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Helen Razer – Giving Up on Art


Dennis Altman, who was advertised as the presenter of this week’s Lunchbox/Soapbox, has unfortunately had to pull out. Helen Razer has very graciously agreed to step in.

In a recent article for The Age, Helen Razer tackled the conundrum of queer culture and the value of the ghetto. The very idea of ‘gay’, she argued, is itself a bit of a problem. While it might be persuasively argued that to classify people as gay, bi, trans, poly et al has some ethical or practical purpose, she questions the value of festivals dedicated to promoting homosexuals in the arts “as desperately needed as promoting white men in politics”. Does gay arts culture exist, as Razer provocatively suggests, merely as a currency for those who have given up on art?

Lunchbox/Soapbox is a simple idea: an old-fashioned Speakers’ Corner in the middle of the city, in the middle of the day.

At the Wheeler Centre we’re keen to showcase our writers as thinkers and as artists, as people with passions and peccadilloes. So we’ve come up with Lunchbox/Soapbox: a weekly space for them to sound off on a topic of their choice. Think of it as a 20-minute piece of polemic to give lunching CBD folk something to chew on.

The themes will be idiosyncratic: from pop-cultural analysis to high cultural criticism; from political grandstanding to personal mischief-making. But they’ll all be thought-provoking. Bring your lunch along to this bite-sized session.



Helen Razer

Helen Razer was a broadcaster and is now a writer. Her appointments in radio were at the Triple J national network and ABC Melbourne. Her books include A Short History of Stupid, co-authored with national affairs correspondent Bernard Keane, a 2015 work on the history of bad Western thought shortlis... Read more


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