Surrounded by Angels, by Carl Schweninger der Jungere, 1912. Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay

Friday essay: what might heaven be like?

Notions of heaven have changed through the ages, from an eternity centred on God to a more secular place where loved ones will reunite.
With strong female leads such as Rey, Star Wars merchandise has tended to be sold in its own ‘destination’ section of stores rather than gendered toy aisles.

Kids' play

Beyond pink and blue: the quiet rise of gender-neutral toys

Ken dolls with a 'man bun'. Female superhero action figures. At long last, the gendered distinctions of the pink and blue toy aisles are starting to break down.
Bernard Herrmann’s music for the final scene in Psycho fragments and breaks down, echoing the psychotic episode experienced by the character Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Graphics: Emil Jeyaratnam/The Conversation; Image: Still from 'Psycho' (1960)

Close Up

The great movie scenes: Hitchcock’s Psycho and the power of jarring music

In this episode of Close-up, Bruce Isaacs contrasts the unsettling musical score from Hitchcock’s Psycho with Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.
Happy and Holy: Barry Otto as Tockey, Ruth Cracknell as Cecilia McManus, Graham Rowe as Denny, Ron Hadrick as O'Halloran in a 1982 production by the Sydney Theatre Company. Photographer David Wilson.

Great Australian plays

When the cultural cringe abated: Australian drama in the 1970s

The 1970s transformed Australian drama. It was a time of imaginative brilliance as the Empire wrote back.
A stick insect in Borneo: variation and natural selection has resulted in insects with the astonishing ability to mimic features in their natural environment. Shutterstock

Guide to the classics

Guide to the classics: Darwin’s On the Origin of Species

In this age of the pseudo-factual, its more important than ever to acquaint ourselves with the foundations of the scientific tradition, such as Darwin's Origin of Species.
The courts are, or can be, theatres of remorse. Shutterstock

Friday essay

Friday essay: how do you measure remorse?

In many legal jurisdictions of the world, including Australia, an offender’s remorse is a mitigating factor at sentencing. And yet how judges evaluate such expressions is unclear.
Artist Nyapanyapa Yunipingu is assisted by art centre worker Jeremy Cloake at Buku-Larrnngay Art Centre,Yirrkala. Siobhan McHugh

Art

Aboriginal art: is it a white thing?

White people hugely influence the Aboriginal art world – but that can be a good thing, according to the artists.
The study shared by Donald and Myfanwy Horne photographed in 2014. Karl Schwerdtfeger Photography.

The life of the mind

An armchair, a desk and 4000 books: the Horne family study gets a second life

A new room will open at the NSW State LIbrary today, furnished with objects from Donald and Myfanwy Horne's study. Their daughter, Julia, reflects here on a writing partnership and the room that fostered it.
A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Chris Haych/flickr

Aboriginality

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

A mossy sanctuary in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges houses 92 sculptures, mostly of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men, women and children. They are steeped in primitivism, yet the park is a popular tourist attraction.
Meghan Markle’s mixed race identity has been the topic of conversation leading up to her wedding to Prince Harry. That’s a good thing. WEN COOBAN / BRITISH MINISTRY OF DEFENCE / HANDOUT

Identity

Meghan Markle and why being ‘mixed race’ matters in Australia

Journalist Stan Grant has argued that we need to stop talking about Meghan Markle's 'mixed race' identity. But our society still categorises people according to race - and we need to discuss this.

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