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A Response to The Christchurch Massacre

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I've long been of the opinion that people should be free to think as they please, so long as they do no harm. I know that the words and actions of individuals in the upper echelons of Australian politics have been and remain exclusionary to subsets of our population. I also know that Australia is a virulently racist nation, though we—myself included—often regard our racism as a kind of light-heartedness. Both of things are inherently problematic, for they fracture us as a nation. The catch cry of multinationalism has been forgotten in the midst of rhetoric about Sudanese gangs or migrants taking the jobs, education, and healthcare of Australians. Notably, the subtext in such conversations is always white Australia. The politicians making these claims are on the side of yesterday's mass murderer, if only because they refuse to acknowledge that is Australia is not white. The reason my skin colour prevails in this country is because of systematic genocide and extermination attem…

The Nine Musings Is On Hold

Hi all,

This shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone who's been following along with my inane ramblings, but I'm putting The Nine Musings on hold. No doubt most of you would have noticed that the rate of my uploads since the beginning of this year has been dire, so this is more a formality—taking the idea out back to put it out of its misery rather than letting it linger on and suffer.

I will come back to it at some point with renewed vigour and maybe a more focused approach, but I don't know when, or even if, that will be.

The why of this decision is quite simple. I don't have time for it at present. I have ideas that I would love to muse upon—about the global political landscape, about Australia's issues, about the day-to-day concerns of life, about all of those topics from which the blog derives its name. However, I'm still involved quite heavily at OnlySP, I'm reviewing books for Aurealis magazine, I'm doing Honours at university, I'm …

Struggle State

It feels a little bipolar to swing from yesterday celebrating the arrival of our lounge room furniture to today almost despairing of the something related. One the one hand, it feels remarkable to finally be getting our lives in some sort of order and setting up for the future after two years of transience in Europe. On the other, coming back to Australia has been a kick in the teeth.
Don’t get me wrong, I love this country—the landscapes and soundscapes, the friendliness of the people, the customer service, and more. The hard part is the situation.
We’ve returned to Townsville, which, according to recent figures, has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the nation. Admittedly, at 28, I don’t really qualify as a “youth” any more, but the fact that I’m attending university (again) and looking for part-time work alongside that sort of slots me into the same bracket.
Since returning, I’ve heard that there’s something of a bias against uni students in some companies, founded on…

Frontlines of the Flood: Fatalism, Bluster, and Hope

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In my experience—first with Cyclones Larry and Yasi and now with these Townsville floods—a point comes where boredom becomes the prevailing emotion. The exhilaration or dread or whatever is sustaining you can only last so long.

During Cyclone Yasi, that point came after the eye. For hours, in the dark and more than 200 kilometre an hour winds, my father and I had darted about the house and yard trying to mitigate the damage. It was all futile, of course. The bathroom window exploded, throwing the door into a bedroom; part of the shed’s corrugated iron roof tore free of it moorings and was tossed like a shade sail; and almost every tree was brought down. That was all before the eye. In the brief lull, we surveyed the damage, then returned to our posts for a time.

Afterwards, the feeling was different. Resignation set in. What further damage would occur was out of our hands. Gaia would have her way with us, and we would have no option but to deal with the aftermath.

It took longer with…

Australia Day Should Be Both Celebration and Commemoration

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"Every January 26 I'm torn between wanting to celebrate/ and hang my head in shame." - Own Backyard, Horrorshow

As you might expect, I've been thinking quite a lot about Australia since we got back to these golden shores. I've been thinking about the atmosphere of life and our cultures, about the perception that internationals have of us and the inconsistencies and contradictions that mire us in a confused cultural identity.

"Time moves a little slower here," sing The Hilltop Hoods in 1955, and, though their words don't refer to Australia as a whole, the sentiment is accurate compared to Europe. Maybe it's because of the summer season or the ease of getting around without having to rely on public transport, but the days seem longer, offering more opportunities to get things done. It goes further than that, though, to an atmosphere that genuinely feels more wholesome. The average person on the street is less harried and more friendly, and the pr…

FILM REVIEW: Storm Boy

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2019 brings Colin Thiele's classic Australian novella Storm Boy to the silver screen for a second time. In many ways, this new adaptation is achingly beautiful, and the story remains as touching as ever. However, while the effort to update the narrative to resonate with contemporary concerns is admirable, the attempt to do so falls far short of the filmmakers' apparent intentions.

Before beginning in earnest, I must note that I have only the vaguest recollection of the original film and book, having viewed and read them as a young child and never again. As such, I can not and will not use them as reference points in this review.

When thinking of Australia, some of the things that spring immediately to mind are the rugged landscapes, wildlife, and that amorphous quality called mateship. The tale of Storm Boy draws from this popular imagining in its portrayal of a young boy, lonely on the coast, who raises and befriends a pelican named Mr Percival. This focus on a bond between …

From Loneliness To Lives In Partnership: The Great Lie Of Love

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I remember writing, once upon what seems a lifetime ago, something to the effect of ‘Love is not real; it is a figment of the imagination emerging from the loneliness of the human psyche'. Do I still believe that? Well, I’d like to think I’m no longer as cynical as I used to be, but I think the reality is rather that my conception of love has changed and evolved.

In the West, we are raised on a steady diet of fairy tales, Disney films, and similarly romance-focused narratives that, together, create a particular view of love. We are conditioned to believe that it will strike like a tsunami, carrying us away on an all-consuming wave of desire and a willingness to give the entirety of ourselves to another person. Media and literature has done a fine job of perpetuating this construction of love, but, in the process, has created widespread and foolish expectations.

Nothing lasts. That truth is particularly pertinent in a discussion about emotions. When we lose a loved one, we grieve—…

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