My 2019 Reading List

31/12/2019

Admittedly, I thought I had read more books than the ones on this list, but alas it is much smaller than anticipated when I compiled it. I wasn’t expecting anything huge, and 16 books is still a reasonable feat, in my view, but I can’t help but feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn’t get through more. I would, however, suggest that finishing university and keeping up with news events and analysis probably makes up for that. Nevertheless, these are the books I read this past year, with a few thoughts looking back on them and links to piece that refer to them.

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What War on Christmas?

28/12/2019

As with a lot of major holidays and events (Australia Day, ANZAC Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.) there is an annual outrage that repeats itself without any resolution whatsoever, whether one exists or not. This month, depending on which part of the internet you dwell in, you probably saw a lot of shouting over the “war on Christmas” that is being waged relentlessly. The most obvious culprits for this festive finality is the ill-defined “left”, or the “inner city”, whatever that refers to. As someone who lives close (-ish) to Brisbane and falls into this so-called “left”, I suppose, I can only blankly say a single word: What?

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Religious Discrimination Bill Is Just Hypocrisy and Contradiction

14/12/2019

Having read the latest draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, the Amendments made since the first draft, and rights groups/media reports on it, it is safe to say that the intent of this Bill is not to defend religious people against discrimination. Instead, it is a Bill designed to defend religious individuals and bodies in their own discrimination against others, using religion as a shield to do so. I will refer to Christianity/Catholicism in most examples, given they are the majority and are certainly the intended beneficiaries of this Bill.

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Rethinking the Definition of Radical

11/12/2019

Whenever the word radical is used in any context, it almost always has a relatively negative overtone. The word, like many in political discourse, arguably has no legitimate definition anymore. Synonymous with disorder, dramatic change, intense, etc. we allocate it to people and events that don’t fit the current norm. I contend that it should be the opposite, and that what we have considered the “norm” throughout time is what’s really been radical.

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Rich ≠ Trendy: Morrison’s Media PR

01/12/2019

But it can equal influential, that’s for sure. The media has yet again come to the Coalition’s rescue in the aftermath of one of their greatest defeats yet. What better way to sweep away the incompetence and authoritarianism of your out of touch party than to showcase your totally relatable wife in the media as a fashion influencer!

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Labor Has Mixed Approach to Unions

26/11/2019

The Labor party has, historically, been the party of the working class and the Union movement. This year, however, following their “surprise” election loss, they’ve opted for a more distanced approach from one of their greatest backers. Both on a State and a Federal level, there has been cause for praise and alarm, regarding policies that Labor has supported, from the Unions.

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Free Speech, Understanding, and Growth: Anarchism and Feminism

24/11/2019

I finished two books today. The first was The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman, which I’ve referenced in a few of my recent posts – well worth reading if you want to understand anarchist (specifically communist anarchism) ideas. The second, which was half the size and a much quicker read – hence finishing it within a few hours of the day – was Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto by Jessa Crispin. The title intrigued me, and rightfully so – it was also fascinating, although I admit it threw me in the deep end on feminist writing and thought. Both books had some rather similar suggestions and themes, which I thought were worth discussing.

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We Can’t Afford This Cycle

21/11/2019

We elected the Coalition into government in 2013, and twice since then in both 2016 and 2019. In NSW, the Coalition has also been voted in for three consecutive terms. My interest in politics didn’t start until 2015, and I’ve only voted in two Federal elections, but there is a very clear pattern that has emerged in that time that is incredibly worrying. The media is, as usual, one of the greatest contributors to this mess.

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Propaganda: Selecting and Misrepresenting Voices

18/11/2019

One of the things any book, article, or academic course on the media will (or should) tell you is that one of journalism’s flaws is agenda setting. Who frames the news, where they get the news, and who they get that information from are just some of the factors that go into structuring what consumers get to read and comment on. Australia is no exception, and as fires rage across the country’s east, many voices are being choked out by segments of the media.

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In Defence of Reforms

17/11/2019

I have slowly been reading through Alexander Berkman’s The ABC of Anarchism and it’s been quite interesting thus far. Reading the chapter on the reformer and politician, however, I come across one of the few disagreements with his ideas. It’s a relatively small point, but he condemns the reformer for essentially not being radical enough, suggesting that only major movements or revolution could make the necessary changes. I do agree, to an extent, but reforms shouldn’t be so easily dismissed.

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