Richard Jackson

About Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson moved to Australia from Northern Ireland. He likes it here but detests that parking meters often don't supply change.

Long Reads: The volunteer superhero, human rights, the environment and death

Rich Jackson’s Long Reads this week bring us a superhero in NYC, mortician Caleb Wilde on death, Eric Posner’s case against human rights and Mike Seccombe on the environment.


The case against human rights – Eric Posner (The Guardian)

An interesting contrarian position on something we take to be innate: human rights. But when you think about it, innate they are not – neither are natural rights. Your rights have to be fought for and constantly protected. Think what is happening to refugees coming to Australia for help, and what Scott Morrison and the government are doing to them. They clearly don’t have their human rights. They are detained for however long and will be shipped back to the country they fled from.


Greg Hunt’s attack on the environment – Mike Seccombe (The Saturday Paper)

“Thank got we got rid of the carbon tax,” said Treasurer Joe Hockey at a media conference Dec 3, a mantra many of the coalition regularly reiterate. Tony Abbott mentioned it four times in Parliament on Monday, listing it off as an accomplishment sound bite thing. Mike Seccombe provides a readable and easily understood run through of the coalition’s attacks on the environment, with a focus on Environment Minister Greg Hunt (asking for trouble with a name like that).


Confessions of a Mortician – Eric Puchner (Medium)

It starts with a joke taken from mortician Caleb Wilde’s Twitter feed, “I always tie the shoelaces together of the dead. Cause if there is ever a zombie apocalypse, it will be hilarious.” The article continues on the same thread, toeing a line between the humour and personality of the subject – Caleb Wilde, a sixth generation funeral director – and death. As per Wilde’s TED talks, he wants us to become more reacquainted with death and the fact we will all die.

“Death makes us better people. I really believe that. The more we embrace mortality, the more human we become. We look deeper into things: our lives, our relationships, the earth even. We value these things more.”

The writer asks Wilde, how does being around dead people affect you, do you lose part of yourself from seeing death daily? How do you cope with a constant reminder of life’s final act?



Secret life of a volunteer superhero – Ali Hussain

I know some of you (more than some) have slipped into spandex at some point for reasons best not discussed here…but how about this group of amateur superheroes in NYC doing it for the public good? No, TBS isn’t advancing or promoting vigilantism by any means, but these brave gals and guys who wander the streets trying to prevent petty crimes do so from a good place and with the greater good in mind. Ali Hussain goes on patrol with the Dark Guardian, and man, this piece makes me wanna slip into something tight and shiny and go protect the citizens of our very own Gotham City, Sydney, in true volunteer superhero style – and it will you too, wherever you are reading this from!

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