Bert Olivier

What is the ‘logic of sufficiency’ in economics?

Imagine a world in which people, wisely, remind themselves that there is a tomorrow – if not for themselves, indefinitely, then for their children – and that the manner in which they enter into a relationship with their physical environment WILL unavoidably make a difference to the kind of tomorrow their children, and their children’s…

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A ‘cyborg’ future?

When Donna Haraway published her famous (or notorious, some would say) “Cyborg Manifesto” in 1985, later included her book Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), not to mention its many inclusions in various anthologies, she probably could not foresee its incredible history of influence. (For a condensed version of this, see David Bell’s Cyberculture Theorists: Manuel…

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How to write a film review (Part 2)

(Continued) In your review, you should also refer to the narrative, but DON’T give away any secrets that would spoil the fun for audiences (as some reviewers did for The Crying Game!), and DON’T “tell the whole story”, or even try. That is not your task as reviewer. Usually one would combine one’s discussion of…

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How to write a film review (Part 1)

There are good and bad film reviews. This could either pertain to “bad” as opposed to “good” writing (that is, an ungrammatical, sloppy, vocabulary-poor way of writing in contrast to a grammatical, fluent, clear, richly worded mode of expression), or to the structure of the reviews in question, or to both. Every person who wants…

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The charm of Vienna cannot obliterate the abjection of SA

The conference that my partner and I are attending was supposed to be a welcome opportunity to visit the city of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss, to mention only some of the greatest composers in the western musical canon. And then I haven’t even scratched the surface of Viennese artists and architects of various…

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South Africa reboot?

In the course of all the hype around “Rhodes must fall”, I started wondering about the logic underpinning the direction in which it has been developing, which seems to indicate that — as some commentators have indicated — nothing less than South Africa “falling” would satisfy those driving the process of destroying all vestiges of…

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Education, class differences and equality: Bourdieu and Rancière

Does the fact that children go to different schools, and that some go to college, while others attend university, have anything to do with the ostensibly irremediable class structure of societies? One’s intuitive response is likely to be in the affirmative, and it has been “scientifically” confirmed by none other than the famous French sociologist…

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The Rhodes statue, erasing the past and importance of memory

The Czech writer Milan Kundera begins his unforgettable novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Perennial Classics, 1999), with the following words: “In February 1948, the Communist leader Klement Gottwald stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to harangue hundreds of thousands of citizens massed in Old Town Square. That was…

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Goodbye Leonard Nimoy, hello Mr Spock!

When Leonard Nimoy, chiefly known as Mr Spock in Star Trek, one of the most famous and long-running television sci-fi series, created by Gene Roddenberry, died recently at the age of 83, millions of Trekkies, including myself, felt a huge sense of loss. This despite the fact that very few Trekkies ever knew Nimoy in…

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What ‘war’ means today

When picking up Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Multitude – War and Democracy in the Age of Empire (Penguin, 2006), again, in the light of recent developments across the globe involving Syria, Isis, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda (to mention only some of the names associated with war), I was struck, anew, by their astute identification…

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