Lauren Rosewarne believes the media’s not the beast: we are.

In recent weeks, Unilever — the company behind a swag of domestic and personal care brands like Ponds and Lynx and Vaseline — announced that it would abandon “excessive digital alterations” in its advertising.

This isn’t a new public preoccupation for the company: in the 2010s one of its brands, Dove, aimed to position itself as a progressive corporation passionate about self-esteem and body image. Cue soap sales pitches packaged up with messages about hair-love and the perils of Photoshop.

I’m less interested in Unilever’s latest marketing gimmick, and much…


In May 2020, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas launched FODI Digital, a series of online conversations.

Misinformation is spreading worldwide. How do we distill truth in an algorithm-driven world?

Below is an abridged version of Claire Wardle and Ariel Bogle’s conversation from ‘Misinformation is Infectious’. You can watch the full discussion here.

Ariel — So I thought we’d better start by defining our terms. Can you walk us through the differences, the lines between misinformation and disinformation and, what I think you’ve called, mal-information, and what we’re seeing under those three categories during the pandemic online?

Claire — Language really…


In May 2020, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas launched FODI Digital, a series of online conversations.

In ‘The Truth About China’ Kevin Rudd discusses how Australia is ‘dancing with elephants’ –seduced by the economic promise of China while bound to the military might of the USA. Conventional wisdom has it that we should carefully steer a middle path. However, an escalation in global tensions, supercharged by the blame-game around COVID-19, threatens to shatter the prospects of equilibrium. Instead, Australia has reached a fork in the road.

Below is an abridged version of Kevin Rudd’s conversation with Peter Hartcher. …


A panel of four journalists and researchers reflect on Kevin Rudd’s FODI digital conversation and Australia’s current position between the US and China. With an escalation in global tensions, supercharged by the blame-game around COVID-19, the prospects of equilibrium are threatened to be shattered.

Below is an abridged version of the conversation, ‘The Truth About China’ with Jason Yat-Sen Li, Yaqui Wang, Vicky Xiuzhong Xu and Peter Hartcher.
You can watch the full discussion
here.

Peter — Yaqiu, we heard Kevin Rudd there projecting that it would be a very damaged America that emerges from this pandemic. He also said…


In May 2020, The Festival of Dangerous Ideas launched FODI Digital, a series of online conversations. In ‘Ageing is a Disease’, biologist David Sinclair talks to Dr Norman Swan about the particular vulnerability of the aged.

However, as we find out more about the ageing process, we are uncovering new ways to treat it — where one revolutionary approach is to look at ageing as a disease and tackle its causes.

Below is an abridged version of the conversation. Watch the full session here.

Norman — So why, just give me the evidence and the argument leading you to the…


In response to Marcia Langton’s FODI Digital address about settler rage, Sarah Maddison writes that there’s more to the oppression of First Nations people than just racism.

Professor Marcia Langton offers a distinctive term for settler-Australian racism towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. She calls it the ‘settler mentality’. In her FODI Digital lecture Langton suggests that the experience of living unjustly on stolen Indigenous lands has produced in settler Australians a ‘peculiar hatred’ expressed through ‘settler rage against the people with whom they will not treat.’

While Langton observes the manifold evidence of ‘classical, formal racism’, she maintains…


While the Australian media, government and Facebook battled it out this past week, Matt Beard says the interests of one party went ignored: the general public.

News will soon return to Facebook, with the social media giant coming to an agreement with the Australian government. The deal means Facebook won’t be immediately subject to the News Media Bargaining Code, so long as it can strike enough private deals with media companies.

Facebook now has two months to mediate before the government gets involved in arbitration. …


Will punishing Trump deepen the divisions that remain so prevalent in American in society, or is healing impossible without justice? Simon Longstaff discusses.

What fate should be reserved for Donald Trump following his impeachment by the US House of Representatives for his role in inciting insurrection?

Trump’s rusted-on supporters believe him to be without blame and will continue to lionise him as a paragon of virtue. Trump’s equally rusted-on opponents see only fault and wish him to be ground under the heel of history.

However, there is a large body of people who approach the question with an open mind…


The pandemic has revealed a surprising change – it’s increased public trust in the Australian government. Richard Denniss believes this means changes for the market.

For decades, neoliberalism has fuelled enormous scepticism about the role of government.

Whereas the ‘invisible hand’ of market forces is used as a synonym for efficiency and progress, the ‘dead hand’ of bureaucracy congers up waste and delay. But after decades of bad press, the Covid-19 pandemic seems to be restoring Australia’s faith in government.

Almost nobody, in Australia at least, trusts the market to solve a pandemic. Over the past 10 months, Australians have…


Eva Cox says our systems and politicians have lost sign of the communities they serve.

My 1995 ABC Boyer Lectures, ‘A Truly Civil Society’, outlined the ill effects of the then decade-plus political paradigm shift to neoliberalism.

In the years following WW2, governments implemented policy changes to ensure well-functioning societies that delivered social fairness. This was to avoid a repetition of the pre-war rise of dictatorships, such as happened in Germany and Italy where democracies were overthrown by the fascists. …

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

The original disruptive festival that pushes the boundaries of conventional thought — in real space and digitally at https://festivalofdangerousideas.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store