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# Theme music I'm Waleed Aly. Hello and welcome to Big Ideas.

of four of the best sessions Short cuts today Sydney Writers' Festival, from this year's over pornography, including a feisty feminist debate for the environment, two women warriors a gathering of male writers, and to even things up, explaining the bromance of sledging. including Brendan Cowell on a comedy recently, a screenplay, It's funny, I've been working and an American comedy coach came to town and read it. in Australia thinks it's very funny, And everyone who's read it to each other, and he said - the way these men kind of relate so mean to each other... (American accent) They're all telling me they're friends?' ..like, the whole time, and you're this whole notion And so, I kind of explained in Australia, they, you know - of when men love each other Sledge. and they find idiosyncrasies, They sledge until the man snaps. And then - and they labour them and labour them And when the man snaps, you've won. And that's love. (Laughter) and the panel More from Brendan Cowell a little later. on sensitive new age mateships into a political dynasty But first, what's it like to be born have been lost to political violence? in a country where your relatives Or a country ravaged by civil war, was hanged for treason? where your father of captivity And how about surviving six years while campaigning for president after being kidnapped on an anti-corruption platform. of Pakistan's Fatima Bhutto, These are the extraordinary stories and Sierra Leone's Aminatta Forna. Colombia's Ingrid Betancourt, festival session, Family Politics, At the emotional and unforgettable how they feel the three women tell Maxine McKew of family and politics. about the responsibilities After the spectacular release, after these years in the jungle - you know, your liberation of that personal story - we'll come to the detail but what views have you come to then and freedom, for the state, about the balance between security to provide security? and the responsibility of the state Well, that's a good question. I think the right of being free is also a responsibility. but it's also your obligation It's your right, to fight for your freedom. this huge debate in Colombia, When I was abducted there was was against any military operation because my family, for example, to rescue us, it would threaten our lives. because, of course, that if there was a rescue operation While in captivity it was very clear our guards had the order to kill us. I mean, the position of my family, But even knowing all of that, that they would kill us, and of course the order for a rescue operation. I would beg every day

Yeah. Is that right? I don't want to die, just, useless. Because, I thought, something happening I mean, I need to see and I prefer to die in the battle, trying to struggle for my freedom, I will just be shot, even though perhaps you know, in the middle of the fire, for 20 more years. than being captive Tell me, if in that rescue operation in front of you, your captors had been gunned down you would have reacted? how do you think of course, a shock, Ah, it would have been, but I have to tell you that the Colombian army did that the military operation

because there was no guns. was extraordinary, to the middle of the jungle I mean, these guys came out of helicopter, of the FARC. pretending they were allies including me. And they duped everybody, they were really guys I mean, I thought so - that were working with the FARC, Ingrid's book, And for those who may not have read it's not until you're in the air the military revealed who they are. that it's revealed, with this story, So, what I want to tell the military revealed who they are. that it's revealed, who came in that helicopter. were the guys heavily armed, They were surrounded with 100 men, and 15 prisoners, handcuffed.

they had no guns, We couldn't help them, of the jungle and they were in the middle with this hoard of armed guys. And it takes a lot of, I mean, guts, to just come out of a helicopter,

the guys that they are your enemies, and pretend you're a buddy of and they did an extraordinary job. of all these stories. They were, for me, the real heroes Those soldiers. a similar question - Aminatta, let me ask you because of intolerance for dissent I mean, your father hanged of Sierra Leone as having suffered and I think you've talked

did not stand up to oppression. because an entire generation to see the balance So how have you come between the need for open debate, as well? but the security of the state for your freedom, Well, Ingrid said you have to fight

and I completely agree.

for granted. You simply can't take freedom

between two worlds - And it's strange moving like Sierra Leone - the West and a country so much for granted. and westerners take freedom Just the freedom to travel, in Britain takes a year off, you know, every young person I know goes round the world. in the developing world - That is impossible for young people to see the world. they're not allowed They're not allowed access to it. in Sierra Leone So, what happened to us what we could become. was the failure to foresee in Sierra Leone So, what happened to us he studied as a doctor - and went back to Sierra Leone, the renaissance generation, and hew as part of what was called the young men and women you know, they were to lead their countries. who were supposed abroad - They'd been given scholarships for example, Obama's father was one of them, a great Kenyan writer, was another. Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Nigerian writer, another. Wole Soyinka, a great It was Wole Soyinka who caused the renaissance generation. Wole Soyinka, a great Nigerian writer, another. because most of them either were imprisoned or exiled or killed when they stood up against the coming dictatorship in their particular countries. But my father, on the eve of his execution, wrote a letter to the nation telling them what would happen if we allowed our dictator - and this is true in any country in the world, - he told them exactly what would happen.

It took 25 years, but he talked about the coming anarchy, he said there will be war. He was killed the next day. The letter was hidden for 25 years. He gave it to a journalist who had been brought in to witness the executions, a state journalist, worked for the state media. But that man had, unbeknownst to anybody who was party to my father's death, and there were others - eight were executed that night, all people who'd stood up against the regime - unbeknownst to anybody, that state journalist actually had been a supporter of my father's democratic party,

and so he took the letter and he hid it. But he didn't dare to bring it out for 25 years until that regime was gone. And so, we had this extraordinary moment of realisation,

which I don't think many countries do have, you know, we had this incipient democracy in the 1960s, we did not have foresight,

we let democracy slip through our fingers, we let freedom fly away and then 25 years later, along came my father's letter, and there was, you know, the whole causation laid out. And that, for me, was an absolute turning point in my life, that one has to be eternally vigilant about freedom. Coming to today then, is a new generation, saying much the same thing as your father's generation? Is a new generation doing that?

Yes, in parts of Africa and the Middle East? Well, the interesting thing is, of course, that Africa was always considered the basket case, and recently, before the Arab Spring, there were commentators on Africa saying, 'Hang on a minute, look at the Arab world. There's a much greater human rights problem there than in an awful lot of African countries.' But, you know, we were the basket case. I have to say that yes, in Sierra Leone, we learned the lesson the hard way, we really learned it the hard way. One of the reasons that we had to do that is I come from a country - and I can't deny, and I can't decide whether I envy Fatima, or whether I have sympathy with her.

I come from a country with absolutely no strategic, political, geographical or economic importance whatsoever. (Laughter) So when we decide to have a war, nobody cares. You don't know what a Navy SEAL looks like! No, they don't come for us. So - we each have our challenges, and I'm being flippant - but, you know, people can't even find Sierra Leone on a map. I keep being asked about Sri Lanka all the time. (Laughter) We did have the opportunity to learn that lesson, and I do think it has been learned, I honestly think, when I go to Sierra Leone, I feel hope and that lesson has been learned. Fatima, let me come to you now, and let's talk about some of the personal stories that you've documented. In Songs of Blood and Sword, you set out to tell the story, principally, of your father, Murtaza, one of Ali Bhutto's sons, and Banezir Bhutto's brother. And, of course, you quote Milan Kundera, at the beginning, saying the struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting. So has the act of remembering, of researching - and it's a great work of research, your book - talking to countless people, has that, I supposed, helped you to a better understanding of these bitter feuds, both in your family, and within Pakistan? In some ways, yes. You know, I grew up, my brother and I grew up with this history that was not only personal, it was not only inside the home, but it was outside the home,

of violence. And on the personal side - well, we can leave the personal side - I mean, this is one family. But the country of Pakistan, whenever your voice is inconvenient, and many people's voices are inconvenient,

the easiest way to silence them has always been through violence. So, this is a country that had its first political assassination seven years after its independence. It has killed three heads of state. Um. And - Those are the public figures.

When you talk about journalists, or you talk about activists,

or you talk about lawyers, or you talk about women, there are those kind of assassinations every single day that take place in Pakistan. And you open up - you can't read a Pakistani newspaper - I don't know if anyone has ever seen an Urdu language newspaper. Has anyone? (Silence) Well, you're not missing much, but - (Laughter) But if you do open it -

and maybe this is something to do with how we read the news, or the fact that we are a largely illiterate country - but the papers are littered with pictures of dead bodies. And they may be anyone, you know, somebody killed in a car crash or it's somebody killed in a 'police encounter', which is an extrajudicial killing that we've made a new word for. So, you have this language and this constancy. And then with the family, you had it too. And so, as a child, my grandfather was killed before I was born and my uncle was killed when I was three years old, and you begin to wonder about patterns there too. And we were told as children, by my father, not to worry, they couldn't kill another Bhutto. And, of course, they killed two more. So, tell us the story about your father, because your book opens with this compelling account of his murder.

Well, he was, at the time of his murder, he was 42 years old. He had come back to his country after 16 years of exile.

And he was an elected member of parliament, and his sister happened to be the prime minister. And he was a very vocal critic of the human rights abuses that were taking place under her government, of these extrajudicial killings. He was very vocal about the corruption taking place, largely via her and her husband, Asif Zardari, the current president, who my father called 'Asif Baba and the 40 thieves' -

I think you've also referred to him as 'Benazir's oleaginous husband', so no love lost there, really, is there? Well, you should see what my editors took out. (Laughter) Ah, OK. But, um - So, he was a very vocal critic, and he was a new voice, and he was a different voice. And he was a voice that may have proved himself, and may not have. But that was too dangerous It is too dangerous in Pakistan. And so, he was killed coming home from a public meeting.

We live on a road that's quite close by to several embassies, including the Italian consulate, the British high commission - they're all our neighbours.

And the streets were closed off, there were 70 to 100 policemen on the roads, somewhere in the trees in sniper positions, and my father and six other men were killed. They were shot at point blank range. They were shot by snipers. And then they were left to bleed to death. And you're inside the house at the stage, with your brother - And then they were left to bleed to death. And what should be said here is that the time that we were inside the house and we heard the shooting, the only thing that was unusual about it was that it was really close to us. But that's what you heard And that's what you hear in Karachi. And what do you do then? You try and contact your aunt, the prime minister. Yes. What happened? Well, we weren't allowed to leave our house. So when we tried to leave our house to see what had happened the police stopped us. Um - and again, that wasn't unusual for Karachi in those days, you know I went to a high school where you got shot at in between French class. And the teacher would come out of the room

and say, 'Hit the floor and we'll start again in 10 minutes, just give me your homework and I'll correct it.' So, that wasn't unusual. What was unusual is that they never let us out. And so, time began to pass, and our house had been surrounded in the days before.

But in your book, you talk about trying to get on to Benazir,

but you end up talking to... So, I called... ..Ali Zardari, her husband. ..I called the prime minister's residence, and, you know, being related to someone in that position doesn't make them easier to reach, it probably makes them harder to reach. And I was put on hold for a couple of minutes, and then I was put on the line with her husband, who's now the president, who told me that I couldn't talk to my aunt. And I was only 14 at the time, and I didn't come from a family where people told me, 'No,' so I kept insisting and said, 'Well, it's very important,' and he said, 'Well, she can't come to the phone.'

'Well, I really have to talk to her,' and he said, 'Well, you know, she's hysterical, she can't come to the phone.' And I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'Oh, don't you know? Your father has been shot.' So that was the first confirmation? That was the only conf- we had no idea my father was outside. Yeah. We were waiting for him to come home. Mm. Mm. Did you ever talk directly to Benazir, about your father? Yes. And?

Well, I suppose the other thing about people in power is that they don't like to be questioned, and there was a lot to question her over. Do you hold her responsible for your father's death? I hold her morally responsible, certainly, and her government responsible for the cover up afterwards. Yes.

at the Sydney Writers' Festival. Head to our website if you want to see that event in full. Next up,

UK feminist and anti-pornography campaigner Gail Dines was easily one of the most controversial guests at this year's festival. At a much talked about panel, Porn Wars, the question was put - 'is there ever a case for pornography? or should it be totally off-limits in an ethical society?' Joining Dines on the stage was memoirist and former sex worker Kate Holden plus academic and gender politics advisor Catherine Lumby and feminist academic Leslie Cannold. Gail, what's interesting to me, is that I actually ran one of the experiments that you talk about right at the beginning of your book. So, you talk about how what you decided to do was actually put 'porn' into Google and follow how long it took you to find whatever it was you found.

And interestingly, when I did it just a few days ago, I didn't arrive at any of the gonzo sites.

I arrived at things like really gentle, lesbian threesomes with pregnant women and pretty standard, kind of, 'boy meets girl in a classroom and she kind of looks clearly 20 but has a short skirt on'. So I just wonder if you could tell us what other sorts of evidence, kind of hard evidence, you've got.

Well, that's you telling us what they're selling and I guess one of the arguments it seems like you've also been making 'cause I've been listening to you on the news, is that very young boys are happening onto this stuff because it's free. And so I guess I would like you to tell us a bit more

about some of the other things you've said, for instance, I think you've said the earliest viewing age is age 11. And I think you've said there's multiple views for teenagers who are relatively young - about 80% are having multiple views. Let me tell you what the study is.

The study in Canada is showing that the average age is about 12 and they found, I think, between 75% and 80% of boys by the age of 12 had regularly seen gonzo porn and other studies put it 11.5.

Obviously you're looking at an age range, I'd say, between about 11 and 15 when the first viewing of pornography. The truth is, I don't know what to say to you because I don't know what else to argue - the industry data - we could all find different stuff. Of course there's lesbian pornography, there's pregnant pornography, there's this pornography and that but what I'm interested in as a sociologist is when I study the industry is what is making the profit? What are men buying? What are men renting?

Because that is what is actually shaping male sexuality because what I really want to know is what are men thinking? What are they using, what are they getting aroused to and how, eventually, is that going to translate into the real world? Right, OK, fantastic. And where do you sit - so often in this debate there are odd bedfellows and this has been the case for many, many years that you will often find radical feminists like yourself

aligned in their views about pornography with Christians on the far right. Is that the same with you? Is that still the case? I'd have to say that the average Christian right wouldn't want to get into bed with a radical feminist, Marxist Jew. I don't think I'm that appealing to them, OK? So that would probably be the truth, OK? Let me tell you a story - when my book came out I did get a lot of emails from the Christian right saying, you know, 'we'd love to have you on our radio' and I've got this theory, right,

my theory is that the average Christian right woman would've been a feminist had we got there first. So I decided I'd talk to anybody about feminism so I said, 'Great, I'll come on your show, let me send you a book.' Never heard from them again. Not one, OK?

So, this idea that we're in bed with the Christian right is actually a myth put out by the pro-porners. And, you know what, I would really know who I was in bed with. And it's not them. Is that the case? Because the other day you were on air with Melinda Tankard Reist

and she's certainly someone who's a religious right advocate here. I've never actually been in bed with her though. We've spoken, but... She's got certain views - I shouldn't have used that, clearly that was a mistake. No, look, let me tell you - I'm sure there's certain positions you hold with people around issues that, you know, you hold on single issues and you wouldn't want to be in bed with them, you wouldn't want to marry them, you wouldn't want to have any other ideas with them but, you know, it's a bit of a false, disingenuous argument

to say that just because I've got one position around that that somehow we're in bed politically. That makes no sense to me. OK, fantastic. Now, Catherine, one of the things OK, fantastic. is that what we've got is we've got this problematic industry

and it's full of gonzo and that's what's really selling well and because this kind of garbage is going in, what's comes out - and this is really what the problem is - what's coming out is a really damaged male sexuality. Is it really that simple? Is it garbage in, garbage out?

Well, it's interesting and, you know, Gail and I met at a conference a couple of years ago and one of the first things I want to say is this is called The Porn Wars but, you know, I'm not comfortable with battle metaphors. I mean, pornography is a complex area

and I have respect for different views in this area and I read the views of people that I may ultimately disagree with. So, I think that's important to say, it shouldn't be a polemic. But I have a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old son. Last year when Charlie was 10,

he and a friend went onto a site called Red Tube

which has a really broad range of pornographic material on it,

it's free, you know, and the approach I took as a mother was to sit down with him and talk to him about why they visited the site, what they saw there, and so on. Now, I mean, I could say

my son comes from a household with a lot of cultural capital, where there are parents who are very engaged, as his friend has, so the first thing I'd say is I don't deny there is very misogynistic, disturbing, hateful pornographic material out there, I absolutely agree with that. The study that - the empirical porn research that I was involved in with Dr Kath Albury and Professor Alan McKee -

and, admittedly, it's an earlier study at this point so I admit all the limitations of what our - this is the book, The Porn Report - but it was done 2003-2006 so, things have moved on in the Internet. But what I do know more broadly is that the majority of media content now, across the media, is produced by media users and there's a huge amount of volume of content that's sexually explicit if you actually go and look for it, and I think it's some of what you were referring to, but these are people in their 60's, these are couples and some of them are gay and some of them are straight, producing material that's about their own sex lives

and exchanging it with people who are interested in looking at that and one of the really surprising findings to me when we did a study of over 1,000 porn consumers in Australia, was that one of the highest preferences that porn consumers - men and women - cite, well, actually, more men than women cited, was real-looking bodies. Which kind of surprised me because I thought the Barbie doll thing would reign but it didn't. And I guess I think human sexuality is a pretty messy business but I say that also recognising as someone like Gail who's been a feminist for a very long time and I'm sure Kate would weigh in on this too, someone who's absolutely deeply involved as an activist in sexual violence prevention that whether it's actual or whether it's representations of sexual violence, I'm against it. And it disturbs and upsets me. And I certainly think we need to do more education in schools with young boys - and girls, actually - about both not just consuming this material but producing it

and how they manage this new media era. But the word you're not using, which is interesting, and Gail also hasn't used it, it's that dreaded word, the C word - censorship. So where does that fit in to this debate? Well, I read a really boring 100-page report on this that came out last week - Summarise for us, please, just dot points. Well, what I argue is this - and Kate Crawford, Professor Kate Crawford wrote it with me - what we looked at is how do you manage media content in the convergent media era? And that's an era where media users are producing most of the content, not - I mean, yes, of course, there's still pornography

and other media content produced by glossy production houses but the majority of media content outstrips the capacity of any government agency to regulate it. Filters certainly don't work in a granular way to regulate that stuff So, what we see is media users, as a community, need to be brought into a stakeholder relationship with industry and government. Won't give you all the details on that. The report's called The Adaptive Moment if anyone's got insomnia. But essentially what you're saying is, in other words, that the things you were advocating, which is that parents need to be more - No just parents, I think that's where education needs to be in the mix because you can't assume that all parents - single or double digit parents - are going to be able to have that role.

I mean, my view is I think what certainly the research shows that what kids, young boys or girls, take out of media is very, very formed by what values they've already been modelled. And so I think that we need to work very young in education and we need to be honest about pornography and its existence. That's really critical. Um, and you need to be able to talk to kids whether you're a teacher or whether you're a parent and it's uncomfortable. Yeah. I'll just ask Gail a quick question and then I'm going to get to Kate. Where do you stand on the censorship issue? Um, first of all, as a leftie who has no faith whatsoever in a government control by corporations, right, it would be unthinkable to suggest that a government is going to do anything on behalf of women - let's face it, have you ever met a politician

that doesn't love capitalist organisations? What I would argue is that because we live in a capitalist society we need to bring the porn industry into line with every other industry which means that if we can prove that they have caused harm, just as if you get into a car tomorrow and you get killed which means that if we can prove that they have caused harm, you can sue them, OK? I would say the same thing with pornography, that if you can prove harm - and it would be very difficult to prove harm, I'm not saying it wouldn't be - but if you can prove harm then I think you should be able to sue. And I just want to answer one other thing about the way with children it's not in and out, the same thing. This concept is called polysemic text where you can see an image and you see lots of different things, you go and see a movie, you fight with somebody for two hours over you saw two different movies, even though it was the same. Let me tell you though, I cannot imagine how you can have different readings of a man sticking his penis down a woman's throat till she chokes as he calls her a (Bleep) dumpster. How can you read that as empowerment to women? As far as I'm concerned there's no debate around that. Gail Dines and panellists from The Porn Wars session. Next, in our Sydney Writers Festival package - Women warriors for the environment. US science historian, Naomi Oreskes exposed the web of vested interests behind US climate deniers with her book, 'Merchants of Doubt.'

While award winning young Australian writer, Anna Krien, immersed herself in the battle to save Tasmania's wilderness in her debut book, 'Into the Woods.' They explain their similar passions and different strategies to Amanda McKenzie. Naomi, your book, Merchants of Doubt, covers a range of issues.

It goes through tobacco, Star Wars, acid rain, ozone and then global warming. And through all of them you talk about the merchants of doubt and how the very raising of doubt and asking for more research has prevented action. Why have the merchants of doubt been so effective?

Well, I think there's two things - It's a very, very effective strategy. I mean it's, sort of, wicked in its brilliance, right? Because what the tobacco industry realised early on is that if you could plant doubt in people's minds

then most reasonable people would say, 'Well, you know, if the science isn't settled then of course we do need to do more research.'

So, it's very, very effective. And it's also very seductive

because many of these issues involve us making sacrifices.

more research.' So, back in the 1950s, when this first developed, many smokers enjoyed smoking. Many people didn't want to belive that this pleasurable habit might actually be killing them or worse still, might be killing their neighbour, their bar-tender, their flight attendant or their children. or worse still, might be killing their neighbour, and then someone else comes along and says,

'Oh, you know, we really don't know,' and you're a smoker, which story are you gonna believe? So, we found that many people were quite quick to want to accept the story of 'We don't know.' And then the other thing they discovered was the journalists were quite susceptible to the strategy as well. Because if you go to a journalist and say, 'Well, you know, the scientists say that there's all this evidence on the harms of tobacco but we have these other experts over here who have a different view'. Well, a lot of journalists would say, 'Oh, well, let's here that other view.' You know, 'Let's get both sides of the issue.' So it was a very effective strategy both in talking to ordinary people and in talking to the media. And what we show in the book is that because it was so successful, and because it really helped to prevent government regulation of tobacco for decades, that people realised it could be applied to other issues as well. And so, in a sense what we think is the most important take-home from the book is the pattern. Connecting the dots to show -

look, this has happened over and over and over again.

It's one thing to think be fooled by it once, it's one thing to be fooled by it a second time. But by the fifth or sixth time we ought to all be waking up.

And both of your books discuss scientists in a range of ways, I was wondering, Anna, how Naomi's story resonated with you,

thinking about both the scientists you met but also the range of other players you met in the forestry debate in Tasmania. I guess one little story which would probably resonate with your own research was, um - I discovered something I hadn't ever discovered before. Which is, um, an 'astro turf group.' Which - I'm not sure if anyone knows about it, but 'astro turf' is the name for a group that is being manufactured but it presents itself as a grass roots group. So, um - (Laughter)

And it's actually taught in public relations conferences and - how to create a group that looks organic, looks local. And, um, and one particular group in Tasmania

was once - the grass roots group, was once the Preolenna Mothers Group. And then the town started to be bought out and sort of run out by plantation owners and suddenly the Timber Communities Australia,

which is also another astro turf group, bought the Preolenna Mothers Group and turned it into an astro turf group. And, I found that really interesting and if I didn't spend the amount of time I did spend on my book, if I was just a daily journalist, I would have been fooled, like that. I would have gone, 'Hey, it's the mums group.' I mean, shit, it's a mum's group. You can't - you can't call them on being full of spin and propaganda. But, there actually was quite a lot of spin and that took a long time to work out. And that's probably my biggest issue with journalism and why it's such a problem with the climate change debate because it doesn't allow time for - to understand and to be able to decipher between what is real and what's not. what's genuine and what's been manufactured. And journalists are so easily played by these groups because we're so easy to play. Because we got a deadline at 3 o'clock and we want to go home. And if I could add to that, I mean, again, as you say, Because we got a deadline at 3 o'clock and we want to go home. I mean a lot of this was done in a quite sophisticated way so some of the documents we found involved an organisation that was created by Philip Morris Tobacco called the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. (Laughter) Yeah, I know. They were totally Orwellian, you know. I find it so ironic that the George Marshall Institute was created in 1984. (Laughter) And some of these things, you know, Eric and I would sometimes call each other up, I'm in San Diego, he's in Pasadena, and I say, 'Eric, you won't believe what I found today.' He's like, 'no, no, I've got one even better.' So, I mean, it just goes on and on and on. And you know, we looked at millions of - Forestry Tasmania was called the Forest Protection Society for a while. Oh yeah, we have the 'Healthy Forest Initiative.' I'll see your healthy forest and raise you one - Do you want a forest or do you want a working forest? I'll see your healthy forest and raise you one - I want healthy forests. (Laughter)

So the Advancement of Sound Science Commission was supposedly to promote good science and public policy. Sounds like a good idea, right? it was actually funded by Philip Morris Tobacco and we found documents in which the Philip morris executives say, we are creating the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition and it'll be extremely important to keep the PM, Philip Morris, finger prints off of task, right? So, part of the conscious idea was create this organisation but then we back away from it so journalists won't realise that it's in fact a front for Philip Morris Tobacco. It's scary stuff. I want to take us back to the scientists. And the global warming debate has been particularly nasty for many scientists. Many scientists have received death threats, they're bombarded with emails from sceptics and others, they have had their research distorted in the media

or they've been attacked in the media, which is often quite confronting for scientists that haven't participated in a political space before.

I'm wondering, Naomi, what sort of impact has this had on scientists in terms of both their personal life but also in terms of their research and how it plays out in their professional life. I think it's had several bad impacts. I mean, one bad impact is that it's been simply really stressful for the people involved.

So we begin our book with the story of Ben Santer who is the most modest, gentle, self-effacing person you can imagine, who was the victim of a really horrible smear campaign in the 1990s

after he did the crucial work that really demonstrated that climate change was caused by greenhouse gases and could not be explained by solar variation or any natural variability.

And he was the victim of a massive smear campaign, he was accused of fraud, these people tried to get him fired from his job with the US government and it took a big toll on his life, his marriage broke up and he says it took three years out of his life, in terms of work, just defending himself against these claims, legal fees to protect himself. So, you know, it was a real impact on him as a person, in his life. But in a way, the worst impact is that it frightened a lot of other scientists and I think that was, of course, the point. Because the people who knew this knew that Ben Santer was not a criminal or a fraud. But other scientists saw what was happening and a lot of other scientists became afraid to speak out in public. They became intimidated, which was of course exactly the point of it. And I think it's done two things in the scientific community - so, it's made it harder for people to speak up for fear that if they do they'll be attacked. that's changed a little bit now but I think certainly in the 1990's and early 2000's that was true. But also, it's caused scientists to become defensive.

And a lot of scientists - I would say, in the last ten years - I think the scientific community has, frankly, wasted a lot of time dotting 'i's and crossing 't's that were frankly were already dotted and crossed. So there's been an enormous amount of work in the scientific community basically refining the estimates of exactly how much the sea levels rise exactly how much ice melts. All these details, the second, the third, and the fourth decimal places, but the bottom line is - and it's not that that work is necessarily useless, you know, some things have been learned along the way -

but if you look at the big picture,

if you look at the question of what science do we really need from the point of view of public policy, the answer is we had that science ten years ago. In fact, I would argue we had it 15 years ago. So in effect we've lost time, we've really wasted time. And it's time that really counts because there are some issues that you can put off until tomorrow and then when it comes time to deal with it - 'OK, well, now we deal with it.' But with climate change, with every passing year, it gets harder and harder to fix. Once the Arctic ice melts you can't bring it back, even if we were to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions tomorrow

we would not recover the north polar Arctic ice that has been lost. So there has been real damage done

and it's also been lost time from the point of view of the solution. So there has been real damage done My co-author and colleague Erik Conway a historian of technology and we talk about this a little bit at the end of the book. What do we know about from the history of technology of how how long it takes to make technological transformations? What do we know about from the history of technology the interstate highway system, the space program, the Atomic bomb - What we know is that 10,20, 30 years is about what it takes to implement a major technological project. So that 15 years that we've lost is real time and if we had begun implementing the technological transition to low or zero carbon economy, we would be half way there by now. And instead, we're still here arguing about whether there even is climate change. So that, to me, is a really significant lost. Not just for the scientific community, but for all of us. Isn't that also about people not understanding science which is why it has made itself so vulnerable to these kind of attacks. Because, as we were saying earlier, people who still study science in high school and then never again still think science is about right and wrong where it's about probabilities. And science has not been able to communicate itself at all well to the public, let alone to the journalists, which has kind of shot itself in the foot as a result. They've undermined their own authority by trying to be mysterious and elusive and almost... it must be a pretty hard position to be in, to say, 'I'm not right, but I'm almost right, all the time.' I don't think scientist have undermined their own authority. I think that's been done by other people to them. But I think you're right

that most of us last time we took a science course was in high school. And maybe we took high school chemistry where if you didn't know the answer you could go to the back of the book and look it up. And so that's the image we have in science that there is an answer and you look it up at the back of the book. But of course, real science is much more complicated than that. And I think you're right that scientists have not done a good job of communicating to the public how science really works. So that we would have a realistic appreciation of what you can expect

and what you can't expect. But of course, in a way, that's not really the fault of scientists either. Because scientists are highly trained specialists. They spend many, many years learning. You know, the people I study learn differential equations, geo-physical fluid dynamics, geo-chemical thermo-dynamics and all this pretty heavy-duty stuff. And while they're doing that they're not doing courses in communication. They're not reading literature and poetry. They're not learning how to write a trade book whereas the merchants of doubt, they are. And one of the things we've found in our research was handbooks. We found this one amazing document called Bad Science: A Source Book. And it's a PR handbook of how to attack science and how to undermine any science that you don't like. And it's filled with guidelines,

sound bites and my favourite one was 'Don't lie - you don't have to.' Because you don't have to lie all you have to do is say, 'You know, when it comes to climate change, I'm an agnostic. You know, I think the jury's still out.'

Right? And this is very effective. So, this is the challenge. So if I say, you know, 'I'm an agnostic.' And you are a scientist, and you say 'What?' How do you respond to that? 'You're an ignorant? You're an idiot?' I mean, right. It's very difficult to know how to respond to that in a way that seems measured and tempered. So it seems that scientists have really - it hasn't been a level playing field. Scientist have been up against this big PR, very well-funded machinery and they really haven't known how to respond to it. Naomi Oreskes and Anna Krien, the women warriors for the environment at the Sydney Writers Festival. Finally today, in the name of gender equity, mateship in the age of the sensitive new age guy. At Sydney Writers Festival, a panel of male authors sit around - without beer, to talk about books they've written which deal with male friendship. Is there something going on between men that's more than mateship,

but less than gay marriage? Is the new bloke finally able to show his feelings to his male friends? Probably not. Panel stars ABC Radio's Richard Glover and actor/playwright Brendan Cowell. So, it's my privilege to introduce these three blokes, it really is. But I wouldn't go so far as to call it a 'bromance'. At least not yet. I guess the first thing we should ask is; What is a bromance? I mean, does such a thing even exist? Is it any different, Richard, from plain old friendship? Ah huh! Well, look, I guess the term is a literary term - can mean anything from a Judd Apatow Hollywood comedy in which guys go to Las Vegas and get drunk together, of which there are many movies. Two, I think books that recognise that male friendship

can be as powerful, a changing force in you life as anything else. So, just as in a Jane Austen novel, the romance is central to allowing the character to find themselves.

So, in some ways in both life and in this sort of literature, the male friendship is determining. That's what I'd call it. In my own book, that's certainly what it is. That's very clever and considered. (Laughs) Craig, on the other hand,

believes it's got something to do with skateboarding. Yeah, well, we were just talking about it backstage whether who actually came up with the term and I was the only one who Wikipedia'd it. Who looked it up on Wikipedia, so it was actually a skateboarding term from the nineties, which, you know, 'bro-mance'. But, I mean, personally I think it's just a new term for something that's been around for a very long time. Male friendship has always been its own sort of animal and it evolves over time.

But there's still a lot of things in common with friendships that you would have with close male friends today as you would - in your father's or your grandfather's generation. Just the experiences you're sharing together are different. Obviously, most males, aside from those in the armed forces, don't have that same sort of comradery evolving in mateship coming out of armed combat.

Which I think we should be grateful for, but - so, instead we're sharing experiences over watching footy together and those sorts of things. So it's interesting to see how... ..I guess with the softening of the modern male, how much of that is contributing to the, I guess, the bromantic aspects of our relationships. Brendan, do you think the way men relate to each other has changed in any significant way? Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's got to do with us admitting it, in a lot of ways. 'Cause I remember growing up and, you know, I had really close mates,

but you kind of just saw each other a lot. You didn't go on about it. (Audience laugh) And I think, you know it was just like; 'ah yeah, see ya tomorrow at three.' And then, like, you run into each other and you're like; 'Hey, how you goin'' And now you're like, 'hey man, we should get a Chai Latte Tuesday' And then you go and you meet up with each other and you really talk it through now. And then you come to the next meeting and the bromantic notion is that I've really thought about what Johnny said last Tueday, when we were having a Chai. You know, at some cafe in Annandale or whatever. And I've thought it through, his workplace dilemma... (Audience laugh) ..and then I come back and I see him again and I've missed him a bit. (Audience laugh) And I'm like, 'hey man, it's really good to see you' And he's like, 'It's good to see you too, man.' I'm like - Jane Austen, just eat your heart out. It's funny, I've been working on a comedy recently, a screenplay. And an American 'comedy coach' came to town and read it. And everyone who has read it Australia thinks it's very funny, the way these men kind of relate to each other. He said, 'They're all so mean to each other' 'Like, the whole time and you're telling me they're friends?' And so I had to kind of explain, you know, this whole notion of when men love each other in Australia they - Sledge. They sledge, and they find idiosyncrasies and they labour them and labour them until the man snaps. They sledge, and they find idiosyncrasies And when the man snaps, you've won. Yep. Yeah. And that's love. So - (Audience applause)

So, Phillip who I build the house with is very short and so every time there's a painting scene, I say, 'Let's paint the ceiling - I'll get you a bucket to stand on' And, yeah stuff like that, it's sledging. Still the best one is the cricket one, isn't it? I don't know enough about sport to know the cricketers but one cricketer says to the other 'You're fat' and the answer is; 'Your wife gives be a biscuit ever time I (bleep) her' (Audience laugh) Can you go back to talking about mud wrestling again? (Laughter) Craig, do they have sledging in New Zealand? Yeah, totally, it's very similar. And I had the same sort of experience with an American whose over here doing a sort of a publishing tour. Who is someone I should really be sucking up to. But I was just sort of, mocking him. And again, I think alcohol had something to play in that. And so the morning after you're thinking that was probably a dumb move, and then you see him the next night and he goes, 'You have a great attitude, really refreshing' you know, just doing that banter thing and then I just said 'You're an idiot'. And go from there. So, I don't know if that's really working for me, in terms of publishing. So, we'll see what happens. What do wen think's off-topic, Craig? working for me, Well, I've had the experience of someone opening the Pandora's Box and telling me about their feelings and alcohol was involved. And I had black spots the morning after. I didn't remember him telling me his deepest, darkest secrets. And then he came up to me all awkward the next day and I was like, 'what happened last night?' He said, 'you don't remember me telling you'? And I was like, 'no'. And that completely destroyed the friendship. It felt like some kind of betrayal that he'd opened himself to me and I somehow didn't reciprocate or I wasn't there to keep his secret, I sort of lost it. So, it's very interesting once you burst through that door of sharing more than you would normally share it's very hard to go back. And if something goes wrong there then - that was pretty much the end of our friendship. Two things. Firstly, there's this misconception that men talk about their, well-doings with women, right? When a guy starts telling you too much about a situation with a lady, there's actually a point where the guy goes 'I don't wanna know, that's yours'. And I like to know that you did well, and after that, I don't wanna fucken' know. And a guy when he's done really well, he's in love or something He'll just be, like, 'Aaah' And you're like 'Man, stop it, you know?' And there was another mate of mine, right?

Who lives in Bondi, which will probably explain it. But he would, like - He went out with this girl for like half an hour and she's was pretty hot, she was an actress and everything and so, insane! And she - and they'd broken up and it was still like nine months later and he's still going, 'Man, I just don't know what I did wrong, I text her, she hasn't texted me' And I Facebooked her and she... (Trails off) And he'd been round a lap of all of us. And all of us guys are on the phone to each other 'Are you (bleep) talking to Nick, man?' It's like nine months and he's still going. And we all had to get together and like, at the pub, like eight of us. It's like nine months and he's still going. No more. Stop talking about your feelings. But we'd all done a couple of hours with him, we'd all held him. (Laughter) We'd done it. We'd just done nine to 11 times. And there's a guy -

No, no, no! Move the (Bleep) on! What we're saying is inarticulate is good, you know. Seriously, I think - Obviously, inarticulate is not good. But, I think the meeting place is probably somewhere in the middle. that women can, in my experience, possibly, in some very isolated cases over talk things. (Audience laugh) No! Can you point out the fire exit? Lest I need it. You know you can see conversations in which a drama is manufactured by the participants and what really is a smoldering fire is whipped into a bushfire

by the application of 27 hours of conversation. And in comparison to that, men who don't do that - especially, you know, I think one of the interesting things today

was what Brendan said about sometimes when you sense that you need time apart, you just take time apart. You just don't see each other for a while. You don't necessarily have to have this break up...month of mourning before you do that, you just give each other space and then you come back together and the whole thing's been achieved without conversation. I think men should talk about their feelings more and I think they should be more open But I don't necessarily think the further towards loquaciousness you get, the better. Sorry girls. Another question? Please? Can you have a bromance with women? Only with lesbians.

(Audience laugh) Craig? (Laughter builds) Like I said, my fiance is in the audience, I need to be careful about what I say. I do think you can but you need to be very careful about the ground rules, very early on and that's never a good way to start a friendship, by talking about ground rules. In a way, I'm saying you - Oh, I dunno. (Audience laugh) That was Harry met Sally right? Men and women can't be friends. But maybe just men and women can't be friends if Meg Ryan's hanging around, I dunno. (Audience laugh) Something always does get in the way, but I find - Like, a couple of my best friends are my ex girlfriends and it's been eight years and just dissolved to the point

where you look at each other and go 'How did that even happen?' And they're wonderful, beautiful friends I talk to on a daily basis and that's kind of exciting. But it is difficult when you're as handsome as us. (Laughter) Well, you know, they're only human ladies and gentlemen.

No, look, I think you can. As a comedy writer you often write things together and I've had a really strong with Angela Webber

whose passed away, I'm afraid. But, we wrote several books together and we were absolutely in each others heads and houses and minds, and typing together for, in both cases, for years on end. and I think we had a very strong bromance, but she was a gal and straight. But in some ways I think that friendship

has to be on the male terms of doing something together, Maybe, yeah. so a shared experience. I've got close female who are writers 'cause... ..buggered if I could find any guys that were writing in New Zealand. And so we go and we discuss each other's work. A lot of it's about veiled stories about their own relationships and their parents and those sorts of things. And in a way, you're doing this sort of very feminine exchange of close personal information,

but I think we're talking about books and writing, so I can handle that. And I'm happy not to see them outside of book club and outside of talking about fiction, because we're close in many ways, but not in others but not in others, so that was my experience, we had to have something to come together over. Panelists from the Sydney Writers Festival event, 'A Fine Bromance.' And that's it for today's taste test of Big Ideas. Remember, you can find all of the talks you've seen on the show today and more besides, at the Big Ideas website. And look out for our lunchtime weekend shows on News 24, Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm. I'm Waleed Aly, I'll see you then. Closed Captions by CSI.

THEME MUSIC Greece - home to a great and ancient civilisation. Athens in the 21st century is an enormous polluted city. Our wonder stands right above the city at the top of a hill. A building that, since its rediscovery in the late 17th century, has inflamed the artistic imagination of the West. It has become known as the perfect piece of architecture and has gained Greece the reputation of being the cradle of civilisation. Many of the world's great artists and architects have come here to see this building and honour it. The Parthenon was built around 430 BC by the great Athenian leader Pericles.

It housed a giant statue of Athena, the goddess of the city. The beautiful but vulnerable marble has wonderful intricate carvings. But after the demise of ancient Greece, it fell into neglect. In the 17th century it suffered even further from an explosive Venetian attack. But even in its ruined state, it came to inspire the modern world. The Parthenon replaced an older temple to Athena called the Pre-Parthenon but that was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. For a time, the Parthenon was used as a treasury for the Athenian empire before being converted in the 6th century into a Christian church dedicated to the Virgin. Then the Ottomans invaded and it was again converted, this time into a mosque around 1460. In 1806 the 7th Earl of Elgin removed some of the surviving sculptures, now known as the Elgin Marbles.

Restoration has been going on for 25 years now, ironically making good the poor repairs of the 1920s, and it will have to continue for years to come. Some believe the restoration is going too far. It is, after all, the ruined state of this battered edifice that inspired so many with romantic notions of lost civilisations. Closed Captions by CSI

This Program Is Captioned Live.

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