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ANU Turns Up the Gas
THE ANU has been privately investing in Santos relating to a deliberative process.” Meanwhile the Limited, a company heavily involved in coal- released documents are heavily redacted. seam gas extraction, despite Vice-Chancellor Ian Swann argues that “[t]he Vice-Chancellor shows Young’s supposed concerns regarding the envi- little sign he’s seriously considered how these inronmental impacts of the controversial fossil fuel. vestments damage ANU’s reputation, much less The investment was revealed through the release public health and the environment. He should of several documents obtained under a freedom be maintaining our university’s leadership in susof information request submitted by ANU stu- tainability, but he’s doing the opposite.” dent Tom Swann on behalf of Fossil Free ANU, a Although the university has increased its holdcampaign run by the Environment Collective. ings in dirty energy, the ANU has also displayed In October 2011, the ANU committed to divest- signs that it is concerned with the student body’s ing its 4.1 million shares (0.97%) in Metgasco “in perception of its position on environmental isline with agreement with Vice-Chancellor [Ian sues. Satisfaction regarding the “university’s ecoYoung] who has fielded concerns from various friendly attitude to the environment” was added parties regarding perceived environmental im- to the 2013 Student Barometer survey. pacts of Coal Seam Gas mining.” The ANU re- Fossil Free ANU has urged the ANU to recontained 2.5 million shares but sold the entirety of sider its investment in carbon, through a survey its remaining holdings in February 2013. commissioned by the Asset Owners Disclosure However, private documents obtained through Project, chaired by Dr John Hewson, ANU Honorthe freedom of information request reveal that ary Professorial Fellow. The campaign has also the ANU secretly purchased 90,000 shares in San- recommended the Vice-Chancellor to consult tos Limited between 30 July and 31 October 2012, with global climate change advocate Bill McKiband had increased its holdings to 190,000 shares ben, who will be holding a public forum at the by 31 December. Santos Limited is a self-pro- ANU on 5 June and speaking at the National Press claimed “industry leader” of coal-seam gas, a con- Club on 6 June.The Environment Collective, howtroversial fossil fuel strongly opposed by the En- ever, has stated that ultimately they “want ANU to vironment Collective due to its extensive carbon become the first Australian university to go fossil emissions and severe impacts on groundwater. free, rather than waiting to be dragged to it and In a press release announced by Fossil Free ANU getting left behind.” Furthermore, the collective on Monday, Tom Swann explains: “We expected maintain that “[c]ombined with the falling cost of resistance to cleaning up ANU’s portfolio, but this renewables, investors stuck with fossil stocks will is really something else. While appearing to take lose a lot of money. ANU already had a taste with one step forward, they were actually taking two Metgasco: before ANU divested the share price steps back – and there’s a lot more coal, oil and plummeted in the face of local opposition and gas on ANU’s books they’re clearly not proud of.” new regulations.” The freedom of information request exposed Tom Swann and Fossil Free ANU are currently these additional holdings in fossil fuels, including considering whether to continue their campaign BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Origin Energy. How- for freedom of information by demanding the ever, the ANU has withheld forty of the fifty-six re- ANU release all fifty-six requested articles in full. quested documents on the grounds that “[t]here More information can be found at www.righttois no public interest favouring disclosure” and the know.org.au. “release of the document would disclose matter
From Back Page to Front Page: ‘Advice’ from the ANU THE WORONI EDITORS AS many of you will be aware, the “Advice from Religion” infographic on the back page of Woroni, Edition 5 2013, caused a flurry of activity. However, what you might not know is that over the course of a week, the Woroni board was twice summoned to the Chancelry, individually threatened with disciplinary action along with the authors of the piece, and informed that Woroni’s
funding allocation could be compromised. The infographic was the fifth in a series that satirised facets of different religions; chronologically, Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, and Judaism. The “Advice from Religion” piece published in Edition 5 focused on Islam. Aside from questioning the interpretation of the infographic, many of the letters we received in response also
condemned the piece as insulting and offensive to Islam and to religion in general. Others highlighted the importance of publishing satirical material that scrutinises religious dogma. As editors of a student publication, we have grown accustomed to receiving heated feedback from students and staff. However, in this instance the extent of interference with Woroni by the
Chancelry was unprecedented. The day following publication, the entire Woroni board was asked to attend a meeting with members of the ANU Chancelry, including Richard Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience). The Chancelry wished to discuss the
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Shamed and Re-named
DAVID TUCKWELL Malaysian Election Results In Malaysia’s National Front coalition has won the closest election in the country’s history, extending its 56-year term in oﬃce. The elections have been widely criticized by independent and international analysts. Critics point out the coalition’s tight grip on the media, vote buying and the lack of transparency surrounding the electoral process. In wake of the result, more than 50,000 people took to the streets to protest.
CO2 Levels Highest In Million years The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere has hit the highest level in millions of years, scientists said on Friday. The results came from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s premier atmospheric research facility. The observatory has monitored CO2 levels since 1958. Increased CO2 levels are being driven by human activity and are the leading cause of climate change. Bangladesh - Over 1,000 Killed By Factory Collapse Over 1,000 workers died when a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh last week. The deaths have dealt Bangladesh’s political establishment international condemnation for failing to provide safe work environments and failing to enforce labour laws. The garment and clothing industry accounts for more than three-quarters of Bangladesh’s exports. Many Bangladeshi politicians themselves are clothes factory bosses.
A push is on in the ANUSA Women’s Department to rebrand the humble blue singlet, colloquially referred to as a “wife beater”, to something more in touch with modern values. On May 8, the Brian Kenyon student space hosted the exhibition, “Not A Wife Beater”, featuring photographs of ANU staff and students wearing blue singlets featuring slogans such as, “Lover Respecter” and “This Is Not a Wife Beater”. The exhibition was a beneﬁt for the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, and sought also to raise awareness around the issue of partner violence at the ANU and in society more broadly. In attendance was Federal Member for Fraser, Dr Andrew Leigh and ACT MLA for Ginninderra, Yvette Berry, and Lifeline CEO, Mike Zissler. Liberal candidate for Fraser, Elizabeth Lee, tweeted her apologies for not being able to attend, and ACT Greens Senate candidate, Simon Sheikh, was invited but seemed not to be present. Dr Leigh applauded the campaign, noting that it, “Strikes out of the dictionary ones of the worst
phrases in the English language.” “The idea of the photo campaign is to get as many people involved as possible,” said Women’s Oﬃcer, Beth Ritchie. “We had the Domestic Violence Crisis Service tailor speciﬁc training for university colleges in the university context. “Luce Andrews [Director of Residential and Campus Communities] is looking at either including it in N-Week or another part of the training.” Ms Ritchie says that domestic or intimate partner violence is an under-reported issue, so the campaign seeks to broaden community understanding of the issue, and strengthening training for those in care roles. The campaign also sought to highlight that while the prevalent form of domestic violence was male on female, the campaign used genderneutral language to indicate that domestic violence takes all forms. For more information, visit http://notawifebeater.tumblr.com/
Buts and Cuts
TWO hundred-odd ANU students descended on Parliamentary Secretary Andrew Leigh’s oﬃce last week, protesting government cuts to university funding. As part of the so-called Gonski reforms, the government is cutting tertiary education by $200 per student. In front of Leigh’s oﬃce, the gathering of students and ANU faculty members gave speeches. After several minutes of chanting and noise making, he came to speak to the crowd.
Taking to the microphone, Leigh explained the decision was diﬃcult, but made necessary by the “extremely diﬃcult budgetary circumstances”. He reiterated Julia Gillard’s claim that Labor had increased university funding by 50% since 2007. Whilst speaking he was heckled by ANU students. With one student asking: “why can much poorer countries, such as Mexico, afford free university education - but hugely wealthy Australia cannot?” The former economics professor did not reply.
U.S.-Backed Guatemalan Dictator Found Guilty of Genocide In an historic trial, former U.S-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt has been found guilty of genocide. Montt was sentenced to 50 years in prison for genocide plus 30 years for crimes against humanity for the slaughter of over 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Mayan region.
Stephen Hawking Joins Boycott of Israel World-renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking has backed the academic Boycott of Israel. Hawking withdrew from a conference this week hosted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, protesting both Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
EDITORIAL BOARD Vincent Chiang Josh Dabelstein Farz Edraki Ben Latham Yasmin Masri Gus McCubbing AJ Neilson Cam Wilson
SUB EDITORS Lillian Ward David Tuckwell Dong Hyun Suh Dan Rose Sinead O’Connell Rob Selth
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Josh Chu-Tan Renee Jones Brad Harvey Kristen Augeard Ross Caldwell Alice Desmond Tom Scott
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Keep up with us on: facebook.com/woroni Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/woroni PRINTED BY CAPITAL FINE PRINT PUBLISHED BY ANU STUDENT MEDIA
Common Thread Continues to Unravel
LILLIAN WARD CAM WILSON THE ANUSA Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for the 9th of May was cancelled due to its failure to fulfill items of the its constitution. Earlier that week Woroni received information that ANUSA’ failed to advertise the AGM adequately on their website. According to Section 9 of the ANUSA constitution, notice of the AGM must be given 21 days ahead of the meeting on their website “by prominently displaying these details” Additionally, the full agenda must be displayed three days before. As of 9AM Tuesday 7th of May, Woroni had not been able to find an agenda on the ANUSA website. Furthermore, notice of the AGM was not displayed on the ANUSA homepage, in their “What’s On?” section, or in the “News” tab, and can only be found by clicking “About”, then “Meetings”, and then scrolling down.
Woroni contacted ANUSA for coment and received this from ANUSA President Alex Sladojevic “Due to the AGM being incorrectly advertised on the ANUSA website as taking place on the date the previous OGM was held, the Executive has moved to reschedule this week’s meeting, with adequate notice, for the end of this term. The details of the rescheduled meeting will be clearly advertised on the Association’s website with access to the full agenda and reports.” As covered in “Common Thread Hits a Snag” (Woroni, No. 4, Vol 65) ANUSA’s first Ordinary General Meeting on the 14th of March failed to reach quorum within 30 minutes of advertised starting time, and was not able to run. This forced postponement of the AGM means that ANUSA will not have passed any binding motions till the second last day of semester.
Motions that have been impacted by this further delay include the motion for Honoraria for Department Officers and the acceptance of any presented report, including the Presidents’ Report and the 2013 budget. Former ANUSA Education Officer (2012) Tom Barrington-Smith has commented that “AGMs are an opportunity for the executive to justify their decisions and processes, because essentially students don’t vote for someone who always listens and consults, they elect people, hopefully, based on their competence and ability to make those decisions.” The AGM has been rescheduled for 12:30pm May 30th at the ANU Bar.
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Sheikh Allegations Quelled JOSH DABELSTEIN DAN ROSE SIMON Sheikh, former GetUp! director and current Greens Senate candidate for the ACT, is alleged to have promoted his Senatorial campaign during two lectures at the Australian National University (ANU) on 2 May. The lectures were for two later-year courses, “Pressure Groups and Political Lobbying” and “Leadership & Influence”. Notably, “Leadership & Influence” is a course run through the Chancelry and is co-convened by Anna Rose, Mr Sheikh’s wife, author, and Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) co-founder. The lecture on Leadership & Influence was a panel discussion, featuring Oaktree Foundation CEO, Viv Benjamin, and Skye Laris from the ALP National Secretariat. Bachelor of Policy Studies student and attendee at the lecture on Pressure Groups and Political Lobbying, Mitchell Clout, alleged that, “After commenting on opinion polls and local politics, [Mr Sheikh] said that for more information on the Greens and their policies, join his sign-up sheet, which provided us with the option to volunteer with the Greens.” “Questions about his candidacy in the Senate
election should be expected but I don’t want political recruitment and campaigning in my lectures,” said Mr. Clout. Many other students have spoken out against any allegations of politicking. According to the Canberra Times, Mr Sheikh is targeting first-time voters in the ACT in a bid to gain the necessary votes needed to attain quota. In a statement from Mr. Sheikh’s office, they noted, “There are currently over 16,000 young people in Canberra who are not correctly enrolled and Simon believes it is a fundamental right for people to have their say in politics and that all young people should be correctly enrolled.” In the past, Mr Sheikh has organised events for students such as “Organising Like Obama: Lessons from US Campaigning”, “Grab A Beer With Simon Sheikh” as well as giving the keynote speech at the Australian University Student Media Conference (AUSMC) held at the ANU. In a recording obtained by Woroni, Mr Sheikh is heard to say at the end of the Leadership & Influence lecture in reference to youth involvement in the political sphere, “Get involved, whether it’s the Liberal Party, The Greens, the Labor Party,
any other political party or social movement – get involved.” A spokesperson for Mr Sheikh confirmed that a piece of paper and a laptop were passed around the Leadership & Influence lecture, with the email addresses provided on paper used by all three panel guests to provide “a compilation of non-partisan resources and readings on leadership and social change.” In a statement to Woroni, the ANU confirmed that Mr. Sheikh sought permission to distribute electoral enrollment forms, a petition and a contact form for students who wanted more information on leadership. He was granted permission to distribute contact forms and electoral enrollment forms, but not the petition. The ANU noted that at no stage was Mr Sheikh given permission to campaign in either class, saying, “The University does not…condone any political party campaigning in the classroom.” In light of alleged breaches of the University’s Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy, and the Political Elections Policies, the University indicated to Woroni that the matter had now been resolved internally.
ANU Ranking Slide LINDA MA
THE ANU has seen mixed results in the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject survey, with improved rankings in the humanities generally and a fall in scientific disciplines. It was also outperformed in quantity of rankings by the University of Melbourne, which was Australia’s best in 15 out of 30 disciplines compared to ANU’s 9. Overall, Australian universities performed very strongly, making the global top 20 in 25 of the 30 disciplines surveyed. Released on May 8th, the rankings are a compilation of responses to surveys by over 70,000 academic staff and graduate recruiters as to which universities they perceived as excellent in their own disciplines, as well as citations by faculty and the “H-index” measuring the productivity and impact of published work. Politics & International Relations rose to 6th best from 10th last year, to become the ANU’s highest ranking discipline. The Politics discipline at ANU ranked above Cambridge and Columbia Universities. History and Archaeology, Geography, and Linguistics, were close behind at 7th, 8th and 9th in the world respectively. Philosophy slipped a couple of places to 10th from 6th. English rose dramatically from the 51-100 category to 23rd. the 4th best Australian university. Law remained steady at 14th, behind the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and Monash University. But Chemistry saw a sharp decline, from 31st last year to the 51-100 category. Environmental Studies also fell, from 9th to 23rd, losing the mantle of best university in Australia. Physics also fell from 33rd to 49th. Biological Sciences remained relatively stable at 39th from 35th, and Psychology dropped from 24th to 30th.
PARSA Online Elections 2013 - 2014 The Postgraduate Representative Council (PRC) is PARSA's governing body. It represents all postgraduates at the ANU, advocates for their interests and welfare, and organises many social and cultural events. Members of the PRC represent postgraduates on the University Council and many other important committees. All postgraduate students are members of PARSA and are therefore eligible to stand for election to the Postgraduate Representative Council as either a College Representative, General Representative, or both. Nominations - Nominations will be open from 10am on Friday 3rd May to 4pm on Friday 17th May. For full details of the election process please see Section 6 of the PARSA Constitution and the PARSA Electoral Regulations and to download the Nomination Form for Election to the 2013-2014 PRC please visit http://parsa.anu.edu.au/. Online Voting - conducted online via Apollo ballot. Voting will open at 9am Thursday 23rd May and close at 5pm Wednesday 29th May.
PARSA Annual General Meeting (AGM)
The oďŹƒcial results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of PARSA on 31 May 2013. Date: Friday 31 May 2013 Time: 2pm to 6pm Venue: Law Link Lecture Theatre, Faculty of Law
PARSA End of Semester Cocktail Function Please join us on this occasion to thank the current PARSA Council for their hard work and achievements and to wish them all the best for their future endeavours. We will also take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the incoming student Council. Date: Friday 31 May 2013 Time: 6pm to 8pm Venue: Great Hall, University House
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COMMENT//5 Calm Down and Think About the “Cuts”
ON Wednesday the 1st of May I was walking through Union Court when a young woman wearing designer sunglasses shouted at me; “Why won’t you sign the petition?! They’re going to sack all your lecturers!” Apparently the ANU is now offering a course called “Unwarranted Hysteria”. Who knew, eh? Let me start off by ﬁrst saying that in general I oppose any actual “cuts” to university funding. This is why when I ﬁrst found out about the Federal Government’s “cuts” to university funding, I was disappointed and more than a little angry. I even made a bitchy Facebook status. However these “cuts” aren’t cuts, and even if they were “cuts”, they’re “cuts” which university students should be mature enough to accept; maybe even to support. The “Stop the cuts!” rally in Union Court on Wednesday 1st May should be considered an overreaction to a policy that ANUSA really hasn’t thought about. The “cuts” are a decrease to the increase, and it should be remembered that the programs which are being targeted were generous Labor programs in the ﬁrst place. Despite Labor’s shortfalls, without Labor you wouldn’t have the start-up scholarship or massive investment into universities at all. It should always be remembered that this campaign is running against a party that has
raised university funding by 50% over the past six years. It doesn’t make sense to campaign against funding shifts which make generous programs slightly less generous, but will do a world of good for public education. It makes more sense to campaign for more eﬃcient use of funds by the University Administration and ANUSA (the ANU’s very own catering ﬁrm). ANUSA should be spending its money on preparing for its inevitable postSSAF future and on improving University services – not sausage sizzles and rallies. You only have to look at the statistics to see why the Gonski reforms are desperately needed to close the disparity between public and private schools. Public education enrols the vast majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, yet operates on a budget that’s close to 70 per cent of independent schools. This was reﬂected in the 2012 NAPLAN results which showed a strong disparity between metropolitan private schools and rural public schools. Having attended public schools my entire life, I’ve seen ﬁrst-hand the systematic disadvantage that ﬂows through these schools through a dysfunctional universally applied funding model and a severe funding disparity. The difference in the quality of public education in comparison to private is common knowledge amongst Australians. Any govern-
ment should be applauded for ﬁxing disparity in any area of policy – but especially so in education. My ﬁnancial future is in fact directly affected by the changes to the start-up scholarship, and I still support them. An interest free loan with no forced repayments is an extremely good support measure compared to what those in the United States receive – nothing. The majority of those who protested in Union Court are not affected by the changes to the start-up scholarship, and if the university allocated its funds properly and implemented an eﬃcient ﬁscal structure, the efﬁciency dividend is unlikely to affect them also. While I entirely accept their right to have an opinion on the issue (the opinion contrary to mine has legitimacy), the opinion of those who jump on the bandwagon or are protesting for attention should be ignored. The Coalition is never going to fund these reforms. It’s a now or never situation, and university students should be proud to support these reforms as our contribution to our nation’s future. The focus should turn to safeguarding the future of university funding post-September 14 – you’ll see me ﬁght against real cuts then. Not a single one of my lecturers is going to be sacked because of this. Neither are any of yours.
Resurrecting a Noble Profession
THERE exists in modern Australia three careers that are viewed with a sort of inherent respect. They are the noble professions. A title historically earned by the discipline, dedication and intellectual rigor demanded by their study and practice as well as the signiﬁcance of their contributions to society. They are Law, Medicine and Teaching. Well now that’s a stretch. Consider this, the ANU, our national university, renowned and respected for its programs of law, medicine, science, arts and engineering does not offer a teaching degree. What a pertinent indicator of the value Australian society places on teaching. Here I will confess that I will never, ever, be a teacher. Hypocritical? No it is not. I do believe passionately in the value of teachers. My refusal to pursue a career that I profess to respect so highly is rather a product of this respect than a contradiction of it. I could not teach because I would be incompetent. Intelligence and passion is not enough. A good teacher requires incredible attributes of understanding, empathy, leadership, and patience. A great teacher must have all this and more. Unlike a doctor or a lawyer, who only need to know their subject, a teacher needs to know their subject and be capable of sharing it. It may surprise you to learn that this year, the bachelor degree with the highest intake of students into ﬁrst year with an ATAR below 50 was teaching. The recent Gonski reforms, aimed at turning around our internationally underperforming education system, fail to address a critical issue. While the Gonski report did identify the need to increase accountability of teachers and identiﬁed incentives for performance improvements, including the increasing freedom of principals to hire and ﬁre at their discretion, it is not enough. The truth is, such reform can only go so far with-
pays teachers only 35% above national GDP per capita, lagging embarrassingly behind the 65% average for teachers in other OECD countries. Whilst better pay is persuasive, it is not enough on its own. The second part of the equation is ensuring teaching is a profession that is respected and therefore sought after. Professional respect is established on three levels, intellectual rigor, competitive nature and contribution to society (one area where teaching gets an indisputable A+). Getting into teaching in Finland resembles getting into Medicine here. Only 1 in 10 applicants are accepted after achieving both excellent academic results and displaying practical teaching qualities in a pre-admission test comparable to the grueling GAMSAT and interview system. Whilst Australia is struggling to ﬁll teaching places, hence the astoundingly low ATAR entrance score, Finland and other Scandinavian countries have the luxury to pick and choose their teachers from the top quintile of their graduates, for both intellectual ability and aptitude. Evidently the issue is complex but raising ATAR entrance scores, limiting places, increasing salaries and recognizing and rewarding excellence in teaching are all pieces of a very complicated policy puzzle. In addition cultural and political change must occur without jeopardizing the standards of excellence. So how do we do this? In a society driven by suc- adequate supply of teachers in the meantime (I cess there are two persuasive factors that inﬂu- never said it would be simple!). The hopeful noence the career choices of our young high school tion is that the more we expose children to admigrads (well at least those less pure of heart), mon- rable and inspiring teachers (who are well paid), ey and prestige. Therefore, guiding our best and the more likely they are to wish to emulate them, brightest into a profession of teaching faces two a promising cycle that just needs a kick start. In the long term our own home-grown batch not insigniﬁcant hurdles, increasing the pay and of brilliant teachers will lead us, Oh Captain, My increasing the prestige. In Finland, (don’t groan, this is convincing) a Captain, into an era of passionate, curious and nocountry with consistently top-of-the-world edu- ble academic pursuit and if I must be pragmatic, cation indicators, there is a system that addresses will prepare Australian children to succeed in an both these issues. In Finland teachers are paid, increasingly knowledge-dependent world. although not extravagantly, at least comparably to other professions. Australia on the other hand out simultaneous measures to increase the quality of the teachers that principals have to choose from. There are, I do not deny, many dedicated and brilliant teachers in the current system and almost of all of us have come across a teacher or teachers who have shaped us in some way. But for every great and memorable teacher, or even every capable yet uninspiring one, there are, to be blunt, a fair share of duds. It is in increasing the depth and talent of our teaching professionals and therefore increasing competition for teaching positions that will urge current and new teachers to higher and higher
Intelligence and passion is not enough. A good teacher requires incredible attributes of understanding, empathy, leadership, and patience.
COMMENT// 6 ANU UNION INC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 23 May 2013 ANU BAR AGENDA Item 1.
Minutes of 2012 AGM held on 8 August 2012
Chair’s Annual Report
2012 Audit Results
Under Section 37 of the Union’s Constitution members of the ANU Union Inc are informed that an Annual General Meeting of the Union will be held on Thursday 23 May 2013 in ANU Bar at 5.00 pm. The purpose of the AGM is to report to members on the Union’s activities over the previous year and to present the Auditors’ statements on the accounts and finances of the Union. All members are encouraged to attend. XINYU RU CHAIR 10 MAY 2013
Titillating Times in the Lead Up to the Budget Tony Windsor An independent veteran, the generally reasonable Member for New England decided to associate himself with the looniest of the loons in Mr. Clive Palmer. Dinosaurs and Titanics aren’t on the agenda, but rather a supposed conspiracy afoot to stymy the efforts of the contemporary United Australia Party founder. While Windsor may have his reasons to assist Palmer in this matter, he certainly wasn’t dishing out the praise, describing Palmer as “interesting” with a lot of “passion”. I’d call that a classic example of being damned with faint FERGUS HUNTER praise. IMPOSING but vulnerable, like a relic of old but The Coalition also a contemporary caricature, she watches over Feeling the need to Canberra. She is divisive; the many who love her present an industrial are only outnumbered by those that hate her. relations policy, but Borne of controversy, her short time in the spot- also deathly afraid of light has been intense and emotive. Often panned the kryptonite that is as a loser and deﬁned by her red exterior, many WorkChoices, the Oppohope that she can truly prove herself before her sition released a timid term is up. Yes, the Canberra Centenary Skywhale policy that retains veshas graced the skies and the headlines for several tiges of the old but exdays now, but there’s been plenty of hot air on cludes previous centrepieces. The problem with the ground recently too. Despite the Skywhale’s presenting such a vague, compromised proposal wildly unconventional, many-breasted design, is that no one really likes it. Both unions and busione could argue that politics is actually the more ness criticised it, giving fuel to the Government’s bizarre of the two. attacks. So in honour of Patricia Piccinini’s mammaryGerard Henderson, Fred Nile, Keysar Trad cetacean creation, this week On the Hill presents and co the last fortnight’s (not quite 10) tits of politics.
ON THE HILL
This band of merry men started pushing for a referendum on same-sex marriage at this year’s election. Keysar Trad of the Islamic Council even suggested the novel and wholly outrageous idea of only allowing religious people to vote. It is the role of Parliament, the Courts and people’s referanda to create public policy – and in that order. It would be a complete cop out and abdication of responsibility to leave it to a referendum. Their angle is clear, they know that referenda are notoriously diﬃcult to pass, with only 8 out of 44 having done so in our history. Tony Abbott Whatever you think of the “women of calibre” comments, the Opposition Leader really should have learned by now that even the smallest misstep in this arena will land him in the poo. A possible solution would be for him to have a “no comment” policy when asked about anything relating to mothers, daughters or females in general. Colin Barnett The Premier of WA is now the only state leader who hasn’t signed up to DisabilityCare. He has tried to justify it by claiming a pre-election envi-
There’s been plenty of hot air on the ground recently too. Despite the Skywhale’s wildly unconventional, many-breasted design, one could argue that politics is actually the more bizarre of the two.
ronment is not ideal for discussing this policy, this ﬂimsy, odd excuse means that he and his Government will increasingly seem as isolated as their capital city. Eric Roozendal The member of the NSW upper house and former minister called it quits. Since entering the parliament in 2004, the man proved himself to be one of the more depraved members of that most deplorable political establishment, the NSW Labor right. In his resignation, Roozendal reﬂected that he was “tired of the internal party navel gazing” and claiming that when “the going getstough, the ALP blames itself.” Correct, Mr Roozendal, speciﬁcally it blames people like you, as it should. Hacks with no real values drove a once successful political party into the ground, and self-reﬂection and criticism are an important part of the process of changing that. Wayne Swan The unfortunate tit saddled with the duty of presenting a heavily burdened Budget. By the time this column is published, the man once named World’s Best Finance Minister will have delivered a Budget that disappoints many and delights few. In this election year when an impressive Budget would’ve been a huge boon for a struggling Government, it seems it will instead be a source of more fodder for the opportunistic Opposition.
ANUSA rescheduled agm ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Thursday 30 May 12.30pm in the ANU Bar AGENDA //
1. Minutes from Previous Meeting 2. Reports and Matters Arising * President’s Report * Treasurer’s Report * Draft Budget * Audited Annual Financial Statements 3. Items for Resolution a. Constitutional Amendments * Election Regulations - Prerequisite Course for Treasurer * Financial Review Committee * Department Honoraria b. Other Motions Access to reports and full text of constitutional amendments can be found on the ANUSA web page: http://anusa.com.au/AGM/
IN last week’s Woroni there was a piece that informed the ANU community about the recent happenings in the Australian libertarian movement. The article also made the case for more “liberty” in Australia. Whilst those reading the column may have had urges to “give it” to the government and establish a string of unregulated small businesses, I would like to remind readers what we would be giving up if we let this ideology triumph. I’m a fan of the current framework of social democracy that Australia has developed in since federation. There is clear evidence of its benefits. Social democratic (or “big”) government provides: universal healthcare, primary and secondary schooling, a large proportion of tertiary education funds, public transport, law enforcement, social security, housing, preservation of food and drug standards, the roads we drive on and the parks we walk in. All in exchange for our tax dollars. Libertarianism is enjoying resurgence among the young, not only in Australia but throughout the world. Doing what you want, where you want, with whoever you want is a very appealing idea to the first generation to literally have the world at their fingertips. We would be appalling early 20-somethings to not want oodles of personal liberty. Their notion of “liberty” is however, something that Libertarians all around the world treat as a universal concept. The Liberal Democratic Party is the largest, most active Libertarian party in Australia. It advocates for marriage equality and legalising the use and production of cannabis. It is against Internet filters and incursions on civil liberties. So it is understandable why young people are so taken by libertarianism. As a young person I too support these positions.
However many are unaware of how far the LDP takes libertarianism. It advocates for the repeal of gun control laws, the privatisation of everything, suspension of foreign aid, destruction of Medicare, abolition of the minimum wage, and deregulation of labour laws. I don’t know about you, but I quite like walking safely down a street on my way to work, listening to government funded and ad-less Triple J, without fear of semiautomatic weapon attack. If I get injured at my minimum wage-but-enough-to-support-myself job, I don’t automatically become unemployed. Recovery also costs me a grand total of $0. That’s my version of liberty, but maybe I’m just a ridiculous socialist. The traditional tax and spend form of social democracy is not perfect; I’ll be the first to admit that. The “evidence” that more liberty would fix this just doesn’t exist. Ideological extension is not evidence. Look at the United States. What libertarians do not get is that yes, sometimes we may not like what government does with our money. We don’t like it when our tax return isn’t great, and we certainly don’t appreciate it when government reduces higher education funding. But if society acts collectively, the benefits are a lot greater than our grievances. Cooperation is the reason why we have one of the highest standards of living in the world. Keeping this in mind, we should remember that Libertarianism is not the only vehicle by which you can campaign for the freedom to smoke up, the freedom to marry, and the freedom to browse the Internet uncensored. In his 2012 speech to the 2012 Democratic National Convention Bill Clinton said “We are all in this together” is a much better philosophy than “you are on your own”, I think Australia could do with a little more Bill.
The Death of Journalism?
MY standard response of late to the age-old ‘career aspirations’ question has been a lengthy rant involving me waxing lyrical about the romanticism and thrill of becoming a foreign correspondent. The natural response to this has almost exclusively amounted to: “Journalism? It’s a dying field! There’ll be no jobs left by the time you graduate!” Take even a cursory look at the dwindling staff numbers of news agencies and the numbers quite starkly suggest that this oft-repeated claim appears correct. Yet these statistics ignore the exploding quantities of online content and numbers of paying subscribers. Arguably, journalism is a field transforming more dramatically than any other. One of the industry’s greatest challenges is often identified as the rise of ‘citizen journalism’. Canberra journalist Annabel Crabb writing for Crikey last year summed up the perceived threat of citizen journalism: “One of the confronting things about this environment for journalists is: wow, lots of people like to do what we do for nothing. Tell me an industry that’s not going to be a bit freaked out about that.” The events of the Arab Spring, and subsequent political movements like Occupy in the United States, had commentators around the world proclaiming that the role of the foreign correspondent was dead and the “citizen journalist” was the future. There’s the obvious financial temptation for news agencies to save money on flying over or in, one of their own and to contract out to locals on the ground. The problem with this is that, however convenient, it defies the essential role of a foreign correspondent. The role, as I define it, is to identify, collect, systematise and analyse the events surrounding them and use their own experience and knowledge to contextualise it for a broad audience back home. The footage and speeches to camera of the demonstrators during the Egyptian Revolution, for instance, may have been outstanding in its rawness, but without an Australian correspondent to collect and interpret those themes and ideas to their Australian audience, its unlikely that the media coverage would have yielded as great an effect as it did at the time. For many of us, we live amidst an avalanche of information, but we are too time-poor to disseminate it. Who really has the time to sift through reams and reams of primary sources; eyewitness accounts, live, unedited video feeds from the ground? Surely a five-minute summary presented in a context that is culturally pertinent to the target audience will have appeal? If as I suspect many of the target audience would value
that service, then news agencies would be daft to extinguish a ready source of revenue. Foreign correspondents aren’t going to phase out of existence simply because almost everyone around the world now has a camera on their mobile phone. Hand-in-hand with the citizen journalists are the blogging brigade, coming in all shapes and forms; from restaurant reviewers, to political commentators, culture critics. These sites have relevance but the idea that bloggers are going to replace journalists is missing the point. Blogs are typically the writings of a single individual. They have varying levels of editing and finesse, and a wild array of levels of research behind the blog posts. Consider the prototype of a blog post: a personal opinion on a given topic. Some are written better than others, but the unifying factor between all blogs is the predominant opinion element. It’s here where I question whether blogs can ever replace professional news coverage, and the point I keep returning to is their inherently one-sided nature. The beauty of a newspaper – regardless of what physical form it takes – is its collection of straight news, opinion pieces and features, all in one package and crafted by a range of individuals who have been honing their skills in a professional environment. Are we really going to forgo all of this for ploughing through a disparate collection of unedited streams-of-consciousnesses across the interwebs? The notion of media without the boundaries and rules imposed by news agencies sends many a dreamer starry-eyed at the prospect of the ultimate level of free speech – no answering to the powers that be, no ruthless editors, just unadulterated, unhindered expression. Yet consider WikiLeaks during its heyday – it couldn’t survive without a strong team of staff focussed on managing and editing the material. No nexus of thoughts and ideas can function without some form of organisational body; it’s as simple as that. I don’t deny that journalism in its printed form is on its way to becoming a piece of twentiethcentury nostalgia. I will fiercely argue, however, that the idea that journalism itself will fizzle out due to the rise of online-based amateurs is simply irrational. The role of the journalist is certainly going to be challenged more and more by unpaid enthusiasts across the internet, but it’s a challenge which presents an opportunity to demonstrate the art form behind good journalism and remind all of the naysayers that this industry is far from obsolete.
The events of the Arab Spring and subsequent political movements...had commentators around the world proclaiming that the role of the foreign correspondent was dead and the “citizen journalist” was the future.
Responses from the ‘Advice from Religion: Islam’, Woroni Edition 5
COMMENT// 10 From Back Page to Front Page: ‘Advice‘ from ANU THE WORONI EDITORS Article continued from page 1 Woroni board’s response to a formal complaint submitted by the International Students Department. In a later statement to Woroni, the Chancelry maintained that the article breached the “University rules” and the Australian Press Council Principles. Furthermore, the Chancelry commented that the “the University has a large international footprint and is mindful of maintaining its reputation of providing a welcoming environment for a diverse student and academic population.” The Chancelry’s position is that the piece posed a threat to the ANU’s reputation and security. “[I] n a world of social media, [there is] potential for material such as the article in question to gain attention and traction in the broader world and potentially harm the interests of the University and the university community.” “This was most clearly demonstrated by the Jyllands- Posten cartoon controversy … and violent protests in Sydney on September 15 last year,” the Chancelry told Woroni. In light of these concerns, the Chancelry asked for an apology and an oﬃcial public retraction of the piece. Woroni decided to respond in a similar manner to how it has to other complaints received in the past, by publishing an apology to any readers who felt victimised, while stressing that the piece was intended to be satirical. Like every edition so far this year, Edition 5 was later uploaded as a PDF document to the Woroni website and Facebook page, including the back page. Following this, the Chancelry demanded a second, non-negotiable meeting with the Woroni board, and the three authors of the piece, attended by Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Deputy ViceChancellor (Academic). At this meeting, all Woroni editors and all three authors of the piece were threatened with disciplinary notice under Section 3.1(b) of the ANU Disciplinary Statue, should the PDF remain online. The consequences of academic misconduct under the disciplinary proceedings range between
Dear Woroni Editors, This response refers you to the piece, “Advice From Religion”, published on the Back Page in the most recent edition of Woroni (18/04/13) and Woroni’s Response to Criticisms of Back Page Piece, “Advice From Religion” (18/04/13). On behalf of the International Students’ Community, we acknowledge the public apology offered by the Woroni. It is regrettable that so much distress and anger was inﬂicted on so many students by the aforementioned post by the Woroni. This incident has highlighted the lack of awareness on the part of the Woroni of the diversity that exists in our community. International students make up a quarter of the ANU student population, representing a plethora of different nations, cultures and beliefs. And if we were to take into account the myriad of views and philosophies each individuals have in ANU, we as a community can be considered tremendously diverse. In a community that prides itself on its diversity, the ISD believes that we students can expect a certain level of cultural sensitivity be had from the editors of our independent student-run me-
a warning letter to academic exclusion from the university. No legal representation is permitted at disciplinary hearings. The Chancelry also indicated that Woroni’s allocation of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) may be compromised by the situation. The Woroni board subsequently elected to simply remove the back page from the PDF of Edition 5. As promised by email, all disciplinary action against the board and the writers of the piece were consequently dropped. The university governs individual students through the ANU Disciplinary Statute, but the ANU’s authority over Woroni, a student newspaper independent of the university and the student’s association, is an extremely grey area. Who should hold Woroni to account? The ANU, which provides the predominant amount of Woroni’s funding through the allocation of SSAF? Or its students, who Woroni was constitutionally established to represent? Although the issue was eventually resolved, Woroni is concerned about the implications of these events for freedom of speech and, more generally, the role of student publications. Woroni regularly features material that is challenging, and even at times confronting. By their very nature, universities are forums to critique ideas and beliefs. University newspapers – as a platform for students – should ideally reﬂect this role. But where should the line be drawn? The issue is complex and never black-and-white; at no point in the decision-making process during these events were the Woroni board unanimous. The editors hope that Woroni will continue to be a platform for discussion and criticism. However, we have learnt from this experience the importance of balance and tact when dealing with highly sensitive issues. We welcome any further feedback on this issue.
dia. Respectful quality journalism that raises awareness and that engages all in a constructive, intellectual debate is what would add to the vibrancy of student experience here in ANU. The publishing of this ‘satirical’ piece has sorely disappointed this expectation, and has gone on to offend many students regardless of their religious beliefs. We believe that respect and sensitivity should be accorded to all students regardless of their creed. This is especially so when the Woroni receives their funding from every fee-paying ANU student. In order to preserve the vibrant and safe community here at ANU, the ISD alongside all international students, would like to work closely with the Woroni to promote further cultural awareness and sensitivity, such that an incident of this nature does not reoccur. On Behalf of International Students, Muhammad Tauﬁq bin Suraidi President International Students’ Department ANUSA International Oﬃcer
To the Editor, A response to the piece on ‘advice from religion’ is needed not in order to protect Islam or place it outside the realm of criticism but in order to ensure that the boundaries between criticism and viliﬁcation are deﬁned as both undoubtedly have different ramiﬁcations. The authors of the piece on ‘How Should I Value Women’ a response ‘Islam,’ have noted how their criticism of Islam is part of a seven piece series that criticizes a number of religions to which I say, fair enough. However, the question then becomes how has this criticism been undertaken? For the most part, it is no surprise that criticism of Islam has been made in relation to women and especially Muslim women. For the past 12 years, the Muslim women in the media has been portrayed as the oppressed as it is she who has do the house work, it is she who must satisfy the Muslim mans’ every sexual need and it is who is veiled. On top of that, it is Islam that its oppressing her, it is Islam that makes Muslim men believe that 72 virgins await them in heaven, to which this piece, equates with ‘rape fantasizes.’ As such, the Muslim man is not only the oppressor but the savage and of course, the savage must be conquered. I am without a doubt that the authors of the piece criticizing Islam were not of the intent of portraying either Islam or Muslim women and men like this nor were the editors but both forget, dominant narratives of Islam and its treatment to women do exist and have been used to attack not only Muslims but also to justify invading their countries. These narratives claim to portray the truth of how Islam treats its women and criticizes it on that basis and what we see in this piece is that dominant narratives are not challenged by fed into. It does this speciﬁcally by claiming to be criticism when in fact it relies only on myths without producing a single shred of evidence. One author it has been said read the Quran, but then which Quran exactly was he reading? The Quran does not document who Mohammad married, the role and responsibilities of Muslim women within the household or the myth that Muslim men will receive 72 virgins in heaven. In addition and in reference to the claim made about Islamic law and the testimony of two women as needed before the eyes of the law to be considered valid, which legal system and in which country are the authors claiming that this law is applicable in? Seeing as it is not the Quran who has made these claims, what then is this criticism based on? These questions must be asked to ensure criticism is not made on the basis of perpetuating of myths or un-truths but rather, factual evidence. This is especially true in the case of Islam as anyone who reads mainstream news will ﬁnd at least one reference to which for the most part, will present Islam within a speciﬁc framework and that is, the framework of the savage. But of course, why is it that the Muslims on campus and throughout the world can’t accept criticism of their religion? The reason could be the way in which this criticism is made and the tangible effects it has within the community and wider international arena. Fatemah Khalfan
Dear Editor, Regarding the “joke” at the back of the April edition of Woroni (No 5 Vol 65), as a Muslim woman, I am deeply offended by the diagram. Before I proceed any further, I would like to ﬂag beforehand that Islam is a way of life, not just a religion. We are taught in Islam how to start everything with good intention and how every single good act, even studying and attending classes, can be an act of worship. Now, if I were to offend, let’s say, an Asian way of life, what would I be labelled as? A racist. If I were to offend a Judaism way of life, what would I be labelled as? An anti-Semite. I’m aware that you have been making fun of other religions too, then isn’t it anti-religion? I’ve been taught that making fun of others is considered bullying. I understand and respect someone who doesn’t agree with an ideology because it goes to show that he/she is aware of the existence of the many facets of human lives, but making fun of it is never a good thing. We have racial tolerance, why can’t we have religious tolerance too? Going back to the diagram, you are giving the impression that we, the Muslim women, are being oppressed in Islam, one of the popular ideas upheld by the Islamophobes. Islam recognizes gender equity; that men and women are different and therefore we have our own roles that only men or women can do best. By different, it doesn’t mean that one is inherently better than the other. The differences only apply in the rulings in Islam (which is more on HOW to do the act of worship). Men and women are regarded in terms of a whole society and the better person out of the society is the one who does good deeds, regardless of gender. Historically, Islam changed how society perceived women – from being a man’s possession in the pre-Islamic era to a highly regarded member of society. Islam gave the rights for voting to women 1400 years ago while in the Western world, the ﬁrst country to give voting right to women is New Zealand in 1893 which is 120 years ago. In line with the recognition of gender equity in Islam, the issue of taking two women witnesses equivalent to one man is only applicable to ﬁnancial transactions which is written in the Quran (refer to Chapter 2 al-Baqarah: verse 282). This is because in Islam, men are expected to take the ﬁnancial responsibility. Apart from that, there are about ﬁve verses in the Quran that mention
To Whom it May Concern, I would just like to add my support to Woroni, it’s editors and the authors of the ‘Advice From Religion’ graphic in the latest edition. While I personally feel it was too heavy handed as a satire, I fully support the right to print it. The foundation of a secular and democratic society is the right to free speech; the right not to be offended is at best a misguided extension of these principles, and at worst a direct contradiction of them. I have read a number of responses claiming of-
COMMENT//11 Responses From the Authors witnesses without specifying the gender of the witness. Regarding the banning of women from places of worship, women in Islam are excused from the obligatory prayers or fasting during their menstruation. Therefore, if we are excused from praying then there is no reason for us to be in the prayer place (only the part of the building where people pray), is there? I also wish to clarify the ﬂaws in the diagram. (1) Most of the women that the Prophet peace be upon him (pbuh) married are for protection and/or as an example for a speciﬁc ruling in Islam. Regarding Aishah, the Prophet’s (pbuh) youngest wife, this is also one of the popular ideas for Islamophobes to bash. Being 9 years old during the Prophet’s time is not the same as the 9 year olds nowadays. It is a ﬂawed method of reasoning to understand a past civilisation using modern day’s concepts. Aishah is known as one of the brightest scholars in Islam. Even so, some scholars in Islam had also backtracked the age of Aishah during her consummation of marriage to as old as 19 years old. Marriage in Islam is more than the act of consummation, especially during the times of the Prophet. (2) The implication that Muslim women need to do household chores inﬁnitely is blatantly wrong. There is not a sentence in the Quran or a recording in the hadith (the two main sources for Islamic rulings) which commands that a woman should do household chores, EVER. I am pretty feminist myself and I would like to point out that in Islam, if there is no speciﬁc ruling about a task for a man/woman to do then we have the rights NOT do the task. A woman’s role in a Muslim family is to be a good daughter to her parents, a good wife to her husband and a good mother to her children. Doing household chores is something that we do out of love not an absolute command in the religion. (3) There are no 72 virgins in Paradise. It’s a myth. As a member of a functional and tolerant society, I would like to ask Woroni to stop publishing these “jokes” about religions or any ideologies for that matter. Bullying others by making fun of them as “jokes” shouldn’t be tolerable at all. There are many other funny things that you can make fun of like botox or iPhones. Be creative, not offensive. Yours sincerely, Nadiatul Akmal Mohd Radzman Executive committee member ANU-Muslim Students Association (ANU-MSA)
fence at this graphic, and all I am left to ask is ‘so what?’. Being offended and having ones ideologies challenged is a measure of an exceedingly healthy society, not a sickly and grotesque one. I hope Woroni continues to tackle beliefs, including religion, in the pursuit of free discussion over unquestionable dogma. Yours Sincerely, Harrison Pitts
Dear Woroni, I won’t make any comments about freedom of the press or censorship: they’re issues for the editors. I want to respond to criticisms of the piece and explain why I think it’s right to respect people, but not their religion. The Koran mentions houris: large bosomed virgins who are apparently a reward in paradise (55:56, 56:22, 78:33). Admittedly, the phrase “rape fantasies” may be going too far in describing the enticement of these ﬁgments, but the houris are surely for sexual gratiﬁcation, otherwise why would The Koran’s authors emphasise their sexual characteristics and the fact that they have “not been touched by other men or jinns”? And what do women get in paradise? Unmentioned male equivalents? Are only lesbian women gratiﬁed in paradise? Do women even get to paradise? Exactly what are jinns? These speculations can be dismissed as absurd, but only if the idea of the inerrancy of The Koran is as well. The Islam piece was not our best work but it wasn’t racist or about discriminating against minorities; rather it was about that ever present discrimination against one half of humanity in the form of misogyny and how misogyny is present in The Koran. Some will say that interpreting The Koran is a mistake and solely the purview of Muslim clerics or scholars of Islam. But I think that discouraging ordinary people from critically reading and interpreting a book which purports to tell over a billion people how to live, is a mistake. I encourage people to read The Koran for themselves and to decide whether the explicit and implicit derogations of women therein, which are not satirical but earnest, are more or less offensive than what we’ve written (not to mention passages extolling atrocities, antisemitism, homophobia, etc. — 2:191, 3:10, 4:91 8:67, 10:13, 16:26, 17:17, 17:58, 18:58, 19:98, 21:6, 21:17, 22:45, 26:120, 28:58, 33:64, 36:31, 37:136, 38:3, 38:33, 42:34, 46:27, 54:34, 54:51, 71:26, 77:16, 91:15; 5:65, 7:166, 16:118; 4:16, 26:166, 27:56, 29:28; and countless passages threatening eternal torture for anyone who doesn’t believe). But the most important point is that people are
Dear Editors I would like to bring to your attention the most common response by critics of our last article. The ﬁrst was that religions are races, and that by criticising a religion we are racist. When we politely point out the progressive view that religions aren’t races the attack backs off and regroups; if a religion is not one’s race, it is part of one’s identity, and so shouldn’t be criticised in case it causes offence. I admit this was a shock to me, perhaps I’m a sheltered sceptic, but the idea that I could call myself something and as a result make that thing immune from criticism seems unscrupulous. Especially when that thing is a belief system that has control over people’s freedoms. Everyone loves to criticise governments because they have control over our lives. Citizens criticise even though people identify as conservative or liberal or anarchist or whatever. For some reason people don’t have the same standard of criticism when it comes to religion. It’s particularly strange in light of the fact that most religions in history were, and still are, governments. This experience has introduced another
blithely using things that don’t exist to inﬂuence and affect a reality that does. I think that’s ﬁne for important abstract concepts, but not for imagined beings, the fabricated orders of whom people cite when telling us what we can and can’t do. When a second-hand reproduction of an oral story, of dubious veracity, from over a thousand years ago is used as a justiﬁcation for being sexist towards women here and now — well, that idea is not only open to criticism, but is almost ostentatiously asking for it. Although it’s highly unsettling and confronting for believers to have their faith mocked, that is not a reason to have a special standard for established religions that we would never conscience for any secular group, political party or new religious movement. And while some may argue that it’s arrogant to presume other people’s beliefs are misguided, I think it’s disastrous to concede that people should never have their beliefs challenged. It’s also hugely condescending to assume that other people are so fragile that they can’t handle an opposing view. To say that Muslims, Christians or Hindus can’t cope with subtle or blunt refutations of their beliefs, is a calumny against humanity and people’s innate talent for thinking. I ﬁnd myself slightly at variance here with popular opinion, so naturally I’ve questioned my own immensely fallible thoughts on this matter and reread parts of The Koran. But I can’t seem to get away from the superseding problem posed by all religions and totalitarian ideologies of all kinds, namely their professed infallibility. “This book is not to be doubted” — this phrase of doubtful virtue opens The Koran. My favourite thinker, Jacob Bronowski, was surely more accurate when he said, “There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy.” I’ve decided to make this my last contribution to Woroni. Over the years I’ve had loads of fun and met many brilliant people. Thanks to all of my editors and collaborators and to the literally several readers who have kindly said they enjoyed my stuff. Jamie Freestone
thought, one thing that separates the religious to the non-religious is that the latter can separate belief from the believer, the former does not. I hate religious beliefs, but I do not hate religious believers because I separate the belief from the person. Attaching religion to identity appears culturally sensitive when one agrees or at least respects the beliefs. However this is a double edged sword, the apologists hate our criticisms, and because they’ve attached our beliefs to our identity, they hate us. The original article contained no personal hate. Ridicule yes, hate no. But religion has done what it does best, interpreting a text in a way that has generated hate with no respect for the original intention of the author. Now to admit where we went wrong. I agree with Jamie that the content of this piece was not our best work and it is worthy of criticism. There’s a sweet spot in satire. If the language is too soft or vague, the message gets ignored or overlooked. If the language is too direct and harsh, people are shocked and it distracts. We missed it, going too far off in the latter direction and I regret that we were counter productive to our own purpose of pointing out misogyny in Islam. Regards, Mathew McGann
EDITION 7 LAUNCH PARTY Tonight, from 6pm (assuming youâ€™re reading this on Thursday 16 May) ANU Student Media Offices, Lena Karmel Building, ANU Woroni will be hosting a PAR-TAY, for everyone! Come along for free food, great company, and best of all, the launching of the paper that you are holding in your hands!
p i a d a t v Q
p h a a n s a s
A Response to “The Narrow, Yellow Brick Road” Dear Editor, In response to Charlie Carroll’s letter, I’d like to publicly invite him along to our Solidarity Evening for International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia on the 17th of May in the Student Space at 7pm. As the collectives are all selfappointed groups, which do have a relatively high turnover of people, I’d like him to see just how diverse it is, rather than this imagined notion of the Queer Collective being a “stereotypical world”. Yes, there are some gay males who could be pigeon-holed into “the stereotypical gay male”, however there’s so much more than that. There are people who are lesbians, bisexuals, pansexuals, intersex people, genderqueer people, international students, domestic students, college students, people from Canberra, people who are asexual, people who are in polyamorous relationship, people across the political spectrum and a
whole lot more. It’s hardly this purported monoculture you speak of, who all go around burning eﬃgies of Tony Abbott. When I became Oﬃcer, diversity within the Collective was one of the things I took a really good look at. I’ve tried to make it more welcoming. I’ve tried to make it more accessible. I’ve tried to be accommodating. Has it worked? Maybe try asking some people who are involved with the Collective, because I’m well and truly biased, but I think it is more welcoming than it used to be and people have responded. With regards to that meeting you went to, the vote of no conﬁdence was the result of a signiﬁcant amount of long standing bad blood between the Oﬃcer and the Collective. It was however not “promptly decided” and it’s on the record that the motion did not pass and the Oﬃcer resigned of his own accord. It is also on the record that I was
at that meeting and chose to abstain, as I felt that I was not in a position to pass judgement about an Oﬃcer whom I had had very little interaction with as that was my ﬁrst Queer Collective meeting as a slightly terriﬁed ﬁrst year. The position I personally came from was one of having attended an all-boys selective school and having felt really quite ostracised by the other openly gay guys in my year level as I was openly gay in my last two years of high school. I was told on more than one occasion that I was “the worst gay ever”, because I really didn’t ﬁt into their narrow conception of what it meant to be gay. I got involved with the Queer Collective tentatively at the start, but after a while I made some friends in there and it has been an immensely rewarding experience. One of the things that has always been stressed in Queer Collective is that there is no one way to be queer, which I’ve found in-
tensely liberating. Yes, you can be queer and conservative. We run many events that are entirely non-political with the direct purpose of making people feel included. That isn’t to say that everyone will become as involved as I have, but I hope people will at least feel comfortable enough to come to social events, such as movie nights, coffee and the Queer Ball. If you do feel so strongly about changing the Queer Collective however, come along to a meeting and make your voice heard. Stuart Ferrie
Queer Collective meets at 5pm on Thursdays of odd-numbered weeks in the Queer Space. For more information, contact Stuart at sa.queer@ anu.edu.au
FEATURES // 14
Thank God It’s ... Thursday?
Is the two day weekend actually an impediment to productivity? DAVID TUCKWELL WHEN I was a lowly cub, I wondered why the weekend was not longer. I loved the weekend, hated school and dreaded Monday mornings. So I’d ask why the weekend was a mere two days long. And ask why it could it not perhaps be three-days long, or even longer still. In reply, I was told that work was important. Told that “constant dripping hollows the stone” and “the Devil ﬁnds mischief for idle hands”. And, wanting to be a virtuous child, I did my work and stopped asking why the weekend was only two days long. I’m 23 now. Yet the thought and question remain. Writing in the 1930s, John Maynard Keynes believed that by the 21st century the working week would be ﬁfteen hours, or the weekend several days. He imagined that as living standards rose, a point would be reached when we’d opt for more leisure time, instead of ever-escalating living standards. At the time, Keynes’s predictions were fairly mainstream. But today, such predictions sound radical. In fact, work hours have been increasing in Anglo-Saxon countries since the 1980s. It hardly needs saying, but everyone prefers the weekend to the workweek. And as a country, we are richer than we ever have been. Why, then, can’t we have a three-day weekend as Keynes (and others) predicted?
Those who deny us a longer weekend offer two arguments. The ﬁrst is philosophical: hard work is virtuous, or so they say. The second is economic: we need a ﬁve-day workweek to sustain our standards of living. But neither argument works. Firstly, let’s be clear - hard work is not virtuous. When the Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell wrote: “the morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery” he was surely right. Sure - the great achievements of our civilization have resulted from hard work. Sure - we all enjoy the fruits of each other’s hard work: watching movies; eating out at restaurants; reading novels. Such enjoyments only exist because we delight in the diligence of our peers. But this sword cuts both ways. For it is equally true that civilisation’s greatest evils have also resulted from hard work. Wars, colonialism, and slavery: these accomplishments all required
much hard work indeed. In fact, it is likely that the First World War took more hard work than all the inventions of the 20th Century combined. A few years back, an Australian nurse released a study detailing the top regrets of the dying. She found one of the top regrets was working too hard. If working hard is virtuous, as the hardwork brigade like to claim, why was it found to be a leading deathbed regret? If the philosophical argument is bad, the economic argument is worse. As every economist knows, prosperity is connected to productivity, not hours worked. Hence Germany has the most successful economy in Europe despite working signiﬁcantly shorter hours than the Turkish. Furthermore, there is no evidence that a threeday weekend, and shorter working hours, would reduce productivity. Indeed, what evidence exists, suggests the exact opposite. In the UK in 1974, Prime Minister Edward Heath introduced a three day working week in
Everyone prefers the weekend to the workweek. And as a country, we are richer than we ever have been. Why, then, can’t we have a three-day weekend as Keynes (and others) predicted?
response to a miners strike (a four day weekend, in other words.) Analysts later found that under these conditions, productivity actually increased. In 2008, as part of a cost-cutting initiative, the Utah state government put its employees on a four-day workweek for a trial period of 12 months. At the end of the trial period, no drop in productivity was found. What is more, the trial was massively popular, with 82% wanting the change to be permanent. Even if productivity did drop as a result from making the weekend longer, it is not clear this would be a bad thing. Last year, a British think-tank called New Economics published a study recommending a 21hour working week. Their study notes we have overconsumption causing environmental destruction, and an overworked professional class sitting alongside millions of unemployed people. “A move towards much shorter hours in paid employment” is perhaps the best way “to solve the triple crises of widening inequalities, a failing global economy, and threatened environmental catastrophe” the authors concluded. There is also history. Australia was famously the ﬁrst country in the world to introduce the 35hour workweek. Historically, Australia has been a champion of shortening the working week. Why let our history be a thing of the past?
Devil from the Machine
Why are some student organisations technologically challenged? DALLAS PROCTOR CURRENT students are widely perceived as “digital natives”, with unprecedented technological proficiency and a love affair with all things shiny and electronic. Acronyms like MOOC have become sexy catchphrases in educational policy, and some universities even try to bribe prospective students with free tablets. So why are our associations, clubs and societies so inept when it comes to anything remotely technological? Since 2011, ANUSA and Woroni alone managed to spend at least $28,000 on web development for sites that no longer exist (although to be fair both have finally settled on highly adaptable and dirt cheap Wordpress options). The Union’s website has been hacked on multiple occasions because of appalling password choice. Many organisations have different websites from multiple years that are all still online (e.g. the International Students’ Department’s (ISD) 2011, 2012 and 2013 sites), and there’s no shortage of sites that have not been updated for months or even years (Debating Society, Queer* Department and Chocolate Appreciation Society). Most club websites don’t have online membership forms and many feature outdated versions of the ANUSA logo or fail to feature it at all. I’m not trying to pick on the organisations that I’ve mentioned. In fact I chose them as examples because they’re some of our community’s most well-regarded, active and engaging groups – and despite this they still don’t prioritise web pres-
ence, perhaps reflecting a common ANU perspective on the issue. Considering perpetual agreement among students about the need for “greater engagement”, the obvious importance of maintaining an online ‘shopfront’ to market events and attract members, and the ease of building a website nowadays, I just cannot understand why web is such a low priority. Some may argue that Facebook has filled the gap, however the nature of Facebook’s “social” search algorithms fundamentally limits exposure to the website’s target market - i.e. prospective members, prospective sponsors and the media who aren’t in the same Facebook networks. The struggle doesn’t end on the internet. Even with online ticketing, ANUSA required students to physically collect wristbands for its O-Week events this year. Walking through Union Court on Market Day, one notices the ridiculous sight of membership details being collected on paper, requiring committee members to manually digitise them later. The insistence on cash is similarly baffling.
Every year, the same thing happens: the ATMs run out of $20s, the bank runs out of change, and groups can’t deposit their money at the end of the day because it’s after 4pm. People will pay more for membership if they can pay by card, and when you can get a card reader for your smartphone (e.g. PayPal Here), it’s a no-brainer. Banking and bookkeeping is also a big problem, with some societies still using cheques (or even cash) for expenses despite the wide availability of internet banking and business debit cards. Free, open-source accounting software is too often snubbed for poorly constructed Excel spreadsheets. If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking that the issues I’ve listed are little more than minor inconveniences. In fact the biggest side-effect of technological indifference is the loss of institutional history and resulting duplication over time. When I worked at ANUSA last year, I only had digital access to documents dating back to 2009 to draw lessons and ideas from. Except for a few boxes of files, there is no accessible record of the other 48 years at all. Public accessibility of what
The biggest side-effect of technological indifference is the loss of institutional history and resulting duplication over time.
does remain is dire – even important 2012 documents such as the Housing Review Report have already been deleted from the website. Most groups on campus run the same kind of events, submit the same kind of forms and face the same kind of difficulties year on year and it is imperative that all look to long term solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Thankfully, strides are slowly being made. In 2012 ANUSA moved all club and society administration documents and applications online, and opened an online shop for second-hand books and ticket sales. 2013 saw some great O-Week videos and an innovative Instagram competition. Woroni deserves to be commended for its commitment to radio, and recent steps towards video. The Law Students’ Society never fails to impress with its website, mobile card terminal (which it’s had for years) and barcode ticketing at Law Ball. Other notable innovations have included the extremely impressive GPS tracking used for Inward Bound, and the use of Facebook ads for student election campaigns. On the whole however, we’ve been living in the dark ages for way too long and change is well overdue. It’s time for all ANU student organisations, big and small, to get their act together – making life easier for themselves, their members and their future committees as well. Dallas Proctor was President of ANUSA in 2012.
FEATURES // 16
A Race to the End
The Malaysian election: a photo finish and change? ELENA TJANDRA UNTIL recently, I always thought of myself as half-Malay. When people would ask where I was from, I would rehearse the tired phrase “My mum is from Malaysia and my dad is from Indonesia, but I was born in Australia”. “You’re Malay/ Indonesian then?” people ask. Sure. When I found out quite recently that my mother was Chinese, not Malay, I was shocked. An assumption I held about my cultural heritage all my life was wrong (which explains why I was (briefly) sent to Chinese school). It is not that my parents tried to hide this from me. They simply did not think being Chinese was an issue - “We’re still from Malaysia, we’re Chinese-Malays.” For many Malaysians, race is a non-controversial part of everyday life. The acceptance and co-existence of Malaysia’s three ethnic groups including the Chinese, Indian and indigenous Malays or bumiputera (literal translation ‘sons of the soil’) is a unique form of multiculturalism. There is widespread recognition that the bumipetera (Malays) are clearly favoured by the Malaydominated government; this has largely been accepted by Chinese and Indian Malays. However, Malaysia’s 13th election shows a re-surfacing of racial tensions, instigated by a government losing legitimacy. The re-election of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, for the 56th year of unbroken rule, was won at a close margin, with 72% of seats incurring a less than 5% difference. Although the BN managed to win 133 out of 222 seats, forming government in a constituency based system (as opposed to proportional representation) the op-
position coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won the popular vote at 50.87%. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim mobilised people in rallies to contest the elections from allegations of fraud in the unusually close election. Reports have found not-so-indelible ink, unidentified “phantom” voters, a badly managed electoral roll and of course, the estimated 40,000 people flown in from Borneo to the Malaysian peninsula, confirming fraudulent activity. While only time can tell the result of Ibrahim’s nationwide rallies, it becomes clear that the BN needed to use dishonest methods to win, as their racialbased policies and racial politics were insufficient to convince voters. Race has been brought up in the government-owned media as the main issue concerning voters in reports following the election. But according to Dr. Khairudin Aljunied from the University of Singapore, voters were more interested in policies that would ensure good governance; social and political liberalisation; economic progress; and the end of corruption, and the urban-rural, rich-poor divide. The shift towards the opposition indicates a currently unsatiated need for transparency and equality, with Chinese and
Malays as well as first and second time voters voting for PR’s commitment to replace the affirmative action program has favoured Malays in areas such as housing, education, employment, scholarships, business and savings in the past. While a large percentage of PR voters are Chinese-Malay, Dr. Aljunied shows bumipetera Malay voters changing their preferences from the extreme-right, Malay dominated Perkasa organisation candidates to the Pan-Islamic Malaysia Party, part of the PR coalition championing equal rights and liberal democratic policies. Malays are choosing a more multicultural and more liberal Malaysia through the PR and PAS despite the BN’s proMalay policies. However, the shift in votes has been characterised in racial terms. First and second time voters, younger voters and the Malays and Indian-Malays who voted PR have been disregarded in post-election discourse. The focus has been on the Chinese-Malays who have been labelled “ungrateful” by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and largely to blame for the loss of BN votes. They have been scorned by the Umno, dominant political party controlled newspaper Utusan Malaysia, with one headline reading “What more
This year’s election had a strong opposition offering democratic alternatives to the BN’s affirmative action program for Malays, packaged as attempts for national reconciliation for a ‘1Malaysia’.
do the Chinese want?” The Chinese were voting for a more plural Malaysia. They were not voting because of because of racial animosity towards Malays, as the BN suggests. Placing the blame on the Chinese-Malays in an election based on issues of justice and equality, is an attempt to re-assert race as ethnicity, to garner conservative Malay support. Racial politics is nothing new, but the difference in this year’s election had a strong opposition offering democratic alternatives to the BN’s affirmative action program for Malays, packaged as attempts for national reconciliation for a ‘1Malaysia’. While race is still undoubtedly an issue (results show high percentage of Malays voting for BN), it is more about the implications of race-based policy (i.e. discrimination under certain policies, rather than racial/ethnic divides). Campaigning on racial divisions in attempt to conjure racial sentiment is a political tactic voters have rejected in a racially tolerant society. Malaysians are more concerned about anti-corruption, plurality and inequality - they would rather vote for the PR. Hence why the BN could not win without rigging the results. The closest election in Malaysian history indicates change is near. The BN’s legitimacy has been challenged by electoral fraud and racial fearmongering. Unless the BN turns around its racially-biased policies and attitudes, Malaysians will not buy into a party which contradicts calls for unification with exclusively pro-Malay policies.
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** This pull out contains explicit sexual content and may be distressing for some readers.
g g s n s t y
Get lucky with Woroni
DIY DILDOS // Woroni does not take responsibility for any misuse of these suggestions (we’re looking at you Peter Slipper). Please use wisely.
DEODORANT CAN keepin’ it fresh •Bow-chicka-wow-wow •Not great for the o-zone layer •Recyclable
BROOMSTICK you’re a dildo, harry! •Available in most households •Innocuous •One downside: splinters
DOG + PEANUT BUTTER man’s best friend •Comes in smooth and extra crunchy. •Clean-up is included. •May contain traces of nuts.
CANDLE smells like somone had wax in here… •For a formal occasion •Wears out quickly if you use it from both ends •Make sure you use candlestick holders or other forms of protection
PENS when your love life is stationary •Arty. •Mightier (and more comfortable) than the sword. •Don’t be that guy/girl who “borrows” and then never returns them.
CUCUMBER for the health nut •Comes in a variety of sizes. •Spongy. •Be careful stealing it from the fridge, if you get caught you’ll have to be as cool as a … well, you know.
FIST rule with a rubber fist •For those who miss the human touch •Washing machine friendly •You can order small, medium or “Big Ben”
ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH number one dildo recommended by dentists •Batteries not included. •Different heads for soft or hard. •For variety, you swap it out with ones you find in your bathroom.
SHOWERHEAD take a cold shower •Good, clean fun. •Can control the temperature •Perhaps inconsiderate use of water – Australia’s in a drought!
TOY SOLDIER just for your privates •Everyone loves a man (or woman) in uniform •For the patriots •Unlike some, they’ll always stand at attention
HOT DOG comes in family pack •Spice it up with condiments! •Great for a snack •Have to wait for them to defrost
WORONI the ANU student dildo since 1950 •Adjustable girth (depending on how tightly you roll it) •Might as well use them for something •Your SSAF money at work.
Read Fifty Shades and want to try it for yourself? Think scarfs are a bit scoopy-doo and want something a little more Marquis de Sade but don’t have adequate coinage? Woroni’s guide to BDSM pervert-ibles is here with all you need.
Word to the wise: stay away from cable ties. Christian Grey has come under intense criticism from the BDSM ‘subculture’ for his use of these unsafe and uncomfortable plastic devils. Circulation is good for you.
Consider making a ball gag using a practice golf ball ($3 for 6 from Big W) by drawing some fabric through the holes. Don’t use rope for this because it will pinch in the mouth.
From a casual flick through Fifty Shades it would seem that BDSM ‘toys’ come under four loose headings: restraints, blindfolds, gags and ‘disciplinary devices’. Let’s see what we can do about each one.
BLINDFOLDS: scarves suck. You can see through and under them, they fall off, they don’t look any good and they’re too damn hot when you’re just the right temperature. Spend a few dollars and try the following: grab some furry fabric and some black fabric from spotlight. RESTRAINTS: Rope is an old standby, and will put anyone with a thing for damsels in distress in the mood. Your local hardware store is your best bet for the cheap stuff.
As a bonus, you can get excellent advice on what material has the best friction-comfort ratio. You want something that doesn’t slide because they makes knot tying difficult, but you also don’t want anything too coarse for your early forays into the dark and mysterious world of power play.
You can also make a gag by stuffing a bunched up piece of fabric (or some knickers) into a stocking and making knots around the ball.
Cut the thin fabric into the shape of a blindfold with some draws to tie behind the head. Stitch or staple the furry fabric to the eye part, and now you’ve got a comfortable, effective, minimalist black-chic blindfold.
A cheaper DIY option is to place some post-it notes over your partner’s eyes and secure them with a strip of fabric (or the elastic top of some nylon stockings).
Consider cotton, and look for something thicker to preserve blood flow. Hardware stores (and your local supermarket) also stock ducktape, or should I say magic tape! Gags, blindfolds, restraints, you name it.
DIY BDSM* //
GAGS: Something that effectively muffles sound is difficult and usually extremely dangerous. Don’t secure things in people’s mouths.
DISCIPLINE: your hand does a good job – spanking is its own fetish. Just remember to warm the target surface a bit beforehand. You can also get into sensation play using candles that melt into massage oil. Real candles burn too hot. While you’re there, maybe mix in some ice cubes. If you’re really keen on paddling, look no further than a cheap table tennis bat.
BDSM can be a lot of fun, but always remember safe, sane and CONSENSUAL. Agree on a safeword beforehand that means ‘STOP RIGHT NOW’, and consider a ‘safe tune’ if you intend to use gags (‘Here Comes the Bride’ is easily recognisable). Respect yourself and others, and have a great time.
* bondage, discipline, sadomasochism
woroni erotic fiction.
Class Warfare V. CHIZZLE
IT was an experience like no other. No amount of ejaculating protest in anger in Union Court, no amount of emphasizing to the conservatives the need for “all-encompassing intercourse” could have prepared me for this. The night was long, and I was feeling worn out by an extremely long day of campaigning against Coal Seam Gas. She sat across the table from me during the keynote address, and whilst the Prime Minister spoke to the other delegates, my mind was on anything but the Young People in Politics conference. Her perfectly maintained ﬁgure, the slight hint of cleavage tantalizing me from her crimson dress, her pleasant, heart-shaped face – she was beautiful, there was no doubt about it. But it was her eyes that caught my attention – those emerald, radiant, orbs, shining forth above the Prime Minister’s speech. I was lost in her eyes. And so after dinner was done, I approached her. We chatted. She was the Youth Who Believe in What is Right president, as I discovered. I nervously told her I belonged to Communist Alternative. She sniggered, but motioned towards the door to the garden. I took her cue, and followed her in that direction. We escaped the cafuﬄe of the bourgeoisie gathering, and reached an unusually quaint looking set of hedges. She took my hand, and looked me in the eyes; her perfume smelt of privilege. Suddenly, I gasped as I felt her hand reach for my crotch. “I can feel some class warfare going on down here,” she said, with a sly smile. Under her (in the dark) invisible hand, I was too oppressed to say anything to say anything in response. It was minutes of ecstasy followed. Her lips interlocked with mine, and at the same time I felt my nether regions bursting to the seams, growing and growing until the climax of revolution could be heard (and felt) in all of my pants. As her hand slid out, I saw a glint in her eyes that told me she was eager for the second wave. Or even the third wave. Who knows? I stared at her, and continued kissing her, and gradually I felt my lower body rebuild itself from the ground up. She smiled a knowing smile. “I’m going to fuck you like Mitt Romney would have fucked over the poor,” she whispered. “I’ll seize your means of production and make it all private – for my use only.” I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, but let’s just say that by the end, I felt taxed.
B-Grade Debauchery GUS MCCUBBING Ray J is slouched across the plush sofa of his Californian apartment, completely debilitated. A thunderstorm sporadically shakes the foundations of his apartment and, seemingly, his soul. With the long void of Kim Kardashian’s gentle touch and effervescent personality has come an inescapable sense of dullness. On top of this, with the “home video” made with his ex-girlfriend now six years old and none of his past four albums gaining anything higher than two stars on Allmusic, Ray has begun to feel a gradual but distinct slide into irrelevancy. Ray believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. His moderately erect 8-inch penis, which sports a distinctly leftward curve, is directed at his giant plasma television. “Kim K Superstar” has been playing for about ﬁfteen minutes. Abandoning this ﬂeeting desire to masturbate, Ray stands up and fetches his keys, the dank scent of his own cock still present on his hands. Ray heads toward the only double-bolted room of his Californian apartment, unlocking the room to let Bobby Brackins, the hip-hop bottom-feeder who featured brieﬂy in Ray’s latest hit single “I Hit it First” and who Ray legally owns, out of his entrapment for the day. Ray offers Bobby some Xanax before placing both his hands around Bobby’s face, guiding the younger artist toward him before beginning to kiss him tenderly.
Not since Kim made her abrupt exit, ﬁrst moving on to Kris Humphries and then Kanye West, has Ray been able been able to surrender himself to another woman. So long devoid of an emotional connection, Ray now craves sensuality. Meanwhile, as the merciless cacophony of paparazzi photographers no longer shadow him, Ray now hopelessly tries to scrounge a sense of power out of any possible source, including Bracken’s hitherto virgin derrière. Brackens, a thoroughly disturbed individual, has not only has been enjoying a recent spate of bi-curiosity, but is happy to receive the considerably more powerfully built Ray if it means a continued leg-up in the music industry. Already shirtless, Ray lays Bobby across his white sofa, their dark and intertwining bodies forming something of a ying-yang colour clash with it. Bobby can’t help but feel a churning as Ray removes his baggy pants and authoritatively turns him over. Ray stares at Bobby’s tight buttocks while he strokes
his cock, readying it for penetration. Made extremely lethargic from his sedentary lifestyle in captivity, Bobby passes off into a Xanax induced postcoitus sleep. If anything, Ray only feels emptier and perhaps even slightly sick given that homosexual sex and ownership of another human probably isn’t his thing. Now effectively alone again, Ray turns off “Kim K Superstar” and switches on his holographic monitor. And if you were to come back to me Girl I know just how you’d do me S c at te r e d across the cool tiles of his apartment, Kanye West voodoo dolls. Plastered across his walls are different posters of his two most successful albums, ‘Raydiation’ and ‘All I Feel’. Dimming the lights, the only that can be seen is the ﬂickering light blue projection of Kim Kardashian taking form. And if you were to come back to me Girl I know just why you’d choose me In an act of desperation, Ray-J got the number of Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) through his boy Snoop Lion—who is actually his second
Not since Kim made her abrupt exit, first moving on to Kris Humphries and then Kanye West, has Ray been able been able to surrender himself to another woman.
cousin—in turn through his boy Dr. Dre, who bankrolled the company’s holographic Tupac Shakur at Coachella 2012. A year after Coachella, DDMG was now on the verge of insolvency— the iridescent exhumation of Tupac failing to reap the ﬁnancial beneﬁts originally dreamed of. With this in mind, DDMG’s CEO, under the misconception that she had actually died recently, leapt at the opportunity to fund another celebrity’s digital rebirth—this time a lingerie clad Kim Kardashian. Unfortunately for DDMG, not only was Kim Kardashian in fact still alive and kicking, but this particular hologram was for “personal use” only, and would never make it to the murky depths of the Internet. And if you were to come back to me Girl, I’ll get it wet jacuzzi Ray now sits in front of his exgirlfriend’s projection, curved penis in hand. Immediately rock hard, the turns his speakers on and puts “I Hit it First” on repeat. A single tear streams now his cheek, betraying the impudent tone of his pop single. Strutting around in her white lingerie, a come-hither look upon her face, the glimmering simulation of Kim rapidly brings Ray took a lonely climax. And if you were to come back to me girl We’ll make another movie
help me. Dear Woroni Doctor While engaging in intercourse with my girlfriend of two months the condom I was using ruptured. I didn’t notice this until rinsing it for re-use days later. I’m not worried about STIs, as we are both clean and always wash our hands after intercourse. But what are the chances of my girlfriend falling pregnant after repeated, unprotected sex? Ryan O’Tooley
Letting His Hair Down COURTNEY RADCLIFFE I have acquired a taste for the heavily bearded man. Perhaps it ties back to primordial desires, or maybe it’s a subconscious appreciation for the hair upon our private territories. An indication of the stimuli that lies beneath. Whatever the cause, I cannot ignore an abundant beard on the face of an attractive male without physically feeling a tingle of appreciation. I will often imagine their beard caressing my inner thigh. I have come to the point where a soft lick of somebody’s beard will genuinely turn me on, more so than an arousing nipple stroke. It’s the tantalising caress that magniﬁes a woman’s desire, the subtle suggestions that arouse our carnal lust. Some get immensely worked up when the foreplay consists of subtle caresses of choice pressure points, and with the addition of a luscious beard, things can only improve. We all have our secret fetishes; I am not ashamed of mine. An abundant beard of a desirable colour, texture and length will send my sexual instincts into overdrive. I imagine the touch of a beard on my cheek, the light stroke along my thigh, the sensual trail of aroused nerves as he kisses down my neck, breasts, stomach. There are standards though, personally mine are quite strict. A well-kept beard, thick and soft
to the touch, a trimmed moustache (I always admire a man with upturned ends on his) and colour, do inﬂuence my choice. A beard can increase the allure of any male, the tall dark and handsome, the sophisticated red-head, the cheeky blonde, and the rugged marauders. A ﬁne beard can exude an extra appeal and enhance their existing attraction. The University of New South Wales released a study concluding that women and men ﬁnd men with beards more
pants to rate photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded. They found that both women and men rated men with heavy beards or stubble to be most attractive. They contend “our ﬁndings conﬁrm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.” Perhaps that is it; my attraction to a bearded man is a purely subconscious preference of ‘daddy desire’. While considering the argument that a lust for beards correlates with potential paternal qualities, I believe that my attraction comes from a recently discovered desire to explore my animal instincts. I must admit that the sexual imaginings to which my mind will wander when I see an admirable beard do alter between censual caressing and carnal lust. I have reached a time where I believe I’m too old to appear satisﬁed with the regular ‘vanilla sex’ attractive. Researchers Barnaby Dix- encounters. My bearded fantasies have son and Robert Brooks “quantiﬁed awoken a desire to satisfy my fundamen’s and women’s judgments of at- mental sexual instincts, an endeavour tractiveness, health, masculinity and that I believe most women undertake parenting abilities” by asking partici- at some point in their lives.
I will often imagine their beard caressing my inner thigh. I have come to the point where a soft lick of somebody’s beard will genuinely turn me on
A condom should last longer than two months. You might need to shop around for quality. If you are ever on the Hume Highway there’s a petrol station café called ‘Coolabah’ between Marulan and Goulburn. There’s a $1 condom dispensary in the bathroom that truck drivers use with truck-stop prostitutes. Those condoms are tough as nails. You also want to make sure you’re spitting on your penis before sex as much as possible to soften the skin coming into contact with the latex, and prevent your penis from rubbing uncomfortably against the inside of what should, after a bit of knocking-in, feel like a loose-ﬁtting and comfortable rubber sock. Condoms take time to wear in, and you’re going to want to reduce the friction between the rubber and your genitals as much as possible. I’ve found turning the condom inside out and putting it back on during sex helps with this. With regards to STIs, I’m glad to see you are doing everything right. You didn’t say whether or not you have been, so I will just quickly add that brushing your teeth after intercourse is also a fantastic way to prevent the contraction of Herpes. I will also take this quick opportunity to clear up some of the misnomers promulgated by the Catholic Church regarding condoms and HIV. Condoms ONLY prevent HIV when used in simultaneity with a Bible. Without prayer, your attempts at preventing the Lord’s Catholic-population boosting master plan will be futile. That should also answer your question about the chances of pregnancy, however for a more accurate reading I would suggest a palm-reading or crystal ball consultation. Also, I would like to congratulate you on getting laid. Nice work man! WD
origami for orifices //
selected extracts from
Kama Sutra for Singles “I’ll bet you thought I was gone for good, my darlings! I’ll admit I’ve been a little hard to pin down lately, but it’s been for a good cause, ducks. Ever since my darling husband popped out to join the great Self-Appreciator in the sky, I had been frightfully lonely in the trousers. But then I discovered that – apart from Gloria, who does our laundry – my best friend was myself! And to that end I’ve written a lovely illustrated book that will show you all how to busy yourself with yourself, regardless of what equipment you’ve got down there at your bodily Tropic of Capricorn. You can find it at both of Australia’s quality book stores! Love, Aunty Flo.” The cup of instant noodles
Curiosity Never Killed the Pussy BAD SAM I understand vanilla sex, I really do. Most of the time I enjoy it – lazy spooning on a Saturday morning with a coffee and paper ready for when you properly wake up is one of the best ways to start the weekend, in my book. For years vanilla sex was the only sex I was having, and I absolutely loved it - well, once I finally understood how to actually have sex rather than just penis-invagina-this-is-how-it’s-supposed-to-work-right? on my parents couch. But one night my partner at the time came up behind me and whispered ‘Hey, can I ask a favour?’. I was about to get the keys for the Maccas run when they pulled out a full body fishnet and asked if I’d wear it when we had sex. Safe to say, I generously acquiesced to their request. It wasn’t a particularly titillating experience for me, but after seeing how much they got off from something I considered so simple (it’s just like putting on a breathable onesie, right?), I decided to do a bit of research on what I might be missing out on. And this, dear readers, is exactly what you should be doing. I have a massive issue with the claim that people go beyond the basics of sex just because they’re looking to ‘spice up’ a boring relationship, or want to actually get drunk at the next session of ‘Never Have I Ever’. To be sure, the sex stories that I’ve told fill my friends with both jealousy and glee – the ‘did you really do that?! I could never!’ – attention I certainly enjoy. Through the red wine and cigarette smoke I don’t mind going into the juicy details because I think it’s important to encourage people to experiment. Who knows, maybe the reason that you haven’t had a vaginal orgasm isn’t because your nerve endings have been stultified by years of phallic
vegetable abuse before you discovered the real deal – maybe it’s because you didn’t have nipple clamps on while you did it, or your airways weren’t constricted to the point that you nearly, nearly pass out, and the lack of oxygen to your brain brings a euphoria unparalleled by all but the purest of pills. And to 50 shades of fuck you you fucking Mormon bored housewife bitch, how dare you paint the complex world of BDSM as a life-consuming one-way power imbalance between a domineering male and an innocent to-be-deflowered vulnerable college student? Dear readers, don’t EVER take this as your BDSM manual. Not only sexist, it belies the most powerful and erotic part of the entire BDSM encounter – consent. Don’t be afraid of the salacious, the sinful and the downright disgusting. When you’re with a partner you love and trust, it doesn’t matter if you come out in the outfit you bought for role play and they burst out laughing, because you’re going to fight and fuck it out anyway. It doesn’t matter if the cock ring doesn’t fit, or they’re not into suspension but love it when you order them to lick your feet. Experimentation is the only way that you’ll find out what tickles your fancy and theirs, and being able to pleasure and be pleasured by the one you love is what this whole sex thing has always really been about. In all seriousness, it’s crazy how much this shit can bring two people closer together. There’s nothing like too-hot wax to show how much your partner cares for you, as you lie there with an icepack on your clit while they chuck on a vice documentary to soothe the pain.
Don’t be afraid of the salacious, the sinful and the downright disgusting.
Reclining in a bath of lukewarm water liberally dosed with what was advertised as ‘bath salts for one’, and with your legs akimbo, you massage your genitals softly and wistfully. As the water goes cold and begins to smell of curdling milk, you reach an efficient and sensible climax and drain the water, ready for the repeat of As Time Goes By at 11.15pm: the Great Australian Night In.
Taunting the jaguar Well-lubricated and cross-legged on the carpet you inherited when your grandmother passed away, you work up to an aggressive rhythm. You call out the name of the only other living thing in your apartment: your cat. It enters the room and eyes you warily. You unleash a torrent of nasty invective, while maintaining a punishing pace of digital self-appreciation. The cat is unfortunately caught in the liquid crossfire and must be thoroughly washed.
Challenging for the leadership Sitting on a toilet in a busy airport, you fondle yourself through your pants in a manner that can only be described as ‘a liability to one’s future political career.’ Oblivious to the closed-circuit television cameras above your head, and the other patrons, you mumble the words “hear hear” under your breath as you pander to the focus group in your underpants. You begin to hyperventilate as the moment arrives to conclude your maiden speech. You emerge from the cubicle refreshed and reinvigorated, ready once again to defend the age-old tradition of marriage from Bloomsbury perverts and lesbetarians.
Crossing the rubicon Travelling along a motorway, you swerve dangerously, your left hand on the steering wheel and your right hand occupied in a repetitive dialogue with your pudenda. As you reach the point of no return, you veer wildly into the carpooling lane, in which you are legally unable to drive. You raise a nowsticky middle finger to the environmentally aware prudes now honking their horns and are only five minutes late to work.
The Garden of Eden In the pews at church this Sunday, you take a long swig of communal wine and with a few quick movements of your hand begin to confess your sins to yourself. The congregation attempts in vain to ignore your spiritual awakening but not even divine intervention can stop the Ecstasy of Saint-Theresa. As you give your name to the arresting officer, you reflect on the fact that although it makes a frightful mess and makes you feel vaguely guilty afterwards, anything that’s been proscribed by religion is probably going to be a lot of fun and is probably good for your health to boot.
Too Much Freedom of Information?
The internet is again drastically changing the way we view information
YOHAN IDDAWELA THE internet era has, without a doubt, witnessed the proliferation of information in a diverse array of constellations. We have become entangled in a web - the web - of opinions, facts, comments, photos, status updates and memes, among various other things. But one of the most enduring features of this so called ‘information era’ has been the profusion of anonymity. Websites like 4chan.org and anonyme.com allow users to post opinions and articles anonymously, while just about any social media platform allows for the creation of fake profiles or accounts. The latter of which is mainly a result of platforms possessing very little ability to verify a person’s identity - only asking for a mere e-mail address in order to sign up. Nevertheless, the reactions to this profusion of anonymity can be divided into approximately four different positions: Freedom of information advocacy, privacy advocacy, defamation critics and authenticity critics. The freedom of information position, as embodied by organizations such as Wikileaks, Cryptome and Openleaks, view anonymity as being intrinsically related to the human right of ‘free speech’. In essence, such a position espouses the anonymous publication of sensitive documents – be it on issues of diplomacy, national security, foreign relations, etc. Meanwhile privacy advocates, such as the Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner, maintain that privacy is a fundamental human
right which is “essential to maintaining a democratic and free society.” According to such logic, if a person wishes to remain anonymous, they should be afforded the right to remain free from public scrutiny and interference. There must therefore be a clear division between the public sphere and the private sphere. Defamation critics on the other hand view anonymous posting as synonymous with the phenomenon of ‘trolling’. In other words, anonymous posting is seen to encourage the spread of inflammatory remarks which are targeted towards a particular individual. The underlying rationality of such a position rests on the assertion that it is incredibly difficult or impossible to expose the identity of the anonymous poster and hold them accountable for their respective remarks. This ability to avoid legal ramifications has thus resulted in an upsurge of trolling. According to this logic, not only can anonymous posting engage in defamation, it can also result in serious long term effects including psychological distress, trauma and depression of the targeted individual. The final position is embodied by “authenticity
critics” – i.e. those who believe that anonymous posting poses pressing questions to traditional modes of authenticating a piece of writing. This position is the one which is most often overlooked. It is therefore worthwhile interrogating it further Let us take an example of a news article. Traditionally, if we read an article which is written by John Smith in the North Shore Times regarding the implications of North Korea’s foreign policy, we would have been likely to take it much less seriously than a similar news article written by Emily Drabble appearing in The Guardian. The reason we may have paid more attention to Emily Drabble’s article is because of the role the author plays in ‘authenticating’ the article. In other words, we can trust Emily Drabble because she has a history in writing about international affairs and her scholarship has been acknowledged and employed by The Guardian newspaper. Her name is thus a tool used to authenticate. Now however, with the proliferation of anonymous blogging and posting, we are witnessing a subversion of this traditional position of the au-
We can no longer authenticate an article based on the author’s name or reputation since it no longer appears in bold underneath an article’s heading.
thor. We can no longer authenticate an article based on the author’s name or reputation since it no longer appears in bold underneath an article’s heading. Instead, we have seen a new form of authenticity emerge – that of ‘viral popularity’. We can now see authenticity being based on the amount of likes, shares, re-tweets and recommendations an article receives. To take an example, we can look at a popular bodybuilding forum which espouses the benefits of eating a high protein/low carb diet, exercising four times a week and taking a range of different amino-acid supplements. Despite the absence of any traditional forms of authentication – i.e. the citation of news sources, journal articles or medical studies, it has received over 1000 replies, numerous amounts of Facebook shares and likes on its fan page. This, it appears, symbolizes a new source of authenticity – whereby the author has been removed from their traditional and privileged position as a force for legitimation, only to be surpassed by likes, shares and retweets. This trend frustratingly opens up more questions than it answers: What does this mean for open source journalism? What are the implications for traditional voices of authority? What role will anonymity play in the future? And behind all these questions, we would hear hardly anything but the stirring of an indifference: What difference does it make who is speaking?
woroni elections *
* ANUSM Editor elections are on from the 27th-31st of May and voting is online. All students will receive a link to vote via email. Check out the candidates and vote for who you think will help run the mouthpiece of ANU students!
HELLO! I’m Sam. I’m 3rd year Arts/Law and have roughly 200 words to convince you to vote for me. I will tackle this through a short list… 1.In recent months I have brought you “How to go on a first date according to the Internet”, “The Cemetery in the Vatican Closet” and “10 reasons to date a townie.” I hope to just generally extend the fun into the future. 2.My interests range from feminism to current affairs, food, sport, photography and the arts. I like to think this versatility would make me suited to an editorial position. 3.I submitted my first article to Woroni in first year. It was rejected (rather callously, but with good reason) and it was a year before I submitted another one. If elected I would attempt to foster an ANUSM environment that encourages contribution from students of a variety of backgrounds, colleges (Griffin is a college too!), and degrees. I would also like to potentially run workshops for students who would like to get involved but are lacking in confidence, or a skills base. 4.ANUSM is awesome as it is. If elected I would like to see it grow in its professionalism and look to build a greater relationship with Canberra at large.
I’ve been with Woroni since 2010, filling roles such as staff writer, Sub-editor and Managing Editor. I want another bite at the apple, because the four months I spent on the board last year was too short. I study graduate history, and last year I graduated from my BA. My majors of philosophy and political theory provide all the explanation you need as to why I am still studying. I currently work as a Sub-editor for LexisNexis in the Federal Press Gallery, but I have also filled roles around campus, involving student advocacy and visual design. I am also currently subediting the features section of Woroni, as well as hosting twice a week Woroni’s radio show on 2XX FM, The Morning After. I have a deep and working knowledge of state and federal politics, as well as significant experience in digital document management, social media, print publishing and running organisations with budgets below $200k. In my spare time I enjoy writing, visual design and dreaming of a better world. I would like to see a Woroni that has a stronger focus on online delivery, driving towards financial self-sufficiency, and providing the gold-standard for other university publications to aspire to. I would one day love to write for Vice Magazine.
fergus hunter Hi, I’m Fergus Hunter, you may remember me from such Woroni elections as ‘May 2012’ and ‘October 2012’. I’m having another crack because I’m still passionate about student media at the ANU. My experiences with Woroni since 2011 have given me a real appreciation for, and also a vision of what I want it to be. I want to see the great work being done online continued and expanded, with content uploaded consistently and quickly, regardless of when the physical paper is being printed. I want to see substantive, high quality video productions coming out of ANU Student Media, I know it’s a challenge but I think it’s worthwhile. I really want a Woroni that is accessible and communicates really well with as many students as possible. I want to see ANU Student Media publishing edgy, funny, controversial and diverse material. We shouldn’t be afraid of getting that stuff out there because it’s the best for attracting attention and energising debate. My experiences with Woroni have included being a writer, columnist and managing the radio station. I also produce and present a weekly radio show on community radio, and work as a grunt at a business in the Press Gallery.
david tuckwell I’m a graduate student in economics, hailing from Melbourne. In the short time I’ve attended the ANU, I’ve come to find Woroni a marvellous institution and its office a second home. Sub-editing the news section this semester has been a wonderful experience. I would like to be an editor so I can involve myself further and push for some changes!Speaking of which…My plans:1. Make the website central.Everyone knows that Woroni’s current website is bad. Everyone also knows that the future of the newspaper industry is online. We have made some improvements this semester, but they need to come harder and faster. 2. Start using YouTube. ANU students may not read newspapers all that much, but we sure watch a lot of YouTube. Woroni already has the equipment to make YouTube videos. What are we waiting for? 3. Reduce the number of newspapers printed. We currently print too many newspapers. At the end of each fortnight, mile-high piles of Woronis remain untouched and unread. If we printed fewer copies we could both save money and be a bit more eco-friendly.
Over the past three years I’ve had many involvements with Woroni. I’ve written articles, been interviewed, tipped-off the editors, and sent letters (both supportive and critical).When I was postgraduate president, I actively supported the move to make ANU Student Media independent and I sat at the table negotiating budgets for ANUSA, PARSA, ANU Sport and Woroni for 2 years, strongly supporting Woroni’s needs.ANU students need a student media organisation that keeps them well informed and engaged. Woroni is more than just a newspaper and radio station; it’s a media service that belongs to, and serves ANU students. That principle will guide my work as an editor.I will focus on engagement, accountability and growth.Yes, it sounds like any generic political manifesto, but this one is so simple it should have been in place ages ago!ENGAGEMENT – with the broader student body, especially postgrads and international students, and take advantage of the amazing research undertaken at ANU. ACCOUNTABILITY – keeping our owners (ANU students) informed of what we spend their money on and why. GROWTH – we have a great paper but we need regular and up-to-date online content, more widely heard radio shows, and to move towards video content.
lillian ofori ward
I am a 3rd year Arts/Science student, previously of Unilodge and now of Griffin Hall. I’ve been a regular contributor to Woroni for most of my time at ANU and this year I’m the sub-editor for Campus News.I love working at Woroni and I’ve grown passionate about the service it provides to students. For Woroni to effectively communicate student perspectives two things are vital: maintaining a strong News section and extending Woroni’s engagement with the student body.Woroni’s News section is the most direct option for getting information on issues that impact students to them, and for keeping ANU’s institutions accountable. We, unlike many campus newspapers, are an independent press and we should flex that a bit.Woroni can’t be best serving students if they have limited access or contribution to its content. Engaging the greatest possible number of students means; having a strong paper and radio section, building Woroni’s online presence, and encouraging content from groups that traditionally contribute less to Woroni including women, off campus, postgraduate and science students.I know I’d work well with the on-going editors and I’d love to be part of the next editorial team working toward an even better Woroni.
Exploring New Dimensions
3D printing presents a paradigm shift in the office and beyond ELLEN RYKERS 3D printing is fast becoming a revolutionary technological tool – and now it has been used by Princeton researchers to create a bionic ear. The ear is not only composed of tissue, but amazingly it also functions like an ear due to embedded electronic components. Considering our everyday notion of printing as ink pressed on paper, the concept of 3D printing a body part seems pretty wacky. But it’s not too difficult to grasp if you think of printing as a layering process, whether it be layering ink onto paper, or melting sheets of metal on top of one another. This is called “additive manufacturing.” First of all, a computer model of the desired product is sliced into lots of digital cross sections. The printer then creates the specified object by depositing the cross sections as successive layers of a chosen material. Using this technique, complex objects of virtually any shape can be produced. Consequently, the scope for potential applications and customisability is vast. The product versatility of 3D printing is not its only advantage; it also allows products to be made wherever and whenever needed. No longer will
all our items be “Made in China.” Local manufacturing will become more cost-efficient, facilitated by easy worldwide distribution of digital designs. It is predicted that the rise of 3D printing will drastically alter our everyday life in the same vein as the Internet has, with widespread economic, social and political ramifications. Such changes are not just limited to industrial settings either – you can purchase 3D printers for home use, for about the same price as a topof-the-line laptop. These general use versions come with instructions for creating a diverse range of items including backscratchers, ornamental objects and even chocolate. Somewhat worryingly, blueprints to 3D print a gun have appeared online, hinting at the inevitable security and ethical concerns that accompany such tech-
nological innovations. 3D printing , however, bears multifarious benefits that far outweigh its possible detrimental uses. For example, in 2011, the technology was successfully used to create a customized replacement jawbone for an elderly woman. Metal powder was fused into a shape tailored to the woman’s existing bone structure, and overlaid with a bioceramic coating to ensure successful implantation. Similar approaches can be used for hip replacements, and body parts can even been built using tissue as the “ink.” Considering the shortage of organs and bones for transplant, this is certainly an important application. Returning to the recent development of a bionic ear, 3D printing permitted electronic com-
The product versatility of 3D printing is not its only advantage; it also allows products to be made wherever and whenever needed.
The Morning After with Woroni every weekday (except Thursdays) from 8.30am on 2XXFM
ponents, consisting of silver nanoparticles, to be delicately interwoven into layers of living cells in a water-like gel. If the electronic component were connected to the auditory nerve of a deaf person, the ear could allow them to hear. Such seamless integration of electronics and synthetic biology had not yet been achieved, and this effort represents a significant step towards the development of complete and working artificial organs. What’s more, the bionic ear could allow enhanced hearing, beyond our usual frequency or volume ranges. 1970s television may become reality, with Bionic Women and Six Million Dollar Men walking among us. The prospects for this cutting-edge technology are immense, with further postulated applications including reconstruction of evidence from crime scenes, low-cost building construction, customization of food, and new synthetic routes for making chemical compounds. 3D printing is drawing us closer to the brink of a technological revolution, so prepare yourself for a wave of mind-blowing new innovations in the very near future.
FEATURES // 28
It’s Time to Face the Factories Are developing countries cutting corners?
ANDALEEB AKHAND IT has been two weeks since an eight storey commercial building collapsed in Bangladesh on April 24, trapping workers in what has now become South Asia’s worst industrial disaster. At last count the death toll surpassed 1000 people. It comes less than five months after 112 people were killed in a factory fire in the same town of Savar. Savar, which lies 30 kilometres southwest of the capital Dhaka, was home to more than 3000 employees who worked in the Rana Plaza building’s five garment factories. They made clothes for Western retailers including Benetton, Mango and Primark. At least 2,437 people were rescued from the rubble, with around 1,000 suffering serious injuries, including scores whose limbs had to be severed in order to be freed. The deadly tragedy has shone the spotlight on Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is a $20-billion-a-year industry that accounts for 77% of the country’s exports. About 4 million people work in the industry, making it the world’s second-largest apparel exporter after China. Preliminary findings of a government probe blamed vibrations by four giant generators on the compound’s upper floors for triggering the collapse. The poor standard of construction meant the building was unable to support the generators running inside, according to the Export Promotion Bureau, a wing of the Ministry of Commerce. According to police, the upper four floors were built without a permit. Complaints by workers of cracks appearing in the walls went ignored, and
garment workers were forced to return to work. The building owner Sohel Rana and five factory owners have now been charged with causing deaths due to negligence and violating construction laws, punishable with up to seven years in prison. Rana was arrested after a four day manhunt, apprehended as he was attempting to cross the border to India. He appeared in court last week dressed in a helmet and bulletproof jacket, as a crowd of protesters demanded he receive the death penalty. Local police chief Mohammed Asaduzzman is quoted as saying that the police are investigating adding possible murder charges, which can be a capital offence. Masood Reza, an architect with Vastukalpa Consultants, who designed the initial floors of the building, said they designed the building in 2004 as a shopping mall and not for industrial purposes. In the immediate aftermath of the April 24 collapse, garment workers across the country took to rioting in protest against unsafe working conditions. On May 7, hundreds of survivors blocked a main highway to demand their unpaid wages and compensation. Recenrlt, the government finally started responding to their grievances, disbursing salaries and other benefits, although this process is slow.
The Savar tragedy led to international scrutiny of the relationship between multinational clothing retailers and the factories from whom they source their supplies. Bangladesh recently closed down 18 garment factories temporarily as part of its efforts to allay fears of international buyers and rights groups over safety and labour standards in the country’s apparel sector. The European Union is currently considering action under its trade rules to encourage changes in supplychain operations. 60% of Bangladesh’s garment exports go to Europe. Retailers including Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney, along with labour activists, are considering an agreement to improve factory safety in Bangladesh for at least two years. In the light of recent incidents, it would be reasonable to expect that there will now be a much greater impetus to adopt these improved standards. Walt Disney, the world’s largest entertainment company, removed Bangladesh in March from a list of countries where partners can produce clothing and merchandise. They left the door open to returning if factories begin cooperating with the Better Work Program jointly run by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation, which is con-
At least 2,437 people were rescued from the rubble, with around 1,000 suffering serious injuries, including scores whose limbs had to be severed in order to be freed.
nected to the World Bank. The Bangladesh Garment Manufactures & Exporters Association (BGMEA), which is desperate to retain its global customers, recently met with representatives of 40 buyers, including H&M, JC Penny, Gap, Nike, Li & Fung and Tesco. It promised to carry out building inspections of all its members. In a country that is notorious for corruption, bribery and a lack of regulation, whether the scale of this disaster will be sufficient to galvanise comprehensive change remains to be seen. Consider the fact that Sohel Rana, the building owner, was also a leader in the Jubo League, the youth wing of the ruling Awami League party. This was a fact initially denied by the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The government showed clearly that it is incapable of acting on its own initiative to protect its workers. When the United Nations offered to send expert rescue teams with dogs, micro-cameras and other equipment to the site to assist in recovery efforts, this offer was rejected by Dhaka authorities. To call this tragedy an accident would be a mistruth. This accident was the culmination of a culture where profits were placed ahead of the sanctity of life. Only when foreign governments and multinational corporations exercise their significant leverage, can this provide a realistic path to ensuring that Bangladeshi garment workers aren’t stuck in the gauntlet of dangerous working conditions. Multinational companies cannot expect cheap labour if it comes at the expense of workers’ fundamental safety and well-being.
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Xi Jinping Gets Down to Business The President of the PRC begins war on corruption and inefficiency SPOTLIGHT ON CHINA
SOON after becoming General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party late last year Xi Jinping signaled his intention to focus on corruption and government waste. Indeed, combating corruption and promoting austerity have become early hallmarks of his time in power. These concerns became codified with the adoption by the central government on the 4th of December 2012 of eight key provisions to “improve the working style” and reject “extravagance, formalism and bureaucracy”. These provisions include a prohibition on senior officials attending ceremonies without permission, the shortening and increased efficiency of national meetings and the scaling back of foreign visits in frequency and size of delegations. Similar provisions have been adopted by provincial governments across China, effectively reaching all officials in the country. Corruption (even perceptions of corruption) is among the most significant sources of public dis-
satisfaction in China. The misuse of public funds for official banquets and entertainment has long been a source of anger among the public. While government and Party maintain organizations dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of corruption, it remains a significant, seemingly intractable problem throughout China. Yet there are signs that Xi and the eight provisions have begun to have an impact on official behavior. Meetings have become more austere, the public speeches of leaders are reportedly being refined. On the other side, sales of expensive Chinese liquor have declined. Among the many reported consequences of the new crackdown, Chinese officials have stopped eating and entertaining at expensive restaurants, fearing being caught and punished. This has led some officials to choose smaller, out of the way restaurants. To find out for myself if the eight provisions have resulted in any modification of the behavior of officials, I spoke with the managers of two different restaurants in southern China. One manages a prominent, expensive establishment, the other a smaller, more secluded restaurant. Both reported to me that their business has been adversely affected since the imposition of this crackdown. The manager of the larger restaurant told me that since Xi’s eight principles
were announced, her business had declined by 20% to 30%. By no means was her restaurant among the worst affected; similar establishments had lost more than 50% of their business. With the new explicit restrictions on the use of public funds for entertainment, officials were reluctant to be even seen in an expensive restaurant. She also reported that journalists had taken to coming to the restaurant, carrying backpacks with concealed cameras in an effort to catch an official. These journalists had even approached her, asking who was dining at the time. While journalists had yet to succeed in her restaurant, in other places officials who had been caught had been fined, even fired. While her restaurant relied on big spending officials in the past the decline has led to the development of new strategies to find a different clientele. Surprisingly, a similar story was found at the other, smaller restaurant. This restaurant is generally more discrete, with three private dining rooms able to hold more than twelve guests, making it ideally situated for the entertainment of officials who do not want to be noticed. Yet even here officials have been reluctant to dine. Generally, the number of officials dining there had declined since the start of the year, the manager told me. In the past, officials
Among the many reported consequences of the new crackdown, Chinese officials have stopped eating and entertaining at expensive restaurants, fearing being caught and punished.
openly arrived, unconcerned about being seen. Since the crackdown began, her business has declined by 30% to 40%, impacting her bottom line. When officials do come now (usually as the guests of others) they are far more cautious. They do not arrive in official cars, check each room before they eat, carefully scrutinizing each person they encounter. The manager has also modified her behavior, directing customers towards cheaper options, encouraging them to take away what they do not eat. Despite the impact on her business, she maintains that she supports action against corruption and waste. The stories of both managers seem to point to the conclusion that the implementation of the eight provisions has generated some change. There are signs that the implementation of the eight provisions is merely a preparation stage for a wider campaign. Xi recently urged senior military officers to spend some time among the lower ranks for a period of time. More importantly, just before the devastating earthquake in Sichuan, Xi addressed a group study meeting of the Politburo. During his address, Xi called on the Party to follow the line set by the “masses” and reiterated the need to end extravagance, saying that officials needed to “look into a mirror, neaten their dress, take a bath and have the illness treated”. He targeted Party members he referred to as “unqualified”, calling for them to be purged. These comments point to a potential Party rectification campaign later this year. Such a campaign would undoubtedly bring even more change. But the news that several anti-corruption activists have been detained highlights Xi’s greatest challenge. In addressing the concerns of the public, he still needs to maintain the political status quo for now.
LIFE & STYLE// 30
Leggings Are Pants. Discuss. STILETTOS AND A SOAP BOX
SAM BRADLEY Stilettos and a Soapbox is our new regular column discussing some issues which relate to the modern feminist and some which don’t. FIRST off, a few fun facts about pants. 1. The Collins Dictionary defines pants as “a garment shaped to cover the body from the waist to the ankles or knees with separate tube-shaped sections for both legs.” 2. The Ancient Greeks and Romans considered pants to be a mark of outright barbarism. Hence their affinity for togas, a much more “classy” garment. I think there has been a decided shift in definition here though because the only time I ever hear anyone say the word “toga” is before the word “party” and the last toga party I attended was unequivocally verging on the barbaric, at the very least a long way from classy. 3. If you go to the beach or swimming pool then it is customary to not wear pants. 4. Ditto Mooseheads and Meche. 5. Leggings are pants (more on this later). In early April a U.S. High School banned the wearing of leggings as pants amongst its fe-
male students as it believed the garments were “too distracting” for some male students. The school’s Principal, Emily Dunnagan, told AOL Media “the concern is we don’t want undergarments showing… The goal is to teach kids to respect themselves and dress appropriately.” Dunnagan also stated that girls were permitted to wear leggings “with shorts or paired with a skirt or dress.” Needless to say, several commentators, feminists and well, the Internet at large were peeved; and in my opinion understandably so. Some valid arguments were presented. Jezebel dubbed the policy “misguided” arguing that teenage boys “will get a boner over literally anything… It has NOTHING to do with what (sic) girls are wearing, and everything to do with biology.” They also raised the point that it was a policy that punished girls for simply being female and perpetuated dangerous ideas about how it was up to women to control their appearances and hide their sexuality in order to avoid unwanted male advances. Huffington Post were a little confused in their views publishing one article labelling the school’s policy “disgusting” in a similar manner to Jezebel and another discussing the issue on every girl’s mind (read: no girl’s mind) “Do
Straight Guys Think the Leggings As Pants Look Is Hot? We Asked Them!” Blog, Mommyish simply argued that, since no school would ever pull the male students aside and inform them wearing singlet tops was too distracting for their female compatriots, henceforth permitting them to only wear garments with bicep covering capabilities, the policy was rubbish. Stating that, “Boys need to be taught to respect women no matter what they’re wearing, and that’s a big deal.” Anyway, since the issue of whether leggings are attire to be worn on their own, or underneath things, seems to be officially up for debate on a global scale, I figured I would weigh in on it. Principally because I am wearing a nice patterned grey and white pair today and as such have a vested interest in the matter. Upon a brief and noncomprehensive survey of my male and female friends I learnt that (1) my friends are conservative, judgemental spuds and (2) none of them think leggings constitute pants. The most common rationales presented for why they do not indeed amount to pants are: they’re easy to spot underwear lines through and “don’t give your buttocks the lift and support they deserve”; they put you in the danger-zone of a “frontal wedgie situation”, also known colloquially as a “camel-toe” (not going to explain this…); there
Since all of the justifications for leggings not being a member of the honourable pants family are about body and “slut” shaming women, I am going to dub them moot.
is the potential to reveal well, a lot, if the leggings aren’t thick and opaque and “this isn’t a fashion statement most of us want to make or be subjected to on our 9am walk to class...”; and lastly, if not worn “correctly” (as in under tunics, shorts and other such things) they can make the wearer appear “lazy” or sloppy. A facebook group called “Leggings are NOT pants” has almost 400,000 “likes” and features dozens of creep-shots of unsuspecting female leggings wearers’ posteriors, and well, private parts, as some kind of sick justification for why they are not. The photos are all of women and girls because; from early on, it is women (not men) who are expected to doctor our appearances and sexuality, so not to offend (or invite). Fashion “rules”, such as leggings not being pants, even if being said in good humour, perpetuate the ubiquitous perception that, as women, our bodies are public property. Furthermore, property that we need by social standards and expectations to pluck, preen and maintain in order to be fit for public consumption. I read once that, “you can tell something is bullshit if all the justifications for it are bullshit”. Since all of the justifications for leggings not being a member of the honourable pants family are about body and “slut” shaming women, I am going to dub them moot (legalese for crap and thus irrelevant), and leggings, consequently… Pants! Rather than shaming our friends for a socially constructed fashion faux pas, our energy would be better spent wearing whatever the hell we feel confident and comfortable in, and affording them the space to do the same. Who cares whether or not, within social norms and cultural “standards”, leggings constitute pants? As far as I’m concerned they fit the definition (See paragraph 1) and you can and should wear whatever you please.
See You Next Wednesday
UNTIL recently, nobody ever really said it. You might’ve heard it once or twice before, uttered by the stereotypical badass in year 7 whose older brother was in year 9 and knew everything there was to know, but otherwise, it was uncommon, unheard, unspoken. It rhymes with blunt and hunt. You know what word I’m talking about, and yet I can’t bring myself to write it down because there is a social taboo that stops me. I’m not sure if that makes me prudish or simply hopeful; that somebody might still want to employ me in the future. In an age where profanities are used about as frequently as vowels, it seems bizarre to me that there are still particular words that cause some of us to blush, look away or even take serious offence. But lately, this particular word has replaced almost every other swear word in the vernacular of many of my friends. Replacing other favourites like “idiot” and “wanker” I have heard this word more in the past six months than I have ever in my life. Naturally, you might simply assume I’m just socialising with different people, but rest assured, while the vocabulary may have changed, the people have not. I remember the first time I heard the word – I was in grade four and it was at afterschool care. A girl called Amy told me she had learned the most offensive word in the English language. She whispered it to me and told me never to repeat it. When I asked her what it meant, she matterof-factly responded that it was “every other bad word combined.” It seemed legit. A few nights later, I broke my promise to Amy and told my mum about it. Like Amy had with me, I sheepishly whispered the word to my mum, and then – like any informed nine-year-old – I told her exactly what it meant. She smirked and didn’t correct my understanding of the definition. It wasn’t until years later that I learned the true meaning of the word and I remember feeling confused. How could a word to describe a female
body part be considered so repulsive? All I was able to ask myself was: why had our society become so inherently sexist? Was this simply another subtle indication that demonstrated how society believed that men were superior to women? Perhaps I was jumping to an unfair conclusion, but it unsettled me nonetheless. Why wasn’t the “most offensive word in the English language” a word that described a penis? Or testicles? Indeed, why did the most offensive word have to describe genitals at all? My understanding of the word had completely changed and without warning I had become strangely protective of the word. I truly hadn’t thought about Amy or my surprisingly activist reaction until recently when I began hearing it all the time. If Tom was running late, he was one; if Ella had forgotten the wine, she was one; if Darcy put milk in vegan Casi’s tea, he
Women shouldn’t be scared to use it; men shouldn’t be scared to hear it. was one. I was hearing it everywhere. Why? Why now? Instead of attempting to offend more people, or gradually becoming a cruder society, I’ve decided – in my infinite wisdom – that we are reclaiming the word. Well, even if we’re not reclaiming the word, we should be. Instead of letting the most offensive word be something to describe a body part with which every woman is born, why not normalise it in society so that it isn’t so unpleasant? Indeed, it seems that every word to describe the female genitals is considered unpleasant. Where ‘dick’ and ‘cock’ are regularly uttered by both females and males,
LIFE & STYLE// 31
and arguably cause little to no offence, this particular word is almost always followed by a small gasp or a disapproving eyebrow raise (if not something more direct, like “you’re disgusting”). Some of my female friends take personal offence, and some of my male friends are scared to even be in the proximity of its utterance lest somebody hear it and label them a diehard misogynist. I’m not sure if it’s the inherent sexual nature of the word, and that maybe society doesn’t want to be confronted by women who are comfortable with sex and with their sexuality, or if it is simply that its association used to be with ‘dirty’ women. It doesn’t matter how you thought about the word, think about what the word could be. Think about the benefit of reclaiming a word, taking away its power to hurt, insult, offend and give it a new power to liberate, express and expose. Women shouldn’t be scared to use it; men shouldn’t be scared to hear it. We could actually use this word to empower women instead of letting it have the negative power to offend, insult and repulse. It’s a great word – only four letters long, relatively early on in the dictionary and we have even formulated various other derived uses for it. It can now be used as a noun, a pronoun, an adjective or even a verb if you’re feeling particularly ostentatious. The irony of me writing about liberalising this word, and yet not actually using the word myself is not lost on me. Like any sceptic, I can appreciate how hypocritical this seems, but I’d rather have my voice heard before I offend somebody by using a word that they’re habitually offended by. It seemed more beneficial to my cause to explain why the word itself can be great rather than offend a whole hoard of people before they’d even heard me out. I’m simply saying – next time you hear the word (or even use it yourself) don’t cringe. Maybe even try to embrace it. And if you can’t quite bring yourself to refer to somebody as a see you next Tuesday, maybe ease yourself into it and just call them a see you next Wednesday.
Not-ifications NIC SHEEHAN
IN the good old days, communicating through technology had one key advantage: the removal of socially awkward interaction. The once impersonal nature of technology meant there was a lack of accountability in virtual communication. Introverts rejoiced in this new age, where dates were sought over text, condolences sent via email, a flirty emoticon or two via MSN, a “Happy Birthday” message on Bebo (perhaps some “luv” too). There was no need for fleshy, uncomfortable face-to-face interactions. We had finally evolved from the cumbersome to the clinical. We were supreme robot-like beings. Then something changed. It appears that constant and instantaneous connection, made possible through fancy smart phones and phablets, has led to new expectations in digital interaction. Nowadays we are obliged to be prompt in our response - like an actual conversation. We might as well throw our iPhones in the bin and talk to one another in person, like a damn caveman. Back in the noughties, a recipient of an awkward text message could easily palm it off with sufficient delay to diffuse the heat. Sometimes you didn’t even have to write back at all - you might have “run out of credit” or maybe it was just your “dodgy phone” playing up again (“Oh you didn’t get my message? Weird!”). There were many great excuses for avoiding unwanted correspondence. We lived in selective bliss. Today, this list of avoidance tactics is growing thin. As our smartphone batteries improve, another classic excuse is rendered useless. Social networks, like Facebook, will now even show what time a delivered message was viewed by its recipient. “Seen by Everyone” is stamped across the bottom of the message, unimpeachable proof that the message has been received, and the clock starts ticking. This gives you two options: first and foremost is to ignore the notification altogether and accept the guilt of knowing that someone is staring at a laptop screen anxiously anticipating your reply. Or, you can attempt to reply within a “reasonable” window of time, which frankly is just unreasonable. If you are someone that is permanently glued to your phone, slinging back social media the moment it’s served, you are no doubt engaged in the “I liked yours, so you should like mine” Facebook culture that has made perpetual circle-jerking into a spectator sport. Not liking a status has become akin to not laughing at a friends joke, no matter how lame it might be. Egos of the digital world are fattening up, craving more delicious thumbs up and love hearts. Who is going to feed them, when we are fed up and too exhausted to dole out mouse clicks? For the rest of us, despite new expectations for technological communication, our social avoidance behaviour has not dissolved, just our excuses. We are stripped bare, revealing a complete social ineptness for all to see and judge. We wallow in piles of push notifications, messages, and tweets, bombarding us from all directions. There are no excuses anymore, we are, and always have been, just plain old lazy. Technology got awkward.
LIFE & STYLE// 32
Dear Old London Town
UP IN THE AIR
The Steaks are High
IN the 21st Century, you wouldn’t think that something like meat could ever go in and out of fashion, but I stand corrected. As the defining mouthful of our time, steak seems to be occupying centre stage as the meat of the moment. We live in a steak age where marbled fatty cow buttocks is all we seem to want to order. The ancestral “steakhouse” has bred and its children are cropping up in smart cities where they’ve all undergone makeovers and become high-end beef boutiques. This is the bovine spring of red meat, and like every other fad before it, it’s come chopped, cropped and packaged straight out of the U.S.A. But it’s not just the West that has fallen victim to this strand of Mad Cow Disease. Communities around the world, which less than a generation ago rarely (or never) ate meat, are now craving the taste of blood. In 1950 there were an estimated 720 million cows in the world, today there are nearly one and a half billion. I’m curious as to why it is that we’ve fallen in love with steak right now, in this generation. Maybe it’s what steak represents. What does that slab of meat say about us? I think it might be the manliness of steak. Beef is butch, not beautiful. Steak comes with it’s own butch utensils. The fact that the word “butcher” contains the word “butch” is enough to make you realise that you require that sort of build if you a) have a deep seated ambition to work in the meat industry or b) want to eat high value, heavy duty meat like steak. Handling steak is more like repairing a car or driving a forklift. I don’t want some pimply pre-pubescent dweeb fiddling with my finery, no offence. Today, even if steak isn’t chic, it’s modern. Steakhouses used to be leathery lounges with cartoons of dead 1950s rock stars adorning the walls and
portly red-faced waiters sporting nipple-to-ankle aprons. A steak restaurant, these days, is luxurious and internationally expensive. The clientele are mysterious jaw-locked people with multiple passports and indistinguishable accents. Steak has become both the gourmet macho man’s communion and an avenue for all the metrosexuals out there to beef up their cultural testosterone. Steak is an emblem of victory, of survival. A slab of bleeding meat is symbolic of something fundamental, something pre-complexity, prehierarchical, prehistoric. It’s a metaphor for the most basic achievement: to kill for sustenance, to be strong. Watch a man when served a steak – there’s a distinct, often unconscious, glare of ownership. It’s a pride warning against other mammals. A steak feels, looks and tastes like winning. Steak is very American and actually it’s quite modern. Historically, the beef boom developed during the Civil War as a way to feed large groups of unsettled men living in tents. Before the Second World War, celebrities only consumed steak; it was dreamed and fought over because it tasted like the muscle of a better tomorrow. Today the prices being charged for prime cuts in prestige dining parlours can equal the wage of the waiter who serves it to you. Steaks are a celebration of modernity and privilege and the dominion of the middle class. Thirty percent of the world’s land surface that isn’t frozen over is actually devoted to grazing cattle. We eat the cows and that’s alright; but on the udder side of it, the cows eat everything else, they poison the water and to top it all off their farts contribute to global warming. In this day and age, when it comes to food and fads, the steaks are high and there’s a lot to lose; reputation, dignity, self respect etcetera. My only advice: beef up.
...the steaks are high and there’s a lot to lose...
THE boroughs and neighbourhoods of London best exemplify the diversity of England. The London Eye carries thirty-two carriages on its wheel to represent the thirty-two boroughs of London city. Within these boroughs are the well-known neighbourhoods and districts that adorn pop art key rings, familiar from films like Notting Hill and Love Actually. For three weeks, I jumped on as many red double decker buses as I could to explore them. I was too nervous to try a Boris bike! My home base was the comely neighbourhood of Fulham, minutes away from the Broadway and river. I experienced a decent fish and chip store manned by locals and funny Off License proprietors with plenty of advice. The Bus stop of Bus 74 to Baker Street Station was outside my apartment and the 211 to Waterloo. Jumping on the buses, going to the top deck (without falling down the stairs) and sitting in the very front window never got old. It was my favourite way to really see London; you didn’t have to awkwardly sit in a tiny tube carriage trying very hard to avoid eye contact with the businessman in front of you. I followed the tourist trail of central London to Westminster, South Kensington, Notting Hill, Covent Garden and Tower Hill; where if you weren’t wading through European tourists you were wading through a sea of suits. Rowdy Welshman
filled the pubs and you could hear loud Spanish chattering all the way up Oxford Street. The ladies on Kensington High Street all dressed like models and the businessmen in Monument seemed to perpetually be on coffee breaks. The most distinct neighbourhoods were the ones that contrasted sharply with the most known ones; which is what I liked best about them. Shoreditch and Spitalfields was a refreshing change from the black coat fashion, and had a trail of colourful street art. While I didn’t feel as safe as I did in other areas, the little passageways were too tempting not to visit in case you might discover a Banksy. Limehouse and the Narrows near Canary Wharf were devoid of anything but gray buildings. But hidden on the river is the local pub The Grapes, owned by Sir Ian McKellen! Here a very bossy but lovely publican made me feel at home and cooked the best mushy peas I’ve ever tasted! My favourite neighbourhoods are two lesser known ones just outside of central London. I stumbled across them by chance; the 295 dropped me at Clapham Junction, which is a vibrant neighbourhood full of people with a very large open green space called Clapham Common. Many hours were spent sitting on a bench watching the families and football teams practise. The second neighbourhood is one I could easily call home. The 39 from Putney took me to a little village called East Dulwich. I spent two afternoons reading in the local pubs and also made sure to go to the Horniman Museum just up in nearby Forrest Hill. It had a charming community vibe and the locals were incredibly warm and friendly. It lacked the craziness of the city and was quite detached from London despite being twenty minutes south of the river. London can also be a lonely, isolating place with blank faced businessmen and women and loud, pushy European tourists everywhere. The Londoners are abrupt and no one seems to have the time of day for anything or anyone. The diversity can be challenging at first, but that’s what makes London, London. You just need to find what neighbourhood suits you best; or get lost in the whirlwind of it all.
The diversity can be challenging at first, but that’s what makes London, London.
LIFE & STYLE// 33
FOR 25-years Anna Wintour defined “chic” as fashion maven and Editor-in-chief of Vogue (U.S.) magazine. Soon however, Ms. Wintour will take her trademark bob, chunky Georgian rainbow necklaces, vintage Chanel sunglasses (that she t dons like one would optical eyewear), and devild ishly versatile nude Manolo Blahnik shoes, and climb a few stories up the ranks of New Yorkbased publishing empire and media brand, Condé Nast. Recently named Artistic Director – the first of its kind – Anna Wintour’s move into the executive branch marks a change in direction and attitude for this historically “grey suit” business. While her new assignment has caused some confusion amongst insiders and outsiders alike – as new trends in vogue tend to – it seems that she’ll be acting governess – in addition to her current position – to the eighteen consumer magazines, plus twenty-seven websites that the company publishes and supports, from the fashion-clad glossies (Allure, Glamour, GQ, Teen Vogue), to the literati choices (The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired). Ms Wintour thus solidifies her status as not just the “most powerful woman in fashion” – as the media hacks have been shouting of late – but in magazine publishing too. Chief Executive of Condé Nast, Charles H. Townsend, went as far as acknowledging in The New York Times that he would go “great distances” to keep Ms. Wintour in the Condé Nast nest. And with good reason too. Ms. Wintour wields unequivocal influence over the fashion industry. From avant-garde couturiers (think Lagerfeld from the house of Chanel, practically besties), to go-to gown tailors (Valen-
Wintour is Coming tino and Oscar de la Renta; “I personally would not put this one in the show” she tells the latter designer in The September Issue), and finally to prominent younger designers with fresh conceptions of contemporary style (noticeably Alexander Wang, Jason Wu, and many other emerging establishments). This satin list would not be complete without mentioning her gal pals, the Italian Seamstress Queen Miuccia Prada, and the President of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Diane von Fürstenberg. Though her connections don’t just end here; in fact, this is where it begins. Ms. Wintour’s influence and sense of style extends far into the upper hierarchies of boardrooms. She helped countless CEOs of fashion houses (high and low brand names without discrimination) anoint new Head Designers or Creative Directors when a position needed filling – Marc Jacobs to Louis Vuitton, Alexander Wang to Balenciaga, Raf Simons to Christian Dior, and Riccardo Tisci to Givenchy. The list of talents that Ms. Wintour has advocated (with brutality, some might say) goes beyond the ritzy stretch of Fifth Avenue. Most of her astute picks are now institutions, if not legends (Michael Kors, Thom Browne, Tom Ford, John Galliano, Marc Jacobs – just to drop but a few names).
Her cultivating an army of fashion makers and retail conglomerates (Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Macy’s) benefits Vogue magazine financially and aesthetically. However, without doubt her enthusiasm for match-making and driving the trends runs beyond her contracted editorial commitments which are, lest we forget, her real bread-and-butter. Born and raised in the London circuit, Ms. Wintour’s immersion into fashion journalism started with an editorial assistant position at Harper’s Bazaar UK. Soon after, she crossed the Atlantic to work at the American version in New York City, closer to Vogue’s head office, her predetermined workplace. After ricocheting between publications (and countries), she finally landed the top Vogue job in America; the year was 1988. The timing was crucial. For the past years, Vogue had become a static poster piece: the printing was slavishly stylised, the shoots formulaic, and the jejune articles bloated. Ms. Wintour’s first act as Editor-in-Chief was to revamp the magazine’s image; one cover was all it took. The cover starred a fresh-faced Israeli model laughing, eyes closed, with tousled hair, walking about and enjoying the Sun. This look was so unseen of at the
...”fashionably late” obviously means “timeless” for Ms. Wintour...
time, that the magazine’s printers sent the cover back, thinking that a clerical error had been made. Many years on, Ms. Wintour’s ambition remains as sharp as a Christian Louboutin stiletto. In addition to prolonging Vogue’s stature as the determinant voice in fashion – the “Fashion Bible” as highlighted in the press – she put together her own stimulus package in 2009 (a.k.a. “Fashion’s Night Out” – now a global initiative) to revitalize the ailing retail industry. A prolific fundraiser, Ms. Wintour went on to raise $40 million for President Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012. This ultimately led to speculation (media frenzy, really) that Ms. Wintour was courting the political world – as if fashioning the clothing and accessory marketplace wasn’t enough – for an ambassadorship, preferably to England or France. Those rumors died all at once, when Condé Nast sent out a Times exclusive communiqué in late March, to announce that Ms. Wintour would be cementing her relations with the publishing house this coming Summer (Northern Hemisphere), when her re-positioning is set to take place. It’s fair to assert that her new appointment merely confirms what she’s been doing for the past two decades – a counselor to those who seek. And if the glowing testimonials are any indication, this Vogue editor’s new podium signals the next stage in what has been a remarkable career. At 63 years old, she’s just entered her prime – “fashionably late” obviously means “timeless” for Ms. Wintour.
Overblown and Overhyped LISTEN // ALBUM Overgrown James Blake 2013
ELLEN TREVANION IT must be acknowledged that James Blake has developed quite a following since the release of his debut album, James Blake, in 2011. The follow-up, Overgrown, caused a lot of excitement in April this year, choking Facebook news feeds and the Triple J airwaves. Unfortunately, however, the new Blake record doesn’t live up to the promise of the ﬁrst, swapping stripped-back instability for a more mellow but less interesting feel. The album opens with the title track, “Overgrown,” which immediately introduces the deﬁning characteristics of the album. Blake’s calm, even detached, vocals ﬂoat over a simple underlying beat that leaves the lyrics in the foreground, at least to the extent that they are audible through the distortion and reverberation. Perhaps unusually for a modern pop (or urban funk/neo-soul/whatever micro-genre you chose) release, there is extensive use of dissonance, adding to the underlying tension and the sense of unease reminiscent of his ﬁrst album. As the song progresses, the swelling synth strings add a gorgeous dissonance and tension; yet the song never builds to a climax, remaining unresolved and incomplete. Of course, this does ensure that the album ﬂows without interruption
into the next piece, “I Am Sold”. The problem is, however, that “I Am Sold” ﬂows into “Life Round Here” in a similar way without ever seeming to progress anywhere either. Blake even manages to make “Take a Fall From Me,” which features RZA, blend into the general wash. “Retrograde” does manage to inject some interest into the album, with its slightly raw vocals and occasional excursion out of the half-octave Blake habitually occupies. The relief is temporary, however, and the remainder of the album proceeds (although ‘proceeds’ implies movement) in much the same way as the ﬁrst half, with the only relief coming from the raw cowbell in “Voyeur”. Overall, what little movement there is gets lost in the general wash. Some musicians create songs and albums that tell stories or examine emotions. Overgrown, by contrast, explores layers of sound and musical effects in what seems to be an attempt to create a sonic landscape. Unfortunately, however, the view is a tad monotonous, and working through the album is a little too similar to driving through the Nullarbor at the proper speed limit. The ﬂow between tracks (and within them) is so smooth it is tedious; and the album as a whole lacks the tension and imperfections needed to create a sense of life or interest. Overgrown is more polished and vocally stylish than Blake’s debut. It is, however, missing the jolts and variation needed to keep one awake. In hindsight, writing this review while listening to it was probably a mistake. I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open.
Overgrown, by contrast, explores layers of sound and musical effects in what seems to be an attempt to create a sonic landscape.
(un)Constrained Terror LISTEN // ALBUM The Terror Flaming Lips 2013 MYRAN SHLOMO THE Flaming Lips are no strangers to sudden stylistic shifts, and their latest offering moves even further away from their Soft Bulletin days in favour of a very different internal monologue (“You are not alone / You are alone”) that ponders rather than soars. The tone is set right from the start, as the brushstroke drumming and ominous bass-line of “Look ... the Sun is Rising” invite us into the Lips’ darker, more experimental project. Looping, melodically jarring synths and austere, haunting vocals (“Love is always something / something you should fear”) effortlessly drag you into a world reeling from relapse and separation. It’s a world of restrained emotion punctuated by raw, scratchy guitar riffs that make it seem as if the world has lost its mind. It’s clear that the album is a cathartic experience for the band. The composure of “Try to Explain” shows that they’re not waiting for superheroes to save the world, or worrying about evil pink robots; instead it’s a testament to a newfound maturity. Coyne’s voice has a reverence that makes it sound like a church hymn, a feeling reinforced by the sounds of low-pitched bells. The melody is perfectly shaped, reaching a natural crescendo of noise before fading calmly back again. Even the more personal moments (“You got a lot of nerves / a lot of nerves to fuck with me”) are tempered by this mellow introspection. But sometimes the turmoil breaks through. The loopy echoes and distant, incomprehensible vocals in “The Terror” mask a rumbling discontent that suddenly blasts into the open, a tonally jarring fog-horn that sounds like a cargo ship gone off-course. The Terror is built on these random interactions between ambient psychedelic sounds and its harsher experimental interludes. The album ebbs and ﬂows, an endless tug-of-war that grows incrementally towards a harsher, darker direction before fading back again. What’s novel is that they’ve taken the clashing chords and syncopations from their experimental days and bottled them up into songs that are well-structured, but are still somehow chaotic.
“Butterﬂy (How Long It Takes To Die)” is a case in point. Kaleidoscopic, yes, with airy Tame Impalaesque vocals (“You can see the universe beginning / Making all the sun and the sky”) that barely rise above dense layers of guitar feedback. But at the same time, there’s an undercurrent of restlessness driven by constantly-shifting drum patterns that makes it seem agitated and on-edge. All this culminates in “You Lust,” the centrepiece and a kind of mini-map for the album. It grows from an austere organ riff to a multi-layered soundscape of sitars and etheric cooing, before suddenly cutting off into a bizarre tribal chorus chant (“Lust to succeed / Lust to succeed”), before reverting back again. Here, it’s just not sustainable. Songs like “Be Free, A Way” work because they’re self-contained. But at thirteen minutes, “You Lust” is repetitive. Though they’ve tried to make it sound exotic and dense, there’s not enough variation, and certainly nothing distinct enough, to warrant the hefty time investment. You could say the same thing about several other songs as well, which seem like rehashes of a generic psychedelic template. “You are Alone” is actually too short to allow anything substantial to develop; instead, its siren-like wave synth reverberates into an uncomfortable emptiness devoid of added layers or tonal shifts. Likewise, “Turning Violent” suffers from being overly sensitive and quiet. Coyne’s voice here is as indistinct as the song itself, with its thinly-written bass lines and lack of variation. Especially after the relentless pace of its predecessor, “Butterﬂy (How Long It Takes to Die),” it comes across as frustratingly slow and unnecessary. Nonetheless, these are small bones in an otherwise large well-roasted Christmas turkey. You have to respect how it’s written and conceived. It’s ironic that its most personal quality comes from its restraint– something you wouldn’t expect from a group whose music is perforated with motifs of space travel and hyper-optimistic absurdities. In making such a move, there was always the risk of overdoing it and creating something disingenuous. But it’s exactly the opposite, so that when you ﬁnally get to the rumbling ﬁnish (“Always There…In Our Hearts”) which revives the promise of the ambient sunrise that was supposed to be rising, you can’t help but feel that it’s more of a sunset.
The album ebbs and flows, an endless tug-of-war that grows incrementally towards a harsher, darker direction before fading back again.
Iron Man: Striking and Still Hot
WATCH // MOVIE Iron Man 3 Director Shane Black 2013 ROBERT SELTH
REMEMBER the opening of the ﬁrst Iron Man ﬁlm? We see a convoy of trucks crossing a desert valley. There is a moment of quiet; and then, the massive, unmistakeable crunch of AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. It plays as a clear statement of selfconﬁdence: this ﬁlm, we realise, knows exactly how impressive it is, it knows that we are going to love it (or it doesn’t care if we don’t), and it is going to be bold about it. At the beginning of Iron Man 3, we hear Tony Stark speaking, at ﬁrst very seriously, and we see images of his creations being destroyed. Then, just like the ﬁrst time, a song begins. But this time it’s not AC/DC. It’s a certain charmingly awful pop hit from the ‘90s that probably counts as the song you would least expect to appear in any Iron Man ﬁlm, ever. Thus does Iron Man 3 signal its intentions. It is ready to turn our expectations on their heads, and it is capable of shifting gears very quickly. And above all, just like the ﬁrst ﬁlm, Iron Man 3 relies on the assumption that its audience is on its side. “I’m different now,” Stark comments at
the end of the ﬂashback that follows this opening curveball. “I’m ... well, you know who I am.” And there, once again, is that crucial self-conﬁdence. We know this character, we know this world, and the ﬁlm knows that we know. Director Shane Black is in full command, and he’s willing to take a lot of risks. He knows we’re ready to go along for the ride. Iron Man 3 is everything that The Avengers should have been: intelligent, funny, relevant, surprising, cathartic. In it, Stark (Robert Downey Jr, as ever) challenges a terrorist called the Mandarin (a superb Ben Kingsley), and simultaneously gets drawn into a confrontation with a bio-engineering corporation known as AIM. The two villains pretty quickly turn out to be working together, and Stark, who is suffering panic attacks in the aftermath of what happened in The Avengers, ﬁnds that forgotten people from the wild days of his youth are suddenly becoming very, very important. His home is destroyed in a spectacular raid, and his girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth
Paltrow) is nearly killed, after he commits the kind of basic, selﬁsh, impulsive error that makes him such a compellingly ﬂawed character. Then he ﬁnds himself alone, without any of his suits, in the middle of nowhere, and he has to pull his life back together with nothing but his courage and his ingenuity. This ﬁlm shows us how Tony Stark copes when he’s totally, irredeemably out of his depth. Forget Nick Fury and that laughable ﬂying battleship; this is one man ﬁghting for everything he cares about, with barely more than the clothes he stands up in, while he’s desperately trying to keep the lid on some severe emotional turmoil. Robert Downey Jr brings the character’s humanity and vulnerability to the fore, perfectly conveying the insecurity that has always made Iron Man the most interesting Marvel superhero. Tony Stark skids all over the emotional map, tipping in an instant from laser-beam focus into reckless abandon, because frenetic, non-stop motion is the only way he can keep himself going and still ignore the fear and confusion
The Fighting League bring their famously energetic live show to the Canberra launch of a retrospective book of the ‘Bizoo’ zine at the Front café and bar in Lyneham on Friday the 24th of May. Supporting are Bad Phar and Dead DJ Joke, bands start at 9pm and entry’s $10.
That same night make sure you make your way down to the Phoenix to catch Queenbeyan’s favourite sons, The Vee Bees. Their irreverent brand of ocker rock and roll translates into hilariously fun live shows and their ode to the humble drive thru, ‘Drive thru Bottlo’ is some essential YouTube viewing. Supported by Turbo Belco and Seedy Jeezus, the show’s free and starts at 8pm.
Iron Man 3 is everything that The Avengers should have been: intelligent, funny, relevant, surprising, cathartic.
THE FIGHTING LEAGUE
sizzling just under the surface. Iron Man 3 is constantly surprising us – there is barely a moment when it is possible to predict what will happen next. The dialogue is loaded with wit, the action scenes are as good as you would expect from Marvel, and the special effects manage to be ﬁrst-rate without ever distracting us from the story or the characters. Most memorably, the ﬁrst half of the ﬁlm gives us the most frightening villain of the trilogy; and then the second half does something even better. I cannot say more, except to note how good the Iron Man ﬁlms are at tapping into the fears and preoccupations of contemporary America. The ﬁrst ﬁlm showed us war in the Middle East, and asked us to fear a group of dark-skinned men in a desert cave. Now we are ﬁve years on, post-GFC, and this ﬁlm reﬂects the way in which power and villainy are now being understood to be more complex than was once thought – and how the true source of both is often hidden. Tony Stark is set to appear again in the second Avengers ﬁlm, but in the meantime this ﬁlm provides a ﬁtting and fulﬁlling closure to his personal story. Iron Man 3 is blockbuster entertainment par excellence, and it’s one of the best ﬁlms that Marvel has ever produced.
THE VEE BEES
Cinnamon Records curates this week’s instalment of the Phoenix Pub’s Bootleg Sessions on the 20th of May. While generally pretty hit and miss, this one likely won’t disappoint boasting a great line-up of emerging Canberra acts. Mornings headline the show with their mix of pop and post-rock songs and are supported by upand-comers Beach Slut and Atlantes. Rounding out the bill is Mickey Shanahan (formerly Kingﬁsher) and his hauntingly beautiful folk ballads about life in the nation’s capital; be sure to pick up his new EP ‘Suicide and City Planning’. ATLANTES
Prominent American metalcore acts The Ghost Inside and Emmure hit Canberra as part On the 25th of May the Magpies Club in Civic of this Australian tour on the 29th of May. Supplays host to ‘Canberra City Punk Fest’. Nineteen ported by Hand of Mercy and Antagonist A.D., bands, primarily from Canberra and New South they’re playing the Basement in Belconnen, tickWales, will play an all-day mini-festival starting at ets on the door. midday and going till late. The highlight of the day will probably be Central Coast skinhead/Oi! outﬁt SOMETHING FOR KATE First Assault. Entry’s $10, the beer’s cheap and they have Resch’s on tap down there. FIRST ASSAULT
The 31st of May sees late 90s/early 2000s Ozrock legends Something for Kate play at the Zierholz at the University of Canberra. Tickets are $45 from the UC website and doors are 8.30pm.
It’s a Bit of a Trek Well Fed PLAY // GAME Don’t Starve! Platform: PC Developer: Klei Entertainment
MICAH KIM THERE’S something rotten in the world of Don’t Starve!. It’s supposed to be a jolly old camping trip where we sing folk music sitting around the ﬁre while roasting marshmallows. Yet I can’t seem to craft a banjo. So I just stare at the hypnotic ﬁreplace, stomach grumbling, waiting for the night to be – wait, what the heck was that? Did something move? What’s that growling sound? No, no no no NO-! And that was how I died on the ﬁfth night. When Klei Entertainment (Shank, Mark of the Ninja) was making Don’t Starve!, they seem to have had a very speciﬁc audience in their mind: those who like to play hopscotch on the lines between life and death. You are dropped into the middle of somewhere and you must survive. There are no signs or text boxes saying that you should punch some wood or stay away from frogs. And because of that, the game turns into something horrifyingly beautiful. Saying Klei Entertainment has restyled Minecraft does not do the game justice. There are common roots, however; you are plonked somewhere and you must survive. But this game focuses on the survival, in contrast to Minecraft’s focus on the creativity. You cut trees, start a campﬁre and chase after those cursed rabbits, give up and start gathering petals and seeds to eat. Once you’ve become accustomed to this system (chase rabbits, swear, eat berries) the goal shifts to unlocking all the technology, so you can strive for a better living condition. Yet no matter how much you ﬂourish, you always feel exposed. You are never quite sure how to heal yourself, you only have one weapon, and you are unsure of how effective it is. And then on some nights, you are attacked, making sure that you are always on your toes. This notion of insecurity is supported by the 2D isometric view the game is set on. You can’t put a roof over your head, and any building materials are either scarce expensive. The graphics look like something from Emily the Strange’s world, but with Klei’s artistic style. The sound effects are Lovecraftian, but with a bit of charm. All of these elements are skilfully crafted and co-ordinated, able to immerse you in the dark world of Don’t Starve! – and it works. Freud would have a ﬁeld day if he saw this. However, once you’ve progressed and you’re able to systematically survive through several days, the solitude becomes dull. The actions required to survive becomes repetitive and the items to progress your tech tree are either too rare, or you’re baﬄed as to how you should obtain them. It lacks the creativity that is allowed in Minecraft; you can’t progress any further than the essentials. Thus the only reason you’re still playing is because of all the time you’ve invested on that save ﬁle. Death is not an option either, as your world is deleted once you die. With multiple characters, something of a plot, and a soundtrack that recalls the Addams Family, this is a unique experience. If you enjoyed Minecraft’s survival aspect, then you’ll love this. But if you wanted to decorate your world with pixelated Pikachu, just play Terraria or Minecraft.
WATCH // MOVIE Star Trek: Into Darkness Directed by J.J. Abrams 2013 EMILY MCKAY I’LL admit I had never seen Star Trek before the 2009 ﬁlm. My dad had a whole bunch of the DVDs, but any time he popped them in the DVD player it was an unfortunate coincidence – I was always studying, out, napping, washing my hair, sitting in another room waiting for it to be over, etc. He convinced me to see the 2009 and I absolutely loved it, so I had extremely high expectations for Star Trek: Into Darkness. This ﬁlm ﬁnds the eclectic crew of the Enterprise hunting a rogue Starﬂeet agent, played stunningly by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is waging a one man war on humanity. John Harrison (Cumberbatch) takes refuge in a deserted area of Qo’noS – the Klingons’ home planet. Humans and Klingons are on the brink of war, and when the Enterprise breaks down on the edge of Klingon territory they have to ask for help from the very man they were hunting. The plot of the ﬁlm is somewhat thin, though there’s enough to make you quite emotional. I love to see a bad guy with a bit of heart, and the bromance-triangle between Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and
Kirk continues to develop. I always empathise with villains who are facing a massive organisation on their own (a la Raoul Silva in Skyfall) – though I’m not sure if this is the director’s intention or I’m just a bit of a weirdo. All the cast return, and we are introduced to Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) the newest (and slightly suspicious) crew member on the Enterprise. Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonderful villain, and as my (straight) roommate said, “his voice just gives me an instant boner”. Though the logical aspect
I love to see a bad guy with a bit of heart, and the bromance-triangle between Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Kirk continues to develop. of his character is very much in the vein of Sherlock, he is more human and in a way vulnerable than his BBC character. Karl Urban constantly overacts as Bones, though I like to hope that this is an intentional homage to the original series. Urban has long been a fan of Star Trek, and his pessimistic cheesiness works well with Kirk’s arrogance, Spock’s logic and Chekov’s enthusiasm.
Sulu (John Cho) and Chekov (Anton Yelchin) take on more responsibilities in this ﬁlm, which is good to see. I also adore Quinto as Spock: he brilliantly embodies the internal battle of logic versus emotion. Chris Pine as Kirk is as charming and arrogant as ever, but after the events of this ﬁlm it is clear he will never be the same carefree Captain he was before. And Simon Pegg returns as everybody’s favourite engineer Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, getting to prove how brave and loyal he is. But the main star of this ﬁlm, however, is Chris Pine’s face. Seriously, what happened to it? Did he get another Malvaran Mud Flea vaccine? The problem with movies with so many principle characters is that it’s hard to ﬁnd them all something to do. It’s almost as if J. J. Abrams was going through a checklist of what the characters were good at. Uhura speaks some Klingon, Chekov does some engineering, Bones does some experiments, Sulu gets sassy – but Abrams seems to have aimed to get all the characters to play an important role, and this seems a bit forced. Maybe he needs to watch The Italian Job again to see how a real team works. Overall, the ﬁlm is very good and an excellent follow-up to the original. The characters are as charming as ever, but there is an added depth to them that we didn’t see in the previous ﬁlm. Cumberbatch makes a formidable adversary, and it would be wonderful if he could return for future ﬁlms. But seriously, Chris Pine’s face. What. Happened.
Coffin and Spluttering: Vampire Wimps? APOLLO
ROBERT SELTH Apollo is Woroni’s regular column in which our reviewers offer comment and opinion on cultural questions beyond our individual reviews. LET’S talk about vampires. You probably already have an opinion about them. Finding new and progressively more creative ways to pour scorn on Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight franchise has been a common pastime for many years now. Besides the general awfulness of the writing, and the patent talentlessness of the film stars, the most common point of criticism is the Twilight version of vampirism. After all, real vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight, do they? They burn in the sunlight – or at least crumble into dust. And hang on, since when can vampires fly and exert superhuman strength without even having to shut themselves away in a coffin at night? What happened to vampirism being a curse, a fate you actually wouldn’t want to suffer?
But rather than simply deploring this interpretation of the legend, it might be an idea to start asking WHY. How exactly did this new style of vampire arise, and why has it been embraced with such enthusiasm by writers and filmmakers alike? I believe the answer lies in the symbolism at the heart of the vampire myth – and the cultural transformations that have overtaken it. See, it’s not just Twilight. Vampires have been getting less and less horrifying and more and more human for a long time now. Think back to the original vampire legend: Dracula, that terrifying, freakish monster of the night, an evil, repulsive creature. When Bram Stoker’s creation was brought to the screen as Nosferatu, he was depicted as almost more animal than human. He had teeth like a rat, reptilian skin, batlike ears, and his movements were those of a rodent – a rat surprised in the night. More significantly, viewers were encouraged to respond to him as an inhuman, bestial monster, and to feel not just relieved but somehow cleansed and purified when the sun’s rays finally wiped him out. What they were definitely not asked to do was to sympathise with the monster, let alone identify with him. And for the next fifty years or so, things stayed that way. When vampires cropped up – in comic books, in the British Hammer studio’s low-budget horror flicks – they remained evil and they remained gruesome. Then in 1976, Anne Rice published her novel Interview with the Vampire, and the mythology devised by Stoker was deeply
and permanently altered. Her radical idea was to make the vampire the protagonist and portray him as an attractive and sympathetic figure. Rice’s character, Louis, is sensitive, troubled and romantic, and constantly struggles against his craving for human blood. The book itself is sadly rather vapid and dull, but that didn’t matter: by humanising the vampire, Anne Rice changed the way the public looked at the legend. From there it doesn’t seem too much of a stretch before we get to Edward Cullen, who is not only portrayed sympathetically, but has become so much of a sex symbol he’s probably captured more young hearts than Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt combined. (And that’s before he even got onscreen – Cullen was already THE standard teen crush when he was still a purely literary character, which in today’s world is probably a unique achievement.) But hang on: when you stop and think about it, the transformation we’re looking at here is pretty much a 180 degree revolution. Vampires have gone from being monsters to sexed-up romantic heroes. What the hell happened? Look at what the vampire represents. Most of the classic monsters have retained their popularity – and their scare power – because they stand for real-life terrors. Werewolves symbolise the animal forces in human nature; zombies represent death; we remain scared by them because they tap in to our fear of the genuine horrors that we do have to confront in our lives. Vampires are
How exactly did this new style of vampire arise, and why has it been embraced with such enthusiasm by writers and filmmakers alike?
no different … except that the horror they represent has recently been through a revolution of its own. Vampires symbolise sexuality. They come out at night. They transmit themselves by blood. They are driven by hunger for human flesh. One of the most powerful passages in Dracula describes the male hero’s encounter with the Count’s daughters, who materialise in his bedroom at night and whose craving for his blood definitely has undertones far beyond the desire to feed. They argue in excited whispers over which of them will go first – “He is young and strong; there are kisses for us all” – and the man pretending to be asleep is aroused to the point that he almost surrenders willingly and without a fight. But Dracula was published in 1897, when Victorian attitudes to sex still prevailed: the vampire is a creeping, hideous thing in the night, something to be repressed, fought off and ideally eradicated. Nineteenth-century readers were scared by Dracula because the thing he symbolised scared them too. But for the youth of the 21st century, the opposite is true. Sex is not evil and does not need to be repressed – sexuality is accepted, encouraged and treated without fear or superstition. And so the vampires of today reflect today’s attitude to the thing they symbolise. As the nineteenth-century imagination produced Dracula, so the modern imagination produces Edward Cullen, who can come out in the sunlight, who interacts positively with a human heroine, and whose appeal is obviously and uncontroversially sexual. And if he is a fundamentally tedious creation – if he lacks charisma, if there is zero complexity or nuance to his personality, if nothing about him is genuinely exciting, mysterious, or compelling – then perhaps this too reflects something about the sexual attitudes of the culture that produced him.
SPORT// 38 JOSHUA CHU-TAN
Dimitrov Breaks Out
MARK FABIAN GRIGOR Dimitrov, a little known Bulgarian tennis player, knocked world number 1 Novak Djokovic out of the Madrid masters in the second round on 8 May. Some people were very surprised. Those who have been watching Dimitrov for some time probably just breathed a sigh of relief. Dimitrov has been steadily rising in the ATP rankings for several years, and was expected to break out long ago—probably around the same time as his junior tour compatriot Dolgopolov, who made the Australian Open Quarter Final in 2011. This expectation relates to Dimitrov’s conquest of the US Open and Wimbeldon junior titles in 2008. Of greater significance for expectations is that Dimitrov’s game and techniques look disturbingly similar to that of Federer’s when the Greatest of All Time was Dimitrov’s age. Both players hug the baseline, both have unusually flat trajectories on their strokes for modern players, both use the increasingly rare single handed backhand and both like to get to the net. In addition, Dimitrov shows the same flamboyance, speed and disregard for risk that Federer displayed in his youth. Dimitrov’s game, like Federer’s, is better suited to the grass and harcourts of the US Open and Wimbeldon. On these surfaces the risk-reward ratio turns in favour of aggressive play. On clay and plexicushion (the Australian Open surface) high bounce and the cushioning effect of the surface make aggressive play statistically disadvantageous. It might seem odd then that Dimitrov beat Djokovic in Madrid—isn’t that a claycourt? Yes, but Madrid is played at altitude, and the thin air means Madrid is notorious for playing like a high bouncing hardcourt in terms of pace. This is why Federer was able to defeat Nadal there, no doubt costing some punters a lot of dough when they extrapolated the result to the much slower Roland Garros courts. As such, don’t expect much from Dimitrov for the remainder of the clay court season, but come Wimbledon, even if saddled with another bad draw, he should go deep. He retired hurt in 2012, and in 2011 was only defeated in an electrifying five setter by eventual semi-finalist Tsonga, who beat an on-form Federer in the quarters. Dimitrov is a player to watch in the coming years. As he matures he will hopefully follow Federer into a calm, composed game characterised by surgical aggression, and will be extremely competitive. As a bonus, his brand of tennis is exhilarating to watch, and a nice change from the deep in the court rallies increasingly characteristic of modern tennis. Mark Fabian is head coach of the ANU tennis club.
Fergie Calls It Quits
MANCHESTER United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson has shocked the footballing world after announcing his retirement after this season. His 26 year reign at Old Trafford will finally come to an end, but the 71 year old will remain at United to be Director of Football. His term at United was truly an astonishing one winning 13 league titles and two Champions League crowns. In total, he won 38 trophies with the Red Devils and FIFA president doubts the world of football will ever see a run like his again. Sepp Blatter said on Twitter, “His achievements in the game place without a doubt as one of the ‘greats’. Will his longevity at the top ever be repeated?” In a statement released on the Manchester United website, the Scot said, ““The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time. It was important to me to leave an organisation in the strongest possible shape and I believe I have done so. The quality of this league winning squad, and the balance of ages within it, bodes well for continued success at the highest level whilst the structure of the youth set-up will ensure that the long- term future of the club remains a bright one. “Our training facilities are amongst the finest in global sport and our home Old Trafford is rightfully regarded as one of the leading venues
in the world. Going forward, I am delighted to take on the roles of both director and ambassador for the club. With these activities, along with my many other interests, I am looking forward to the future. I must pay tribute to my family, their love and support has been essential. My wife Cathy has been the key figure throughout my career,
It certainly will be a bizarre sight next season seeing United play without Ferguson on the bench chewing gum, screaming at the fourth referee or raising his arms up in delight when his side scores a goal. providing a bedrock of both stability and encouragement. Words are not enough to express what this has meant to me. “As for my players and staff, past and present, I would like to thank them all for a staggering level of professional conduct and dedication that has
helped to deliver so many memorable triumphs. Without their contribution the history of this great club would not be as rich. In my early years, the backing of the board, and Sir Bobby Charlton in particular, gave me the confidence and time to build a football club, rather than just a football team. “Over the past decade, the Glazer family have provided me with the platform to manage Manchester United to the best of my ability and I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a talented and trustworthy chief executive in David Gill. I am truly grateful to all of them. “To the fans, thank you. The support you have provided over the years has been truly humbling. It has been an honour and an enormous privilege to have had the opportunity to lead your club and I have treasured my time as manager of Manchester United.” Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson go hand in hand. It certainly will be a bizarre sight next season seeing United play without Ferguson on the bench chewing gum, screaming at the fourth referee or raising his arms up in delight when his side scores a goal. Life without Fergie will now start over in Trafford, but for now let’s just pay tribute to what he has done for this club and what he has done for football. Sir Alex Ferguson will be missed. Follow Josh on Twitter @joshchutan
NBA Playoffs Well Underway RUPERT LEMESSURIER IT’S that time of year again. The NBA’s regular season has come to an end and while fourteen unlucky, or just downright abysmal, teams sit idly by this post-season, the top eight from each conference duke it out for a spot in the NBA Finals and a chance at winning a coveted championship ring. For the uneducated, the NBA consists of 30 teams split into two geographically divided conferences, East and West. Each team plays a total of 82 games, against all opposition, in order to earn a spot in their respective conference playoffs. From there, teams play each other based on seeding in a best of seven series with the victor progressing through to the next round. The NBA championship is then decided in another best of seven series between the East and West conference champions. East Continuing on from their 2012 glory, the Miami Heat posted the best regular season record (66-16) since Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach. The star-studded Heat are the clear favourites for this year’s Championship coming off a phenomenal late season run that saw them go 38-3 from their last 41 games (including a 27 game win streak). It came as no surprise, then, when a dominant Miami swept a hapless Bucks outfit (4-0), which managed only 38 wins during the season, to be the first team through to the second round. The other first round Eastern Conference match ups proved more of a struggle as the Indiana Pacers bested the Atlanta Hawks in a series lasting six games while New York Knicks claimed their first series win of the millennium (4-2) against an aging Boston Celtics. Sadly this signals the end of an era for the Celtics as they look to of-
fload veterans Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in order to build a new dynasty around injured star Rajon Rondo. The series between fourth and fifth seeds (Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls) was the hardest fought of the opening round and the only series to go the distance to seven games. The Bulls, already down 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, overcame
Besides Miami, this year’s championship contenders all hail from the West, with the top five teams all boasting better records than the East’s second placed Knicks. injury and illness woes, to starters Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, to prevail. Nate Robinson’s handling and sharp shooting as well as second year rookie Jimmy Butler’s endurance proving the difference. West Besides Miami, this year’s championship contenders all hail from the West, with the top five teams all boasting better records than the East’s second placed Knicks. The Greg Popovic coached San Antonio Spurs have proved timeless, again, taking the West’s second seeding and took no time in disposing of an injury plagued Los Angeles Lakers (4-0) who were without their best four front court players and Metta World Peace. Dwight Howard turned recalcitrant, exacerbating the Lakers problems, when he was ejected during
the sudden death game four after receiving a second technical foul. Meanwhile the other three first round encounters of the West all went 4-2 with the Golden State Warriors putting an end to the Denver Nuggets. Denver Coach, George Karl, has since won a posthumous Coach of the Year Award – though it’s unlikely the accolade will console him. Spurred on by big forward combination of Zach Randolph and Mark Gasol the Memphis Grizzlies knocked out the young and exciting LA Clippers who will no doubt come back stronger next year. The most interesting encounter of the round was between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets. 2012 sixth man of the year, James Harden, faced the side that he made it to the NBA Finals with last year. The extra minutes and freedom given to him as a starter at Houston weren’t enough to overpower his former teammates and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant despite the loss of All Star Russell Westbrook in game two. The second round is now underway and the remaining teams are evenly poised for a tilt at a Championship. Only a few questions remain. Can Chicago extinguish the Heat long enough to allow their injured stars to return? Will Golden State be able to break their 29 away game losing streak in San Antonio? Will Manu Ginobli cease being so profligate from beyond the arc? Can the Thunder’s big men find some form and take it to Memphis? And can New York kick it up a gear against the Pacers and march further into unknown? Stay tuned to find out.
THEY say a week is a long time in footy but consider how much has changed in the last 12 years. The Australian sporting landscape was a prettier picture back then. Sydney hosted one of the most successful Olympic games and Australia was proud of its swimmers. We didn’t have to like Lleyton Hewitt for his personality but rather because he was winning. The Australian cricket team didn’t have to worry about because “winning solves everything,” said Tiger woods. Most importantly the Wallabies had all the silverware in its trophy cabinet it could get its hands on. This of course included the Tom Richards Trophy, the trophy awarded to the winner of the best of three test series between the British & Irish Lions and the Wallabies. In less than a month the British & Irish Lions will commence its tour of Australia starting with the Western Force on 5th June, which will culminate with a test series against the Wallabies with the final test on 6th July in Sydney. Despite the die-hard rugby tragics out there, I sense a lack of enthusiasm for a rare sporting event. Despite amateur sport being a lost concept on the younger generations of Australia, the Lions tour captures the essence of a proper sporting tour. It is uncommon for professional sporting teams to tour for more than two or three games in a given country and typically those games are exhibition matches. The Lions tour, which only comes around every 12 years, represents an opportunity that is rare in professional sport where the team and its fans can develop a relationship with its host country. For one whole month a red bandwagon of Lions supporters will travel the country and if you’re lucky enough not to meet a POM whining about the size of his beer, you will probably get the chance to meet a fan keen to enjoy Australian hospitality (I’m referring of course to the Scottish, Irish and Welsh). This opportunity to engage with visiting fans only occurs with major sporting events and rarely visiting team’s fans can create an atmosphere like Lions supporters. Of course, the spectacle in itself will be fascinating. The Lions are led by a strong Welsh contingent, coming off an impressive performance in the Six Nations. The team will be led by Sam Warburton (the bloke who was robbed in 2011 of securing Wales’ first ever World Cup) and coached by Warren Gatland. The Lions will be brutal up front and try to replicate Ireland’s mauling of the Wallabies in the 2011 RWC or if you care to recall, England’s demolition derby in the 2007 RWC. With a heavy emphasis on size and power in the backs, the Lions will inevitably attempt to intimidate the Wallabies, who despite their lack of size, will hope that it can utilize its speed and guile to its advantage. For the Wallabies, Robbie Deans should follow the lead of his counterpart; formulate a game plan of rugby that wins games. This means selecting Queensland and Brumbies players. The stats have shown that individual players with the Brumbies and Reds, despite lacking the amount of test caps as their NSW rivals, are busting more tackles and gaining more metres. Lions’ series are typified by their brutality and high casualty rate. Deans should picks those players willing to play unselfishly and go forward. This will create the impetuous for running rugby that will benefit Australian rugby not only on the field but also in the stands. The Lions represent something unique about the code of rugby union, which its rival codes, cannot buy. Despite being outstripped in terms of ratings, attendance and money in Australia, rugby union has a rivalry on a national scale that has endured since 1888. The Lions have not tasted success for 16 years and will be keen to rectify the mistakes of tours gone by and restore their pride. The Wallabies on the other hand will hope their victory will kick-start the process of repainting a brighter picture for Australia’s sporting landscape.
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LEILA PACKETT 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. Iwould like to start my column this week by offering an unequivocal apology to my readers for the offensive content published on the back page of the last Woroni. I know… Frankiepolitan was missing. I am ever so terribly sorry, but I have an excuse, I swear: I came down with an extreme case of Gatsby fever and could barely leave the house. Like any self-respecting pixie girl, I’ve been preparing myself for the release of Luhrmann’s adaptation. How could he do this to us? Carey Mulligan was already the wet dream of self-obsessed boys who fancy themselves intellectuals. She shot into their collective wank-
bank in 2009 when she appeared in An Education as a pretty schoolgirl who handed over her hymen on a platter the moment she met a man who could hold a coherent conversation about art and music. She cemented this a few years later by marrying Marcus Mumford, a bearded dingbat who can play two album length songs on his banjo. She is a symbol of hope for males everywhere who believe they got no action in high school because girls weren’t mature enough to understand them, even though they are still not getting any action in University because they are still an asshole. And then Baz Luhrmann had to go and cast Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. I’m not going to waste space going into the details of how this will change everything. Any woman who’s ever had to act impressed with something dumb a man has said or done because he won’t fuck you unless he believes he is smarter than you will understand. Carey cannot be matched in the creation of an air of naïve admiration and now she will be doing it in a $100,000 vintage headband. The fact that Luhrmann is recontextualising Gatsby won’t help either. It might have been bearable to listen to douchebags discuss their superior knowledge of jazz after the release of the ﬁlm. It is going to be almost impossible not to roll our eyes when they start analysing the fact that Jay-Z is a modern Gatsby and if the man himself had lived in our time he might have been described as ‘loose’. And therein lays the perfection of Mulligan’s selection for the role of Daisy: she is the only woman living whom men will believe when she ‘earnestly’ tells Gatsby that his parties in her honour aren’t pathetic, they’re imaginative. The rest of us will just have to reboot ﬂapper fashion and try our best to live up to the illusion that Mulligan has succeeded in creating, that of being a “beautiful little fool”. Lots of love Leila
Advice From Religion Jamie Freestone, Mathew McGann & Todd Cooper
COMICS BY STEPH COX This Week’s Question: How should I deal with my anger. This Week’s Advice From: The Greek Pantheon.
Last edition of Semester 1!