issue 04 2012
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Editorial Prez Sez
AuSM AuSM Update
Band interview: Fun.
Artist of the week Jeremy Hanna
AuSM Week in photos
Feature Tour of the DMZ The transition of power
Opinion Kim Dotom - The American way
Article Exchange, Do it!
Column The underrated awesomeness of dress up parties
Opinion The secret cynical challenges to democracy
22 23 24
Entertainment Horoscopes Social Media highlights The Pigeon
Humor The unfortunate true story of the Moose and the Manatee
contributors Hazel Buckingham | Brendan Kelly | Paula Te Kiri | Matt Neary | Ksenia Khor | Laurene Jooste | Anshuli Lakhan | Sebastian Mackay | Scott Moyes | Danielle Whitburn | Hasitha Kaipa | Laura Barrett | Rachel Ramsay | Tamsyn Solomon | Kieran Bennett | Morgahna Godwin | Adam Warin | Grace Bradshaw | Lachlan Hornell |
Fashion Kiwis making it big in New York
advertising contact Kate Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Review: Lamenting the lost summer
printer PMP Print Ltd.
Seeking Super Citizen Status
Reviews Student Profile
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on the cover:
Korean Tiger Ceapum Kaushish
editor Nigel Moffiet email@example.com sub editor Matthew Cattin designer Ceapum Kaushish firstname.lastname@example.org
debate is a member of the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA) disclaimer Material contained in this publication does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of AuSM, its advertisers, contributors, PMP Print or its subsidiaries.
Curiosity always strikes more when something is forbidden, hidden, and not open to understanding.
North Korea, being the world’s most hermetic country, and ruled in an antagonistic fashion for more than half a century with ongoing saber rattling and nuclear threats, is a country that many are eager to understand. However, this understanding is not important simply to quench our curiosity but is also important for diplomacy and global political stability. What happens in Pyongyang is of great consequence around the world, not only to South Korea but China, Japan, Russia and the US. All have very important diplomatic strategies in relation to the North and worked hard over the years to cement relations with the late ‘supreme leader’ Kim Jong-il – even if it only served their own interests in doing so.
After Kim Jong-il’s death in December last year, the world waited cautiously. What would happen? Would there be internal fighting? Would the North feel a need to flex its muscle by creating a ‘diplomatic incident’? These were the questions thrown about as his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, equally mysterious, largely unknown and with no experience, took control of the powerful, nuclear equipped nation that is home to the forth largest standing army in the world. This, I’m sure, provoked nervous chuckles everywhere. Having lived in South Korea between 20082010 as an English teacher, I was always keen to draw the opinions of the Korean people I meet. This usually took place after a few beers and shots of soju. How did it affect them? Did they feel a constant threat? Largely, they go about their business without paying much attention to the North at all. This is especially so for the
younger generation who have grown up with the division – it’s just the norm and naturally there are other things to worry about. I also realised that the notion of re-unification isn’t a simple topic and it incites a nervous reaction – if the two countries were to one day reunite this could have devastating economic consequences for the highly prosperous South which has grown into Asia’s fourth largest economy. Despite this, a couple of events took place in 2010 which reminded the world that the North Korean issue is a huge diplomatic wound that just won’t heal. In March the South Korean vessel Cheonan was struck by a missile killing 46 of the men onboard. North Korea was blamed for the attack, yet they disputed this. Their official website states that “the fascist south Korean puppets and US imperialists and some others including the UK government have gone mad over this case”. Another incident occurred in November when the North randomly started firing shells and rockets at South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. I was living in Wonju at the time, a city 60 minutes east of Seoul, and this incident certainly brought about a quick military presence to the street. It was the one time I sensed a note of apprehension, and the only time the kids I was teaching ever brought up the subject of North Korea, nervously, without me provoking the subject. Well, I was curious to learn more about the division and this lead me to visit the demilitarized zone which I document in this issue of debate. More than anything, it documents the tension that slowly starts fizzing to the surface 20 minutes north of Seoul. Now that the world waits and watches given the death of Kim Jong-il, the issue has now taken on some new relevance.
AuSM Student President
Hi everyone, We are already four weeks into semester one. I guess you will all agree with me that time is really flying. This means one needs to keep an eye on the assignments that are nearly due, the new ones coming in and mid-semester tests and exams. It is all about time management but if things are getting a bit out of control, especially with the academic stuff, my advice is to seek help now before it’s too late. We’ve got AuSM, your student association, which provides you with student advocacy and legal information service. It is our job to provide all AUT students with an accessible, effective and efficient problem solving and complaint resolution process. The University has also got a wide range of services and facilities to enhance your study experience and life at the university. Some of the essential services the university provides include harassment & prevention support, jobs and career planning, disability resources, counselling, international students’ support, medical & nursing, Pasifika support, Maori students’ support etc etc. The AuSM three-week orientation programme ended last week huge KORA gig at the Hikuwai Plaza on Friday. I hope you all enjoyed the whole orientation programme that was rolled out by AuSM this semester. If you have any comments, concerns or feedback about any of the activities or events, feel free to email me or come to my office to have a chat about it. I will be catching up with the Vice Chancellor Derek McCormack very soon to talk about student matters and other things in general. So if you have any concerns about the delivery of services and facilities on campus, academic related issues or any other general student concerns please email me and I will take note of that as well. The Child Cancer Foundation Beads of Courage Day Street Appeal Collection Day is on this Friday 23rd March and Saturday 24th March 2012. AuSM is helping out with this event as part of our community engagement programme. I humbly appeal to you to make a donation of time to help the foundation provide support to children with cancer,
their families and the health professionals who care for them. To register for the event please email me or the AuSM Volunteer Co-ordinator Deanna Berry on email@example.com. Last Tuesday, New Zealand lost a great New Zealander. Jock Hobbs, former All Blacks captain and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman died at the age of 52 at the Wellington Hospital after a long battle with leukaemia. Tributes from politicians, sportsmen and women, family members, friends, and people all around the world keep flowing in for the man who was very influential in bringing the incredible 2011 Rugby World Cup to New Zealand in his role as the NZRU chairman. AuSM’s condolences go out to the family and loved ones for the loss of such an incredible kiwi. Till next time, have a lovely week!
That’s a wrap!
AuSM Orientation 2012 came to an end last Friday after an epic three weeks of AuSMness! Thanks to all who joined us for any of the free day time events, night gigs, and free feeds! We hope you enjoyed all the free giveaways and awesome entertainment! Congrats to all the AuSM Events team for a job well done!
Don’t forget that from now on you will need your AuSM sticker for some of the AuSM services such as free feeds, Vesbar discounts and Movie screenings. Get yours this week from AuSM.
Wicked Wednesday is back at Vesbar
The fish & chip combo is back at Vesbar. Go in to Vesbar on Wednesdays and get Fish & Chips + a tap beer for just $9.50…. nom nom.
Student Exec Vacant Positions
Do you want to represent the student voice on campus? There are vacant positions for the 2012 AuSM Student Executive Council. Find out more details at http://bit.ly/2012ausmexec
“A Team” AuSM Volunteers
AuSM are supporting the Child Cancer Foundation’s Beads of Courage collection. We will be out raising donations on 23rd and 24th of March. We would love you to volunteer with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Top-ups for internet and printing
AuSM no longer offer top-ups for printing and internet. You can top-up your printing and internet in the library with eftpos only. This is a service that AuSM can no longer offer now that we are a voluntary student association.
Nigel Moffiet Singer Nate Ruess had a vision to create something bolder and more inspired than anything he had worked on before. During the late 90s Ruess was part of southern New Jersey’s punk rock scene and that is where he first met Jack Antonoff. They were both 18, performing their separate gigs, and shared a mutual respect for each other’s talents but not much more. Ruess says he thought Antonoff was a bit of a “douche” when they first met. Antonoff says he was “immediately taken with [Ruess’] voice but everything else – no”. Nevertheless, years later, during the late ‘00s, when Ruess was starting out fresh after the breakup of his band, The Format, he says he didn’t think twice about calling-up guitarist Antonoff with the proposal of starting something new and fresh. They got together and soon introduced keyboardist Andrew Dost
How did you all get together and start Fun. ?
“We had all toured together in separate bands a few times. My old band, The Format, had brought out Andrews band, Anathallo, on a few tours as well as Jack’s band, Steel Train. I always kept a mental note on those two guys and thought ‘alright, if you ever start another band make sure you start it with those two. When my other band wasn’t happening anymore I just called those two up automatically. Andrew and I both booked one way tickets to New Jersey to go to Jack’s house and started working on this band.”
into the line up who they describe as “the force behind all the literal bells and whistles”. From here, the (annoyingly punctuated) band Fun. was born. The trio doesn’t shy away from catchy hooks and poppy sounds, creating theatrical anthems that undoubtedly cater toward hysterical crowds eager for something to sing along to. Their sound rouses up comparisons to Queen and Electric Light Orchestra – anthem rockers of old. Fun.’s latest album, Some Nights, set to be released in New Zealand midMarch, takes on these musical elements plus more. The album includes the hit single We Are Young featuring the critically praised Janelle Monae on vocals. The track reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and is steadily climbing past 12 million hits on Youtube. Speaking to debate, Nate Ruess explains the vision behind the band and the direction they took on their latest album.
What direction did you take on your new album, Some Nights?
“In the past, I think that I felt uninspired by most albums I had been a part of. I just wanted to progress a bit more and after our album Aim and Ignite I wasn’t sure where I was headed. So I fell in love with a lot of hip hop albums and I thought ‘well all right, If we can pull through the theatrics then we can pull through the hip hop’ and we found the perfect person in Jeff Bhasker who produced the album and did a lot of Kanye West and a lot of other stuff we were listening to. I think we were really lucky getting in with
him and at that point I just felt really inspired and caught lightning in a bottle so to speak.”
Did mixing the hip hop elements into your album prove to be a satisfying experiment?
“It was satisfying for sure and there was nothing challenging about it. I remember telling both of the other guys in the band what I wanted to do and I also remember telling the label and it took a little bit of explaining. I can have an idea that may not sound great from the start but now that they know that they can trust me and they’ll embrace it and we can make an album.”
Critics have also compared elements of your sound to that of Queen and Electric Light Orchestra. How influential are these bands in your music?
“I don’t know if they’re as inspirational as they are inherent. I think that just from where we grew up and the music that we listened to when we were kids, like stealing our parents’ albums, it just felt very inherent to follow those bands and the structure in which they write. The point was to try and take that song writing and put it into the future. But there was never a point while I was writing that I was trying to study Queen. I just think it’s always been inherent more than anything.”
You reference bands like Weezer as having a big influence, and themes of disenfranchised youth. How important are these themes in your music?
“I think they play strongly in my life. I still think El Scorcho is my favourite song of all time and it’s the song that connects the most to me. It’s not really about just a relationship anymore but about life, ‘I’m a lot like you so please hello, I’m here, I’m waiting’. I think that kind of captures how I feel about everything.” In your latest song, We Are Young, you
peer up with Janelle Monae. How did this peering come about? “When I wrote the song, I always wanted a female to sing the ‘carry me home’ part and we were trying to figure out who that was going to be. Andrew, our keyboardist, was such a massive Janelle Monae fan so he recommended her and our producer Jeff happened to know her. So he went to one of her concerts and played her the unfinished parts of the song and she kinda freaked out about it and within the next week she stated recording the song. And since then we’ve gotten to know Janelle. I just got an email from her about how excited she is and how everything’s going with the song and how happy she was that we worked together.”
Any plans to come to New Zealand? Any knowledge of the New Zealand music scene?
We are hoping to come down within the next six months. All we know about New Zealand is the Flight of the Conchords and all the Lord of the Rings stuff. We’re all excited to go there. I think Flight of the Conchords makes New Zealand seem like a very endearing place and much more at our speed. We’re excited to go there as soon as we can.
Jeremy Hanna Iâ€™m a fourth year Graphic Design student, currently completing my Honours degree. I love illustration and visual storytelling, especially when it comes to design for the entertainment industry. I generally paint digitally in photoshop, and a lot of my work looks at character and environment design. Iâ€™m aiming to illustrate professionally for places like Weta, where Iâ€™d get the chance to work on some of the biggest movies of our time. Come check out my portfolio.
debate is looking for some super talented artists to profile. Do you know some artists at AUT who we should feature? Is it you? Get in touch with us today. Send in your work at email@example.com.
An AuSM Week
Photos by: Annupam Singh
Two New Zealanders joined the ranks of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali when they were celebrated in Auckland last week. Ex-Waitakere City mayor Bob Harvey and peace advocate Laurie Ross both received the “Torch Bearer” award at the opening ceremony of the ‘World Harmony’ run. The run, which began in 1987, was started by the late spiritual guru Sri Chinmoy to raise awareness of world peace and human unity. The award is in recognition of people who have “inspired their communities through their own lives and deeds” according to the World Harmony website.
“We all have the possibility of making the world a nicer place to live.” “I’m deeply honoured and I’d like to acknowledge Laurie Ross. I can’t tell you how important Laurie Ross was in the early days of Waitemata City, Waitakere, to make that city nuclear free,” Harvey said during his speech. Laurie Ross has been recognised in the Waitakere area for her long-term dedication to peace and promoting a nuclear-free world. The 25th anniversary of the run began in New Zealand with an opening ceremony in Aotea Square which featured musical performances by Marina View Primary school students and a variety of speakers, including representatives from the Government. This is the 13th run involving New Zealand and features 14 relay runners carrying a torch down the country before it leaves overseas to continue the journey across six continents in the Asia Pacific area. National co-ordinator and participant Jogyata Dallas said the event was about raising awareness of world peace and unity through friendship. “Our hearts long for a more peaceful world. It starts with our minds, our thoughts. We all have the possibility of making the world a nicer place to live.”
The number of students opting to live in AUT Accommodation is at its highest level in four years.
Village who says RAs are now more accessible. “Having RAs live with residents has helped create team spirit and participation.”
Wellesley Student Apartments and Akoranga Student Village have reached their combined capacity of 700 residents, compared to having empty rooms in previous years. Several changes including free internet at both sites have encouraged more students to stay, says residential services manager Deborah Blake. “At the end of last year we had 20 per cent more residents apply to stay here for another year.” She says instead of immediately penalising residents for misbehaviour, staff are meeting with them to talk about what is going wrong, so residents are treated more like adults.
Left to right: Aiden Rudolph, Marijke Van Dillen, Toiroa Williams WSA RAs of the Yellow Monkeys team at their welcoming event
New staff roles have been created to focus more attention on events and residents’ wellbeing.
Residents at AUT Accommodation are grouped into five colour teams that are led by the RAs. During orientation week residents had the opportunity to attend their own colour team welcome events, something that has not been done before.
Both accommodation sites have residential assistants (RAs) who take care of the residents outside office hours. At the Wellesley Student Apartments the number of RAs has increased from 10 to 15, creating more support for the residents.
Ekta Patel is a returning resident and new RA at Wellesley Student Apartments who agrees there have been positive changes.
Things have changed at Akoranga Student Village too, where the five RAs now live with their residents, instead of living in an all-RA apartment.
“The events are more successful for the residents. Last year we didn’t have welcome week events like this.”
Andrew Potvin is a returning RA at Akoranga Student
AUT students could be suffering more emotional stress than financial stress as the academic year kicks off says a student advisor.
Chris went along to the Pasifika Student services and he says it allowed him to build a large network of friends and academic alliances. He says the most important part is to come forward and ask for help. The service has a lot of resources.
Wiremu Tipuna, Maori student advisor, says emotional problems can be more intense than financial problems for students. He says some problems have emotional strings attached with them and the answer is to find ways to whakawhanaungatanga (build relationships) with the students.
“There are different student advisors available, Pasifika, Maori and Pakeha, plus other cultures as well,” says Tipuna. “The liaison services can assist in scholarships, financial assistance in bills, food and travel. Sometimes they can give a small food voucher, travel vouchers for bus fares and general advice.”
“In the past I have helped people with no friends find very good friends and I have helped students who are missing their families.”
Tipuna encourages students to not be whakama or embarrassed.
He says some students have moved away from home for the first time and can find this very hard. He has also connected students with their family heritage or whakapapa in cases when there has been no previous connection.
“Some students miss out because they are too shy.” Students must come forward in order to make study life easier and less stressful he says.
A student of Samoan-Nuiean decent who wanted to be known as Chris* said when he got to AUT five years ago he had only one friend and it was very difficult time.
*Chris not his real name
Eric Watson (left) and Owen Glen
Earthquakes aside, imagine if it was announced that there was going to be a second Super Rugby team in Canterbury.
Someone makes the decision that too much talent is going to waste and needs to be nourished with another team for Christchurch to support. It would be disastrous. The Cantabrians are renowned for their fierce loyalty. You couldn’t ask that community to choose between their beloved Crusaders or some flash new ponies. You’d be tearing apart the backbone of what makes the South such a rich breeding ground for rugby players. This is exactly why New Zealand does not need a second team in the NRL to rival the Warriors. I have to admit, I didn’t know who Owen Glenn was before he bought into the club. When I heard there was going to be a press release I assumed Krisnan Inu was going to be shipped off to the Super League club with the highest bid. But Owen Glenn brings massive opportunities to develop not only the club, but rugby league in New Zealand. He could be nothing short of a knight in shining armour with a vast fortune and an apparent desire to promote the game.
Destroying a brand
However, Glenn has signaled his desire to push for a second New Zealand team in the NRL to be based in South Auckland. I can’t help but feel this would be a great mistake. True, Kiwi players are becoming more and more influential and prominent in the competition as each year passes, but another team would destroy what has been built at the Warriors over the past 17 seasons. It was very clever to re-brand the club from the Auckland Warriors to the New Zealand Warriors in 2000. Doing so welcomed supporters from around the country and even beyond. It welcomed support from the numerous Kiwis living over in Australia and believe me, there’s plenty of them. I was lucky enough to see the Warriors play at Suncorp Stadium last year and I’m pretty sure there was a bigger cheer for our side than the Broncos when they ran onto the field.
The point is the Warriors have marketed themselves in such a way that they’ve got the support of the nation. We’re a band of brothers and not a jar of jaffas. To follow this team is a rollercoaster ride scarier than anything you’ll find in a theme park, but their fans are just as loyal as any going around. The Warriors are the largest sporting franchise in the country and are just starting to reap the benefits with their recent run of form. Pre-season membership sales were amongst the best in the whole competition this year.
The loyal legions
I think it would be unfair to ask those supporters to choose between the Warriors and another team based in Auckland. Owen Glenn might tell you that Sydney has no fewer than nine teams in the competition. Most of these teams have been around for over a century considering that the original competition was based in this
city alone. Many of the newest clubs in the competition are successful because they have just one town of loyal fans supporting them such as the Broncos, Storm and Knights. So why don’t we put that second team in another New Zealand city? Many reasons, some of which Owen Glenn probably realises. He would have singled out South Auckland as the location, seeing it as a breeding ground for fresh young talent. This area has a large Polynesian community. Their young boys possess raw speed and power – skills that are well utilised in a free flowing game of league. The sport also has a strong foothold in Auckland with the working class man. You’d struggle to generate such support with the Union fanatics of Christchurch or even Wellington. Let’s celebrate the recent successes of New Zealand rugby league for now and not exhaust its resources prematurely. We’re only just seeing the profits of promoting our homegrown talent. Let’s celebrate the Under 20s team gunning for three consecutive titles. Let’s celebrate Benji Marshall at the Tigers who has blossomed into one of the best players in the NRL. Hell, let’s celebrate every time Manu Vatuvei catches the ball. We’ve got the Australians right where we want them; quivering with fear that they’re being beaten at their own game by their little brothers from over the Tasman. We’re a band of brothers and not a jar of jaffas. The sport also has a strong foothold in Auckland with the working class man. You’d struggle to generate such support with the Union fanatics of Christchurch or even Wellington.
We’re a band of brothers and not a jar of jaffas The sport also has a strong foothold in Auckland with the working class man. You’d struggle to generate such support with the Union fanatics of Christchurch or even Wellington.
ntering the most heavily militarised border in the world is serious business. E As such, there’s a funny sense of privilege felt when signing one’s compliance to a UN issued warning that states, not too bluntly, in the very first sentence: “The visit to the Joint Security Area at Panmunjom will entail entry into a hostile area and possibility of injury or death as a direct result of enemy action.”
An Open Wound The Visitor’s Declaration Form was handed to us by a U.S soldier, our escort into the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) of Panmunjom. Those heavy words of caution invoked the sombre presence of reality and history: we were visiting a spot that is essentially an open wound that is yet to be healed; a wound where thousands were killed and today millions are divided. Here, one can see the last preserve of conflict left over from the Cold War. I visited the DMZ eager to learn. I wanted to see for myself the open tension that divides Korea. Panmunjom is approximately 70 minutes north of Seoul, and no more than 20 minutes into the journey a heavily armed military presence creeps upon you. Barbed wire fencing slowly emerges, encompassing every perimeter of land running along the Han River - a river which begins in the mountainous slopes of the North before flowing into the sprawling city of Seoul. The river is marked by watch towers where ROK (Republic of Korea) soldiers, armed with mounted machine guns, keep a vigilant look-out for any incursions. The barbed wire fencing is carefully lined with highly visible white rocks which rest along the fence, alerting the guards to any sign of tampering should one fall or be displaced: an alarmingly simple strategy that amplifies the immediate nature of the tension. Soon, traffic recedes and manned military huts increase before our bus finally enters a checkpoint. We are reminded that the two sides are ‘technically’ still at war (no peace treaty has ever been signed). Upon arriving at the army base, I sign the Visitor’s Declaration Form and we are given a quick briefing. We are then escorted to a military bus which takes us toward the Joint Security Area, the only area where both North and South Korean guards stand face to face. Our military escort tells us to put away our cameras: it’s a highly strategic military zone. To an untrained eye, there’s not much to see apart
from a few army bases, trees, shrubs and land packed with mines. Soon, we catch sight of the North Korean flag blowing heavily in the distance. The flag itself weighs 136 kilograms and rises 160 meters into the sky. It’s a monstrous flag. It was made larger and raised higher as a response to the South who had raised the height of their flag (visible to the North) to 98.4 meters.
A Tone of Watchfulness Shortly after, we arrive outside the Freedom House - a complex built by the South with the intended purpose of facilitating meetings between families separated by the division. Yet, we are told how North Korea dismissed the Freedom House, and sensing a display of grandiose from the South, it responded once again by enlarging their own Panmun Hall, adding floors to make it appear bigger although the width of the building remains narrow. The two buildings now remain at restricted heights, preventing any future forays into a parody of conflict more suited to a Joseph Heller novel. Our guard escorts us to the entrance of the Freedom House and we are told to form two lines. The guard then proceeds to deliver strict orders: no pointing,
no gestures, no fooling around. Every single action is carefully monitored; an inappropriate gesture is as volatile as a spark to the fumes. We are marched out the other end of the building and directly facing us is The Panmun Hall of North Korea - their side. I take in the surroundings and feel the heavy presence of surveillance. ROK soldiers stand guard with dark glasses and imposing looks towards the North. They stand between the blue UN buildings that rest on the Demarcation Line where the division is drawn. I study the Panmun Hall only to find myself being studied in return. A North Korean guard stands alert, watching every movement I make through a set of binoculars before beginning to take pictures of us. What for? Perhaps they use our images for propaganda we are told.
North - an act that has been carried out, believe it or not. So why did I visit the DMZ? Because the Korean War, as crucial as it was in defining the last half of the 20th century is largely the ‘forgotten war’. And here we are, fresh into the 21st century, and the issue is as pressing as ever. To many, the problem seems insurmountable; the question of “what is to be done” remains unclear, and the fear of collapse on a grand (dare I say nuclear) scale has played into past political rhetoric with Gorge Bush declaring North Korea as part of “The Axis of Evil”. Beyond the rhetoric lies the reality: Korea is a nation divided at the 38th parallel (38 degrees north of the equatorial plane), and at the Joint Security Area there rests a slab of concrete not rising more than a few inches off the ground marking this spot. This is the spot where different worlds meet, but let’s not forget: these worlds share the same language, blood, culture and history. I suspect too, there are divided families sharing the same tears and frustrations.
The Haven Amongst the tatters of division, there lies a silver lining of delicate irony: The demilitarised area (248 km long; 4km wide) has created a buffer zone of safe haven in which rare, exotic and endangered animals of Eastern Asia are thriving. Here, the redcrowned crane and white-naped crane extend their wings with beauty and pleasure. It’s likely too, that the Asiatic black bear has found a home for itself, along with the white-tailed eagle. Also, some have bravely speculated that the extremely rare Korean tiger may be watching wearily from within, an animal of cultural importance to the Korean people of both North and South. In this case, let us create a fairytale in which the presence of such an animal, an animal that runs deep into Korean mythology, could have a bearing on a peaceful outcome. May it claw away the border whilst a red-crowned crane spreads its wings, illuminated against a sun that sets on a unified land once again.
Political Impasse After a few minutes we are taken inside the UN negotiating room. This is the room where the two sides meet; where, for more than sixty years, talks have failed to re-unify the country. The room crosses both sides of the border, conveniently maintained by a line on the floor that continues across the table. Of course, the table rests dead centre, surrounded by chairs and microphones. Every word inside the room is monitored. A ROK soldier guards the door leading to the North, another stands to the side of the room; they stand menacingly, fists clenched. We are told by our U.S. escort that they’re here for our protection - not so much to guard us as, ironically, to intervene “with force” should one of us attempt a dash toward the
hints of his character, the world waits for any emerging news that will more accurately define what kind of leader he might turn out to be. Indeed, some suggest he will be nothing more than a puppet controlled by the upper echelons of the North Korean military, others suggest he will wield considerable influence through his family connections and loyalty within the militaristic ranks which will solidify his position. Again, others say he might stir dissent amongst the upper military ranks for his lack of experience and sudden rise to power.
Having gained the title of being one of the world’s most reclusive societies, North Korea is one of the few countries left under communist rule. Following the end
of World War II, most of North Korea’s history has been dominated by Kim Jong-il, a controversial figure who ultimately shaped the political structure for nearly half a century. Having diplomatic relations with few countries, tensions even started playing out during the 1960s with its closest allies China and the Soviet Union when the SinoSoviet conflict divided the Communist bloc. After joining the Workers Party in 1961, Kim Jong-il worked his way up and was appointed to the Workers’ Party Central Committee to lead the offensive against the revisionists and to ensure the party did not deviate from the ideological line set by his father, Kim Il-sung. Following this, he also took the effort to enforce the party in a very strict manner by collaborating with the military and was also placed in charge of the Propaganda & Agitation division which was responsible for controlling the media and enforcing heavy censorship throughout the country. It was reported Kim Jong-il spent the past year before his death grooming his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, for succession by appointing him to increasingly important positions. Many reports claim that most North Koreans were unaware of Kim Jong-un’s existence, as there is still little information about him and almost no photographs of him before his rise to power. However, his name and image have now been met with cautious glances from around the world since it was formally announced in 2010 that he would be the next in line. After the death of his father in late 2011, Kim Jong-un was appointed with the same high profiles that both his father and grandfather held which included a four star general status despite his lack of experience in the military. He now fills a revered position within North Korea as the “great successor” and is touted as “a great person from heaven”. While news from around the world states that there is very little information known about Kim Jong-un, some hints of his character have seeped through – he was educated in Switzerland and is rumoured to have a great interest in basketball and the NBA. With nothing more than small
As news broke of Kim Jong-ils death, many of the world’s leaders had different ways of reacting to the event. CNN reported Australian’s Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd as saying: “It is at times like this that we cannot afford to have any wrong or ambiguous signalling. This time also presents an important opportunity to the new North Korean leadership to engage fully with the international community. On how to improve their economy in order to properly feed their people and critically on how to deal with the outstanding problem of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.” While the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated: “We were distressed to learn of the unfortunate passing of the senior-most North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, and we express our deep grief about this and extend our condolences to the people of North Korea. Kim Jong-il is a great leader of the North Korean people, and is a close friend of Chinese people…China and North Korea will make joint efforts ... to consolidate and develop the friendship between the two countries ... and to maintain the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and the region.” Finally, the white house stated that while the Obama administration had nothing specific to say, they are closely monitoring reports and are making efforts to maintain stability within the region. Earlier this month, Hillary Clinton negotiated a deal with the North that would suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment at its Yongbyon facility, and allow the return of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors. This deal was made in return for 240,000 tons of U.S. food aid. Clearly, many of the world’s leaders hope that with the passing of Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un will be able to make a significant difference to a country that has antagonistically shut itself off from the world while many of its people are said to be suffering the harsh effects of famine and malnutrition. Many have their fingers crossed that Kim Jongun’s international education and experience, however limited it is, might encourage him to be a leader who takes a more active role within the international community, interacting with the world and a leader who is open to diplomacy.
Question: What do you think about the prospect of reunification? Min Shin, 26 Accounting Student
“I don’t think we’ll unify in the short term because we have to prepare economically to help them rebuild and catch up to our GDP. So if we unify with North Korea within two or three years without any plan then we have to sacrifice our capital funds from the government to help the North Koreans so I don’t think that will be a good way. But in the long term, if we have step by step plans then we could unify within twenty or thirty years. That could be a good way.”
Woo Jin, 23 Accounting Student
“I think there would still be conflict between North Korea and South Korean because what they think is different. We’ve already had more than sixty years of different thinking so I don’t think [reunification] would work.”
Kimmy Kim, 23 Property and Economics Student
“As an economics student, I feel there would be really big trouble with South Korean and North Korean reunification as the German crisis. [Germany] is a really rich country but Korea doesn’t really have the money in government to cover all North Korean poverty and things like that. I would like to see reunification but there would be some problems.”
Jacob Kim, 22 Language Student
FACTS ABOUT KIM JONG-IL
“There are so many problems in North Korea so I think it would be hard for [reunification] to succeed. Already some people are escaping from North Korea over the Chinese border. We are brothers though although our armies fighting.”
He Was Born Under A Double Rainbow
According to Kim Jong Il’s official biography, he was born in a secret military camp on Baekdu Mountain during North Korea’s Japanese occupation and his arrival was prophesised by a double rainbow and marked by the sight of a new star and a swallow in the sky. Unfortunately the truth appears to be more mundane - according to Soviet records, Kim was born in the Siberian village of Vyatskoye in 1941.
He Could Control The Weather
According to reports the former leader spread rumours that he could make it rain on demand, depending on his mood.
He Was The World’s Greatest Sportsman
According to national media, in 1994 Kim Jong Il shot a record-breaking round of golf in which he achieved 11 holes-in-one, and a total score of 38 - by far the greatest score in history. And it was his first try, having never before played the game. No other media organisation reported the news.
Kim Dotcom – The American Way Sebastian Mackay
We all know the story, FBI Agents, New Zealand’s elite Special Forces units, fully automatic weapons, and total seizure of Kim Dotcom’s assets. New Zealand. The American way. Would you have it any other way? Kim Dotcom, the founder of the dearly beloved Megaupload, was arrested on January 20th 2012 as the result of the FBI dropping a 72 page indictment into the laps of our police-force-gone-for-hire. Dotcom is being charged with copyright right infringement that pushes into the billions. It is claimed $500 million US dollars’ worth of damages were done to the American Music Industry -- allegedly racked up in a two week period over the course of one year. This would reach about $13 Billion US dollars; in total, $7 billion US dollars less than the music industry as a whole is worth. The interesting question here is: what is actually illegal? The file sharing as an act is not illegal. Every time an article for debate is written, the file is sent to Nigel (the new editor, at least try to keep up!) Technically, this file is shared, and this process in its self is not an illegal one. However, as we all know, and herein lies the problem. Sharing files that are registered under copy right is illegal. We know this, we do it anyway, and I’m not one to judge. Interestingly enough though, there are certain aspects of not sharing a file, that are illegal. In which case, you could face an American court of law, and have all of your assets seized, your perfectly legal way of life turned upside. This aspect includes creating a server that allows people to send and receive files over the internet, a service and a server that are perfectly legitimate and legal. Due to legal bindings, and ironically enough, American law, the creator of such a server is not responsible for the actions of their customers, nor are they legally allowed to view the files being uploaded (thank you privacy act). Of course, in the terms and conditions the company may request you do not upload stolen goods. This is the case with Megaupload, and if anyone has uploaded a file to Megaupload, be it legal or not, they have agreed to this term of use. Yes, even I
To say automatic weapons and midnight raids were overkill is to say the very least. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ has proven to be nothing more than a romantic notion. Remember, the crimes of Kim Dotcom were only alleged. There is no evidence that Megaupload or Kim Dotcom broke any laws, be they of the Federal Government or the New Zealand Government. The lawyers of Megaupload have confirmed the company is protected under American law that doesn’t make it liable for the acts of third parties. The raids resulted in Dotcom’s assets being seized, his wife left husband-less for five weeks, his children fatherless and Dotcom in jail for being the ‘pirate king’. Treated like a terrorist, it seems as though the ones that are victim to any kind of terror are Kim and his family, as well as others at his mansion. Considered a flight risk and being cut off from the internet for the remainder of his time in New Zealand (which could come to close in August) it is easy to get caught up in the hype of thinking Megaupload is responsible for something far greater and more apocalyptic than file sharing. But if you step back and look at the big picture, Megaupload was not a criminal organisation. In fact, it had operations in place that allowed those whose files were being infringed upon to have those files removed. This included direct delete access to the Megaupload severs and infringement notifications that Dotcom says were acted on when received. The company was never sued by any of the members of the Motion Picture Association of America nor the American Music Industry. In an interview with John Campbell, Dotcom says such paper work never made it to the company and he was an easy target. He cites Youtube and Google as other players in the file sharing world. With no way of legally monitoring the content of uploads without repealing the privacy act, it is certainly easy for companies to name other players. The first that come to mind are FileShare HQ and MediaFire – companies that provide the same service as Megaupload and are run from within the United States. These companies are still active and are still free. Rapidshare on the other hand has stated that it is not worried about Megaupload being taken down. For these companies it is easy to see the competition fall. For Megaupload, however, one of the most pressing questions must be, “why us?” and “why now?” After seven years of operation, and an investigation that lasted only two years, could Megaupload be the first of many or is it simply the FBI flexing its online muscles, having not infiltrated Lulzsec. To speculate even further, after the court battles between Dotcom and the FBI are over, will there be any online muscle for the feds to flex or will Megaupload walk away victorious?
Anshuli Lakhan and Laura Barrett
“Sweden, Denmark, China and Mexico, are just a small sample of countries you can immerse yourself in” Are you sitting in your Monday morning lecture flipping through debate and seeking ways to escape the monotonous drone of the lecturer? Are the tutorials, the
growing number of assignments and group work starting to get to you? What if we could offer you the escape that you so desperately need? Two words: University Exchange. Imagine stepping outside your dorm room into the 300 year old Campus of a world renowned University, where students are milling around sipping coffee and gossiping about the weekend. We were lucky enough to have this life-changing experience along with Holly Grover, Lucy White, Simon Rhee and a number of other AUT students last year. Sweden, Denmark, China and Mexico, are just a small sample of countries you can immerse yourself in; from culture, academic teaching, and of course social life. Simon Rhee went to Jinan University in Shandong Province, China, to study the Chinese language. “It wasn’t quite what I expected but I wouldn’t have experienced China the same way if I had gone to a bigger city,” he said. The experience not only helped him to better understand the Chinese culture but also expanded his own personal knowledge of himself and his Korean heritage. Holly Grover, a Communication Studies student, stayed in Monterrey, Mexico, and she didn’t really know what to expect when she decided to spend her semester there. “I had a general image from movies and such that they wear sombreros and ponchos. That’s not true, but one stereotype that I found to be true was that a lot of the older men had thick moustaches,” she said. Holly studied at the Technologico de Monterrey where she was surprised that the students came from extreme wealth and strutted around campus in their high heels and Louis Vuitton. This extravagant lifestyle soon became the norm for her in Monterrey. “The tech was like the Ivy League of Latin America. It was very prestigious,” she explains. One of the greatest things about studying abroad is the change in social environment, where a lot of your time outside of university is spent attending different activities, events and parties.
Many of the students move away from home to live in various student accommodations, so the fellow students you attend university with become your family. We spent many of our week nights in Denmark while studying at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, having group dinners, watching movies in the dorm theatre and organising impromptu get-togethers. Lucy White, who spent her semester at Malmo University in Sweden, believes that you have to make the most of every opportunity when you are on an exchange. “I learnt to do things for myself and that no one was going to do things for me. It’s all up to you what you make of the exchange.” Living in a new environment and culture forces you to interact with and make friends in the most unexpected places. “That’s the best thing about the exchange, you meet people you might not normally cross paths with,” says Lucy. The Journalism programme in Denmark was very hands on where we learnt about reporting in crisis zones and working in a news room. We also learnt about the European Union (EU) where we gained first-hand experience by receiving press passes to the news room at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. One of the biggest advantages about the exchange experience is that your time spent studying abroad counts towards your degree at AUT. AUT has a number of partnerships with many universities around the world, which means that you don’t have to pay any international student fees. The process of applying and organising your exchange is made easier by the help and support of the new Exchange Administrator, Monique van Veen and the various staff members at the International Centre.
For more information, to meet past exchange students and to register your interest head to the Clubs Day on March 15 at Hikuwai Plaza from 10am-2pm. You can also go along to the AUT Exchange fair held on March 20 at Hikuwai Plaza from 10am-2pm, where you can meet representatives from the USA, German, and French embassies to find out more.
Dressing up. It’s ingrained in us from the time we’re young ‘uns. I remember spending
most of my childhood dressed up in outfits ranging from some of mum’s old dresses, to a gladiator outfit, to an electric blue traditional Chinese ensemble. I remember many stories (and have seen many pictures) of my brother dressed in his spider-man outfit or super-man, my sister dressed up with hats and her face smeared with lipstick. It’s written into our deepest genetic code. You could, though it was seen as a bit strange, wear an outfit while you went grocery shopping with mum or as your ran around in your neighbourhood screaming and fighting against invisible foes. If you did that now, well… you might be fast-tracked into getting yourself a pretty white jacket and a new padded room… as well as some interesting housemates. However, there is still a silver lining to life. As you get older, those who cling to the joyous memories of youth and fun could promote those wonderful things called dress up parties. They are the perfect excuse to dress up like the glorious days of yore. Remember your dream of being a super hero? Go for gold, captain! Wanted to be the prom queen but missed out to that floozy in the pink dress? Well here’s your chance! Ever ached inside to recreate the epic medieval uprising of Robin Hood, taking the place on his right hand as one of his Merry Men? Your moment has finally come! You feel like a million bucks in your $30 rented outfit (except for those super eager few who make their own – that does not include sheet togas), and you strut around with an extra skip in your step. Normally you would shrink when the world stopped to stare at you incredulously, but now you bathe in it like bathing in gold and money. Of course you get those kill-joy few who say they are going to dress up, but come in t-shirts, jeans and jandals with an ugly tie they stole from a homeless person, making up some lame ass story about them being a homeless person with a funny tie. No. Just no. You punch those people and send them home to re-do it. If you’re one of those people, you will be punched and sent home to re-do it. It’s not that hard to get a sheet and some fancy rope and make a toga or something. Really. Plus, you look so much cooler and get chronic brownie points. And people will talk about your awesomeness for weeks after. Don’t you want to be awesome? Then you get those who take the whole ‘dress-up-party’ to an R18 level it doesn’t always need to be. It’s dress up, not “we are filming a porno”. Not that I am completely against showing a bit of leg or a bit of cleavage. If you got it, flaunt it I say. But you can only have so many ‘cat-womans and ‘playboy bunnies’ at a party without it losing its creativity and sense of fun. The moment people start to mistake you for your counter-parts on K-Road, you know you have gone too far. Anyway, back to the story. Dress up parties. It’s legit. It’s fun. It’s an amazing excuse to live out your wildest dreams without being referred to as “that crazy who dresses up like Thor”. I think there should be more dress-up occasions. Personally, I think everyone should come to Uni next Tuesday dressed as super-heroes. Even for no other reason but to confuse the hell out of the lecturers.
In a Western world dominated by democracy, the role of a fair and just media is critical. It needs
to provide not only information, but criticism and evaluation of the information it supplies. However, in the media environments of both New Zealand and Australia, ownership is becoming more and more concentrated. This impacts on the ability for media to fulfill its role adequately as we see direct influence from major conglomerates and homogenized content. Corporate ownership There have been several great examples in the Australasian media world of destructive consequences due to concentrated ownership. The most destructive is possibly the recent acquisition of a majority share in Fairfax media by Gina Rinehart. Gina is Australia’s richest women, a mining tycoon with outspoken controversial political views. Following her purchase of a ten percent share in TEN network and a seat on the board late last year, she has now obtained a thirteen per cent dividend in Australia’s second largest print company. Rinehart’s new investments have little to do with the profit potential of print. Fairfax has recently announced a substantial first half profit loss. She is investing in Australia’s media to use them as political tools for which she and her father are notorious. Rinehart was personally involved in the blitz against Labour’s Resource Super Profits Tax that was a significant factor in the ousting of Kevin Rudd as Australian Prime Minister in 2010. This is just one example that leads to the conclusion that her investment in Fairfax is just a way in which corporate elites use the media to dictate political instructions and manipulate public opinion. Monopolistic ownership The other obvious Australian example is media tyrant Rupert Murdoch and his company News Corp. that dominates 70% of the Australian print market. The arrests
at The Sun in England demonstrate the dangers of a concentrated media environment, outlining that a single organisation should never have been given that much power to begin with. This is also applicable to Murdoch’s organisation in Australia as it is one of the most concentrated media environments in the world. News Corp. and Fairfax alone dominate 90 per cent of the newspaper market. This is due to the weak cross-ownership laws enforced in 1992 which are currently under review. A recent report showed that the present media legislation left little room for diversity and steps must be taken to expand. An example of concentration problems closer to home is the coverage given by New Zealand media in the lead up to the 2011 election. Arguably, TV3 only ever portrayed the opposition parties in a negative light and showed only damaging views of their campaigns. This, coupled with TVNZ’s blatant favoritism towards John Key and the National party saw no difference in opinion portrayed from our two key media players. Here, media’s role as the fourth estate was failing drastically. Had there been diversity in ownership of the media, there would have been opportunities to test and evaluate the political agenda. Media as a watchdog The issue with all of these examples can be drawn back to the ever important idea of media as the fourth estate of the realm. This is the idea that media is there as a civil servant to citizens, needing to be independent from both the government and the stakeholders. However, as demonstrated, this is obviously an unachievable ideal. This creates several issues in the quality of the democracy available to the people. The most obvious effect on democracy is the restricted information given to citizens. A key part of democracy is that everyone has the right to knowledge and the ability to make a decision – this is how universal
suffrage is effective. However, if as shown with concentrated media ownership, this is in some way limited or manipulated, and then citizens cannot make an informed decision. Media also need to act as a watchdog on political figures and key people – however, if these people own the very media that should be whistle blowing, it is likely that negative issues will be kept out of the public’s eye. Keeping citizens in the dark is damaging to the quality of democracy. Democracy also requires competition of political parties – this is to keep accountability high and voters interested. However, if the views of the media are streamlined and one sided as New Zealand’s were in the lead up to last year’s election, it is implausible for true competition to be generated. This is also related to another essential element of democracy, which is participation. Quality can only be achieved within a democracy if voters are involved and participate in the politics. As shown with the lowest voter turn out for more than one hundred years in the NZ Election last year, our quality of democracy failed and this can be correlated to the media’s opinions, once again drawn back to concentrated ownership. The media’s role is essential to a quality democracy, and the increasing concentration of media ownership worldwide, but especially within Australasia, is detrimental. The public needs to be alert and aware that media is not fulfilling its civil servant role – we need to be ready to critique it at any moment and question it from all angles. It is now up to us to take the quality of our own democracy into our own hands or else we will end up being manipulated and treated as dense masses. In an age of the loss of independence, we cannot let our opinion become obsolete.
“It is now up to us to take the quality of our own democracy into our own hands or else we will end up being manipulated and treated as dense masses.”
At 5:30am tomorrow, you will be flung out of an aircraft into dense jungle. Just push through the foliage until you get to civilisation. Don’t be a wuss!
You and your money are not getting along so well lately. In fact, you suspect it of infidelity. You need to place a tiny surveillance camera in your wallet to be sure - just next to your credit card. I can supply one if you’re interested.
Look behind you. There should be a plump, unshaven man twenty meters back, in a blue shirt, placing a drink can in the rubbish. The tin contains the next message. If he’s not there - duck.
Be yourself - well, except when you can’t, like when you got possessed by that worm thing that lived in your lungs. So, uh, all the time, I guess. Could you stop sucking on my shirt?
You absolutely can’t stand pettiness. If your flatmate leaves one more note on the fridge about the horse, you’ll stop keeping it in your room and just leave the bloody thing in the lounge. It’s like, man, tried to be considerate, but they just don’t appreciate it.
o the opposite of what common sense tells you today. Wear an extra layer of clothes even though it’s warm. Buy home brewed vodka from your shifty art history tutor... with your bus money! Oooh, you rebel.
You didn’t need that vodka. You shouldn’t have bought it. Someone else might have actually needed it. You selfish pig.
Are you even reading this? Oh god. You’re just going to read everyone elses’. I don’t know why I bother. I typed this for you. Specially. I read it from the stars, so that... oh, fine. I don’t even care. Oh, look, now you’re reading it. After you’re done with ALL the others.
Nope. Too late. You had your chance. I’m going to bed.
Can’t HEAR YOU, you ungrateful bastard.
Another prominent astrologer has informed me that today is going to have some “crazy energy” - so unplug all appliances from the wall before you leave the house! Might end up with a mad toaster or something! Ah ha ha ha! It’s funny because energy means power!
You want a fight? You wanna fight me?... You don’t? Oh, good. I’m tired. But yeah, you should pick a fight today. Go punch Geminis when they stop to look behind them.
Morgahna Godwin Kony. Well I’m not convinced. This Kony ‘experiment’ infected every social media site I belong to, much like chlamydia does to anyone from Hamilton. Don’t get me wrong it’s an awesome concept and it has done what it set out to do, make Kony famous. However, to me it’s one of those situations where us ‘pale folk’ sit back and pretend we’re all doing something. I studied film and I too think it’s amazing what good editing can achieve. But do your research and remember this isn’t an isolated incident. And before you ‘pull finger’ for Kony you should perhaps take a trip to the Auckland City Mission and give them some cans of spaghetti. Word. However, if you are still interested in being an activist for something on the other side of the world, that you know very little about (and you’re oblivious to the poverty in your own backyard), then you can catch up with these guys:
There is one reason I have refrained from ditching my Blackberry for an iPhone. It is because of Temple Run. I saw this tweet from Te Awa (lead singer of Nesian Mystik) and went on a frantic rampage trying to find someone with it on their iPhone.
Te Awanui Reeder @Awa_1
‘I got 4,353,125 points while escaping from demon monkeys in Temple Run. Beat that!’ This is a warning to all of you, I played this game once and I now have screwed up dreams about it. And to make matters worse, when I’m crossing the street I think if I swipe my finger I will automatically jump the car in front of me. Doesn’t work. This tweet took me a while to get. Now I understand.
Chris Brain @Chris_Brain
‘I hope the inventor of autocorrect burns in he’ll’ ME TOO! This is still the funniest auto correct fail I have seen yet.
“To those planning to purchase posters/action kits from the website, it takes up to 4 weeks to get here to NZ, so get ordering now!!” Enough said. On a lighter note: I saw this come up in my twitter feed and I could not control my laughter. It’s like finding out santa claus isn’t real.
benji madden @benjaminmadden
“@JackAllTimeLow just found out that the necklace I been wearin for 10 yrs is just anal beads. Heartbroken” I don’t really know much about Andy Borowitz except that he’s funny as fuck. He pretty much summed up my life in this tweet. Don’t judge me. Prince Willy is my hero. -
Andy Borowitz @BorowitzReport
“Anyone who doesn’t care about Prince William and Kate Middleton must have a life.” Obviously I fall in the ‘don’t have a life category’.
Morgahna is a woman on a mission. Originally from Waihi Beach, she now lives in New York City. You’ll usually find her breaking into song on the side of the road thinking she’s Jay-Z. Be jealous. Follow her on twitter @Godfasher . SOCIAL MEDIA
News that nobody else will cover ThePigeon.co.nz
John Key returned to New Zealand from a diplomatic conference last night, to find the country was a complete shambles. Sources claim the Prime Minister was
condescendingly, “ is make sure everything is alright at home when I’m away and you can’t even manage that!” “Seriously, what the hell do you do all day?”
extremely disappointed and very angry at the nation for not cleaning up the mess we made while he was away, because even though we don’t mind living in a pigsty, he doesn’t expect to come home from a hard day at work to find the country in utter chaos.
“God forbid, if something should happen to me,” Key continued, again addressing the entire nation “this country would just fall apart. I just know it.” The Prime Minister’s emotions reached boiling point however, after spotting Hamilton out of the corner of his eye.
“I work and I work and I work so that we can live in a nice country and have good food everyday and when I come home, I just want to put my feet up and watch my programme for once,” Key said, clearly frustrated, “but I guess that’s just too much to fucking ask.”
“OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” he bellowed suddenly, adding “Who did this?” while pointing at the city. “I want to know NOW, who did this?” “I’m not kidding around here, who is responsible for this atrocious pile of crap?” the Prime Minister raged on as he grabbed the nearest Air New Zealand shares and dashed them to pieces on the floor.
The Prime minister was visibly displeased the nation’s unemployment was still high despite his repeated attempts to rectify the situation. “I’m just one person. I can’t do it all for you dipshits, you need to sort it out for yourself sometimes.”
“Now look what you made me do. Are you happy now?” At press time John Key had reportedly locked himself in his room, leaving the clearly shaken remainder of the country to sombrely reflect what a disappointment we all were to him.
“And it’s not like I’m getting any help,” Key intoned angrily, now looking directly at Deputy Prime Minister Bill English. “All you have to do for this country,” The Prime Minister went on, now speaking slowly and
Disclaimer: The Pigeon delivers satirical news site. None of the events reported, quotes or claims, are intended to cause constipation, heartache or incite sexually charged double entendres.
Brendan Kelly Once upon a time there was a moose, and there was a manatee. This in itself is quite a spectacular
sentence of which I am very proud, given that the manatee lives exclusively in the rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, the Amazon Basin and West Africa and the moose dwells largely in North America and Europe. Nevertheless, once upon a time there was a moose and a manatee, and they were having an interaction. The moose nodded. “Alright?” The manatee appeared startled. “Uh, yep. Can’t complain, I s’pose.” “That’s good. Just been uh, just been walking. In the forest and that.” The manatee looked expectant, which is a look that is not at all easy for a manatee to pull off. He was investing quite a lot in the expression. The moose went on. “So, what have you been up to lately?”
The manatee was surprised. “Um, not much…just, you know. Swimming. Being generally carefree. I am a manatee, so. Basically just, those things. Yeah.” “Ah, true, true. True. True. True. I see. True,” said the moose. “Still,” he said with a mischievous wink, which again is quite hard for an animal to pull off, “must be pretty shit. You know. Being in the water all the time.” “I’m sorry, what?” the manatee inquired, a rather pained frown wrinkling his mammalian forehead. “Oh, you know! Look at you. All floating and submerged all the time. It must be fucking horrible mate.” “Well…I mean. I never really thought about it. Why do you think it’s so bad?” The moose rolled his eyes, his voice taking on a rather exasperated tone. “You’re joking, surely? Look at yourself, bobbing up and down in there like a piece of bread that’s been tossed in the ocean by a belligerent child. Don’t you ever think there must be more to life than behaving like a piece of waterlogged spongecake?” “…well, no. I guess I hadn’t.” The manatee looked despondent for a moment, staring into the middle distance like a 1950’s damsel. “What else is there?” In his excitement the moose clicked his heels together like Sinatra, which is fucking ridiculous and probably not even possible, and his words came out like a stream of words. “What else is there?! What else is…how about trees! The wind! The taste of fresh air on your tongue, the feeling of running downhill into a breeze, the way the dew shimmers in the rising sun after a night of sweet passionate love-making in a clearing beneath the stars!” “Oh, how wonderful!” exclaimed the manatee, which is why
there’s an exclamation mark. His face rose like a joyful helium filled balloon with ‘Happy Birthday Timmy!’ printed on the side. A moment later, it fell as sharply as a piece of wet pottery-clay attached to a pigeon it has just killed in mid-flight. “But surely I can’t feel those things? I’m a manatee. My home is here, beneath the waves, in waters that appear to transcend the barriers of geography and space.” With a sly wink that shamelessly broke the laws of evolution, the moose moved a little closer to the edge of the water. “Ah, that’s where you’re wrong! See, I’ve got a friend over in Dublin, see, and he told me that some animals, specifically herbivorous marine mammals, are only told they can’t survive out of water to save space for the other animals. I think.” Here he gave another wink, “that you could probably feel those things after all. What do you think of that? And,” his voice oozed charm like a seeping wound on George Clooney’s face, “I bet a big powerful beast like you wouldn’t have the slightest issue surviving in any sort of climate.” “Oh, golly!’ exclaimed the sea cow, jumping for joy right out of the water, where it promptly asphyxiated and died. The moose, with a cold look of derision, kicked the lifeless body of the manatee and spat on it. Before the credits rolled, he turned and looked directly at the camera, shattering the illusion I had so carefully constructed that this is real life, the fucking wanker. “You’re probably wondering what this little fable was meant to tell you, yes? Well, let’s see,” he snarled, teeth bared like a Lebanese fighting-tiger. “I suppose you could say one moral of the story is ‘don’t get ideas above your station’. But I don’t reckon that’s the case, my sweet little kiddies, no, I don’t at all. I think the more practical and workable moral of this little tale is this – if you’re a manatee, and you’re approached by a moose, don’t trust a fucking word he says, particularly if he has a nasty twinkle in his eye and the shifty feet of a tap-dancer. Or perhaps the real moral is that you can’t trust anybody, particularly a moose that was trapped in a manatee sanctuary for 16 years before finally fighting his way out with half a baguette and a Twix wrapper. But to me, the moral of this story is a little clearer.” The moose sat down on a nearby tree-stump, his face softening. He patted his pockets, and eventually procured a half-smoked cigar. Fumbling for a match, it took three tries to get the cigar alight. His hooves shook like spaghetti in a hurricane. With a look of intense sadness, his moustache drooping slightly at the corners, he uttered his final words amidst a cloud of smoke. “It seems to me that any animal, with a little prompting, the right motivation and the slightest hint of flattery, can be manipulated into doing pretty much anything.” And as the moose wandered away into the ambiguously located forest, trailing smoke behind him like a despondent steam-engine, the only sound that could be heard from the trees above was the sighing of the mooses. And, finally, once the sighing had stopped, the death gurgle of the manatee. Now there’s something to tell the grandkids.
Morgahna Godwin www.thisismorgs.com
Since moving to New York I’ve found I’m not the only one trying to fight my way through the superficial turbines of the fashion industry. I was aware of one or two people here that were really ‘making waves’, but it seems we have quite a community. I thought I’d profile a few that make me feel super proud to have them representing us. Isaac Hindin Miller
Blogger, Stylist, Writer, Creative Director Isaac is the converse wearing, New York Times affiliated, hipster blogger behind www.isaaclikes.com. He follows the fashion circuit from country to country and does a damn good job of reporting whats-what from the frontline. I met Isaac about two months ago, although I didn’t realise who he was it at the time. A friend and I were at a bar down on the Lower East Side called the Bowery Poetry Club. My friend went to get us a drink when all of a sudden this very tall bearded man wearing an Australian singlet, who I now know to be Tom Bull (the model for Hugo Boss), ever so subtly yells across the room, “Oi, they’re kiwis”. Then from the table opposite me a well dressed man says, “Hi I’m Isaac. Where are you guys from?”. I gave some mediocre response while I was trying to figure out where I had seen him before. We had a short conversation and it wasn’t until we had literally just left the bar that I clicked. The walk back to the train was followed with a lot of hitting my head and repeatedly saying, “You idiot!”.
Blogger, Writer, Model, Style Guru, Personality, Internet Entrprenuer Gala is the epitome of what it means to be totally comfortable in your own skin. She has been writing on the internet since 1996! And has since grown a huge following for her website www.galadarling.com. Since she made the move to New York she has modeled on the runway for fashion eccentric Betsey Johnson, been in add campaigns for Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, had articles written about her in the New York Times, started her own movement ‘The Radical Self Love Project’, but more importantly Gala has made the internet work for her. If you are ever in need of an inspiration boost then head over to Gala’s website, I guarantee you will be set back on the right track.
Stylist, Fashion Editor, Photographer, Punk Rock Princess, Zara is one of the best, if not the best, contemporary stylist we have. She has a definite eye for detail that is very hard to come by. Zara has also worked extensively with Stolen Girlfriends Club through their styling and
womenswear design process. She is also the Fashion Editor of NO Magazine. It is hard not to notice how much of a presence Zara has in the New Zealand fashion industry, and it’s inspiring given she’s only in her mid 20’s. Even though she has now made the leap to the Big Apple I’m sure we will continue to see her creative explosions at New Zealand Fashion Week.
Stolen Girlfriends Club, Luke Harwood
Co-Director and marketing extraordinaire at Stolen Girlfriends Club Stolen Girlfriends Club is one of the fastest growing brands in New Zealand fashion. With international demand growing it only seemed right that they expand into the American market. Luke Harwood, on third of the SGC trio, made the big leap to New York City in the hopes of establishing a lager client base and expanding the brands portfolio. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Luke at Capsule NYC, which is a womenswear showcase for up-and-coming brands. I was, as expected, totally impressed with the collection on offer. The prints that SGC are producing having me doing triple-backwardsbanana-coated-cupcake flips. I can’t wait to see what comes of the New York venture.
Karen Walker I don’t believe Karen Walker needs much of an introduction, but for those not completely in the loop Karen Walker is one of our most successful high-end fashion brands. Karen Walker was the only kiwi to show at New York Fashion Week and that, in its self, is admirable. I wish I could have been there but I was in a somewhat state of shock after seeing Bill Cunningham. It took me an hour to remember where my own apartment was. But from what I hear it was pretty magical. As a side note, Karen Walker eyewear is a legitimate item I would be taking with me in one of those ‘lost on a desert island scenarios’. Word.
There are plenty more kiwi’s over here really making their mark on the fashion industry. I can only hope that more of you join us on this crazy ride. FASHION
GALA DARLING photo credit: Gala Daring
Isaac Hindin Miller photo credit: Noah Emrich
ZARA MIRKIN photo credit: NO Magazine
(taken from NY-fashion week)
photo credit: Issac Hindin Miller
LUKE HARWOOD photo credit: Zara Mirkin
EVENT Review Adam Warin
Lamenting the lost summer the bFM Summer Series that was The bFM Summer Series, which was on last weekend, is becoming a yearly tradition of sorts. It’s a day to spend outdoors,
listening to live music and taking advantage of the relaxed liquor policy. The event was moved down to Wynyard Quarter this year, replacing the usually packed Albert Park in the heart of the city. The move was a success. The venue has already proven itself to be perfect for music festivals when St Jerome’s Laneway was held there earlier in the year. Sensing an opportunity for some interesting photos and anecdotes, I armed myself with a camera and headed down to the event. The bands who took the stage were fantastic. Showing up slightly late to the festivities, I still managed to see local band Street Chant taking the stage as I arrived. I can only describe their sound as a heavy, power pop-esque infusion of Mint Chicks with grungier roots. It was a great way to start the day. Following Street Chant was a band newly introduced to me, The Golden Awesome. The group celebrated the release of their first album, Autum, over the past few months and have graced the stage at New York’s fabled CMJ festival. Die! Die! Die! were next up and this was a band I haven’t really been following since I saw them open for Marilyn Manson back in 2007. But five years later, this is another band from the afternoon which I’ll be investing a good amount of time and energy into. There is nothing worse than being oblivious to live bands in the middle of a crowd. A good friend of mine, who we’ll call Reg, summed up the closing act, The Checks, eloquently. As a hardcore fan, he said it was “a highly exciting, extremely tight performance”. It featured songs spanning their three album career as well as some early rarities, such as The Creek from their 2007 EP Take Me There The clean, green New Zealand binge culture was in check. But the feeling of musical solidarity was overwhelming. It was simply the congregation of music fans both young and old. There were hip youngsters with their horribly disproportionate fringes bopping along beside older, dishevelled music lovers. Pre-teens hopped up on cola and rebellion, getting involved in the latest ‘big thing’. Tattooed grizzly men with Jesus Christ beards and a 1000-yard stare. Guys dressed like girls looking like guys, girls looking like pixies or fairies with flowers and decorations across their faces and a kaleidoscope of hair colours, eye shadows and Chucks. But when that music started, there was little distinction between the crowds. It was like a symbiotic organism, melding together regardless of age, sex, race or tightness of jeans. To lose all inhibitions and pretentions, to simply let loose and enjoy the raw intensity of home-grown, grass roots New Zealand music was a magical feat. Near the end of the day when the evening was nigh, VB bottles and hand-rolled cigarette butts littered the field. Conversation flowed between random individuals,
brought together by drink and rhythm. Maroon corduroys rolled up to the knees and stained with grass, dangling beaded necklaces’ and stretched ears became a staple of the day that was. The exclusivity has been lost, the barriers of mystique have been lowered and the masses of people are coming together for live kiwi music in the dwindling sunset of an uncharacteristic kiwi summer. The sun was out for the most part, the warmth was geared up and the ice cold beer was flowing nicely. It may not have been the rowdy debauch summer send-off we all know and love, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Hopefully the summer weather doesn’t play up as much next year.
I’m pretty sure that every text that attempts to tell people how to lead a moral life includes at least one phrase like “Help those less fortunate than yourself.” Therefore, if you’re seeking Super Citizen status, it seems only right that you should lend your time, your voice, or a portion of your disposable income to those who don’t share your fortune or success in life.
In New Zealand alone, there are 25,519 charities. That’s one charity for every 171 people. And the thing is, all these charities are worthy causes in their own right. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been granted official charity status. So how does one possibly go about choosing a charity, or even five, to support? Ways for aspiring Super Citizens to pick a worthy cause:
For some people, this means helping an elderly neighbour or picking up rubbish for an hour a week. But for lots of people, this means supporting a charity. A charity like Invisible Children.
What do you have to spare?
This is a good place to start. If you’re barely making rent, then giving money to a charity will add strain and eventual resentment. So don’t choose a charity that needs your money. Choose a charity that needs your voice, your time or your skills.
This whole Invisible Children/Kony 2012 saga has gotten a lot of people thinking, a lot of people talking, and even more people typing and tweeting. And for every thousand #StopKony tweets that have circulated, there’s been a fair few #Kony2012IsALoadOfCrap tweets to contradict them.
What tugs at your heartstrings?
Across the board, bold statements have been tossed about, claiming that Invisible Children isn’t a legitimate charitable organisation because “they only donate 32% to their proceeds to the African kids!’ and ‘they spend all their money on administration, travel, advertising and God knows what else!”
Is it children? The elderly? The environment? Animals? Support something you’re passionate about. Support something that rips your heart out every time you hear about it. Support it so that when you hear about it again, you can feel good knowing that you’re doing something to help. Is your charity ethical?
Strong arguments, however, have been fired back, highlighting Invisible Childrens’ emphasis on Western awareness, which thereby accounts for the high administration/travel/other questionable item costs.
There are all sorts of ways that charities can be unethical – do your research. If a charity isn’t legit then someone, somewhere, will know about it. Hop on the Google machine and make sure you’re supporting an ethical cause.
But that’s only the first argument.
Choose a charity that does productive work
The second argument lists the problems New Zealand children face, with cries of “why aren’t we focusing on problems closer to home?!” and “what about the child abuse stats?!”
There are lots of charities that act as a quick fix – they don’t help needy people help themselves. Try and choose a charity that promotes self-sufficiency among needy communities – a charity that gives a man a fishing rod rather than a fish.
These are met with replies such as “Are you actually comparing Kiwi kids to child soldiers in Uganda?” and “Screw what you think, I want a seat on this extremely crowded band wagon!”
Does it make you feel good?
This exact argument is not limited to the choice between abused children of Uganda vs. abused children of New Zealand. It’s breast cancer vs. child cancer, it’s animals vs. humans, it’s UNICEF vs. World Vision.
You should be excited about your charitable contributions. You should feel warm and fuzzy when you come away from an hour of volunteer work or you drop a fiver into a bucket. Supporting a charity should always feel positive and right. Because as Mother Teresa put it,
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
The album is very reflective. Ruess sings about moving on and looking back, failed relationships, and distant dreams, and images of dark lit bars reminiscent of those Billy Joel would visit at nine o’clock on a Saturday. Ruess’ lyrics are often thoughtful and vivid.
FUN. Some Nights Rating:
New Jersey trio Fun. are making big footprints. Some Nights, their second album includes the hit single ‘We are Young’ featuring Janelle Monae on vocals – the track is currently sitting at number two on the New Zealand Music charts, and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. This, on top of its steady Youtube growth as it rapidly climbs past 13 million hits.
Another stand out track on the album is the bombastic hit ‘One Foot’, a track that treads the closet to a hip-hop sound while Ruess screams with frustration that he’s “standing in Brooklyn waiting for something to happen”. Overall, this is a fresh sounding album. Maybe a little too poppy and over-produced for the hardcore indie crowd and Ruess’ voice can get a little too theatrical at times. Yet repeated listens reveal this to be a thoughtful album of substance and weight. Nigel Moffiet
The album is produced by Jeff Bhasker who worked on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – an album that greatly influenced Fun.’s singer Nate Ruess and brought about a musical vision in which he hoped emulate. Some Nights certainly isn’t a hip hop album though. It’s straight pop with rocky hooks and theatrical elements that would very well suit festival audiences. The songs, including ‘We are Young’, are the kind of anthems that call upon chanting crowds and enthusiastic fans. Many of the tracks have rousing rhythms and flow together in a cinematic wash of horns, strings, harmonies, and beats – it’s this big production that one can hear the Kanye inspired elements. The theatrics that play throughout the album, including the ever changing, and sometimes flamboyant pitch of Ruess’ soaring vocals, also brings about a very Queen like element to some of the songs. He is a very strong and confident vocalist.
The Seven Funerals of Charlie Morris Where: Basement Theatre
Rating: A If you feel like watching some quirky and arty theatre production you should definitely head to the Basement. Every week this experimental platform for emerging artists presents something incredibly fascinating and moving. I was lucky to see The Seven Funerals of Charlie Morris, a new play by Elephant
Nation, a group of talented young artists from Auckland. Charlie Morris (Ash Jones) is young and reckless. His life revolves around booze, drugs, crushing hangovers and visits to a local coffee shop. And it is not surprising that Charlie is terribly bored. He pleads for something new and meaningful. He wants a real experience. And life is just about to grant him one, though it is certainly not what this young man had dreamed of. After an unlucky fight with his best friend Pete (Chris Neels who also wrote and directed the play), Charlie ends up in a hospital. He is diagnosed with a terminal brain disease. From that moment Charlie’s life is breaking apart. He just can’t believe that he has to go at the age of 23. In an attempt to deal with it, Charlie decides to try a few funerals from around the world to choose the best way to end his life. With a help from Pete and a charming girl (Esther Stephens) he met on the bus back from the hospital, Charlie embarks on his last adventure. Through the cycle of theatrical funerals all three characters learn what life, death and love are. They have to face grim questions about the afterlife and the fragility of human existence. But at the same time there is a strong appreciation for friendship and love. Nevertheless, the play is not just about philosophical stuff. It is fun to watch because of black humour and awkwardness of the characters. This play comes alive because of the honesty which permeates the performances. The actors’ work is simply superb. It is touching and emotional. It is also pretty amazing how the actors were able to tell such a compelling story with limited props and space. And even though the theme of a life changing terminal disease is not new in film and theatre The Seven Funerals of Charlie Morris still stands out thanks to the work of a talented crew. Overall, the play is life-affirming despite not having a happy ending. It is enjoyable and poignant. Now I just want to see more of Elephant Nation. Ksenia Khor
between people’s teeth and terrible Hawaiian shirts are no problem for this piece. The disconnectedness of the family is also well played out - evident but not over-dramatised. The best feature, by far, would have to be the sustainment of awkward moments, which grip the nerves in mysterious ways. So, was it good? Sure. I certainly enjoyed it. Just another one to muse over a coffee to at your local independent.
Dur: 1hr55min Starring: George Clooney, Patricia Hastie, Shailene Woodley. Dir: Alexander Payne.
Rating: AFor those who are interested in a bit of small-cinema production, George Clooney’s newest film The Descendants might be on your hit list. Featuring Gorgeous George and enough of Fiji to chase away those autumn blues, it may seem the perfect anecdote to the end of summer. The Descendants, however, is a bit more than you would expect with your average Choc-Top. A refreshing change from clichés and a new surge of mindless-Naughties-movies, its standout point is that its main character is in a coma. Yes: a coma. Mouth open and ungraceful, mother-of-two Elizabeth King (Patricia Hastie) is a centre point for all emotion, past happenings, and, in the case of this film, discovered secrets. Her skin pales as those around her flush with anger and excitement, chasing down her past in neighbouring islands and cursing her misdeeds. Some who have watched the film may disagree that Elizabeth is the main focus; after all, there is much acting work devoted to the screen by Clooney and the two daughters he reconnects with. Yet the way the film is structured is much like an autobiography - it appears to be about the person who speaks (or writes) but is really an account of how other people have influenced them. In the case of The Descendants, this autobiographical form is played with: it is not about the main actors, but about the one actor who cannot speak. In this way, all the other actors speak for her silence; whether they are friends, family, or just people who knew her. In addition to this interesting dynamic, there are some other winning qualities to the picture. The way in which it is shot is relaxed and realistic: spit
Dur: 101min Dir: Steve McQueen
Rating: AA beautifully shot, intimately confrontational portrait of a selfdestructive disease, Shame makes sex addiction look equally as disturbing as any drug dependency. The lasting impression conjured is built upon the coming together of of two extremely good artists, one being the director, Steve McQueen, the other, Michael Fassbender, who puts in an astounding performance as sex addict Brandon. Brandon lives in New York city, spending his single life in a never ending and constant battle to satisfy his sexual urges, whether that be through prostitutes, woman at the bar, the internet or the office bathroom. His pursuit of sexual desire is, quite extraordinarily, the overreaching fabric which keeps his life (at least on the outside) together and functioning. When his unstable, free-spirited sister decides, uninvited, to stay with her brother, it stretches this fabric to breaking point, and the slow disintegration of Brandon’s
psychological state is painful and spell-bounding to watch all at the same time. What you are left with at the end of the film is a sense of voyeuristic guilt, at watching a man’s inevitable psychological collapse as he slowly loses his battle with his disease. But while the subject matter is so twisted and dark, McQueen crafts an elegant, technically brilliant piece of art. Long takes and steadicam shots aplenty, there are many instances where McQueen pulls our gaze with nothing more than a shot of a face for over a minute. There is also an almost over the top number of sex scenes, and while it’s easy to get bogged down in the sheer number of them, each serves a purpose, telling us not only who Brandon is but where his headspace is at. McQueen masterfully interweaves a cannibalistic show of flesh and lust, with quiet moments of intimacy where he shows us the dirty and conflicted nature of Brandon’s mind. The dialogue works in the favour of the film, it chugs ahead successfully on its style and on the back of its lead actor. Fassbender has a face that was born for cinema; everything from his cold stares to expressions of sexual ecstasy are mesmerisingly telling and at the same time, tragic. In one scene in which he rants at his sister at being a burden on his life, Fassbender perfectly executes the unjustified dialogue so that we feel his frustration of stifled urges. Carey Mulligan is his perfect match as Brandon’s sister. As her fragile, boisterous character forms a wedge in Brandon’s life, Mulligan forces us to form the brotherly care for her that her brother isn’t displaying. It should be mentioned however that McQueen slightly misses the mark here in raising the stakes. We know Brandon harbours a huge brotherly love for his sister but the effort to portray this on screen feels rushed and unimportant; a bit more finesse and time developing Brandon’s love for his sister in the second half of the film would have really given that sharp impact that becomes more like a fizzle in the film’s climax. An easily overlooked fault though, in what is a gorgeous piece of cinema which vigorously applies the raw emotions of human sexual lust to the viewer’s senses and where the director’s talent and effort illuminates some career best performances. If you can bear the numerous flashes of Michael Fassbender’s penis in the first ten minutes, then the rest of the film is easily manageable, trust me. Matt Neary
The Oatmeal Website review http://www.mightyape.co.nz/
Design- 4/5 Usability-3/5 Creativity-5/5 Content-4/5
I must confess, I have often wondered why a pig is that much better than me or why it is that I should never give a T-Rex cocaine. Luckily there is a website that answers such questions, amongst other things. The Oatmeal is a comic/blog site with a bizarre look on the world. The Oatmeal is run by website designer Matthew Ingman who not only writes all the material but also draws everything on it and in fact designed the website himself (of course it would be somewhat disparaging on his skills if he hadn’t designed it himself). The discovery of the site itself was one of those internet moments where you log on intending to research the role of square cloth in the American civil war (vastly important I assure you) and yet two hours later you’re staring at a poem/comic about a cosmic party gorilla. How is that connection made? I’ll never know. In any case, the aforementioned ‘cosmic party gorilla’ should give you a good picture of what the site’s content is about. That is, whatever Matthew Ingman happens to be thinking about at the time; whether it be facts about octopuses or coffee or even a rant about Twilight (he’s not a fan). The site is, at a glance, easy to navigate. The home page is simply thumbnails of the latest content and a navigation bar at the top leading to the different sections. However, some things are comics and some things are blog posts and it’s not always obvious what’s what, so searching for a specific thing is sometimes a bit of guess work if it’s an older piece. Everything’s arranged in categories, but still, a search bar is needed especially if the site keeps growing at the rate it is (slowly but surely). What makes up for this (admittedly small) issue is that the actual site itself is quite honestly, pretty. Stop me if I trespass into pseudo-design wankery here, but the site is minimalist and cartoony and that sounds like it
wouldn’t really work, but it does. It fits with all the cartoons and the unique brand of humour that Ingman puts out (poop jokes and complaining about people).
baby Isaac’s sacrifice. The grotesque imagery, such as disfigured foetuses, can be a little on the vulgar side and may offend some, but those with a taste for the macabre are likely to revel in it.
The content is certainly unique. The very first post I read on his site was a comic about what I need to stop taking photos of and posting on facebook. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard while reading, except for perhaps ten minutes afterwards when I read “How to tell if your cat is trying to kill you”. Ingman has an advantage over other web-comic writers in that he can draw and string a basic sentence together, but he’s also naturally funny and intelligent. While he may make poop jokes, there’s a sense of actual thought behind it rather than a floundering need for laughs. That is not to say that everything on The Oatmeal is comic gold, but the majority is pretty damn funny. Some sites I’ve visited have never elicited so much as a smile, this makes The Oatmeal a stand out. So grab your hot water, bowl, spoon and choice of breakfast topping and discover just exactly “why printers were sent from hell”.
The Binding of Isaac takes you through randomly generated dungeon levels, one room at a time. This game is very much in the vein of ‘Rogue-like’ games wherein randomisation and permanent death play a huge part. Unlike roguelikes such as Dungeons of Dredmore, this game is very action oriented, often requiring twitchy movements to dodge the barrage of enemies and their projectiles. Isaac is no glorified hero of war; the game never fails to show you just how dark a tale this is. You shoot your own blood and tears at the enemies to progress. Get hit too many times by your enemies and Isaac will die, permanently. Simple as that.
The Binding of Isaac Rating: 3/5 The religious flavours of The Binding of Isaac are up-front as the game opens with Isaac’s mother going mad and hearing the voice of God. She then attempts to kill poor baby Isaac. This disconcertingly cute clip sets the tone for the rest of the game. It is a delightful romp through dark subject matters, deep dungeons, and frightful fates. Just like the bible story, Isaac is being offered up on the altar, however in this reinterpretation, you are given the chance to fight back. Numerous vile, yet adorable, enemies are around every corner champing at the bit to complete
The real fun comes in the form of items. There are certain item rooms, shops, and boss rooms where an upgrade can be picked up. These not only change how the game is played, but they also visually alter your character. For example, the ‘Bucket of Lard’ health upgrade gives you two extra hearts, slows you down, and gives Isaac a larger belly. It is absurdly satisfying testing out different combinations of items to distort Isaac’s appearance and experiment with new playstyles. Some item combinations can be a hindrance rather than a help but luckily, any one item could change your fortune and swiftly make you an all-conquering weapon of mass destruction. Edmund McMillen’s signature art style gives the hideously disfigured enemies a cute cartoon look, similar to his previous game, Super Meat Boy. This makes the game alluring in the most disturbing of ways. Although your foes are charming to look at, they certainly come with a bite. The quick paced combat will likely be a challenge to many, but becomes easier with practice. The copious number of enemies will take a bit of getting used to; this is both a pain and a pleasure. Learning enemy attack patterns is all part and parcel of the experience, but if it is not done post-haste, your run may end all too soon. The Binding of Isaac is a great game with a tonne of content for a small price. I heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys rogue-likes, twin stick shooters, twitch style games, or McMillen’s previous games. It may be a bit gruesome for some, but the sheer replayability and low price point are very hard to argue with. . Lachlan Hornell
What is the name of the mineral that the humans sought in the movie Avatar?
What animal rids itself of excess salt by sneezing saltwater out of its nostrils?
What is the next letter in this sequence, seen every day: ZXCVBN?
Who currently holds the record for the most tries scored for the All Blacks?
What is the most attended or watched sport in the world?
In the film Mary Poppins, Mary said she would only stay until what happened?
Five James Bond films have titles with only one word. Three of them are Thunderball, Moonraker, Octopussy. What are the other two?
What was the first Maori language song to hit No. 1?
What is one of the two Maori names for the South Island?
What is the answer to this riddle: What has no voice but cries, has no wings but flutters, has no teeth but bites?
1) Unobtanium, 2) Marine iguana (lives on Galapagos), 3) M (Bottom line of a standard keyboard), 4) Doug Howlett, 5) Soccer, 6) The wind changed, 7) Goldfinger and Goldeneye, 8) Poi E, 9) Te Wai Pounamu or Te Wako o Aoraki, 10) The wind.
Jason Wells, 19, is a second year business
and communications student who spends his free time helping students with disabilities through his role as AuSM’s disabilities affairs officer. Wells says he has a strong empathy with students who face daily challenges because of their disability. Living with dyslexia, Wells knows the hurdles one can face when pursuing an education with a disability. He talks to debate about the challenges he has faced.
One of your school teachers helped you a lot dealing with dyslexia. How did she help you and how did it help you get through some of the challenges you faced?
Well the teacher that I was thinking of was the one that realised I was in fact dyslexic. She had a meeting with my parents about it. She also would take extra time with me after class and ask if I understood the work. She was not condescending about it, she just treated it like a normal thing and didn’t make me feel like an outcast which was really important to me. Also, the lady in charge of the disabilities centre at my old school, Mt. Roskill, always offered me encouragement and support.
How does dyslexia affect you?
My form of dyslexia means that I have a lot of trouble with spelling and concentrating with words on the page. So it means that I have trouble with vowels and stuff like that and a lot of words I spell incorrectly. Have you found having dyslexia has set you back in life?
It has a little bit. It’s made me sceptical to go and write things on the board and kind of push myself in class. But when I eliminated the mind-set that people would think I’m dumb and learned to accept that I’m different I got over it. It’s always been hard living with the stereotype that you’re dumb and it kind of gets to you and you start to think after a while that ‘maybe I am, maybe I can’t do this’ but after you get just one person who says ‘hey you’re not stupid and you’re not dumb’ it makes it a whole lot easier. It was hard for the first couple of years of my life when I didn’t really know there was actually something wrong with the way that my brain works.
You are also a disabilities affairs officer for AuSM. Has living with dyslexia inspired you to help people with disabilities?
Oh yea, definitely. I see where I would have been if I wasn’t helped by people in the past. So I wouldn’t be at uni probably, I don’t know where I’d be, I don’t like to think about it. But I think that since going through all that experience I’d be able to help other people at AUT that feel like they need to reach out to somebody. Being the disabilities affairs officer really helps with that sort of stuff. You connect with the students. How do you encourage students who are struggling to fit in and learn because of their disability?
I would say own your disability. Don’t be ashamed of it and embrace it and don’t be afraid to seek help. There’s lots of help at AUT. Take what could potentially be a negative, and turn it into a positive. Own your disability so it can’t own you.
debate is looking for some super interesting AUT students to profile. Do you know someone at AUT who we should profile? Is it you? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.
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Published on Mar 18, 2012