(The following piece is my essay assessment for Media and Society at the University of Queensland).
The Australia Day debate surrounding the “Change the Date” movement has generated growing controversy every year as we get closer and closer to January 26th. The aim of the movement is to move Australia Day away from the darker and more brutal aspects of Australia’s history, much of which sprung from the declaration of a British penal colony in 1788. Rather than a celebration, many dissident voices view the day as one of mourning, the beginning of an invasion and wiping out of the indigenous populations and their land and traditions. Much has been done in recent decades to cement the dominant hegemonic view of a celebratory white (and generally male) experience, including attempts to sanitise this image (Brooker, 2017)1.
Continue reading “Australia Day: Triple J, MLA, and the Symbolic Smokescreen”
George Orwell is a name everyone learns, at least in the West as far as I know, during school. Animal Farm and 1984 are the two books written by him that we are told to read and write some analysis of. They are both antitotalitarian works, with Animal Farm being based on the Russian Revolution and led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and 1984 being a scary predictor of surveillance. And that’s about it. That’s all I learned about him in school. Of course, there’s much more, and not all of it is good.
The Twitter hellscape was quick to mob me on that.
Continue reading “On George Orwell”
It has become a bit of a cliché in movies, TV shows, games, etc. when in or around some walled off or secure location to suggest, “what if it was not meant to keep us out, but to keep something in”. The Flood in Halo, for some reason, is the first that comes to mind. I recently finished reading Against the Grain by James C. Scott about the earliest history of whar we would now call “States”, the beginnings of “civilisation”. When we think of walls and borders, it’s usually in relation to keeping things or people out. But it has the inverse effect too – borders keep us in thrall to the State.
Continue reading “The Abolition of Borders Requires Abolishing the State”
The art of communication has become highly coveted in today’s global and highly connected societies and economies. Whether it’s PR spinning a positive image for a corporation, a creative team selling a hit advertising campaign, or journalists telling the news, professional communicators reach into every aspect of our lives. Some can, and do, have immense power over our perceptions of reality, particularly in the political realm. But while these communicators have the power to disperse meaning, they aren’t always the ones making it.
Continue reading “The Management of Meaning in Australian Journalism”
Due to a complete lack of direction in life and an astounding cynicism towards the systems that govern it, I have returned to university to study the so-called final and sacred vanguard holding the world’s democracies up like Atlas does the globe – journalism! Buckle up, it’s a journey to piss off some academics and “professional communicators”!
Continue reading “First Year Textbook DESTROYS My Career”
This is a strange argument I see from a lot of “conservative” voices online, usually in the form of a disingenuous attack on decent social and economic policy and as a defense for the “free market”. The rationale behind it is that past generations had to work hard and pay their dues to reach where they are today, so all these entitled young folk need to sit down and wait in line. They must struggle and face the same uphill battles, otherwise it is (somehow) an injustice to those who came before.
But isn’t life supposed to get better for future generations as society “improves”?
Continue reading “All Must Suffer as History Did: Student Debt”
Through the rambling redundant sections, forced jokes (except the one that sounded like something straight out of a Discworld novel*), and seemingly irrelevant personal anecdotes, the book The Knowledge Illusion: The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom has (thankfully) offered up a few worthwhile points as I read it. In particular, the discussion on intuition and deliberation was interesting. Intuition is your immediate response to something, whereas deliberation is taking a moment to properly consider and reflect on it beforehand (or in hindsight). With social media today however, especially in political circles, many people do “deliberate” – they just get someone else to do it for them.
Continue reading “Outsourcing Deliberation: Political Misinformation Online”
I recently bought a book (which has joined my daunting and ever growing to-be-read pile) called The Knowledge Illusion. The subtitle really caught my eye: “The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom”. Perhaps the book may change my mind on the individual thought front – I think individual thought is still extremely important and powerful – but the notion of collective wisdom had me making parallels with other fields, from neuroscience to the cosmos. I think it is undeniable, if not plainly obvious, that creating a community of open knowledge is a natural and necessary part of any society or group.
Continue reading “Communities of Knowledge: The Power of Networks”
As this rather wretched and exhausting year comes to a close, I looked back at my list from 2019 and laughed sadly at my optimistic plans to read more in 2020. Perhaps I did when you count news, analysis, etc. online, but in terms of books it was disastrously minimal. However, the books I did read offered brilliant insights or just fascinating bits of knowledge. So, in no real order:
Continue reading “My 2020 Reading List”
It has been generally accepted that the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam in November 1975 was a “soft coup”. It was the culmination of various tensions between Whitlam and the United States, namely its intelligence communities (and, by extension, our own). One of the oft cited reasons was Whitlam’s purported opposition to the US’ bases within Australia, perhaps the most infamous of which is Pine Gap in Alice Springs. But did Australia’s arguably best Prime Minister actually oppose them as public perception believes?
Continue reading “Did Gough Whitlam Play Us or the US?”