The NewsHub Archive.

the-newshub

From August 2015 to November 2016, I wrote for a news journalism site called “The NewsHub”. “The NewsHub” was a great experiment in journalism, with the site allowing writers from across the world to write about what they wanted, when they wanted, and get paid for it if they were successful.

It was true journalism; the site was free, open, and welcoming to the clash and conflict of ideas. 

I loved my time writing for “The NewsHub”. During that time, I re-explored and rediscovered my favorite  books, films, and albums. I was able to express myself on issues of politics and religion. I had an internet war with the international organization of the Jehovah’s Witness. And I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite musicians. 

Skitz Timez.

Unfortunately, “The NewsHub” collapsed early this month. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough money to run their operation. The website had to be shut down very suddenly, sending thousands of great articles from hundreds of great writers into the graveyards of cyberspace.

It was a sad day. A very sad day for journalism. My best wishes to William and his team, and every journalist who worked for the site. 

But all was not lost. 

Like a pirate salvaging treasure from a sinking ship, I was able to retrieve a few of my best articles from “The NewsHub” in the day before the site shut down.

On this blog, I have posted a few of the articles that escaped the implosion. Thirteen articles, exploring everything from Eminem, to Australian politics, to ancient philosophy. Everything that I am passionate about, everything I believe, and everything that fascinates me. 

It was a pleasure writing these articles, and it was a pleasure working for people who truly believed in the meaning and mission of journalism.

So what are my final conclusions? 

I am sad to see “The NewsHub” go, but I am none the less happy to have worked with William and his team and to have done the things I did with them.

Thanks to everyone who has read my work on “The NewsHub”, enjoying it or hating it. The point of good writing is to change, shift, challenge, and transform opinion. And while I know a lot of people didn’t like what I wrote, a lot of people still read it. So that’s definitely something.

Writing is one of my life callings and one of my passions, and I doubt I could quit even if I wanted to. Paid journalism, when “The NewsHub” collapsed, seemed evidently dead to me. Consequently, I’m out, and over the pursuit.

If a site like “The NewsHub” can’t survive and thrive in this world, paid journalism doesn’t exactly have a bright future. Not unless me and every other journalist is willing to psychologically cock smoke Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the board at News Corporation. But that’s not really a “bright future”.

So what now?

I’m off to pursue my career, and attempt to write The Great Australian Novel. I’ll succeed at doing at least one of those things.

Probably.

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The NewsHub Archive 1; On paganism’s evolution, stoic philosophy, and “The Meditations” of Marcus Aurelius (August 2016).

ancient-roman-temple

 

The philosophy of using reason in life; a response of anger is always inferior to a rational response.

Paganism, defined as belief in multiple Gods rather than a singular God, was the main spiritual belief system of the cultural West before the rise of Christianity in the 4th century CE. Millions of people, from the Middle East, to Egypt, to Europe, held a belief in multiple entities controlling the whims and mechanisms of the universe.

 

But paganism was more than just a simplistic belief in multiple entities. In every sense, it was a way of life and a way of being. Pagan philosophy was a belief system that defined the actions of individuals, of cities, and of entire civilizations.

 

And there was a lot that was definitively positive about Paganism. Paganism allowed people to be human, and to celebrate life. Paganism allowed people to be ambitious, and see no wrong in pursuing their dreams. Paganism allowed people to be emotional, and feel everything from pain, to joy, to hate.

 

But paganism, as a belief system, still had its flaws. Pagan morals were centered on the concept of avenging perceived wrongs, and this often had drastic consequences.

 

In the 12th century BCE, the Greeks (probably) fought a ten year war that saw the destruction of the city of Troy (in modern day Turkey). This all happened because Paris of Troy stole the young bride of the Spartan king Menelaus, and vengeance needed to be had by the Greeks.

 

In 328 BCE, Alexander The Great, a man with a hot temper and a love for wine, threw a javelin through the heart of his mentor and friend Cletius the Black. All because Cletius said that Alex’s Dad Phil was a better man and a better king than Alex.

 

Gaius Marius, the uncle of Julius Caesar, was one of the greatest Romans in history. He was the man who revolutionized the Roman army and saved Rome from the German tribes. But this didn’t mean he was immune to Pagan rage. In 86 BCE, Marius became Consul (President) of Rome a seventh time. During this seventh and final consulship, Marius became extremely paranoid and psychotic. As the Greco-Roman historian Plutarch wrote;

 

” (Marius’s) anger increased day by day and thirsted for blood, kept on killing all whom he held in any suspicion whatsoever…Whenever anybody else greeted Marius and got no salutation or greeting in return, this of itself was a signal for the man’s slaughter in the very street, so that even the friends of Marius, to a man, were full of anguish and horror whenever they drew near to greet him“.

 

Marius’s psychotic rages in his final few months tarnished the reputation of someone who was otherwise one of the greatest men in history.

 

Paganism was a philosophical system with many virtues. Encouragement of ambition, forging one’s own destiny, and loving the many pleasures of life were some of the more commendable aspects of the Pagan worldview. But the philosophical acceptance of anger within Paganism was something that had seen people die without purpose and without reason.

 

So, as the Pagan world evolved from a group of competing cities to a one state Empire, something needed to be done about the philosophical disregard of anger. People cannot work in the world together if they are perpetually furious with one another. Taxes needed to be collected, roads needed to be built, and sewers needed to be cleaned. And that’s just the way it was.

 

Enter Zeno and the Stoic Philosophy squad;

 

zeno-of-citium

 

Zeno of Citium (334-262 BCE) was the man who said that the Greeks needed to learn to handle their problems more rationally. Zeno argued that reason and knowledge were the most desirable motivators of human action, and that passion and impulse were the least desirable motivators.

 

His teachings struck a chord among the Greek cities and within the expanding territories of the Roman Republic. To react calmly and dispassionately, rather than with anger, became the modus operandi of countless Greek and Roman men.

 

Stoicism, in many senses, is the forgotten revolution in human thinking. It’s teachings have a universalism that corresponds in many ways to other universalized ways of thinking such as Christianity and Buddhism. But stoicism has been forgotten, while Christianity and Buddhism flourish.

 

So what were the principles of stoicism? Stoicism teaches that human beings have absolutely no control over what happens to them in life. What we do possess control over, however, is how we respond to the things that happen to us. We can react to the things that happen to us with dignity and the will to be a good person, or we can allow ourselves to be consumed and to fall into an ethical quagmire. Control your reaction to the problems you face, or you will begin to become the problem yourself.

 

So what does being “stoic” mean?

 

I’ll let Marcus Aurelius (121-180 CE, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 CE) help me to describe that.

The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius;

 

marcus-aurelius

 

Like most stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius lived the active life. Marcus Aurelius was an accomplished essayist, a respected military strategist, and a well renowned legal scholar. In terms of his legacy and reputation, Aurelius is one of the most fondly remembered Roman Emperors in history.

 

Marcus Aurelius lived two lives; the life of the warrior versus the life of the philosopher. By all accounts, Aurelius married both lives successfully. 3rd and 4th century CE Greeks and Romans widely knew him as the “philosopher king”.

 

That said, Aurelius did have significant problems marrying the brutal necessities of politics and war with his philosophical ideals. This clash, between idealism and realism, formed the basis of Marcus Aurelius’s major work “Meditations”.

 

“Meditations”, written when Marcus Aurelius was on campaign against the German tribes in the 170’s CE, is a significantly impressive work of philosophy. It is also a useful guidebook for those at a juncture in their lives where they feel lost and directionless.

 

The main messages of the book, by my interpretation, are three-fold; try your best to be a good person, don’t worry about the things you cannot change in your life, and distance yourself from those who will try and do you harm. In following each lesson, human beings can achieve the stoic ideal of leading “the good life”.

 

The book teaches readers to approach the problems they face in life with calm and reason, and to never let our problems consume or define us. Life will necessitate, from time to time, that you come into rivalry with people. But rivalry should never equal hate, and by extension rivalry with other human beings should never drive you to anger or desire for their misfortune. Rivalry should merely compel you to succeed as a human being and excel within your own pursuits, while leaving other people to lead their lives. Through approaching all problems with reason and rationality, rather than through anger, human beings can ensure that we do not create problems within our lives, or turn small problems into big ones. Handling our challenges with this command of reason is what Marcus Aurelius defines as being a “good person”.

 

Associated with Marcus Aurelius’s idea of using reason as the defining motivator of our actions is his idea that you should not worry about the things you cannot change, or the things you don’t know. If you have acted imperfectly in the past, through letting your motivations be controlled by anger, you cannot change it. So don’t worry about it. Are there Gods, a God, or nothing? You don’t know, so don’t worry about it. Will you achieve what you aim to achieve within your life? You don’t know, so don’t worry about it.

 

Live through life in the best way you can. The power to do so is in a man’s own soul, if he is indifferent to things indifferent. And he will be indifferent if he looks at these things both as a whole and analyzed into their parts, and remembers that none of them imposes a judgement of itself or forces itself on us” (pp 10; 16).

 

Of course, no matter what you do in life, there will always be other human beings intent on doing you harm. Though you cannot always identify such people, once these human beings are identified the most rational response is to calmly distance yourself so harm cannot be done again. Surround yourself with the people who have earned your trust, but don’t hate the people you cannot trust. Everyone is in this life to achieve similar goals and reach similar end-points, although our approach to and our awareness of such end-points obviously differs enormously.

So what does this belief system mean in the 21st century?

I first ran across stoic philosophy a year ago. I was impressed by it, and impressed by Pagan philosophy in general. But my largest mistake, over the last year or so, has been the allowance of high emotion in controlling and defining actions in my personal life. Defined by instincts such as impulse and passion, I ignored the exercise of knowledge and reason. In this sense, my personal actions were much more akin to Gaius Marius at his worst than Marcus Aurelius at his best.

 

Stoicism, in many senses, is a hard philosophy to master. Ignoring emotions such as anger is something that is difficult to do. Defining action by cool reason is similarly difficult. But if these things can be mastered, then the rewards are significant.

 

Stoicism, in my personal interpretation, is a guide to life as complete as similar belief systems such as Christianity and Buddhism. Stoicism, when practiced correctly, is a useful guide for behaviour. It allows human beings to act free of passion and emotion. It allows us to realize that we should not be tempted into degrading and immoral actions through desire for fleeting and short term pleasure. It allows us to exercise what makes us truly human, our reason and knowledge, and use this to inform how we behave.

 

Stoicism is also divergent from other belief systems such as Christianity and Buddhism. Stoicism encourages humans to be active in life and pursue our own destinies, rather than accept the will of God or The Universe. Stoicism also has nothing absolute to say about the existence or the nonexistence of The Gods. It’s a philosophy that admits the greatest knowledge is to say that you don’t know. And in a world as confusing and complex as the 21st century, the ability to admit that you don’t know everything is arguably the wisest response. Stoicism, last but not least, encourages its believers to love this life, rather than hoping for absolution or salvation in future lives.

 

Be active in life, only seek the good in people, and pursue your dreams and ambitions. And if, for a moment and by your errors in judgement you fall, pick yourself up. There is nothing else you can do. Life only happens once and you should never let stress define it.

The NewsHub Archive 2; Interview; Tetrameth (August 2016).

tetrameth

 

Catching up with Australia’s foremost trance artist to discuss his music, what inspires it, and his plans for the future.

Tetrameth (AKA Peter Hayes) is currently the leading light of Australian psychedelic trance (psytrance) music. Producing a unique sound that combines progressive trance with psytrance, Tetrameth is akin to no other artist currently producing trance music. His music blends trance with the organic sounds of the Australian bush as well as instrumental sounds and twisted voice samples. This all combines together in a warped and visceral, but undeniably aurally astounding, cocktail. I caught up with Tetrameth to discuss his music, what influences his music, as well as his plans for the future.

 

  1. To begin, how did you first get into music and who were the first bands and artists you listened to?

 

In the late 70’s & early 80’s my parents owned a pub in Queensland. They both worked long hours & due to an excessive work schedule I was raised in the bar, next to a jukebox. I guess you could say for the first 3 or 4 years of my childhood that jukebox became my baby sitter. It wasn’t till quite a few years later the release of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” & the breakdance craze of the 80’s that I became a slave to music. Moving forward a few more years & the release of Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” was the game changer. My Dad (god bless him) took me to my first concert, Dire Straits @ Sydney entertainment centre, & I vividly recall a primal urge to get myself an electric guitar. How could it not? “Money for nothing & the chicks are free!!? Sign me UP!” hahaha.

I believe I was about 10 years old when, under my mum’s guidance, I first sat at a drum kit. Playing drums seemed to come effortlessly, & this is when my creative cogs really began to turn. I’m not sure if my mum did it because of the keen enthusiasm I had for music. Or the fact that I was getting in all sorts of trouble at school & music seemed to anchor my erratic adolescence that inspired the idea to put me in front of an instrument. Either way, it was the best decision my parents ever made for me. 10 years old & on the right track. The same track I am on to this day.

 

  1. What, in your opinion, defines a “good band” or a “good artist”?

 

Integrity & originality, first & foremost. The ability to be able to listen / study what it is that inspires you. Break it apart, imitate & understand what your peers are creating. And then recreate it yourself. But this is simply the beginning. To assimilate & recreate are initially essential in the honeymoon period. Once an artist has achieved this, the real groundbreaking comes from piercing through that surface & into your own domain of creativity. Adapting & applying your own elements to what’s been the initial inspiration. This is where you find your own sound. And in turn, your true self. Both as an artist & as a human being. The timeless work created by all artists is assured by originality & consistent integrity. After this self-discovery is made, the path ahead becomes much clearer.

 

  1. Before you got into producing psy-trance music, you were in a number of different rock bands. What kind of music did you make back when you were a member of those bands?

 

When I was 14 years old I did the cover-band thing, playing in pubs around the north coast of New South Wales. A cover band that never got paid more than free beer. Which when your 14 is nothing short of awesome. I did this for roughly 2 or 3 years after which I went on to study music seriously. I became student at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium, majoring in guitar. Surviving on a heavy diet of jazz-fusion, blues, funk & hectic musical theory. A period in life that I’ll never take for granted. I was sinking my teeth into material that was well above my pay grade for a 17 year old punk from the flannelette rock-pig / grunge era. Experimenting in various jazz, blues, flamenco duos, before leaving my studies to front rock band “Seven” as lead vocalist. This 9 years with “Seven” was my first real taste of the real industry, the road, & studio production.

 

  1. You eventually moved from making rock music into the Australian doof (outdoor rave) scene and producing trance music. What was the reason for that artistic change in direction?

 

My first handful of experiences with electronic music (I came to the realization much later) was of a rather high calibre. “Sun Control Species” spawning the first epiphany that lead me into electronic music production. After digesting his live/DJ performance I was left thinking, “How the %#*% does he makes this soundscape? And how the hell do I do the same?” This is where the ”imitate, disect & recreate” procedure began for me with electronic production. I was gifted my first computer in 2003 and the next chapter began.

 

Below; Peter playing live under the Tetrameth project.

 

tetrameth-2

 

5.When you started producing trance music, which artists influenced your sound?

 

As mentioned, Sun Control Species, Atmos, XV Kilist, Sensient, Cosmosis & early Infected Mushroom. But I was also drawn to alternate producers of the time like Crystal Method, Propeller Heads, Tipper, Squarepusher, & assorted break-beat & Drum & Bass artists. A transitional period in electronic music when musicians began using computers to experiment. Not just computer freaks. The transition from analogue to digital. At first this was rather intimidating, however slowly became some what natural I guess.

 

  1. Other than electronic music and your earlier musical influences, are there any other major influences on your sound? For example, have any visual artists, filmmakers, or writers significantly influenced your life philosophy and what you create?

 

Absolutely. In most cases my initial inspiration to begin a new composition is triggered by an inspirational quote, sample, or spoken word. I‘m a huge fan of music with a message. The combination of music with a narration, or underlining philosophy is a potent combination. All my favourite bands/artist/musicians/directors are storytellers in one-way or another. Music with the power to momentarily transport ones mindset from the here & now. I learned so much from this kind of experience & cherished the personal relationship with music & the magic effect it had on me. Hearing the wisdom & brutal honesty of renegade freethinkers such as Bill Hicks, Terence McKenna, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Roger Waters, Alan Watts, Richard Pryor, Frank Zappa, George Carlin & Bill Burr is what I would call “the medicine”. These guys had points of view, perspective, & their ideas are so thought provoking. I’d sample a quote that really moved me. From that point all I needed to do was create the appropriate backdrop to give it that extra punch. To quote the wise words of Mary Poppins, “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

 

Below; Pete with American comedian/philosopher Doug Stanhope.

 

pete-and-doug

  1. You have undoubtedly played a fair few live shows in your career. If you had to pick one, what would be your favourite live performance you have delivered and why?

 

BOOM Festival 2008 (Portugal) was a game changer for me. With 35,000+ people in attendance I’d never seen anything like it. Harnessing serious case of pre-gig nerves. The organisers spoke to me only moments before I had to play & informed me that someone had, very sadly, passed away on the site, was found in their tent and at this stage they had not identified the deceased. They then went on to explain they were cutting the music to silence before I had to play to announce this to the masses in order to not only inform them this had happened. But to gather any info they could about this person as it seemed he had come by himself & appeared to be camping alone. My pre-gig nerves were already peaking through the roof, leaving me with little or no sleep the night before. This was to be the largest crowed I had ever played to & my internal monologue showed me no mercy. Standing before the thousands as they announced the unfortunate news. The people responded accordingly in shock, sadness & respect. After which I was announced as the closing act for the main stage on that day & to my surprise, the place erupted with madness. They were seriously having it. I think the extremity & seriousness of the situation triggered a collective madness that I could have never predicted. It was serious business.

Below; TETRAMETH Live at BOOM Festival in 2008.

 

tetrameth-boom

 

  1. As a bit of a counterpoint, every musician is also a fan of music. Who are some of the better live musical performers you have seen in your time?

 

In the organic world – Pink Floyd. Tribal Tech (Scott Henderson). Tool. Black Sabbath. Mr Bungle. Meshuggah. Victor Wooten. The Dillinger Escape Plan. AC/DC. Machine Head. Faith No More. Chick Korea. Vince Jones.

 

In the electronic world: Tipper. Perfect Stranger. Spoonbill. Kalya Scintilla. Pspiralife. Sun Control Species.

 

  1. Last but not least, any plans for the future of Weapon Records & the Tetrameth project?

 

Weapon Records is finally finding it’s feet. Resurfacing after a period of adjustment, teething, & some big transitions. The direction & vision is coming to fruition. We’re currently compiling a VA compilation, “Weapons of Mass Connection”, for a release on July the 4th. This will include the usual Weapon suspects. Shadow Fx, Interpulse, Yeti, Tetrameth. As well as remixes of well known internationals, Freedom Fighters, Captain Hook, Merkaba, Flow Job & a couple of new comers to the Weapon Collective; Dharana and Sakyamuni.

 

I’m working the final touches on a well over due Tetrameth EP. As well as working on a collaboration EP with my brother & partner in crime, Shadow Fx. After a much-needed hiatus from the label, adjusting to fatherhood, relocating and dealing with the madness that comes hand in hand with this lifestyle & career, Weapon Records is coming back to the game in full flight. And I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.

tetrameth-3

 

The NewsHub Archive 3; Peter Dutton, a latter day Adolf Eichmann (June 2016).

peter-dutton

Above; Peter Dutton, immigration minister of Australia.

Australia’s immigration minister looks and speaks like a self justifying Nazi. A report on the banality of evil in 2016 Australia.

Peter Dutton, the immigration minister of Australia, is an evil man. He is not evil in the overt and active sense that Gaius Caligula, Hernan Cortez, Adolf Hitler, and Josef Stalin were evil though.

No. Peter Dutton represents a much more pervasive and widespread form of evil. Peter Dutton represents the banality of evil.

What is “the banality of evil”?

The banality of evil is the concept that most evil in the world is ordinary, everyday, and regular. Evil occurs as a series of small, and at the time seemingly inconsequential, acts. By extension of this, most evil in the world is committed by ordinary, everyday, and regular people. Hitler would have never been able to commit Germany to total war and a program of genocide were it not for millions upon millions of normal Germans obeying his orders. Likewise, Stalin couldn’t have asserted his control over Communist Russia without the support of millions of Russians.

For evil to occur on a massive scale, ordinary people must support evil things and help bring about evil things.

Such is the case with Australia’s policy of “mandatory immigration detention”. Australia currently has a policy regarding refugee arrivals to Australia, which automatically places refugees arriving to Australia by boat in what are essentially prisons in third world nations. According to the latest statistics (March 2016, Australian Border Force), 1679 refugees (including 15 children) are currently housed in Australian run detention centres. This policy of immigration detention is supported by both the ruling right wing Liberal/National Coalition as well as their main political opposition, the centrist Australian Labor Party.

What are the conditions within these detention centres?

The Australian government often likes to paint detention centres as holiday hotels. But the reality is far from the official depiction. Essential “gag orders” are placed upon workers in Australian immigration detention facilities, meaning that very little information regarding the true nature of these centres reaches the Australian (or indeed, the wider international) public. Virtually all information regarding detention centres, and practices within these facilities, is therefore filtered through Australian government officials.

However, some information has been leaked to the public. And the picture that has been painted is far from pretty. Paediatrician Professor David Isaacs spoke out about the conditions in detention centres earlier this year, stating “Long-term immigration detention causes major mental health problems, is illegal in international law and arguably fits the recognised definition of torture” (“ABC News”, January 26th).

Professor Isaacs isn’t alone in expressing these sentiments. Australian Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs has been a long term, vocal critic of Australia’s immigration detention policies. Gillian Triggs asserts that practices within these centres evidently and obviously breaches international human rights law. In addition, the Medical Journal of Australia (2010) has asserted that conditions of detention within Australian run immigration facilities contribute significantly to poor mental and physical health for refugees living within these facilities.

What has been the end result of all this ill treatment? A pretty extreme result.

Within the last two weeks, two refugees living in Australian detention facilities self immolated. In essence, they doused themselves in flammables and set themselves on fire. What made both situations even more tragic were the ages of the refugees; a twenty three year old Iranian man and a twenty one year old Iranian woman.

And how did Peter Dutton respond to this tragedy?

He blamed refugee rights advocates. Peter Dutton stated, with no real evidence whatsoever, that the encouragement of refugee rights advocates had motivated the two refugees to set themselves alight.

Peter Dutton’s logic is self evidently ridiculous. Would Peter Dutton blame Amnesty International if political prisoners within Iran were to set themselves alight? Would Peter Dutton try and blame Australian charity Kid’s Helpline for the suicides of Australian teenagers? Would Peter Dutton attempt something so low and so disgusting?

He already has. Peter Dutton blaming Australian refugee advocates for the suicides of refugees was evil. Though Peter Dutton did not explicitly do something evil, like maim or rape a refugee, his attribution of blame in this instance was cynical, calculated, and evil.

This kind of evil is not unique, however. It is common. Peter Dutton’s actions remind me strongly of another cynical and evil human being; Nazi numbers man Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962) (pictured below).

adolf-eichmann

Adolf Eichmann was a major architect of the Holocaust (1933-1945), sending thousands upon thousands of Hungarian Jews to their deaths in the final years of World War II (c. 1943-1945). His planning ensured that three hundred and seventy five thousand Hungarian Jews were rounded up and killed in 1944, even as the Russians seized Hungary from the Germans.

Adolf Eichmann never personally killed a Jew or other enemy of the Nazis. But he was an effective bureaucrat with a flair for mathematics. So he managed to effectively coordinate the rounding up and transportation of around five hundred thousand Jews or other enemies of the Nazis from Hungary to Germany. From the men, to the women, to the children, five hundred thousand human beings were sent from Hungary to Nazi camps to be gassed to death.

Adolf Eichmann escaped to Argentina after World War II, but was captured by Israeli special forces in 1960. And in 1961, the Israeli government put Adolf Eichmann on trial.

Adolf Eichmann presented a unique defence at his trial. Namely, he argued that he had not directly killed, or overseen the killings of, any Jews or other enemies of the Nazis. Rather, he had merely been a numbers man who was just “doing his job”.

The Israeli courts did not buy Adolf Eichmann’s defence. Adolf Eichmann was hanged for the crime of genocide in 1962.

Adolf Eichmann was not an aggressively evil man, in the manner of Adolf Hitler. But, rather, as journalist and German Jew Hannah Arendt asserted, he was a banally evil man. Adolf Eichmann was a man who promoted evil things and advanced the cause of evil because it suited his own interests and his own career. And for those reasons, the Israelis hung him by the neck. Evil, even if banal, should still be punished.

Peter Dutton is the same kind of evil as Adolf Eichmann. Both balding and largely uninspiring men, Dutton and Eichmann share another strong commonality; they are and were ambitious bureaucrats. Both men, though many decades apart, have also put their careers before the rights and the lives of other human beings. Dutton and Eichmann are and were apathetic and self interested individuals, whose apathy and self interest is menacing because of the very real impact it has had on the lives of human beings.

In Adolf Eichmann’s case, apathy and self interest helped contribute to the death of five hundred thousand people. In Peter Dutton’s case, apathy and self interest means that refugees in Australian detention centres will continue to set themselves on fire due to depression and ill mental health.

And, like Adolf Eichmann, Peter Dutton just doesn’t care. He’d rather blame the people trying to help refugees then be seen as the “bad guy”. Because Peter Dutton is banally evil.

It’s not World War II in 2016. So Peter Dutton won’t exactly oversee the Holocaust. But it’s my bet that if Peter Dutton were born in Germany in 1906, he would have been dressed in khaki brown and black boots by 1944.

If there is a Hell, Peter Dutton certainly belongs there. Peter Dutton is a banally evil man and I am ashamed he represents my country.

The NewsHub Archive 4; A belated tribute to Big Day Out and Soundwave (September 2016).

big-day-out

 

Above; Big Day Out Festival.

 

Australia’s deceased mega-festivals; the drinks were overpriced, the food was dreadful, and the heat was oppressive. But the music was great.

 

Big Day Out Festival and Soundwave Festival; Australia’s incredibly memorable, but also incredibly flawed, one day musical extravaganzas. Held in multiple Australian cities (and usually Auckland as well) over January and February, Big Day Out and Soundwave saw tens of thousands of people converge in one space for an event that merged live musical entertainment with an episode of “Man Vs Wild”. Pissing in a plastic water bottle so you can be front and center for Iron Maiden anyone?

 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”-Charles Dickens.

 

No words can more succinctly and accurately summarize the now deceased ultra-mainstream, ultra-commercial Australian festival of the 1990’s and 2000’s. Punters were hustled through the gates at 10 am, harassed by an army of sniffer dogs, battled exhaustion and heatstroke, survived on 6 dollar combinations of dodgy batter and even dodgier meat known as “dagwood dogs”, and were then unceremoniously herded out of the gates again at 10.30pm.

 

But it was all done for a higher and greater purpose; to see our favorite bands.

 

Soundwave and Big Day Out, in many senses, were a rite of passage for Australians who were teenagers in the 2000’s. Held at the height of summer, the festivals were a trial by fire. The heat was oppressive, the drinks were ten dollars each (unless you managed to strap a hip flask to your inner thigh), and getting detached from your friends was a real and ever-present fear among the crowds of thousands.

 

Despite all this, however, my experiences of Big Day Out and Soundwave were some of the best memories ever. Nothing can quite surpass the experiences I had at these festivals.

 

Below; Soundwave Festival.

 

soundwave-festival

 

I attended my first Big Day Out in January 2009, when the festival was still somewhat at the center of the Australian festival landscape. And it was one of my first great live music experiences. I saw the heavy music I loved to listen to at that time, and moshed for the second time in my life to bands ranging from Parkway Drive, to Fantomas, to The Dropkick Murphys. I was even introduced to electronic music in the form of rock/drum n’ bass group Pendulum. I got shitfaced with my brother on warm bourbon from hip flasks, and had what was generally one of the greatest days of my life. I nearly died of sunstroke three times that day and I lost my watch in the Parkway Drive mosh, but it didn’t matter.

 

I attended my first Soundwave a month later, amped to see the heavy metal stars of 2009; In Flames and Lamb of God. My first Soundwave was an equally challenging yet amazing experience. I stayed at the metal stage the entire day, eating sweaty dreadlocks and being crushed by the weight of thousands of metalheads pushing against the steel barriers in front of the metal stage. My shirt was drenched in the sweat of both myself and other human beings, and my legs and arms ached from collisions in the metal stage circle pits. But by the end of the day, I felt fantastic. I had been front stage, at the very center, for my favorite bands. And it felt like some kind of strange achievement, considering what a challenge that was.

 

I attended two more Soundwaves and one more Big Day Out. And, despite the shortcomings and challenges of both festivals, the live performances I witnessed each year were extraordinary. There was Faith No More, dressed in pastel suits with Mike Patton having faux mental breakdowns against the backdrop of a red curtain (Soundwave 2010). There was Iron Maiden, all in their 50’s but jumping around like they were in their 20’s, and literally executing every song with pinpoint precision (Soundwave 2011). There was Soundgarden and Kanye West having an onstage beef, Kanye West showing up an hour late to his performance, and Kanye West having an actual onstage mental breakdown while telling the audience in auto-tune to “hold the person you love close” (Big Day Out 2012). And that’s just my memories of the headliners.

 

Below; Kanye West had one of the more interesting Big Day Out headlines I have seen.

 

kanye-west

 

But now, as Henry Hill might say, its all over. Soundwave and Big Day Out are gone. Both festivals, which were massive events and relied on enormous volumes of ticket sales, are extinct. People weren’t interested in being herded around like cattle to check superstars and mega-bands off their bucket list anymore.

 

In their place multiple day festivals and raves have risen. These festivals and raves center themselves upon the experience of the attendees, rather than securing the best and biggest headliners. You aren’t likely to piss in a bottle waiting for Iron Maiden at Splendor In The Grass or Earth Frequency. And you are more likely to eat some kind of experimental Middle Eastern cuisine than the questionable extraterrestrial object that is a dagwood dog. You will more likely enjoy yourself and relax over four days in 2016, than burning yourself out just to survive the twelve hour sprint that was a one day mega-festival.

 

However, I still miss Big Day Out and Soundwave. I had some of the best live music experiences of my life at these festivals. And I’ve seen virtually every band and musical performer I have ever wanted to see live due to each festival’s existence.

 

Soundwave and Big Day Out were, as audience focused productions, pretty dreadful and pretty mediocre. However, they were also the location and setting for some of my fondest memories. And I’m sure hundreds of thousands of Australians would say the exact same thing.

The NewsHub Archive 5; The Evolution of Psychological Social Control; Perspectives from George Orwell, Michel Foucault, and William S. Burroughs (September 2016).

big-brother

 

How the control society has developed, advanced, and formulated more intricate mechanisms of subjugation. And how it may be fought.

The life of Winston Smith in “Nineteen Eighty Four” was horrible. Writing lies about things he knew to be untrue, living in abject poverty, and drinking Victory Gin with his “comrades”. A sexless and empty life. All under the watchful gaze of Big Brother, the ever present but potentially non-existent dictator of Oceania.

 

It’s no wonder old mate Winston Smith eventually flipped his lid and rebelled. His life was textbook psychological torture. But it’s not a tale that is that far removed from lives many human beings lead and have led, led on by promises of false utopias and an earthly Valhalla.

 

Life lived to serve a dream or a promise, life lived to serve an abstract idea, is not life. It is life’s cruel imitation.

 

George Orwell, William S. Burroughs, and Michel Foucault all wrote upon that fact.

 

To live in a society where you are not free, and where you are not equal to others, is a fate worse than death.

 

Societies can limit human freedoms and human will in multiple ways. Through playing on our fears, manipulating us through our lusts and desires, confusing us through the control of language and imagery, and attempting to monopolize what is “good” and “right”; human beings throughout history have been able to capture the free will of other humans. This is far from an abstracted concept, existent solely within the realms of fiction. To some degree, each and every human society and sub-society that has ever existed have elements that could be considered totalitarian and Orwellian.

 

If ever you are afraid of saying things you feel, then the society you exist within is totalitarian and Orwellian to some degree. If ever you are ever afraid of the consequences of your non-violent thoughts and actions, you are living in a society that is somewhat Orwellian. If ever you are led to believe or people want you to believe that you have some defined and fixed place or position in life, you are living in “Nineteen Eighty Four”.

 

Totalitarianism and Orwellian power structures exist to some degree in every human society. But, as human societies have become more sophisticated, these power structures and control mechanisms have become harder and harder to identify. Big Brother, as human society has evolved, has also evolved. Welcome to 2016; the place where The Party is everywhere but nowhere.

 

The control society. What is it and where did it begin?

As the French philosopher Michel Foucalt (1926-1984) (pictured below) asserted, the psychological control society of the cultural West has its origins in the development of scientific and rational thought in the 16th century CE. As Western society became more “rational” and more “reasoned”, societies sought to marginalize those who were outside the newly formed boundaries of socially defined rationality and socially defined reason. Thus began the era when a centralized society officially defined and categorized “Insanity”.

 

michel-foucalt

 

In “Madness and Civilization” (1960), Michel Foucalt argued that as Western society evolved into modern nation states, a centralized idea of Sanity and Insanity began to form within the cultural West. This was catalyzed by the need of the newly created national cultures to categorize things. Western European society was no longer a complex system of competing dukes, kings, guilds, cities, and bishops, but was instead forming around centralized political institutions known as “nations”.

 

Nations are centralized societies, and centralized societies have a need to compartmentalize things. And it all needed to be done with a maximum level of potential efficiency.

 

So what to do with those who could not serve a functional purpose within new national cultures? They were declared “Insane”, for they had no place within the new nations. A man who had hallucinations of what he considered The Divine may have had a purpose in Catholic Europe, as a mystic or a storyteller. But he served no purpose in the new Europe of the nation state and the free trade economy.

 

And those without a purpose are surely Insane.

 

Those listed as Insane were shipped off to newly constructed institutions across Europe, and used as reduced cost labor for Western European governments. This is a process that has survived within culturally Western nations until this day.

 

Definitions of “Insanity” shift and differ within every culture. Because every national culture has different needs and priorities. And, by extension, divergent dissidents and enemies. Hence, anti-Communists and Christians were declared “Insane” in 20th century Russian society, while Communists and other opponents of Capitalism were often declared “Insane” in 20th century American society. The opponents of national societies have frequently been declared “Insane” in multiple human societies and throughout history. Not because they are Insane, but because they represent a threat to the social status quo.

 

As a theme, Insanity as a construct of society has been a central topic of some of Western culture’s greatest writers. George Orwell and William S. Burroughs both wrote extensively upon the idea that Insanity is chiefly a social construct, used to marginalize and de-legitimize those who disagree with the fundamental assumptions of a society.

 

orwell-maxims

 

There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this, Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever“-O’Brien (Part III, Chapter II, “Nineteen Eighty Four”).

 

If Insanity is socially defined, then those Insane in one society are merely those who cannot fit the aims and purposes of that society. They are those who cannot, or will not, have a role within the society they exist within.

 

George Orwell, through the character Winston Smith and his psychological treatment at The Ministry of Love, explores this theme extensively in “Nineteen Eighty Four” (1949).

 

Winston Smith, in every sense, is a completely Sane man through the perspective of liberal-Western traditions of thought. He values seeking his own truth, the freedom of his own conscience, and he pursues and desires the love of women.

 

However, by the standards of the society of Oceania, Winston is Insane. Winston does not love The Party, and Winston does not love Big Brother. Winston does not wish to have a part in the society he exists within. Consequently, Winston needs to be “cured” of his Insanity.

 

Winston is taken to The Ministry of Love, a mental hospital where the psychological dissidents within Airstrip One (Great Britain) are physically and psychologically tortured. There he is beaten and broken, physically and mentally. Winston, a man Sane by the standards of Western readers, is cured of his Insanity.

 

By the end of the novel, Winston is a good Party member, and once more a good member of society. Winston tearfully realizes, through a haze of Victory Gin, that he loves Big Brother. Winston loves the very thing, the very force, that suppresses and crushes him. And so, finally, Winston is once again normal.

 

The Burroughs Perspective;

 

william-s-burroughs

 

Winston Smith did not defeat Big Brother.

 

But maybe Big Brother can be defeated. Maybe the people societies marginalize and declare Insane can have some kind of victory. The American writer William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) thought as much.

 

William S. Burroughs believed that each and every human society had its powerful, and its powerless. But the powerless can subvert and avoid domination by the powerful by realizing the sources and mechanisms of their power.

 

However, as Burroughs believed, avoiding the domination of the powerful becomes an increasingly more difficult task as human societies evolve and progress. A basic human society will use forces such as physical violence to ensure domination. A more advanced society will utilize material enticement e.g. money and a greater share of resources. And the most advanced and complex human societies will use attachment to abstract ideas (religion, spirituality, higher purpose), and everything associated with those abstract ideas to assert dominance and control.

 

Consequently, as human society evolves, the means and mechanisms for human control over other humans have evolved too. Sources of domination, and mechanisms of domination, are much more likely to be implicit than explicit. Domination, in 2016, can consequently come from any source. A song, an artwork, or even clothing can be used as a means of control and dominance. Sound and imagery has become the new electro-shock therapy in the world of 2016.

 

As the science fiction writer Frank Herbert (1920-1986) once asserted, barbaric societies are symmetrical and straightforward. Barbarians and savages aren’t that difficult to combat because their weapons and armor are obvious. Complex societies and complex civilizations are harder to fight because they conceal their forms of dominance with layers, dead ends, labyrinths, twists, and turns.

 

Who is Big Brother in 2016 and how can he be defeated?

Big Brother is alive and well today. Whether you are at the rugby club, the press club, or the night club, there are those groups and individuals you are not meant to offend or upset. There are those shit things, that you are not meant to call shit.

 

And the Emperor will bring Hell, Fire, and Fury upon you when you say he has no clothes. 2016’s manifestation of Big Brother comes with a new, and often veiled face. Big Brother may smile and have long hair these days. However, Big Brother is still everywhere.

 

But, through realizing and staying constantly vigilant of his existence and his mechanisms, you can still fight Big Brother. And, potentially, you can kill Big Brother too.

 

William S. Burroughs’ “The Naked Lunch” (1959) reaches such a conclusion. At the end of “The Naked Lunch”, the main character and narrator Lee kills a police officer known as O’Brien who tries to arrest him.

 

O’Brien is, as anyone knows, is also the name of the main antagonist of “Nineteen Eighty Four”. Coincidence?! Maybe or maybe not.

 

Lee darts to a pay telephone to contact O’Brien, the man who he has just shot, and contacts an Officer Gonzalez. And Gonzalez tells Lee something. There is no record of an Officer O’Brien. Officer O’Brien, it is suggested, was only ever a figment of Lee’s imagination. Lee hangs up the telephone, and goes on the run again.

 

Lee has to flee. Who knows, there may be another O’Brien out there? But probably not. Either in Lee’s mind or Lee’s physical reality, O’Brien is dead.

 

William S. Burroughs’ “The Mayan Caper”, written two years later, further explores the idea of psychically killing the control society. Lee, this time, has traveled from the fictional nation of Annexia (the USA) to central America. While studying a central American native society, Lee is drugged for a solid week with a substance so strong it makes him simultaneously orgasm and vomit. He is then inducted into a slave society run by Mayan priests/technocrats, who use him and others as slave labor.

 

But Lee figures out the trick. The Mayan technocrat priests operate a machine by which they control others. But they have no idea how the machine works, nor how to fix it if it is broken. Lee bides his time, and lets the priests think he is an idiot. Until the opportunity comes for Lee to smash the machine, kill the technocratic priests, and escape.

 

Big Brother can be killed psychically, if you remember that Big Brother only lives in your head. At least most of the time.

 

Cut word lines — Cut music lines — Smash the control images — Smash the control machine — Burn the books — Kill the priests — Kill! Kill! Kill! — ”

 

Indeed.

 

 

The NewsHub Archive 6; Farewell to The Dillinger Escape Plan (August 2016).

the-dillinger-escape-plan

 

One of the best bands of the 2000’s decides to call it a day. Remembering their music and their punishing live performances;

I first saw The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Brisbane edition of the now deceased Australian metal/punk festival Soundwave in 2009. I had been listening to their music for a couple of months by that stage. But nothing would prepare me for their live performance.

 

It was pure chaos, mayhem, and destruction. I’d been in metal moshes before. But, as one of my friends said, you will shit your pants at these guys.

 

I almost did.

 

As soon as Dillinger hit the stage, around 2pm on an Australian February afternoon with the blazing sun beating down, a massive circle pit opened up. But this wasn’t any ordinary circle pit. It wasn’t just people running around and knocking each other over. It was people actively trying to punch, trip, and kick each other. It was pure frenzy and pure destruction.

 

The performance was 45 minutes of chaos. At one point the frontman of the band, Greg Puciato, even climbed twenty meters up the railing on the side of the stage and kicked down a “No Moshing” sign.

 

I hung around the edge of the pit most of the time, looking at it in bewilderment. I wasn’t near as metal as I thought I was.

 

The live show I witnessed that day was something extraordinary. It was primal, it was brutal, and it was amazing. It was like an experiment in testing the lines between musical performance, and furious animal rage.

 

The Dillinger Escape Plan have always been that way. Their music probes the limits of music, bordering between melodic sounds and chaotic white noise. Their attitude is the same. The entire band has the vibe of artists, and scientists, conducting studies on noise. But, both times I saw them live, the whole band also had a tendency to act like a bunch of blood hungry apes.

 

Indeed, the very genre The Dillinger Escape Plan played and pioneered, mathcore, sounded like some kind of strange experiment. And it kind of was. Off beat contrasted to the on beat, with the band frequently employing 5 bar and 9 bar rhythms. But there was also a strongly melodic sensibility to their music. It was this combination of literally everything that made them so amazing.

 

Sure, their vocals and their guitars were as distorted as humanly possible. But the band was no stranger to melody. The Dillinger Escape Plan could really channel emotive and soft sounds and combine this with their distorted sounds of chaos. Songs such as “Unretrofied” and “Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants” demonstrated this versatility perfectly. And, for this reason, they were my favorite Dillinger songs.

In many senses, The Dillinger Escape Plan was a hard band to love. Even for people who enjoyed the heavier end of the metal spectrum, they could be a hard sound to come at. They were so strange, and so offbeat.

 

But once you loved The Dillinger Escape Plan, you really loved them. It was hard not to love a band so unique, and so challenging to every preconception of what “music” is.

 

I saw Dillinger for a second time in 2010. And that time I was more prepared. I readied myself all day, knowing I was seeing them. And when they hit the stage at Brisbane’s Hi Fi Bar, I completely lost myself to the music and the mosh. Bodies crushed against one another, heads smashed into the back of mine from my position near the front of the stage. Greg Puciato jumped into the mosh, and we all screamed the lyrics of the songs into the microphone. It was one of the best live music performances I have ever experienced.

Very recently, The Dillinger Escape Plan announced that they will release a final LP, Dissociation, go on tour, and then break up. The announcement made me excited and sad at the same time.

 

It will be sad to see these guys go. They are some of the best musicians, and the best live performers, I have ever heard and seen. But with the announcement comes the tour. And I’m excited for one last chance to completely lose myself in the frenzy and destruction of a Dillinger live show.

 

Satan’s salute to one of the greatest heavy music groups in history.

The NewsHub Archive 7; “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” by Warren Zevon, the Greatest Cover Song of all Time (May 2016).

warren-zevon

 

My favourite version of what is probably the most covered song in history. A cover song full of feeling and meaning;

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was originally written by Bob Dylan in 1973. It is an amazing song, that speaks in some strange way to the depths of the human spirit. It’s words, though somewhat poetic and mysterious, essentially talk about being done with a struggle in life.

 

“Mama lay my guns to rest, I can’t shoot them anymore”.

 

Bob Dylan has stated that the meaning of the original song was simply to describe the words and thoughts of a shot sheriff as he dies. But the song often speaks to so much more, to musicians who have covered it as well as audiences who listen to it.

 

Though music is an art form driven by passion and feeling, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is ironically a song that expresses a loss and abandonment of passion and feeling. It is a song about acceptance, and resigning oneself to apathy and fate. Despite this, Bob Dylan, and artists who have subsequently covered “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, all inject a lot of passion and feeling into their respective renditions.

 

The song’s message of resignation and acceptance has struck a real chord with musicians and their audiences across the decades.

 

Artists from American pop star Avril Lavinge, to American rockers Guns N Roses, to psychedelic superstars The Grateful Dead, have all performed and recorded versions of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.

 

I love the Guns N Roses version, with its sweeping guitar solos and Axl Rose’s unique and soaring vocals gliding through the track. However, the Guns N Roses version is not my favourite rendition.

 

No, my favourite version of the song is a recording by my favourite singer-songwriter; American songsmith Warren Zevon.

 

Warren Zevon recorded his version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in 2003, and released his song on his final album “The Wind”. The Warren Zevon version of the song was recorded when Warren Zevon had been diagnosed with, and knew he was dying from, lung cancer. As a result, the Warren Zevon cover is full of feeling, passion, and poetic depth. Because it is a song that speaks about and communicates Warren Zevon’s personal acceptance of near and impending death.

 

Zevon’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is probably one of the greatest cover songs of all time. And in my opinion, it is the greatest cover song of all time. Because the Warren Zevon version is loaded with meaning, perhaps even more meaning than Bob Dylan’s original.

 

Zevon’s low vocal tones, his mournful guitar, and his lack of musical embellishment within the cover clearly articulate a tone of acceptance and resignation at the fact and inevitably of death.

 

“Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Warren Zevon is a great song that will long outlive its creator. And it is a song I will love until the day I die.

 

 

 

The NewsHub Archive 8; Why The University of New South Wales is right to refer to Australia as invaded land (and why “The Daily Telegraph” is wrong) (March 2016).

border-wars

British “settlement” of Australia was defined by all the identifying features of invasion and war. Australian historians universally agree on this fact;

Today, “The Daily Telegraph”, a right wing tabloid newspaper with a level of language comprehensible to eight year olds, accused The University of New South Wales (based in Sydney) of “rewriting Australian history”.

 

The article in “The Daily Telegraph” referred to a new set of essay guidelines handed out by The University of New South Wales (UNSW) to UNSW history students. Within these essay guidelines, students are instructed to refer to European colonisation of Australia as a process of invasion. Students are also instructed to use the term “Indigenous Australians” rather than “Aborigines” when referring to people from Australia’s first, non-European cultures.

 

The thrust of “The Daily Telegraph” article is that whacko lefties have somehow usurped Australian university history departments (such as UNSW’s) and are now using their power in these history departments to teach a skewed and heavily ideological view of history.

 

This accusation that the UNSW history department is “rewriting history” is inaccurate and misleading for multiple reasons. These reasons include;

 

The fact that Australian academics have universally been using the term “invasion of Australia” for around thirty years.

 

The related fact that Australian university history courses have been depicting Australian history as a process of invasion for the same period of time.

 

Demonstrable evidence from Australian historians that the processes by which Australia was “settled ” by Europeans include all the identifying factors of war and invasion.

 

The complete inability of “The Daily Telegraph” to find sources without direct right wing political affiliations.

 

As a journalist and a history major, I feel it is my duty to categorically deal with each flaw in today’s “Daily Telegraph” article. Here are my corrections for “The Daily Telegraph”.

 

Correction 1 to the article; The fact that Australian academics have universally been using the term “invasion of Australia” for around thirty years;

 

The concept that Australia was invaded is hardly a new one in Australian universities. In fact, the idea that the British essentially invaded Australia has been present within Australian academia for a very long time.

 

Since Australian historian Henry Reynolds published his influential work “The Other Side of the Frontier” in 1982, academic consensus within Australian universities has been that Europeans seized Australia by armed force.

 

Henry Reynolds was supported in his views by other historians who have researched Australian history extensively (such as Lyndall Ryan, Andrew Bonnell, Martin Crotty, and Robert Manne). Academic agreement on the European history of Australia within Australia’s universities is that Europeans invaded Australia, seizing it from Indigenous Australians through the use of armed force.

 

Correction 2 to the article; The related fact that Australian university history courses have been depicting Australian history as a process of invasion for the same period of time;

 

This depiction of Australian history as a process of invasion is not opinion or ideology. It is fact.

 

This fact is taught in universities across Australia.

 

The Henry Reynolds version of history was the version of history taught by university professors when I attended The University of Queensland (UQ) (in Brisbane, Australia) from 2010 to 2012.

 

When I was at university, it was taught as historical fact that Australia was invaded by the British. This interpretation of history is essentially taught at Australian universities because the historical evidence for Australia being invaded by the British is overwhelming.

 

UQ wasn’t exactly a left wing university then or now. Right wing views, especially in regards to economics, were taught and respected at UQ. Political Science courses at the university incorporated thinkers from Niccollo Machiavelli, to John Stuart Mill, to Karl Marx. In other words, all socio-historical world views were taught and respected at UQ.

 

But history, as a discipline, is dependent on evidence. And the historical evidence that Australia was invaded by the British has proven largely irrefutable. Documentary evidence of this fact is significant. And the body of anecdotal evidence is also enormous. Although there may be arguments as to the extent and scale of warfare, evidence of war between Indigenous Australians and European migrants to Australia in the 19th century is too significant to completely refute.

 

Telling students to refer to Australia as “invaded” within UNSW essay guidelines merely builds upon what is established historiographical/academic agreement within Australian universities.

 

It is fact, not ideology, that has defined the UNSW decision.

 

Correction 3 to the article; There is demonstrable evidence from Australian historians that the processes by which Australia was “settled” include all the identifying factors of war and militaristic invasion;

 

So where does this evidence derive from? Well it comes from every currently respected work on Australian history in the last thirty plus years.

 

Henry Reynolds’ “The Other Side of the Frontier; Aboriginal Resistance to the European Invasion of Australia” changed the game of Australian historiography from 1982 onwards. The work demonstrated and proved that Europeans had not peacefully “settled” Australia. Rather, Europeans and Indigenous Australians fought a series of savage wars over a hundred year period for control of the Australian continent. Reynolds illustrated that Australia’s history was not a history of peace and prosperity. But, rather, a tale of war, savage violence, and conflict. Reynolds’ 1981 research was built on proven historical evidence of massacres of Indigenous Australians by Europeans throughout the 19th century.

 

Reynolds’ view, heavily informed by his research, was reciprocated by other notable and respected Australian historians in later years. Notably, Lyndall Ryan and Robert Manne.

 

Conservative estimates agreed upon by Australian historians have since concluded that at least twenty thousand Indigenous Australians and two thousand Europeans were killed during the Frontier Wars (Paul Daley, “The Guardian”, 15th July 2014). War and invasion is a historical fact of Australia’s past.

 

Of course, there have been critics of the dominant academic view of Australian history. But, as asserted by Australian historians Martin Crotty and Andrew Bonnell in 2006, these views are overwhelmingly the views of right wing politicians and right wing think tanks. Not historians.

 

As such outside viewpoints are more centred on ideology than fact, they have had a minimal impact on the teaching of history within the Australian university system.

 

Correction 4 to the article; There is a complete inability within today’s “Daily Telegraph” to find sources without direct right wing political affiliations;

 

Within “The Daily Telegraph” article, only two “academic” sources were cited. These were universally discredited Australian “historian?” Keith Windschuttle as well as the right wing Australian “think tank?”, The Institute of Public Affairs.

 

First to Keith Windschuttle. Keith Windschuttle is not a university trained historian. Additionally, his work has been stridently criticised by numerous respected Australian historians. Windschuttle’s “historical” work has been singled out by Australian historians for its right wing ideological slant and its manipulation of historical evidence to suit a right wing ideological agenda.

 

As Robert Manne stated when reviewing Keith Windschuttle’s work; “one of the most implausible, ignorant and pitiless books about Australian history written for many years”.

 

Henry Reynolds asserted; “without doubt, the most biased and cantankerous historical work to appear since the publication of G.W. Rudsen’s three-volume History of Australia in the 1880’s”.

 

Kieth Windschuttle, who has never trained as a historian, is not respected by trained Australian historians.

 

And neither is the Institute of Public Affairs, the other source “The Daily Telegraph” used. The Institute of Public Affairs is a right wing think tank, and its findings are designed to concur to right wing/conservative views of history and society.

 

In terms of its location within academic circles, The Institute of Public Affairs exists entirely outside of Australia’s historical academia. The Institute of Public Affairs is a political and non-academic organization. Asking The Institute of Public Affairs for a balanced opinion is like asking a spokesperson for Donald Trump for a balanced opinion. It simply won’t happen.

 

The depiction of The Institute of Public Affairs as a “legitimate” source by “The Daily Telegraph” is therefore extremely misleading.

 

“The Daily Telegraph” published a very poor and very misleading article.However, since the publication of “The Daily Telegraph” article, there have been other notable media critics of UNSW’s essay guidelines.

 

But other notable critics of UNSW’s decision have not studied university history courses. Their understanding of history is therefore based on outdated Australian high school curriculums, which too often place the ideological agendas of ruling political parties above historically recognised fact.

 

Critics of UNSW’s history programs and history essay guidelines as of today include;

 

-Kyle Sandilands-A former “Australian Idol” judge and talkback radio host most famous for making a teenage rape victim cry on air in 2009. Sandilands got his first radio job through his use of a falsified resume to impress radio station executives.

 

-Alan Jones-A right wing/conservative talkback radio host who was caught having sex in a public toilet in London in 1989. Studied teaching at the Kelvin Grove teacher’s college in Brisbane. Not university trained in history.

 

Critics of UNSW’s history program are, as a group, very underwhelming in terms of their experience of university level history. And in many cases, these critics are also hypocrites. The public statements and right wing opinions of individuals such as Jones and Sandilands heavily contradicts the behaviour demonstrated in their personal lives.

 

University history is the domain of historians. Like medicine should be left to doctors and law should remain the domain of lawyersinstruction in history is the job of trained and accredited professionals (AKA historians).

 

The recent changes to UNSW’s history essay guidelines do not reflect an ideological takeover of the university by the political left. They reflect thirty plus years of established historiographical agreement within the Australian university system.

 

And that agreement, based on significant historical evidence and research, is that Australia is a nation founded on war, dispossession, and military conflict.

 

To argue otherwise is like telling a lawyer you can represent yourself in court. Or telling a neurosurgeon you can operate on your own brain. It’s just a little bit silly.

 

The NewsHub Archive 9; Album Review, YG’s “Still Brazy” (August 2016).

still-brazy

Compton MC YG has evolved enormously both musically and personally. “Still Brazy” is a reflection of this evolution, and is a great rap album for this reason.

YG (AKA Young Gangsta) (AKA Keenon Jackson) is set to be the next superstar of hip hop. The Compton MC’s latest musical effort, “Still Brazy”, is a portrait of a rap artist ready and willing to be a positive force within the world. With that said, it is also the portrait of a man cursed and trailed by the demons of his old life within the gangland of LA. YG is set to be the 2pac of the 2010’s, as long as he doesn’t meet the same fate 2pac met twenty years ago.

So what makes YG’s new album such a great work of art?

A combination of a unique musical approach and two completely contrasting themes work together to make this album exceptional.

Stylistically, “Still Brazy” is traditional, and even nostalgic, in the sounds it utilizes. Yet “Still Brazy” none the less seems new and innovative. YG’s early work incorporated trap beats and short, simplistic verses. “Still Brazy” switches that up for more complex verses, accompanied by a hi tech takes on traditional “Gangsta Funk” (“G Funk”) style beats. The high pitched synth employed through most of the album is fantastic, and reminds me of Dr. Dre’s work in the Death Row Records era. Regular intervals within the album employing simplified and stripped down beats remind me of an even earlier era in West Coast Rap e.g. the beats of NWA and early 2pac. YG has brought back the best elements of 90’s hip hop on this album, but has still managed to make it sound new. “Still Brazy”, purely musically, is like listening to the rebirth of G Funk. It’s traditional yet innovative. And it’s brilliant.

Thematically, the album also represents a huge evolution. YG shocked the world when he first emerged as a rapper. Straight from the gangland of Compton, YG’s early music was arrogant, vicious, and heavily misogynistic. Drugs, girls, and making money was the entire focus of YG in his early releases. These themes defined YG’s music in his early EP’s and singles. Such topics also characterized YG’s 2014 debut album “My Krazy Life”.

“Still Brazy” reflects and represents a different kind of YG. The YG of “Still Brazy” is socially conscious, extremely (but understandably) paranoid, and politically minded. These changes reflects YG’s evolution as a person.

YG now has a one year old baby daughter, and is largely thinking of the future. He is more socially conscious and socially minded. According to a “Spin Magazine” cover story from earlier this month, YG has stopped eating food with chemical additives and even had a spell at attempting to go vegan earlier this year (YG has since given up on being a vegan, and has posted videos of himself eating chicken and waffles to his Facebook). YG has also notably appeared sober and business minded in recent interviews, which is a big change from the Keenon Jackson who would show up to every interview stoned on codeine and weed.

But there is another side to these changes. With YG’s fame has come plots on his life. Almost a year ago, YG was shot as he was walking out of a recording studio. YG survived the shooting, but it has left its mark on him. YG became a paranoid person after the shooting, something he had never been before the event. YG went through a period of alcohol abuse following the shooting to quell the paranoia. He came out of this phase, but he has remained paranoid ever since.

Consequently, “Still Brazy” reflects a man who is heavily paranoid, but none the less socially conscious and focused on the future. The first twelve songs of the album (such as “Who Shot Me?” and “Still Brazy”) focus on YG’s effort to insulate and protect himself from potential assassins. Haters and jealousy from former friends also feature as a recurrent theme.

Paranoia is the predominant overtone of the LP. But this is switched up at the end. The last three songs of the album center on political issues. Songs such as “Fuck Donald Trump”, “Blacks and Browns”, and “Police Get Away Wit Murder” are politically focused West Coast Rap songs that follow in the best traditions established by rappers such as 2pac and Ice Cube.

This thematic gear change is what I love about the album. YG’s ability to address multiple themes and issues with passion and energy is unmistakable. It reminds me strongly of 2pac’s approach on releases such as 1995’s “All Eyez on Me”. YG is a man who can address any issue with conviction and belief. And, in my eyes, that is what defines a great artist.

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