martes, 11 de abril de 2017

Farewell John Clarke: in an absurd world, we have never needed you more | MercatorNet | April 11, 2017

Farewell John Clarke: in an absurd world, we have never needed you more
|  MercatorNet  | April 11, 2017

Farewell John Clarke: in an absurd world, we have never needed you more

Australia loses its number one satirist.
Robert Phiddian | Apr 11 2017 | comment 

ABC Pr handout/AAP
It cannot be the final arkle! Surely the inventor of Dave Sorenson, greatest and most persistently injured of farnarklers, will rebuild himself for the next match. Please tell me this is only the umlaut, and John Clarke will be back for the second half. In our more than usually absurd world, we have never needed him more. The Conversation
I can make no claim to personal acquaintance with Clarke - who died from natural causes while bushwalking in Victoria over the weekend - though by all accounts he was a lovely man. I do, however, feel I’ve known his work all my adult life, from Fred Dagg to last week’s Clarke and Dawe, so I write in appreciation of the work on this terrible day.
It is a magnificent achievement of focused and pitch-perfect satire. He gave voice to a brilliant antipodean acerbity that has always seemed a little old-fashioned in its moral and tonal dignity, and has been so pointedly timely because of that.
The bedrock of his genius is the craft, the total control of rhythm, syntax, and tone. Because he wrote mostly for the screen and in short forms, it is easy to underestimate this quality. He was simply unparalleled. No Australian or Kiwi writer has ever controlled the rhythms and ironies of our English as well.
Internationally, you’d have to admit that Samuel Beckett was tauter, but nowhere near as funny. Other peers are scarce in all the world, even before you take his voice as an actor into account. Go back and read the scripts of the Games, and see if you can find a slip of tone or any emotional or political sloppiness. You may be some time.
His regular mode was disdain and wonderment at the antics of the knaves and fools who run this millennial world. He was the antithesis of excess and profoundly at odds with the dominant celebrity culture. Instead, he has been a voice from the immediate past in this era of globalisation, media glut, and economic liberalism, a voice of understated but never complacent decency.
All this is clearest in the strange success of the Clarke and Dawe skits. His reverse caricature of public figures made no attempt to imitate the person he was parodying, either in appearance or in the more obvious elements of voice.
So far as I am aware, no-one anywhere else has managed to pull it off. If you listen carefully, it really is John Clarke parodying Julia Gillard or Malcolm Turnbull, not by exaggerating the mannerisms, but by inhabiting their patterns of language and clinically exposing their vacuity or dishonesty. It’s a forensic satirical analysis at least half a world away from the swingeing condemnations of our other recent loss, Bill Leak.
Clarke was old-fashioned in manner and also in ethics. Very unfashionably, he valued facts, detachment, and restraint. This led to a deep and coherent form of political engagement that would explode foolishness wherever it appeared. He was broadly of the left, but he called out absurd politicking and the dishonest language wherever he found it.
Satirists are the permanent opposition to power in freeish societies like ours. He fought the abuses of power with wit and irony in governments of all colours, and in the corporate corruption of our national obsession with sport in the Games.
Had he stayed in New Zealand, he could well have had to take on the All Blacks for the sake of a more innocent love of the game. He ducked that fight, and Australia is the richer for it, in our usual way of Kiwi appropriation.
There was nothing soft about Clarke’s nostalgia. It remained a steady and brilliant challenge to value what is good, not just what is new. And he was fascinated by what he saw around him. His was the most generous spirited derision you could imagine.
Every time I have had to choose the tense of a verb in this article, it has been harrowing to have to use the preterite, and not the present. There were so many more knaves and fools for Clarke to excoriate as the tide of blah swirls ever around us.
I think I’ll go out and check the length of the 100 metres track at Olympic Park in memory of him. Perhaps we could go as a group.
Robert Phiddian is Deputy Dean in the School of Humanities at Flinders University. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
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April 11, 2017

If you have heard anything about Nairobi, capital of Kenya, you have probably heard of Kibera, a vast slum in which as much as one fifth of the urban region's population are said to live. There, for many decades, the poor have built their makeshift homes and tried to make something of their lives. 
There, in 1979, Domitila Ayot and her husband settled, moving out in 2009. But today the 68-year-old Domitila spends much of her time back in Kibera, helping young women who have become pregnant and believe that the best thing they can do is abort the child. "Family planning" groups are only too ready to assist, but Domitila tries to find the girls first and support them through pregnancy, childbirth, and making a new start in life. 
Mathew Abiero, who lives in Nairobi and contributes regularly to Harambee, our Africa blog, heard about Domitila late last year and determined to meet her and some of the women she helps. Today he brings us her story and theirs, showing how one woman with a big heart and a lot of faith can help others maintain their dignity and hope in the most difficult circumstances. Thanks Mathew!
Speaking of faith and hope, we also have a review of a new film, The Case for Christ, which answers objections to the resurrection of Christ while telling the story of former atheist journalist Lee Strobel.
And, pardon my antipodean sympathies, a trbute to Kiwi-Australian comedian John Clark, who died at the weekend while out tramping. My lasting memory of him will be as the 1970s New Zealand farming hero, Fred Dagg, with his gumboot song. May he rest in peace.

Carolyn Moynihan
Deputy Editor,

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The investigation that converted Lee Strobel, atheist journalist, comes to the big screen.
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By Mathew Otieno
Domitila Ayot is a humble heroine of the slums.
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Farewell John Clarke: in an absurd world, we have never needed you more
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Australia loses its number one satirist.
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In Morocco, the apostate no longer faces death
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A step taken by the kingdom’s religious scholars is a turning point to curb extremism.
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Amazon refunds parents for kids unauthorised purchases
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But technology orphans cannot be repaid missing parental time.
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