Shannon Burns’ essay in the Meanjin Winter edition, In Defence of the Bad White Working Class, has attracted a fair bit of deserved attention, including this appreciation from Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner: “The habits of progressive social and political discourse almost seem calculated to alienate and aggravate lower class whites.” That sounds like something an American might say, but actually it was written by an Australian. Shannon Burns, who is now an academic but grew up in what he describes as a lumpen neighborhood, grew up with working class whites and Asian immigrants in Adelaide, the largest city […]
Archives for July 2017
Here’s a little something from the archives: first published in Meanjin, second quarter 1947.
‘Now I know what I’ve been faking all these years.’ So says Private Benjamin in the film of the same name, after a tryst with her lover. I felt this way about my first independent bookshop. I had been making all the right noises for years, but suddenly I realised what I was missing. Growing up in a provincial town, literary choices were thin: the mall bookshop in the next, bigger town, the newsagency, or my parents. I picked up The Celebrated Cases of Sherlock Holmes in the first, and Eric van Lustbader’s The Ninja in the second. (Learning about […]
Attraction is distraction. Or is it the other way around? Like so many shopaholics I can’t resist the gleaming appeal of an object, and the objects I desire most are stories, which are not tangible objects but can of course be made so, and once they are I must have them. Do you remember the part in Disney’s The Little Mermaid where Ariel has a private grotto full of junk she treasures? A conch shell; a beheaded statue of a man, thrusting a sword heroic? Like books, to Ariel these objects hold stories. Objects are so captivating, and this is […]