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Accommodation Guarantee Overhaul
CHRIS ANTOS BEN LATHAM
THE ANU’s Undergraduate Accommodation Guarantee will be extended to both ACT residents and new postgraduates as of 2014, following a review conducted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Marnie Hughes-Warrington. The decision was announced during an interview with Vice-Chancellor Ian Young and Hughes-Warrington, who reasoned that, “A lot of students love living on campus because they get access to support and community activities that really help them to transition to university studies. It is cohort building and something that the ANU’s very proud of.” Currently, postgraduates and ACT residents are able to apply for accommodation but are not given priority. However, by extending the guarantee, the Deputy VC is hoping to “address that inequity towards ACT students [since] a lot of them want to be part of the community. We felt that they’ve been excluded from that unnecessarily and we want to make it more available to more people.” This announcement follows the introduction of the Tuckwell Scholarship, which offers new undergraduate students $20,000 per annum for five years of full-time study. The scholarship is conditional on recipients living in an ANU Hall or Residential College for the duration of the schol-
arship. As explained by the Vice-Chancellor, Ian Young, “There are always some conditions around a scholarship. In this case the donor felt that this was something that he and his wife both valued and thought was important to try and build.” Although this condition would have previously prevented local Canberra residents from receiving the scholarship, the Vice-Chancellor declared that “We wouldn’t disadvantage a Canberra student by excluding them from it. We thought [extending the accommodation guarantee] was a reasonable compromise which was consistent with the broad views of the university.” However, there are concerns regarding the ANU’s capacity to provide new and willing students with guaranteed lodging arrangements. Since 2006, student enrolments have increased by 28%. In 2010 alone, there were 8,898 student enrolments from the local ACT/QBN region and 5,682 new domestic graduate enrolments into the ANU – all of who would have been candidates for on-campus residences under the revised ANU accommodation guarantee. At this point in time, however, the university has no concrete figures on the number of local ACT residents or postgraduates expected to apply for the accommodation guarantee. As explained by Ian Young, “It’s going to be largely driven by, firstly, demand. And secondly, just how much accommodation we can easily build. I’d like to grow
the number of students who live on campus, but, to what number, we don’t know.” The first report of the accommodation review initiated by Hughes-Warrington will be presented to the deans of all the ANU’s residential halls and colleges in three weeks time. This will include the Chancellery’s proposed model to accommodate for the impending influx in new on-campus residents but, in the meantime, the university’s primary concern is addressing the exclusion of ACT students from the guarantee. Woroni understands that the blueprint for Student Accommodation 5 (SA5) has already been conceived to relieve the strain on the university’s facilities, although construction of this next addition to the Student Exchange could only feasibly be completed by the beginning of 2015. The President of the ANU Student Association, Aleks Sladojevic, is very pleased with the ANU’s decision to revise this policy, stating that, “Extending the ANU’s first year accommodation guarantee will provide a long, overdue opportunity for local students to enjoy the university’s residential experience. The Association views the decision as largely positive.” However, like many other students, the ANUSA President also holds reservations regarding the university’s capacity to provide sufficient space for the new students. “It is important the
university ensures that the new demand doesn’t further drive up already expensive costs of housing, and that existing students can continue to live at the ANU’s residences.” The effects on Griffin Hall and the new virtual wing of Fenner Hall will remain to be seen. The first of its kind in Australia, Griffin Hall was founded in 2010 to provide local ACT students with a similar collegial community experience to the on-campus residential halls. Despite local students now being offered the opportunity to apply to live on-campus rather than join Griffin Hall, Hughes-Warrington maintains that the Griffin community will remain strong. “I don’t foresee any difficulties with Griffin in the future. Everything says that Griffin is incredibly popular. It’s fantastic and students enjoy the opportunity to connect with one another.” When asked about his concerns for the future of Griffin Hall, President Oscar Morgain agreed with the Deputy VC’s sentiments, stating that, “Members of Griffin Hall want a multi-faceted social life. The majority of members enjoy the fact that they can have a diverse life within university, but also an independent one outside of it. I am not too concerned at all, as Griffin Hall’s current member base is built up of students who want this diverse experience. Very few join just for the ‘college environment’.”
// O WEEK WRAP UP // PULL-OUT INSIDE //
We’re Still Sorry
That’s Not What I Ordered DAVID WRIGHT THE discovery of horsemeat disguised as beef has kicked off a crisis in the UK. The crisis began when Findus, a multinational company with its headquarters in London, was found to have put 100 per cent horsemeat in its frozen beef lasagna. The scandal has spread across Europe, with French and Swedish retailers removing products from their shelves. A race is on to discover the source of what one British minister called a “criminal conspiracy”. British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed the “full intervention of the law” where food companies were found to be deceiving consumers. At least two UK plants have been raided already. In France, Consumer Affairs Minister Benoit Hamon said that authorities would not hesitate to take legal action if evidence of deliberate wrong-
doing could be found. The Food Standards Agency, the British foods regulator, said that the traceability within the UK’s food supply chain was “very good”. But the FSA and UK politicians have nevertheless faced ﬁerce criticism for their failure to prevent this ﬂouting of regulation. Despite the enormous media attention and sharp political reaction, some British people are not too fussed. They question the rationality of eating pigs, cows and sheep but not horses. Other countries eat horsemeat too, they argue. Rising costs of food has been cited as one possible explanation for why horsemeat was disguised as beef. Commodity prices globally have been on the rise the past decade. The cost of producing beef has increased and producers are searching for means of reducing these costs.
THIS week Australia’s parliament has taken an important step towards constitutionally recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the ﬁrst inhabitants of Australia. On February the 13th The House of Representatives passed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012. The Bill provides parliamentary recognition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on behalf of the people of Australia. It also requires a review of popular support for a referendum to amend the constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the ﬁrst inhabitants of Australia. Such a referendum would bring the constitution in line with current Australian law that since the High Court Mabo v Queensland judgment of 1992 determines terra nullius to be a fallacy in Australia. The Bill received ﬁrm support from both sides of the House in a rare instance of cooperation between the Labour and Liberal parties and is expected to pass the Senate before the end of Febru-
ary. Five years on from Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Indigenous peoples of Australia it seems that the party politics has left this then contentious issue. While it may be heartening for recognition activists to see the two major parties united in rhetoric on this issue, there is still a long road ahead before the anticipated referendum. The Bill sets a deadline of two years at which time a report on support for a constitutional referendum must be presented to parliament. There are no provisions for an actual referendum and if public support is found to be low it is unlikely that one will be held in the immediate future. This puts to onus on organisations such as Recognise to increase public support over the next two years. The current Government has pledged 10 million dollars to a public awareness campaign for recognition. Recognition activists must hope that in this election year this is one promise that will be kept.
Tigerlily Tanks it at Toga GUS MCCUBBING WHILE Tigerlily’s Facebook page claims she has “accomplished more than most can hope to achieve in an entire career, holding down residencies at Sydney’s hottest events,” it would appear that the nineteen year old has not yet mastered the art of holding down her drink. Last Wednesday night DJ Tigerlily, also known as Dara Hayes, was contracted to play the opening set of Burgmann College’s toga party before then completing a set at Meche’s oﬃcial after party. However, before anyone could gleefully yell “Bene tibi” problems abound. According to Burgmann College’s O-Week Director, Clodagh O’Doherty, Tigerlily “drank a one litre bottle of Smirnoff vodka, which was requested in her rider for the night.” It is little wonder then that after consuming what is the equivalent
of thirty standard drinks Tigerlily not only “lay down on the stage numerous times” but also “fell off the stage” at various points throughout her performance. O’Doherty has informed Woroni that Tigerlily also “fell off her chair” and “threw up over Meche equipment once everyone had left”. Following this, Tigerlily was unable to complete her set at Meche and had to be taken back to her hotel, with DJ Ember, who also played at Burgmann College, ﬁlling in for her at the civic nightclub. However, Woroni understands that Tigerlily has offered to perform sets at Burgmann College and Meche free of charge to make up for her previous performance.
EDITORIAL BOARD Vincent Chiang Josh Dabelstein Farz Edraki Ben Latham Yasmin Masri Gus McCubbing AJ Neilson Cam Wilson
SUB EDITORS Lillian Ward David Wright Dong Hyu Suh Dan Rose Sinead O’Connell Rob Selth
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UK Comes First in Gay Marriage
IN the last year Australia may have been dragging the chain on same sex marriage but the rest of the world has not. On the 5th of February this year David Cameron’s Conservative Party’s legislation on same sex marriage passed the House of Common, virtually guaranteeing it will be made law. This seems to represent a radical change for the Tories. The history of the conservative party however has been besmirched by some of most egregious examples of homophobia in the western world in the post war period. In 1999 the then Conservative opposition leader William Hague (now the Foreign Secretary) dismissed a cabinet colleague Shaun Woodward, who opposed his contemporary Conservative Party’s policy of opposing the repeal of a measure that forbid the promotion of homosexuality in British schools. Even in the United States, often considered the bastion of right wing homophobia, has made some progress. Ten of Fifty states have now accepted same sex marriage. In March a series of gay rights cases will go before the United States Supreme Court. Perhaps the most important of which, Perry v Hollingsworth, may decide that the XIVth amendment to the United States Constitution prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation with respect to the right
to marry. A decision in favour of the appellants would solidify the right to gay marriage as a constitutional norm on the same level as Roe v Wade and Brown v Board of Education. On the 13th of February Lower House of the French parliament approved a bill to legalise same sex marriage which, if passed by the upper house will fulfil a campaign promise of the recently elected French President Francois Hollande and the conservative New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has recently also come out in favour of same sex marriage. Amidst this progress Australia seems to be stuck in a time warp. After a brief and abortive debate last year, gay marriage has been left on the Australian too hard basket like other issues such as serious tax reform. For a country that has, as described by Wayne Swan, one of the strongest economies in the world (September 15 2012), Australia seems to have in many ways to have eschewed its fortunate position for years of stagnation and indecision in terms of social policy. The position in favour of same sex marriage has increasingly become the norm in developed western countries, regardless of the financial the situation, but in Australia the ‘debate’ over same sex marriage is rapidly moving from a talking point to an embarrassment.
Griffins Lead the Way, Rabbits to Follow
THE familiar banter of “Griffin ain’t a real Hall!” on the sports field may falter in 2013 as Fenner Hall pilots a program to take on 180 Associate Members. It aims to allow students of the ANU who do not live on campus to benefit from the mentoring support and social scene of ANU’s Halls of Residence and participate in the InterHall Sports and Arts shields. In 2013, applications will be submitted online on a first come, first served basis - with first years taking preference due to greater need for personal and academic support. The goal of 180 sign ups by the end of 2013 would boost the population of Fenner Hall close to 700. This new aspect of the ANU’s strategic vision was motivated by the success of Griffin Hall - an initiative begun by students. Although Griffin Hall has met with success after being established by ANUSA in 2010, there it faces challenges which stem from its members not living with each other. Community Assistants can find it difficult to keep in contact with students they are assigned to mentor. Coordinating sports and arts teams and supporters becomes difficult when members do not all live in a single place. Although Griffin has managed to compete with a degree of success in the Inter-Hall competition, it has not yet won either the Sports or Arts Shield. These difficulties contribute to and are compounded by the perception that Griffin is ‘not a real Hall’. The pilot program, in contrast, is based at a Hall with permanent residents. Will this difference eliminate the issues faced by Griffin? Perhaps not. What it will provide is an
established community to encourage Associates to become active members of the ANU’s Halls of Residence. The 2013 pilot program denotes a significant shift in the strategic platform of the ANU while validating the importance of the support provided by a College. The pilot program suggests that a Residential Hall can adequately provide personal and academic support for all students, whether or not they reside at the Hall. Although it appears that the ANU deems Fenner Hall to be up to the task of fulfilling this role, there are significant challenges to be faced. Potential resistance from residents may lead to the emergence of a clear resident/associate barrier. The Inter-Hall Sports Organisation has already voiced concerns that the program will merely allow for ex-Fenner residents to join sporting teams, undermining fair competition. In their pilot year, the Associates will not have a member on the Fenner Representatives Committee, even though they pay a fee to participate in its events. These problems are dissimilar to those faced by Griffin Hall, affirming that the program cannot simply be modeled on its predecessor. Is Griffin a pioneer in the future of student services? Yes. Will other non-residential Halls be copies of the Griffin model? Unlikely. By using the already established services of a residential Hall, the ANU can begin to offer the benefits of living on campus to students who do not. Watch out Daley Road, for the times are a changing.
Benedict Buggers Off DAVID WRIGHT THE decision of Pope Benedict XVI to resign on the 28th of February has shocked the Catholic Church. He is the first pontiff to resign from the position in almost 600 years. Pope Benedict XVI, named Joseph Ratzinger before his ascension to the papacy, became Pope in 2005. He is reportedly only the second Pope to resign in the history of the Catholic Church. The reasons given were health and age. The Pope said that his “advanced age” meant he was no longer able to carry out his tasks adequately. He is currently 85. Whilst the decision has been in the woodwork for some times, reports suggest, it has nevertheless left the Vatican in an awkward position. What will be done with the former Pope and when a new one will be appointed is, at pre-
sent, unclear. So too is who will lead the Catholic Church in the interim. Whilst the resignation has been met with surprise, it has also been met with support. The previous Pope, Pope John Paul II, held on to the position even as he was dying of Parkinson’s disease. Some argue that his doing so was to the detriment of the Church, as he no longer had the strength to perform his duties. Ratzinger’s seven-year stint in power has not been without controversy. In 1985 as a Cardinal he delayed efforts to defrock a priest convicted of molesting children. He has also been criticized for his crackdown on liberal nuns in the United States who challenged the Church’s teachings on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood.
Drama on the High Seas ROHANA PRINCE
Gillard in the Red
Labor Party Sinks to a New Low in the Polls ON THE HILL
AS of 17 February, the Government’s woes have deepened severely with a new Neilson poll. The ALP dropped 6 points on two-party preferred, the Opposition Leader is now preferred PM for the ﬁrst time in 7 months and has a higher approval rating, and Kevin Rudd has strengthened his lead as preferred leader of the ALP. Abbott soared 9% in the preferred PM stakes, with Gillard dropping 5%. This change has come after the Opposition Leader has made a concerted effort to appear more positive, attacking less and instead talking about both old and new policy proposals. Leading up to the poll, Kevin Rudd has been very visible. Predictably, this has got people suspicious, but the former Prime Minister continues to empathically deny he’s considering another go at the top job. These latest numbers, however, that put Rudd at 61% and Gillard at 35% as preferred leader of the ALP, will keep the spotlight ﬁrmly ﬁxed on that space. It’s all pretty disappointing for the Government, who hoped to do very well out of seizing the moment when they announced the September election. However, the ICAC investigations in NSW, resignations of two senior ministers, the arrest of
their winner, just like they did with Rudd in 2007. They’ve bet their credibility on an Abbott Liberal Government and now they have a vested interest in seeing that result come to fruition. This poll will only fuel that. It’s a sign of the times that the poll attracted far more media attention that an enormous policy announcement. Earlier that day, the Government announced a $1 billion dollar investment in ‘A Plan for Australian Jobs’. It basically involves pumping money into various schemes to boost innovation, research and development, manufacturing and foreign interest. And it’s being paid for by the ending of tax breaks for big business. It’s a throwback to old school Labor policy. Massive government investment, being paid for by taxes on big business. It’s big, it’s mildly controversial and it involves a lot of money – basically, it’s what the media used to cover. For the most part everyone except the Opposition has jumped on board. The AMWU and ACTU have enthusiastically endorsed it, and even industry groups like the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry have voiced support, albeit with plenty of reservations. In a bizarre turn of events, Senator Nick Xenophon was detained and deported by the Malaysian Government when he arrived at Kuala Lumpur Airport to join a small parliamentary delegation. Senator Xenophon has been quite outspoken about human rights and the Malaysian interpretation of democracy. While he was in custody, the Government was rumoured to be considering swapping the Senator for a Coalition MP, in a new iteration of the Malaysian Solution. It’s time to prepare for another inane week of senseless media coverage and repetitive announcements. It’s no surprise that people’s enthen. gagement with, and approval of, politics is at a deUndeniably, media coverage contributes to the pressingly low ebb. For the public, there doesn’t ﬁndings of a poll, it’s how the respondents access seem to be a light at the end of tunnel, and for the their information. The Press Gallery have picked ALP, the light on the hill grows ever fainter. former Labor MP Craig Thomson and numerical proof of a toothless mining tax blew that out of the water. Personally, this writer is still very suspicious about the timing of the Thomson arrest. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but under the orders of one state police force controlled by a Coalition Government (Victoria) and carried out by another (New South Wales), he was arrested the day after the election was announced. It’s probably nothing. It should be remembered that former Prime Minister John Howard recovered from worse polls at a similar time in the electoral cycle to win the 2001 election. Although it seems unlikely that equivalents of September 11 and Tampa will come along to turn the tide like they did back
Abbott soared 9% in the preferred PM stakes, with Gillard dropping 5%. This change has come after the Opposition Leader has made a concerted effort to appear more positive, attacking less and instead talking about both old and new policy proposals
WE’VE seen it before. A small altercation occurs between country A and country B. In response countries C and D jump in on either side. Then countries E, F, G, H and I all remember past promises, evaluate their respective situations and choose a side. Meanwhile, countries J and K think that this is a good opportunity to settle their disputes under the name of the bigger ﬁght, as do L, M and N. In this case countries A and B are China and Japan. There’s been much discussion recently, and with good reason, about the situation surrounding various islands in the South and East China Seas. Japan thinks it owns them, as does China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and even Brunei. And then there’s a bigger problem: America. Because the South China Sea is the world’s second most used shipping lane and because America has economic interests in the region as well as a reputation to uphold (or rehabilitate depending on who you ask), they will not let the Asian countries involved settle their own affairs. America will want in. This entire scenario poses problems for Australia. Because the US will undoubtedly support Japan against China, we will be stuck between our biggest economic partner and our traditional strategic ally. It’s a situation which Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies at the ANU, has said “falls into the ‘shit happens’ school of international relations”. But will it come to war? The fact that no major military conﬂict has broken out over the Seas in the last half century would suggest not. That being said, the efforts to ﬁnd a diplomatic solution do not seem to be going well. The biggest problem is proving that one particular nation holds sovereignty over certain islands. The latest rise in tensions has occurred over islets in the East China Sea, which China claims were stolen by Japan in the late 19th century. How can the two nations come to an agreement over these islets when both believe they have evidence to support their claims of sovereignty? It would seem war is the only option if those involved want a ﬁnal, conclusive decision. Australia will have diﬃcult decisions to make if it comes to military conﬂict. On February 8th, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called for Australia to do as it did under Menzies. In 1956 President Eisenhower moved the 7th Fleet close to the Taiwan Straits in response to Chinese shelling of the area. Menzies disregarded the freshly signed ANZUS treaty, telling Eisenhower Australia would have none of it. Australia’s leaders today need to draw on the strength of Menzies to make the complicated decisions that will need to be made if tensions between China and Japan escalate. They will need to consider all available options instead of simply reverting to following America’s lead as we have for the past ﬁfty years. We must use our relationships with China and the US to ﬁnd a solution, to ensure military conﬂict does not break out and to make sure we stay secure in our own neighbourhood.
Letters to the Editor
Got something to say? Send emails to email@example.com In the Defence of ANUSA
The views expressed in this letter are mine alone and not those of either the 2012 or 2013 ANUSA Student Representative Councils.
I write in response to “NUS” (Woroni, Jan 11th). First and foremost, it is unquestionable that Australian students deserve a national body that can represent their interests to our Governments and other important stakeholders. As it stands however, NUS is an organisation that spends over $250,000 on wages and plane tickets for students who have ascended the greasy pole of national student politics – usually thanks to their unabridged loyalty to campus political party clubs. Woroni characterised the recent National Conference with idealism and optimism: A “national forum”, debating “important issues affecting universities”. Aside from the questionable classification of marriage equality as a ‘student issue’, the utter lack of reporting of or information about the conference (even on the NUS official website) tells an alarmingly different story – one apparently void of productivity and policy development. The supposition, “It is … the ANU and its students, not ANUSA, whom the NUS delegates … represent”, demonstrates a clear misapprehension of the relationship between ANU students, ANUSA and NUS delegates. Section 18.1 of the
Having read Mark Fabian’s feature ‘Stay off the drugs kids’ in the O-week edition of Woroni, as well as the revised version posted on his website, NUS Constitution refers to “delegates” of the I am appalled at his arrogant, patronising and “member organisation” (e.g. ANUSA) and 9.1 irresponsible attempt to tell people who may be states “only member organisations are entitled to suffering from depression to ‘reflect’ on their illvote”. This language is clear and unambiguous; ness, instead of ‘medicating it away’. our delegates to NUS have an overarching reWhile Fabian states ‘it doesn’t take an idiot to sponsibility to represent the position of ANUSA’s see that [bipolar disorder and schizophrenia] are Student Representative Council (which has been quite different to feelings of insecurity, anxiety in turn elected to represent the views of students). and aimlessness that beseige everyone throughIn any case, the common practice of delegates sit- out life’, it also doesn’t take an idiot to see that ting, voting (and partying) exclusively with their those feelings of general malaise should not be political faction makes a mockery of any stated mistaken for bona fide depression and related attempt to represent ANU students fairly. mood disorders. We thought it quite comical when we received a This misconception pervades Fabian’s piece bill for $44,000, although we did not “decline pay- and left me with the distinct view that he believes ment” as stated by Woroni; instead we offered a depression is a purely psychological problem, more reasonable amount of $2,000 (which NUS rather than a medical one. It also left me with the declined). While 2012 saw limited examples of impression that he has never experienced a deNUS’ potential, for example through the much pressive episode in his life. appreciated support of 2012 President Donherra I object strongly to the notion that anti-depresWalmsley, and while it is in some ways unfortu- sant medications (or similar) automatically ‘cripnate that ANUSA can no longer call itself an NUS ple’ someone’s ability to tackle their depression affiliate, students must demand more from NUS before they agree to commit their money to its causes. - Dallas Proctor
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or renders them unable to, as Fabian so tastefully put it, ‘deal with their shit’. Far from it: the decision to begin medication is not taken lightly and relief of immediate symptoms can help enable a sufferer to tackle the root causes of their illness. To encourage someone’s belief that their depression is a failure of character is to condemn them to years of suffering with potentially disastrous consequences. Holistic engagement and therapy for depression is an admirable goal. Dismissing medication as ‘dangerous’ is not. Instead of relying on psychoanalytic philosophy to make ill-informed pronouncements about the treatment of depression, I urge Mark Fabian to broaden his worldview and consider the benefits of medication in conjunction with other therapies. Neither he nor I are health professionals and I would never dream of telling someone how to manage their illness without being privy to the details. If you are going through such a period, you are free to seek help wherever you see fit, and I wish you the best. -Alissa McCulloch Jacob Smit and Michael Bennett also responded Mark Fabian’s article in their feature piece on page 11
Capitalism in Strife
RECESSION grips much of the world. In the last quarter of 2012 the US economy went backwards. Unemployment, oﬃcially at 7.8%, is, according to some analysts, as high as 12%. Real wages are at their lowest level in decades. Nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps while the millionaires and billionaires get richer and richer. Unemployment in the Eurozone is almost 12%, with the highest levels over 25% in Spain and Greece. Youth unemployment in those two countries is over 50% and almost 25% across the Eurozone. e The capitalist class has no answers. Austerity has failed to turn the European economies around. It has pushed them into deeper recessions. Across the Eurozone real Gross Domestic Product fell by 0.3% in 2012. The Greek economy has been in free fall since 2009 losing over 25% since 2008. The British economy shrank 0.3% in the last 3 months of 2012. Spain’s last year fell 1.4% and Italy’s 2.3% Obviously Australia is not Europe. Unemployment here is oﬃcially at 5.4% and growth is running at around 3%. However according to Roy Morgan the real rate of unemployment and underemployment in Australia in 2011 was 16.8%.
Youth unemployment is on some ﬁgures much more than 20% and in some parts of Australia such as inner Western Sydney it is over 50%. Australia may not be Europe but it is part of the global economy. As the Chinese economy ﬂattens and, in response to the Great Recession in Europe and the US, the Australian economy slows down, predictions are that unemployment will pass 6% sometime after the 14 September election. The economic crisis is a crisis of proﬁtability. Marx argued that the very way production is organised under capitalism – more and more investment in capital relative to workers – produces a tendency for the rate of proﬁt to fall. Only a massive destruction of value, or increased working hours, or savage attacks on living standards and jobs, can restore proﬁt rates in much of the developed world. The human misery this is and will create in many of the developed countries is
an indictment of capitalism. It is not just the economy in crisis. As extreme weather events increase in scope and intensity, as the Great Barrier Reef is threatened by mining in Queensland, as predictions for global warming of between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius by 2100 are validated, the barrier to addressing climate change is capital itself. Mickey Mouse solutions like carbon taxes and ‘real action plans’ do nothing to address the threat to humanity of proﬁt induced climate change. The drive for short term proﬁt overrides the long term viability of human life on the planet. There is an alternative - a society organised democratically to satisfy human need. That can only come about by workers setting up their own democratic institutions to decide what to produce not for a proﬁt but to address our needs as human beings. That might sound like a pipe dream
The human misery this is and will create in many of the developed countries is an indictment of capitalism.
in Australia at the moment with very few strikes and with revolutionary socialists on the margins of political debate and discourse. However the strikes and demonstrations across Europe right now and the rise of the radical left wing party SYRIZA in Greece to almost win government give a glimpse of the power of workers to change society and radically transform it. The magniﬁcent revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa that overthrew or are overthrowing the dictatorships - mainly US supported - have laid the groundwork for the next stage of the revolution, socialist revolution. In Egypt that second stage of the revolution is beginning to unfold as the Muslim Brotherhood in ower shows itself unable to improve the living standards of its people. Workers as workers in Egypt are beginning to demand better wages, more jobs and the freedom to organise, demonstrate and strike. Stalinism is not socialism. The rise of Stalin represented the defeat of revolution. Mao and Castro are not socialists either, representing radical third world nationalist movements parading under the cloak of socialism.
THE VATICAN IS CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE POSITION RECENTLY VACATED BY POPE BENEDICT XVI. Did you have relevant qualifications from a seminary, monastery, or Hitler Youth? Have you ever felt a divine entity speaking through you? Do you have a motorcade license?
A position has recently opened up in our forward-thinking, progressive organisation for white, senile man who has never gotten laid. The position of Pope, Vicar of Christ on Earth, endows infallibility. This position would ideally suit a first year Law, or mature age student. We are an equal opportunity employer; all white Catholics with ambiguous-to-masculine genitalia are encouraged to apply. However, no fat chicks. (No, really. No women. We’re serious about this.) Virgins also strongly recommended to apply. Hours: Till death do you part.
Free Trade Held Captive
The Secret Negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement PETER BRIGGS ATOP the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website the department’s mission statement, “Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally” - a fairly redundant aim, should the Trans Paciﬁc Partnership Agreement (TPPA) be signed by the Australian government. A number of documents relating to the negotiations have been leaked in the previous year, and from these we can discern the direction of the agreement, and to some extent the impact it may have on the general public. The TPPA is a US-driven initiative set to replace our current free trade agreement signed with the United States in 2005. All eight negotiating nations must sign the TPPA, or forgo their current agreement with the US (all or nothing). Negotiations commenced in secret in 2008, the chapters concerning intellectual property and investment have since been leaked. DFAT refused comment on the leaked documents, and public submissions regarding the TPPA were thoroughly ignored when it comes to transparency. The only information available on DFAT’s website amounts to vague ﬂuff about free-trade. More than 300 transnational corporations are involved in the negotiations, whilst the biggest stakeholder (the public) has been kept in the dark for the last ﬁve years. On June 12th 2012, the TPPA chapter concerning investment was leaked to the public. The copy was analysed by the Public Citizens Global Trade Watch (tradewatch.org) and is veriﬁed as authentic. A few interesting details can be gleamed from Trade Watch’s analysis. Essentially, the investment chapter will give unprecedented powers to corporations, at the expense of national sov-
ereignty and consumers. The legislative process will be utterly choked by the TPPA and leaving the general public without recourse. It will allow corporations to sue signatory governments for passing laws that diminish their proﬁts (environmental protection laws, workplace relations, other essential legal protections established by government). The investment chapter details the creation of arbitration tribunals to deal with the myriad of lawsuits this agreement will produce. No limit is speciﬁed on payouts, which will come from government treasuries. These tribunals will be comprised of three private attorneys, with no conﬂict of interest limitations and will presumably be very lucrative for a few hundred international lawyers. It has been reported that Australian negotiators said no to the inclusion of investor rights to sue, but given the take-itor-leave-it stance of the United States one can’t help but question how effective their objections will be in shaping the ﬁnal agreement. The idea that companies should be able to sue governments for protecting their environment, their people and their treasury is utterly
contemptible. In 2012 public interest groups gained access to the TPPA chapter on Intellectual Property (IP). The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s analysis is extremely grim. Essentially, signatory nations will have to alter their existing IP legislation to a model far closer to the United States (SOPA et al).The IP chapter provides media conglomerates with the power to ﬁne users (external to individual nation’s legal systems), remove entire websites and act as copyright police without oversight or limitation.. The provisions included would turn all internet uses into suspected copyright criminals and it appears that content sharing in general will be criminalized by the TPPA. A public submission made to DFAT by ANU Lecturer Ruth Townsend and Associate Professor Thomas Faunce concluded that “The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) submissions for the TPPA show that PhRMA will be urging the USTR in the TPPA negotiations to seek a variety of provisions that are monopolistic and protectionist in nature. They relate to intellectual property
From what we’ve seen so far, the TPPA has very little to do with trade, trade barriers between negotiating parties are already very low. Stronger copyright and patent protection, along with data e xclusivity, is the opposite of free trade.
and to a desire to tie up the drug regulatory agencies of other nations in red tape to facilitate the proﬁt-making of US multinationals. Amongst the speciﬁc provisions mentioned above as possible PhRMA targets in the TPPA negotiations are linkage evergreening, data exclusivity and reference pricing.” From what we’ve seen so far, the TPPA has very little to do with trade, trade barriers between negotiating parties are already very low. Stronger copyright and patent protection, along with data exclusivity, is the opposite of free trade. They involve increased government intervention in the market; they restrict competition and lead to higher prices for consumers. The published chapters read as if they’ve been handed directly to the negotiators by wealthy transnational corporations. Public consultation in Australia and abroad has been minimal. The fact that the TPPA isn’t an election issue should send alarm bells ringing, both parties know that the agreement will wreak havoc and for reasons unknown to us are keeping very tight lipped on the subject. Some of the provisions in the leaked TPPA material include real beneﬁts for Australia, but the strings attached are long and dark. Our oﬃcials are entrusted to represent their constituencies’ interests rather than the interests of those with resources to burn - it’s a reasonable request that at minimum the public be consulted and made well aware of the consequences of becoming the 52nd state of the Monsanto-Pﬁzer-DuPont-CargillKoch-Coke-Raytheon-ExxonMobil Empire.
WALKING down Todd Mall, Alice Spring’s pedestrian precinct, the heat is almost unbearable. The previously chilled bottle of water has turned into a lukewarm liquid. I can taste the added minerals. Sweat beads underneath my hat trickle down my forehead. From lunch a residual film of Thai food still coats my mouth. About me everyone’s movements appear listless, whether they be strolling or sitting down. And as I pass an art gallery’s front window, I see a sole figure seated behind a desk inside looking over the Aboriginal art on display. His gaze appears weary. Mere metres away, seated on a grassy patch in front of a building signposted ‘Aboriginal Employment Strategy’, are groups of women and young children. Some have canvases spread out in front of them. One lady offers to explain the significance, the dreaming, elaborated on the surface of her canvas in exchange for ‘money for feed’. She gestures towards her mouth. I politely decline but give her some tobacco instead and continue down to the end of the mall. I am in need of a cold drink before heading off to Uluru. And as I round the corner, as I encounter the stretch of cars lined up at the drivethru bottleshop, as I see the police officers parked outside checking the contents of each exiting car, I am struck by this brief encounter. I end up drinking a cider inside the air-conditioned pub. Perhaps T.S Eliot was correct when he stated ‘humankind cannot bear too much reality.’ Sometimes I find myself in agreement with Eliot, sometimes I wonder what specific reality is he alluding to, other times I find it difficult enough to understand my own cultural reality let alone the ‘reality of humankind’. Either way I find contemporary affirmations of Australia’s multiculturalism to be of much greater interest than the words of a poet taken out of context. For affirming multiculturalism involves choosing sides in a conflictual realm, a realm of competing visions of how different cultures can and should coexist and of the rules and social prac-
tices cultures have to share if they are to coexist. Furthermore, when an individual or group speaks on behalf of a cultural ‘other’ (out of compassion, solidarity, friendship etc), the act of speaking lends itself to a space of disquietude: what aspects of another’s culture do I choose to recognise? How do other cultures, other human beings, fit into my own sphere of understanding, my own cultural framework? It is not only the searing heat of Alice Springs that I find enveloping and palpable. A certain tension also swims in the air. Put simply, it is as if two distinct realities are at play, one indigenous and the other non-indigenous. As I leave the pub a lady calls out ‘Hey brother!’ - she is after some money to buy alcohol. I admire her honesty. The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru ended up taking almost four hours. After checking in, after stowing away my luggage in a non-descript room, on the way to a pool riddled with tourists, I come across an old man seated alone on a bench not far from the bar. We make eye contact. He calls me over to come have a yarn. His name was Tim, an elder within his community, a painter, a fountain of knowledge, and a gifted raconteur. He suggests taking me out on a tour of the surrounding land. We traded many stories. Tim would delight in repeating the Walpirri words for ‘crazy white people’, each time breaking into a mirthful chuckle. He also provided an interesting historical account of white settlement in Uluru. More than anything else he was adamant I learn about the Dreaming of his mob. As we sat together in front of Kata Tjuta watching a crimson sunset slowly descend behind the mass of ochre rock I remember him pointing to his head and telling me ‘it’s all up here’. Even though I couldn’t understand everything he said I do think I had a brief, maybe somewhat superficial, exposure to a whole reality so deliberately neglected.
For affirming multiculturalism involves choosing sides in a conflictual realm, a realm of competing visions of how different cultures can and should coexist.
Woroni Chats to Bernie Markham of 2fuddha To listen to 2fuddha’s exclusive Woroni mixtape, listen online at: https://soundcloud.com/2fuddha/2fuddhalive-mix-for-woroni. W: How would you describe “2fuddha”? B: An energetic mix of multiple (predominately electronic) music genres. Trying to give something new and fresh, while keeping that bass and drive. I like to dance .. W: When and how did 2fuddha originate? B: Guess one day I was listening to a bunch of electronic music, and thought of heaps of ways I could blend different songs together. After that I start fiddling around on Youtube for ages, trying to mix between two different youtube videos with the volume knob and play/pause button. Eventually I got two cd players basically with a cross fader, and the rest kinda went from there...
Hudson Mohawke, the sophistication in his production and the amazing use of colour found through his works. Just listen to Butter. The man also has crazy determination and a work ethic.
W: What do you like about the music scene in Canberra, and what would you like to see improve? B: I like how connected it is, as well as the surprising amount of diverse music that either it holds or is brought to us. Canberra you are very lucky. But, I also don’t like how connected it is. I’d like to see Canberra take more advantage of what is already out there. To try something different, to use there own mind and not copy what they see in front of them. Otherwise, where is there room for growth?
Eventually I got two cd players basically with a cross fader, and the rest kinda went from there...
W: Who are the top 3 musicians who inspire you, and why? B: Dave Brubeck, for his intricate use of rhythms, texture and instrumentation. Also his innovative compositional style. Om Unit, his crazy exploration of juke/footwork rhythms and bringing them out in a fresh way. Also just the precise manner and complexity of his production. To top it of he’s an absolute champion of a person.
W: Where can Canberrans hear more from you? Are you performing in Canberra in the near future? B: Lots of places. I have a Soundcloud, full of mixtapes. And it’s regularly updated with new mixtapes and originals. I do have a few shows in Canberra coming up around the end of February. Check my Facebook for updates: www.facebook. com/2fuddha.
WORONI ANONYMOUSE Woroni has recently acquired a telefunken which is equipped with Short Message Service capabilities. Overheard an interesting conversation in your Stats class? Have a crush on a stranger, and looking for a way to connect?
0420 744 540
The telefunken may also be contacted to request songs on Woroni Radio on Thursdays. Donâ€™t paws. Text us.
When Self-Reflection Reflects an Ugly Image
MICHAEL BENNETT I often read Mark Fabian’s articles in Woroni and acknowledge his recurring exhortations about the importance of self-reflection. However, I wonder if the emphasis upon self-reflection is perhaps too indulgent; in fact, is it exclusionary of the Other, who is different through race, sex, sexuality and mentality? Does Fabian’s call to self-reflection deny the fact that we live in a community of different individual subjects who may not resonate with his belief in the omnipotence of existentialist enlightenment? I wish to critically examine Fabian’s most recent piece on the monoamine theory and the use (or abuse) of antidepressant medication. I do not claim to be a specialist in mental healthcare, but I feel Fabian’s article requires a critical response. Fabian uses the term “depression” in his article. I believe he misuses the term. Fabian writes that a student suffering feelings of depression should actually reflect upon their life and perhaps realise the cause of their depression is actually the unfair pressure that is being placed upon them by their parents. This is not depression. These are normal life stresses; depression is a medical illness. Depression is not simply a state of escapable melancholia; it has a precise definition in the DSM-IV text revision. I will not go into the definition here, but suffice to say, it involves several physical and temporal criteria. University/parental pressure (among other factors), however, may trigger depression. But we need to remember that individuals are different. While one person may deal quite well with parental/university induced stressors, a person predisposed to depression may be unable to deal with those same stressors. Fabian suggests that the problem with using medication, and conceiving depression as a “chemical issue”, dis-empowers the subject person. However, key symptoms of depression are a dreadful lack of motivation, loss of interest and any ability to be proactive. The example of a subject person that experiences depressive symptoms that are secondary to the inability to meet parental expectations, I would argue, would not be likely be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, requiring medication. Medication is not indicated in these reactive circumstances or, in cases of mild depression. Therefore, Fabian’s use of such an example is quite misleading.
There is a dark undercurrent in Fabian’s article which implies that a decision to take anti-depressive medication is something that one would take lightly.The implication is that people who have chosen to take medication that addresses their diagnosed depression have taken the “easy way out”; or have acted capriciously. Whatever the intention, it is violently exclusionary and actually serves to stigmatise mental illness; in turn, Fabian perpetuates the fear of the mentally ill Other. There should be no doubt in our minds that anti-depressants are not a simple item that can be purchased over the counter; they are not analogous to performance enhancing drugs; they do not make otherwise well patients happier or perform better. They certainly do not obfuscate reality or real feelings. Fabian writes that there is essentially no logical basis for classifying psychiatric disease with, what he describes as “chemical imbalance theory”. While monoamine theory is broad and could be criticised for being simplistic, there is numerous alternative evidence that concludes psychiatric conditions represent distinct physiological abnormalities within the central nervous system of the brain itself. This alternative evidence, is ironically, neglected by Fabian. Fabian must acknowledge the wealth of scientific research, which concludes that depression, whether or not it is triggered by parents or University related stress, has a biological cause. The evidence for that is: demonstrated genetic contribution, evidence of abnormal neurophysiological functioning, minimal placebo response, and a relatively specific response to physical treatments such as anti-depressants and ECT; and finally the presence of certain physical features. Fabian suggests that instead of “turning to drugs”, a sort of quasi-existential, third generation Viennese “self-reflection” therapy is needed. Indeed, Fabian refers to Jung and especially Frankl
to support this thesis. However, Fabian provides no empirical evidence to suggest that these therapies are effective – not only does science like empirical evidence, but most people with any understanding of evidence based research/medicine like it too. It means that consumers can rely on the efficacy of what they spend their money on and can be protected from being exploited by quacks, charlatans and general fraudsters. To put the lack of evidence aside, there are further problems with Fabian’s suggestion. Given the fact that most depression is characterised with an inability to be proactive, I find it difficult to believe that a self-reflective exercise is going to work. Even so, what is one supposed to do in the meantime? Cease study and work? Where does that person live? How does this person afford the expensive psychoanalytical treatment that can take months or years to get off the ground? At a time when we are speaking more openly about mental illness, and the seriousness of depression affecting university students, the last thing we need is pseudo-intellectual rhetoric espousing a return to “treatments” and indications of the early 20th century. The advent of anti-depressive medication, especially SSRIs, has, contrary to what Fabian may believe, de-stigmatised depression as a mental illness, and has given people the ability to address the “existential crisis” in their lives in their own way. Fabian’s article would suggest that the past 100 years of medical advancement did not occur. His prose harks back to the dark ages where heteronormative, white, male power centres made you believe that depression (or mental illness) was a moral/existential problem, involving a weakness of character – best cured by simply “sucking it up”; or divulging all your secrets to a bearded and silent shrink. Fabian’s thesis would deny the practice of humane medicine. If people are suffering, then the
At a time when we are speaking more openly about mental illness, and the seriousness of depression affecting university students, the last thing we need is pseudointellectual rhetoric espousing a return to treatments and indications of the early 20th century.
community has a duty to alleviate that suffering. If someone was in physical pain, they are given pain relief in the form of analgesics. Well, if someone is so depressed they are not functional, then we have a duty to provide them with medicine that alleviates that suffering, like SSRIs for instance. Mental illness is rarely cured, like chronic pain. However, medicines can alleviate suffering and in fact, create a favourable climate for self-reflection and seeking counsel for a pathway to recovery. That is much more than simple existential therapy (or logotherapy) is going to accomplish. Perhaps what Fabian needs to do is to recognise is that while psychoanalysts and existentialists weave seductive prose for a young philosophy grad, their methods have not been tried and tested (ethically) upon real people. Instead of helping/healing, Fabian’s sermon which outlines his knowledge of continental philosophers mixed in with his own opinion, creates violent and strict categories in which gendered/sexed/ raced/and mental differences that do not slot into his categories are sublated; in this sublation, these differences are Otherised – subjects with these differences become objects, dehumanized and excluded. In his over-zealous belief in the superiority of the psychoanalytical method, he uses what Butler describes as “the violence of exclusion” to narrow the categories by which subjects “qualify” for human status. Instead of Fabian’s admonishment of the depressed student, what is instead needed, is a realisation that the mentally ill Other exists as a real person. Each Other needs to be asked “who are You” rather than simply re-hashing tired old theories. Addressing (or interpellating) the Other opens up patient listening and in turn, allows for selfreflective dialogue to include the Other, which, as Butler (see also Lacan, Hegel and Levinas) points out, is central and at the core of the Self and existential enlightenment. Fabian could find more answers to his existential dilemmas and identity by looking beyond the Self and searching outward into the community. If you are struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, there are people who will listen and help: contact Lifeline - 13 11 14, ANU Counselling 02 - 6125 2442 or your GP.
// Each year, almost 800,000 Australians will experience a depressive illness. // Depression alone counts for more lost workdays than industrial action. // The WHO predicts that by 2020, depression will be the second-biggest health problem world-wide. // One in four women and one in six men will suffer from depression at some stage in their lives. //
FEATURES// 12 TOM SWANN
Fossil Fuels: Ancient History
WHY does the ANU invest in fossil fuels? Why does VC Ian Young think the ANU can afford it? Not just environmentally unethical, fossil fuels are an enormous financial risk—an industry under serious threat from action against climate change and ever cheaper sources of clean energy. That is no radical view. It’s the recent message from status quo authorities, from the International Energy Agency (IEA), to investment bank HSBC, to Dr John Hewson AM, Chair of the Asset Owner’s Disclosure Project and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the ANU. To secure a decent chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, most of the global carbon reserves must stay unburnt. According to the IEA, meeting current ‘2 degree’ climate pledges requires two thirds of fossil fuels already on the books to stay unburnt by 2050, by which time clean energy will be cheaper. Activist and journalist Bill McKibben argues it’s more like 80%. So why does the VC allow the ANU to keep investing in climate damage and gambling on this unburnable carbon? Can he really think it is a responsible investment, for the ANU and for its students’ future? The ANU Environment Collective wants to know, as it joins the the growing global student movement for fossil fuel divestment. The demands are simple: universities must lead the transition, stop investing fossil fuels and go fossil free in the next five years. The first step is to get the VC to pay attention. Despite boasting a ‘culture of excellence’ in climate change and environmental research and teaching, we already see that, when it comes to its own investments, the ANU doesn’t want to know. In response to a recent Freedom of Information request, the ANU revealed it holds no records from 2012 considering environmental impacts of its investment decisions in any way. That contradicts a statements to students in 2011, when an ANU spokesperson said “all ANU investments are made with a consideration of their environmental and ethical impact”. Either the ANU was lying in 2011, or it doesn’t think climate damage and risks from the carbon bubble are significant enough to document.
That’s unacceptable. But we do know the VC cares about the ANU’s bottom line, and its reputation. So it’s worth repeating—and the EC wants your help in repeating this loud and clear: investing in fossil fuels isn’t just environmentally irresponsible, it’s a poor financial strategy that will undermine the ANU’s reputation. The VC already knows what it’s like to be under fire from holding with fossil assets, only to find them devalued by community resistance to their environmental impacts. When a 2011 EC campaign challenged the ANU’s $1m stake in controversial coal seam gas (CSG) miner Metgasco, currently fracking in the Northern Rivers of NSW, the VC eventually agreed to sell the ANU’s holding. A year and half later, the ANU it yet to announce it has come good on its promise to sell all of its stock. It says it is waiting for a ‘fair price’. One wonders what the people of the Northern Rivers would consider a fair price for the uncertain risks to their water systems, farm land and community health. According to a survey by the Australian Electoral Commission, 87% of the local community reject CSG expansion in their area. There is wide support for the ‘CSG Free Northern Rivers’ campaign, behind a recent wave of mass civil disobedience against Metgasco--”non-violent, non-negotiable”-- including picket lines and ‘locking on’ to machinery. The campaign has delayed expansion and helped send the share price to new lows. The price has fallen steadily since the ANU bought the shares, but has plummeted even more dramatically in the last few months of strong local resistance. On top of social resistance to environmental risks, there is controversy about CSG ‘fugitive emissions’, methane leaking from gas wells that many argue is drastically underestimated. Paying in full for their emissions may have a big impact
on CSG. The ANU’s situation with Metgasco doesn’t just reflect a poor investment decision. It’s the same trap waiting for fossil fuel investors around the world as climate action catches up to the scale of the climate emergency and clean energy becomes cheaper. VC Young has first hand experience with what the carbon bubble looks like, and ought to heed its lessons. The ANU must stop investing in oil, gas and coal, and divest any holdings in the next five crucial years for climate action, our last chance to avoid runaway catastrophe. We are yet to find out, from FOI requests, just how much of the ANU’s more than $1bn portfolio is in fossil fuels. If it is small, shifting to other profitable industries should be easy; if it is big, the risks from failing to divest will be large. If the VC does the right thing and goes fossil free, the ANU will be able to boast climate leadership as a first mover among Australian Universities, and will find itself on the right side of this historical social movement. It’s also unlikely to undermine short term returns. There are many other profitable industries, and a recent report from the Aperio Group argues there is no substantial risk for Universities in going fossil free. If the VC drags his heels, the ANU will face increasing risks and find itself the target of a campus campaign, joining the global movement for universities to lead in divesting from fossil fuels. Student divestment campaigns are already spread across more than 230 campuses in the USA, with new wins every other week, and the Australian Student Environment Network is building off the ANU EC’s success to launch an Australia-wide campaign. The divestments movement also includes other institutions. The City of Seattle is currently being
It’s the same trap waiting for fossil fuel investors around the world as climate action catches up to the scale of the climate emergency and clean energy becomes cheaper.
joined by San Francisco in going fossil free in their investments. Individual investors in fossil fuels are also targeted—that’s most of us, through our super funds. The Vital Few and the AYCC have both recently launched projects helping individuals to discover their carbon exposure and call for change, or change our funds.
This movement aims to replicate the mass divestments strategy used successfully against the apartheid regime in South Africa. As in that campaign, fossil divestments one strategy among many needed to confront the scale of the threat to global stability and well being. Divestment aims to slow fossil expansion while clean energy becomes cheaper, killing off the fossil fuel industries through market competition. That is not far off. The Australian Government’s own traditionally pro-fossil economists at BREE have found wind and solar sources will be cheaper than fossil energy by 2030, and others are even more optimistic. Imagine the rush that will trigger to sell fossil fuel assets. But the truth is we don’t even have that long; as the Climate Commission argues, we live in the “critical decade”, requiring an urgent transition to renewables and energy efficiency. That includes not depending on gas as a ‘bridging fuel’, which the IEA has shown will only blow our carbon budget. Bill McKibben said “It’s not that we have a philosophical difference with the fossil fuel industry - it’s that their business model is destroying the planet.” A key organiser behind the global fossil divestments movement, the VC might like to meet McKibben when he’s in Canberra in June, campaigning against Australia’s reckless fossil fuel boom. We must leave unburnable carbon unburnt, and support clean energy on a massive scale. That means bursting the carbon bubble. The VC must know the ANU cannot carry on investing in this crisis. There is no excuse, and much for the ANU gain by going fossil free. To find out more go to the EC website at http:// www.anuenviro.org/ – and get involved at the EC meetings at 5pm, Tuesdays, at the Food Co-Op.
O WEEK WRAP UP // 2013 // O WEEK WRAP UP
O WEEK WRAP UP // 2013 // O WEEK WRAP UP
I’m a Barbie Girl UMA PATEL BBQs are the necessary accessory for any student politician. ANUSA has four. They gather a group, feed them and leave them with a liquid coating of sauce and oil in inconvenient places. They are either an aid to recovery from the night before, or a sponsored preview of the compulsory pilgrimage to Mooseheads ahead. The institutional dance, drink and debauchery venue was one of this year’s O-Week sponsors, which wasn’t a surprise. The nightclub is like as a fourth year college student – desperate to ﬁt in, seemingly omnipresent and a little bit gross. The same could have been said of the BBQs planted in Union Court, except that they took desperation to assimilate to a new level. Every day of O-week brought along a different theme and a different opportunity to show off the undiscovered functions of a slab of hot metal. Monday celebrated Chinese New Year: who knew you could cook fried rice on a BBQ? Tuesday was Holi: paint with a side of roti was on offer. Wednesday was Market Day: apparently
regular sausages are the only cuisine available at markets – disappointing to say the least. Thursday was a similar story, where paella accompanied La Tomatina; this might have sounded exciting and creative, but it was really just Monday’s meal with a bit of chorizo thrown in. Friday was the same sad story as Wednesday. Still, the lines that stretched across Union Court proved that when it came to free edibles, students weren’t fussy. After all, ANUSA’s main competition was college food and ﬁrst attempts at cooking outside of the home. The charcoal and grease left on the BBQ would have garnered similar interest. The end of O-Week brought a chance to sleep, as well as the opportunity to hang the BBQ tongs up and learn. It is diﬃcult to know who will be more upset – the scurvy prone students or Mooseheads.
The nightclub is like as a fourth year college student – desperate to fit in, seemingly omnipresent and a little bit gross.
My O-Week Experience
FREE brekkie Monday sorted out Sunday’s piss up right as rain. Couple Green Demons too many and Dazza said Spider said his girlfriend’s mate from IR who spends time at Bruce every other week was an O-Week director and that we could smash some lips-n-anus (free snags!) down in Union Court. Was sick because some of me tomato sauce dripped on the bib I nicked from a little larrikin the night before right in the shape of Australia. Fucking love Australia. Had a sick night at Transo, some kind of Mexican suicide festival the students put on. Me mate went in and the ﬁrst thing he said was, “Look at these fucking pencil-necked karaoke singers, bet I could smash one of them in the alley.” Well, my mate ended up getting hoo-rooed on jaeger bombs, but I ended up talking to some cute eighteen year old bird. She asked if I was still a student, and yeah, I told her I was studying teaching at ANU. Toga! Toga! Toga! Best part about toga? When the chicks’ togas get wet and you can see their breasts. So many entries to the spank-bank that night. Tried to get into the Burgmann toga, but
they said we needed a ticket, so we looped around the lawns and jumped the fence. Second best part about toga? Giving the women a look at the guns. We hopped over to Academy soon after for the foam party, and I ﬁnger-slammed a chick on the dance ﬂoor. On Thursday, we went to the Women’s Collection Valentine’s Day Brunch, because I thought it would be sick to smash down some snags with women on Valentine’s Day. Me mate Benny came with me. Warning! These birds aren’t keen. We ﬁgured Mr ANU would be a good place to hit up next. Bunch of chicks all looking for a man, thought we’d go there and let them decide: A bunch of scrawny uni students or the gun show? The Friday Night Garden Party was sick. Jumped the fence and we noticed something funny. All the men looked like women, and the women were wearing nothing – uni eh? The Presets were fucking loose, really happy I got to see them play that song, you know, “Na na na, I’m hear with all my people, na na na.” Went to the Acads afterparty and fucken took her back to my room, and yeah…
Bunch of chicks all looking for a man, thought we’d go there and let them decide: A bunch of scrawny uni students or the gun show?
Keen to win a prize? The best article chosen by Woroni editors each edition will now win a $25 Co-Op Bookshop voucher! This may or may not get you laid.
Gay Narcissism 101
A poem about ﬁnding love as a gay man. Performed at Mr ANU This one’s for all the boys in the club who wanna get with this
I’m standing in the club and the guy walks by He’s tall and tanned and lookin’ damn ﬂy Then he smiles and winks and looks my way I have so many feels and just wanna say If I profane with my unworthiest hand This holy shrine, the gentle ﬁne is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss But I’m gay. So I turn to my bitches and I’m like hey He ill, he real, he might got a deal He pop bottles and he got the right kind of build But somebody please tell him who the eff I is. Then I’m grinding on the bouncer and this kid comes up You know, fresh out of school Like, you wink and his crutch comes up So I’m like honey The cats nestle close to their kittens The lambs have lain down with the sheep You should be cosy and warm in your bed my dear So go the fuck to sleep So I keep dancing on the pole and cruising the bar And this guys spots me from afar He runs over and goes
How Your Actions Define Your Future Success as a University Student
OMG we have the same hair we should be twinsies And I’m like please my lesbian bestie and I already look like JB twins And he’s like, well anyway, Call me Maybe Then this hipster guy walks in You know, dark hair, square chin Fumbling in the alcopop bright light smoke haze darkness Pacing with that half-cut drawl through torpid crazed larks bent by taut torn denim A castrated folk waif angling for the tune Defenestrated chalk skin curled fringe marking time And I’m like please, Lonsdale Street’s that way So these guys are all over me And I’m like, calm down I have class I’m not just going to give you this arse But I’ll keep your attention, like Hey, I can be the answer I’m ready to dance when the vamp up And when I hit that dip get your camera But by 3am, Im tired, drunk and horny And they’ve all gotten tired of me too So I stumble home To my bed alone And go the fuck to sleep. (Credits: Shakespeare ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Nicki Minaj ‘Super Bass’, Azealia Banks ‘212’ and Adam Mansbach ‘Go The Fuck To Sleep)
Photos by Ross Caldwell, Tony Le, Yasmin Masri and people that borrowed Yasminâ€™s camera. For Woroniâ€™s full coverage of O Week head to www
Artsfest Tuesday O Week
Elisha Bones Rhys and Michael
EB: We’ve just released a single online called ‘Guts’, which was recorded with Magoo W: Can you tell us what its about or what it sounds like? EB: It sounds intimate and expansive at the same time, there’s a bit of acoustic guitar in there and the chorus opens up. It has a rambunctious, lively outro. Lyrically this song is about two things; the feeling of being sick to my stomach but also, the term guts in the sense of having determination.
Fun Machine Chris
W: Tell us a bit about your band, how long you’ve been playing, who’s in your band etcetera, etcetera. FM: We’ve been together for a few years, we’re all ANU people.. We play really upbeat music, we like to play music that we enjoy – and that’s one of the great things about being in Canberra… you can just do whatever you want and you’ll still get a gig again next week. W: Plus there’s also a demand for party bands? FM: Absolutely, we’ve got to make our own fun!
Brendan and Sam W: How do you ﬁnd Canberra as a place to become musicians, to become a band? D: It’s a really good place to grow and learn the ropes … but you can become a pretty big ﬁsh in a small pond. But we’re sticking around for a while, it’s still a great place, we’re still loving gigs here. I think it’s good growing as a band here because we got a lot more opportunities than we maybe would have gotten in a bigger city like Melbourne or Sydney.
To hear Woroni’s full interviews from Artsfest, head to woroni.com.au/woronipodcasts/
Secret Garden Party
PHOTOS BY ROSS CALDWELL AND JANIS LEJINS
PHOTO BY JANIS LEJINS
Presets a Green Thumbs Up
ANU Secret Garden with the Presets, Peking Duk, Safia, Cheese and Party By Jake
FRIDAY night at the ANU saw the typically serene walkway of University Avenue taken over by crowds of students, swarming to attend the ANUSA O-Week event, the Secret Garden Party. For the first time, the university approved the location of the event on the actual avenue, to the delight of organisers. The crowd turned out in a variety of colourful outfits, with animal suits and “sexy” fairies dominating the admittedly very open dress-up theme. Unusually for most events (in my experience anyway), their was a distinct atmosphere of excitement from the beginning of the event at 6:30 and it didn’t take all that long for the arena to fill up with excited students. Amongst them was yours truly, slightly nervous about covering the gig, due to the possibility that Woroni could have been offered an interview with the headline act, something which, unfortunately, did not eventuate. Of course, the excitement (aside from typical student inebriation) was at least in part due to the fact that the headlining act were none other than electro-pop stars The Presets, who are in the midst of their first national tour in around four years. In fact, given the acclaim and renown of this headlining act, $38 a pop for a ticket would seem like (and indeed turned out to be) rather a bargain, with DJs Party By Jake and Cheese, as well as local acts Safia and Peking Duk thrown in for good measure. As a tentative assessment, viewed through the haze of a rather vicious hangover, the gig was a riot (positive riot, that is). Before I am accused of sycophancy, I might add that the type of music on offer on Friday is usually not my cup of tea. As it turns out
I was rather lucky that elements within Woroni fingered me for the task of covering the show, or else I might not have gone, and therefore would have missed out on what ended up being a really fun night. Party By Jake DJs kicked the set off with a fairly typical eclectic mixture of old and new pop. The crowd at this stage was understandably thin, compared to what these guys have been used to. Chatting to me over the hyperactivity of his companions, Duncan, the key figure in this DJ outfit stoically shrugged it off as par for the course when opening a set. One gets the impression that Duncan has a fairly relaxed attitude towards these things, and in any case, he is also managing some of the other musicians on the bill. In fact Duncan is quite a prominent personality in the Canberra music scene, as he also manages several local bands, and has recently started his own music label Leisure Class. By the time the next act came on there was already a bit of a crowd forming in front of the stage. Next on the decks was Cheese, another Canberra DJ, who has been playing around the various bars and venues in Canberra for some years now. Talking in the green room after the set, he told me that he was supposed to be semi-retired,
but obviously the gig was too good an offer to pass up. From here on in, the front of the stage was more or less full of people, and as the sun had now basically retired for the evening, Safia, one of the newest of our local groups to come out, got onto the stage. These three young chaps are quite the trio of musicians, to understate things. Sipping vodka cruisers on the couch when I had a chat with them (I know, but seriously though), they told me that those were the first drinks of the night for them because they can’t afford to allow alcohol to obstruct the incredibly intricate series of live sounds and mash-ups that they have to coordinate on stage: if they miss a beat, in other words, they’re effed. Again, this is music that I’m not used to. A kind of melancholia seems to permeate their music, which nevertheless creates a very pleasing type of energy, and those youngsters out on the green were clearly enjoying Safia’s performance. For those of you who couldn’t make it, I refer you to Triple J Unearthed for the group’s two current recordings Stretched & Faded and Mercury. Next up were Peking Duk, consisting of members Adam and Reuben. Originally based in Can-
“Unfortunately, Woroni was unable to obtain any of The Presets for interviewing purposes, but this was made up for by their performance.
berra, these guys have moved to Sydney now, and they seem to have taken advantage, or been catalysed by (not really sure which after my interview with them) the recent ascendance of electro music. They are, I am told, becoming quite successful on our island, but since I am running out of words, I’ll let you check them out online, or catch them at their next show, which I am sure will be both fun and not far away. Unfortunately, Woroni was unable to obtain any of The Presets for interviewing purposes, but this was made up for by their performance. I’ve never seen them before, but I imagine that saying something like “The Presets haven’t lost any of their liveliness or energy on stage” would be accurate. Both members are now fathers, but they seem to have gotten on top of their paternal responsibilities lately, enough at least to release a new album and go on tour again. Old-time fans would have been glad to hear all of the big hits as well as some of the catchier tunes from the new album, particularly ‘Youth In Trouble’, which is probably my favourite. The performance was business-like – no chit chat, although I would probably expect that from an electro band – but it had the desired effect. I was pleased to find that despite being very lively, the crowd didn’t dissolve into the kind of mosh pit that results in legal restrictions for repeat events. It’s an event that won’t be repeated exactly, but if this gig was anything to go by, ANUSA’s annual O-Week events are worth it. The ANUSA team put together a great event, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next year. If you’re still around then, don’t miss out.
O WEEK WRAP UP // 2013 // O WEEK WRAP UP
O WEEK WRAP UP // 2013 // O WEEK WRAP UP
FEATURES// 21 WORONI’S PICKS
Benjamin Cook http://www.youtube.com/user/ninebrassmonkeys
Becoming the Tube LILLY WARD
YouTube’s Coming of Age
YOUTUBE: For many it’s a bottomless pit of procrastination and cat videos, but for others, YouTube is the place where, if you have a webcam, you can join the conversation. However, YouTube has been changing, and in 2013 it’s much more than 5 minutes shapshots of other people’s pets. Many of the British YouTubers who began vlogging, armed with no more than a web cam and a Justin Bieber fringe, are now liable to be mobbed at every public appearance. Psy’s uploading of his music video onto YouTube elevated him from a successful Korean performer to the most watched musician of all time. YouTube is transitioning from a platform for independent, quasi-alternative content creators into a platform for polished, network-style serials. This trend is best represented by two of the most popular serials currently on Youtube, ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ and Benjamin Cook’s ‘Becoming Youtube’. ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ (LBD to its fans) is as it’s name suggests - a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice through vlogs of it’s main character (Elizabeth Bennet). LBD is soon to reach its 90th episode mark, and currently has over 20 million views (and that’s just the main channel). LBD also has two associated channels, ‘The Lydia Bennet Diaries’, and the brand new channel ‘Pemberley Digital’. Every character who appears in LBD has an active Twitter presence, and the show itself has a Twitter, a Tumblr, a Facebook page and a website. LBD has a large cast and a fleet of writers, producers, crew and its own Transmedia editor. If this sounds a bit much for a web series, it was 5 years ago but a lot has changed since the early days of ‘lonelygirl15’, and this type of production
is becoming more and more common. Admittedly, most webseries are still pretty terrible, but LBD is witty, excellently scripted, well shot, well acted and has a fan base that many network shows would be envious of. The same goes for Benjamin Cook’s series ‘Becoming YouTube’. This series, with only 6 of its 12 episodes to its name, has over 90,000 subscribers and over 1 million views. The series is a work of
The viewers of YouTube know what good production design looks like and they want more.
Gonzo journalism, where in each 20 minute episode Cook discusses what exactly is “YouTube” through interviews, skits, field trips ands critiques while himself attempting to join the ranks of the “crazy internet famous” YouTubers he interviews. There’s a big difference between Cook and these YouTubers: Creators like Charlie MacDonald, Dan & Phil and Lex Croucher all began with comparatively unplanned short videos filmed on a web cam and built up a fan base over a long period of time. Benjamin Cook, as pointed out by YouTuber
Mikeleh in his video, ‘The Fraud of Becoming Youtube’, may purport to wish to be like these people but he has been planning this series for over a year. As a result, the series is well structured and planned. It was diligently promoted and employs some of the best names in sound and film production on the British YouTube scene. Cook is a YouTube content creator, but not as we know it - he’s also an astute journalist and a brilliant documentary filmmaker delivering a high quality production. It’s the quality of content like the ‘Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ and ‘Becoming YouTube’ that will be the driving force behind the changes in YouTube content. When all of its contributers were filming on their webcams, YouTube was a relatively egalitarian space. The people who were more entertaining got more and more views eventually became partners in YouTube; the subscriptions to their channels started bringing revenue and because these people are creative who love their work they bought better gear and as their videos got better their audiences got more discerning. The viewers of YouTube know what good production design looks like and they want more. Youtube may still be a space where creators can start up relatively cheaply and make some great content, but it’s no longer the place where you too can use your webcam to become internet famous. To make great YouTube content, you need money, and if you make something good you have fans ready and waiting in their millions to watch your show, buy your merchandise and build up your advertising revenue. YouTube is becoming relative catnip for television networks, one can only hope they treat it better than TV.
Tuckwell Scholarship a Blessing
Philanthropy Heralds New Era of Generosity Towards Australian Universities
WITH triumphal fanfare the ANU recently announced the establishment of a new $50 million undergraduate scholarship program. The gift of alumnus Graham Tuckwell and his wife Louise, intends to not only financially support 25 new ‘Tuckwell Scholars’ each year to the tune of $100,000 over the course of their degree but to provide access to a Scholars House, tailored mentorship program and eventually an alumni network. Not that this comes to the students without some sort of Faustian bargain, eliciting from scholars a kind of noblesse oblige, an avowed commitment ‘to build and strengthen Australia as a nation’. Stirring stuff. Indeed there should be more of it, what Tuckwell’s generosity highlights in being the single largest donation by an Australian Citizen is the paltry state of Australian philanthropy, especially in higher education. This is surprising, given how many people owe their prosperity and health to universities. Scholarships, for example, one of the areas traditionally funded by philanthropy, are in Australia fairly limited. University scholarships tend to be narrowly focused with criteria narrowly focused on problematic measures of talent like the ATAR. Privately funded scholarships, on the other hand, like the Charles Hawker Scholarship, while more open to considering a persons character, are few in number and in means. The Tuckwell Scholarship is therefore both rare and precious, and is a gift not just because of its inherent value, but in its value to inspire and encourage similar philanthropy in Australia. Philanthropic gifts to Universities have a long and venerable history, as have the rewards. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and their colleges have long been the recipients of large
gifts both monetary and cultural. Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VII were the financial founders of Christ Church College in Oxford, which although were paid for through the liquidation of monasteries, created an institution which would incubate thirteen British Prime Ministers, scientists like Robert Hooke and Joseph Banks, and creative minds like Lewis Carroll and W. H. Auden. Oxford has always encouraged philanthropic generosity - only last week the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford received a £10 million bequest of rare renaissance silver treasures from the collector Michael Wellby. The Rhodes Scholarship founded in 1903 gave the opportunity for over 7000 students from around the world to pursue graduate studies. Whatever his faults, the legacy of the ‘empire builder’ Cecil Rhodes endures. Many Australians have gone on to enjoy Rhodes Scholarships including Bob Hawke, Tony Abbott and other notable Australians, including a Governor General, two Nobel Laureates and several High Court Judges. However, the funding of scholarships like this are rare, but there is some sense in being optimistic. In 2012, the widow of Ahmet Ertegun founder of Atlantic records gave one of the largest ever gifts to the University of Oxford for graduate humanities scholarships. In gifting the £26 million sum raised from Led Zeppelin’s comeback concert, Mica Ertegun affirmed “In these times, when there is so much strife in the world, I believe it is tremendously important to support those things that endure across time, that bind people together from every culture, and that enrich the capacity of human beings to understand one another and make the world a more humane place”. Philanthropy is however done best by the Americans, endowments of universities in the
United States show this ready culture of giving. Harvard’s endowment, despite some setbacks during the Global Financial Crisis, remains the largest in the world, worth around $35 billion. Even smaller institutions can boast endowments of around $3 billion. Endowments of Australian universities by contrast barely reach $1 billion; ANU’s endowment rests around $1.2billion with the University of Melbourne not far behind. Educational philanthropy is best illustrated by the efforts of Bill Gates, whose foundation regularly funds and promotes various initiatives and programs across the world towards the goal of expanding educational opportunities. His gifts included $210 million towards a Gates Scholars program at Cambridge and over $1 billion alone towards the Gates Millennium Scholars program for minority students in the US. Yet it’s not just wealthy individuals who are responsible for this giving - in 2011 alone over $30 billion was collectively gifted to various colleges, universities and other educational establishments. There exists no law or rule that people must be generous, and nor should there be, that would be contrary to the spirit in which they are given. However it is arguable that there does exist a moral duty to be generous, to share that which you have earned from others both financially and intellectually. Indeed, if even for pure self-interest, giving makes sense. Universities as places of learning, teaching and research provide a service that ripples out into society, inspiring a promising individual, discovering a new scientific, philosophical or technological advancement. Funding that promising individual who could not otherwise attend university, or funding that project that no government can or would can produce great results. However you
look at it, whether as a collective benefit or an individual opportunity to exploit, giving can produce favorable outcomes. We as Australians need to awaken ourselves to what a little generosity can achieve, as others recognised. Some of our largest donations are coming from overseas, such as the $19 million Picasso donated by an anonymous American in 2012 towards medical research into obesity at the University of Sydney demonstrates. As dwindling public funds are spread thinner and thinner, we can only hope that Australians take the initiative to be generous. This would ensure that universities can continue to function without the threat of budget knife hovering like a guillotine, and financial rationalisation not seeing the gutting of areas less favorable to a cost-benefit analysis like music. Universities, long before government funding, were supported through the gifts of individuals, and while there aren’t too many monasteries to dissolve, we certainly have many who have made fortunes through intellect, imagination and a fiery determination to succeed. Things are looking up, Michael Spence the ViceChancellor of the University of Sydney oversaw a massive push for philanthropic donations, with a businessman handing over $20 million last year for the foundation of a project leadership centre. But the latest news of the Tuckwell Scholarship at the ANU looks like it could beckon in a new era of generosity. The ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Young expressed the hope that the Tuckwell gift “will act as a catalyst for other philanthropists to make similar donations to Australian universities”. If this turns out to be true, it could be the most valuable gift ever made.
New China Changes Its News
The New Year Ushers in Both the Snake and a Renewed Public Media SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA
A new year has begun, according to the Chinese traditional calendar. The year of the Dragon which brought political scandal, international tension and leadership change, gave way to the year of the Snake. What the year will bring for China is of course impossible to tell. Previous Snake years brought great disruption. Such a year was 1989 when nation-wide democracy protests were savaagely repressed by the Chinese Communist Party. It’s unlikely that any such disruption will shake China in 2013 and it is also safe to assume that tpolitics was far from the minds of most Chinese as they celebrated New Year. Chinese New Year is a festival that brings families together. In China ltoday, this can often involve long distances and laborious journeys, as millions of migrant workers and other residents travel home for the holiday. This collective journey, seared into the cultural consciousness of China, is the largest annual mi-
gration of people anywhere. This journey, with the attendant difficulties in finding transportation and getting home in time, is the common experience of many Chinese. But the realities of this journey have often not been appreciated in the wider sphere. In the lead up to New Year, television news bulletins began to carry stories based around the experiences of migrant workers travelling home. One such story related to a group of workers from Guizhou Province who travelled home from their blue collar jobs in Guangdong Province in a convoy of motorcycles. What was remarkable about these stories was their prominence: the story about the workers returning to Guizhou was one of the first stories reported on the 7pm news bulletin. The first few stories are typically reserved to reporting the daily movements of the nation’s leaders. The result is a story built around the image of a major Party leader standing in a field, inspecting crops, and always followed by a gaggle of lower officials. As an employee of China Central Television once told me, official policy put a preference on reporting the public events
of the national leadership. Thus, the prominence of the reporting of the stories of migrant workers returning home marks a point of departure from the norm of Chinese television news. Far from being a temporary, seasonal change evidence seems to suggest that this emphasis on stories about “real” people may be a permanent adjustment of the policy on news stories. Bulletins in the months before the New Year festival carried similar stories, focusing on the lives and experiences of people at the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum. The beginning of this programming change coincides with the ascension of Xi Jinping to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party in late 2012. Xi’s public agenda explicitly aims to pare back government extravagance and thus reconnect the Party to the people. Removing the tedious reports on the public activities of leadership in favour of feel good stories about the “people” fits well with Xi’s agenda. However the change was originally conceived and introduced, the consensus among Chinese internet users seems to be that Xi is responsible for the change. The change is proving to be largely popular,
Far from being a temporary, seasonal change evidence seems to suggest that this emphasis on stories about “real” people may be a permanent adjustment of the policy on news stories
giving people more faith in Xi’s new leadership. Undoubtedly, it is delivering a real political dividend for Xi and the Communist Party, but the replacement of the usual reports for new stories hardly represents a new change in the countenance of the Party. The stories themselves are overwhelmingly positive, presenting an ideal of the diligent Chinese worker whose struggles and burdens have been made lighter by a benevolent government overseeing prosperity, growth and development. In this narrative, everyone wins. The real stories, particularly of New Year, are totally absent. The worker who can’t get time off to go home or the student who can’t get a train ticket home because corrupt railway officials have siphoned them away, the long journeys in the cold of winter; these stories are totally missing, as they highlight where the government failed or where reform arrived too late. It was also in the interests of the Party to change the format of the news to get rid of the reporting of the movement of leaders. While it is hard to quantify, the result of such over-exposed reporting of contrived publicity stunts probably added to underlying levels of apathy and political disconnection among many Chinese. Simply removing such stories would have signalled another retreat of the Party from daily life, but replacing them with stories about everyday people seems to reveal a more human face for the Chinese government. A more human face for the Party and government is certainly necessary in China. Xi’s public agenda reveals the deep fear of the Party of losing the people. We can expect the year of the Snake to be a time for the Party to reach out to the people.
LIFE & STYLE// 24
UP IN THE AIR
ELISE HORSPOOL SOUTH Korea is the hidden gem of Asia. A gentle country, “Land of the Morning Calm”, it enjoys its solitary existence. Whilst not unwelcoming of tourists, you’ll be hard pressed to find detailed tourist information on or in the country. South Korea’s tourist economy is not booming; there are no tours of the country sold by companies. They target their Chinese counterparts over Westerners. However, everywhere in South Korea you’ll find plenty of printed English; in train
Hey, Seoul Sister!
stations, museums and shops - but don’t expect them to speak it! What I loved about South Korea was the fact it could sustain both a modern, technologically advanced veneer as well as beautiful traditional culture. Seoul is a cityscape of towering, shiny skyscrapers, high-speed rail and a population very much attached to this pseudo-galaxy. A permanent fixture on the horizon is the impressive Namsan Tower that is not unlike our own Telstra Tower. Here, lovers attach padlocks to its fence, just like Parisians do. Bustling modern neighbourhoods include Myeong-dong, where you’ll find bountiful makeup shops such as “Etude House” (my personal favourite) and the “Lotte Department Store”. So too, there is Yongsan-dong, where technology lovers will discover a treasure trove of bargains; I myself picked up a Nikon camera lens and Polaroid camera on the cheap! Dotted around Seoul are wonderful alcoves of
traditional South-Korean architecture from the Joseon Dynasty. The Koreans have rebuilt most of the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese Occupation and it gives the city an oldworldly sense about it. Great examples of this are Gyeongbokgung Palace and Dongdaemun Gate. Amazing museums offering Korea’s tumultuous modern history and very interesting pre-occupation history include the National Museum and the Korean War Memorial. I stayed in the neighbourhood of Hongdae for a month, a place named after it’s University. It offers suburb houses and a very hipster student hang out. The other two weeks, I was privileged enough to stay in a Jimjilbang (traditional bathhouse) Guest House called Itaewonland for 14,000 won a night. For that price I had a free run of the entire place - all four storeys! If you want to escape the rush of Seoul, highspeed rail and cheap plane tickets can get you
What I loved about South Korea was the fact it could sustain both a modern, technologically advanced veneer as well as beautiful traditional culture.
to the outskirts of South Korea. I managed to get to the “Hawaii of Korea”, Jeju Island and a small coastal town called Yeosu for the 2012 World Expo. I also made small day ventures to the DMZ (which is as fascinating as it is morbidly tourist obsessed), Bukhansan National Park and the Donggureung Royal Tombs. Here, sprawling bright green hills and mausoleums house the past Kings and Queens of Korea. The quintessence of Korea lies in the kindness and generosity of its people. Many a night were spent around a Korean BBQ where you paid 8,000 won a person and drank 900 won bottles of Soju. It is enriched by the local proprietors speaking in broken English, telling humorous South Korean stories and feeding us free Doenjang Jjigae (traditional Korean soup), which they insisted was good for the heart! Strangers off the street helped me find my hostel and young girls fixed my dress if it got stuck in my bag. If you’re looking for somewhere different to travel to next, I urge you to put South Korea somewhere on that list. You can survive on less than 10,000 won ($10) a day and experience a unique place that is little explored, which is what makes it so special. But thanks to Psy and Kpop, it won’t stay a hidden gem for long!
LIFE & STYLE// 25
Just a Little Respect Please
physically coerce me to engage in sexual activity with him when I didn’t want to. The first time, I had my drink spiked and found myself in a state of undress in an alley way with a guy I didn’t know. The second time, I was dating a guy who, almost immediately after we started spending time with each other, would quite aggressively try to emotionally and verbally force me to have sex with him. Once when we were both drinking at a party he actually tried to drag me to his bedroom when I was clearly resisting and didn’t want to go. On a third occasion, I took a guy home with me who actually tried to trick me into doing things despite my being explicitly clear I did not want to and was not going to have sex with him. These are the three stand-out instances, but there were plenty of other times, particularly when alcohol was involved, when perfectly ‘normal’ guys would not treat me respectfully, to say the least. None of them seemed to comprehend that they did not have the right to have sex with me, even if I did show interest in them or wanted to engage in any form of relationship with them; that my own desires and comfort were equal to
their own. After each occasion, I did not feel like a victim, nor particularly scarred or damaged. Instead all I felt was anger towards the male population or indeed society that allowed this lack of respect to exist and thrive. After the third occasion, I actually began to pursue women, mainly due to the fact that I felt less threatened by sexual relationships with the same gender. But that’s a story for a different time. Let’s go back to that word “respect” though. Some of you might feel that my experiences are unfortunate, but extreme. On the other end of the spectrum, some of you might feel I’m making a fuss out of nothing, that these things happen all the time, particularly when there has been drinking and maybe a lack of communication. Some of you might even suggest that I had only myself to blame, choosing the ‘wrong’ guys and getting myself into bad situations. Whatever you’re thinking, I want you to disregard it for now and only think about respect. Can you honestly say that you have treated every human
If I’m all dressed up, if I flirt with you, even if I go home with you, you have no right to my body.
RECKLESS ROSIE This article discusses issues to do with sexual consent and may be distressing for some readers. WHILE I was in second and third year of university I was, as you might say, harassed or assaulted by some men in my life on a number of occasions. I was fortunate enough to avoid rape; however, I found myself in at least three scary and uncomfortable situations where the man I was with either tried to emotionally, verbally or
being you have been romantically and/or physically involved with with respect? I’m not trying to make this an issue about gender, or say that sex is bad; on the contrary, sex can be fantastic. What I am saying is that every person should be experiencing it in a healthy way, where they can feel safe, comfortable and respected. Here is what I wish someone had taught all those boys along the way, whose thoughtlessness and lack of understanding left me that tiny bit more broken, bitter and scared each time. If I smile at you, if I engage in conversation, even if I accept that drink you buy for me, you have no right to my body. If I’m all dressed up, if I flirt with you, even if I go home with you, you have no right to my body. If we’ve been dating a night, a week, a month, six months, a year, at no point are you due, nor do you have the right to my body. Believe it or not, even if we are married, you have no right to my body at any point in time. I am another human being, who may be perfectly willing and happy to have sex with you, but deserving of the respect and consideration to not have sex with you at any point in time. Who knows what might happen if we all started respecting each other a little more The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre can be contacted on 02 6247 2525 or online at www.crcc.org.au/.
Studying for the Love of Money
“WHAT degree will you do?” It is the question that you were probably asked a thousand times during O-Week. You are probably sick of hearing it already. I have asked or answered this question 100+ times recently and have come to realise that the answer is nearly always the same. Almost unfailingly, the ANU student studies Law, Commerce or Science. Philosophy, History, English Literature students…where are you? It seems The ANU students have not the time for disciplines such as these. Except, perhaps, as a side dish to their Law degrees. This impression is confirmed by the stats. According to The ANU Planning and Statistical Services, Commerce is the most popular undergraduate degree at The ANU, followed very closely by Law and Science. Everyone knows why study is so heavily concentrated in these three fields: students want jobs after leaving University. They figure, not unreasonably, that studying Law, or whatever, will chart a vector clear of Centrelink. It is not just the ANU of course. The other major Australian universities are very similar, if not the same. The flight to studying Law and Commerce etc. is just part of the broader flight to vocational study. It is not new either. The Australian educa-
tion system has been transforming along these lines for decades. Nevertheless, this should give us cause for a pause. A deep pause. For where does this leave Australian education? Ever since the enlightenment it has been understood that an education should be more than a means to some economic end. An education should be more than a credential. What we study here at the ANU should be for a greater purpose than the job it lands us and for more people than just ourselves. Echoing the enlightenment tradition, the Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell compared educating a person to a gardener attending a great tree. A gardener nurtures and feeds the tree only to help it grow in it’s own way. An education requires treating people as “something with an intrinsic nature” who will “develop into an admirable form”, he said. The celebrated American philosopher John Dewey thought something similar. For Dewey, the purpose of an education was for the betterment of freedom and democracy. Education was
an important stepping-stone to a society where “free human beings associated with one another on terms of equality.” However the enlightenment conception of education seems to be melting into air. In Australia, those who get the school grades to study Law, almost inevitably go on to study Law. Those who do not get the grades to do Law, do Commerce or something similar. There is a sad kind of determinism to it. There aren’t just economic forces guiding the mass of students towards vocational degrees. There are social factors too: the expectations of peer group or class or pressures from family. Confronting these pressures is never easy. Other parts of the world do things differently. For example, it is very common for top academic achievers in the United Kingdom who get the grades to study Law to choose not to. In England, the education system is a lot freer of the pressure to study something with the inten-
Ever since the enlightenment it has been understood that an education should be more than a means to some economic end.
tion of gaining the relevant job. One of the most competitive undergraduate degrees in Britain is PPE: a combined degree of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. The most competitive is plain old mathematics. Not Law or Medicine. Those who graduate in the UK with degrees such as PPE go on to get jobs. It is very common for British graduates in Philosophy and the like, to go on and work in financial institutions in London. Including this article’s author. This cultural difference is most stark in the case of Law. A lawyer without a Law degree is almost inconceivable in Australia. This is not so in the UK. Back in 2008, the highest paid British lawyer had a history degree. Indeed, some high profile British lawyers even speak out against studying Law. For instance, Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption QC, once warned against studying Law because it “narrows the mind and blunts curiosity”. There is nothing wrong with studying Law, Commerce or Science and there is nothing wrong with wanting a job or wanting your degree to help you get there. The problem comes when we all start treating degrees as job certificates. When we do this, we are left with an impoverished understanding of what education actually is. We are all the worse off for it.
LIFE & STYLE// 26
How to Make a Horror Film
EMILY MCKAY INTERESTED in making a horror film but don’t know where to start? Well today is your lucky day because I’m here to guide you on your way. 1. Location, location, location! Only an amateur would set his film in simply a mental asylum. It should be a mental asylum built on an ancient Indian burial ground. There was a doctor there who did cruel experiments on the patients. There was a horrible fire and all the doctors and nurses were killed. Now it is either abandoned or has been transformed into a University dormitory (I’ll leave the choice up to you). 2. Fake-documentary It started with the Blair Witch Project and has culminated into a million Paranormal Activity movies. Not only does it seem to be increasingly popular, but it’s also cheap. Not only do you not need to spend money on expensive special effects, you also don’t even need to hire cameramen because your budget cast can hold the cameras. Genius. 3. Cast Speaking of budget cast! Casting non-celebrities is the best option for you. Not only will it make at least a quarter of the population believe it’s real (a la Cannibal Holocaust and the aforementioned Blair Witch Project), but it will also save you a tonne of cash! Two birds with one stone! The fact that they aren’t too popular also means when your creative and original movie takes off, they’ll be available for as many sequels as your brilliant mind can conjure. 4. Timing It’s all about timing my friends! To show how much of an expert you are on wiccan practices, make sure the events of the plot occur on a solstice exactly 50 years after the murder-massacrefire-spell-witch hunt that originally caused your location to become haunted. 5. Characters. Although Cabin in the Woods explores characters pretty well, let’s ignore them. You’re much too creative to fall for those stereotypes. In order to have a perfect horror film you need the following characters: - Girl, white: Voice of reason, moral, doesn’t think you should go into that scary basement. - Boy, black: Damn, shit, that is whack. - Boy, Asian: He should be the biggest drinker of them all because you don’t believe in stereotypes. - Boy, white: Macho tough guy, offensive, ignorant, dating the aforementioned nice girl. - Girl, white/hispanic: Bitchy and slutty, must appear at least half-nude in order to have a successful film. You might want to chuck in a helpful (or evil) old man, the only person working at the secluded petrol stations your characters are sure to stop at. Voila, you have a recipe for success! Now go out and make me a horror film!
Forever is for Chumps. Shiny Things Are for Cats. STILETTOS AND A SOAP BOX
SAM BRADLEY THINKING about tying the knot? First off, ew, all I can picture is open bathroom doors and toenail clippings. Secondly, I get it, you’re happy and for some bizarre reason you want to form a union that has a 33% chance of failure (a statistic that doubles if you’re under the age of 25). Best of luck. Do as you please though, all I am going to say is; steer clear of the pretty rocks. Marilyn Monroe lied to you. To be fair, it was a long time ago and she had super gorgeous hair. However, diamonds are not your best friend. Not even close. The diamond invention, that is, the idea that diamonds are rare, valuable, and an essential symbol of love and commitment, is only a recent construct in the history of the diamond trade. Until the end of the nineteenth century, diamonds were only found in a few small riverbeds in India and in the jungles of Brazil. The entire world production of diamonds amounted to only a few kilograms per year. As a result, the industry was tightly controlled. However, in 1870, enormous diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River in South Africa. Diamonds were being scooped out by the tonne and the market was suddenly flooded. The British financiers initiating the South African mines quickly realised that their investment was endangered and began to wet themselves a little. Diamonds had little intrinsic value and as a result their price depended almost exclusively upon
their scarcity. Thus, the major investors decided, after careful and calculated deliberation, to merge their interests into a single entity that would be powerful enough to both control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity. The product of such collaboration birthed in 1888 and is known as De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. As De Beers took control of every aspect of the global diamond trade it assumed many facades. In London it operated under the benign name of the Diamond Trading Company. In Israel, it was known only as “The Syndicate.” In Europe, it was called the “C.S.O.”, standing for the Central Selling Organisation. Finally, in other areas of Africa, it disguised its South African origins under subsidiaries with names like Diamond Development Corporation. At De Beers’ height (the majority of the twentieth century), it controlled all of the diamond mines in Southern Africa but also owned
The key to ensuring that sold diamonds did not return to the market and thus overwhelm supply, was to endow them with emotional value. trading companies in England, Portugal, Israel, Belgium, Holland, and Switzerland. This all turned out to be just a really, really good idea. De Beers became the most successful cartel in the history of recent commerce. While other commodities, such as gold, silver, copper, rubber and grains fluctuated wildly in response to global economic conditions throughout the century (particularly the Great Depression and the Second World War), diamonds continued to advance upward in price. However, this was still not enough. De Beers
was seeking economic security, as well as a monopoly on the mineral itself. Consequently, they did much more than organise a structure for the supply of diamonds. Supply, no matter how well it’s managed, is nothing without demand. In 1938, De Beers united with the New York based advertising agency N. W. Ayer who immediately began to foster an international appetite for diamonds. One principle objective of their campaigns was to tackle the issue of returning sold diamonds on the market. This is where things get interesting. The key to ensuring that sold diamonds did not return to the market and thus overwhelm supply, was to endow them with emotional value. To do this N. W. Ayer enlisted the help of the rich and famous. Movie stars decked in diamond-studded engagement rings epitomised the gem’s fairy tale: glamour, financial success, true love and commitment. In 1947, De Beers coined the now renowned slogan, “A Diamond is Forever”. Now, where does all the quality-clarity-colourcut rubbish come from? Well, when diamonds were discovered in the former Soviet Union in the 1950s, De Beers quickly partnered with the local traders to control sales by absorbing the flow. Because the USSR diamonds were very small, De Beers and N. W. Ayer refocussed their marketing effort. No longer was a big diamond presented as the quintessential symbol of love. Value in a diamond became determined by quality, colour and cut. So that sales in larger diamonds didn’t cease as a result of this new distinction, they ran parallel, contradictory campaigns placing status upon the larger diamonds as well. No-one seemed to notice though because let’s be honest, people are easily distracted by shiny things. All in all, De Beers and N. W. Ayer were market masterminds. When N. W. Ayer had partnered with De Beers in 1939, diamond sales were stagnant at 23 million. By 1979, sales were at 2.1 billion. So go ahead, run head first into the bizarre institution of marriage, or civil union if you are not yet afforded that right by the jokers in charge. However, be aware that, post break up, if you ever try to sell a diamond ring, you may struggle to get even a quarter of what you paid for it.
A Wallflower in Bloom READ // NOVEL The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky 1999 ELISE HORSPOOL THE recent ﬁlm adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallﬂower, starring Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Paul Rudd, has brought about a revival of Stephen Chbosky’s 1999 novel, which is now placing high on best-seller lists again. Bursting with teen angst and the typical American high school experience, Perks is a slightly different take on the stereotypical nerd underdog versus the world. It has a much deeper impact, with characters so human it is as if they were your friends or family. The novel has always been considered a modern American classic, following the trail of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye because of the similar themes and the epistolary form used. This coming of age novel entails a freshman ﬁfteen year old boy under the endearing alias of ‘Charlie’ who writes letters to a mysterious person rather than a diary. Throughout the dated letters we hear about Charlie’s life experiences over a period of a school year. Charlie is a gentle, sensitive boy whose perspective is insightful and something we can all empathise with. He is also very self-aware and self-possessed. Although only ﬁfteen, he seems to have the maturity of an adult despite his naïvety. At ﬁrst, the epistolary form and tone seem cognisant with every single other high school novel. Although teenage ﬁction, Charlie has the voice of a naïve child with youthful exuberance as he ponders his way through the ﬁrst few chapters. Soon we learn the naïvety and innocence stem from a few terrible tragedies that have deeply affected Charlie at the beginning of the novel. As the story progresses, we learn that Charlie is not just an awkward, anxious teenager trying to grow up and ﬁt in; he harbours something deeper and
darker. He is deﬁnitely no ordinary teenage boy. Set in the early 1990s, the depth of culture is highlighted by Charlie immersing us in the books, music and television of the time. He endlessly lists his favourite songs via mix tapes and video tapes as gifts. His English teacher Bill, who personally mentors Charlie, gives him books to read as assignments. Most are classics such as Catcher in the Rye, On The Road and The Great Gatsby. Each of the books effects Charlie’s perspective in some form which makes the reader want to read them too. What make the novel so fascinating are the relationships within Charlie’s family and friends, and the daily goings-on of his life. Firstly, Charlie’s family is the typical American family with ﬁghting brothers and sisters and stern parents. But there is a strength behind them that makes them realistic and likeable – especially Charlie’s older sister who seems to hate him for most of the novel and absent older brother who, like any siblings, are there for him when he truly needs it. Charlie’s parents also feature through his stories of them, but are rather absent as parents. They have major ﬂaws but they love their children. Secondly are Charlie’s friends and the issues surrounding them. He is plucked from being a wallﬂower and into a rather alternative group of seniors. Sam and Patrick are stepsiblings who take him under their wing. Soon he is enveloped into a world of chain smoking, drugs and sex. The issues of the group are very much real and identiﬁable as adult ones are. Patrick is an out and proud gay, while Sam deals with self-esteem issues, both just trying to ﬁnd their place in the world. Chbosky presents a meaningful take on a teenage life perspective. The novel is highly impactful, relatable, quite melancholy but somewhat uplifting. The tone of the novel presents a search for a deeper meaning to life and our existence through the eyes of a ﬁfteen-year-old – something that even as adults we all hope for. Because, in the words of Charlie, we are all inﬁnite.
Bloody Valentine’s Day LISTEN // ALBUM MBV My Bloody Valentine 2013 ROBERT SELTH
THERE is only one parallel in modern music for the 22-year gap that separated Loveless, the masterpiece released by My Bloody Valentine in 1991, from MBV, the follow-up that went on sale online on February 2 this year. Sure, Guns N’ Roses fans waited ﬁfteen years for Chinese Democracy, but Guns N’ Roses had already stopped making good music before that wait began. The true analogy is with Brian Wilson’s SMiLE, which began production in 1966 and was mooted as a follow-up to the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds – but which did not see the light of day until 2004. Loveless, like Pet Sounds, was an album that changed the way many people heard and thought about music. And just as SMiLE was greeted with euphoric enthusiasm mostly by people who had not yet been born when Pet Sounds came out, so too has MBV sent shockwaves rippling through a community of fans who themselves inherited Loveless as an already canonised classic – untouchable and inescapable from before the mo-
ment when ﬁrst they heard it. And the parallel seems likely to extend further. SMiLE did not expand the possibilities for pop music like its predecessor did, but nobody cares because it’s a great and lovable record, and some listeners may in fact prefer it to the old acknowledged classic. Such is also the case with MBV. The album begins by making you feel warm.
tlest modes. For anyone who knows the band it sounds instantly familiar and welcoming. Such a restful opening feels almost like the album is lulling away any cares or worries that you might have brought to it. Then, with “Only Tomorrow,” it kicks into gear. Suddenly you are enveloped by the roar and scrape of the band playing at full
blast. It’s instantly clear that they are still capa“She Found Now” is a soft, intimate shroud of ble of doing what has always set them in a class densely layered fuzz that sounds like classic of their own: making rough-edged noise sound My Bloody Valentine, albeit in one of their gen- feather-light and gorgeous. Yield to the music, and
you are carried on a series of effortless, conﬁdent melodies through the deep and swirling soundscapes that envelop them. But what makes MBV surprising and satisfying is that it doesn’t simply re-create the sound of Loveless; it also reworks it. Where Loveless basically delivered ten variations on the same style, MBV begins by re-establishing that style, and then heads in a cluster of different directions from that starting point. “Only Tomorrow” sounds bolder and more accessibly tuneful than just about anything else this band have recorded – like a shoegaze twist on a stadium rock anthem. Then the ﬁrst of the real curveballs gets thrown with “Is This and Yes,” which is based not on guitars but on synthesisers. “In Another Way” rides a needlesharp guitar line that makes it sound almost like the Pixies, and “Nothing Is” actually sounds aggressive. This is easily the most diverse record in My Bloody Valentine’s catalogue. Perhaps it will prove to be of little interest to many people outside the band’s cult following. Songs built on layers of distorted electric noise are not everybody’s cup of tea, and that is unlikely to change. But MBV still seems likely to bring some pleasure to almost any alternative rock fan who listens to it with open ears. It’s not as good as Loveless, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s the right album for My Bloody Valentine to be releasing in 2013.
Worried About Rap? APOLLO
ROBERT SELTH Apollo is Woroni’s regular column in which our reviewers offer comment and opinion on cultural questions beyond our individual reviews. HIP-HOP is the most divisive genre of music. Even among young people in 2013, it’s still just as common to meet someone who objects to the entire premise of the style as to meet someone who embraces it. Educated, white, middle-class people (like this reviewer) will often profess to disapprove of rap on the basis that it is either materialistic, or violent. The ﬁrst of those criticisms was answered pretty deﬁnitively by Jay-Z ten years ago. “Rap critics they says he’s ‘Money Cash Hoes’ – I’m from the hood stupid, what kind of facts are those?! If you grew up with holes in your zapatos, you’d celebrate the minute you was having dough.” In other words, what right does anybody have to tell a man from a background of genuine
poverty that they ﬁnd his materialism offensive? But violence in rap is more problematic. To be sure, there’s a lot less of it around than there used to be. For much of the ‘90s, “gangsta rap” dominated the art form, and violent tropes became a standard element of the hip-hop package. It was only with Kanye West’s debut in 2004 that listeners were offered a model of hip-hop music that completely ignored this tradition. His approach succeeded so completely that nowadays we forget what a transformation it made. Nonetheless, violence persists as a given in many corners of the hip-hop world, and the debate over it has refused to go away. Is there a problem, and should we take the controversy seriously? For a start, we should be very careful that we are not imposing double standards when we address this issue. People who condemn violent rap will often have no problem slaughtering hundreds of innocents in a video game. And after all, if it’s okay for the Coen brothers to depict serious violence in a critically acclaimed ﬁlm like No Country for Old Men, then why is it not okay for a
rapper like Ice Cube to discuss serious violence in any of his lyrics? But these comparisons can only get us so far. We still need to establish whether violence in rap music is a bad thing in itself, never mind how it compares to other art forms. It is more important to consider the nuances of what most violent rap is actually about. At the heart of the gangsta genre in the ‘90s were people who had lived in poor American communities where violence genuinely is a way of life. Their testaments are surely of enormous social and emotional value. Listen to any of that era’s very good rappers – Ice Cube, Nas, the Notorious B.I.G – and you are offered a chilling glimpse of the reality of life in these areas of the world. Some of them did not see any problem with it; the young Snoop Dogg made a career out of celebrating the pleasures of the criminal life. Yet Snoop Dogg was compelling for much the same reason as Nas: his stories felt real. Of course, all good art inspires watered-down imitations, and for years it became the fashion for rappers who had nothing to do with this lifestyle
At the heart of the gangsta genre in the ‘90s were people who had lived in poor American communities where violence genuinely is a way of life. Their testaments are surely of enormous social and emotional value.
to affect a gangster persona. But that is just ﬂuff around the edges. An artist like any of these can offer us the privilege of looking through a window into a world that most of us usually ignore. On the other hand, that may count for little if, like Snoop Dogg, his perspective on that world is not a constructive one. Last year’s most celebrated hip-hop album was Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City. It draws a vivd and terrifying picture of life in the poor districts of Los Angeles, but it ﬁnishes by celebrating the fact that this is a place where a talented man like Lamar can make it big – because, as the repulsive ﬁnal track tells us, there “ain’t no city quite like mine.” The message boils down to, “Sure, LA is a nightmarish place if you’re poor and black, but it’s okay because there’s romance and glory in it too, and when one of these downtrodden people manages to claw his way up and out, he can give back to his community by making a rap album.” You don’t need to be a sociologist to recognise that taking a perspective like this one will do nothing except reinforce the status quo. But if you are truly worried about violence in hip-hop, then herein lies the relevant point: violence matters not for the mere fact of its presence, but for the ways in which it is presented. Like all art, hip-hop ultimately reﬂects the perspectives of the individuals who create it, and the societies within which they live. People who do not like the culture they see reﬂected in some rap music ought to worry more about the social conditions that make these attitudes possible, and less about the individual people who express them.
Zero Dark Thirty
WATCH // MOVIE Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow 2012
Lost Diggers Remembered SEE // EXHIBITION Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt Australian War Memorial ELISE HORSPOOL THE Australian War Memorial delivers a temporary special exhibition that they build from scratch once to twice a year. For the ﬁrst half of this year, they bring to life a truly magical story: “Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt”. This story was ﬁrst brought to life on Channel Seven’s program Sunday Night, who have generously sponsored the exhibition. The story follows reporter Ross Coulthart to France where he unearths a hidden chest of negative plates. This may not seem signiﬁcant at ﬁrst, but these are famed negative plates of soldiers on leave during the First World War. There were around three thousand plates in the chest, and Mr Kerry Stokes, AC, has generously bought and loaned around seventy-ﬁve of them to be displayed at the War Memorial. Vignacourt is a small village that was only a few hours away from the front lines in Northern France near the English Channel. Soldiers would go here on leave for leisure time, and it just so happened that a local couple, Louis and Antoinette Thuillier had a photo studio there. For a few francs, soldiers could get their portrait taken and sent home as a postcard. The exhibition is a collection of these portraits that staff of the War Memorial have lovingly hand-developed and printed. It also includes a few artefacts such
as uniforms, badges and postcards that have been tracked down. When you walk into the exhibition, it is very intimate with small corridors where photos adorn the royal blue walls. The title and various quotes on the walls are printed in beautiful gold handwriting. There is tinkling piano music playing lightly in the background, giving an uplifting and almost magical tone to the area. To orientate oneself, it is recommended that you watch the two documentaries on the large
For almost one hundred year old technology, the photos have a clarity that our modern cameras would struggle to capture today.
graphs. For almost one hundred year old technology, the photos have a clarity that our modern cameras would struggle to capture today. When you stare into the eyes of the men, it’s hard to imagine that these bare-faced, youthful visages either died or lived during the First World War. The photos displayed feature not only just Australian soldiers, but also British, Indian, Scottish, Chinese, American and Ghurkhas. French women from Vignacourt and small children also pose in the photographs. The best are the ones featuring the animals. Look out for Jin the Puppy! The real mystery of the exhibition is the fact that almost none of them have been formally identiﬁed. One of the purposes of Remember Me, is to try and track down the families of these men and, hopefully, identify them and put names to their faces. A large colour touch-screen with all of the images is available near the back of the exhibition. Here you can zoom in and out of group photos and select images that aren’t displayed. The short glimpse into the lives of these men is best summed up in a quote from Horace Albert Parton who wrote to his mother in September 1918 on his birthday, “It is the best years of my life and perhaps some people might say they are wasted ones, but I don’t agree with them.”
ﬂat screen television. The ﬁrst is a spine tingling feature on the moment Coulthart discovered the Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt chest in the attic of the Thuillier farmhouse with will be on display until the 31st of July. The AusLouis’ grandson. The second is of the curatorial tralian War Memorial is open daily from 10 am till team developing the photos and how the exhibi- 5pm. tion was put together, with talks from the Head Curator, Janda Gooding. The real magic however, is the actual photo-
SO many things could have gone wrong with Zero Dark Thirty. It is, after all, an American ﬁlm dramatising the ten-year hunt for the most notorious terrorist of modern times, a man whose assassination brought celebrating crowds onto American streets from New York to Los Angeles. We still live in an age when it is very, very hard to talk about al-Qaeda with neutrality. For an artist who is bold enough to tackle the subject, it may be even harder. This makes Kathryn Bigelow’s achievement all the more remarkable. Her ﬁlm follows the manhunt from start to ﬁnish with unﬂinching precision. Her focus never wavers. And yet not once in two hours and forty minutes of cinema does she sensationalise it. She never passes judgement – neither on the the Americans nor on the Islamists. She simply shows us what happened, and trusts that her viewers are intelligent enough to draw their own conclusions. What happened, for the most part, was that a small collective of American people spent ten years of their lives in gruelling, dangerous and only occasionally productive work. One of them is a female CIA agent, played by Jessica Chastain, whom we know only as Maya. As the years pass, she develops an intensity and single-mindedness that becomes frightening. The ﬁlm could well be read as a character study of a human being driven to the point of obsession. There is a scene late in the ﬁlm when Maya’s boss, head of the CIA in Pakistan, loses patience with her and tells her that Osama bin Laden is no longer relevant to American counter-terrorism, because the true threat lies in homegrown cells only indirectly inspired by alQaeda. Most strategic analysts, in this reviewer’s understanding, would have agreed with him on that one. Yet Maya is insistent that cutting off the head will neutralise the body. She refuses to be deterred. Tension is expertly maintained throughout this ﬁlm. Zero Dark Thirty is not an action movie – most of it takes place in oﬃces and prison cells – but it is most deﬁnitely a thriller. Infrequently and unpredictably, violence erupts into the narrative, visceral, brutal, and shocking. Those who have seen Bigelow’s previous ﬁlm, The Hurt Locker, will have no trouble recognising the same hand at work. She has one particularly striking talent: a gift for making every element of her ﬁlm seem so convincingly true to life that you don’t want to question it. That, of course, could allow her to very easily get away with the proverbial murder; and indeed, The Hurt Locker came under a great deal of criticism for being largely unrepresentative of real soldiers’ experiences in Iraq. Insofar as Zero Dark Thirty can veriﬁed against what is known by scholars and journalists, however, there does not seem to be much in this ﬁlm that has been altered or fabricated. The scenes in which American agents torture detainees are uncomfortably true to life, and for that we should be especially grateful. Zero Dark Thirty is a sophisticated and very satisfying work of art. Fine actors working with an excellent screenplay, and directed by a woman who surely deserves by now to be recognised as one of Hollywood’s best, have delivered one of 2012’s best ﬁlms. A startling, ambiguous ﬁnal shot lingers in the mind long after the credits have ﬁnished, ensuring that we continue to think about this troubling piece of history for a long time after we walk out of the cinema.
Should We Care About Drugs In Sport?
A 37-year-old athlete sustains a torn tricep muscle, which typically requires a six month recovery period to return to full fitness. However this man managed to recover in ten weeks and play at a level higher than before his injury. He managed to end his illustrious career by leading his team to victory in the Super Bowl. This is the story of Ray Lewis, a defensive linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. As an appreciator of all sports, I love hearing stories like this. However, despite my long illustrious career as an armchair critic, applauding these kinds of stories or shaking my fists at any sports star who happen to be caught doping, I think its time to wake up to reality. This story echoes the greatest sports story ever manufactured by the former “King of Cycling”, Lance Armstrong. The only reason I ever stayed up so late to watch a bunch of blokes cycle around France for three weeks was to watch Lance crush his opposition. I enjoyed it so much because it was a great story. I bought his books, I bought a “Livestrong” bracelet and I bought into the story. I enjoyed arguing against the doubters and defended his honour with facts such as how he had a heart three times the size of us mere mortals or his ability to process lactic acid faster than others. However, when it was finally revealed the doubters were right, I started to think, “how could have I been so naïve?” This is a new reality that now faces Australia after the Austrlian Crime Commission (ACC) released a report into doping and match -fixing in Australian sport. In our sporting history there doesn’t appear to be anything comparable to the ones I described previously. If we delve deeper into the great performances of our super stars though, could there be in fact a dark side to the shining stories of success we all so crave? Despite the ACC’s announcement that there is no indication as to when or where doping has taken place,
it not only calls into question some of our stars’ the great sporting moments I had seen in Australachievements in the big moments but also the ian sport. Firstly, do we really care if someone high quality game-to-game performances that was getting an advantage unless we found out?
we come to expect. Equally in echoing the words of Wayne Bennett, Upon reflection of the “Scandal that rocked a what has ASADA been doing to ensure we do find nation,” I felt at ease as I contemplated some of out in the first place? For all sports fans it is time
to reflect and consider whether we really want to look back in time and confront the dirty truth. Finally but most controversially, we must ask the question why are certain drugs even banned? Are we banning the drugs because they are dangerous or because they give athletes an unfair advantage? If they weren’t banned then everyone could use them, so obviously there would be no unfair advantage. Therefore the question comes down to whether the drugs being used are in fact dangerous. I contemplated the movie Bigger, Faster, Stronger. The movie endorses the use of anabolic steroids (a common Performance Enhancing Drug) with compelling evidence. It dispels any fears of the commonly known negative side effects such as “Roid Rage” and psychosis, and despite the well known shortterm side effects such as acne, small testes and random hair growth there doesn’t appear to be any detrimental long-term side effects. I also consulted Wikipedia to ensure my article gave a balanced account of anabolic steroids. It contravened most of the arguments the movie claimed. So I guess it’s up to you to consider the facts? Consider the fact we allow sport stars to make their own decisions about other detrimental drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, party drugs (AFL players get three chances to consider whether its good for them) and a whole array of supplements that similarly enhance performance. Also, just for comparison, consider the use of cortisone (a well known steroid) is well accepted despite its well-known negative side effects. We have to accept the reality that drugs are a part of sport but we fail to question whether there is anything wrong with it. Our opinions have been shaped by the media’s misinformed perception of the effects of drugs. With more information about PEDs we can form our own opinions about the morality of drugs in sport that the media seems to have had a monopoly over since Ben Johnson was stripped of his gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Can Anyone Stop Fergie’s Men?
MANCHESTER United are at it again, carving their way through the latter stages of the English Premier League and building a commanding twelve point lead as leaders of the table. Can anyone stop Fergie’s men from clinching a 20th Premier League title for the club based in Trafford? If you look at each player individually, United certainly don’t have the calibre of players that Manchester City have. Obviously, their front men are impeccable in front of goal,
with the likes of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney leading the way. There is no doubting that these two are the top players in the world in their respective positions. However, when looking at the Red Devils’s midfield and defence, it doesn’t seem all that impressive. Somehow though, Sir Alex Ferguson, as always, is able to work his magic and even when his team is playing awfully, they always manage to grind out a win. United, so far, have won twenty-one games, drawn two and have only lost three. Meanwhile, second
place and home town rivals, Manchester City, have only won fifteen games, drawn eight but have also only lost three. Manchester United have not lost a game in the league since their shock defeat at the hands of Norwich on the 17th of November. That’s an undefeated streak of fourteen games and out of those fourteen they won twelve of them. It still baffles me how they do it. Perhaps my judgement has been clouded due to my immense hatred towards the club, but even when
I try my hardest to view them from a neutral standpoint, I still don’t believe they play amazing football. Yet, they always know how to win and that is how Alex Ferguson has been able to haul in all those trophies during his reign at Old Trafford. Will City be able to pull off another miraculous comeback to once again steal the title from their bitter rivals? Well, based on the form the Red Devils are in at the moment, it certainly does seem very unlikely.
SPORT// 31 ON THE BALL
It’s Tri Time MURRAY ROBERTSON
Clippers Lob LA Rivals
WE’VE learnt a few things in the NBA so far. The Lakers definitely aren’t going 73-9. The Bobcats are still the worst team in the league. Lebron and Co. can blow past anyone on their day. Half the Spurs roster cannot legitimately be called human. Showtime is also back in LA, though not as we know it. The LA Clippers a.k.a Lob City have undoubtedly been the story of the season so far. Yes, they’re not even top of the West (they’re currently third at 39-17) but the Clips have managed to light up the league this season with their attractive, flowing, often breathtaking basketball, which was converted into a seventeen game winning streak from December through to early January. In doing so, they became only the third team in NBA history to go an entire month undefeated. Chris Paul to Blake Griffin for the alley tomahawk slam has become something that fans all around the league have become accustomed to, and a highlight that all basketball fans, Clipper supporters or not, salivate over. However, don’t call them a highlight reel team. Solid defence (4th in the league), consistent offence (10th in the League), the best bench roster of any NBA team (Jamal Crawford, their top scorer for most of this season, hasn’t started a game) and a wealth of experience with the likes of Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler have this team moving. Their movement of the ball is one of the best in the league, and there is a feel at the ball club that there are no egos, that every player is considered as good as each other, and part of that must go down to their very deep, yet not star-studded, roster. One man
must take the bulk of the recognition though: Chris Paul a.k.a “CP3”. Paul controls the tempo of the game very well, scores when he has too, can close out tight games and most importantly dishes it big time while not forcing passes on his teammates (cough cough... Rajon Rondo). His stats tell the story: 9.7 assists per game, second only behind the forever dishing Rondo, and only 2.2 turnovers a game, which is ridiculous considering his assist numbers. This
The Clips have managed to light up the league this season with their attractive, flowing, often breathtaking basketball culminates in a league-best 4.45 assists per turnover. By comparison, Rondo sits at 2.84 assists per turnover, while Russell Westbrook sits at 2.37. He is the main reason that the Clips have managed to turn themselves around so dramatically. While Paul could quite nearly have been a Laker, his move to the Clippers last season has turned out to be a good one for both the six time all-star and his team. In my opinion, what makes them the story of the season is not their play however, but their relative rise from minnows to championship contenders, a kind of rags to (almost) riches story.
They’re changing the way we see LA. Before last season, they had only made the playoffs 7 times in their 42-year history, only twice going beyond the first round. Two years ago the Clippers ended 32-50, second to last in the Atlantic division and 13th in the West, well out of a playoff berth. In the space of two seasons they have risen from LA’s ‘other’ team into legitimate title contenders and are looking on task for a first .700 or over finish in the team’s history. They have beaten defending champions Miami, taken down the Spurs twice and have eclipsed fellow Staples Center residents, the Lakers, in all meetings so far this season. It seems they can match it with the big boys and come playoff time they’re going to need to be able to do so. Last year they were swept 4-0 by the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs, and it remains to be seen how they will handle themselves this time around, as a legitimate championship contending franchise, especially against teams meticulously put together for playoff runs, such as San Antonio and the Heat. Final regular season standings will be crucial for the Clips, as they’ll want to avoid the likes of OKC and the Spurs early on in the postseason. At the moment at least it seems they are on track for at least a top three finish in the West as well as their first ever division title. Perhaps more importantly for the Clippers is that they should finish ahead of cross-town rivals, the Lakers, who have left the Clippers in the shadows for far too long. As a bandwagon Clipper fan, all I can do is enjoy the ride while it lasts.
LAST Sunday I groggily fell out of bed and crawled to get some food at the disgusting hour of 4:30 am, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend. Eating isn’t much fun that early in the morning, and my toast tasted like I had dropped it on the floor, which unfortunately I had. Why was I crawling around on a Sunday morning at 4:30 in the morning? It was to compete in a triathlon. Triathlons are a painful cocktail of swimming, cycling and running, with some chafing and bleeding thrown in for flavour. Last Sunday I found myself, for the fourth time of the summer, at the start line of another one, at 6am. While poised to start my triathlon, I wasn’t thinking about the hour and a half of pain in front of me, or the fact that my tight black suit made me look more like Cat Woman than Batman, but the unfortunate presence behind me. I had made an “Essendon-esque” error (too soon perhaps?) and failed to properly relieve myself during my jaunt to the powder room. So when the British-sounding starter cred “GO”, I clenched up and flung myself into the water. Swimming with one hundred frothing bodies in a very confined course means that the first hundred and fifty metres become a vicious cock fight. By keeping my head on a swivel, I managed to avoid any long-term injuries while doling out my fair share of face kicking, feet tickling and some lethal elbow to face action. However this particular triathlon contained an anomaly. There was a brutal three kilometre run between the swim and the ride. So when I finally stumbled out of the water, I had an enormous hill between my bike and I. Midway through the run an excitable male sprinted past me and yelled: “RUN WITH ME”. As I struggled to match his pace he kept up a long, shouted stream of encouragement. Thinking I might have a friend for life I followed him all the way to the transition area where, after I get on my bike, I screamed past him without so much as a goodbye. After losing my running friend I embarked on the first of six laps of a course featuring roundabouts, speed bumps and numerous competitors. Luckily, my irrepressible father had parked himself near the roundabout and each time I went round he made a very loud “Vrooooom”, laughed and waved his hands around like a monkey. Family issues aside, I clumsily hopped off my bike and slid into my wet shoes for the final leg of the race. My feet slapped so hard into the pavement that the guy in a two piece in front of me looked back expecting to see Big Bird running after him, instead he probably saw a muscular Cat Woman. I chugged into the finish line and my dad made a final, triumphant “Vroooom” and chuckled quietly to himself. I couldn’t laugh, as I was doubled over trying to breathe again. With all the excitement over by 8am, we had time to grab some breakfast and be back in bed by 9am. Why, you must ask, would you punish yourself to do such a race, with the ultimate achievement being the ridiculous 3k swim/180k ride/42k run Ironman? You can find Murrary Robertson’s Triathlon Club at ANU Tri Friends on Facebook.
AGONY AUNT AGONY ANGUS
You can make your own decisions about responsible drinking, first years... or you can do as I did, and get in front of a crowd of 100 or so... and then get wasted. Tas Vaughan
Agony Aunt and Agony Angus are back in 2013 to help with your most delicate relationship qualms and queries, with a sprinkling of 21st Century social etiquette. Write in with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Agonies, At the ANUSA Secret Garden Party last Friday, a boy indicated his affections to me by asking, “do you want to hook up with me or are you a sexually repressed lesbian?” Are these really my only two options? - My Ma’s Raisins, Turner.
Frankiepolitan is a guide to love, lust and dating for the modern pixie girl who would like to conceal the fact that these are the only subjects she actually wants to read about in a magazine. Readers who feel pressured to be sweet and quirky by docile icons like Zooey Deschanel will love the incorporation of craft and shit into explicit sexual material.
Hello again pixie girls. Since we last spoke the magic of O-Week has worn off a touch, no? I’m still soaking the red wine out of my patchwork jumpsuit and ﬁnding glitter absolutely everywhere. I’ve been told by my lecturers that taking a vintage typewriter into lectures is not only “ridiculous” but also apparently “distractingly noisy for other students”. And to top it all off, that guy I took home from The Phoenix last week is starting to ask far too many questions about the novella I told him I’m writing. Overall, I’m feeling a little less wide-eyed and naive about this whole University thing. Maybe it isn’t me. It’s a known fact that every time someone says “I don’t believe in Alexa Chung” a pixie girl drops dead somewhere. I’m not dead but I’m certainly feeling less keen than usual to trim both my straight fringes (one upstairs, one downstairs) this evening. Maybe someone on campus just said she’s overrated.
Like Tinkerbell when she loses Peter Pan to Wendy (note to self: order a blue nightgown to wear as a dress) I have merely lost my dreamlike glow temporarily. However all is not lost. There are always fake eyelashes and prescription medication to synthesise that “wide eyed and naive” image. We can make sure our black bras show through our white lace shirts: the apparel equivalent of wearing horn-rimmed glasses on your breasts. We can one-up those assholes who have decided to start “Thrift” shopping since the song came out by ﬁnding all of our rags in dumpsters. We are grown up women with grown up with needs, and if it takes dressing up like the little girl in Matilda on her ﬁrst day of school to get laid; that’s what we’re going to do. Until next time ladies, Leila.
Dearest My Ma’s Raisins, A woman’s sexuality is like a ﬂower. Some men try to ascribe words and categories to understand and contain your ﬂower, but they will never come close to capturing its majesty. This young boy – clearly lead astray by the lures of the devil’s drink and bright lights of Civic – is trying to deprive your sweet blossom of the diverse nutrients by forcing to one option or the other. Don’t listen to him. Let your ﬂower bloom and wear it proudly. Let others marvel and wonder at its uniqueness and exquisiteness. Pollenate it with any and all that comes your way! Love, Agony Aunt.
MMR, Yes. Cheers cunt, Agony Angus
Are you talking about the actual life and achievements of L. Ron Hubbard? Cease and desist.
Are you being followed by a BBC
Get up on a couch
Is your interlocutor Operating Thetan III or above? Have you been asked about Operation: Snow White?* Is someone currently giving birth in the immediate
Are they an SP creating a potential PTS type C? *** Is it about Xenu?**** Are you talking about the sexuality of a male, celebrity member (some famous members) of the Church? Have you cleared all of your exploding facsimilies, pernicious engrams and other traps from your whole track, including the R6 implant and any routine 3N incidents?
Has your interlocutor contributed large amounts of money to the Church and progressed through dubious, pseudo-scientiﬁc self-help courses?
*Our code name for the operation in which we stole documents from the US government in the largest inﬁltration exercise against the US government in history. **You really shouldn’t be telling the truth or untruths; silence is required during a birth, lest the crowning infant be saddled with a lifetime of emotional issues because you created an incident on the track of their thetan’s new meat body. ***Better do an FPRD. LRH said we’re in MEST and all that matters is ARC, so to KSW keep it on the QT, OK? WWLRHD? ****Telling someone about this before they’ve been determined Clear and have paid the money to get to OT III may result in them getting pneumonia and dying.
Woroni drops a mad edition two.