Posts in Culture
A Review: Shadowboxing - Tony Birch (2009)

Conor Ammett

I was sceptical at first about Shadowboxing. I read a bit of the blurb, and thought, ‘oh, 1960s Australia, that can’t be too interesting.’ I wouldn’t have picked the book for myself, as I love fantasy, romance and adventure. I was wrong though. Shadowboxing is so interesting, in the way that it’s cleverly written and the narrative is explored. In the novel you follow the life of a boy called Michael as he moves from Clunes in rural Victoria to Fitzroy, Melbourne. You don’t get to see his whole life, only certain stories, moments. This leaves you to think about whether his whole life is like these stories, or whether these are just the extraordinary tales he wishes to share with the reader. One of my favourite stories is about the moon landing, and how schools based an entire day of learning on the Apollo 11 journey. There’s this quote that I keep thinking about, even weeks after I’ve finished reading the book: Michael yells, ‘F*ck the moon!’ to his assistant school principal, and the imagery is absolutely vivid.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Shadowboxing to any teenager, especially if you don’t think it’s the type of thing you would read, because I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Comic World History: The Comic Code Authority

The ‘Golden Age’ of comics existed from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. It was a flourishing time for comics and graphic art that, while important, undeniably had a lot of problems. Racist caricatures existed when juxtaposing comics featuring strong cowgirl protagonists in ‘Women Outlaws’ and ones featuring Mantoka, a Native American who battled the ‘white man’s treachery’. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that such a diverse comic culture could evolve into the industry we have today, with all its problems with underrepresentation, misrepresentation and bad representation. So how did this massive transformation happen? The Comic Code Authority.

 

In 1948 a psychiatrist called Fredric Wertham started advocating that comics were evil and corrupt children (such an original thought process). He also apparently - and I’m quoting from the website here - said ‘Adolf Hitler… was “a beginner compared to the comic book industry”.’ Doesn’t he sound like such a nice, non-wacko guy? He also declared things like Batman and Robin were gay (this Robin was most probably in his early teen years), Superman advocated fascism and anarchy, and don’t even talk about Wonder Woman’s status as an unmarried woman. He argued his point by taking comic panels completely out of context, which I’m sure many people know, never leads to good things.

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The Grandest Budapest Hotel

Another brilliant and dynamic film by Wes Anderson; the Grand Budapest Hotel is expertly cast, acted, filmed, edited and directed by the team that cooperated to work on it. No matter which area of filmmaking you turn to, the Grand Budapest has won awards. For example, the casting directors for this gorgeous moving picture (Douglas Aibel and Jina Jay), won an EDA award in 2015 for their work on Grand Budapest. Both have woven many elegant ensembles together before, in films such as Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson), The Royal Tenenbaums (Wes Anderson), Infinitely Polar Bear (Maya Forbes) and War Horse (Steven Spielberg). The movie won a total of four Academy Awards, including Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. This particular award was no doubt won because of the tireless efforts of Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, who spent five hours transforming Tilda Swinton into an eighty year old rich, decrepit woman.

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