Category: Literature

Crying Freedom: On Chris Berg, Andrew Bolt and Paul Ritchie

Crying Freedom: On Chris Berg, Andrew Bolt and Paul Ritchie

In October 1976 an aged Austrian economist assumed the podium in a Melbourne hotel and delivered, extempore, a speech that set libertarian hearts racing. The economist was Friedrich Hayek and the occasion was the Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), which was then in the process of transforming itself into a radical free-market think-tank of the […]

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Double Disillusion

Double Disillusion

First there was Trump, then there was Brexit, then there was the Australian Senate. Not all developments of equal moment, though underlying each of them, we are invited to believe, is a common foundation: disenchantment with the political class. Lashed by the winds of globalisation and regarding our dwindling pay packets with alarm, we are turning our backs on the […]

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A review of Meanjin (Vol 75, No 2)

A review of Meanjin (Vol 75, No 2)

The new issue of Meanjin arrives under a winter cloud. In a ‘note on funding’ placed next to his editorial, Jonathan Green announces that from 2017 the magazine will no longer receive financial support from the Australia Council, its application for four years of funding having been rejected in the last round of allocation decisions. Green expresses a hope that […]

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Future Perfect: Beyond the Delusional Present

Future Perfect: Beyond the Delusional Present

This essay was first published in Griffith Review: Imagining the Future. You can purchase a copy here. In ‘The Soul of Man under Socialism’ (1891), Oscar Wilde wrote that ‘A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.’ Certainly it […]

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The long wave goodbye: a review of Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism

The long wave goodbye: a review of Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism

‘This book makes no claim to be a “theory of everything”’ wrote Paul Mason at the start of Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere, his 2012 investigation of the many protest movements to have emerged in the wake of the global debt crisis. Written in the heat of the historical moment, that book was indeed more reportage than economic analysis, its […]

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A mood on the march?

A mood on the march?

Eight years on from the global debt crisis, the most remarkable thing about US politics is that it remains the same asinine, catchpenny charade that it was in the decades leading up to it. Notwithstanding the devotees of the Tea Party, who after grabbing the wrong end of the stick with both hands proceeded to beat themselves into irrelevance, and […]

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On Anti-Semitism, by Frederic Raphael

On Anti-Semitism, by Frederic Raphael

The first thing you find when you open Anti-Semitism is an Errata slip informing you that its author, Frederic Raphael, has mistaken D. H. Lawrence for T. E. Lawrence, Arthur Koestler for Arthur Schnitzler and the figure of 16,000 for 1,600 (the number of Jews killed in Jedwabne, Poland, in 1941). This is not a great start; one is entitled […]

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A review of Christopher Hitchens’ And Yet …

A review of Christopher Hitchens’ And Yet …

The front cover of And Yet … strikes a defiant note, showing its author, Christopher Hitchens, doing the two things that killed him: chugging large glasses of Johnnie Walker Black Label and smoking cigarettes down to the filter. But the more interesting challenge thrown down by this book – a collection of essays, reviews and opinion pieces published in the […]

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Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

Review: The Short and Excruciatingly Embarrassing Reign of Captain Abbott

‘Events, dear boy, events,’ British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan is said to have replied when asked what was most likely to blow his government off course. What goes for politicians goes for writers too, as I discovered for myself on 14 September, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. At that time I was writing my own book […]

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From the archive: the Auden centenary

Parnassus after all is not a mountain Reserved for A.1. climbers such as you; It’s got a park, it’s got a public fountain. The most I ask is leave to share a pew With Bradford or with Cottam, that will do … Reading these lines from ‘Letter to Lord Byron’ (1936) on this, the occasion of their author’s centenary, one […]

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