Demonising gun owners: Persuasion versus putting on a show

The tragic mass shooting in a Texas church this past weekend has reignited the debate about America’s gun laws. Despite being inclined towards the libertarian position on many political issues, I’m not really that invested in the gun control debate. Firearm laws just aren’t a topic I normally have much interest in because there are other issues that matter more to me personally. Living in Australia, which has a different relationship to firearms than the US, I’m also wary of getting too involved in an argument with people for whom this stuff matters much more personally. As a private citizen in Australia, I presently have no interest in owning any guns. However I am capable of admiring the skill that goes into the design and […]

Will GetUp!’s satire GetIt! in trouble?

With an election likely to be called in the next few months, advocacy group GetUp! has launched a campaign encouraging people to ensure they are enrolled to vote.   A key element of this campaign is a YouTube clip portraying the electoral battle as if it were the latest Hollywood action movie. The clip is cleverly put together – superimposing the faces of  political figures on to the bodies of Hollywood action heroes amd tying together action sequences  with a dramatic soundtrack interspaced by political ‘sound-bites’. It looks and feels like a genuine Hollywood movie trailer, no doubt helped by the fact that GetUp! have utilised footage from actual blockbusters such as The Matrix and The Fifth Element. Which raises the question of whether this video […]

Racist speech – Don’t ban it, expose it

This week the West Australian government announced plans to introduce laws that could see people prosecuted for racist bumper stickers. The move was welcomed by West Australia’s Equal Opportunity Commissioner, who claimed the legislation was “overdue”. But  is using the threat of legal penalties really the best approach to dealing with this kind of racist speech?