Bert Olivier

Bravo students: ‘The doors of learning and culture shall be opened’

The ongoing student protests across the country confirm, unambiguously, the failure of the neoliberal system in South Africa, which requires a hefty increase in student fees every year, given the fact that universities are now part of the invidious neoliberal economic system, instead of being state-funded public institutions. And don’t tell me that it is…

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The lie that society is founded on

In Living in the End Times (London: Verso, 2010) that inimitable Slovenian philosopher cum psychoanalytical theorist Slavoj Žižek performs a dazzling analysis of Christopher Nolan’s genealogical Batman film The Dark Knight (2008). What his analysis brings to light is something that, Žižek reminds one, John Ford also explored cinematically years ago in Fort Apache (1948)…

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The illusions of Facebook

At the recent South African Communication Association conference at the Afda campus in Cape Town I was astonished at the level of naïveté about the use of Facebook on the part of academics and students alike. On the one hand there were those who regard it as a mere tool for communicating with friends and…

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The pleasure of mountains

We walk past the iconic bear at the entrance to the Seoroksan National Park near Sokcho, South Korea, towards the diverging forested paths beckoning lovers of mountains. Each one of these takes one to a specific trail where one can indulge your love of mountains in various ways. Some meander along the side of a…

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What can we expect beyond the human?

The 7th Beyond Humanism Conference, which has just come to an end in Seoul, Korea, where delegates met at the Ewha Women’s University, was … well, more than interesting. It was fascinating in many ways, sometimes in a rather abject, almost horrifying manner. How would you respond to someone world famous, if not notorious, called…

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Terminator Genisys’ obsession with the tech threat on the button

I finally got to view Alan Taylor’s Terminator Genisys (2015) on the plane to Korea, which we are visiting for the third time to attend a conference in Seoul on posthumanism, and to do some mountain climbing in the beautiful Seoroksan mountains near Sokcho, a stone’s throw from the demilitarised zone and the North Korean…

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Virtual reality just innocuous fun?

The cover of a recent edition of Time magazine (August 17 2015), shows a guy with what seems like a pair of goggles on his face, in jeans and a golf shirt, jumping into the air against the backdrop of a beach scene. Except … the “goggles” are not “look-through”, like normal goggles; he is…

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Why do we so often misunderstand one another? Derrida on communication

The other night we enjoyed a fabulous poetry evening at the local branch of the Alliance Francaise, with several poets presenting their poetry, from the increasingly well-known poetess, Lelethu to the well-known Brian Walter, with his Helenvale poets and the Afrikaans poet and literary critic Marius Crous. Because, being a Francophile myself, I have been…

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A prodigious task facing the humanities: The creation of a new vocabulary

How does one articulate and make sense of the momentous changes that have taken place in the last three decades or so across the world, and that have not nearly run their course, if the existing vocabulary in the humanities is rapidly being unmasked as belonging to a different conceptual dispensation or “paradigm” – one…

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Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and American gun culture

A recent article on Yahoo addresses an interview with Miley Cyrus in which she expressed the view that she is often labelled a bad role model while, by contrast, the pop star with the squeaky clean image, Taylor Swift, is seen as the good role model. This divergence, she argued, hides double standards, more particularly…

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