Our 8 year old documented the removal of the first chair from the bus in photos, hence the odd shots of everything… except the chairs..
How Brent did it:
He used a half inch socket set and it took him about 20 minutes. Unfortunately the socket was cheap and stopped working… so a trip to bunnings, a refund and a whole bunch of extra money later and hopefully we’ll be back into pulling out chairs tomorrow. Buy Books So I can get the bus finished!
Buy Books So I can buy coffee!
Neill, Rosemary. “Cable TV box sets spark a cultural revolution.” The Australian 8 December 2012 : http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/review/cable-tv-box-sets-spark-a-cultural-revolution/story-fn9n8gph-1226531292299
The first thing I have to say about the article is that the word “hip” sticks out like a sore thumb. But then I guess the demographic for the Australian is not one that I particularly fit, so after I stopped cringing the main thing that I took away from the article was how much our viewing habits have changed in the past 3 years since this was written. Since then we have had the paid online streaming which has picked up where cable has left off with netflix and “binge watching? taking the place of dvd marathons. This article in pointing out the way that industry and consumers have evolved to meet new formats is peculiarly reminiscent of current articles about whole series drops such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” that have taken the telivision series in a new direction which does not rely on recaps and reintroductions of complex plot points and characters to keep viewers engaged and up to speed.
I decided to watch and review the new Doctor Who episode this week, which I’ll be honest, I didn’t hold high hope for as last this season has been pretty unspectacular thus far. I’m not sure why they have chosen to have the Doctor mirror Capadli’s percieved personality so closely when they have such an amazing character and dramatic actor at their disposal. It was an effort not to delve into “epic fan girl” mode when writing about this so I wrote 2 versions, one aimed at casual viewers and the other aimed at “whovians”. Buy Books So I can buy coffee!
Kent, Nick. “Sid Vicious – The Exploding Dim-Wit.” The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music 1972-1993. London: Penguin. 1994. 179-87.
The reading was a quite brutal close up look at one of the most iconic moments in the 70s punk movement. I found that it might be a bit emotive for my tastes but then I did not have to behold the offense spetical of Sid and Nancy’s downward spiral close up. The article paints a pretty bleak picture of the kind of grotesque behaviour that the punk movement was sometimes involved with.
For my thumbnail album review I listened to Kingswoods album Microscopic Wars. Even though Kingswood’s sound has matured since their days as an undiscovered unearthed band I still find myself ultimately reminded of Queens of the Stone Age’s “Songs for the deaf”. This is by no means a negative and Kingswood certainly add an Australian flavour to the stoner rock genre.
How have illicit drugs become symbolic scapegoats in wider social conflicts? Discuss with reference to at least two countries.
Illicit drugs and illicit drug use have a particularly potent social and cultural symbolism, the impact and connotations of which varies according to the ideologies and social capital of the communities and individuals who come into direct or indirect contact with illicit drug use. As illicit drugs are often associated by legislators and the media with minority groups and counter culture attitudes and approaches to illicit drug use are often more representative of attitudes to the perceived user demographic than the dangers or societal impact of the drug use itself. This paper will examine the effect of prejudice against the perceived user demographic on both attitudes of the individual and approaches in legislation in Australia and the United States of America.
In examining Australian drug legislation and the effect of prejudice on legislation it is useful to examine the approach taken by the Howard government in response to an increase in heroin use and overdose in the late 1990s.
Howard era. In 1997 a recommendation was made following the outcomes of several reports and the third review of National Supply Reduction Strategy for Heroin and other Illicit Drugs that injecting room be rolled out in order to minimize the harm being caused by unsafe injecting practices amongst illicit drug users (Hughes, 2015). The recommendation, however, was quashed by the government in power, creating, for the first time in recent political history, a lack of bipartisan support for proposed drug legislation.
Despite recommendations for harm minimization strategies such as a a move towards decriminalizing illicit drug use (Brammer et al, 2002) the neoconservative LNP (Liberal Party) moved away from a community and welfare harm minimization approach towards law enforcement based “Tough on drugs” model (Brammer et al, 2002). This model saw not only a greater percentage of funding going towards law enforcement and seizures but it also deepened and validated the perceived view of the addict as criminal rather than victim. This was considered to be a populist move in drug legislation by the LNP as the party relied on the votes from a particular demographic; white, middle class, in established careers or occupations, with a predisposition towards economic conservatism. This supporter or voter demographic was seen to be at odds with a welfare based approach to illicit drug issues which typically effected younger, unemployed individuals, who, whilst they commonly came from white Anglo-Australian backgrounds, were also commonly of different ethnicities from the LNP supporter demographic (Brammer et al, 2002). For example the rate of illicit drug abuse, particularly heroin, is higher in Aboriginal communities. The Howard government’s push against reconciliation and other Indigenous rights and welfare issues is consistent with the populist attitude to drug legislation, an “us versus them” mentality that sees colonial racism and cultural and class divides being reinforced by law. The dispassionate approach to a serious health issue that does not effect the demographic of the political party in power, and the criminalization of that issue reflects more about the attitudes to race, class, age and poverty than it does about issues pertaining directly to the drug being considered.
While this series of event in recent decades in Australia shows clearly how popular prejudice, in particular racism, can be used effect drug legislation, in the United States of America a series of studies have shown that similar substance abuse problems are being intrinsically linked with certain ethnic groups. This stereotyping or profiling of users of opiates such as heroin allows white, middle class, right wing Americans to distance themselves from the problems of substance abuse, segregating effected communities into a kind of “underclass” (Schneider, 1998). Using the social problems associated with drug use as a thin veil for racial stereotyping, as the rate of incarceration and dependency are higher in Black and Latino communities (Schneider 1998), media portrayal and drug legislation related to illicit substances is able to reflect racism and prejudice at work in American society.
The link between the demographic of the user and the approach taken when addressing abuse is key to perpetuating this racial divide via legal and legislative means. There is evidence of differing approaches by law enforcement and the legal system when dealing with White offenders and Black or Latino offenders. There is a higher incidence of arrest, prosecution and jail time when the drug related offender is part of a minority group, where as offender from an Anglo-European background are more likely to be ushered through more clinical avenues of addressing the offence. As Schneider (1998) posits substance abuse is treated as an illness when encountered in the white community, but is treated as crime when perpetrated by certain minority groups.
Racism is not the only social conflict to be reflected by public opinion towards illicit substances. Homophobia is also reflected in the community condemnation of those with HIV/AIDS and those using injected illicit substances. The link between these three groups has been overemphasized in the right wing media and political sphere in America, leading to prejudice on a grass roots level. Research into the approaches to treatment and advocacy for patients who had AIDS, identified as homosexual or used injectable illicit drugs such as heroin found that a single factor of these three was enough to make medical students express a reluctance to treat the individual (O’Hare et al, 1996). The fear of HIV/AIDS, heroin use and homophobia have been so intrinsically linked in public opinion due to the high rate of HIV/AIDS in both users of heroin and gay communities, and the vast wealth of misinformation about how the infectious disease is communicated. The cultural and historical mistrust of the homosexual community in American society up until recent decades seems to have been transferred to heroin, meaning that homophobia as well as racism, is at play in emotive reactions to heroin legislation in the U.S.A.
Whilst there are many other social conflicts and community fears that are reflected in drug legislation not explored here, the themes of prejudicial practices and attitudes against a minority in the guise of addressing substance abuse and drug related crime a indicative of a widespread trend in Western societies. This is a populist, progressive movement away from using race or sexuality alone to condemn a group of people. The speed with which this change in thinking has occurred has left residual resentment between cultures and communities meaning that rather than wide spread cultural prejudice, more regressive political movements and groups express these historical grievances by picking out and pinpointing behaviours or “deviances” associated with that group, such as substance abuse, to continue marginalizing groups of people, without transgressing recently appropriated societal norms and anti-discriminatory legislation.
Illicit drugs have rapidly become the focal point for social conflicts between the “haves” and “have nots”. Drug legislation has become a method by which those in power are able to make decisions, which have real legal consequences for communities that are often under represented and unheard. This makes illicit drugs and our perception of them and the demographic of the user a very telling reflection of the subconscious and residual biases at play within our community.
Bammer, G., Hall, W., Hamilton, M., & Ali, R. (2002). Harm Minimization in a Prohibition Context—australia. The Annals Of The American Academy Of Political And Social Science, 582(2), 80-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716202058002006
Heisler, M. (2008). The politics of history in comparative perspective (pp. 149-165). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.
Brent’s mum is organising one last bus trip for our bus before we rip seats out.
We’re going to beechworth in the morning of the 21st of november, having morning tea in the park and having lunch at a local pub. Bus leaves from east albury with finer details to be announced soon.
Free ride just pay for your own lunch and beverages
Want to attend?
Let us know!
How do changing attitudes towards femininity effect academic readings of “Frankenstein or the Modern Day Prometheus” by Mary Shelley?
When commenting on the gender implications of “Frankenstein” academic thought appears to vary considerably about what, if any, social commentary Mary Shelley was trying to make, and if her links to some of the most notorious and infamous men and women of 18th and 19th century literature had an y bearing on how she presented the gender of the creature, and the creator himself, Victor Frankenstein. Sussman (2004) separates interpretations of this iconic Gothic novella into 3 distinct groups based on the implied perception of Shelley as either; 1) the wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, 2) A mourning mother and finally 3) the daughter of revolutionary writers; William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. As this grouping shows the interpretation of the tale of Victor Frankenstein and the rejection of the monster he created varies according the focus on the role of Shelley as a woman, and our views of her most important social and family function as a feminine being.
The interpretation, which was most common before the arrival of second wave feminism was that Mary, wrote “Frankenstein” with either the aid of, or, in response to, her more famous husband, the romantic poetic, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Societal attitudes to the legitimacy of female writers are scarcely more clearly illustrated than the subsequent negative change of critical thinking when it was revealed that the author of “Frankenstein” was a woman (Gordon 2015). Another clear indicator of the value placed on male creativity and intellectual thought is the reluctance of critics and scholar’s, most notably James Rieger (1982) in his edition of Frankenstein, to accept Mary Shelley’s exclusive right to authorship due to Percy Shelley’s sometimes lengthy input as editor. Whilst the manuscripts do show his annotation to be lengthy, the overwhelming majority of the text is penned by Mary herself, and based on the manuscripts alone there is no clear reason to perceive Percy’s role as anything but editor. The persistence with which questions of authorship resurface perhaps indicates a reluctance to accept a young female author as a credible source of such a story, despite all evidence of her authorship.
Another common way to explain “Frankenstein” as being forged my the merits of man rather than woman is to cast Percy in one of the lead roles, either as the tortured and fickle Doctor, turning away from his creation, or as the horrific creature, constructed by the society he lived in, which turned away in horror from the radical poet who was formed as a reaction to his environment. In this way the focus is shifted from Mary as the author, to Percy as the inspiration, challenging her right to authorship in a more subtle and insidious way (London 1993).
Second wave feminism initially did not do anything to establish the authorship and credit for “Frankenstein” back to Mary, as she was notably absent from the initial attentions of those looking to their literary foremother’s, such as Wolfe did in “A Room of One’s Own” (Sussman 2004).
Sussman (2004) attributes this neglect of Mary Shelley in second wave feminism to the turning away from the role of the mother
in this stage of feminist theory. Women who embraced their maternity and mother hood were not seen to be following feminist ideals as the two callings, feminism and motherhood were thought to be mutually exclusive. Shelley, whose life was heavily influenced by a maternal legacy and her own anguish and heartache due to the deaths of her children, did not fit the ideals of the second wave feminist movement. Consequently the interpretation of “Frankenstein” as a tale of birth trauma is not one that sits easily with many critics, the creature being a child, and the rejection of that child by it’s mother is not a particularly palatable one and is not widely subscribed to.
The key to understanding this most recent interpretation of “Frankenstein” is to understand the works of both of Shelley’s parents, particularly her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft’s “Vindication of the Rights of Woman” The literary and political legacy that Mary Shelley inherited from having two heavyweights of political literature in the 18th century is something that was neglected to a large extent by those of the first and second school of interpretation of her works. Godwin, her father was a radical figure in political thought and a great inspiration to those romantic poets of whom Mary Shelley herself would become familiar with. The Wollstonecraft legacy was perhaps the most formidable and weighty for Mary Shelley to contend with as not only was her more one of the first published female writers to address the rights of women but she also died from complications relating to her daughter, Mary’s birth. Never having known her mother, as Mary Goodwin, soon to be Mary Shelley began to embark on her adult life the memory of her mother cast a long shadow as is evidenced by her correspondence with both her sisters, Jane and Fanny, and Percy (Gordon 2015).
“The Vindication of the Rights of Women” emphasises Mary Wollstonecraft’s firm belief that until women are given the same education and opportunities to better themselves as men then no scholar can claim to know what they are truly capable of. She asserts that a lack of education and meaningful pursuits is what impedes the reasoning and development of women, and that enforced idleness is the means with which women are subjugated and subdued, making them secondary to men in the eyes of the society of the time. This work was largely a response to political and philosophical literature of the time that denied women a space in the definition of humanity, or “mankind”(Schneir 1972).
When we look at Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” through the lens of her mother’s work and ideology we get a very different reading to those who look at the novella through the lens of Percy Shelley’s influence, or the experience of a mourning mother. We see an independent young woman, struggling to come to terms with mortality, male creation and ambition and the expectations placed on her as her mother’s daughter. It is only through this interpretation that we are able to see Mary’s focus on the plight of unmarried women and their illegitimate children, as was her mother’s situation when she gave birth to her sister Fanny. This interpretation also allows the reader to cast Mary in the role of the creature and her father in the role of Victor Frankenstein. William Godwin’s radical views were an inspiration to Mary, Percy and other’s in the romantic free love movement of the time. But when his daughter put her father’s ideologies into practice and embarked on a relationship with the married Percy, he rejected her, much as the young Doctor Frankenstein rejects the monster created by his own endeavours.
The view a reader or critic takes of the importance or role of Mary Shelley’s femininity as the author of “Frankenstein” has a profound impact on the meaning that can be derived from this story. Viewing it in the shadow of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s influence works to erase her authorship, and whilst viewing the work as a response to maternal grief needs greater exploration as a basis for reading this text, it is certainly reading “Frankenstein” through the lens of Mary Shelley the daughter that provides the greatest insight into the origins and meaning of the tale. This take on the meaning behind one of the great pieces of Gothic literature also opens up the text to multiple interpretations and allows us to explore Mary Shelley the author as an individual, rather than, in an eerie echo of the construction of the creature, as the sum of her functional feminine parts.