Alex O'Brien

Australia is a country that will not be intimidated by its own decency. On 28 August 2001, as a detail of Special Air Services soldiers was dispatched to MV Tampa, Prime Minister John Howard spoke about the 438 people – mostly Afghan Hazaras – who languished aboard the freighter ...

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Much travel is unpleasant (with over-expectations, too many tourists, and long distances from Australia), but even the sedentary or timorous persist with it in some ‘misguided duty to culture’, as Brendan Shanahan describes in his first collection of essays, Mr Snack and the Lady Water. Assembling journeys from the mid-1990s until now, Shanahan reco ...

The 2013 Voiceless Anthology edited by J.M. Coetzee et al.

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March 2013, no. 349

‘Death has a dual character,’ Zadie Smith writes in her novel The Autograph Man (2002); ‘it seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time’. Popular culture is currently awash with cookery programs and diet fads, yet the lives of animals, and the industries that deal in their deaths, have never been more absent from city life. It seems reas ...

Weary of the standard Hollywood pap, Samuel Goldwyn reportedly told his writers, ‘Let’s have some new clichés.’ In Reframe: How to Solve the World’s Trickiest Problems, his first book, Eric Knight sets about recasting corporate culture’s platitude to ‘think outside the box’. ...

Whether the focus is on Japanese whaling or the slaughter of livestock in Indonesia, the Australian public has strong views on how animals should be treated abroad – less so when the problem is closer to home. Anna Krien’s Quarterly Essay is an incisive narrative account of our ‘nuanced and often contradictory relationship’ with animals: ranging from the live cattle trade to our use of primates in science, to our attempts to control native wildlife populations through cyclical breeding and culling.

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In the past, a twenty-something could exemplify le dernier cri without having to dispense with his bicycle gears, reflectors, and brakes. Worry not. An infinitely cooler trend – less prone to vehicular mishap – is doubtless on its way to erase fixed-gear bikes, or ‘fixies’, from the palimpsest that is sub-cultural fashion. HipsterMattic, blogger Matt Granfield’s amusing début memoir, records his entrée into the fickle world of sartorial politics, organic produce, and National Bike Polo Championships.

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