Five things it took me five years to figure out

In early 2012 I found myself thrust into the teeming ranks of unemployed journos attempting to transition to freelancing. Spoiler alert: I seem to have made a go of things over the subsequent half decade. But not without plenty of mistakes and missed opportunities along the way. Here are five of the most important lessons … Read more

The Koan of Japan

Japanophile Nigel Bowen discovers the country he’s spent a lifetime fantasizing about is not what he had imagined. Prior to visiting, I figured I’d find Japan fascinating but not particularly surprising. After all, I’ve studied karate and been a member of a Zen Buddhist meditation group. I’ve read lots of books about the Land of … Read more

Is Australia becoming ungovernable?

Our lack of faith in politics is spinning out of control… With pundits widely declaring Tony Abbott’s leadership terminal, it’s perhaps time Australian voters considered their role in a political system that has quickly descended into what the PM memorably described as Game of Thrones-style chaos. Over the last decade or so, Aussies have fallen in and … Read more

Is uni still worth it?

These days, is a university degree really worth all the time, money and effort it takes to get one? What do Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Woody Allen, Oprah Winfrey, Ralph Lauren, James Packer, Paul Keating and Lady Gaga have in common? Not much obviously, apart from the … Read more

Life inside the bubble

A new American book examining the IQ-based social statification happening in the US explains a lot about the Inner West and its residents. American political scientist Charles Murray is most famous for his 1994 book The Bell Curve, which argued that IQ is destiny and that different races have difference average levels of intelligence. In … Read more

Rhonda and Ketut as the faces of female sex tourism

The Rhonda and Ketut ads tap into the Western fantasy of a paid fling with an exotic foreigner, writes Nigel Bowen. Would we feel the same about the campaign if it featured a bloke called Ron with a younger Thai girl? Staying in an inexpensive hotel in Kuta a decade ago, I would sometimes walk … Read more

An open letter to post-feminist women

After 40 years of fighting for equality, women want to go back to the original deal? Sorry ladies — we’re not half the men our grandads were. Dear post-feminist women, It’s been brought to our attention that you want we 21st century gents to caveman up. That you’re, like, so over busting a navel-pierced gut … Read more

A westie apologises: it must be all our fault

As the political battle digs in on the western (Sydney) front, Nigel Bowen defends his turf against endless media clichés. Warning: May contain traces of satire. Dear rest of Australia, On behalf of my fellow residents of Western Sydney I would like to offer my sincere apologies. First, a brief summary for those who may … Read more

The generation snap

As the baby boomers who transformed Australian society shuffle off stage, Nigel Bowen asks what happens next. At 34, social researcher Mark McCrindle likes to think of his age cohort as a middle child. “Quiet, compliant, they just get on with it. They never got much attention and they don’t expect it.” Typically, no one’s … Read more

Why Abbott should Lord it over the electorate

Perhaps Tony Abbott’s path to victory at the federal election lies in embracing his conservatism and his old-fashioned sense of morality. Conventional wisdom holds the only thing now preventing Tony Abbott winning an historic victory on September 14 is Tony Abbott. The commentariat is almost as one in arguing the only issue that could potentially … Read more

The light on the sand dune

The classic Aussie beach holiday could serve as a model for a more egalitarian, tolerant and joyful society, writes Nigel Bowen. Granted, it’s easy to start entertaining fanciful notions after spending too much time in the midday sun, but I’ve begun wondering if serious consideration should be given to the question millions of Australians have … Read more