Being political now

Featured in

  • Published 20060905
  • ISBN: 9780733319389
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

IN THE BEGINNING was the ’60s. Or so we’re told – the culture wars can be traced back to the second wave of feminism, the pill, traditions fractured, authority called into question. A lot of symbolic weight for a decade to bear, and its images are burned into our collective imagination. At the Museum of Brisbane, they jump off the walls – photos of long-haired protesters in bellbottoms confronting Special Branch detectives in brown suits and unruly sideburns; posters, badges, banners, summonses. The Taking to the Streets exhibition (on display until September 24, 2006) revives memories of the causes and experience that symbolise a generation.

I recall another exhibition held at the Queensland Art Gallery a decade ago, which recreated a typical student lounge room from the ’80s, the symbols of radicalism and a political lifestyle evoked by material things. The “greed is good” decade was another decade of radicalism in Queensland. But understanding the nameless decade – the millennium, the noughties, the period that radio announcers can only describe as now (“playing the best hits from the ’80s, ’90s and now”) – is more challenging.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Aaron Corn

Aaron Corn is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, whose work explores the intersection of public collections and the creative arts with...

More from this edition

Revenge of the geeks

EssayTHE TOMORROW PEOPLE now seems very "yesterday". It is fondly remembered as a poor man's Doctor Who – and as Doctor Who was notoriously cheap, that's not saying much....

Just passing through

MemoirI MET A hippy on the road to Port Vila. His pale dreadlocks set him apart from the other whitey tourists who more commonly...

Mac attack

MemoirBACK IN THE very early '90s, McDonald's is still number one. Before Nandos and Subway and juice bars, and Sushi Trains and fancy delis...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.