Think you know the Chindia story? Betcha don’t – no-one really does because it’s simply too big to fully grasp and it’s still being written. Besides, “Chindia” is only part of the story with the rest of emerging Asia deserving fat volumes as well.– Michael Pascoe | Chindia - you aint seen nuthin yet | China | India
Role Model of the Day: Award-winning sci-fi novelist Neil Gaiman will be animated for a guest stint on an upcoming episode of the long-running kid’s show Arthur, in which he inspires one of Elwood City’s budding graphic novelists to follow their dream.
This has got to be the single most fantastically surreal cameo of all time.
I love that he’s so pale.
To my mind, the ”shrink Australia crowd” is suffering from an imagination deficit. They cannot, or will not, see that well designed cities can be our salvation. If we get over our hang-up about density, and start thinking and investing in innovative urban design, then the future starts to take on a whole different aspect.– Maxine McKew - How Sydney can get its groove back
Within a few months of arriving at Harvard, Zuckerberg had created a website called Facemash.com that enabled students to rate each other’s attractiveness. It proved an instant hit – in under two hours, the site logged 22,000 votes – but was taken down after an outcry over privacy violations.–
So proto-Facebook was basically a Hot Or Not clone. Well, that’s almost what Facebook is sometimes.
Far from being a cultivator of the humanities, the academic labor system has destroyed dreams and stamped out passions; it routinely drives gifted and idealistic people to the brink of despair and beyond it. It has done so for 40 years now, and there’s no end in sight. The enemies of intellectualism—for whom the word “professor” cannot be uttered without a sneer—have no greater ally than the wasted lives of so many would-be academics.– ‘A Very Special Marketplace’ - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education
This is probably my favourite Kpop song so far this year.
Unfortunately, T.O.P’s stage name is not based on its gay meaning.
T.O.P - “Turn It Up”
The dark horse of K-pop ensemble Big Bang, T.O.P pulls out a show-stopper for his latest solo release.
Take one part Ne-Yo suaveness, one part Pharrell cool and blend it up with a heavy whiff of Jay-Z’s seminal clip for “On to the Next One” - and you’re almost there. Top it off - if you’ll pardon the pun - with pure schmexiness and a rollickingly good beat, and this is the magic that results.
Prepare to have your mind blown. :o)
A Greens senator I spoke to recently responded that “the Greens will get caned if we are seen to be economically incompetent”. Of course, the senator was right about that – but the solution is to re-educate the population on what economic competence means, not to lock ourselves into the cage of wingnut Costellonomics as Labor has done. The same applies to other issues, such as refugees, the Aboriginal Intervention, and welfare quarantining.– What Now for the Greens? :: Larvatus Prodeo
Tomorrow, When The War Began is an effective, taut adaptation of John Marsden’s YA classic about a group of teenagers who return from a camping trip to find their country town has been captured in a land invasion of Australian, and who become guerrilla fighters.
Like most contemporary film translations of popular book franchises, the characters and plot arrive on screen details intact but spirit truncated. The novel’s strengths were its characterisation and its exploration of violence and bravery. The film’s character development can be awkward - rapid fire, pithy dialogue exchanges are designed for maximum philosophical impact - but I’m glad it has enough moral flesh to engage as more than just action film.
The opening scenes veer away from Marsden’s ‘let’s test our stamina in the wilderness’ stuff towards fluffy teen romcom. This works well, though the film tries too hard to be funny when it could show more trust in the appeal of its characters.
The action sequences are well staged and often quite tense, but also impatiently fast. Shots of the abandoned rides and sideshows at the occupied showground are suitably eerie, but this isn’t dwelt upon. Later a shot of an empty swing builds on subtext about leaving innocence behind, but the frenetic pace doesn’t leave room for the pressure cooker character exploration of the book’s “action” sequences.
Caitlin Stasey looks nothing like the Ellie of the books, who is sturdy and a bit rough, but she does a great job with the character’s seriousness and self-doubt. The cast is fairly strong overall.
Homer (Deniz Akdeniz) and Lee (Chris Pang) are ethnic stereotypes, as much as they were in print. Homer is a devilish but sweet Greek badboy, Lee a studious, quiet, intense Asian boy. I guess the point is Homer grows out of the ethnic stereotype he has been hiding in. The depiction of Lee is more problematic, though, in book and film. There are shades of a very dark orientalism in his transformation into cunning guerrilla fighter. Is Ellie’s attraction to Lee bound up with what makes her such an effective soldier (against the unnamed Asian invaders)?
Ellie pauses to look a female soldier she has killed in the face: I felt the film was referencing the shot of a dying girl sniper at the end of Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, another war film with orientalisms up for discussion. However Tomorrow is not symbolically or structurally rich like Full Metal Jacket and the moment seems a bit forced: Ellie Pauses To Acknowledge Soldier She Has Killed Is Much Like Her. Having the invaders be east Asian shows up the ridiculousness of Marsden’s premise - Australia facing land invasion. The film can’t enjoy Marsden’s luxury of evoking Asian invasion paranoia without being explicit.
Will further films tackle this larger racial discourse in surprising ways? In the books the characters describe the invaders as insects, or a disease, tapping a strand of racially paranoid language which has persisted in Australia from the 19th century. This is not an unrealistic portrayal of how Australian teenagers might react in the circumstances. However, future films could be challenging or they could be avoidant in the choices they make about portraying the invaders themselves.
I hope sequels come. Things get much more dark and tortured for Ellie in Marsden’s books, and I would love to see Stasey take this on. I hope further films could build on the strengths of this one, but take more risks - deeper characterisation, darker and more sustained action sequences. Oh but also, bolder creative departures from the books, too - if I’m not being too greedy.
– Justin Kownacki - 3 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Chronic Underachiever
3. Admit That Nothing Matters.
Last weekend, as I looked at my miles-long to-do list and tried to feel bad for being behind schedule, I realized something just as powerful as my passion for staying busy:
Ultimately, I really don’t care.
Things will get done, or they won’t. I’ll succeed, or I’ll fail. I’ll live a life, and eventually I’ll die, and whatever impact I’ve had or legacy I leave will be up to someone else to make sense of. I can’t control that, and trying to is an exercise in futility and a waste of energy that could be better spent exploring and enjoying my life.
So why feel guilty?
This line of thought might seem counter-productive to my stated goal of living a more active and engaged life. It may even seem nihilistic. But, on the contrary, I find that it helps me avoid wasting time and energy on feeling frustrated or guilty for not living up to arbitrary benchmarks and judgments of success, including my own.
Life is short. Or it’s long. Or, if you’re lucky, it’s just long enough.
It’s up to each of us to find our own rhythm. But I doubt I’ll find mine by running in place.