A digest of the best of the blogosphere published each weekday and compiled by Ken Parish, gilmae, Gummo Trotsky, Amanda Rose, Tim Sterne, Jen McCulloch and Stephen Hill
Random photo from Flickr – page 1 of 72,701 hits for “teenager”. Is this more or less “sexualised” than those of Bill Henson? Does the nakedness of some of the latter make them porn? How do you “sexualise” teenagers who spend much of their time obsessed with sexuality anyway? Would a pedophile be more or less aroused by a Henson shot than by the innocently posed kiddie underwear models in Target catalogues? Is the incidence of child sexual abuse rising or falling? Would it be reduced by banning publication of all images of children under (say) 16? Or only “sexualised” ones? Would teenagers be less likely to develop anorexia or depression if the media didn’t “sexualise” them? Who decides what is unacceptable “sexualisation”? The police? Kevin Rudd? Hetty Johnson? Roslyn Oxley Gallery? Me? What will be the next issue to obsessively occupy the fleeting attention span of blogosphere and talkback radio? How can I stop myself typing these bloody rhetorical questions?
Graham details the Queensland electorate redistribution.
tigtog is contemptuous of Glenn Milne’s attempt to smear Darren McCubbin, the ALP candidate in the Gippsland by-election. Brendan Nelson tragic in denial, The Editor, despises Brendan for repeating the smear in Parliament. Andrew Landeryou notes that Brendan has dropped Ted Baillieu right in it.
tigtog applauds ABC’s passing of a journalistic standards test/survey, but churlishly suggests its TV current affairs programs have deteriorated through the imposition of balance requirements.
John Quiggin and Robert Merkel are both mightily unimpressed by Labor government noises about removing GST on petrol, and comforted only by their vagueness. Meanwhile Trevor Cook looks at the leaking of a letter from Mar’n Ferguson opposing the proposed Labor FuelWatch scheme. Mark Bahnisch, Peter Martin and Jeremy also take a gander at the issue.
Euthanasia supporter Niall Cook has severe doubts about its imposition by bureaucrats by backdoor means.
Andrew Norton lays out the welcome mat for a new left-wing think tank.
Ralph Buttigeg feels the pain of the (ADF) man (not) in the (Iraqi) street.
Roger Migently looks at a US military decision unlikely to endear occupying forces to the Afghan people.
Derek Barry reports on Rupert’s appointment of a new publisher for The Wall Street Journal.
wmmbb thinks Paul Krugman makes a better economist than political analyst.
Lauredhel lays into the Beijing Olympics guide for volunteers.
At openDemocracy, Antoni Kapcia looks at Cuba after Castro.
Peter Martin approves proposals by the Business Council of Australia to pay the best teachers top dollar. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Andrew Leigh advocates a randomised trial.11. KP: But all teachers reckon they’re great and hard-working whereas a significant proportion are ordinary at best and less than diligent. You’d need to create an entire structure of teacher quality assessment, something that has been dismantled over the last 30 years or so at the behest of teachers’ unions. [↩]
Joshua Gans is begging for someone to tell him the ACTU’s parental leave proposal is just some sort of prank, some sort of joshing about.
Harry Clarke endorses road-use pricing and congestion taxes to encourage selective use of cars, rather than discourage car ownership. Later, he talks about an alternative,park and ride.
Peter Timmins points out that cracking down on political donations is one thing, but the Labr government has so far been much less keen to focus on the transparency of sitting MPs’ various electorate allowances.
Shirley Temple from her own website Shirley Temple.com (she titles it “cheesecake”). Can we expect an extradition warrant from Kevin?
Tim Dunlop reckons neither Kevin Rudd nor John McCain can argue the case for banning gay marriage.
Peter Martin is not crying for the poor private health companies and their no-care, levy evading policies.
Colin Campbell scoffs at a publicity stunt by Telstra and demands a level playing field in telecommunications.
Pavlov’s Cat offers some thoughts on Helen Garner’s new novel The Spare Room, exploring the manner in which Garner depicts the nature of friendship and considering Garner’s movement between fiction and non-fiction.
Video may have killed the radio star, but Kim ponders whether blogs are killing the literary critic.
Decomposting Trees offers a link to some streaming live footage of the Wordless Series concerts (includes Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood’s side project and Sigur Ros).
Boyd van Hoeij’s Cannes diary continues with coverage of Paulo Sorrentino’s new film Divo, II
After presenting a glossary of terms needed to make some sense of the intricate web of Italian power politics, Sorrentino hurries away from the conventions of stuffy political biopics as quickly as he can, using humour (including a quote from Andreottis mother), Fight Club-like camerawork and editing, explanatory credits that are mirrored or upside down before finding the right direction, a dryly witty voice over by Andreotti (Toni Servillo) and a frenetically cut sequence of natural deaths and murders associated at various times with the politician and his interests. Completely off-kilter and set to blaring punk music by Cassius, the sequence is a brilliant coup de theatre of a director who displays a confidence in his abilities like few other contemporary Italian directors do.
Arrest Martin Scorsese immediately! How did we all fail to notice? What’s more, he turned poor Jodie into a two-timing lesbian. See what “sexualising” images can do to an impressionable child?
Ming-Zhu after the Henson controversy suggests it is “let’s bash artists year” referring the Brendan Nelson’s opportunistic attempt to attack the Labor candidate for Gippsland over a production of Beautiful Losers. (SH – which I am assuming is an adaptation of the Leonard Cohen novel.) Fortunately, in Australia despite the bleatings of certain wowsers it hasn’t quite reached the point of book burning.) Also, Ben Peek provides an insightful commentary on Friday’s gallery seizures.
Returning to Henson’s show, however, what it illustrates is the further trend in our society to render adolescent behaviour as perfect, vanilla innocence. Marbles in recess, comic books at lunch, writing in diaries about dreamy boys… oh, wait, that last one is connected to sexuality as well. But I suppose, really, part of the issue here is the ‘adult’ that is Henson showing them, and since he is apparently the more knowing, more intelligent, and can be argued to be taking advantage of them. Never mind, of course, that he’s dealing with models, never mind that they’re being paid, never mind indeed. But that fantasy of the older man and younger girl is no more worth tarring with the one single brush of inappropriate than anything else in the world, especially given that the older woman and younger boy relationship is not met with as much disapproval. One might even wonder, in fact, with Henson had been a middle aged female showing the similar images–perhaps with a slant on males–if such an issue would have been raised, even? Such a question is rather silly, of course, but then the reaction to the whole thing, and society’s increasingly conservative and blinkered attitude to sexuality is.
Shooting Down Pictures has a new film-essay on The Outlaw Josey Wales.
Columbia University blog honours Memorial Day, interviewing Michael Sledge author of Soldier Dead: How We Recover, Identify, Bury, and Honour Our Military Fallen.
Scott Esposito’s Friday column returns to his reading of Thomas Mann’s Dr Faustus
Perhaps the thorniest subject Mann gets into in Faustus is to wonder whether art has moral content. Artists, and those who enjoy their work, seem to be generally sensitive to any attempts to mix art and morals; there’s a prevalent idea that to consider a work’s morality is somehow vulgar, dilettantish, beside the point, and I think a lot of people would simply disdain the question if it were raised. Perhaps a few braver souls would delve into the matter and come out simply looking foolish.
Shaun believes that NRL clubs might go broke if they keep playing at suburban clubs, but they’ll also go broke if they ignore their supporters, who seem to prefer the suburban clubs.
Moses at Beer and Sport previews the Waratahs versus Crusaders Super 14 final and resorts to faith in the face of statistics.
Meanwhile cricket bloggers (including Tony the Teacher) don’t seem to have had the intestinal fortitude to stay up and blog Australia’s win over the Windies (although Cricket-Blog belatedly posted a short review).
Snark, strangeness and charm
Jeremy says goodbye to a couple of blogs.22. KP: Including Marieke Hardy’s. There’s no accounting for taste I suppose, though I must say that of late I’ve actually found Marieke significantly less objectionable on First Tuesday Book Club than its oleaginous, vacuous, pretentious, inanely grinning host Jennifer Byrne. [↩]
Brigid Gread warns against swimming in shark-concocted waters.33. GT: In fairness to the various journalists decried in Brigid’s post, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that the waters weren’t infested with quantum shark wave functions. [↩]
Andrew Bartlett now has a premier as a namesake.
Niall Cook sings a paean to Mars Phoenix, the latest probe to land on the Red Planet, and to the capabilities of humanity. And if that’s not enough, the coolest photo in the solar system was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of Mars Phoenix in mid-descent. More? Mars Phoenix has a twitter feed.
Nicholas Gruen writes about his namesake shopping mall founder, in a post that’s both charming and strange but certainly not snarky.
Guide dog owner DeusExMacintosh tells a story that should get all decent FaceBook users seriously considering a mass desertion/boycott. Actually (oops! I hope Prince Philip isn’t reading) the more serious point is to underline that the sole purpose of social networking sites is to harvest and sell your personal details to advertisers. If you don’t provide enough of them they don’t let you play.
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