We don’t have to look far to find the pulse, the plasma of celebrity, running through the arteries and veins of society. In fact, if one was able to tune one’s magical ear into café and bar conversations, mealtimes at work, playground huddles, radio broadcasts, the chatter of the social media; or if one was to hone one’s all-seeing eyes onto bedroom walls, magazine filled coffee tables, designer and perfumery shops, all manner of goods and services, and the broad output of television and cinema, then one would find celebrity sounded out and visualised large.
During last week's Q & A debate between Cardinal George Pell and Richard Dawkins, it was interesting that both men had perspectives on Nazism that were at once opposed and yet entirely congruent. Pell argued that Nazism and Stalinism were the "two great atheist movements of the last century." Dawkins responded that while Stalin was an atheist, Hitler was not. However, they both agreed that Hitler represented the "personification of social Darwinism" (Pell) or that certain of what he tried to achieve arose "out of Darwinian natural selection" (Dawkins).
Part of this to and fro was certainly the kind of argument that often arises in contemporary debates, often through a process one could think of as Nazification: one disputant involved in a debate on any given topic attempts to associate their opponent's views with the Nazis.
When uni drop out happens, it can be tempting to balme the student. But this is simplistic thinking at its worst.
The ways in which students from low socio-economic status in Australian higher education are thought about and talked about need some careful examination.
There are deficit conceptions of students from low socio-economic backgrounds and deficit conceptions of the institutions in which they study. But is there a more useful and progressive framing of the widening participation agenda?
The Australian federal government has set an ambitious target in an attempt to address the under-representation of students from low socioeconomic status (low SES) backgrounds in higher education: that by the year 2020, twenty per cent of higher education enrolments at undergraduate level should be from students from low SES backgrounds.
Seven weeks after the elimination of Osama bin Laden, the fallout of the American operation continues to wreak havoc in the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship.
Despite reassurances from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stating categorically after her visit to Islamabad two weeks ago that there was no evidence anyone in the Pakistan hierarchy was aware of bin Laden's presence, bilateral relations have gone from bad to worse since then.
One cannot sufficiently stress how humiliating the unilateral US operation was for the Pakistan army, the only truly national institution.
Accordingly, it has badly hurt its standing in the eyes of the Pakistani public.
As a reaction to the bin Laden operation and to reclaim the initiative in US-Pakistan relations, the Pakistani government and army have taken several steps.
Unfortunately, many of these have complicated matters.
Julia Gillard will today announce the launch of the My University Website.