In this case I stumbled upon the blog in question via Perry Middlemiss’s Matilda which I had consulted when putting up the last Friday Australian poem. I soon found that The Happy Antipodean and I had much in common, except that he is younger and probably brighter. Further investigation confirms this and more, as we in fact had known each other in the past. The Antipodean was one of the helpers on Neos Magazine, my one-time venture into the world of publishing. (We didn’t do too badly: Judith Wright and Patrick White were regular readers.) Even more investigation — not difficult in this case — revealed The Antipodean’s real name and a biographical site that confirms the Neos connection:
From 1982 to 1986, I help edit and distribute little lit mag Neos: Young Writers after meeting Neil Whitfield in Cornstalk Bookshop, Glebe. Production, in an office near St Johns Road, Glebe, uses set type pasted onto a grid. Published biannually from Gleebooks, the mag receives assistance from the Literature Board of the Australia Council and other bodies.
I don’t remember the office, I have to say, unless he’s thinking of the typesetter’s office near the old Gleebooks. There is some fascinating family history on the autobiographical site; I enjoy such things, as you will know from the pages here.
And it turns out he really is Julie Bishop’s cousin.
The first of the two most recent entries on The Happy Antipodean concerns Tilda Swinton, currently being seen in Michael Clayton. Wasn’t she also in Orlando? The other is about book sale purchases, something I avoid these days. 😉 However, given my activity lately, I was drawn to this:
Following these purchases I went over to the Wooley Common Room for the launch of a new book by one of my lecturers (pic). Richard is unconventional and possibly very shy. He has worked as a journalist but now heads the public relations coursework program at Sydney Uni.
His thesis is that journalists do not treat international events correctly as they always aim to find a local ‘angle’ for any story. This, he holds, distorts the focus of most stories in the ‘world news’ section of newspapers because by imagining events through a local lens, the true nature of an overseas event loses its internal logic. Possibly the most accessible word would be ‘trivialisation’.
Demonising non-Western countries as an oppositional ‘other’ is, he thinks, another result of this effect. Rather than focusing on what, in, say, Japan, is true and relevant for the Japanese, our media frames the issue using outmoded concepts. The method used, he avers, is at least three hundred years old and, thus, inadequate for our purposes. The implication is that this tendency is actually harmful because it corrupts relations between nation states.
I’ve started reading it and should finish by the end of the weekend. Richard is different from most media theorists in his use of accessible language and a propensity to give examples, so that even an unschooled reader can grasp the meaning. While canonical exponents such as Mayhew and Habermas provide me with tremendous satisfaction, I find it difficult to recycle the actual concepts they use, due to their lexical novelty and grammatical obtuseness…
I notice that we share John Baker’s excellent blog on our blog rolls. I will also be exploring The Library Thing site, which had not come to my attention before.
I should have mentioned another nice happening last week: this comment on my Indigenous Australians Page. 🙂