Fashion, hipsters and the appropriation of culture

Originally published in Overland Journal 29 January 2014   An anonymous video that has recently surfaced accusing the hypercool Melbourne label Perks and Mini (PAM) of blatant cultural appropriation has sent shockwaves through the hipster community. The voiceover in the video states: For a group of people who freely use African textile patterns and traditional ornaments, put…

We need to talk about class

  The Abbott government has announced potential cuts to welfare, and that it is targeting the welfare for the poorest and most vulnerable – Newstart and disability allowance.  While not going near the welfare that also targets the middle and even upper classes of parenting payments and maternity leave.  As Van Badham has noted, the…

What is history?

As the liberal government kicks off another distraction in the culture wars over the school curriculum, it might be worth reflecting on what is history.  Minister Christopher Pyne has said that the curriculum needs to focus more on ‘Western Civilization’, which it undoubtedly already does.  What Pyne really means by this, is that he wants…

Meet the Zapatistas

Originally published on the Conversation.  Monday 13 January 2014 On New Year’s Day 1994, the world was taken by surprise. A group of indigenous people staged a rebellion against a Mexican state that had continued the trajectory of racism, neglect, genocide and exploitation which started with the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas over…

My top ten Nick Cave songs

After my top ten most influential texts, I thought I might do a top ten most influential songs.  This was too difficult a task, and composed too much Nick Cave.   So, in its place, I have complied an equally difficult list to cull down.  The best songs of the grand Australian god of darkness, love…

Top ten books that have stayed with me.

After a hot day of little work, I thought to kick start myself I would follow the lead of Adam Morton and list my top ten books that have stayed with me.  In the spirit of Morton’s list, I have not given it any deep thought, just that which comes off the top of my head.…

Politics dressed up in a clown suit. (Internet activism as spectacle)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN OVERLAND JOURNAL 19 DECEMBER 2013   So Micah White, the former editor of Adbusters and self proclaimed creator of the ‘Occupy’ meme, has formed his own boutique activist consultancy that apparently ‘is incubating a left-right coalition of post-cool, counter-culture and authentic parties’. His website borders on self-parody, with long hashtag lines about actions and events that have…