June 2005

Arts & Letters

‘Big Brother’ Channel Ten

By Kerryn Goldsworthy

Tragically, Big Brother is back. As with Australian Idol, this show’s soundtrack of non-stop hysteria is provided by a mob of nine-year-olds leaping about and screeching as though their complimentary jumbo drink-bottles of red cordial have all been laced with speed. And that’s just the housemates. This year’s lot seem obsessed by the question of who’s going to have sex with whom. Given that they are a largely undifferentiated mass already and most of them seem incurably narcissistic, you’ve got to wonder why they care. But I wish they’d all hurry up and get on with having sex; it’s got to be more entertaining than their conversation.

Then there’s the hostess, who used to be a quick-witted, good-looking brunette with a mobile, lived-in face, a gifted comic who wouldn’t have been caught dead mouthing platitudes or keeping up an inane fiction night after night. It’s time Big Brother called this strangely smooth-skinned and po-faced poppet into the Diary Room and asked her a few pertinent questions. Who are you, and what have you done with Gretel Killeen? And why are you wearing the back half of a polar-bear cub on your head?

One wonders who’s profiting the most from this cheap-to-make TV, its prime-time advertising and all that frantic text-messaging. Telstra or Channel Ten? Not the housemates who provide this cash cow’s fodder, that’s for sure. And who’s going to win? I’m barracking for Glenn, the down-home country boy. He’s honest, relaxed, sweet-natured, competent and he’s neither a boor nor a fool. I can’t think what he’s doing on this show.

Cover: June 2005

June 2005

From the front page

Image of Minister for Skills Michaelia Cash

Cash-strapped

The looming training overhaul will need to be watched closely

Cold was the ground: ‘Sorry for Your Trouble’

Richard Ford delivers an elegant collection of stories of timeworn men and women contemplating the end

Photograph of Malcolm Turnbull

Surrounded by pygmies: Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘A Bigger Picture’

The former PM’s memoir fails to reckon with his fatal belief that all Australians shared his vision

Child's illustration

The screens that ate school

What do we really know about the growing presence of Google, Apple, Microsoft and more in the education system?


In This Issue

Enrolment Daze

Freedom, order and The Golden Bead Material: a parent’s dilemma

Man Without a Name

A Te Aroha cowboy and his secret part in training the 1985 Melbourne Cup winner

The Prince of Darkness is a Gentleman

Satisfaction (I Can't Get No)


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Surrounded by pygmies: Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘A Bigger Picture’

The former PM’s memoir fails to reckon with his fatal belief that all Australians shared his vision

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Her too: ‘The Assistant’

Melbourne-born, New York–based filmmaker Kitty Green’s powerfully underplayed portrait of Hollywood’s abusive culture

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Snap-back: Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’

The British singer’s serendipitous album delivers shining pop with a reigning attitude of fortitude

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What is the future of cinema without cinemas?


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‘The Trials of Portnoy’ by Patrick Mullins

The finely detailed story of the legal fight in Australia against the censorship of Philip Roth’s ‘Portnoy’s Complaint’

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‘The End of October’ by Lawrence Wright

A ‘New Yorker’ journalist’s eerily prescient novel about public-health officials fighting a runaway pandemic

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‘Fathoms: The World in the Whale’ by Rebecca Giggs

The Australian writer’s lyrical consideration of our relationship with whales is a new and ambitious kind of nature writing

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‘Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982’ by Cho Nam-Joo (trans. Jamie Chang)

The coldly brilliant, bestselling South Korean novel describing the ambient harassment and discrimination experienced by women globally


Read on

Cold was the ground: ‘Sorry for Your Trouble’

Richard Ford delivers an elegant collection of stories of timeworn men and women contemplating the end

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Moral bankruptcy

Robodebt stemmed from the false ideological division between the deserving and undeserving poor, but the government still clings to moralistic language

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It’s about time

The High Court’s landmark ruling on the ‘Palace Papers’ is a win for Australian social democracy

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Something mythic

For Robyn Davidson, her acclaimed memoir ‘Tracks’ was an act of freedom whose reception hemmed her in


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