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Facebook as panopticon

No-one knows about the time me and my pimply mates raided our parents’ liquor cabinets and made what turned out to be Piña Spewada cocktails.
And the night I wore a black plastic garbage bag teamed with a bevy of studded belts to the local Blue Light disco?
Never happened. (Though if it had, my 7.34pm wardrobe [...]

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Slut shaming and safe sexting

Safe sex used to be simple. Step A: take one vending machine prophylactic. Step B: use it.
These days, everything is much more complicated. These days, protecting yourself from “going viral” may also involve checking for hidden webcams and erasing your ex-partner’s flash drive.
Most of Australia is now familiar with the case of the 18-year-old Australian [...]

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Are we getting nastier or is our nastiness simply getting more Google-able?

Like kitsch, schnauzer and – to a lesser extent – gemütlichkeit*, schadenfreude is one of those excitingly guttural expressions that has hitchhiked its way from Germany into English-speaking countries such as Australia.
The loanword is a combination of Schaden (harm) and freude (joy), and describes pleasure taken in other people’s misfortunes.
It’s a phenomenon which can be [...]

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Recreational nastiness sets internet freedom in flames

The internet is emerging as one of the big heroes of the pro-democracy, anti-despot movement in the Middle East. It’s regarded as being right up there with that courageous Muammar Gaddafi impersonator who has been suggesting absent members of the Libyan army are simply retreating to rest and relax.
Thanks to the cybersphere, Arabic members of generation [...]

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The name game

FOR the blokey trio at the centre of the John Cusack film Hot Tub Time Machine, the only thing more terrifying than becoming a homosexual is becoming a “hyphenate”, the new Godzilla of the “bromantic” comedy.
Let me explain. (And while the usual conventions would call for a plot spoiler alert now, that would imply this [...]

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Jon Stewart – a one-man fifth estate

WE live in strange and hallucinogenic times. Last week, one of the sleazy cowboys of the American money markets was finally brought to book for his part in spreading the corporate equivalent of the clap through the international economy.
The face of debauched US capitalism was not some Machiavellian Ponzi schemer but Jim Cramer, a squealing [...]

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Taking alcohol

PERHAPS you’ve seen those alcohol education ads on telly that show consecutive generations of dads usingtheir young sons as beer monkeys at boozy barbecues.
They point out that parents who get on the piss tend to leave big, stubbie-shaped indents on the super-absorbent psyches of their sprogs (as well as highlighting that those 1970s porn-star moustaches [...]

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The etiquette of “after you” planet-saving

GREETINGS fellow climate change deniers/sceptics/believers-but-smelters-of-far-too-much-aluminium-to-admit-it. As you know, one of the best things about our position is the ease with which we can clear-fell our opponents.
When faced with shiny, happy hustles such as last weekend’s Hour of No Power, for example, it’s all too cinchy to accuse participants of self-righteous tokenism.
“Instead of sitting in the [...]

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The pleasures of the electrophilic Alain de Botton

THE critics have not always been kind to British pop philosopher Alain de Botton. In one review, Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker performed the literary equivalent of a high school head flushing, calling de Botton a slapheaded ponce and an “absolute pair-of-aching-balls of a man” whose books were the toast of aspirational tosspots.
Brooker followed this with a [...]

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So what if happiness is a warm McMansion?

KARL Marx bombed as a soothsayer. The workers’ revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the grand victory of whatsit over the other thing … at the time of going to press, none looked imminent. In fact, instead of producing its own gravediggers, the bourgeoisie has just produced more and more of itself. 
The extent to which [...]

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