We’re Over the Archibald

May 11, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA, Ulalume |

Comparisons are odious to the worthless - contrast Raphael's Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione with...

May 10, 2019 The Archibald prize, handed out by the Sydney-based Art Gallery of NSW, this year goes to Tony Costa, of Sydney (how convenient), for his portrait of Lindy Lee pretending to meditate. It has a vague similarity to a cartoon image from South Park. We’ve already weighed-in to this so-called competition and even given you the names of those responsible. TheVarnished Culture had hoped our pleas for decent fine art might be heeded, but in vain.  We expect to have had our last words on the subject.

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Les Murray

17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019 A canonical poet, Murray couldn’t be bothered either to hide his faults or his reactionary tendencies. As Peter Porter wrote of him: “A skewer of polemic runs through his work. His brilliant manipulation of language, his ability to turn words into installations of reality, is often forced to hang on an embarrassing moral sharpness. The parts we love – the Donne-like baroque – live side by side with sentiments we don’t: his increasingly automatic opposition to liberalism and intellectuality.” And in fact, his vast body of work is somewhat uneven and even, at…

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Intellectual Freedom

April 18, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume |

From a recent judgment by Judge Vasta in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Ridd v James Cook University [2019] FCCA 997 (16 April 2019): “Intellectual freedom is also known as academic freedom. It is a concept that underpins universities and institutions devoted to higher learning. Obviously such institutions must have administrators that care for the governance and proper direction of the institution. However, the mission of these institutions must undoubtedly be the search for knowledge which leads to a quest for truth. In reality, intellectual freedom is the cornerstone of this core mission of all institutions of higher learning. This is so…

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It’s Tiger Time

April 8, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, LIFE |

Glenelg v Adelaide, Glenelg Oval (ACH Group Stadium), 5 April 2019 There was a stiff but tricky breeze all night at the Bay but after half time, it scarcely mattered. The Tigers dominated the second half, kicking 11 goals to 4. Liam McBean announced himself as our new Colin Churchett / Fred Phillis / Robbie Walter / John Fidge by bagging 9 goals (the difference between the sides score-wise) but actually, all played well: a nice bounce-back from being robbed at Norwood the week before. Adelaide coach Heath Younie looked like a man walking to the guillotine at the end…

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Eurovision Australia 2019

February 11, 2019 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

[Eurovision Australian Heats, February 9, 2019.] Since Australia’s first Eurovision entry in 2015 Guy Sebastian’s “Tonight Again’, we have cheered Dami Im (second in 2016 (she was robbed)) and have cringed at Jessica Mauboy, notably referred to by ‘The Spectator’ magazine as a ‘vast caterwauling aboriginal‘. Finally we antipodeans have had the opportunity to vote (as if it hasn’t all been decided beforehand) on our entrant. The final, from the appropriately kitsch Gold Coast, Queensland, was shown on SBS and hosted by a chipper Joel Creasy (“trilingual” in English, Millenial and Drag-Queen) and an uncomfortable Myf Warhurst in unflattering hot pink. Each of the…

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