Festival of Dangerous Ideas Looms Large

The Sydney Opera House is hosting the third annual Festival of Dangerous Ideas next weekend, featuring a slew of some of the world’s most controversial figures. Several among them - Jonathan Safran Foer, Jon Ronson, Kate Adie, Michael Kirby and Emmanuel Jal - will subsequently appear at the Wheeler Centre, but some, like Julian Assange (for which more tickets have been made available) and Slavoj Žižek, can only be seen at the Festival.

Žižek’s Sunday afternoon address - on why we need to return to Communism - has sold out, but the “Elvis of cultural theory”, whose writing is studded with jokes, is also performing stand-up at the Very Dangerous Variety Hour (also Sunday). Alongside him will be Jon Ronson, rapper Emmanuel Jal, the authors of Things Bogans Like, Space Cowboy and host comedian Claire Hooper.

In the wake of the UK riots, Alexander McCall Smith will speak on about the decline of civility and the fracturing of cities, while Mona Eltahawy will take a look at the Arab Spring, with more than a sideways glance at the hypocrisy of western governments who propped up Arab dictators and the dramatic changes that have allowed ordinary people to make these revolutions. Michael Kirby will argue that footballers are barbarians (on AFL grand final weekend, no less!) and an Intelligence Squared debate will contest the motion, ‘the media have no morals’.