The Dying Citizen

(By Victor Davis Hanson) (2021) This is a thought-provoking argument that the classical concept of citizenship (the essence of a democratic nation) as developed and refined from the Greeks, Romans, and ‘aristocratic’ revolutionaries, is becoming denuded of meaning or relevance, and that a new tribalism (subject to a new “balkanized spoils system“) is fast replacing it, per the convenience of the governing elites (on the divide-and-rule paradigm). The author ranges wide but without attenuation, contrasting citizens with peasants (we prefer the more colouful term ‘peons’), residents and tribes, and then showing how the very concept of American citizenship – necessary…

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The Slap

April 13, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, LIFE, Ulalume |

(28 March 2022) Black velvety tunics, At a gang-bang held for eunuchs, When a joke that tasted sour Brought a show of feeble power And the man who did disparage Proved the sham that was his marriage. He laughed, then quivered at the cold Of his woman’s eyes, and so he rolled On stage and did lash out; Returning to his seat, to shout. Such doglike devotion Gives the world a certain notion; Laud a neuter to the nation Or fix degrees of separation? ———————————————- [We’d rather read Chris Tsiolkas.]

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Nitram

March 28, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Untethered

(Directed by Justin Kurzel) (2021) Suspense need not be a mystery. Out of the so-called 7 plots, the dramatist’s art is to finesse the selected one. As with Shakespeare, it matters not that we know the ending. In Nitram (‘Martin’ backwards, as is Martin), the story (about Martin Bryant, going ‘postal’ in April 1996) is notorious. Here, the director creates an intimate, very private background to a very public tragedy, and does it with great depth of feeling and beautiful pacing. It is a small town saga (the south-east coast of Victoria standing in for Port Arthur, probably for political…

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The Power Broker

(Robert Moses and the Fall of New York) (by Robert A. Caro, 1974) That this brick of a book (well over a thousand pages) about public infrastructure is so compelling is due to, first, its traverse of key decades in the rise of America (1920s to the 1960s); second, the author’s awesome depth of research and keen grasp of his subject; and third, the subject himself: the most famous public official in New York (perhaps America), Robert Moses (18 December 1888 – 29 July 1981), a humanities man, without engineering qualifications, who yet singlehandedly matched the Pharaohs and the Romans in…

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Icehouse

Adelaide Oval’s Village Green, 8 February, 2022 ‘Icehouse’ were never really the techno-guys they were painted as – Nothing to Do from their first (best?) album (when they were ‘Flowers’) is a song Lou Reed would have liked to write and perform – and this terrific retrospective, conceived around the 40th anniversary of the inaugural release of Great Southern Land, written by Iva Davies in homage to Australia and its landscape while homesick on the band’s first overseas tour, showed how their hits were basically great rock/pop, performed by a band that is pretty much as cohesive and professional as…

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