Face It, Western Civilisation: You Lost

November 25, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Ulalume |

“It’s Time”, to borrow an old political phrase, Last Orders for Western Civilisation and its running dogs, time even for soldiers in the cause to lay down their easels, quills, violins, compasses and chisels. You got beat – not by folks who were smarter (quelle idée!) or had a worthier plan. They had simply worked-out O’Brien’s dictum that hate was not more exhausting than love. In fact, it could be spread more evenly, calibrated and cadenced, and thus more effective over time. They understood that destruction is an essential part of the human condition and that righteous destruction is virtually…

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First Reformed

November 24, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Written and directed by Paul Schrader (2018) As Chesterton is said to have said, ‘When you stop believing in God, you start believing in anything.’ This small but intense film about loneliness, isolation and moral agony, centred upon a narrator in crisis, echoes to an extent Schrader’s script for Taxi Driver, and its catharsis is similarly flawed, albeit more ambiguous. Much of the initial reaction has been to declare this film Schrader’s masterpiece, but we are of the view that his best film by far is the superb Affliction (which, again, bears some superficial resemblance to that on display here)….

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La Bohéme

November 23, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Melbourne, 20 November 2018 An interesting but not trouble-free evening at the Arts Centre for the virtually indestructible La Bohème. Pointlessly but harmlessly ‘re-imagined’ (by director Gale Edwards) to Berlin in the last days of the Weimar Republic, 100 years after the work is actually set, and not in Paris (the cast still sing incongruously in Italian – why not stage it in Rome and replace Benoit with Mussolini?). Sets were appropriately stark (the garret – it still looked like a garret to us, and the tollgate, replete with pretty and lethal snow falling outside) and lush (the Café Momus, looking more…

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Armistice 100

November 10, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY |

Martin Place, Sydney, 100 years ago today

11/11/11: 11 am, 11 November 1918: The Armistice is signed, ceasing hostilities ahead of the Versailles Treaty the following year (the ’20 year armistice’, which paved the way for further hostilities*). In August 2014, after ceaseless manoeuvring, the War broke out.  History records that most of the players thought the engagement would be short, sharp, and decisive.  The German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, told his officers, “You will be home before the leaves fall from the trees.”  Less optimistic predictions had it all over by Christmas (1914).  But Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, got closer to the mark when…

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Asked and Answered, Malcolm

On Thursday evening, 8 November 2018, former MP and PM Malcolm Bligh Turnbull appeared, jauntily jacketed, sans necktie, to “face” the nation (well, the carefully screened Q & A audience, one of whom, in a priceless moment, addressed him as ‘Tony’) in ABC’s Ultimo studios. He knew his enemies.  Like the Nixon Administration, Turnbull-in-Exile has drawn an Enemies List.  The enemies include Mathias Corman, News Limited (Rupert Murdoch), Peter Dutton, Radio 2GB, Right-wing extremists (see ‘Tony Abbott’ below), Sky News, Tony Abbott.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Perhaps Malcolm will release a complete one in due course, just before the next Federal Election. Yes, he knew his…

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