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By Tara Kenny in The Saturday Paper

The Gossip Girl reboot feels more like propaganda for the elite than the frothy satire it promises.


The pilot of the original Gossip Girl series aired in 2007, in a simpler time — or at least, a simpler time for rich kids. There was less overt class warfare and billionaire-hating, and the It Girl of the moment was heiress Paris Hilton, who aped working-class existence on The Simple Life and once described herself as “the closest thing to American royalty”. …

By Max Opray in The Saturday Paper

A slow-moving heat dome is bringing record-breaking temperatures to the northern hemisphere. Climate scientists are alarmed by how bad it is — and what might follow in Australia.

A firefighting tanker drops retardant over the Grandview Fire in Oregon. CREDIT: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY

Erica Fleishman and her colleagues at the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute wondered if something might have been wrong with the weather forecast. The high temperatures predicted for the north-west United States were more like Portland, New South Wales, than Portland, Oregon.

“People’s reactions were like: ‘This is very strange,’ ” Fleishman tells The Saturday Paper. “It was not until it was about a week…

By Rick Morton in The Saturday Paper

A time line of the science behind the Covid-19 vaccines shows how close Australia came to its own breakthroughs, and how it backed the wrong candidates.

Laboratory assistants from BioNTech at its Pfizer production site in Marburg, Germany. CREDIT: BORIS ROESSLER / DPA

This story begins three months before the novel coronavirus made its first apparent leap into humans. Two documents from two different continents were published, both of them prepared with no knowledge of the pathogen that was about to change the world.

One — a scientific paper published in the journal Nano — would describe promising breakthroughs in vaccine development and specifically in mRNA. The other — a…

By James Boyce in The Monthly

Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe’s ‘Farmers or Hunter-gatherers?’ challenges ideas of progress championed by Bruce Pascoe.

Fish traps, Darling River, NSW, 1938

It is strange that, for someone with Tasmanian Aboriginal ancestry, Bruce Pascoe largely ignores Tasmania when reimagining pre-conquest Aboriginal life in his publishing sensation, Dark Emu.

It is difficult to know how Pascoe would depict ancestors who shared few of the technologies he celebrates as markers of unheralded Indigenous development. Tasmanian Aboriginal people did not use hoes, plant crops, grind grain, make pottery, sew coats, build dams, construct stone houses or engage in aquaculture. …

By Richard Flanagan in The Monthly

Photograph by Rémi Chauvin

It is strange to have as my subject the freedom to write, coming from an island that, for a quarter of its modern history, was a slave society. Though there were major differences, the literature of the era abounds with comparisons between the convict society of Van Diemen’s Land and the slave societies of the Americas.

My forebears were transported as convicts from Ireland, frequently in the same ships and similar conditions to those which had transported Africans into American slavery, now plying the same trade with a different coloured cargo and a new…

By Jacob Boehme in The Saturday Paper

A former thief and heroin addict, actor Uncle Jack Charles has been part of some of the most important movements in Australian theatre history.

CREDIT: Ross Coffey / SBS

Content warning: this piece contains the names of Aboriginal people who are deceased.

“I have no problems being a gay and old arty bloke, because I’ve been a gay and young arty bloke for many years and everyone’s accepted it,” says Uncle Jack Charles. But back in the 1950s and ’60s, being gay was a problem.

“In those days, you had to keep it dark because it was illegal,”…

By Oscar Schwartz in The Monthly

An African Australian whose wife was refused a partner visa on the mistaken basis that they are related reveals that authorities are relying on DNA tests that are faulty and arguably racist.

Images supplied by Daniel Tadese

On February 24, 2012, Daniel Tadese and Genet Abebe were married in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after having been introduced around one year earlier by a mutual friend. Tadese was living in Melbourne and Abebe in Cairo, Egypt, so their relationship started out long distance. After getting to know each other over the phone they planned to meet face to face in Ethiopia’s…

By Linda Jaivin in The Saturday Paper

While a laboratory leak may never be ruled out as the origin of Covid-19, the sources of that theory remain highly questionable.

Journalists are moved away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. CREDIT: AP

One year and a half into the Covid-19 pandemic, the novel coronavirus has infected some 180 million people and killed at least four million — and the virus’s origins are still a mystery. …

By Miriam Cosic in The Saturday Paper

Swedish artist Hilma af Klint’s otherworldly paintings were hidden for most of the 20th century. She wanted it that way. Born in Stockholm in 1862, she died in 1944 at the age of 81. Her will stipulated that her work not be shown to the public until at least 20 years later, as she believed the world was not ready for her ideas. Indeed, when a few of her works were shown for the first time in a 1986 exhibition in Los Angeles, The Spiritual in Art, they received little attention.

When her…

By Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Monthly

This week, the Pentagon briefed the House Intelligence Committee on UFOs — or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in the newly revised jargon. An unclassified report will be made public soon, possibly next week, and it will crown a sort of renaissance of public interest in alien visitation.

This renaissance is attributable, in part, to preemptive leaks of the report, and an influential New York Times story, splashed on its front page in December 2017, about a “shadowy” military inquiry into what two of its navy pilots had described in 2004 as an inexplicable encounter…

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Publisher of The Saturday Paper and The Monthly. We publish intelligent news and current affairs that breaks the 24-hour news cycle.

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