, you’ll clean the others later. In the kitchen, you’re irritated to find that your full bottle of washing up liquid, instead of residing on your shelf, is now next to the sink and half empty. When you put it back in its rightful place, you throw a tea towel over it so nobody can ever find it again. Fool-proof plan. Not long after breakfast, you make your way over to uni, where you’re thrilled to find not just one free sausage BBQ, but two. That’s lunch sorted, and thank fuck, because rent’s due later this week. After your classes are over, you head back home, vowing to get some study done before work. But, as it turns out, that was a little bit too idealistic, because your housemate next door is watching Game of Thrones. To cancel out the (admittedly epic) noises, you put on some of your own tunes. Unfortunately, your ace taste in music makes this more of a distraction than a solution. But never mind, there isn’t a lot of time between uni and work, so you weren’t going to get much study done anyway. When you leave for work, there is only one other car parked in the driveway. When you return, there are three more, none 14 | Lot’s Wife
of them belonging to other housemates. The house is silent when you come inside. There are some things you just shouldn’t question. It’s past dinner time, and, feeling like a treat, you heat up one of the frozen meals your mum gave you last time you were home. With your food, laptop and discarded plates all positioned intricately on your desk, you kick back and relax with your favourite reality TV show. Except, you don’t actually have a TV, so you’re live streaming it on your laptop, which is rubbish quality. But hey, it’s better than nothing. All the while, you can hear your housemate’s music next door, and despite yourself, you actually enjoy listening to it. It makes your current situation seem a little less depressing. You feel the guilt creep up on you when you think about all the readings and other work you haven’t done, but it’s way too late to start studying now, you wouldn’t have gotten anything out of it. Besides, you deserve a break every now and then. For this incredible epiphany, you reward yourself with some ALDI ice-cream, because even the fifty-cent cones from Maccas are a bit steep these days. A noise sounds from somewhere in the house. Jesus, what now? You come out to find a splintered floorboard and a guilty housemate. Not to worry, everybody in the house decides, we’ll just pull the rug over this one, in the literal sense. Now you’re all trapped playing your two favourite games; ‘Don’t Tell the Landlord’ and ‘Don’t Stand on That Part of the Floor’. Still, the incident causes the night to spiral, and you find yourself sitting with three other housemates as they share stories about everything that’s happened in this house, or rather, to this house. You feel like you’re learning about an ancient and precious history, one that few have the privilege of knowing. You’d rather keep it that way; tell the wrong people, and you might end up getting a knock on your door from the police, or worse yet, the landlord. And, as weird as it sounds, you’re all in this together. You hold this strange bond that you believe can only be forged by uni students in a dodgy sharehouse, a bond that vows protection as you all hurtle towards a certain death. After a shower, you head to bed. The last thing you see before you turn out the light is the steadily-growing pile of plates, bowls, mugs and cutlery on your desk. You don’t worry about them too much, though. You know you’ll clean them tomorrow.
AUGUST 8 - 12
Lotâ€™s Wife | 15
M S A
B E A R E R
R E PORTS
PR E SI DE N T
A B B Y
S TA PL E TON
Helloooo Monash folks! Welcome back for another fab semester! Hope you’ve had a refreshing break over the past few weeks and have recovered from the exam period. If you had a night exam you might have seen an orange van hanging around the Caulfield campus talking to students about night exams and giving out free food. If you didn’t, let us know what you think about night exams by sending us an email. We’re excited to announce the introduction of the Tax Advice Service! We are running this in partnership with the ATO, with the help of the Monash Business School. These budding tax enthusiasts would relish the chance to help you with your tax return, so be sure to hit them up, the service is completely free! The holidays have kept us all pretty busy, we’ve spent most of our time organizing conferences and planning for the enrollment and orientation period in semester two. One of the biggest campaigns we ran towards the end of last semester was the National Union of Students’ ‘Enroll to Vote Campaign’, which nationally saw a 20% increase to the number of young Australians who could have their say at the ballot box on July 2nd. While not everyone might get as excited about election stuff as us, we think that’s a pretty great achievement! We hope you have a great start to the semester!
T R E A S UR E R
M AT I L DA
G R E Y
Welcome to semester 2, gang! I hope y’all had a magnificent break full of really great and exciting times. To any new students joining us this semester, I hope you find it easy enough to settle in to the uni life! Please don’t hesitate to come and visit us if there’s anything we can do to help facilitate a smooth start to your time here. Since we saw you last, we’ve made it through another federal election! At the end of last semester we worked to ensure those who were eligible to vote were enrolled. Stress Less Week took place in week 12, and while the puppies arrived unexpectedly a few days earlier than expected, they and the petting zoo were definitely the highlight of the week. Everything else ran smoothly, with some successful free food and relaxation events, face painting, films and info stalls taking place. I held a finance subcommittee meeting, and have commenced research into options for the divestment of the MSA reserve funds into a fossil free bank. I am now helping to plan for 2nd semester orientation and to organise around some educational conferences that students will have attended during the break! Happy studies :)
S E C R E TA RY
GL E N N
D ON A HO O
Welcome back for Semester 2, or if you have just started then welcome to Monash! We have been busy planning for the semester to come, so be on the watch out for some new services we will be providing! Every Friday morning we will have free coffee from our food van, Vancora, along with our free BBQs on Tuesday and Wednesday and free breakfast every Wednesday. So make sure you come by and wake up before that Friday morning class. I have recently returned from the National Union of Student’s Education Conference held at the University of Sydney, where I met with students from around Australia to discuss how the student experience can be improved at universities. I have also been busy looking at proposed changes to our constitution, which will be brought to a referendum at our annual elections in September. As always, if you have an suggestions on services or campaigns we could run, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
E D U C AT ION
(AC A DE MIC
A FFA I R S)
The end of the year’s first exam period means the end of night exams for now. As far as we’re aware, students struggled but made it through mostly unscathed. We really want to what your experience was like if you sat a night exam, so if you can take a few moments to let us know everything good and/or bad about it please email us. This semester we will continue to work on the night exams issue as well as looking towards, amongst many things, working around textbook policy and planning the MSA Teaching Awards night. At the Teaching Awards, standout academic staff are recognised for their work. Students will have a chance to nominate their favourite lecturers or tutors for awards over the next semester, so keep an eye on the MSA Education page for the nomination form.
E D U C AT ION
( P UB L IC
A FFA I R S)
Hello once again Monash peeps, your Education Public Affairs officers have been working very hard and have had awesome results. We have just had our second nation-wide student protest against the cuts to higher education proposed by the Turnbull Government on the 11th of May, and there was a great Monash turnout! I’d like to thank all of the students who did attend the protest, as they are pivotal in showing the government and the public that students are heavily against any changes that endanger our right to a fair higher education. Furthermore, with the federal election coming up we had been working hard to ensure that as many students are enrolled to vote as possible, and we successfully enrolled many students to vote up until the last day possible to enrol. Finally, we will be continuing the campaign for a People of Colour department within the MSA, as it is necessary to have a space in the student organisation where the voices of ethnic students are heard. If you’d like to become a part of a team advocating for student issues than you can come to our offices located in the MSA, or you can join the Monash Education Action Group on Facebook and come along to our meetings. We look forward to seeing you around campus. Sumudu Setunge: email@example.com Sulaiman Enayatzada: firstname.lastname@example.org
DI S AB IL I T I E S
C A R E R S
Hi everyone - welcome/welcome back! I’m Denise, the plucky new co-office bearer (...at the time of writing. Once this is published I will be decidedly less new but hopefully will have managed to maintain comparable levels of pluck). The Disabilities and Carers Department is currently in the process of planning a few events to help ease everyone into the new semester and to introduce the department to new students. Our autonomous Collective has grown and we’re hoping to facilitate more meet-ups throughout the upcoming months. We have many exciting projects in the works - Viv and I are particularly looking forward to D&C week, which will take place later on in the term - stay tuned! Please feel free to pop in if you would like to get involved, seek support or have a friendly chat. If you would like to be added to the autonomous (and now secret) Facebook group, please email either myself at email@example.com or Viv at firstname.lastname@example.org
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B E A R E R
R E PORTS
Q UE E R
W E LFA R E
Hi everyone and welcome back!! I hope everyone had as fantastic a semester and break as we have! Hopefully some of you made it to our semester one events: Trivia Night in week 2, weekly morning tea, queer beers and movie screenings throughout semester, our wonderful Queer Week in week 5 with tons of workshops and events, including our Comics & Cartoons themed Queer Ball, our IDAHoBiT stall with the Ally Network, and our super chill SWOTVAC “ignore your responsibilities” event. During break we’ve had the huge Marriage Equality rally, and our annual Queer Collaborations conference over in Perth. But don’t worry if you missed out, we’ve got lots planned for you this semester as well, with more Morning Teas and Queers Beers & Movie. Screenings for you, an evening event in Wholefoods in week 2 (you should check out our facebook page MSA Queer for details), our 2nd Queer Week in Week 6 (check out our page & timetable closer to the date), as well as probably little impromptu events throughout the month to keep an eye out for! Hope to see you!
All is going well in the Welfare Department. Book Fair sales have finally all been processes (apologies for the delay), Free Food Monday’s is stronger than ever although number have been marginally less over the past few weeks Last Tuesday Tim met with Jane Dancey who has been hired by the University to conduct research into the nutritional value of all the food outlets on Campus. Lowen Sist advised her to speak with the Welfare Department in relation to the work we do with FFM. She was very impressed by the initiative and has offered her support and help to create meals within the ethos of the service. Furthermore, her and the Masters students she co-ordinates have offered to also assist in the creation of a student cook book (which we have been planning to do) that will be released for the beginning of next semester. We have also begun working on a campaign to get Centrelink representatives on Campus on a regular basis in order to offer advice and support on Univeristy Student specific areas. Contact has been made with Janet White, Senior Adviser to the Pro-Vice- Chancellor, who has been very supportive and helpful with the campaign. If you like the sound of this and would like to send through a statement of support to aid in the strength of the movement please feel free to send a letter through to one of our emails. Other than that the Survival Centre remains fairly well stocked, we have included some sanitary items and food in there which has been taken very quickly so we hope that these things are helping the students in need. Peace and Love from T&B.
AC T IV I T I E S MSA Activities is getting ready for an exciting semester two! After the great success of AXP and semester one, the Activities department is ready to bring you a bunch of new events! Week 8 will be completely dedicated to events and providing the best social student experience. Grab your lederhosen and wench outfits for Oktoberfest! Jam out with Monash’s best DJs and student bands at the brand new student band competition! And of course, we will be delivering AXP II to help settle those exams blues!
E N VIR ONM E N T
A N D
S O C I A L
J U S T IC E
Over the break there were some really important rallies. We brought contingents of monash students to World Refugee Day on June 18 and to the rally for marriage equality on June 25. On top of that, we took a stand against open neo-nazis marching through the streets of Melbourne, trying to celebrate the racist Australian flag. This report was written before the federal election. We sure hope you’re reading this is a Liberal-Partyfree future, but even if Turnbull is kicked out,we still have a fight on our hands. Both major parties have announced serious cuts to higher education, both commit to offshore mandatory detention for refugees, and tighter ‘national security’ (aka demonising Muslims). If you want to be part of the fight back against the government, if you want to find out more about radical left wing politics, drop by one of our stalls outside the campus centre. Our department will also be hosting regular political meetings, lectures, and forums on a range of topics so don’t forget to check the notice boards around campus.
WOM E N’S Hello everyone! We would like to welcome new students and those that are returning to us this semester. Its semester two and we’re really excited for a busy and fun semester ahead! We will be continuing with our weekly discussion groups in the women’s room, so keep a watch on our Facebook page for the day and time. During Week 3 we will have a week dedicated to women in higher education, including our own screening of ‘The Hunting Ground’ documentary. We will also be continuing working the University, Residential services and other relevant groups in our endeavour to develop and improve the existing consent campaign.
INDIG E N OU S The Indigenous department of the MSA has worked hard this semester in running events and engaging with Indigenous and non-Indigenous students across Monash. We have successfully run barbeques, social events and other initiatives that have helped foster a sense of community for Indigenous students across campus. With MSA Indigenous Week having being in week 11, we have been able to showcase the importance of Indigenous culture and engage students in the wider community. This has been the first year where MSA Indigenous Week has been extended to include Monash University Halls of Residence. As a whole, this semester has been fruitful in allowing our department to grow and further engage with students in a productive way.
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SOC I E TY
SOC I E TY
Too late now to say sorry: it’s past time for a treaty By Dan Carter Illustration by Grace Fraraccio
t’s been 228 years since Europeans arrived in our country without signing a treaty. The three forms of legal occupation at the time of European arrival were an empty land, negotiated land and invaded land. The British settlers (and politicians today) say an empty land was settled, the High Court says ‘Terra Nullius’ was invalid, the wise sages of talk-back radio say it’s in the past, and Indigenous people say Australia remains a crime scene – so who’s right and who’s wrong? Can we just patch this one up with another apology, without any legal ramifications in the true spirit of reconciliation? This year the Daniel Andrews government continued its social justice rampage from refugees and safe schools, to genuine engagement with Indigenous people, but is all this too good to be true? Or are they just sick of losing seats to the Greens? At this rate, he’ll be pouring the sand through the traditional owner’s hands whilst Bob Hawke packs his beer bong for finishing the legacy he was ousted for. It started February 3rd when State Indigenous Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins called an open meeting with the Indigenous community to discuss self-determination and constitutional recognition. A meeting of this kind hadn’t occurred in over 20 years; 200 hundred people attended and 200 others streamed online. In brief, the Indigenous community made it very clear they unanimously rejected the notion of Constitutional Recognition, seeing it as a government distraction and wished to establish the framework to engage in treaty conversations. Over the next month, this momentous occasion received only a blip of mainstream media attention and a Dandrews tweet telling us it was on the table. The State government waited a month for the press release, playing down any Recognise rejection as “unconvinced”, but most importantly following up on the Treaty debate, announcing state wide forums to shape the conversation starting in May, 2016. Treaty is an incredibly touchy subject for any government to chase. If you can remember the 1980s land rights scare campaigns, they claimed a small percentage of ‘Aborigines’ would be given ownership of the majority of this prosperous country. Middle class Aussies were coerced into believing some kind of Indigenous 1% would conspire to unfairly distribute Australia’s wealth. The iron ore irony, that these campaigns were funded by the mining industry, is not lost on Indigenous people today. In the state of Victoria there aren’t big business party donors looking to derail talks, so we may just see further discussion.
It’s hard to look past treaty as some kind of costly reparation power move from a right wing perspective, but the symbolic side of this negotiation for Indigenous people to set the agenda is the crux of self-determination. I say symbolic because almost every existing treaty around the world has been broken in some form. The real goal here is bringing Indigenous people to the table in genuinely shaping our country. This isn’t a new concept either: politicians love the inside/outside tent metaphor almost as much as they love paying the black representative (that they invite inside the tent) a government salary. Problematic to all of this is that a treaty is not simply government vs. ‘Aborigines’, but a sovereign leader and 300+ nations negotiating. As prominent activist Robbie Thorpe said, “Take me to your leader” – who is the sovereign signatory? Dandrews will be taking a bold step looking to bridge this unknown. How do you unify 300+ nations so they are they all on the same page? The alternative solution is a federal government offering recognition that Indigenous people are in fact … Indigenous people. This is a poor consolation prize for the rights that many have fought so hard for. I personally have followed the campaign for many years and agree with the intent and scope of what it hopes to achieve, but it cannot come before or detract from what is required. 20 years from now we could celebrate the day a treaty was signed as the foundation of this country. The generic word ‘Aborigine’ would barely be used because people would understand the names of the lands, nations, and people whose history they were now a part of. Indigenous people would be empowered to engage in a society that was shaped by their culture. Nobody would turn up to your Sunday BBQ in blackface, because people would understand the invasion, discrimination, massacre and genocide of history. If the federal government still had a spare $150 million for a referendum to recognise after all that was achieved, we could change the constitution’s wording to state our country didn’t just have an Indigenous history, but that it was written into our future too.
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S OC I E TY
I am no-one: why identity matters in politics By Ovindu Rajasinghe
rowing up as a person of colour in Australia is a bit like Arya Stark doing her assassin training in Game of Thrones (but with more character development): “Who are you?” “No-one.” You are constantly forced to erase your identity. You push your cultural heritage to the background so as not to stand out, so as not to be marked as different to everyone else. You might adopt a more ocker accent to seem like you’re just another normal person, or you might speak in more refined tones to subvert the implicit assumption that people of colour are somehow uncultured or uneducated. You blend into the background to survive. I speak from my own lived experience, but I imagine other oppressed groups might feel similar. Part of the problem is the dire level of representation of people of colour in Parliament and public life. If you can’t identify with the people who are representing you, then you’re going to be less likely to engage with politics, and this means your life is less likely to change for the better. Take the Greens. I broadly support their platform. However, when I look at their federal parliamentarians, I see a sea of white faces. I see a group of people who, by and large, come from privileged backgrounds. The composition of the Greens, and the way they sometimes behave, perpetuates the stereotype that they are rich inner-city wankers. I don’t think this stereotype is wholly accurate, but it exists, and it deters many voters. When the ordinary punter looks at Greens leader Richard Di Natale paying his au pairs a pittance on the farm that he owns but didn’t properly declare, or starring in that bizarre GQ turtleneck fashion-shoot that he did, they will often struggle to identify. The Labor Party appears (superficially, at least) to have a more diverse array of representatives, drawn from a wider array of racial and socio-economic backgrounds. Stefanie Perri, the Labor candidate for the federal division of Chisholm (encompassing the Clayton campus) believes that “the Labor party does quite well in its cross-section of candidates,” citing several women of colour such as Sophie Ismail (candidate for Melbourne), Jennifer Yang (5th position on the Victorian Senate ticket), and herself, a Clayton local from a low socio-economic Italian background. Even though I disagree with many Labor policies, I seem to intuitively identify with the party. I honestly don’t know 20 | Lot’s Wife
whether this is because Labor is actually more representative and diverse, or because the Labor meme game is too strong and I’ve been brainwashed. It is also important to ensure intersectionality in pre-selecting candidates. As Perri put it, “it’s got to be more than a tick-the-box” system. Having a person of colour, or a woman, or a Queer person who is from an otherwise privileged background might not necessarily be the best person to represent that group. For example, compare Waleed Aly and Sam Dastyari, the Labor Senator for NSW. They are both Muslim men, prominent public figures, and important voices in progressive politics. Aly attended an elite inner-city private school before practicing law and becoming an academic. Dastyari attended public and selective schools in the north-western suburbs of Sydney, and dropped out of law school. He has retained his working class identity, and as a result, he’s become a borderline folk hero. While much of what Aly says might be extremely valuable - I think he’s great - he is dismissed as an ‘out-of-touch flog’ by a lot of the population. It is important that oppressed groups are properly represented, instead of a PR ‘tick the box’ smokescreen. But why is proper representation of these groups so important? The most obvious reason is that this representation gives oppressed groups the agency to make decisions in relation to their future. They have the experience to actually understand what problems face them, and how best to resolve them. Oppressed groups can also have their identity affirmed, because they see people like them in visible positions of power. But what this means for political engagement is that when parties do not appropriately reflect the identity of their constituents, this drives voter apathy. This is particularly the case with the Greens. It means that people who might otherwise have engaged with them, based on their policy convictions, will never do so. Australia has not been a white nation for several decades, so why are our public figures so monocultural? Now, more than ever, we need people to be engaged with politics. If it is seen as the domain of elite and out-of-touch upper-middle class white people, then we are shutting out swathes of important views. It means that people of colour do not engage in a political system, or a society, that they feel they have no place in, seriously undermining our democracy.
Brocrates: misogyny in philosophy by Lauren Karas Illustration by Angus Marian
hat is a philosophy bro (also known as a ‘philosobro’)? A philosophy bro is a man who thinks he knows a lot about philosophy, or perhaps even does know a lot about philosophy, and he definitely thinks he knows more than you (unless you’re Peter Singer, whom philosobros tend to admire). They are usually found in the undergraduate philosophy classroom, Monash Philosophy Society, and sometimes in Wholefoods. You might be able to spot them by keeping an eye (or ear) out for men speaking loudly, name-dropping philosophers, and using overly complicated vocabulary and philosophy jargon. In class, or group discussions, they might repeat everything you’ve just said as if it were an entirely new and original point, speak over you, not listen to you, or mansplain something to you that you definitely already know. Philosobros prize rationality and reason, and are seemingly still influenced by the stereotype that women are irrational and emotional, which may be why they love to talk down to us, or assume we don’t know what we’re talking about. It’s not uncommon for women to not have their points taken up by philosobros until they’ve been repeated by other men. They seriously just don’t listen. On the occasion that they do listen to you, they’ll probably try pretty hard to derail the conversation. “I see your point but your argument is not clear. Where are the premises? What is your conclusion?” and “Have you got anything more than anecdotal evidence to back that up?” are common expressions you may hear philosobros spouting. Anecdotal evidence is absolutely not acceptable, and if you do have empirical evidence to back up your premises, it had better be of statistical significance, otherwise it won’t be regarded worthy of their consideration. All of this points to philosophy’s problem with women. It’s not very well known, in fact I didn’t realise until I was in the third year of my philosophy major, that philosophy is male dominated. It’s like the STEM of Arts. The main authors in almost all subsets of philosophy are predominantly male, philosophy departments tend to average 30% female staff (it’s worse in the UK and North America), and top philosophy journals publish way more men than women. Monash has never had a female professor in philosophy, women hit the glass ceiling
when they reach the level of associate professor. While many Arts disciplines were similarly male dominated a few decades ago, most of them have remedied their problems and now have a decent gender balance. Philosophy lags behind, and philosophy bros are a contributing factor. When you’re frequently disrespected, not listened to, repeated, and spoken over, it’s pretty easy to become disenchanted with a discipline. Combine that with the combative style of argument philosophy often requires and underrepresentation of women at senior levels, and you have a pretty unwelcoming environment for women. So, philosobros, and other men studying philosophy who don’t consider themselves philosobros, here are some things to consider when you’re philosophising: How much are you speaking? Are you taking up the whole conversation? Are you listening carefully to what other people, especially women, are saying? Is it your turn to speak? Have you raised your hand? Did someone else in your class raise their hand before you? Don’t depend on your tutor to moderate class discussions, we’re all adults at university, and you should really know how to respectfully engage in a discussion by now. And, to the women interested in philosophy but deterred by those pesky philosobros, don’t let them stop you! There are loads of amazing women philosophers to look up to, and things are slowly changing in the discipline. You’re just as capable as that guy in your tute who can’t shut up about Kant or Žižek. While it’s understandable, it’s an awful shame to see brilliant women dropping out of philosophy. Finally, it’s very important to note that philosophy has a problem with diversity generally. It’s not just women who are excluded and underrepresented, but pretty much all marginalised groups. Philosophy has a long way to go before it becomes a truly diverse discipline, and defeating the philosobros is only one step of the process. Lot’s Wife | 21
O PI NI ON
Veganism is not compassionate By Dilan Fernando I llustration b y Har mony Won g
’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, buuuut I think veganism is a little extreme.” I literally said these words during an interview at an accounting firm after being asked about my passions. (Plot twist: I didn’t get the job.) Two weeks later, I found myself at a seminar on nonhuman animal rights law. Truth bombs were dropped, and before I knew it, I associated myself with something I had loathed throughout all my adolescent life: the dreaded V-word. The ensuing months were… interesting. My dad labelled me an “extremist.” I was called “militant” more than once, even though I never used violence in my vegan advocacy. One particularly wise Facebook warrior (bless their soul) even compared me to Hitler. It’s been a year now, and I’ve learned a lot. Not just about nonhuman animals, but about human animals as well. Prior to joining the nonhuman animal rights movement, I had never studied privilege, institutional sexism, or even systemic racism, despite being a person of colour. But the single most surprising thing I discovered was this: at its core, being vegan is not in itself a compassionate act. Confused? I hope so. Let’s take our minds for a spin. If we look to mainstream capitalistic vegan marketing, we’ll find that organisations usually appeal to people’s sense of compassion. The front-page of a VeganEasy booklet reads, “Your free guide to living a kinder, healthier, and more earth-friendly life”. Animals Australia sells veganism as “healthier, kinder, and better for the planet”. The Vegan Society explicitly claims that being vegan “demonstrates true compassion for animals”.
22 | Lot’s Wife
These campaigns reinforce the idea that vegans go the extra mile for animals; that being vegan is akin to an act of charity reserved for the privileged. They paint veganism as a faddish, vaguely positive lifestyle choice like a juice cleanse or a KeepCup. More importantly however, the campaigns imply that to not be vegan is to be neutral. This has some worrying implications about how veganism is perceived in society, and especially within social justice spaces. A few weeks ago, I sat in a room with several social justice advocates discussing issues surrounding anti-racism and anti-sexism. In the middle of the table, there sat a bowl of nachos laden with dairy cheese. I found myself a touch perplexed by this, and I’ll explain why. Dairy farming is among the most widely misunderstood practices in modern history. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a harmless industry. Just like with any other mammal, for us to take milk from a cow, we must forcibly impregnate her – usually via artificial insemination using a steel rod. She bears young about four times in her lifespan, and afterwards is killed because it becomes too costly to take milk from her exhausted body. Meanwhile, all her children are taken from her against their will, normally within 24 hours of birth. Female calves go on to enter the same cycle as their mothers. Male calves, on the other hand, are generally classified as “waste” and killed as infants. These practices are essential and normal in even the most free-range, organic farms. Even at its best, there is nothing neutral about dairy. In fact, we could argue that its products are derived from exploitation and violence.
OPI NI ON
So how did a bowl of dairy cheese exist so peacefully in that room of social justice advocates, students who usually unabashedly speak out against violent systems? The answer can be found in the marketing. The marketing that told us that veganism is positive, while non-veganism is neutral. The marketing that failed to help those advocates understand a crucial, hard-to-stomach truth: Non-veganism is not a neutral position. Non-veganism supports systems that deliberately go out of their way to breed animals into existence, then confine and kill them. In other words, non-veganism is a continued pattern of aggression towards animals. Hold on, non-vegans. Stay with me. I promise it gets better. Let’s look at this way: I, Dilan Fernando, am currently sitting here, writing this article in John Medley Library. I am refraining from punching anyone in the face. Does that make me a compassionate human rights activist? Obviously not – I’m just respecting students’ basic right to be safe from unprovoked bodily harm. In a similar sense, being vegan isn’t necessarily about compassion. Rather, it’s simply about no longer supporting a system that kills animals for taste and convenience. On the other hand, non-veganism continues to promote a system of deliberate violence. Chill. I promise you’ll feel better by the end of this. I’m not saying that all non-vegans are aggressive people for supporting animal industries. In fact, I’m convinced that most of us believe we’re all making humane choices. Few of us are told about how these products – meat, dairy and eggs, for instance – involve inescapable violence. Instead, from childhood we are entertained with fairy tales of green fields, cows who beg to be milked, and “humane slaughter”. Even fewer of us are told that animal products are, for most of us, unnecessary for human wellbeing. Instead we are spoon-fed stories that milk builds strong bones and that we need meat for protein. None of us chose to be told these stories. Therefore there is no reason to feel attacked when it turns out those stories aren’t true. I’m not out to attack your diet, because as intersectional activist Javed Deck states: “It’s stupid, disrespectful, and ineffective to tell people what they should eat. But it can be necessary and constructive to have conversations about the systems we are complicit in and how we feel about them.” Our society has built a system that normalises and encourages violence against nonhuman animals. It’s important to understand that this system perpetuates fiction and hides reality in surprisingly obvious ways. Our primary school teachers tell us that red meat is essential for iron, when the truth is dark leafy greens will do just fine. In 2015, Liberal senator Chris Back introduced laws to prevent activists from taking undercover video footage at farms and slaughterhouses. Just last January, Meat and Livestock Australia went so far as to cast left-wing heartthrob Lee Lin Chin in a TV ad to convince us that people who don’t eat lamb are un-Australian.
Non-veganism supports systems that deliberately go out of their way to breed animals into existence, then confine and kill them. They tried to tell us that people who don’t eat the flesh of slaughtered baby sheep are un-Australian. Let that sink in for a moment. Most of us believe we are basically good people – and I think most of us actually are. Sometimes, though, it turns out that our seemingly innocent daily habits are anything but neutral. In those situations, we have a choice to make. On one hand, we could interpret the information as a personal attack and shut it out. Alternatively, we can ask productive questions to unravel these systems of violence and challenge how we participate in them. Questions such as: Why are we comfortable with eating a cow, but not a dog we have known and loved? When hens lay as many eggs as they do, what kind of effect does this have on their body? Why is meat considered “manly”? Challenging questions can yield challenging answers, presenting us with a dozen doors without telling us which to open first. But they can also help us understand the nature of the systems we participate in, and how our individual actions really can change the world.
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Losing the war: the case for drug reform By Sophia McNamara Illustration by Ceitidh Hopper
ecently, an Auckland lawyer named Marc Cropper was convicted of three charges of possessing methamphetamine after being tried in Auckland District Court. The ex-senior associate at Simpson Grierson, one of New Zealand’s most prestigious major law firms, admitted to having 2.5 grams of ice over a significant period of stress in his life last year. He was a successful specialist in IT law, but his conviction means that he will never be able to work in the legal field again, and will undoubtedly have significant trouble finding a job elsewhere. The consequences of drug use and its significance for those in certain professions are very similar on both sides of the Tasman. Enormous, life long commitments are made to being in the legal profession. Just like a doctor, a teacher or a politician; a lawyer will almost always be unable to work in the legal profession with any sort of criminal conviction. Anything that could compromise your position as a ‘fit and proper’ person will need to be scrutinised. Almost all convictions will stop lawyers, doctors and teachers from beginning or continuing to practice. While I don’t condone Cropper’s actions, I couldn’t help but sympathise. What would it feel like to have spent your entire life working extremely hard and making enormous sacrifices, only to be convicted of drug use and lose everything you have worked so hard for since you were a teenager? This man has
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gone from earning an extremely high income to now receiving sickness benefit payments. He will never be a lawyer again and will probably never find a well-paying job ever again. Like anyone else who utilises social welfare, he’ll undoubtedly get labelled a ‘lazy dole bludger’. But instead of criticising anyone who dares to receive social welfare, perhaps we should look at reforming the system that put them there in the first place. Stories like this are why I support the idea of decriminalising personal drug use. Decriminalisation refers to a reduction of legal penalties, and it can be done by either changing them to civil penalties, such as fines, or by diverting drug use offenders away from a criminal conviction and into education or treatment options. It largely applies to drug use and possession offences, such as Cropper’s case, but not to the sale or supply of drugs. The idea behind decriminalisation is to provide users with a more humane and sensible response to their drug use that does not damage their ability to rehabilitate. When a court decides to put a drug-user behind bars, my question is: what incentive does the defendant now have to give up their addiction? Drugs are a coping mechanism for many people in times of distress. If someone has lost everything and is now facing jail time, the dismal reality of the situation will simply fuel his or her addiction.
S OC I E TY My views on it have always been simple: treat drug addiction more as a mental health issue and less as a crime by changing the focus of sentencing from punitive to rehabilitative. Casual drug users are only hurting themselves, whereas creators and distributors are harming the wider society. Personally I believe only one of those groups deserve criminal penalties. I believe in ‘upstream thinking’: we should focus on eliminating factors that lead young people into illicit drug use, such as poverty, poor education and poor mental health services, rather than how we should punish them. Convicting a young person for drug use will send them down a completely different path for the rest of their life. There’s a big difference between legalisation and decriminalisation. While drugs remain illegal, decriminalisation simply focuses on the penalties that drug users receive. It means that people, like Cropper, won’t necessarily have their entire life ruined by a sheet of paper saying ‘conviction’ after they turn to ice to cope with their precarious mental health. It would mean that people in his position could receive help, rehabilitate, and one day continue to work and be a functioning member of society. With my own eyes, I’ve seen a family member go from ice addiction to complete rehabilitation where she now thrives under a successful career. She was never given a conviction and things would have turned out completely differently if that had been the case. It’s important to remember that full rehabilitation is a very real and very possible prospect for a lot of drug addicts, yet a conviction will permanently inhibit any prospects for the future. As radical as it seems, a world where drugs are decriminalised is not entirely fictional. In 2001, the Portuguese government completely decriminalised drug use. If someone in Portugal is found to be in the possession of recreational supply for any illegal drug, they are given treatment, a minor fine, or most commonly, no penalty at all. Fifteen years since decriminalisation, drug use has been in steady decline, especially for those among the 15 to 24 year old population who are most at risk of initiating drug use. Drug-induced deaths have also decreased significantly. Around the same time, Portugal shifted drug control from the Justice Department to the Ministry of Health and instituted a strong public health model for treating hard drug addiction. They also expanded the welfare system in the form of a guaranteed minimum income. Changes in the material and health resources for atrisk populations over the past decade are a key part of Portugal’s evolution and success. Drug related offences also take up a huge share of the work of police, the judiciary, and prisons. A lesson to be learned from Portugal is that decriminalising drugs doesn’t necessarily lead to disaster as many may think. It frees up resources for more effective responses to drug problems and it stops people with potential to be a great contributor to society from having that potential stripped away from them. In recent years, Australia has taken a few progressive steps in regards to drug use. In the Northern Territory, adults found in possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana are likely to be fined $200 and given 28 days to pay the fine before being faced with a criminal charge. Since 1987, South Australia has also decriminalised minor cannabis
offences. There hasn’t been a rise in cannabis use rates despite certain states and territories introducing civil penalties for users. Research on diverting drug use offenders into treatment rather than a conviction has shown that these individuals are just as likely to succeed in treatment as those who attend voluntarily. Issues such as the ice epidemic are making the discussion on drug reform increasingly urgent. The number of Australians using ice at least once a month has tripled to 270,000 in the last five years. As methamphetamine use becomes increasingly stigmatised, fewer people are admitting to having used the drug, and these statistics are likely to underestimate the level of use. When the use of an extremely dangerous and potentially lethal drug is increasing at such a rate and destroying communities in the process, sweeping the issue under the rug simply isn’t good enough. With all this positive evidence on the table, it begs the question: why is Australia so reluctant to take progressive drug policy reform further? Public opinion may play a huge part as politicians largely regard decriminalisation as an unpopular policy choice. While national surveys prove that decriminalisation of cannabis is popular amongst the Australian public, decriminalisation of other drugs simply is not. Lack of education and clarity on the issues may contribute to this. ‘Decriminalisation’ is a word that gets misinterpreted often. It is often inaccurately confused with legalisation, or harm reduction services, such as prescribed heroin programs. Stimulating informed public debate is an important step forward. In order for this debate to make meaningful progress, we need to clarify terms and impartially present all evidence that currently exists. This includes current models of decriminalisation like Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and to a far lesser extent but much closer to home - Northern Territory and South Australia. The decriminalisation policy reform in Northern Territory was a step in the right direction, and for that, I can acknowledge Australia is slowly moving forward. But in a nation where ice is killing off more people each year and where recent drug reform policies have made little to no difference – something needs to be changed. Cropper’s case reminds us that drug decriminalisation could save our most valued members of society – our doctors, our teachers, our lawyers – from having one mistake send them down a completely unredeemable path. Moreover, the discussion on decriminalisation and reforming drug sentencing is almost non-existent in Parliament at the moment. However, there will be a day where Australia’s problem with drugs reaches a tipping point. When we get there, perhaps our politicians will realise that just because they can’t see the gruesome realities of addiction and poverty from their bedroom window in Toorak, it doesn’t mean that it is not happening right in front of us. Lifeline: 13 11 14 w w w. d r u g i n fo . a d f. o r g. a u Lot’s Wife | 25
E S S AY
His and hers: can we quit it already? B y Ta ra Hel l we g e Illustration by Ceitidh Hopper
et’s imagine a couple. Sam and Taylor. They do all those couple-ish things together, like watching Game of Thrones every Monday. Trying to study but distracting each other most of the time. Sam picks Taylor up from work on Friday nights. Let’s say their first date was at the zoo. Alright, now in your mind, is this couple a man and a woman? If so, ever question why we generally default to heterosexual pairings like this? Well the sociologists that coined the term ‘heteronormativity’ certainly did. Sociology aside, if you don’t identify as Queer or somewhere on the rainbow side of the spectrum, you’ve probably heard this word around Uni, but perhaps haven’t given it much more thought.
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What are its implications then, beyond the deliberations of an Arts tute? Theory aside (because I promise this isn’t a lecture), I’ll give you some lived experiences of heteronormativity, from the perspective of a Queer, feminine-presenting woman, which will hopefully show to you just how pervasive and, well, shitty it is. I can only speak for myself, but to me, heteronormativity is sheathed in the phrase, “But you don’t look gay”. Which brings me to my second point: if someone comes out to you, and their appearance is not congruent with whatever idea you have in your mind of how a ‘gay’ person looks, please, do not follow up this moment by telling them that they “don’t look gay”. Or worse, that they are “too pretty to be a lesbian”.
S OC I E TY
These are not compliments. Among other issues, it elicits the bizarre notion that there is a certain way to look gay. Although you might think you’re being complementary by pointing out a person’s similarities to the norm, comments like this can be really harmful to LGBTQIA folks. When I first ‘came out’ my next worry was how to become visible within the community. I soon learnt that if you’re a Queer woman presenting on the more feminine side, you can often find yourself quite invisible in a lot of community spaces, especially if you don’t have a network of friends. Being told that I didn’t look gay enough added to the apprehension I was already feeling about wanting to fit into this new community I identified with. Such issues of visibility and belonging manifest in a heteronormative system, where the default is heterosexual, and so everyone is presumed to be straight until they ‘come out’ or prove otherwise. Hence the dilemma for some of how to become visible. Why the focus on heteronormativity? Acknowledging heterosexuality as the norm allows for us to see it as a political institution that first and foremost privileges heterosexuality. Your gender studies lecturer will probably term this a ‘hierarchy of sexualities’, because they see sexualities and the labels we use as inextricably bound to systems of power and privilege. By making assumptions of a person’s sexuality based on their appearance and the way they dress, you are reinforcing heteronormativity. We all do it. I make these presumptions all the time, but I do try to make a conscious effort to unlearn these ways of thinking, and question its origins. Many see heteronormativity as a product of a heterosexist society. And what is a heterosexist society? Well, heterosexism is simply this normative bias in favour of heterosexual relationships that permeates the attitudes and cultures of our society. Having to reiterate to some people that, yes, despite my appearance I am indeed gay, becomes tiring. These appearance-based assumptions are unavoidably gendered as well, as much of these sceptical attitudes manifest in the idea that an overly feminine woman must be heterosexual. The comment that someone is ‘too pretty to be a lesbian’ also represents this common assumption that conflates appearance with sexuality, whereby lesbians are assumed to only date women if they are physically undesirable to men. I have noticed that when I out myself to straight men I tend to label myself as ‘gay’ rather than ‘lesbian’. I find myself disassociating with the label lesbian because of the sexual connotations attached to it that indulge the male gaze. Queer sexual identities are so commonly sexualised, and as much as I take pride in identifying as a lesbian, sometimes it’s easier to use the label ‘gay’ for this reason. In my experience ‘gay’ seems to warrant less speculation, scepticism, or creepy interest. When I term myself as a lesbian, I have experienced that some straight men commonly see this as an invitation (“That’s hot”) – or alternatively think I’m an angry radical feminist that will spit on him and throw my burning bra in his direction. Don’t get me wrong though, I am angry :) This may all sound a little embellished, but it does indeed happen. I was recently at a bar with some friends, and we were approached by two men who struck up conversation. Their way
I soon learnt that if you’re a Queer woman presenting on the more feminine side, you can often find yourself quite invisible in a lot of community spaces. of deciphering which of us were potentially interested in them was to individually ask each of us, “You got a boyfriend?” (Clearly they respected the idea of us being another man’s property more so than our own individual agency.) When the index finder swung in my direction, one of my friends proposed that I would actually have a girlfriend, which elicited raised eyebrows along with the trying-to-play-accepting-but-reallyjust-creepy comments of, “Really? That’s cool, I like that.” (To which I responded, “I’m sure you do” *eye-roll*.) All in all, it would be nice if I didn’t find myself in these awkward encounters where I feel pressured to out myself to strangers. Most of the time, I choose not to. And for any peeved dudes reading this and thinking ‘not all men’, yes, I know not all of you are that appalling at talking to women in bars. Sadly I have also had other Queer people, including queer women, question my sexual identity based on my appearance. To me, these experiences are embedded in heteronormativity. I am presumed straight until I prove otherwise, based largely on my feminine or ‘lipstick’ appearance. Thankfully I am now at a place where questions like “who pays on the dates?” just entertain me (with disdain). While the language you use and comments you make may seem benign to you, to some they can be really harmful. At the very least, if you give no fucks for anyone but yourself, then be aware of the political power relations you are regurgitating. And at best, I have found that it’s important to be mindful of the troublesome norms we are perpetuating with what may seem like throwaway comments or harmless questions. Rather than try to find ways in which my relationships mirror your own, or compliment me on how my appearance assimilates with your idea of femininity, allow me my differences. It’s time to understand that we are different, and accept us anyway.
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with Clippy the Microsoft Word Assistant Illustration by Christina Dodds
Q: “How can I get myself in a good routine for the semester so I don’t crash and burn and fail every unit under the sun?”
Q: “Clippy, next to Internet Explorer, you may be the most hated computer program in existence. Seriously, you suck. How can we learn from your mistakes and improve on current technology?”
Answer: It looks like you’re trying to get your life on track. Would you like help? • Stop binge-watching entire shows on Netflix during exam period (Daredevil will still be there when exams are over!) • Actually attend all of the lectures and tutorials. Yes, every week. • Drown your sorrows with a bottle of vodka. May God have mercy on your soul.
A: It looks like you’re trying to replace Clippy. Would you like help?` • Step 1: Study IT at university, then fall into a cycle of despair as you fail assignment after assignment because you didn’t take Clippy’s above advice. • Step 2: Realise that you will never replace Clippy. You are only temporary. Clippy’s wisdom is forever.
Q: Hey Clippy, are you a Turnbull fan, or is Shorten more your type?
Q: Dear Lot’s, I--
A: Don’t show me this question again.
A: It looks like you’re trying to write a letter. Would you like help? • Write to a better magazine. • Text your mum back instead. • Fine, write your shitty letter by yourself. Clippy doesn’t give a shit.
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Lotâ€™s Wife | 29
Coursework scholarship applications: open for 2017
11am - 1pm Queer Morning Tea @ Queer lounge
4pm-6pm Queer Beers @ St John’s every Tuesday
6:30pm Queers on Screen @ Queer lounge
911am - 1pm
Allocate+ adjustment closes for Education and Science students
Allocate+ adjustment closes for Arts, Engineering, IT, Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students
Last day to discontinue S2 units without ‘withdrawn’ showing on academic record
designed by Christina Dodds
Queer Morning Tea @ Wholefoods Allocate+ adjustment closes for Art, Design and Architecture and Business and Economic students
11am - 1pm Queer Morning Tea @ Queer lounge
11am - 1pm Queer Morning Tea @ Queer lounge
11am - 1pm Queer Morning TeaPancakes & BBQ on the lawn
6:30pm Queers on Screen @ Queer lounge
6:30pm Queers on Screen @ Queer lounge
TE AR OU ME T!
Alocate+ adjustment closes for Law students
Queer Event @ Wholefoods
Want your event featured in next monthâ€™s calendar? Email us at email@example.com
September already? Turn over for an illustration by Christina Dodds!
S C I E NC E
Boils and trouble: the witch’s role in health care B y A l i s o u n To w n s e n d Illustration by Emily Dang
o quote Lisa Simpson, “Why is it when a woman is confident and powerful, they call her a witch?” The witch hunts that occurred in Medieval Western Europe were an enormous waste of talent and knowledge. In a time we associate with the Renaissance and discovery, the witch hunts were a sign of the misogyny that continues to plague human society. In addition to the individual lives lost, understanding of healing and midwifery was lost as these people were executed. Traditional healing skills were discredited and lost. Western European women have been associated with sin since Christianity was established in Western Europe around the 1st century. All women were viewed as being the daughters of Eve, and were in a permanent state of punishment for the first sin. This cloud of punishment and sin that was settled above women resulted in an uneven power balance between men and women. The burden of the loss of paradise was placed on the shoulders of women. Women were also associated with the legend Lilith, who is considered either the first man’s wife before Eve or a demon. As Adam’s first wife, Lilith viewed herself as equal to man, as she and Adam were made of the same Earth. Lilith rejects paradise, Adam, wifely duties and God. Other texts suggest Lilith is a lusty demon that haunted men over many lands, from ancient Babylon to Egypt, causing destruction and chaos wherever she flew. Witches, and women who were seen as witches, were automatically associated with the sin of Eve as women and then the demonic myth of Lilith was added to their burden. The legend of Lilith permeated and tainted the presence of independent women in medieval societies. Prior to the 13th century of medieval Western Europe, female healers supplied the health care of lower classes. Midwives in particular were allowed great freedom in their work, as all medical thought was generally based on the Greek or Roman understanding of medicine: one that did not include women’s bodies, and generally thought that women could look after themselves – which they did, with the help of female midwives and healers.
Female healers, witches and midwives were likely to have been similar to empirical scientists of contemporary times. To keep their patients as alive as possible, they would have to know what they were doing through experience and by spreading information, just as nurses and doctors in contemporary times are reminded to never stop learning and studying. Women healers came under suspicion on the possibility of witchcraft after the 13th century. Midwives were not particularly targeted as witches, but the Catholic and Protestant churches both regarded them suspiciously, as the pain of childbirth (and any possible complications) were considered punishment for the original sin of Adam and Eve. The practise of medicine, abortions and healing was seen as a power over life and death, a power meant for God alone. The witch hunts became more obviously misogynistic in the late 15th century with the publication of the lovely light read “Malleus Maleficarum”. Called “The Hammer of Witches” in English, the word Maleficarum is actually a feminine word. The book includes the description of how a witch made a man’s penis fall off, which I’m just going to diagnose from the 21st century as a pretty nasty STI. The Malleus Malificarum also proclaimed “No one does more harm to the Catholic Faith than midwives”. The book had many print runs in Germany and France, becoming the equivalent of a modern day best seller. It is unknown how many people died during the witch hunts that lasted over four centuries. The estimates of the deaths are widely disputed. These estimates range from 60 000 between the 13th and 17th centuries to a few million people. The first estimate seems quite moderate, as that only allows around 200 people per year to be killed over the entirety of Europe. It seems an even more conservative number when you consider between 1626 and 1631, 157 people were executed just in the city of Würzburg. Regardless of the number of people killed, the loss of knowledge from these people must have been huge. Although not all people killed would have been healers, at least some of them were.
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S C I E NC E
People have lived for millennia with issues such as endometriosis, PCOS and a range of other debilitating, but not generally killer diseases. The wealthy royals of Western Europe were not the only people to leave descendants into the 21st century. Did any of the people killed as witches hold the knowledge of how to help anyone suffering with these diseases? When the Library of Alexandria burnt and the House of Wisdom destroyed, humanity lost vast amounts of knowledge. Perhaps if all these great libraries hadn’t been destroyed, then we would be living on Mars right now! Okay so that’s just speculation, but humanity did have to catch up on the lost information. Could it be that the witch hunts were a similar loss of knowledge? Witches and women healers cared for the peasant population with simple herbal remedies like willow bark and honey. The church condemned the healing of the peasant population – sin was the cause of illness. Witches were a threat to the establishment by helping keep the enormously populated lower classes alive and helping ease women’s pain in childbirth. When female healers were charged with witchcraft, it was because they were undermining men’s position as medical ‘professionals’. In England in the 15th century, these medical professionals were all men and schooled in Galen’s theory of humours. These men were generally only approved by the church for use by the wealthy. Accessing schooling was an issue for lower classes and all women as it was very difficult, if not impossible to gain admittance to education as a woman in Medieval Europe. Male medical professionals most likely did not have a high success rate of healing patients, as the humours method of healing involved a lot of bleeding and leeches. They likely cost more for patients compared to lower class female healers. Seeing the local healer woman would appear to have a higher success rate and be cheaper for the ill of the lower classes. To medical professionals, these women were seen as encroaching on customers and possible income. Witches may have been empirical scientists, as traditional herbal remedies must have been tested through trial and error. Honey and garlic are both anti-bacterials and willow bark has salicylic acid, a part of the active ingredient in aspirin. The lower class healers would have passed information along to one another. I hope that some women once talked about allergies, or complications in childbirth – “Mistress Baker’s little knave wast large, the birthing tooketh days and wast hard worketh!” they might have said. After the medieval period, at the end of the witch hunts in the 16th century, women had roles as palliative nurses as nuns in convents. Women’s roles in medicine became more regulated and downplayed. Nurses as we know it in contemporary times came around with Florence Nightingale’s teachings, with nurses being trained to be subservient to doctors and to act as maids and active carers. Doctors were not meant to have time for patients – they instructed what needed to happen, and the nurses acted upon the instructions. Today there is little acknowledgement of the loss of healing knowledge that may have occurred in Western Europe during the centuries of witch hunts.
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Witches and women healers cared for the peasant population with simple herbal remedies like willow bark and honey. The church condemned the healing of the peasant population – sin was the cause of illness. Since this period of time in European history, women, especially independent women, have been associated with witches, evil and demons. Women that subverted the norm by applying knowledge, and being independent in their work, were targeted as witches as they undermined the patriarchal power of the Church and State. Across the ages, any woman who could possibly cause threat to systems of power were subdued or removed. The witch hunts were a part in a continued trend in society of misogyny and an imbalance of power, where men hold onto the majority. Women should celebrate being called witches. It seems to refer to all wonderful things - we are independent, intelligent and causing change.
IN TE R V I E W
A study has shown By Ruby Muller Illustration by Sigrid Lange
id you know that the number of people who have drowned by falling into swimming pools has a moderate correlation with the number of Nicolas Cage films released that year? I know, it’s absurd. But it does work. The thing is, when we know the link is implausible, we assume that the correlation is by chance. But what if I told you that moderate wine consumption correlates with longevity? Of all the health stories that recur in the media, this one is definitely up there in the pop-science charts. But it is also false. While it has not been conclusively decided that it is detrimental to your health to have a few glasses a night, the evidence supporting the original hypothesis that moderate wine consumption increased longevity was questioned last year. A meta analysis in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
suggested that there was no obvious benefit to moderate drinking. The study explored the quality of the research that followed the mortality rates of people who abstained from drinking, people who drank moderately and those who consumed several standard drinks every day. The data was adjusted to account for the individual characteristics of each study and the reasons for abstinence of each participant, such as reformed alcoholism or pre-existing health risks. The analysis then found that “low-volume alcohol consumption has no net mortality benefit compared with lifetime abstention or occasional drinking,” and that excess drinking correlates with an increase in mortality rates. So why isn’t this in the headlines? Perhaps it’s just not as appealing to viewers as “GO DRINK MORE WINE!” But the media’s tendency to hyperbolise scientific research can be seriously detrimental to those conducting it.
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S C I E NC E
Because most of these journalists don’t come from science backgrounds, they rely on the word of these scientists without actually understanding it. Misrepresentation of serious research as “pop-science” even has the reputation of ruining careers. Still, it is essential to report on science and its impacts. Good science journalism has proven capable of filling some of the most widely read magazines on the planet. There is more to bad reporting than it simply being false. Even if science has a reputation for being a bit scary and hard to understand, journalists have an obligation to check their facts. In the increasingly demanding news cycle, a lack of scrutiny on the part of the media puts the democratic power of journalism at risk. Being told a lie about something as serious as your health or environmental issues is worse than never being told anything in the first place. As any science student would know, it takes a trained eye to know what is solid research and what is not. But the real danger to science as a profession is when the reported facts are almost true. Misleading coverage of research that is well conducted, peer-reviewed, and repeated with supportive results can end up with good scientists losing a hard-earned reputation. Perhaps the worst part is that these cases of journalistic inaccuracy often cluster around big topics like cancer, heart disease or climate change, global issues that end up being misunderstood by millions because of a poorly worded headline. Part of the problem is the complexity of the research. Because most of these journalists don’t come from science backgrounds, they rely on the word of these scientists without actually understanding it. And if the teams doing the research can’t coordinate a simple enough summary, they risk leaving the journalist to cut out the parts they don’t understand. But good science journalism is out there. New Scientist, Cosmos, and National Geographic are always filled with interesting and accurate depictions of modern science. And then there’s The Conversation, where award winning journalists give brilliant names in science the opportunity to share their story first hand through interviews as opposed to press-releases. But the problem remains that these quality publications mainly attract academics and other scientists;
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people who are equipped with the knowledge to interpret the original work. Science journalism can’t always be written by those completing the research. While it may be more factual to have these articles written by the scientists conducting the experiments, a fresh set of eyes ensures that someone with virtually no understanding can still wrap their head around it. Though most people wouldn’t, there are those few who seek to further themselves by muddying the waters with fiction. The world of science is under the same fiscal pressures as the news industry, and privatised research has been known to skew press releases for financial gain. So it seems that there is more than just one problem with science writing. The journalists writing it need the guts and the training to try and understand something they don’t have a degree in, and the researchers behind the findings need the tools to explain the intricacies of their experiments to us common folk. While there are some resources availble once you’re in the field, it seems nonsensical not to have this issue addressed earlier considering it’s near inevitability. At some point, whether to a journalist or a company or a consumer, these ideas need to be communicated simply and effectively. And until science and journalism students are being taught these skills as a necessity, it is up to the brave few to dedicate their time and efforts to a cause often overlooked.
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Borderline Personality Disorder By Sarah-Grace Chedra T his article contains discussion of suicide.
second goes past, and instead of feeling focused in your studies, you feel a rush of playfully happy feelings flood your mind, making the world seem like a childish place, one of little consequence. You try to suppress this spontaneous burst of emotion so that you can continue studying. Perhaps you succeed, but then - a moment later - it feels like an enormous weight has been laid over you, leaving you with a body that has little to no energy, and your thoughts begin to replicate these feelings. What you just read is an example of an experience some with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) may go through in their lives. Dealing with these mood swings can be a difficult task, and they aren’t the only thing those living with BPD have to cope with . The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) defines BPD as consisting of a “pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self image and affects, and marked impulsivity” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Unless a therapist has sufficient experience with this condition, they generally don't feel comfortable managing a person with BPD. Those who suffer from this condition lack the support and understanding from the wider community. Pair this with the fact that these individuals have a heightened fear of abandonment, and chronic feelings of emptiness. To make things even worse, people who live with this condition are at a higher risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. This is the life that a person who lives with BPD faces. Those statistics are confronting, and in all honesty there aren’t many people that acknowledge the struggles of those with this this condition without being patronising. There needs to be more awareness, especially within the mental health community, of how to treat people with this condition. What people don’t appreciate is that those with BPD are highly sensitive and require patience to understand where they’re coming from, and there are simple things that you can do that can dramatically help someone who may have BPD and these things aren’t difficult. If someone discloses to you that they have this condition, try to understand they aren’t trying to overwhelm you, but rather trying to inform you. Like a stop sign at an intersection, you can definitely pass on through, but you should be wary that
there may be other cars crossing. In other words, be mindful that they are fundamentally a decent human being, but they do have unpredictable emotions that can come up at random points in their life. This is known as being emotionally vulnerable, and it is part of the reason that people who have BPD generally have mood swings. The biggest thing you can do to help someone who suffers from emotional vulnerability is to listen to them, talk to them about the world around you, and engage with them on a sincere level. Another symptom of BPD is when a person swings into an irrepressible high, known as a manic state. It’s a hard state to notice, but for many people who suffer BPD, it can be the hardest mood they face. It can draw them out into being more impulsive, and when in this state, they can lose sight of consequences: this can leave them extremely vulnerable. If you notice the person’s voice beginning to rise, or they begin to act silly, and say really inappropriate comments, these are signs that they may have gone into a manic state. If this occurs, try to get them to breathe and calm down. On the other end of the mood swing, if someone looks like they are going to have a meltdown, or are having one, the main thing for you to do is to be kind. Be gentle in your words, be sincere, and reinforce that they are a good person. Those who suffer this condition have a hard time understanding reason why they begin to get emotional, and they are generally more sensitive to hearing criticism from someone they care about. When a serious issue arises, it is best to avoid overwhelming the person. Instead, break it down into the steps that you need to take in order to resolve it, and help them focus on those. This condition is a serious impairment on the individual’s life. It isn’t easy to get over it, or to stop thinking in a particular way: it doesn’t work like that. Those who suffer from this disorder can face serious disadvantages in daily life, especially in work or study environments. To be frank, people seem to ignore the fact that it isn’t a choice to have a mental illness. Although it isn’t your job to care for these people, you should at least try to appreciate where they are coming from. It’s understandable that people aren’t always able to support those who are in need, but maybe if people made an effort to accommodate those who are suffering, the world would be a nicer place.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 www.beyondblue.org.au For more information about BPD, visit SANE Australia: www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/ facts-and-guides/borderline-personality-disorder
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Serving the people By Abdul Marian Illustration by Angus Marian
n a society that is so connected, with integrated technology and a constant need for 24 hours updates, we find ourselves more knowledgeable of what is going on around us. There is much greater potential for somebody in Australia to know about the humanitarian plight of others somewhere else in the world, and this has seen a consciousness of different societal problems integrate within our common mindset, as well as an increase in humanitarian work and projects. No doubt this is a good thing, yet now there is an emerging body of research that examines just how humanitarian ‘humanitarian work’ is. It has been found that often, projects are ineffective, or not sustainable, or waste valuable resources. Furthermore, different humanitarian organisations have been known to compete for limited government funding, as well as the media spotlight, rather than work together and spread their energy over multiple areas. It becomes easy to view ourselves as the heroes helping out one single collective of people, often with a plan that hasn’t had any contribution from the local population. This kind of attitude ignores the individual needs of people within a population, as well as the needs of one community compared to another. The old saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” is relevant when we consider long-term, user specific solutions to problems. Once you begin to scratch the surface, you will see the complexity in providing humanitarian assistance; political context, climate, local resources, funding and sustainability are all issues that do not have one-answerfits-all solutions. “Appropriate technology” is a way of thinking about humanitarian engineering problems that gained traction in the 1970s. Spurred by a disappointment in the effects of humanitarian efforts, scholars and engineers tried to come up with a different way of solving the problem. Particular areas to target with appropriate technology are the longevity of their projects, as well as the empowerment of local people. Over the years it has moved from simply being a vision for a better place to a tangible methodology that seeks to achieve specific goals. Practitioners have also begun introspectively looking at engineering failures to see where further improvements can be made. Perhaps we find a lack of these ideas in humanitarian work due to negligence on behalf of certain organisations, but more likely they are a result of improper planning and treating the symptoms of problems, rather than the problems themselves. In a recent introductory workshop, Monash students were asked to design a system to provide clean water to a school.
They were encouraged to examine the real constraints that such a project would have on the school and its community. Students had to consider: an already limited supply of water, the cost of materials in a place where the average income is $2.5 a day, a design that was easy to replicate, easy to teach and would not be easily broken by inquisitive kids. Physical considerations like these often get overlooked, but so do less tangible concepts; like how can we convince a community that the water they have used for generations is actually not good for consumption? Probably the most foreign concept to students is that the answers for these real world solutions are neither always clear, nor ascertainable. Unlike classroom problems, there isn’t a solution at the back of the book or a tutor to guide you to the correct, concrete answer. Exposure to these kinds of situations is important, as students may not necessarily encounter problems like these within ideal situations in the labs or tute rooms.
Unlike classroom problems, there isn’t a solution at the back of the book or a tutor to guide you to the correct, concrete answer. Engineers Without Borders is an organisation that has been running summits and tours that help engineering students achieve the flexible life skills mentioned above. There are 2 summits being organised in 2016: one from the 25th of June until the 8th of July and another in between July 11-26th, both of which will be hosted in Cambodia. The purpose of these events is to acquaint engineering students with a local community and get them to see first hand how the community functions day-by-day. Then groups of students must work on projects that they feel address various humanitarian aspects of engineering. Engineering students will be able to apply their knowledge in real-life situations, and will see the crossroads of theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to tackle such problems. Actually knowing how to use and apply the knowledge you have studied so hard for is essential for any graduating student. It is great to see a push from the university to equip their students with not only the tools to take on the plethora of challenges that await them, but also the knowledge and understanding of which tools to use in a given circumstance.
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Where do our pizza boxes come from? B y B r ittany We therspoon Illustration by Lily Greenwood
e use cardboard and paper-based packaging so often in our daily lives, but many people do not know where it all comes from. Why should you care? It is okay if you recycle right? What if I were to tell you that your Friday night pizza box was actually the product of the process that was killing thousands? In the beginning, it just started with the universally known fact; that cardboard is a product of trees. I interviewed several customers and workers at the local pizza shop, in hopes that the consumers and workers of pizza would know which trees those were. However, not a single person was able to clarify further than “it just comes from trees.” Many people believe that manufacturers of paper and paper-based products are sourcing their trees from plantation farms, trees specifically grown for the purpose of cutting down. Whilst most international companies do abide by laws set by councils, such as the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the Forest Stewardship Council (F.S.C), many of them do not. Consequently, this means that many of your favourite internationally packaged brands may actually be packaged in the skin of native forests around the world, forests that thousands are fighting governments to protect. The deforestation of tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon, is contributing to global warming which is increasing at a dangerous rate. It is also the cause for much loss of livelihoods for thousands, and death of thousands more native animals. This is what volunteers from the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) are dedicated to stopping. There was an undercurrent of mystery when I was investigating the origins of cardboard. I called multiple companies with no answer, and received only one reply to all my emails sent. The reply was from an art branded paper company that shall remain nameless, who stated to believe in my mission to encourage readers to question the norm but politely refused to, as doing so “would reveal our recipe to competitors”. Why should it be so hard, as a consumer in Australian society which claims to be greener than most, to be able to find out where my packaging is sourced from? It made me question what they had to hide? The answer was the Amazon. The South American rainforest, that is widely known to be the largest source of the world’s oxygen, is in your pizza box. One of my only successful interviews was with the local pizza shop owner. Monash students have been coming to his shops for years, so he jumped on board with the investigation when I came to him. Within 2 weeks, he called me with his results.
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His supplier ships from Egypt, but according to the supplier, the wood is cut, pulped and shaped in Brazil in three forms. The first, pine wood from their plantation, is Australian Pine. Secondly, all that recycled cardboard you and the rest of the world recycle is rotated through the packaging system, being pulped down again but at a lower quality than the original pine. And finally, thousands of pizza boxes are being made with the logs of the Amazonian Rain Forest. Are we really okay with not knowing, with accepting what has been our everyday normal without questioning the origins? I don’t think so. We are university students, and learning about and investigating our world is what we are here to do. We can protect the future of our Earth, just by starting small with pizza boxes. But we can’t do it whilst being in the dark. It all starts with a simple question.
PU ZZL E S
by Rajat Lal
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This is what we watch, this is who we are. By Sachetha Bamunusinghe Illustration by Natalie Ng
aving spent my break in the middle of nowhere in Sri Lanka, I felt truly blessed to have an actual television that worked. Away from ‘becoming one’ with the monkeys, I ended up spending a lot of time watching foreign films. From Bollywood movies to modern Spanish short films, it made me realize the numerous benefits foreign films can offer to an audience.
A cultural experience in language learning
Firstly, films provide the key expressions and sounds acoustics that are significant in in the everyday-day usage of a language. When watching a foreign film, do you ever think “Oh! That word is used so much” or “Wow, they speak so passionately”? If you’re learning another language, watching foreign films is a great way of assimilating these phrases and speech style into your own learning experience. I find learning languages at university helps to consistently enhance students’ grammatical practices, however lacks usage of the common expressions. This could be the difference between a student speaking eloquently and a student who can speak eloquently and be easily connected to a foreign society. Imagine going to Spain and being able to explain in Spanish the Franco dictatorship and its oppressions to society, but not being able to ask a local how much coffee is? Being able to communicate with locals, on top of knowing the culture, is an overall rewarding language speaking experience.
Highlights the social norms and behavior
One of the most important benefits for an audience is being able to learn the societal values that are integrated in a foreign community. For first-timers to a country without any prior cultural knowledge, these norms may seem interesting or even unusual at first. However by watching foreign films, the audience is illustrated how these ‘different’ norms are indeed normal in the particular society. For example, I’ve watched Japanese anime and film, which is also highly popular for comic fans in Western societies. I learnt important concepts before visiting Japan such as the concept of Senpai and Kohai, where those who are older or of a ‘higher’ role than yourself, must be greatly respected. This includes using formal language unlike casual styles, and even changing your behavior. Foreign films assist in bridging this cultural knowledge gap of a foreign society, and to broaden the understanding of foreign societal norms for an audience. Hopefully next time you’re at a film festival or movie night, these benefits will convince you that foreign films are a must-try!
It opens up a world of imagination
There are many American films made by Hollywood that will remain iconic for years to come, but often same generic storyline repeats itself. Foreign films on the other hand provide unique tales, as the audience cannot predict the endings of films, as everything to begin with is new and surprising. For example, I watched the German film “Der Räuber” or “The Robber” which is based upon a marathon runner who also successfully robs banks as a hobby. BAM! This film not only encompasses the suspense of an awesome thriller, but also provides a story that differs from the generic style. Additionally, the remakes of foreign films into English films are disappointing: it is more appealing to an English speaking audience, but is it really better? Like a foreign language itself, converting everything into English eliminates the tradition, lust and originality of a film that we otherwise could have encountered. Whether foreign films are wonderful or confronting, they delve into depths of imagination we infrequently see.
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The uncommon cold: what to do this winter By Melissa Fernando Illustration by Lucie Cester
ow cold is it right now?!”- Pretty much every Victorian, every winter. So it’s June, when we Melbournians start to envy our northern brethren who continue enjoy 30-degree sunshine during the following few months. Or maybe you are one of those strange people that like the cold. Either way, the following activities will help you to either unleash your inner ice warrior out in the snow, or help you weather the winter weather from the safe haven of the indoors.
Mount Buller lies in the Alpine region of Victoria, about 3 hours’ drive from Melbourne. A popular site for sporting enthusiasts as well as first-time snow visitors, Mount Buller is a must for this winter. With opportunities to ski, toboggan, snowboard and mountain bike. Depending on accommodation requirements, things can get a bit pricey, so try to book as early as possible.
Mount Stirling is a mountain range that is about 30 minutes away from Mount Buller, and provides a more student friendly option as events and activities are cheaper than the other snow mountains in the area. Mount Stirling is a quieter option than its bigger brother Mount Buller, and offers the chance not only snowboard and ski but also to recharge and camp under the stars in refuge huts.
Queen Victoria Night Market
Every Wednesday night from 5-10pm, the Queen Victoria Market turns into a bustling hub of people, food and drink. Some stalls also have vintage knick-knacks and hand-crafted ornaments. Punters can choose from over 30 stalls of delicious, great and comforting winter foods from all kinds of cultures, accompanied with delicious mulled wine or hot apple cider! Cost depends on how much you like to eat!
Royal Botanic Gardens Greenhouses
Want a taste of the tropics during the Melbourne winter for free? Go visit the hot houses in the Royal Botanic Gardens. According to the website, winter is the best time to explore the steamy houses. Aside from its breathtaking landscapes and Australian plant life and variety of birds, turtles and other little creatures that call the area home, the Royal Botanic Gardens also have super warm greenhouses! Perfect cost-free way to beat the winter chill right? Filled with exotic plants that are native to tropical climates, these greenhouses will warm you up and give you something to look at!
Tea will always be a comforting hug in a mug, and winter is the perfect time to get fancy and enjoy some warm drinks and delectable treats in good company! Considering how the average cost of high tea in Melbourne is around the $50-$60 mark, High Tea in Paris offers a great deal with tea for two for only $20 on weekdays. The Parisian styled tearoom is located in Mornington, about 45 minutes from Clayton campus. Opening hours are Wednesday - Friday from 10:30am – 3:30pm and Saturday-Sunday from 10:30am – 5:00pm.
Readings Bookshop – Carlton
There’s nothing better than being in a warm bookshop browsing the walls for the perfect book while it’s pouring outside and Readings in Carlton should be your go-to bookshop this winter. But wait, this isn’t just any other bookshop… This Melbourne bookshop won the London Book fairs award for best bookshop… IN THE WORLD. So as Melbournians, we have a duty to pay a visit and take pride in this amazing achievement.
It’s no surprise that Australia’s first cat café opened up in Melbourne! Hipsters, cat lovers and crazy cat ladies unite! Cat café Melbourne is a tranquil space designed to let you unwind in a kitty-filled environment. From $10, you will be able to pet, play and chill out with 14 playful and cheeky cats. The website claims that interacting with cats is proven to reduce stress and anxiety – something us university students can really make use of. If you’d like to make some feline friends, you’ll find them at 375 Queen Street, but make sure to book through the website first.
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Ideas worth shredding By Jasmine Walter Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges
n retrospect, the incredible success of the online venture that is TED talks does not seem surprising. TED, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” was initially a platform for tech-based startups to pitch their ideas to investors. Founded in 1990, it has grew to such a phenomenon that by January 2007, tickets were $6000 and invite-only. The Silicon Valley roots of TED have stuck even as its market has broadened, and “Ideas Worth Spreading” have become the new commodity of choice. The marketplace for these ideas grew as the internet evolved. The popularity of Alain de Botton’s The Consolations of Philosophy (2000) was an early symptom of the appetite that existed for this genre of self-improvement literature. Online platforms, such as Brain Pickings and The School of Life, now package the wisdom of the greats in a format that is convenient for our consumption. An interesting shift in tone has accompanied the popularization of this niche of self-help. Continual adjustment and betterment of the self is seen as paramount to happiness, and naturally it is not hard to find an audience that is willing to be convinced that self-improvement via philosophical reflection is an easy way to change ourselves for the better. This is why, often enough, just reading these articles is invigorating, because the belief in the possibility of such a transformation is already gratifying. TED encourages speakers to stifle their appetite for nuance, and to package problems and their innovative solutions as being beneficial on a global scale. But their videos are perhaps equally as masturbatory as the mantra that living the good
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life is a matter of adjusting our mindset. Each speech creates a warm glow of inspiration, because it turns out that the social, economic and environmental problems of global importance could be solved, if we were only to tweak our thinking. What is even less surprising than the success of this format is that this new industry of ideas tends towards banality. The formula of the TED talk all but mandates a satisfying conclusion, and allows the speaker to go largely unquestioned by the audience. TED’s virality is no more a mystery than why each talk, with its 18-minute time limit, still feels like a sales pitch (a format that admittedly does a disservice to some of the conference’s most reputable contributors). Philosopher Slavoj Žižek quipped that the cost set by Starbucks of being more than just a consumer is built into the price of a Grande Latte whose profits support fair-trade Ethiopian coffee farmers. The ultimate consumerism allows us to be self-congratulatory; and perhaps succeeds at countering a deeper discomfort with being born onto the luckier side of social inequality - as the main demographic for self-improvement porn and TED seems to be. The temptation that TED feeds is a desire to succumb to belief that the world is better for our individual exposure to these life and world-changing ideas. Brian Cooke’s recent podcast Philosophy can Ruin Your Life, in which he discusses with philosophers the true impact of a life spent with ideas, is more aptly titled. It is an appetite that delays our mustering the courage to admit that only knowledge in the service of the collective is worth it, and that individual comfort may be the last thing it brings.
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Kids these days: is pop music losing its intelligence? By Matthew Edwards Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges
ngaging with music is a time-tested human tradition, that crosses all cultures and backgrounds. Thanks to the internet, we now have access to broader samples of musical genres, and it's now easier than ever to listen to what you like. Yet there is still one genre of music that is ubiquitous in the disdain it inspires: pop music. While travelling in the car, bus, or taxi, you might have listened to the radio, and you may have said to yourself, "Is this what's popular these days?" Or, perhaps, "This song is pure garbage!" You may have then plugged in the AUX cord or put on your headphones and listened to your own tunes. But not all is lost – there has been something of a resurgence in pop music in the last two years. Some pop songs are becoming more lyrically complex and thematically sophisticated, and most have been gaining traction on the charts. I think it’s worth taking a look at some of them, to see what works and what doesn’t. It's no secret that pop music can sometimes be pure garbage. In 2014, data blog SeatSmart conducted an analysis of lyrical intelligence, or the graded reading level of a song’s lyrics, over ten years of music. No musical genre or artist was safe: the study showed that lyrical intelligence in popular music has been on a downward trend since 2005. Artists like Maroon 5 and T-Pain scored particularly low on the scale, with lyrics rating lower than a second-grade reading level. Let's look at a sample from T-Pain's entry, the 6th lowest song on the list, Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin') from 2010: I'mma buy you a drank I'mma take you home with me I got money in the bank Shawty what you think 'bout that? Find me in the grey Cadillac We in the bed like ooh, ooh, ooh We in the bed like ooh, ooh, ooh It reads less like a song, and more like a message from a horny 40-something man on OkCupid desperate to impress a member of the desired sex. He’s just going to buy her a drink and take her home in his nice car to have casual, non-committed sexual intercourse, which according to Mr. Pain, will sound like “ooh, ooh, ooh” …? Not a lot of room for interpretation there. But I think it’s important to make some distinctions. A “low” song does not necessarily equate to a bad song. Many songs that scored low on the SeatSmart list – Hey Ya by Outkast and Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry just to name a couple – are songs
that have some lyrical complexity to them. Hey Ya is about a relationship being dysfunctional, despite things looking fine on the surface. This superficiality is reflected in the upbeat mood of the track, and something the song actually acknowledges in the lyrics. Take the last part of the second verse: … If what they say is “Nothing is forever” Then what makes (then what makes) Love the exception? So why, oh why Are we so in denial When we know we’re not happy here? (Y’all don’t want to hear me, you just want to dance) That last line is drowned out by the hook (the “hey ya” part) coming back in, and it marks a shift in tone for the rest of the song. Singer Andre 3000 goes into “denial” too, and famously tells us to let go of our emotions and “shake it like a Polaroid picture”. This entire song exemplifies the deeper lyrical complexity hidden within pop music that I think a few other popular songs share at the moment. Mike Posner is no stranger to criticising popularity. His 2010 track Cooler Than Me was a massive hit, and describes a girl Posner was supposedly interested in and rejected by, who he describes as rich and stuck-up. According to him, she “needs everyone’s eyes just to feel seen” and acts like a wannabe celebrity. Since then, Posner has remained in the strange shadow of the formerly famous. He disappeared from radio while he fought the depression that came with his sudden notoriety. That’s where I Took a Pill in Ibiza comes in. Ibiza was recorded in 2015 as an acoustic track, before it got picked up and remixed by Norwegian EDM duo SeeB a year later. It deals with Posner’s complicated feelings towards his own fame, and the new lifestyle that it brought him. The song is straight-forward and blunt in its message, describing the
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“rollercoaster” of his popularity that left him feeling “all alone”. In the third verse, which doesn’t feature in the remixed version, Posner warns his fans about his journey: …I walked around downtown I met some fans on Lafayette They said tell us how to make it ‘cause we’re getting real impatient So I looked ‘em in the eye and said [Chorus] You don’t wanna be high like me… The song has since charted on the Billboard Top 10, and Posner is aware of the irony: a song about the dangers of fame has made him famous once again, thanks to no particular effort on his part. But it is an important message, and one that is shared with another song that deals with the loneliness that comes with modern life. UK duo Snakehips’ All My Friends is that song. It’s about the negative effects of the millennial party lifestyle: alcohol, drugs and incessant clubbing are turning people into “vultures” and “cannibals”. Singer Tinashe’s memorable chorus describes that maybe all-too-familiar feeling of being in a club you hate surrounded by people that couldn’t care less about your wellbeing while being wasted out of your mind. It’s a sad fact of modern society, but it’s not all a negative song. Chance the Rapper hopes, in his verse, that “the sand will leave a tan” and people will realise the dangerous results that this lifestyle can have. The songs that we’ve looked at so far have explored lyrical complexity in their own right; they deal with complex themes and emotions while still being ‘trendy’ songs. But I think there is more complexity to be found by analysing some of these trends, as they are an important part of pop music. They are just as eclectic as society itself, and they have varied over time, but the dominant trend that has pervaded through popular music of the last year and a half can be traced back to Jamaican music and its many subgenres. After Bob Marley made reggae a worldwide phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s, musicians back in Jamaica began to turn to up-tempo sounds again. The release of B-side albums (that is, instrumental tracks of songs on the other side of the record) allowed Jamaican DJs to sing, and essentially rap, over these versions. This is the precursor to American hip-hop, but it also spawned another genre in Jamaica: dancehall. DJs were able to electronically distort these B-side tracks, or riddims, and perform over them. No artist better represents this cultural phenomenon than Rihanna; particularly in the lead single from her latest album, Work. The lyrics incorporate aspects of Jamaican patois and Creole, in an obvious nod to her Caribbean heritage, and the song is one of the first dancehall songs to chart since Sean Paul’s Temperature in 2006. Lyrically, Rihanna sings about fragile relationships, and working hard no matter what’s happening in your life: Work, work, work, work, work, work He said me haffi (He said I have to) Work, work, work, work, work, work He see me do mi (He saw me do my) Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt So me put in (So I put in)
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We’re getting a broader range of experiences from the representation of different cultures and the sounds they produce. Work, work, work, work, work, work When you ah guh (When are you going to) Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn, learn Me nuh cyar if him (I don’t care if he’s) Hurt, hurt, hurt, hurt, hurting In a time where politics is dominated by movements like #BlackLivesMatter and tirades of racism and xenophobia, it’s refreshing to see Rihanna proudly showing her cultural roots in the pop music scene. You can’t help but imagine being on a tropical island when you listen to this track, and a verse featuring Drake only sweetens the deal. Similar to Hey Ya, the mood and beat mask a frustrated undertone that speaks to the reality of a difficult situation, and how people deal with those situations. I’m all about giving credit where credit is due, and I feel like the songs I’ve mentioned deserve some credit in regards to what we refer to as “pop music”. We’re certainly getting more interesting songs in contemporary pop, both production-wise and lyrically, and we’re getting a broader range of experiences from the representation of different cultures and the sounds they produce. I like where today’s music is headed, and I’d like to see more of this complexity going forward. It’s opened my eyes to a range of genres I’ve never listened to before, or genres that I never thought I’d like until I heard what they had to offer, and that’s what I think music is about: a shared experience that anyone and everyone can enjoy.
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Food fight By Layla Homewood Illustration by Natalie Ng
t's that time of year again. Winter is creeping up on us, casting grey clouds over our university, while sheets of rain stunt our motivation for those 9am lectures (okay, so we never had the motivation for them in the first place, but the rain isn't making them any easier). And as our winter approaches, everyone seems to be jet-setting off on a European adventure to soak up the rays which are so rudely ignoring our part of the world. And we know what summer in Europe means; festivals. Around this time, we expect crazy and vibrant and exhilarating festivals for any reason. But in my memory, one event in particular stretched the limits of every possible expectation. Hosted every year, on the final Wednesday of August in Bunol, Spain, is the world's largest food fight, otherwise known as La Tomatina. Before going to this 70 year old festival, I had come to terms with the fact that Spain was a lot more full on than where I'm from. But I was not prepared enough for what I had to face at the festival. No matter how much you're told about a certain place, or how much you research or prepare for it, you will never be completely ready until you're there, and this was no exception. I know what you're thinking. "I already know what the Tomato festival is. It's where a bunch of tourists get drunk and throw tomatoes at each other." Well, look, you're not wrong. But there is so much more to the event than you may originally believe. Before the tomatoes come out, before the chaos and mayhem of the brutal war even begins, a whole host of other traditions must first take place. Exactly how the bizarre tradition began is still speculated. Some say it all started with some young children from the town, a horrible busker, and a hand-full of tomatoes used to shut him up. Others believe a parade through the streets of Bunol went awry when a fight broke out near a vegetable stand. Either way, the act managed to stick and be repeated for many years to come. Now, over 50 years after its inception, hundreds of stalls are perched on the side of the road trying to sell traditional sangria as you, a humble warrior in this mighty war, make your way to the street where the fight takes place. Not only do the locals embrace the annual tradition by selling traditional food and drink, but those who actually live in the street where the fight occurs (yeah, there are people living there) flock to the roofs of their buildings with even more sangria and massive buckets of water, to pour on the sweltering people below. As the tiny, narrow street fills with tourists and locals combined, drenched in sweat, alcohol and fresh water, a courageous bunch
of individuals will try to climb a two-storey-high pole covered in slippery animal fat and claim the leg of ham perched atop it. Yeah, you heard right. For hours before the first tomato is thrown, everyone attending the festival crams into the slender street and cheers others on as they make every many and varied attempt at claiming the leg of ham. And it's no easy challenge. In the past few years of the tomato festival, the leg of ham has remained untouched and unclaimed, leaving a string of disheartened, animal fat and tomato covered festival goers in its wake. So by 11am, you can imagine 22,000 excited people all waiting for the first cannon to signal the beginning of war. You can imagine the ancient street, the width of only two cars where they're all crammed in. And you can imagine the anticipation. Whether you scaled the building walls for a better scope of the juice-drenched crowd (careful! If you stand on something tall, people tend to see you as an easy target), or were thrown around in what was affectionately coined "The Kill Zone," the area where truck loads of tomatoes would be unceremoniously dumped every 10-15 minutes for a frenzy of festival goers to dive upon, you'll end up completely a part of the festivities. By the end of the fight when the final cannon has sounded, you're literally shin deep in a brutal mixture of 50% tomato juice, 20% sangria, 20% water, and 10% urine and vomit (urine from people who didn't want to lose their precious place before the fight, and vomit from people who suffered one too many tomatoes to the mouth or one too many sangrias to the stomach). So while your friends are off gallivanting amongst the European sun, while you're struggling to think of a new way to put off that 3000 word essay, remember to expect the unexpected. But most importantly, if you're expecting a massive tomato fight, expect to be standing shin deep in someone else's urine too.
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Illustration by Elizabeth Bridges
C R E ATI V E
Parlour Games By Kiowa Scott-Hurley
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I l l u s t r a tCi oRn EbAy TNI aVt aEl i e N g
Sirens By Ed Jessop
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56 | Lotâ€™s Wife Illustration by Michael Wilkinson
F I C TI ON
Funding By Justin Jones Li
hint of jasmine fought valiantly against Cuban cigars in the dark, smoky boardroom. The space was lit by a circle of scented candles that stood in the middle of the table. Organic. Hypoallergenic. Bespoke. The attendees all rested their elbows on the table and tented their fingers. Everyone had something different hovering above the table. Magda Copperfield had a string of pearls draped over her fingers; Carmen Wentworth had a ribbon of purple silk. Priscilla Fairfax-Montgomery tapped her platinum and rhodium rings together, and all eyes fell on her. “I now open this month’s meeting of the First Women’s Committee. The first item on the agenda, which I will present, is the wonderful news that our proposed funding increase has been approved. This year’s budget has been increased to match that of the First Men’s Committee.” There was a brief silence before the room collectively sighed contentedly, and plumes of smoke inwards from the edge of the circle. As the candlelight almost perished, the gleam of Selena Babbage’s rubies flickered in kind. Priscilla continued, “We’ve worked very hard for very long to achieve this. I’m probably understating it massively to say that we can all give ourselves a pat on the back. This is all thanks to our advocacy and dedication. I thank you all. “Now to the second item on the agenda, I believe a few of us have prepared something to present. In this meeting, we will vote on how to use this extra funding. I especially adored Christine’s idea.” “Thank you,” said Christine, Duchess of Lowbury, “I propose to set up a grant for women who ordinarily cannot afford to become a member of this committee. As Priscilla said, it is only because of our steadfast commitment that we were able to achieve equality in funding. It is high time that underprivileged women finally get an opportunity to effect real change.” Another wave of smoke filled the scene. The room approved of Her Grace’s idea. “Of course, there needs to be stringent requirements for eligibility,” said Diana Penfold VII. “She would have to be
exceptional. Years of community service, a wide industry network and she would definitely need to be well travelled.” “Excellent suggestions,” Priscilla chimed. “Are there any more”— Priscilla’s phone began to ring. Acting against the weight of its diamond-encrusted cover, she laboriously, though successfully, picked it up. “Hello? Oh hello! I see… Oh, that’s terrible… Wait, I’ll put you on speaker.” “Wait, what? No, I’d really rather not.” It was, however, too late. The First Women’s Committee could already hear the conversation, and everyone was eager for the message. “Oh okay… I’m Aisha Talwar from the Second Women’s Committee. I was just letting Priscilla know that our committee’s funding has been cut. Apparently, there were some unforeseen circumstances, and some of the money that was earmarked for us has been reallocated.” The room was plunged into a hell-scape of horrified gasps. “How beastly!” “This is unjust!” “I think I might swoon!” Aisha began to mumble. “Everyone, I’m sure this is a solvable problem.” Pandemonium gripped the First Women’s Committee. “I just don’t understand!” “I know it doesn’t affect me, but I just can’t help it!” “My god, I’ve just swooned! Somebody call an ambulance!” Aisha tried again. “Everyone, this is a little counterproductive. I think I have an idea about how to proceed. If you could just give me a moment…” The uproar continued. Everyone was in tears. Aisha hung up. Priscilla spoke up again. “I move that this meeting be closed so that we can all take things easy for a while. Do I have a seconder…? Yes? Okay. Carried unanimously!”
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In Search of Lost Time By Isaac Reichman
I remember, something. The smell of violets in a violet room, Forced to resume and presume the most; Around a table in the violet room. Where we sat upon the chairs we made; Sat upon our hands and ate, The scones and jam and cream. The violets predicting and premising Future scenes in a room with cakes and coffee. The past calls to scene, A notion of moment-less imposition; Remission of consciousness, And a ray of light cast upon the table Stained with the afternoons gone by. So it seems Maybe… something… gleams. Perhaps in another dream. Yes, so it seems, Perhaps, I’ll resume The clock has fallen off the wall In days gone by. The clock has fallen on the floor. Time is yet to present itself again Resting on the table, Beneath a vacant shawl. Days are spent undoing frayed knots, Rearranging bookends in new ways. Time presents and rests within a book, Not yet returned to its familiar place.
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The flicker of daylight passes by. Reflections of memories cast upon The midnight moon’s pale eyes. Diffraction and detracting from the simple. Now you know, evening glows for who you know. And the moons pale eyes wink with a feeble smile, Casting waves upon the shore, Turning shifting tides into mystic lore. The moon passes by and coats the sky with cheap paint From a corner store. Clouds move and dusk sets in place, Being worn by the night as a gown of silken lace. Can you recall what it was like to breathe; To breathe without the air catching in your throat? The fray of spring precipitating on your car window; Driving to strive for something unknown. A boat, a car, a plane, Can pass the time but no distance you hope; We are not hopeless, And so we cannot float upon the roses. Instead we drove and stopped for toast, Instead we walked upon the pitted wood of the pier And dove in. As with time and quite soon, The violets wilt in the violet room. Along with the cakes and coffee beans, Along with the people that presumed.
Illustration by Stephanie Dim
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June-July issue of Lot's Wife, the official student publication of Monash Student Association.