Sitting with difficult things

Meaningful action in contested times

Featured in

  • Published 20210202
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-56-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

AS A CHILD in the early 1970s I would sometimes overhear my parents discussing how much commercial television I should be allowed to watch. The shows in question included Get Smart, I Dream of Jeannie, Lost in Space and The Brady Bunch. Even though I was only eight years old, I remember being mildly interested in the argument. I understood that what was at stake was a genuine concern for the kind of person I’d grow up to be. But imagine the conversations that started when you were eight years old were still going. The shows being discussed stopped being made decades ago. You’re almost sixty. And the conversation has escalated to an intractable argument.

I appreciate the obvious: this forced anecdote has a limited value in today’s overheated political (and actual) climate. Watching The Brady Bunch wasn’t going to kill me, let alone millions of humans, as temperature rises of 2 degrees Celsius or more will. But nonetheless it’s the analogy that came to mind when I was at the Byron Writers Festival in 2019 and someone asked scientist and writer Tim Flannery about Australia’s chance of meeting its targets for the Paris Agreement. Flannery went on to answer in such a way as to indicate that the situation we are facing is so much more serious, it renders that perfectly sensible question irrelevant.

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

More from author

Biyala Stories

GR OnlineONE DAY LAST August I was standing on the banks of Moonee Ponds Creek, near Racecourse Road in Flemington, in the gap between two...

More from this edition

Blue crane

FictionListen to Inga Simpson read ‘Blue crane’. THOSE FIRST WEEKS Sally walked the beach, it went unread. She saw only a scallop of yellow sand edged with dark...

Three poems

PoetryHow to have a child Begin on the day you decide you are fit to carry on. Begin with a quailing heart for here you stand on the fault line. Begin...

Touching the future

EssayAs defined by Norbert Wiener, an American mathematician, cybernetics was ‘the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine’, and also in society and in the individual. In particular, for Wiener and others, it was about the study of feedback mechanisms and circular causal systems, including in the newly proliferating space of computers.

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