Woroni Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Queer* Pull Out on Pages 29-36
Cover by Julia Hammer
More than Meets the Eye: Understanding Visible Homelessness in Civic Eleanor Armstrong
Issue 3, Vol. 67
The Revolution Must Be Accessible: Accessibility in the Queer Community Sam Green
Optical Experiences: An Interview with Cat Mueller Tom Campbell
Study Spots for Sad and Stressed Students Clodagh Oâ€™Doherty
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Contents News 3
ANU and The Gods Face Legal Battle Jasper Lindell and Bella Dimattina 4
Save the Arts Campaign Relaunched Jasper Lindell 5
ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Trail: Walking Through Past, Present and Future Bronte McHenry Mobile Phone App Brings ANU History to Life Lorane Gaborit
Acknowledgement of Country
Foreign Film Fights: Sub vs Dub Caroline Hendy Queer* pull-out 29
How I Met Your Mother, Probably Gene Pinter 30
Torso of Dionysus From Gymnasium Florin Giles 31
In Conversation with Tilly Lawless Charlotte Goodman
Looking Up: How Vertical Gardens Transform our City Robyn Lewis greenery Julia Yan 50
Environmental Justice: Cries that go Ignored Lydia J Kim 51
A Conversation with Leonard Weiss Jasper Lindell
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: My Experience with Erectile Dysfunction Nick Wyche
Why your Merchandise Matters ANU Students Wanting to Eliminate All Textile Sweatshops
ANU Graduate Launches Petition Against Revenge Porn Jasper Lindell comment 8
More than Meets the Eye: Understanding Visible Homelessness in Civic Eleanor Armstrong 9
A Fair Shake of the Sauce Bottle Emma Davis 10
Feminism at the Crossroads Hayley Keen 11
Purple Day Briana Grame 12
Off Campus, on my Mind Laura Perkov 13
How Identity Politics gets Inclusiveness Backwards Mark Fabian 14
A Man of Many Mentors Anthony Merlino 15
Mental Health and the Media Zach Mackey International 16
The Politics of Fear James Atkinson 17
An Interview with a Tibetan Refugee Lachlan Oberg 18
Quiz: Which Cool Queer Girl from History are You? Laura Perkov and Doom McDoom 34
The Revolution Must Be Accessible: Accessibility in the Queer Community Sam Green An Open Letter to Cisgender People Celeste Sandstrom 35
Can you have your Cake and Eat it? Robyn Lewis 36
The Ally Issue Eben Ejdne
Electoral Possibilities: Can Le Pen be Beaten? Alex Gernath features
business & economics 54
Do Robots Dream of Personal Deductibles? Luigi Falasconi 55
And we’re on the Road to Bondi: A Runner’s Perspective of Civic2Surf Joshua Dundas
Breaking the Norm Anonymous arts 39
Optical Experiences: An Interview with Cat Mueller Tom Campbell
England Rugby’s Unbeaten Run Keeps Kicking On Zach Mackey satire
Ode to Clive Manya Sinha
Precious Arrival Anna Morscheck
Suicide: The Meaning of Death and Life Janice Peh
Of Copper and Silver Kasthury Paramiswaran
Les Possibilités Electorales: Qui Pourra Battre Le Pen? Alex Gernath
3D Printing: It’s More than Magic Imogen Brown
Identity-Fashion Gem Webb
அன்புள்ள அப்பா (Dear Father) Sumithri Venketasubramanian
Unravelling the Dynamics of Adaptability and Memory: An Interview on Neural Plasticity Jennifer Tinston
Satoshi’s Legacy Nick Blood
Choices? Una Chen 19
Where is My Ace Positivity? Gabriel Scott
‘Our art centre is our last line of defence’: Resisting the Australian War Memorial’s decade-old interpretative remit from the insiden Emily Gallagher
Parmageddon: Taking Pub Cuisine by the Antlers Pettie Bage and Dylan Grey
Romanticism on Sodor? Time for Thomas to Leave Elizabeth Harris Comic Caitlin Setnicar Sudoku Sebastian Rossi Cryptic Crossword NWJ
Review: Onetoeight Ruby Thomas Review: Logan Brandon Tan 44
Review: Songs for the Band Unformed by John Passant Victoria Fay
Two Tongues One Classroom Nigarish Haider 23
Things Thought in Showers Rarely Happen the Way You Want Mahalia Crawshaw 24 & 25
A Day in the Life of Henri Scott Dillon Vibes 26
LIfe and style Study Spots for Sad and Stressed Students Clodagh O’Doherty
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Loveitis Phoebe Hamra 47
The Alternate Facts About University Life The Secret Lecturer
You Have to Improv to Improve Stella Rapson
What if Animals did the Talking? Heloise Duce
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A Slice of the Pie Liam Osawa 27
What’s the Buzz? Yashi Kotnala
Correction: It has come to the attention of Woroni that in the article titled ‘Consent Matters in New ANU Learning Module’ published on 6 March it was implied that first-year Ursula Hall residents were not required to complete the online module. This is not the case, and the article has been amended online to reflect that. We apologise for this error.
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Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
ANU AND THE GODS FACE LEGAL BATTLE Text: Jasper Lindell and Bella Dimatinna
The future of The Gods Café and Bar is in the hands of lawyers, despite the ANU declaring it is working ‘in good faith’ with the owners to secure the popular café’s future. On Friday 17 March Woroni revealed that negotiations between the café’s management and the university had broken down over plans to move the café to the pop-up village during the Union Court redevelopment.
The Arts Centre, home of The Gods Café, is slated for demolition, despite the popular lunch spot and coffee destination having a lease until 2023. A spokesman for the ANU said: ‘Many existing vendors and some new ones have committed to be part of the popup. ‘ANU is keen to have The Gods café to be part of the pop-up and revitalised Union
Court, and continues to work in good faith to that outcome.’
It has since been confirmed that there is no agreement in place.
sad,’ Gods staff member Rhiannon Paddick told Woroni.
‘We’re not talking,’ the manager of the café, Jaye, said on 16 March of the negotiation process with the ANU.
Jaye said on 15 March that the ‘vibe’ of Gods was an extremely important part of campus life. ‘If a café has been in a place more than 10 years, it becomes an institution. Gods has been around more than three decades. It’s more a part of the history.’
A co-worker, Harry Cohen, stressed the ‘vibe’ of Gods, and said that losing this would be a tragedy for ANU students.
‘ANU has no problem getting external business, and we can’t stop that,’ Jaye, said on 15 March. At the Union Court redevelopment update meeting on Thursday 16 March, the executive director of administration and planning, Chris Grange, confirmed that there would be an increase in vendors in the redeveloped Union Court precinct. He said there was a focus on smaller spaces, meaning lower rents for vendors – with the hope for lower costs for students. Grange said there would be a ‘mix of old and new vendors’ in the redeveloped Union Court. No reference was made specifically to The Gods Café. The Gods has been under threat since the ANU announced plans to demolish the Arts Centre, the home of the café for three decades. The manager of the café, Jaye, said on 15 March that he did not have ‘a good feeling towards the whole negotiation process.’ ‘It is not very certain at the moment. We have been trying very hard to negotiate with the university,’ he said. The Gods had been offered a space in the pop-up village, but Jaye has said that ‘the issue is whether the spot is going to work for us’.
For some people, manager Jaye said, a visit to The Gods is as regular as brushing their teeth. ‘So much time and effort has been put into making the space special, and seeing it being taken away so soon is really
Meanwhile, Teatro Vivaldi has been given an eviction notice from the Arts Centre. The restaurant, which has been the venue of countless theatre and cabaret events over the last 14 years and has a history spanning 35 years, has no future after the demolition of the Arts Centre and will close in early June. Anthony Hill, who has run the restaurant with Mark Santos, said that the ANU had evicted the business and there had been no interest shown in Teatro Vivaldi moving to the pop-up village. ‘We have to be out by 30 June,’ Hill said, noting that Teatro Vivaldi had been asking the ANU for a new lease for the last four years. The eviction notice followed once the restaurant and cabaret venue was informed the lease would not be renewed. ‘In the past, we were really made to feel part of the community,’ Hill said, ‘But some elements didn’t see us in the future of the university.’ It is still unknown when the demolition of the Arts Centre will begin. When questioned on Thursday 16 March, the Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Marnie Hughes-Warrington, said at a Union Court update meeting that the date would not be known until it was confirmed when The Gods would be vacating their premises.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
save the arts campaign relaunched
Text: Jasper Lindell Theatre groups are concerned for the future of student productions during the Union Court redevelopment process, even as the ANU has sought to confirm the nature of the new theatre facilities. A deal is in place with the Canberra Repertory Society, the owners of Theatre 3, to provide space for student productions while the Arts Centre is demolished and Union Court is redeveloped. But this has not assuaged worries about the future of student productions.
Kat Carrington, a Save the Arts campaign organiser, said that this venue will not be able to accommodate everyone. ‘There are only three to five slots available for semester two. ‘About 20 production companies use the Arts Centre, and there are about 24 productions a year,’ she told Woroni last week.
Emails seen by Woroni suggest that theatre groups – including Burgmann College, Fenner Hall, the ANU Arts Revue, and other Halls and Colleges – have been scrambling to secure performance spaces.
Rehearsals for the Med Revue have been taking place in the Burgmann College chapel and a room in the psychology building. The Revue has now secured limited time in the Arts Centre Drama Lab.
Campus theatre groups have called on the ANU to subsidise hire fees for the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres theatre spaces to a comparable level with the ANU Arts Centre.
The disruption caused by the demolition of the Arts Centre has added around $4,000 in extra costs to the Med Revue, which donates its profits to charity. ‘Donating less money is not what we want, but I’m glad we can still go ahead,’ Peake said.
But the ANU’s executive director of administration and planning, Chris Grange, said in an email seen by Woroni that his ‘understanding is that we achieved enough additional theatre time with the Rep [Theatre 3] to provide the alternatives we need. This means we would not book time at other theatres, and in any case, the Gorman Arts Centre is a bit far away to be considered as a good option.’ Carrington said that the spaces at the Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres were the only spaces available to campus theatre groups that have not been booked out. Woroni understands that a suggestion has been made by a member of the Canberra arts community to provide a circus-style tent on campus during the redevelopment process as a performance space for student productions. Meanwhile, the Arts Centre will be demolished in May or June. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Marnie Hughes-Warrington, told an update meeting on the Union Court development on Thursday 16 March that the specific demolition date could not be determined, as it would depend on when The Gods Café vacated their premises. She also said the demolition date depends on whether the Arts Centre contains asbestos, which was ‘probable’. The director of the 2017 Med Revue, Jonathan Peake, said that the demolition plans for the Arts Centre have been a ‘huge pain in the arse’. Peake said that the Revue would be performed at Canberra Grammar School this year because no other space was available on campus. ‘It’s been a nightmare. I only managed to lock it in a month ago,’ he said.
Peake fully supports the Save the Arts campaign’s calls on the ANU to subsidise vene hire – something the university executive was reluctant to confirm or deny at the ANUSA ‘State of the Project’ meeting.
The Save the Arts campaign was formed last year by prominent members of the ANU arts community to agitate for a theatre space in the redeveloped Union Court. ‘Hopefully the campaign wakes the uni up a bit,’ Peake said. ‘It was always understood that the Arts Centre would be demolished,’ Carrington said. ‘But we wanted to ensure there would be a theatre, or theatre spaces, in the final plans to the same capacity
as we have currently.’ The ANU has confirmed there will be a theatre space in the redeveloped Union Court, stating that current plans should be confirmed in the coming weeks by the architects. The new outdoor amphitheatre is planned to seat 300, with a total capacity of 600. There will also be a 200-seat theatre, while an events facility will be able to host 1000 non-seated.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Trail: Walking Through Past, Present and Future Text: Bronte McHenry
The ANU, in collaboration with the four Representative Aboriginal Organisations in the ACT region, have developed a self-guided walk through ANU and surrounding areas. ANU Heritage, who also employed an Indigenous undergraduate student as an intern for the project, invited people of the Ngunnawal, Ngambri, Ngunawal and Ngarigu groups onto campus to share stories of the landscape and its cultural significance. The walk was then mapped using these significant locations, and includes Sullivans Creek, Black Mountain and scarred trees. The walk also guides visitors to sites and buildings on campus that house Indigenous studies or related research; areas that support Aboriginal staff and students; and places where student activism around Aboriginal lands rights has occurred.
The walk opens with welcomes from all four Indigenous groups, as well as a welcome from ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt.
Participants will be able to find the walk listed on the ANU Walks app following the project launch in April. A paper brochure will also be available.
Participants will be able to find the walk listed on the ANU Walks app following the project launch in April. A paper brochure will also be available. Major points around the route will be marked with signs containing information, and the starting point will be located at the edge of Fellows Oval near the Hancock Library. Learning Communities Coordinator, Waheed Jayhoon, who took part in a guided version of the walk with Ngunawal Elder Wally Bell in O-Week, told Woroni that it ‘was highly interesting’. The group ‘examined stones and other artefacts’, before visiting ‘the oldest tree on campus, which is estimated to be up to 500 years old!’
ANU Heritage Officer, Amy Jarvis, believes the walk will ‘help the ANU community engage with this important part of the region’s history and heritage.’ Jarvis also told Woroni she hopes participants will ‘see the campus landscape in a new light.’ The walk is in the final stages of review and approval. Jarvis confirms it will be available in time for the ACT and Region Heritage Festival in April.
The ANU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Walk will join eight other walks that are already available on the app. The walk has been developed by the ANU Heritage Department using funds acquired from the ACT Heritage Grants Program. The walk will become part of the existing Canberra Tracks network.
Mobile Phone App Brings ANU History to Life The app, which combines stills of the modern ANU landscape with historic photos, uses 360-degree photosphere technology to allow users to explore the Old Administrative Area of ANU.
Text: Lorane Gaborit
The beginnings of ANU are being showcased in a recently released smartphone app developed by Glasshouse Creative Media in collaboration with ANU Heritage.
Consisting of pre-fabricated huts, the ‘temporary’ buildings that made up the Old Administrative Area were described as resembling ‘a shed in a paddock’ by The Sydney Morning Herald in 1950. The weatherboard structures housed the first Chancelry, the first accounts offices and staff offices and laboratories, and saw numerous scientific and artistic advances – including Sir John Eccles’ 1963 Nobel Prize winning research in neurophysiology.
ANU Heritage commissioned the app in response to the last remaining building being knocked down late last year, making way for a new park area. A spokesperson for the project said the app would ‘provide intimacy with the place’s history, without requiring proximity to the site’. They went on to say that ‘while the buildings may now be gone – they are certainly not forgotten’. By engaging with the app, students, staff and community members will be able to virtually explore the inside and outside of the buildings. Users will also be able to learn about the establishment of the university, the foundation of its research schools, and the lives of its key players. Upon virtually entering buildings,
photos from the ANU Heritage archives are displayed with information about and quotes from the subjects. ‘A Shed in a Paddock: The beginnings of our ANU’ is one of several virtual applications recently released by the ANU. Around ANU, which was made available early last year, showcases 360-degree views of different parts of campus such as Chifley Library and the John Curtin School of Medical Research.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Text: Jasper Lindell Photography: Chloe Tredrea
Leonard Weiss appears late in the afternoon, a Stravinsky score in hand, with a smile exuding enthusiasm for concerts that won’t take place for months. Already he’s excited and talking rapidly about the array of performances, each with their own programs, plans and possibilities.
There’s little in music that Weiss doesn’t appear to find either ‘exciting’ or ‘very exciting’. We meet in the café at Llewellyn Hall to talk about the year ahead for the Canberra Youth Orchestra (CYO). The CYO, which doubles as an ensemble for students in the ANU’s School of Music, is gearing up to celebrate its 50th year with an action-packed a concert series. Weiss, who is the conductor and musical director of the CYO – among many other things – has a boyish eagerness about the Orchestra’s first concert, fast approaching on Saturday 8 April at Llewellyn Hall, which will feature acapella quartet The Idea of North. ‘They’re some of Australia’s best musicians … they’re totally amazing,’ Weiss says. ‘And for bonus points they were founded in Canberra, at the Canberra School of Music in about 1992, I think, when I was born, but that’s OK.’ On the program is a ‘bit of jazz’, which, Weiss tells me, ‘is so much fun. It’s so different from the orchestral language we normally see.’ ‘When you have a piece of music that says “swung” at the top of it, and you put it in front of the orchestra some of them say, “Swung? What does that mean? How does that work?” ‘I asked for a show of hands of how many players had played jazz music before, and about half put their hands up, which is really great. They’re adapting to it really well; it’s such a key language.’ Weiss says that experience across a range of different genres is important for anyone playing in an orchestra. ‘You can’t
A Conversation with Leonard Weiss walk into a symphony orchestra and say I’ve just played a lot of Mahler or Bach.’ Weiss stresses the importance of having a wide exposure to different possibilities of orchestral music.
This year, Weiss has a focus on contemporary repertoire. Perhaps ‘contemporary’ and ‘orchestra’ aren’t two words usually found in the same sentence, but Weiss quickly clarifies that, for the CYO, ‘contemporary’ means something written in the last 100 years. Also on the CYO agenda in 2017 are Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. I’m quick to draw a link between the names, and wonder
out loud whether this is the reason the orchestra will be performing Bernstein music this year. ‘It’s because I love Bernstein,’ Weiss tells me quickly. ‘It would have been his 100th year. That’s my excuse.’ Yes, Weiss admits, he’s been looking for an excuse for a while. ‘Pushing us into the 20th century is really important. It’s great to say, Hey! This stuff exists!’ Weiss agrees that reports of the death of classical music have been exaggerated. ‘I don’t think classical music is dying. I think people in charge of programming can be more astute to what the audience actually wants to hear. ‘Increasingly, I try and try out more contemporary pieces, more Australian pieces, or pieces by composers that we haven’t necessarily heard before,’ Weiss says. It’s also important to see the visuals of film or video games stripped back from the music and to see how the music works to tell a story in five minutes, Weiss says. On 6 May, CYO will perform a concert of video game music at the Canberra International Music Festival. ‘Often,’ Weiss says, ‘music ends up being secondary to the story.’ He says CYO will have the chance to put it front and centre, and hopes that the concert programs this year will be attractive to young people who might be thinking of heading along. ‘Making a program that appeals both to the youth in the youth orchestra and the serious side is really important. It’s all a balancing act.’ ‘I’d like to think there’s something in each of [the concerts],’ Weiss says, who is particularly excited for 11 November, when CYO will take to the Llewellyn Hall stage with James Morrison, the
celebrated Australian trumpeter. ‘I’m really thrilled,’ Weiss says. For many, the role of the conductor may still be a bit of a mystery. Weiss says the conductor has to create the space for making the best possible sound. ‘I think the conductor has quite a big effect. … I’m lucky as the conductor to pick the music and pick the soloists and have a fair bit of artistic license.’ ‘If I walk in and I stand there for three hours, not really caring what’s going and not really knowing my score, then I think that’s noticeable. ‘And if I sit there and just start screaming my head off at people as soon as they play the slightest thing wrong then I’m going to get musicians in two week’s time who say, “You know what? I don’t need this in my life because I don’t need to feel any more burdened”,’ Weiss says. Weiss believes the role of a conductor in his position is different to someone presiding over a professional orchestra. ‘It’s probably a bit different on a professional scene. For someone like [former Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Herbert von] Karajan, I’m sure they could just yell and scream at musicians, probably more 40 or 50 years ago than you could now. And you know, what can you do? ‘If you’re a rank and file player and you get your pay cheque, then you sit down and you shut up and you play. ‘In the grand scheme of things I would rather be a conductor that is fun to work with than a conductor that doesn’t enjoy it because they spend the entire rehearsal stressing and yelling at people. ‘And so far, that appears to be going well.’
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
ANU Graduate Launches Petition Against Revenge Porn ‘The law hasn’t kept up with changes in technology. The laws we make today only reflect technology as we understand it now. Eventually you have to go back and amend them,’ he said.
Text: Jasper Lindell
A petition calling on the ACT Legislative Assembly to consider criminalising the distribution of revenge porn has been launched by an ANU graduate student. The online petition, which needs 500 signatures for it to be considered by a standing committee of the Assembly, highlights the lack of specific criminal offences in the ACT for the non-consensual disclosure of sexual imagery. Rhy Michie, who launched the petition on Friday with the backing of Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur, says there is ‘nothing to protect you against revenge porn’ in the ACT while the ‘sexting laws are underdeveloped.’
Michie, who has lobbied other state governments on the issue and who wrote a master’s thesis on the Victorian State Parliament’s enquiry into sexting while studying at the University of Sydney, believes it should be made an offence to make sexual imagery observable without consent. ‘The kind of legislation that I’m lobbying for in the ACT, is that we should only focus on sexual documents.’ Michie believes that criminalising the act of making a sexual document observable without consent would encompass present and future recording and distribution technologies. Last year a website where users posted sexual images of people without their consent re-emerged after it was shut down by police. Users posted and ‘rated’ intimate images of schoolgirls and young women at universities around Australia. That case highlighted the difficulty of
keeping track of online websites and the problems law enforcement face when websites are hosted overseas.
In the ACT there is currently only a legal mechanism against people who transmit so-called revenge porn. Changing the wording to include ‘observable’ would criminalise acts such as showing revenge porn to another person on a phone or printing images out and leaving them for others to find, Michie said. There are laws in Victoria and South Australia that criminalise the distribution of revenge porn, but Michie believes it would be possible to improve these in the ACT. ‘Victoria took a narrow approach,’ he said. ‘One of the laws they created
prohibits the non-consensual distribution of a sexual image or video. ‘It’s quite good, but I think we could make improvements,’ Michie told Woroni. Australian research has shown that 59 per cent of respondents aged 19 and older had reported having sent a sexual image of themselves, while recent British research shows that 24 per cent of respondents aged 19 and older had made sexual imagery observable without the person’s consent in some way, whether online or in person. Michie said that, instead of telling people not to send sexual images of themselves, which has not worked, we should ‘involve people in the governing of themselves, in having these conversations.’ ‘We’re more likely to win hearts and minds and get people to think, maybe this [revenge porn] is something that we don’t really want,’ he said.
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Issue 3, Vol. 67
more than meets the eye understanding visible homelessness in civc Text: Elanor Armstrong Illustration: Eben Ejdne (Instagram: @ebenalekzander) Eleanor, along with her classmates Bodhi Randell-Deptula and Lawrence Rogers, conducted a survey of students last semester regarding their perceptions of homelessness within the community.
As any student who ventures to Civic would know, homelessness is a visible issue in the Canberra CBD. Based on the typical middle-aged male who frequents soup kitchens or settles in Civic, it is a common assumption that the face of rough sleepers is not a diverse one. And via our unlimited interactions, it is not unusual for us to subscribe to the viewpoint that the majority of the homeless we see face drug or alcohol addictions because, unfortunately, these are conditions that attract the most attention. However, the circumstances of a typical person experiencing first-degree homelessness – or, in other words, living on the street – is not what meets the eye. Rising housing prices in Canberra and a lack of public accommodation has seen an increase in the number of people who temporarily find themselves without a roof over their head. The typical homeless tenure is six months or less, with many only sleeping rough for a few nights. It is for this reason that projects such as Safe Shelter in Canberra – an initiative that opens churches overnight to homeless men – are so important. The ‘Bed First’ approach of providing somewhere safe and warm for homeless men to ‘sort out their lives’ can make the biggest difference. This contrasts with the assumption that most homeless individuals are long term ‘beggars’ – a grossly exaggerated stereotype based on extreme homelessness. Also, while it is true that the number of men who experience first-degree homelessness outnumbers that of women, the gender imbalance is not as skewed as it may seem. In fact, the ratio is roughly two males for every one female. It is also true that the existence of women’s and children’s shelters make them appear less visible to the average pedestrian in the CBD. Students also tend to underestimate the level of education attained by homeless individuals, despite it being accurate
that drop-out rates are higher among the homeless population. This, in turn, can lead to assumptions about homeless people being inadequate to participate in society by getting a job and, instead, relying on government assistance. The reality for most homeless individuals is a distinct lack of financial support (the maximum often being the NewStart allowance) or an inability, due to a learning disability, to navigate the very intimidating Centrelink system. These prejudices can also be viewed throughout the literature on this topic, with research focussing on substance abuse, mental illness and incarceration. It is an emphasis on the causation of homelessness, rather than feasible housing solutions, that contributes to the problematising of the issue. This is evident in Melbourne’s efforts to ‘clean up the streets’ around the Australian Open – an act that essentially attempted to criminalise homelessness. Schemes like this contribute to the vicious cycle of societal isolation facing those who are already vulnerable. It is a ridiculous idea to punish the homeless, yet law enforcers have been given the power to fine those living in cars or to remove encampment structures within the Melbourne CBD. It’s no wonder that students are reluctant to make eye contact with people on the street – something that many of us are guilty of – when we’re conditioned to believe that these people are criminals. It is, therefore, understandable that those homeless individuals who have been stereotyped as such exhibit exasperation, which we, in turn, might perceive as aggression. Of course, this doesn’t diminish the validity of the genuinely threatening situations which some students have been in. It is also important to consider the context within which individuals view visible CBD homelessness, as this influences levels of both empathy and fear. While a student’s view of the homeless person may seem inconsequential, our internalised attitudes directly affect those who are homeless, regarding the amount of money or type of interaction they receive from students. There are also indirect results because student voices can potentially encourage the government to make homelessness a higher priority on their agenda. There is a correlation between students’ demographic before university – whether international or domestic, metropolitan or rural/regional/remote – and how serious they perceive homelessness to be. Research suggests that those with who’ve lived in
high-density CBD areas are more immune to the characters they see on Canberra’s streets. A presumption that homeless people are not actively trying to improve their situation influences students’ willingness to give money or food, or engage in friendly conversation. We’re conditioned to apply a stereotype of laziness or irresponsible financial priorities. For many homeless individuals, the disposable income for these luxury indulgences doesn’t exist. Even if these behaviours exist within the homeless community, they’re often due to financial hardship or a family breakdown, which may have caused their homelessness in the first place, that has led to a need for a distraction. Further, mental health issues often emerge on the streets, or previous traumas may exacerbate in a feedback cycle – rather than homelessness directly producing ‘craziness’.
Despite these preconceptions, it is not uncommon for students to express empathy or concern about homelessness in the CBD – especially considering that our financial restrictions or lack of influence may leave us feeling helpless. There is a recognition that access to services, personal health, physical security and life satisfaction remain low amongst the homeless, adding complexities to the improvement of their situation. However, it is too easy to leave one’s sympathy there as personal life pressures get in the way. It is important to encourage conversion within the ANU community so that the lack of awareness regarding homelessness can be addressed and improved. Note: For those looking to volunteer, Safe Shelter ACT provides the opportunity to undertake a two-evening induction course and help at their overnight shelters. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
A FAIR SHAKE OF THE SAUCE BOTTLE Text: Emma Davis Illustration: Katie Ward
The ANU is a wonderful place, filled with opportunity and opinions. I’d like to think this is a view I share with most students. Yet, as a regional student, I feel that my university experience is very different to others at ANU. These students I speak of are those who have come from a place with more than one lane of traffic. Any place where you can drive straight for an hour and still be surrounded by civilisation. To be frank, I’m talking about any person that comes from a place where you can enter a pub and not know everyone’s grandparents. Seriously – imagine Mooseheads, but it’s the only two-storey place in town with a dancefloor, and it’s primarily occupied by your friend’s mums listening to the hits of the 70s. To a regional transfer, moving to Canberra is to enter a world of intense sensory overload. The noise here is phenomenal when the loudest thing you hear past 4pm at home are the sheep dogs barking when someone comes up your kilometre-long driveway. Regional and remote communities don’t have diverse social groups. We have farmers, farmer’s kids, and ‘townies’ (teachers and bank managers, for example – anyone who came for work). Changes to rural culture are few and far between. In comparison, the ANU is
open, inviting, and overwhelming politically correct. Now I won’t comment on the right or wrong of that, but rather, I will say that my ideas of what was normal and acceptable were blown out of the water. I’d like to think I’m a better person for it too. When I moved to Canberra one thing that happened was that I met a vego for the first time. The idea of shunning an industry that has got you to university is quite confronting. Cattle farming is deep in the veins of many rural communities, and to hear the families I grew up in and with talked about as if they’re environmental warmongers was antagonising, to say the least. Here, you can speak about climate change without being frowned at. Rural communities don’t have Greens candidates; I’ve never entertained the thought of voting for anyone except Labor or the Nationals because anything else is considered a ‘wasted vote’. There are endless small differences and absences I keep discovering. Rural kids grow up in places where public transport doesn’t exist. We plan our weddings around harvest, and we play footy based on which Christian denomination you belong to. Meanwhile, in Canberra, you’ll meet people who speak with different accents, there are more than two Asian families in town, and people ask you what you mean when you say words like ‘paddock basher’.
But, to put all this into a bigger picture, every regional and remote student at ANU has fought tooth and nail for their spot here. Most regional students are first-generation tertiary students. They must prove to their families over and over that going to uni is something worth pursuing. Taking a kid off a farm is removing a labourer, a worker, and they may very well be the only person in their family to have left their hometown. In my experience, most of the country kids at ANU are likely from rural families who had the cash to send them to boarding school. But for those who didn’t have that opportunity, getting a scholarship is a feat and a half. Others have take a gap year, to work, so they can afford to support themselves. Our schools aren’t selective – the most qualified teachers don’t want to move ‘out west’ to teach. Schools in regional areas find it hard to recruit capable and experienced teachers in science, math and specialist fields. Our educational experience is significantly less immersive; bus trips to school are hours long, museums and theatres are hundreds of kilometres away, and we have a drastically reduced choice in subjects. I’d never even heard of the International Baccalaureate before moving to ANU. Regional and remote students are more likely to drop out of high school because academic achievement is not valued.
We’re less likely to complete year 12, and while rural students make up one-third of the NSW high-school population, we make up only four percent of HSC high achievers. But once you have been offered your place here, you think the worst is over. Then you see how much it costs to live in an urban area. Wages are lower in regional areas, and the capacity of these communities to pay for those studying away from home is limited. This combination of lower socio-economic status, lack of community support for tertiary education and distance from home means a few things for regional students. First, we must earn our way through part-time employment, often more than 20 - 25 hours a week to get by. Second, there’s a culture shock from living in an urban area, dealing with an entirely different lifestyle, people, values and way of life. Third, in moving to university, you forfeit the tight-knit community you grew up with and instead enter a world which few of those people have experienced or can relate to. Regional and rural students are present at the ANU, and the challenges we face are largely ignored. We love our hometowns and this university, but we’d also love a bit of damn recognition every now and again.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
feminism at the crossroads Text: Hayley Keen
As International Women’s day progressively dawned around the world, Melbourne’s newest pretentiously quirky art installation began to make headlines. Ten ‘female’ traffic signals – that is, pedestrian figures dressed in skirts – were installed as part of a gender equality campaign to combat ‘unconscious bias’. The 12-month trial, which aims for a full 50/50 roll out, was organised by the Victorian lobby group ‘Committee for Melbourne’ – a non-profit organisation consisting of more than 120 Melbourne businesses and community groups. However, with such an authoritative name, misinformed criticism was directed straight at the Victorian Government. The first point of contention was about the price tag. It reportedly cost an average of $8400 for a mere six lights to be changed, which was paid for by the Committee for Melbourne and Camlex Electrical. Those of us who return to more economically conservative family dinner tables on long weekends can breathe a sigh of relief – this automatically discounts the ‘waste of taxpayer dollars’ exclamation we are all so familiar with. But there is no doubt that this is a waste of money. The internet, and my conscience, were quick to point out
how desperately women’s domestic violence refuges, homeless women’s assistance, and specialised health initiatives, need this kind of funding. It was only last year that Melbourne was crying out for a federal funding match for women’s safety initiatives, after the state Government slashed 30 percent of funding for community legal centres over a period of three years. I am not saying that we should outright not bother with more artistic endeavours, but with the Productivity Commission finding that every $1 spent on practical initiatives, such as these centers, saves the community $18, there’s obviously a better return – socially, emotionally and financially – which comes with wiser spending. The greatest loss from the project, however, came in the form of energy, resources and respectability in this new age of feminism. Feminism is caught at a crossroad – allies and proponents must appreciate the progress that comes from the small victories, and work towards the goal of equality one small step at a time. But feminists must also strategically and carefully select the biases and battles they want to pursue. Collectives advocating gender equality don’t have the liberty to stand at the aforementioned crossroad and make a stink about the type of green light they are given. The danger of a venture like this one – especially given it was timed to coincide with 8 March – is that it provokes laughter and criticism for being ‘petty’ in the
face of real representative equality issues. Changing the perceived gender of traffic lights on International Women’s Day occupied Australia’s public discussion, case in point, but it also took up time and space in the media on an important day for women-specific publicity. In turn, the lights and their presence in the media galvanised any and all opposition to the larger goals of feminism. The backlash worked against the best interests of the feminist movement generally, the intentions of the Committee for Melbourne, and the ability for society to address and emphasise more pressing issues in women’s representation – such as the scarcity of women in corporate leadership. New York City, for example, also made some cosmetic changes to its streetscape, but their art installation – a new statue of a resolute young woman facing the famous charging bull of Wall Street – sent the right message. Victorian Minister for Women Fiona Richardson supported the new lights, saying it would make public spaces more inclusive of women. But what women are these? Those who dress in skirts? Never once in my life have I stood at an intersection and questioned the gender of the LED light across from me. When the news arose, I meandered to the nearest crossing to reflect – the ‘man’ symbol isn’t inherently masculine at all, it’s just a figure. #notallwomen wear dresses, just like #notallmen wear pants, and heck, not all people adhere to a binary where
in which there are only two options for gender, dress and symbolism. Putting a dress on the ‘universal man’ symbol is not the solution. In fact, it only serves to reinforce stereotypical ideas about women, men and the gender binary. Instead of introducing ‘women’ figures to crossing lights, and thus reinforcing the concept of binary gender that advocates have worked tirelessly to progress, perhaps the resources and effort would be better spent educating children to perceive the figure, as many do, as a ‘green person’. Perhaps we should be teaching children from a young age that binary gender is an inadequate and outdated categorisation for human beings. Only weeks ago I stood in a sea of women protesting out the front of the US Capitol in Washington DC. There, was a mass of people who were so passionate and present that the streetlights were turned off and the streets shut down. My experiences that day showed me the light regarding exactly how much women still have to fight for, and how necessary it is that we do it together. Yes, feminism is about freedom, choice and expression – but it is also bigger than each of us. It is about choosing our battles, and overlooking those which are derisive. I don’t think a single person in that protest, or their sisters the world over, would have truly given a second thought about those traffic lights. So women, spread the light of feminism, don’t be feminism lite.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Text: Briana Grame Briana’s mother, Debbie, has had epilepsy since she was a young child. Drawing on the approach of Epilepsy Awareness Day on 26 March, Briana shares her story.
Barely ten years old and beginning the fifth grade, Debbie was already dreading the start of term. The usual trials and tribulations of the primary school world make anxiety bubble in her stomach and the constant teasing about the baby fat she still carried made her shy and self-conscious. The year continued as had every other, with pursuits like playing in the school band and avoiding PE dominating her thoughts. One evening, Debbie wandered down the hallway toward the bathroom. As she pushed the toilet door open, she began to feel static, electrical noise filling her head. She was suddenly dizzy and felt as if her brain was slowly shutting itself down. No one would know it at the time, but Debbie was having her first seizure. Debbie fell, and her fingers became jammed in the door. The sharp, sudden pain brought her out of the seizure, and she went running to her parents’ bedroom. Her Dad called her dramatic, her Mother kissed her fingers and sent her back to bed. Weeks later, Debbie playfully ran towards her sister, Tracy, who was sitting on their parents’ bed. While bounding across the carpet, the static filled her head once again, and she fell to the ground. Tracy began to laugh uncontrollably, thinking she’d tried to jump onto the bed and missed. When her sister didn’t get up, she called for help. This was Debbie’s second seizure, and the beginning of almost a decade of
neurologist visits, medication, suffering and stigma. The neurologists performed an EEG scan, which revealed scarred brain tissue on her right temporal lobe.
She was diagnosed with epilepsy and told she’d been having absent seizures, also known as ‘Petit Mal’. This kind of seizure is brief, usually lasting about fifteen seconds. This meant that much of the time, symptoms were not noticeable, even to Debbie herself. She kept wondering why the doctors hadn’t given her a tablet that cured her yet.
At school, people began to take notice of her seizures. Other children started to avoid her entirely, worried that they would ‘catch what she had’. They treated her like a freak. They would frequently ask if she swallowed her tongue when she seized and would talk about shoving a ruler in her mouth to ‘save her’. These same children would get awards at the school assembly if they dared to stay with her through a seizure, while Debbie was pushed further into isolation by the branding as the ‘weird, sick kid’. She found her seizures mortifying, and came out of them in a dazed, confused state and began to cry. Two years passed, and Debbie started high school. Neurologists gave her medication which carried side effects that were worse than the seizures themselves. She couldn’t keep her eyes open, let alone concentrate. She had constant migraines, and the seizures hadn’t stopped. This wasn’t a life; it was an existence and a miserable one at that. Even worse than what other children put her through, was what her teachers did. Despite knowing about her epilepsy, they didn’t understand it. They would say that she didn’t listen in class, and would never amount to anything in her life. They would fight her parents, demanding that she did the cross-country run because she ‘definitely wouldn’t seize’. Debbie’s confidence was shattered. She had no faith in herself and lived in constant confusion as the seizures and medication took their toll. Wanting to do things that every other kid could do, she decided to go on school camp. When the parents of other children discovered this, they formed a petition to block Debbie from going. They were worried their kids would ‘catch’ epilepsy, and didn’t want their children in the same vicinity as this ‘freak’. Debbie went to school camp anyway. Eventually, neurologists found a medication that worked for Debbie. It didn’t
make her sick, and it stopped her seizures. At 19, she was weaned off it, and all symptoms of epilepsy had ceased. At 30, she had an EEG which showed no trace of scarring; the neurologists believe that her brain had healed itself. Debbie was finally able to remove the flag on her license that stated she had epilepsy. Now, at age 43, she is a successful, professional and exceptionally impressive woman. She also happens to be my mum. My mum agreed to allow me to tell her story for Epilepsy Awareness Day, also known as Purple Day. This day of awareness, on 26 March , was founded in 2008 by a nine-year-old with a scarily similar experience to Debbie’s. I say scarily because the same stigmas exist today that did in the 1980s. People with epilepsy are still isolated and misunderstood, and research into the condition receives little funding. Something that my mum conveyed to me was that she wanted to send strength and love to those living with epilepsy today. She wants them to know that they are not defined by it, and shouldn’t let it stop them from achieving their goals. She says that they don’t need to be embarrassed or feel like less of a person because living with this condition just proves their strength. This Epilepsy Awareness Day, be part of the conversation. Listen, and make an effort to understand. Help us stop the stigma.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Off Campus, on My Mind Text: Laura Perkov
‘Which college are you from?’ This is the question that follows every introduction. The residence you live in is interwoven with student identity at ANU.
This focus on residential student experiences, however, often leads to students who live off campus being forgotten. If you’re not a fresh-outof-high-school Bruce resident, a politically inclined Burgmann student, or a Fenner or Unilodge resident wishing they were on Daley Road, then how is anyone to know the kind of person you are? How can you be defined if you can’t be typed to your residence?
During my first year at ANU I found myself justifying my living situation to strangers who were incredulous as to why someone would not want to live on campus. Mine is a peculiar case. I am originally from Liverpool in Sydney’s south-west, and I am fortunate enough to have family in the ACT who I can live with. After my first month in Canberra I was close to packing up and going home. Who was I kidding? I couldn’t handle the stress of adjusting to a new way of thinking and learning while in a different city – I didn’t know anyone except my cousins and felt as if no one could understand my feelings of isolation because it seemed that everyone I met was living at a college. College friendships form quickly and deeply by virtue of living in close quarters, and I found it especially intimidating to try and meet people when they had already formed close-knit groups. Colleges also provide students with an enormous amount of institutional knowledge – what a returning officer is, how to chair a meeting, how to start up a club or society, where to get cheap textbooks – as well as extensive personal connections. I still constantly find myself in meetings or at events where everyone else knows, or knows of each other, because of college networks. In comparison, students living off campus often lack the valuable support networks that colleges offer. If things go wrong, physical distance from campus can lead to emotional distance, and things can fall apart. If you’re struggling and need help with coursework, you have to travel on campus to get help, which can be difficult to fit in with paid work and other commitments, especially if you live South side. Suddenly, you’re behind on lectures, assessments are piling up and you feel as if no one would notice if you failed or stopped going to uni altogether.
Telling students that they will make friends by simply going to lectures and tutorials may be true to some extent, but passing
acquaintances are not a sufficient or stable support network. Joining clubs and societies is an effective way to make friends but, as there is often a big college presence, offcampus students can be relegated to an out-group as these students simply have closer relationships with those they live with.
This is an important issue that must be addressed before students are lost in the cracks. Meaningful and consistent relationships are an important part of good mental health and happiness, and everyone should feel as if they can participate in and contribute to the student experience. Extra-curricular activities and being a ‘well-rounded student’ are becoming increasingly important for graduate job applications, and feelings of isolation and a lack of institutional knowledge can put off-campus students at risk of falling behind. Further, the underrepresentation of off-campus students in student life can lead to a singular privileged experience being taken as the standard. ANU admits that low-SES students make up only 1% of residents, and the lack of affordable accommodation certainly does not help in drawing in low-SES students from less well-off areas beyond Canberra. So what can be done to engage and include off-campus students?
Griffin Hall was created for this purpose – to provide off-campus students with a college-like support network and opportunities to participate in structured events and sports. This works well for some, but for those who are not interested in sports or arts events, who do not feel comfortable engaging with strangers, or who don’t fit into the main friendship group that dominates the small Common Room and the Hall itself, Griffin Hall can be isolating as well. Personally, I am active involved in extra-curricular activities – such as Law Reform and Social Justice and the ANUSA Women’s Department – where I have been able to make friends and establish professional contacts. Most non-residential students, however, are often underrepresented in student life because of a lack of pre-existing connections and institutional knowledge about how clubs and societies operate. Although off-campus students make up half of the ANU student population, this is not reflected in campus engagement – particularly in areas like law that have a high proportion of college students. Change needs to occur at all levels: ANU, clubs, societies and other groups on campus need to become more accessible. This can be as simple as advertising meeting and event times well in advance and in multiple ways. Or, increasing the amount of lighting in the suburbs surrounding ANU so students – particularly women – can attend late classes or meetings without fearing for their safety as they travel home. This semester, I’ve started up autonomous coffee events with the ANUSA Women’s Department to engage off-campus women like myself, and to try and alleviate feelings of isolation. If you’re interested, keep an eye out on the Women’s Department Facebook pages. Change, however, also needs to occur at the individual level. Every student should be able to enjoy their time at ANU. An important part of this is having meaningful relationships and feeling safe and secure while on campus, and comfortable enough to participate in extra-curriculars. So, to all you college residents, hold your tongue the next time someone says they live off campus, and figure out what kind of person they are by asking some different questions for once.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
How Identity Politics gets Inclusiveness Backwards Text: Mark Fabian Egalitarianism was traditionally about erasing the arbitrary differences between us all. The idea was that in a situation where you interacted with a black trans-woman named Aaliyah – you saw Aaliyah in all her complexity as an individual, not as a ‘black’ ‘trans’ ‘woman’ in all the stereotyped simplicity of those categories. Inclusiveness meant building one large community of individuals. The so-called ‘progressive’ movement today has a completely different goal in mind: equality of power – very loosely defined – between groups of people associated only by their arbitrarily-assigned-at-birth characteristics. Someone who wants to be a progressive is today required to engage with Aaliyah first as ‘black’, ‘trans’ and ‘woman’ long before engaging with her as a unique individual. Where is the recognition of Aaliyah’s humanity in this? The existentialists, a collection of mid-20th century Marxists dedicated to the emancipation of all, explained the human condition as one where ‘existence precedes essence’. Unlike other animals or objects, which lack the capacity for the actualisation of a unique self, we are each defined as individuals by the choices that we make and things we value. Identity politics undermines this self-actualisation that is at the very core of psychological well-being and seeks instead to subsume each of us into a collective to which we are assigned at birth through no act of free will. This is a fundamentally illiberal doctrine – you are not free to be an individual; you are instead principally a member of a group.
Contemporary identity politics is perplexing, considering that the history of 19th and 20th century liberalism and progressivism chronicles a decades-long battle against similar attitudes as they manifested in fascism. In Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, the Volk and the nation were placed ahead of the individual. You were a member of a race first; your individuality was secondary. Consider Martin Luther King’s comment: ‘I have a dream that one day my four children will grow up in a world where they are judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.’ Compare this ideal to what happens today at Princeton orientation, where students are asked to stand up according to group markers that identify them. For example, ‘stand up if you identify as Caucasian…look at your community.’ This process goes for an hour. How can this activity produce anything other than an atomisation of the Princeton community into tribal groups? How could emphasising the cosmetic differences between us lead to an inclusive, unified community? Such an initiation precisely encourages us to judge each other by categories rather than character. This impoverishment of the rich concept of identity down to the crudest labels is particularly harmful to university students because we are at an age where we desperately need and want individuation. Identity politics encourages us to prematurely conclude this process of self-discovery and creation by suggesting that what we see in the mirror is enough to constitute an identity. We end up defining ourselves, and others,
by things we have no control over – like our race or gender – instead of by freely chosen values, opinions and customs.
instead: we are all different, and the only way to be an ally is to shut up and vacate the tent.
In addition to undermining self-actualisation, the identity-political emphasis on group affiliation encourages the disintegration of inclusive, discursive democracy into clientelist populism. When the basic unit of political action is the individual, policy is driven by ideals because it is values that define individuals. When politics is instead driven by groups, it favours the most populous. This is the worst possible outcome for minorities because it is a mathematical inevitability that the populous majority will win elections. Without any idealistic check on its self-interest, it then proceeds to increase its power and rents by exploiting minorities.
This attitude was abundantly clear in the recent backlash to Sydney Boys High prefects showing public support for gender equity. It was argued that, rather than being useful advocates and supporters, these men were undermining women’s attempts to agitate for change. Similarly, Roxanne Gay has previously opined: ‘I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to anyone [who is not a woman]’.
Intersectionality plays right into this with its almost explicit embrace of a cynical, rent-seeking approach to politics. It claims, for example, that white feminists cannot help black women by helping women in general; they can only help by abdicating their meagre power to give more volume to even more oppressed voices than their own. Such a philosophy is one step from saying: ‘Give me your resources or else you are unjust.’ New waves of social justice activism have led to a dramatic change in the meaning of solidarity. Classical solidarity was about unifying humanity by bringing everyone into the same tent through the expansion of universal freedoms and rights. Contemporary solidarity is
It should be abundantly apparent from Trump’s election and the meteoric rise of the primarily race-based alt-right that encouraging people to identify only with those most ‘similar’ to them is political suicide for minorities. The working class of the rust belt was told by a collection of university-educated elites that because they were hetero-normative and white, they were actually ‘privileged’ rather than struggling. So they abandoned their old unionist ideologies and organised instead around these news labels, eventually electing perhaps the most sexist and racist leader in American history – instead of a woman who would’ve been over-qualified for the job. What a win for progress. No wonder critics like Jeffrey Tayler and Ayaan Hirsi Ali are starting to call progressives ‘the regressive left’.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
The Philosopher’s Stoned
a man of many mentors Text: Anthony Merlino In this regular column, Anthony seeks to capture the unique perspective of a different ANU philosopher each fortnight. In doing so, the column will act as a bridge between the School of Philosophy and the ANU student body.
At the front of a crowded Oxford University hall sits the young Seth Lazar. In front of him, lecturing, stands the eminent political philosopher, G A Cohen. After Cohen finishes his lecture, Lazar recalls making a ‘hackney postmodernist comment about the way Cohen had framed the lecture.’ Regardless, Cohen insisted in a ‘kind and politely decisive way’ that his argument remained ‘very clear.’ For Lazar, Cohen’s diplomatic response ‘left a huge impression.’ This process of influence would recur continuously. At the summit of a tall set of stairs in the Coombs building resides Seth Lazar’s office. From this room, he heads the School of Philosophy. Yet he was not always destined for philosophy. Originally, Lazar had been intentionally pushed away from the subject by one of his secondary school teachers, Mr Alex Burnett, ‘who was a real mentor.’ When applying for university, Burnett lent Lazar an ‘incredibly dry philosophy book’. In response, Lazar opted to study English literature at Oxford University, focusing on poetry. John Milton, the revered English poet, in a speech to parliament, famously defended freedom of speech against encroachment by the political elite. Towards the end of his undergraduate degree, Lazar came to the disconcerting realisation that his favourite poets, with the exception of Milton, ‘all had terrible politics.’ This was Lazar’s impetus for setting aside aesthetics and instead focusing on political questions. To do this, Lazar spent a year at Harvard University immersing himself in European Philosophy. After leaving Harvard, and spending several months travelling, Seth Lazar found himself caught again amidst intense intellectual discourse at Oxford University. He was completing his MPhil in Political Theory. During this time, Lazar’s perspective was further refined by ‘great tutors’ who guided his focus towards Anglo-American philosophy. Afterwards, Lazar continued to Oxford’s Doctoral program. Henry Shue, one of the most influential moral and political philosophers of the last four decades, supervised Lazar and left a ‘tremendous imprint’ on his work by alerting him to global perspectives in philosophy. Evidently, all of Lazar’s mentors left a distinct mark on the approach he took to his work.
*** Sitting on the wooden desk of a US military officer is Seth Lazar’s magnum opus, Sparing Civilians. In this book, Lazar draws on his influence from Shue, providing a range of arguments supporting the notion that there is a special distinction ‘between harming soldiers and harming civilians in war.’ That is, killing civilians is more unethical than killing soldiers. This might seem uncontroversial, but in recent years a number of moral philosophers have called this fundamental tenet of international law and morality into question. Lazar thought this trend need to be resisted since these arguments would ‘be read by individuals who will then go kill people.’ To reconsider these radical implications, Lazar’s argument aimed to ‘supplement and exceed’ what had previously been argued by philosophers about the ethics of war. That being said, the principal aim of the book was not to argue directly against those philosophers, but instead to show that they can still ‘argue in favour of something like current international law.’ Still, the book does not ‘completely vindicate’ the precise shape and structure of current international law. Evidently, Lazar’s unique perspective provides for distinct philosophical insight. *** At a police check-point in Nigeria, Lazar is having his documents overlooked by soldiers bearing guns. On this particular trip, Lazar crossed Africa overland – from Morocco to South Africa – completely by public transport. He visited, in order, a town beginning with every letter of the alphabet. His wife, Lu Barnham, later wrote a book about trip, called An African Alphabet: From Agadir to Zagazi. Many times Lazar ‘confronted power very directly.’ He hopes this has given him practical insight into philosophical questions concerning ‘the nature of arbitrary authority and individual freedom.’ Again, Lazar’s diverse life experiences have provided him with unique insight into philosophical questions. Deontological ethical theories state that, under conditions of certainty, individuals have duties to always abide by. Conventional deontological ethics, however, does not often consider decision making under imperfect information. For example, say the deontological rule is that one can only kill in self-defence: is an individual permitted to kill if they are 90 percent sure another person is trying to kill them?
The Australian Research Council recently awarded the School of Philosophy a funding grant to explore such concerns. This is one of the freshest research projects being completed within the philosophy department. Along with Lazar, the project involves Alan Hájek, Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit, Katie Steele, and Lara Buchak. Lazar’s contribution to the project is to develop a deontological decision theory, as part of a prospective book titled Duty Under Doubt: Deontological Decision Making with Imperfect Information. In this way, Lazar is currently applying his unique perspective to different philosophical questions. In November 2016, during the Republican presidential debates, Marco Rubio claimed that the world needs ‘more welders and less philosophers’. Despite Rubio’s ardent criticism, Lazar maintains that philosophy has ‘instrumental value’ in terms of earnings, whilst still being ‘incredibly interesting and fun’. Also, everyone benefits from studying philosophy by developing ‘analytical thinking, reasoning, argumentation and clarity of writing’. Though, if students remain in doubt, Lazar recommends they try interacting with philosophy through narrative-driven podcasts at hiphination.org. Throughout his lifetime, many influences have guided Seth Lazar in different directions. While exploring the vast plains of philosophy, his numerous mentors, and varied life experiences, have provided him with a distinctive map. And now, as his endeavours shift directions, it is clear this unique insight will remain influential.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Mental Health and the Media
Text: Zach Mackey
People are increasingly more comfortable discussing mental health issues, and society has adapted to provide a space for this discourse. We are also becoming increasingly voyeuristic and our social media consumption – particularly the news stories we click on – reflects this. When you combine these two advancements, there is a major problem. Complexity is avoided, as a ‘hands off’ approach guarantees clicks and likes as we watch the suffering of others from afar. Online consumers don’t look beyond the content in front of them – they don’t dig deeper to find out why someone is suffering or really question if they are okay. Should we blame the consumers? No. My finger is pointed squarely at the media. I was drawn to comment on the shallow and ineffective reporting of mental health issues after recently reading reports about Grant Hackett and, to an extent, Dan Vickerman. Both are incredible Australian athletes whose lives were, and are, affected by mental health issues. The reporting was absolutely atrocious, skirting around the issues and in Hackett’s instance, treating readers like viewers of a reality TV show. Not once did the reporters step back and consider the harm being done. Of course not, when a hyperbolic and inflammatory headline is sure to reach a quota of clicks online.
Australian rugby player Christian Lealiifano has recently entered remission for Leukaemia. During treatment, the only images shared with the public were those posted on Instagram by close friends and teammates; the only news content published celebrated his successful surgery with accompanying stock photos from his playing days. In comparison, photographs of Grant Hackett leaving a police station, as well as shots of his father and family have covered our screens and filled the pages of national newspapers. The coverage of Hackett’s struggle was, in short, the media taking advantage of a man and a family who were suffering and in obvious grief. A similar thing happened when paparazzi shots of Dan Vickerman’s grieving wife and children at his funeral were released. This is not news. This is not helping reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Yet editors will pat themselves on the back and look forward to their EOFY bonus because they got people reading and clicking, and they didn’t forget to tokenistically include the number for Lifeline at the bottom of the article. Shouldn’t the role of the media be to inform and help members of society, instead of trivialising trauma? Where is the focus on refuting the ridiculous misconception that having mental health issues makes you weak? What about a continued investigation into the number of suicides amongst injury prone young footballers? How about a front page article on the work of organisations such as
Batyr, which is working within universities to smash the stigma surrounding mental health? What about Outside the Locker Room, a Victorian based welfare and educational program for local sporting clubs across the country? No, none of these articles would guarantee the internet traffic to appease advertisers. But a heartbroken family at their father’s funeral will. And this is what we see. I believe this media’s selective representation of mental health stories is affecting some parts of society as well. It is now okay to say you aren’t feeling great, and are struggling, but that’s where it stops. No one wants to ask the hard questions. Instead, the attitude the media has taken in their reporting is apparent in wider society’s approach to mental health. In our liberal university-educated circles, sure, it is okay to delve deeper and there are people willing and brave enough to do so. But in the wider world, this is not the case. Consumers on the whole are not compassionate. Someone who is suffering doesn’t want to be told it’s okay to not be okay. People with mental health issues know there are services available – what they cannot do is feel safe or see a clear path to approach the problem. But as reporting on mental health issues show, there is a misconception of weakness, and journalists are doing nothing to fix this. Suicide is the biggest killer of men and women aged 15 - 44 in Australia. Yet, instead of discussing this issue in a mature and measured sense, the media gives us
photos of a grieving family. How can we be surprised we are in the grips of a crisis? I am not, however, saying that all reporting of mental health issues is poor. 60 Minutes’ report of 5 March 2017 is a shining example of news reporting fighting the stigma and supporting those who are vulnerable. But this is just one positive example. It is not enough. Next time a photo of Grant Hackett leaving a police station with a black eye pops up in your social media feed, remember that it comes down to us as consumers to be discerning and not click on these stories. Do not forget the power we have as consumers – not clicking or liking a story can limit its scope and the traffic it gets. We have the ability to be responsible users, we must not forget this. If each of us is discerning, we will see change occur in the news that is published. When we lose as many people as we do on a daily basis, how can we afford not to care?
Issue 3, Vol. 67
the politics of fear Text: James Atkinson
The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in November 2016 was a stark confirmation that fear has well and truly re-entered politics. While this is not a new aspect of contemporary political discourse, what separates Trump has been the characterisation of fear as a foundation of his policy platform. The difference is that this fear applies bilaterally. Trump’s rhetoric and executive orders speak both to the heightened insecurities of his supporters and to the marginalised communities whom he targets. The tolerance of his mandate is a reminder to those who identify as women, queer*, disabled, a person of colour, or any other minority, that our battles are far from being won. We mustn’t allow ourselves to think that, while these are US centric struggles, we are immune to them at home. We aren’t. Domestically, our fear has eventuated in an upsurge in the political influence of parties such as One Nation and Family First, and parliamentarians such as Senator Jacqui Lambie and George Christensen MP. The success of these leaders is a confronting reminder of the fears ingrained within our social fabric. They’re the same fears which permitted the stolen generations, or the White Australia Policy, and continue to justify policies which support the structural inequities against marginalised communities. But these do not manifest in isolation, nor are they purely historical occurrences. They are born out of fears of difference, of the other, and fear of changes to the status quo. It’s why our parliamentarians can consciously subject children to the offshore detention regime, abolish the national Safe Schools program, or condone racial hate speech – and know that we will still vote for them. It’s the kind of fear that allows someone like Jacqui Lambie to appear on Q&A and condemn Islam in front of Yassmin Abdel-Magied, and yet it is not Abdel-Magied who receives support but the Senator who used a platform of ignorance to preach fear and hate. Politicians have built careers around this. Take Pauline Hanson’s One Nation,
for example. Here is a party whose success is dependent on their capacity to capitalise on the insecurities of their supporters, translate this into fear, and then use that as a platform to win elections. In its initial formation, Hanson successfully took advantage of the electorate’s employment uncertainties and centred these well within debates on foreign investment. In doing so, she seamlessly portrayed these uncertainties into a fear of the other and gave rise to anti-Asian racism. And we elected her for it. Similarly, Hanson’s capacity to turn employment fear and uncertainties into racial vilification was mirrored during the party’s reincarnation at the recent federal election. This time, Hanson capitalised on a growing fear regarding refugees and security concerns, situating them right in the hands of her supporters’ misinformed perceptions of terrorism. Unsurprisingly, considering her interest in fuelling anti-Asian sentiments, Hanson fanned the flames of Australian Islamophobia. Motivated by the fear she perpetuates, we rewarded her again with six years in the Australian Senate. Like that of Trump, the rhetoric perpetuated by our politicians have very real consequences for the people whom they seek to target. You only need to look at recent circumstances – the discourse regarding refugees, the structural inequities still facing Indigenous Australians, or the treatment of the Muslim community surrounding the actions of the socalled Islamic State – to see that this is the case. The age of the 24-hour news cycle makes the transgression of these views so much more widespread and, as a result, more destructive. The misinformed, bigoted gaffs of Trump, Hanson, and the like, are more likely to reach us because they’re almost comic in nature, but that’s what is dangerous. While we’re laughing off Hanson for associating terrorism with a halal snack pack, someone else is genuinely believing it. To anyone’s mind, a rational connection between two unrelated things may be absurd – but if you’re someone given reason to fear the results, it’s entirely sensible. Ultimately, we are all driven by our insecurities, and when we let someone take advantage of them, we’ll believe anything. And that is the most dangerous thing of all.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
An Interview with a Tibetan Refugee Text: Lachlan Oberg
Nestled under the eastern Himalayas rests the sleepy city of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim in North Eastern India. This is tea country, home to hot dumplings, Buddhist prayer and more than one rogue yeti sighting. However, for one small community, their lives here are the results of less peaceful beginnings. They are Tibetan refugees, whose families fled from the persecution of the Chinese army in 1959. Two generations later, a small Tibetan refugee community is still thriving in Gangtok. In 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting one member of this community. Tashi was an intelligent and plucky high school boy who enjoyed World of Warcraft. Four years on, Tashi’s success story is the ideal for any refugee community. He currently attends the Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Science and hopes to one day become a doctor. I recently asked Tashi about his experiences as a Tibetan refugee in India.
L: How and when did your family come to India? T: According to my grandmother, they used to live in Gyangtse where they owned a small shop. Later, they moved to Shigatse. My great grandmother used to come to Sikkim to work as manual labourers and help in the construction of roads. After the invasion, my great grandmother and her daughter along with her eldest son (my uncle) and daughter (my aunt) fled to Sikkim. L: There aren’t many escape routes into India, and we often hear of refugees risking frostbite and exhaustion to make the perilous journey through the Himalayas. Did your family face similar struggles when they fled? T: Since my great grandparents used to come regularly to India I think it was relatively easier for them than it was for others. Still, they did have to cross the mountains and find their way into Tibet, leaving all their belongings and whatever land they owned. My grandmother told me they had to hide behind rocks so that the Chinese soldiers wouldn’t see them. L: Do you feel like your community in Sikkim faces discrimination from Indians? T: Yes, there is discrimination although I have never heard incidences where somebody was hurt. Some people do still treat us as refugees, however, the majority of the people are very nice. Recently a lot of issues have been raised regarding this matter, and people are protesting against this all the time.
L: What do you think are the major challenges your community is facing? T: I think the major challenge my community is facing right now would be the unemployment crisis. There are very limited job opportunities in India, and since not everyone gets the best education students have a tough time with finding employment. This is also the reason why people opt to go to other countries like the US, France or Germany. L: Do you consider yourself Tibetan or Indian? What do you feel a stronger connection to? T: Although I am Tibetan, India is my home now. My grandparents and parents always urge us to speak in Tibetan, learn about our culture, and preserve it. I feel that we can be outside Tibet and still do our bit in maintaining our culture and heritage. I do feel like have a certain degree of responsibility towards my native place and that in the future I should do something to help the people still living in Tibet, however, I also owe it to India, and I need to give back to the community.
Tashi’s outlook is optimistic but reflects a nuance in the experience of third generation refugees and that of their grandparents. While Tashi’s grandparents struggle to prevent the erasure of their culture, Tashi must perform a difficult balancing act; one between an onus to his heritage and a duty to his country. Undoubtedly, this struggle is not unique to the Tibetan refugees of Sikkim. Tashi’s story begets questions closer to home. In the face of terror, the Tibetan people faced a rugged mountain range. The Syrian people have faced vast seas. India welcomed the former with open arms. Has Australia done so with the latter? How many Tashis, our future doctors, are wasting away on Nauru? The world’s refugee conversation must be a personal one. Refugee policy is a policy that affects people first and statistics second. Drafting good refugee legislation is complex because the nature of conflict is complex, but in our efforts, we must not lose sight of people like Tashi. The Tibetan people crossed the Himalayas, the world’s largest wall, to obtain asylum. Let us not build yet larger walls elsewhere. I recently had the pleasure of visiting another Tibetan refugee settlement in the Nepalese town of Pokhara. Tibetan school children skipped past me, joking in their native language. The parents smiled cheerily, but they speak with a more solemn tone. ‘What do you want most for your community?’, I asked a portly grandfather. His response echoed the prayers of the world’s 65 million displaced persons. ‘We just want to go home.’
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Made In China
choices? Text: Una Chen Una is a second year law/arts student who is passionate about voicing the concerns of the Asian minority. When she is not focused on decorating her apartment, she is dedicated to uncovering the hidden faces of society and dismantling Asian stereotypes.
Cultural identity, in very basic terms, is a feeling of belonging: it’s different and extremely personal for everyone. It can be a mixture of how you perceive yourself, your nationality, ethnicity, the way you look, how you were raised, your experiences and interactions with society Holly, Kat and Marcia are all Eurasian. Holly is technically 87.5 percent Chinese: her father is 75 percent, her mother is 100 percent. Kat is 25 percent Vietnamese and 25 percent Korean. Marcia is 50 percent Chinese. Percentages aside, all three of them have experienced, in various ways, the ways in which others try to gauge how ‘authentically’ Asian they are.
When did your family move to Australia? Holly: My grandparents moved here in the 1940s. Kat: My mother moved here in the late 90s, but my father was born here. Marcia: My mother’s grandparents migrated here, but my father’s family has lived here for generations.
What determines cultural identity to you? Holly: I guess ... it’s just what you feel and believe yourself to be? Kat: I think family plays a large role in influencing cultural identity as well as language. Marcia: I think it’s a mixture of how you were raised. Maybe a little bit of how you look as well.
Has your journey of cultural and self-identity been confusing in any way? And in what way does learning a language(s) impact that? Holly: Oh, for sure! I’ve questioned myself countless of times. Chinese has always been a strange concept to me: I can’t speak Cantonese or Mandarin even though my parents can. Ever since I can remember, people have always approached me asking what mix I am because of the way I look, others perceive me as Asian. I also look more mixed than my siblings so I always feel as though I should be more aware of my Chinese side. I guess the expectation is that I should know the language. I’m fluent in Danish and I think by being bilingual has increased my cultural awareness, but I feel bereft no matter where I go. In Denmark, people think I’m a tourist – which I guess makes sense as you couldn’t expect a European person to understand Chinese when visiting China. In Australia, people still ask me where I’m from, then they’ll ask where my parents are from. They’re finally satisfied when I answer that my grandparents immigrated here – it’s like some people feel more satisfied if they can place you in a box – even though they are aware of the changing policies that allow immigration and celebrate diversity in Australia. Kat: It has been tremendously confusing. My father is half Vietnamese, and my mother is half Korean. I can’t speak Vietnamese, but I’m fluent in Korean. Even though I’m equal amounts Korean and Vietnamese, it’s hard not to feel
more Korean as I can speak the language. My mother’s side celebrates Korean traditions more as well. We were studying the Vietnam War in high school, and I just feel an overwhelming sadness that I don’t know my ancestry. Marcia: I guess there’s been a period in my life where I have questioned myself on whether I am more Chinese or more Australian, but I think I am an equal mixture of both. My mother has taught us Mandarin, and we celebrate Chinese traditions and customs. I guess in both Australia and China I do feel a little like a foreigner, but I do go back to China quite regularly. Once they realise I can communicate with them, I’m welcomed with open arms. It’s funny; I always get complimented on my skin in China! Fair or pale skin is considered extremely beautiful, and the different standards of beauty and the acceptance of pale skin makes me feel more inclined towards my Chinese side.
Have you been told you shouldn’t feel a part of a culture you identify with? Holly: I’ve been told I shouldn’t feel Danish because of the way I look, and that I’m not Chinese as I can’t speak the language. It’s so dehumanising to be told from strangers and even friends that you’re not a part of a culture you identify with because of certain specifications. Kat: Yes! It is tremendously dehumanising to be told you’re not a part of a culture you identify with, just because of certain specifications. All three have told me that people from all sides of their cultural background make a conscious effort to realise they’re different – whether in a positive or negative way, they’ve all had their genealogy pondered and questioned. There is a feeling they all had in common: at some point in their life, like they were a half step in and a half step out.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
அன்புள்ள அப்பா (Dear father)
Text: Sumithri Venketasubramanian
Dear father, As a child I slept in your arms, I gave you kisses on your face, I cried by your side. At the end of a day when I got tired, It was you who carried me from the car into the house. During school holidays, like a cure to my boredom, You would play badminton with me by the road. But today, all these experiences have become mere memories.
As I began to grow and develop, our relationship started to change, I can no longer sleep in your arms, Cry by your side, I don’t know how to show you I care. We can’t share a bed when we travel, And you can’t hold my hand anymore. When I face problems, I must speak to mother, You are no longer able to cure my boredom. Because, even though you are my father, You, being a man, and I, being a woman, shouldn’t mix.
Dear father, When there are boundaries to everything we used to have in our relationship, How do I show to you my love? In my life and my heart, Our relationship extends beyond you supporting me financially, But to express this to you, I am still learning every day. To give you kisses on your face, And to bring happiness to your life once again, We have to start our relationship all over.
Dear father, I, being so far away from home, Will try to speak to you more and be your friend. For you to be a part of my victories and failures, Is what my heart desires. For many years I did not know how to show you my love, But slowly we can grow our relationship again.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Les Possibilités Electorales: Qui Pourra Battre Le Pen? Text: Alex Gernath Le 7 mai, François Hollande quittera l’Élysée, et à sa place s’installera la personne qui soit mènera la France dans la bonne direction, soit la détruira une fois pour toute. Cette saison électorale a été une des plus tumultueuse que la France ait vu depuis longtemps, caractérisée par une fragmentation politique qui a vu la réémergence du Front National (FN), mené par Marine Le Pen, ainsi que la formation de nouveaux partis et une radicalisation des partis traditionnels. Mais il est trop facile de voir le phénomène Le Pen comme une simple opposition entre les partis politiques traditionnels et le peuple appauvri et désillusionné, et de prétendre que son succès est assuré. Victoire assurée au premier tour, je vous l’accorde, mais il y a quelques facteurs clés qui risquent de l’exclure d’une victoire populaire. Au lieu de paniquer tout de suite, concentrons-nous sur les grandes lignes des mois récents, et voyons si nous pouvons mettre en avant trois scénarios différents, en fonction de ce qui se passera le 23 avril, au premier tour. Comparons Le Pen aux autres candidats pour essayer de déterminer si l’un d’eux arrivera à inspirer le peuple français pour dépasser le FN et gagner la présidence. François Fillon Il y a quelques mois, je pensais vraiment que Fillon avait gagné d’avance, et ce n’est en aucun cas parce que son idéologie m’inspire. Le candidat qu’on dit de « centre-droit » est plus Thatcher que May,
et des fois j’ai du mal à le différencier de Le Pen. Mais maintenant, on a un peu moins de raisons de le craindre, puisque Fillon se retrouve gêné par une toute petite affaire de corruption…Eh oui, le candidat qui avait séduit les électeurs de droite avec son discours anti-corruption, pro-transparence se trouve au centre d’un scandale quand Le Canard Enchainé a révélé que sa femme Penelope a été salariée comme attachée parlementaire. Pourtant, le népotisme n’est pas ce qui choque le plus - presque un quart des ministres emploient un membre de leur famille. Ce qui a causé la mort politique de Fillon, c’est le fait que malgré sa promesse de se retirer s’il était mis en examen, il décide de rester le candidat de la droite et du centre jusqu’aux élections. Donc, voilà un candidat qui a anéanti Sarkozy lors de la primaire de la droite et du centre se retrouve en chute libre dans les sondages. Par conséquent, même si ces derniers indiquent qu’il pourrait toujours battre Le Pen au deuxième tour, il est fort improbable qu’il y arrive. Emmanuel Macron Qu’on soit d’accord avec ses idées ou non, Emmanuel Macron est le candidat qui se démarque vraiment dans cette campagne. C’est un candidat centriste, pro-entreprise, qui a fait défection pour fonder son propre parti, et c’est pour cette raison qu’il complique le plus l’histoire typique des élections récentes. Le candidat d’En Marche ! se positionne comme un « outsider » politique, qui pourra unir « l’establishment politique » fracturé, avec un programme social-libéral. Parmi ses mesures phares se trouve un appel à réduire le nombre de fonctionnaires, un engagement de 50
milliards d’euros d’investissement public ainsi que l’universalisation de l’assurance chômage. Mais chez Macron, comme chez beaucoup de candidats, ce n’est pas son programme qui attire le plus les électeurs, mais ce qu’il représente dans l’histoire politique de la France. Sa rupture avec le PS lui permet de se vendre comme un nouveau-venu dans le monde politique, et un qui dépassera les conflits factionnels. Mais cette histoire devient un peu moins convaincante quand on regarde de près sa carrière. Si cet ex-banquier de chez Rothschild arrive à se vendre comme nouveau en politique, c’est plutôt dû à la prouesse de son équipe de relations publiques qu’à son parcours actuel. Certes, il n’a jamais été élu, mais il a travaillé pendant plus de 10 ans pour le PS comme pour les Républicains, en tant que consultant économique. On aurait du mal à trouver un candidat qui représente plus « l’establishment politique » ; pourtant, malgré mon cynisme, c’est sur lui que je parie. À ce jour, c’est peut-être le seul qui arrivera à réunir des électeurs de gauche comme de droite. Et d’après les sondages, Macron se retrouve au coude à coude avec Le Pen dans le premier tour avec 26% d’intentions de vote d’après L’Internaute, et il l’écrase au deuxième tour avec 68% des voix. Espérons juste qu’il n’a jamais payé sa femme pour un faux travail… Benoît Hamon Benoit Hamon est actuellement en quatrième place dans les sondages, et, malheureusement, on n’a pas l’impression qu’il ira plus loin. Lors de la primaire de gauche, il a dépassé l’ancien premier ministre Manuel Valls pour
devenir le candidat officiel du PS, mais depuis, Hamon fait du sur-place. Son programme est plus à gauche que celui du PS, mais reste plus centriste que celui du candidat de la France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon : c’est une recette parfaite pour une gauche divisée. Résultat : la candidature de Hamon vacille. Il commence par s’allier avec le candidat écologiste Yannick Jadot et devient le candidat écologiste par excellence, mais quelques semaines plus tard renonce à une de ses mesures phares, le revenu universel, pour se présenter comme un candidat plus pratique et réaliste. Malgré son programme idéaliste mais plutôt inspirant, j’ai l’impression qu’un affrontement Hamon/Le Pen serait un peu trop risqué. Pour expliquer pourquoi, il faut faire un petit détour par l’Assemblée Nationale et examiner le taux d’abstention. En effet, beaucoup de Fillionistes considèrent que le plan radical de Hamon sera aussi désastreux qu’une présidence Le Pen, et donc s’abstiendront s’il passe au deuxième tour. Ce raisonnement implique que Le Pen ne pourra pas former une majorité à l’Assemblée (puisqu’elle n’a que deux députés), et donc ne pourra faire passer aucune des mesures phares qu’elle annonce dans son programme. Donc, les Fillonistes veulent bien risquer un gouvernement d’extrême droite qui sera paralysé pour éviter un gouvernement de gauche trop radical, et qui risquerait d’endetter le pays encore plus. On peut voir en quoi le cas de Hamon illustre le grand thème de cette élection : la plupart des votes seront stratégiques plutôt que sincères, pour éviter une présidence Le Pen à tout prix. Il ne faut pas oublier que les Français, en général, n’ont pas de problème avec l’idée d’un vote négatif, et un grand nombre d’entre eux votent contre un candidat plutôt que de voter pour. On dit que les jeunes Américains ne sont pas allés voter puisqu’ils n’avaient personne pour qui voter, et qu’ils ne voulaient pas simplement voter contre Trump. Les Français n’ont pas ce problème, et le stéréotype qu’on nous donne d’éternel critique se révèle ici d’une façon positive : si Le Pen passe au deuxième tour, on peut espérer que la jeunesse s’engagera pour voter pour son adversaire, même s’il ne nous inspire pas, tout comme le 21 Avril.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Electoral Possibilities: Can Le Pen be Beaten? Text: Alex Gernath On the 7 May, François Hollande will leave the Elysée and be replaced by the person who will either steer France in the right direction or put the final nail in its coffin. This electoral season has been one of the most tumultuous in recent French history, characterised by political fragmentation and the re-emergence of the Front Nationale (FN), led by Marine Le Pen, as well as new parties’ creation and a move away from the centre by well-established parties. But it’s too easy to see the Le Pen phenomenon as a simple opposition between traditional political parties and an impoverished and disillusioned populace, and assume her victory is assured. I’ll concede she’ll easily reach the second round of voting, but her success in the runoff may be marred by a few key factors. So instead of simply panicking, let’s look at the big ideas of recent months and see if we can imagine three different scenarios depending on the results of the first round of voting on 23 April. Let’s compare Le Pen to the other top candidates and try to determine whether one of them can manage to rouse up the French nation to slide past the FN and win the presidency. Francois Fillion A couple months ago, I thought Fillion had it in the bag – though certainly not because his ideas inspire me. This ‘centre-right’ candidate is more Thatcher than May, and sometimes I even have a hard time differentiating his ideas from Le Pen’s. His chances have diminished, however, because he has found himself embroiled in an inconvenient corruption scandal. That’s right, the candidate who ran on an anti-corruption, pro-transparency platform was revealed to have employed his wife Penelope as a parliamentary assistant, despite her numerous assertions of never having been involved in her husband’s job. The blatant nepotism isn’t the biggest problem though, as almost a quarter of ministers have employed a family member at some point. What’s really brought Fillion down is that despite his promise to drop out of the race were charges formally brought against him, he has declared he’ll remain a candidate – thus, the candidate who crushed Sarkozy in the primaries is currently freefalling. Consequently, even if polling shows Fillion could still beat Le Pen in the runoff, his chances appear slim.
Emmanuel Macron Whether you like his ideas or not, Emmanuel Macron is the dark horse of this campaign. He’s a centrist, pro-business candidate who defected to create his own party, and it’s for this reason he’s proving most disruptive this election. Candidate for En Marche!, he is positioning himself as a political outsider capable of bringing together left and right under a social-liberal agenda. Among his propositions is a call to reduce the number of public servants as well as a $50 billion public investment fund and universal employment insurance. Nevertheless, as with many other candidates, what Macron represents politically remains more instrumental in garnering support than his policies themselves. His rupture with the Socialist Party allows him to sell himself as a new face in the political world, and therefore capable of overcoming factional conflicts to pass bipartisan measures. However, this narrative becomes slightly less convincing when we look at Macron’s career. If this ex-Rothschild banker can convince people he’s starting out in politics, it’s more a credit to his PR team than an accurate reflection of his background. It’s true he’s never been an elected official, but he has been working in elite political circles as an economic advisor, then as a minister, for over a decade. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who represents the establishment more. Despite my cynicism, however, I’d still place my money on him – at this point, he is potentially the only candidate who could draw voters from both left and right. Furthermore, polls show Macron and Le Pen neck and neck for the first round, with 26 percent of votes each, and Macron crushing Le Pen in the runoff with 68 percent of votes. Let’s just hope he never paid his wife a salary for a fake job… Benoît Hamon The candidate for the Socialist Party is currently fourth in the polls and it doesn’t look like he’ll get
much further. During the left primaries, he managed to slide past former prime minister Manuel Valls to confirm his candidature, but since then, Hamon has struggled to present policies that give him a broad appeal while remaining faithful to his convictions. He falls to the left of the Socialist Party line, but is not as radical as the candidate for France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon – this could be the perfect recipe for a fragmented left. Hamon began by forming an alliance with the Green candidate Yannick Jadot, adopting a number of radical ecologist policies, but a few weeks later he backtracked on one of his key policies – universal revenue – no doubt to present as a more realistic candidate. Yet, despite his idealistic but rather inspiring programme, I can’t help feeling a Hamon/Le Pen runoff would be too much of a risk. To understand why, we need to make a small detour to the National Assembly and bring in the consideration of abstention. Many right-wing Fillion supporters consider the prospect of a Hamon presidency as worrying as a Le Pen presidency, and will abstain from voting if Hamon gets to the runoff. They argue Le Pen will be unable to form a government if she wins due to there only being two FN members in the Assembly – she would therefore be incapable of passing any of her radical measures. The reality is many
voters would risk a muzzled far-right government over a far-left government which may plunge the country deeper in debt, and would be willing to let Le Pen win by not showing up. Hamon’s case is a perfect illustration of the overarching theme of this campaign: the votes in this election will not be sincere but strategic, and voters will attempt to prevent their least preferred candidate from winning, rather than voting for preferred options. This appears grim – yet we shouldn’t forget French people are generally not opposed to the idea of a negative vote, and many people consider they are voting against rather than voting for a candidate. People have claimed young Americans didn’t show up to vote because they had no one to vote for, and preventing a Trump presidency wasn’t a big enough incentive (bet they feel really smart now). French people don’t really have this issue, and the stereotype of us being perennially critical might be advantageous here. If and when Le Pen advances to the second round of voting, we can trust young people and left-leaning voters to mobilise to vote for the alternative, even if he doesn’t particularly inspire us – not unlike what happened last time we were worrying about a Le Pen presidency, back in 2002.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Two Tongues One Classroom Text: Nigarish Haider
In Persian class, I began to read out a sentence. I was a few words in when I was stopped and corrected. As I listened to the correction, I wondered where I had made the error. Was it in my pronunciation? My reading skills? No, it was in my dialect. ‘That’s what they say in Afghanistan,’ I was told before the sentence was repeated as it would be in Iran. When I first enrolled in my Persian major – inspired in part by a half-forgotten history with the language – it had never crossed my mind that ‘what they say in Afghanistan’ could be a hindrance to my learning or participation in class. After all, my understanding had been that Persian, a language shared across the borders of several countries including Iran and Afghanistan, would naturally exist as a set of dialects – as do many other languages. My experiences didn’t translate to this same understanding in class. Realising this led me to the broader question of whether there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to speak a particular language or to teach it. Dari is the dialect of Persian spoken in Afghanistan, while Farsi is the name of its Iranian variant – known in English as Afghan Persian and Iranian Persian
respectively. While discrepancies in vocabulary and pronunciation are present, there are no technical changes to syntax or grammatical structure. Dari and Farsi, similarly to cases in other languages around the world, exist as different registers of the same language. Despite the similarities, their differences have been perpetuated over time through the politicisation of language – a phenomenon common across many historical and social contexts. Take for example Hindi and Urdu, two grammatically identical languages that became factors inextricable to the religious animosity that eventually culminated in the partition of India and Pakistan. Though existing within a considerably calmer political climate, the relationship between Dari and Farsi has attached to it similar notions of national identity – their distinction is a means of asserting Afghanistan’s distinction from Iran, particularly from the 1960s onwards. But this is a concept that extends well beyond Dari, or Hindi. They are simple examples showcasing how language often evolves into an issue of national pride or a means of pushing particular political agendas within their respective societies. The resulting drive for linguistic purism contributes to the polarisation of communities. In the process, dialect differences become imbued with class and prejudice, which are subsequently ingrained in the way language is spoken
and observed in affected communities. Essentially, the distinctions between otherwise mutually intelligible dialects often speak more about the politics of class than of pronunciation and grammar, and this, in turn raises significant questions regarding the way in which language is taught. Most notably, should all dialects of a language be taught? It’s often argued that this is impractical, so we turn to teaching a standard and most official, though not necessarily more ‘correct’ form of the language – as is the case with ‘Modern Standard Arabic’ (MSA). Bypassing this impracticality in the classroom intends to offer one ‘standardised’ language, but this opens up a whole host of questions of its own. Who determines the methods of standardising language? To what extent can we shut out natural dialect variations in teaching such ‘standardised’ variants? After all, in practice, there is no truly normative way in which language is spoken. Dialects exist naturally by the diversity of human populations – they are intricately shaped by the geography, politics, history and social class of their speakers. Such variations in speech are best understood as residing on a continuum – the range of differences between dialects can be extensive, mirroring regionalisms and borrowings from other language families. Thus, it is important for language teachers to be aware of the diversity of dialects, and to be conscious of their own prejudices in
pushing a ‘standard’ or ‘correct’ way of speaking it. Some answers to these questions lie in addressing how, as was my experience, linguistically embedded prejudices are perpetuated when appreciation for dialect is overlooked in the push for standardisation. We should seek a better understanding of how this behaviour results in poor exposure to, and even erasure of the diverse cultures and narratives attached to such communities. And most importantly, we should accept that the way language is currently taught can be insensitive to historical legacies of power imbalances. It has the power to the othering of communities based on how they speak, often in relation to dialects of a shared language. While there may be no single clear solution to these issues, discussing them encourages us, in turn, to acknowledge that the first step we should collectively take is to rethink how we teach languages. Or rather, how we regulate its teaching. This first step, I hope, will lead us in the direction of a more inclusive teaching environment in the future. One in which learning a language means engaging with it in all its diversity and complexity, and teaching it means to celebrate this.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Things Thought in Showers Rarely Happen The Way You WanT Text: Mahalia Crawshaw We all have that moment. You are standing there, next to someone you care about and you need to tell them something. But it’s hard. Because you don’t know how to. But not even that. You have rehearsed it so many times – you have run the conversation through your head more often than you’ve heard someone laugh that day. Or maybe you just haven’t been listening. Because you’ve been distracted. So, it’s not that you don’t know how to say it. It’s that you don’t know how to start. My life has been littered with conversations such as this one, and they have never turned out the way I expected them to. Because despite how hard I try, the other person just doesn’t know the lines of the play I have so precisely composed. Right down to the dramatic pauses. This is a poem about that.
Breathe in. Ready. Waiting. Everything is so heightened. So clear. There they are. Standing. So unprepared. How are they to know what is coming? The air is expectant. Or maybe that is just your heart. Stopped. Silent. Un-beating. Pregnant with fear. You open your mouth and – You are thinking, beneath the shower head Droplets of water and soapiness drip down your body The hot hot water burns It focuses you. You turn your head to God and feel a face full of poorly pressured watery steam It will be right You know how it will happen You will be both standing there, chatting, careless A laugh will escape them And the words will float out of your mouth,
smooth, soft, calm A blanket of warmth will fill you You will be free ‘I think I met someone.’ They will turn, surprise on their face And then a slowly creeping smile with cross their face like daylight ‘There is this boy that I know’ ‘They are nice and kind and sweet. And I just wanted to tell you. Because you mean so much to me’ You can see it in their face. A heart. Their heart. Ready. Open. Forgiving. ‘I’m so happy for you’ It’s perfect. You were so high-strung, so ready for flashes of red and black and purple but now you feel so light You open your mouth and – Nothing escapes you. Not yet. They are laughing. You can’t. Not yet. Your mouth slowly shuts, the lips pressing together in the agony of
the inability to begin. They look at you. They smile. You smile back. There is that light in their eyes. It’s so bright. It blinds you, so much that you can’t remember what you wanted to say. That’s a lie. You know exactly the lines that you desire to usher. But they refuse to trot to the cadences of your voice. Finally, it happens This instant is as perfect as it is ever going to be It must be now Your body feels a sense of urgency that your words do not convey as they awkwardly and cautiously stumble from your lips ‘So…’ ‘There is this boy’ Shock floods into their body Reaching their open eyes and wider mouth, their whole being rises
at the intake of breath They gasped ‘I think. I think I like him’ Tears fall down their cheeks Loose raindrops on a porcelain face Too soon. Too soon. Too soon. Raindrops on the car window But you aren’t safe and warm inside And suddenly, everything is drowning in static and screaming and nothingness as your heart spirals You open your eyes Not like that. It won’t happen like that. You throw your sheet of scribbled on paper in the bin Start again. It will be perfect. The script must be perfect. But it never is.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Photostory: A Day In the Life of Henri Scott
1. Henri Scott – a second-year law student from Sydney – is the president of the ANU Filmmakers’ Collaborative. The group has an official membership of over 170 people.. 2. Scott sits at his computer reviewing a script for a short film he is currently working on. Scott first started acting in small productions and the occasional short film at the age of four. 3. Above Scott’s bed sit the three awards his short film The Righteous won at the 2017 ‘Lights! Camera! Action!’ film festival. The film claimed awards for ‘Best Student Film’ and ‘Best Use of Theme’, while Scott’s own acting performance earned him ‘Most Memorable Performance’. 4. ‘I’m always trying to make something. I get bored if I’m not creating something.’
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
25 5. Scott sits next to his friend Jonah Kaufman outside Bruce Hall, where they both live. Scott repeatedly mentioned how important Bruce Hall’s energetic atmosphere was to him as a creative film maker. He feels that being surrounded by other like-minded people helps him get in the ‘zone’ of creating.
6. ‘I’m very passionate about scooting,’ Scott jokingly says as he rides around outside his hall with some of his friends. 7. Scott adjusts the camera angle with his friend/colleague Baz Salmon before shooting the opening scene to their newest short film. 8. Scott plans to continue producing short films during his time at ANU in hopes of some day becoming a professional film producer. Photography: Dillon Vibes See Dillon’s work at dillonvibes.com
Issue 3, Vol. 67
You Have to Improv to Improve Text: Stella Rapson According to the ever-trusty Wikipedia, ‘Improvisational theatre, often called Improv, Impro or Improving, is a form of theatre where most or all of what is performed is created at the moment it is performed.’ To give you a real taste of what improv is about, I have decided to write this piece in 20 minutes without edits. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with any extreme tendency to procrastinate my responsibilities. Much like this article, improv unfolds in the present moment, without use of a pre-prepared, written script. I wholeheartedly believe that uni students are the most naturally gifted
improv artists. It is near impossible to comprehend that we can bullshit our way through tutorial questions to get full tutorial marks without having done any pre-tutorial readings; punch out an entire 4000 word essay in 15 hours and land a HD; walk into a lecture completely unprepared and yet manage to borrow a pen, some paper, half a sandwich and a USB containing an electronic copy of the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Yet, somehow we do it. All of these things have happened to me, with the exception of the sandwich – students don’t share food. We are the improv Thespians in our own lives. We successfully improvise our way through the curveballs that student life and, more often than not, our own scatterbrained selves throw at us.
However, what they don’t tell you is that while university initially trains and finetunes your improv skills, there comes a point when it begins to gradually chip away at your appreciation for the fine art of last minute preparation. As the years roll on, you will almost invariably find yourself transforming into the person you never thought you would be: someone who makes plans, and sticks to them. In no way am I saying that preparation is not important, or that it is a useless skill. I am simply suggesting that you don’t ever forget from whence you came – a lowly improv artist turned premeditative adherent of to-do lists and bullet journals. Casting my gaze upon the unfortunate souls who have gathered together for
coffee in attempts to kick start planning various segments of their orderly little lives, I know that no one can ever completely remove themselves from their improvisational roots. There is simply too much going on in life to be able to completely plan anything. There is improv in the first moments of meeting that person at a lecture – the one that you’re half-an-hour late for – who will be your best friend one day. It’s in the lakeside walks and the late-night conversations you share with your loved ones. It’s shoved into all those awkward small-talk chats, the myriad of emotional, magical, funny, life-filled moments that colour our memories. There will always be improv in this world, and I can rest easy tonight with that knowledge.
A slice of the pie Text: Liam Osawa
The economy is a big pie. Yum. All of us play a role in baking this pie. Some more than others, but we’re all involved in some shape or form. Economists have held the term ‘growing the pie’ close to their hearts for the past few decades. The pie is sliced up in different ways, and some get more than others. Advocates for this arrangement believe that, provided this big pie keeps growing, everyone’s portion of pie will continue to increase. Well, this pie has been growing. We’ve seen consistent improvements in gross domestic product and productivity, but the vast majority of us haven’t been receiving the increase in portion size that we were promised this would growth produce. Our portions have, in fact, decreased. Income inequality is prevalent in almost every Western country – the US is a prime example. From 1948 through to 1973, the US saw productivity and average hourly worker compensation increase by roughly 96.7 percent and 91.3 percent respectively. This seems fair enough. Since then, productivity has slightly dipped to 74.4 percent b e t w e e n
1973 -2013, but hourly worker compensation has struggled to keep and is currently increasing at a rate of 9.2 percent. This is significant. We’re still producing more and more at higher efficiencies, but we – or at least the majority of us – haven’t been ‘reaping the rewards’, so to speak. Income inequality has continued to increase. Wealth begets wealth, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break this trend. There are many hypotheses that attempt to account for our increasingly smaller portions. Some credit the current state of world trade in a rapidly globalising world economy. The explanation here is that hourly compensation in the West was forced down as manual labour jobs leaked out of the West and into the East – meaning the demand for skilled service-based labour spiked in turn. Those with superior educational qualifications began to command significantly higher wages while manual labourers endured major lay-offs and wage decreases. Others believe the push towards ‘small government’ that consumed the West during the 80s and 90s is responsible. The deregulation of public infrastructure and utilities, tax cuts, and a sticky minimum wage has likely been a factor in driving inequality. The trickling we were promised never occurred, and the rich pooled their money. Collective action amongst workers was demonised in the media and by governments across the West, resulting in low union membership to industry ratios over the past 2 - 3 decades. This has affected the ability for workers to enter
genu i n e bargaining a r ra ngements, leading to falling wages and diminishing workers’ rights. At the end of the day, it is difficult to pinpoint where our pie is going wrong. Whatever the reason may be, it seems obvious that our pie is quite dysfunctional. This represents the flaw in using the pie as a measure of prosperity. An economy is complex. It cannot be boiled down to a single number or statistic. Economic growth does not somehow spontaneously divide its rewards equitably across the population. One thing, however, is certainly clear: our pie needs some work.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
What if Animals did the Talking? Text: Heloise Duce Illustration: Caitlin Setnicar
Following a long day at uni, an exhausting shift at Maccas and hours of mindless moves at Moose you stumble home to your room. Stupefied by the ethanol, you scramble for the lamp’s switch to extinguish the darkness. The light slightly dazzles your eyes, but you persist in untying your laces. With one last heave, the boots flip off, and you collapse into bed. Again you fumble for the light switch, but this time a brown creature darts in your periphery. It’s a Huntsman spider. Nearly everyone in Australia has been welcomed home by a large furry critter such as the Huntsman at one time or another. Experience dictates that they choose to pounce on their victim in the most unsuspecting of moments. Instinct usually overtakes our mostly logical thought processes, and we transition into ‘fight or flight’ gear. Both of these actions prove to be a disservice to humanity. Finding a Huntsman in your bedroom feels like an invasion or intrusion from something alien. But really, this is a paradox: our manmade buildings, factories, technologies and vehicles are the alien objects, towering over the Huntsman and dictating arbitrary rules of humanity. Every time we are ‘interrupted’ by a surprise animal encounter, we should urge ourselves to stop, listen and question our attitudes. Because, what if we were the victims in the room?
We would learn to listen In an alternate reality where Huntsman spiders could communicate with humans, we might end up listening to them – and they might have a lot to say to us. If we could speak with the humble Huntsman, we would inevitably develop a greater relationship and sympathy with them and other animals. Imagine if we knew why this particular Huntsman has chosen to shelter inside, and what life changes it had been going through. By listening we would gain a wealth of knowledge about the ecosystems we are part of but are rarely forced to engage with directly.
We would realise that we are truly interdependent In this hypothetical world, we might be reminded more often of the vitality and importance of their place in society: that plants and animal behaviour within ecosystems are essential to life on earth. Bees might remind us that their pollination is responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat; bats might remind us that they control pests biologically; and frogs might remind us that their presence is a bio-indicator of the health of ecosystems. We would be thankful that elephants can predict earthquakes and tsunamis, and that ants can detect when it will rain. These reminders could prove vital to furthering our understanding that animal, ecology and human livelihoods are all dependent on each other’s sustainability.
We would remember to reduce our footprint In a world where animals could speak, what would their resounding message be? I suspect it would be a call to reduce our emissions and to focus on conserving their ecosystems. They’d remind us that starving polar bears are beginning to migrate to urban areas to find food; 99 percent of threatened species are at risk of extinction; and that koalas are more vulnerable to Australia’s fires and floods than we are. They’d train us to be perceptive of the environment and its behavior, and ultimately to be wary of our carbon footprint. So, next time a Huntsman spider spooks you, let the experience serve as a lesson or reminder of your ecosystem’s vigour and vitality. Such unsuspecting visits from the animal world, be it from a Huntsman or a swooping magpie, are symbolic of our need to focus on the environment and the preservation of our local ecosystems. In fact, new research has found that climate change could increase the number, size and speed of spiders in the future. Maybe the alternate reality isn’t so far away.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
A Slip of the Lip
Foreign Film Fights: Sub vs Dub Text: Caroline Hendy Caroline is in her third year of a Bachelor of Languages, and is now well and truly drawn into the fascinating world that is linguistics - the science of language. A Slip of the Lip is her way of sharing interesting linguistic research in an engaging, digestible way.
Welcome to today’s big Foreign Film Fight: Sub vs Dub! In one corner, we have Sam Subtitle. Her movies feature writing across the bottom of the screen translated into the audience’s language, while the foreign language audio stays in place. In the other corner, we have Aditi Dub, whose movies go straight to the bones of it by scrapping the audio completely and starting again with voices speaking the audience’s language. The crowd tonight is full of foreign-language learners and film aficionados. They’re getting quite wild – let’s interview some spectators and get the low-down. Reporter: This is Shawn, he’s here supporting Sam Subtitle. Shawn, why do you think Sam Subtitle is going to win tonight? Shawn: Subtitles are by far the superior foreign-language viewing approach. With Dub you can never tell what it is the actors are really saying, and the actors’ lips never line up with their words! It’s barbaric! Reporter: Thanks for that Shawn, best of luck. Over here we have Tino, who’s here supporting Aditi Dub. Tino, why do you think Dub’s going to win? Tino: Ah mate, Dub is where it’s at. Subtitles block part of the screen, and you have to spend all this effort just reading. No-one watches movies so they can read – that’s what books are for! Reporter: Thanks, Tino. I suspect whatever outcome we have tonight, the fans will stay loyal. Research has shown that people prefer whichever it is they’re more used to. But it’s not about the fans, it’s about glory. Time to get down to business.
Round One: Which conveys the meaning better? In reality, neither form can hope to completely capture the original meaning of the dialogue. Not only do they have to contend with the usual troubles
of translation, but they also have a very limited time in which to do it. Subtitles usually follow what is referred to as the ‘six-second rule’: a subtitle of 64 characters, or approximately 13 words, is displayed on-screen for six seconds. No more than that is allowed, and any less is shown for a proportionate amount of time – so approximately two words are displayed per second, as people tend to speak at a similar rate. Humans are usually able to read faster than they can comprehend speech, so reading the whole subtitle in time is not a problem. What is a problem is that the subtitles can only be shown for the time it takes the person to finish their utterance, otherwise the subtitles will fall behind the dialogue. To overcome this, they must be condensed. For example, according to Koolstra et al. in their 30-page article The Pros and Cons of Dubbing and Subtitling – yes, people actually get paid to research this – Dutch subtitles leave out about 30 percent of the English dialogue they translate from. On the other hand, dubbing requires the relevant phrase of speech to begin and end at the same time as the actors’ lips, although how closely the intermediate speech needs to match the lip movements is dependent on the audience and language of translation. This, however, does not pose a significant limitation on time, as most languages are quite similar when it comes to length of expression. And so, round one goes to Dub!
Round Two: Who is less distracting? While dubbing naturally entails the annoying out-of-sync lips, subtitles prevent the viewer from absorbing as much of the imagery that they otherwise would. Apart from this, there is little difference in the distraction caused to viewers between subtitles and dubbing. Jackson Harris et al. have found that there is no disparity between subtitles and dubbing when it comes to registering and remembering the emotions of the characters. In addition to this, Wissmath et al. have reported that there is no significant discrepancy in the level of investment
in the storyline that either method conjured in the audience. Round two: Tie!
Round Three: Who helps you learn? It is indisputable that the benefits of subtitles far outweigh those of dubbing when it comes to this. For learners of a foreign language, having the chance to hear their target language whilst reading the translation is a far better learning opportunity than just watching a movie in their own language. Additionally, Koolstra et al. assert that ‘watching subtitled television programmes leads over time to better reading skills in children.’ Round three: Sub!
Round Four: Who costs less? This one is a brutally short round: Aditi Dub costs ten to fifteen times more than Sam Subtitle! And with that, round four goes to Sam Subtitle! So there you have it. It was a close call but Sam Subtitle has come out on top. Who do you think should have won? Did you agree with the ref? Be sure to let us know what you think and thank you for joining us on Foreign Film Fights!
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Special thanks to to Charlotte Goodman, Florin Giles, Celeste Sandstrom and Tandee Wang for their work as guest sub-editors for this pull out. Design by Katie Ward.
for cool straight people to use. When I finally did understand Tinder, it came with a warning from my older queer friends: it’s a hetero space. Do not approach.
Twitter is a paradigm of the people, a spectrum stretching from pure nonsense to the political. While you might think the strangest thing to come from it is the rise of Trump, I’ve found that telling people about how I met my partner to be the true spectacle. I was having coffee with an acquaintance recently, nestled in a sleepy corner of the Food Co-Op. ‘Oh,’ she leant forward as if she were expecting a slap that never came. ‘You really met your girlfriend on Twitter?’ The incredulity might have been offensive to me years ago, but at the time I laughed. ‘Yeah, we were just floating in each other’s circles until we just –’, here I pushed my hands together, two forces fusing. When I smiled, my acquaintance reciprocated nervously. ‘I thought Twitter was all like, you know,’ she lowered her tone, ‘alt-right and stuff. Conservative.’ The unspoken
questions hugged her shoulders: How can you exist as a queer person in such a volatile space? How could you even make friends, let alone find a partner? Why not use Tinder? When Hatch Labs launched the app in 2012, I took no notice. I was 14, in my second year of high school and so painfully awkward you’d have to cut the silence surrounding me with a chainsaw. I was friends with self-proclaimed nerds in an all girls’ school that, though it was never said, thrived on the dichotomy of its lesbian boarding house stereotype and the strong heterosexual image it craved. I didn’t know any queer people until the following year when I had a brief and chaotic relationship with one of said nerd friends. Tinder existed in the same echelon as Snapchat and Facebook and, ironically, Twitter – something
Of course, there are alternatives that I had no idea about – Grindr for masculine queer folks, and Her for the sapphic-inclined – but these evolved later. OkCupid and eHarmony were, again, the straight peoples’ playgrounds, and I’d never liked their cheesy TV ads anyway. So when I’d split with my first girlfriend, I faced a fork in the road: I was neither willing to play straight, nor was I bold enough to actually come out and interact with queer strangers. Two roads diverged in a wood and I - / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference. My old pal Bobby Frost couldn’t have said it better. I took a third option, making a Twitter account and doing what I do best: make friends without really ‘making’ them. For a year I was floating around, hesitantly dating someone who turned out to be less invested in our flimsy connection than I was. I followed some people who are now some of my closest companions, and I also found Rose – sweet, gorgeous, shy Rose who liked all the things I liked and had the cutest smile to boot. And who happened to live on the other side of the planet. Three years, two cross-hemispherical holidays and a grand total of
forty-eight days spent in each other’s company has culminated in one pretty obvious fact: I love her more than there are words to describe it. It’s tawdry and a hundred variations on cliché but anyone who has that someone (or someones) knows it’s embarrassingly true. Though I’d like to think that even if we hadn’t met as clumsy sixteen-year-olds I would have found her eventually, the truth is that the UK is over 17,000km away. You know that song, ‘500 Miles’ by the Proclaimers? I’m not just ‘falling down at her door’; I’m arriving in the back of an ambulance. Without Twitter, I would have never met her in the first place. Whether or not you subscribe to pre-determinist or chaos theory is irrelevant here: the fact is that a series of events led to us, and one website played a role in facilitating that. My experience of online dating may be a rare one – should be met with a healthy amount of realism – but sometimes the universe allows good things to happen to queer people. Reflecting on this has made me realised that experiences on the internet aren’t distinct from real life. The spaces you create with the people in your physical world are just as real as those you shape online. I made Twitter the neurotic equivalent of Tinder like my parents made meeting in a TAFE classroom the 90s version of a debutante ball. Relativity isn’t confined to physics, kids; it’s living in the space between my partner and I, you and me, and us and the rest of this strange, strange world.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Florin Giles is an English and Gender studies student with a special love for gay poetry and English boys. They love eyeshadow and are always late for class because they were busy backcombing their hair. Florin is a seventies and eighties enthusiast and still thinks David Bowie is the most perfect man to have walked the planet.
Torso of Dionysus From Gymnasium, Second Century, Unknown Sculptor queens in public bathrooms sporting half-clad erections, yet again I am not welcome a song to the golden piss streaked tiles, glory be to god. A cultivated eyebrow, a plump and snarling lip; I see him spilling lynxsweat and pubic hair on slickened sheets; spilling onto the pavement a diaphanous and sickly bearded glow. I am occupied by boys; The dark downy hair of the arms and the eyelashes and hands and the murky English breath. When the cologne rubs off on my shirt and I’m stuffing the cloth to my nose for days, searching for the smell; I am gay for you Ginsberg, I would fellate you in the supermarket by the health food aisle near the cereals, for nights I read your poems and the man I was vomited out of me; I ate your words and they gave me the runs. Glory be to Dionysus, who fucked up the sun in a gothic motel in 1974. Glory be to the ashy figure immobile in the plush and velvet Fitzwilliam Museum, where pink and golden college boys take photos and wank over the crystallised bulging marble swinging phallus and straining arms. Glory be to you Ginsberg, I kneel quivering over dusty brown sandals. I drink from the pools of sweat in your elbows. Glory be to Achilles, I am built in your protracted image, though none of the boys I like want to fuck me. a fag in bright colours, locking myself in the cubicle of the men’s room after lunch each day, pressing myself to the wall, trembling, politicised, asking for it. Fag is a word I love to be called, an Achillean word I am thirsty to carry it. I am thirsty, I can almost taste the back of his neck where the bristles run diagonal to the skin; I can smell his lacquered-down hair, running grabbing elbows and hands, touching as we can’t with other men. Thirsty, I will drink the sweat and blood of every holy boy whose oily skin I longed to sleep my crescentmoon nailbeds upon, my torso is wrung out and I’m crucified each time a stranger, cashier or taxi driver unties my fractured self. I love the pounding rhythm of the fists, which fuels my heart as the word faggot falls like soot from the lips and lands in a burning halo around my golden temples, Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! Faggot! The world is faggot! The soul is faggot! The skin is faggot! The nose is faggot! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole, faggot!
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Tilly Lawless is a queer sex worker based in Sydney. She writes extensively about her work and the way she navigates the intersection between it, her queerness, and her relationships. She is passionate about sex worker rights, queer literature and horses. I talk to her about some of the issues she regularly addresses in her activism. CG: Do you think society has a tendency to fetishise lesbianism? Do you think this serves to undermine lesbian identity? Has this impacted you? TL: Totally. There’s a quote I remember from somewhere – ‘queer women aren’t more accepted, they’re just more sexualised’ – which I think is so apt. Especially as a femme queer woman who people read as ‘straight’, my queerness is seen as very much for public consumption, and not just my queerness but my gender identity itself is seen as performative. The fact that people trivialise my relationship with my girlfriend by just seeing us as a doorway to a threesome, rather than a legitimate relationship between two people in love, is constantly upsetting. However I also utilise this fetishisation through my work – I market myself through my sexuality, playing upon the fantasies men have about lesbians in order to make money and fund my queer reality with my girlfriend. I exploit that myth for my own financial benefit, and it gives me a thrill to build my wealth on the backs of those who trivialise us. It’s an interesting division, though, a sort of quagmire with no clear delineation – when I am paid to come on the fist of a girl whose fist I would be coming on
anyway in a different bedroom, what is reality and what is fantasy? CG: As a feminist and a queer rights activist, how do you react to criticisms that engaging in sex work with men is somehow anti-feminist or anti queer-rights? TL: I could honestly write – and have written – a 15-minute speech on this. For brevity’s sake let me just go with historian Yasmin Nair’s quote: ‘Sex work is as integral to queer history as to feminism. Forgetting that has devastated feminism, and will do the same for queers.’ CG: I am a femme queer woman and I think sometimes I am seen – when in the context of a relationship another femme woman – as not ‘queer’ enough. It’s as though because I do not ‘look gay’, then my relationship could be interpreted by people as ‘close friends’, ‘a phase’ or ‘confusion’. Have you had any experience with this and do you think the queer community does have ‘hierarchies’ of queerness? TL: I have, and it is a double-edged sword. It is a privilege to be invisible in many ways – I’m not going to be gaybashed or denied a job because I look queer, nor am I in danger of ‘corrective rape’ as some queer women are. But then I am also ostracised from my own community, I suffer from misogyny at the hands of some more masculine queer women, and I am basically told again and again that neither my sexuality nor my voice is valid. Masculinity is held as superior across the queer community, just look at ‘masc for masc’ [on dating apps or websites], or the way
butch women are able to judge the authenticity of femme women, or even legitimise their sexuality by appearing alongside them. Femmephobia is alive and well in the queer community, largely because masculinity is seen as more desirable across society. CG: Have you been more accepted by the queer community in regards to sex work than by other communities? TL: The mainstream lesbian community has never been accepting of my work or my femininity. I have also experienced some whorephobia from gay men – ‘Babe, don’t class yourself with prostitutes, you’re so pretty! You’re way better than that.’ The broader queer community is pretty understanding, though – historically sex work has been incredibly tied up with queerness, in that it is one of the few ways trans people and femme gay men have been able to access money in society because they were excluded from the job market generally. The queer community is usually more accepting of promiscuity too, as well as less traditional romantic relationships, and also gets the need to monetise yourself in whatever way you can.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
A few months ago, I went to my GP to discuss a persistent and pervasive cycle of negative thoughts. I walked out with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety along with a prescription for citalopram, a common antidepressant. As she printed it out, the GP rattled through a list of possible side effects that the medication could have – drowsiness, flattened emotion, weight gain. Then she said, flippantly: ‘Sometimes it can leave men with erectile dysfunction – all you can do is hope that’s not you!’ I remember stifling a laugh. I’m 19 years old and in decent physical health. Vainly, I couldn’t imagine myself having problems getting hard. Time wore on and the antidepressant began to take effect. I do feel a little fuzzy on occasion, but the little white pill I swallow every night before I fall asleep takes the edge off my illness. This medication has improved my quality of life significantly. But now, even when I want one most, I struggle to get or keep an erection. Erectile dysfunction (ED) still lurks in the shadows of our collective consciousness. It’s something that many people feel a faint disgust towards; we relegate it to the punchline of a scurrilous joke or equate it with a failure to provide sexual fulfilment to a partner. All too often it’s perceived as the preserve of the weak and aging, whose waning virility holds them back from passionate love-making. At its most basic level, the inability to maintain an erection can represent a belittling erosion of masculinity. The stigma of this ridicule and disappointment pulls a veil of shame over any sincere discussion of ED and other kinds of sexual dysfunction. When I first tried to search for personal
experiences of people with ED, a vast majority of results were targeted towards two major groups: treatment for sufferers, and advice for those whose partners could not please them in bed. Very few have shared personal stories, and fewer still have put their names to those accounts. This was a strange and confronting finding. In an age where the Internet extends our sense of community beyond physical boundaries, I expected to take comfort in solidarity. Reading the stories and thoughts of strangers helped me gain the courage to come out first as gay, and then again as demisexual. I didn’t find anything that satisfied this need for connection when I researched ED. Both of the times I came out took place very late in my teens. This timing is starkly different from that of many of my friends, who chose to be up-front about their identities at younger ages. My personal journey towards attaining this same openness was long and difficult, because it required me to overcome some deep-seated but banal insecurities. As a closeted high school student I was unconvinced that other people like me existed. I felt broken or wrong in some elusive, unidentifiable way, and I struggled to believe my feelings and desires were valid. These feelings were amplified by untreated anxiety, which left me with paralysing doubts about my adequacy not only as a member of the queer community but specifically as a gay man. Something that particularly troubled me was how distant I felt from the hook-up culture. I thought that such an opportunity to embrace and indulge in my sexuality was invaluable, and I could not reconcile this with the fact that I didn’t want to take part in it. Demisexuality, and in fact any identity
that lies on the spectrum of asexuality, is often misunderstood or outright dismissed. In a nutshell, I can’t experience sexual attraction to someone if I don’t feel a strong emotional bond with them. This represents almost the polar opposite of the hook-up, one of the default modes of sexual contact in the gay community. I understand the value of anonymous sex without the expectation of cumbersome intimacy, but the idea of hopping on Grindr to search for a quick fuck is alien to me. Taking this minefield of self-worth issues into account, the relationship between my mental illness and sexual identity was tense even before I began taking citalopram. When I did realise that my antidepressants were giving me ED, I interpreted it as the death knell of my sex life. I found it all too fitting that I, someone with little interest in casual hook-ups, was now effectively unable to take part in them, and I bitterly joked to friends that ED and I were meant for each other. But on a deeper level, I felt a conflict between the values I accept as a gay man and the emotions the discovery catalysed. I don’t believe that anybody’s worth is founded upon their ability to perform in bed, but all the same I felt as if my confidence in one more aspect of my sexuality had just collapsed. It took me some time to wholly believe that I am valuable even if I can’t be sexually active in the ways I enjoyed in the past. But the biggest thing I take away from this experience is that the interactions between health, medication and queer identities are complex. Looking beyond the limits of my experience, trans writers have recounted a wide variety of experiences with altered sexual functioning as a result of hormone replacement therapy. One harrowing testimony I read revealed the debilitating fear of a cis sex worker
whose livelihood was put at risk by reduced sexual functioning after starting on a new medication. At its heart, the trade-off between medication and sexual functioning is about compromise. I personally prioritise freedom from depression above the ability to maintain an erection, but it is a fraught choice. Losing control of such a fundamental function of your body can be frightening and disempowering, even if it is counterbalanced by other improvements to your health. But I’m not going to bow to the shame and stigma that washed over me when I walked out of that clinic and Googled ED on my phone. So what if I can’t get hard? At least I can feel happy again, and to me that’s worth more than all the boners in the world.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
7. Which mythological figure are you? A) B) C) D) E)
Narcissus Dionysus Icarus Hercules Atlas
8. Which emoji are you? A) B) C) D) E)
1. Pick a meme: A) B) C) D) E)
Trolley Problem Dat Boi Hollyweed sign Starter packs Gay Communist Memes
2. Which piece of lesbian media are you? A) B) C) D) E)
Written on the body – Jeanette Winterson Blue is the Warmest Colour Orange is the New Black (seasons 1 - 2) But I’m A Cheerleader Fuck The Pain Away - Peaches
3. What is your star sign? A) B) C) D) E)
Aries, Leo or Sagittarius Taurus, Virgo or Capricorn Gemini Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces Libra or Aquarius
4. Which facial piercing would you get? A) B) C) D) E)
Tongue Monroe Septum Nose Industrial
5. Where would you take your date? A) B) C) D) E)
Gay Cliché Youth Centre Skatepark Feminartsy Story-share Tilly’s Happy Hour (with a bowl of chips) Roller Derby Double Header
6. What is your favourite tinder pick up line: A) B) C) D) E)
‘When I’m around you I can’t think straight.’ ‘Here for a good time, not a long time.’ ‘Chunky but funky.’ ‘Let’s go to a museum – though we couldn’t hold hands because you can’t touch the art.’ ‘I’ll like your dog more than you.’
Heart eyes Peach Fire followed by wet Wildcard series of random emojis Moon
Mostly A Sappho
Mostly B Marlene Dietrich
A Greek poet from the island of Lesbos and one of the Nine Lyric Poets esteemed by the scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. The words ‘lesbian’ and ‘Sapphic’ both have roots in Sappho’s fame. Beautiful and lyrical, much of what you do is a celebration of emotional and physical love and intimacy. You enjoy messing with people who think you and your girlfriend are just ‘good pals’. You love to be romantic and playful and like to have many close relationships in your life. You are a deep thinker, and love to share the fruits of your labour with others. You are an aestheticist and have a profound respect for beauty (both your own that that of others).
A German-born actress in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood. She was known for her numerous affairs and defiance of gender roles through boxing and wearing men’s clothes. You are iconic and on another plane of existence. You have a reputation to be envied, and your sense of style precedes you. Always dressed to impress, you make time for the fine things in life. You love to reinvent yourself while remaining authentically and uniquely you. You scorn tradition for tradition’s sake, and you skilfully walk the line between opposing poles; masculine and feminine, demure and seductive. You are apt for an active and satisfying intimate life.
Mostly C Audre Lorde
Mostly D Chavela Vargas
A black writer, feminist, and civil rights activist. Her writing frequently explored black female identity, the importance of understanding intersecting oppressions and identities in feminism, authentic experience, and difference. You are creative and inspiring in your ability to rise above hardship and fight against injustice. You use the written word to express your innermost thoughts – ideas that would otherwise be uncommunicated. To you, words are a tool of both resistance and encouragement. You love to talk about feminism and are always ready to correct someone who misunderstands your movement. You believe that defiance does not solely take the form of public protest, but that even small aspects of our personal lives are political – from hair to clothes or language. You are intelligent, you have an eye for detail, and a heart full of love.
A Costa Rican-born Mexican singer. She was an influential figure in Latin-American music. She was unapologetic in her relationships with women and her musical style; ranchera, a typically masculine genre. She was rumoured to have had an affair with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. You are unwavering in the face of others telling you how to live your life. You love music, and you love to entertain – people can’t help but laugh when they are around you. The colour in your life comes from your friends and your passions, and you never do anything halfway. You are proud of who you are. Though introverted, you recharge through your relationships with those close to you. You find solace in remembering love lost, rather than love that never was. Your presence is intoxicating and lingers long after you have left the room.
Mostly E Laura Jane Grace An American musician and frontwoman of punk rock band Against Me!, Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender in 2012. She is an outspoken activist and uses her public profile to advance gender diversity in the alternative music scene. You don’t have time for people who don’t find you impressive. You are outspoken and don’t take anyone’s shit. You take any opportunity to stand up for yourself. A punk at heart, you have a loud voice and unique sense of style. You find strength in vulnerability, and other people find their strength in you. You have an illuminating presence, an eye for the souls of others, and great taste. You are empathetic, and love to spend time having deep chats and reckless fun with your friends.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Content Warning: mentions of genitals, dysphoria, misgendering Celeste Sandstrom is a transfeminine non-binary queer second-year student. She is studying a flexible double degree in Science and Arts, with majors in Mathematics and Gender, Sexuality & Culture. When not studying, she spends most of her time either playing 500 or other card and board games.
Dear cis people,
guy wearing girl’s clothes’ the conclusion you jump to? Why do you make any assumption about what my gender is at all? Unless you’re my partner, it bears no significance on your life. You can ask for my pronouns, and I’ll tell you, even though I may not say exactly how I identify. It is not a rude question; in fact, it’s the opposite. It’s as polite as you can be.
Celeste’s Quick Guide On How To Respectfully Ask For Pronouns:
What part of me wearing a skirt, a crop top and heels screams ‘I’m a guy’ to you? Is it that I have a ‘male’ face shape? Is it that I don’t have a chest to speak of? Is it that if you stare inappropriately, you’ll notice a slight bulge that I just couldn’t manage to hide?
Me: Hi, I’m Celeste. You: Hi Celeste, nice to meet you. What are your pronouns? Mine are he/him. Me: I use she/her. Ta da! Using this process, you have successfully respected the autonomy of everyone’s identity, and not misgendered anyone.
I was ‘assigned male at birth’, and I have a penis, but I’m sure you know about transgender people. So why is ‘a
For argument’s sake, however, let’s say you absolutely must refer to me as either ‘she’ or ‘he’, without asking for my
Sam Green is a 21-year-old non-binary person. They have a number of disabilities, 28 housemates, and 2 small angry birds. They have studied archaeology, ancient history, and library studies, and have high hopes of studying art curatorship in the future. Sam spends their time creating visual art and working more than they should in a shop. You can follow their art blog on Instagram at @illaddanamelater.
I’m an artist. I’ve been painting near constantly for five years, and I’ve been looking to exhibit my latest artworks. I’ve been working on a series that explores the reality of living with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The segmented images focus on subluxated and dislocated joints and the typical hypermobility I live with.
One place I considered exhibiting at was with a group of women who were pushing for a less male dominated industry by having 60 percent quota for women at every event. I’m all for that, and was in the process of sorting out a set up when I realised the venue wasn’t accessible. It was an old building, and their lift was broken down. The only way in was a flight of stairs. I might be okay to get in – I don’t always use my cane and can take the stairs around 80 percent of the time – but my best friend, who is the subject of several paintings and who is in a wheelchair, wouldn’t be able to get in. How could I possibly exhibit a series which explores disability, an aim at being radically visible, when the venue was inaccessible? I get why they couldn’t change venue; it’s a small collective. They’d be searching for several months to find a venue and this was the best they could get. I
pronouns. The way a person presents themselves – the clothes they choose, the way they speak, or the mannerisms they use – is often, but not always, done as an expression of their internal gender identity. Considering my presentation, the safest of those two options would be to call me ‘she’. This is because misgendering a cis man ‘dressing up as a girl’ does not have the same detrimental effect as misgendering me as a trans woman and thereby feeding into the dysphoria I already struggle with. Many trans people struggle to correct people who use incorrect pronouns, so if you must assume, base it on presentation.
gender-neutral. Often non-binary people who don’t identify within the gender binary use they/them as opposed to any gendered pronouns. It is not grammatically incorrect to use they/them in a singular form and, in fact, you probably already do it subconsciously. It all comes down to a simple notion: don’t assume that everyone experiences gender the same way you do.
All my love, Celeste xoxoxo
But even as I offer this view, I disagree with it. If you don’t know someone’s pronouns, you can and should use ‘they’. ‘They’ and ‘them’ are the safest pronouns you can use for someone whose pronouns you don’t know since they are
said I understood and withdrew from the exhibition. Meanwhile, a small, tired voice inside me whispered ‘the revolution must be accessible.’ We talk about intersectional politics a lot, and that’s something I’m very grateful for. I’m a queer non-binary person and intersectional feminism in particular is really important to me. But when we’re talking about racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, ableism is often left out of the conversation. From marches and protests that don’t plan their route with wheelchairs in mind, to events set in venues without accessible bathrooms: physically disabled people are left on the sidelines. Nik Moreno in his article ‘5 Ways Ableism Looks in Queer Spaces’ lists a quick checklist of accessibility. With just a few of his starting points, we discover we’ve ruled out the accessibility of most parties, panels or meetings.
How many queer events have someone who speaks Auslan? How many queer events are willing to turn down the music, or skip songs when someone’s got sensory issues? Have you ever walked around your venue and considered how someone in a wheelchair, with a service dog, or on crutches could manoeuvre their way through? Now fill that space with people. Can they get around? The queer community needs to be truly intersectional. The gaytriarchy is real, and its cis, white, neurotypical and able-bodied. We need to ensure PoC aren’t being spoken over. We need to ensure we support our trans siblings in any ways we can. We need to ensure that labour in our spaces isn’t gendered. And we need to ensure our queer-crip friends can get in the damn door.
‘Do you like threesomes, then?’ ‘You’re just greedy.’ ‘So, are you still bisexual now you’re in a straight relationship?’ These are questions and comments that are probably familiar to almost every openly bisexual person. Just yesterday I was talking to a friend, who, upon hearing that I’d started going to Queer* department meetings expressed that she would love to come but she didn’t feel that she was ‘queer enough’. She is a bisexual cis woman, in a monogamous relationship with her boyfriend. But sexuality isn’t about who you’re in a relationship with – it’s about how you feel and whether you’re attracted, in the broad sense of the word, to people of the same gender as you, a different gender to you, or some subset or combination thereof. Bisexual erasure is ingrained in our society and, disappointingly, within the queer community itself. This is the tendency to ignore or downplay bisexuality or to re-explain bisexuality in other ways that satisfy a homo/hetero narrative. Bi erasure happens often in straight communities – when people treat that time you went home with the cute girl at the party as if it doesn’t count because you had been drinking. It also happens within the queer community – when marriage equality is talked about as gay marriage, and you’re only invited to queer events when you happen to be in a relationship with someone of your gender. Then, of course, the mainstream media doesn’t do much better – even popular bisexual characters are not acknowledged as such, like Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayers who transformed from straight to ‘gay’ as soon as she was with another woman. I started being invited to queer events in an increasing number when I became, demonstrably, in a monogamous relationship with another woman. Not by people who had just met me or just found out about my sexuality, but by people who had known me and my identity for a long time. Suddenly I got told how cute my ‘lesbian’ relationship was, and it was immediately assumed by people I’d just met – including a new doctor! – that I was gay. I’m tired
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
of having my sexuality invalidated, and tired of watching my bi peers internalise the biphobia that gets thrown at them all too frequently. Why does this happen? Much like the gender binary is an easy but inaccurate way to categorise people, the gay/ straight binary gives a concrete black and white category to put people in. Bisexuality doesn’t fall neatly into that dichotomy, and so it is often either ignored or miscategorised. It is easy to see two women together and assume they’re a lesbian couple, but takes a little more nuance to realise that you can’t definitively ascertain someone’s orientation from who they’re in a relationship with. After all, nobody assumes all single people are asexual! Your partner doesn’t determine your sexuality, you do.
But bisexuality is valid. If you identify as bi, you are valid. The onus is now on others in the queer community to make sure bisexuals should feel welcome in queer spaces and accepted as more than who they’re dating. As a bi person, there should be no need to prove yourself or apologise for your sexuality – no matter who you’re talking to. In the words of Ashley Mardell, ‘All you need to validly be bi is to identify! It’s so true it rhymes.’
Research has shown that bisexuals are more likely to end up with differently-gendered partners, and statistically, this makes complete sense – same-gender attracted people make up a relatively small segment of the population, leaving less potential partners to choose from. This reality, however, seems to only confuse the perceptions of bisexuals more. When singer Ani DiFranco married a man, the media headlines were ‘DiFranco Renounces Lesbianism’, despite the fact that she had publicly identified as bi for a number of years. It’s as if bisexuals are seen by some as flipping wildly between orientations whenever they have a new partner, and can’t stick to a fixed sexuality. On another front, bisexuality is often thought of as inauthentic – just an experimental phase, or an excuse for having multiple partners. There’s a conception that a lot of bisexuals are just promiscuous, and aren’t truly attracted to people of the same gender on a meaningful level. This leads to a pressure for you to prove your sexuality, for others to be convinced of its authenticity before they will accept it. What does authenticity in sexuality look like? The person who at age 40 realises they’re gay, and leaves their differently-gendered spouse isn’t questioned. The person who has never had a sexual partner but identifies as straight isn’t questioned either.
lllustration: Elizabeth Mogford
Issue 3, Vol. 67
I remember feeling irritated when I saw an Ally sticker plastered on a wall. I tore most of it off without putting much thought into why it annoyed me. It was probably a stupid idea in hindsight, as someone could’ve seen the ripped edge of a rainbow rectangle and thought that it was some low-blow homophobic attack. I tried to rationalise it to myself – is someone who shows their support to the queer* community by only ever parading branded rainbow merch with the word ALLY emblazoned across a real supporter? Are you trying to avoid an uncomfortable prod at your sexuality if you don’t identify as ‘just’ a supporter? A few thoughts like these crossed my mind, as accusatory as they may seem. But – call me ungrateful – I just seemed to have an issue with the ways in which some allies present their support. That sticker represented everything I hated about the problematic queer* ally – a person with good intentions, but also a sense of ignorance regarding their approach to advocacy. The frequency of pride flag Facebook filters I saw, with cringe-worthy captions like ‘Allies for Equality’, around every major landmark decision relating to queer* rights was annoyingly high. If being queer* isn’t the ‘big deal’ that you say it is, why disassociate yourself from the people you’re campaigning for, just to make a point that you’re not queer*? Again, your intentions may be pure, but presentation matters.
act of treading lightly around me felt alienating, to say the least. The ‘ally’ is everywhere, but their cluelessness that is displayed borders on ignorance. I still felt a sense of distance between my life and the complaints my straight friends had about their relationship problems – I could barely even meet someone in the regional town I grew up in. As a gay guy who wasn’t ever really a ‘part of the community’ and hadn’t had any queer* friends before university, I always saw the role of the ally as support from the outside. Like a zoo keeper advocating to save an endangered species to people looking at the poor animal through a glass enclosure, if you will. The persistent declarations by the queer* ally that they’re not queer* themselves just adds another enclosure wall and is another step backwards from eradicating stigma against queer* people. Through no fault of their own, the inability of cis/straight people to actually
imagine what it’s like to be part of a sexual minority has made their plight to assimilate us into their acceptable social norms redundant. They can remove their rainbow face paint and glitter at the end of the day and move on to their ‘normal’ issues. They don’t have to live with it. A gay couple provokes stares in the street. A trans woman spurs heads to turn as she goes on with her day. We do not have the privilege of acceptance that society automatically grants to cis or hetero people. Being queer* is undesirable. The isolating feeling of being unchangeably and inherently different from your peers is difficult on its own and, for many, the added bonus of verbal or physical abuse is a reality that seems inescapable. Don’t insist that we’re all the same – we’re not. To me, the general public often seems more comfortable with some famous queer* ally deliver some Tumblr-worthy quote at a campaign than listen to the uncomfortable truths of queer* existence. Is our
struggle somehow more palatable when it is presented by the voice of someone who is straight or cisgender? If you consider yourself an ally, know that the queer* community doesn’t ignore your efforts. But you don’t get to decide when your support is sufficient. You don’t just slap on a sticker on your MacBook, and then, suddenly, equality has been achieved. You can only refer to yourself as an ‘ally’ when you’re willing to talk to your queer* friends and colleagues and consider what they have to say. The less you listen to the people you want to support, the further you push them away. And the more you separate yourselves – the way I see many of you do – the more I understand why the small social ticks stemming from outdated mindsets still exist. That separation is why I still feel uncomfortable watching two men kiss in a movie.
The ally is an interesting role. Over the years, the position of the ally has been changing, with queer* acceptance finding its way into most social and cultural circles. My Anglican school had chapel services about accepting The Gays. It was awkward at points, and they did attempt to push a sentiment of acceptance. But, due to it being a Christian school, there was always that sense of ‘us versus them’ – there was an air of caution when discussing people who you’d traditionally accuse of sin. A girl that I’d met for the first time was talking about an amazing Tinder date she had, followed by: ‘So, do you have a … partner, or anything?’ Again – caution when they brought my sexuality into the light. Even though people try to accommodate for ‘correctness’, the
lllustration: Eben Edjen, @ebenalekzander
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Gem Webb is a pan, poly, nonbinary transfemme human of uncertain academics, questionable ethics and dubious intent. She writes articles of varying quality upon request, or of poor quality if unsolicited. I remember being four years old, curled in a ball in front of the television. I was watching Labyrinth, starring Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie. David Bowie, O David Bowie. Youthful crush, God amongst men, and soon-to-be deity of my sexuality and gender expression. Teased hair and winged makeup, sparkling shirts and tight pants – I was transfixed. Queer fashion, and by extension queer identity, is focused on being seen. Society is all too willing to shove us to the margins, and being visible is our armour. That’s why queer fashion is discernable from a mile away. Extra-visible fashion has a long history in the queer community. These days you’ll see us wearing docs or bright colours, wristbands and accessories; hair meticulously preened or completely ignored; pierced, tattooed, backcombed; armoured from head to toe. Not everyone is loud and
Gabriel is a second year environment and sociology student and the ANUSA Queer* Officer. They really love cats and going catspotting in their free time. To me, being asexual (or ‘ace’) means that I am not forced to base my relationships on sexual attraction. I can seek relationships in my own way, whether this be romantic or something else. In greater society, when someone says ‘I’m asexual’, you might think, ‘but that’s what plants are’. Well, stop. This article is not about common misconceptions on asexuality – sorry, my plant arms already covered your mouth to stop you from ever speaking. Ace positivity and representation is severely lacking in popular media. I know this from experience – when I was trying to find my own identity, the only place where I found other aces was on Tumblr. Other parts of the internet were
proud, but for the most part, you can tell we’re queer because we choose not to look like other people. Yet where did this come from – what is the DNA of queer fashion? (Pan)sexual appetites and androgynous formulas have dominated the past 50 years of euro-centric media. Many queer icons double as trendsetters and style icons – sometimes celebrated for it, often ostracised. In recent history figures such as frontmen Freddie Mercury and George Michael, musicians Bjork and Moe Tucker, and actress Candy Darling have been figureheads of the queer community – and they looked so good while doing it. Even non-queer-identifying icons like Madonna or Prince have played their part. The idea of the gender-defying persona that these stars borrow from has existed in Western media for time immemorial. The 19th century dandy was known and ridiculed for both femininity and lasciviousness; the punk movement of the 20th century was based around a similar flagrant rebuttal against masculine stereotypes – even the term ‘punk’ originated as a slang term for a prison
not much help: forums like the Asexual Visibility and Education Network were filled with internet trolls, arguing about asexuality not being real or valid.
bottom. Thanks to queer women’s bars and butch/femme social codes back in the early 1920s, even today it is perceived that a lesbian in some way must demonstrate masculinity. Alternative sexualities are inherently linked to gender performance, especially in the eyes of a largely heterosexual-cisgender society. Yet as society begins to change so too do our sources of inspiration. Though some of our queer style icons remain celebrity – Cara Delevigne and Chloe Sevigney come to mind – by and large, we have now moved into a private, individualised sphere. Instagram and YouTube celebrities now provide our external examples of queer culture, and in a way, it’s a shame that the greater visibility is being lost. We’re told what to look like, how to act, and what’s right and wrong about who we are. In this world, to be assigned male at birth means to grow into a man – and so, expressions of femininity are the utmost form of rebellion. By embracing our otherness, we reaffirm it, and in reaffirming it become comfortable in ourselves. Through style, we embody our revolution: for gender, for sex and for ourselves.
are in a relationship. We get to decide whether we want a relationship or not, and whether that relationship needs to be sexual. Why do we need to fall in love? Why can’t we just be? We do not Searching asexuality on the internet want your pity, because it is not needed. usually brings you either videos about misconceptions or intrusive sexual Within our own queer community, questions. The media attempts to be there are those who tell us not to take helpful, but falls drastically short. I do up space and resources, because we have not want another Buzzfeed article on ‘14 not experienced the ‘right’ oppression. times on Tumblr asexuality jokes were When did the oppression that I face begreat’. Do not show me another ‘Asexual come the measurement for whether I am Myths Debunked!!!!’ video. We are not queer enough? Only I get to decide that. a science project; we are young, frightened people, trying to make sense of our Our experiences are valid. I am queer experiences. That’s why I want articles enough. I deserve space and to see afon how great it is to be ace, on positive firming depictions of my identity. ace representation. I need ace celebrities and writers to share their experiences. So please give me regular and positive ace representation. Give us all positive If you are going to represent aces, please representation. Also please give me do not just give me a heteronormative cake. story of how an ace person fell in love. Don’t tell me that ace people are broken and will be ‘fixed’ the moment they
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Dear Reader, For a topic that has been spoken and written about an innumerable amount of times, there are some things that are still not properly covered in our discourse. Discrimination for being diverse – being different to the social ‘norm’ – continues to happen. Discrimination, especially against the queer community, continues to happen. I can’t begin to tell you about how much I care about the problem of the cultural ‘norm’ as a form of discrimination. About how those who determine what is normal are usually those who have majority power – through their lack of empathy in using this, they force us into shame. They set a standard – the correct inflection of your voice, the correct things to be interested in, and the correct gender to be attracted to. For falling outside these norms, the punishment is often ostracism and rejection. This is discrimination. It is the reason I write this letter to you. If you’re reading this from a place of safety, if you’ve never had to consider these issues: put yourself in the shoes of a nervous, shy kid who is coming to terms with their sexuality or their gender identity. To have the sentiment put out that to be queer is to be different, abnormal and weird, is crushing. You lose all faith that you can ever be normal and so you shrink back into your shell. It’s the weight of this difference and alienation that is responsible for the disproportionately high levels of mental ill health among the queer population. According to a report by the National LGBTI Health Alliance, queer people aged 16 - 24 are at least three times as likely as their straight peers to experience a high or very high level of psychological distress. I went to an all-boys boarding school, and can only affirm that I found it hard to be myself there. The culture was jocky, and not being a sports fanatic was enough reason alone to be closeted. Being around people who had little exposure to queer issues did not help. The
statistics support this too: The National LGBTI Health Alliance has found that over 80 percent of the reported abuse against queer Australians occurs at school, moving the average suicide age of young queer people to 16 years. Being queer was not ‘normal’. But being labelled ‘creepy’ and ‘weird’ was. The worst part was that the judgement went on behind the backs of queer people at school. The dining table was a constant source of speculation. And here I was, secretly attracted to guys and girls, sitting with them. I never came out to most of them. I joined the 35 percent of Australians who hide their sexuality from others around them. It’s not hard to imagine why. In retrospect, I wish I had the ability to look some of the other boarders in their eyes and tell them that I was, in fact, bisexual. That though I didn’t fit their social norms, I was still a person. That I was someone who could function just fine without their approval. I wish I had the ability to confront them on some of the statements they made without being classed as a ‘faggot’. One of my friends from the same boarding house took the plunge and came out publicly to everyone we knew. He says that coming out itself is not as hard as it is made out to be, but that it was the stories and discussions going on behind his back that made it hard. The other boarders were shameless – they weren’t afraid to openly discuss whether my friend had been with a guy that afternoon if they thought that he wasn’t there. It is these stories that reaffirm my decision to stay inside the closet and hide my true self from the people around me. It makes me think every step thrice, it makes me constantly worried that I might ever be taken as different, as queer. It’s why I’m still unknown.
Yours Sincerely, Anonymous
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Floating World: An Inter-view with Cat Mueller reaction to the pressure to paint so constantly.
Text and photography: Tom Campbell
The pressure to create works is familiar to most, if not all, artists. Cat experiences this frustration with making works, and specifically paintings: ‘I was painting in third year and really getting sick of it, and getting into installation, light and video, really getting into those optical effects.’ The initial obsession with optical effects, such as the floaters, has grown into her current practice, resulting in a diverse range of paintings, drawings, textile and installation works. Cat has been working both within and outside painting for a number of years, but her recent works display a renewed dedication to painting as an art form. The results are gorgeous, exhilarating investigations into the possibilities of colour.
If you look at the sky, particularly when the light is quite bright or evenly dispersed, you may notice a certain optical phenomenon known as ‘floaters’. The term refers to those shadowy globules that float in your field of vision, often not enough to disrupt your visual experience of the world, but nevertheless present. If you attempted to focus on them and pin them down you would find it near impossible; the floaters move with your eyes and remain elusive, on the edge of vision and certainty. Cat Mueller has been drawing attention to these floaters and other optical expesolo exhibition at CCAS Manuka called Morph, and is gearing up for her second solo show this year, to be held at ANCA gallery in Dickson. I visited Cat at her exhibition Morph and later at her studio to ask some questions about her art practice since leaving the Painting workshop and completing a residency at CCAS.
riences through her paintings, drawings and various experiments with installation work. Her works employ high impact colours and repetitive patterns of mark-making to create physical manifestations of the optical effects usually only experienced as transitory and ephemeral, under certain conditions of light and atmosphere. Some of her works evoke atmosphere by using subtle, ambiguous horizon lines created with spray paint, some achieve the effect through dotting technique, and there are others which create an impression of depth and space through the layering of various looping marks with an airbrush. Cat Mueller graduated with Honours from the ANU School of Art Painting workshop in 2015. Since then she has participated in a residency at CCAS Gorman House in 2016, recently held a
Morph was a show of small-scale paintings, comprised of multi-coloured dots which are layered together to create a pointillist, atmospheric effect. Looking at the images, they seemed to shimmer, appearing consistent at a distance but dispersing the closer you got to them. According to Cat, each painting took around four or five hours to make, and she would sit with them until completion, often without any breaks. She produced 16 works in a period of two months. When I asked her about the dedication needed to complete a body of work like this, she was reflective on her working process and evolution as an artist. Working on a smaller scale, she said, is a good counterpoint to creating large works in the studio. Cat enjoys making things in a social setting, whether around the dinner table or at a party; the portability of her Morph works was both a response to the desire to work around friends and a
Cat Mueller is one of the artists featured in this year’s annual Blaze exhibition at CCAS in Gorman House. Head there before April 15 to see her work! You should probably also make time in your life to go see her show in Dickson when it opens on the 17th of May. View her work at catmueller.com
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Art for Thought Content Warning: Discussions of suicide
Suicide: The Meaning of Death and Life to help boost their mental welfare.’ The police and neighbourhood community leaders have also been collating information on the elderly, so as to identify those who are at risk of suicide attempts.
Text: Janice Peh ‘Art For Thought’ is a fortnightly column by Janice Peh – she encourages readers to discuss what is happening in the world today, by meditating on a different artwork every fortnight.
Mrs Hj. Badingah, former regent of Gunungkidul, said: ‘Many elderly people [in the regency] have seen their children leave for big cities to get better jobs and easily get lonely.’ Because vast areas in Gunungkidul are infertile lands, most youths and young adults opt to migrate to larger cities, in hopes of a better life.
Image: Ivan Sagita, Look at my body and my life, 2011, oil on canvas, 160 x 200 cm.
Look at my Body and my Life is a painting that contemplates the vulnerability and temporality of life, as well as notions of spirituality. The artist, Ivan Sagita, prompts us to meditate on the philosophy of human existentialism, the definition of death and the meaning of life. It is painted in the style of ‘Jogja surrealism’, an art movement that began in Jogjakarta in Indonesia. This painting differs from Western surrealism art in that the sociocultural environment in Jogjakarta is as surreal as the artwork. The environment is made so by the locals who simultaneously embrace modern innovation, while also adhering to mysticism and giving credence to traditional folk mythologies. This surrealistic environment of modern mysticism in Jogjakarta informs Sagita’s use of realistic painting techniques to create unrealistic images, thus depicting the integration of modernity with tradition. This painting is inspired by a traditional and popular mythology in Indonesia known as ‘Pulung Gantung’. The myth originated in Gunungkidul, a region in Jogjakarta infamous for its high suicidal rate. Pulung Gantung is alleged to be an enigmatic red glow that resembles a comet. When this red comet plummets over a home, it is a sign that a resident of the house will commit suicide, typically by hanging. Sagita conveys the pertinence of the hangings through the image of a man hanging upside down on the left side of the painting and an elderly lady’s significantly long hair being pulled up tight and hanging in the air in the middle of this painting, as her severed head rests on the ground beside her knees.
Bianca Winata is doing a bachelor of art history at ANU. She is in her honours year and her research interest is in the contemporary arts of Indonesia. A native Indonesian from Jakarta, she says: ‘I think the myth of Pulung Gantung is, to some extent, addressed in this work. The display of the inner and outer world in the artwork reveals a dialogue between the Javanese mythical beliefs and everyday reality. ‘Often, these suicides are linked to mythical beliefs and a form of symbolic sacrifice. The people in Jogja have strong family ties, so when such ties cause problems, they might resort to suicide as a symbolic way to communicate their problems, as influenced by their Javanese belief system. ‘Gunungkidul, where most of the suicide takes place, has often been said to have some kind of magical power. Perhaps the myth does play a role in the high suicide of this region considering its strong Javanese beliefs and culture.’ Gunungkidul has a population of 750,000, and the majority of these people are elderly. In 2011, the suicide rate in Gunungkidul was nine in every 100,000 persons. In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, it was much lower, at 1.2 in every 100,000 persons. Apart from the mythology of Pulung Gantung, it has been widely cited that the high rate of suicide in Gunungkidul is due to poverty, loneliness and poor health. Gunungkidul Police’s spokesperson First Inspector Ngadino said: ‘The largest number of suicides is by hanging. We have also been conducting regular preaching activities to provide people with religious insights
Chng Ren Ying, who is undertaking a master of clinical psychology at ANU and has previously worked in the social service sector in Singapore, specialising in the welfare and protection of teenagers, said: ‘I think this artwork convey a sense of gloominess and desperation. It seems like the man and woman are helplessly looking at each other as they kill themselves. They appear expressionless, which could be a symptom of depression.’ Sagita has a tendency to portray the unpredictability of life in his paintings with a particular emphasis on those who are vulnerable, impoverished and oppressed in society like the traditional Javanese in Jogyakarta. He says, ‘They struggle to survive, but accept whatever happens to them. To me, life always goes differently than we expect to … everybody is controlled by an invisible power.’ My perspective on Pulung Gantung is that suicides are not ‘natural’ occurrences that are beyond human control. Rather, there should be stronger and intentional education on mental illnesses, suicide warning signs and avenues for help. It has been said that the high suicide rate in Gunungkidul is likely caused by people’s difficult economic situations and the sense of loneliness that individuals feel as more people increasingly leave this region for larger cities. The widespread belief, however, that suicide can be divinely predicted could be exacerbating the problem, giving people the assurance that suicides are uncontrollable and divinely decided. Rather than justifying a self-fulfilling prophecy, we can help one another by ensuring that everyone is connected to strong networks of support in communities, engaging in pursuits that are personally meaningful, equipping oneself with the emotional capacity to handle life’s challenges and seeking help when we need it.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Of Copper and Silver
Precious arrival Anna Morscheck
My long, luscious hair with my thick eyebrows, along with my eyelashes, are all dark and rich. I pair bright, Red lipstick and gleaming Gold jewelleries, accentuating the opulence of my Brown skin. As the sun plays colours on my Brown skin, I turn exotic. The Golden Olive tinge of my skin becomes Copper, Turning the hidden shadows Silver in the warmth. The sun flickers into my round eyes, burning a fiery Brown. Rooted to the resplendent Earth, painting over the colours of the sun, choosing pale and fawn to camouflage into the bland. But how do you hide such vibrancy of my Indian body, made of Copper, made of Silver, decorated in the colours of the rich earthy metals, is nowhere to be found. The globe illuminated by the limited light from screens, is also a plain white, devout of excitement. I guess my Indian personality, exuberating fire, is too much. No matter, the curves of my body bursting with spice and sensuality, made of Copper, made of Silver, Gold-tinted and meticulously wrapped with seven yards of soft silk, Radiates. There is no hiding my Indian identity. Indian Goddesses, made of Copper, made of Silver, stand out, strikingly, with the inability to be whited out.
He gazed at the sky, icy flakes floating down from the billows of dark greying mass. Soft fountains of mist formed with each breath. In the distance, he could hear the town fire engine as it was pushed, a dead weight, to the remote, sharp orange flare. The smoke staked its occupation in the yard and ash begun to settle on the sludgy white carpet that covered the lawn. Above it all, the first wail of new, damp lungs from inside the house as the snowfall ceased. He smiled.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
‘Our art centre is our last line of defence’: Resisting the Australian War Memorial’s decade-old interpretative remit from the inside Some, however, will also find the exhibition bittersweet. Not only is the first exhibition to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ military service at the AWM temporary, it once again adheres to a decade-old vision that Australia’s most eminent military museum (as well as shrine and archive) is not the right place to tell the story of the nation’s first and longest war. It is certainly not a tradition that Australians are unfamiliar with. Since the 1980s, the AWM has resisted pressure to formally recognise the Frontier Wars and the death of over 20,000 – possibly more than 40,000 – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a permanent exhibition; or as one historian has suggested, an entire wing.
Text: Emily Gallagher Above: Gordon Bennett, Psychotopographical Landscape (Inversion), 1990. Below: One of the two sculptures depicting an Aboriginal person, 1941 The recent exhibition For Country, for Nation in the Special Exhibitions Gallery of the Australian War Memorial (AWM) has survived its first five months almost entirely without academic critique. Considering that the representation, or lack thereof, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ history in the AWM has been the subject of debate since the 1980s, the scarcity of academic reviews of the exhibition is puzzling. Why have historians remained silent on a matter that has traditionally evoked widespread criticism from within the profession? The silence is not, as some might presume, simply a little bit of commemorative fatigue. Rather, it reflects the fact that many of the Australian historians who would be inclined to comment on such an exhibition are not walking the hallways of the AWM. Instead, many are choosing to disengage, partly because they anticipate that their own opinions are likely to be ignored, perhaps even rejected, by the institution and the broader community.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with the messages promoted by the AWM, there is no denying the towering influence it holds in the public and political domain. It also goes without saying that if historians remain silent, whatever their reasons might be, they risk further distancing themselves from the very people they wish to reach. There is much to be admired in For Country, for Nation. Of all the galleries in the AWM, the style adopted by the curatorial team reflects some of the most extensive consultation undertaken by the institution in recent times. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and knowledge-holders assumed a central role in the creation of the exhibition. It is no surprise then, that For Country, for Nation tells a narrative with no singular meaning. Instead, it weaves together a tapestry of rich and colourful stories as freshly as if they happened yesterday. Similarly, the chronology so treasured in many of the AWM’s permanent galleries is abandoned in favour of thematically orientated spaces, which encourage visitors to wander the corridors at their own leisure. People traffic takes an entirely new and refreshing form in the exhibition, creating a space that facilitates a freedom (rather than order) of movement. It is a space that one can spend many hours in – as I did.
The irony of the AWM’s resistance, regulated by the Australian War Memorial Act 1980, is embodied in the two Aboriginal ‘gargoyles’ hanging on the walls of the AWM’s courtyard. Though currently in refurbishment, the two sculptures are, as Lisa Barritt-Eyles has recently observed, ‘the AWM’s only overt representation, albeit unintentional, of a violent history of colonisation, of contested lands, lives and identities, silenced in stone and put in their place’. The return to the courtyard this year, following their refurbishment, accompanies an unsettling comment by AWM Director Dr Brendan Nelson that they ‘are a respectful representation of life across the continent’. There is more to For Country, for Nation than might first meet the eye. The exhibition is saturated with comments and images that hint at the disillusionment, perhaps even resistance, among the curatorial team to abide by the interpretative remit that has previously defined the AWM’s galleries. Indeed, the exhibition clearly recognises a far darker past. Overt references to the Frontier Wars appear several times throughout the exhibition. Beautifully decorated boomerangs, shields and spears adorn the
eastern corridor. A declaration by Reg Saunders, the first known Aboriginal Australian to be commissioned as an officer in the Australian Army, that he ‘don’t owe any allegiance or loyalty to the Queen of England’ is inscribed on the wall. And perhaps most prominently, the recently revealed artwork of the Ruby Plains Massacre by Joolama man Rover Thomas is prudently positioned on the western side of the hallway immediately outside the Gallery. For those who look carefully, it will be the words of Jaangari man Gabriel Nodea, inscribed on the western wall of the Gallery, that carry the potential to redefine the entire exhibition: ‘Our art centre is our last line of defence’. For an exhibition driven by art, this line is no idle inclusion. It refers directly to the continuing struggle experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples against the enduring legacies of a violent history of colonisation. It would be easy to dismiss For Country, for Nation as an empty gesture by the AWM. Yet such an interpretation would be a narrow reading of the exhibition. The agency that Nodea’s quote so clearly articulates, and that which Catherine Speck so strongly identifies in her review of the exhibition for the magazine Artlink, are cause for admiration. For Country, for Nation is a powerful exhibition to recognise and honour the military service of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since the Boer War. But beyond that, it is an attempt, though subtle, to protest an interpretative remit which neglects the very first war fought ‘for Country, for Nation’. For Country, for Nation will be on display in the Special Exhibition Gallery at the Australian War Memorial till 20 September 2017.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Review: Onetoeight Exhibition Text: Ruby Thomas
Canberra-based artist Alison Alder uses a fresh, light-hearted lens to depict Australia’s early political journey in her Onetoeight exhibition. On display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Onetoeight focuses on the first eight prime ministers of Australia, who served in office from 1901 - 1929. With the utilisation of vintage ephemera ink-printing from the 1920s and an unconventional use of space, Alder invites the viewer to reconsider how they remember these men – not for their policies or legacies, but for their individual characters. Despite being shown in the polished and grand Old Parliament House, Alder challenges the traditional gallery space by making use of every wall. Around the
prints, colourful wallpaper created by Alder herself hangs. The wallpaper displays the wives of Australia’s first eight prime ministers in the background, reflecting a historical lack of acknowledgement of these often influential women. Alder was actually unable to find a photo of Ada Watson, Chris Watson’s wife, which is indicative of the lack of regard for the significant role she played in her husbands’ life. In the place of Ada Watson, therefore, Alder has added a photo of herself, cheekily saying she ‘... wouldn’t mind being with him either!’ By no means, however, is the display of these women done in a disrespectful or flippant manner. These women were strong and Alder’s work demonstrates a true respect. Alder says, ‘The wives are really important as well … I don’t think any of those men married shrinking violets … they were all strong women.’ It only takes a quick search of Margaret Fisher, Andrew Fisher’s wife, who contributed to the suffragette movement in
England, to affirm Alder’s comment. The photographs used in the exhibition are those that were used in public communications, and were therefore chosen by the prime ministers themselves – thus, they depict the man that each wanted to be remembered as. Adler also draws inspiration from the lapel badges that were often worn by politicians in the decades after federation. The badges that each of the eight wore are included in the exhibition to represent their individual legacies. Edmund Barton, for instance, wears two badges: one with ‘White Australia Policy’ printed on the front, and the other with ‘Votes for Women’. The closeness with which these badges are worn juxtaposes the political climate at the time and emphasises the complexity of each leader – which policy defines his legacy?
their own way, but from a political perspective that her favourite would be Andrew Fisher for his role in campaigning for female representation in Parliament. Reflecting on the significance of these characters to our history, Alder said, ‘I found I couldn’t be partisan looking back. I started to see the nuances of the political situation at the time.’ Onetoeight is an insightful and thought-provoking exhibition, which aims to challenge the preconceived impressions and knowledge that many of us have about Australia’s history. The exhibition Onetoeight is on display at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House until February 2018, and is open daily from 9am - 5pm.
When asked which of the prime ministers was her favourite, Adler responded by saying that each were important in
Review: Logan (2017) Text: Brandon Tan
‘At least we can all agree that the third movie is always the worst.’ – Jean Grey, X–Men: Apocalypse (2016) Logan, inspired by the comic book Old Man Logan, subverts Jean’s statement – Hugh Jackman ends his iconic role as Wolverine on a high note with a film that’s worthy of his talent and commitment. This is in contrast to the previous two solo Wolverine movies, which had convoluted plots and depicted Wolverine as indispensable. Logan follows an ageing Wolverine through a post-apocalyptic America, as he takes on one last assignment while protecting a mysterious new young mutant, Laura (Dafne Keen). After the success of the R-rated Deadpool, 20th century Fox was willing to take a chance with Logan by allowing R-rated content of gore and swearing – Jackman actually agreed to a pay cut in exchange for the opportunity to make an R-rated Wolverine film. The complicated nature of Marvel character film rights meant that the script writers of Wolverine had to take liberties in adapting their source material. Nevertheless, the film managed to tell a coherent and well-adapted story because the writers played to their strengths. Co-starring alongside Jackman is newcomer Dafne Keen and returning Patrick Stewart. Keen successfully builds an emotional onscreen bond with Jackman that draws similarities to the bond between The Last of Us’ Joel and Ellie.
Stewart, on the other hand, maintains the time-old tragic yet hilarious personality that was established in his last appearance as Professor X. Stewart and Jackman’s final performance is bitter-sweet in reflecting the older generation’s departure from the franchise, and the opportunity for young actors to take charge. The film sustains a strong, grounded feel – as if a comic-book hero has been inserted into a realistic and gritty film, as opposed to the creation of a ‘comic-book film’. Gone are the previous leather-donned characters and cliché comic book sky-beam battles, and this adds to the film’s realism. In place are in-universe X-men comic books that showcase the X-men in their usual status quo, greatly contrasting the grim reality the cast face. The film uses a game of cat and mouse in the style of a road trip to escalate tension and feature character development. Fight scenes are brutal with the additional gore and have a natural Mad Max feel to them. While the film begins fumble a little in the third act, it finishes strong with a memorable conclusion. With its debut trailer making streams, the additional announcement that this would be Hugh Jackman’s last role as the iconic Wolverine meant Logan had massive expectations to live up to. Although the film doesn’t feel like an X-Men film, it certainly is a Wolverine film. Logan sets a new benchmark for superhero films and shows that it only takes a few well-developed characters to create a heartwarming movie. Overall, 5/5 stars.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Review: Songs for the Band Unformed by John Passant Text: Victoria Fay
I would not describe myself as a poetry person. I imagine I’m joined by many people in my trepidation towards a form that can appear to waver between highly technical and utterly inscrutable. But I need not have been daunted at the prospect of reviewing Songs for the Band Unformed, John Passant’s first collection of poetry. Passant, a current ANU PhD candidate, writes verse that springs off the page with a natural, unforced rhythm. With a diversity of subject matter – from elegiac reflections on war violence to depictions of mundane supermarket trips – there is truly something in Passant’s collection for even the most hesitant poetry reader. The first poem, ‘Our bombs are love’, sets a strong social conscience that underlies the rest of the collection. It opens,
vote, perchance to Dream,’ a whimsical ‘Our bombs are parody of Hamlet’s most famous solilothe bombs of quy. your freedom ‘For in that Raining down vote of death, our reign what dreams On all, may come, the children, When we have women, men’. shuffled off The springy repetition of these opening this electoral lines introduces the reader to the deftness of Passant’s writing – his careful yet coil,’ unforced use of rhyme produce poems that scan with ease.
Songs for the Band Unformed ranges in tone from a general social conscience to the overtly political. This is seen in ‘To
the poem entails while displaying a dark humour that underlies many other works in the collection. When set against works such as ‘Daylight saving again’, which appears to take aim at former
Prime Minister John Howard, the political discourse that concerns Passant shines through, brightly. It makes sense that Passant, whose PhD is focused on Marxism and tax, would include a political message within his work. Yet, Song for the Band Unformed is more than political commentary. From ruminations about buying tofu in ‘I will be shopping, today’, to a remembrance of love lost in ‘I saw you at the mall’, the collection encapsulates Passant’s life thus far – from the every day to the highly controversial. Songs for the Band Unformed reflects a broad scope of modern Australian life, exploring the personal, the political, and often tying the two together with a dark sense of humour. Passant, with his inviting poetic style, has successfully produced a collection that can appeal to even those, like me, with an ingrained apprehension towards poetry.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Life & STYle
STUDY SPOTS for sad and stressed students Text: Clodagh O’Doherty
conversation with an acquaintance you don’t even really like. How’s that essay going for you?
The best, most reliable study spots on campus are not quite where you would expect.
You go to Grounds to be seen – not study. Everyone knows it, appreciates it, and conforms to it.
This time of year, it is often that you witness bright-eyed, joyful students (a.k.a. first years) wandering into Chifley level 1 at 11am on a Wednesday morning. Coffee in hand and all smiles, they are feeling optimistic for the day of study ahead.
The tables of Grounds can be likened to The Met steps in Gossip Girl – it is the playground of stupol hacks, sporting legends, and academics trying to politic their way into more research funding. It is also where cynical later year students go to regain their sense of campus belonging – to bask in the good ol’ days of being gleefully greeted by all our overtly affectionate friends. Back to the days when you would set up your study station on a Thursday afternoon, in the full knowledge you were only there to bump into someone that might coerce you to the bar instead.
But there is no room for you, sweet child. Today, you sit on the floor, and there you will stay until you muster the courage to shame someone out of the library by posting their unattended items on Stalkerspace. But trust me, you don’t want one of these spaces. Experienced students know that places like these are plagued with other, jaded later year students who will suck your hopes and dreams from you like a Dementor. Get out while you still can. Why not try a café instead? You’re a chilled-out kind of person – happy to relocate to a more ‘relaxed’ atmosphere. So you dally on over to the most popular café on campus: The Coffee Grounds. There is a lot to love here. Nice staff, good coffee and great food. But the line is long and you soon get stuck in a 40-minute
Those days are over. We go to be seen – but no one wants to see us. We’ve now reverted to using ear-cancelling headphones, not to seem busy and minimise interruptions, but to drown out the sounds of happiness. That is when you really know it is time to hurry T F up and graduate. After years of enjoying the spoils of The Coffee Grounds while hogging some well-kept secrets about the best study locations on campus, it is time to pass them on. All I ask is that you treat them well and go get yourself a degree with some sweet P’s.
When you need to spread out While everyone loves the big wooden benches at Grounds, the high turnover of customers makes spreading your books across an entire bench kind of selfish and socially unacceptable. But there are other cafes on campus that offer similar arrangements, without the masses of people. Biginelli’s at the Music School is great for this. They have large tables, the cheapest (and arguably greatest) coffee on campus, plus friendly staff. But keep an eye on those power points! They are few and far between. You should always have your belongings prepared for the quick lift-n-switch to a more ‘powerful’ table.
Pajenkas in the Union Building is another rare find, and good if you want a cheap feed to keep those brain juices flowing! It is often quiet/empty, and is tucked up behind Degree Café on the top floor of the Union Building. If you enjoy being a real twat, go grab yourself an egg and bacon roll during a lecture break and your class will soon discover why Murray’s doesn’t allow hot food on the bus.
Where to do online exams and quizzes If you think it’s hard to get a table in Chifley, I dare you to try getting a computer station for that 12pm online exam. And, ANU Secure isn’t always so secure. Save yourself the stress, and set up in one of the discrete computer labs on campus. Those cuts to the Music School have left the computer labs of the Peter Karmel Building almost always empty! #winsforstudents. And guess what – you can access them after hours (including weekends) by using your student card. Plus, on weekends when the Music School Café is shut, it’s only a small walk to the Cupping Room to get your caffeine hit.
Late Night Study For all the pros of having a 24 hour library, it is pretty miserable to be stuck in Chifley after hours. And what’s worse – all the coffee shops shut! How they expect students to stay awake until 4am without a steady caffeine supply is beyond me. While it’s not quite open until 4am, The Front in Lyneham is open until ~10pm. It also provides you with the option of switching to more ‘relaxing’ beverages if you like to use the trusty ‘write drunk, edit sober’ technique.
When you need to have a cry Mid-sems can be a stressful time, and sometimes you’ve just got to let it all out! But ‘the feels’ are not ones for timing, and have been known to spring on you even during the most vanilla of conversations. One of the benefits of being on such a bloody big campus is that there are lots of ‘dead’ areas perfect for the subtle cry to Mum on the phone. There are three key qualities I look for in the perfect cry location: isolation, proximity to a bathroom to dry your tears after, and access to a warm, comforting drink. There is a little dirt path off to the side of Willows Oval that runs along Sullivans Creek. Very few people use it because College kids travelling from Daley Road tend to cut across the oval, and anyone traveling from the Law School will tend to use the upper-path closer to Chancellery. It’s nice and close to The Gods Café – which is dark enough to allow you to slip quietly into the bathroom. It also means you can get a warm drink (would recommend decaffeinated options if you’re feeling anxious), and that the BKSS is nearby to provide free warm beverages if money is a key stressor at the time. Its proximity to Union Court and many libraries also means you can pop right on back to a study area when you’re feeling up to it. This list is not exhaustive. As I said, our campus is bloody big and there is a lot to explore. But if you ever want to go off the beaten track, think outside your usual ANU bubble and into the bubble of someone else – *cough* Crawford School *cough* School of Art. I’ve always found that the key to finding new, unassuming study spots on campus is to ask people outside your standard social circles. Preferred study locations tend to be linked to what that person is studying – so it leaves you pretty limited for options if you’re hanging out with people in the same degree (or just generally studying law. RIP Peppercorn). Think of exploring campus for better study like organising your study schedule. ‘Productive procrastination’, so to speak. And if all else fails, Grounds to ANU Bar is hardly the worst life choice you can make.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Life & STYle
Loveitis Text: Phoebe Hamra Forest’s mom always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’ I say, ‘Sex is like ice cream. There’s something for everyone.
I remember being with a friend when someone she’d slept with called her and told her he had chlamydia, and that she probably did too. He didn’t initially blame her but when she didn’t want to meet up with him (at 1am that night) or talk to him over the phone about it (at 3am) he became abusive. He hadn’t had a problem with her appearance previously and was upset when she had called off the fling months earlier, but the texts came in saying how much he regretted sleeping with her and that she was fat and ugly. Despite his age – closer to 30 than 20 – this man reacted very immaturely and excessively to having one of the most common and harmless STIs in Australia. The Kirby Institute at UNSW estimates that there were 260,000 new cases of chlamydia in 15 - 29 year olds in 2015, of which only 28 percent were diagnosed – that means one in 20 young people have chlamydia but almost three quarters are unaware. Rates are higher in females, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and those in remote or rural locations. As a 19-year-old female, it was very likely that my friend did have chlamydia, and sure enough later that week she tested positive at the Woden sexual health clinic. A couple of pills, a bum injection and two weeks of extremely nauseating antibiotics (and no sex), then the chlamydia was gone. If treated early, chlamydia can be kicked very fast and you can avoid the two weeks of debilitating nausea. But the infection rarely shows symptoms – hence the importance of regular check ups if you or your partner have unprotected sex. If left untreated, or if it is contracted multiple times, chlamydia can cause fertility issues. Aside from the physical discomfort caused by the strong antibiotics, being diagnosed with an STI was an emotionally debilitating experience for my friend. Australians diagnosed with chlamydia are legally required to inform every person they’ve slept with in the six months prior to being diagnosed, and those people have to be checked. Contacting past lovers with this news can be very embarrassing and scary – my friend was especially freaked out given the abuse she had received over the phone. Fortunately, the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre runs an online service called ‘Let Them Know’ that allows you to anonymously text previous partners who you don’t wish to speak to. You simply enter their name, mobile, and
select which infection you have. The service works for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis, trichomonas and mycoplasma genitalium. Alternatively, the clinic at Woden will personally call or email any partner for you. I asked my friend about how she felt about using the anonymous messaging service. ‘I did feel guilty, like I should own up to it myself, but was scared of their reactions. There were a few incredibly awkward conversations I had to have with people though. I’d slept with someone from work, someone from college and with someone I cared about deeply who was quite inexperienced with sex. Although I know they blamed me and were angry and upset they did not lash out or become abusive or violent, which made me feel somewhat better about the situation and normalised it a little.’ Another acquaintance of mine is very open about living with genital herpes. It’s something that his friends and parents know about and don’t have any problems with. Luke* remembers lying half naked on a hospital bed at the Woden sexual health clinic while a nurse inspected and prodded at and around his penis. ‘She made this reluctant “aww” noise and that’s when I knew I had it,’ Luke told me, ‘I was pretty distressed, thinking my life was over and “Fuck this is the end, I’m never going to have sex again!”’ Fortunately, in the five years since being diagnosed, Luke has only shown symptoms twice. Although there is no cure for herpes, risk of transmission is very low when no symptoms are showing. It is estimated that one in eight Australians have genital herpes and that 80 percent of these people are unaware. Because of this, and the fact that herpes can be passed on from skin-to-skin contact – not just penetrative sex – the unintentional transmission rates are very high. Luke always informs potential partners that he has herpes before things get hot and heavy, despite not being legally required to. But, he says that the timing and delivery are a bit of an ethical dilemma. Tell someone too soon and they’ll be scared off, too late and you feel like you’ve trapped them into a situation where they’re perhaps not thinking clearly enough to make the right decision.
Luke, however, has had overwhelmingly positive reactions to the disclosure. He says that 60 percent are okay with having sex that is not penetrative and requires limited, if any, contact with his genitalia. Most people are just very interested and ask a lot of questions about it, and Luke says that a silver lining is that he is now very well practiced in the art of giving oral sex. Approximately 30 percent of women still want to have penetrative sex after he tells them he has herpes – one woman even said, ‘The fact you’re so honest makes me want to fuck you even more.’ Luke estimates that only 10 percent of women don’t want to have any sort of sex with him, which is apparently a little awkward, but they’re usually very nice about it. After chatting to both friends I thought a potential solution to some of the awkwardness would be a dating app where your STI is disclosed initially, and you can match with people who are similarly affected: Tinder, but for people with STIs. Unfortunately, I won’t be making millions from this app idea because it already exists – check out ‘Positive Singles’. STIs are an awkward and avoided conversation topic, but are also unfortunately very common. If you are having sex, you are at risk – it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t make you a slut, it doesn’t mean you weren’t practicing safe sex, and it doesn’t mean you’ll never have sex again. Regular testing dramatically lowers STI rates and diminishes the risk of them worsening and causing permanent damage to your body. The walk in clinic at Canberra Hospital in Woden is a free and anonymous testing service, alternatively you can ask your GP to test you. Even if you think you’ve only been exposed to one specific infection, it’s worth getting checked for everything – yes, even HIV. So go forth and stay informed, tested, and most importantly, sexy.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Life & STYle
The Alternate Facts About University Life Text: The Secret Lecturer How and why does anyone become an academic? Obviously, some form of extreme psychological trauma or pathology is a pre-requisite. At least that much seems certain. As an undergraduate you will spend several years of your life moaning about uncaring, clueless teaching staff, and yet sometime between graduating and getting a job (hey, it could happen!), some of you will instead decide to carry on studying and become a lecturer. A rational person, fully informed of the facts, would never choose an academic career. Luckily, the few rational people out there are rarely in possession of the facts, and so a career in academia seems a perfectly sensible choice. Irrational people, on the other hand, don’t care about facts, and so they too are perfect fodder for academia and will find themselves rapidly rising through the ranks. Becoming an academic is rarely a deliberate choice – it is a career path chosen by those who couldn’t think of a career path. It is hard to describe the current working environment of an academic without using words that you probably shouldn’t use in polite company – ‘totally f***ed’ covers it pretty well, but that definitely won’t do. Instead, we must look to our leaders who describe it in the following terms: operating in a difficult economic environment, changes in government funding, increasing costs and reduced student demand. Yep, totally f***ed. While vast social changes are at the core of most of the current problems, many universities have contributed to this current situation by doing what is popularly known as ‘shooting themselves in the foot’. The reason for this is that most universities are run by academics who don’t really understand how to run a business. These universities then try to get around this by bringing in real business leaders, and end up with managers who don’t really understand how to run a university (yes, it is confusing). This is evidenced by their endless quest to improve ‘quality’, which is done by reducing all university activities to metrics, so that changes can be documented objectively. That’s what business leaders do, apparently, and that’s why staff will chase you at the end of every semester to fill in ‘student satisfaction surveys’. Your answers to those questions will determine whether the staff member gets promoted, gets a new contract, gets to eat next week, and so on. Yes, really. I bet you can feel a real surge of power right now. Enjoy it. Every 13 weeks you
get to rate your lecturers, so make sure you remember every time they were late, made an unfunny joke, or otherwise induced a catatonic state. Payback’s gonna be so much fun. Now to the question of what academics even do. There are lots of different academic jobs at a university. At the bottom you’ll find the role of tutor, where staff are a hybrid of postgraduate student and lecturer. At the top you’ll find the Senior Staff, who are a hybrid of business manager and snake. I’m sorry, that was just plain rude: associating Senior Staff with snakes is grossly unfair. Sorry, snakes. Now, let’s take a closer look at these various roles and consider how likely it is that you will meet any of them, whether they will speak to you, and most importantly, will they buy you a coffee?
Tutor A tutor is usually a postgraduate student who needs money (are there any who don’t?). These staff will be experts in their teaching fields by virtue of having ‘done well’ in the subject as an undergraduate. A scraped Distinction from two years ago, becomes the qualification that will earn the student an entry-level teaching job. At regional universities, where there are no longer any real staff left, a tutor may be put in charge of running an entire subject: all the lectures, tutorials, marking and administration. For all that effort, they will be paid about one-tenth of the salary an actual lecturer would have cost the university to do exactly the same task. Now, that is how to run a business. In most degrees, you will spend a lot of time with tutors, and you will find that they are students, just like you, only brighter. Remember though, that they have no money, so if you meet a tutor at a café, you should buy the coffee.
Teaching Fellow While slavery has been abolished in most civilised countries, it is still practised in some uncivilised locations, such as Australian universities. Teaching fellows are usually former tutors who haven’t got around to finishing their PhD, but can talk-the-talk sufficiently well enough to make it sound like they are on their way to completion. Desperate for employment, they accept the job of teaching fellow, which will allow them to finish their PhD while they get some teaching experience. Only one of those last two statements is true. These staff take their coffee via intravenous drip, so
don’t expect to see them anywhere near a café.
Lecturer If the teaching fellow is already busy, a lecturer will be found teaching the first years. For the lecturing staff, this is an unofficial hazing ritual. Staff hate first year students, especially those who can’t find their lecture theatre on a map. You have been warned. A lecturer will not even speak to you at a café, so don’t even bother trying to strike up a conversation. You are one from several hundred in the class and they are not going to know your name, nor care where you went to school. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Senior Lecturer Senior lecturers are the lifeblood of a university. They do most of the important teaching, and with their years of experience they know how to get things done, who to talk to when there’s a problem, which rules can be bent and which rules can be broken. As such, they are universally despised by senior staff, who believe that all the trouble in the university is caused by senior lecturers. Senior lecturers like what they do for a living and can easily be persuaded to sit and socialise with you at the campus café. They might even buy the coffee.
Associate Professor Associate professors are basically senior lecturers gone bad. Every rule that can be bent or broken will get bent or broken, but only when no-one is looking. A devious and cunning mob, you could learn a lot from them. Their main skill is knowing how to play the system: for example, knowing which students are the class opinion-leaders and making sure that they always get lots of attention in class, and of course, suitably high grades. That also means they will definitely, absolutely, buy you a coffee. Befriend one now!
Professor A professor is a senior and respected member of staff who is an acknowledged world leader in their field. The senior staff seek the wise guidance of these experts and shape university policy and strategy around their input. Just kidding.
Professors are indeed experts, that much is rarely in any doubt. The trouble is that as far as their own university is concerned, they are interfering so-and-sos, who don’t seem to realise that their job is to stand around ‘being inspirational’ and that no-one wants to hear what they have to say about anything. Consequently, professors spend large parts of the day staring at their projected Superannuation accounts, trying to calculate the optimum moment to retire. Old joke warning: the only way to get a coffee from a professor is to stick your fingers down their throat.
Dean You average dean – and believe me, they are all very, very average – got the job by being quite useless as a professor (no one was being inspired) but still possessing one shining characteristic that would ensure promotion: tenure. A professor who has tenure can never be fired. Even though they are apt to nap during their own lectures (if they remember to turn up), their incompetence isn’t enough to get them fired. Better for the university to move them out of the way: offer them a promotion and a free parking space. Even though they will still fail to inspire, at least they will do it where no one else is present. Chances of getting a coffee: zero. Deans never leave their office, it’s dangerous outside.
The Senior Staff This comprises the vice-chancellor (the end of level boss) and all the various underlings that also have the words ‘vice-chancellor’ in their job title. Starting with the obvious ones, this includes the deputy vice-chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, senior deputy vice chancellor, and sometimes a ‘vice President’. Then come the pro-vice chancellors in charge of specific faculties, campuses, or something called ‘Engagement’. No one knows what this last person does, not even the vice chancellor. Chances are you will never meet any of them unless you offer to be a student representative on the University council. If you land that gig, coffee will be provided in a very nice china cup. There might even be biscuits. For more bad advice, visit the secretlecturer.com
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Life & Style
What’s the Buzz? Text: Yashi Kotnala Yashi is undertaking a double degree in International Relations/ Environmental Studies and hails from Western Sydney. Her column is like a Yelp review for things that aren’t restaurants and instead of useful information, it’s incoherent rambling for 800 words and she doesn’t even get promoted to ‘Top Contributor’ status.
I sacrificed my body, and potentially mind, for this pursuit. It was a perilous journey. At least four times I spilt searing hot liquid on exposed skin. I’ve come to the conclusion that my body is horrendously disproportionate and therefore every fall, trip, tumble, slip, and/ or face plant since my birth can be pinned on the fact that my feet are at least three sizes too small for my height. In other, more relevant news, here is the low-down on which caffeinated drink to consume during these tumultuous times we live in. It won’t be helpful in the slightest but I’ve gone through too much to write about anything else.
French Press Coffee I take it black like they do in the movies. This is probably a bad idea considering my regular order is a small weak soy cap, but here we are. It’s mysterious. It’s moody. It’s got a-t-ti-t-u-d-e. It’s the widowed Femme Fatale in a 1950s film noir about the murder of a wealthy businessman on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It wears black lace gloves and lights cigarettes on the ends of ornate cigarette holders without ever actually taking a drag. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the powers to transform me into a seductress dressed in a floor length satin gown. However, I do briefly have the urge to reach for a beret and head to Smiths Alternative for a night of Slam Poetry.
Effects: I annoyed my significant other for a while. Intermittently, I would stare at my laptop screen and hope that words would appear of their own volition – they did not. I would give my productivity level a six out of ten purely because I spent far too long fantasising about what kind of robe I would be wearing and what wine I would be sipping when the police finally crashed through my doors to arrest me for the murder of my husband.
Nescafe Instant Coffee Blend 43
T2 English Breakfast Tea
Reminiscent of my high school English teacher’s breath.
I find a single packet lying around, and while I brewed myself a cup of Dilmah Extra Strength, I hand a cup of T2 English Breakfast to my significant other. He takes two sips, walks over to the sink, and pours the entirety of the cup down the drain. ‘I’m never putting this in my body again’, he whispers, visibly shaken. His hopes of a mildly caffeinated hour have been thwarted by this new age-y ‘reinvention’ of tea.
I once made the mistake of calling him over to help me understand the underlying social commentary in Blade Runner, and as he leant over my shoulder, I was hit with the rancid stench of the bitter, lifeless brew that is Blend 43. It felt like death itself had entered my nostrils. I was always fearful of asking a question after that, should he decide to make his way over to my table and explain to me in excruciating detail the microcosm and macrocosm within Hamlet. He was a great teacher, he just made terrible beverage choices.
Effects: No amount of sugar or milk can make me forget that memory. After finishing about half, I decided that I enjoyed having tastebuds too much and switched to a soothing cup of tea.
Red Bull A carbonated hellscape of mismanaged time and soul destroying delirium. Not worthy of a rating. Barely worthy of a review.
Dilmah Extra Strong Not all heroes wear capes. The great thing about this tea is you can safely have about ten cups without feeling like you’re about to enter a fifth dimension. It’s comforting, it’s relaxing, it’s easy to brew. It’s just constant cups of happiness that can never disappoint you.
Effects: I angrily went on T2’s website to see what other dubious concoctions they’ve managed to market and I was so aghast at what I found that I had no choice but to not study for the next two hours. They charge a ludicrous $14 for 100 grams of black tea with ‘natural and artificial vanilla’. This is known as ‘Melbourne Breakfast’ – not to be mistaken with ‘New York Breakfast’, which is completely different and not at all the same because it’s black tea with natural and artificial vanilla and cinnamon. What a time to be alive.
Verdict: It’s 2.30am in the morning, there’s not an ounce of caffeine in my body, and I’m wide awake. I’m running on the pure adrenaline of knowing I need to submit this assignment before the 9am deadline. I have learnt the following in the past week: consuming a caffeinated beverage in an attempt to increase productivity is useless – I spent half my time trying to sit still and the other half frantically running to bathroom in one to three minute intervals.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Looking up: How Vertical Gardens Transform our City greenery Julia Yan Text: Robyn Lewis Photography: Aini Jasmin Ghazalli Jasmin’s photographs show examples of direct greening, indirect greening and the pocket system (modular) As more and more of Canberra is occupied by concrete buildings, many are concerned about the loss of urban green space. After visiting Singapore over summer, I became intrigued by the idea of vertical greenery systems (VGS), which involve implementing vertical gardens on buildings by covering them in plants. PhD candidate at the Fenner School, Aini Jasmin Ghazalli is researching how VGS might impact air quality and workplace stress. I asked Jasmin some questions about her work and how she sees VGS being incorporated into urban design in the future. R: What is your background and what drew you to researching vertical gardens? J: I have a Diploma in Agriculture and my interest in arts brought me to a Degree in Landscape Architecture. I was working as a landscape designer for several months and found out that my true passion is teaching. I accepted a job offer as a research assistant and also enrolled as a Masters student in Universiti Putra Malaysia. I did a study on the effectiveness of indoor plants in absorbing volatile organic compounds in a small office (Lady palms worked best). My interest in how plants influence air quality and further overall health encouraged me to study the possibilities of using VGS in urban areas to improve living conditions. R: The Nishi Building in NewActon has a few plants growing vertically on the building, does this count as a VGS? J: Yes! VGS is generally defined as growing vegetation on vertical surfaces. There are several popular terms other than vertical greenery such as green walls, living walls, and vertical landscapes. Each of these terms is influenced by the planting system. Three of the most
common systems are direct greening, indirect greening and modular system. The one’s in NewActon uses an indirect system, where plants are grown in planter boxes with a trellis that allows climbers to climb up. R: I know you’re looking at VGS in relation to air quality and workplace stress – what sort of impacts do you think you might find they could have? J: The study I’m doing is focusing on indoor VGS. Previous findings explored various possibilities of outdoor VGS. Previous studies have proven that outdoor VGS affects surface and ambient temperature, which in turn, means energy saving benefits for buildings. Covering building façades with plants also effectively absorbs particulate pollution, which protects building surfaces. For areas with high noise pollution levels, modelling studies shown VGS mitigate unwanted sounds. Outdoor VGS also provides habitat for certain arthropods and birds. A VGS is also seen as a work of art that beautifies and increases the value of a space. R: Do any cities currently incorporate VGS into their urban design, and where do you think the best example of a VGS in action is? J: Patrick Blanc created some of the best VGS designs. They can be found in Hobart (retrofitted on the Museum of Old and New Art), Sydney (One Central Park, Trio Building and the Qantas lounge) and Melbourne (Qantas lounge and the Shot Tower). He patented his creation in 1988 and since then has been retrofitting beautiful vertical gardens all around the world. His best works would be in Europe, where he spent most of his years perfecting his creations. In Canberra, along with the Nishi Building, a VGS can be found in Canberra Centre. R: Are there any benefits, other than the two you’re studying, that you think VGS might have? J: From our findings, we can conclude that VGS have positive impacts on the
environment, as well as perceived physiological and psychological benefits. The most interesting finding to date is how people’s behaviour changed in the presence of VGS. Retrofitting VGS in a less used corridor increases the number of people walking through it. Through observation we know that building users often stop in front of the VGS to wonder and admire the plants. R: How do you see VGS as being able to transform a city? J: The number of people moving into cities is constantly increasing. As designers and researchers, it is important that we find responsible and sustainable ways to ensure acceptable living condition in cities. Loss of vegetation due to urban expansion comes with a price: increase in urban heat that leads to increasing energy consumption and air pollution, as well as negative impacts to health. VGS is an attractive and effective way to increase green space in cities. If we look up, there is a lot of available building façade that can be retrofitted with VGS. The challenge is to choose the correct and suitable planting system, as well as the correct planting media and plant species. R: What is your favourite green space in Canberra? J: My favourite green space in Canberra would be the University Avenue, ANU. I see it as the heart of ANU – several important assemblies are done here, and I always see people using the green space to rest or have their lunch. I love the seasonal transitions the avenue portrays – it brings life to the place and tells a story of changes. The avenue reminds me that change is inevitable and what we have to do is commit to change as well, for the benefit of humanity and the environment.
tendrils tease climb up into homes drop seeds roots replace synapses thoughts grow like weeds hard trunks split soft human skin tough stems tangle toes plants will win, in time
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Environmental Justice: Cries that go Ignored Text: Lydia J Kim Lydia is just a city gal hoping to make the world a greener and fairer place! Her column ‘Greener Economy’ will talk about some of the economic and political solutions that will help create a more equitable society as well as more liveable conditions for current and future generations. Stay tuned!
‘Environmental Justice’ is not something commonly discussed in Australia. Nevertheless, it is paramount in the analysis of all environmental action, and is undeniably an issue still in need of much more public attention. Environmental justice aims to achieve equal environmental benefits and burdens across all demographics – irrespective of race or socio-economic status. Having originated in the US during the 60s Civil Rights Movement, the campaign has been gaining momentum ever since. It is a crusade against the unfair treatment of land deemed as nothing but an economic opportunity to some, but as ‘home’ to others. Racism and classism have always been prevalent features of environmental injustice. When there is a need to build harmful facilities like dumpsites and factories, land populated by more vulnerable demographics is usually targeted by companies and governments. This decision comes down to cheaper land prices and the relative ease at which those with money can silence those who fight for their livelihood on a day-to-day basis. The extent to which these injustices impact countless groups globally is distressing. In New Mexico, many workers have been hospitalised as a result of nuclear waste dumping. Hispanic and African-American communities in the South Bronx also struggle, having to share their home with more than a third of New York City’s garbage. One in four of their children suffer from asthma, a rate nine times greater than the national average. Australia is not immune to these issues either. In fact, the treatment of Indigenous communities demonstrates our political system’s inadequate environmental justice.
to be used as a toxic nuclear dumpsite in 2007 without consulting more than a few members of the Ngapa clan. There wasn’t any consensus within the clan itself either, and the negotiation of plans had been so secretive that none of the other clans were aware of the proposal. Following this, the Rudd and Gillard governments removed the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill. This meant that any community appeal rights, as well as Indigenous and environmental protections were gone, leaving the federal government with the power to specifically dismiss all environmental and social concerns raised by Northern Territory and local governments. Unsurprisingly, multiple requests for meetings and any correspondence from opposing communities were ignored. According to the Federal Resources Minister at the time, Martin Ferguson, the earthquake-prone land had been ‘volunteered’. The 1.5 square kilometres of land would have held approximately 4000 cubic metres of radioactive waste produced by scientific, industrial and medical research industries. Radioactive waste is known to not only directly kill cells in living organisms, but also mutates DNA, causing both cancer and serious birth defects. The final deal between members of the single Lauder family and the Northern Land Council (NLC) to use the land as a dumpsite was priced at $12 million in federal funding – another example of powerful groups committing heinous environmental injustice by ignoring the basic human rights of others at the chance of earning dirty money.
Taking a closer look
Lorna Fejo, a traditional owner of land that includes Muckaty Station, voiced her deep-seated sorrow concerning the issue on behalf of the nation’s Indigenous population: ‘Australia is supposed to be the land of the fair go. When are we going to have fair go? I’ve been stolen from my mother now they’re stealing my land off me.’
Held under Native Title, Marlwanpa (Muckaty Station) once fell victim to similar inequities. The Northern Territory station belongs to its traditional owners the Milwayi, Ngapa, Ngarrka, Wirntiku, Kurrakurraja, Walanypirri and Yapayapa peoples. Despite this being clearly outlined in several of their official records, the Howard government approved a proposal for the land
Eventually, a settlement between NLC and traditional owners was reached in June 2014, after a long battle lasting over seven years – though chief executive Joe Morrison denied any liability. The victory is something to be celebrated, but the initial cause of struggle raises several questions regarding government policies and general attitudes towards environmental justice in Australia.
How to respond This is evidently not an issue that can be solved overnight. Currently, Australia stores its nuclear waste in over 100 different sites around the nation and in storage facilities in Scotland and France – all that were to be redirected to Muckaty. More recently, the government revealed plans to construct a $33 billion international nuclear waste dump in South Australia, estimated to bring $257 billion in revenue. A lack of transparency was clearly one of the biggest issues in the Muckaty Station dispute. According to Dave Sweeney, a nuclear expert with the Australian Conservation Foundation, ‘no comparable country has a national radioactive waste policy based on secret documents and agreements.’ Australia needs an effective radioactive management scheme with higher levels of community confidence and consent. ‘You don’t solve long-term environmental and human health threats with short-term political bulldoze tactics,’ he says. Successive waves of ‘decision-makers’ must appreciate concepts like earth jurisprudence and wild law that respect the equal rights of all – especially of those discriminated against based on their race and income. For this to occur, cultural change has a role in redefining our idea of justice. When communities are exposed to toxic waste, people start listening. Through the lens of environmental justice, discussions in schools and homes can begin, and government policy can be created. We must equip ourselves with a framework that recognises the inequitable impacts of environmental degradation. Only then can we only begin to make the right, environmentally-just political and economic choices.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Why your Merchandise Matters Text: ANU Students Wanting to Eliminate All Textile Sweatshops
It is 9.27pm. Rabeya still has another 12 sleeves to attach to t-shirts before her daily quota is met. She and her colleagues cannot leave the factory until this order is complete because the shipment is scheduled for the next day. Tomorrow is Saturday, but she still must work, leaving her one-month-old daughter in the care of her neighbours. Can you blame sweatshop workers for wanting better working conditions? In December 2016, tens of thousands of sweatshop workers in Bangladesh went on strike, demanding higher pay and better working conditions after a spate of factory fires, collapsed buildings and continually poor working environments. Of these protesting workers, 1,600 were sacked, and 35 union leaders were arrested. Unlike the constant bombardment of advertisements promoting the latest ‘must have’ apparel by fast fashion giants such as H&M, Zara and Topshop – all of whose garment production is heavily contracted out to Bangladeshi factories – this struggle was neither thoroughly documented in mainstream media, nor in the collective conscience of consumers. Bangladesh has imposed increasingly coercive strategies on garment factory workers, such as police violence, arbitrary detention and death threats to intimidate workers from rallying for better conditions. In fact, the Industrial Police unit was established in 2010, during the surge of strikes, for the exact purpose of crushing dissent in the textile industry. It is highly likely that some of the clothes in your personal wardrobe have been made in Bangladesh. The merchandise sourced for different branches of the ANU is no exception. – the ANU Shop, clubs, societies, residences and ANU Sport all use exploitative brands. We must address the disconnect between the true social and environmental costs within production processes, globa l
supply chains, and the desired items hanging off racks and shelves. This is a core objective of organisations such as Fashion Revolution, Good On You, United Students Against Sweatshops, and our ANU collective, Students Wanting to Eliminate All Textile Sweatshops (SWEATS). SWEATS runs grassroots campaigns around the university to increase awareness of sweatshops, ‘sweat-free’ alternatives and ethical consumerism. We are advocating for the ANU to become the first university in Australia to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and source its apparel from ‘sweat-free’ brands. WRC affiliation would place the ANU within a global ‘sweat-free’ movement of 185 colleges in the US, Canada and UK, including all Ivy-league institutions. The WRC is an independent organisation specialising in carrying out investigations of and publishing reports about textile factories worldwide. More specifically, it focuses on eliminating sweatshop practices in factories producing university-related apparel. If the ANU were to join the WRC, this would guarantee that all its merchandise would be produced transparently, incorporating the WRC’s Code of Conduct into its manufacturing process. Tertiary institutions such as the ANU serve an important purpose beyond teaching and research: they are a catalyst for social change and innovation and have a responsibility to respect human rights in the ways they operate. University communities have a great tradition of providing moral guidance and resistance in critical periods – such as the anti-Vietnam War movement and the ‘second wave’ of feminism. If this tradition is to continue, it is imperative that university communities take a stand against sweatshops. Ultimately, one of the main goals of the movement is the
elimination of a common justification for the preservation of sweatshops: that workers voluntarily ‘choose’ to enter into free contracts with their employers. Textile corporations have found that violence is often not necessary because other powerful and subtle motivators exist. As Professor Noam Chomsky succinctly argued in correspondence with SWEATS: ‘If people have the choice between starvation for their families and slavery, they might choose slavery. That’s not an argument for slavery. Rather, for eliminating that criminal choice. Same with sweatshops.’ This is the essence of the ‘sweat-free’ movement. It might seem that as students, the thought of campaigning to completely eradicate sweatshops is an ambitious task. However, there are multiple steps we can all take to avoid fast fashion and make more ethical consumer decisions. Along with the conventional advice of utilising Clothes Swaps and Op Shops to avoid the destructive cycle of fast fashion, there are many other resources available. Apps such as ‘Good on You’ let you search for brands or stores and find ratings of their environmental and social impacts, and Baptist World Aid’s annual Fashion R e p or t s deta i l
what the fashion industry and individual companies are doing to address child labour, forced labour and exploitation. When buying new clothes, you can look for the Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA) accreditation, which guarantees the transparency of supply chains for ‘Made in Australia’ clothing, footwear and textile goods. Fashion Revolution Week – which runs from 24 - 30 April – starts with the commemoration of the Rana Plaza disaster, and then involves campaigns that encourage millions of people to demand greater clarity in garment production processes and ask brands, ‘Who made my clothes?’ In Fashion Revolution Week 2017, SWEATS – in collaboration with other branches of the ANU – will be running events to raise awareness of ethical consumerism, ‘sweat-free’ alternatives and complex production processes and supply chains. Join our social justice campaign to encourage our university to use its economic clout for good, and have its purchasing practices aligned with the principles of the ANU community. We can sew together the fabric of humanity!
For more on ANU Students Wanting to Eliminate All Textile Sweatshops, visit www.facebook.com/ ANU.SWEATS
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Unravelling the Dynamics of Adaptability and Memory: An Interview on Neural Plasticity Text: Jennifer Tinston
Associate Professor Christian Stricker is head of the Stricker Group at the John Curtin School of Medical Research. His research interests include computational modelling, synaptic transmission, information transfer of learning and memory, and cell signalling in the immune system. Professor Stricker sat down with me to talk about our understanding of neural plasticity. Neural plasticity refers to the ability of our brains to acquire long-lasting changes in its functionality in response to environmental changes. At the cellular level, connections between neurons can strengthen, and on a larger scale, the brain can restructure its connections. The result of this is more efficient communication in your brain, for whatever behaviour it is trying to facilitate.
Evolutionary Perspective While the exact mechanisms may still be unclear, Professor Stricker highlighted the importance of neural plasticity during our evolution, posing the question: ‘How could you otherwise survive in an environment where there is continual change without actually having adaptable networks and structures in the brain?’ Nervous systems existed in the first algae, yet the same principles of adaptability have carried over into multi-cellular life. ‘[Adaption is] one of the key drivers of the evolution of the central nervous system’. While our nervous system have
allowed humans to command many different environments, Stricker believes ‘the distribution of the humans on the planet is a testament to the fact that we are highly adaptable.’
Intelligence Aspect Stricker admits that as a neuroscientist who primarily focuses on animal models, it is difficult to comment on cognition. What he did say however, was that while plasticity is not necessarily linked to IQ, ‘intelligence is ultimately linked to how much knowledge we can store’, and that information storage, or learning and memory, do lie within the domain of plasticity. In terms of the hierarchy, Stricker says that ‘it’s memory plus the response to the particular situation you are in that ultimately gives the learning’. He went on to say that ‘memory is the static aspect of it while learning is the more dynamic aspect to it which ultimately results in a noticeable change in your behaviour.’ In short, you cannot learn without memory, which we know is an aspect of plasticity. Yet, Stricker hinted that there might be some molecular link to intelligence that could have a role in a specific type of plasticity.
Regenerative Plasticity Regenerative plasticity allows stroke victims who’ve lost brain tissue to rehabilitate. ‘[Stroke patients] can retune the networks so that other areas in the brain which would have been dormant or not so active can now take over so that
you can again function in your normal way.’ Stricker described the mechanism through which quadriplegics can control technology through eye movements as testament to the degree to which adult brains are still plastic. He also explained that the rehabilitation of stroke patients might be so successful because, unlike normal plasticity, during regenerative plasticity decaying tissues serve as a beacon for new nerve fibre reconstruction. In terms of Alzheimer’s, the issue is more complex, since mechanisms of plasticity decline at an older age. Utilizing new sensory inputs as a treatment, however, can still be beneficial as ‘to some extent there can be some reactivation, or at least the slope of decay can be halted’.
Paradigms in Science Throughout his career, Stricker has been influential in challenging standard dogmas in neuroscience, including mechanisms relevant to adult plasticity and long term memory. While researchers these days tend to be more relaxed, Stricker acknowledges the benefit of researchers who take extreme stances: It’s quite often very fruitful to explore the radical stances of hypotheses, for example, it’s all presynaptic or postsynaptic … in hindsight at least they were driving the field in their stances.’
Future Possibilities One major aspect of memory and plasticity that is not well understood is how memories are recalled from their physical storage in the brain. Stricker describes cutting edge
experiments done by Tonegawa at MIT where memories in mice can be artificially recalled by shining a light on light sensitive parts of the storage. ‘For that we need to trigger it ourselves, we do not know what the trigger is or how the brain comes about the trigger under normal conditions … how it is actually being read out is far from clear,’ Stricker said. He went on to say that learning how we access memories once they have been laid down could potentially challenge existing conceptions in the field. Understanding how this activation occurs could have potential implications for treating PTSD. Professor Stricker explained that if we knew how memories are recalled, we would know how to erase them, which would be especially poignant for PTSD or otherwise traumatised patients. ‘Because of that attachment of an emotional dimension to [a memory],’ Stricker said, ‘it can actually be that you can never really truly forget it’. This link between emotion and memory formation is an area of research that Prof Stricker himself is exploring. He believes the answer may lay in neuromodulators like serotonin or dopamine. ‘There is still an emotional tag that goes with [memory formation], and that is typically given by neuromodulators’, he said. Stricker hopes that by studying these systems, we will be able to give survivors of traumatic events the gift of forgetting. ‘There are amazing changes in the short term dynamic plasticity, so these neuromodulators, they actually really do stuff in the network, they really change it.’
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
3D Printing: It’s More than Magic Text: Imogen Brown Welcome to Science Life: A discussion of the weird and wonderful intersection between science and our day-to-day lives.
Perhaps you’re like me, and three-dimensional (3D) printing is something you’ve heard of (and think is pretty damn cool) but know very little about. Recently, a friend gifted me a 3D printed model of the Shine Dome, which prompted me to look a little more into the field. As it turns out, it’s pretty fascinating stuff! 3D printers have been around since the 80s, and were used to make prototypes for industry and medicine – hence why they were originally called Rapid Prototyping technologies. This allowed companies to easily and cost-effectively make models of things before they invested in the real object. This made Rapid Prototyping especially valuable for smaller companies who had fewer resources to begin with. Most models were, and still are, made with plastics (a.k.a. polymers), but metals and even minerals were also used. As technology improved, people started to use 3D printers to make ‘stuff’ rather than ‘prototypes of stuff’. This opened a door to literally thousands of uses and applications that we hear about in the news today. From food and clothing, to surgery and art, 3D printing possibilities are endless. Just last week I read about a company that 3D printed an entire house for less than $15,000 – now that’s affordable housing! Some have suggested that this could revolutionise the housing industry by reducing costs, time and waste, but it will probably take a while for it to catch on. You would need a large number of building sized 3D printers to start with, and enough people who know how to print before you could launch such an enterprise. However, while it may be hard to get your hands on a 3D printer big enough to build your house, printers that will fit inside your house are readily available.
The ANU Maker Club has one that members can use to make fun knickknacks like my miniature Shine Dome. If you ask nicely, or better yet join the club, they may let you use it too. Making a 3D model starts with an idea and a computer. Designers create a blueprint of the model they want using one of the many computer programs available. My dome was made using one called OpenSCAD, which has the added benefit of being free. These models are either solid in nature (like a rock) or only represent the outer surface of the object (like the shell of an egg). If you’re not that great at designing it’s okay, there are plenty of open source models out there for you to try out, including the Shine Dome! Next, it’s time to print! Data from the program is sent to the printer either directly or using a memory stick. The printer then gets to work by printing the very base of the object and working its way up with thousands of tiny layers. The printing itself is done by melting the material you’re using to make the object, and once it touches the surface it’s instantly cooled to make it solid again. If you’re using (melted) plastic, it is probably a good idea to keep the area well ventilated to prevent a buildup of fumes. Recycled and biodegradable plastics are available for those who are environmentally conscious and don’t want to create extra waste. Small objects can be printed in just a few minutes, larger ones may take a few hours and a bigger printer, but really, the sky’s the limit for the things you can create. Why stop at the Shine Dome when you can make awesome stuff like a shiny Firefly or Pokémon to add to your collection?t is just a step, but it is a crucial step.
Business & Economics
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Do Robots Dream of Personal Deductibles? Text: Luigi Falasconi Photograph: unsplash.com
On 17 February, Bill Gates said in an interview with Quartz, an online magazine, that robots taking human jobs produce what economists call a negative externality. Rapid automation threatens to dislodge workers from old jobs faster than new sectors can absorb them, leading to costly long-term unemployment. Furthermore, he strikingly argued that governments should tax the utilisation of robots to slow the spread of automation and to fund other types of employment, at least, in the short-term. In particular, he alleged that a robot tax, either on the installation of a robot or on the higher profits firms enjoy through automation, could potentially finance an expansion of health care and education. He even suggested that it would help with jobs that involve taking care of senior citizens or working with kids in schools, for which needs are still unmet. Human beings are better suited for such jobs. Moreover, he proposed that the money created could be used to retrain previously displaced workers. Significantly, Gates isn’t the only one to support this line of thought. In a report by the European Parliament,
it was suggested that robots should register with the government and be held liable for damages they cause, including loss of jobs. The European Commission expected that any firm that automates should pay individual taxes or contribute to social security too. According to the Bank of England, 80 million US jobs and 15 million UK jobs are at risk from automation – mainly the ones that pay the lowest wage, meaning that robots could widen the gap between the rich and the poor. The first and most obvious contention surrounding the debate is, of course, what a ‘robot’ truly is. Is it an anthropoid machine that beeps and boops while speaking in a monotone voice? Perhaps it is the giant mechanical arm that put doors on new cars in the factory? Or maybe a tool that saves labour but doesn’t have any moving parts? Defining a ‘robot’ is crucial to understanding what kind of technology should be taxed. It might be the case that every capital good from the wheel to the pipette should be taxed, and it might not. As pointed out by Noah Smith, ‘the problem with Gates’ basic proposal is that it’s very hard to tell the difference between new technology that complements humans and new technology that
replaces them. This is especially true over the long term.’ Economists typically advise against taxing capital investments – such as a robot – that give humans the power to produce more. Taxation usually discourages investment, making people poorer as a whole. To provide an example, workers may suffer by being displaced by robots, but workers, in general, might be better off because prices fall. Besides, automation is not occurring as rapidly as we think it is. Though the displacement of workers by machines ought to register as an increase in the rate of productivity growth, Gates’ proposal could increase the expense of robots relative to human labour, therefore delaying an already overdue productivity boom. One thing for which Gates is right about is that we should start thinking ahead about how to use policy to mitigate the disruptions of automation. However, despite the way Gates positions his message as forward-thinking, his ideas would mean more primitivism and less advancement, and would hamper progress and prevent us from solving the same problems to which he has personally dedicated his life and wealth. When sustainable innovation does arrive,
robots might not be the right target, and we should look at alternative policies. One example is a wage subsidy for low-income workers that makes human labour cheaper by cutting payroll taxes, which disproportionately fall on low earners. Maybe we could simply redefine capital income to be broader to tax richer people who buy stocks and real estate, and then distribute the profits to the populace. Throughout history, every new significant technological advance that has made labour more efficient has resulted in whole populations being better off. Since all capital is aimed at increasing the productivity of labour, societies can produce more of the goods in demand and need, and wages therefore increase. It is true that innovation can temporarily disrupt the working force – like when the invention of cars displaced horse carriage driver – but the overall effect of increasing productivity is positive, even for those who lose their jobs.
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Business & Economics
Satoshi’s Legacy Text: Nick Blood Before we had flame-grilled Whoppers and Cadillacs with combustion engines, we first had to control fire. Before there were cat videos on YouTube and massively multiplayer online games, we first had to invent the internet. And before we had a world without banks, we first had to create the blockchains. When our ancestors created a fire in their cave from flint and dried grass, they couldn’t have possibly imagined what would follow, just as the minds that laboured over the TCP/IP protocol couldn’t have possibly known where their arcane and ill-understood creations would someday take us. This same story was true of the blockchains and cryptocurrency – it was the Manhattan Project of economics. We just didn’t know it at the time. At first, things like Bitcoin were a novelty – a curious idea that captivated crypto-geeks and technophiles but never breached the mainstream consciousness. Here was a new type of currency – indeed, a new way of thinking about currency. It was deflationary: a finite resource that government mints couldn’t print forever. It was digital: a type of capital that moved around the world at the speed of light. It was decentralised: the publicly-owned mass of interconnected computers were the ones who verified transactions and powered the infrastructure supporting everything. And supporting it, were the ‘blockchains’, public ledgers that recorded all bitcoin transactions. No more National Mint. No more Federal Reserve. No more banks. Once that idea started to sink into people’s minds, everything began to accelerate. A few years later, this niche idea about a new type of economics was being discussed in US Senate inquiries and on MSNBC. Bitcoin’s comparative value to the US Dollar had skyrocketed from a few cents to over $1,200. Bitcoin started as a small but powerful idea – a fire in a cave, and now it was a speculative vehicle that Wall Street salivated over – a flame-grilled Whopper. Bitcoin, and the blockchain supporting it, however, weren’t done. Next, came the combustion engine, the Cadillac-level iteration of the idea. This stage of revolution began in the supermarket aisles. The Fair-Trade Organisation and others like it wanted to use the blockchain to tackle sustainability. Attempting to meet skyrocketing consumer demands for sustainable consumption and production, the corporations of the world wanted a way to verify they were putting their money where their mouth (their marketing) was. The banks, however, made this difficult, and that’s why they died. We killed them because we
wanted cups of coffee that didn’t rob farmers of their livelihood, and clothes that weren’t made by children in deplorable sweatshop conditions. Transparency and open accounting were anathemas to the banks. International supply chains were obscenely difficult to fully account for. Navigating the maze of a dozen different financial institutions involved in a remarkable supply chain was deemed too complicated in a world where blockchains offered elegant simplicity. In the space of a few years, corporations began shifting large chunks of capital to cryptocurrencies and hiring in-house staff to manage these funds directly. They became their own banks. The often-independent developers who became the auditors were those who created apps that simplified the underlying system and allowed consumers to trace the flow of capital from a soy latte to the Ecuadorian coffee bean farmer. Customers using this new technology became, via their interconnected mass and momentum, the institutional investors. The economy slowly shifted towards equality as the blockchains, like a super virus, spread across the world in an unstoppable outbreak. For the first time in human history the people controlled the capital, and through that, they controlled the means of production. Businesses that capitalised on human misery by operating in the shadows either changed their ways or succumbed to the people’s will. Apple and Goldman Sachs were the first and biggest heads to fall, but hardly the only ones. Banks fell one by one, the global financial crisis was nothing compared to all this. Their very public funerals served as a lesson to the rest of the world: behave yourselves, because we are watching. We, the people, are in control now. Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonym that referred to the anonymous inventor of Bitcoins and the blockchain, would remain a mystery – but the purpose of their invention would become clearer over time. Recognising that we lived in a world too deeply entrenched in neoliberal capitalism, a world headed irrevocably towards environmental catastrophe, Satoshi had envisaged a way out within that system. Consumerism was converted into a form of protest – a non-violent direct action that took place every day, with every transaction. Capitalism was changed into the platform for that revolution – the National Mall that housed a daily billion-strong march. And that was Satoshi’s legacy. But that was not where the story would end. Ending poverty and economic inequality was just the end of the beginning. When blockchains spread into other spheres of life, the idea of the singularity, like the idea of the Bitcoin, shifted from science fiction towards an inevitable reality. But that, I suppose, is a story for another time.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
And We’re on the Road to Bondi: A Runner’s Perspective of Civic2Surf Text: Joshua Dundas
health and exercise can’t be overemphasized – it’s a strategy I have always found super helpful in maintaining my own mental health – and so will be a great way to promote Batyr’s message in the lead up to the event.’
Civic2Surf is a student-based initiative in support of Batyr, an organisation that focuses on preventative education in the area of youth mental health by educating university and senior school students about the networks and support systems available to them. The initiative is a 340km road relay-style run where about 70 ANU students run from our very own campus all the way to Bondi Beach in Sydney. Civic2Surf was founded in 2011 with the aim of supporting Batyr in trying to break the stigma surrounding mental health issues amongst our youth. Their efforts focus primarily on initiating open and honest dialogue around the prevalence of mental health. Year after year the event successfully raises crucial funds and awareness for the organisation.
If you want a feeling of what the event actually looks like from the eyes of a runner, then you simply need to hear about Billie’s run last year: ‘Last year, Saturday morning, it is cold, a little damp and very foggy. It is roughly 6am and I feel like a bit of a zombie. I am absolutely exhausted. I’ve gone from the interhall soccer final to a 5.30am wakeup and it doesn’t stop there – I’ve been on the go, running, driving, shopping, organising and (luckily for me) a little bit of sleeping. But here I am, 6am the next morning and I’m awake and standing in the cold morning air of the Southern Highlands. My running shirt is a bit dirty and very smelly from running in the rain yesterday. We’re standing on the side of the road waiting for the first leg of the morning to finish. I am always struck by how beautiful the Southern Highlands is in the early hours of the morning. I can see green fields – so many fields – gentle hills, blue skies … it’s honestly straight out of a picture book.
I sat down with Civic2Surf veteran and third year arts/law student, Billie Hook, to talk about all things Civic2Surf and find out what a day participating in the event might look and feel like for her. Billie first became involved with Civic2Surf in her first year at ANU, and has participated in every subsequent iteration of the event. Even now she’s keen to ‘dust off her runners, pull on some socks and get stuck into the running again this year!’ The message propounded by Batyr and their largely student-driven organisational hierarchy is really powerful. Billie said, however, that there was an even stronger personal pull to Civic2Surf. ‘Having had experience throughout high school with mental health difficulties – both my own and my friends’ – hearing about Civic2Surf and Batyr was a significant challenge to my past perceptions about asking for help. Running in the event was a real opportunity to tackle my own barriers around discussing mental health, as well as to promote this to the people around me. Getting to do this while being physically active and surrounded by friends, both old and new, is what kept me coming back!’ Billie also said, ‘I loved the concept of the actual event. Not only does Civic2Surf need a physical effort from each of the runners, we do this run together. No
one leg gets the team from Canberra to Sydney – it is through a combined effort, running together, all pushing ourselves, that we make it. I’ve always thought that it is a really poignant metaphor for what Batyr is aiming to do. Smashing stigma surrounding mental health requires both the efforts of those who are suffering and of the people around them to open up conversations and break down barriers.’
the year to the seemingly mammoth task of feeding and housing 70 runners in Bowral at our midpoint overnight stopover. Being on the committee was so much fun last year – it was definitely a massive effort and a step up from simply being a runner in the event. The sense of achievement, however, seeing 70-odd tired, hungry and exhausted runners jogging down the promenade at Bondi Beach, is something I will never forget.’
Billie exudes an enormous amount of passion for the project, so I asked her whether she’d ever been involved in a more administrative capacity. ‘In my first year I was simply a runner. I was so inspired by the efforts of those organising the event that I decided to apply to be a part of the following year’s committee and, luckily for me, I was picked! I was appointed the events director. This position involved coordinating everything from barbeques and other food-based fundraising drives at ISO events during
Billie is on the committee again this year – this time as trainer with Claudia Crawley and Sarah Davoren. Billie noted that all three of them ‘really want to emphasise this year that anyone can participate – anyone can run 5km with the right training – and this is the training that we will be doing. We want to have a solid training period so that anyone interested can build on their fitness, at whatever level, so that come August we have a team of runners confident in their own ability. The link between positive mental
We run and the 5km mark is a lot longer than I remember it being – every hill we go over I expect it to be the last. But the four of us keep running, through the Bowral shops, past houses – followed by the safety ute and Sam’s intermittent ‘keep running, girls’ as a constant accompaniment. For this 5km, the four of us run as a team. We push each other up the hills and pull out the lolly snakes when one of us is tired. We just chat, and laugh, and complain when we’re not there yet. We are running together while we get to know each other better, and it strikes me that this is what Civic2Surf is all about – our physical challenge is matched with a forming of supportive and positive relationships. Suddenly there’s the car, and we’re done, and we’re on the road to Bondi.’
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
England Rugby’s Unbeaten Run Keeps Kicking On Text: Zach Mackey Editor’s Note: The content of this article was correct at the time of writing. The editors regret to inform fans of the English rugby team of Ireland’s 13-9 win last Sunday. May peace and comfort find you during this difficult time.
After completely annihilating Scotland over the last weekend, England has now equalled New Zealand’s 18 game Tier 1 winning streak; combined with Ireland’s lacklustre performance against Wales, it seems there is no reason why they cannot break the record and go 19 games undefeated. 17 of the undefeated games have been under the tutelage of Eddie Jones, who took over from Stuart Lancaster after England were bundled out in the group stages of their home World Cup. The win against Scotland s aw
them take the title for most undefeated 6 Nations matches, as well as finally finding the next gear that their performances have promised all season. Before the Scotland match, I was thinking England were undeserving of their victory record. But the 61-21 win showed a team who could very easily challenge the New Zealand All Blacks, at home or away. England are now displaying quality first phase play, off the back of their powerhouse forward pack. The backline is allowed time and space to attack, thanks to a strong line out set piece and scrum base. This has been the strength of the All Blacks over the last two decades, and Eddie Jones has adapted this simple plan well for the players at his disposal. What is also apparent in the forward pack is a physicality unfamiliar to Northern Hemisphere rugby for many a year. Jones was criticised in the pre-season for his bruising camp which saw many key players injured. But now, England is showing a desire to batter and bruise opponents into submission – from the opening whistle as they showed against Scotland this weekend, and to the point where they cannot compete, as seen in their second round against Wales. Wales matched England’s physicality for 60 minutes, but their r e serves could d o n o
such thing, allowing England to attack deep from a mistimed clearance kick, and score in the corner at the 11th hour. This leads me to my next point – Eddie Jones has borrowed the practice that Michael Cheika established at the 2015 World Cup, which involved having players on the bench not as substitutes, but players who could very easily earn a starting jersey. This means at the 60-minute mark, you see eight players coming on who are of world class calibre – and they can perform a crucial role. Travelling between away fixtures, this has been very effective, as it is these players who ensured victory in key tests in Sydney in 2016 and in Cardiff this year. England now possesses the ability to win on the road, a skill they didn’t exhibit under Lancaster. This is absolutely vital, especially in the 6 Nations competition. Next year, England’s away games include France, Scotland and Italy – arguably the easier side of the home and away draw – and so their skill to win away from home should see their unbeaten 6 Nations run continue. There are still question marks over this English side. They have not yet played New Zealand, which for many a fan will leave an asterisk over their record – until they prove their worth against the Goliath that is the All Blacks. New Zealand coach Steven Hansen heaped praise on Eddie Jones in a recent BBC Radio Five interview for getting the best out of his players, and how encouraging it is for inter-
national rugby to have another nation dominating competitions. But I would bet that he is sitting at home licking his lips, firstly for the British and Irish Lions tour this winter, and then for the highly-anticipated matchup between England and New Zealand in 2018. Furthermore, the English have shown an inability to adjust to unconventional tactics, a weakness Italy exploited to great effect at the breakdown. The All Blacks, by comparison, change their game plan weekly as well as during the 80 minutes – depending on what is in front of them – and this is indispensable to their success. England need still to incorporate spontaneity into their gameplay. One thing is for certain leading into this weekend, and that is that the atmosphere at Aviva Stadium will be electric, as anyone not in a white shirt will be cheering on the men in Green. I am not expecting an Irish win, though, and believe the English should be ready for another triumph.
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Parmageddon: Taking Pub Cuisine by the Antlers
Ode to Clive Manya Sinha
Text: Pettie Bage and Dylan Grey Illustration: Julia Hammer
The name ‘Mooseheads’ comes from the English word ‘Moose’, meaning a horny animal, and the English word ‘Head’, referring to a mediocre brand of tennis racquet. Mooseheads is undeniably one of Canberra’s best cultural attractions, on par with Questacon, Parliament House and the Great Penis Owl of Belconnen. For most of us, it is also the scene of many late nights and early mornings getting down to The Spice Girls and tipping an entire vodka raspberry on yourself as you drunkenly try to remember your primary school dance for ‘Stop’. However, in Canberra’s growing foodie scene, it is an oft-neglected gastronomical sensation. At night only the patrons are cooked, but during the day downstairs Moose transforms into a bistro offering only the choicest parmas, chips and other delights. A must for history majors, Mooseheads is the only surviving establishment in Canberra to not have smashed avo on their menu. Other relics include the lunchtime patrons who, with the exception of the authors and the bartender, were all over 40 and male. As they step through the door, diners are greeted with a strange sense of deja vu from the familiar Thursday night soundtrack and the smell of spilt beer. Much to the reviewers’ surprise, the floor had lost its characteristic stickiness and we glided toward the bar with ease. The menu is ambitious, spanning a variety of cultural influences. We hadn’t seen this much global diversity on a menu since the multicultural festival, offering dim sims, spring rolls, Moroccan wedges and Texan fries, all within the few lines of the snack menu. Also drawing comparisons to the multicultural
festival, chips feature heavily. While they may not be on sticks, the Moose chips are exotically dubbed ‘13mm beer battered bad boys’. If you like your lunch with a serve of hegemonic masculinity, we can also recommend the ‘Macho Nachos’ or the ‘Man Size bangers and mash’. In a moment of emasculation, these reviewers opted for the chicken parmigiana and the Angus steak burger. As any patron with experience in Gourmet Roulette would know, when faced with the possibility of a questionable culinary experience, the robust chicken parmigiana is your first port of call. However, Mooseheads has more to offer the conservative diner than just deep fried chicken, tomato and cheese: a wide variety of optional greasy delicacies await. Ever innovative, Moose keeps things spicy with a number of exciting options to ‘pimp your parma’. This author can highly recommend the pepperoni topping for your avian atrophy. The bittersweet taste of preserved pork makes a meal reminiscent of that year you spent at UniLodge before learning to cook, dining daily on the best that Domino’s has to offer for only $5(!). For those intrepid readers keeping kosher, the Mooseheads kitchen also provides jalapenos, feta or pineapple. The sides also surpassed predictions, as the parma was served alongside the healthiest decision anyone’s ever made in Mooseheads (a salad). A generous serving of the aforementioned ‘13mm Beer Battered Bad Boys’ also made a welcome-if-slightly-soggy appearance. The second dish we sampled was the Angus steak burger. The steak was cooked well, and had a distinctly smoky flavour, as though the chef had been gently exhaling wisps of Winnie Blues over the meat out back. This burger certainly delivers on the promise of a good root (vegetable), with juicy slices of beetroot accompanying salad and cheese. Caramelised onions round out the dish,
imbuing it with a distinct ‘Bunnings snag’ vibe. To quote a DSM dancefloor favourite, ‘I like big buns and I cannot lie.’ This bun was certainly thicc, nicely toasted, and just seedy enough to remind you of where you are. Walking back from the bathroom is a sobering experience, passing memorabilia from both the Second World War and ex-John’s College residents, commemorating their heroic efforts and antics. Defeated by our meals, we left the smell of old Bundy & cokes behind us and staggered out into London Circuit, rejoining the real world sober and our clothes mostly sweat-free. Lunch at Moose was an enlightening affair, and a must-do for any Canberran with a man-sized appetite. Whether you’re trying to piece together your Thursday night while hungover, or yearning for a midday jaeger bomb, Moose goes the extra 13mm to make your meal an experience. An ideal location for catching up with friends, showing your parents how well you’ve adjusted to Canberra or wining and dining that ADFA boy you hooked up with last week. These reviewers rate the Moose Bistro 4 and a half phalluses.
Clive oh Clive your hair is like wheat Clive oh Clive when can we meet? Your rhymes are so neat They make my heart beat When you twerk It drives the nation berserk Your Facebook posts make me wonder if you’re having a prolonged stroke Or if you have just become really woke Your weight loss journey is an inspiration Even when you’re dealing with Tim tam induced frustration Clive Oh Clive Caught in the rain Clive oh Clive Never again become a pain Goodbye Clive Goodbye Clive Goodbye Bye Bye Clive Bye Goodbye Clive
Week 5, Semester 1, 2017
Dank Memes for Chifley Screens
Romanticism on Sodor? Time for Thomas to Leave Text: Elizabeth Harris Elizabeth is a Canberra native studying a very rarely seen degree at the ANU – LLB/Arts. Her column seeks to incorporate hard truths (common in the legal world) and dank memes. Not wanting her memes to be dreams, Elizabeth hopes to be a pioneer in the art historical study of memes
Everybody likes sordid things, but nobody wants to admit it: pornography, six shares at Lodge, Mooseheads. That’s why the French invented Realism, so that we could look at the base aspects of our lives with a sense of artistic distance. Gustave Courbet serves as the bridge between Romanticism and Realism. The movement he spearheaded grew up in reaction to Romanticism (favouring exoticism and emotionalism) and re-focussed on the depiction of truth. That is, if a Romanticist said you were eating a sumptuous meal of eastern delights then the Realist would respond that you were a destitute student eating your fifth bowl of mi goreng for the day. Courbet’s Self Portrait (The Desperate Man) depicts a maniacal Gustave looking directly at the viewer, with spontaneous brush strokes adding to a sense of stress and urgency in the painting. Arms raised to his head, casting his face in shadow: Courbet is possessed by his thoughts, much like an Honours student in the week before thesis submission. The face of Thomas the Tank Engine in ‘It was time for Thomas to leave’ memes is a clear reference to the bridge between Romanticism and Realism. Mirroring
Courbet’s wide eyes and similarly trapped in the frame of his shadowed face, we can ask if Thomas, rather than seeming to reach out to us as Courbet does, is retreating into the shadows of the train yard. Moving towards us, he is expressing the dramatic movement typical of Romanticism. If he is rolling back, he is accepting the Realist’s harsh truth of the ordinary world, submerging himself in it. The anthropomorphism of Thomas, bringing the human directly into the realm of the inanimate and ordinary, is also an indication that humans exist in a realist world, and should abandon their own psychological concerns to see the world as it is. Not the value-burdened world of the Isle of Sodor, crafted by a benign reverend, but a dirty trainyard for us to deal with. Robert Hughes, an Australian art critic, said that Realism was marked by the sense that ‘Machines were the ideal metaphor for the central pornographic fantasy of [the time], rape followed by gratitude.’ In another sense, Thomas is more than a metaphor for some people’s pornographic fantasies – Rule 34 has destroyed more than one children’s book.
Realism could lay bare the steel and coal-ridden reality of modernity, while presenting it with a sense of honour – just as Thomas put a spotlight on some of the more sordid aspects of our life. It is ‘time for Thomas to leave’ when he has ‘seen everything.’ By putting a spotlight on the sordid, the realism of our lives, Thomas gives us the ability to raise an eyebrow and back out before things get beyond weird. But he does so without condemning the debauched, superb aspects of our life. As Thomas says, when there is no more music playing and someone is crying in the bathroom, enough has been seen in the dark. It may be time to turn the lights on and call the SR. So, when your friend suggests going out to Moose, look at them with that blank, clay-like expression, and reply: ‘The Fat Controller laughed. You are wrong.’
Issue 3, Vol. 67
Comic: Caitlin Setnicar
Cryptic Crossword: NWJ
Woroni Cryptic 2
Sudoku: Sebastian Rossi
Solutions in next issue
Woroni Cryptic 2 1
Solutions in next issue
13 13 14
3 Across 3 100 lack fat but aren't dirty (5)
Across 4 Our star is trapped by 2 articles from the student body - go back! (5)
Down 1 Pander for soft rental agreement (6)
Down 2 Star Wars hero and a chicken spotted in ANU Library (7)
3 100 lack fat but aren't dirty (5)
1 Pander for soft rental agreement (6)
4 Our star is trapped by 2 articles from the student over bird! (4) body -8goBend back! (5)
2 Star Wars hero and a chicken spotted in ANU 7 Library Radio command, six balls then a wicket (4,3,3) (7)
6 Pale Jonas vomits spicy food (9)
9 Barracks for Americans in the centre of
vomits 6 Pale Jonas Canberra (6)spicy food (9)
over bird!suit (4)ruins a large education institution 8 Bend11 Vinery (10)
9 Barracks for Americans in the centre of 12 Bert Canberra (6)Elm shake and shudder (7)
5 Remove a vital organ and send! (7)
10 Delicious fruit, soft and fat (5)
5 Remove a vital organ and send! (7)
12 Messy tart, go pay for O-week college event 7 Radio (4,5) command, six balls then a wicket (4,3,3) 13 Delicious Ward off man with soapy fruit, soft andsubstance fat (5) (9) 10
Silly steriod in Woroni's staff (7)
14 Messy Previous girlfriend is sufficient role college model (7)event tart, go pay for O-week 12 15 (4,5) Great novelist's disturbed, sick end (7)
17 Ward Say something the funny taste (5) (9) off man about with soapy substance 13
14 11 Vinery suit ruins a large education institution (10) 16 Edgy forum discusses chaser in zero gravity
12 Bert Elm shake and shudder (7)
18 True germs abandon eucalypts! (3,5)
14 Silly steriod in Woroni's staff (7) 16 Edgy forum discusses chaser in zero gravity (12)
14 Previous girlfriend is sufficient role model (7) pdfcrowd.com
15 Great novelist's disturbed, sick end (7)
17 Say something about the funny taste (5)
18 True germs abandon eucalypts! (3,5) pdfcrowd.com
Woroni's Off-Script Edition, featuring a Queer* Pull Out.