[Herein lies an extract from my journal containing the notes from my interview with M. de Robespierre]
In order to better organise my thoughts, I will be jotting down the happenings of my excursion to la rive droite for my interview with this distinguished filmmaker. I’ve been flown in by the paper on immediate notice of an interview being set up with the illusive filmmaker Robert de Robespierre. The trip from Toronto to Charles de Gaulle was vehemently early and the 18$ whiskeys overzealously watered. Needless to say, the chic norman decoration and the contralto overture of the narcissistic waitress did little to improve my mood. I look around the 8 foot wide exemplar of a culinary tradition that bold fadedly refuses to adapt to a modern cosmopolitan life. The only other noticeable patron, a forlorn looking refugee from one of the art colleges in the next arrondissement over mirrors myself in a singular way; we are both currently wondering what poor life choices have led to us sharing this terrible, communal experience. She ordered the filet de saumon sauvage 3/4 of an hour ago. I realise that I have more in common with her unavailing plate than I do with her. All of this I notice in order to put off fixing my attention on the matter before me.
With the release of the budget by the Coalition just over a month away, possible inclusion of the controversial policy of collecting student debts from the dead, as well as increasing student fees could find themselves to be on the table in an attempt to achieve savings.
Currently HECS debts of deceased estates worth more than $100,000 are written off by the government, recognising that these sums will never be recovered. If however such policy was to be implemented, it would lead to a potential $800 million in savings. This is something Education Minister Simon Birmnigham would very much welcome, due to the pressure the education sector is under to produce some substantial savings.
Although other options are under consideration to gather funds, a positive in recovering HECS debt from deceased individuals is that it would be mostly affecting wealthy households, ensuring that low-income graduates would not be affected due to the $100,000 basis.
While such a policy would see a small contribution to the deficit in the short-term, it would highly impact on the debt that the government still had outstanding in the long-term, meaning that future budgets and economic activity would benefit.
Additionally there is still the matter of a 20% cut in funding and increasing student fees without full deregulation of the system, options that still remain official government policy, and will apply with other reforms the government decide to adopt.
Such savings are important for the government in order for the budget to eventually come back into surplus, and furthermore to provide resources to fund other projects it has set on it’s agenda. What goes against such a death tax and its need to create savings is the fact that almost a third of large private companies paid no tax in the 2013-14 period. These figures would immediately make one believe that such companies were dodging their obligations, yet the fact that such companies are associated with a variety of entities, means that the aggregate of these private groups could result in no profit, or losses in previous years which are offset, and therefore no tax.
Oxfam Australia’s Joy Kyriacou said upon this instalment that “it’s time for the Australian Government to crack down on large companies…. [they] should justify their investments in tax havens, and be required to publicly report the taxes they pay- both in Australia and overseas.”
Such insight would clarify and ensure that companies operating in Australia are paying their fair share of tax, but then the question arises of where do we draw the line in terms of information that companies should report? AASB standards reflect the requirements and important information users need to make informed decisions. What is clear is that users will never be completely informed of everything going on in relation to a company, and publicly reporting taxes paid in various countries may not be of extensive use to such a point as to make it a requirement. But would it assist in getting rid of unfair tax breaks? Possibly, a matter that ultimately would need to be debated by the government and accountants in the industry.
What is imminently clear though is that voters will not warm highly to the idea of a ‘death tax’ where tax isn’t being contributed by large private companies operating in Australia. Tightening tax laws just might have to occur in order for other elements proposed by the government in their looming budget to be accepted by the Australian voters.
Shinichiro Kawakami, or mostly better known as his stage name Sean K, or Sean McArdle Kawakami, has been a popular TV and radio commentator in Japan. For example, he hosted the new-oriented radio show “MAKE IT 21” for 15 years. He has been also recognised as a business consultant who runs the consulting firm, Bradstone Management Initiative Limited in America. He has also written several printed publications about business and management, such as “5 essentials for the professional: how to make your business succeed (Japanese title translated into English by the writer), for instance.
His attainment of a Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University, followed by an MBA, Master of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and some study experience at l’Université de Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne in France makes academic portion of his CV appear impeccable. But to the shock of many, this incredible academic history was unveiled as a big fat lie, as reported by “Shukan Bunshun”, one of Japan’s major weekly tabloid magazines, which then went viral on the internet. Read more …
Raymond Moore, the tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open, told media on Sunday morning that female tennis players were “very, very lucky” for being able to “[ride on the] coattails” of men, strongly alluding to the opinion that WTA players owed their success to the stars of the men’s game. 21 time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was quick to hit back at her post-match conference.
Japan, experiencing rather warm winter, seems to have a welcoming season of nationally beloved flowers. Spring is almost there with the bloom of sakura, or cherry blossom.
Have you ever heard of a sakura zensen, or cherry blossom front? The expected date of the bloom of sakura from mid-Feburuary to April is reported thorough Japan via various outlets such as internet website, the TV weather forecasts and the listings of the best sakura viewing venues feautured on magazines and local papers.
Minister of Environment’s concerns spark reminders of broken policies of the 2050 plan for the Great Barrier Reef
After surveying the northern isles of the Great Barrier Reef, Federal Minister of Environments, Greg Hunt, described one of the worst cases of bleaching since the year 2000. When overseeing the reefs of Lizard Island, Hunt acknowledged as you go north of the tropical mass, “it becomes more severe.”
I love food and drink. I grew up in Singapore, surrounded by some of the best food and drink imaginable, from every Asian culture imaginable. Cuisine all the way from the deserts of Rajasthan to the Tropical Island of Hainan graced my palate and they have come to define how I see food. It is an experience; a choice that people make that brings people together. It has transcended necessity and become a source of community. Irrespective of who you were or where you came from, the food you ate was essentially the same. It is one of the few things that make us quintessentially human.
2016 is possibly the best time to be at Monash university as both student and staff. Never before has a University experienced such a gold rush period like now, even when Monash expanded overseas in preparation for its hostile takeover of the entire planet. Read more …
“He’s 21 points down from me”, bellowed Donald Trump at a camera during the eight Republican debate, a statement that on his end, unwittingly expressing many viewers’ horrified resignation as the results were tallied earlier this week, safeguarding the real estate mogul’s likely nomination as the GOP’s Presidential candidate. Read more …
When Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene ‘The Demon’ Simmons (Kiss) decreed that “Rock is dead” last year, he was met with overwhelming backlash.
Was The Demon right, after all?
Names such as Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana), Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) and Slash (Guns N’ Roses) rallied the millions of rock fans world to defend the state of modern rock. This was a character-defining moment in modern rock and roll, as it bestowed upon the world a holistic self-analysis in the rock and roll landscape.
There were a number of lessons learned from this mass modern. The first was that there are endless scores of rock devotees and perhaps more than there ever has been. The second was confirming Gene Simmons is an opportunistic publicity seeker. The third, however, was that rock has diversified.
When you think of rock in 2015, it is not as black and white as when Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley revolutionised the genre in the 1950’s. Today a blurred line exists between what constitutes rock, with subgenres and shoot-offs including: hard rock, pop-rock, indie, country, progressive, alternative, punk, pop-punk, and heavy metal.
In Australia, rock bands are as diverse as the population that listens to it. A few oldies still hang around, such as AC/DC and Cold Chisel, while early 2000’s successors heroes like Eskimo Joe and Powderfinger remain to carry the torch. Although, emerging Aussie rock is not so easily identifiable. With the likes of the psychedelic Tame Impala, all-female Stonefield and blistering Parkway Drive, rock is understandably more specialised today.
However, this is not the case everywhere. After spending four months in the United Kingdom, I can confidently contend that rock and roll is most alive in the Mother Country.
DISCLAIMER: As a white woman, I aim not to further divert the conversation from its core issues while amplifying the sentiment of various women of colour and their opinions of the matter which I have encountered via social media in the past day regarding Nicki Minaj’s misogynoir (or anti-black misogyny; a term coined by queer black feminist Moya Bailey) tweets, Taylor Swift’s derailment of this conversation and the media’s inaccurate portrayal of the call-out.
I’m not entirely sure where to begin. Dare I say I’m not surprised? Sadly, yes. This is yet another example of misogynoir within popular culture and the surrounding media. I think it’s worthwhile to recap the events before I launch into wider discussion.
Earlier yesterday, the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards nominations were announced. Nicki Minaj responded to her lack of nomination for Video of the Year for her Anaconda music video and Best Collaboration for her Feelin’ Myself music video with Beyoncé in a series of tweets which read as follows:
Hey guys @MTV thank you for my nominations. 😘😘😘 Did Feeling Myself miss the deadline or…?
Firstly, I’d like to deconstruct some of the arguments surrounding this situation.
Regardless if you personally thought Anaconda (or 7/11 for that matter) was worthy of a nomination, Nicki is within her right to discuss her lack of nomination and criticise the VMAs and MTV as institutions.
Award ceremonies like these are notorious for snubbing artists of nominations and considering Anaconda was such a cultural phenomenon as pointed out by Nicki herself, I can understand why she was vexed. At last year’s VMAs, Nicki’s live performance of the song was a feature; the hypocrisy in commodifying its hype for ratings while leaving her off the nominations list is again, not surprising but gross nonetheless.
Earlier in the year, Taylor Swift was praised for her open letter criticising Apple Music. Macklemore even went as far as apologising to Kendrick Lamar for robbing him of a Grammy in 2014. And who could forget Beck inviting Kanye back on stage after he jokingly reminded the world of the events of the 2009 VMAs in defence of Beyoncé’s snub. Is Nicki not free to criticise the industry in a similar manner?
Too often I have witnessed the misrepresentation of black female artists in the tabloids. Recent exchanges between Iggy Azalea and Azaelia Banks as well as Kylie Jenner and Amandla Stenberg come to mind:
Azaelia Banks and Amandla Stenberg are both portrayed as angry and irrational in order to dismiss valid criticism while those commodifying significant aspects of black culture are victimised. Unfortunately, similar headlines made their way around today (see Buzzfeed and Business Insider for example).
I personally can’t get enough of Anaconda. Sampling Sir Mix-a-Lot’s hit Baby Got Back, Nicki built an empowering anthem off the back of an iconic and equally as sexist one. The music video satirises hyper sexuality while celebrating sexual liberation on the artists own terms; not the mention that the banana chopping frame deserves an award in itself.
The video broke the 24 Hour Vevo Record, trumping Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball which was also equally as provocative and culturally impactful. The only difference is that Wrecking Ball was not only nominated but also won the award in 2014.
Taylor was wrong to assume the tweet was directed towards her. Nicki was merely critiquing the lack of acknowledgement and blatant racism that black artists and black culture receive in all forms of media. Rock and roll, vogueing and twerking are accredited to Elvis, Madonna and Miley Cyrus respectively in mainstream culture, bastardised and popularised to the point that not many people are aware of their origins in black communities.
If it weren’t for Taylor’s interjections, the main focus of Nicki’s tweets would have been on the double standards of the industry as intended. When Nicki referred to the “other girls” in one of her tweets, it was clear that she was pointing out the privileges that come with whiteness and slimness in popular culture, an issue that desperately requires attention. Instead, click-bait media has fabricated a feud between the two artists.
“Pitting women against each other” is an overused and tired phrase that intends to silence those criticising misogynoir and wider racism amongst women, originally invented and perpetuated by men. Taylor’s knee-jerk response highlights her Introduction to Feminism 101 level of understanding of the issues that not only black female artists face but black women from all professions and walks of life have to deal with. Her, like so many other hyped white “feminist” celebrities (think Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer and Emma Watson) are perpetuating this introspective and exploitative brand of feminism that subjugates others and their deep-rooted struggles against white supremacy.
I also find irony in the fact that Taylor’s Bad Blood video (equally as hyped as her feminist-lite rhetoric packed full of celebrity cameos) is reportedly a rip off of KPOP 2E1’s Come Back Home video; her comments made even richer by the widely spread rumour that the song is about her feud with Katy Perry. She utterly misses the point on this and her final response was barely appropriate:
@NICKIMINAJ If I win, please come up with me!! You’re invited to any stage I’m ever on.
Nicki is so often slut-shamed and discredited because of her genre of music. Her brand of feminism may not be comfortable for everyone but it’s what the music industry needs. Nicki Minaj has taken Lil’ Kim’s legacy of empowerment and has run with it. It may be folly to read into this situation as much as I have but I truly do believe that the entertainment industry is a microcosm for greater society. Accurate representation of all people in widespread media is an essential aspect of addressing issues of discrimination as popular culture impacts all of us and has the ability to shape our behaviour more than we’d like to believe, especially for those more impressionable amongst us.
Again, while I’m not surprised, I’m still disappointed. It saddens me greatly that this situation has been derailed as much as it has. White women have never been innocent bystanders to racism and it’s important that we, myself included, acknowledge this in our everyday lives and learn from Taylor’s mistakes.