Politics & Media
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…

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 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”.

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.

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…

Hockey & Welfare
Hockey & Welfare

The media’s response to a policy statement or political speech is fairly predictable, often falling into one of two categories. The first is rank political scrutiny—obligingly and bloodlessly placing the statement within the political calculus.

Guy Pearce vs Canberra
Guy Pearce vs Canberra

Guy Pearce understands the currency of late night talk shows: convivial irreverence with a dash of self-deprecation. And just with theatre sports, you never shut a good riff down. So when US talk show host Craig Ferguson began making a sport of Canberra

Sin & Crime: The Church Inquiry
Sin & Crime: The Church Inquiry

In early February this year, Catholic Church leaders met in Rome for a four-day symposium on sexual abuse. Called “Toward Healing and Renewal”, the event was intended to help the church prevent further abuses…

The Grim Reaper & the Health Minister
The Grim Reaper & the Health Minister

It lasted only 60 seconds and ran for just three weeks. But 25 years later, we’re still talking about it. The most famous ad in Australia’s history: AIDS and the Grim Reaper. It terrified nearly everyone. A Gothic Grim Reaper…

Mike Daisey Goes to the Pain Factory
Mike Daisey Goes to the Pain Factory

On January 6, award-winning radio show This American Life devoted their hour to the appalling working conditions of a Chinese Apple factory. Much of the episode comprised of performance artist Mike Daisey’s stirring monologue of his time in China.

Fear & Loathing in the Public Service
Fear & Loathing in the Public Service

Troy Buswell changed my life. Seriously. If he had never sniffed that damn chair, I’d never have moved to Canberra. It’s a hilarious exercise, and I encourage you all to do it: toss away any sense of agency and speculatively map the influence of external events

Occupy Melbourne
Occupy Melbourne

Walking home late last night, the park’s canopy broke and the city came into relief: dark giants wearing neon headbands. My God, it was beautiful. An unabashed declaration of civilisation, not at war with the stars, but in a defiantly awkward choir with them.

Archives
Categories