reviews

Not Every Kid-Bond Matures

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/11/2017 - 5:44am in

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reviews


The summation Kids These Days gives us is harrowing: here is a generation hurrying to give in to the unremitting, unforgiving commodification of the self. Malcolm Harris predicts a future of debt servitude, confinement for the “malfunctioning,” worsening misogyny (though his gender analysis is less coherent than the rest of his argument), and total surveillance. Millennials, that is, are the first generation to live in the dystopia to come.

Borgland

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 26/10/2017 - 4:00am in

How did a sculptor with neo-Confederate leanings find a home in one of the twentieth century’s most influential liberal salons?

Dissecting the moral panic over Safe Schools

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 07/10/2017 - 5:04pm in

How fabulous it would be if the homophobes’ fears came true, and marriage equality really did place a tidal wave of pressure on schools to ditch the old and not-so-hidden curriculum of rigid gender roles and heterosexual standards.

Despite a marriage equality victory feeling closer, we are in the shadow of a vitriolic backlash against education programs that affirm the existence of LGBTI people.

Now even marriage equality advocates are distancing themselves from any demands for an LGBTI enlightenment in the education system. “Yes” campaign “fact checks” abound pointing out that the vote is “just about marriage”, reassuring supposedly anxious parents that the, “State Government and your local school decide what gets taught in the classroom, and updating the Marriage Act will not change that.” School principals promise that uniforms will remain gender segregated.

Benjamin Law’s Quarterly Essay “Moral Panic 101” is a timely dissection of the 2016 backlash against the Safe Schools program, the non-compulsory set of resources that schools could use to progress toward (or even just gesture in the general direction of) eliminating LGBTI school bullying.

He shows how the crazed ravings of right-wing Murdoch journalists like Miranda Devine, Piers Ackerman and Natasha Bita set an agenda that State and Federal Liberal politicians were all too willing to add their own frothing conservative moralism to.

The “moderates” in the Coalition like Malcolm Turnbull capitulated to internal pressure to “review” the material. Then, against the advice of the review panel, Education Minister Simon Birmingham gutted the program and ultimately ended its federal funding.

This was a dress rehearsal for the talking points the right is trying to use to derail marriage equality. The same homophobic and transphobic moral panic has also resulted in a ban on public schools in NSW screening Gayby Baby, a documentary about growing up with gay parents, and a ban on NSW teachers revealing to students that gender roles are socially constructed! The principal of private Anglican girls school Kambala in Sydney resigned in April after a campaign of moral panic against her for hiring and retaining gay teachers. The prospect of ending religious schools’ right to fire and expel LGBTI teachers and students feels more distant, despite the rainbows, yes signs and love hearts around the country.

Safe Schools’ aims

Law’s account reveals how unimposing and modest the Safe Schools program actually is. The program was designed to address widespread and out of control homophobic and transphobic bullying. La Trobe University’s 2010 Writing Themselves In Again report found it had actually increased in the past decade, with 61 per cent of LGBTI young people reporting verbal abuse and 18 per cent physical abuse.

Safe Schools’ advocates consistently promote it as a public health response to LGBTI mental health and suicide rates.

No school that is a signatory has been required to do anything practical at all—the program’s lesson plans are wholesomely pitched, the training sessions and “guidance and consultation” on making school policies more inclusive and accepting are optional (and unavailable federally from 31 October).

As Law points out, this makes the fulmination and lies about schools teaching “radical gay sex” all the more preposterous.

It’s not included in Law’s account, but this unenforceable approach has sometimes been to the frustration of LGBTI students and staff. In 2014, one school signed up to the Safe Schools Coalition in Victoria banned a student from taking a same-sex partner to the formal, and Safe Schools’ response was not to condemn the school for discrimination but gently to suggest it review its policies. Another Safe Schools principal stopped a student LGBTI group from forming and campaigning for marriage equality.

Law concludes by encouraging us to “think of the children” for whom Safe Schools was designed. But his own account shows that we need much more than sensible ideas to support young people.

If a backlash can kill such modest gestures towards tackling homophobia, we need a movement willing to confront and challenge the conservative agenda head on.

That would mean marriage equality advocates declaring the campaign will not stop until we win compulsory and enforceable Safe Schools reforms, with no exemptions for religious schools or cowardly principals. It would mean teachers, supported by their unions, publicly defying the NSW bans by screening Gaby Baby and letting kids in on the state secret that gender roles are not biologically hard-wired. It would mean public and private school teachers fighting together for full protection for LGBTI teachers—including the elimination of precarious contracts.

Turnbull’s plebiscite has given the right another opportunity to organise homophobic hatred. A strong “yes” vote is important, but for it to be meaningful blow to the right, the “Yes” campaign should be a full and confident challenge to all the homophobia coming from the “No” side. This means supporting mandatory curriculum reforms like Safe Schools, and an end to religious exemptions to anti-discrimination law.

By Lucy Honan

Moral Panic 101: Equality, acceptance and the Safe Schools scandal
Quarterly Essay 67
By Benjamin Law
$22.99

The post Dissecting the moral panic over Safe Schools appeared first on Solidarity Online.

The Hell You Say

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 31/08/2017 - 7:42am in

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Drink Like a Grown-Up

By The League of Extraordinary Drinkers

Truer Title: Drink Like a Smug Hipster

The book starts out well enough— raising a hue and cry against sugary drinks designed to disguise the taste of liquor—then it’s straight downhill from there.

Twenty pages in and two ideas begin to emerge: First, The League of Extraordinary Drinkers’ idea of an adult is a pretentious hipster. Their snotty assertion that adults don’t drink crappy macrobeers is elitist bullshit. Go down to your local VFW on a Friday night and see what the real fucking adults are drinking: crap beer and well liquor.

Second, the authors decided at some point they were writing a Young Adult novel. The “humor,” the patois, the dumbed-down dialog all speak to the notion that they’re addressing a gang of half-formed imbeciles. For example, did you know rum is the Shia Labeouf of liquors? Why so? Because college kids drink rum on Spring Break, that’s why.

And that’s just the tip of this idiotic iceberg. In the opening chapter, the Daiquiri and Pina Colada, among many others, are called out as examples of those “truly absurd” college-kid drinks that should be disdained and avoided. Then, a few goddamn pages pages later, there’s the freaking Daiquiri and Pina Colada in the section of drinks that adults should drink. It’s plain The League needs to have a meeting and get their silly fucking rules straight.

Then, after all that halfwittery, they do what every other shitty drinking book does—a chapter on drinkware (where it’s recommended that you drink a bourbon rocks out of a shot glass), followed by the same goddamn collection of cocktail recipes you’ll find in every other goddamn drink book.

Also? If you’re going to tight-ass it around calling yourself a “sustainable global citizen” or whatever the fuck in every chapter, you don’t get to throw around stereotypes, not even the two that society still allows, namely poor Appalachian whites and the Jersey Shore/Hamptons “douchebags.” (There used to be three, but the feminists put the kibosh on the Dumb Blonde jokes.)

The only reason anyone should buy this book is as a gift for a drinking buddy who needs fucking with. Then, if you’re lucky, he’ll just glance at the title, say, “Ho-ho, ya got me, buddy, I’ll getcha back,” then throw it in the bin. Just hope he doesn’t take a look at what’s inside because then he just might take a swing at you. Or worse, he’ll read the book and take it to heart, and then you’ll have to beat the hell out of him, for his own good.

I’m not the least bit surprised no one wanted to put their actual name on this fucking travesty because in a truly righteous world the authors would be chased down Bourbon Street by a pack of wild dogs.

The last page of the book, which I should have read first, tells me all I need to know about The League: “Some of our members drank too much over the years and decided booze no longer fits in life’s plan.”

And yet these washed-up fucks still think they can tell the rest of us how to drink. In-fucking-credible.

 

Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die

By Chris Santella

Truer Title: Arbitrary Bucket List for Dilettantes

The 50 Places weren’t doggedly sought out by the author, but are instead offered up by 50 other people, many of whom are bare-faced shills for special interests. For example, the Governor of Colorado offers up Denver, and Sam Koch, CEO of the Boston Beer Company? Why, he recommends a tour of the fucking Boston Beer Company. The guy who runs the Telluride Beer Festival? Telluride! Half the goddamn write-ups read like press releases from the geographically nearest tourist board.

Other recommendations seem entirely arbitrary. For example, Island Park, ID is put forth because some lady likes to fly fish there. So naturally it should be one of the Top 50 Fucking Places to Drink Beer Before You Die. I mean, why the fuck not? Some random broad fly fishes there!

Finishing the book, I come away with two strong feelings: 1) the author’s idea of “drinking” doesn’t extend beyond two craft beers, three if he’s feeling batshit crazy, and 2) he wanted to write 50 Places to Show Off Your New Patagonia Jacket Before You Die but his agent told him trading that jacket for beer would make it more saleable.[1]

All that said—if you have a subscription to The New Yorker and three beers is your limit, then this book might be right up your alley.

  1. It turns out Mr. Santella has cranked out a whole slew of books about places to go do things before you die, including Fifty Places to Fly Fish, Play Golf, Sail, Camp, Dive, Hike, Paddle, etc. I’m going to assume the paddling involves a canoe.

Book Review: Basic Income as a ‘realistic revolution of the welfare state’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 22/08/2017 - 12:37am in

Basic Income stabilizes the overall domestic consumption and provides a kind of regulation for the ratio between expenditures and savings.

The post Book Review: Basic Income as a ‘realistic revolution of the welfare state’ appeared first on BIEN.

The Economics of Imperialism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 18/08/2017 - 12:41pm in

by Philip Roddis, via Steel City Scribblings The most important book I’ve read in years is John Smith’s Imperialism in the Twenty-First Century: Globalization, Super-Exploitation and Capitalism’s Final Crisis. Here’s an abridged extract from its opening words: The collapse of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing textile factories, a bank and shops in an industrial district north of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, on 24 April 2013, killing 1,133 garment workers and wounding 2,500, was one of the worst workplace disasters in history. This disaster, and workers’ grief, rage, and demands for justice, stirred sympathy and solidarity from working people around the world— and a frantic damage-limitation exercise by the giant corporations that rely on Bangladeshi factories for their products yet deny any responsibility for the atrocious wages, living, and working conditions of those who produce all their stuff. Adding to the sense of outrage is the fact that, the day before, cracks had opened in the building’s structure. An initial inspection resulted in its evacuation and a recommendation that it remain closed. Next morning a bank and …

Heads Without Bodies

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 15/08/2017 - 4:13am in

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reviews, Film, TV


Trump went out of his way last year to let voters know he still believed they were guilty. This is how he thrives. Now he has grafted his head onto our collective body, with his horror-movie hairdo always in our face. Trump’s head is struggling to control our actions and responses the same way Milland’s head struggled to control Grier’s body in this cheap movie. The devil finds work where he can.

SPAIN: New book published: “Renta Básica contra la incertidumbre”

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 28/07/2017 - 8:59pm in

The new Spanish book "Basic Income against Uncertainty" updates the most important developments in basic income and discusses recent writings.

The post SPAIN: New book published: “Renta Básica contra la incertidumbre” appeared first on BIEN.

Review: Parijs presents ‘Basic Income’ book at Stanford

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 24/06/2017 - 10:09pm in

Philippe Van Parijs, co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, presented his latest book on Basic Income at Stanford University.

The post Review: Parijs presents ‘Basic Income’ book at Stanford appeared first on BIEN.

Sad and Boujee

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/06/2017 - 6:52am in

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Neglect is a fate all experimental writers risk, but if they happen to be black it can seem almost impossible to avoid. Everett always intended to chart his own course. He picked the novel up where Ishmael Reed had taken it, but pivoted away from Reed’s zaniness toward a prismatic allegorical realism, a constant reinvention of form designed to grapple with the vertiginous ends of America’s violent and often contradictory racial, economic, geographic, and sexual epistemologies—a project consonant in many ways with Wallace’s—but evidently not one that could generate the same kind of popular appeal.

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