Cass Knowlton, editor
“What makes an animal a pet — a creature to which our emotions attach, sometimes in logic-warping ways — is surprisingly difficult to pin down. Cats are a particularly puzzling case. Domesticated some 9500 years ago, they still don’t strike humans as completely tame. They live with us, but even indoor cats aren’t entirely dependent on us, certainly not in the emotional way dogs are. They do many things that seem to defy rational explanation, which is no small source of their allure: the blanket-attack ritual, the full-body keyboard plop, the blank-wall stare, and perhaps most dramatic, the post-poop freak-out. One of my cats performs a ninja leap about three feet up one side of the door frame, then slides down, firefighter-style, to the floor.”
Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
“As the motto of the United Kingdom’s surveillance program reminds us, ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.’ Well, law-abiding citizens do have reason to fear. They do have reasons to secure their devices, their files, and their communications with loved ones. In this article, I will show you how you can protect yourself by leveraging state-of-the-art encryption. In a single sitting, you can make great strides toward securing your privacy.“
Josh Taylor, journalist
“Guilt and shame, more than fear, compelled Rangi to keep the abuse to himself for most of his adult life. He only recently told his family of his ordeal. As a boy, however, he was questioned several times by staff who’d somehow figured out what was happening. “They told us we were safe and they were going to protect us,” he said. The police were never called.
“As terrible as it was, Wilson Youth Hospital was in no way exceptional. For most of the last century, an astonishing number passed through institutions that, ostensibly set up to protect children and young people, instead brutalised, abused, and neglected them.”
Myriam Robin, media reporter
“At times, Bannon seemed to coach Trump to soften the harder edges of his message, to make it more palatable to a broader audience, while in other cases he pushed Trump to take tougher positions. He flattered Trump, praising his negotiating skills and the size of his campaign crowds.
“The conversations marked a coming-together of Trump, who at the time was a pariah among many top Republicans, and the alt-right, a loosely defined term describing a far-right ideology that includes opposition to immigration and ‘globalism’ and had found a home in the Breitbart News empire [chaired by Bannon]. The alt-right movement has also been saturated with white-nationalist rhetoric, prompting criticism of Bannon’s appointment this week, though Bannon has said the movement is not racist.”
Sally Whyte, journalist
“The station’s alumni is a roll call of today’s entertainment talent: Greig Pickhaver, Dave O’Neil, Brian Nankervis, Kate Langbroek, Marieke Hardy, John Safran, Dave Hughes, Ross Stevenson, Francis Leach, the Coodabeen Champions and many, many more. Perhaps more importantly, the alternative culture Triple R championed has, over the past four decades, taken over the mainstream.
“In 1978 the station celebrated its Christmas party with a gig at RMIT’s Storey Hall, headlined by Nick Cave’s band the Boys Next Door – a group that, back then, you couldn’t hear anywhere other than public radio …
“There is no comparable community broadcaster anywhere in Australia – and perhaps not anywhere in the world.”
Dan Wood, subeditor
“If our only problem were that we were backward, we could always catch up. If the real challenge before us were a simple paucity of facts, we could always learn them. But the real horrors of the twenty-first century aren’t horrors of superstition and unreason, but the far more deadly horrors of a rationally administered world we are endlessly condemned to repeat. Our spherical earth is increasingly organized like one colossal factory, operating seamlessly and just in time, teeming with millions of tiny and unwilling workers, slurping up the expertise of ten thousand sharpened brains — and it’s not beautiful, it’s Hell. Everyone is wasting their lives. Everyone is unhappy. It’s not just you. The world is insane, insane in a way that doesn’t even require any of the announcements from its administrators to be factually untrue.”
Bernard Keane, politics editor
“Over the past few years, roughly the entire second term of the Obama administration, a consensus has taken shape online and also in more traditional arenas of American political activism and cultural production. Inspired by the disproportionate impact of the economic collapse of 2008 and by growing awareness of the failure of the policy of mass incarceration as well as scores of high-profile travesties of justice — notably the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman, which gave birth to the #BlackLivesMatter movement — alongside many more ambiguous affronts (such as the lack of nominees of colour at the 2015 Academy Awards, which gave birth to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign), the rapturous, impossibly short-lived post-raciality of the first black presidency has been usurped by a backward-looking social consciousness best expressed by the internet neologism ‘wokeness’. (Chekhov’s student ‘got woke’ that cold night in the Russian countryside.)”
Helen Razer, contributor
“Her tone-deaf campaign didn’t even pretend to transcend such class divisions. Once she had secured the nomination, Clinton offered few ideas about how to make ordinary women’s lives better. That’s probably because what helps the average woman most is redistribution, and Clinton’s banker friends wouldn’t have liked that very much. #ImWithHer was a painfully uninspiring campaign slogan, appropriately highlighting that the entire campaign’s message centered on the individual candidate and her gender, rather than on a vision for society, or even women, as a whole. She wrote off huge swaths of the population as “deplorables” and didn’t even bother to campaign in Wisconsin. Among union members, her support was weak compared to other recent Democratic candidates, and, according to most exit polls, significantly lower than Obama’s was in 2008.
“The campaign endlessly touted endorsements from the ranks of the celebrity one-percenters, especially women. In the end, Clinton enjoyed a gender advantage only among the college-educated. Among white women without college degrees, Clinton lost to Trump by 28 points. It was almost as if waitresses in Ohio didn’t care that Anna Wintour was #WithHer.”