It was a variation on the elevator pitch.? Treasurer Josh Frydenberg agreed to bounce a table tennis ball on a bat whilst he offered reasons for supporting the Morrison government.? An Australian variant on Gerald Ford farting and chewing gum at the same time. Demeaning? Juvenile? Lacking gravitas?? All of the above.? That’s day-time television: cheap and banal. There was more of it over Easter. Online loons suggested the prime minister gave a Nazi salute whilst swaying in church. He called them ‘grubs’.? A One Nation candidate doctored a photo and claimed a Muslim plot to burn down Notre Dame. […]
Reading finds you. It was jet-lag-induced sentimentality that caused me to slide Prospero’s Cell from the shelf in the first place. It caught my eye. Spine stained with damp, the pages pock-marked and soft to the touch. On the inside cover, my mother’s name in a deliberate ornate cursive, and the year ’79. A second hand in darker pencil read 39c. The book was a relic. Nine years earlier I had left Australia for England to write a thesis on The Tempest, never intending to stay away so long. I liked the title. I had never heard of Lawrence Durrell […]
What is the point of elections? Given how this campaign has begun, it seems a reasonable question to ask. Recent history has not provided much of an answer. Elections in the last decade accounted for only one of the last five changes in Prime Ministers. The other two elections were so inconclusive that voters almost immediately turned on the government that hung on, leaving it to spend the rest of the term in miserable minority. The parties would, of course, say elections are about choosing them and their policies. But parties have been undermining their own argument every time they […]
In an age in which Australia’s richest man, packaging heir Anthony Pratt, embarrasses himself almost daily on social media, it can seem rather humdrum to be reminded of the mediocrity of our cultural, political and financial elites. But every now and then comes a shining example to focus the mind on the incessant ordinariness of our ruling class. On Tuesday night the State Library of Victoria hosted the eighth Keith Murdoch Oration. The library, Melbourne’s bibliographic and architectural jewel, was cleared of its patrons so that the city’s elites could play dress-up, enjoy some food and wine, and hopefully raise […]
In a 2016 Meanjin essay one of this country’s most celebrated writers, Alexis Wright, asked us a fundamental question in relation to storytelling and the role of the writer. ‘What happens when you tell somebody else’s story?’ she asked, in a thoughtful piece of writing that did not demand that white Australia not engage with the story of Aboriginal people (as some have concluded). In addressing the question, Wright asked of each of us, Aboriginal and ‘settler’ both, that we give deeper consideration to the act of telling stories and take greater responsibility for the decisions we make as writers. […]
After your world ended for the third time, you walked. The gold ring on your right hand heavy and the blue band around your left wrist even heavier. ‘Rip-off fitbits’ was how Intisar had described them three years ago, as the two of you sat on the couch in the living room of your then new apartment, staring down at your clasped black hands.
From a young age, names preoccupied me. As a child I didn’t like my name and I would often daydream about changing it. Na’ama (in Hebrew, ????) was too heavy for me.
We sat on the porch that winter and
talked of murder, imagined bodies trapped
beneath the breaking crust of the field.
The house whistled with broken windows,
the lead veins running through the glass…