The VLine Conspiracy (an actual thing, probably)

VLine, Victoria’s regional rail network, is currently running trains. Hooray! Those trains are super all over the place, though, so travel is free until the end of the month, to make up for the disaster that is our regional rail network right now. So we’re going to talk about a) why this disaster is happening, and b) trains in general. HOORAY.

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fashion lifespirations of no award: sa ding ding

A couple of months ago Sa Ding Ding performed in London and somehow no Western fashion blogs (that Steph saw) used this as an opportunity to talk about Sa Ding Ding’s amazing fashions! This is an oversight! Much as Steph adores Fan Bing Bing, if you’re not also into the fashion of Chinese singer 萨顶顶 then you are super missing out.

Don’t worry though, Steph is here to help you out.


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is an open linkspam

Why I don’t use “Character of Colo(ur)” tags (Liz does not wholly agree with SelenaK’s reasoning here, but the discussion around UScentricity in social justice discourse is dear to our hearts.)

Takarazuka, Japan’s all-woman theatre troupe, is producing a musical about Abe Lincoln. Is this one for Hamilton fandom?  American politics fandom?  Where’s the all-woman Keating! revival the world is crying out for?

Australia’s first female Muslim MP racially profiled at LAX.

Smartphone game lets players bludgeon Indigenous Australians to death!  And here’s the petition where you can call for its removal from the app store.

27 Utterly Terrible Ways Food Was Actually Served In 2015 – I thought this was just going to be more ranting about food served on wooden boards — ranting which is legitimate, but boring — but no!  IT IS SO MUCH WORSE THAN THAT!

Where’s Rey? I laugh at this quote EVERY TIME. How unexpected that we should sympathise with the woman, not in a mask, dealing with the world, rather than the evil dude in a mask who kills his dad! (Note: Steph is super into Kylo Ren, but she has a fictional whiny white manchild problem. She’s suitably ashamed of it.)

“I’ve spoken with Disney people, and they were completely blindsided by the reaction to the new Star Wars characters,” Marcotte went on to say. “They put a huge investment into marketing and merchandizing the Kylo Ren character. They presumed he would be the big breakout role from the film. They were completely surprised when it was Rey everyone identified with and wanted to see more of. Now they’re stuck with vast amounts of Kylo Ren product that is not moving, and a tidal wave of complaints about a lack of Rey items.”

Apology from Parliament House to man who was asked to turn Aboriginal flag singlet inside out

“We were actually aiming to see how many government institutions we could get into in thongs,” he posted.

“The answer is all.”

The men say Parliament House was the only building to take exception to the singlet.

Pre-Invasion Day Special

This year, let’s ditch the Queen’s Birthday holiday and replace it with Mabo Day

This week marks the anniversary of Eddie Mabo’s death. IndigenousX host Chris Bourke says it’s high time for a national day to celebrate his meaningful contribution to Australian history

And from Luke Pearson: Why we need to change the date of Australia Day

AussieBum chief reacts to claims Australia Day undies are offensive to Indigenous culture

“AussieBum’s chief executive says he was naive to the fact its Australia Day underwear featuring dot paintings, boomerangs and a cartoon depiction of a traditional Aboriginal person could cause upset.” BULL SHIT. No Award calls silly buggers. “I saw [the design] as inclusive” HAHAHA


Australia Day: it’s a health threat (including tips on creating a 26 January that’s healthier for our Indigenous Peoples)

The day I don’t feel Australian? That would be Australia Day

You know we got feels on this: How the Australia Day lamb ad contributes to everyday cultural erasure

To that end, it seems Australia and Israel have much in common. Both nations pride themselves on free and democratic principles. Both were founded on land already occupied by another people and have engaged in the systematic erasure of these people. And both deny this erasure by mythologising their own origins, invoking metaphors of a land previously barren and lifeless; where Australians talk of “nothing but bush“, Israelis boast that they “made the desert bloom“.

But Aboriginal people call Australia Day “Invasion Day,” and Palestinians refer to the creation of Israel as Al-Nakba, “The Catastrophe.” The days that the mainstream culture of these countries celebrate as their birth are the very days on which the culture of another people were marked for erasure. This is not something to be celebrated but a tragedy to be mourned.

No national holiday can be a cause for unbridled celebration when it hinges on erasing the reality of a violent past, no matter what is on the menu.









Ready for This

Back in October, I reviewed the first episode of ABC Indigenous teen drama Ready for This.

I said:

If you enjoyed Dance Academy, or if you like contemporary YA, or if you have fond memories of Heartbreak High, this is a Jolly Good Series.  Some of the acting is a bit ropey, as happens with teen dramas starring actual young adults, and some of the dialogue is on the nose, as happens any time an Australian sits down to write a script.  It’s not perfect.  But it’s good.

The first (and, unless the Renewal Fairy works her magic, only) season has just come out on DVD, so this seems like a good time to look at the series as a whole, and whether or not it maintained the promise of its first episode.



Er, quite.

Look, it’s not actually perfect.  There’s an episode where the boys — Dylan, Levi and white boy Reece — engage in a bit of extremely mild trespassing and have a run-in with the cops.  Dylan mouths off, citing the Fifth Amendment and Miranda rights, and he and Levi end up being taken to the station, while Reece is told to go home to his mum.

(This is particularly harsh because Reece is the only one of the three who doesn’t have his mum in his life — one of the ironies the show deals with is that it’s the white kid who has the most dysfunctional background.)

That’s all great, but then … nothing comes of it?  Dylan and Levi are picked up, taken home and get a bit of a telling off, but no one says anything about the double standard in the way they’re treated.  It just hangs there.

That’s really the only dud note the show hits.  There was one other thing I didn’t care for, regarding the way Ava’s story winds up after her mother catches her kissing a girl — forbidding her to do her final exam at music school — but I understand that Ava’s story is about finding herself and her confidence, rather than institutional recognition of her skills.


What I loved was seeing all the different kinds of families in this show.  There’s the found family of the main cast, with Lasarus Ratuere and Christine Anu as the surrogate parents.  They even adopt Reece when they realise he’s living at school because his home situation is untenable.

But then there are the kids’ biological families, which include roles we don’t often see for Indigenous people:

  • Dylan’s father is a prominent Torres Strait Islander politician, who teaches his son traditional dances, sent him to one of Brisbane’s top private schools, and expects him to be a violin prodigy;
  • Zoe comes from a big, loud, loving family, and her dad struggles with the fact that he’s no longer her coach;
  • Levi’s mother is a forthright professional who encourages her son to be ambitious, whereas his dad is just out of jail, but the opposite of a deadbeat — a decent guy who has made some bad decisions, and is how working hard to be part of his son’s life;
  • Lily’s mother recently died, and she’s keeping her father at arm’s length, but both remain a palpable presence in her life;
  • Ava has a forceful, Christian mother and a lot of supportive, loving cousins.
  • And then there’s Reece, whose dad took off, whose mother has had a string of terrible boyfriends, and whose grandparents — with whom he’s meant to be living — don’t seem to care where he is or what he’s doing.

As I said, the white kid gets the most dysfunctional background, but there’s a constant thread of realism, in that everyone is just doing their best to do the right thing.

Except, you know, Reece’s mum’s boyfriend.  And his mum.  And his grandparents.

Reece is a wonderful character, though: he’s aware of his white privilege, but still makes mistakes, apologises for them and learns, and is generally a good person.  Someone said, regarding Poe Dameron, that if the future of the Square Jawed Hero is a guy who is kind and generous, that’s okay with her — likewise, I feel like, if we’re going to have prominent white guy characters, they should be like Reece.

But you could say that about any of the regulars: they try, they make mistakes, they learn, they keep going.  They deal with a variety of issues, both timeless — academic and sporting success, bullying and personality clashes — and current, such as Lily becoming the target of online bullying after a boy takes a demeaning picture of her and posts it without her consent.

Overall, while it could certainly have been more overtly intersectional on some issues, Ready for This brought both earnestness and fun to its characters and storylines.  (And, frankly, I feel a bit meanspirited, dinging it for not being 100% perfect, when the next big thing in Australian YA TV is this series about white LGBT kids.  I mean, literally the only non-white character is Rafiq, the main character’s nemesis.  I’m quite appalled.)

My main complaint about Ready for This is about what it didn’t get — without the overseas funding that Dance Academy enjoyed, it’s a lot cheaper, and didn’t enjoy a fraction of the promotion that other ABC3 shows receive.  Is this because it’s about black kids, or because it’s not likely to be a big international hit?  But if it’s the latter, isn’t it the fact that it’s about black kids part of the reason for its narrower appeal?

And, of course, it only got one season so far — it was in Dance Academy‘s second season that the marketing really took off.

For this reason, I’m buying the DVD and am doing my best to support the various artists whose music appeared in the show — many of whom are of ATSI background themselves.  (I had predicted a Jessica Mauboy cameo, but got Ngaiire instead.  No complaints, though, I love Ngaiire.)  Many are still in the early stages of their careers, but I’ve put what I can into a playlist on Spotify: the Ready for This unOST.

I doubt I can singlehandedly bully the ABC into creating more Ready for This, but I’m determined to try — or at least to ensure that the next teen drama about Indigenous kids gets an audience, and the one after that, and the one after that.

should have known better

Sometimes it is super fucked dealing with ableism in the world. This is specifically a post with links about ableism, inspiration porn, appropriation, and maybe not being an ableist poop. It is mostly links to the voices of disabled peeps with the occasional detour into news articles. Okay that sounds wanky. THIS IS AN INTRODUCTION I AM AT WORK OKAY.

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stephanie versus the lambassadors; or, why lee lin chin deserves better

llcLee Lin Chin is a goddamn national hero and an aspiration to Azn-Australian girls, and has been my whole life, and I can’t believe it’s come to this.

This post is the first in a series of Invasion Day posts that No Award will be running this month. (The rest will be more Indigenous-focused than this one, I swear.)

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Brown Bounty Hunter Business

Fact: Boba Fett is a lesbian.

It’s a memetic headcanon that emerged, as far as I can tell, earlier this week.

Within hours, it had evolved into “Boba Fett is a trans lesbian” (of colour, but that should go without saying, since Boba Fett was played by Maori actors Temuera Morrison and Daniel Logan.)


If you read OP Sashayed’s Boba Fett Is A Lesbian 2k16 tag, you can see it was all rollicking good trolling times, baiting homophobes, TERFs and transmisogynists alike.

Sadly, it’s not all fun and games, and we’re about to talk about the prioritisation of certain voices in fandom and the white-washing of Maori people. Hooray! (Also discussion of transphobic tropes and transphobia, so please tread carefully.)

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this week in: what has your government done to you

It’s a week, so probably something.

Labor questions PM Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment to tackling discrimination against women.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s commitment to tackling discrimination against women is being questioned, with the position of Sex Discrimination Commissioner left vacant for four months.

Elizabeth Broderick left the post in early September, but her departure was long expected after Attorney-General George Brandis extended her term by a year in 2014.

Senator Brandis told Parliament in early November, in response to Labor’s questions, that an announcement would be made “very soon”.

Other things No Award questions about Turnbull: his judgement; his friends (cf Dutton).

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