A Different Anthem

January 11, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian Politics, AUSTRALIANIA, POLITICS |

[Thoughts toward a final reconciliation of, or reckoning with, the Australian peoples, written in dejection at the news Melbourne’s 2021 Australia Day parade has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, whilst an “Invasion Day” dawn service will proceed, with the support of Melbourne City Council.] [We hope that the following thoughts do not fructify – Ed.] We have nominated our preferred date for Australia’s National Day of Celebration/Commiseration, and now consider possible alternatives to the current national anthem, recently adjusted by bureaucratic fiat to substitute “young and free” with “one and free” to suit the present generation’s designer mood. This…

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Cat’s Cradle

By Kurt Vonnegut (1963) *** Something of a succès d’estime in reverse, this book won admiration for its bleak humour, deadpan reportage and sci-fi elements, until the rot set in and everyone realised that it wasn’t hugely good, with its glib, jerky, episodic micro-chapters, cardboard characters and terrible snatches of verse. Vonnegut was not yet really a novelist; Cat’s Cradle is not really a novel. But here Kurt is an accumulator of ‘bits,’ an amasser of literary bitcoin, and some of his stock is quite brilliant.  His false religion, Bokononism, owes something to Spinoza, but with typical jokey authorial touches…

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The End of the Trak

January 7, 2021 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, LIFE |

Trak Cinema’s final night, Saturday, January 2, 2021 “The little cinema with the big programmes” sadly called it a day, the other day. (Small independent operators, particularly in the provinces, have done it tough, what with the larger chains, streaming services and the plague). The final screening was in Cinema 1, the Trak’s original theatre, which opened on 26 December 1975 with Jeremy and Where the Lilies Bloom. On closing night, the Trak gave the large gathering a slight, quiet, but very appropriate film, The Smallest Show on Earth (1957). A young couple, Matt and Jean (played by Bill Travers…

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Love You Long Time: The Earl of Louisiana

“The Earl of Louisiana” by A. J. Liebling (1961) **** Liebling’s witty and nostalgic book shows us something of the old time politics and how it seems fresher and more vibrant than the sterile and shrill shenanigans of today. True, he had to travel to Louisiana (where the citizenry don’t expect corruption, they demand it) and he had a ringside seat to the Long legacy (the famous ‘Kingfish,’ Huey Long, Governor from 1928 to 1932 and a U.S. Senator until his death by gunfire in 1935, had been followed by younger brother Earl, Governor from 1939 to 1940, 1948 to…

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The Belt and Road to Serfdom

(“The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek) (1944) [and why it matters now] (****1/2 stars) “While the last resort of a competitive economy is the bailiff, the ultimate sanction of a planned economy is the hangman.”# The Argument In 1933, the year Hitler came to power in Germany, there was a view that the fascists’ National Socialism model (as the joke went, neither nationalist nor socialist) constituted the lees of the empty vessel of capitalism, and that socialism and centrally planned economies represented the vibrant new vintage for the future. That year, Hayek, a Newby at the London School of…

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