Articles on Friday essay

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Charlie Pickering may be a witty and intelligent young man, but he’s too reassuring a presence compared to surveyors of the edge of chaos. ABC

Friday essay: why is Australian satire so rarely risky?

Today's screen satire frequently preaches to the converted. Fortunately, there are some notable exceptions that can skewer even the most progressive of viewers.
Nora Heysen, Self-portrait 1934 oil on canvas 43.1 x 36.3 cm. National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Purchased 1999 © Lou Klepac

Friday essay: Nora Heysen, more than her father’s daughter

Nora Heysen was the first woman to be awarded the Archibald Prize, but for most of her life she was defined not by her art, but by her relationship to her famous father, the artist Hans Heysen.
Nurse Ratched in the 1975 film One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Netflix is now producing a TV series built around this character, to star Sarah Paulson. Fantasy Films

Friday essay: saints or monsters, pop culture’s limited view of nurses

To the public, nursing is much like teaching work – known to be valuable, but not worthy of much critical attention. Accordingly, nursing is rarely represented in any depth in popular culture.
Lower Snug looking across North West Bay to Mt Wellington, Tasmania. Cassandra Pybus

Friday essay: lost and found in the Tasmanian bush

Alone and adrift in Melbourne, Cassandra Pybus returned on a whim to her childhood home of Tasmania. There, she rediscovered nature's power, encountering the island's difficult history as well as her own.
A scene from the 1961 film West Side Story. The casting of an Australian performer as Maria in a local production of the musical was recently criticised for ‘white washing’ a story about a Puerto Rican immigrant. The Mirisch Corporation,Seven Arts Productions

Friday essay: identity politics and the case for shared values

Our identity unquestionably shapes (and can limit) how we interact with the world. But it should not become the only foundation upon which we build our understanding of it.
Children at Norseman Mission. The author’s mum, Violet Newman is in the middle row on the far left. Image from the collection of Elsie Lambadgee (dec.)

Friday essay: back to Moore River and finding family

Aileen Marwung Walsh's grandparents were sent to the Moore River Native Settlement, of Rabbit Proof Fence infamy, half a century ago. In 2018, 100 years after the settlement's founding, she returned.
Donald and Melania Trump in Paris last week. According to the Washington Post, the president has made 6,420 false or misleading comments in 649 days. Ian Langsdon/EPA

Friday essay: turning up the level of civilisation

US president Donald Trump's industrial scale deception has dangerous implications everywhere. What then, can we do to foster a more civilised society?
Biologists are gathering evidence of green algae (pictured here in Kuwait) becoming carbohydrate-rich but less nutritious, due to increased carbon dioxide levels. As science fiction becomes science fact, new forms of storytelling are emerging. Raed Qutena

Friday essay: how speculative fiction gained literary respectability

As we enter the age of the Anthropocene, there is a growing recognition of different kinds of 'un-real' storytelling.
Hydra 1960, including Leonard Cohen (bearded, left) and Redmond Wallis (centre right in cotton shirt). Photographer unknown. Reproduced with the permission of Dorothy Wallis.

Friday essay: a fresh perspective on Leonard Cohen and the island that inspired him

Leonard Cohen's final (posthumous) book was released in Australia this week. Another new book sheds light on Cohen's life on Hydra in the 1960s and the relationships he forged with Antipodeans seeking liberation there.
Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie (centre) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in 2016. Pixie’s Instagram account has more than 100,000 followers and she has a signature line of hair bows. Dan Himbrechts

Friday essay: family as ‘brand’ – the rise of the digital mumpreneur

A growing number of parents are making money out of their children by turning them into social media celebrities. But the chimera of corporate branding is no antidote for lives lived in precarious times.
Amy Adams played an inter-species linguist in the 2016 film Arrival but she was a rarity. Most Hollywood films depict scholars as heroic males. IMDB

Friday essay: where are the female academics on film?

For decades, academics have been portrayed as brilliant, heroic men on our cinema screens. It's time to tell the story of more heroic female scholars. Here are some suggestions.
Nick Cave performing with The Bad Seeds in Budapest in June. His song lyrics, with those often melancholy, churchy organ chords, are dripping in references to what might be called sacredness. Zoltan Balogh/EPA

Friday essay: popular music’s search for the sacred in a secular world

The enquiry into sacredness is not over, it’s just beginning for the 21st century, and in wildly disparate modes and places. In music, Nick Cave, Hozier and Dr G. Yunupingu have led the way.
Government MPs raise their hands in response to a question from Scott Morrison: our PM emulates a Pentecostal preacher, engaging in the call and response that features in that tradition. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Friday essay: what do we want to be when we grow up?

We need a new national narrative, for reasons of diplomacy, trade and social cohesion and to grapple with many global challenges. The humanities and social sciences will be vital in shaping it.

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