This is either the most well timed book on politics of recent times or the worst. In her meticulously detailed volume of the caustic three years of Julia Gillard's prime ministership, Kerry-Anne Walsh ends the narrative tantalisingly short of the final scene - the long-canvassed 'Ruddstoration'. It seems churlish to fail the book on events overtaking it, but this is always the danger with seeking to tell history on the run. Indeed, one wonders, after reading it, whether Walsh's punchy news diary-style treatment might have worked better as a live blog than as a paperback. (more…)
"When social significance is attributed only to what is immediate, and to what will be immediate immediately afterwards - always replacing another identical immediacy - it can be seen that the uses of the media guarantee a kind of eternity of noisy insignificance." - Guy Debord, Comments on Society of the Spectacle, 1987 When Julia Gillard delivered what was her best and most substantial policy speech as prime minister recently - one in which she also announced the date for the federal election - the media's focus was on her new "hipster spectacles". (more…)
“Grandma, tell me about the Great Cyber War. What was it like?"“Well, dear, on top of hill were the well-armed, but rapidly depleting mainstream media corps defending their turf to the death, or at least until deadline.
"Assaulting the outskirts of parliament were we brave bloggers, dressed only in our pyjamas, fuelled on skim lattes and clicking on petitions until our index fingers blistered. It was ugly, dear.”(more…)
"The world is a business, Mr. Beale; it has been since man crawled out of the slime. Our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality - one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock - all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel." That pivotal scene from Paddy Chayefsky's prescient 1976 media satire Network sprung to mind when lowbrow radio clown Kyle Sandilands revved up the outrage machine again this week and was rewarded with buckets worth of free publicity for his troubles. (more…)