Bálint András Varga’s fourth book of interviews, The Courage of Composers and the Tyranny of Taste, raises a fundamental but seldom mentioned issue for all creative artists. How do you find the courage to swim against the tide, to confront the expectations of others, to avoid solutions that are too facile or too fashionable?
Articles from Inside Story
Five years ago, in the months before the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Beijing was rocked by unexpected drama — most of it supplied by Bo Xilai, party boss of the huge city of Chongqing, who was regarded as a major candidate for promotion that year. His fall, following claims of corruption and his wife’s involvement in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, gave the build-up to the big event a portentous air.
When we hear the word “dementia,” we immediately think of Alzheimer’s disease. But although this is the most common form of medically classified dementia, the condition has many other causes. Here, I want to concentrate on age-related cognitive decline, which can lead to symptoms similar to, and even the same as, medically classified dementia — including a deterioration of memory or other thinking skills, which can compromise a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
Between last week and this week, a sub-narrative of the Great Australian Marriage Equality Survey Saga, the rate of enrolment among young Australians, turned on its head.
Talk to people in Indigenous new media and you’ll probably hear the story of a $200 online survey that realigned the debate about the constitutional recognition of First Nations people in Australia. At first blush, it’s a tale about a niche Indigenous-led media outlet that distinguished itself sharply from a multimillion-dollar, government-sponsored publicity campaign. And it has a happy ending, because the community it represents went on to validate its work.
Episode 3 of The House with Annabel Crabb, the ABC’s new six-part series on Parliament House, focuses on Question Time. We see the public queuing to go in, and large groups of schoolchildren being shepherded through the security scanners.
A declaration, I think, is in order here. I do not much like Alfred Deakin. Some years ago, armed with a modest research grant, I set out to write a study of his political career, but the more I came to know him, the less I liked him.
Liu Xiaobo, China’s long-imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate, could find human dignity in the darkest of places. He found it working with the grieving mothers of young people killed in the 1989 Beijing massacre. He found it in occasional glimpses of warmth between guards and prisoners amid the grinding routine of prison life. And he wrote eloquently and often about dignity as he found it.
Nowra showground is a ten-minute walk from the centre of town: past Best & Less, Jolly Olly’s Discount Variety Store, the Postman’s Tavern and the Bowling Club, along a wide, tree-lined residential street. The gateway is a towering, seven-metre-high sandstone structure with four entrance archways, topped by parapets and crenellated towers, built just after the second world war. A life-sized bronze statue of a soldier, added after the war, stands in front of the gate.
Communism in east-central Europe after 1945, with its endless disjunctures between official rhetoric and lived experience, nurtured a rich black economy of mocking humour. The jokes of that era, as much as the region’s older folktales, are archetypal but come in national flavours. Some Czechoslovakian ones, for example, have an absurdism that subverts not just politics but life itself.