Evolution is not just a theory

image

That big old beardo Charles Darwin once wrote: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” We say: shut up Charles Darwin! Who you calling weak or dumb? Not us, surely, because TLB is not and has never been about survival — we’re all about thriving! And jiving. High-fiving! Skin-diving.

You may have heard whispers of the massive change that is about to happen at TLB. We’re about to  s h a k e  things up — in pretty big ways for such a small and excellent and truly madly deeply humble publication/organisation as us.

But, firstly: please know that progress doesn’t mean crappy transmogrification! Since our inception in 2007, The Lifted Brow (both as a single print publication, and then a set of publications, and then as an arts organisation) has morphed and expanded to feature writers and artists from Australia and the world, always to both a national and international audience. Our changes continue in this vein; the traits that have been central to TLB — the championing of top quality writing and art, irreverence, independence, experimentation, transparency, accessibility, interestingness —will never be jettisoned.

Read More

An illustration by Ben Juers from The Lifted Brow #24: The Medicine Issue.

benjuers:

The new Medicine Issue of the Lifted Brow is out!!! I was heaps chuffed to be asked to do the illustrations for the Middlebrow section cos Ben Urkowitz did the last batch and he’s my favourite Ben apart from me! Anyway, this is one of those. There’s seven more in the magazine. This one accompanies a piece about Healthy Harold. If you didn’t grow up in Australia, Healthy Harold was this giraffe who lived in a van and warned kids about eating too many drugs. I think it was a community service thing.

An illustration by Ben Juers from The Lifted Brow #24: The Medicine Issue.

benjuers:

The new Medicine Issue of the Lifted Brow is out!!! I was heaps chuffed to be asked to do the illustrations for the Middlebrow section cos Ben Urkowitz did the last batch and he’s my favourite Ben apart from me! Anyway, this is one of those. There’s seven more in the magazine. This one accompanies a piece about Healthy Harold. If you didn’t grow up in Australia, Healthy Harold was this giraffe who lived in a van and warned kids about eating too many drugs. I think it was a community service thing.

'Blurred Lines', by Tammy Ruggles

Landscape 1 by Tammy Ruggles.

Art and blindness are not often associated with each other, but both have always been a natural part of my life. I wasn’t born blind. In fact, I’m not completely, totally blind right now: I’m ‘legally blind’, which means I have just enough vision to be dangerous.

I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a blinding disease that robs you of your sight over time. I can make out general, blurry shapes and colours during the day, but at night I see total blackness, except for a few blurry lights here and there. And the moon.

It took years to become legally blind. A friend of mine once remarked that he would just as soon go blind all at once and get the adjustment period over with. But it wasn’t that way with me. I was given my first pair of glasses at the age of two, and my vision only went downhill from there. In elementary school, I had to sit at the front desk in order to see the chalkboard. With RP comes night blindness, so I always had to hold onto someone’s arm or jacket sleeve when I was out at night. In some ways I felt limited, but now I realise that was just insecurity seeping in. At times it was hard for me to ask for help, or have anyone know I had a visual impairment, especially when it came to dating. Sometimes I’d be on a date at night in a car, and could only judge how it was going by what he said or how he said it, instead of seeing the expression on his face or seeing his gestures.

Read More

'Friendship is Magic', by James Robert Douglas

Illustration by Ben Juers.

When the My Little Pony franchise was rebooted in 2010 as the TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, it quickly garnered an unexpected cadre of fans. Bolstered by lively discussion on such sites as 4chan and Reddit, the franchise was adopted by males aged thirteen to thirty-five – hardly the predictable demographic for a show aimed at young girls. These fans came to be known as ‘bronies’—a portmanteau of ‘bro’ and ‘pony’—and today, according to the online Brony Study conducted by two psychologists from the University of Georgia and Louisiana State University, there are at least 50,000 self-identified bronies, eighty-five percent of whom are male, with an average age of twenty-one.

The precise course of the development of this fan culture is unclear. In some tellings the bronies began watching and discussing My Little Pony ‘ironically’. The fact that the fandom is thought to have begun on 4chan and Reddit—two sites where insincerity and unblinking absurdity are the lingua franca—lends credence to this. But the enthusiasm shown by bronies, and their use of a distinctive lingo (‘anypony’ for ‘anybody’), caused them to be marginalised by the host websites. Independent sites were established, and brony culture (based on the frequency of Google searches) expanded in 2011. Eventually, a sexual subset appeared: ‘cloppers’, who masturbate and profess sexual attraction to eroticised images of the My Little Pony characters. One figure puts the ‘clopper’ population at twenty percent of all bronies.

Read More

'What Colour is Your Hat? From Phone Phreaking to Political Hacktivism', by Chris White

Photograph by Melissa Toh, reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Licence.

The world of hacking is a complicated one: a community of white hats and black hats, corporate and international espionage, commercial fraud, hacktivism and ‘ratters’, organised crime, and kids mucking around on their home computers. The definition of the word ‘hacker’ itself is much debated within the community. Many distinguish between hackers, or ‘white hats’—the good guys—and crackers, or ‘black hats’—the baddies. The distinction between white hats and black hats arises from the stark similarities between the internet and the Wild West, both domains in which law enforcement and politicians have struggled to come to terms with new techniques, technologies, and even brand new crimes.

Read More

Featured Contributor: Alice Pung

browcontribs:

Alice Pung is a writer, lawyer and teacher. She was born in Footscray and grew up in Braybrook, is the author of Her Father’s Daughter and Unpolished Gem,and is the editor of Growing up Asian in Australia.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Searching for America’ in TLB8.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Screen Dumps’ in TLB9.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Performance Anxiety’ in TLB10.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Mum Forbidden in the City’ in TLB11.

Read Alice’s column ‘Supper’ in TLB12.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Returning’ in TLB13.

Featured Contributor: Alice Pung

browcontribs:

Alice Pung is a writer, lawyer and teacher. She was born in Footscray and grew up in Braybrook, is the author of Her Father’s Daughter and Unpolished Gem,and is the editor of Growing up Asian in Australia.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Searching for America’ in TLB8.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Screen Dumps’ in TLB9.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Performance Anxiety’ in TLB10.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Mum Forbidden in the City’ in TLB11.

Read Alice’s column ‘Supper’ in TLB12.

Read Alice’s column ‘Bonds: Returning’ in TLB13.

'Aspiring Writer Disorder', by Evan Williams

William Hogarth’s engraving The Distrest Poet. Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

Aspiring Writer Disorder (AWD) is a mental illness marked by hallucinations, delusions—and, in extreme cases, lifelong actions to carry out that which is believed in those delusions—that one can make a living as a professional writer.

Early warning signs

AWD will often first present itself during the individual’s teenage years. There are some common warning signs. If you’re concerned a teenager you know may be developing AWD, pay close attention to how they interact with literary objects. When carrying a book, do they keep it in a bag, or even calmly hold it beside their hip? Or do they clutch it tightly to their chest with both arms, in what seems like an attempt to somehow fuse the book their bodies? Research suggests such people, known as ‘clutchers’, are at a far higher risk of developing AWD.

How is the teenager engaging with his or her English teacher? If time is spent with the teacher before or after class exchanging books that aren’t on the curriculum, they may very well be developing AWD. If they’ve laminated a lock of the English teacher’s hair for use as a bookmark, seek treatment immediately.

Read More

Karen Hitchcock’s Editorial Notes from The Lifted Brow #24 – The Medicine Issue

image

Cover art by Lachlan Conn.

On Sunday we launched The Lifted Brow #24 — The Medicine Issue at the Melbourne Writers Festival. (There was nudity and there are photos.)

We are blessed to have had author and doctor Karen Hitchcock as guest editor for this print edition. Here are her editorial notes introducing it.

image

Of medicine—the science and the practice and the stuff—everyone has an opinion. We have all been to the doctor’s; we all have a body and a mind. Medicine is both despised and revered. When your body hurts or fails you and you place yourself in someone else’s hands, how can you trust them, when can you relax? After all, almost everything might be a symptom of multiple sclerosis, and you have some of those symptoms from the list, so you go tell the doctor and the doctor taps your tendons and watches your limbs gently jerk; she shines a light into the back of your eye, her face so close to yours you can smell garlic on her breath, then she asks you to touch her finger, your nose, her finger, your nose, wriggles her hands in the peripheries of your vision and then tells you not to worry. Don’t worry? Your heart thumps, your pupils dilate: is she lying, is she mad, what have these strange little dances to do with MS?

Read More

Load More