Thursday 7 July 2016

Links 7/7/16


Australia voted, but results will likely not be in until next week. Whatever the outcome, Malcolm Turnbull's struggle with the conservative wing of his party will continue. Said wing is driving an astonishing campaign claiming that the Liberals unexpected result is to blame on the party not being conservative enough (perhaps an example of people surrounding themselves with other people holding similar views and missing out on the big world outside, and months of disappointed Liberals frustrated by the fact that Malcolm Turnbull changed many of his positions after obtaining the leadership). 

Other country specific obscurities: Labor firewalling The Greens in an election that will bring Pauline Hanson back into the Senate and therefore offers plenty of more comprehensible targets for firewalls. One of my favourite moments in the fallout of the election was Chris Bowen on Q&A talking about populist movements all over the world and using Austria's Presidential (it's a poor example also because Austria isn't a pure Presidential system, and the position is symbolic more than anything else, especially in realpolitik terms) election as an example - an election in which, according to him, no "centre" party was represented, as it was the "extreme left and the extreme right". You probably wouldn't find a lot of 21st century politicians of centre parties in Europe claiming that the Greens are "extreme", but affording that term to Alexander Van der Bellen, whose temporary success in the election might be reversed in a Constitutional court ordered re-election, seems particularly absurd. It's especially jarring as the phrasing draws a kind of equivalence between the extremeness of the right-wing and the Greens.
It will likely take me a few more years to comprehend this, and the possible connection between Australia's economic dependence on sectors that contribute so substantially to climate change, which means that any conversation about renewable energy and climate change awareness must lead to a discussion about the economic future of the country itself. 

I want to discuss this (not necessarily the essence of the argument, but the approach):
"Here’s the thing about white working-class voters: they have, as a whole, as a voting bloc, #notallworkingclassvoters, been fearful and reactionary for a long time—since before Brexit, or the recession, or NAFTA—hell, since before the Lost Cause. And liberals have been coddling their tender sensitivities for just as long. Yet they always vote for the other guys. And they’ve never needed an economic crisis or a failure of institutions to feel that way! Weird, I know! Remember the 1950s? The greatest economic boom in history, the time when the white working class had it better than they ever had before? Strangely it did nothing to at all to slow the horrors of Jim Crow, or the raging anti-Semitism, homophobia, and fear of “communists” exhibited by the white working class during the McCarthy Era. Just as the widespread, sustained prosperity of the 60s and 70s somehow didn’t keep them from voting for Richard Nixon and George Wallace in huge numbers, or from rioting against school integration in the North. Huh." 
The Daily Beast: Democrats: The White Working Class Isn’t Voting for You, So Stop Pandering to Them, 30 June 2016
This really opens more questions than anything else, like who is defined as working class these days (or are we asking about self-identification here?), what about highly educated Millennials stuck in traditional "working class" jobs, what about the precariat, how do these stats figure in (like, what happens with white working class when it turns into white non-working class?), how much of this is too specifically American (or the complex history of economical alignment with particular political parties) to be applicable to Labo(u)r and Social Democratic parties in other countries (because this is a global developed world issue, how traditional working class parties re-align themselves in the 21st century when they lose voters to the Greens or similar parties on the left and to the populist right-wing to the right - because capturing both of these voter flows is impossible, they are mutually exclusive, hence identity crisis).  

A portrait of Sunderland, which voted for Brexit in spite of its economic dependence on European Union regional funding programmes. And a good collection of anecdotal evidence for GenY's European identity (another thing that is very hard to explain to Australians). 

A portrait of a forensic anthropologist finding victims of dirty civil wars. 

Pop Culture: 

Blood Orange's new album Freetown Sound is beautiful, and he collaborates with many other interesting artists - here's a potrait at The New Yorker

An oral history of Tony Kushner's Angels in America

Pretty Little Liars is back for its seventh and supposedly last season, and I haven't written about it yet but something about the tone of the show and how it captures the characters feels more similar to pre-time-jump writing, which is a good thing because all of it but particularly the one thing that had saved the show again and again before (the care and friendship) felt off before. Also, my favourite scene in the third episode was Emily Field getting turned down and her "what is happening, this has never ever happened before, is this what lesser people write about on the internet" face (obviously it was a communication error on the other person's part that was later fixed but still, glad to have you back show.)

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