Crikey long reads

Josh Taylor, journalist

Channelling Mr Woo” on ABC

“When it came to a career, Eddie Woo could have done anything. But, in defiance of social convention and his parents’ wishes, he chose to go into education.From humble beginnings as the child of migrant parents to an internet sensation, he is arguably now the most famous maths teacher in Australia.

His freely accessible website, “Wootube”, boasts more than 38,000 subscribers and has attracted nearly 3.8 million views worldwide. And counting.”

Cass Knowlton, editor

Colombia’s Guerrillas Come Out of the Jungle” by Jon Lee Anderson in The New Yorker

“Lozada, who has spent decades shuttling between jungle outposts and Colombia’s urban power centers, is a crucial leader for the FARC as it tries to reengage with the world. But his history also creates complications. The Colombian government has tried several times to assassinate him, most recently in 2014, when an air strike on his camp killed three of his comrades. The U.S. State Department has a $2.5-million price on his head, accusing him of trafficking hundreds of tons of cocaine to raise funds for the FARC, and of murdering hundreds of people in the process. When pressed for details of his guerrilla activities, Lozada, obeying a long-established instinct for self-preservation, likes to reply with a revolutionary maxim: ‘You own your secrets, but your words enslave you.'”

Charlie Lewis, journalist

Rakim, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shanté, and other rap pioneers celebrate forty years of Hip-Hop” by Carol Cooper in Village Voice

“Four decades ago, when the Bronx was famously burning, one nightclub brought together the boogie-down borough’s dancing queens, hustlers, graffiti kids, turntable ninjas, and fledgling MCs under one roof…The club was Disco Fever, and “Sal” is Bronx-bred entrepreneur Sal Abbatiello, whose forty-year love affair with black and Latino club culture has made him a pivotal figure within the overlapping scenes of r&b, hip-hop, Latin freestyle, and salsa.”

Sally Whyte, deputy editor

Balancing the books” by Ben Eltham in Sydney Review of Books

“The predominant form of income for monograph writers in this country has generally been the publisher’s advance. The exact amount of these advances for particular books is a well-kept secret, but scuttlebutt suggests they currently average in the low single thousands for books published in Australia. Throsby’s data backs this up, putting the average advance earnings for a literary author at $3900. Royalties average an additional $4100; as authors know, a book must sell well to earn royalties over and above the advance. Taken together, royalties and advances average just $8000 annually for literary fiction. If we leave it to the marketplace to support working novelists, there won’t be too many paying the rent each month.”

Emily Watkins, Media Reporter

These are the criminals and corporations that have gotten really, really rich off the refugee crisis” by Malia Politzer and Emily Kassie in The Huffington Post

‘The government has made some cursory attempts to crack down on all this misconduct, but mainly it just finds ways to benefit from it. Before leaving for Libya, smuggling vehicles are stopped by police who demand a “transportation tax” of $3 to $80. The reason for that wide margin is that only a few bucks goes to the city of Agadez; the rest presumably lines the border agents’ pockets. (All figures in this section have been converted from CFA francs to dollars). As long as there’s poverty and unrest that makes people want to leave their homelands, and as long as people can find a way to profit off migration, the smuggling business will continue.” 

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.