One Saturday in January, enraged by yet another hack review from an all too prolific reviewer, I set about thinking about the freshness and vitality of our the book reviews in our Saturday broadsheets.
What gets reviewed; who gets reviewed; who reviews? Why does there seem so little variety in the books chosen? Why do the SMH and The Age share the same feature reviews? Why reprint reviews from the Guardian or the Telegraph? (Yes, I know “cost” is going to be an answer. But surely there’s a question of value and richness.)
So I had a look at the review pages of The Age, the SMH and the Weekend Australian for the months of December 2011 and January and February 2012.
In the controversy surrounding his endorsement of the registered clubs camapign against gaming machine changes, has Father Chris Riley down played the clubs generosity in donating to his charity, Youth off the Streets?
AAP reports that
“Fr Riley dismissed as “outrageous” claims he had sold out, saying his charity received $122,000 from registered clubs, or 0.5 per cent of its budget.” Continue reading
In 1975, Richard Nixon was required to give evidence to a Grand Jury, set up to follow the loose ends from the various investigations set in motion with the Watergate scandals.
These included the thorny question of how did the 18 and a half minute gap come to be created on a critical white House tape, along with allegations that ambassadorships had been “sold” in return for campaign contributions.
On the latter score, Nixon essentially took the line that contributions were neither a qualification nor a disqualification for diplomatic office, but that contributors could at least expect to be considered. Continue reading
In recent weeks, it has come to our attention that a less than respectful appellation for the august Legislative Council has been referred to or applied in the Parliament and Press.
For instance, the SMH’s political correspondent Sean Nicholl had cause to note that:
The Legislative Council – rather cruelly nicknamed the “loser’s lounge” by some .. Continue reading
“You live through time, that little piece of time that is yours, but that piece of time is not only your own life, it is the summing up of all the other lives that are simultaneous with yours … It is, in other words, history, and what you are is an expression of that history, and you do not live your life, but somehow your life lives you, and you are, therefore, only what history does to you.”
—Robert Penn Warren, from World Enough and Time (Random House, 1950)
(Acknowledgements to Danzy Senna for her review “A Prep School Confronts the ’60s” in the New York Times Book Review, 24 June 2011 and to “A Poet Reflects” for the full quote.)
(And yes, I will be quoting the odd quote.)