Woroni Edition 6 2023

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woroni R




Edition 6









Front Cover by Vera Tan

Content Remi Lynch Ruby Smusko Lara Connolly Chi Chi Zhao Caelan Doel Isha Singhal Holly McDonell Thilaria De Mel Claudia Hunt Aala Cheema Holly Zijderveld Perpetual Nkatiaa Boadu TV Eliz So Sharlotte Thou Arabella Ritchie Sarah Patience Yulia Liu Kerry Jiang Kaz Marsden Bohong Sun Paris Chia Maitrey Khobragade Atharva Thombre Management Benjamin van der Niet Madeliene Grisard Jonathan Devan Helena Vavrina Brianna Collett Jeffrey Liang Hannah Seo

Radio Alex An Brigitte Assi Punit Deshwal Aisyah Teguh Natasha Kie Caoimhe Grant Cate Armstrong Rosalita Rosenburg Bridget Fredericks Nat Johstone Art Vera Tan Cynthia Weng Amanda Lim Brandon Sung Jocelyn Wong Sanle Yan Oliver Stephens News Samyuktha Vikraman Zelda Smith Raida Chowdhury Ruby Saulwick Luca Ittimani Jasper Harris Sam Kearney Joseph Mann Holly Johnson Melanie Megale Stella Walker Lucy Holmes



News 5 - The Bells Ring For Change: Professor Genevieve Bell To Be The Next ANU Vice-Chancellor 9 - Daily Market Prices 13 - Elections Retrospective: Stand Up!‘s ANUSA wins rare break from Independents! Watching 17 - Our Brave New Influencers 20 - Past Lives / We’re in Love 24 - Comedy to Critique Reflecting 28 - Is it Time to Question Time? 31 - Schrodinger’s Netflix Special? Multiversal Media and the Politics of Hope 35 - Alea iacta est: a Tale of Two Rivers Remembering 38 - ANU’s Dark Chapter: Joe Cinque 26 Years On 42 - Asimov: Accurate or Absurd 45 - Angel Dove Being 48 - If the Shoe Fits 52 - to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow i am a salmon, somewhere in the rapids 58 - The Face of a Nation


Letter From the Editor The internet has become a very peculiar place. My FYP (For You Page, for those who are less chronically online) has become home to an increasingly bizarre array of messages. Long gone are the Instagram reels and Tik Toks made up of shopping hauls, cute animal videos and old Vine videos. Instead, both online and off, a new type of lifestyle content has emerged, sharing the common theme. This common thread that joins videos of a huge variety is an undeniable exaltation of the past, a longing for “the good old days,” and an insistence that the modern way of living is damaging to humans. Depending on what side of the internet you’re on, you may have seen LiverKing, a bull-like man who insists that we must mimic the lives of our ancestors in order to be our happiest, healthiest selves. Living like our ancestors for LiverKing, involves eating raw liver and testicals and ‘hunting’ for our food. To be clear, this gentleman’s idea of hunting appears to be going for a long run around his ranch-esque estate before digging into a tasty plate of raw animal genitalia. Apparently, it also seems his ancestors had access to ancient steroids (brilliant cave science, if you ask me). Or perhaps you have seen the granola mums (doesn’t matter which one, they’re almost interchangeable) who profess sunscreen is poisoning us and insist we must reject these modern chemical soups, instead opting to ‘build resilience’ to the sun, like our ancestors apparently did. Similar logic is also deployed by these crunchy mums to reject other trappings of modern life, like life-saving vaccinations or regular schooling. One cannot help but wonder what the average life expectancy of these sun-resilient, chemical free ancestors was… Even if you have managed to evade this nostalgic, oddly primal, 100% organic content online, no individual has escaped the power of keto. Much like a watered down LiverKing, the keto diet has taken over wellness and exercise spaces like a plague, promising that following a “traditional” diet of proteins and minimal carbs will cure you. These trends reveal to us how people are thinking about their lives and bodies. It appears that parallel to our never ending quest for innovative, faster technology, we are also craving a return to “the good old days.” Perhaps the proliferation of these new technologies, new vitamins, new scientific achievements has reached a saturation point, and people have had enough. From social media’s inception, we have been bombarded with messages about what to do with our bodies and our health. One could argue it is not unreasonable to feel overwhelmed, to long for simpler times, to assume our ancestors had it right to begin with. Or perhaps it is just easier to romanticise a world that no longer exists. This idealised way of moving through the world, organically, unperturbed by modern inventions, conveniently ignores the struggles, danger, and suffering of the past. More concerningly, it obscures the privilege inherent in these lifestyles. A very select proportion of the human population is in a position to purchase only organic food, has the time to “earn” their breakfast with a 12km, fasted hunt, or are able to stay home with their children and homeschool them. For those without access to these resources, we must be satisfied with our poisonous vaccines, gut-biome-destroying antibiotics, and delicious (albeit morally wrong) carbohydrates. This magazine is an exploration of the past, the future, and the shit-show in between that we all inhabit. Enormous thanks must be given to all contributors and Jas and her team for their contributions and work on this magazine. Thank you as well to my fellow Woroni board members for their support, encouragement and laughs over this year. It’s been a ride. Lizzie Fewster, Content Editor


Alexander Lane (they/them)

Charlie Crawford (he/him)

Editor in Chief

Matthew Box

Deputy Editor in Chief

Lucy Spencely



Managing Editor

Head of TV

Jasmin Small

George Hogg


Art Editor

(any pronouns)

Head of Radio

Lizzie Fewster


Content Editor

Rosie Welsh


News Editor


Art by Jasmin Small



Ruby Saulwick

Content Warning: Mentions of Sexual Harrassment, Sexual Assault and Racism

In an announcement made by the Hon. Julie Bishop on the 26th of September, ANU appointed their 13th Vice Chancellor (VC), Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell AO FAHA FTSE. She will step into the role in 2024, replacing Professor Brian Schmidt AC who has held the position for the last eight years. Schmidt resigned from the role in February this year, at his State of the University address to the ANU community. He cited wanting to return to “a somewhat more balanced life,” and to avoid becoming “the status quo” as reasons for his departure. Schmidt will return to an academic role as a Distinguished Professor in the ANU College of Science along with resuming teaching and research in astronomy, at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory. Since his commencement in 2016, Schmidt has seen the release of the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, and the release of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, both with the vision for “ANU [to] be among the great universities of the world and [be] driven by a culture of excellence in everything we do.” Schmidt has also overseen the introduction of ANU’s Below Zero environmental plan, the expansion and development of Kambri and residential halls on campus with the creation of Yukeembruk, and ANU’s COVID-19 manag ement and response. Schmidt engaged with students and staff in his weekly VC blog, including regular updates on his vineyard, and was a regular face around campus as he attended and hosted events for students, staff, and the wider community. Schmidt’s time as VC saw ongoing student and staff activism, particularly regarding racism, ANU’s environmental impact, the AUKUS agreement, women’s issues, staff support and pay, and general student safety. During Schmidt’s tenure, the first survey on sexual assault and harassment in Australian universities was held, which saw ANU rank as one of the worst universities in Australia for sexual assault and harassment. This rank continued in the second NSSS survey, held in 2021. Since 2016, ANU has also dropped in the QS rankings from 20th in the world to 34th, now below UniMelb, USYD, and UNSW.

Art by Jasmin Small

The Bells Ring For Change: Professor Genevieve Bell To Be The Next ANU Vice-Chancellor

8. Art by Jasmin Small In her speech on the 27th of September, Bishop highlighted the selection process that led to Bell’s appointment. “[We] consulted widely with members of the ANU community, including students, staff, alumni, partners and others, to better understand their priorities for the next ANU VC.” She stated that feedback from the community demonstrated the desire for a “progressive, innovative, and forward-thinking leader with a strong academic background.” The position was advertised internationally, with shortlisting and interviews occurring between June and August. The selection committee encompassed ANU Council members including Naomi Flutter, Pro-Chancellor, Alison Kitchen, National Chairman for KPMG Australia, Professor Peter Yu, Vice-President (First Nations), and Ben Yates, President of the ANU Students’ Association, to name a few. Bell, soon to be the ANU’s first female VC, has a long history of working at the crossroads between humanities and innovation. She trained as a cultural anthropologist, with a PhD from Stanford University and has worked in leadership and research across the public and private sectors. She is an “anthropologist, technologist and futurist” and has worked at Silicon Valley’s Intel corporation, guiding product development, social science and design research capabilities. She is known for being an important voice in global debates around AI and human society. She returned to Australia and ANU in 2017, and joined the College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC) in which she designed and established the School of Cybernetics, and the University’s first innovation institute, the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance Institute (3Ai) in collaboration with CSIRO. She has been the Director of the School of Cybernetics since 2021 and the 3Ai institution since 2017. She also held the position of interim Dean of the ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics (CECC) in 2022, at Schmidt’s request.


Since 2019, Bell has served as a Non-Executive Director of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, a role she will relinquish effective October 31st. In her University-wide media release on the 27th of September, Bishop wrote “In Genevieve, the University Council has chosen a compelling and passionate leader, with a deep understanding of the University’s distinctive mission, remarkable legacy, vibrant culture and tremendous assets.” Schmidt commented, “It is with great pleasure that I am able to hand over the leadership of ANU to Genevieve Bell. She is someone who is both a leading intellectual and deeply committed to the values of the University and I know she will do a superb job as Vice-Chancellor.” In the release, Bell said “I’m honoured to be appointed ANU ViceChancellor. As Australia’s national university, ANU is a truly unique institution. I’m excited to work alongside talented, committed colleagues, in all parts of the University, to build on our legacy and advance our important national and international mission.”

Bell’s appointment poses an exciting opportunity for a fresh perspective and the potential for change. We will have to wait and see how she approaches the role when she begins on the 1st of January, 2024.

Art by Jasmin Small

Bell is the inaugural appointee to the Florence Violet McKenzie Chair at the ANU, which honours Australia’s first female electrical engineer and promotes inclusive uses of technology within society. Her other accreditations and accolades include being a Member of the Prime Minister’s National Science and Technology Council, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH), SRI International Engelbart Distinguished Fellow and an Officer of the Order of Australia. She also has a Ted Talk on the future of AI, and multiple publications to her name.


Art by Cynthia Weng


Melanie Megale

In the midst of a cost of living crisis, grocery prices have increased in Australia by almost 10% over the last year. Students living on campus have already faced the yearly residential rent increases and the rise in HECS indexation. This pressure makes it more important than ever to cut costs on the weekly grocery bill, which currently sits at an average of $100 per week for a single person household. For many students living on ANU campus, Daily Market is the most convenient option for a one-stop shop. Woroni investigates whether the Daily Market prices are student-friendly, or if a 20 minute trip to Civic might just be worth it to ease the blow of inflation. Staples The grocery haul of bare necessities is going to include bread, milk and eggs. Below is a cost breakdown of the current prices of staples at Daily Market, in comparison with Woolworths and Coles. Item Bread Milk Eggs

Daily Market $4.79 $2.80 $6.49

Woolworths $4.40 $1.60 $5.20

Coles $4.40 $1.70 $4.95

Daily Market products are seemingly priced at around a dollar higher for most staples, of the same quantity and brand. This may not seem like a major difference, but based on these figures, the cost adds up over time. If we assume students buy bread, milk and eggs once per fortnight, they could save $74.88 per year shopping at Woolworths and $78.78 shopping at Coles for these products alone. Snacks Students can expect their grocery budget to include snacks for those long nights of study. These costs are also going to impact students who may not live on campus, but choose Daily Market for their quick purchases during a study break. Woroni breaks down the current costs of common snacks below. Item One (1) Can of Coke Pringles Cadbury Block

Daily Market $2.20 $5.99 $5.34

Woolworths $2.40 $4.00 $2.75

Coles $2.25 $5.00 $5.50

It seems that Daily Market snack costs are not as starkly overpriced in comparison with their staple food items. In fact, a can of coke is cheaper at Daily Market than Woolies or Coles.

Art by George Hogg

Daily Market Prices

12. Art by George Hogg

Alcohol The cost of living crisis is not going to stop campus students from their Thursday night out. Recently, Australian spirits faced a tax increase to over $100 per litre, indicating the rising impact of inflation on products such as alcohol. Below is a breakdown of the same alcohol across Daily Market, Woolworths and Coles. Item Wine Aperol

Daily Market $10.29 $29.99

Woolworths (BWS) $11.00 $31.00

Coles (Liquorland) $9.00 $35.00

Daily Market seems to come out on top, with alcohol being cheaper in almost every instance, inclusive of sales and specials offered at the other supermarket chains. Even though this likely will not fall within the weekly grocery bill for most students, it is important to consider how these costs will affect the bank account over time. Students are better off sticking with Daily Market for their alcohol, but we suggest keeping an eye out for specials at other chains that may reduce the cost. Miscellaneous Beyond the cost of food, basic necessities for the university student budget are often going to include pads and condoms. Below is a breakdown of the cheapest pads on offer at Daily Market in comparison with other chains, and a side-by-side of the cost of a Lifestyle packet of condoms. Item Pads Condoms

Daily Market $2.40 $5.50

Woolworths $2.20 $5.00

Coles $2.20 $5.50

There are pretty similar prices across the board, but the Daily Market condoms have been reduced by $4.49, with the discount stated as ending in November. It is unclear how long this current price will last beyond that point, but a return to the original price is much higher than competing chains. This reinforces the need for students to pay attention to sales and discounts, and capitalise on them where possible. The cost of living crisis is impacting grocery costs across all supermarkets, and almost all of the main supermarket chains have an average grocery bill exceeding the average for a single person household. The problem is largely inescapable, but the unique needs of students during this time should be reflected in the prices of groceries available on campus. Based on the current figures, staple products are going to be worth the journey to Canberra Centre, but it seems that Daily Market can remain the provider of choice for Thursday drinks. Overall, it seems the only real way students will find some relief from the rising grocery bills is comparing their options as they go and budgeting weekly food costs in advance. The costs in this article were obtained by on-site visits to Daily Market and online prices for Coles and Woolworths between late September and early October. Prices are subject to change over time.


Art by George Hogg


Art by Snale Yan


Elections Retrospective: Stand Up!‘s ANUSA wins rare break from Independents Luca Ittimani

ANU’s Labor factions have had their best performance in ANUSA elections in almost a decade, taking two executive positions for the first time since 2014 and coming within seven votes of the Vice Presidency. The results are a breakthrough for political party-aligned tickets, which have long been excluded from student union leadership at ANU. Labor-aligned ticket Stand Up! won the positions of Treasurer and General Secretary, while the politically unaffiliated Together ticket’s candidates won the positions of President, Vice President, and Officers for Clubs, Education and Welfare. While the whole SRC has power over the Association’s operations, the ultimate responsibility for ANUSA’s multi-million dollar budget lies with the executive. The seven executive members will each be paid a stipend of at least $20,000 for their one-year term in office. The ANUSA executive has typically been dominated by independent or non-partisan tickets since 1996. Faction-backed tickets were thrown out of office after that year’s Labor Right ticket got caught out for electoral fraud in the ‘Wadgate’ scandal. Students switched to support ‘independent’ tickets made up of popular, politically unaffiliated students. Independents were re-elected for the next decade but grew increasingly cliquey and internally divided. In 2006, Labor students took advantage of the division by allying with unhappy exIndependents to get Labor Right members onto the ANUSA executive. The independents were so disheartened by defeat that they didn’t contest the 2007 election, which let the Labor Right ticket sweep the executive and then secure another win in 2008. However, Labor students were knocked out of office in 2009, when a Greens supporter took the presidency, then locked out when an unaligned ticket retook the reins in 2010. The following decade saw new unaligned tickets arise each year to pass the baton. Newlyformed independent tickets took all the executive positions in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2021. When unaligned tickets didn’t sweep the exec, they would often only lose a few positions to solo independents or unaligned candidates running with Labor Left-aligned tickets. Solo independents won a position in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, and Labor-backed independents won two positions in 2017 and one in 2020. ANU students’ intense anti-partisanship forced exec candidates who had formerly run on Labor tickets to disown their party and imitate independents to become electable, like in from 2016 and 2017.

16. Art by Jasmin Small

The last time a red-blooded Labor hack won executive office was the highly-contested 2014 election, where independent candidates and Labor candidates took three executive positions each. 2023 is the first time openly Labor-allied students have made the ANUSA exec in nine years. You have to wonder how Labor got anything at all this year. But a few factors nudged voters their way. For one thing, Stand Up!’s competitors were effectively asking for a third term in a row. Students noticed that Together for ANUSA’s candidates included incumbent executive members from last year’s winning ticket, which could trace its heritage back to 2021’s winning ticket. As a result, Together bore the burden of every ANUSA misstep since 2021 (especially the promised Night Cafe). Voters could recognise the incumbents, and they could blame them. ANUSA tickets rarely win multiple terms, so it’s amazing that the Together crew has stayed together this long. The independents of the early noughties got thrown out once they got cliquey, and students rejected Labor Right after two terms in office. The outlier is Ben Gill, who won the ANUSA presidency in both 2014 and 2015. His executive candidates ran and won with him, but they dispersed once he left.


Together also struggled this year because its left-wing voter base splintered. Together’s 2021 predecessor, Grassroots, consciously built a coalition by brining its old opponents onto the ticket, helping it sweep the executive and establish an enduring ANUSA dynasty. But the coalition split this year when the new Solidarity faction broke away from their incumbent former colleagues to unsuccessfully compete for officer positions - one of which went to Stand Up!. While Together’s support base splintered this year, Stand Up! built a coalition of previous competitors, just like Grassroots did. By combining students from factions as diverse as ANU’s Labor Left, Labor Right, and Socialist Alternative, the group turned this year’s election into a two-party contest and broke nearly a decade of drought for party-aligned tickets. The results were so close that a sharper anti-incumbent message and a more professional campaign could have won them a majority on the executive. Can Stand Up! take its small wins to greater heights? Decades of Woroni articles on ANUSA drama suggest Labor hacks get thrown out sooner than later. Labor candidates took half the executive positions in 2014, then lost them all the next year after the Left and Right factions split. If Stand Up! can hold its coalition together, it might force ANU’s independents to reset. But keeping Labor Right and SAlt on the same page… that’s a big ‘if’.


Art by Jasmin Small



Ally Pitt

In early Year 11, one of my friends turned to me one lunchtime and announced that she was “quitting sugar.” I asked her why, of course at that age, the concept of fad diets was still beyond me. She answered, simply, that she ate too much of it, so she had to quit. It struck me as a rather extreme response to her problem. Predictably, her resolve lasted for all of three days. But though the subject was different, the all-or-nothing approach to addressing her problem was actually entirely understandable. Within my year group, it was already common to hear refrains of “I’m deleting Instagram” prior to the ‘exams’ we took in Year 9. Another friend would commit to reading 100 books at the beginning of each year, no matter the previous year’s total. At 13, I decided that my morning routine lacked productivity and committed myself to an enforced 5am alarm every day. These resolutions would pass as quickly as we made them. We were obsessed with unachievable commitments to our productivity, forgetting one failed scheme to renew our enthusiasm for another three months later. Perhaps if one of our resolutions were to “read more classic dystopian novels,” we would have stumbled upon the explanation for our behaviour. There is no shortage of eloquent social commentaries extolling the prophetic genius of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. His depiction of a society controlled by its need for instant gratification appears more prescient as each passing year is accompanied by a technological innovation more addictive than its predecessor. The rise of the shortterm video has caused many of us to sense a contraction in our attention span. And yet, often because of this, we can’t look away. These on-the-nose similarities make for an easy comparison, what I imagine columnists reach for if they’ve spent too long in a productivity-killing infinite scroll of procrastination. But in many ways, the presence of such an obvious comparison obscures other key aspects of Brave New World, ideas that can explain our behaviour in a much more nuanced capacity than suggesting that we have all become iPad baby losers.

Art by Jasmin Small

Our Brave New Influencers

20. Art by Jasmin Small

But in many ways, the presence of such an obvious comparison obscures other key aspects of Brave New World, ideas that can explain our behaviour in a much more nuanced capacity than suggesting that we have all become iPad baby losers. The novel’s protagonist, John, or alternatively, the Savage, is raised unencumbered by the World State’s conditioning, propaganda and hedonism. On a visit to London, he reacts convulsively to the pleasure-seeking attitudes of its inhabitants, particularly when confronted by their sexual freedom. After his mother’s death, caused by her overconsumption of the state-supported, mood-altering drug Soma, he withdraws into an ascetic lifestyle characterised by self-flagellation. Eventually, unable to cope with his perceived inability to purify himself of desire and the World State, he hangs himself. Though John is the antithesis of an evidently dystopian society, Huxley hardly portrays him as our model alternative. Instead, in a foreword penned 15 years after the novel’s original publication, Huxley opined that, if he were to rewrite the book, he “would offer the Savage a third alternative…the possibility of sanity.” Without John’s arc towards self-destruction, however, Brave New World would lose a secondary prescient aspect: its depiction of how we react to lifestyles we believe to be in excess. For most of my male friends, it seems to take at most four swipes down their Instagram Reels before a self-styled alpha male starts to lecture them on the benefits of cutting off their friends who don’t own investment properties, for the grind. Though this specific style of video is designed to appeal to men, the message is genre-bending: it kind of reminds me of watching Ruby Granger 14-hour study vlogs during high school. Responding to the prevalence of processed foods in our diets, health influencers promote fad diets that go far beyond “reduction”: if you fall down the wrong algorithm you can expect to find increasingly extreme keto, intermitting fasting and even raw vegan (whatever the fuck that is) diets. ‘That girl’, a proponent of self-care and productivity who provokes awe and jealousy in her followers, also wakes up at 5am every morning to do pilates (and add new finds to their Amazon storefronts). The irony of this content that ostensibly subverts our desire for constant entertainment is that it is fed to us on the very apps that its creators so often disavow.


Sometimes though, perhaps after a particularly long bout of scrolling, when we know we absolutely should be doing something else - writing that essay, reading a book, making the most of our summer for God’s sake - we are tempted. We understand we are sliding too close to the Huxleyan precipice. We are repulsed by ourselves. We realise something must change. And so we default to the behaviour that is modelled to us, but that should not be our model. We make commitments like my friends and I did in high school, commitments we most often fail and renege on. Influencers create characters, who may or may not actually live the lives they espouse. Us, though, we are mortals, and incapable of living at an ascetic extreme which is no more desirable than a hedonistic one. Instead, we find ourselves bouncing back, and forth, within the realm of sanity. We, as people, are invisible within Huxley’s novel. Nonetheless, we remain shaped by his observations.

Art by Jasmin Small

Bar a few exceptions, the vast majority of people I know fall clearly between Huxley’s Savage and citizens of the New World. We seem sane. We consume the influencers on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. But we do not live their lives.


Past Lives / We’re in Love Remi Lynch

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Past Lives (2023) I have always loved the idea that we are ever-changing individuals, that we are made up of pieces of our experiences and the people we know – that we’re like a jigsaw of our past and present, of the people we’ve met and will meet. Watching Past Lives at the cinema recently reminded me of this. Past Lives follows two childhood friends (Nora and Hae Sung) who moved away from each other at a young age. Their timelines never met up. Every time they saw each other, years apart each time, there was an evident, palpable chemistry. Yet, they parted ways again by the movie’s end (probably forever). Circumstances were never in their favour, and by the time of their last meeting, Nora was married to her husband, Arthur. Unlike many films I’ve watched before with similar set-ups, Past Lives avoided the storyline of two childhood sweethearts running off into the sunset together. Arthur even directly references this in a lovely scene where he communicates his concerns about Hae Sung. He suggests Nora may want to run off with Hae Sung, and airs that perhaps he (Arthur) isn’t enough for her. She assuages his concerns, saying that she is where she is for a reason and that there’s nothing wrong with that; she accepts where she is and doesn’t want to change it. Like… maybe in another life, it’d be different, but she’s in this life. Rather than Arthur being painted as an obstacle to Nora and Hae-Sung’s love story, he’s an emotionally grounded individual and an important part of Nora’s life. There can be multiple happy endings, and perhaps in another life, Nora is with Hae-Sung. However, Nora, in this life, is where she is meant to be… with Arthur in New York pursuing her literary aspirations. At the movie’s end, Nora mourns her childhood romance with Hae-Sung and this past life that never came to fruition. She says her presumed final goodbye to Hae-Sung as he gets into a cab. Arthur and Nora stand in the night then, embracing as she sobs. Arthur was probably my favourite character in this movie. He was such an understanding person, representative of the acceptance that one can mourn their past without that taking away from their appreciation for their present or the people in it.

23. Then, there’s the song We’re In Love by boygenius. I’ve looked past this song for a long time; as an avid the record listener, the sound was never entirely up my alley (it was a little bit too slow.) Nevertheless, I gave We’re In Love a proper, lyrical listen recently – and how in time it was for this Back to Tomorrow edition of Woroni! The crossover between Past Lives and We’re in Love is palpable. There’s a specific lyric that caught me off guard upon first listen: And I told you of your past lives, every man you’ve ever been It wasn’t flattering, but you listened like it mattered boygenius are amazing lyricists. These lyrics encompass this idea of people being in your life for such a long time that they see multiple versions of you. Uncomfortable versions, beautiful versions – perhaps versions you don’t (or don’t want to) remember. We all have pieces of each other, things we remember about each other that we might not even remember about ourselves. And then there’s the lyric: If you rewrite your life, may I still play a part? This reminds me of Hae Sung going to New York to see Nora, in the presumed (and somewhat irrational) hope that perhaps somehow something could happen between them. I tend to cling to people, even when I know that we’re drifting apart – that our current lives are becoming past lives where we once knew one another. I don’t enjoy change, and I especially don’t enjoy it with people who I am close with because they are such a big part of me, having shaped parts of my identity. Often, saying goodbye to them sometimes feels like saying goodbye to some part of myself. So, instead, I cling on; I ask them to stick around, even when it doesn’t make any sense. I can’t play a part in their new life because our knowing each other is a past life, like how Hae-Sung seemed to hope that something could happen between him and Nora despite her being married to Arthur. Some October in the future, I’ll run out of trash TV And I’ll be feeling lonely, so I’ll walk to karaoke Sing the song you wrote about me, never once checking the words


Art by Jasmin Small


Formatting by Jasmin Small

26. Art by Jasmin Small

Comedy to Critique Alex Lane

When I was younger, my family would always get around watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s a late-night comedy show that blends news-style segments with jokes. It has launched a whole raft of other similar shows and comedians, such as John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Hassan Minaj and, of course, Trevor Noah, who took the reins over from Stewart when he retired. I first thought that Stewart began the show, but quick research shows that Craig Kilborn, who I’ve never watched, was its first host. Stewart, then, fits into a bit of a line of comedians to run what is Comedy Central’s longest-running show and, with 24 Primetime Emmy Awards, probably also its most successful. I do not know exactly when I started and stopped watching the show, but it would have been from around 2011 to 2017. I definitely stopped a while after Trump was elected, but I remember Mitt Romney being the butt of many jokes in the first few years. The show formed an important part of my childhood development. It also proved good bonding, with jokes two teenage boys will find funny, and the sense of information and coverage that makes it a net good. As I got older, I became increasingly disillusioned with it. A longstanding criticism has been how Stewart would mock and attack politicians and celebrities in his news segments, only to interview them later on at some point. Yet, I remember that my issue was that the interviews became boring and ego-stroking. Towards the end of Stewart’s tenure, we ended up fast-forwarding many of the interviews. Conversely, it was on The Daily Show that I first encountered Elizabeth Warren in 2015 in a gripping interview. I distinctly remember my dad saying that they should put her forward for president. Warren’s interview and her presence point to the political direction of The Daily Show. It has always been left-wing and further to the left than the Democratic establishment. Although, as I got older, I came to understand that being to the left of the Democrats doesn’t mean a whole lot, especially in a country like Australia, where the Democrats sit to the right of the Labor Party. The Daily Show had recurring themes, namely, the darker side of politics, such as gerrymandering, the Flint water crisis, and the media itself. Fox News never failed to attract the ire of Stewart, who always took aim at their lies, their propaganda, and their role in American life. Stewart famously debated Fox News hosts and had them on his show. His debating style was reminiscent of his show, with strong, compelling points and jokes to either cut the tension or highlight the hypocrisy at play. Where Stewart began to struggle, as did all late-night comedians, was with Trump’s rise to power. I remember a Guardian review of the second Borat, which pointed out that in Trump’s America, nothing much could feel like satire. Much the same applies to Stewart’s content. The appeal always lies in exposing the hypocrisy, the lies and the deceit behind politics. And while Trump lied and deceived, he was not ashamed about it. When Stewart once debated Tucker Carlson, he would lean over, and as he spoke, there was this absolute ‘gotcha’ tone in his voice, the kind that drives everyone who disagrees crazy. There was no more getting Republicans and conservatives once Trump won. In 2015, Trevor Noah took over from Jon Stewart, who by that time had been the host for 16 years through 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and Obama’s win. Noah handled the bulk of the Trump coverage, even as Stewart was there for the seeds of the Republican race to be the presidential candidate. But what Stewart started, Noah continued, even if he wasn’t as charismatic as his predecessor.


In this reliance on facts, though, and a supposed tethering to an objective moral compass, the show betrayed its real Democratic underpinning. The centre of politics assumes two things about truth and politics. The first is that truth is compelling, and when someone understands it, they are compelled to adhere to it. The second, that truth is not shaped by powerful institutions. These two ideas are innocuous enough, but like the centre, they will swing wildly between pushing for progressive change and supporting the status quo. Gun control is the perfect example where Democrats and people like Stewart presuppose that the statistics on gun violence will convince conservatives. But statistics about violence, that is, the reality of life, is not what matters in a debate like gun control. What matters is the sense of power it provides conservatives, the idea that if the state fails them, they will distribute their own justice. Of course, in recent years, it has become apparent that this justice is not brutish vigilantism but simple racism. Gun control as an issue cannot be separated from race in America, but it also cannot be separated from the pure emotion behind it. I must have watched a dozen segments on gun control on The Daily Show, including the famous one where John Oliver visits Australia to evaluate its laws. If the show’s ideas struggled against the emotionalism of the right, it also struggled against the technocracy of neoliberalism. Stewart, like Warren or Bernie Sanders or Robert Reich, has become one of those American personalities who has swung away from neoliberal economics and embraced the welfarist thinking of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They advocate for higher tax rates, a stronger safety net, and more robust and effective government regulation. In this way, Stewart reminds me very much of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing and, to get more high-minded, of John Rawls’ political philosophy. It was on issues like climate change or the GFC where The Daily Show struggled against the institutional paradigms it never named or explained. John Oliver, who engages more with the follies of Silicon Valley and cryptocurrency in his show, Last Week Tonight, often cops a similar criticism. It usually goes along the lines of criticising capitalism without ever naming it. As I have become more educated and politically aware, this pulling back, or self-censorship, has grated on me more and more. The shows reflect the absolute irrationality and inhumanity of neoliberalism and the kind of contradictions it produces. Stewart took some time off after his departure from The Daily Show. Ratings for the show dipped, and Noah simply didn’t blend the politics with the laughs as well as his predecessor. In 2021, Stewart returned to television with The Problem with John Stewart, which I initially thought was about Stewart’s own problems. It is, in fact, a continuation of Stewart’s focus on contemporary political issues but without the comedy. Watching Stewart debate transphobic politicians or gun-nuts and neoliberal economists has cemented, for me, the shift in how comedy can engage with the thoroughly surreal politics of the US. Stewart himself has moved towards a more cohesive political philosophy and frequently puts forward the point that while corporate risk is socialised, profits are privatised. His interviews are hard-hitting and a reminder of what a good, combative interview can look like.

Art by Jasmin Small

Because The Daily Show did best by bringing intense research, facts and then comedy to bear on important issues, it has struggled in the Trump era, where such facts do not matter. Stewart always approached current topics with the implication that if someone could be shown to be hypocritical or just wrong, then they would be ashamed; that illogicality would be enough to shut them down, so to speak. But that matters far less in a world where the currency of politics is so openly just emotions, where the very idea of truth seems political.

28. Art by Jasmin Small

But why no comedy? Arguably, the combination of the two is what distinguished Stewart. Explanations abound. Comedy can get tiring in the face of the accumulating injustice that Stewart documented. It is performative, and as he gets older, maybe the desire to perform fades. Maybe Stewart is jaded; his interviews feel far more intense, far more cynical, and far more apt for modern politics. But, I think what the last five years have shown is that comedy as a vehicle of critique isn’t nearly as successful as once thought. The past always seems rosier than the present, but it is clear that Stewart’s shift in tone matches America’s. It is harder to joke about the hypocrisy of policies now because their hypocrisy is considered their selling point. That states ban teaching Queer theory, or Critical Race Theory, because it could “upset children” but still teach the Bible is precisely the point. There is no attempt to be fair and impartial, to create policies that just so happen to discriminate. Stewart’s strength was always in exposing the pretend innocence of conservative agendas. But with such innocence gone, there is nothing to expose and, similarly, nothing to be the butt of a joke. I cannot also help but feel that Trump brought a lot of issues home for Americans. Whereas class had always been a protector for upper-middle-class elites, now it is less so. One of the most marked responses to Trump’s fan base from The Daily Show was to mock these people. Jordan Klepper produced a now-viral segment where he interviewed Trump fans. The audience laughs at them, and when I first watched that, I was struck by the elitism at play. Education is now the decisive factor for someone’s political views, and it became apparent that The Daily Show always relied on a certain patronisation. There was always the sense that one had to be informed of politics before watching the show; maybe now the problem is that to be informed of politics is to be able to avoid living itnot to have to live it. More and more, these shows strike me as anachronisms, preaching to the choir that wants to feel smugly better than conservatives but which quite possibly does not understand its own role in everything. In addition, if there is a comedy to contemporary politics, it will surely be found online, having reached its zenith on Twitter (pre-Musk, of course). Like its subject, political comedy is increasingly sound-bite-based, competing for the consumer’s attention. Last Week Tonight now produces a substantial amount of content for YouTube, highlighting as well the role that streaming wars are likely playing. And lastly, the shows themselves are not free from politics, even as they court controversy. Many are now on hold as the Hollywood strikes have halted production. The casual entertainment of middle-class viewers is hardly a litmus test for political changes. But I think the soft fall of the political late-night show does mark a shift in American society. The narrative of neoliberalism was that political debates were peripheral to ordinary life. Few politicians argue that now, and increasingly, policies have an immediate impact, either because people are waking up to issues like gerrymandering or because of their suddenness and violence, such as book bans and the January 6th riots. My political comedy now comes from social media, and it is distinctly darker, embracing the nihilism that marks my generation and millennials. Any attempts to criticise conservative policies are now serious and coherent. Comedy embraces the insanity, or it mocks the cultural manifestations of conservatism, such as Andrew Tate or the backlash to films like Barbie. It is more traditional political satire, designed to disempower through ridicule, understanding that image and narrative bind political ideologies together, not facts. There is possibly a broader lesson to be extracted about how we engage in politics. The kind of post-Trump soul-searching that is sprinkled across mainstream mastheads. It would follow the line that politics is a battle waged with emotions and stories. Facts will eventually prove the glass ceiling of many ideologies, but it is a very, very high ceiling, at least from where we’re standing.


Art by Jasmin Small


30. Art by Amanda Lim

Is it Time to Question Time? Holly McDonell

Two groups of fully grown adults, yelling, pointing fingers, and calling each other names as part of an organised daily ritual of their workplace. I am, of course, talking about Question Time. A feature of Australian politics, it takes place at 2 p.m. every day during Parliamentary sitting weeks. It is supposedly a time for Parliament to hold the executive (Ministers) to account. But does it fulfil this function (and has it ever)? And if it does not, does it have any place in Australian politics? These are the questions that need to be asked and are being asked by members of the crossbench (but notably not the government or coalition). Question Time is a tradition inherited from the Westminster system, which has been the basis of Australian politics since Federation. However, British Question Time differs slightly from Australian Question Time. It lasts only an hour and rotates through designated government departments, meaning more targeted and specific questions. Furthermore, it allows for written questions in advance and supplementary questions. This helps to ensure that their Question Time never quite reaches the low, low standards of Australia’s. Our current form of Question Time developed almost by accident on the first sitting day of the new parliament in 1901. Questions were originally meant to be given with notice and read aloud in the chamber to be answered in the chamber. A question was put to the speaker asking if he would accept “questions without notice.” As there were no standing orders (the chamber’s operating rules) directly opposing this, the speaker allowed it, and thus, Question Time was born. Today, it is a chance for theatrics and political point-scoring. Viewers are reminded of a rowdy primary school classroom, with frequent interjections of “there is too much noise in this chamber” and “I expect silence when I am listening to an answer” from the speaker. Answering a question involves far less answering a question than it does cheap shots at the other side or misdirection tactics used to discuss what the Minister really wants to talk about. Common in Question Time are Dorothy Dixers - questions written by the Minister’s staff and asked of the Minister by a backbencher. This means one of two things: heralding the current government’s achievements or abusing the opponents’ failures (sometimes both within the one 3-minute answer!). There have been attempts to fix the broken mechanism that is Question Time. The most recent was a bi-partisan inquiry conducted in 2019. It acknowledged Question Time’s important function but accepted that it is currently “a series of competitive performances for the purposes of a few seconds of evening television news.” Public submissions to the inquiry found that Australian citizens are frustrated and disheartened by what they see, with 95% of respondents saying they want QT to change. The inquiry handed down 11 key recommendations, most notably:


Other suggestions from the public, which were not officially recommended in the inquiry but are standard practice in other legislating bodies, include: • Disallowing Dorothy Dixer questions and instead allowing 2-minute statements from the Minister updating Parliament on their department’s work (Dororthy Dixers are banned in the Northern Territory Parliament, and ministerial statements are standard practice in the Victorian Parliament) • Allowing (or only accepting) written, advance questions (as occurs in New Zealand and UK Question Times) • Having portfolio-specific question times (as in UK Question Time) A very limited number of the official recommendations, and none of the other recommendations, were adopted. This begs the question, is question time fixable? Is there an appetite from the public and politicians to change it? To both questions, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes.” Members of the public and several notable political figures (current members and former ones, including Julia Gillard, in her book Not Now, Not Ever) have noted a need for change. Who is willing to drive it? Luckily, there is an answer to that, too. Current iIndependent MP Kylea Tink called out the behaviour in the chamber during Question Time, stating on the 7th of September, “in any other professional environment this sort of behaviour would be completely unacceptable” and said that she did “not feel safe”. Other Independent MPs also pointed to a need for change during the debate over the Parliamentary Workplace Support Services Bill 2023. Independent MPs will fight for change in this area, aiming to bring Parliament greater respect, accountability and transparency. Changing Question Time would be a sign to the Australian public of a willingness to engage meaningfully with constituents and to focus on policy over politics. The question remains whether the independents will be able to raise their voices loud enough to be heard over the din of the government and opposition. Let’s hope so.

Art byAmanda Lim

• Allowing one follow-up question after the Minister’s initial response • Limiting the use of mobile phones in chamber during Question Time • Disallowing points of order in the first 30 seconds of an answer (a common tactic used to interrupt an answer) • Disallowing questions about ‘alternative approaches’, which give the Minister free reign to attack the opposition’s ideas


Art by Jasmin Small


Schrodinger’s Netflix Special? Multiversal Media and the Politics of Hope Jae Brieffies

Reference: ‘another world is possible’, a protest banner by Aram Han Sifuentes and Verónica Casado Hernandez hangs at the Renwick Museum in Washington DC, made after the Trump administration’s proposal to end the DACA program in 2017. In the last decade, anyone from box office devotee to casual content consumer would have noted a significant uptick in media featuring a multi-universal plotline. At face value, it’s difficult to ignore the clear corporate motive behind a cheap plot device which employs pseudoquantum physics to revive retired characters and stories for nostalgic fan service. Half of the current Marvel suite immediately springs to mind - What If...?, Shang-Chi, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, in that order - but there’s also Riverdale, The Good Place, and Supernatural, to name a few. Yet the more recent (and arguably, more philosophically stimulating) phenomenon is the use of the multiverse concept in the kinds of media that makes Letterboxd users foam at the mouth: Into and Across the Spider-Verse, Rick and Morty and perhaps most prolifically, and most deliciously zeitgeist-y, in last year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. Everything, Everywhere is directors’ Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s delightful maximalist genre-bender, which manages to instrumentalise butt plugs and hot dog finger universes with a cool, Saganist flair (for devotees of astronomer-astrophysicist-philosopher Carl Sagan, his own daughter pens an essay in the coffee table book accompaniment to the film, available on the A24 website for a neat $52 USD). The tone of these flicks, tangentially, can also be seen as somewhat antidotal to their non-multiversal but similarly-themed media cousins, which feature prominent characters grappling with nihilism: Bo Burnham’s Inside, Season 2 of Fleabag, Bojack Horseman. Evelyn’s revelation at the end of Everything, Everywhere is that because nothing matters on a cosmic scale, everything matters - the minutiae of our everyday lives, the care and regard with which we hold our family, our chosen family, our community. Because nothing matters, the only things that matter do so because we imbue them with meaning. The realisation of a lack of inherent meaning can either be terrifying, as it is for Joy, or liberating, as Evelyn comes to learn.

34. In Everything, Everywhere’s case, the multiverse plot device and its premise of alternative lives branching out from our individual decisions - to stay or to leave - appears impeccably well-suited to tell the immigrant story of risk, sacrifice and precarity, where singular choices form delicate negotiations with the greater good of a family. But beyond this, the tightrope-fine walk between nihilist defeatism and existentialist liberation which the film’s multiverse concept allows has become iconically emblematic of the outlook of Generation Z, packaged so neatly in our affinity for meta-ironic humour. I was born in the first week of September 2001, at 0.6 degrees warming. My generation has grown up in the shadow of enough world-altering events to create a perfect collision between a terrifying reckoning with our ultimate powerlessness and liberal messaging around individual responsibility, for both our own social mobility and universal challenges. There is a kind of paralysis that comes from individualism as a culture and practice, which is at odds with a growing need to locate responsibility for large-scale issues in institutional homes (eg. corporate, colonial, and otherwise structural culpability for climate change). It’s comforting, given the scale of our reality and our problems, to simultaneously contemplate both one’s cosmic insignificance and self-importance. It allows us to hold the contradictory beliefs that our small bad actions don’t matter in the grand scheme of things (using a plastic straw, being mean to a sibling) while our small good actions (recycling, reposting an Instagram infographic) do matter - all at the same time. It allows us to experience being inconsequential without having to actually endure the death of our egos - ostensibly our final personal commodities as we move our interactions online. It’s comforting, in the age of the multiverse, to think that alternative versions of you could be out there, providing some form of cosmic guidance. Peter II and Peter III are there in the end to stop Peter I from making the same mistakes. It’s comforting to think that in another life, things could be far worse. In Evelyn’s universe, she’s definitively living the worst version of herself. It’s comforting, potentially guilt-assuaging, to think that in another life, just a few different choices or opportunities away, maybe you could have got it right - maybe we all could have got it right. But these kinds of notions hold meaning with a tenuous grip. I am worried that if we find enough comfort in the prospect of alternative realities where, simultaneously, things are both better and worse, then we can consciously or subconsciously become complacent in what we have in our own, which is perhaps the only real thing we have. It’s easier to imagine a different reality than to figure out how to make ours liveable - just as it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. At some point, the escapism provided by the prospect of alternate worlds absolves us of the responsibility to consider what our own world would look like if we could make it better, and therefore the ability to believe wholeheartedly that we can. I’m no progressivism truther, and I am inclined to believe nobody has a right to tell anyone how to struggle in this life. But I also believe that hope, in the post-Obama sense, is an important ingredient in all movements - that the process of creating a world that we believe wholeheartedly is worth saving, is a necessary prerequisite to saving it.


Our fixation on multiverse media speaks to a generation’s collective wound, which looks not coincidentally like a bagel. It speaks, I think, to a need to rediscover and operate from a politic of love, a politic that enables us to reckon with the meaning, good and bad, of our individual choices and actions - particularly for those of us who belong to the group which hold a disproportionate portion of global structural power. A politic which compels us to better our communities and our world, not as a project of individual responsibility or self-actualisation, but because if nothing matters, all that matters is what we say we have, here and now, in each other.

Art by Ollie Stephens

We have to land somewhere in the middle, beyond both the failed promise of individual mobility and inherent meaning, and the despair of giving in to our cosmic insignificance. Somewhere more favourable than resorting to fictional alternate media universes just to alleviate the weight of our inevitable destruction. Theistic beliefs aside, what if we were to operate like we all matter to each other, like each person’s flourishing is our collective flourishing, like our planet matters because it allows that flourishing to happen? Like we made this meaning, we pulled it out of our arse, but that’s the best part. It means that nothing matters, other than what we decide does.


Art by Jasmin Small


Matthew Box

Content Warning: Mentions of Suicide When Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legions, he set off a chain of events that led to the end of the ailing Roman Republic. A system that had stood for almost half a millennium was irrevocably damaged in less than five years. Washington, as any fan of Hamilton would know, sits on the Potomac River. When Trumpists crossed this river on the 6th of January 2021 did they set off a similar chain of events? I would argue yes: both events led to further manipulation of the political system by the men at their heads and both accelerated a path towards liberal non-democracy: a state in which generally liberal views are contrasted against an undemocratic system. Caesar, until his assassination, succeeded. The January 6 riots did not, at least in their original intention. Caesar and Trump are undeniably different figures, while both of them were or are incredibly rich individuals, the former was considerably more so compared to his peers than the latter. Caesar was the second most famous general of the Roman army when he crossed the Rubicon as well as a highly accomplished politician, the latter was famous for being a reality TV star with a slew of failed businesses. Caesar was the epitome of a political insider by this point in his career, Trump at least branded himself as an outsider. However, there are parallels between the two men at the hearts of these movements and the long-term impact of the events could trend in similar directions. Whether we care to admit it or not, both have loomed large on the stage of their times and both reshaped the political atmosphere in which they operated. Many of us would, I think, agree that America as a democracy has failed or is failing, in a similar way to how the Roman Republic was on the brink when Caesar cast the die. The nation is one of only five that has some members of its judiciary subject to some form of election. In a number of states the highest state courts judges can be elected either directly or through a confirmation or retention election, where courts are supposed to be apolitical in order to impartially interpret the law, these courts are politicised by elections potentially endangering the rule of law. The individuals running the county’s elections are themselves elected politicians and the elections are scrutinised by partisans. Its highest judges are more akin to politicians rather than the impartial arbiters of the law as we expect our High Court justices to be in Australia. From the nation’s inception it has been possible to win a plurality in the popular vote in a presidential election while losing the election itself (this happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2020). Not to mention that there are more ageing American politicians that need to learn how to say goodbye than there were Roman senators when Caesar’s civil war broke out.

Art by George Hogg

Alea iacta est: a Tale of Two Rivers

38. Art by George Hogg

And why, we ask, did these true patriots cross the Potomac? To prevent a reality TV star with a slew of defunct businesses turned leader of the free world with the most impeachments of a president in history from losing his new hobby to a man who ran on a platform of getting rid of him. Want to know why Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legions? Because his political opponents were removing him from office and if he came without an army, he would surely be prosecuted for crimes committed while consul years earlier. I wonder who now is being prosecuted for crimes committed in office. After his victory over Pompey, Caesar championed the political accession of his supporters, cementing his influence in the Senate and while Trump may have done more harm than good for the Republicans in the 2022 midterms, the rise of various Trump-backed supporters has led to a much more radical and pro-Trump composition of the House. The Roman general also ruthlessly punished the leaders of the conservative faction (Scipio and Cato both committed suicide rather than face his wrath) and under the radical conservative House, the Republicans have upheld their promise to return the favour of impeachment to the Democrats with Speaker Kevin McCarthy ordering an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden. The flow-on effects of January 6 will not lead to the end of the American Republic and the rise of an imperator, but it has and will continue to fundamentally reshape the landscape of American politics. Not since 1814, when the British forces took Washington, has a group successfully ‘invaded’ the Capitol building. This event makes political violence acceptable; a state where political violence is acceptable cannot reasonably be called a democracy. The United States continues to trend towards a liberal non-democracy, and while the Roman Republic was by no means truly democratic to begin with, we might argue that Caesar’s victory also created a liberal non-democracy (Caesar was of course quite progressive for his day). Caesar championed land redistribution and debt cancellation for the poor and reformed the census to create a more equitable tax system. On the other hand, he created masses of new senators to stack votes in support of his legislative agenda and had himself appointed dictator for life. In our day, we see the United States slip towards non-democracy such as when Republicans seek to reduce voter-turnout in order to gain and retain power. The similarities between Caesar and Trump and the crossing of the Rubicon and the Potomac may not appear obvious at first. This might be due to the fact that we see the former event as a successful step in maintaining power and the latter event as a desperate last attempt resulting in numerous criminal indictments. However, when we look beyond the events themselves and instead towards their outcomes and what they represent about the systems in which they occurred, the similarities become clear. January 6 was a momentous occasion in American history and its echoes, like Caesar’s choice to enter Italy, will reverberate through the country’s political history.


Remembering Art by Jasmin Small


ANU’s Dark Chapter: Joe Cinque 26 Years On Georgette Mouawad

Content Warning: Mentions of Murder, Sexual Assault and Harrassment On the 26th of October 1997, ANU law student Anu Singh took the life of her boyfriend, Joe Cinque. Singh sedated Cinque at a dinner party, in a room full of ANU students, each aware of Joe’s fate but unwilling to interfere. Over the following 36 hours, Singh administered several lethal doses of heroin to her unconscious boyfriend. A likely narcissist and the daughter of an affluent Sydney family, Singh epitomised the entitled, privileged culture that many accuse universities like the ANU of cultivating some 25 years later. In 1999, Singh was convicted of manslaughter and served only four years in jail for the death of her partner. It was a lenient sentence by all accounts. What would justice for Joe Cinque have looked like? Would our hunger for justice have been satiated with a tougher sentence? Would 20 years do it? What about 30? Is it possible that we are searching for justice in the wrong place? The impression of unfairness that one is left with after reading about Cinque’s death may not come from the sentencing itself - from a legal standpoint it was a fair trial - but rather from the sheer injustice in the actions and inactions of Singh and her friends. This is a story that grows more alluring when we confront the reality that Singh and her friends lived lives that closely parallel our own. Their days were spent in the same places as us today, frequenting cafes, campus, and various Canberra institutions. They had similar commitments and stresses – will I get this assignment in on time? How do I balance my study load with work? One can’t help but search desperately for points of difference despite our similar lifestyles, to distance ourselves from the apathetic individuals who allowed Cinque to die. Some silly exercise in proving we must be better people. However, as unsettling as it is to acknowledge, the privilege within the ANU creates an environment that fosters the same sense of complacency shared by the students gathered in Singh’s Downer home that fateful Friday. The children of well-to-do families who often populate our campus are shielded by a life of comfort and opportunity. In the case of Cinque’s death, at best, such privilege contributes to naive assumptions of good will, at worst, a dangerous lack of accountability, where the gravity of one’s actions are severely underestimated. Although this may be unsurprising to a student population who has experienced sexual assault rates three times that of the average Australian university while watching perpetrators face little repercussions. Singh’s chilling case serves as another extreme example of what can happen when the flaws of privilege run unchecked. Singh’s friends (who were simultaneously enablers of her behaviour and victims) provide a clear parable on the consequences of forgoing responsibility. With a culture that prizes academic rigour above all else, it comes as no surprise that irrational behaviour can be retroactively rationalised due to the belief that no ANU student would truly commit themselves to anything deemed absurd. This idea is evident in the diluted responsibility that Singh’s friends believed they had in the matter. Despite rumours of Singh’s homicidal intentions, they believed the plot too outrageous and their proximity too distant for their intervention to be appropriate. One particular dinner guest is a good example of this. Of all the guests aware of Singh’s plan, this friend had the greatest opportunity to intervene and prevent Cinque’s death. Yet, she appears to have been convinced that due to the peripheral nature of her friendship with Singh, she should instead defer responsibility to one of Singh’s closest friends with a better impression of Singh’s rationality. This was a fatal error. The rational thought of Singh’s inner circle had been compromised by her coercive nature, and this friend was the last line of defence.

41. The prevalence of groupthink in college environments like ANU is one of the more troubling similarities between today’s students and Singh’s peers. In such settings, the collective mindset often veers towards conforming to social norms and cliques, sometimes at the cost of ethical or rational decision-making. Hazing culture in particular, still present in many halls, normalises behaviours that should be questioned, creating a fog of complicity that masks the severity of what’s happening right under our noses. The normalisation of such cultures can desensitise students to the point where they overlook dangerous behaviour, simply because it’s hidden behind a veil of group acceptance. One potential difference is that mental health is now better understood than it was during Singh’s time, with some students even keen to self-diagnose. This development is a doubleedged sword. On one hand, it indicates a greater willingness to talk about psychological wellbeing, but on the other, it risks trivialising or misinterpreting serious mental health conditions that require professional evaluation. This further blurs the lines between normal collegiate behaviour, troubling signs of mental unrest, and potentially dangerous conduct. It is all the more vital for students today to exercise both empathy and caution. Fortunately, the ACT legal landscape has evolved more than ANU’s culture has. Recent changes, such as excluding judge-only trials in sexual-assault matters as of 2013, indicate progress. Judge-only trials, like Singh’s trial, have been notorious for not-guilty findings on major charges. Nonetheless, the courts cannot promise complete justice. Instead, we must look to ourselves to implement ethical conduct and learn to better evaluate where responsibility lies. We must not allow assumptions of goodwill to develop complacency in our social circles and student spaces. Instead, we should engage critically with one another, trusting our own assessments and accepting the responsibility of escalating a situation where we find it to be concerning. We should not lean on the courts to allocate responsibility; it should instead exist as an essential undercurrent within our day to day lives. As students who have had the fortune to attend university, we have a responsibility that is greater than ever, because we’ve had the time and space (and compulsory ethics classes) to think through the moral issues and it is up to us to apply them. Cinque’s death leaves us with complex questions over two decades later. We balance on a precarious ethical tightrope, where privilege and societal norms continue to challenge our understanding of justice, responsibility, and ethical conduct. Cinque’s story serves as a warning to us as students existing in spaces that are built to protect us from harm. It shows that the source of our safety as students is not the inherent nature of our spaces– the comfortable campus coffee shop, the familiar inner-north share house– but rather the systems we employ to defend against malevolent forces such as the manipulative Singh. Joe Cinque would have found justice had the people around Singh taken their day-to-day ethical responsibilities seriously. We must look to impressions of the past and differences that have evolved through the passage of time to measure the safety of the lives around us, and never take it for granted.



Art by Ollie Stephens

44. Art by Jasmin Small

Asimov: Accurate or Absurd? Isabella Stewart

Isaac Asimov is today one of America’s most celebrated science fiction writers. In the 1950s, he wrote short stories and novels, including “I, Robot”, “The End of Eternity”, and “Foundation”. His works consistently reflected on themes of morality and humanity through the lens of dystopian elements such as time travel and robotics. In the 1970s, Asimov shifted to non-fiction writing, calling for global solutions to global problems such as pollution, climate change and overpopulation. In 1983, The Toronto Star asked Asimov to write what he thought the future might be like in 2019, or in their words, “at the end of another generation.” Although Asimov goes on to make several predictions, he initially begins less optimistically, essentially stating that there would be no point in prophesying about any future if the US and the Soviet Union continue to “flail away at each other” with their nuclear arms race. Thankfully, the Cold War ended in 1991, and the world still existed by the time 2019 rolled around. Forty years on, how do some of his most accurate and absurd predictions hold up? Prediction #1: “Computerisation will undoubtedly continue onward inevitably ... the mobile computerised object…will, in the course of the next generation, penetrate the home.” In the 80s, the potential for computers was beyond obvious, so this prediction does not come as a surprise. It is also not illogical for Asimov to assume the invasion of computers into the home, but how we use technology in the household would’ve come as a surprise. Thinking about smart home technology such as Alexa or Google Home, I’m sure someone as imaginative as Asimov may have been amazed at our dependence on such devices for everyday activities. Prediction #2: “We will be back on the Moon…to establish a mining station that will process moon soil and take it to places in space where it can be smelted into metals, ceramics, glass and concrete - construction materials for the large structures that will be put in orbit about the Earth.” This prediction may have been a little optimistic. Humans have not returned to the surface of the Moon since 1972, with plans not to return until at least 2025, but not before a Starship Human Landing System is established in orbit of the Moon. Aside from landing on the Moon, several obstacles would still need to be solved before space mining could happen: equipment for mining, costs of space flight, unreliable identification of suitable ores, and building facilities and homes for workers. It will be a while before we get moon rock metals. Prediction #3: “The jobs that will appear will, inevitably, involve the design, the manufacture, the installation, the maintenance and repair of computers and robots, and an understanding of whole new industries that these ‘intelligent’ machines will make possible.”


Prediction #4: “While computers and robots are doing the scut-work of society so that the world, in 2019, will seem more and more to be ‘running itself’, more and more human beings will find themselves living a life rich in leisure.” In many ways, computers and technology have alleviated the physical labour and travel once required for some activities. For example, rather than checking your bank balance, watching a movie, or obtaining reading materials online, people once had to leave their homes and travel to their local banks, cinemas and libraries. In another sense, manufacturing has also become more computerised, with many factories relying on robots to construct their goods. However, as much as computers and robotics have created these opportunities for free time, do we really live “rich in leisure?”? It is hard to measure how relaxed life may have been in the 80s compared to today because, whilst technology has eliminated the struggles of some tasks, it has created a host of new stresses that may have filled the leisure time that Asimov once perceived. For example, computers have reshaped the workplace and introduced new elements to almost every job: emails, spreadsheets, online research, image and video editing, data entry, and online meetings. All these new additions have certainly not ensured that we all lead a leisure-rich lifestyle. It also seems that computers have extended the average work day/week, with many people feeling that their work no longer finishes when they leave the office but continues after hours or even on the weekends. So, whilst Asimov did predict the utility of computers in some respect, it was certainly not to the extent that would lead to a society bathed in a life of luxury and relaxation. One thing we can take from Asimov’s predictions is the potential for computers and robotics. And whilst we have certainly come a long way since 1983, it is evident that we still have a very long way to go. The future of technology is boundless. Robots that can perform lifesaving surgeries in places where medical procedures are less accessible? Machines that could help end climate change? Poverty? Education disparity? World hunger? The possibilities are endless, and it only takes one person with the imaginative thinking of Isaac Asimov to see it.

Art by Jasmin Small

This prediction could not be more accurate! Almost every single job in today’s society requires some form of a computer - even being a student would be difficult without a laptop or tablet. Beyond that, the IT industry itself is seemingly ever-expanding, creating thousands of new jobs both in developing and testing new technology and its applications and repairing and maintaining current computers. If we think about every single business or company out there, even if they are opposites in terms of what they sell or their aim, something they will all have in common is an IT department! It almost seems that the modern workplace can no longer survive without one. Great job, Isaac!


Art by Brandon Sung


Angel Dove Thilara De Mel

A deep sense of melancholy drapes over me as I embrace myself, my arms wound around my body, providing no protection from the toxic environment. While the toxic winds sweep through the lifeless meadow, the sun remains hidden behind the thick, smog-filled clouds, its glow tainted by the polluted air. The world, once vibrant and joyful, has been turned upon its head, no longer providing solace for its inhabitants; the world has become a relentless, oppressive force. Despite feeling like a lifetime ago, it has only been three years since the solar flares began and my angel was stripped from the earth, leaving me alone. Trapped. I lost the one thing that brought me any semblance of humanity. They are gone, and I am condemned to remain in this grim nightmarish world. What am I to do as the days pass in a haze of despair? The world is a bleak wasteland, devoid of hope, and I am left to wander aimlessly through it, a ghost among the ruins. This isolation grips me like a vice, draining the last remnants of my soul, leaving only a hollow, fractured shell behind.

Art by Cynthia Weng

Trapped inside this cage, I feel that the world is a reflection of my isolation. Birds that once sang and chirped now only squawk with distaste. Even the trees seem to sulk in their place, no longer uplifted by the gust of the spring breeze. In the springs of years past, the trees would stretch upwards and outwards, drinking in the sun’s rays pure as gold. I used to stand in golden meadows, feet bare and intertwined with the morning-dew-soaked verdure. As I stretched my arms towards the sun, a tingling sensation would fill my soul and I’d begin to dance. Fingers interlocked with my angel’s and my head resting in the crook of his neck. Now I sit on the ashy earth, my veil soaked by the putrid acid rain as I wrap my fingers tightly around the rusty locket clasped around my bare scarred neck.

48. Art by Cynthia Weng

Out of nowhere, a sliver of fluttering wings peeps from behind the ashen clouds. It appears to drift against the ruthless storm in a beautiful whirl. In a flurry of flaps, it encircles me, bringing a sweet breeze along with it. Suddenly, the smell of pine trees and oranges fills my nostrils and I feel my angel’s fingers softly press against my coarse sandpaper-like cheek. A flutter of butterflies fills my stomach and I think the corners of my mouth lift slightly with joy. I close my eyes and hold onto the moment for as long as I can, the feeling filling my soul with the joy I thought I lost forever. As I open my eyes I see what the flutter of wings was. A majestic white dove. As it brushes past my shoulder I catch a glimpse of a pair of striking green eyes peering at me. My heart stops as I realise the beautiful dove has the same piercing green eyes I so vividly remember my angel had. Tears threaten to cascade down my face and I don’t hold them back. These were tears of happiness. Knowing my love is watching over me from his resting place, I feel a weight lift off my shoulders and I can finally breathe again. As I embrace the warm feeling within me, the sun seems to momentarily smile in tandem. A sterile light washes over the vast deserted wasteland, and the toxic rain dissipates along with the hot gale winds. The trees, although barren and dead, seem to stand taller in the presence of the sun, a gentle sway keeping them upright. Once the dismal rain disperses, my beautiful dove flies upwards before disappearing behind the clouds. The arrival of the dove relit a spark within me and so I release myself from the containment of my cage. A surge of electricity courses through my veins, filling me with a newfound sense of purpose. Looking around, I learn to appreciate the sterile beauty of this havoc-stricken world, reminding myself of how this exact place once brought me so much joy.

Nature is the soul and the cradle, she stays to nurture and heal though we may not know it. She waits patiently for us to remember who we are before bestowing upon us her comfort and beauty. However dim the world may appear, she watches over us all, teaching us to look out into the unknown and find beauty and solace in the unexpected. By rooting ourselves in nature we may find the answers we so desperately seek. We may find a way out of this apocalyptic world. Now with my angel dove watching over me, I stretch my arms up to the sun, my feet crunching against the chalky earth, and with that familiar tingling sensation filling my soul. Once again, I begin to dance.


Art by Jasmin Small


50. Art by Jasmin Small

If the Shoe Fits Isobel Yeaman

“No, I’m not getting married,” snapped the prince. “How old do you think I am?” “…Twenty-three?” ventured his father’s Chief Advisor, a man who for sure had dementia, and was so decrepit it was honestly a miracle he was still kicking. “I’m fifteen.” “I was married by the time I was fifteen,” said another ancient advisor fondly, examining her wedding ring with less of an air and more of a soupy smog of nostalgia. “By fif— that has to be illegal,” said the prince, derailed. The advisor’s smirk bordered on lecherous, “Not back then, it wasn’t.” The prince looked desperately to his father for help. The King was inspecting his glass of wine with a focus that seemed unwarranted, considering it was his fifth. “Yes, yes, naturally,” the King said, belatedly realising all the attention in the room was on him. He made a grandiose sweeping gesture with the hand holding his glass. Only the grace of some higher power prevented the wine from slopping all over the sleeve of his royal finery. “As my trusted advisor says. All can be arranged without issue.” “Father,” cried the prince, horrified. “You can’t be serious. Were you only planning to tell me about this scheme of yours tonight? It isn’t right!” His father’s eyes narrowed, even through the fog of wine. “Insolent child,” he said. “As if you know what is right, or what is best for you. As if the faintest idea could possibly spark within your sluggish brain. You will choose someone as your intended, or else someone will be chosen for you.” Not for the first time, or even the hundredth, since she had left on her six-month voyage to her home country, the prince wished desperately for his mother. The Queen had taught him how to sail; how to lean into the wind and navigate by the stars, how to make a judgement and trust it. She had a cool head and a kind heart and, especially of late, was the only person in the whole goddamn kingdom who seemed to be on the prince’s side.


His father’s face was growing thunderous, quickly. The prince schooled his expression as best as he could and tried to look resolute and firm instead of appalled and mulish. The sounds of the party drifted up from downstairs. Airy pizzicato twining around woodwind trills rose above the blend of chatter and footsteps; the sounds of several hundred nobles and other kinds of movers and shakers from throughout the kingdom socialising at the ball of the year. The ball that was, apparently, meant to serve as a marriage market. He was going to kill his father. No wonder the lords and ladies downstairs had eyed him so hungrily, and their children – his peers – had jostled and preened for his attention when for all the years of his life he’d been only tolerated. He’d been honing in on the food tables, too, when the Chief Advisor had hustled him upstairs to spring the worst conversation of his life on him, so now he was furious and starving. The prince wondered longingly if he could get away with drowning himself in the courtyard fountain. “What about this one?” said the Chief Advisor. “Lord Amberley’s daughter – you know, in the pink dress? Very wealthy, huge… tracts of land…” He made a gesture in the general vicinity of his chest that, if justice truly existed in the world, would have been an indictable offence. Then he brandished a sketch of a girl who was probably about the prince’s own age, although the prince could barely make out any of the details because the advisor’s age-spotted hand had such a pronounced tremor. “I’m not getting married.” “Ah, not a ladies’ man,” said yet another advisor sagely. “I understand. What about the Lady Darlinghurst’s son? He’s a strapping lad, if you know what I mean—”

Art by Jasmin Small

His mother was from a seafaring nation that had always had tense relations with his father’s kingdom, right up until his parents got married. She went home every few years to maintain strong ties; on every other occasion the prince had gone with her. Life had become almost unbearable in the five months of her absence. It was as if his father was looking for him to slip up in every interaction and, without the Queen’s calming counsel, the King found something stupid or disrespectful in everything the prince did.

52. Art by Jasmin Small

The prince made an agonised sound. Less charitable observers might have compared the noise to that of a tortured goat. “I’m not getting married,” he repeated desperately, fighting the urge to clap his hands over his ears and go la-la-la I’m not listening. “But you do know what I mean, don’t you, Your Highness—” “LA-LA-LA I’M NOT LISTENING,” shouted the prince, ducking under an advisor’s outstretched arm, and tearing out of the room.


Art by Amanda Lim


to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow i am a salmon, somewhere in the rapids Ridley Smith

Thank you for your interest in XXXX. Unfortunately, at this time we have decided to move ahead with other candidates. We regret to inform you that your application has been unsuccessful at this time. Again and again and again, rejected. And my nails were still chipped and scuffed. Sometimes it felt hard to do anything at all. Sat at my desk, the computer hummed softly as the screen projected a harsh white light into the dark room. I stared absently as my cat slinked around a door and the fish swam in circles in their tank. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a fish, probably a salmon. I would be swimming up a river, the past, present and future totally meaningless. The rapids there at moment and then not. I got up and went to the bathroom, and stared in the mirror. The world melted around me, and I looked down on myself from above. I lived alone. Recently I had been having vivid, surreal dreams. I would pass between times and places, past experiences. Between spaces exists this multicoloured scape, filled with fish. They lazily swim through nothing but air. The ground is a patchwork of life, lit up in technicolour. It’s a welcome respite from the scenes it connects, moments that before they even happened, I had run through again and again in my head. Even afterwards, I could never stop reliving them. After these dreams, I would wake up in a sweat, terrified and regretful. Maybe sometimes it had gone better in my head, or sometimes it was worse, or sometimes it was impulsive and sudden. No matter the context, they played again and again in my head – did people respect me? Was I treated how I’d hoped? Should I have acted differently in the past? Did it matter? It was late. The fridge hummed softly as the light spilled out into the dark kitchen. Cheese, mustard, some pasta leftovers. I heated the pasta. Beep. Beep. Beep. Mix, put back. Beep. Beep. Beep. Everything was done mechanically. Normally it was better than this, but I couldn’t stop thinking about everything … money, work, friends. Everything had become a monotonous routine. Shower. Moisturiser. Brush teeth. Go to bed. Try and sleep. Swimming up and downstream. From the ocean to the river, river to the ocean. i am being sucked under the waves. gasping for air as the foam swirls around and around and you can’t see and there’s salt in your eyes and the waves are coming set after set after set and the ones that don’t knock you off your feet swirl around you pushing up sand and detritus from the ground as you are struggling to see and hear and breathe and find your bearings. as you are wiping the sand and salt from your eyes you’re being pushed under again and you see a silver gleam glide past and it is pulling you along against the current and against the pulsing waves and against the kicked-up sandbanks. it pulls you down and down and down through the deep, the world going from aquamarine to indigo to black to nothing at all. now it is silent. the gleaming fish glows softly in the dark and you can feel it beckoning you to follow.


you- i woke up in my childhood bed. what time was it? half past six. i had to get ready for school. i was vaguely aware that this was a dream, but this one felt so much more real than the others. i couldn’t always remember dreams after waking, but this one felt more corporeal … everything felt solid. i checked the date. the 9th of october. today was the day. i had talked with my friend about it before. i had run through the scenarios in my head again and again and again but i never felt any less nauseous. i caught the bus, went to school, through the motions. went to study after school until my mum came to pick me up. i remembered what happened before, the first time. i was quiet, even more than usual. i broke down almost immediately as the whisper escaped my lips. i was always evasive and coy. it almost felt like a vulgar confession. this time it would be different. i was not anymore confident now, but i could pretend to be. i got in, steeling myself. maybe i’d cry, maybe i wouldn’t. did it matter at the end of the day? i had to make this memory better, somehow. “Mum. I need to talk to you about something. Ah, shit. Ah, shit. Okay. I- I’m trans, mum.” immediately, back to the inky dark. the sleek and gleaming fish appears in front of me again. “Didn’t that feel good? Don’t you want to do it again? Change more?” did i? do i? i regret it … yes. but, those decisions made me me, and if i change one thing … won’t i just find more and more to change, never being happy; never coming to terms with myself. the black ocean swirled around me. i wake up. i felt sick immediately. i knew exactly where i was. it had taken me several years to get to this point, to be able to tell her. the two prescriptions had sat on my shelf, taunting me. maybe i couldn’t change this one. The myriad possibilities swirled around my mind. what might happen? how could it be different now than before. with every person, i had gone through stages. this had never happened to me once and once only. i was quiet and meek. i had to repeat myself until i could make myself heard.

Art by George Hogg

“What if you could change it? Don’t you have regrets?”

56. Art by George Hogg

I had regrets, and I had things I wished I didn’t do, or things I wished I’d done earlier, or differently. Mostly, I tried not to think about it. I tried to live vicariously or work it out to myself through some creative outlet. I think the most assuaging part, though, is that even though it could have been different, or even better, it was okay now. The important part was having done it, not when I was able to do it. Maybe I could have changed something, but I am the me that is now, not the me from an alternate dreamscape, and I am trying my best to be happy. I am swimming upstream, and the rapids cannot stop me.


Art by Jocelyn Wong


Collage by Lara Connelly


60. Art by Sanle Yan

The Face of a Nation Marty Kelly

Characters Alex Brian Chris Messenger

A worker in the Royal Mint The Boss in the Royal Mint An Artist in the Royal Mint Delivers royal news

It is 1483. Alex, Brian, and Chris are working at the Royal Mint. The surroundings should have references to The Wars of the Roses. Edward IV is the current king, so everyone working at the mint is a supporter of the House of York. Everyone is dressed in a fashion befitting of the time. Alex and Brian sit side by side, talking. Chris sits away from them, sketching furiously on a large notepad. Alex

Hey Chris, are you almost finished?


He can’t hear you, he’s focusing on his craft.


He’s been like this for ages.


And he’ll be done when he’s finished.


I don’t see why we need new coins in the first place.


Are you saying, in the year of our Lord 1483, that our King, Edward the IV, isn’t deserving of some nice, new shiny coins?


Of course not! But surely we keep using the coins from before he was exiled. We’ve but to change the year. It would take no time at all.


That was ages ago! (Pause) We all like a treat every once in a while.




(To Alex) See? What did I tell you?

Chris turns the notepad to the audience. There is a large circle in the middle of the page. Inside it sits a likeness of King Edward IV. It looks very good. Around the inner rim of the circle reads Edward IV in large fancy lettering. The lettering also looks very good. Brian

Ah yes, very good Chris. A year well spent. (Beat, admiringly) Now that’s sorted, why don’t you stamp a thousand coins with your design? It’s time to show the public your Magnum Opus.


Chris leaves, dignified Alex

Finally, now we can get to work.


Are you suggesting the time spent was not worth the final product?




Are you saying Chris’s drawing wasn’t very good?


No, it was very good.


Wonderful, now get back to work.

Alex goes to leave in the other direction but is stopped by the arrival of a messenger; they give a piece of paper to Alex. Alex

(To Brian) It’s a message.

The messenger leaves. Alex starts to read the message, he stiffens. Alex goes to Brian. Alex

(Urgently tapping Brian) Brian, Brian, Brian.




The king is dead?




The king is dead!

Alex and Brian start moving around, panicked. Brian

Well, how did he die? Not the battlefield, surely? I haven’t spent the last 28 years pledged to the House of York just for some Lancastrian to get a lucky bow shot. Alex

(Reading) No, it wasn’t in battle.




(Reading) He died at home, but the exact cause of death is unknown.




Not necessarily. His health was in decline.

62 62.. Art by Sanle Yan


But how? He was in the prime of his life. He had the best physicians in the land. He was on emetics.


He was sick?


That would be the emetics. (chuckles haughtily as they mime throwing up, beat) At least that’s what his physicians thought anyway. So who’s the new king?


(Motioning with the message) Says here, Edward the V.


House of York, or House of Lancaster?


(Suddenly nervous) I haven’t checked yet.

Alex hurriedly scans the document as Brian stresses. Alex



Thank the lord!

Chris enters, brandishing a coin. Chris

It’s done, 1000 newly pressed coins now in circulation, look.

Chris proudly displays the coin; Alex and Brian look at each other. Brian

You tell him.


No, you tell him.


You got the message.


You wanted the new coins.


Tell me what?


(Stalling) Well, we just got word that the king is, in fact, dead. Chris deflates Brian

But that’s not to say you didn’t do a great job.


Who’s the King?

63. 63.

Edward the V.


We can even keep that lettering you worked so hard on.

Brian picks up the notepad and scribbles out the I. The coin design now reads Edward I V. Brian shows everyone the new design. Brian


Chris takes back the notepad. Chris

What about the face?


I don’t know about the face. (To Alex) What does the king look like?


I have no idea. He hasn’t sat for his portrait yet.


Well lucky for us, only features on the face matter. You’ve got the eyes, ears, mouth, nose….

Chris starts adding to the picture. Chris

Then his teeth must stick out to show his savagery in combat. And a black eye to show his experience in a fight. He should be balding, to show his wisdom. And a giant nose….




All the better to smell you with? (Finishes drawing) Done.

Chris shows the modified picture. It looks ridiculous. Alex

Are you sure we should do this?


Why not?


We just got a new king. He hasn’t been crowned yet. For many people this will be the first time seeing his likeness. What I mean to say is…. What it says here…. Guys, he’s twelve years old.

Everyone turns to look at the ‘likeness.’ Brian

He’ll grow into it. Chris, stamp 10,000 coins with that design. We need to drive those other coins out of circulation.

Art by Sanle Yan


64. Art by Sanle Yan Chris leaves. Alex

Well that could have gone a lot worse. Chris seemed pretty upset.


(Amused) And all that was from just one change of monarch. Could you imagine if it happened again? What would his depiction be? Would he have a withered arm? A limp?


(Amused) Or a hunched back?

They laugh, but they are interrupted by the arrival of the messenger. Alex

Look! A message.

The messenger gives Alex another piece of paper and leaves. Alex begins to read and grows concerned. Alex

Hey, Brian. You know the son of the king that just died and is now currently the king?




He’s not the king anymore.


What! How did he die? Not on the bat-


Actually, he’s not dead.




Apparently Edward IV was contracted to marry someone else, so Edward V is illegitimate and has no claim to the throne.


So who’s the king?


Richard the III.



York or Lancest-


York, of course he’s York

Chris re-enters, carrying two large sacks of coins. Chris

(Noticing the message) The king didn’t die again, did he?


Not exactly.


I’m pleased to hear it. Imagine it, three kings in one year! (Starts to laugh.)


But we won’t be needing those coins anymore, we have a new king.

Chris freezes. It is suddenly not funny. Chris

Who’s the king?


Richard the III.

Chris angrily throws the bags to the ground and flings the notepad across the space, seething with rage. Chris

Fuck Richard! Blackout


Art by George Hogg


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w We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Woroni operates, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples. We pay our respects to Elders past and present. Their land was forcibly stolen, and sovereignty was never ceded. The name Woroni, which means “mouthpiece”, was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission. Consultation with First Nations people decided that Woroni continue to use the word, provided we acknowledge the theft, and continue to strive for better reconciliation in future. Woroni aims to provide a platform for First Nations students to hold the University, its community, and ourselves accountable. This magazine’s theme is Back to Tomorrow and many pieces in this magazine embrace a retrofuturist aesthetic. Collective nostalgia is an important cultural phenomena, but it is also one that tends to exclude the experiences of oppressed peoples, especially Indigenous Australians. When we look to, or glorify the past, we must be sure to understand that so much of the past of Australia is built upon the back of exploitation and racial discrimination. This land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.

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