Children’s Literature

I was one of those painful children who was a VERY early reader. And I devoured books from at least the age of 3. Even books that my parents’ friends considered unsuitable … so, what was a problem about reading ‘Lolita’ when I was 10?

One of the delights of my childhood was our regular schedule: payday, we’d do dinner at Happy’s Restaurant in Garema Place. I’d then be allowed to choose a Puffin Book all by myself at Verity Hewitt’s Bookshop. Non-Friday night payday, we’d visit the local library, and I would have finished reading my two books by Saturday night. Throughout my late childhood and adult life, however, I have ALWAYS revisited my favourite children’s fiction, and each time re-reading has revealed different, sometimes surprising, nuances.

Which is why I was so delighted to read this from another WordPress blogger – Calmgrove:

For the readership the books were originally aimed at doubtless they were entertaining, but for all their superficial fantasy they also portrayed a reality — the threat of nuclear holocaust, the nature of authoritarian parenting, the evils of totalitarianism — that could upset any rose-tinted view that assumed that all was right with the world.

And that’s why it’s so important that children read, have access to books, to libraries, to classrooms where such fiction is held in esteem. For here, without the bitter pill Victorian novelists forced children to read, are deeply moral narratives. Here there may be crises to face and wicked antagonists popping out of the woodwork; but there won’t be the piety that accompanied too many tales from the 19th century, stories in which the protagonist suffered calamities and atrocities with a reverential quietude and passivity, accepting the fate that a noble sacrifice might offer.

No, as the 20th century proceeded the protagonist (other than the gung-ho British bulldog type who might show natives and the lower classes his superiority with feats of derring-do) would increasingly exhibit humanitarian values and a sense of compassion, combined with a bravery that wouldn’t require outstanding physical prowess or a privileged education. Nesbit’s children’s books are regarded as marking a sea-change from the piety of Victorian and Edwardian literature written to improve children to a more realist yet sympathetic fiction written with their innate sense of fairness in mind.

I generalise of course. But think of the classics that stand the test of time: in the main they are the ones that are based on moral outrage against injustice, war, deprivation, waste, greed, and so on. Whether the scenario is small-scale — family-based, perhaps, maybe in a school — or of epic proportions, stretching across continents, such narratives share the values of many traditional fairytales: standing up for what’s right, and recognising responsibilities.

In an era when most of our daily news stories concern the apparent success that arises from cheating, bullying, lying, exploitation and abuse, and when much contemporary adult fiction seems to end in tragedy or at the very least ambiguity, is it not important for all our sakes to counter that with alternatives? I don’t mean the saccharine endings of romcoms or the impossible triumph, against all the odds, of plucky outsiders over supervillains in the apocalyptic final reel; I’m thinking instead of the child hero who learns to do what is right because…

Well, just because.

My response – from my heart:

For me, children’s lit, fables, legends, etc., has always been about subtly teaching children how to deal with dangerous emotions, with adversity, and with despair. (One of the worst things I think my late unlamented mother-in-law did to my spouse was to refuse to read him – and refuse to let him read – ‘fairy tales’, because they weren’t “true”.)

The starkest example I’ve experienced about the value of children’s lit in this domain was the publication of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”.

That was back in 2003, at the height of the propaganda, gaslighting, and downright dishonesty about the “Coalition’s” purported and actual reasons for the invasion and – almost – destruction of Iraq.

– The intolerance of anyone who disagreed.
– The ill-treatment of anyone who disagreed.
– The calmunies directed towards anyone who disagreed.

And, as I read that book, I thought, “Yes, sounds SO like Bush (US), Blair (UK), and Howard (my Oz PM).” Lie after lie after lie, vilification of anyone disagreeing, and the intense desire to destroy anyone disagreeing with their vile stance.

It didn’t – quite – work then.

Now, however?

1,383 thoughts on “Children’s Literature

  1. What a disgraceful performance from Geoff Lee, NSW Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education –

    Lee likes to be referred to as “Dr” Geoff Lee – his doctorate is in business administration.

  2. Key points:

    . Glenys Beauchamp destroyed her notebooks, where notes from a meeting with Sport Australia over the colour-coded spreadsheet may have been kept

    . Former Sport Australia boss Kate Walker said she was “surprised” to see the spreadsheet

    . Labor have asked the Public Service Commissioner to look in to the destruction of the notes

  3. Who would have thought! Apart from everybody.

    Federal government officials have been accused of a “cavalier disregard” for the dozens of state and federal government agencies accessing data retained under the mandatory data retention regime thousands of times a year despite legislation explicitly excluding them from access.

    Under the mandatory data retention legislation passed in 2015, the number of agencies allowed to access the data was narrowed down to just 21. But the telecommunications industry organisation Communications Alliance has revealed that at least 87 other state and federal organisations – including city councils, the RSPCA and the South Australian fisheries department – have accessed the data under section 280 of the Telecommunications Act.

    Data held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority shows the power was used 8,432 times in the 2018-19 financial year, but the Acma does not record for what purpose the data was sought.

  4. And on it goes

    A group of Coalition ministers kept no records of a critical meeting during which they overturned a department’s recommendation and awarded $5m to a Liberal National donor for an ineligible and lowly ranked project, an inquiry has heard.

    Nolan Meats, an abattoir and meat processing business, was approved for the $5m grant in April 2018 under the business stream of the government’s $200m regional jobs and investment package.

    Guardian Australia previously revealed that Nolan Meats was deemed ineligible for the grant because its status as a registered training organisation disqualified it under the program guidelines, which also say the government “cannot waive the eligibility criteria under any circumstances”.

    A parliamentary inquiry on Friday heard that Nolan Meats’ bid for funding was not ranked because it was ineligible, but if it had been ranked it would have sat 48th out of the 62 applications.

  5. Sounds wonderful

  6. The New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has lashed Scott Morrison for “testing” the friendship between the two nations, accusing Australia of deporting “your people and your problems” using “unfair” policies.

    Ardern took her strongest stance yet opposing Australia’s policy of deporting New Zealand citizens, no matter how long they had spent in Australia, if they had committed a crime.

    Standing next to an uncomfortable Australian prime minister, Ardern warned she did not wish to see the traditional allies engage in a tit-for-tat “race to the bottom” over the controversial policy, but warned she would not let the matter drop.

    “… Do not deport your people and your problems.”

  7. About Anus Taylor’s plans to reduce investment in wind and solar and go for unproven hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, lithium and advanced livestock feed supplements.

  8. But countries are responsible for the people they create.

    The people at the centre of this debate were, in many cases, raised and schooled entirely in Australia. They fell into crime – some of it petty, some of it serious – in Australia. They have all the family and friends they have ever known in Australia.

    They are Australian, and they are Australia’s responsibility. Just as parents can’t spurn their children who behave badly, states can’t simply foist people they find difficult onto other countries.

  9. Just remember when and why this deportation bullshit started. The arsehole The Rodent, had Ruddock threaten NZ and strongly suggest NZ tighten up its citizenship laws ? Why ? Well they did not even pretend to not be a bunch of racist scum. the ‘problem’ was that NZ , in their opinion made it too easy for ‘brown people’ from various Pacific Islands to become NZ citizens. Thus creating “a back door” in to Australia ans do letting the colored folk in, Australia would be ‘swamped’ I tells ya. Or so their story went. ‘Back door’ must be closed.NZ of course said get stuffed as it is up to them who becomes citizens. At that point wee Johnny Howard started cranking up in a big way on NZers in Australia and those wanting to come here.

  10. Australian Hindus are demanding an apology from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for his “demeaning” references to the Indian religion during an attack on Labor.

    In an attempt to goad Labor’s treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers during Question Time on Thursday, Mr Frydenberg made repeated clichéd references to Hinduism and other Indian religions while criticising the Opposition’s idea of potentially pursuing a New Zealand-style “wellbeing budget”.

    “[Labor] are inspired by their spiritual leader, the member for Rankin [Jim Chalmers],” Mr Frydenberg said while making hand gestures used during meditation.

    • Here’s a comment from Daniel Mookhey, NSW Labor MLC.

      I try not to talk too much about my religion: I’m one of hundreds of thousands of Australians raised Hindu. I might be Australia’s only practicing Hindu politician.

      I’m proud that my country welcomes people of all races and religion and rewards people who work hard – no matter what they look like, or where they worship.

      That’s how most of us behave every day. That’s not how the Federal Treasurer behaved yesterday. We shouldn’t let politicians like him ruin what we’ve built together. Australia welcomed my family. We welcome everyone willing to make a contribution – no exception

  11. Anyone care to bet Clive Palmer will develop a sudden, incapacitating illness to attempt to avoid a spell in prison?

    He won’t be the first multi-millionaire to try that stunt.

    • Orrrrr letting it slip Scrott is a mere figurehead and not calling the shots in this government 🙂

  12. 🙂

    𝕤𝕒𝕞𝕒𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕒 𝕞𝕒𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟

    Watching PM reax as someone roasts him personally let alone a woman is glorious you so rarely see it this video is hilarious


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    Jacinda Ardern is sure to be deported after that murder we all witnessed.

    • Does that smirk ever leave his face? He’s being roasted by the Prime Minister of New Zealand and all he can do is stand there and smirk.

  13. Coincidence? Getting serious. What with turkey,nominally being in NATO. In this case YAY Russia as the turks have been backing and protecting the head choppers.

    Russian state television said on Thursday Turkish military specialists in Syria’s Idlib region were using shoulder-fired missiles to try to shoot down Russian and Syrian military aircraft.

    FEBRUARY 28, 2020 / 5:16 AM / UPDATED 14 HOURS AGO
    At least 34 Turkish soldiers killed in air strikes in Syria’s Idlib: Syrian Observatory

    Russian Airstrikes Kill at Least 34 Turkish Soldiers in Syria

  14. Good morning Dawn Patrollers. Quite a monster today!

    The World Health Organisation says it is working with authorities to understand how a pet dog tested positive for coronavirus, after upgrading the global risk of the COVID-19 outbreak from “high” to “very high”. Species to species now!
    Why was Australia ahead of the world in acting against the virus asks Peter Hartcher. For the simple reason it didn’t trust the World Health Organisation, which it believed was succumbing to China’s pressure he says.
    A somewhat contrarian Jack Waterford opines that Scott Morrison’s declaration of a coronavirus pandemic is premature, particularly for Australia, where the virus does not appear to have escaped quarantine and containment lines.
    Katharine Murphy writes that Morrison’s urgent manoeuvring on coronavirus is atonement for summer’s bushfire shambles. Her cynicism shines through in this contribution.
    Paul Bongiorno describes it as Scott Morrison’s quest for immunity.
    And Sam Maiden tells us how a nasty virus gave the PM a rosy glow of political good health.
    More travel bans and quarantine measures are being considered as markets are hit by virus fears and the federal budget struggles report Eryk Bagshaw and Shane Wright.
    Hannah Devlin busts some coronavirus myths.
    Cait Kelly tells us about Australia’s coronavirus preppers.
    Migrants aren’t spreading coronavirus – but nationalists are blaming them anyway writes Daniel Trilling.
    Experts are saying that the inequalities of the US health system are putting the coronavirus fight at risk.
    Rob Harris tells us about Jacinda Ardern lining Morrison up.
    Ben Doherty says Jacinda Ardern was right to call out Australia’s ‘corrosive’ policies.
    David Crowe writes that today Anthony Albanese will announce that Australia will export coal for “decades” despite campaigns to shut down the industry in a call to cut carbon emissions rather than halt mining.
    Katharine Murphy says that at that meeting Albanese will blast the Nationals for engaging in “lazy cynicism” and for selling out regional communities by opposing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Mike Seccombe writes that while Labor’s commitment to a 2050 emissions target reinvigorated well-practised attacks from the Coalition, the cost of inaction is only becoming clearer. Political warfare on climate change has broken out again he says.
    Paulina Duran explains how Australia’s prudential and corporate regulators are checking the contingency plans of banks and other financial institutions to prepare for a potential coronavirus pandemic which could severely disrupt economic and financial systems.
    Venice is no stranger to disruption. But nothing has hit the tourism-dependent city quite so hard and so quick as coronavirus writes Bevan Shields.
    Professor Nigel McMillan, an infectious disease expert at Griffith University, said the dual threat of being infected with both potentially lethal respiratory illnesses at the same time means Australia’s annual flu vaccine should be rolled out earlier than planned.
    The sports rort affair looks worse by the day.
    On the sports rort subject Peter van Onselen says that it’s a dirty game when Scott Morrison plays us for fools. It’s quite excoriating.
    Karen Middleton explains how a half-billion-dollar fund, set up ahead of last year’s federal election, has drawn ire from key state governments who say they were not consulted about the projects, some of which cannot be built as promised. Of the 46 projects funded in the past year across four states, all but three are in Liberal-held marginal seats.
    Our government has been mired in corruption and scandal, supported by the mainstream media and leaving us longing for an honest election, writes Grant Turner.,13642
    Former Sport Australia head Kate Palmer was “surprised” when she was shown the controversial colour-coded grants spreadsheet used by former Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie last year writes Kirsten Lawson.
    Where does the rorting end? Christopher Knaus reports that a group of Coalition ministers kept no records of a critical meeting during which they overturned a department’s recommendation and awarded $5m to a Liberal National donor for an ineligible and lowly ranked project, an inquiry has heard.
    Tony Wright reckons gambling on a surplus is for mugs.
    The SMH editorial farewells a bad summer that has changed us forever.
    The Queensland energy minister, Anthony Lynham, says he is “deeply concerned” that plans for a new coal-fired power station at Collinsville are based on assumptions that existing generators will be closed ahead of schedule, potentially costing the state jobs.
    The unfair and costly fees energy companies charge consumers for paying their bills late – sometimes by only a few hours – will be outlawed from July 1. But other industries have been let off the hook writes Killian Plastow.
    Julia Baird is angry over governments not listening advice from experts when it comes to domestic violence.
    Our governments seem unwilling to respond appropriately to the growing issue of domestic violence in our country, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.,13637
    Bri Lee writes that despite the Queensland government’s huge financial commitment to the battle against family violence, the brutal murders of Hannah Clarke and her three children at the hands of her abusive husband highlight how far there is to go.
    Meanwhile Queensland police have stood down a 47-year-old officer over allegedly failing to investigate “domestic violence matters”.
    The Saturday Paper reveals that in Wagga Wagga, it is nearly impossible to get an abortion. It is a problem of access, as most medical stories are in regional Australia, but it is deeper than that, say local doctors, a symptom of the fear cultivated within the local medical community about being labelled “pro-choice” in such a deeply religious town. And the religious discrimination bill would make matters worse.
    Ross Gittins says that, despite neglect at the top, we’re muddling towards low-carbon electricity.
    Dana McCauley reports that a crackdown is coming on Australians who illegally import nicotine vaping products online, in a move set to reignite debate over whether e-cigarettes are helpful for smokers who need help to quit.
    Melbourne residents living above a former toxic waste site were exposed to an “unacceptable” cancer risk and a “high risk” of explosions, according to documents handed in the past week to people living near the old tip. Neither the Brimbank City Council nor the Environment Protection Authority could explain on Friday why residents were not warned of the risks for seven years after a damning 2013 report about the contamination. Oh dear!
    Clive Palmer has been charged with new criminal offences by the corporate watchdog, ASIC. Two of the undisclosed charges are for alleged criminal offences and two other charges are for alleged civil breaches in 2013.
    Westpac’s current and former senior leaders are under investigation by the corporate regulator for approving a $2.5 billion sale of the bank’s shares to investors just two weeks before the anti-money laundering and terrorism financing regulator officially launched a lawsuit against the bank.
    A controversial ban on cash transactions of more than $10,000 should be delayed and reviewed by the Morrison government to ensure it does not unfairly disadvantage ethnic communities and small businesses such as funeral parlours, a Senate inquiry has found. Somehow, though, the black economy has to be addressed.
    Mark Hodgetts shares his experience with the wide-reaching consequences of sexual abuse and how it doesn’t just affect those directly victimised.,13641
    This tragedy looks very much to be another unintended acceleration incident where a driver (typically old) thinks his or her foot is on the brake when actually it is on the accelerator.
    Many Scots want independence from the United Kingdom. How might that play out in a post-Brexit world? Professor Simon Tormey answers the question.
    The House judiciary committee is launching a wide-ranging inquiry into the attorney general, William Barr, and the justice department, demanding briefings, documents and interviews with 15 officials as it tries to determine whether there has been improper political interference in federal law enforcement.
    The NSW RSL gives us today’s nomination for “Arsehole of the Week”.

    Cartoon Corner

    David Rowe

    Alan Moir

    Matt Golding

    Mark David

    John Shakespeare

    Jim Pavlidis

    Peter Broelman

    Sean Leahy

    Leak can’t help himself.

    From the US

  15. The first duty of a government is to protect the people. There is no greater threat than climate disruption as the world heads to 3C or more warming, possibly by mid-century, yet the prime minister is unwilling to explain the implications.

    Asked by Zali Steggall in parliament recently about the costs of 3C of warming, Scott Morrison replied that “we do understand there are costs associated with climate change”, but was incapable of saying what they were.

    As a diversionary tactic in our climate debate, it invariably works, focusing attention on the supposedly horrendous costs of action, for example building the new zero-carbon energy system; a discussion which skates over the fact that replacing ageing coal-fired generators with renewable energy will be cheaper than rebuilding with coal or gas, as the solar/wind/battery option slips under the fossil-fuel-energy cost curve.

    Commentators repeatedly frame debate around the recent 2050 net zero emissions policy adopted by the ALP, and now supported by many others, in terms of its “costs”, without mentioning the benefits: huge damages avoided by reducing the level of global warming by concerted global action.

  16. As far as I can see most (not all) journalists are in full-on “Look how well the PM is handling the coronavirus crisis” mode.

    They just can’t help themselves, they have to find reasons to praise him.

    Thank goodness for the few who see this for what it is – a rattled, confused PM desperate to be seen to be doing something, anything, to get a favourable headline and improve his polling after his inept handling of the bushfire crisis. (The fires have not gone away, no matter what the MSM says, they still burn and the fire season is far from over.) .

    Jack Waterford is right – our best protection comes from putting resources into our neighbouring countries – Indonesia, PNG, East Timor and the Pacific nations, to help them fight off any infection, because their health systems are going to need boosting. This government will never see the sense in that argument. He says –

    Sadly, our government is as yet showing little understanding that our best contribution to holding the line is to go international in our response. This is partly because at least some of the decision-making is focused on making the Prime Minister look proactive and decisive, rather than seemingly clueless and behind the eight ball, as he did during the bushfire emergency. He may, moreover, entertain hopes that he can buy time by taking advantage of the fact that Australia is an island, able mostly to restrict the entry of potentially infected outsiders.

    Yet one must wonder how he calculates that Australia could carry on smugly in the face of raging epidemics in our neighbourhood

    Why are we extending travel bans for China but refusing to ban travel from other areas? Checking incoming passengers at airports is nowhere near enough.

    Last night we learned Queensland has its sixth diagnosed case of coronavirus – a woman who had arrived from Iran. There are no travel bans for Iran. New Zealand had its first diagnosed case yesterday – a traveller also from Iran, via Bali. New Zealand now has a travel ban for Iran, Australia does not.

    Is our government serious about preventing the spread of this virus, or is the Crime Minister just grandstanding, blathering on about a plan that has not yet been developed?

    It’s apparently easy enough to get around the ban on travellers from China – thousands of Chinese university students are said to be travelling to Australia via third countries like Thailand. They are even being paid subsidies to do that.

    Western Sydney University vice-chancellor Barney Glover, whose university is offering a A$1,500 (£770) subsidy to students who transit via third countries, described it as a “viable, sensible” option.

    “Students desperately want to get onshore and start studying,” he said. “We thought we should do whatever we could to assist.”

    Our universities are desperate for the fees Asian students bring, subsidising travel is a minor cost to them.

    Does the government have a plan to deal with possible infections spread through universities by Asian students flouting travel bans? Of course not.

  17. If you were reading an article that started quoting someone called Swastik Kar would you strongly suspect some piss was being taken ? Well I did and did ……..but I was wRONg ,there is indeed an Associate Professor of Physics called Swastik Kar. An excellent discovery on his teams part though.

    Illustration by Hannah Moore/Northeastern University

    Now, physicists at Northeastern have discovered a new way to manipulate electric charge. And the changes to the future of our technology could be monumental.

    “When such phenomena are discovered, imagination is the limit,” says Swastik Kar, an associate professor of physics. “It could change the way we can detect and communicate signals. It could change the way we can sense things and the storage of information, and possibilities that we may not have even thought of yet.”

  18. Bill Maher (usual caveats)

    Starts at 12:50

    New rules 59:50

    Overtime – (geddit while it’s hot)

    Brian Tyler Cohen –

  19. More about Shine Energy, an article published in June last year by Michael West.

    Shine Energy: behind the push for a new coal-fired power station

    The conclusion is excellent –

    What all this shows is that Shine Energy lacks the expertise to build and operate a power station. Why aren’t EnergyAustralia, AGL, Ausgrid, CKI, Origin Energy or Energex making proposals to build new coal-fired power plants? They don’t stack up. The banks won’t finance them. They will become obsolete.

    The aim of bringing jobs to Collinsville is to be applauded. Likewise Ashley Dodd’s ambition to foster economic growth for the Birri Nation. Most taxpayers though would no doubt prefer their taxes were deployed in an investment which made economic and environmental sense such as renewable energy.

    If the government is determined to subsidise industry, it makes sense that money should be directed to industries of the future rather than stranded assets. It is disgraceful that the pro-coal lobby is exploiting indigenous disadvantage to prosecute its culture wars against its political adversaries.

    It is equally disgraceful that, on Adani’s behalf, they are claiming it is some kind of Good Samaritan act to export coal to India – to help the poor children and so forth – when people are dropping dead because of air pollution

  20. Good morning Dawn Patrollers – it’s Slim Sunday!

    The SMH tells us that Kevin Rudd repeatedly pressed ex-Labor leader Bill Shorten to launch a royal commission into News Corp Australia in the lead up to last year’s federal election.
    The Morrison government has announced a travel ban for Iran due to its “high death rate” as it tries to stem the flow of coronavirus into Australia.
    Alan Kohler explains how a cashflow famine is spreading from China. The immediate victims are small businesses that operate hand to mouth, but it won’t take long for large corporations to start running out of working capital as well.
    Saudi Arabia stops Mecca pilgrimage, Japan shuts its schools, 80 per cent of Chinese exports are on lock down. Dr. James Freeman recants on his earlier article, affirms the global danger of Convid-19 and considers the potential impacts the virus will have for Australians and medicine supply.
    Michael Koziol reveals that the besieged Order of Australia recipient Bettina Arndt has been cautioned by the health practitioner regulator over media appearances in which she is frequently described as a “psychologist” despite never having been registered as one.
    Jacqui Maley stridently tells us why Arndt’s Australia Day honour invites scrutiny of the entire awards process.
    Feminist writer Bettina Arndt is facing criticism over comments on the murder of Hannah Clarke while Matt Canavan has been unleashing his own criticism, writes John Wren as he outlines the past week in politics.,13644
    Marilyn Beech tells us how victims of domestic violence are never alone.,13643
    The impact of coronavirus threat isn’t just eating up the budget surplus, it will cost the tourism industry $4 billion and up to 133,200 jobs, new data shows.
    The SMH editorial says that ASIO needs more, but balanced, powers to tackle foreign interference.
    Former fire chiefs are saying a “ridiculous” bushfire funding rule is preventing emergency services from waterbombing small fires before they turn into mega blazes that destroy homes and kill people.
    Crispin Hull says that Bernie Sanders is on the money and why it’s heartening for democracy.
    This will keep the tabloids and shit magazines happy. Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds have announced that they are expecting a baby and are engaged.

    Cartoon Corner

    Mark David

    Matt Golding

    Dionne Gain

    Glen Le Lievre

    From the US

  21. I am here in the early hours before morning. The first tropical rain I have encountered in the years of my memory falls outside the wind is blowing hard. I am alone with two dogs who are asleep.

    And so I think.

    And so I feel.

    I feel the pains my youthful body never knew, when tiredness took a whole day or even week to set in. My heart and mind feel grief as a youth never encountered. All I ever wanted to do was go to school, play with Husky my tiny little dog, and to my bike and my horse. And to read books, Any book, no matter the length or subject. I wanted to learn ballet but there was not a dance school for hundreds or miles, and we did not have piano, so that dream was out too.

    By fate and distance I did not attend a funeral until I was a young mother in my twenties. It was for a family where a man killed his wife and two children before hanging himself on the Hills Hoist. The talk at the service with those pitiful two small white coffins was that the spray used at the commercial rose garden where he worked might have screwed up his mind. I knew this woman as the Co-ordinator of the local Community House I visited every week. I did not feel grief so much as sadness, and fear, and confusion. How could somebody in that job and seemingly happy family suffer this? No-one else know either. But mostly I was scared.

    That was me if ‘he’ found us.

    That was decades ago and now my children are grown, (and ‘he’ died) but still the horror of murder of a parental figure (male or female) and kids still rattles me.

    I think about the stages of life, and how I ended up here where I swim through sadness like it is golden syrup. I gladly find a footing or a ledge of friendship or a raft of doggy joy to rest on. Helping hands reach out to give me strength and endurance. They help me rise above the mire and see a flower or a butterfly, or smell rose scent on red petals.

    The new puppy Little Bob makes me smile and will not take a frown for an answer. My other dogs snuggle so I do not feel alone when I sleep.

    I think about how a companion animal is a blessing, even if they leave too soon for us. As I say, that is so we are there or all of their life, so we can care for them. That is why my Mother, Sarah, did not want another dog at her age. So I bought a Tenterfield Terrier pup from a breeder in 2018 and so we shared Cosmos. The pup Mum insisted was not hers was the tiny bundle that arrived in a big cage that came on the plane . Cosmos was all the way from Parkes, NSW, the little white and red cutie that suddenly Mum had to meet at the airport and cuddle in her lap all the way home and take to bed every night.

    Now I feel.

    I feel that all I want to do is ring my Mum and talk about my holiday, and tell her when I will be coming home. It is only July last year she died in hospital at the age of 83 and each day I live is another day away from when I could touch her and tell her I love her. They say time is a healer. It is not, I resent every day I am distanced from my dead. Mum got me though the loss of my Arthur, my husband. Friends are getting through the loss of my Meoldema, through the realisation that I am an orphan. I can look forward to my grandchildren but I can no longer reach into my past. Memories are sweet but sting,

    Disconnection is the major feeling I have. Floating in a time and world that I do not prefer. Does my loss of my Mum echo a distant, hidden memory of the cutting of the umbilical cord? Does that sense of being grounded to another, which vanishes in an instant, stay with us? I think of the movie where the astronaut in the space-suit floats away into vast space, un-tethered to the mother-ship. Do we ever truly recover from that first disconnection, or do we fear it evermore?

    And I think.

    I think in all this world how can a person visit grief onto others, deliberately, or through disregard, neglect, or malice or for money.

    If all the grief in this world right now was one scream, every living creature would be deaf, birds would drop from the skies, the seas would swirl, mountains would fall and we would all be brought to our knees.

    Why would anyone send armies, kill neighbours, use starvation as a weapon or a punishment, deny healthcare and adequate shelter, harm their family, fire guns into crowds, work people to death, cut corners on safety? Is money and power really worth it? I think and feel it is not.

    When we destroy our planetary home environment, how will coins, printed money, and series of ones and zeros stored in computers alleviate the grief the whole human, and some of the animal world. will know?

    Do our parliamentary representatives, glorious leaders, wealth gatherers and world-domination junkies ever give a thought beforehand of the grief they will visit on others with their decisions?

    I think they should.

    I feel they do not.

    In fact, I know it.


    (Please excuse typos, grammatical errors, this is a one draft only piece. Thanks)

  22. John Wren gets it totally wrong –

    “Feminist writer Bettina Arndt is facing criticism over comments on the murder of Hannah Clarke ……….”

    Whatever this creature is she is definitely not a feminist. Maybe she was, in the 1970s, before she married a Yank, moved to the US and found some sort of woman-hating god. Whatever happened to her in that time completely changed her, it’s as if some sort of anti-feminist alien had taken over her brain, because now she is stridently anti-feminist and anti-female. Her rantings are all about how badly men are treated by women, how evil (in her mind) little girls accuse their male teachers of rape when the poor chaps were just showing fatherly interest. She tells us women plot and connive and lie about domestic abuse, she assures us it is never, ever the man’s fault. As she said with the monster who murdered Hanah Clarke and her children, the man must have been pushed too far.

    Arndt hates feminists, She often uses the word as abuse and does not hold back on criticising anything she sees as inspired by “feminists”.

    She said criticism of her Australia Day award showed “the poisonous side” of modern feminism.

    She believes “feminists” want to crush male sexuality.

    She says “feminists” want to shut her down.

    Arndt is a proud anti-feminist.

    To refer to Arndt as a “feminist writer” is to dismiss and denigrate all those real feminists who have worked for decades, centuries, for women’s rights.

    John Wren needs to stop copying random information from Wikipedia. If he had read the entire article on Arndt instead of grabbing a few words from the first line he would have learnt she is no longer a feminist.

    Starting as a sex therapist and feminist, she came to public prominence in the 1970s, establishing a career in publishing and broadcasting as well as writing several books. In the last two decades she has opposed feminism and attracted controversy with her social commentary and her views on sexual abuse, domestic violence and men’s rights advocacy

    IA needs to take more care with the articles they publish.

  23. Urban Wronski

    Like a rat up a drainpipe, wildly excited by any crisis not of his own making, panic merchant Messiah Morrison is all over the news this week. Suddenly there’s a pandemic to blame for his government’s monumental ineptitude; its catastrophic bungling. Even a re-boot of the prime ministerial persona may be possible.

    Can Hootchie Kootchie Henry from Hawaii morph into Captain Australia, our public guardian?

  24. A major Republican donor has purchased a stake in Twitter and is reportedly seeking to oust its chief executive, Jack Dorsey.

    Bloomberg News first reported that Elliott Management has taken a “sizable stake” and “and plans to push for changes at the social media company, including replacing Dorsey”.

    Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of Elliott Management, is a Republican mega-donor who opposed Donald Trump during the real-estate magnate’s run for the presidential nomination but has since come onside.

  25. The original. Julie Covington recorded it for the album Evita. Seems Julie was offered the role in the stage play. She refused because she didn’t like Eva. So Elaine Paige got the gig.

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