England Darlington 1972


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Son Josef is born in March. We fly to New Guinea, France, and then England, where Ian works as an engineer.

1972 Son Josef and me in Sevres, Paris. Photo: Pete Goding

1972 House martin, Acrylic on cotton duck. Private collection, Melbourne


The Women's Electoral Lobby was set up to force politicians to reveal their attitudes to women's issues.

David Williamson's play Don's Party played at Sydney's Jane Street Theatre.

Cleao magazine, complete with discretely nude male centrefold, published.

Australia elected its first Labour Government in 23 years after Gough Whitlam defeated William McMahon at the polls. The election was Australia's first to be conducted along the American Presidential model. The advertising company of Hansen Rubensohn-McCann Erickson packaged a campaign slogan 'It's Time'; the Labour Party made effective use of electronic media on a scale previously unknown, particularly with talk-back radio sessions.

In Tasmania, the Lake Pedder Action Committee failed to stop the flooding of Lake Pedder after unsuccessfully attempting to have another Select Committee of Inquiry appointed. The following year a moratorium on flooding was recommended by the Federal Committee of Inquiry but not acted on by the Tasmanian Government.

Labour Government recognized Communist China; diplomatic relations with Taiwan were immediately severed and Dr Stephen Fitzgerald became the first Australian Ambassador to Peking.

Last Australian troops withdrawn from Vietnam. During the war 420 servicemen were killed in Vietnam.

The National Service Scheme abolished.

The Snowy Mountains Scheme completed.

The Australian Almanac, Pub. Angus & Robertson 1985



...the paper was burning, and there was some question of all things drawn and all paintings projected there of the regularly distorted manner, while a phrase was saying: "There is the external surface."

Derrida, 1972, Numbers, cited in Strathern, Paul, 2003, p.32, The Essential Derrida, Virgin

'Bullshit' was the allegedly 'undecipherable' opinion that sprang to the mind of more than one English-speaking reviewer. Even some of Derrida's closest admirers hoped that this work was an aberration. Where could he (sic) possibly go from here?,/p>

Strathern, Paul, 2003, p.34, The Essential Derrida, Virgin

In his ensuing works Derrida demonstrated with a vengeance his attitude towards clarity in language. In 1972 he once again produced three book. These were Margins of Philosophy, Positions (consisting of several interviews), and dissemination. The latter was indicative of the direction Derrida's thought was now taking. Dissemination argues once again that there can never be a single fixed meaning to any text. The force of different meanings, puns, associated ambiguities, and similar features is irresistible. This causes a dissemination of meanings, of different interpretations. Derrida makes great play of the fact that the word dissemination contains echoes of 'seme', the ancient Greek word for meaning (hence our work semantics. He also points out that it has echoes of 'semen', thus ejacluates meaning. The final essay in Dissemination was called 'Dissemination'. Derrida himself proudly proclaimed that this text was 'undecipherable' and 'unreadable' - thus forestalling the hapless critics. But this alas was not the point. Here Derrida achieved an apotheosis (ascention to glory?) of 'textuality' - the play of differences in meaning, association, undecipherability, and so on, ad incomprehensum. Two random examples. First a heading: 'The Double Bottom of the Plupresent.' Then a sentence: 'Expropriation thus does not proceed merely by cyphered suspension of voice, by a kind of spacing that punctuates it; it is also an operation within the voice.

No brief quotes can possibly do justice to the full extent to which Derrida here managed to elude all meaning in his text - all sense, all sanity even.Likewise any attempt to give an exegesis of the text is doomed to failure. Indeed, in the view of its author, to do so would only do a serious disservice to the text.The attempt to give it a meaning would merely eliminate any past meanings that it might have contained, as well as the possibility of any future interpretations.

...Derrida solved 'the problem of philosophy' by the simple expedient of exploding language from the inside, detonating its meaning into myriad fragments of ambiguity, self-contradiction, and punny jokes...

Wittgenstein, on the other hand, viewed philosophy as arising from the tangled knots of meaning arising when words were applied to inappropriate categories. (For example, it was simply impossible to ask 'What is the meaning of life?' because such words as 'meaning' and 'life' could not be meaningfully applied to each other.) What we call philosophy arose only from the mistakes in our use of language.When the knots were unravelled, the mistakes would simply disappear. Not only was there no answer to such philosophical questions, there was no question in the first place. What Wittgenstein and Derrida both had profoundly in common was their view of philosophy as a conjuring trick.But where Wittgenstein made the white rabbit in the hat disappear, Derrida produced an endless cornucopia of them.

Strathern, Paul, 2003, p.31-34, The Essential Derrida, Virgin