Elle MacPherson once commented that she never read anything she hadn’t written herself. Scott Morrison is far more expansive — he doesn’t read anything not written in Australia. “I don’t read international fiction. I just don’t relate to it. I’m interested in our stories.” And fair enough too. Meanwhile … Lindy Morrison (no relation we know of) on Brisbane — and Canberra — in the late ’70s. Anne Kellas has a melancholy piece on memory and the present in Hobart and Danielle Scrimshaw on the silence about LGBTI Australians in our history.
ANYONE ELSE WANNA DROP OUT?
Behold the dramatis personae of Facebook’s war on publishing before contemplating Silicon Valley’s latest attempt at ideological self-justification: win-winism. And then there’s Google’s secret, dirty deal with Mastercard for your information. Sigh. Almost makes you think about Christopher Walken’s solution to the problem of Silicon Valley (some View To A Kill trivia: production was held up after Roger Moore accidentally shaved his eyebrow off and couldn’t act for six weeks). Or on a more positive note: the detail of NFL player’s Chris Long’s commitment to genuinely effective philanthropy is impressive (and interesting how education is the philanthropic focus of US athletes, including LeBron James’ staggering level of charitable giving).
STAT OF THE WEEK
For a number of years we’ve been putting more people in jail for longer sentences. That’s led to Australia’s overall imprisonment rate soaring even as crimes rates plunge. The most recent data from the ABS (up to June this year, which is the 2018 figure) shows by how much.
And that applies to our horrific rates of imprisonment for Indigenous men and women as well.
In June there were 42,855 people in full-time custody. In June 2008, the equivalent figure was 26,640.
A belated review of In The Long Run We Are All Dead, while a bit iffy on its definition of neoliberalism, articulates Geoff Mann’s insightful, if controversial, thesis about how best to understand Keynes. And is there a deep state operating in the US? A review of books by James Comey, Michael Hayden and James Clapper says no. The truth is worse, and more obvious. And one of America’s pre-eminent philosophers takes on Trump-induced fear — though not well enough for this reviewer (but hey there’s always dread).
SOON ON NETFLIX?
Mexico’s traditional social banditry involving fuel theft has been transformed into a crime cartel mecca that dwarfs drugs, which is lucky because Mexico didn’t have enough problems with crime and corruption. And although the far right didn’t do as well as polls predicted in Sweden’s recent elections, they may yet play kingmaker there. How Sweden mishandled their immigration and refugee debate has plenty of lessons for those who think not talking about things keeps them out of politics. And something to comfort anyone who’s ever queued up at a US airport to be scanned: the TSA is a waste of time and actually increases deaths.
If we could create artificial intelligence sims, what would be our ethical obligations to them? Or is this just a philosophical wank for men who have no idea what it’s like to bear life? The more I learn about dark energy the less I understand it and this first-principles explainer doesn’t help me understand how completely empty space must have energy in it. Plus a follow-up to a piece I featured in an early, funny Side View claiming reality must depend on consciousness. Not so, says a critic. And while we’re discussing the nature of reality, I’ve got plenty of dark bloody energy about this: the lift buttons really aren’t connected.