Silencing the bird: @burgewords timeline of Immigration Department tweet fallout

Thanks to No Fibs readers and citizen journalists monitoring the mainstream and social media for the past 48 hours, we’ve been able to put together the limited facts about the people behind the tweets sent to refugee supporter Vanessa Powell last Friday by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP). Two of the most common questions I have observed on the social media are: who sent the texts, a rogue staffer working on the weekend, or someone else? And was it a targeted attempt at censorship, or random? Well, there’s nothing like a timeline to see what’s true and what’s not. Here’s what we know, and where we know […]

You cannot burn a mummy blog: @burgewords comments

Over the weekend a ripple of panic went through the social media in Australia. I was alerted to it by one of my Twitter friends. Word was that Vanessa Powell, described on her Twitter profile as a “refugee supporter”, had been sent two anonymous tweets by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. They could have been generated by anyone, from lowly staffer to the top man, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. In vague legal terms, the tweets asked for Powell to remove a post from her Facebook which the department found “offensive”. @VanessaPowell25 it’s come to our attention that a Facebook post on your wall contains an offensive remark directed […]

Storify: Arise, I dub me #KnightsAndDames by @burgewords

[View the story “Arise, I dub me #KnightsAndDames” on Storify]

Carbon Cate takes direct action on the cultural cringe @burgewords #CreatingWaves

With two Academy Awards under her belt, Australian-born actress Cate Blanchett has been granted a position within an international cultural elite. It’s been fascinating to watch the response of the Australian media, particularly News Corp, who dubbed her ‘Carbon Cate’ when she joined a 2011 advertising campaign encouraging Australians to understand the benefits of the Labor Government’s Carbon Tax. But by the day of this week’s Oscar ceremony, The Daily Telegraph had reverted to calling Blanchett “Our Cate”. Within minutes of her award, tall poppy syndrome had kicked-in, and News Corp’s was questioning Blanchett’s contributions to the Australian film industry over the last decade. The day after her historic win, […]

Three questions on the Arts Minister @artsculturegov: @burgewords #CreatingWaves

The federal Minister for the Arts has a standing invitation to participate in an interview for No Fibs’ Arts column #CreatingWaves.  Contact was made with his office in January 2014, and I followed-up his staffer’s reply with full disclosure of my interview parameters. I am keen to ask him about his government’s approach to independent artists in Australia; the rapidly changing digital and social media landscape which is giving these artists growing access to an audience (although exposure often comes at the cost of an income); and whether the fast-moving changes in technology impact on the scope and direction of the Arts Ministry. In preparation for any forthcoming interview, I […]

The publish button killed the media: @burgewords comments

This week’s cancellation of the funding behind Australia’s flagship online news source The Global Mail sent shock waves through the local media, because many journalists were watching to see if the rise of the independent online media hub was a viable career lifeboat. It’s not all bad news for the staff at The Global Mail. They’ve got about three weeks to find other sources of funding. If that fails, another flock of querulous journos will descend on the already job-starved media landscape. What’s clear to me now is that the social media is the only media. The demeanour of journalist Mike Seccombe said it all, when he fronted-up for an […]

Touring with Vivien Leigh’s black dog: @burgewords meets Susie Lindeman

British actress Vivien Leigh (1913-1967) may have felt rather independent when she toured to Australia in 1961 with the Old Vic theatre company. Divorce from Sir Laurence (‘Larry’) Olivier the year before had seen her separated from the theatrical powerhouse she was one half of – the international stage and screen duo known as ‘The Oliviers’. Australian actress Susie Lindeman recently returned home with her production of Letter to Larry, a play by Donald Macdonald which captures Vivien Leigh in this pivotal moment of her life and career. Susie spoke to No Fibs this week ahead of the first local opportunity to see a play which has already been acclaimed […]

Art might save Journalism before it drops off the scale: @burgewords comments

When Margo Kingston described the existential crisis of journalism, and that she wouldn’t advise anyone to enter the industry, she expressed what very few media punters were willing to say. Journalism dropped to the bottom of satisfying career lists during the last decade. In the 2013 ‘Jobs from Best to Worst’ survey, conducted for the past 25 years, listed Reporter last, at number 200, with Editor not much higher, at 168. How did we get here? Journalists might be wise to start thinking and operating like Artists. It’s hard to gauge, but things can hardly get worse. As advertising revenue continues to take a dive, and limitless access to […]

Breaking heartland in August: Osage County @burgewords review

Six decades ago, great American playwrights like Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams only ever alluded to addiction, sexual diversity, mental health and suicide, or portrayed them in the hands of villains who always ‘got it’ at the end. These days, there’s a growing number of storytellers courageous enough to begin where their antecedents left-off, helped by more relaxed censorship laws and a broader understanding of the human condition. Tracy Letts’ play, and now screenplay, August: Osage County, is one of those, and has already become a benchmark in 21st century storytelling. Not one character, not even Streep’s, could be described as either purely hero or villain. There are no […]

O Come All Ye Forceful: @burgewords on protest Christmas carols

During the silly season, when you catch a strain of yuletide song at your local shopping centre, know that what you’re listening to (or doing your best to avoid) probably started its life as a protest song. Well, perhaps not technically a protest song, but a Protestant song, which once meant the same thing. When Martin Luther reformed the church establishment in the 16th century, he brought song into the churches and placed it in the mouths of the faithful. A songwriter in addition to being a reformer, Luther was keen for men and women to sing in their own language, instead of listening to male choirs performing in languages […]