Monday, October 15, 2007

Soon it will be safe to sip chardonnay again . . .

(UPDATE: Post for Sunday, Oct. 14 added)
If you have an hour or so to spare, I highly recommend a recent edition of Australia Talks (ABC Radio National) featuring presentations by Hugh Mackay, Clive Hamilton and David Marr on the role of the public intellectual in Australia. Although, as Mackay notes, the highest selling book in Australia last year was Spotless, all three suggest that Australians are slowly emerging from their "relaxed and comfortable" stupor, and are ready to grapple with big ideas and big questions. (For instance, Marr compares the outrage over David Hicks and Mohammed Haneef with the almighty shrug of the shoulders paid but a few years ago to the AWB scandal.) This, it is claimed, is fertile territory for the public intellectual. And let's face it: anti-intellectualism of the kind fomented by the Howard Government and its cheerleaders over the past decade has not been good for democracy in this country, and it is to be hoped that if/when Australia finally scrapes the dog turd that is the Federal Coalition off the sole of its boot come November, it will also shake off Howard-era antipathy to reasoned debate.

Other resources:
Google Australia's 2007 Election Channel
Crikey: Election 2007