Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros, was euthanased in March 2018 at the age of 45. He survived the near-extinction of his species in the 1970s, when he was brought to a Czechoslovak zoo. He returned to Africa in 2009, where he lived the rest of his life on a conservancy in Kenya.
With two females still alive (though old), there is hope that the subspecies might yet be saved through in-vitro fertilisation, cellular technologies and gene editing. Nothing is certain.
In some respects, human life takes precedence. …
There is a certain lookout on the bluffs of Lorne, on Victoria’s surf coast. I’ve been there several times yet feel like a tourist each time. It is a breath-taking vista: the road running like a thin, grey ribbon next to the blue expanse of Bass Strait, which brushes here against a sandy cove.
We were heading back to the car, in the middle of the bush at midday, when I had to stop. The scent of eucalypts was intense. I could feel the sun on top of my head, and millennia beneath my feet. Tears sprang unbidden, inexplicably. …
Most of us do it. We circulate photos and videos of cute animals — our own pets, wildlife encounters, found images: sneezing baby panda, Buttermilk Sky the Nigerian dwarf goat (who is also a bit of a jerk), and the persistent baby brown bear (which turns out to have a dark side).
I’ve definitely done it. Cute animals get the hearts and likes; easy currency in the online market of social approval. Mammals seem to be key.
There’s a reason why we traffic in such cuteness, and it is hard to begrudge it. But it is also problematic.
2. It might not be my place.
3. It has already been said better or too often.
4. I sense that once I say the thing, it will no longer be mine.
5. I am not done processing.
6. I feel too much (or gone numb).
7. I can’t be sure that it wouldn’t just be an audition or performance.
8. I am tired in the body.
9. I am anxious about bad faith, people who pounce, and what will be given away.
10. Everyone has up made their minds.
11. I am wordless from rage.
Werewolves are a wonderful device for exploring things like identity. Their duality — being neither wolf nor human but both — generates all sorts of tensions in storytelling. Does the beast function as freedom or captivity? Which is the inner self, and what does that mean for control? What are the risks from exposure?
Lycanthropy onscreen has long been a metaphor for hormonal surges: the lunar cycle, all that hair, the intensity of feeling. It makes sense for cinematic werewolves to be teens or young adults, e.g. in I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), The Howling (1981), Teen…
It was a news item about a flower tram on Route 86 that finally pierced. Images of people handing over bouquets at every stop, passengers holding and surrounded by blooms, as the carriage made its way to Bundoora. A young Palestinian woman had been brutally slain at the end of her journey there only a few nights before.
It is not even a year since another young woman had been assaulted and killed in Carlton North, and not that many years since a woman was also assaulted and killed in Brunswick. Too many women, so close to home. …
Australia has been in the same tail-chasing debate for nearly a decade now about whether people known for saying racist things, or peddling forms of bigotry, ought to be lent a microphone or the page.
The arguments for letting them have their say tend to rest on absolutist notions of free speech — decoupled from reality or consequence — as well as the liberal-left conceit that deploying logic or argument would show up charlatans for what they are. Let people decide for themselves (apparently). They sure did in 2016.
This Australian winter saw: a far-right nationalist appear on a cable…
White is not something that brown and black people invented. ‘White’ is a term that a group of people used to construct not just difference but supremacy. It was necessary for establishing political and cultural institutions, as well as economic systems, that favour this group.
There is vast literature around this undertaking, captured in speeches, letters and diaries written by white people to explain or justify colonisation and slavery. The language was not always antagonistic; often enough racial difference was held as a matter of fact, even natural/divine order.
As when Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens said: ‘Our new government is…
Edited extract from an essay originally published in The Lifted Brow No. 29, March 2016: 49–52, Australia
Filipino women often end up Biblical cutouts. Among ‘specialist’ dating websites, they are presented to (mostly) western men in a couple of ways. On one hand, Filipino women are feminine, conservative and timid: they make great wives. On the other hand, they are an easy lay: they make great girlfriends. In this Madonna-whore complex, Filipino women become, primarily, a function of male desire, the canvas upon which fantasies can be projected.
On screen, they appear or are referred to as maids and wives…
I get nervous when I see a Southern Cross tattoo or a sticker of the Eureka flag on a vehicle. I don’t have to know anything about the person brandishing these symbols. I just know that certain insignias are used to communicate exclusion, supremacy, purchase on a past that I do not have which renders my presence tenuous.
Writer and speaker