“Shame on you, Duncan!”: Students and staff rally against casualisation at Melbourne University

University of Melbourne staff and students rallied outside Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell’s Parkville mansion yesterday in opposition to the University’s growing casualisation of teaching staff.

Students and staff say no to the Robert Menzies Institute

Students gathered on South Lawn yesterday to protest the opening gala of the Liberal-backed think-tank Robert Menzies Institute (RMI).

An open letter to all student politicians

As sleek Facebook frames are slowly being removed from the profile pictures of university students in their early twenties, and social media feeds are returning to normal from constant ‘vote for me’ c

"Please don’t ask if we’ve tried yoga”: Students fighting for disability support

Despite the University’s push to make learning accessible, through programs such as SEDS and Access Melbourne, there have yet to be endorsements from students that these programs are appropriate. Inst

Cinemas Buckle Under the Weight of the Netflix Empire

Will Hollywood blockbuster-type films continue to use Netflix as their outlet, or will they return to their rightful spot on the big screen?



Review: Men

<p>I picked up Men because the blurb proclaimed it to be an exploration of &#8216;female desire&#8217;. I was expecting irony. I was disappointed. </p>

I picked up Men by Marie Darrieussecq (translated by Penny Hueston) because the blurb proclaimed it to be an exploration of ‘female desire’. I was expecting irony. I was disappointed. In French, the title is Il faut beaucoup aimer les homes, which translates to something like ‘we have to love men a lot’ and is taken from a Marguerite Duras quote: ‘We have to love men a lot. A lot, a lot. Love them a lot in order to love them. Otherwise it’s impossible, we couldn’t bear them.’ I don’t know why but this gave me the impression that maybe Darrieussecq had something valuable to say about relationships between men and women. Alas.

The story centres on Solange, a French B-list actress trying to make it in Hollywood. Solange falls madly in love with Kouhouesso, a black actor who she meets at a party. Kouhouesso is determined to make Conrad Joseph’s Heart of Darkness into a film and much of the story is dedicated to following his attempts to do so in the Congo. The rest is a constant re-iteration of Solange’s entirely baseless love for Kouhouesso, with the occasional comment on race.

Solange is an insipid and frustrating protagonist, and her constant soliloquising as to how much she doesn’t know and how much K can teach her grates on the nerves. As a female reader, Solange’s over-done intellectual inferiority was particularly offensive. Kouhouesso, for his part, is entirely unbelievable as a love-interest and is almost as two-dimensional as Solange. Their relationship is built on Kouhouesso’s late night booty calls, which also double as lectures (there is, after all, a lot that Solange needs to learn) and very little else. Darrieussecq does not comment on the absurdity and abject misogyny of this ‘relationship’.

Further, the potential plot suggested by Solange’s and Kouhouesso’s interracial relationship (the apparent strangeness of which Darrieussecq seems to be at pains to emphasise), is left entirely unexplored, begging the question ‘why?’ In fact Darrieussecq’s handling of this issue is so clumsy that it borders on insensitive. Her comments are added as after thoughts or as part of K’s lecturing and Solange herself occasionally has inexplicably racist thoughts. Any comment on racism that Darrieussecq is trying to make seems lost in translation and reading them feels kind of like listening to a friend make racist jokes but tell you it’s okay because they know a black guy.

A dissatisfying read.

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Three 2021


Our final editions for the year are jam packed full of news, culture, photography, poetry, art, fiction and more...

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