Mat Ward

You can see that western Sydney Aboriginal rapper Sesk has turned his life around when he holds his head up high.

Not only does it give him an air of self-esteem - it also reveals that the large tattoo across his neck reading "GUILTY" has another word inked above it: "NOT".

"It was actually just 'GUILTY' first," he says. "I was getting a few weird looks, so I put a 'NOT' there.

"I don’t really have regrets, but if I had the chance to rewrite my life, I would. I would focus more on my schooling and would not treat my parents and family the way I did."

Black Swan
By Carolyn Landon & Eileen Harrison
238 pages
Allen & Unwin, June 2011

Bestselling author Carolyn Landon says the main revision she had to make in writing her latest book, Black Swan was editing all her anger out of it.

"I had difficulty with my own voice," she tells  Green Left Weekly about the book, a memoir of Koori artist Eileen Harrison.

"Mainly, it was getting my own angry and ashamed responses to what Eileen was telling off my chest. After I let off steam in the drafts, I eliminated most of my reactions.

Accused Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik praised four Australian conservative leaders in his 1500-page manifesto, abc.net.au reported on July 26.

“In a manifesto posted online under the Anglicised pseudonym Andrew Berwick, the killer quoted [former prime minister John] Howard, former treasurer Peter Costello, Catholic Cardinal George Pell and conservative writer and historian Keith Windschuttle,” the ABC said.

Face the Fire
Jimblah
Obese Records
Buy now on iTunes
www.myspace.com/jimblah01

If James Alberts, better known as Adelaide-based rapper Jimblah, hadn't discovered hip hop, he could well have ended up serving time in prison.

Instead, he now serves prisoners in prison, by teaching them.

"In my early teens, I just wanted a place to fit and I looked up to the older lads who were [committing crimes]," Alberts, a 27-year-old Larrakia man, tells Green Left Weekly.

When the multi-award-winning journalist John Pilger needed researchers for his latest film,  The War You Don’t See, he turned to David Edwards and David Cromwell. The pair run media-analysing website Media Lens, which turned 10 years old on July 9.

Here, they answer some of the “more interesting” questions posed by their readers, plus a couple from Green Left Weekly’s  Mat  Ward.

Why did you start Media Lens?

When the multi-award-winning journalist John Pilger needed researchers for his latest film, The War You Don’t See, he turned to David Edwards and David Cromwell. The pair run media-analysing website Media Lens, which is set to turn 10 years old on July 9.

Here, they answer some of the “more interesting” questions posed by their readers, plus a couple from Green Left Weekly’s Mat Ward.

* * *

Why did you start Media Lens?

Indigenous rapper Caper says a backlash from his fans caused Facebook to reverse their banning of the video to his song "How Would You Like To Be Me?" (lyrics below).

The song, which addresses racism in Australia, has enjoyed extensive radio airplay, becoming one of the most requested songs on Magic FM.

The 30-year-old musician, otherwise known as Colin Darcy from Whyalla in South Australia, said in a post on the social networking website: "Whoever reported my new video 'How Would You Like To Be Me' as offensive has actually stopped it from being promoted on facebook.

Rapper Ozi Batla has long been known for speaking out on social issues. His band The Herd are well known for tracks such as “77%” ― which features the line “77% of Aussies are racist”, in response to an opinion poll result on the treatment of refugees during the Howard years.

The Herd's “Burn Down the Parliament” caused controversy when it was coincidentally released the same week as the 2003 Canberra bush fires.

Nothin’ To Lose
Zennith
www.zennithboyz.com.au

If the Red Hot Chili Peppers had injected themselves with a few litres of truth serum instead of enough smack to kill a blue whale, they could well have ended up sounding like largely Indigenous Australian band Zennith.

Both build righteous rap and rock on reggae foundations, but Zennith swap the Chilis' dreamy, stoner poetry for clear-eyed political consciousness.

Treasure Islands
By Nicholas Shaxson
Random House, 2011
329 pages
www.treasureislands.org

Every once in a while a book comes along that changes a mass audience's view of the world.

Naomi Klein’s 2000 book No Logo, which deconstructed consumer culture, was one. Treasure Islands, a revealing expose of tax havens written by financial journalist Nicholas Shaxson, is equally groundbreaking.

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