Sitting with difficult things

Meaningful action in contested times

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  • 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.

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