Daily Archives: September 29th, 2006

Friday night movies

Faced with the prospect of watching either Polyanna or Shrek, I opted out and went for Midsomer Murders instead. That being finished, I have turned over to Polyanna…. I liked the book when I was a kid. I have even seen the original movie, with whatshername in it, Hayley Mills. And this movie has indeed lived down to my expectations: sappy and very painful (the priest is the disgusting cousin from the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice). The actress playing Polyanna is really, really bad, with a very stupid lisp (which, having said that, I hope is fake). But… since I know the story… it’s still a little beguiling.

Historically speaking…

On 18 October 2005, I went to “Life Stories: Crafts of Writing History.” The reason I went was Anna Lanyon – she wrote two books I liked, Malinche and The New World of Martin Cortes.

Anna Lanyon
*Took ten years to write Malinche!
*Need to know, even love your subject.
*Takes more than one person to get a book out – editors, pubishers, etc.
*Experimenting with styles is important.
*Noel Coward: “Don’t let anything artistic get in your way.”
*Clarity is paramount
*Material itself can/should guide your writing.
*The sound of words, as well as the meaning, is important.
*Work like a physicist: look at the faint traces of a particle’s path, to infer the property/ies of the particle itself.
*Concentrating on the audience leads to different writing, from writing to win an argument or impressing acadaemia.

Donna Merwick (who wrote Death of a Notary)
*Writing as being a performance
*Performing for the mind of one’s time: for your contemporaries
*Readers have the right to:
**poach your text – use what they like, mean what they like
**read stories about the past that inform their future
**red books that correspond to other texts they are consuming

*You must be determined to get your story out
*”Consider the beauty of the simple declarative sentence.”


I’m a bit bad – got a package a week out from my birthday, and opened it…. It was from a friend who is expecting to hatch next week, which is no doubt why it came early. She has a thing with buttons, which is why I got this… lovely!

HTAV State Conference

These are my notes from the one day of the HTAV conference I attended last year, 10 November.

Hayden Keenan (film-maker) and Gary Foley (historian; works with Melb Uni Education bods), talking about Ningla-Ana, about the Tent Embassy

*Making the film: cameras had become smaller, more mobile, longer-lasting and quieter, which democratised film-making.

1938 – Day of Mourning (sesquicentenary of invasion/colonisation)
1965 – Charles Perkins Freedom Ride
1966 – Gurindji walk off station
1967 – referendum (passed by 9:1! Aborigines allowed to vote etc)
1969 – Black Power organised (inspired by Malcolm X and the Black Panthers; failure of referendum to really change anything. Dennis Walker, Paul Coe).
1971 – South African rugby tour
AND Black Moratorium demonstrations: basically anti-Apartheid types who were challenged to suuport Aborigines in their own country.

*Tent Embassy: four boys turned up to make a point about PM Billy McMahon’s declaration against land rights. Police said as long as there were only 11 tents, they could stay! Tourists came along… they set up a post box, and three days later mail arrived! VIPs also came along. International media attention started turning their way.
**McMahon changed the laws, making it illegal to camp on the lawns of Parliament House. Ten minutes later, the Aborigines moved off, some were arrested/injured. Two days later, 2000 Aborigines came to the ACT and re-erected the tents, protected by bodies. Some violence; 18 arrested (22 July).
**30 July, 3000 demonstrators set up the tents again. Kooris not resisting, just watching.
** Six months later, McMahon was out and Whitlam (Labor) was in (had visited the Tent).

***Ignorance leads to intolerance.
cf. Koori Web

Seminar 1
*Stories are valid ways of telling history, teaching, etc.Kids will learn when they are engaged!
*Selling textbook.

Seminar 2
VELS unpacked.
**Question dice
Matrices for assessment, especially against VELS
Deep learning is important
Viking interviews/build a village
Buy a Viking hat (ignore the anachronism)
Actively teach thinking skills, concepts, words – ‘classify’, not ‘put into groups’.

Seminar 3
Such a Life: Ned Kelly incursion, done by the Old Melbourne Gaol people. Done by just two actors, playing five roles between them.

Chancellor's Human Rights Lecture

This was Malcolm Fraser’s lecture, on 28 Nov 2005. It was entitled “Human Rights and Responsibilities in the Age of Terror.”

Malcolm Fraser was: first elected to government in 1955; PM 1975-83; head of CARE for a while; the 2000 HREOC medal winner.

Usual caveat applies: these are my notes, and what went into my ears and out of my pen doesn’t necessarily, consistently, reflect what was said!

*Currently there is wrong discussion among democratic leaders, that liberty and rule of law cannot stay while defending ourselves.
** Discrimination and fear are based on race and religion
** Governments used deception for war on Iraq, over the WMD
***Papers show Bush had decided to go to war vs Iraq as early as July 2000.
** John Stewart Mill (sp?) – something about going to war for an idea, if aggressive not defensive, is as bad as going to war for land or revenue. Forcing ideas is bad.

*Terrorism is not new. And they have different motivations – which we need to understand.
*Rule of law must be applied to all, regardless of race/religion/etc.

*Torture: English courts started outlawing evidence from torture since the Magna Carta!! How then can we be having discussions of what is ‘acceptable’??

*New laws enable people suspected of having information to be held with no charge, with no access to anyone else (even a lawyer). The onus of proof is on the detainee, not the detainer. And no mention is allowed of this for two years afterwards, otherwise a jail term is likely. These laws are unlikely to stop terrorists.

*We have no Bill of Rights – almost every other Western democracy does, and this is quite a problem today.

*New sedition laws say the person does not need to have intent, but could simply be ‘reckless’; also doesn’t seem to have to be a direct cause of violence undertaken.
**Control orders/preventative detention orders do not go through a judge: is up to the Executive Branch. (Hello!? Separation of powers??) Rule of law abandoned… police state….

*We must be able to uphold the liberty and rights of those whose opinions we abhor. To preserve our own liberty, we must preserve that of our enemy.

Q: civil disobedience? No; breaking the law to uphold the law doesn’t make sense. Must be done peacefully.

Q: the UN? Is, after all, only as good as the governments that make it up – the US and others have always had the capability to either destroy or strengthen the UN. When government leaders criticise the UN, they criticise themselves.

Equipped for Eternity

I love public lectures, and I love taking notes – I still have my notebooks from my BA, and even I am sometimes amazed at how much I wrote in those lectures. I loved my degree. However, now I do not have one central place for my notes, and sometimes I lose them. So I figure – why not put them here? Easy to find, and other people might also find them useful. So, the first lot of notes, which reflect what went into my head and not necessarily what came out of the presenters’ mouth:

Equipped for Eernity: The Continuity of Ancient Egyptian Beliefs in the Afterlife. From a lecture of that name at the Melbourne Museum, 02/08/05

*The dead sometimes have gilded masks, because the gods were thought to have skins of gold, so this is drawing an association between the dead and the gods.
*Tombs, or “Houses of Eternity,” were decorated not with pictures of daily life, but of perfection – designed to provide for the dead forever.
*What was the role of the body itself, in their beliefs? Possibly, early on, it was thought to be reanimated. However, this idea slowly changed; they thought instead that it would be the ‘ka’, or animating force, that lived on – so the food etc is an offering to the ka.
** also the ‘ba’: spirit/soul/personality. Shown as a human-headed bird; can leave and participate invisibly in the real world. Must return to the tomb at night though.
** beliefs were always that you lived in the spirit world, so why all the gear? We don’t know. Perhaps, by pharaonic times, it was just keeping hold of old beliefs (c.7-6000 BC is the time of first identified beliefs).

*To be able to live for eternity, you must live an upright and moral life (because the heart is weighed against the Feather of Universal Order).
*Alexander takes over in 332BC; Macedonian rulers until 30BC. They make a conscious effort to Hellenise Egypt; native Egyptian ideas etc become very much inferior – you had to take on Greek ideas in order to get ahead in careers. However, the peasants did cling to their old ideas.
*When Rome is ruling, there’s a problem: for the first time, the ruler is not resident, which weakens greatly the idea of the divine king given to Egypt by their gods and Egypt being a chosen land. This made the other areas of their traditional religion even more important – to maintain national identity.
*As time went on, nobles – who previously absorbed Hellenistic ideas – began to take on/bring back more native ideas, themes. Tombs became less common, though – coffins started to take over this role. Bodies still were preserved, though, against the Hellenistic idea of cremation.
*This guy’s work in the el-Dakhla oasis (c. 800km from Cairo), and area annexed by Egypt in c.2000BC, and imposing their culture on the native people (don’t really know what happened to them), has been going on since 1978. First settled this particular oasis c. first century: hey-day until AD390s
**includes cemetaries; temples (eg with Greek and Egyptian paintings, on the same wall); houses
**appearances are kept up: grave goods and other things that make it look Egyptian. However (again): almost no one could read or write the hieroglyphics by the first century AD, so although they are there, they mean nothing. Also, the art of mummification is almost lost. Still, bodies are still being preserved, as per ancient beliefs.

* What really changed beliefs was the introduction of Christianity: no grave goods, no mummification; however, people still being preserved – a facotr in early Christian beliefs too.

Updates links

Finally, I’ve got around to adding more links to the sidebar. All highly recommended, of course.

Human Rights education

So apparently there is going to be an inaugural Human Rights education conference next Feb. I was sent a flyer about it, and it was suggested that I might want to consider presenting something. Eek. I’m not sure that I do anything that interesting or novel… I will have to do some thinking about that.