A Pop Culture Too Far?


In current times, pop culture is a buzzword that many people can immediately identify. Shows that mimic and comment upon popular culture, such as SeinfeldFuturamaFamily GuySouthparkDrawn Togetherbut mainly The Simpsonsare what I hear being quoted repeatedly amongst the majority of my friends. Creativity seems to be stymied, Orwellian-style, in favour of a well-worn, humorous quotation or a retelling of a favourite episode. I’m sure this has been the case to a lesser degree in the past with popular shows, but never so much since the advent of widespread media, such as the Internet and cable television.

It’s sad, but I find myself constantly questioning the originality of a particular humorous phrase, as opposed to attributing the utterance to myself or a friend. Everything becomes an echo of an echo of something said by Stan Marsh from Southpark or (God forbid) Homer from The Simpsons. Continue reading

6 Ways to Lose Your Mind


Just flat out pretend you’re crazy. Start with the basics: wear underwear on your head, hug a stranger, get an obscure hobby to obsess over. If that doesn’t work, then move up to the big leagues: stop eating meat, join an extremist animal right’s group and sock it to those carnivorous unbelievers! This is called joining a cult.

Not doing it for you? Try committing a major crime and when the case goes to trial, hit ’em with the ol’ insanity plea. You shouldn’t be held criminally liable for your actions while visiting Lalaland! (In New Zealand and Australia this is known as the mental disorder defence.) The newspapers won’t care whether you actually are crazy, but the resulting media hooplah will induce mental shutdown. If that still hasn’t worked, you’ve got one more card up your sleeve: A Get Out Of Jail Free card. If your convicted, it’s likely you’ll be shoved into an institution a la One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Frontal lobotomies for all! Continue reading

Publishing in Australia: Spotlight on Giramondo


Giramondo Publishing originates from that most venerated of Australian Arts institutions—the literary journal. Since the company’s inception in 1996—when they began releasing the biannual book-length journal HEAT—Giramondo’s main focus has shifted, and in 2002 they began publish books by individual authors.

With a number of critically acclaimed and award winning novels in print, such as Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria and Gerald Murnane’s Tamarisk Row, one-man editing team Ivor Indyk explains his past need to be a more direct part of the Australian publishing industry:

‘After some years as a university teacher and critic of Australian literature, I felt the need for a more direct involvement with writers and with the process of writing, especially since I often found myself criticising books for faults that could have been avoided with skilful editing …  Continue reading