I agree with Andrew West that Nick Bryant has written a very interesting book (ABR, January–February 2020), but I am puzzled by West’s dichotomy between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris along the lines of social democratic versus social media left. Indeed, I wonder whether there isn’t some lazy assumptions at work in his claiming that Harris as vice president ‘will demand attention to group rights based on ethnicity, sex, sexuality and gender’. When she was running for the Democratic nomination, Harris clashed with Biden around her support for Medicare for all, i.e. exactly the sort of social democratic program that West favours. There is little evidence that they differ in supporting moves for greater equality around the issues that West seems to believe are confined to social media activists.
Dennis Altman, Clifton Hill, Vic.
Sara M. Saleh
Sara M. Saleh’s poem ‘A Poetics of Fo(u)rgetting’ is evocative and powerfully political. Hers is an important voice in Australian and international dialogue.
Karen Robinson (online comment)
Blind to shortcomings
On reading the online version of Samuel Watt’s article ‘This Is America’, it occurs to me that perhaps the strangest aspect of human intelligence is that people are blind to their intellectual shortcomings and indeed quite satisfied with their quota. What has changed is that people who have little comprehension of the tenuous nature of democracy have been mobilised by social media and that most inimitable capacity for caprice of the human being, so accurately captured in Dostoevsky’s novella Notes from the Underground.
Patrick Hockey (online comment)
Lara Stevens’s article blatantly erases the real issue that people had with Casey Jenkins (ABR, December 2020): specifically that donor-conceived people (DCP) don’t want our conception used as entertainment when our circumstances have caused many of us real and lasting trauma. They can do what they want with their body, but DCP trauma should not be on display like that.
Cassandra (online comment)
Advance Australia Now
During the pandemic, many of us have watches a deluge of television as we isolate and lockdown. Several things have become apparent, the main one being the dearth of Australian content on the many streaming services. These are somehow exempt from the Australian quota. This needs to change.
Due to the global pandemic, Australia is now in the box seat in terms of film and television production. Our services and country can excel like never before. We’re all aware of the success of the local film The Dry, starring Eric Bana, plus plenty of local television in 2021, apart from the welter of sport, which is a given. It is a case of Advance Australia now.
Thanks to everyone who is contributing to arts commentary at a time when the arts have been crippled by Covid-19.
Jenny Esots, Willunga, SA
Thank you for publishing Michael Halliwell’s terrific and informative review of Opera Australia’s new production of Ernani in Sydney. I can but hope that we will eventually see this production in Melbourne. Early Verdi is a rare treat.
Barney Zwartz (online comment)