Category Archives: use & abuse of language

Challenging sacred cows

Humane is a confusingly versatile word. Lately, it’s featured in the Oz media, and beyond, with public outcries for humane treatment of refugees and our livestock exports. Re the former, just for starters, ‘humane’ would mean not incarcerating those who’ve … Continue reading

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Google-gaga: the changing language of spiritual experience

At a recent poetry gig, I raved to an ageing poet about Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, an example of prose that’s more poetic than much current poetry. ‘Reading it is a spiritual experience,’ I said without irony – probably naïve … Continue reading

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Writing from the margins

In his primer Astrologik (Vertical Pool, 1999), underground filmmaker and overall maverick Antero Alli argues against legitimising astrology. But not for the reasons you might expect. Astrology happens to be his profession. So it’s his peers who want to look … Continue reading

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Reading Between the Lines, or A Scanner Darkly

A sign beside the receptionist’s desk in an eye clinic reads: Pensioners will be bulk-billed for any consultations only. While waiting for my first appointment there, I asked the receptionist what the sign meant. Did bulk-billing apply only to consultations … Continue reading

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Why it’s getting harder to be original

Language is a treacherous beast. Sometimes it’s not easy to say what you mean. One word can be a synonym for a whole string of others that serve to signify quite different things. Similar mutability in an individual could attract … Continue reading

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Rogue Ideas

Exactly three years have elapsed since I began this blog. And one or two of you may have observed that I’ve been posting less and less often. (If so, thanks for noticing!) Anyhow, my main motive for blogging persists: to … Continue reading

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How Should a Writers’ Festival Be? – a random sampling of SWF 2013

UNTANGLING THE WEB May 23, 11.30am–12.30pm (‘Social psychologist and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski has spent a decade probing the effects of the web on our lives. She broadcasts and writes on our increasing dependence … Continue reading

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