Thanks Kieran. Was sadly out of town when you gave …

Comment on The fertile space between us by Megg.

Thanks Kieran. Was sadly out of town when you gave last week’s talk. Delighted to be able to read this extract here. Your Lofty award is well deserved. The town, especially the artistic community, is all the richer for your insightful commentary.

Recent Comments by Megg

Best street kids campaign, says Chamber CEO
@ Get Real: I am going to guess that the person who whacked you as a kid was someone you respected?
Punishment works best when the person being punished respects the person who is doing the punishing.
This is why good youth programmes are integral to effective penal policies not the opposite of them.
Zero tolerance is not the same as harsh punishment.
Finland’s use of curfews to diminish drug use amongst youth demonstrates this.
Whilst authorities adpted a zero tolerance approach to the kid curfew this did not involve the use of harsh punishments.
It did however mean helping kids with difficult home lives find solutions. In this time it might mean having a place where kids could sleep the night. Such an approach has the capacity to increase the respect which underpins all effective punishments no matter the form they take.

Rock climb to close: Who wins?
Peter Dixon: I assume you mean St Peter’s in Rome?
If so then I can tell you that nothing happens to the tourist flow when a relgious ceremony is in progress, even when that ceremony is conducted by the Pope.
I learnt this when I was lucky enough to be invited to a beatification ceremony at St Peters a couple of decades ago.
It was an amazing experience not least because neither the participants in the beatification ceremony or the crowds of talking tourists allowed the other party to interfere in their activities.
Interestingly, though the tourist babble offended my idea of the sacred it did not disturb my Italian sister-in-law’s sense of what was sacred at all.
She found nothing offensive in the tourists behaviour.
Like most of her religios peers, my sister-in-law locates the spiritual in the content of the service not the ambience of the surrounds.
What this suggests is that our ideas of the sacred are cultural creations and hence things that are always open to negotiation rather than non-negotiable absolutes.
Whilst it seems there is little doubt that many Anangu worry for those who climb The Rock, and that there are many sacred sites located on it, I don’t think that Paddy Uluru or the other Aboriginal men who took tourists up the rock in the 1930s held the same notion of sacred as your argument implies.
My own reading of the historical archive has lead me to believe that these men, of whom Paddy Uluru was probably the most famous, had a much more “Italian” (to continue the metaphor) notion of the sacred.
That is to say, like my sister-in-law, Paddy did not regard people climbing the rock as incompatible with its sacristy.
From this it follows that the debate about whether to climb or not to climb The Rock is both constructed by and helping construct what we (Australians) mean by the term sacred.
That, as the analogy with the Basilica suggests, we are increasingly defining the sacred as the antithesis of the secular (also evident in the increased sacrilisation of ANZAC Day) bothers me.
Though the constant chat which happens when I go to church in Italy with my sister-in-law still ruffles my Anglo-Australian feathers, I have come to respect that it does not diminish her faith.
All of which is to say that how we honour the sacred comes in many different forms.
I would hate us to lose our sense of the cultural diversity of sacristy in the debate about whether we should or should not climb The Rock.

Humble objects of women’s work used to ask big questions
Yes Russell, I should have made the “last missionary ” statement clearer. Margaret describes herself as the last Uniting Church missionary in Central Australia. You are right. There have and continue to be many missionaries in this part of the world. Not all of them religious. Hope this error does not stop you from going to see the show or detract from the many other representations it makes.

Man sought in indecent assault investigation
Guess it was dark?
I walk on the road rather than the footbridge at night to avoid such problems.
Which is not to say one shouldn’t be able to walk on the footbridge or that it was in anyway this woman’s fault for doing so. Absolutely not.
But is to pass on some practical advice given to me long ago which I hope will encourage local women to stay on the streets after dark and not allow this assault to have a greater negative impact than it should.

Third rapist of European tourists: 15-page criminal history at age 20
Thanks as always for such clear reporting Kieran.
Horrendous though it is to hear the details of such crimes which have an impact on all women who try to “live and walk alone without fear” (to quote from the reclaim the night anthem) it is also heart warming to know of the community support the women received and the possibility of a return to “normal” life.
Very glad to get my news from you.
Hope you got some support for yourself whilst sitting through the trial. Vicarious trauma is one the risks people detailing this story also face.

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