Media

Semantic sorcery: Using words to bewitch, conjure and transfigure

For 21 years the writer Alan Moore has been a practicing magician. He says in this interview  that on his fortieth birthday, “rather than bore my friends by having anything as mundane as a mid-life crisis, I decided it might be more interesting to terrify them by going completely mad and declaring myself to be…

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Accusation and failure: The JM Coetzee – Paul Auster correspondence

In the correspondence between the writers JM Coetzee and Paul Auster in Here and Now (Letters: 2008-2011) we encounter a Coetzee largely unfamiliar to readers. Coetzee converses, even chats, in letters with another writer arguably of the same stature (certainly in Europe) in a manner sometimes bordering on the confessional. Coetzee is famous for his…

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The real face of violence in South Africa

By Dariusz Dziewanski Violence in South Africa is nothing new. Both the devastating effects of violence, and the risk factors underlying it, have existed before the Oscar Pistorius trial and will continue to exist after it. What will cease to exist is a media and public fascination with violence. As interest wanes, violence will no…

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Mrs Khumalo, your daughter is not Reeva

Am I the only guy in this country who is fed up with black agony, pain and suffering being reduced to a sideshow? What is happening here is that black people are increasingly becoming invisible. Where is the outrage? We should be screaming prejudice, discrimination, unequal treatment and racism when the trial of the State…

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Queers and men with blunt instruments

So I read the very short “Queer” by Courtney Bassett and was drawn to the “idea” of it, best expressed — I thought — through prim lips:   People tell me how lucky I am It was not forty years ago I was being declared Mentally unfit Never mind the lobotomy I would rather have…

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Welcome to the new Middle Ages

In the 1970s the famous semiotician and novelist Umberto Eco published a collection of essays titled Travels in Hyperreality, in which he elaborated on a variety of interrelated topics, such as wax museums, holographic representation and our evident fascination with the Middle Ages. In fact, he argued, although we think of ourselves as modern (or…

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And the Oscar goes to hypocrisy

The Oscar frenzy has commenced. And I don’t mean the one with the shiny gold men. The trial of the century has begun, you guys. And it’s making me ashamed to work in the media. Look, I’m no legal expert so I don’t have much of an opinion on the proceedings. Except one. Oscar killed…

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Hitler in Potchefstroom

We need to talk about the young people at North West University (NWU). The university residences at NWU that made their first years pledge allegiance with Nazi salutes and a sieg heil have either perplexed people (with many wondering why this was even taking place – fascist symbolism hasn’t ever caught on in South Africa)…

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Gavin Hood’s ‘Ender’s Game’: Intelligence, ruthlessness and empathy

When intelligence, ruthlessness and empathy co-exist in the same person, one might expect the person concerned to perform certain actions, made possible by the first two attributes, which leave him or her guilt-stricken because of the last. Empathy is a stronger concept than sympathy; empathy allows one to feel what others feel, whether it is…

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Journalists shouldn’t moonlight as politicians

Rainy Johannesburg days leave even the sunniest of drivers among us exasperated at how easily the traffic lights are put under the weather. It is at such times that the social media posts of the country’s best journos provide much needed solace. One is regaled with tales of days spent in packed court rooms, of…

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