Each To Their Own
CONTENTS EDITOR'S LETTER 3 NEWS News 4 Opinion 8 Sports 10 Politics 11 *News* 12 LETTERS & NOTICES 13 FEATURES “What’s Your Opinion?” 15 The Track Changes I Make Independently on This I Would Like to be Published in the Magazine for Visual Effect 16 Love isn’t real because you aren’t hard enough 17 Polarized Opinions 18 Rants on Driving 19 The Myth of Science 20 Memes Are No Joke 21 Dehydration is the Enemy 22 Like A Banana 23 Work for Free? Yeah, Right. 24 Fuck This 25 Fact of the Day 26 Fuck off you have an opinion on everything 27 CENTREFOLD 24 COLUMNS 30 POEM 36 REVIEWS 37 ENTERTAINMENT 44
EDITOR'S LETTER THE OPINION ISSUE I’m deeply in love with Salient’s Opinion Issue. It’s been a proud tradition since 2011 and in this day and age of uncertain job markets and uncertain futures, keeping up traditions is something that brings me great comfort.
We get our opinions from the environment around us. The more something is present in our life, the stronger the opinions we form about it. And we need opinions so bad. We need to form value judgements so we know how to behave and what decisions to make. Study law or econ or fuck it all and go to the circus school in Whitireia? Salted caramel or regular caramel? Allied Towing or Markham Tow Services?
In his editorial, 2015 editor Sam McChesney said “much like arseholes, opinions are wonderful things that are essential to our health. And I’m sure you’ll agree, having a good dump every now and then is an unmatched relief”. I giggled at the toilet humour, and I wished I could write an editorial as funny as his. He’s right though. Voicing your opinion, and having it listened to and valued, is one of the best things for your mental and social health. Feeling empowered and agentive, whoop to that.
Google Dictionary’s definition of “opinion” is “a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”. I hate that, because I feel like everyone believes that their opinion is based in fact or knowledge, otherwise how could anyone be comfortable holding an opinion at all? I wouldn’t feel comfortable having the opinion “global warming is no good”, if I didn’t believe the fact “the current level of carbon emissions humans produce is harmful for the environment”. Similarly, a climate change denialist would feel comfortable in their opinion that “the earth is fine”, because their opinion is rooted in their belief of the fact “climate change isn’t real”.
Last night I was asking my friend Jorgia what I should write my opinion piece on. She said, “tow trucks!” “I never thought I’d have an opinion on tow trucks,” she added, “but now I have this job I feel very strongly about them, and which tow companies are good and bad”. She has a job at a call centre for a company that sends help to cars that have broken down. “It’s ridiculous,” she said, “I had dinner with my workmates the other night and we spent a whole hour talking about how Shelley from Allied Towing is such a bitch. Like was that really necessary?”.
In the end, the only thing to do is to go on out there and voice your opinions frequently. Keep it regular.
LOUISE LIN Editor
The News MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
Harsh Criticism to Auckland University Library Restructure PATRICK HAYES
The proposal to centralise the libraries at the University of Auckland has been faced with harsh criticism by the student and staff communities.
in decision making. The Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) were also heavily critical of the proposal. “The closure of libraries represents the University shutting out student voices,” said Jess Palairet, an AUSA spokesperson. She disagreed with university calling the closure of libraries an “employment issue”. “This is rubbish,” she said. “It's both an employment and academic issue — and we are perfectly able to talk about the adverse academic impacts that closing specialist libraries will have on students.”
A number of protests have taken place over recent weeks. A 100 person sit-in occured on 27 April at the Fine Arts School, followed by a protest march of around 1,000 people on 29 May. On 17 May a crowd of up to 2,000 people temporarily blocked Symonds Street, which runs through the campus. Currently, the University hosts three specialist libraries within the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries: the Fine Arts Library, the Music and Dance Library, and the Architecture and Planning Library. In addition, there is the Tāmaki Campus Library, which hosts services for public health and exercise sciences, and the Epsom Library, which serves education, social work, and human services. The majority of the University is served however, by the general library, which houses the majority of the University’s library collection.
Students are extremely vocal on the issue, protesting that they have not been consulted properly on the issue. One student who spoke to Salient praised the current value of library resources: “The crux of resource finding happens in the browsing of the shelves. This will now be near impossible, given that the shelves will have a skeletal portion of the music library’s collection available on hand.” Another student was equally frustrated by the nature of the proposal, saying “I feel that the roles of universities are to be the keepers of knowledge. By getting rid of the music library, the University of Auckland is essentially abandoning this role”.
What has been proposed is the consolidation of the three Creative Arts and Industries libraries, and the Tāmaki and Epsom libraries, into the general library and/or into storage. The proposal document cited a dropping number of students using the specialist libraries, a deterioration of the facilities, and lack of disability access as major proponents in the decision to consolidate the libraries.
Some students are more optimistic about the change. “It just makes more sense for the University to have a centralised library, and I struggle to see how a four minute extra walk to the library is an inconvenience,” another student said.
Several organisations and movements have been formed in an attempt to halt the proposals from going ahead. One such movement, A New University, was formed by students and staff of the University of Auckland, to illustrate problems which they believe go far deeper than the library closures in and of themselves. The movement was very heavily critical of the way that the University was run as a whole.
Auckland University Vice-Chancellor Stuart McCutcheon said that while the proposed changes were controversial, they were in the name of ensuring a high standard of quality education at the university. “It is very clear now that we will have to continue reshaping the university and reducing administrative costs wherever we can if we are to avoid reducing academic quality — which of course we must.”
“For a long time the University of Auckland management have taken an approach to decision making that is both undemocratic, and based on a corporate model that simply doesn't make sense in an education and research environment,” said a spokesperson from A New University. The group proposes that the university be more democratised, with much more direct student and staff involvement
Victoria University of Wellington does not plan any changes to its current library arrangement, and would consider specialist libraries on the basis of priorities for the university. A spokesperson from VUW cited consistent positive feedback on Victoria's current library services.
MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
TRASH & DASH Bontanical Gardens Defaced After Student Party LOUISE LIN
27 May, Remembrance Ridge, Wellington Botanical Gardens
Piles of rubbish left behind after a party on 26 May at the Botanical Gardens has left a Wellington resident concerned and frustrated.
so it seems kind of silly that we're the ones with the most trash in public places.”
The litter left behind included cans, bottles, cardboard, and broken glass. The party was allegedly the second one that week. The resident said “most people consider the Botanic Gardens to be a much-loved treasure and a wonderful asset to Wellington. I find it really sad when small groups trample over that”.
The resident said he wished to see a change in student culture, suggesting that environmentally-minded students could have Botanic Garden clean-ups as well as beach clean-ups. Hogg said that was an event she is willing to host. She said that the Environment Club had previously hosted a clean-up at Kelburn Park, collecting 16 bags of trash.
Parties at the Botans have been happening for “several years,” he said. He said that mess left from parties at the gardens in the past has included vomit, urine, and furniture, including a couch and a broken camping table.
MacLean said that the council gets ongoing complaints about trash in the gardens. They don’t keep an “absolute record” of complaints, saying that while there are cases of rubbish and vandalism, it “doesn’t happen every weekend”.
Nina Hogg, president of the Vic House Environment Club, said having drinks in the Botans or in Kelburn has become tradition, and it “seems like the only option when you’re poor”.
The Council patrols the Gardens regularly during summer as they know it’s an “attractive place for an al fresco party”. MacLean said he was surprised that the parties are still happening as winter arrives. “It’s normally a summer thing, as it’s pretty cold in the Gardens this time of year,” he said.
She pointed to a lack of safe, free venues for students to go drinking as a reason why many head to the Gardens. “Halls kick [students] out at 10pm, or they find that [the Gardens] is an easy spot for everyone to access”.
MacLean said that the council was not planning to change the liquor licensing laws around the Botanical Gardens. He said the council “can deal” with the issue. He then added “but it would be nice if you could give a message to any students who are going to party at the Botanical Gardens, please don’t treat it as a rubbish dump… don’t expect people to come clean up after you”.
Richard MacLean, spokesperson from the Wellington City Council, said the parties were “not necessarily students”. However, Nina said the last party, at least, was student led, as her friend had recognized it as “some mate’s 19th”.
Custodians hired by the Council are expected to clean up any rubbish or vandalism in the Botanical Gardens.
“I feel really sad that students are trashing the Botans, that's ourmy reputation” said Hogg. “I want students to be seen as making change. we're the ones who are leading the sustainability movement 5
MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
LAW STUDENTS' PRIVACY BREACHED EMMA SIDNAM On 25 May, the Faculty of Law breached the privacy of over a thousand Victoria University Students. In an email invitation to a number of law events, 200 and 300 level students were sent a spreadsheet which included the full names, student ID numbers, and personal emails of 1,200 students. Two minutes after the first email a recall email was sent, and an hour later, an urgent recall email was sent, reading: “Some of you may have received an email containing a confidential Excel spreadsheet of students details. This was sent in error. In line with legal integrity, if you received the message, could you please refrain from viewing the Excel spreadsheet and immediately delete the email and spreadsheet. It would be greatly appreciated if you could please confirm when you have done this.” After several hours, an apology on behalf of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dean, and DeputyDean of Law was sent out to students, and contact details were provided for anyone with particular concerns. “Our sincere apologies for this mistake and the inadvertent sharing of this information. We take our privacy obligations seriously are are dismayed that this has occurred. We
will review what happened and update our processes to ensure this does not happen again.” One Victoria University student who did not wish to be identified said the breach was particularly significant because student ID numbers are vital to how students access their grades, and that the breach “potentially leaves people's grades visible to most of those 1200 people on the spreadsheet”. “An apology feels unsatisfactory to me,” the student said. On 1 July, Law Faculty Management sent an email to students reassuring them that access to grades on Blackboard are password protected, and the “information contained in the spreadsheet does not enable any student to see or access any other student’s assessment results”. The day before the breach, the VUW Privacy Officer had emailed the student body to reiterate the importance of student’s privacy to the University in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which has recently come into effect. A University spokesperson said that they are currently investigating how the breach occurred.
Queer Coverage: Local, National, and International LGBTQIA+ News ERIN PAGE, UNIQ VICTORIA CO-PRESIDENT CANADIAN BIRTH CERTIFICATES TO ALLOW FOR NO GENDER MARKER
Named on the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Women to Watch” list in 2005, Katsuma is well-known in Japan, particularly as an advocate for working mothers. Japan currently has no federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
On 25 May, the government of Saskatchewan, Canada, ruled that birth certificates can now be issued without a gender marker, following two complaints made in 2014 and 2017. The province of Ontario also allows for the removal of a gender marker from a birth certificate, although the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission stated that Saskatchewan is the first province to be told by a court to permit the removal of gender on the certificates. The federal Canadian Government implemented gender neutral passports last year, allowing people the option of M, F, or X. Canada also recognises gender neutral passports from other countries. HIGH PROFILE BUSINESS KATSUMA COMES OUT
SIR IAN MCKELLAN “NOT SURPRISED” DUMBLEDORE NOT EXPLICITLY DEPICTED AS GAY Sir Ian McKellan has remarked that, though frustrated, he is not surprised that Dumbledore’s sexuality won’t be alluded to in the next instalment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Director of the film David Yates has defended the decision, saying “…fans are already ‘aware’ of Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald”. J.K. Rowling never alluded to Dumbledore’s sexuality in any of the Harry Potter novels, but in 2007 — three months after the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — she told a fan she’d “always thought of Dumbledore as gay”. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is set to be released in the United States on 16 November 2018.
Kazuyo Katsuma has come out in an interview with Buzzfeed Japan, revealing that she is in a same-sex relationship with prominent LGBT rights activist Hiroko Masuhara. Katsuma said she decided to come out as it was an “opportunity for society to change”. 6
MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
IRELAND REPEALS ABORTION BAN POPPY DONOGHUE Ireland voted by a two-thirds majority in a public referendum to repeal the ban on abortion on 25 May.
For the past 35 years, abortions have been prohibited in Ireland under the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution. The strict Irish law resulted in many women being forced to travel overseas to have access to safe abortion.
Most New Zealanders access abortions on the ground that continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk to a person’s mental health, which requires two doctors agree on the situation.
the pregnancy is a result of incest; or the pregnant person is “severely subnormal”.
National Party leader Simon Bridges said in an interview with 1 News that “Overall, I think the regime we have for abortions is working well".
Ireland’s law against abortion was among the most restrictive in the world. The only grounds on which abortions were allowed was if continuing the pregnancy posed a danger to the woman’s life.
Bridges publicly stated that he is opposed to removing abortion from the Crimes Act, saying that abortions should be “rare, safe, legal”.
There was a common belief that Ireland would vote against decriminalising abortion, owing to its strong Catholic roots. Abortion is still in the New Zealand Crimes Act.
In February Justice Minister Andrew Little stated the Ardern Government’s policy intention is to treat abortion as a health issue, rather than a criminal issue. He asked the Law Commision to provide advice on how this could be done, and a report is expected in October this year.
For a pregnant person to get access to an abortion in New Zealand under 20 weeks of gestation, their situation must fall into one of the following categories: • the pregnancy poses a serious risk to their life, health or mental state; • there is a substantial risk the child, if born, would be “seriously handicapped”;
In a recent Radio New Zealand interview, Little said that he would be surprised if New Zealand does not follow Ireland in reforming abortion law.
New Zealand Not Quite Paradise for Queer Asians ANANYA SHAMIHOKE An academic’s claim that New Zealand is a queer “paradise” compared with socially conservative Asian countries may not paint the full picture.
A queer Asian, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that while it was easier to be queer in Aotearoa than in other Asian countries, New Zealand is “nowhere near being a paradise for us.”
International students at Victoria agree that New Zealand is a more supportive environment for queer youth, but are unsure as to whether NZ is really a queer “Mecca”.
They said “Many queers I know are not out to their families because the threat of violence and disownment is very real… I think sometimes in diaspora, migrants hold on to an idea of their culture from the time they left, and it can be more conservative than back in their home countries. My parents think homosexuality is a mental illness and a sin, and still pressure me to get hetero married even though I’ve been out to them for over five years”.
In an article on the “Asian gay” community in New Zealand, AUT Associate Professor Sharyn Davies told the New Zealand Herald that, “in New Zealand, we have anti-discrimination laws and allow same sex marriage, so yes, it's a Mecca. NZ is quite like paradise".
They go on to add, “dealing with racism and lack of cultural sensitivity from the Pākehā queer community is also frustrating... I’ve had my culture and language both fetishised and disrespected/ disregarded when I’ve been relationships with queer white women and by white queers in general”.
60% of respondents to Gallup Analytics’ global poll said that New Zealand was “a good place for gays or lesbians”. Less than 20% of respondents felt the same way about most Asian countries, including India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Russia.
A spokesperson for Victoria University said that to the best of their knowledge, there have been no complaints or concerns from international students about derogatory or racist behaviour directed at them during their time at Victoria in 2018.
A representative of Victoria’s International Students’ Association (V-ISA) said that the attitude towards queer people “is definitely more open” in New Zealand compared to most Asian countries where they still receive hostile treatment. They said that in their home countries, queer people are “not embraced and find it difficult to express themselves, especially when it is still somewhat an issue that is not touched on… In New Zealand, there's without doubt more support for queer people”.
Currently, there are no international students that UniQ is aware of attending UniQ’s regular events. UniQ is the representative group for queer students on the Victoria University Campus. 7
Opinion MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
TRUMP'S AME RICA Former Reality TV Star Donald Trump Isn't A Very Good President TORI BRIGHT Robert Mueller has so far initiated criminal proceedings against 19 people. The indictments include former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, policy advisor George Papadopoulos, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, as well as 13 Russian nationals. Charges across the board include several counts of money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy against the United States. Trump may repeatedly refer to the investigation as a “witch-hunt”, but more arrests have been made by Mueller already than nearly any other special counsel in US history. Four of the five Americans arrested have plead guilty. Several more arrests are expected to come, with many close associates to Trump remaining under close investigation — including both his eldest son, and longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
Evidence continues to mount concerning the President’s complicity in allowing Russian interference in the 2016 election, not just in regards to the Russian propagandists that promoted Trump to victory, but also in the several attempts made by Donald Trump to end this investigation prematurely. I believe we’re at the point where we can stop questioning whether Donald Trump has committed a crime. Obstruction of justice is a crime. The real question that we’re creeping towards uncovering is — what exactly is he trying to hide? When Donald Trump fired James Comey as Director of the FBI last May, the official line from the White House quoted the handling of the investigation into Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton as the reason. 11 days before the 2016 election, Comey revealed the FBI would be continuing to review Clinton’s handling of her private email server as Secretary of State. Despite a following report nine days later that nothing incriminating was found, the damage was done, and public trust in Clinton was greatly undermined.
If you want a Commander in Chief whose optics and ego take precedence over his passion for national security, then look no further than the man that bragged he had the tallest building in the Manhattan skyline after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. If not treasonous, Donald Trump is un-American: he spent Memorial Day advertising 25% off his own Make America Great Again branded merchandise, and has repeatedly flaunted the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting patronage and loans into his personal business from foreign governments. It is far more likely that personal enrichment is the driving force behind Trump’s actions, as opposed to some totalitarian fantasy to rule a fascist government. As far as criminal enterprises go, this one doesn’t seem that coordinated.
It has been asserted by the press that the President’s desire to remove Comey was far more likely due to the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, and the subsequent interference in the election. On 31 May, this was revealed to be the case. Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe turned over a memo to investigators in May of last year that reveals Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein advised McCabe that Trump wanted to cite the Russian investigation when announcing Comey’s dismissal. Rosenstein's admission confirms that the “great pressure” the investigation was putting on him was the chief concern of Donald Trump. A focal point in determining Trump’s complicity in the defrauding of American democracy; Comey’s dismissal was the primary evidence of obstruction of justice, prompting Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller to lead a special counsel to continue the probe.
While the drawn-out investigative proceedings continue, so does Trump’s time in office. The House and Senate may have grounds to impeach, yet not even a constitutional crisis can prompt them to act. Call me an optimist, but a part of me believes that Donald Trump will not finish his term. Call me a doomsdayer, but a part of me thinks he will.
Opinion MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
TRUMP THE FLIP-FLOP CALUM STEELE Trump’s flip-flopping on North Korea is starting to make me dizzy. Indeed, I am tempted to start calling him Donald Haviana Trump now, as homage to this most irksome of traits.
piece it back together again. In fact it is allegedly Trump himself — exhibiting the attention span of a gnat — who is furiously prodding his officials to get the meeting back on track.
In the space of a couple of a months Trump has gone from threatening a nuclear holocaust, to making thinly veiled requests for a Nobel Peace Prize (as he was allegedly responsible for getting the North and South Korean leaders to sit down and hobnob for the first time), to eventually cancelling the planned summit in Singapore between his good self and Mr Kim. It appears however, not all is what it seems, and talk abounds that the summit might yet be back on, according to various reports from the BBC and Russian state news wire service TASS.
Personally, I was never sold on the idea of a fruitful meeting between the titular head of the free world and the murderous little princeling of an antediluvian fiefdom. As I have said before, there would be every tangible benefit for North Korea and at best few benefits for the club of civilized nations. However, Trump’s method for negotiating would seem to be giving Kim a propaganda coup as he can now successfully — and not without just cause — portray himself as the “adult in the room”. The summit could yet see the light of day, however, considering that as of 29 May, the White House has dispatched — with all haste — a team of negotiators to Pyongyang to salvage the deal; it is possible that we might yet see “peace in our time” between America and North Korea.
I maintain from the outset that any potential meeting between Messrs Trump and Kim would have been a spectacular own goal for the US and its interests, and an unparalleled win for the North Korean regime. After all Trump has very little to gain, realistically, and everything to lose from such a summit — owing to the unlikelihood of him receiving any tangible benefits. On the other side of the coin, Kim has nothing to lose and everything to gain in being recognised as a “legitimate” government and international actor.
The structure of the summit, and its main sticking points, is unlikely to change if the meeting does go ahead. “Denuclearisation” is at the top of the agenda, although it would seem both sides have radically different ideas as to what this actually means. It is apparent that Kim has followed through on his promise to “destroy” his nuclear testing ground at Punggye-ri, as various media outlets released videos of plumes of smoke and dust rising from the site, as tunnels were sealed with explosives on 24 May. That being said, if the possible summit goes tits-up, it wouldn’t be especially hard for them to simply reopen the site and start letting off nukes left and right.
Trump has offered numerous reasons for sabotaging the summit of 24 May, namely because North Korea wasn’t entering into “the spirit” of it. Personally I think he was just trying to dodge the incoming bullet of Kim Jong-Un potentially cancelling the summit himself, after he did the same with a meeting with Moon Jae-In of South Korea on 19 May. Cancellation of the summit came hot on the heels of the minting of a commemorative coin for the envisaged meeting in Singapore, with Trump and Kim’s busts facing each other on the reverse of the coin with the word “peace” above them. No-one in the US Government seems to take responsibility for this particular gaffe — an embarrassment regardless of whether or not said summit goes ahead.
The most recent updates from — you guessed it — Twitter, indicate that the summit could tentatively be back on, with Trump tweeting on 28 May "I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day, Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!". With more twists and take-backs than your average reality TV show, I — along with the rest of the world — eagerly anticipate the next episode in Love Island: The Trump & Kim Special.
According to CNN, Trump didn’t tell anyone he was going to spike the summit before his official announcement on the 24 May, and it appears that officials from both parties are now furiously trying to 9
Sports MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
FORMULA ONE SEASON HEATING UP FOR SOME KELLEN FARMER
Daniel Ricciardo wins the Monaco Grand Prix
Let me tell you how to create the perfect winning recipe for motorsport’s biggest spectacle, the Monaco Grand Prix. You start with a strong base of consistent laps in practices one, two, and three, a concise amount of aggression in qualifying, topped off by a smattering of a cool, collected temperament.
managed to finish in the points (top 10) once so far, further calling into question his ability to race under pressure with some of the world’s greatest drivers. It was an unfortunate end to Hartley’s otherwise strong race, one where he needed to prove himself as someone Toro Rosso could rely on to help develop the young team and push for points finishes, in what has been a very tightly contested battle amongst the backmarkers thus far in the season.
Daniel Ricciardo had all these ingredients, resulting in his 7th Formula One victory last week at the iconic Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. His team, Red Bull Racing, looked strong all weekend, dominating all three practices. Despite his team mate Max Verstappen crashing out in the third and final practice, Ricciardo took the momentum he had from practices and posted a sensational qualifying lap that landed him on pole position for the start of the race. From there, Ricciardo was able to dictate the race and managed to fend off a daring Sebastian Vettel from Ferrari.
Motorsport in New Zealand is often overshadowed by popular team sports such as rugby, netball, and football, and so it would be a real tragedy if Hartley was replaced before his Formula One career really took off. By racing in motorsport's highest pedigree, Hartley is able to bring the excitement and interest of Formula One to New Zealanders. Without him, the sport will struggle to find a place among its peers.
Opposed to the highs of Australian-born Ricciardo over the weekend, Kiwi Brendon Hartley was unlucky not to finish the race in a battle for a points position, after being taken out by local hero Charles Leclerc just six laps before the race finished. Leclerc suffered a brake failure, losing control and smashing into the back of Hartley, ending both drivers’ races prematurely.
If Hartley is to secure his spot for the season and give Motorsport in New Zealand any chance of survival, he really needs to start stringing some results together. His next chance is in Montreal, Canada this weekend, a track notorious for long straights which may see backmarkers struggle against the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari. While a few unlucky incidents have gone the wrong way for Hartley, he of all people knows his seat is getting warmer by the day and the pressure to perform is mounting. It may require something special over the next few weekends if he is to keep his seat at Toro Rosso.
The crash comes after weeks of speculation surrounding Hartley’s position in Formula One this season. The Palmerston Northborn driver debuted in Formula One last year, looking promising for team Toro Rosso despite only starting in the last four races of the season. However, in the six races this year, Hartley has only 10
Politics MONDAY 4 JUNE 2018
POLITICAL ROUND UP
THE PARTY LINE
Budget Opinion Call me sad, but I had been looking forward to Jacinda’s first Budget for a good long while. Of course, I had the idea that this would be a day of confirming or denying the hole in Labour’s three year plan that Minister for Everything Steven Joyce whinged to the media about last year. Seemed like a pretty big deal at the time, when he claimed that it amounted to around 11.7 billion dollars. What I could never fathom about Budget day is that how it is the most hyped up day of politics and also the most boring? Politicians need to use language around money that the masses can relate to — no wonder people my age don’t want to contribute to the political scene in New Zealand. We just don’t understand, and so many just don’t care. I’m not a fake Labour fan because of fees-free this year, I’ve been wanting the party to make a difference all my life. But with no further money being put towards changes that benefit university students in the Budget, it certainly won’t get us voting at the polling booths come 2020. Robertson’s yarn didn’t grab me at all. There was nothing in it for me. Political commentators are like a broken record, saying that this is the era of “generational politics” where youth issues are becoming more important in society. This age group needs another reason to hope in our Government. Labour went all out on the fees-free campaign policy, and it did get more students to vote — 6.5% more of them to be exact. I’m one of the few lucky ones not having to deal with StudyLink and having a student loan, so I’ve been wanting to know if I’ll have to borrow money from the Government in order to continue my education. That’s the peace of mind I’ve been after for a good long while. With the Budget now delivered, and Kingmaker Winston Peters due to take the reigns of the Labour NZ First Government around mid June, he is left to implement the monetary promises being laid down by Finance Minister Grant Robertson. Right now, we live in a sad nation when the Budget is the one thing the media looks forward to in the political calendar. - Thomas Campbell
In your opinion, what is one strength and one weakness of the 2018 Budget? VICNATS Budget 2018 proved that the Ardern-Peters Government is all talk and no action. The Labour party had racked up an endless list of promises throughout the election and this Budget showed New Zealanders that the money to fund them simply isn’t there. The biggest disappointment was undoubtedly the lack of investment in mental health. The last National Government committed $100 million dollars to fund 17 new initiatives throughout the country. Labour however has set aside a measly $10.5 million to establish an enquiry. The bare minimum they were required to do under their confidence and supply agreement. Letting down everyone from farmers to students in the process. However the Young Nats are thankful that the Budget managed to be printed at all after the company that prints the Budget went on strike the day before. - Grahame Woods GREENS AT VIC Budget 2018 merely tinkers with our fundamentally broken economy. Some small initiatives are positive steps forward, such as $90 million over four years allocated to tackling family and sexual violence. Others are setbacks: increased funding for law and order, with capital expenditure allocated to Corrections increasing by over a third, and the police being funded for 1,800 new officers. It is crucial however to concentrate on the bigger picture with the Budget, and to focus on the overall vision for society being presented, rather than paying too much attention to individual details — missing the forest through the trees. This Budget demonstrates that the Government are not interested in the structural change Aotearoa so desperately needs. Inequality is ruining people’s lives. Carbon emissions pose an existential threat to the future of our planet. Both of these crises stem from neoliberal policies — low government spending; low taxes on the rich; a lack of economic intervention. The Budget does not tax the rich, while it does meet targets on expenditure and debt reduction which result in spending being even less than under National. Labour are continuing the philosophy that a small government is best, while wages are 11
low, children are going hungry, housing unaffordability is putting so many people under stress, the climate continues to be polluted, and the wealthy continue to profit from our rigged economy. This Budget is a disgrace. -Elliot Crossan VICLABOUR The biggest strength of this Budget is that it revitalizes our public service in the two areas which needed it most — education and health. The early childhood sector desperately needed extra funding during the last government. With this Budget, the Government is responding with a universal increase in funding that will benefit 200,000 children. As more schools are suffering from over-packed classrooms, this Budget ensures that more classrooms are built. There will be 1500 more teachers employed to teach the kids, meaning they will get the attention they need. And health (completely forgotten by old man Coleman) now gets some much needed money and attention. Hospitals are going to be fixed and midwives are getting a pay increase. This Government is also taking the mental health of young people seriously, with funding for youth services and putting nurses in more schools. One weakness: Budget 2018 leaves New Zealand better off than it was a year ago, but we could have spent more to tackle our biggest issues. We’re looking forward to seeing that happen in Grant’s second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth budgets. Having laid the foundations, we’re excited to see what the Government does next.
REAL NEWS IS ALMOST SATIRE AT THIS POINT ANYWAY
Diss Tracks Are Poetry, Tuatara to Assume a Larger Role in Student Just Admit You Have Life A Crush KII “SALIENTFM” SMALL
This week, rapper and certified drug dealer Pusha T got into a poetic altercation with Canadian rapper and instagram papi Drake, over alleged ghostwriting and overall talent. Pusha dropped Daytona this week — fully produced by Kanye “Say my Name” West — which addressed Drake’s ghostwriting rumours, Kanye’s mental state, and how the drug market is looking this summer in California. Drake and his OvO crew retaliated 48 hours later with “Duppy Freestyle”, which called out Pusha T for not actually being “that big” of a drug dealer, and slandering Kanye for asking for money last year. “Fuck Drizzy really turned him like Meek Mill,” said apparent rap fanatic Courtney White, who labels herself a “diehard fan” having listened to Views with her boyfriend that one time. Pusha T — also known for potentially killing people that were once alive — took the insults about drug dealing and ghostwriting and decided to hit back at Drake, accusing him of being a “deadbeat motherfucker” to his alleged son. Pusha continued to insult Drake’s family: calling Drake’s father Dennis Graham a deadbeat Dad, saying Drake isn’t taking full responsibility for his child, attacking Drake for not being proud of his former porn star baby momma, and even taking a hit at Drake’s producer who will “die soon” from MS. “Woah that’s just not on to be honest. Do you really think Drake has a child to anyone that’s not me?” responded White after hearing the best soundbites from the track. Drake is reportedly writing a new song dedicated to Pusha T, thanking him for the last 96 hours of being holed up in a studio writing poetry about Pusha while Pusha also secludes himself to write poetry about Drake.
Victoria University is considering giving its resident lounge (a group of lizards is known as a “lounge”) of tuatara a larger role in student life after it was found that the chance to meet the tuatara convinced 35% of students to take the SERU International Undergraduate Survey. VUW’s tuatara — Hazel, Spike, Shorty, and Phoebe — have a diverse role at the University already. As the trimester ends, they will be at select lectures with dropping attendance, in a last-ditch attempt to convince students to show up. “Some days, the tuatara are the only thing that convince me to go to uni,” said fourth year law student Georgina Patel. “I like to go to their enclosure, stare into their eyes, and contemplate the abyss. I’m so glad that the university is providing the option to do that from the cavernous wastelands of late-trimester lectures.” The tuatara and their handlers will sit at the front of the lecture theatres to provide a focal point for students who are, at this stage in the semester, unable to meet their lecturer’s eye. It is hoped that their still, calm presence will help sleep deprived students to focus. Mauri Ora is lobbying to use the tuatara as emotional support animals, to comfort students during the months-long wait for a student counselling appointment. This initiative was proposed after Mauri Ora found the fish tank recently installed its foyer was not an effective substitute for quality mental health services. Tuatara “cuddle sessions” are rolling out from this week. “I’m happy to do my bit for the University, and if that means bribing students into staying complacent as stress erodes at their well-being just like humans have eroded my habitat, then I’m satisfied,” said Hazel the tuatara, speaking from her current enclosure in the Murphy Building.
Underground Artisan Tobacco Culture Emerges with Plain Packaging
targets rich hipsters and impressionable 18-year-olds with his “artisan” cigarettes. “The hipsters are easy, ‘cause they like anything that looks pretty and feels vaguely dangerous. The kids? The kids have no fucking clue what brand of tobacco to get — put something shiny in front of them and they’re sold.” “I mean, obviously smoking is bad for you. You shouldn’t fucking smoke,” said Kellerney. “But you’re gonna smoke anyway aren’t ya, so I reckon there’s money to be found in making that a pleasant experience.” One source told Salient that David Seymour — despite not being a smoker — commissioned a pack of Benson & Hegdes painted with “LAISSEZ FAIRE” in gold. The source also said Kellerney charged Seymour double the supermarket price for a pack of B&H.
BUFF SILVER New laws banning branded cigarette packets have come into effect in New Zealand over the last few weeks, and one tobacco enthusiast has turned entrepreneur. Ron Kellerny is the King Pin of a new, innovative underworld business that he’s calling “Dart Crafting”. Dismayed at the lack of colour and branding on his usual Port Royal pouch, Kellerny has employed 15 local Wellington artists to create unique designs over the black, bureaucratically-mandated packaging. Kellerny then upsells the new-look pouches and packs on the deep web, or on the street for 10% over the retail price. Kellerny, a self-proclaimed “Bachelor of Darts”, predominantly
UPDATES ON KYLIE JENNER'S BABY Salient can neither confirm nor deny whether Kylie Jenner’s hot bodyguard is in fact Stormi Webster’s daddy, but we can confirm that Kylie Jenner’s hot bodyguard is definitely a Daddy™. Salient still does not give a single fuck about Kylie Jenner’s baby, but is now extremely invested in Stormi Webster’s Daddy. 12
LETTERS Kia Ora Salient, I came to New Zealand three months ago and am sure that my lungs still can’t believe the fresh air they receive every day. When you’ve always been living in a crowded and polluted place, you take it for granted and forget that you have the right to breathe fresh air. Since I’m living here, I do anything to keep the environment clean. For me, it’s not a shame to bend over and take someone else’s trash. I even do it with a smile, because I know that not everyone experienced living in a country that children, pregnant women, and old people cannot go out of their homes due to air pollution. Not everyone has experienced coming home and seeing a dark layer on their clothes. I feel this responsibility on my shoulders, because I experienced both sides of the story. This is for me like I’ve had a bad dream and woke up to a beautiful reality. If those who have the privilege of living in that part of our beautiful planet that’s still green and non-polluted could replace their place with those who are living in pure smoke (just like ‘Rich house, Poor house’ program on TV), everyone would feel the urgent need to step up and fight for a more green planet. I know the worth of this beautiful nature in New Zealand and I do not want to harm it in any possible way. Best, Anonymous
the absence of the word-search. I mean boggle? Do I really want to spend half an hour of my "precious time" staring at the same 5 letters and trying desperately to think if "cheni" is actually a word? I don't think so. No offence, but if Boggle is really necessary, you should come up a combination of letters that gives more words than a measly 8 in order to be considered "eh". Word-search just reminds me of the good days at primary, when the relief teacher would chuck us a sheet with one about fruit or weird animals or something super relevant to what we were learning about. Here's to more procrastination. Anyway, I hope I'm not the only one who feels this strongly about a bunch of letters. If there are more of you, hit me up and we can form a cult. From: I'm not mad, just disappointed.
LETTER OF THE WEEK* Dear Editor, I met the local celebrity that is Mittens the cat earlier this week. He was large and extremely fluffy. I wouldn't mind meeting him again. If Salient is ever to organise an event that brings together important local personages I would recommend inviting Mittens. I would attend in order to renew our acquaintance.
BRING BACK THE WORD SEARCH Hey Salient, Mondays suck, it's universally acknowledged. Sometimes, on a particularly dreary start to the week, the thing I look forward to the most is running to the racks en route to my far too early tutorial to pick up a salient. Yep, I even get excited thinking about what colour the front cover will be this week, thats how much I hate the first day of the week. But the pièce de résistance is of course, the "distractions". In fact, I don't do anything I should be doing until I've had a solid attempt at the crossword, just so I can brag to my flatmates about the answers I figured out on my own before resorting to throwing a random string of words at Google. However, in recent weeks my procrastination has been cut very short due to
Yours wistfully, Presently Catless Send us letters to email@example.com otherwise we are just over here playing with ourselves. Your feedback and opinions are valid (maybe). *Letter of the Week wins a double day pass to Zealandia
NOTICES CAREERS Applications are open now for these Graduate Programmes and Internships! • Aurecon Vacation Programme – Aurecon • Policy Graduate Programme – Ministry of Education • IT Graduate Programme – Assurity Consulting • TupuToa Internship - TupuToa • Summer Internship Programme (various) – Macquarie Group Australia • FAR Graduate Programme – Foundation for Arable Research To find out more about these programmes (plus many more!), go to: www.victoria. ac.nz/careerhub
"MISSING PERSON: John Emanuel Comer, "Eman", is missing from Hamilton, Waikato since May 22nd potentially spotted around the Wellington region in Newtown. He is 34, with brown mid length hair and blue eyes. If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, please contact the police."
Monday - Puppies at The Bubble, Kelburn, 11:15am
Tuesday - Puppies at Law School Common Room, 12:00pm; Ukulele Lessons at The Bubble, Kelburn, 12:00pm Wednesday - Meditation Class, Kelburn Rec Centre, Room 301, 12:00pm; LEGO in The Hub, from 12:00pm; Puppies at Te Aro Atrium, 12:00pm Thursday - Puppies Kelburn, 12:00pm
at The Bubble,
All Week - $2 Group Exercise Class and Fitness Studio, Kelburn Rec Centre
Stress Free Study Week, brought to you by Chow
"WHAT'S YOUR OPINION?"
LOUISE LIN EDITOR
Originally I wasn't planning to write an opinion piece at all. It felt a bit greedy to write one when I get an editorial every week. But our designer Ruby said to me, "you're the editor, you should. I'm doing one even though I canâ€™t write for shit". And here I am. Guys, I tried really hard to come up with a good opinion. "You're the editor," I told myself, "you have to come up with the best, most wittiest, most original opinion piece". Of course, that thought made the writing so goddamn easy. So instead of writing an opinion piece, I decided to go out to Courtenay place on a Thursday night and ask for the opinions of random drunk people. Journalism. Enjoy. The first bar I went to was Hotel Bristol. It was 10pm. A band was playing blues, and there was a singular group of old people standing around leaning against the bar, listening, and taking turns to get up and sing. The old ladies got up to dance. It was super wholesome, they were all absorbed in the music and I felt rude to interrupt them with my pretentious millenial questions. So when one of the old ladies finished a drawn out rendition of "Summertime", I left. Danger Danger was crowded, and the people inside were drunk. I yelled up at a young, dress-shirtwearing blond dude on the balcony, "do you have an opinion?". "Of what?" he asks. "Of anything," I say. "I like strippers. And money," he says. I ask him, "which do you like more, money or strippers?" He replies, "Strippers. But you need money for strippers, you get me?" The next guy I met was smoking a durry outside Residence. Hoodie pulled up. Quiet eyes. "Kindness means everything at the end of the day," he tells me. I walk past an old man on the street, I've seen him rapping/mumbling into the microphone on Cuba. His name is Colin."I don't really have time for an opinion" he says. "I have to keep an eye on the people â€” I'm fundraising for Africa you see." The Danger Danger "strippers and money" guy walks past us, in a group of friends. Someone in that group throws some Dreamgirls dollars into his hat. Colin starts talking again. He talked for a good 15
minutes. "You want an opinion? Well, Stuart Murray Wilson, in America, was in jail for some sex matter, it may have been with children, it was the top of the news, he couldn't go anywhere in public... and this man down south, David Gray, he killed 13 people, only got a few years...". "You think that's unfair?" I ask. "Yeah yeah," he says. "They go and make a big deal about sex and don't focus on the big issues...". Outside Dakota, I ask a bearded guy in his late 20s for his opinion. "Opinion on what?" he asks. "Anything," I say. "That's a hard one," he says. "I'm drawing a blank. What do you want an opinion about?". "Feminism," I tell him. "Progressive," he says. "Free speech," I say next. "Progressive," he says. "Your opinion on progressive," I say. "A good thing I guess," he says. "These is the worst type of people to ask," he added. "Mostly pissed, mostly left wing." I ask him, "where do I find the pissed right wing people?". "Inside here," he gestures to the bar. "Or Lower Hutt." Wellington Sports Cafe. I accost a guy in his late 40s, nursing his jug alone, staring into the night. He wears a Holden shirt. "Do you drive?" I ask. "Not anymore," he says. "Why not?" "Because I want to drink," he says. "Can't do both." On the way back, I pass the same people. I nod at them kind of awkwardly but I don't know if they recognise me. One of the last people I ask was a boy, round faced, early 20s, eating a pie outside Fix. "Do you have an opinion?" I ask him. He looks at me, bewildered. "No?" he says. "Any at all?" I ask. "No?" he says again, now looking vaguely alarmed. I leave him to eat his pie in peace. At the street corner opposite, a girl with dyedbrown hair approaches me. "I have a question for you," she says. "Yeah?" She looks me in the eye. "What's your opinion?" she says. I panic. (Should have seen this coming though.) "I have lots of opinions..." I equivocate. "But what's your opinion?" she repeats. "Opinions are hard to find," I say at last, thinking of the pie-eating boy. "What's yours?" "Opinions are free" she says, walking away. 15
Jazz Kane, SalientFM Co-Manager NOTE TO LOUISE // SALLY: THE TRACK CHANGES THAT I MAKE INDEPENDENTLY ON THIS I WOULD LIKE TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE MAGAZINE FOR VISUAL EFFECT.
It’s 2am. A drunken sprawl of words and clothes on the right hand side of my bed. I lay on my bed, feeling like I gave myself excuses for incoherency. Another night with full intention but no method of actualising said desires. I knew all too well what I wanted to write about, how I wanted to articulate it. But when it comes to pen on paper it’s not that I can’t, I simply won’t. How can you articulate this feeling and assume that someone will feel similar? I go over this in my own head every single night. Is this feeling true? Is this feeling going to be represented accurately anyway? Even this piece as my work will be judged, likely edited beyond and outside of the scope of what I intended to write till my words are slurred beyond the point of reason and intellect. Is it enough to justify doing something about it? What if I’m wasting someone else’s time? What if I’m wasting my own time? At what point is it just safe to say enough is enough? The point here is not something that transcends race, gender, religion, or otherwise. Affecting us in a myriad of ways, it has followed us, and the recent social revolutions have done something to upturn the stigma, but in what circles? At what point will it be as normal to feel like this as it would to feel any other way? It’s challenging to provide someone with info you immediately impart knowing the expected impression of prejudice. When discussing myself, I feel an ever-present sense of fear. How will they react if I say this, will they tell their mates? Will I be tormented behind my back? Will I be judged and alone? I experience a fear like nothing else of being blacklisted from any environment. When I was ten a family member said he liked the way I speak my mind. I learnt to stop that pretty quickly, so as not to stick out. We’re not to unsettle others or make them uncomfortable with words, decisions, or actions. What does it take to make someone else uncomfortable? Is it my tastes, my choices, my clothes, my home, my finances? How can I know? Am I entitled to know? What really is at the core of someone being uncomfortable and what, if anything, can be learnt from the squeamish feeling of guilt, lust or otherwise? I worry about these things, because I catch myself having the exact same considerations. I catch myself thinking I’m better than this person, despite thinking I’m not worth shit. Or that I’m smarter, better looking, better dressed than them. And when some people talk to me, I notice they’re thinking the exact same thing, and I’d never feel as incompetent as I do in that moment. I can’t think of how many times I’ve told people to never go back to that person who was fucking with their heads, or to have patience and be rational and I’ve lived my life having done the complete opposite in excess. Can I really afford to judge others in this way when I myself am making mistakes that are clear to others? There’s a disconnect here. Even if I was following all the rules I set for others, does that earn me the privilege to play the age-old game of “I told you so”? How can I, even if achieving my own expectations, feel validated to chastise people for their failures? It seems right to practice what you preach, but what benefit comes from shadowing those in guilt with your own bullshit preaching? Do people’s own mistakes connect with them most, or do they really learn best through others experience and advice? Do they need a mix to concoct their own understanding of where they want to sit on the spectrum of societal norms? But are these really mistakes? Or is this just my character? Am I judging others on the preconceived notions I’ve been taught, though not applying those norms to myself as I subconsciously realise they’re stupid anyway? What really indicates who I am as a person? What did you think I was talking about? What made you think that?
Jazz Kane 5:36 PM Yesterday
This is the title
Jazz Kane 5:36 PM Yesterday
Jazz Kane 5:36 PM Yesterday
because you aren't hard enough Kii Small, SalientFM Co-Manager I’m 16. The clock hits 9:30pm and my mother tells me to get to bed and get an early night. My lamp lights up the room that was previously lit up by Minecraft and my phone alerting me that someone poked me. The rain begin to hit my window as I turn on my speaker and play Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. My phone buzzes. A text from my girlfriend, Bella. I pause my game, unlock my phone and the text lights up my room, face, and entire life. “I think I love you.” The rain stops. The lamp dims, and in my peripheral vision my turquoise walls have been painted battleship grey. Kendrick’s album promptly skips to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. I’ve forgotten how to breathe, as my chest twists and unwinds like a tornado flew around my room. Start. This was where I was introduced to love. Despite being romantically inept, having no job, driver’s license, goals, sexual knowledge, or confidence, I submerged myself into a pool of intimacy and commitment. Age 16 ½. We began to spend more time together during and after school. In town, on the rugby field, outside the drama studio, in my lounge watching game shows, and everywhere in between; places where I found love. I began to care about something other than myself, and worry for the welfare of young women like her. Lost. Lost in the heat of it all. Fast forward to my departure to university in 2015 and the inevitable heartbreak that followed. It sucked, but we don’t have to relive that in detail. I immediately meet someone new. Tayla. We commit and begin to grow like we’re knee deep in fertilizer; blooming like roses grown entangled by the torrential wind that is first year university. Away from home is difficult alone and easier when you share a bed with someone that reminds you of the friends and family you left behind. Someone that reminds you of Bella. Thoughts of Bella can’t escape my mind as Tayla turns around and whispers through her tears, “I love you”. The street sweepers outside becomes mute as the humidity in the room begins to make the walls sweat my tears for me. To be polite I return the compliment. In the same way I spoke to Bella. Wait. This isn’t right. This isn’t right at all. I don’t feel this shit. Why is that love? That’s just one person being polite to another. Why would I want to hurt someone’s feelings, when I could lie to them
about something I don’t know the answer to? It’s easy, right? I do it all the time. The barista at my local bakery asks me “How are you today?”. “To be honest, I’ve had a shocker. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in love and I don’t know whether I’m just scared of the response when I disagree so I just lie to make the situation more positive.” Why the f*ck would I say that? She doesn’t need that on her plate. Maybe she’s just dying for me to say something dead so she can ask for my order. I respond with “Good, how are you?”. I do it all the time. Troy asks me if he should hit up the girl in the turtleneck with the hoops and boots next to the bartender, but I’ve just had a conversation with her about how creepy Troy is. Tell him what’s really good? Nah, I don’t have the heart. How could I? How could I create a situation where someone I’m committed to loves me without reciprocation? I didn’t have the heart to. So, I continue. I continue to say it every night. Every morning. On the end of text messages, on birthday cards, post-it notes, phone calls and through lustful moments. But, Bella never knew and neither would Tayla. My head in one hand at the waterfront, with the other drenched in vanilla ice cream. Sticky with tears and ice cream, I confront my fear. I still feel lonely. I’m not in love and I never have been. I’m just too scared to say no and be a bad person. I never put myself first. I begin to take care of my own ambitions. I build my confidence to the point where I feel comfortable in sweatpants and a sweatshirt in the middle of Courtenay Place for everyone to see. I could make the first move and invite you over later for milk and cookies, but we both know I’m lactose-intolerant. I vow to never change anything about myself if it doesn’t benefit me. Promise to never be put in a situation where I have to lie everyday about what I feel. I put myself first. My confidence is perceived as arrogance, but it allows me to feel emotion. To feel every kiss, every intimate moment, and every tear-jerking goodbye as a sentimental landmark in my lifetime. Ever since I found that confidence, it’s been spreading like ivy, painting my black and grey feelings to pink and white. My opinion? Love isn’t real because you haven’t been selfish yet. 17
POLARIZED OPINIONS Hannah Patterson There is something very easy about extremities: it’s the comfort that comes with treating “right” and “wrong” as if they are unquestionable, unshakable truths. It’s the relief of being able to point the finger at someone else, identify the problem, the enemy as “other” and, in doing so, absolve oneself of blame. It feels good to be right. Currently, there is a global climate of extreme polarisation that is so tense, so prominent, it often feels palpable. I find it near impossible to read the news without recoiling in anger, or at the very least, rolling my eyes. It is easy to hate things. It is easy to hate Trump, to hate the people he stands for and the people who voted him into power. Just as it is easy to blame all the problems of a nation on immigrants, or to depict “The Chinese” as the Machiavellian puppet-masters behind Auckland’s housing crisis. It is easy to blame poverty on the impoverished, because in doing so, we the privileged get to wipe our hands clean. This is what makes polarised and extremist opinions so dangerous yet so appealing; looking outwards and pointing to others as the problem impedes one’s ability to look inwards and acknowledge that you yourself might actually be part of the problem. When we engage in these polarised “debates”, when we buy into sensationalist articles, we sacrifice two vital components of productive discussion: we give up nuance, and we give up our empathy. There is a lot to lose here. When the Aziz Ansari story broke this year, waving the flag of the Me Too movement, instead of feeling galvanised I felt unsettled. Babe.net had been onto something — within the drama and controversy of it all, there was a really important and powerful discourse that could have been had. A conversation about the more subtle and insidious ways that rape culture and gendered power dynamics work their way into sexual encounters. Rape does not exist in a vacuum — there is a culture behind it that has permeated itself into countless facets of our lives. I cannot think of a woman I know who has managed to navigate life and sex and emerge unscathed. For the trans and non-binary community, the threat of danger is even more apparent. However, this is not the conversation that happened. Prodded by Babe.net, (who seemed more focused on inciting rage and controversy than providing insight) the story went viral and polarised many. Should we hate Ansari? Have feminists gone
Podcast Editor too far? People were angry, Babe.net got clicks, job done. And amid all the anger we lost the discussion we needed to have.We were too busy having an argument instead. And here’s the thing: we need these difficult, more nuanced conversations to happen, if we want our society to improve. Engaging in polarised discourse, where we give up empathy and nuance, renders us incapable of self-reflection and change. Let me make an assumption: most people, when called outright a bigot, misogynist, or racist, would feel defensive and deny it. These terms are used in a way which conjures up an image of evil, terrible people that lurk insidiously in our communities. I doubt many people think of themselves this way, and that is the problem. People cannot identify with demonised labels. Marginalised groups absolutely have the right to call out shitty behaviour when they see it. But the rest of society needs to start thinking and talking about what these concepts — racism, sexism, transphobia (and the list goes on) — actually mean, and the more mundane forms they may take. You might be a perfectly nice person, but you can still be racist. You might be friendly and approachable, a good colleague, friend, or family member. Doesn’t mean you’re incapable of committing sexual assault. I know this may have sounded inflammatory or off-topic, but what I’m trying to say, is that polarised discourse, where we categorically vilify those with an “opposing” view, does not lead to progress or change. A productive dialogue is one where we listen to others, think about what we are saying, and are unafraid to question our own views. Let’s start talking with a willingness to learn — where the goal is not to be right, but to better understand another’s perspective. Instead of laughing at Trump, think about why people voted for him (“cause they’re stupid” doesn’t count). Even if you feel you are right, you’ll only be able to change another’s opinion if you understand where they are coming from. If we do not have these conversations, we lose the chance for the self-reflection that is necessary for real change to occur. So I’m calling bullshit. I think we’re better than this, or at least that we need to be better than this. We cannot let ourselves be stuck in an endless cycle of blame and hatred, skirting responsibility at the cost of our empathy for others. If this is how we remain, then at the end of the day, we will all lose.
RANTS ON DRIVING VICTORIA WEBBER, NEWBIE Let’s talk about anxiety and driving for a hot minute. Now I grew up driving in Hamilton, and the Hamilhole provided some excellent space for crafting up my skills and doing wheelies. This being said, upon moving to Wellington, I missed the freedom of driving everywhere. Needless to say, I grew to love walking around Welly and exploring the city that way, following my nose when I got lost, finding hidden hideaways and cute parks. Boy oh boy, did I not know what I was in for when finally, in my third year of uni, I borrowed a mate’s car to drive around. You know that moment when you don't realize how blessed you were growing up? When everything in life gets put into perspective? Well that was me when I drove in the one-way street hell that is Wellington. It made me thank my pretty little stars that I’d grown up learning in the safety of my hole. Had it not been for the Tron, as abused and dismal as it is, without it I’d never have learnt how to drive (props to you, man!). Had I been in Welly in my blissful youth, I would probably be grouped in that pathetic bunch who still have their learner’s at 21. Now let me tell you about my first time driving in Wellington. I’d just dropped a forever-in-my-debt friend to the train station (we all know her little legs couldn’t get her there fast enough). Heading up The Terrace, I played the oh-so-fun game of “student crossing”, where a confident student jaywalks across path of a deadset driver, leaving the driver with two options: either A) get a strained neck from turning it so fast looking for potential idiots, or B) drive at a decent speed and pray to God that they have some public decency. We all know I’m driver A.
I thought it’d be a grand old time to test the car and take it up Aurora Terrace, one of the steepest hills in Wellington. Long story short, I chickened out cause all I could see was the sky and turned onto the left, a lovely flat street, but little did my blissful heart know I was heading towards my doom. Where was my mind, who knows. Happily in the clouds. It took a sane driver beeping at me for five minutes to jolt me into reality. I had my right indicator on, and I was about to turn onto two lanes of oncoming traffic. I’d never thanked God so sincerely in my life. With fear sweat prickling my back, I did my best casual wave of thanks to the driver, reversed a little, and took my sorry little butt home. Every. Single. Time. I tell myself, "never again!". And yet what does my forgetful mind do? It dims down the agony and momentarily slips for a second, forgetting the way my heart rate skyrockets when I get honked at, or when rude taxi drivers don't know how to pull into a park with decency and courtesy to their surroundings. There should be a University support group for first time drivers in Wellington. My poor soul isn't coping well. Or maybe I'll start up an Abstinence Club for those trying to kick the habit of those indulgence rides. I'll leave you with a final rant to unnamed smirk guy. I've never felt so utterly humiliated than that time I had to reverse down a street cause you wouldnt pull into the left. I hope you burn the top of your mouth on your fiery curry tonight, cause that's the state you left me in. Hot, bothered, and biting my tongue in resentment.
The Myth of Science GUS MITCHELL, COLUMNIST I’ve been thinking a lot about what science means to broader culture today. When I hear people say “I believe in science!” or wearing a “Science! It Works!” shirt, I always want to ask them: What do you mean when you say “science”? What do you think science does? What is your myth of science? When I say myth, I don’t mean “a thing that isn’t true”. Specifically, I’m referencing its use by French linguist Roland Barthes, who dissected how symbols work and disseminate in culture. Barthes uses “myth” to refer to how a symbol manifests shared cultural values, and he was particularly interested in myth as a form of speech: how it manifests in politics, social discourse, and advertising, and serves to give tangible raw power to a concept in the human mind. So what, to that end, is science’s myth? I’ll start with the myth of the celebrity scientist. In the wake of Stephen Hawking’s passing, I read a lot of obituaries on him, and one trend I saw was the regard of him with an almost religious awe. His colleague Roger Penrose wrote for The Guardian that the vision of Hawking “head contorted...hands crossed over” was “a true symbol for mind over matter”, implying that his use of a wheelchair juxtaposed with his heady profession turns Hawking into someone who gained great wisdom in spite of great suffering, like the Hanged Man of the Tarot Arcana. While Penrose goes at length to explain what Hawking’s actual work was, when remembering him, it seems nothing short of supernatural reverence will do for his fallen comradein-cosmology. This invocation of scientist as transcendent being would be incredibly familiar to Barthes. In his essay The Brain of Einstein, Barthes wrote of how the eponymous organ, which was preserved after Einstein’s death, became a “mythical object” in the eyes of the public. Logically, his brain should be no different to ours, but separating it from his person turned it into an object of reverence, like the Shroud of Turin or a Buddhist relic. So we regard his brain in a paradox, for a paragon of rigorous thought, he appears to us as having channeled some magical essence. After all, it was his brain specifically, of all other brains, to materialise the equation E=mc², the first modern myth of science, and the end result of one man’s work, distilled into five characters. I’m not saying we should stop venerating him and other scientists like him, but you can’t deny the fact that mythology of scientists influences how we view
the practice. Barthes goes on to compare the popular estimation of science’s goal to the Gnostic idea that “total knowledge can only be discovered all at once, like a lock which suddenly opens after a thousand unsuccessful attempts,” for which in his time E=mc² seemed like the key — “the equation in which the secret of the world was enclosed”. But science is by its nature unfinishable. To undo that perception, we have to specify that science can mean different things depending on how you invoke it. Science is both a body of prior knowledge of what we already understand about a chosen field, and the process by which we generate more knowledge of that field. Sometimes it refers to one field (i.e. the science of astronomy) or all fields simultaneously. Scientific terms are litigious in their specificity, but are subject to change when new evidence comes to light, through paradigm shifts. “Gravity” under Newton was a phenomenon that exerted force over other objects; under Einstein, “gravity” came to mean the shape of space-time. Here too is where I think Barthes can help. In Soappowders and Detergents, Barthes examines how myths are used to sell consumers in trusting the effectiveness of those products, by explaining them in human terms, usually likening them to a martial or political entity. Powders “force out” dirt, bleaches “kill” dirt. Powders are selective, “keeping public order not making war” by removing dirt without ruining the fabric, bleaches are “absolute” and undiscerning. In the same sense, we can liken the different ways science is invoked to have a myriad of definitions while keeping public trust in it, hopefully involving scientists and science communicators in shaping the discourse. Do we have a myth for the separating power of peer review or academic journals? A myth of the absolute efficacy of gravity and electromagnetism? Ironically, the Sphere Earth could benefit from an injection of myth, if only to persuade those “free thinking” Flat Earthers on the fence. Humans are creatures of narrative. Science is not a social construct, but it lives in a world full of them. Scientists and science communicators could learn to leverage semiotics to science’s benefit, and in turn, I want people to approach science with a literacy that doesn’t uplift it to religious status. If you need a clear goal, think on this: This isn’t rocket science – consider your mission accomplished when that myth is obsolete. 20
Raiders of lost property
Why am I petrified at the outset of this article? Why do my hands tremble above the keys, knuckles sweating, joints weak? I think it’s because I am about to be… sincere. That is quite a scary thing to attempt to do in this day and age, to talk seriously about something that you care about. In most conversation, before you engage in a topic, you need to first establish a distance between yourself and your words, either through a sarcastic tone or a prefacing joke. So that if your conversation doesn’t go to plan, you have a pre-built ironic bomb shelter to hide within. How did the communication of western culture become rooted in such an ironic dissonance that sincere communication is now rare/impossible? It is my opinion that the culprit is both known, named and as prevalent as the air we breathe… Its name is Memes. This internet phenomenon has taken a stranglehold upon the sincere jugular of western humanity, and we currently lie, bug eyed and choking out, under its dank weight. By and large, the currency in which memes exchange with is irony. Their humour rises from a presumed context, the expectation of which is then slightly altered to a humorous effect. This alteration is a widely varying spectrum from the mundane surprise of a “doggo”, to the mind boggling visual intensity of a danked out, “who up click like?”. The humour occurs when the viewer is a part of a group that understands the context of the joke, and so can recognize the equation; context + alteration = ironic humour. This ironic platform allows memes to present information in a way that is quite troubling. For an example let me turn to the wildly popular depression meme. Like a lot of memes this comes in many varieties, but all largely revolving around drawing humour from the fact that many people can relate to symptoms of depression. Now, I have heard arguments from some edgy hip liberal academics who say that these memes are facilitating discussion about mental illness and should be encouraged. I would argue that what is more important than the quantity of the discussion, is the way in which the topic is handled. By using irony and sarcasm to approach issues of mental illness, the topic is approached with humour and an ironic distance. Those who participate
in these discussions, though they may feel that they are engaging in a healthy, relatable discourse, may really be furthering themselves from their feelings, and genuinely helpful discussions. But Daniel, isn’t it better to laugh at something, then to allow it to crush you with the weight of its seriousness? Well, yes and no. A joke makes people laugh. An ironic joke makes light of its own context, so that you are not laughing at a humorous situation within the context, but at the context itself. This is an important distinction especially w/r/t the depression meme, as the joke is squarely aimed at the mental illness and its symptoms. This possibly allows those who suffer from depression a brief reprieve, as they recognise and relate to the context, but a secondary element is that it causes one to treat the serious element of their mental health as a joke, and discussion of it to be that of laughter, or none at all. Depression needs to be talked about, and humour probably has some part to play in the discussion, but to turn the issue into an ironic joke separates the discussion from any help it may play in aiding the sufferer. This use of irony to approach heavy topics is prevalent as fuck in meme culture. 9/11, mass shootings, ISIS, institutionalised racism, sexual abuse, police brutality, are all represented in ironic memes. However, ironic humour that promotes inaction towards an issue is not simply confined to memes. (Is John Oliver helping or hindering the lives of Mexican families living in the US when he makes his white liberal crowds laugh at Trump?) Memes, as they are on the forefront of the way modern youth communicate with the world, have a vast influence on the way that people think, act, and feel. And this scares the shit outta me. The solution to this is pretty simple I reckon. If you wanna talk about something, then just fucking talk about it. Don’t masquerade behind a costume of irony. Be sincere with your feelings and yourself. If your friend is joking about something like depression, ask them about it with a straight face. Irony can only get you so far. Sincerity and openness are much more powerful weapons for dealing with this vapid plane of guilt and turmoil we call a life. So use it wisely.
MEMES ARE NO JOKE. Daniel Smith, Feature Writer 21
SHANTI MATHIAS, NEWS WRITER
DEHYDRATION IS THE ENEMY Dehydration is the enemy. This is my life motto, mostly because I haven’t yet had a meaningful enough life experience to warrant something as cliché as a proper life motto. Nevertheless, dehydration is a problem I face every day when I come to uni, and that is because there are not enough drinking fountains. Every morning, like most of us (at Kelburn at least, I know literally nothing about the other campuses), I haul my sorry self up a hill to classes, and arrive thirsty. I like the idea of bringing a water bottle with me, but when I have to carry it up a hill, along with food and books and raincoats and whatever else, I rarely feel like lugging one along (not to mention that that would require hunting through the old magazines and books and miscellaneous other paper that is my excuse for a floor in order to locate my water bottle). This means that I need to sit through at least an hour of learning, gazing with envy at the people who had more sense and strength than me and brought a drink, before I can go and hydrate myself. I know of only two drinking fountains within five minutes walk of my habitual haunts on campus, and those often have lines. I stand in a educational institution in a developed country, parched, waiting for others before I can get a little water, wondering if the stress or the dehydration will kill me first. Access to clean water is a human right (like it really is, according to the UN and everything). We are fantastically lucky in this country that the water that comes out of our taps is (usually) safe to drink. But that is meaningless if there is demand for water that isn’t being met by this institution that is being given so much money to serve students. Surely drinking fountains don’t cost that much. There are other places to get water on campus, including the many vending machines and bathrooms. The bottled water available in vending machines is always an option, of course, but bottled water is bad. You probably know why, but quick recap: it uses extra energy to bottle and move water, when there is already safe water in pipes, it creates plastic waste, the water is often taken from springs or aquifers that shouldn’t be depleted or commercialized, it costs
money that doesn’t need to be spent on water, and worst of all, it makes the water in taps seem inferior by comparison. The other alternatives, like energy drinks, soft drinks, or coffee have their upsides, like chemicals that make you feel good, but the price is a problem, and hydration shouldn’t have to come with sugar. There is also water in the bathrooms, which is technically safe to drink (I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t taken the odd awkward gulp when I was really thirsty), but something about drinking, or even filling your water bottle, in public bathrooms is inherently off putting. When I’m tired and in a comfy spot and on a roll with my essay, and probably dehydrated, I don’t feel like walking up steps or through crowded hallways to get to a drinking fountain. Especially given that chances are that the water pressure will be bad enough that you practically have to slobber all over the nozzle to get a sip. I don’t have enough self respect/concern about infectious diseases not to do that, but I’m sure it’s a barrier to others. When I’m dehydrated I often have a low grade headache. There are also other symptoms, like tiredness and confusion. Maybe I want to work on my essay, but I just sit there, feeling fatigued and perplexed, my head in agony, knowing that dehydration is the problem, but lacking the impetus to do anything about it. I might not have to make a ten kilometre trek for water, and I’m glad (and privileged) that that is not the case. But as I feel myself getting increasingly thirsty, head spinning, lethargy growing, water too far away to make a difference — well, I suffer slightly. You’re probably dehydrated right now. In other places, dehydration can be deadly; that’s probably not the case for most VUW students. That’s a good thing: in the context of people who are dying from dehydration, this column might seem somewhat petty, and maybe it is. But I believe in confronting the enemy in front of you (metaphorically and peacefully, of course) first. So give us more drinking fountains that actually work, so we can focus on the real enemies: essays, neoliberalism, climate change, and what shoes to wear tomorrow.
LIKE A BANANA
PEELING BACK THE MEANING OF CRAZY RICH ASIANS JOANNA LI, WORD SEARCH & BOGGLE MAKER
The trailer for Crazy Rich Asians dropped a few weeks ago, claiming a star-studded cast, including Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat), Harry Shum Jnr (Glee; Shadowhunters), and Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8). But more importantly, it’s a 100% Asian cast – the first of its kind in Hollywood in over 20 years. Maybe my standards are impossibly low, and I’m just really fucking starved for Asian representation, but seeing that sentence in the headlines of mainstream media outlets felt like an orgasm to me. But then I think about Scarlett Johansson taking the role of a Japanese girl in Ghost in the Shell, or Matt Damon as the main protagonist of The Great Wall. And the live action remake of Mulan currently in the works, that looks like it’s butchering the original movie. Yeah. Maybe my low standards aren’t totally unjustifiable. With a whole bunch of recent movies that claim representation and diversity (Love, Simon; Black Panther; Coco; Wonder Woman) doing well, Crazy Rich Asians certainly seems like it’s setting itself up to be another box office sellout. It’s even got an Asian director: Jon M. Chu, who directed Now You See Me 2. It’s checking all the diversity boxes, the trailer is selling it as funny and heartwarming, and the actors are talented in their own right. Here’s the plot, based off Kevin Kwan’s book of the same name: Asian-American boy takes his AsianAmerican girlfriend to meet his family in Singapore. Girl discovers she’s dating the son of a billionaire. Cue culture clash, catty cousins and siblings, a disapproving mother in law, and slapstick humour that arises when a person from the middle class doesn’t know how to act in the world of the top 0.001%. I was excited when I watched the trailer. I knew a lot of my Asian friends were too. But there’s a problem. In the movie trailer, “Asian” seems to mean only some kinds of Asian. Every main character is light skinned. As the title suggests, the main characters are at least middle class, and most are far richer than that. The movie reeks of the Western view that Asia only consists of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean entrepreneurs and businessmen. The movie is set in Singapore, a country that prides itself on its diversity (ethnic Chinese makes up 74% of the population, Malays 15%, and Indians 7.4%).
Alfian Sa’at, a Singaporean playwright and poet, noted that there are extremely few brown people in the trailer – the two that we can see are shown as opening car door for light skinned Asians. He calls them “brown backdrop people”, and asks: “Does a win for representation mean replacing white people with white people wannabes—the nouveau white?” It reminds us that the nuances of race and culture are far subtler than one might expect. That East Asians love to claim discrimination and racism towards them – which are often completely true and valid claims – but also often ignore the privilege their fair skin affords them in comparison to South East Asians or West Asians. Crazy Rich Asians can claim to be a win for Asian representation, but it sure does reinforce the presence of colourism in the Asia. Of course, Kevin Kwan should be able to write what he likes. If he wants to write about the richest of the rich in Singapore, then props to him. Similarly, Jon M. Chu and the creative producers behind the movie should be able to make what kind of movie they like. A continent as massive as Asia – with a population of over 4.4 billion people – cannot be represented in one movie, nor should it be expected to. And the movie and book aren’t all without their good parts either. The trailer sets up for critical discussions of Asian diaspora, and the navigation of family and duty. Such themes will ring true for many foreign-born Asians. At one point, Awkwafina’s character says, “You’re a banana, yellow on the outside, white on the inside”, which will certainly draw laughs from an Asian audience – if self-deprecatingly. The problem comes in toting Crazy Rich Asians around as the pinnacle of representation, when it is in fact a one-sided story – most Asians will struggle to identify with the sort of extravagant money shown in the movie, and many will be disappointed at the Western portrayal of Asia. At best, Chu’s all-Asian boast is nothing more than a perpetuation of the existing Chinese dominance of Asian representation in mainstream media and pop culture. Will I still go see the movie? Probably. Like I said, I’m starved for representation. But then again, I’m a middle class first-generation Chinese New Zealander. This movie was aimed towards my demographic. Perhaps a better question is will all Asians come out feeling satisfied? Probably not. 23
S I E M A N Y M O L HEL
aono, C o re y F u im
You study, learn, do an internship perhaps – then you graduate. Want a paid gig? Nah man, but perhaps you can help me on a project and I’ll introduce you to a few guys… Fuck that!
C ro ss w o rd
M a ke r
Greg’s journey is different. He, unlike Fred, graduated with a degree. He wants to become a sound op & mixer. It’s been 5 months since moving up from down south. The objective, rather than getting paid work out of the gate, is to build contacts by hitting up film community facebook groups, getting his name out there, and working for little or nothing, depending what the budget of a production is like. He knows that it’s difficult to break into the local scene, when you know absolutely no one. Thus contacts are the most essential takeaway.
Exterior, Melling Station, mid-afternoon I run into the train with a puffy black jacket, which makes me look like a short stubby Michelin man. As the clouds form and start to piss down on everything, I suddenly realise that I have to shit out an opinion piece, ready for print. I phone a good friend, Alisha, from my tertiary study days and we ponder the topic: How many free gigs must a grad do before hitting that sweet paid work?
Interior, home, evening I’m fucking drenched. Stupid fucking rain. Time for a final opinion I suppose… Look. In the grand scope of it all, it should really only take one opportunity to gain contacts, two at the absolute most. Three or more? How the fuck are you living? You’re gaining experience that you already have after completing your studies to do a job that people would normally be paid to do, for free? That’s bullshit.
Exterior, Burger King on Manners, moments later I’m about to be soaked like all the other incredibly wet people that pass on by. My phone buzzes enthusiastically. It’s the only text I’ve seen for a while. Bestie, Fred, was in town for a concert, and Hutt resident bestie, Greg, was catching up with him. Since they are both practicing filmmakers, I crack out the recorder and ask them for their thoughts.
I agree with my mates and would hope that, to employers reading this article, things should change within our small film industry and arts sector as a whole. If you’re gonna bring a freshly graduated student onto your set or production and have them contribute something of value to it, think about them covering the costs of living in their derelict housing and the grains and seeds they have to save till the end of the week. Think about paying them. For the love of god, please do it.
Fred clocked 1000 internship hours last year. He’s a smart guy, he knew that he was being exploited for his work. One example included a working for a charity where they gave him a koha of $500 for 147 hours of videography and editing, which worked out to roughly $3.40 an hour. When he objected, the charity came back crying wolf, saying that he needed the internship hours and that there was no obligation to pay him at all. He pressed on and got the job done.
*names and details changed
Ruby Ash, Designer
FACT OF THE DAY KATE ASCHOFF, REVIEWER & FEATURE WRITER CW: suicide, depression & sexual assault
treatment services, co-funded by ACC, the Police, and the Ministry of Health has been allocated, called for by Green MP Jan Logie. (Budget 2018, Stepping up to help survivors of sexual abuse, 2018) • In 2014 the average student debt after completing a degree was $19,731. (Student Loan Scheme Annual Report 2014) • A law change in 2014 meant students who ignored repayment requests from Inland Revenue (IRD) for their existing student loans, could have an arrest warrant issued to prevent them leaving the country. (RNZ, Two dozen prosecuted for defaulting on student loans, March 2017) • Budget 2018: Education is getting a 4.7% funding increase of $15,734.5. (Interest, Budget 2018 — Education, 2018) • Our justice system disproportionately jails Māori. (People Against Prisons Aotearoa 2017) • Prisoners are paid less than a dollar per hour to do labour, and often denied parole if they don’t. (People Against Prisons Aotearoa 2017) • The NZ Department of Corrections uses a form of directed segregation, but only when a prisoner’s behaviour presents a serious threat to others, or themselves. (The Department of Corrections, 2017) • The United Nations has declared indefinite and prolonged use of solitary confinement to be inhumane and degrading. In some cases the pain and suffering inflicted through solitary confinement can amount to torture. (People Against Prisons Aotearoa 2017) • Budget 2018: The New Zealand Police are getting a 5.5% funding increase of $300 million. (NZ Herald, Budget 2018: $300m boost for police 'commended' by association, 2018) Budget 2018: Corrections are getting a total 9.6% increase in funding of $200 million. (NZ Herald, Budget 2018: Corrections gets boost to cope with fastgrowing prison population, 2018) Wow, just so many facts, I don’t know what to do with myself. Being confronted with different information can be really unsettling. Facts change our ideologies, our relationships with others and ourselves, our passions and convictions. So, Salient Readers, take these facts out into the world with you. Think on them and research more. How do they make you feel? What do they make you want? And what do you wish you’d known already? In a world of #fakenews, keep the facts alive, my friends.
28/05/2018 Dear Louise, It’s the Opinions issue next week! Awesome. I love hearing what people think. I told my friend this issue was coming up and she said “isn’t every issue of Salient an opinions issue?” — obviously you and I know the difference, but the wider student population may not. So I thought, why give them more opinions, when I can give them facts? Things they can quote at parties, or debate with their friends. Facts that reflect the current state of Aotearoa and will get students thinking. Facts that, in my opinion, are important to know. Please see below: • Depression does not always purely occur from chemical imbalances in the brain. It also majorly occurs from trauma, along with social, cultural, and financial instability due to the worth placed on these things in society. (World Health Organization, 2017) • Every week, on average 10 people die in NZ by suicide. (Suicide Prevention Toolkit for DBHs, Feb 15') • There were 7267 intentional self-harm hospitalisations in New Zealand in 2013. (Ministry of Health, 2013) • Budget 2018: The previous Government's $100m fund for mental health projects has been placed back into the pool of health funding, to be put to other projects. (Stuff, Budget 2018: What you need to know about the health boost.) • In Aotearoa, up to one in five women will experience sexual violence as an adult. (Rape Prevention Education NZ) • It is estimated only 9% of sexual assault incidents are ever reported to police. Sexual violence has a very low conviction rate in Aotearoa, with only 13% of cases recorded by the Police resulting in conviction. (RPE) • Campus survivors of sexual violence experience decline in academic performance which can lead to financial aid and scholarship loss, academic probation, taking time off and dropping out, and long-term impact on employment and graduate school opportunities. (End Rape on Campus 2018 — America) • Budget 2018: $7.5 million of operating funding over four years for sexual abuse assessment and 28
fuck off you have an opinion on everything
Sasha Beattie, News Editor & Columnist While I have gained a bit of a reputation for being opinionated, I do have an attention span best suited to 280 characters. Bearing in mind that I have never once in my life been wrong, these are the hills that I am willing to die on:
• If you have “barbell connoisseur” in your Tinder bio or if one of your pictures is you carrying a dead boar on your back, you are without a doubt compensating for a) having a shit personality, and/ or b) having a small penis. That’s not even an opinion that’s just Science. • If you’ve never licked someone else’s asshole you are weak and won’t survive the winter. • I do not support any form of state-mandated sterilisation, except in cases of those people whose contribution to a lecture or seminar is “well, not exactly a question per se, more of a comment, an observation, really”. • You’re not Involuntarily Celibate, you’re a cunt. • Political disagreements should 100% make or break friendships. Should Pineapple Go On Pizza (no) and Golden Retrievers Are The Best Kind Of Dog (yes) are viable topics of friendly contention, Which Genders Are Real and Are People On Welfare Just Lazy are not. • Going off your meds for two days prior to a sexcapade so that your sex drive comes flooding back in time to get laid is a perfectly acceptable form of self-care. • Going off your meds for two days in order to spend a day in bed drinking red wine and furiously masturbating Samantha Jones style is also a perfectly acceptable form of self-care. • Going to the gym is not an adequate substitute for having a personality. • Kinda like South Korea requires male citizens to complete two years of compulsory military service, New Zealand should require all citizens to complete two years of compulsory employment in the hospitality industry. Maybe that way you won’t be such a raging bitch to your barely-scraping-by minimum-wage barista, Karen. • There is a direct correlation between being a National Party supporter and being bad at sex.
• Sweet things should not be served with dinner. Sweet potatoes? Get the fuck away from me. Mango in a salad? I’d rather participate in a tutorial. Pork and apple? Chicken and cranberry? Duck and orange sauce? Go fuck yourself. • Jersey Shore: Family Vacation is the greatest cinematic masterpiece of our generation. • The best possible thing for the planet would be a deadly plague that predominantly targets men (obviously), white people (naturally), and the Chinese (China is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. They’re also leading the world on climate change research apparently but I never promised that these opinions would be well formed). Also people who get into arguments on Stuff Facebook posts, but they’re probably covered by the first two categories. • Marama Fox being voted off Dancing with the Stars was a hate crime. • Shangela losing to Trixie Mattel in RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3 was also a hate crime. • The only Mike Hosking segment worth watching would be one in which he shits himself to death on live television. • Plaiting someone else’s hair is more intimate than giving them oral. • Posting more than one picture of your baby on social media per week should qualify as being in violation of community guidelines. • Don Rowe, author of The Spinoff’s “The New Dunedin Sound”, deserves a year in journalistic exile for every boring white man featured in the article. • Craft beer is shit and if you enjoy craft beer you are also shit. • Co-ed high school P.E. classes are a thinly-veiled form of corporal punishment. • If screaming kids are permitted on planes, stress smoking should be too.
For more opinions that you didn’t ask for and don’t care about, follow me and/or Kanye West on Twitter, @nicehaah and @PushaTMyRideOrDie respectively. 29
Last week I forgot to do a column because I was so busy getting the best deal for students. This week is the opinion issue. I have lots of opinions on lots of things. Now that really comes in handy for small talk at cocktail functions, but also means there are occasions where I talk a lot of shit. Opinions are great to have, as long as you remember that, for the most part, a lot of yours are probably incorrect. That’s not to say you’re completely wrong, just that there is a 100% chance that you are at least 5% wrong. This isn’t a bad thing at all, in fact it’s a really important thing to remember. Compromise is not a dirty word, and the way we mature and improve our shitty opinions is by constantly remembering that we are wrong about something. Sometimes we’re only a little wrong on something, and our opinion largely stays the same. Sometimes we’re massively wrong, and our whole opinion was fucking stupid. Sometimes we’re only a little wrong, but our whole opinion can change based off of that. The fact is, we can never be completely right, only minimize how wrong, and the only way to do that is to admit when, where, why, and how we are. Jack has provided some of his awful opinions, here are some of mine. Peanut butter and pickles sound great. LL Cool J is probably the greatest rapper of all time. (Sub-Editor PSA: The “LL” in LL Cool J stands for “Ladies Love”.) Pineapple on pizza is a necessity. Jack Donovan is two first names. My favourite exec member is Joseph our Association Secretary. On a side note, it was my birthday last week. I’m 21 now, and a real adult. As a special birthday present to me, you can help me on my quest to become Instagram famous, by following me @marlondrake.
Opinions are like regrets. Everyone has one, some are well founded, while others are kept hidden deep away. It’s super easy to be dismissive of other people’s opinions when you don’t agree, and with that said, here are some of my bullshit opinions. Rollercoasters are scary as fuck. I dislike bees but I appreciate the hustle. Most Vines are trash but there’s a few that make it worthwhile. Case in point: fuck it up Kenneth. Social media is toxic af but I would be so incredibly lost without it. Walk of shame should be renamed to the walk of game cause you got some. Ella and Beth (VUWSA off the record) is a great radio show on from 2-4. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, (legality pending ofc). There’s never a good reason to be rude. I fall in love with the NBA finals every year but I understand nothing about basketball. People who Snapchat mundane shit like food are the worst. People who Snapchat v cute animals are the best. A cold Flame is the best beer my money can afford to buy. Sex education never taught masturbation so someone’s definitely doing it wrong. That person wasn’t me, to clarify. Fortnite. VUWSA made Captain Planet our official superhero in 2008 but Spider-Man is my boi don’t @ me. If you @ me do it at @realjackdonovan because although toxic, my frail sense of self worth is entirely dependent on it.
As with most other academic fields, people have a lot of misconceptions about philosophy. These misconceptions range from the idea that philosophers spend all day arguing about “the meaning of life”, to the erroneous belief that philosophy is too abstract to be relevant to everyday life.
Over time, academic fields became more specialised and began to split off from each other. Yet many contemporary fields have their roots in philosophy, or at least have enjoyed substantial contributions from philosophers. In the 19th and 20th centuries, philosophers like Gottlob Frege and Bertrand Russell made huge contributions to areas of logic, mathematics, and computer science. In the late 1900s, philosophers worked on decision theory and game theory alongside economists and mathematicians. And even today, philosophers of mind work in tandem with neuroscientists to investigate some of the deeper mysteries of consciousness.
In reality, blanket statements about any field are rarely accurate. Philosophy is a discipline with a range of extremely diverse subfields. Some areas, like metaphysics (a field which studies concepts like existence, possibility, and necessity) are indeed incredibly abstract. But others, like applied bioethics, focus on a range of immediately tangible issues like genetic engineering, animal welfare, and mental illness.
In short, then, philosophy does not deserve its often poor reputation. Historically, philosophy was vital to the development of many fields which have contributed immensely to humanity’s quality of life. And today, philosophers do essential work on a range of contemporary issues.
The work of philosophers also frequently intersects with contemporary social and scientific issues. Philosophers of race and gender discuss issues that are prominent in our social and political discourse. Philosophers of science debate the methodological underpinnings of sciences like physics and biology, and social sciences like economics. And political philosophers write about democracy, populism, the refugee crisis, and many other critical modern issues.
This is not, of course, to say that philosophy is without its problems. Of the many genuine concerns it is possible to have about philosophy, the most important, perhaps, is that philosophy doesn’t seem to make very much progress, at least compared with disciplines like the sciences. Disagreement in philosophy is pervasive and often seems intractable, which leads to pessimism about whether we will every truly “solve” the big questions in philosophy.
In addition to philosophy’s contemporary relevance, people also don’t realise that historically, philosophy enveloped many disciplines which we now see as distinct. For a long time it was closely intertwined with the natural sciences – Plato and Aristotle wrote works which melded metaphysical and scientific claims. Moreover, it drew heavily on the social sciences. Philosophers like David Hume and Adam Smith wrote on philosophical issues like ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology as well as economics, psychology, and sociology.
NT: TE ARA TAUIRA
THE INTERNATIONAL ANGLE
PHUONG ANH NGUYEN
The Māori Seats have gotta go. Very unpopular opinion among Māori. Here’s my case real quick. They were introduced as a temporary measure to placate Māori at the time. They were never intended to be a permanent measure, or of any representative nature. They were neglected for decades. Representation in Parliament increased more through the MMP electoral system than through the introduction of the Māori seats. The abolition of the seats has been a campaign point for conservatives like uncle Winny for years. They’re susceptible to manipulation, i.e. uncle Hone and the Internet-Mana deal. The size of the Te Tai Tonga electorate is just ridiculous. The Māori seats relegate “Māori issues” from the primary concerns of the nation.
Crazy Rich Kids — that’s most probably the assumption many people would make when it comes to international students. To most, international students come from well-off families who can afford just about anything. We’re seen as the spoilt brats who never knew what it was like to be broke and struggling to pay bills. This distorted mindset not only generalizes all international students as a whole, but also discredits the hard work and obstacles we face while adjusting to the new academic and social environment. The majority of international students actually work part-time while pursuing a higher education, with some working up to 20 hours a week just to make ends meet. Financial burden has always been listed as one of the main concerns amongst international students while studying abroad, and it puts a significant amount of pressure on us. Many international students are on scholarships or receiving government aid which allows them to study at their desired university without having to pay the terribly high fees set for non-domestic students. Not to mention, some students were indeed born with a silver spoon still make their living on their own.
BUT WORST OF ALL, they are a far, far cry from what our tīpuna thought they were agreeing to. We deserve so much better than what we currently have. And none of that is intended to take away from all that has been achieved by all current and former Māori electorate MPs. But seven seats ain’t tino rangatiratanga. Even worse still, I’m undecided as to whether I should stay on the Māori roll (implicitly consenting to the seats as “enough”) or jump on the General roll (and risk losing formalised representation altogether). This is a discussion I’ve had with a lot of my Māori mates, and the decisions are always different. Some simply don’t give a fuck. Fair call.
Battling with homesickness and loneliness can take such a toll on someone, but working part-time, keeping one’s grades up, and making sure there’s still a somewhat decent social life on the table is a true conundrum. Thus, it is frustrating (borderline outrageous) when there are these misconceptions telling you that you’re better off than everyone else, totally dismissing all the sweat and tears you’ve put into balancing your life. Not that there are not these crazy rich kids around who come from elite families with an abundant amount of money to spend, but there are so many international students out there struggling and working so hard to live out their dreams.
Whatever your opinion may be, don’t forget you only have until the 2nd of August to choose whether you are on the Māori roll or the General roll – you can only make this decision every five years! Go to https://maorioption.org.nz for more info.
FROM THE ARCHIVES MAX NICHOL I don’t have the ski-bum clout to say some dumb shit like “frothing to get steezy up the maunga” (shaka), but the ski season is right around the corner and I am hyped. Snow sports is an industry worth millions of dollars in New Zealand, and it’s been streamlined to cater for the thousands of domestic and international skiers who hit New Zealand’s slopes each year. Sealed roads, chairlifts, on-mountain rentals, and a decent cup of coffee are some of the amenities today’s pampered skiers expect of a major resort.
For a time the ski club was one of the most active on campus. They raised money to build a lodge at Ruapehu, a joint effort with the Auckland University ski club that was completed in 1957. For those unable to make it to Ruapehu, there were options right here on campus. In 1967, the club rented a dry-slope for six weeks and set it up in the gymnasium to provide beginner ski lessons:
Like so many outdoor industries in New Zealand, skiing had humble beginnings, which paved the way for the robust infrastructure the industry enjoys. The history of skiing at Vic exemplifies this Number 8 wire spirit. In July 1941, Salient reported on a group of battlers from Vic going to huge lengths to get on the snow. Of all places, their destination was Mount Holdsworth over the Rimutaka Hill which had received an unusually generous dusting of snow. The van could only hold so many would-be powder hounds, resulting in a treacherous journey for several devotees:
I’m reliably informed that our Minister of Justice, the Honourable Andrew Little MP, learned to ski on a similar set up in the Vic gym in the 1980s. Vic doesn’t have a lodge at Ruapehu anymore (Massey owns a hut on the Tūroa side, and Auckland has a flash lodge at Whakapapa) and you haven’t been able to shred the Rec Centre in a while. But the ski club, now the Victoria University Snow Sports Club, has had a major revival in the last few years. If you love going fast, being cold, and spending all your money on lift passes, come get amongst. Declaration of interest: Someone at the Snow Sports Club asked me to write about the history of the club with the season about to begin. “Max,” I hear you asking, “can access to your incredibly lofty platform really be bought with nought but a suggestion? Is your journalistic integrity really worth absolutely nothing?” I am happy to reassure Salient’s readers that this is false: it’s actually worth much less, because I paid twenty bucks to join the ski club.
That is a Herculean effort for what turned out to be a single hour of skiing on shitty Mount Holdsworth slush. We don’t know how lucky we are. The ski club at Vic started as an offshoot of the Tramping Club, which originally organised ski trips. As Mount Ruapehu became a properly established ski field in the 1950s, more students with an interest in skiing but not tramping necessitated the establishment of a new club in 1948.
WILL STANFORD ABBISS
Managing exam pressure Exam time is looming — and with it can come an enormous amount of stress and pressure. The right amount of stress can be a good thing, prompting us to do the preparation and work we need to in order to succeed. Too much, however, can have a detrimental effect on our performance. So how can you prepare for exams properly and ensure that when the big day comes, you are able to do your best? Firstly, make sure you prepare really well. This sounds obvious, but cramming the night before isn’t usually the answer to success. If you ensure you have done enough work throughout the term, and focus on key topics, the chances are you will pass. If it seems insurmountable, break down the workload into manageable “chunks” – this is called microtasking, and it works! Look after yourself – however much you might feel like pulling an all-nighter in the build-up to exams, this is actually the worst thing you can do. If you don’t properly look after your body, your mind won’t perform either. So get good sleep (6 hours minimum), eat well and regularly, stay hydrated, and take breaks to exercise or do something you enjoy. The time spent doing these things will be well worth it – you will come back to your study refreshed, with a greater ability to focus and retain information. Put it all into perspective – it might not feel like it right now, but if you look at the big picture, this exam isn’t ACTUALLY the end of the world. If you build it up to be more important than it actually is, your anxiety will start to impact on your performance. Focus on your breathing – if you find you are becoming anxious either while studying or in the exam itself, try to concentrate on taking slow deep breaths. Use your abdominal muscles to ensure you are filling your entire lungs. Breathe 4 or 5 times like this. Try to use your other senses at the same time. Your body will start to relax and you can start studying again more effectively. Don’t hesitate to contact the health or counselling staff at Mauri Ora if you need more support or advice about exam preparation or performance.
Ever get the feeling you shouldn’t be a postgraduate? Surely you’re just one meeting away from being found out and asked to leave forever! How come everyone else knows what they’re doing? We all feel like this occasionally, and it’s called the Imposter Syndrome. Last week I attended a PhD workshop on this very subject, given by Hugh Kearns. I always enjoy Hugh’s sessions, because his accent reminds me of Father Ted, and because he says what we all think (even if we don’t realise it). So I’m going to shamelessly repeat his ideas here, and then feel like an imposter because I didn’t think of them myself. Whoever you are and whatever your background, you have evidence that you belong here. You applied, you spoke to the right people, and Victoria University let you in. When we engage the logical parts of our minds, it’s clear no one expects perfection from day one. Postgraduate study is a big leap into the unknown, and you may even be the first to investigate an area of research. Other than the revelation that Milli Vanilli didn’t record any of their own songs (it’s true, I checked), the part of Hugh’s talk that made a big impression was to “turn your ANTs into MAThs”. That’s your Automatic Negative Thoughts into More Accurate Thoughts. Each feeling of anxiety and self-doubt can be countered with the hard, empirical evidence that we researchers love. If your brain is telling you that you’re not on track, dig out your last progress report or an encouraging email and prove that you’re doing fine. You can even write a chart of ANTs vs. MAThs to give you a boost. Importantly, imposter syndrome can be used to inspire progress. Look at the evidence to motivate yourself to take the next step in your research or career. Hugh wants to replace the “fake it till you make it” idiom with “be brave and take action”, which is something we should remember. If you want to find out more, have a google, or check out Hugh Kearn’s book, The Imposter Syndrome: Why Successful People Often Feel Like Frauds. Remember, you deserve to be here. 34
I vividly remember the first time I was really conscious of my body. I was Year Seven so what, 11 years old or thereabouts? I went to an Independent School for Girls. We did everything in pairs at this school. Very Madeline, in our elastic ties and gym frocks, walking two-by-two down Regent Street in Palmerston North. For a time there were nine of us, in my group of friends. Which meant that pairing up became survival of the fittest. “Choose a partner” was barely out of the teacher’s mouth before there was a quiet frenzy of girls grabbing one another, desperate not to be the one left on the outs. Depending on the class size, you either got paired with someone you didn’t like, or you did the walk of shame: alone, at the end of the procession, next to the teacher. There was one couch in the back of our classroom. It fit two side-by-side, but more often than not we squished four or five onto that couch, a giggling mess of limbs. I remember one morning sitting on this one girl’s knee, and her squealing “OW get off me, you’re so fat!!” Her laughter was infectious to the others, and I walked in disgrace with the teacher for the rest of the week. The first memory I have of being acutely aware of my body, and I hated it. Fat is such an ugly word. It’s an ugly, loaded word. No matter how you say it, it sounds like it’s being spat at you. Fat. Because it’s not “you have fat”, which makes literal sense. It’s “you are fat”, which is something else entirely. Fat is not a characteristic, Fat becomes your only characteristic — your Most Salient Trait. I remember one summer wearing shorts and walking past my grandfather. He tutted and chuckled, and said “ahh you’ve sure got the Trotter genes,” as he made a show of not being able to encircle his thigh using both hands. I remember standing in front of the floor-length mirrors at dance class, fixating on how beautiful (read: slim) the girls next to me looked. I remember the thin elastic belts we wore, which the teacher would pull and snap against us as a reminder to suck our
tummies in — I remember the embarrassment that mine wouldn’t sit flat no matter how much I sucked in. I remember I stopped participating in water activities when we went to Lake Taupō as a family — the thought of exposing stretch marks in a bikini filled me with terror, and a belly-hugging wetsuit wasn’t a much more appealing alternative. I remember being scared to eat in front of boys at school, for fear of being seen as that fat girl stuffing her face. I remember my parents, when I stopped playing hockey at school, every now and then making small ostensibly well-meaning comments, “you know you could really benefit from some exercise,” or, “why don’t you take the dog for a walk? Some fresh air would do you good”. I remember getting back from my OE and going straight to a family reunion of sorts — having gained a cheeky 11kg — and my great-uncle said “you look like you’ve been grazing in green pastures eh!!” I remember growing up feeling constantly ashamed of my body, and as a direct result, feeling inherently lacking in value. Getting intimate with someone and not recoiling when they touch my belly; being on top during sex; proudly wearing a crop top that exposes my rolls; eating a full meal in the presence of men. These are small victories for me. Someone spontaneously expressed appreciation for my thighs recently, and I held that offhand comment close for months. I’m slowly learning to let go of the narrative that tells me the numbers on a scale are indicative of my worth as a human being. Loving my body feels like an act of rebellion. It’s really fucking hard to say, actually, “I am beautiful” — not in spite of my lumpy thighs, but because of them. My stretch marks are fucking gorgeous, and my hips are as glorious as they are wide. My cellulite is a work of art, and my ass deserves to be worshipped. My belly is soft and pudgy and it is fucking exquisite. I am fucking beautiful. Love you like I love myself, xoxo
Departure lounge I knew then that time no longer mattered, just the lights ticking, the corridors tiled in white squares, the showers that turn your skin to pink rubber, I knew because I was stood up carelessly on the wrong end, so blood rushed to my head and right arm, and the zip made a perfect imprint on my shoulder, later I tried to sleep but a woman was wiping the wall with a cloth and talking loudly, so I sat at the table, thirty-odd hours without sleep, and watched a fly on its back, its wings not moving at all, just feet kicking and its tiny body hovering in circles over the table like a spinning top. - Luke Sole
submit poems to firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOK SOME SPICY AF HOT TAKES. REVIEW: ALEX FEINSON ET. AL.
Instead of writing one long opinionated column for the books section, I decided to crowdsource some hella spicy literary hot takes, because it was what everyone wanted and asked for. All of these are real submissions from lots of different people from Facebook, Twitter, or me harassing them at the dinner table every night until they came up with a suggestion.
Faith is extremely disturbing and gives my much-loved genre a bad name. The relationships are shallow at best and the paranoid anxiety with its theme of personal surveillance oozes with predictability.” • “Every dude I’ve met who said their favourite books were Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series turned out to be a creep. They might be great books, but this is too much of a coincidence to ignore.” • “Has anyone actually ever finished The Luminaries?” • “I don’t have anything to add because I only read good books.” • “I could eat a can of alphabet soup and shit onto some paper and still write a better novel than most young adult writers.” • "I bought Infinite Jest over a year ago and it has sat on my bookshelf ever since (and moved house with me twice). It’s an absolute tome and probably one of the most stereotypical books to have on a mid-late 20 year old male's bookshelf. The recent allegations against David Foster Wallace also make me question the validity of the book and its author, but I'll get round to finally reading it, controversy or not." • And finally, a combined list of authors that people said are overrated or boring: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Katherine Mansfield, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, J. K. Rowling, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, and Albert Camus.
Disclaimer: I do not talk any responsibility from any injury or illnesses that may arise as a result from reading this column. • “I’d rather be slowly crushed to death in the giant Hub doors than have to read (or watch) Game of Thrones.” • “Jodi Picoult should win the 2019 Man Booker Prize.” • “Haruki Murakami writes better essays than novels, because then he is actually capable of not writing the same theme over and over again.” • “If you’ve read Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, you need to call your mother and apologise.” • "A predictable plot is one of the easiest things to complain about in a novel, but I love them. There's something rather comforting about starting a book and knowing that by the end the mystery will be solved and the couple will be in love and the world will be saved. It's the sort of resolution that fiction is for." • “I got a free copy of Rupi Kaur’s The Sun and Her Flowers and started to read it, but when I realised that I’m not 16 years old and I’m not on Tumblr anymore, I stopped, re-evaluated my entire life, then recycled it.” • “Anyone who was a devout Harry Potter fan when they were young is a self important ass with a bad sense of humour now.” • “Honestly don’t know why fanfiction has such a bad rap. Yeah, it can be weird and gross, but it was what got me into reading as a kid and I have to thank it for that. And just to add: My Immortal is still the greatest piece of literature ever created.” • “As a fan of dystopian novels, Ben Elton’s Blind
If any of those hot and spicy takes offended you, please shout all comments, queries, and complaints into the void.
ART SOMETIMES IT’S TOO COLD TO GO OUTSIDE REVIEW: JANE WALLACE
William Linscott, Daydreaming and the Death of the Internet, MEANWHILE (online)
Here are some mostly online things to see this week, because these days are cold lately.
paintings exist in a similar world to David Hockney’s, combining homoerotic imagery with utopian colours. Dealing with queer subjectivity and aesthetics, Love You to the Wrist and Back is an intimate and sensual viewing experience, but also considers how these themes fit into wider social frameworks.
Looking: William Linscott, Daydreaming and the Death of the Internet, at MEANWHILE (online)
Lucinda Bennett, To Care and Be Cared For, The Pantograph Punch
William Linscott has produced a semi-interactive text for MEANWHILE’s online gallery, meditating on the state of the internet as a place that is democratic and innovative, and how these notions are increasingly fallible. This sort of criticism is essential in order to find ways to protest against the internet’s adulthood as another censored, hegemonic form of media. The url world is not immune from any of the conditions (capitalist, racist, state-monitored etc.) of the real world that created it.
http://pantograph-punch.com/post/to-be-cared-for The thing about creative practices is that it is often assumed that ideas and processes come easily, that they are some sort of lifeblood. Art is just like any other thing though; sometimes you feel burned out and it is hard. It is still work, and it is easier not to do it. In Lucinda Bennett’s essay, she describes why proper valuation and remuneration for the work that artists do is crucial to sustain the fields they are working in, especially when the precariousness associated with working in art affects marginalised groups the most.
DIRT gallery (online artist-run initiative) https://dirt.gallery/pages/exhibitions
ENDLESS LOVE, Blueprint for an ARI, First Draft
They always told you at school that things on the internet are immortal. This is cool for an online gallery because it means their exhibitions catalogue is cumulative. DIRT gallery is an exclusively online space, which means that the artists they host have the freedom to be more experimental than a physical gallery space can necessarily allow. The two shows that have been online since this year are Maddy Plimmer’s Click Here, and Louisa Beatty’s Circular Breathing — two very different shows, which show the diversity that this platform can facilitate.
http://firstdraft.org.au/exhibitions/writers-programblueprint-for-an-ari/ Artist-run initiatives can be really good spaces for hosting the work of artists in a context that doesn’t get them to fit an institutionalised narrative. The collective ENDLESS LOVE, consisting of Hana Pera Aoake and Callum Devlin, have compiled this document of essential considerations for an artist-run initiative. There’s also a really extensive directory of past and present artist-run initiatives around Aotearoa.
Robbie Handcock, Love You to the Wrist and Back, at Playstation until 9 June This is the only exhibition on the list that you will have to venture into the real world to see. Robbie Hancock’s 38
TELEVISION FLINT TOWN: SEASON 1 REVIEW: CONALL AIRD
In the 8-part documentary series Flint Town, directors Jessica Dimmock, Zackary Canepari, and Drea Cooper devote 12 months of their time to being part of the police force of Flint, Michigan — a small American city still feeling the effects of a succession of unfortunate and brutal shocks to its community and body politic. First, the city’s largest employer General Motors closed its plants in Flint, meaning a major loss of jobs for the town’s workers. Following that was the city’s water crisis, a result of a change to the source of the city’s drinking water that ultimately exposed the city’s 100,000 residents to lead contaminants.
While the obvious focus of the series is that of the police force, the series isn’t about the police in an unfortunate city; it’s a series about that unfortunate city, expressed through one of the few groups able to experience and discover all parts of it. The series eventually begins to intertwine the community’s reactions and feelings towards the city’s police force to create an intriguing dialogue between the city residents and those who are expected to protect them, reminding the audience that conflicting viewpoints do indeed exist. What many will notice immediately about the series is its atmospheric cinematography and filmmaking, which serves to helpfully reminds the audience that more exists in Flint beyond crime and poverty. However, at times it can be more beautiful than it perhaps needs to be, aestheticizing crime scenes, splatters of blood, bullet casings, empty homes, the hands of a dead teenager in the snow. Furthermore, the at times inconsistent filmmaking can get in the way of the story it is trying to tell.
Rocked by such events, with a lack of proper manpower and statistics, Flint became one of America’s poorest and most dangerous cities. Unlike the setting of a Hollywood movie, Flint Town takes viewers to a place they will never likely visit or see. The audience is treated to a depressed, dramatic landscape comprising of poverty, vulnerability, and desperation with no easy fixes. Flint Town plunges head first into the world of the disenfranchised and marginalised in a big way.
The disagreement on profession-specific ideals between the officers of Flint serves to reduce the power of the idea of treating “the police” as a single entity. Flint Town ends up being a much more open and apt assessment of how race and class issues may affect community relations, and ultimately challenges the wisdom of short-term answers to long-term problems.
The series, following events paralleling the 2016 election campaign, mainly focuses on the day-to-day experiences and trials of the Flint police department, an institution in a state of disrepair and instability with dwindling resources and staff members. Viewers are informed that the number of department officers has decreased from 300 to 98 over the last 10 years – the lowest number out of comparably sized US cities. The police, depending on the situation, alternate between embodying aggression, awkwardness, and understanding — a result of the clear stress and exhaustion brought about by the role they play in the community. Despite the series only lasting 8 episodes, it manages to create and develop a few personal story lines that go beyond simply seeing these characters as working officers.
FILMS (LET’S LEAN INTO SOME CONTROVERSY.) YOU’RE ALLOWED TO WATCH SHIT FILMS. REVIEW: EMMA MAGUIRE
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (2014)
REVIEW: STEPHEN HUGHES
Hey fam, you’re allowed to watch shit films. I know, as a film writer, I should be shilling for the newest film that any old white dude with a good reputation has got coming out. It’s only sensible. Lars Von Trier’s got a new film out! Let’s all watch that! He’s a genius, an incredible filmmaker, and we should totally ignore the shadiness in his past because he’s good at framing shots, or something. Fuck that. You’re allowed to watch films that make you happy. Doesn’t matter if they’re bad, doesn’t matter if they’re shot terribly, if you like them, watch them. I loved Ghostbusters (2016). I saw it five times in the theatre, and I was very close to seeing it for a sixth. I know my predecessor here at Salient would probably have a coronary upon reading those words — considering the scathing review he gave it at the time — but I loved it. What’s better than a badass friendship, awesome women, and a rad soundtrack? Nothing! Was it the best film of the year? No way in hell! Did it have plot holes? Yeah! But did I enjoy it? Absolutely. There’s nothing wrong with sitting back and watching something that you like. World War Z was raked over the coals by critics, but it’s one of my favourite films. Same with The Boat that Rocked. Sure, there’s beauty in efficacy, in perfectly framed shots, and in arté filmés, but there’s joy in watching things that feel comforting, movies that allow you to sink back and relax in the glorious warmth of familiarity. These movies don’t necessarily have to be good, though. We don’t need to constantly strive to find the best pieces of art and cast the things that make us feel happy to the wayside. Life’s too short to care about what film critics say, anyway.
In celebration of our opinion issue, I am going to do a movie review of a movie that presents semi “controversial” opinions. Dear White People centres on the biracial character Sam, who is navigating life in college, and being an active voice speaking out on the nuances of systematic racism towards black people on her radio segment “Dear White People”. Naturally, there is an outrage among the white people, and even some black people too (you can’t please everyone). This film explores various intersections of the black identity, and different views that come with that. At the heart of the film is the idea of free speech, opinion, political ideologies, and discussion about how the black identity is shaped and used in America. It definitely has some words to say to Kanye about slavery being a choice. Dear White People gives a critical outlook and opinion of what African Americans have to deal with, even in a “modern” and “liberal” society. It puts a spotlight onto many relevant issues of not just race, but alienation in one’s identity, and the nuances of justice and morality. The film also has some cheeky Taylor Swift references in there. (I forever stan). From black appropriation to white fragility, Dear White People is sure to cause uncomfortable conversation in a white household, and damn isn’t that great. Divide some opinions and potentially hurt the egos of your white friends by watching the film or the TV series on Netflix now.
MUSIC NZ MUSIC MONTH: THE BEST RELEASES IN REVIEW REVIEW: JOSH ELLERY Another NZ Music Month has come and gone, and as per usual has brought with it much in the way of quality Kiwi music. I’m using this space this week to highlight four homegrown albums which deserve your attention, as much of the best music to come out this year has come from good old Aotearoa.
CARB ON CARB – FOR AGES
WAX CHATTELS – WAX CHATTELS
For Ages is the sophomore release from emo duo Carb on Carb, following up their superb self-titled record from 2015. The duo’s Facebook “about” section sees them describing their sound as sitting “somewhere between the classic 90s emo of The Get Up Kids, and more current counterparts like Camp Cope”. Fans of the latter will find a lot to like about this group, particularly in singer Nicole’s vocal chops and sharp lyricism. For Ages sees Carb on Carb tackling family relationships (“Ma”), race and gender issues in New Zealand (“Man Says”), and positioning New Zealand’s place in the world (on the superbly named “Home Again 2”). The musical performances are every bit as sharp and considered as the lyrics, and in general this is just a sweet album that rewards investment. Give it a hoon!
Wax Chattels’ self-titled debut is a gritty one. The band has, in a variety of interviews, described their sound as “guitarless guitar music”, and it carries a real swagger and a strong sense of identity. Wax Chattels is a visceral and fresh debut, with many highlights. I particularly enjoy “In My Mouth”, where the vocals carry a scathing confidence, while the breakdown in the back third of the song displays phenomenal musicianship and a firm post-punk edge. “Stay Disappointed” is another gem here, and features a relentless groove and a particularly sharp bass. Wax Chattels remind me a lot of groups like Preoccupations (and the offshoot groups that preceded them), and could even draw a comparison to grittier Flying Nun material from the golden era. These songs shine a light on some of the darker facets of New Zealand society, and I feel as if they occupy a unique lane in the New Zealand market. Can’t wait to see where this band goes next.
JULIA DEANS – WE LIGHT FIRE I had the pleasure of seeing Julia Deans at the back end of May, on the Marlon Williams show at the Hunter Lounge (see last week’s gig review for more on that). I had only heard bits and pieces of the album at that point in time, and had been drawn to single “Clandestine” particularly, for its simple and elegant nature. As is often the case, seeing songs from We Light Fire placed new meaning into the tracks here, and as such probably drove my enjoyment of the album. I remember a heckler at the gig asking her for “Lydia” (the Fur Patrol hit from which many first time listeners will recognise her), and Deans responding with “Chelsea”, the closer on We Light Fire, a song “with a different girl’s name”. One could argue this tune is even better, with its sensitive and personal vocal performance and down-to-earth lyrics serving as a mission statement for the album. Definitely one of my favourite albums so far this year, so check it out!
KODY NIELSON – BIRTHDAY SUITE Birthday Suite is Kody Nielson’s follow up to the fantastic Personal Computer, released under the Silicon pseudonym (and positively reviewed by a wide-eyed, first-year, neck-bearded version of myself for this very magazine in 2015). Nielson’s latest is another in a series of left turns that his music has taken since the conclusion of The Mint Chicks, and is an entirely instrumental record. The track listing is super fun, as each of the tracks are named for a birthday of a friend or family member, even going as far as releasing the advance singles for Birthday Suite on the actual birthdays of the people in question. Nielson creates and covers a vast sonic landscape on Birthday Suite, and fans of krautrock, experimental electronic music, and Frank Zappa will find plenty to like here.
PODCAST DRAGON FRIENDS REVIEW: OLIVIA PHILIP
Join a barbarian/warlock half-orc, a home-schooled highly homicidal high-elf warlock, a sassy occasionally lycanthropic halfling rogue, and a handsome human man, as they traverse through the Forgotten Realms and other fantastical lands getting into all kinds of shenanigans.
The adventures on this podcast range from much-used D&D settings such as Waterdeep and Daggerford, to the classic adventure of Curse of Strahd (which happens to be my favourite season, if you’re gonna give this podcast a shot, start with season 2). The show is rife with Australian-ness. I personally enjoy it – the accent doesn’t grate on me as it does so many of my fellow native Kiwi podcast listeners – and the particular sense of humour that comes with an Aussie role playing game is just, so great, I can’t even describe it. What does grind my gears with this show is one particular NPC voice actor, Ben Jenkins, and his continual use of the big bad C word. Sure, I know that me not liking it is very much my problem, but it’s also my right, so ha. In one particular episode Dave apologised to the international listeners of the podcast in-show, as he realized that not everyone is accustomed to hearing the C word used in an endearing way.
The Dragon Friends podcast is based in Sydney, and is one of the top comedy Dungeons and Dragons podcasts around. (Before you nerds with the D&D know-how ask if it’s better than Critical Role – no, it’s not.) Five (sometimes drunk) Australian comedians and voice actors, one fantastic game master (GM), and various interchangeable bards gather together at the Giant Dwarf Theatre in Sydney each month to bless a live audience and podcast listeners with side-splitting sessions of this immersive role-playing game. If somehow you know nothing about D&D and are still reading, here’s a quick run down: think of it like an RPG video game – you are a character who has a goal, and your character is surrounded by other characters and a whole universe for you to achieve your goal. D&D is the same, except it’s not just you playing. There’s typically 4-6 players all with characters of their own (a “party”). The GM is like the video game itself, omniscient and omnipotent in relation to you, the player. They are the information, the setting, the events. The entire game is in their head, and they describe it to you, so you and your friends can play and be the nerds that you know you are.
The voice actors who play Non-Player Characters (NPCs) are in my opinion, what makes Dragon Friends so unique. The players walk through a hallway in a gothic dungeon and the GM describes how spooky it is – suddenly they hear two nasally-voiced guards bickering over who’s meant to be on watch, and the atmosphere is destroyed as the ridiculousness of the situation kicks in. This podcast is so dumb, and I live for it.
Dave Harmon, GM of Dragon Friends, is amazing. He knows how to create a world for the players that is both inventive and challenging, without overloading information. The party themselves are inventive, hilarious, and brilliant improvisers, making every new episode of this pod something to look forward to, as literally anything could happen with these players who know no boundaries.
FOOD TURKISH RED LENTIL SOUP RECIPE: KATERINA KNEŽEVIĆ Serves: 4 This is my go-to recipe for every occasion. Cold winter nights? A friend’s over for dinner? Need to feed 20-odd people on camp? Turkish Red Lentil Soup has got you covered. Ingredients 1-2 onions, chopped 2 T oil 2 carrots, chopped 2 potatoes, chopped 1 capsicum, chopped ½ T cumin seeds ½ T tumeric 1 cup dried red lentils 1 can tomatoes/3 fresh tomatoes, chopped/3 T tomato paste 1 bay leaf 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 T smoked paprika
To serve Lemon wedges and Turkish bread Directions Brown the onion in extra virgin olive oil (if you're fancy) or a neutral-tasting oil (like rice bran) in a pan on a medium heat, stirring every now and then. Lower the heat, add carrots, potato, and capsicum, and fry until soft. Add cumin seeds and turmeric and fry a little longer, before adding the red lentils. Fry gently for a minute or so. Transfer to a pot, cover with hot water and add the tomato, you can use canned, fresh, or paste depending on what you’ve got in the cupboard. Add a bay leaf and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low. Stir the pot every now and then to make sure it doesn't stick. Once it looks like the lentils are turning to mush, add in garlic and smoked paprika. Stir for a couple of minutes and turn off the element. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with lemon wedges and Turkish bread, or any bread, really.
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Aries (March 21 - Apr 19) You are discovered. If you leave before midnight, you can evade arrest.
Libra (Sep 23 - Oct 22) Just because they're out to get you, doesn't mean that you should be paranoid.
Taurus (Apr 20 - May 20) You may have been feeling a little unhappy recently, Taurus. Don't panic. One day you'll find your way out of the Wellington sewers.
Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 21) Alright, chief. Your first case is a murder.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20) The warden could use your accountancy skills. Make yourself useful to him. It will be your key to escape.
Sagittarius (Nov 22 - Dec 21) Violence is the answer to question 4b.
Capricorn (Dec 22 - Jan 19) You will remember something embarrassing you did when you were younger. You will comfort yourself in the knowledge that you're probably the only person who remembers it. You're not. They still laugh about it behind your back.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22) Next time you're up on the roof, clean the ghosts out of the gutter.
Leo (July 23 - Aug 22) The circle of blood has been drawn. The bloodstones mark a pentagram. Be patient. The time of the ritual is nearly here.
Aquarius (Jan 20 - Feb 18) You have a real attitude problem, Aquarius. Clean up your act. If you're late to school once more, you'll get a detention. Pisces (Feb 19 - March 20) ighters now litter your bedroom floor. You are being too obvious. If you don't want to attract attention, keep them hidden.
Virgo (Aug 23 - Sep 22) You will find yourself in a test chamber that is impossible to solve. Don't even bother trying.
Sudoku by Nathan Hotter, Crossword by Corey Fuimaono, Boggle by Joanna Li, Triggerfin by Gus Mitchell, Horoscope and Larrikins by Anton Huggard
CROSSWORD: THOSE I LOATHE
BOGGLE Note: words must be at least three letters long, and cannot be proper nouns, abbreviations or contractions.
Meh: 8 words Wow: 11 words Wtf: 15 words
ACROSS 6 Blogger; ___ 5D (5) 7/1D Got put in his place by Kim Hill last year on RNZ. (3, 5) 21D/10 see 21D for clue 17/11 His “Enough is Enough” march in Wellington, 2004 looked like a Nazi Rally. (5, 6) 16D/13 see 16D for clue 14 The Kiwi men in this xword are mostly from this fuckhole: 11A ___________ (8) 17/11 See 11A for clue 18/17D New Haven son, sent people to Iraq ‘04. (6, 4) 22/4D Think 18A, the brit fuckwit that followed suit. (4, 5) 23 IDC about fancy station IDs & graphics; still Freeview’s worst offering (5) 24/8D How did Toni Street survive
DOWN 1 see 7A for clue 2/9 Dead prick now, went as Terri Tickle in the 90s. Think Tickled. (5, 6) 3 Kelly; of Alt Fact fame. (6) 22A/4 see 22A for clue 5 Spill; Mexican Gulf (3) 24A/8 see 24A for clue 12 What’s above you; or worst TV provider out (3) 15 This 22A resigned from TVNZ, after convicted for bashing his wife in ‘09 (6) 16/13D Wonder if he sucked Obama off after golf (4, 3) 18A/17 see 18A for clue 20/19 He was to Billy T James, as Patrick was to Spongebob (5, 6) 21/10A Fucked 23A up real bad. Campbell & Barry left, then he resigned (4, 6) LAST WEEK'S CROSSWORD ANSWERS
ACROSS 1. VEGAN 3. VEST 5. SOLAR 7. BIN 10. TRENDY 11. COMPOST 13. PRUITT 16. RAIL 17. FOOT 19. JAMES 20. SIMON
DOWN 2. EPA 3. VAN 4. SHAW 5. STOCK 6. LIGHT 7. BRIDGES 8. WOOD 9. KEEPCUP 12. PRINT 14. TOMATO 15. GREEN 18. OAK
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