Journalism

I write regularly for newspapers and magazines. I've written opinion, features and reviews for The AgeSydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Guardian, Herald-Sun, BBC and ABC, among others. I'm also a feature writer for New Philosopher and Island magazines.

Some writings discuss 'big picture' philosophical ideas in daily life.  Others are simply celebrations or clarifications - more literary or journalistic than philosophical.  To search for a particular theme or issue, click on one of the 'popular topics' at the very bottom of the page.


OPINION/REVIEWS

The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald

  • 'Meet the author: why writing is no longer just about the words' (16/5/15).
  • 'Magic pen delivers a graphic masterpiece' (7/3/15).
  • 'Austen's Fanny Price remains true to herself after two centuries' (27/9/14).
  • 'Pain comes before a punchline' (22/3/14).
  • 'Running on empty' (7/12/13).
  • 'Distraction - blame it on the mind, not the machines' (9/11/13).
  • 'Is "me time" a selfish pursuit?' (7/10/13).
  • 'Ever-present photography (and why it's a problem)' (17/9/13).
  • 'When it is and isn't political correctness' (27/8/13).
  • 'How to lose an argument before you've really started' (19/8/13).
  • 'No room for politics at the kitchen sink' (13/8/13).
  • 'Taste sours the sweetest food memories' (8/8/13).
  • 'What we can learn from Monet's garden' (31/7/13).
  • '"Them" and "they": crutches for a limp existence' (30/7/13).
  • 'Free for all' (3/7/13).
  • 'Trivialising women in politics' (17/6/13).
  • 'Marriage: the "ball and chain"' (6/6/13).
  • 'Mind-full: adventures of a different kind' (22/5/13)
  • 'Hopefully, wonders will never cease' (5/5/13).
  • 'Gardening is child's play' (10/4/13).
  • 'The curious pleasure of cleaning up' (4/4/13).
  • 'An encyclopaedia of Janeite love' (9/2/13).
  • 'The fashion assassins' (8/1/13).
  • 'Why the ink's not yet dry' (5/1/13).
  • 'The lure of erotic fiction' (1/10/13).
  • 'Talk about food should skip the bulldust' (31/12/12).
  • 'The joy of exercise, or why life lived well means a body worked hard' (2/9/12).
  • 'Play God: say yes to organ donation' (30/8/12).
  • 'Why patience is a virtue' (4/8/12).
  • 'Why karate kids are less likely to grow up to be violent men' (8/7/12).
  • 'A little bit of hush' (5/5/12).
  • 'Cherishing the ANZAC spirit - as long as it's not going to cost' (25/4/12).
  • 'We interrupt this program for an important message on relating' (17/4/12).
  • 'Oh, he of little faith' (17/3/12).
  • 'Homeopathy is not a cure, it's water and consolation' (16/3/12).
  • 'Narcotic for the mind: inhale deeply then delete at will' (4/3/12).
  • 'Embracing spontaneity helps make holidays child's play' (23/1/12).
  • 'Caffeine less vital than the conviviality of a cuppa' (23/1/12).
  • 'Revelling without a cause can leave you low in spirit' (31/12/11).
  • 'Listen up: this rapper's the Dylan of his day' (28/11/11).
  • 'Not idle, but thinking big' (8/10/11).
  • 'Holding thoughts to the minimum' (5/10/11).
  • 'Weak and dimwitted humans in a world run by machines' (8/6/11).
  • 'Life's lessons found packed in a removalist's box' (21/5/11).
  • 'Getting to grips with unnatural urges' (30/4/11).
  • 'Familiarity breeds content for old gallery's loyal patrons' (21/4/11).
  • 'Super-rich exceptions closer to being the rule' (2/4/11).
  • 'Turn video games into more than child's play' (14/1/11).
  • 'The crisis and the cure' (1/1/11)
  • 'Spring's gentle nudge to leave winter's walls behind' (15/9/10).
  • 'Too much screen time means our lives lack dimension' (28/7/10).
  • 'Exercise your mind and the body will follow' (13/7/11).
  • 'You don't need Jesus to enjoy Christmas' (20/12/10).
  • 'Fighting can nurture the soul - just ask Plato' (27/11/10).
  • 'A balanced life holds amazing rewards' (15/11/10).
  • 'Father knows best: don't buy into this false festival' (4/9/10).
  • 'Instructive lesson in class at the auctioneers' (18/8/10).
  • 'Quiet now, your soul is healing' (17/7/10).
  • 'A little smut goes a long way' (23/6/10).
  • 'Empty pockets and wonky careers can provide a richer life' (19/5/10).
  • 'Taking a bite out of Apple's vision' (18/5/10).
  • 'In moments like these, we need mentors' (26/4/10).
  • 'Autumn glory lets us count our blessings' (2/4/10).
  • 'Forget the cheap shots, cage fighting is a virtuous sport' (12/4/10).
  • 'Channel your rage, young man' (9/01/10).
  • 'Should auld acquaintance and bad times be forgot?' (28/12/09).
  • 'An enriching, illuminating, bonding, godless Christmas' (23/12/09).
  • 'A bad review can be a learning experience (21/12/09).
  • 'The urge for single-sex fraternity will remain strong' (27/11/09).
  • 'Identifying with the victims, not the killers' (11/11/09)
  • 'Celebrity adoptions expose our hypocrisy' (14/9/09).
  • 'We don't need Dylan on satnav to be driven to distraction' (1/9/09).
  • 'Dreams don't come in installments' (18/8/09).
  • 'Reality she wrote: Austen's top tips' (7/7/09).  
  • 'Your numbers may never come up, but dream on' (2/7/09).
  • 'To remain relevant, that is the dilemma (19/5/09).
  • 'Channel the rage: teach boys to fight' (22/4/09).
  • 'Here's a thought - turn off the TV, tune into life' (24/11/08).
  • 'Driven by distraction' (5/7/08).

The Guardian

  • 'Our botanic gardens are about more than prettiness, or even science' (18/5/14).
  • 'Eventually, jellyfish might rule the world. What should the art world do about it?' (19/2/14).
  • 'Why swimming is sublime' (7/2/14).
  • 'If exercise was good for Charles Darwin, it's good for all of us' (2/1/14).
The Australian

  • 'The by the word, die by the sword' (16/5/15).
  • 'Forthright defence of atheism' (18/1/14).
  • 'The meaning of life? Here's the rundown' (27/4/13).
  • 'Thanks to the memory of a father who failed' (21/1/12).
  • 'The price of freedom' (7/9/11).
  • 'Open the pod bay doors, HAL' (27/8/11).
  • 'Ennui need not be dull' (19/3/11).
  • 'Research the name of the game' (2/3/11).
  • 'Philosophy as a contact sport' (8/12/10).
  • 'Merry hell' (20/12/08).
The Canberra Times
  • 'An inquiring mind essential kit for travellers' (24/4/15).
  • 'When the benefit of the doubt is in order' (23/2/15).
  • 'Smacking children asks for a certain brutality' (14/2/15).
  • 'There might be two sides to climate change story, but only one is well informed' (7/2/15)
  • 'When it comes to quaffing, 'authenticity' has no taste' (9/1/15)
  • 'Sixty years on, we can learn from Ernest Hemingway's grim New Year's resolve' (2/1/15)
  • 'Civilisation, and how to cultivate it' (26/12/14)
  • 'Meeting the challenge of Christmas' (24/12/14)
  • 'Promises, promises' (9/12/14)
  • 'Celebrity culture brings out the worst in us' (2/12/14).
  • 'Political ideals of progress are impeding our advancement' (8/11/14).
  • 'Political insults have their place, but better to engage in debate' (31/10/14).
  • 'Running towards a higher level' (1/3/14).
  • 'Broadband out of whack with experts' (4/11/13).
  • 'Death penalty at odds with the value we place on life' (21/10/13).
  • 'Laptop dogs growl at cost' (22/7/13).
  • 'Spectator vitriol exposes losers off court' (17/7/13).
  • 'The "specialness" of gold class cinema' (25/5/13).
  • 'In short, what we need is more wit' (23/4/13).
  • 'Chard remains' (31/1/13).
  • 'Intensity of friendships reveals a reflection of our true selves' (4/1/13).
  • 'Desire is never just a walk in the park' (27/12/12).
  • 'Deep thoughts on nature's way' (12/12/12).
  • 'Laughter: antidote to a crazy world' (21/11/12).
  • 'Politics: the good, the bad and ugly' (13/11/12).
  • 'Turnips for work; chestnuts for play' (3/10/12).
  • 'Shining a light on real values' (28/10/12).
  • 'Intellectual ambition rarely appears on the box' (24/10/12).
  • 'Every good boy deserves to...become better' (9/10/12).
  • 'Satire the perfect way to test huffiness of today' (6/10/12).
  • 'For sale: traditional values. Well used. Still loved' (3/10/12).
  • 'More than promises broken when politicians recant' (28/9/12).
  • 'Glamour can't disguise the fact that sex is still about power' (12/9/12).
  • 'Malicious web trolls are petty, broken human beings' (8/9/12).
  • 'Much in human nature that is dim, blind and cruel' (3/9/12).
  • 'Throwing the book at literary prejudice' (27/8/12).
  • 'Political lessons to learn from the United States' (13/8/12).
  • 'Limiting exposure to the commercial cacophony' (6/8/12).
  • 'The politics of bashing those down on their luck' (27/7/12).
  • 'More than mere child's play' (16/7/12).
  • 'Too easy for Google stuff to fill our vacant minds' (13/7/12).
  • 'Papers need to lift debate standards' (9/7/12).
  • 'To tax is to share, not to punish' (19/6/12).
  • 'A healthy civilisation needs writers -- and readers' (7/6/12).
  • 'Good, the bad, and the ugly: the blog's here to stay' (24/5/12).
  • 'Never mind the quality, feel the art's price' (14/5/12).
  • 'Gossip is easy and addictive, but also unhealthy' (3/5/12).
  • 'We are dehumanised by automatic work processes' (24/4/12).
  • 'Why grandmothers are key to familial wellbeing' (16/4/12).
  • 'Savouring the magic of the local bookshop' (2/4/12).
  • 'Fun between the covers with long-dead strangers' (9/3/12).
  • 'Stop submerging status in the subservience of "sir"' (1/3/12).
  • 'Honour? Thanks but no thanks' (13/2/12).
  • 'Navigating the conditions of unconditional love' (31/1/12).
  • 'Impossible vanity of caring for everything at once' (16/1/12).
  • 'Norse lessons from across the rainbow bridge' (11/1/12).
  • 'As copyright ends, we can take the literary plunge' (6/1/12).
  • 'Nurturing a healthy lifestyle is food for thought' (3/1/12).
  • 'It's time to let the fizz out of these sickening drinks' (16/12/11).
  • 'Children's stories need a moral side' (12/12/11).
  • 'At times, pedants are just revolting' (29/11/11).
  • 'Practical, proud paths of civility' (24/10/11).
  • 'Not easy to be an older parent, but it's not selfish' (10/10/11).
  • 'Memory lane is a learning curve' (3/10/11).
  • 'The work/life divide: time to think about getting it right' (26/9/11).
  • 'Why Australia is one of the least corrupt nations' (29/8/11).
  • 'Violence runs deep within young men' (13/8/11).
  • 'Fountain of the imagination and joy in the hand' (8/8/11).
  • 'Tastes that narrate our lives' (26/7/11).
  • 'Smokers: 'liberated', but not free' (22/7/11).
  • 'Cinema puts us all on the same stage' (11/7/11).
  • 'On-the-spot fines for swearing fans the fire' (6/6/11).
  • 'Very witty Wilde, but what about this weather?' (26/5/11).
  • 'Counting the cost of credit card debt' (18/5/11).
  • 'Don't write off female front-line warriors just yet' (20/4/11).
  • 'Desperately seeking nothing of real importance' (10/4/11).
  • 'A time to plant, and a time to harvest' (7/4/11).
  • 'Families are slaves to an age of debt' (11/3/11).
  • 'Penning books for the young no life sentence' (25/2/11).
  • 'Gossip adds to woes in office' (14/2/11)
  • 'It's a juggle, but parents can love in the struggle' (7/2/11).
  • 'Internet a tool for tyranny as well as democracy' (4/2/11).
  • 'Courage keeps society a civil one' (31/1/11).
  • 'Along with our grapes, we're maturing nicely' (24/1/11).
  • 'Kicking away the crutches of luxury' (18/1/11).
  • 'Time to put down the pen and join the human race' (27/12/10).
  • 'These feet are made just for walking' (20/12/10).
  • 'The big four are well overdrawn on humanity' (10/11/10).
  • 'Why backflips by politicians are steeped in such negativity' (18/10/10).
  • 'Playing outside has many benefits' (13/10/10).
ABC
  • 'Constancy or madness in the midsummer heat?' (15/1/14).
  • 'Curiosity vs celebrity: why do some reject fame?' (14/10/13).
  • 'FlexiWar: a modest proposal...' (10/7/13).
  • 'We shouldn't ask the dying to keep living' (13/5/13).
  • 'Biographical daydream' (4/1/12).
  • 'The garden in the library: Cicero and the stuff of life' (21/12/12).
  • 'Gods can teach us--just don't worship them' (7/12/12).
  • 'A myth understanding' (23/11/12).
  • 'Private faith v public faith' (9/11/12).
  • 'Critical thinking critical to teaching' (26/10/12).
  • 'An adoring family does not a feminist politician make' (9/10/12).
  • 'The "herd" instinct' (5/10/12).
  • 'The fictional universe of the spiritual illuminati' (24/9/12).
  • 'The fight for common sense' (21/9/12).
  • 'Princesses and superheroes: the consequences of gender roles' (7/9/12).
  • 'Coffee with David Hume' (23/8/12).
  • 'Everyone picks on the fat kid' (10/8/12).
  • 'Our alien and desiccated home' (30/7/12).
  • 'Is God interesting?' (27/7/12).
  • 'Surviving the suburban purgatory of the school run' (13/7/12).
  • 'Christ's love is bad medicine' (29/6/12).
  • 'The Mayans and the end of thought' (15/6/12).
  • 'A letter from a god' (1/6/12).
  • 'Darwin's modest discovery of evolution' (18/5/12).
  • 'If God is dead or dying, why criticise religion?' (4/5/12).
  • 'The Bible just isn't funny' (27/4/12).
  • 'Prayer is delusional but its power can be real' (20/4/12).
  • 'Believers share their dubious apologetics with Trekkers' (13/4/12).
  • 'Infinite debt of a Christian faith' (6/4/12)
  • 'Art without god' (30/3/12).
  • 'Universe's magnificence without the narcissistic supernaturalism' (23/3/12).
  • 'Waiting for God: an ultimate power' (16/3/12).
  • 'Liberating a popular literary invention: the Lord' (9/3/12).
  • 'Why worry about theology?' (1/3/12).
  • 'Sympathy for the devil' (24/2/12).
  • 'Religion and politics: dangers of policy based on faith' (17/2/12).
  • 'Atheism and growing up' (10/2/12).
  • 'The Ultimate Fighter, priest-style: piety and religious vice' (2/2/12).
  • 'Friends in high places' (27/1/12).
  • 'Astrology: an odd mix of humility and arrogance' (19/1/12).
  • 'The symbolism and rage of victimhood' (12/1/12).
  • 'Do scientists have faith?' (3/1/12).
  • 'The symbols of Christmas' (26/12/11).
  • 'Hitchens and infuriating faith' (22/12/11).
  • 'Martial arts and the mind' (16/12/11).
  • 'Out with the caricatures!' (9/12/11).
  • 'Politics and loyalty: to the party or the person?' (2/12/11).
  • 'What was Socrates the radical philosopher doing in Bolt's blog?' (25/11/11).
  • 'For better, for worse, for satin, for cufflinks' (18/11/11).
  • 'The world is not enough for supernaturalists' (10/11/11).
  • 'Paranormal success is a psychic's only power' (3/11/11).
  • 'Atheists, creationists and the pitfalls of public debate' (27/10/11).
  • 'God, man, and the Obedient Wives Club' (20/10/11).
  • 'Book of Jobs: electronic Eden not paradise for everyone' (11/10/11).
  • 'Communication: it's always better when we're together' (22/9/11).
  • 'A boy's world through rose-coloured glasses' (11/4/11).
  • 'Can a job really be worse than unemploymnt?' (1/4/11).
  • 'The paper's place in a digital world' (13/1/11).
  • 'The marvels of what is' (17/12/10.
  • 'Feminism: a struggle shared' (3/12/10).
  • 'Stop and think: it's World Philosophy Day' (18/11/10).
  • 'Editors: strange, misunderstood, essential' (15/11/10).
  • 'Digitally surfing the flushable sea' (20/10/10)
  • 'The wisdom of illness' (1/10/10).
  • 'Why write?' (10/9/10).
  • 'Guiltlessly myopic electioneering' (17/8/10).
  • 'Mentally sexy dads' (30/7/10).
  • 'A rhythmic, sweaty meditation' (18/6/10).
  • 'Not just for geeks' (11/6/10).
  • 'Skinny vs healthy debate' (6/4/10).
  • 'A time for reflection' (7/12/09).
  • 'When will the shallowness end?' (2/11/09).
  • 'Write on' (12/10/09).
  • 'Light bulb moment' (4/9/09).
  • 'The shape of love' (9/7/09).
  • 'Plant for the future, not the past' (17/3/09).
  • 'Junk ethics' (16/9/08).
The Herald-Sun
  • 'Sweetest tastes of Easter are not found in chocolate eggs' (11/4/09).
  • 'Seasonal magic of creating happiness' (25/12/08). 
  • iPod down, stand up for a lady' (17/11/09). 
  • 'Lives driven to distraction' (22/9/08).
New York Daily News (US)
  • 'Legalizing mixed martial arts in New York' (16/1/11).
The West Australian
  • 'The gift of literary moonshine' (5/3/12).
BBC (UK)
  • 'The distraction society' (7/5/10).
Indianapolis Star (US)
  • 'Boxing is liberating for men -- and now for women' (14/4/11).
ESSAYS


New Philosopher

  • 'Can ideas travel?' (8)
  • 'Plato said knock you out' (7)
  • 'The right side of history is wrong' (6)
  • 'The self and other explosions' (5)
  • 'Dirty thoughts on civilised leisure' (4)
  • 'Happiness is hard to find' (3)
  • 'What is a mind?' (2)
Meanjin 

  • 'Illustrating Ethical Dilemmas' (72 2, 2013).
  • 'The Devilish Art' (70 2, 2011).
  • 'The Reader's Duties' (70 1, 2011).
  • 'My Melbourne Spring' (69 3, 2010).
  • 'On fiction and philosophy' (67 4, 2008).
  • 'The langorous siesta: on summer reading' (66 4, 67 1, 2007/8).
  • 'A Sparta for our times' (66 2, 2007). 
  • 'Faith without God' (65 4, 2006).
  • 'Facing Nietzsche's demon' (64 3, 2005).
Island
  • 'Philosophy is Not a Therapy' (141).
  • 'Who is the Author?' (140).
  • 'Fanny Price in the Garden' (139).
  • 'Everyday Philosophy' (138).
  • 'An Australian Superman' (137).
  • 'Public Writers, Private Lives' (135)
Aeon (UK)

  • 'The wisdom of gardens' (14/6/13).
Griffith Review

  • 'Tragic intimacy' (35, 2012).