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FOR

Words by Joshua Green

Here’s the thing: I love a Snapchat. It might be from a close friend, a family member, or even that middle-aged African-American woman whom I haven’t had the heart to delete. I don’t really care. All I know is that I’m thankful for the weird and wonderful world that is unveiled to me through this little yellow app.

Not that long ago selfies were considered passé and the domain of the teenybopper minority (and Kevin Rudd). Not anymore. Today they are being reclaimed by the masses and to great affect.

Snaps I have received include a magical melange of drunken singing (most regularly ‘Drunk In Love’), grotesque facial expressions, and artfully rendered drawings of penises over people’s faces.Who wouldn’t want that?

For ten seconds I am privileged with a snapshot into that person’s life, a shared digital moment that breaks down any time/space division between us. We are free to let our wild side shine like a beacon to anyone on our contact list.

To those who might scoff at the Snapchat enthusiasts among us, I ask you to consider the ramifications of a world without this platform. The risk of your parents seeing you singing Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ atop a bed might be reduced (apologies Mum and Dad), certainly—but what else might be lost?

Snapchat is not solely for the imbibers and eccentrics. I’ve known entire relationships that have been conducted via the platform. Sending a bedtime selfie, a perfectly tousled morning selfie, even the occasional ‘bored in a lecture but still looking hot’ selfie. And while photographic traditionalists might snicker at this, I think it’s got something going for it.

As a member of Gen Y, I go mad for any new form of social media. MSN, Bebo, Facebook, Instagram,… even LinkedIn; I’ve had them all. But the real human quality is missing in all these platforms.

This is where Snapchat comes in: as the technological home base for sharing insignificant moments. An outlet for serial sexters who do not want their wobbly bits splashed across the frightening sphere that is the Facebook news feed. A digital vortex that is willing to forget the drunken shenanigans of a big night faster than you do.

This is not to suggest that Snapchat serves as some kind of Utopian platform, rekindling real human contact in the cold digital age. A dick pic does not a relationship make. However, in contrast to the highly edited, permanent realms of other social media, it is a step closer to reality. Ily Snapchat. Stay golden.

AGAINST

Words by Alexander Sheko

Snapchat, if left unchecked and unchallenged, will lead to nothing less than the collapse of Western civilization, if not humanity itself. I guarantee this, and plenty of my predictions have come true in the past. For example, the other day, I correctly foretold that Andrew Bolt would publish a laughable and borderline offensive editorial piece in the Herald Sun.

The first reason why Snapchat will lead to the end of life as we know it is that it promotes a frighteningly dangerous level of narcissism by encouraging its users (mostly those pesky and entitled Gen Y-ers) to pester their contemporaries with snaps (as it were) of their mundane and tedious lives. Many users even take “selfies” to send to their friends; such is the level of their self-fascination!

I once tried to take a selfie. It appeared there was something wrong with the front-facing camera on my phone so I had to do it the “old-fashioned” way. It was very awkward and I ended up dropping my phone. The fall of my phone to the ground was surely nothing but a portent of the fall of humanity that is to come because of this app.

Secondly, Snapchat discriminates against those with fingers that are less than dainty and nimble. I attempted to handwrite an amusing message earlier today, superimposed on a photograph of a bruise that was forming on my foot where I had dropped my tablet. Though a pleasant lime green, the letters were but indecipherable, triggering a traumatic flashback to being told as a child that I would fail at school, university and (presumably) life due to illegible handwriting. And handwriting practice. God, I hated that.

But this isn’t about me, of course. This is about civilization! For when we permit the marginalisation of those with clumsy fingers and inexpert fine motor skills, we basically go down the slippery slope that leads only to dystopian nightmares beyond belief.

Finally, how come nobody has sent me nudes yet? Seriously. I assumed this was a platform for the free (albeit fleeting) exchange of poor quality amateur pornography, but so far have received only pictures of a moustachioed cat and complaints about pharmacology lectures (in selfie form to convey deep angst). What a complete and utter letdown. And, of course, the whole civilizational collapse thing.

Every month, For & Against will tackle a different issue – some serious, some not so serious. If you have a debate you want to see resolved in Farrago, email us at farragomagazine2014@gmail.com

Illustration by Tor Evans

Ned Kelly is a legend to some, and a murderer to others.
In 1880, the law had its say. Today, two students have theirs.

FOR

Words by Simon Farley

If you think Ned Kelly was just another old-timey thug with a gun, I personally invite you to read the Jerilderie Letter, Kelly’s 56-page note to fellow bushranger Joe Byrne. Yes, it contains a lot of bragging about how good he is at fighting. And yes, he does admit to robbery and taking lives (though the latter only in self-defence). But it also exposes the systematic harassment of the Kelly family by the Victoria Police, not to mention the perfidy, perjury, and petty corruption that was rampant among the Colonial authorities. Kelly and his gang’s crimes are understandable, if not totally forgivable, because they were living in a Victoria where justice simply did not exist, or at least not for poor Irish Catholics.The Jerilderie Letter reveals Kelly as a criminal, of course, but also as an intelligent, funny, and politically savvy man who could have done truly great things had he not been subject to societal prejudice and outright oppression. He wanted enfranchisement for the poor and the oppressed; he wanted equality. Portraying Ned Kelly as just a cop-killer is akin to portraying the French Revolution as just a series of beheadings, or Nelson Mandela as just a terrorist. It would be rash to describe him as a ‘freedom fighter’, but he was a man who fought for freedom, and fought hard. That’s admirable, even if the way he went about it was not.

Yet Ned Kelly’s beardy, drunken ghost continues to face scorn from some quarters. Why? Because so long as his reputation is intact, he will still be a threat. To give powerless people the knowledge that it’s possible to fight back—to beat the system and get what’s yours—can be a very dangerous thing.

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: there’s a universe out there in which Ned Kelly is a minor historical figure, of fleeting importance at best. He is generally remembered as a violent criminal, no better than any of the dozens of highwaymen and cattle duffers who terrorised the gentry of colonial Australia.

But we are not living in that universe.

People loved Ned Kelly. A petition begging for his reprieve allegedly amassed some 30,000 signatures at the time of his execution. People continue to love him now, fiercely, like few other Aussie historical figures outside of the sporting world. The problem for Kelly’s detractors is that they have already lost the battle; for better or for worse, Ned Kelly is a folk hero.
And anyone who’s got a problem with that can take it up with my Irish Catholic fists.

AGAINST

Words by Madeleine Cleeve Gerkens

Until a few days ago I was under the impression, as I’m sure many of you are, that Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was a badass vigilante with a majestic beard. You might even say he was our very own Robin Hood or Billy the Kid. I mean, apart from the fact that his life had spawned some pretty ugly art (see Sidney Nolan’s Bush Ranger series 1946-7), what else did I have to hold against him? It wasn’t until I opened the history books that I learnt the truth about folk ’legend’ Ned Kelly.
The year was 1880, and Kelly and his gang had set up camp among the Victorian Stringybark forest. These social bandits had been on the run for nearly three years, but it was this campsite where a group of four policemen finally managed to track them down. Despite the authorities’ plans to ambush the campsite, the trigger-happy Kelly gang managed to take down three of the four policemen. Now, I’m all for self-defence, but here’s where it gets nasty: Kelly murdered these men by shooting them in the balls.
Not having balls myself, I only know second hand of the traumatic and haunting effects sack-tapping and testicular injuries have on men around the globe. But even I know that what Kelly did was uncool. He shot these men in their private parts and left them to slowly bleed out. Not only did he rob them of their lives, but also of their dignity.
If that anecdote isn’t enough to send your proverbial (or real) testicles jumping back inside your body, a recent study performed by Adelaide University Professor Roger Byard should do the trick. By examining over 1000 male corpses, aged 20 to 67 years, Professor Byard found subjects with Ned Kelly tribute tattoos had a higher chance of suffering a traumatic death, compared to their un-Ned Kelly-inked counterparts.
From his study, Byard determined that persons with these tattoos are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide and almost eight times as likely to be murdered. Professor Byard does not deny that the population studies are highly selective, but ardently believes the evidence cannot be ignored.
So there you have it; not only did Ned Kelly literally bust the balls of his fellow man, but he is also bad for your health. If you require any further proof you need only look at the abhorrent abdominal tattoo of former professional footballer Ben Cousins and see where that got him.
Every month, For & Against will tackle a different issue – some serious, some not so serious. If you have a debate you want to see resolved in Farrago, email us at farragomagazine2014@gmail.com