Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post we’ll be publishing on The Punch. A lot has changed since we launched in 2009 in the way Australians consume news and opinion.
The little Punch team joined the much bigger integrated News Limited team last year and now our Punch content is joining in too. Punch posts will now be published under the new brand Punch Breaking Views across News Limited’s huge digital news network.
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We’re stepping things up a notch here at The Punch. Introducing: Weekend Punch.
There’ll be fresh new features, updated news links and a wrap of some of the week’s best reading. There’ll be an open thread open all weekend, every weekend. If you subscribe to our newsletter, it’ll bounce into your inbox every Sunday morning at a reasonable hour. And our regular weekend contributors will, of course, continue to provide us with their insights.
Huzzah! It’s Friday, what’s on your mind today, folks?
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It was a week of leadership tensions, talk of economics and debate about sexism. To kick off the week, I explored why leadership spills seem to backfire on political parties most of the time. Mal Farr went hunting for the government’s surplus. Lucy analysed all four corners of the debate over whether the PM has been treated poorly because of sexism.
Our obsession with interest rates isn’t all that interesting, Tory Shepherd claimed. Stop expecting Facebook to be your friend, because it’s not, Ant wrote, hoping to chasten those of us under 30. And cabbies soliciting sexual favours for payment? A bogus trend, wrote Tory Maguire.
The supermarket price war is hurting those who need the most help, World Vision CEO Tim Costello wrote. The Sunday Mail reporter Jason Tin urged us to tap into reality and switch off the television. Research scientist James Heathers explained the psychology of Punch-ing on, right here. And you had an excellent discussion about the way technology has changed over the course of our lives.
It’s Friday, it’s excellent and it’s all happening. What’s on your mind? Have a sensational weekend, Punchers.
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Recently, Jason Tin wrote a rather satisfying article about the imminent death of the internet due to it collapsing under the weight of its own vapid incivility. He’s right. And you’ve seen it, of course.
An online comment section can turn a group of people who pay their mortgages and love their kittens into petty, hateful stupid people braying non-sequiturs at each other like Tourettes’ donkeys. But, why?
Good question. Science, having nothing better to do, has come up with some rather intriguing answers. So if the internet is dead, then consider me the pathologist – the science wonk who goes picking around in its chest cavity with tweezers trying to determine what killed it.
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It’s The Punch’s second birthday today. And we’d like to celebrate by offering you this free cupcake, on us. Just hook up to the new NBN, and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has personally assured us it will pop out on your desk. Whammo! Just like that. That’s what $43 billion gets you, folks.
At the very real and somewhat enticing risk of provoking a snarky Crikey piece bagging our self-indulgence, we’ve thrown together a few thoughts on two years of The Punch below.
We’d also take this opportunity to remind those of you who have not yet done our survey to give it a go. It’s totally anonymous, and it’s all about giving you a say on the direction of your, and our, favourite opinion website.
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Who wants to see a free movie?
Here’s the guff about Incendies, which is in cinemas on April 21: The Academy Award-nominated film is a masterful cinematic achievement - at once a tightly woven mystery; an epic, sweeping family drama and deeply affecting, profound and transcendent work.
At the reading of their mother Nawal’s will, twin siblings Jeanne and Simon learn for the first time that they have a brother, and that their father, who they thought was dead, is in fact alive. Their mother’s final wish is that the twins find them both to deliver certain sealed letters.
Shifting back and forth in time, Incendies follows two parallel journeys, expertly interwoven: the twins’ journey to their mother’s Middle Eastern homeland, and Nawal’s journey 20 years earlier to find the baby boy she was forced to give up. An incredibly powerful film that unfolds in such unique and unexpected ways, Incendies will floor you from the very first scene. It is one of those rare, extraordinary films that restores your faith in the power of cinema. Watch the trailer here.
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If Election 2010 has confirmed anything for us it’s that you Punchers love a good political stoush.
You’ve been loud, passionate, well-informed and with a great sense of humour to boot, so thanks for your input over the past five weeks.
We’ve spent a bit of time listening to what you had to say, so here’s our take on the campaign according to our readers:
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The Punch turns one today. We launched on June 1 last year and, 365 days later, here we are, all of us diagnosed with a bad case of RSI at wading through just over 110,000 reader comments since we turned the thing on.
We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to The Punch as a writer, a reader and especially as a commenter over the past 12 months. We have had a lot of fun setting up and running the site, and have been blown away by the level of reader engagement.
Thanks to you all.
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There have been a few additions to the site you might like to know about.
Want to take up a reader’s point directly with them? You can now reply directly to them by clicking the “Reply” icon at the foot of each comment.
The Punch also now has a Facebook page, where there’ll be occasional updates during the day. Just log in to Facebook, browse to the Punch Facebook page, and hit the “Become a fan” button. You might even get to know other fans of the site through it.
After a week of fiery debate that covered everything from our right to a national holiday and whether we should be a republic to what we’d like on our flag we can be sure of one thing: we can’t agree on any of it.
Scroll down to see a collection of twenty or so comments from Punch readers on all of these contentious topics. But whatever you end up doing today we hope you’ll stay safe and have fun.
If you’re one of those lucky people still on holidays or just flat out getting back into work you may have missed some of the rollicking good content this week at The Punch.
Scroll over the jump to see a selection of some of the best writing this week.
And just a short note of thanks to all the readers who are attempting to take our community agreement seriously. To everyone else, by all means go your hardest on the topic but please be civil to your fellow Punchers. (Oh, and as much as possible avoid posting comments in upper case).
Also, we thought this comment from reader ‘Ben’ on Julia Thornton’s road safety piece deserved a second mention:
I am not normally affected by reports of fatal traffic accidents. I guess maybe I’m desensitised. They seem to happen all too regularly. I unknowingly drove past the site of this accident on Sunday. The only evidence left that something terrible had happened was a long set of twisting skid marks and a piece of cut up tree trunk on the ground. Seeing the dozens of people standing around, all visibly distressed and the groups of kids holding onto each other all in tears has made a deep, lasting impression. I have thought about the situation a lot since then and I can’t think of an easy solution. My first few years of driving I drove my mum’s small 3 cylinder Daihatsu. As a young male I drove like a dickhead on (quite) a few occasions and had a couple of close calls. Thankfully my friends and I were relatively sensible as a group (ie with multiple passengers) and we discouraged outwardly dangerous driving. However if my car at the time had been more powerful and able to do more than 145km/h (Its actual top speed), I have very little doubt that I would have got myself into a fairly serious accident. Having said that, if I had have hit anything stationary in the Daihatsu, it would have crumpled like a tin can, so I don’t think a small old car is the safest option. Small new car? Possibly…Road conditions can be a factor in some cases but then in other cases have no bearing at all. (as in this accident – IMO). I have also heard that advanced driver training is a double edged sword. Yes you are a more competent driver and better able to save yourself in a sticky situation, but also more likely to get yourself into a sticky situation by being over confident in your own skills.I think attitude training has to have a big part in the learning process, as it does in the motorcycle rider training. Knowing that you have your life in your hands can be a sobering thought.
Just in case you didn’t catch all the excitement of The Punch this week, we’ve compiled a selection of some of the best writing over the jump.
And in the spirit of all things festive here is a thoughtful take on the coming holiday season from Punch regular ‘RT’:
We need a secular approach to the approaching holiday. After all it originated as a pagan celebration of midwinter and was appropriated by Christians to displace Paganism. Jesus is not the reason for the season, not really.Christmas in Australia should really be called midsummer day and be a cause for the celebration of the commencement of the summer holidays and a chance for families, friends and workmates to gather and hopefully enjoy each other’s company. Religion hardly enters into it in most households even if most of them tick the ‘Christian’ box on the census forms. That’s as it should be.
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For those of you swept away in the political excitement , scroll down to see a selection of 10 of the best written pieces on The Punch this week.
If you’re looking for a Friday funny you’ll find a Muppet’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody above - a fitting tribute to the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death this week in 1991.
And over the jump a readers’ comment we thought worth sharing:
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The Punch has won its second major award in as many months after being honoured with the Chairman’s Award at the annual News Awards in Sydney on Friday.
The award, which recognises editorial innovation across News Limited’s many media brands, follows the site’s recognition at last month’s PANPA Awards as Best Specialist Website.
“The Punch isn’t attracting people because it’s new. It’s because it’s refreshing, unpredictable, intelligent, informed, fun - and fun is infectious,” News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan said on presenting the award.
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Today The Punch introduces some new contributors from other media outlets who are traditionally regarded as competitors of News Limited, and re-introduces a couple who you may already know from our own stable of journalists.
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Here’s how The Punch team summarised the Budget shortly after the lock-up ended. Enjoy - and follow us on Twitter to stay in touch. Links at the foot of the post.
BUDGET: Shane Warne implicated in $57.5 billion deficit #ausbudget09 #thepunch
DEFICIT: Wayne Swan won’t tell you this in his speech but for 2009-10 the deficit will be $57.5 billion #ausbudget09 #thepunch
DEFICIT: Swan unveils “deficit exit strategy”. It’s the war on terrifying levels of spending #ausbudget09 #thepunch
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