Fake news. Post-truth. Alternative facts. In this fourth issue of Tharunka, Truth, we discover that these contagions are far closer to home than we might like to admit.
It’s hard to escape the cognitive dissonance when the Twitter feed of UNSW’s Chief Communications Officer, a former journalist turned spin-doctor, is hacked by a bunch of gamers. When foxes roam the abandoned campus, and a cost-cutting faculty merger is spun as the creation of a fruitful new ‘mega-faculty’. When an interview with a leading Australian voice for human rights is shunted off the UNSW platform for fear of offending a foreign government.
In this brave new world of crisis communications, it’s comforting to know that there will always be a space at UNSW for doubt, and complexity, and profound reflection. This is the task that our writers have taken on at Tharunka, comprising two elements: expressing the truth of our experiences, and speaking truth to power. Nidhi Kontham seeks the true beauty of Eastern architecture, liberated from European aesthetics. Jack Zhou sat down with the Chair of Arc Board to ask what our student union has been up to during COVID-19.
I commend this Foundation Day issue of Tharunka to you, dear reader, in the hope that our earnest attempts to grapple with what it means to live in 2020 might assist you to do the same.
This belated Foundation Day issue of Tharunka, Truth, brings another spate of high quality writing from our student authors, who have set about tackling some challenging and important issues.
These authors have taken a unique and often provocative view which is all unified by the same preoccupation: making us face the uncomfortable truth wherever it may be.
Callum O’Donnell unpacks the increasingly concerning problem of children in detention in Australia and highlights a potential solution. As the United States presidential elections loom over the world, Ainslie Toombs reconsiders the legacy of Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Rory Coverdale reports on the revelations of the Palace Letters on one of the most controversial yet obscure political moments in Australian history: the dismissal of Gough Whitlam in 1975.
I am proud to have participated in bringing these voices forward, and whose unique insights deserve the attention of our loyal readers.
It feels like we’re at a point when not much can be said about Truth that hasn’t been said before. The phrases ‘post-truth’ era and ‘post-truth politics’ seem to be everywhere you look in recent years.
Young people are used to having the facts at our fingers, breaking news delivered instantaneously. The recent deaths of public figures like Chadwick Boseman and RBG, the explosion in Lebanon, global pandemic statistics, we find out these things minutes (if not seconds) of them happening.
In a time of post-truth and instant facts, fact-checkers are needed now more than anything. And that’s where journalists come in. Although our young crowd at Tharunka are still students, we have a lot to say, and I hope you’ll stick around to hear it.
Welcome to Truth, which succeeds as a work of satire on many grounds, but which, I’ll admit, isn’t very satirical in the Creatives department; it is too sincere, too gentle, lingering too much in love and in loss. The Creatives of Truth all seem to have confronted not just ‘truth’, but one always-aspect of truth – being alone.
The poets: Phoebe’s ‘Loneliness’ and Issy’s ‘Paralian’ seem to, in parallel, explore the interiority/exteriority split of being alone; experiencing the world, remembering the world, being in the world, while alone.
The prose-smiths: Wen’s ‘Time to Go’ is not just a beautiful world of magic but a narrative of the complex relationship of siblings and letting go; and Aileen’s ‘Tethered Skies’ is an exquisite play on divinity, madness, and power of the mind.
Having been in almost total isolation for more than six months now, I feel confident in saying that the creative works around me have kept me more human than I can really articulate; I know it’s the same for others. So, whether laughing or crying or just falling into the lull and elan of our writers, please enjoy.
Hi, welcome to hansonrise, we bring you a developing story of the absolute mess our Education Minister has created. His proposed fee changes per discipline works against social equity by preempting ‘winning’ disciplines and making them more accessible. Democracy who? He might as well have said, ‘F*ck students’. Hence why he is being pulled down by the masses.
In other design related works, Nidhi Kontham’s piece, ‘If the Walls Could Talk’, collages photographs supposedly showing the hidden vibrancy of India. Her work poses a simple question, why must we search for beauty within Eastern Architecture? I hope this piece offers you an alternate perspective as it did for me.
Read the full edition of Truth at https://issuu.com/arcunsw/docs/2020-tharunka-issue-4-truth