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

Developing a Rimbaud complex

MemoirNo one is serious at seventeen.– Arthur Rimbaud LIKE MANY CHILDREN born in the 1980s, I grew up mostly with the aid of the one-eyed...

Publish and grow

GR OnlineWHAT POSSESSES A twenty-seven-year-old writer without publishing success, without professional employment, living in a new country and with no networks, to begin publishing a...

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