Reading sometimes feels like learning to dance by shadowing someone who already can. The first steps are without swagger, composure or balance. It’s a little too close to madness—and if not that, then childhood—to always be comfortable. I’ve never been much of a reader. I remember the force of will it took in primary school to tick off completed titles for the MS Readathon. Each book provoked in me a kind of agony, and I found myself selecting the least taxing titles to nudge my accomplishments beyond a humiliating single digit. It wasn’t until I developed a love of words […]
[Adam Curtis voice][i] Did we already see this coming? This is the story of neofeudalism, a plot that was laid out before the narrative even began. When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, Inc. in 2003, he meant it to be a website named ‘Facemash’, where a user could rate fellow Ivy League students based on their looks. But the joke slowly grew, building on a lie where the corporation saw in it a chance to create a new world, one that saw the nodes of human interconnectivity taken to their furthest limits. We saw greed, desire, apathy and outrage; suddenly we […]
Can a whole country be deplatformed? That question confronts all of Australia today, as Facebook (for Facebook, read Mark Zuckerberg, who autocratically controls the social media giant) suddenly went nuclear, blocking all postings from news sites by its Australian users, and blocking those same users from seeing news postings from any source, anywhere in the world. All of this seemingly in response to a law that hasn’t even passed through Parliament. It feels like a dummy spit for the ages, the kind of moment that historians will simply chuckle over—and it is. But there’s much more here: never before in […]
This morning, the world’s biggest media-sharing platform decided to ban all Australian news publishers, without any notice—and without applying any degree of sophistication to how a news publisher is defined. On a day where regions in Australia are experiencing flooding or extreme fire danger, Facebook has disappeared the Bureau of Meteorology—but not the climate change deniers whose evidence-ignorant actions prevent meaningful, long-term policy commitments in this area. In the middle of a pandemic, they’ve axed departments of health, and non-government community health and social services organisations, but not the anti-vaxxers whose wilful misinformation is costing lives all over the world. […]
In her 2015 Sydney Review of Books article ‘What the essayist spills’, Maria Tumarkin draws a clear distinction between ‘confessor’ and ‘essayist’. The first is a writer who spills everything for an audience primed to receive and ‘learn’ from it. The latter sees their material as an entry to wider discussions; ‘smashing the bottom from underneath the author’s experiences’ and steering…
This bloody orphan, standing at the foot of my bed. Small, pallid, yellow-haired and sour-faced. ‘I’ve stolen a garden,’ she says.
Every night this kid wakes me up. She says the same thing each time, in exactly the same way. The third night, I’m already irritated. ‘You said that yesterday,’ I tell her. ‘And the day before. Who are you anyway?’
It’s basically empty!’ Tim says of my spare room. He’s touring the house, although he’s been here many times. We’re both looky-loos. He holds out his arms to assess the size of the space, then turns back to focus on me. ‘You could totally fit a baby in here!’ I mime shooting myself in the head.
Lockdown makes me crazy for action
films—all that sweat and beef and stupid risk.
I love an action-Arnie or -Stallone, the close-up
of an arm, offered to a dangling damsel,
who must think, there’s just no way
I can get a grip on that hunk of quivering
muscle. I am especially fond of plots
that don’t make sense or stretch us