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Disturbance
Disturbance

Yesterday I spoke at the Council for Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) inaugural national forum. The theme was “What Makes Us Human?” The following is the speech I delivered.

Sydney’s Protests
Sydney’s Protests

Waleed Aly could barely contain his anger. In his Monday column on Sydney’s protest, you could trace the hard edge of his incredulity. Typically, though, Aly’s frustration was elegantly transposed into a thoughtful and muscular piece.

Interview: Professor Abdalla
Interview: Professor Abdalla

This week I put some questions to Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla, the founding Director of the Islamic Research Centre at Griffith University, on Saturday’s Islamic protest in Sydney.

What’s Wrong With The Monthly?
What’s Wrong With The Monthly?

I read Obama’s books, listened to his speeches and absorbed his academic CV. I marvelled at his poise, and celebrated the story of an essentially fatherless young man’s audacious ascension.

Obama & Clinton at the DNC
Obama & Clinton at the DNC

It’s now just been a couple of hours since President Obama wrapped up the three day Democratic National Convention. And I’ll admit it: Obama’s speech bored me. Disjointed, excruciatingly safe, slim on policy detail…

Hitchens
Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has been dead 9 months, but the past week welcomed his slim book Mortality—a collection of Vanity Fair essays written about his aggressive terminal cancer, a place Hitchens called “Tumorville”.

The Hunting of the Snark
The Hunting of the Snark

The internet is saturated with snark. We all know it, and there’s probably little more to be said about it. But here’s what you don’t hear: that the praise for public statements—whether TV reports, newspaper columns or speeches—is just as witless as the abuse.

Press Gang
Press Gang

Last week I recalled my artless days of student journalism in a piece on #interngate. It was far from complete, but the shock of recognition amongst readers was so great that I’ve decided to provide a more comprehensive list

#interngate
#interngate

If you wanted to torture me, you could do much worse than strapping me to a chair and reading to me my student magazine pieces. I sprayed my arrogance and five buck words for about 3 years for Grok magazine, proud rag of my alumnus Curtin University.

Robert Hughes
Robert Hughes

Robert Hughes had seen death before. In 1999, out in the remote Kimberley of Western Australia, the world’s most famous art critic was driving back to Broome. Hughes had been fishing with his mate Dan O’Sullivan…

The Sopranos
The Sopranos

In the end, it took me nearly ten years to watch it all. Why? Well, there’s life. That humble sundry of change. Different suburbs, states, countries. Different friends and lovers. Commitment to a long-running TV series requires stability.

Aurora
Aurora

And so it is again. A young man, preposterously armed, strikes down strangers in cold blood. As chillingly distinctive as the Aurora massacre might be, there is nothing distinctive about his nihilism.

Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson

This year is the 40th anniversary of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, which just might be the high-water mark of the American journalist’s powers.

Yes, Ma’am
Yes, Ma’am

I drink a lot at the Union Hotel in Fitzroy, a raffish, understated place snuggled between Smith and Brunswick streets.

Response to Crikey’s Bernard Keane
Response to Crikey’s Bernard Keane

I’d like to thank Bernard Keane for his thoughtful criticism in yesterday’s Crikey. It provided fresh contrast to the sub-literate and humourless bleats of conspiracists, et. al that I heard yesterday. Amen.

The Magic Lantern
The Magic Lantern

Forty years ago, five men in business suits were arrested burgling the Watergate building in Washington DC, the site of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters.

The Invisible Hand
The Invisible Hand

I moved to Korea because I could think of nothing better to do. I was 22 and Kim Jung-Il was indulging some half-mad petulance while my father calculated the distance warheads had to travel between Pyongyang and Seoul.

The State We’re In
The State We’re In

Young reporters must consider Canberra exciting. A marred and endlessly contested leadership coloured by interminable scandals, deliciously heightened by the perilous calculus of the House.

Gun Control in America Part 1
Gun Control in America Part 1

The evening after the slaughter Police Chief Roy Kneese denied that the police should have acted on that letter: “There was nothing we could file charges on him for. There was nothing in that letter. It seemed he had a crush on the girls”.

An Open Letter to The Lucksmiths
An Open Letter to The Lucksmiths

You know, I’ve started this bloody letter five times now: too sappy, too obvious, too trite, too confessional. To hell with it, here goes: congratulations and thank-you. You’ve touched a lot of folks over the years

On Listening
On Listening

My girlfriend didn’t believe me. “Did you really say that to your students?” she asked incredulously. “They’re first years in their first week!” It’s true. I had sounded like a dark and over-ripe Mr. Chips.

Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg

I saw two shooting stars last night/
I wished on them, but they were only satellites.
Is it wrong to wish on space hardware?
I wish, I wish, I wish you’d care. —Billy Bragg, “A New England”

Some Thoughts on Blogging
Some Thoughts on Blogging

I was absolutely thrilled yesterday to have won the Commentary section for this year’s Best Blog Awards run by the Sydney Writers’ Centre. I was especially thrilled given the quality of competition and the fact that the category was judged by Greg Jericho…

The Pogues, Punk & Power: An Elegy
The Pogues, Punk & Power: An Elegy

Last month the Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, was seen bouncing around at The Pogues gig in Sydney. The Pogues, a filthy and soulful Celtic-punk group, are led by the legendary misfit Shane MacGowan…

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