From Alan to Helen, A journey through Time and Gender

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Garner had an opinion, and did try to talk to the women. There are two sides to the story. How is re-starting a hate campaign, after all these years, helping. Many of the women people who read your article will not read the book, but now hate Garner, because you told them to. Merlene Abbott. And, yes, I have read the book. As I said, twenty years ago and a month before writing this piece. I have also written articles about Jonathan Franzen, egg-freezing, accusations of racism and gender stereotyping. I found it boring. It was like watching the recreation of a car crash in slow motion, which was exactly what it was about.

Attributing feelings to those around her was about the only thing that could be achieved, when all of the action had taken place off-stage and in the past.

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That is not to say that some of her other books were like that too. The actors in the film were too old, too polished and too well-schooled in the art of middle-class boho when that word did not exist yet. The film was intrusive, and the actors created a slightly knowing and oily presence which made me wary of over-dependence on characterisation, especially if they are too sophisticated and have got it wrong. I enjoyed it, for entirely different reasons from the focus of criticisms presented above.

I saw the book as more a problem with the Public Service and the fumblings of the people within.


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Yes, it was set in a University, with all of the self-centred indulgence that a more dedicated than have a good time, make lots of friends, get a degree and get out lifestyle within that now somewhat over-inclusive community entails. I just wish someone had murdered someone, or stolen something AND murdered or stalked the person or people who found out — life might have been a bit more interesting, humorous and exciting for these people, and us as readers.

Men are not the enemy — we all are, when things go wrong. It is how you deal with anyone hassling you or other crises severe or mild that matters, and the crux of this one was how the people involved dealt with it. As an example, in the most ordinary of social situations, I seem to attract the aggression of middle-aged women with depression and anger issues. Alway have, and never seem to see them coming. It pays not to be judgmental, however — it is not your problem.

If it is, you will be judgemental, and it will be clouded. I also found it deeply moving, most likely as Garner intended. Maybe I could relate more to the people involved there, rather than to a bunch of townies whose lives seem to be a never-ending car crash, or a bunch of middle-class trendies who I wished would get kidnapped, murdered or be on the run with state secrets — anything. It is much harder to empathise with the lives of boring and predictable public servants whose arts-orientated academic training and jobs seem to lack the self-discipline and rules of behaviour that seem to be more organised and self-explanatory in large firms within the private sector.

Perhaps it really does depend on what people do for a living or during the course of their daily lives. If they get into trouble, and their lives are mundane to start with, it does make for an extreme writing challenge. In this sense, I think you are being as dishonest as Garner was in writing this piece — perhaps naive. As with the victims in the book, the focus is not to besmear those individuals that act out of turn.

The refugee crisis is a feminist issue. We can’t just sit by and watch

Instead, we as feminists act to undermine the structures that give rise to this behaviour, to demonstrate its unacceptability. Really, in attempting to subvert the enmeshed normativity of gendered values, we can expect some turbulence and to some degree the ill-practice of people acting in revolt.

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Just dying of curiosity about why the alleged victims, Elizabeth Rosen and Nicole Stewart, seem by all accounts to have been silent on these so called controversial events. It all smacks of classism to me. I was out in the world at 16 years old supporting and having to fend for myself. I admit the harsh reality of living in a patriarchal society and suffered because of this. I am a 60 year old woman with an impeccable work history.

This last decade of my working life has been nothing short of life changing despair. I face the prospect, yet again, of having to defend myself, after making formal complaints, in a doubtless, daunting courtroom scenario against a very large corporation. I am more than happy to share my awful experiences with anyone who will listen, but, because of my lower station in life and my gender, have a lot more hurdles to cross.

If Elizabeth Rosen and Nicole Stewart were so grossly offended, and or, assaulted, then why, after all this time, did they not stand on their own respective convictions to impart what they had learned from this experience, or, was this privileged for a certain class or age of feminist? Perhaps their experiences could have helped other girls or women. Again, this smacks to me of some cloistered middle class arrangement, where, only the elite have access to knowledge and information.

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I have nothing but praise for Helen Garner in expressing her views and observations. I wish I had someone like Helen Garner to support me in court and detail the events of harassment to myself. Apologies to anyone who believes working class women should not be heard. Some of these comments make me wonder if we read the same book.

For me, The First Stone was a thoughtful meditation on gender relations and class politics. Thoughtful and reflective. Garner constantly and frankly examines her own motives, reactions and opinions throughout the book. I am the same generation as Helen Garner and an alumni of Melbourne University and as part of the Second Wave feminist movement in Australia, was appalled at the events at Ormond.

In the light of the continuing sexism and the current did it ever go away? Real lives are impacted by all these events. Helen Garner was wrong. No, Helen Garner was not wrong. She was right in bringing this story to the wider community. Violence of any form is never ok. Hands down it was Dr Gregory who was unemployable after the allegations. His family was equally affected, especially so his wife.

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Jenna Mead, who was split into 9 characters to try and keep her anonymous by Helen, kept her job in academia. Mead was sued successfully for defamation by another woman who also worked at The University of Melbourne. This incident was less about feminism and more about class — privileged women and men have always bullied and destroyed working class people.

Prove that I lie. Come off it! Are men ever responsible for their actions? Birth of daughter. Winning international recognition. Paintings purchased by Museum of Modern Art. Excited by indigenous art at American Natural History Museum. Permanently resident in Hertfordshire and in cottage in Cornwall. Teaching at Central School of Arts and Crafts.

One-man exhibition in British section of Sao Paulo Bienal, Brazil — awarded prize for best foreign painter. Visit to Australia, exhibition in Sydney. Lectures in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, inspired by Aboriginal art seen there. Developed interest in Jain cosmology and its images which were developed into series of paintings. Went to Caracas and visited villages. Undertakes series of Hopi Studies paintings and gouaches, inspired by a book on American Indian Hopi pottery.


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Hertford Arts Hub is a new not-for-profit arts organisation set up in with support from Hertford Town Council, East Herts District Council and the University of Hertfordshire to develop a new centre for visual art in Hertford.



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