. 2 1
05 JUNE 2017
round the world STOPS FROM FROM $1799 55STOPS $1799 STA TRAVEL VIC UNI
Kelburn Parade 04 4995032 email@example.com
Terms and conditions apply. Ask instore for details.
dream explore connect
Ultimate Youth Travel Card #DreamExploreConnect
Includes youth airfares and dining discounts across NZ and Oz.
Editors — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow
Contact — firstname.lastname@example.org 04 463 6766
Designers — Eun Sun Jeong and Ellyse Randrup
Level 2, Student Union Building Victoria University of Wellington PO Box 600, Wellington
News Editor — Brigid Quirke
Printing — Service Printers 258 Taranaki Street, Wellington
News Reporters — Doug Mullins, Hannah Patterson, Ruby Alice, Sofia Roberts, Thomas Croskey
Paper — Sun 90gsm Salient is printed on environmentally sustainable paper, with vegetable ink, and is completely FSC approved.
Feature/Opinion Writers: Ana Scotney, Tom Danby, Mikee Sto Domingo, Jessica La, Sasha Beattie, CKW, Cameron Gray, Gus Mitchell, @LauraLives, Emma Davidson, Marlon Drake
Typefaces — Wedge by Bruce Rotherham, Adobe Caslon Pro by Carol Twombly
Chief Sub-Editor — Georgia Lockie Distributor — Darren Chin Arts Editor — Cameron Gray Section Editors — Annelise Bos (Podcast), Cameron Gray (Games), Finn Holland and Mathew Watkins (Film), Hanahiva Rose (Visual Art), Katie Meadows (Television), Kimberley McIvor (Books), Olly Clifton and Lauren Spring (Music), Sean Harbottle (Theatre) Contributors — Sofia Roberts, Tessa Cullen, Rory Lenihan-Ikin, Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, Kauri Parata Jasmine Koria, Georgia Brown, Henrietta Bollinger, Cathy Stephenson, Daniel Botha, Phuong Anh Nguyen, Gus Mitchell, Shariff Burke, Puck Advertising — Grace Gollan email@example.com 04 463 6982
About Us — Salient staff are employed by, but editorially independent from, the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA). Salient is a member of, syndicated, and supported by the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA). Salient is partially funded by Victoria University students, through the student levy. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of those of VUWSA, ASPA, Service Printers, or the editorial staff. Complaints — Please email editor@ salient.org.nz and if not satisfied with response contact VUWSA. Salient — 05 June, 2017 Volume 80, Issue 12
CONTRIBUTORS & COLOPHON
CONTENTS Editors’ Letter.......................................7 To not be silent...................................34 Letters................................................62 Notices...............................................63 News General News.......................................9 Halls of residence roles to be cut under proposal .....................12 UoA Students Occupy Vice-Chancellor’s Office.....................13 The 2017 Budget.................................14
Politics Political Round-Up.............................16 The Trump Front................................16 The Party Line....................................17 Columns Presidential Address............................18 VUWSA.............................................18 Te Ara Tauira......................................19 One Ocean..........................................19 Mauri Ora ..........................................20 Super Science Trends..........................21 Voice of V-ISA...................................22 VIC UFO...........................................22 Token Cripple.....................................23 The Bubble...........................................23
— Jessica La
Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t...........................36 — Sasha Beattie My thoughts on love..........................38 — CKW
Why I Play.........................................39 — Cameron Gray
Go watch TV: Rick and Morty and secular humanism.........................40 — Gus Mitchell The battle you never asked for: Chasing Liberty vs. First Daughter....................................42 — @Lauralives Letters to Younger Selves....................44 — Emma Davidson The immigration conversation deals in people’s lives...........................46 — Marlon Drake
Opinions Short Sighted and in Bad Faith..........28 — Tom Danby
Arts Poem...................................................48 Visual Art...........................................49 Television...........................................50 Games................................................51 Film....................................................52 Food...................................................53 Books..................................................54 Theatre...............................................55 Music..................................................56 Podcast...............................................59
Remaining here too long.....................30 — Mikee Sto Domingo
Puzzles................................................60 Comic ................................................61
Feature Those who come before......................24 — Scotney family
Enhance your career prospects FHSS 205 SPECIAL TOPIC: THE FUTURE OF WORK (20 POINTS)
FHSS 302 BA INTERNSHIP (20 POINTS)
During this course, you will examine the changing nature of the workforce from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophy, sociology, history, media studies and commerce.
Have you always wanted to work for the Council for International Development, Te Papa Tongarewa or the Ministry of Social Development?
You will consider what skills are necessary to give individuals an edge as they establish their future careers. You will also work on a project for a Wellington organisation and make recommendations that may be implemented by the organisation.
If youâ€™re a BA student, you can gain practical work experience AND points towards your BA through the BA Internship course. Starting from Trimester Three 2017, students who complete FHSS 205 The Future of Work will be given priority for the BA Internship course.
OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS firstname.lastname@example.org
Woah, Issue 12 — we made it! This week is the Opinion Issue. As an opener, we have a piece on the first ever editor of Salient, A. H. (Bonk) Scotney. A massive thank you to the Scotney family who were generous with their stories and memories about Bonk that were the basis of the piece. Times have changed, as has this publication. Rire Scotney recalls when she worked on Salient: “...we had to get the copy on the Thursday night bus to get the printing slot in Wanganui.” Today, our printer is just down the road and file transferring doesn’t require us to leave the office. However that’s not all that’s different. The student body at VUW has changed considerably since Salient’s birth and the struggle to reflect students’ voice has grown more complex. Victoria College (as this institution was once called) had a roll of 2,400 students in 1948. 69 years later and we have over 21,000 students — to be an effective Organ of Student Opinion proves difficult when so many of us share this one organ. The last 13 issues of Salient are the products of a collective effort including 100+ writers (almost all who are volunteers), those who have agreed to be interviewed, those who have submitted their art, and those who’ve shared encouraging or constructive feedback. It’s not too late to join the team! When you find some breathing time after your assignments and exams, consider sending us an email at email@example.com and let us know where your interests lie and how you’d like to contribute. But you probably have more pressing things to worry about right now… so all the best for your final assignments and exam preparations, and we’ll see you in five weeks!” — Tuioleloto Laura Toailoa and Tim Manktelow
NEWS HALL RESIDENTS BREAK THINGS, MUMS CAN NO LONGER VISIT ANTI-ANTI-VACCINATIONS IS KILL 29 PEOPLE IN ATTACK PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE ENDS ABDUCTIONS IN CHECHNYA CONDEMNED BY STUDENTS GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY RELEASED HALLS OF RESIDENCE ROLES TO BE CUT UNDER PROPOSAL UOA STUDENTS OCCUPY VICE-CHANCELLORâ€™S OFFICE
POLITICS POLITICAL ROUND-UP THE TRUMP FRONT THE PARTY LINE
HALL RESIDENTS BREAK THINGS, MUMS CAN NO LONGER VISIT Extensive damage at Joans Stevens Hall has led to an indefinite ban on alcohol and guests, with students being warned they will all need to contribute to the thousands of dollars in repairs if those responsible do not come forward. Around 40 separate cases of property damage were reported, including broken doors and toilets, shattered glass, and vomit-stained furniture. One News reported that a number of residents did not feel safe, and as a result would be leaving the Hall. “It’s just not a fun place to live. It’s not comfortable. You don’t feel safe sometimes,” reflected one student. VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin said the behaviour was “disappointing.” “It’s not what other students expect, and it doesn’t reflect the culture of the student body as a whole. All students have the right to feel safe in their homes or halls.” Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford released a statement on May 31 announcing that an investigation had been launched into the incident. “The ban will remain in place until the investigation is completed and disciplinary measures considered.” “VUW has strict expectations regarding student behaviour which are outlined in our Student Conduct Statute. When an individual or group of students breaks the rules, robust and clear disciplinary processes are in place.” A number of residents suggested that they knew the person responsible, but would not identify them “because [they’re] a GC.” One resident told Salient, “it’s a private affair, this is our home. I’m no snitch and I’m not going have my words twisted.” — Brigid Quirke
of misinformation [...] based on lies.” O’Sullivan has been criticised for having such a strong opposition Dr Lance O’Sullivan’s interrup- to a film he has not seen. When tion of the Kaitaia screening of the asked if no good really could come 2016 documentary Vaxxed: From from watching Vaxxed, O’Sullivan Cover-Up to Catastrophe on May 22 told Salient, “there is no science is part of a wider and ongoing dis- behind it, we know that it’s widely pute over vaccinations, that began discredited [...] It’ll be, for me, like with 1998 research now declared watching a video on a dummies guide to racial harmony made by fraudulent. Directed by Andrew Wakefield, Donald Trump.” The Māori Party have publicly Vaxxed aims to “[bring] to the public a dark and uncomfortable truth” declared their support of O’Sulliof an alleged causal link between the van. Māori Party President TukoMeasles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) roirangi Morgan said “he is a man of great mana and we all should be vaccine and autism. In 1998 Wakefield, alongside 12 listening to his message.” When told that the Māori Party other authors, published an article in the medical journal The Lancet had officially endorsed his actions, making the claim about the MMR O’Sullivan replied with “Good. It’s vaccine. However Wakefield’s re- dangerous to be disagreeing with search has been largely refuted for me on this.” He expressed his frustration, its unethical methods and the inanoting that “it shouldn’t take an bility of his results to be verified by angry doctor from Kaitaia” for poother scientists and doctors. The article was fully retracted litical parties to address the issue in 2010 with support from ten of of the low immunisation rates in the original authors. In the same Aotearoa. “The rates of immunisation, year the General Medical Council in my opinion, should be close to found Wakefield guilty of “serious professional misconduct” and 100% and they’re not. And beremoved him from the Medical cause they’re not, children will die, children will be maimed. [...] And Register. A year after the retraction, The campaigns like this are contributBMJ (formerly the British Medical ing to that.” “I’m very passionate about this. Journal) observed that “the damage to public health continues, fuelled There are not many things that I’d by unbalanced media reporting and get arrested for, but I’d get arrested an ineffective response from gov- to protest against this.” — Laura Toailoa ernment, researchers, journals, and the medical profession.” According to O’Sullivan, Vaxxed continues the spread of IS KILL 29 PEOPLE IN misinformation that began with ATTACK the 1998 paper. In his impromptu speech before the screening, O’Sullivan said that “this idea of anti-immunisation has Coptic Orthodox Christians across killed children around the world” the world were left feeling “helpless” and this would continue if “parents after the latest Islamic State (IS) atare put off immunisation because tack in Minya, Egypt.
10 The gunmen, claiming to be security officers, waved down the bus filled with Copts travelling to the Monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor, south of Cairo. After some members of the group refused to recite the shahada, the Islamic declaration of faith, the gunmen opened fire. They killed 29 men, women, and children and wounded approximately 25. It follows an escalation of IS attacks targeting Copts, with more than 100 killed since December. Salient spoke with Father Bishoy Mekhaiel, the parish priest at the Saint Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Auckland. He voiced frustrations at the “nonsensical” killing of Copts in Egypt. “With machine guns, killed innocent people, what kind of people would do something to little children? For the sake of what?” “We are in the 21st Century, we’re not in the 4th or 6th Century, times characterised by war and that kind of thing.” Some Copts have expressed frustration at a perceived lack of action and protection from President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for the Christian minority. Mekhaiel said “people will always be annoyed [...] that there is no persecution for those people who committed the crime.” Mekhaiel expressed that el-Sisi was “doing what he can, but what can the Government do?” Conversely, a Coptic VUW student who spoke with Salient said that there were a range of views as to how el-Sisi should protect Christians. The student believed the Egyptian Government has responded inadequately to cries for protection; “even when they do offer support it’s quite low support.” Mekhaiel pointed to the practical difficulties of preventing an attack like this one. Unlike the previous attacks, there is a suggestion of new vulnerability. The latest was carefully staged by organised militia and took place in the vast western desert.
News The student said that, in pointing to the difficulties of control, Mekhaiel was right — “but, in saying that, you can definitely up security, especially when the people ask, just in case something happens around a big holiday or event,” such as the attack on a Coptic church on Palm Sunday. “It’s when the Government ignores calls like that you feel quite upset.” Salient reached out to the Egyptian Ambassador, Tareq Mohy ElDin Abdul Hamid Al-Wesemy, who declined to comment. The student described the attacks as “confronting, in the way that it’s your own people being killed. It’s not an event that’s a natural disaster, it’s a specific targeting of a group which is very avoidable so it’s ugly.” For Mekhaiel, the answer lies in prayer. “Our protests will be through prayers, not only to support those affected by barbaric action, but we pray that the lord will enlighten the eyes of those who kill Christians.” A further frustration for the student is the lack of media coverage on the attacks. “This kind of thing doesn’t get covered in the news because people expect this happens 24/7 in countries that aren’t Western. It’s still just as significant.” “To contrast how much coverage [the Manchester bombing] received — both bloody, similar numbers, both horrific, the same group [IS], but one receives a lot more media attention than the other.” “It dehumanises the people that it happened to because it implements the thinking that these people are used to it. [People think] it’s not that significant because it happens more often — but the pain, the grieving, the suffering, the loss, it’s all the same.” — Doug Mullins
PALESTINIAN HUNGER STRIKE ENDS A hunger strike conducted by around 1500 Palestinian prisoners in Israel has ended after 40 days. The strike was suspended after talks led to a deal with the Israel Prison Service that meets one of the strikers’ main demands — an increase in family visitation. The strike began on April 17, and was led by prominent Palestinian politician Marwan Barghouti who was imprisoned in 2004 for murdering Israeli soldiers during the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising). The purpose of the strike was to demand better conditions in Israeli jails, including more family visits and communication, better healthcare, and an end to solitary confinement. The deal was reached despite the insistence of Israel’s Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, that they would not surrender to the strike. Spokesperson for the Israel Prison Service Nicole Englander confirmed that it was after discussions with the Palestinian National Authority and the Red Cross that the deal for prisoners to receive a second family visit per month was reached. Qadoura Fares, Head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, stated that the negotiations were between Israeli officials and a group of prisoners, including Barghouti. However, the Israeli Prison Service denied that they had negotiated with prisoners about “providing perks” in exchange for an end to the strike. The details and specifics of the agreement have not been fully disclosed by Barghouti or the Israel Prison Service. The health of the strikers was another driving force behind the agreement. On May 25, the Red Cross made a statement warning of the “potentially irreversible health consequences” of continuing the strike.
There are currently 6,500 Palestinians who are imprisoned for political crimes. These offences range from stone throwing to killing Israeli soldiers and citizens in attacks. The strike was the largest of its kind in 50 years and is being celebrated by Palestinians as a great and unifying success. Xavier Abu Eid, spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, released a statement saying that the hunger strike was “an important step towards full respect of the rights of Palestinian prisoners under international law.” He also commented that it was “an indication of the reality of the Israeli occupation” that the prisoners had no choice but to “starve themselves to achieve basic rights.” — Hannah Patterson
ABDUCTIONS IN CHECHNYA CONDEMNED BY STUDENTS In April, the Russian independent daily newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that more than 100 gay men had been abducted in Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia, as part of a coordinated campaign. Since then testimonies from survivors have been released by Human Rights Watch, which detail extreme torture and being forced to name other gay men. The Russian Foreign Minister dismissed the accusations, arguing “we don’t see one concrete fact.” A spokesperson for Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov denied the existence of gay people within Chechnya. According to the Independent, authorities have also allegedly told families within Chechnya to carry out “honour killings” on gay family members. Amnesty at Vic, a campus off-
shoot of Amnesty International, staged a protest against the actions of authorities in Chechnya, with 60 people attending a sit-in outside of the Russian Embassy in Karori on May 27. Their intention was to condemn the abductions as well as show solidarity — “[a] hug around them with the middle finger behind our backs,” according to Amnesty at Vic President Abby Spilg-Harris. Spilg-Harris said that the group had tried repeatedly to get a response from the Embassy, however they were not able to. A representative from the Embassy did tell the group “I have no problem with what you’re doing, I just don’t want it on my property,” adding that he found the group’s actions “intimidating.” The Embassy called the police in response to the protesters, but the police were dismissive of their concerns given that it was public property. The Russian Embassy declined to comment when contacted by Salient. The abductions in Chechnya have been condemned by other groups within Wellington such as the Rainbow NZ Parliamentary Network, a cross party coalition that includes National’s Paul Foster-Bell, Green’s Jan Logie, and Act’s David Seymour. The Network called on Foreign Minister Murray McCully to condemn the abductions and the response from Chechnya’s authorities, a move that would follow newly elected French PM Emmanuel Macron, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Hillary Clinton. — Sofia Roberts
GREENHOUSE GAS INVENTORY RELEASED The Ministry for Environment has released New Zealand’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory, the official annual estimate of all human-induced emissions and removals of greenhouse gases in New Zealand. The Inventory spans 1990–2015, and forms part of New Zealand’s international reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). New Zealand’s gross emissions were 0.1 percent lower in 2015 compared with 2014, but emissions per person were the seventh highest among the 41 industrialised countries which took commitments under the UNFCC. Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said the Inventory “shows gross emissions have remained stable since 2003 and declined in 2015, as New Zealand is becoming more carbon efficient.” The Green Party have been critical of the results of the Inventory, claiming that this reduction is attributable to a fall in production resulting from drought and lower milk prices, rather than proactive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “National is like a possum stuck in headlights. It knows it has to respond to climate change [...] but they’ve no idea what to do or which way to go,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw. “For National to meet its own climate targets, pollution needs to decline by more than two percent every year. This 0.1 percent drop shows they’re currently way off track.” — Brigid Quirke
HALLS OF RESIDENCE ROLES TO BE CUT UNDER PROPOSAL A consultation document proposing changes to Student and Campus Living, including the disestablishment of a range of roles across VUW halls of residence, was released on May 24. The roles which would cease to exist under the proposal are the of Heads of Hall for Weir House, Capital, Katherine Jermyn, Joan Stevens, Boulcott, and University Halls; Residential Life Managers, Office Administrators, Residential Advisors (RAs), and Kiwi Mates for University Hall; and a range of coordinator and supervisor positions within the Accommodation Services. New proposed roles include three Hall General Managers, who would manage all halls and residential properties; an Associate Director of Student Living, who would provide leadership in the delivery of services; and a Senior Residential Life Manager, who would focus on supporting and developing Residential Life Managers and RAs. The Director of VUW Student and Campus Living, Rainsforth Dix, told Salient, “it is not appropriate to comment on this process while the document is out for consultation. [...] It is a proposal at this stage and no decisions have been made.” The consultation document sets out a process of consultation, deliberation, and decision making before affected employees would be advised of their status. However Andrew Clarke, a RA at University Hall, told Salient that in a meeting on May 29 University Hall RAs, Heads of Hall, and Life Managers were told their contracts would be terminated on September 1. The following day RAs were told that their contracts would be honoured until their end date in November, although the Heads of Hall and Life Advisors would have their contracts terminated on September 1. “To me that shows this isn’t something they’ve really thought through,” Clarke told Salient, outlining the distress the uncertainty had caused for those staff members who would need to find new jobs and accommodation. VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin was seeking discussion with VUW about the rationale behind the proposal. “The sheer scale of the changes proposed was cause for some shock.”
“Our key desire is to find out what students in halls think of the changes, and how they will be affected. We will be having lots of discussions over the next week to establish a position that reflects the best interests of students.” Clarke was concerned that the proposed changes would devalue the hall experience, particularly as the changes would occur during the second semester, disrupting existing residents. An anonymous VUW student told Salient that, on announcing the changes, Dix was met with backlash. “She had no idea of the kaitiakitanga or whanau environment that has been created within the staff in the Halls. [Staff ] stood firmly by the invaluable difference that their Heads of Halls make in their daily jobs to keep their residents safe, ensure they foster environments to grow and learn, and socialise positively.” Clarke was told that the incoming staff at University Hall, who would begin in September, would not provide the pastoral care that Heads of Halls or Life Advisors did. “They said they did a survey and found students weren’t interested in pastoral care in terms of VUW accommodation. All they wanted was a place to live.” “I think in terms of the housing crisis, that is how a lot of students feel. But it’s essentially the same as asking someone who is starving and thirsty, do you want food or water? They’re going to choose water, but not because they don’t need food.” Clarke was concerned that University Hall would not be able to provide the experience incoming students would expect. “We will be getting a huge influx of international students from US and Asia, who have paid a lot of money, but won’t be getting that pastoral care and service that they expected.” “To me, it doesn’t make sense — it’s all about saving a few dollars, not about the students.” — Brigid Quirke Submissions on this consultation document can be made to Karen McEwan, Human Resources Manager: Karen. firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be received by 12.00pm, June 16.
UOA STUDENTS OCCUPY VICECHANCELLOR’S OFFICE On May 30, University of Auckland (UoA) students staged a twelve hour sit-in at the clock tower building, which houses the Vice Chancellor’s office, before being removed by police. A two and a half year campaign by the student group Fossil Free UoA has repeatedly called for full divestment from fossil fuels by the University of Auckland Foundation, the trust which manages and invests charitable funds for the benefit of UoA. They also call for support from UoA’s Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon. Spokesperson for Fossil Free UoA, Alex Johnston, told Salient, “after that length of time we felt like we couldn’t wait for action from him any longer.” “We’ve repeatedly asked the Vice-Chancellor to support divestment through petitions, through multiple letters, through meeting in person, and at every stage he would refuse to support divestment and wash his hands of the issue.” The students were locked into the Vice-Chancellor’s wing by security to prevent other students joining them, and were repeatedly asked to leave. “We were prepared to stay as long as it took,” Johnston reflected. The protesters were peacefully removed by police after more than 12 hours. UoA released a statement in response to the protest, reaffirming that the Foundation managed its own funds. “The University has a strong commitment to sustainability and improving its environmental performance. This includes institutional membership of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, through which we are working with other tertiary institutions and organisations across the public and private sectors globally to generate the solutions that will deliver on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.” They declined to respond specifically to Salient on the matter. Johnston was disappointed that the Vice-Chancellor had not addressed their demands or recognised the significance a public statement would have on the decision-making of the Foundation. “It showed that the Vice-Chancellor was not willing to meet with us to engage with us.”
“It didn’t address the demands and didn’t respond to what we asked. As the leader of the university, he can’t just sit on the sidelines. [...] Investment is always a social decision, by not standing up for our futures he is saying that it’s okay for them to go about their current practice.” Johnston said that the sit-in had resulted in an outpouring of support from the university community. Further, a letter sent to the Foundation, who failed to engage with Fossil Free UoA for over two years, “will be tabled at their next meeting on June 23.” “It’s a sign of progress, and it’s in the public spotlight. They can’t ignore it any longer.” Following the sit-in, hundreds of protesters took part in a March for Divestment on UoA’s central campus on May 31. “It’s absolutely within the Vice-Chancellor’s ability to help push for this,” Johnston said. “It’s such a minor shift in their investments but sends such a strong message to the fossil fuel industry that this business model isn’t compatible with our future.” — Brigid Quirke
THE 2017 BUDGET — WHAT IT MEANS FOR STUDENTS The 2017 Budget was revealed on May 25 and contains a range of initiatives aimed at “delivering for New Zealanders.” Students will be impacted by a number of the measures, including the central initiative in the budget, the Family Incomes Package. The $2 billion package takes effect from April 1, 2018, and makes adjustments to the personal income tax brackets, abolishes the Independent Earner Tax Credit, and increases the Family Tax Credit, the Accommodation Supplement, and the Accommodation Benefit. The Budget also includes a modest increase in funding for the Tertiary Education sector, focussing on Research Initiatives and government subsidies. However, it has been criticised by New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) and VUWSA for not doing enough to support students. Although he saw it as significant that “the Government has at least recognised that student poverty exists,” VUWSA President Rory Lenihan-Ikin was skeptical about whether the changes would significantly improve the quality of life and education for tertiary students. Accommodation Benefit The Government confirmed that the maximum amount available under the Accommodation Benefit will increase from $40 to $60, with increases being regionally targeted. The Accommodation Benefit is available to those students who are eligible for Student Allowance — currently 33% of New Zealand tertiary students. Estimated new rates for Student Allowance recipients living in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch will be $60 per week. Dunedin students will be eligible for an $11 increase to $51, Hamilton students will be eligible for a $9.50 increase to $49.50, and Tauranga students will be eligible for an $18.50 increase to $58.50. There is no expected increase for eligible stu-
dents in the Wairarapa or Rotorua. It is estimated that Palmerston North students will receive a $0.50 increase. NZUSA President, Jonathan Gee, has criticised the increases for not going far enough. “More than three quarters of students will see no change to their living situation as a result of this Budget. This contrasts with our recommendations, calling for a housing grant for all students.” “It also denies the Auckland rent crisis, when the cap of $60 will be mirrored in Christchurch and Wellington. In Auckland, students are paying $70 more on rent than in Christchurch, yet they will get the same level of support through the Accommodation Benefit.” Lenihan-Ikin has also been critical of the changes. “There are roughly 400,000 tertiary students in New Zealand and this so-called budget ‘increase’ is set to benefit 41,000. The Government should not expect students to see this as a win.” Accommodation Supplement The maximum rates available for the Accommodation Supplement have also increased. Approximately 3500 tertiary students currently receive the Accommodation Supplement, a means-tested weekly payment available to some students who are not eligible for the allowance. The Supplement is not specific to students, unlike the Allowance, but is being increased as part of the Family Incomes Package. Under the 2017 Budget a two person household will see an increase of $25–$75 per week, and larger households will see an increase of between $40 and $80. The Government stated that the changes to the Accommodation Supplement will benefit around 136,000 households who currently receive the maximum rate. They will benefit by an average of $36 per week. Students who are most likely to qualify are sole parents and those undertaking postgraduate study, according to the Minister for Tertiary Ed-
15 ucation, Paul Goldsmith. The Accommodation Supplement areas will also be updated to reflect 2016 rents. Gee has criticised the gap between the increase in the Supplement, which is inaccessible to most students, and the Benefit, which is more student-focussed. “There’s a gap between the two that is widening as a result of the budget,” reflected Gee. “It fails to address the reality of student poverty.” Labour leader Andrew Little said he was “broadly supportive” of the Budget’s increase to the accommodation supplement as an interim solution to the housing crisis, but he said that the Labour Party would release their alternative budget in coming weeks. Tertiary education investment The Government is also investing $132.1 million in tertiary education to “develop the skills and knowledge needed for a stronger and more internationally connected New Zealand economy,” according Goldsmith. The investment is part of a $372 million Innovative New Zealand programme, which also devotes funds to Science and Innovation and Economic Development. $69.3 million over four years will go towards tuition subsidy rates. This amounts to around a 1% increase which, according to Gee, is not enough. “They say it’s an increase, but taking into account the Consumer Price Index, the change isn’t as significant as it first appears.” The Government will also make an investment in the international education sector of $6.8 million over four years to support “sustainable growth” in the sector and to “strengthen the net benefit to New Zealand and its value to our regions.” Goldsmith underlined the contribution of international education to the New Zealand economy saying it is our “fourth largest export industry at $4.28 billion in export earnings in 2016.” The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has criticised the Budget for shifting funding away from the public tertiary education sector to private tertiary education providers. TEU National Secretary, Sharn Riggs, said that the Government would “cut more than $15.5 million in funding to our public universities and
News polytechnics, while increasing funding to private providers by almost $24 million.” Riggs called it a budget of “ideological choice, not of necessity,” and claimed the Government was showing an “ideological preference for for-profit tertiary providers.” Riggs instead called for “a public education system that suits the needs of the students it serves and the staff who deliver it.” Research, Learning, and Teaching Initiatives $52.5 million over four years will be invested in the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF), the tertiary education funding process which assesses the research performance of tertiary institutions and funds them on the basis of their performance, to “incentivise and reward high-quality research in tertiary education.” Gee has criticised the Budget’s failure to address learning and teaching initiatives in addition to performance-based research. When asked why learning and teaching initiatives had not received funding under the Budget, Goldsmith said “the PBRF supports excellent research-led teaching by recognising the quality of research outputs, supervision of research degrees, and external research income.” What we didn’t get Gee told Salient that the Budget was “disappointing” in that it failed to address issues of access to education for young people. Prior to the Budget’s release, NZUSA proposed changes to improve access to tertiary education such as a national First in Family Scholarship, restoring postgraduate allowances, and ending age discrimination in allowance and loan access. None of these initiatives were considered in the 2017 Budget. “In its Budget the Government is wilfully ignorant in failing to address the needs of those locked out of tertiary education,” Gee concluded. — Brigid Quirke and Thomas Croskery An extended analysis of the 2017 Budget can be found on our website, salient.org.nz.
POLITICAL ROUND-UP There have been numerous high profile cases going through the New Zealand courts this past month. New Zealand gained international attention after John Oliver reported on the highly ridiculous Eminem v The New Zealand National Party. There’s also been Andrew Little v Lani and Earl Hagerman, in which Little was sued for defamation after statements made about Hagerman’s donations to the National Party — a case that was threatening to bankrupt him until he was cleared. This week let’s look at the most recent in the line of high profile cases: Cameron Slater v Colin Craig, a background-heavy case that is a tangle of different participants and court sessions, but nonetheless an interesting one. Colin Craig is suing Cameron Slater for defamation. Quite frankly, the trial proceedings have been a complete mess, and the New Zealand Herald has described it “as strange and unlikely” and having had “dragged its sorry carcass around courtroom 14 this past fortnight.” So, where did this mess all start? Well the absolute beginning is right-wing blogger Cameron Slater (as seen in Dirty Politics) publishing sexual harassment allegations about Craig on his blog Whale Oil. Craig resigned from the Conservative Party after he breached the terms of a secret settlement between himself and his press secretary, Rachel MacGregor. The agreement had bound the parties from talking about its contents, and was reached between MacGregor and Craig in mediation talks after MacGregor laid a sexual harassment complaint. Craig breached the agreement after he partook in a series of media interviews detailing the settlement. Craig had to pay damages to MacGregor as a result. After being later suspended
POLITICS from the Conservative Party, all hope being lost for regaining the leadership, and a rather pathetic attempt to regain support via a mass email to the membership, Craig announced he was suing Slater along with Conservative Party member John Stringer. Craig alleged that Stringer defamed him in statements made about the sexual harassment allegations — the action against Stringer was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Additionally, NZ Taxpayers’ Union founder Jordan Williams was successful in a defamation claim against Craig, regarding flyers distributed to 1.6 million homes in 2015 in which Craig alleged that Williams was running a “malicious” campaign. Which brings us to where we are today. Cameron Slater announced he would lodge a counterclaim, which is being heard alongside the main defamation case. Craig’s press secretary has been a witness in the Slater case, having to once again detail her harassment. Of all elements of the proceedings, this aspect has unfortunately been the one that has received the greatest amount of press. Another key witness was Madeleine Flanagan, who is a long friend of Slater’s (11 years), and an ex-lawyer of Craig’s (from when he and his wife were adopting a child and worried about reputation). Flanagan detailed the push and pull between seeking to find out what Slater had on her client, but also being unable to be open with Slater about who her client was and feeling like she was betraying their friendship. She also told the court that Slater had assumed her client was a second accuser, an assumption he then went on to publish. The amount of money being sunk into claims and counterclaims is insanity, but perhaps not surprising for anyone who remembers Craig suing The Civilian for an apology and $500 in 2013. Then there’s the sheer
awfulness of someone having to repeat their sexual harrassment suit again and again, especially in a relatively high profile case (and possibly made worse by how hilarious people find it). And finally there’s the fact that Slater and Craig are two people for all intents and purposes on the same side of the political spectrum but also widely different — they are both right wing but have differing views on social issues. Okay, we’re done, let’s move on to the upcoming election. Big news recently is the announcement that New Zealand gangs — Black Power, the Mongrel Mob, Nomad, and Tribesmen — are joining together to mobilise voters. Mongrel Mob member Harry Tam told Newshub, “we are concerned about our children, we are concerned about futures.” Members said they were frustrated with the portrayal of gangs amongst the New Zealand public. Māori Party MP Marama Fox told Newshub, “we’re here to help because those are our people. If they think that they put their faith in us, that’s up to them.” Fox also criticised the government’s response to gangs (e.g. banning gang regalia in public spaces), saying “the gang strategy I don’t believe is the best one, I think too many people are tarred with the same brush.” — Sofia Roberts
THE TRUMP FRONT Surprise! Bet you thought you’d seen the last of your ol’ mate T-rump! Well, check yourselves because old dog has been up to some preeeeetty shady news tricks over our two week hiatus. Firstly, this whole Comey drama is back AT IT again. This tale is honestly just so extra that my 300 word limit wouldn’t even begin to get into the nitty gritty of it. An
17 overtly-simplified version of events goes something like this: Comey = fired because: Trump = Russia. This was followed swiftly by: World = explodes. AND, in a complete twist, Comey states that he kept written proof of this Russia = Trump scenario, in the form of memos written after every one-on-one interaction he had with Don-boy. Cheeky! Of course, Trumpy is stating that it’s all a LIE and FAKE NEWS, but the world is waiting in anticipation for homeboy Comey to release his debut, tell-all novel: What Really Happened in the Oval Office. (Disclaimer: this may be false, but @Comey, if you’re reading this, that would make a great title FYI). Right, next: The first foreign tour for the less-than-impressive duo of Melania and Donster came to an anti-climactic ending last week. Although a lot of noteworthy things occurred during the big “Trump OE” (see: Pope Francis giving T-dog a sneaky letter on the realities of climate change at the Vatican; and Trump-o shoulder barging his way past the Prime Minister of Montenegro so he could walk with the big boys at the NATO summit in Brussels) the big talking point was Melania literally SWATTING Donald’s hand away on not one, but TWO separate occasions during the trip. Both times, Donny goes to take Mel’s hand, when she retaliates with the true-and-tested flick of the wrist, a move that clearly says “keep those grimy hands off me you creep.” We feel you Melanz, we feel you.
Politics the accommodation benefit cap for recipients of student allowance — it is estimated that it will increase from $40 to $60. However, critics have pointed out that only 33% of students (nationwide) qualify for allowance, and students who are only eligible for living costs also struggle with increased rental prices. Does the increase do enough to help students with the difficulties of finding affordable rental accommodation in Wellington?
ble rental costs. The National Party are completely out of touch with the reality of our housing market and the day-to-day sacrifices students are making just to get by. Steven Joyce and Bill English come from a student generation who built their careers off the back of affordable housing and tuition fees. They’ve now gone and pulled the ladder up behind them — telling us they way they had it before is “unaffordable” or “radical.” While the rich are getting a stealthy tax cut this Young Nats — Lower North Island year, students will remain saddled The most recent budget focuses on with huge debt, unaffordable rent, delivering for all New Zealanders, dwindling job opportunities, and no and we’re proud to say it does just prospect of home ownership. that. This is the ninth National Par— Kayden Briskie ty-led budget and it delivers a $116 million investment in mental health Vic Labour services, $1.1 billion for schools, and For many, attending tertiary educa$185 million investment in emer- tion without financial assistance is gency housing, alongside effective near impossible. National’s increase tax cuts for low income earners who to student allowance does nowhere will see up to an additional $20 in near enough to help students get their pocket per week. affordable rental accommodation in From a student perspective, the Wellington. increase in the accommodation benNational think it’s a nice elecefit is huge. The most at risk students tion sweetener, though not enough will now have access to an additional for students still struggling week to $20 per week, showing that this Na- week. The accommodation allowtional Government is committed to ance increase is a slap in the face to supporting us through our studies students struggling to survive in an and ensuring that those who need unaffordable rental market, and it support receive it. adds further stress to students who With all parties in Parliament, hoped the government would lookexcept for Labour, supporting the out for them. tax measures introduced under this Labour will actually address the budget, it’s safe to say this budget housing crisis directly by building truly is for all New Zealanders and warm and dry new properties, not we’re proud to support it. just in Auckland, but the rest of the — Sam Stead country as well. These will be genu— Tessa Cullen inely affordable — under $500,000 Greens at Vic for apartments and terraced homes, The only people who are celebrat- under $600,000 for stand-alone. ing the accommodation supplement Labour’s Three Years Free post-secTHE PARTY LINE increase are the landlords who now ondary school education and trainhave an excuse to overcharge even ing will help all New Zealanders more for their poor quality rental adapt to the ever-changing world of The Budget was released by Minister properties. This election bribe will do employment and careers. for Finance Steven Joyce on May 25. nothing to help the vast majority of In terms of students in Wellington, students who are struggling finanthe big announcement pertained to cially due to ridiculously unafforda-
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS Last year the government introduced minimum standards for insulation in all rental properties. By July 2019 all rentals must have some insulation in the floor and ceiling. This came on the back of widespread concern about the condition of the country’s rental stock and the effect this was having on the health and wellbeing of an increasing number of kiwis who are renters (nearly half of the population). The cost-benefit ratio of insulating NZ rentals is 6:1, which shows just how much damage is being done by cold, damp houses. Students have a fair bit of first-hand experience with the poor quality of rentals that are available in Wellington and around the country and by this point in the year most will be getting to know their new flatmate black mould pretty well. You would think these standards sound like good progress. However, a year down the track, things aren’t looking rosy. Firstly, the policy itself is very weak compared to what’s needed to fix the issue. The level of insulation required is only 100mm (about the size of a coffee mug), and there have been no provisions for other crucial pieces of the puzzle; heating and ventilation. Secondly, the government has scrapped the highly successful Warm Up New Zealand Scheme, a programme that saw about 20% of the countries 1.7 million homes insulated. And thirdly, one year into the three year lead in time provided for rental properties to be insulted, there is little evidence that landlords are taking action, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment have no way of even knowing how many rentals have been insulated. This all points to the fact that despite a song and dance about this big new policy, all we’ve seen so far is the stripping away of subsidies and landlords running way behind time for the 2019 deadline. Little to cherish as student flats feel the icy grip of a Wellington winter once again.. — Rory Lenihan-Ikin
VUWSA I was warned against mentioning the 2011 collapse of students’ associations in Aotearoa when I entered student politics. In this postvoluntary student membership environment, romanticising about the independence, autonomy, and mandate that students’ associations once had, has been unhelpful to the development and growth of our associations. On return from a recent trip to Canada for a Students as Partners conference, where I was fortunate enough to spend time with the students’ associations at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, I have realised the importance of breaking this silence. The students’ association at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver has a CA$25 million annual budget, employs over 100 staff (many are students), and operates multiple bars, cafés, and restaurants, as well as student services ranging from sexual violence prevention and support, student advocacy, sustainability innovation, to student health and dental clinics. Their Student Union Building contains free facilities for their 400 clubs. It even has a climbing wall for the adventure club. Most important is the fact that this association has compulsory membership. Unless students decide to “opt-out,” all students are automatically a member of the association. This means that they are given a mandate by all students to run large scale events and campaigns. With VUWSA’s small budget, we have been able to achieve a lot. The Fairer Fares campaign shows how we have been able to mobilise thousands of supporters, gain national media attention, and bring an issue into the Council’s agenda. This is not about the money, it’s about the mandate. Compulsory membership is not about reinforcing a political ideology. It is about ensuring that students have a collective voice within our community, backed by resources and a robust mandate to operate. — Isabella Lenihan-Ikin (Academic Vice President)
TE ARA TAUIRA The first thing I noticed about other Māori students was the pride in their walk. Each step, confident and affirmed as though you had a bigger reason for being here. Your gaze, almost intimidating and fierce, yet quietly humble. I couldn’t help my curiosity about the various reasons you all chose to come here. Whether it be the place you come from or the place you eventually want to be, I admired the way you carried it. Staunch, strong, and true. After writing this I thought “well… not all Māori students are like this are they?” Surely being staunch, strong, and true isn’t a prerequisite to being a Māori student here is it? Sometimes we can be sensitive and vulnerable. Sometimes the weight of our reasons can feel too heavy and often leave us tired. Sometimes this stuff affected my walk. In my stride, I thought “does anyone feel this way too?” Sometimes the way we react to hard times are honest reflections of our own reality, and that life, at times, can be cold, strenuous, sad, and lonely. To me it makes sense to respectfully acknowledge that. But perhaps it is up to you how it affects you. You could talk to a friend about it, but there are support services around if you need them. Currently I’m hanging around inside the Bubble: level two, Student Union Building. I can’t promise that I can fully relate to what you have to say but I suppose that’s what comes with this form of whakamomori. We offer free fruit at the bubble with bean bags, board/card games, and tea (kawakawa leaves courtesy of yours truly). Sometimes we need to tend to the fires of our taha hinengaro and wairua, not just the physical world of our taha tinana and whanau. Don’t be afraid to drop by, even just for a kēmu, and know that there are willing ears out there. Including mine. — Nā Kauri Parata
ONE OCEAN Last week was Samoan Language Week and I feel that language weeks can be good and bad (this is just my own fiapoko* opinion, k?)
O itū lelei (the good): • They emphasise the fact that our languages are legitimate, learnable, even lyrical (Samoan metaphors, uce, gotta love those!) • They raise national, even regional awareness that a lot of Pasifika languages have been made into “second class” dialects. • They’re not just about languages. All the myths, legends, chants, and art that colour Oceania are also celebrated. In doing this, language weeks give people from other cultures the chance to explore and appreciate these gems. O itū e fa’alēlelei (the bad): • They can sometimes make you feel a bit… not so good, if you’re from the country being celebrated but don’t speak the language fluently. This is especially true when a) people from other countries ask you to teach them a line or two in your language and you have to tell them that you’re “still learning.” Or b) people from your own country come up to you and start having a full-on conversation and you’re just like, “hmm” every five seconds so they know you’re listening, but won’t pick up that you are not in the mood to embarrass yourself by answering in full sentences.
Having parents from two different countries, I grew up speaking English (yay, colonialism). Before I started high school, my Samoan sounded like that moment in Laughing Samoans when Tala says, “e lele-leeeiloa e auuu faaaSamowaaa.” A lot of the #realSamoans (whatever that even means!) I knew would get so freakin’ mad at me for even trying. All in all, I do love language weeks, and I believe that our celebration of our languages should not be limited to seven days, once a year. Oi and I don’t think there should be such a strict criteria for being a #realSamoan or #realWhateverItIs that we’re celebrating. Fa la’ia! * “know-it-all” — Jasmine Koria
PUTTING THE “STUDENT” BACK INTO STUDENT HEALTH Over the years that Mauri Ora has been providing health and counselling services for students, the demographic of the VUW population has changed and grown. I feel proud walking around our campuses, seeing diversity all round me — young and old, every race, gender, able and less able, all represented here. However, I am also aware that as our community grows and changes, so must the way we approach service delivery. The “one size fits all” model doesn’t work, and all too often the ones it doesn’t work for are the most vulnerable in terms of health and wellbeing. Because of this, the Mauri Ora team have been looking forward and contemplating how we want our service to look in the future. We are thrilled and proud to have partnered with a number of student groups to discuss new, exciting projects — specifically members of the sex and gender diverse community, students from our Māori, Pasifika, and international populations, and the wonderful group running the fruit and vegetable co-operative. Last year, we piloted an outreach clinic in the marae, with “drop in” and booked appointments to see doctors and counsellors. The enthusiasm for this service has been wonderful, and with the arrival of our new Māori outreach nurse, Fiona, we hope that this clinic will become a more regular feature there; offering a safe, familiar space to discuss health and wellbeing concerns, as well as providing basic screening, advice, and vaccinations. Currently the marae clinic is available on Thursdays — to book an appointment either call the marae, or write your student ID number on the clinic door. We are excited to announce that a Pasifika drop-in clinic will shortly be opening its doors at our Kelburn premises. This clinic will run over lunchtime every Wednesday, and will be led by Tara, the other new member of our “outreach” team. All Pasifika students are welcome to come to this clinic, no booked appointment necessary, and Tara can organise ongoing doctors visits or prescriptions as required. We are delighted to
have also been invited to Pasifika Haus to deliver some fun “health” workshops as part of their Koe Vaka sessions — the next one is being held on June 7, and we will be focussing on how to deal with stress, anxiety, and mood problems. Within our Sex and Gender Diverse working group, we have been looking at barriers to accessing health care on campus. This has been a truly enlightening experience, and the students’ thoughtful insights have been invaluable. As a result of this, we are developing a pathway of care for gender diverse students to access the support they need within Mauri Ora, and have made basic changes to our registration forms and screening letters to overcome some of those initial hurdles. The steps taken so far have been hugely exciting for our team, and we are more grateful than we can say for the students who have partnered with us on these projects. Without you, there wouldn’t be a Mauri Ora! If you would like to learn more about any of our outreach or student-partnership projects, please contact Rawinia on Rawinia.Mariner@ vuw.ac.nz or our outreach nurses Tara.Lewis@ vuw.ac.nz and Fiona.Davanzo@vuw.ac.nz.
NSOMWARE, RANSOM HERE, RA RE! HE YW ER EV RANSOM
Super Science Trends
RANSOM HER E, RANSOMWAR E, RANSOM EVER YWHERE!
Anyone patiently awaiting the next season of Mr. Robot (gestures wildly at self ) should have found the news as entertainment enough this month, as the world’s technological infrastructure was hacked as part of the Wannacry attack. First detected on Friday, May 12, the attack sent governments scrambling to recover and patch their outdated software systems over the days that followed. Man, did I pick a good time to buy a MacBook. Wannacry is a form of ransomware, a hot new type of malware that infects your computer and encrypts all of your files, making them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the hacker to unlock them. Exploiting a flaw in an older version of Windows, the malware can get into your computer through something as simple as clicking a infected PDF or website. The ransom is paid through Bitcoin and apparently starts at around US$300 (NZ$437), rising up to US$600 (NZ$875) if the ransom isn’t paid within a time limit, after which the files are destroyed. Generally, it’s not known whether the hacker gives you the decryption key to unlock your files upon payment, or even whether cash is the only thing demanded. Which raises the question: would you send nudes to get your Word files back? Send mammaries for your computer memory? Strip to decrypt? (Alright, I’ll stop). Among the places hit were Britain’s National Health Service, Germany’s national railway system, and several Chinese universities, leaving students unable to access their dissertations or theses. Many government systems are being patched as a precaution, as a lot of them still operate on older software like 2000–2003 edition Windows, or don’t use a diversity of operating systems. Fortunately, the malware doesn’t affect anything running on Mac, Linux, or Windows 10, and getting your computer protected is as simple as keeping your software and internet security up to date. However, that doesn’t mean another attack won’t find and exploit a flaw in that security soon
enough. Wannacry spread primarily because people didn’t download the newest patch for the older versions of Windows, and as a result it exploited a flaw in its server message block protocol. This is known as zero-day vulnerability, where hackers exploit a flaw that hasn’t even been publicly recognised in the software. Fortunately, an anonymous 22-year old researcher (“Malwaretech” to the media) managed to limit Wannacry’s further infection by finding its flaw in turn. Noticing an obscure web address in Wannacry’s code, they registered the domain name of the address and redirected all its traffic to one server at their security company, creating a “sinkhole” to catch all the malware. It only cost him $10.69 (nice), but saved people hundreds of dollars. The media loves a hero, and while Malwaretech’s move spared us a lot of grief, it also begs acknowledging all the IT specialists who sacrificed their weekends to patch software and shut down servers to prevent Wannacry’s spread. We salute your service, code monkeys. For now, Wannacry has pretty much been averted. The worst that’s come of it are scammers making money off fake Wannacry protection for Android devices — a system that Wannacry doesn’t even infect. Although, technically, you’re still protected regardless of whether you download it or not. It’s like that joke about the man spreading salt around the city to ward away tigers. “But there are no tigers in London!” “Exactly!” Just shows how much we rely on an infrastructure most of us don’t understand, but a minority of people do. So buy a geek a coffee today, they’ve earned one and you could learn a thing or two. — Gus Mitchell
VOICE OF V-ISA
How to cope with homesickness: a beginner’s guide (part two) 5) Get a taste of your own culture at times The goal of studying abroad is to immerse every bit of yourself in a new culture. However, exposure to your own culture every now and then can be a great way to deal with homesickness. You might feel a lot better after treating yourself to a fancy meal at a restaurant that carries the taste of home and plays your country’s music. This has always been able to brighten my mood for the day. A little bit of home is never too much.
A while back, VUW’s online presence was blessed with yet another sexually frustrated man, angry that he couldn’t get laid, who decided that having a moan on “Overheard @ Vic” would somehow make things better. He thought VUW would be full of “hot, keen girls” but was disappointed to discover VUW’s women all fall into these three categories:
6) Set aside some time for yourself There’s a certain importance in being able to spend time by yourself. It’s nothing out of this world, really, just doing the things that bring you joy and take your mind off things. It can be cuddling up with a good book, binge-watching that new Netflix show everyone is raging on about, picking up the camera and taking shots of your surroundings, or simply just sitting down and giving journal writing a go. Writing has been therapeutic for me.
In summary, we look like a “bunch of fuckwits” and “when will these bloody lesbos get a life.” Sadly, it’s not the first time these attitudes of sexual entitlement have come to rise. It’s not far from the concept of “friendzoning”, when women suddenly become evil for not reciprocating the same feelings of, and not wanting to have sex with, a man they thought was their friend. Yes, it sucks to not be liked back, and sex is great, but how awful would it feel to find out your friend just wanted to have sex with you and now that he knows you aren’t sexually available you’re not longer worthy to him? There is no reason to be angry at someone for not wanting to have sex with you. No one is entitled to sex, and who would have known that posting about how unappealing the girls at university are isn’t the best way to go about improving your sex life. On the positive side, we had “Bad Memes for Suffering Victoria University Teens” come to the rescue with mocking memes normalising the concept that sexual entitlement is not okay. I would like to thank the admin for dismissing this outdated attitude and sending out the message to the many meme followers that, no, university is not a personal breeding ground for men, it is a place to learn and go into debt. — Georgia Brown
7) Give your own place a homey feeling When packing my stuff, I knew that I could not fit my entire bedroom into that mediumsized suitcase, but there were little things that could definitely fit in. Even while here, there’s at least a thing or two that reminds me of home — that gives me a feeling of home. Give your place a touch of green, several photo frames, and a couple of things here and there to make it homey and comfortable so that you wouldn’t detest the idea of chilling at your very own place. Make it a place you want to go back to after a tiring day at university. These are some of the strategies that might be of help if you’re terribly craving for home. Homesickness, as a whole, is that anxious feeling that will resurface occasionally. It is fundamental not to let the extent of it hinder you from enjoying yourself and missing out on the fun of being here! — Phuong Anh Nguyen
1. “self-righteous bloody vegan” 2. “whining feminist” 3. “trying to be alty”
TOKEN CRIPPLE Negotiations between E tū Union and the government have brought about a significant change for workers in the care sector. Effective from July 1, care and support staff will receive a pay increase of $3–7 per hour. This is huge in acknowledging the importance of an historically unvalued profession, work which, to people like me, is critical to our daily lives. In brief, my theory is that the value of work is relative to how “clean” the work is. I mean this literally. In support work, particularly personal care, you are often confronted by other people's dirt, waste, bodies, and bodily fluid. Of course it is also undervalued for being “woman's work”; traditionally care was the preserve of the feminine/female. As RNZ reported, the exact increase will “depend on the work.” It will also depend on how qualified and experienced workers are, the pay graded accordingly. This has me thinking: what/who gets to count as qualified? Hiring my own staff for the last year has shown me I want to work with people who can engage with me as a person. In my interactions with staff, what technical knowledge they have is almost immaterial. The success of my support depends on the success of the working relationship: am I comfortable with them in my home? Are they a friendly presence first thing in the morning? Are they reliable? Can they fit easily into a routine involving flatmates and pet cat, pet quails? A selection of questions I might ask myself about a potential employee. But rapport like this is not so easily measured. I am fairly self-determined about who I have do this work for me but not all people are.and the experience of people using support should be central to any conversation about the value of this work. — Henrietta Bollinger
THE BUBBLE “I am okay and I DEFINITELY have my life together,” I chant, ritualistically, as I put the kettle in the fridge. “I am okay and I DEFINITELY have my life together,” again, only this time I’ve poured milk into my cereal bowl before the cereal and, wait, is that my toothbrush I just used as a spoon? All right, fine. I’m lying to myself. I’m a typical university student trying to navigate the world and I have no idea what I’m doing. At university, there appears to be an ongoing trend for students to appear like they have everything together. We smile in lecture theatres, we meet friends for coffee, and many of us browse the “Cool Dog Group” on Facebook for at least two hours at a time. We do this, having accepted that this is just how life is supposed to be for the next however-many years. The pressure to appear as if everything is okay is more demanding than the pressure of submitting four assignments on one day. As you move through your week, try to recognise when you have adopted this façade, and avoid it. Being stressed when under pressure is normal, especially when you have assignments due, you haven’t seen your best friend in weeks, and you’re battling Wellington’s temperamental weather. Dedicate time to yourself and try not to feel guilty about it. Identify a person you trust and simply tell them what is on your mind. It is the smallest connections in life that often become the most meaningful. The first step in your navigation of this adult world should be accepting that things don’t always have to appear as if they are all fine and dandy. But what would I know? I just spilt coffee on my laptop… and I forgot it was rubbish day today… — Daniel Botha
THOSE WHO COME BEFORE Written by the Scotney family (with thoughts from Laura and Tim) Where do we stand? Responsible for a publication with an 80 year legacy, here for eight months, then gone — the responsibility deferred. Albert H. (Bonk) Scotney founded Salient in 1938, and he did so within a specific historical context. His words: “Salient was born on the night of 8–9 March, 1938. Fathered by a progressive Executive, its mother was the tense uncertainty of the years 1937–1939. A group of students, of whom I was one, acted as a collective midwife.” (vol.11, no.1). The tone is humorous, but the gravity of those foundings years — WW2 on the horizon; the Spanish Civil War a bitter defeat — cannot be ignored. There is an unbridgeable gulf between then and now, but Scotney lingers in these pages. Even if indirectly, we’re informed by the words that have preceded us, including those penned and edited by Scotney himself. So we thought we should try and find him, find out who started this all. Thankfully, his family was willing to share some parts of his life with us. He was born in Island Bay on April 24, 1912. He trained as a primary school teacher and spent some years teaching before attending VUW (then Victoria College). He completed his Master’s thesis in history, on the theft of Ngāi Tahu land by the New Zealand Company. Scotney achieved much in his career, and was loved dearly by his family. His daughter, Rire, would tell us that he passed away at the age of 79, “too young, but after an illness that allowed us to see that he was brave humble and determined. He didn’t want us to suffer and minimised his own.” His granddaughter Ana interviewed her family over coffee and lemon cake in front of the heatpump at her Aunty and Uncle’s place on Mother’s Day. The conversation jumps all over the place, but her family talking paints more of a picture of Scotney than we ever could. We’ve weaved excerpts of their conversation with fragments of his writing and our thoughts as the current editors — somewhere among these letters is the person who started all this.
The People Rita Scotney: 91, wife of Bonk, mother of Tere and Rire. Rire Scotney: 58, eldest daughter of Rita and Bonk, Ana’s Mum. Tere Scotney: 56, youngest daughter of Rita and Bonk, Ana’s Aunty. Mike Salmon: 60, Tere’s Husband, Sefton and Nydia’s dad. Ana Scotney: 22, Rire’s daughter, eldest grandchild of Rita and Bonk. Sefton Salmon: 18, eldest grandson of Rita and Bonk, current VUW student. Nydia Salmon: 16, youngest granddaughter of Rita and Bonk.
ANA: Do you know when Bonk started Salient?
Tere: In the 1930s probably. Rire: I’ve got the first edition. It was definitely after the Spanish Civil War was on, ’cause one of the early editions was about the Spanish Civil War. So, round the time of the Spanish Civil War ’cause I know that he wrote an early editorial saying that war was coming. I’m sure it was 1936 [the Spanish Civil War]. Sefton: According to the website it was 1938 [the founding of Salient]. Tere: He went into the NZ navy and spent high-time in the war in the Pacific. The Spanish Civil War was just ignored by
Those who come Features before the mainstream media so that’s what lead to the rise of Franco, so it was a hardcore Civil War— Rire: Do you want some more food Mum? Do you want a bit more cheese?— Tere: …which in some ways was the hard thing ’cause its neighbours and villages, andthe way it was ignored is what annoyed him so much. He gave debates about it and started Salient. Sefton: I guess that back then in New Zealand there was far more of a sense of belonging to the Commonwealth than there is now, and England was far more concerned about the rise of Hitler than the Civil War, because the Civil War was kind of—
In 1938 (vol.1, no.3) Scotney interviewed Tom Spiller, a Lieutenant from the International Brigade (British Battalion) who fought in the Spanish Civil War against the Nationalists, who were led by the fascist Francisco Franco and supported by Hitler and Mussolini. Ending the piece, he reflects that “we could have gone on for hours. Every question clearly answered: but time and space had reached their limits.” And while he could have questioned him for much longer, Scotney was firm about where to stand on the Spanish Civil War — against fascism. “There is no question as to which side in the struggle is being supported by the majority of the representative of modern Spanish culture.” (vol.1, no.8). Ten years on, in 1948, Scotney reflected on the importance of these events in changing the nature of university life: “As the invasion of Manchuria was succeeded by Mussolini’s Ethiopian escape, and the cynical mockery of the Spanish War was followed by the rape of Austria, it was inevitable that a more serious mood should appear at [Victoria University College]. The change from SMAD [the previous student magazine] to SALIENT was one symptom of the changed outlook, shown elsewhere in the passing of more radical motions at debates, in the formation of new clubs, and in a widespread doubt regarding the honesty of the prewar political set-up in Europe.” (vol.11, no.1) Nydia: Within that country as well, like— Sefton: Yeah, exactly, and Spain is a long way south compared to Germany. Far further away from England.
ANA: His motivations for starting the magazine? Rire: I think it was a voice and I think it was a really strong belief that there were things happening in the world that people needed to know about, and that it wasn’t coming out. This notion of voice. He was a debater as well and he won the Plunket medal, the debating medal at VUW, with the first denunciation — ’cause usually you win when you praise somebody — but he won it with the first denunciation of Hitler. He saw what was happening and he was able
to put them together and know that there was a sea change in the world that people should know about. And that young people, students, had something to say and should be able to say it. That’s why he started it. I mean the word salient — doesn’t the word salient mean like, germane, like relevant, or salient point, or valid— Rita: Yes, salient point is I think the main point. Rire: Yeah. So to call a newspaper Salient means that it’s the best sort of thing that you could say. Tere: He’d be thrilled that it was continuing, and I don’t think that he’d be at all concerned if at times it was controversial provided there was a principle underneath the controversy.
ANA: How did Salient impact Grandad’s career?
Tere: Probably wasn’t the newspaper itself, so much as the views Dad held which were expressed through Salient. Like, Salient was an outlet for them.
ANA: And what do you think those views were? Rire: They were very egalitarian. He was a strong advocate for workers’ rights and for fairness. He would speak up on behalf of other people. What else Sissy? Tere: Um. Kind of classic left wing stuff. Rire: Without being extreme. Tere: Yeah. He never belonged to any political party so he was able to retain that
independence but be a critical voice. Or be prepared to be a critical voice, if there were things going on that he wasn’t happy with. Rire: He was a very good writer, and a scholar always.
ANA: Okay, so, Mum and Aunty Tere, what was he like? Koro Bonk. Rire: He was a very loving father and he taught us both to drive. He was very patient. He had a wonderful sense of humour. He was more musical, I think, than we may have heard ’cause he’d quite often sit down at a piano and little tunes would eventually get plunked out and he played the Cornet for the Last Post for…was it… George VI’s mother. Tere: Or George VI. Rire: Or the Queen’s mother.
In its early days, Salient was criticised by the student association for including “too much outside stuff ” (vol.1, no.13) in its coverage of global affairs, and several readers expressed that there wasn’t enough trivial entertainment and easy laughs. Scotney recognised that there were those who found “the daily recital of tragedies, wars and rumours of wars, and other outstanding features of contemporary life a little hard to face up to, and who prefer, consciously or unconsciously, to turn their back on them, and to seek refuge in escape.” (vol.1, no.13). However, he was adamant that Salient keep its critical voice and engage with difficult ideas and realities: “A humourless existence has nothing to recommend it, but if a person seeks humour, pleasant talk, and similar diversions to the exclusion of serious thought, an attitude of mind arises which when confronted with an unpleasant concrete reality, cannot adjust itself to the new circumstances, and renders the person upon whom it rests of little use to his fellow men in times of crisis.” (vol.1, no.13).
Rita: The interesting thing was the origin of his name Bonk. He used to ask his father, who owns that? “Oh, Mr Bim-Bonkins.” Then, who owns that house Dad? “Mr BimBonkins.” So he told the kids at school all these things that Mr Bim-Bonkins owned and the kids twigged and then they started calling him Bonk. And had nothing to do with the word, meaning what it does these days, when you’re bonking someone. So times are changing.
ANA: That’s crack-up. Was he a strict dad? Did you guys have to be home by a curfew or was he pretty cruisy? Rire: I don’t remember that. Ana: What about when you guys were in your twenties, you were at VUW. Tere: Like courtesy first. If you said you were going to be home by midnight, be home by midnight or ring. Rire: But I remember that I had a music teacher that wasn’t perhaps as nice to me as teachers would be expected to be now, and he came and got me on his motorbike — ’cause he had these little motorbikes.
Those who come before
In 1968, while commemorating the 30th anniversary of Salient, Scotney reminisced about the motivations behind his and his team’s journalistic and editorial decisions: “It was agreed that the time had come at Victoria to try to link university life more closely with the world, that we should comment on events rather than simply narrate them, that we should openly abandon the traditional but usually phoney editorial attitude of Olympian impartiality. We would sign what we wrote and take the consequences.” (vol.31, no.1) Tere: One at a time, like a Kawasaki 100. Rire: They were never very big but he would come and get me and you’d have to sit on the back of it and you’d have a helmet. In the end I didn’t have to go back to that piano teacher. He wasn’t having that. And on Friday night he’d go into town and he had this blue duffle bag and he’d go to the delicatessen and he’d get cheese and stinky salami and Rollmop herring and pickled cucumbers— Tere: And something chocolatey from Queen Anne’s—
Rire: And then Mum would have a gin. One gin. A finger-full of gin and some tonic, I can’t remember whether you had tonic in your gin or whether you had cordial on Friday. Ana: Gin and juice, eh Rita. Rita: Mmm? Ana: Gin and Juice! Tere: It was a gin and tonic.
Here we are, halfway through this year. Another installment of Salient to add to the ongoing legacy of one of Wellington’s longest-running magazines. We look to the past for insight and hindsight. In some ways, we’ve come a long way. In many other ways, we’re facing the same problems as we did 80 years ago (and before that!). However, we keep moving forward, taking with us the lessons we learned from those who’ve come before us, those around us, and that which we experience ourselves. “We believed then and believe now that any country is entitled to look to its educated young people to show a lively intellectual curiosity about all kinds of subjects. Salient tried to embody this idea in what it said; to rouse the indifferent, to question the orthodox, to stimulate discussion.” (vol.31, no.1).
ANA: Any final thoughts for the contemporary Salient reader?
Tere: I guess final thoughts for Salient readers would be along the lines of: think about the contribution you really want to make to society. And be respectful of others. Be very aware of the world you’re living in and strive to make it better. Rire: Do your bit, and that everybody’s got a voice, and that how you conduct yourself has to be the way that you want the world to be, because, he [Bonk] used to say to me that, he wanted to leave, and he believed that every human should leave, the world a better place than how you found it.
1. Short Sighted and in Bad Faith
In 2016 the Guardian published a piece with the headline “Libraries facing ‘greatest crisis’ in their history” — the details are frightening for those that care about libraries and public institutions in general. More than 350 libraries across Britain have closed between 2010 and 2016, contributing to 8,000 job losses. The libraries that have survived have felt increasing pressure to defend their very existence, instrumenting measures to fit within tighter council budgets such as cutting permanent staff and replacing them with volunteers, reducing opening hours, reducing collections, and generally cutting services. However, these actions ultimately serve only to facilitate more cuts, as they undermine the library’s ability to provide effective and robust services, thus, relegating their importance to the community that uses them. It is a vicious circle: cuts are made, so libraries react accordingly; patronage and community support dwindles, justifying further cuts. With this in mind, it should give us pause when reflecting on news out of Auckland that the council are reducing staff across their libraries in an effort to save $1.8 million, giving ratepayers “better value for money.” That is the clearest statement of intent in the council’s press release and reveals their main priorities. The other intent of the cuts is framed in the maddeningly ambiguous language of board rooms. We are meant to believe that these cuts are a “future proofing” measure and ignore the irony that it means losing years of actual librarian experience to do so. Outside of the job losses and the savings to ratepayers, “future proofing” apparently means making vague generalisations about advancing library digital and online services, which sounds nice, but in the absence of specifics feels hollow in light of the human cost. Of course libraries need to adapt to their time and place. In 2017 libraries have to compete with a digital world in which most information, art, and entertainment can be accessed online. But libraries have survived technology shifts before, maintaining their relevancy and importance throughout a history that stretches back to a time where people were itching their musings into stone — in other words, libraries are pretty resilient. Librarians are the best people to lead this change. Sacrificing their years of experience and creating an environment in which the survivors are fearful for their job security is counter productive. The council may want to frame these cuts as an attempt to ready libraries for the future, but little to nothing will be achieved if their plans are governed by a slavish dedication to the bottom line and making their ratepayers happy. This reality, that libraries exist at the whim of whoever is in control of public spending, means that we must continually argue for their existence. The public library does this itself through its engagements with the community it serves, but there are political and philosophical arguments that must be made in its support.
Opinions Features The public library is one of the last commons, a site on which people can organise, collaborate, aid, and create. Spaces like this are latent with political potential but easily disregarded by individualistic politics that run counter to the more egalitarian space the library occupies. Spend any time within a public library, particularly one as large and as central as Wellington’s City Library, and you are likely to encounter an impressive diversity of patrons: the economically disadvantaged using the library as a safe and warm place, the backpackers from around the world skyping their friends and family back home, the students head down in books, and the local families loaning their weekly dose of fiction. One can begin to see the library as an antidote to online isolation and the politics that often fester in such spaces where individuals remain closed off to opposing points of view. Anyone can be accepted within the public library, as use of its space and service is predominately free. This should be fought for, not just for its rarity in a commodified society but for its ability to resist the social stratification such a society engenders. There is a further role the library occupies politically, one that may be less material, but is no less important. For many of us our first experience of libraries was as children. Whether we were making our regular trip on the weekend to pick up an armful of fiction, or whether it was where we went after school waiting for our parents to finish work, the time we spent in the library — the books, magazines, music, and movies we inevitably digested — will have had an indelible but unconscious affect on the way we think and operate within society. I for one have no recollection of the books I read through my local library as a kid, yet I can draw a fairly accurate diagram of its internal architecture and, as I now have a degree in English literature, I’d say those forgettable books still managed to leave a mark. What I am pushing at here is the library as a space of imagination, or “wonder” as the Wellington City Library Charter puts it. The future is a space that is always contestable, and the future that is on our horizon will ask particularly hard and existential questions that will require radically new and different thinking if we are to answer them appropriately. We cannot cut off spaces as important as the public library. Their ability to provide a glimpse of a more utopian and egalitarian community, as well as fostering imaginative and critical thinking, are central needs as we approach a precarious, shared future. We can be thankful that we are not facing a crisis comparable in size to the United Kingdom. But death by a hundred little cuts can be easy to ignore and harder to fight. If we passively accept these cuts and fail to make a noise for our libraries, then by the next Budget more can be justified. This is not scaremongering but rather a pragmatic response to a decision that is both short sighted and in bad faith.
2. Remaining here too long My experience of suburban living is coloured by the necessity of the commute. Suburbia compartmentalises the domestic and private from the public, the urban, and, ideally, the political; the suburb is the space in which actions are governed foremost by the values of the family. What happens, then, is that the suburban dweller is forced each day to return from their place of work (or play) to the physical site of the “family”, where their role as father, mother, daughter, son, brother, or sister solidifies over the years to a suffocating degree. It’s why coming home for Christmas can be so grating for some; suburbia means family, family means oppression, oppression craves escape. It seems to me that the need (which evolves, through habit, into longing) for commute — the daily reprieve from the constraints of suburbia — can elaborate into the concepts of travel and the “holiday away”. I’m travelling at the moment; you could call it a holiday. I’m visiting my sister. In my view, short stories or novellas are best for travel reading because their brevity means that the journey on the page will not outlive your journey on the road, across the sea, or through the sky. It’s also preferable that the stories you read are not overly moving, otherwise it’s too easy to find yourself, while flying over Mongolia at 2.00am, grieving the death of Bazarov in the reading light of a Boeing 777. John Cheever is who I would most recommend to travellers. There is the cool, balanced tone of his writing, the charming contrivance of the formula underpinning his narrative trajectories, and the sardonic yet tender treatment of characters who, for all the comfort of their quotidian lifestyles, are consistently struck dumb by existential dread. I read Cheever’s “The Country Husband” on the plane out of Brisbane. The story begins with the protagonist, Francis Weed, getting caught in a plane crash which he survives. Later, he can’t seem to convey the gravity of what he has been through, and he finds that others are not really interested. I’m not sure myself how to express what I have experienced while “away” to those who belong to my “ordinary life”. Generally, I don’t like to be asked how a trip has been for this reason. Francis, after struggling to assimilate his experience with his suburban existence, goes to therapy. Life goes on. My time away from Wellington becomes suddenly blank and meaningless whenever I’m asked what I have been up to or where I have been. There’s a mental divide I don’t know how to cross between life at home and life away. Cheever frequently returns to the domestic and suburban. Many people I know have an aversion towards suburbia, perhaps relating it to deathless summer breaks during which they learned to sicken at the sight of rows of houses — the fortunate homes are empty, while the occupied are those belonging to parents whose mortgages likely made travel unfeasible that year. I’ve never had much of a “travel bug”. I grew up in the suburbs, and the concept of the “holiday away”, which in my Papa’s mind offered a goal to direct his yearning toward, struck me as depressing. The “holiday away” seemed to boil down to the illusion that life is especially wonderful when it is not your life, when it is “out of the ordinary.”
Opinions I read “The Hartleys” in 2015 over breakfast, and I give it a quick skim again in transit to Singapore. The Hartley’s bicker throughout their vacation in the mountains, and it seems that the story will culminate in divorce, but instead their little daughter has her neck broken. She dies. We take holidays away from our “ordinary lives”, but if all we’re looking for is escape from predictability, then really trauma can serve the same purpose. Cheever’s use of violence might seem to briefly trivialise domestic issues, making it feel as though the biggest (and ultimately trifling) problem of domestic life is simply boredom with ourselves and with one another. Then again, if boredom is so insignificant, why should people pay thousands of dollars to vacation? We risk our lives in the air, we bear the possibility of being robbed, kidnapped, killed, or lost in a foreign place just to stave the boredom off. Wedged between two people watching Family Guy on the plane, I am enthralled and horrified anew when the little Hartley girl is dragged up the mountain and crushed before the screaming crowd under the iron wheel of the ski tow. The street where I spent my childhood was called Riverside Drive. It looked much like the name suggests; to one side, a river; to the other, houses; down the centre, a road. I used to throw bottles with messages into the river, and altogether I probably threw at least twenty bottles down the current. The messages were part of one make-believe world of mine, and if all were collected together, the finder would have something like a narrative, complete with a dragon and treasure. With only one or a few parts, however, they may have ended up following a map to nowhere, or looking for a non-existent lost sailor. I think of travel in the same way; incomplete experience. I encountered “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” as part of a course on literary criticism, and I revisit it in London where a screen reports that there has been a bombing in Manchester. In the story, the narrator, a traveller returning home to America, encounters graffiti writing in mens’ bathrooms which is more complex than expected, and he proceeds to mull over the implications of this newfound sophistication in toilet scrawl. The feeling I get while reading this in London is similar to the sensation I encounter later in Hamburg, where I am unable to decipher a ticket booth’s instructions. A line of Germans grows impatient with my lack of fluency in such a mundane task. It’s 12.42am in Bremen. My sister, her partner Christoph, and their newborn Theodore, have gone to bed. The suburb where they live is only a 15 minute walk to the city in the summer, though this time quadruples in the winter when frost covers the cobblestone. A day from now I’ll need to catch a train to Prague where, my sister tells me, I need to be very careful, because it’s a crime ridden place. My time here has been calm and lovely, but, as is always the case, I find myself, locked in by my sister’s presence, playing a part of myself that has been redundant for years now. I don’t feel like leaving, but neither do I feel like remaining here too long where this new family is just beginning to establish itself. I don’t feel like leaving, but neither do I feel like remaining here too long where this new family is just beginning to establish itself. Mikee Sto Domingo
3. To not be silent CW: Discussion of sexual harassment Our evening transitioned seamlessly from bobbing to the slow paced, gentle voice of Frankie Cosmos into a slow trek up in the crisp night air back home. We headed towards the glowing traffic lights that marked the sharp turn onto our road. Far down the length of the street, two distant figures slowly approached as we walked. Our peaceful night was met with the uncomfortable intimacy that often occurs when two parties walk directly towards each other on the same footpath. Slowly and painfully, we moved closer and closer, encroaching on each other’s space. I talked to a friend about this feeling and it struck a chord with him. He described an intense feeling of self-consciousness when walking past other men late at night, how they would give him a quick glance up and down; that glance dangerous, with its potential to escalate into violence. There is an imminent sense of danger, a visceral awareness that one wrong look, one accidental drunk leer, might mean a punch in the face. Maybe he sees something in my friend that he doesn’t like — maybe too much masculinity, or too little. I’ve never experienced that kind of danger before, so I can’t relate. There is a different flavour of deep discomfort that occurs when I sometimes pass men on the street. As we walked towards those men that night, I kept my gaze on the ground, trying to avoid any eye contact. I felt hyper-aware of myself and my body, like I was experiencing it through their gaze. You could call it an out-of-body experience, but less profound and more dirty. This exchange is so microscopic, it’s hard to articulate and hard to share. Saying it aloud only seems to further intensify its intangibility. It’s easy to wonder if there was ever an exchange, and whether it’s a product of a hyper-active feminist imagination. They hadn’t said anything or done anything but I could feel it coming. Previous experience has fostered something akin to a sixth sense where I can predict when strangers are going to verbally assault me. Everyday life in New Zealand is riddled with casual racism and sexism: at school, on the street, in the supermarket, it’s children pulling slanty eyes and “ching chong” rhymes, in front of their teachers or parents. When you hit puberty, you qualify for a whole new kind of discrimination — a melting pot of both racism and sexism. It’s “me so horny”, it’s “love you long time”, or a flirtatious “ni hao/konichiwa”. It’s young and old men in all kinds of locations — on the street, driving past in cars, inside shops, at parties, in clubs. But most often, it’s said in front of other people who choose to stay silent. Really, they don’t have to say anything for me to know these two men see me as an amalgamation of stereotypes. My sense of identity is temporarily subsumed by their idea of what I am. Suddenly I feel foreign and other. And then they say something anyway. “Pound her real hard tonight.” These words float awkwardly, out of place in the quiet night air. They’re so ridiculous, it’s almost comic if you don’t dwell on them for too long. But I was dwelling and I was troubled by the ability of those words to disempower. They hadn’t even bothered to say it to me. They had directed them towards someone else, and in doing so, I had been deleted from the interaction. They were
Opinions said in solidarity to my partner, a fellow white brother of the patriarchy. They’re powerful words and by voicing them, they make him unwillingly complicit in my degradation. These five quick words stripped me of my personhood. I had been downgraded from a person to a vagina, and you don’t speak to genitals. All I could do was yell obscenities at them for a weak sense of empowerment. I gained a tiny bit of satisfaction knowing that I was at least resisting the myth of the model minority, and the treatment of women as demure sex objects. But I still felt powerless. These seemingly small and insignificant interactions perpetuate our patriarchy. Men exercise their power, and remind women that they’re never safe. These small interactions are constant reminders of women’s status as sexual objects to be pounded and penetrated. Through their objectification, women are positioned as less than men. It’s a reminder that patriarchy is inescapable. Wherever they go, in all communities, there will always be a risk of sexual violence and misogyny. Women are made to live their lives in constant danger. What was also glaringly apparent during the exchange, was the silence from my partner. Any resistance I had enacted felt undercut by the absence of his defence. I don’t need a white knight in shining armour, but I do need those who benefit from the patriarchy to speak out for those who bear the burden of its oppression, to stand up and speak out — not on behalf of, but in support of and alongside those oppressed. Anything I could say to those men, and anyone who has heckled, ridiculed, and harassed me for being a Chinese woman living in New Zealand, is ultimately undermined by the friends, partners, and strangers, who stand by and say nothing. I am disempowered by the smothering weight of your silence reminding me that I stand alone. This silence is harmful because it upholds the sexist and racist ideas that rob me of my right to walk down the street safely. In staying silent, we allow violent behaviours to go unmarked and unchallenged, reinforcing a culture where street harassment is commonplace and normalised. The act of speaking out is powerful because it allows us to talk resistance into being. When we question, challenge, and defend, we are breathing life into an alternative discourse, an alternative culture, where gendered violence is wrong. When we speak out, we are saying, we are screaming, that violence is not okay. Patriarchy is violent. It harms all people and the act of resisting patriarchy and misogyny can have dangerous consequences. It’s not easy to speak out. This violence is so deeply intertwined with toxic masculinity that for cis-gendered, straight white men, the threat of physical harm is very real. Especially when a glance can be the catalyst for a fight. Yet there are limits to my sympathy when there are groups of people who live their lives in constant danger of sexual violence because their identities threaten patriarchy and dominant masculinity. Patriarchy keeps us in a double bind. We are not safe living with it, we are not safe challenging it, but if we want to make a change, then something has to give. Those who silently witness and benefit from the subjugation of others need to be brave — it takes strength to willingly enter a dangerous place. But remember, this place constitutes the reality of me and many others and we cannot leave (yet). Jessica La
4. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t. My best mentors and teachers have always been men. Why? Because I have great legs, great tits, and a huge smile that God gave to me. Because I want to make my first million before the age of thirty-five. So of course I am a female chauvinist pig. Do you think those male mentors wanted me telling them how to better their careers, marketing departments, increase demographics? Hell no. They just wanted to play in my secret garden. But I applied the Chanel war paint, pried the door open with Gucci heels, worked, struggled, and climbed the ladder. And I did it all in a short Prada suit. (Carrie Gerlach, 2001) Hi, my name is Sasha, and I’m that aggressive feminist on Facebook you hate. I study politics and religion, and most of my university career has been spent focusing on social inequalities within — or perpetuated by — these two broad empirical fields. I’m opinionated and obstinate and unapologetic. I also have an excellent resting bitch face. My flatmate gets embarrassed when I roast his mates at parties for using slurs, and my recent column for Salient has been celebrated by the Political Arena Victoria as “garbage,” “sheer idiocy,” and “in need of a Level 1 English lesson for structure.” I’m your run-of-the-mill Social Justice Warrior. Fundamentally, my stance is Choice Feminism 101: “women should be able to make any choice they want as part of their feministic expression.” In other words, with emphasis on the individual in line with liberal ideology, you do you, boo. Whether it manifests as donning a burqa or flaunting a Playboy bikini, autonomy in the public sphere equal to that of men is the end game. Women — and everyone excluded by the gender binary — deserve the same right that is afforded to men to explore and actualise the things that make them feel comfortable and empowered. Ariel Levy — author of Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture — takes a slightly different stance. Levy explores the emergence of the Female Chauvinist Pig (FCP): a woman who chooses to embrace her sexuality within a framework of performativity. She’s one of the boys, she has casual sex, she uses her body to climb the corporate ladder. She actively perpetuates the patriarchy. By way of embracing entities like Girls Gone Wild and Playboy, FCPs have commercialised sexuality, creating a social reality wherein “sexiness” now connotes not allure or arousal, but worthiness. According to Levy, false conceptions of liberation and empowerment have spawned a regressive progression of feminism wherein women are complicit in their own marginalisation. Carol Hanisch’s The Personal Is Political supports an antithetical view, articulating an appreciation for women who exploit wider society’s rigid allegiance to traditional conceptions of femininity, and urging women to renounce blame for our perceived “failures” and feel vindicated in doing what we must to thrive in a world that caters first and foremost to men. Levy might be right — so-called raunch culture might be a discourse within which women consent to their own
Opinions objectification — however I can’t help but respect women who manipulate their oppressors in an effort to capitalise on their own inevitable marginalisation. Levy holds women responsible for inadvertently (or not) exacerbating their own objectification, however this condemnation of performative femininity appears myopic when the pervasive nature of the male gaze is considered. Levy, at the heart of it all, is criticising women engaging in raunch culture for catering so comprehensively, and of their own volition, to the male gaze. However, is actively refusing to participate in raunch culture not, in its own way, catering to — or at the very least, responding to — the male gaze? Ultimately, despite being wildly divergent in intent, both acting to subvert the patriarchy (say, by wearing frumpy or concealing clothing), and acting to entertain the patriarchy (say, by wearing skimpy or revealing clothing), are inherently responding to the male gaze. Both leave you at the mercy of criticism in alignment with patriarchal assumptions. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, the male gaze is omnipresent; there is no “more liberated” way. Albeit inadvertently, Levy’s central argument hermeneutically centres men in a dialogue intended to afford increased visibility to women. Exploiting socially conditioned assumptions of women can be empowering. When life gives you lemons, capitalise on a sexist narrative that simultaneously degrades and monetises sexuality, or something like that. I have conventionally attractive, staunchly feminist friends that go to bars without money because they know men will buy them drinks. I’m tweeting “cancel men 2017” at 11:59, and browsing Seeking Arrangements at 12:00; I’m not above putting on the ‘emotional girl’ act when I get pulled over by the police. If a grown ass man insists on paying for dinner I’ll happily accept — it’s not my fault he’s still subscribing to archaic social conceptions of women as weak and dependent. Is it possible to subvert the patriarchy by ostensibly catering to it? Does the immediate material benefit that women gain from objectifying ourselves somehow negate the fact that we are still being objectified by men? Is the development of “sex-positive” feminism an extenuation of the self-policing that is encouraged by our gendered social conditioning? I’d like to think that performative femininity is a viable alternative to patriarchal assimilation, but I just have no answers for you. The more I learn about epistemology and social power dynamics the more I want to take a quick three month nap. Just, let the motivation for how you perform your identity be that it makes you feel good, not that it makes some Chad in a fucking bucket hat feel good, k?
38 Love feels like a damp stick clutched in my grubby hand, And the brittle quality of a woven flax mat. It feels like my feet graunching against the dirt as I slip down the bank. Love sounds like, “welcome to the clubhouse!” in hushed tones through the undergrowth; This is a privilege we have created for ourselves. Perhaps we had no pot to piss in, But we pissed in the bushes rather than walk down to the public toilets because they were full of broken glass designed to catch unwary feet unawares, And sometimes the older kids would jump us on the way. One day I took a shit in the hydrangeas and my friend stepped in it I don’t think I’ve laughed so much since. Love tastes like White bread and a little bit of marmite, the margarine so thick it pools on top. Weetbix and raw sugar. Pour the milk on first, then add the sugar — the kids gotta see they got some. Love smells like Cigarettes and tomato plants, Slow cooked corned beef and vegetables. Love sounds like Mum yelling down the phone at a relative, she’ll drive two hours south to Whanganui to cook her dinner if they won’t do it themselves — so rinsed is her sibling with home brewed alcohol. Love feels like Headgear biting into my scalp, mouth guard clenched and the smell of other people’s sweat in my nostrils. South Wellington love is tough love.
This piece was first published in Tui Motu.
5. My thoughts on love
Love looks like a familiar face in the wharekai, But when I last saw him one eye was swollen shut and weeping pus. His eyes are clear and they dance when I remember his name with his toast. Ka Pai, Rimutaka. Love feels like the grass beneath my hands in Hastings Cemetery, my sister and I cartwheeling in front of a burial plot. Love feels like a widow, a matriarch making good her husband’s desire to make good on migration for a better life. Wallah Poppa, your children’s hands caught your torch, And your gravestone is the cleanest in all of Hastings. Love is the extra place set at the table. Mum immortalised this with cutlery on canvas, mounted on the kitchen wall. A spot that’s reserved for someone who’s been away for a long, or short time. Prison, rehab, and death can be quite occupying. But Mum always believed love is a movable feast, And a constant amongst the dinner guests Whenever they arrive. C.K.W
6. Why I Play
I’m about to do something I’ve deliberately avoided doing ever since I started writing for Salient back in 2015. It was, and is, the gaming controversy to end all gaming controversies; nothing else comes even remotely close in terms of impact on the wider gaming community and on society in general. Mentioning its name is a bit like Beetlejuice: say it enough times in succession and an entire army of angry people appear out of thin air, slinging mud and calling each other the most vicious, insulting names. Here’s hoping I don’t get run out of town for this… GAMERGATE GAMERGATE GAMERGATE. There, it’s done. Although, if you have no idea what I’m going on about, I congratulate you; all you really need to know is that it involved sexism in gaming. Or maybe it was about ethics in the gaming press? Honestly, I still haven’t got a clue what people were really fighting about. Yet, that’s not really what I want to talk about. Instead I want to show you why I, and indeed many others, enjoy the interactive medium so much. I was just five years old when my parent bought my sister and I a PlayStation. I can distinctly remember walking into a Napier electronics store and being told by my mum that I could pick any game I wanted from the selection behind the counter (if it was age-appropriate, of course). I chose Crash Bash, a party game that would kickstart my love for the Crash Bandicoot franchise and of gaming in general. While it was fine to play alone, I quickly found that I enjoyed playing even more if I was with someone else, even if we had to share a single controller. While the pure joy of having fun with friends has never really gone away, I began to prefer gaming alone as my social skills deteriorated over the years. It became more of an escape from reality than a social equaliser, where I could unload the stress and anxiety of normal life into something I enjoyed. It didn’t make me violently anti-social, but I was quite defensive of my hobby. When Gamergate happened, I found myself at a bit of a crossroads, having, in my first year of university, been exposed to feminist and social justice ideas, which I was (and still am) broadly in favour of. Yet, when the kinds of people who share these beliefs with you start saying things like “there are no bad tactics, only bad targets” before ripping into something you hold dear, it gives you food for thought. Simultaneously, when many of those that share your hobby start saying vile things towards women and disparage progressive thought, you can see why I’ve been so hesitant to discuss the controversy for all this time. I simply did not want to be hated by anyone on either side. If I say the wrong thing, I’m either a sexist neckbeard pig or a libtard feminazi cuck. I cannot possibly be both, so I chose to be neither. I chose to focus on the games, and leave politics out of it for a while. This “you’re either with us or against us” line of thinking has poisoned not just the gaming community, but every kind of political discourse. It is my firm belief that Gamergate was a direct precursor to the rise of the alt-right, but the use of violence by the left, as evidenced in the recent Berkeley riots, is frankly just as worrying. Sometimes I have to shake my head and ask, can’t we just calm down and play some video games? You know, like we used to? Maybe that’s just too much to ask at this point. Cameron Gray
7. Go watch TV: Rick and Morty and secular humanism Writers and critics have praised Rick and Morty for its sharp character writing and absurdist take on sci-fi tropes, and I count myself in that number. But there is a mounting backlash against it that I can’t help but pick a bone with. On one of the many, many pop culture podcasts I listen to, two of the hosts talked about their reasons why they couldn’t watch Rick and Morty. One couldn’t stand the sound of Rick’s alcohol-tinged burps without feeling physically ill, the other claiming it was anti-humanist and had a “spitefulness.” An article on The Federalist titled “‘Rick And Morty’ Is Incredibly Depressing And Doesn’t Deserve Its Popularity” argued that its inclusion of parallel universes made their stories shallow, consequenceless, and pessimistic. The writer ended on this note: “I can’t help but think that the stunning popularity of a show proclaiming the insignificance of all our lives and choices says something troubling about pop culture. But what exactly it says, I’m not sure.” Well, I think I know, and it has something to do with questioning some deeply held beliefs we have about science fiction and its underlying ideology — secular humanism. Humanism is the belief that humans are special in and of ourselves, not because "we were divinely made; that because of our brains/self-awareness/endurance, humans have value, measured on our terms instead of God’s. Humanism proposes that we can use science to fix the parts of ourselves, such as prejudice, violence, or the fact that we die, and progress beyond them. Then we create narratives to explore them. We make science fiction. We create myths of progress. Every sci-fi trope comes back to the love of human progress. You have Star Trek’s vision of a world where war and conflict was put aside to expand human knowledge by exploring the stars. We blow up aliens for invading our planet and daring to remind us of colonialism. Superheroes are Enlightenment-flavoured fetishism for a perfect human that can save everyone by bringing them to their greater perspective. Philosopher John Gray in his book Straw Dogs writes that humanism is founded on the idea that truth adds to progress and makes us “free.” But of what, exactly? Be it a belief in God, our own irrationality, or something else we believe is keeping us from reaching a potential, Gray argues that we actually live and die on our capacity for self-deception and inventing narratives to justify our existence. We want to rationally progress beyond those imperfections, but will ignore anything that tells us we can’t get to that point. This is something I think Rick and Morty comments on really well. Rick himself is a great demonstration of this. Seemingly a great inventor and scientist having perfectly adapted to surviving trips across the multiverse, he still simply declares “don’t think about it!” when he meets something even remotely existentially threatening to him, and numbs himself with drugs and alcohol to avoid confronting the fact that it affects him. In Season Two we finally see this catch up with him, as his belief that he can’t care for anyone begins to crumble
Opinions (seriously, anyone who thinks Rick is uncaring should remember that Beth exists. Also: Unity). We even see him genuinely concerned for Morty when he tries to emulate Rick’s casual immorality. If the show didn’t legitimately care about its characters and the consequences of their actions, then it would be nihilistic. However, I think it plays in that liminal space between our perceived limitations and our actual ones. Morty believes in putting the value of other life forms above his own, but that view hits a wall when he ends up aiding a sentient gas cloud whose survival depends on cleansing the universe of all carbon-based life. Summer’s attempt to “free” people from Unity leads to a planet-wide war, forcing her to realise that total freedom doesn’t mean you just get to choose your own phone carrier. Humanism isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially in a multiverse with more than just humans. Even the more domestic plots show that we tend to accept and habituate to our own circumstances rather than move past them. Jerry and Beth are in a toxically co-dependent marriage both are too afraid to leave, and when told through space marriage counselling that they should break up, the pair defend one another because their contempt was bred in familiarity. At the end of the Purge episode, after their oppressive aristocrats are killed, the aliens try to rebuild their society. After debating every economic structure from communism to socialism to capitalism, they revert right back to establishing the Purge again to release all their aggression at trying to make a better society. That’s just what humans do. They are given freedom and end up building a new cage. I don’t think it’s spiteful of humans; it’s sympathetic to how humans react when faced with these realisations. Our scientific and technological advances have served not only to improve our lives but to highlight our limitations and the extent of the illusions we had about ourselves. Advances in modern medicine should free us from having to worry about health, but we withhold those advances through a system that asks who should deserve healthcare. Social media should free us from selfishness and a close-minded worldview, but has only served to tax our limited empathy by caring about things beyond our capacity to control or influence, amplifying our tribalism further. Humans are an impressive lot, but the world changes faster than we can handle, and we often end up returning to a comfortable idea when something questions our assumptions. The worst judgement you can make of a piece of art is mistaking the surface of a thing for the thing itself. The show’s critics are of a mind that science fiction should only offer myths of progress, or if a criticism of those myths, should at least flatter humans for trying to live up to them. In Rick and Morty, critics see a condemnation, instead of questioning these deeply held assumptions we have about the way the world should be and the narratives we create that serve to uphold those assumptions. The show offers a catharsis for our anxieties about how we’re failing to live up to our science fiction standards. We’re not gods, we’re the butter-passing robot, gazing hopelessly at our meager appendages and realising our limitations. You pass butter. You make narratives. You construct illusions. You’re only human. Welcome to the *uuurp* club. Go watch TV. Gus Mitchell
8. The battle you never asked for: Chasing Liberty vs. First Daughter
A few weeks ago I watched two films from a very specific genre: films released in 2004 about the President’s teenage daughter who wants freedom. Indeed, I watched Chasing Liberty and First Daughter. So, naturally, I want to pit them against each other. This film genre is so specific you can’t not do this. A few establishing details first. Chasing Liberty stars Mandy Moore as Alice, the 18-year old daughter of Mark Harmon’s President. It starts with a disastrous date that is ruined by her overprotective secret service detail, and results in her somewhat loosely running around Europe with the British Ben who, surprise, surprise, is also a secret service agent, but he’s played by Matthew Goode (in his “breakout role”) so it’s okay. First Daughter goes in a completely different direction with Katie Holmes as Samantha, daughter of Michael Keaton’s President. She lives a sheltered life and dreams of simply driving off to college like a normal girl. Luckily, she gets to go to college, the fictional Redmond (that really looks a whole lot like UCLA) — but not without protection. She escapes said protection with her RA James but, surprise surprise, he’s secret service too. So here we have two movies that have the same premise, but handle freedom in different ways. Samantha in First Daughter stays on American shores and within the confines of higher education while Anna lets herself loose on Europe in Chasing Liberty. To be honest, the latter absolutely throws reality not only out the window, but into the steaming sewer below. They literally go from Prague to Venice to Berlin with NO MONEY, and the guy who they stay with in Venice drives them to an Austrian country lane and then, and only then, drops them off in the middle of nowhere. Anna then proceeds to get on the back of a vegetable truck with two randos and she goes off by herself, leaving a worried Ben aghast. Bloody hell, if travelling around Europe was that cheap, safe, and easy, I would have booked a one way flight years ago. Yet, even with the restrictions of tertiary education, there is still room for First Daughter to play — Sam gets too drunk at a bar and too wet on a slip and slide. But I gotta say it, point to Chasing Liberty. We have to consider the location. Film is a visual medium (in case you weren’t aware) and you gotta have something pretty to look at. Sorry SoCal, historic, picturesque, and beautiful Europe so obviously wins here.
Opinions Features Then there’s the matter of the cast and their performances. The three main categories are the President, his daughter, and her guy (unfortunately, the first ladies don’t have a whole lot to do in these films). Firstly, the Presidents: Mark Harmon is a wet pancake and Michael Keaton is an Oscar winner. Obvious. Katie Holmes vs. Mandy Moore is a little more difficult. Both were pretty big at the time — the former fresh out of Dawson’s Creek and the latter having been the mean girl in The Princess Diaries and the sick girl in A Walk to Remember (which, before looking it up, I had totally forgotten existed). They stick to their strengths. Mandy Moore lets her wild out (there’s a little too much screaming and high pitched yelping in the process) whereas Katie Holmes turns off the demure ever so slightly, only to end up at a (reasons unknown) white-tie ball. I’m giving this one to Chasing Liberty. Finally, the love interests. First Daughter has James who is played by Marc Blucas. Nope, I’ve never heard of him either. At the time, from what I can gather, he was probably best known for his 31-episode stint on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I barely recognise anything else from his IMDb profile at the time. He’s also just pretty damn boring. Matthew Goode’s Ben, on the other hand — what a babe. Seriously, he’s British, got brown eyes you could drown in, and that attractive sort of wit. Sorry, you want me to flesh out this argument a little more? Not gonna happen, Chasing Liberty wins this hands down. There are a few outliers I want to award points for as well. On the part of First Daughter, credit where credit is due for the role that is Mia, Sam’s roommate. She’s pretty cool. I also got a kick out of the sub-romance on Chasing Liberty. Upon re-watch with my newly feminist educated eyes I groaned repeatedly at how Alan (an amusing Jeremy Piven) constantly, to the point of irritation, hits on his secret service partner Cynthia. Yet as the film progresses she whips him into shape, he “tames his mop” and insists it has nothing to do with her, and they end up joking about getting new partners now that they can no longer work together while being romantically entangled. It’s an excellent addition to the film, and certainly one-ups its competitor. To be perfectly frank, I can’t be bothered tallying up all the points (I failed STAT193 so I’d probably get it wrong anyway), but the winner definitely is CHASING LIBERTY. Reading this may have clued you into the fact that it was probably going to win all along right, but what’s that clichéd saying about the journey over the destination? Matthew Goode, you’re welcome to take me on a free journey through Europe anytime, just loose the mid-2000s forearm sweatband first.
ger Selves n u o Y y M Letters to
To me at eight Hey calm down,
To me at four Hey there kid,
you don’t like? You know that girl that e of the edg the The one that sits at having ’re you en wh l swimming poo be your na gon ’s she h, Yea on? your less once her at ile best friend at school. Sm it. rth wo be in a while — it’ll floor of the Also, the painting on the giant octopus a pool is scary but it’s not n’t worry Do . you that’s trying to eat child. Yourself in fifteen years.
To me at five Hiya!
you’re friends. So you met her and now garten where But this isn’t like kinder friend due to you could only have one can speak You . rier the language bar out there, lf rse you t Ge . English now . You never make some other friends with people. e know how long you hav r. eve for re She won’t be the Cheer up bub, Yourself in fourteen years.
bogged down Breathe a little. Don’t get to do the same by the fact that you have week in a row. times tables for the second you but thanks to The teacher didn’t listen you know ma Ma h wit to that two weeks times tables. that you can do all of the ’re already ahead. Take this as a break, you Keep working hard, Yourself in eleven years.
To me at ten
Hey hey it’s okay,
r one friend is You’ll be fine. I get it, you ma was right moving away. Guess Ma more friends. when she told you to get Just take this as a . ugh It’s gonna be fine tho next two years are learning experience. The you’ll sur vive. going to be super hard but rds that wo You are stronger than the n. dow threaten to tear you ng. Just soften Don’t worry about anythi y small yourself. Don’t be so prickl hedgehog. Yourself in nine years.
To me at twelve Hey!
e. All of the I’m telling you, you’re fin will be over ool sch insanity of primary on that you less t tha ber em soon. Just rem will be fine. It’s learned in Year Six and you but press on. now tedious and tough right 加油 Jia you! Yourself in seven years.
To me at thirteen
See?! W hat did I tell you
ht? But check Everything got better rig h the right that you’re hanging out wit people who h people. Don’t hang out wit out. Also you ss stre t create drama. It’ll jus do best You . ple peo art sm hang out with need you and when there’s competition ls. goa to do well; with your life ple just Plus, don’t be afraid of peo t they were in ugh tho you how because of m will turn the primary school. Some of Hmm, just … nds frie out to be your best eone, they som like ’t don think that if you t friend. It may end up being your bes seems to be a trend. Yourself in six years.
To me at eighteen Hey there,
aningful with So, you did something me motivation nd fou you d your life. I’m gla d this year through Myanmar. Try har Th . at’s all you and give it all you’ve got what happens r tte can do, right? No ma like a family. are o wh you have friends them. They ing tell m fro ay aw Don’t shy you too. e lov love you and you should Have fun. Yourself in one year.
To me at early nineteen light and the I am so glad that you saw moved home.
To me at fifteen Don’t cry child,
ple close to you I know it hurts when peo good times the ber die but just remem allow you ries mo me se tho together. Let t the deceased to grow to be someone tha n’t slack off, Do person will be proud of. this drag let n’t Do set your goals high. your down. luding the Also, ignore the haters. Inc ’t control you. don ey Th ones in your head. Yourself in four years.
To me at seventeen
now and you You’re so much happier proud of I’m can think clearly again. doing so ’re You ed. what you’ve achiev (Do I now ing ust adj much better at s anymore? see tears of fear in your eye and you’ve Nope, so I’m super happy) ’ve You . nds frie already made new track on k bac life r you started to get t you tha ing and you’ve found someth ept exc ng thi love to do. I can’t say any really , job od Go . you that I am proud of on. g tin figh ep this time. Ke through this Yourself, almost halfway year.
S!!! GOOD CONGRATULATION YOU!!! JOB!!! I’M PROUD OF You just needed to hear
Yourself in two years.
10. The immigration conversation deals in people’s lives
Politics, at it’s core, should be about people. There’s always a risk of overpoliticising an issue, a chance that you may take all heart and perspective out of it. When this happens, problem solving becomes sideshow to ideology and fanaticism. Personally, I think it’s important to put perspective into politics. With this in mind, you might ask, “Marlon, what do you, a New Zealand born white boy from the Auckland middle class, have to say about immigration?” Well, recent trends have worried me a bit. Mum’s an immigrant. She moved here from Vienna in the ’80s. I’m very proud of my Austrian heritage, often annoyingly so. I was going to write about the economics of immigration and the dollars lost/gained/invested/ whatever’d when we fiddle with how many immigrants we let in. The other day, though, I called up Mum and yarned to her about moving from glorious central Europe to NZ, and a few simple words stuck in my mind: “Just because I look the same, doesn’t mean I think the same.” Mum’s experience as an Austrian immigrant no doubt differs to the experiences of immigrants from other cultures, but I think the underlying point she makes is relevant across the board. We are often so eager to force conformity upon immigrants but we often don’t understand how difficult it is to do so. Mum chose to make it easy for my brother and I and, put simply, tried to fit in. What would it be like watching your children grow up not wanting to learn the language of the country you came from? Witnessing the growth of your children alongside the growth of a language barrier between your parents and their grandkids? The thought of losing the values and customs of your culture is a terrifying thing, a subconscious uprooting of your very belief system in exchange for another. There’s a sick, albeit humorous, irony that this very fear that exists for immigrants is also a driving factor of xenophobia. In any case, I was fortunate to enjoy (in trickle-down form) some of values that Mum grew up with, and I’m glad I did. The importance of family, heritage, the arts, responsible drinking (this has taken some time to trickle down), are all values I can source back to my home. They’re ones I believe I will share with society in the future through my children. I spoke to a friend recently who held concerns about Muslim immigration. I had a mild instinctive desire to ram my views down his throat. Instead, I found legitimacy in the underlying principle of the belief he held; the importance in having a common set of values in a society and wanting to protect and develop them, and understanding that not all values and ideals will compliment each other. In some ways this is how strong values were passed generation by generation down to me. Balancing this belief and the importance of a “cultural mixing pot” is where the standard for immigration debate must lie. To do any more or less we lose perspective. When we talk about these issues we must do so with patience and empathy, and must remind ourselves that we are dealing with human beings. None of what I have said today can be found on an economic graph. Economics no doubt has a part to play in policy decisions we make around immigration, but the immigration conversation ultimately deals in people’s lives, and the decisions we make may set societal precedent for years to come.
what an idiot (a response) “What the actual fuck” Do not write about it here, I’m a poet too. She never loved you, Can’t you see that it was wrong? You are wasted space. Should not have happened, You tried to take advantage. How dumb can you be? Continue to bleed, We’ll drag your name through the mud. Don’t do it again. — Anonymous
Visual Art: What to see In lieu of my opinion, here are some places you might like to go form your own over the break. If you think of something good, write to me: email@example.com
Adam Art Gallery: Acting Out “Works by a selection of New Zealand and international artists who address the physicality of the body.” > July 9 Bartley and Company Art: Into the Anthropocene Conor Clarke, Anne Noble, and Deborah Rundle “question and explore the dominant paradigms that have led the world to the position it is in today.” > June 24 Bowen Galleries: Four Young Artists — Two From Auckland & Two From Wellington. Works by Nicholas Pound, Tom Tuke, Yvette Velvin and Rachel Weeber. Opens Monday, June 12, 5.30 pm. > 1 July City Gallery Wellington Has four shows on: Colin McCahon: On Going Out With the Tide; Martino Gamper: 100 Chairs in 100 Days; Petra Cortright: RUNNING NEO— GEO GAMES UNDER MAME; and Shannon Te Ao: Untitled (McCahon House Studies). The Dowse Has five shows on: The Mind in the Hand: Drawing from the Dowse Collection; This Time of Useful Consciousness: Political Ecology Now; Richard Stratton: Living History; Emma Fitts: From Pressure to Vibration — the Event of a Thread; and Dark Objects. Enjoy Public Art Gallery: Indecent Literature “Robbie Handcock’s paintings explore historic depictions of gay sexuality in order to question contemporary queer existence.” > June 24
MEANWHILE: No One is Sovereign in Love Works by Freya Daly Sadgrove, Laura Duffy, Robbie Handcock, Alexandra Hollis, Ruby Joy Eade, and Aliyah Winter — curated by Simon Gennard. > June 10 Pātaka Has six shows on: Boundless—printmaking beyond the frame; Kereama Taepa—Whakapī; INFLUX— Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust Exhibition; Recollections + Wayne Youle; New Zealand Potters—Tableware; and Te Kāhui O Matariki— The Art of Matariki. Peter McLeavy Gallery: I Object “A sculpture exhibition of gallery artists: Andrew Barber, Oleg Polounine, Peter Robinson, and Yvonne Todd.” > June 17 play_station: a trip to the beach Works by Nicholas Pound, Emma McIntyre, and Anh Tran. “With the nature of a road trip in mind, these three artists are off to the beach.” > June 17 Precinct 35b: Gone with Makura Will Bennett’s paintings “trace the steps of NZ criminal and prison escapee Joseph Pawelka.” > June 15 Toi Pōneke: Pūkana whakarunga! Pūkana whakararo! “Contemporary artworks by leading and emerging Māori artists are paired with virtual taonga from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, accessed via visitors’ mobile devices.” Curated by Suzanne Tamaki. > June 24 — Hanahiva Rose
TELEVISION Master of None, Season Two
Master of None is a Netflix original show created by comedian Aziz Ansari (best known for his role as Tom Haverford in Parks & Recreation) and writer Alan Yang (also Parks & Recreation), in which Ansari plays a fictionalized version of himself, Dev Shah, an up-and-coming actor in New York who is good with food and bad with women. The first season was released in late 2015 to near unanimous critical acclaim. I remember loving it at the time but worrying that it wouldn’t be able to continue the quality through to a second season. When the teaser for season two appeared online earlier in the year, I had completely forgotten about it but was thrilled. Also featuring Eric Wareheim (who I hate on Tim & Eric, but love on this) and Ansari’s own parents, Master of None is a funny, thoughtful, and often very moving reinvention of the contemporary sitcom. The end of the first season saw Dev’s relationship with his girlfriend Rachel fall apart and Dev running away to Italy to start a pasta apprenticeship. Season Two picks up a few months later in the city of Modena; Dev makes pasta in a small shop run by an old woman and her grandchildren, Francesca and Mario, and is enjoying his new life in Italy but isn’t quite content. When his apprenticeship finishes, Dev returns to New York and reconnects with his casting agent, who quickly finds him a job as a host on the Food TV reality show Clash of the Cupcakes, but his loneliness leads him back down a familiar road of cocktail bars and online dating apps. When Francesca and her fiancée Pino visit from Italy, Dev finds himself torn as he begins to enjoy his time with the taken Francesca more than any of the dates he has been going on. Within only a ten-episode season, Master of None manages to weave in some standalone episodes that are completely wonderful, in particular “Thanksgiving” — an emotional coming-out story about Dev’s lesbian friend Denise (Lena Waithe, who also co-wrote the
episode), co-starring Angela Bassett (!) as her mother, that spans twenty years in a half-hour. “New York, I Love You”, named for and inspired by the film of the same title, is a palette cleanser of an episode half-way through the season, showing delightful snippets of beautifully lit little pockets of New York City. If Dev’s spontaneous move to Italy at the end of Season One seemed like a cliffhanger, brace yourselves for the last five seconds of the season finale “Buona Notte” and the coming inevitable 12–18 month wait for any kind of answer. Oh, and saying “allora!” a lot. Less of a comedy than its predecessor, Master of None’s second season is more of a drama about funny people (I’m constantly thinking of Difficult People’s “when did comedies just become half-hour dramas?” in our year 2017, aka “television’s golden age”). The episodes range in length from 30 minutes to over an hour, with frequent stylistic, aesthetic, and storytelling changes, e.g. the first episode “The Thief ” is entirely in black and white. Tonally, the overall season is closer to the first season episodes “Parents” and “Indians on TV”. If you’re a fan of Ansari’s prior stand-up work, particularly the specials filmed after he discovered intersectional feminism, you’ll probably enjoy the show as it shares similar themes, but be prepared for a lot more musing and self-reflection (though long-time fans of Aziz should watch out for a cameo from his notorious cousin Harris). — Katie Meadows
GAMES Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada Developer: Omega Force Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PS4, PC (Windows) Review copy supplied by publisher.
The Warriors franchise is one that tends to dip under the radar for most gamers, despite there being dozens of games within it. In fact, there are so many games that it can make your head spin trying to keep up with them. The main series, Dynasty Warriors, is based on the historical novel from China, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and has eight main entries with another eight spinoffs; Samurai Warriors is a spinoff set in Japan’s Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States Period, with four main entries plus two additional spinoffs. There’s also the Warriors Orochi subseries, a crossover between the two previous series, plus all of the games licensed from anime and other gaming franchises, including Gundam, One Piece, Fist of the North Star, The Legend of Zelda, Berserk, and Dragon Quest! That’s a lot of games. They also all play almost exactly the same. Spirit of Sanada is, of course, another Samurai Warriors game, one which looks to reinvigorate the franchise while keeping in everything the fans love about them. While most Samurai Warriors games feature a variety of figures from the Sengoku Jidai, this entry focuses specifically on the Sanada clan, led by Masayuki Sanada and his two sons Nobuyuki and Yukimura, over 54 years. The core gameplay of this entry follows the Warriors formula: you control your character through a battlefield, hacking and slashing your way through hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies while completing objectives, culminating in a fight with an enemy commander. It’s a simple formula, but it somehow works. Compared to many of its contemporaries in the hack-and-slash genre, the Warriors franchise is not renowned for its combat being very deep. You can, for the most part, get through levels without pressing anything other than a couple of attack buttons. The sheer number of enemies faced, however, sets it apart, with there often being hundreds of enemies on-screen at crucial points of each level. I found the combat to be
surprisingly engaging considering its simplicity, especially after building up a meter and pulling off a flashy Musou attack. Spirit of Sanada adds to the Warriors formula by placing an emphasis on RPG elements. Characters and items can be levelled up through their use in battle, while weapons can be upgraded using a crafting system, with certain “exploration” levels being available to collect materials. The “Sanada Six Coins” meter affects ally morale, which can be boosted by performing tasks in hub areas and fulfilling certain conditions in battle; activating a Stratagem drains the meter, but triggers actions which can drastically affect battles. These are all nice extras which give Spirit of Sanada a unique feel from other games in the franchise, something which has been necessary for some time. Graphically the game is not very impressive; while it uses the engine from Samurai Warriors 4, a three-year old game, it falls victim to frequent framerate drops on my PS4 even though it is capped at 30 FPS. Character animation within cutscenes is often stiff, and even while controlling them they do not exactly move gracefully, especially outside of battle. The enemy AI, largely by necessity, is not the smartest around and thus enemies often stand still, waiting for your blade — this can be forgiven considering the sheer number of them at any given time. If you’re already a fan of the franchise, Spirit of Sanada is likely what you’ve been looking for in a Warriors game for ages, one which gives the series a breath of fresh air and brings it away, if only slightly, from the formula for which it has been criticised. As a relative newcomer, I’ve enjoyed my experience with this spinoff, and I look forward to diving even deeper. — Cameron Gray
FILM PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
Dadda dum dum dadda dum dum dadda dum dum dada dada. Easily the greatest high seas adventure movie ever made, the first Pirates film exploded in 2003 like a well timed gun powder cask. It combined real world heroics with supernatural antics, and seamlessly blended practical filmmaking with spectacular CGI. It also happens to be one of my favourite blockbusters. What makes this film great is elusive, principally because of Johnny Depp's signature performance as the pirate who does not need an introduction. At his funniest he is hysterical, and when it comes to the action and stunt-work neither the character nor the filmmakers settle for anything less than outstanding. To flesh out the narrative come Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Although much of their chemistry is supreme Hollywood melodrama, the charm of the film overcomes this and Knightley in particular gives of plenty of energy and charisma. But beneath the star-studded ensemble is a the brilliant execution by director Gore Verbinski, who keeps the plot moving at a smooth and seamless pace wherein dialogue, characterisation and action set pieces all move as one. In classic Pirates fashion, many of the most dramatic and humorous lines come between clashes of swords. Perhaps what makes this film so utterly watchable is the awe that the film itself seems to relish in, as there are so many true “holy shit” moments, and there's also a sense of mystery to the whole world on display. With the edges of the map far from filled in, the possibilities are endless, as is the entertainment value.
THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT (2015)
God I wanted to love this film, but upon leaving the theatre I thought "Hollywood can't even be bothered filming a real fucking sunset anymore." This comes towards the end of the film, but prior to that there were three entire convoluted acts filled with equally questionable content. Although relatively short for a Pirates film, there is a sense that the 258 plot points are all being crammed by the handful in each scene with careless abandon. The dialogue is abrasively awful, especially from the two new principal characters. People encounter each other, leave, get captured, and it's pretty much rinse and repeat for the next two hours. Characters whose motivations are plain and clear from the beginning get lengthy monologues of drivel so that the even the most inattentive viewer knows what's going on. There were at least two sub plots added in the last twenty minutes that made me go, "Fuck you movie, just no." The film actually looks worse than the first, which came out 14 years ago. There isn't a single real ship to found, and the green screen is third rate. The action is lacklustre in comparison to any of the films before it, and no set pieces give even a hint of awe. The chief culprit (aside from the directors who I also can't be bothered searching on IMDb), is Johnny “Paycheck” Depp. Never has Jack Sparrow been more painfully unfunny or worn out. His character makes no change or progression throughout the entire film and his antics are actually just stupid. He's no longer the best pirate anyone has ever seen; he's just a drunk idiot who only escapes situations by sheer cinematic luck. His role was essentially that of a hollow decoration on an ugly, undercooked, mismatched, flavourless, uninspired, cake. — Finn Holland
FOOD Tom Yum Paste — a gift that keeps giving
Many might know tom yum paste as the basis for an easy tom yum soup. It is made from an aggregation of spices and herbs — lemongrass, shallots, galangal, chili, dried shrimp, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, and garlic — that commonly define Thai cuisine. With paste in hand, you can create rich flavours while also saving time and money. A jar can be found in every decent supermarket (so not New World Metro) for less than five dollars. While one should certainly use it at home this winter to recreate the beauty and warmth of your fabled Thai food excursions, such as tom yum soup, I’ve found some other uses for this paste that should make a jar a staple in your kitchen. TOM YUM FRIED RICE The secret to fried rice is the use of at least one day old cooked rice which has been sitting around in the fridge/freezer. This is due to the reduced starch content and moisture of old rice, creating a distinct and defined texture to each grain and hopefully meaning it is less likely to end up a panful of rice mush. You can enhance this dish further by adding meats of your choosing mid-way through cooking. I would recommend de-shelled prawns or pre-fried pieces of tofu for this one. Serves 3 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes Ingredients 3 tablespoons oil 1 tablespoon of tum yum paste 2 eggs, lightly beaten 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 handful of green beans 2 handfuls of frozen peas and carrots 1 tablespoon of tum yum paste 3 cups leftover cooked white rice 2 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar (optional) 1 large chilli (more if you like it hot) 1 sprig of coriander
Method Heat up a little bit of oil in a pan and fry a beaten egg with a drop of fish sauce into an omelette. Set aside. Add and heat up the remaining oil in the pan. Add the garlic into the pan and stir-fry until lightly browned and aromatic. Add the tom yum paste. Keep stirring to activate the flavours. Turn up the heat, and add the cooked rice. Coat the rice evenly with the flavours and quickly add the frozen peas, carrots, green beans, and coriander stalks. Add the fish sauce. Cut the fried egg into strips and then add it to the pan. Stir continuously to combine all the ingredients, making sure not to burn the bottom. Add a little splash of rice wine vinegar. Remove the tom yum fried rice from the pan. Serve immediately and garnish with chopped chillies and coriander leaves.
TOM YUM MAYO This has become our addiction and is a go to condiment at home for burgers, sandwiches, and fish ‘n’ chips. It is very simple to prepare and can be made in advance. It keeps well in a glass jar stored in the fridge. Prep Time: 5 Minutes Ingredients 1 part tom yum paste 5 parts mayonnaise ½ lemon juiced Method Whisk everything up in a metal bowl. Add more of any of the ingredients to balance to your preferred taste. — Shariff Burke
Not feeling bleak enough? Need a good The clearest form of opinion in writing is the critique. The review. The essay. Writers are biased critics. Critics will over-extend when they attempt to write. And university reviewers can make definitive statements six ways from Sunday, but honestly they’re flying by the seat of their pants. Opinions about literature aren’t as cool as they used to be. People don’t read books anymore, they fidget spin (What are those?). But this is university. The beating heart of a free society. This is where ideas put down in writing start to matter, because now you have the freedom to try them out. Which is why you have to be careful you don’t inhale too much fake news, or else you’ll pass out and wake up in The Hunger Games (I thought we had more time!). Instead, read more, read widely, and read critically. In recognition of this issue’s theme of “Opinion”, here are a number of hilarious and incisive critiques from writers and critics alike: “This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.” — Virginia Woolf “The current memoir craze has fostered the belief that confession is therapeutic, that therapy is redemptive and that redemption equals art, and it has encouraged the delusion that candor, daring, and shamelessness are substitutes for craft, that the exposed life is the same thing as an examined one.” — Michiko Kakutani “This wasn’t just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.” — Dorothy Parker “A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility, what human nature is, what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag
“What do we mean — it is a common term of praise — when we say that a book is ‘original’? Not, usually, that the writer has invented something without precedent, but that she has made us ‘perceive’ what we already, in a conceptual sense, ‘know’, by deviating from the conventional, habitual ways of representing reality. Defamiliarisation, in short, is another word for ‘originality’. I shall have to recourse to it again in these glances at the art of fiction.” — David Lodge “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” — Henry Louis Gates Jr. “Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay.” — Christopher Hitchens “I think of writing a poem as putting oneself in the moment, at the moment — an action more comprehensive, intuitive, and mysterious than mere thinking…” — C.K. Stead “A great novel heightens your senses and sensitivity to the complexities of life and of individuals, and prevents you from the selfrighteousness that sees morality in fixed formulas about good and evil.” — Azar Nafisi “We wouldn’t know that we are a multicultural society by looking at our literature. Māori writing has gained much more focus than it had previously, but there is still a lot missing. There is a lot missing from people of other backgrounds too. I think it would be good to be more proactive about encouraging writers from all sorts of backgrounds as New Zealanders, because until that happens, our literature is not whole, it is not showing fully who we are in this country.” — Patricia Grace — Kimberley McIvor
Two Belles in Love (Lian xiang ban) — Li Yu
“Just trust fate!” proclaim the colourful Fragrance Gods throughout the course of Two Belles in Love, to the point where it becomes more than just a motif, and it almost feels like I’m being forcibly audited by Scientologists. They have already made themselves familiar with the audience, moving into the crowd before the action starts to ask unfamiliar questions: “Do you have a favourite smell? Do you believe in love at first sight?” While I don’t believe in love at first sight, and don’t believe that “a freshly opened quart of Wild Buck” would be an appropriate answer to the former, I did trust fate in the sense that I trusted that night’s group of THEA 323 students, credited with performing the tale, would entertain throughout. We start with the ever present Fragrance Gods introducing our titular Two Belles, taking a few jabs at the tropes of romantic theatre that promise more than the cast can deliver despite their best efforts. As nice as the slowly, gently fingerpicked guitar playing is, my hopes are quickly dashed as I realise that the pacing of the piece follows suit, with most of my time dominated by anticipating the next line. The inspired performances of Nicole Topp-Aman as sardonic servant Hualing and Daniel Fitzpatrick’s bombastic performance as long-suffering husband of Jianyun (Emma Katene) stand out as full-blown steroid injections to the body of work presented, making me yearn for some kind of spin-off show following their antics. The singing ranges from godly to decidedly ungodly: Katene and Georgia May’s central relationship feels most honest and real during their beautiful duets, their differing harmonies finding each other perfectly in the best of Ailise Beale’s compositions. Other solo songs and group performances do not fare as well on the ears. This is not to even mention the other aural assaults presented through the incessant drumming that marks the end of every other line: was it a gong? Was it a tin? Whatever it was, even now I can still hear the dreaded percussion interrupting my thoughts just as efficiently as it interrupted anything resembling a well-worked
comedic moment. It acts as the theatrical equivalent of the laugh track, giving the audience a cue when a facial expression is supposed to be funny or when they are to pay attention — ironically, its inclusion reflects a lack of faith in its actors’ abilities. The argument against getting rid of it altogether might be that it pays homage to traditional forms of Chinese theatre, whether it’s the Kun opera staged in Beijing in 2010 cited in the programme or something else entirely. I would assert in return that if a production can begin a 350-year-old piece of literature with a tribute to the late George Michael’s “Faith”, then it can also afford to take liberties with its inclusion of dramatic pot banging. As the Two Belles thank the imperial grace that their love can be rekindled in the finale, I find myself thanking the imperial grace that the play is nearly over. This is not due to any personal vendetta against updating a piece so of its time, nor is it to stay that there is nothing of merit presented by the earnest cast over the 100-minute epic. There is a subdued snarkiness to some parts of the script, with main characters and narrators referencing systems of patriarchy, somewhat illicit sexual acts, and even the conventions of the type of play they are undertaking. Individual performances shine, and there are some great laughs to be had. But even a fair amount of diamonds can’t save the rough. And boy, can it be rough at times.
— Sean Harbottle
° ° ° ° ° ° °
° ° °
° ° °
Safe Cultures, Not Safe Spaces
For those of you who eagerly await Pitchfork’s every social media update with bated breath, you’ll likely be clued in on the current sexual abuse scandal surrounding indie band PWR BTTM. For those who aren’t aware, Ben Hopkins, who alternates between drums, guitar, and vocals for the two-piece, was accused of multiple instances of sexual abuse against one woman in a Jezebel article, and then a raft of further allegations came out on social media from a variety of sources. As a result of this, the band was dropped by their label, their music has been removed from most streaming services, and their upcoming tour for their recently released album Pageant has been cancelled. In other words, PWR BTTM’s musical career is over.
For those, like myself, who have experienced sexual assault firsthand as well as through the accounts of family and friends, and been incredibly frustrated by the way violence is incompetently addressed by relevant authorities and society at large, this is something of a victory. It is heartening to see repercussions being dealt out at this level of severity, as these kind of issues are rarely taken seriously in the public sphere.
The fact that PWR BTTM is made up of two musicians who are openly queer and non-binary (they both use they/them pronouns) cannot be ignored. Queer communities have generally taken a much harder line on sexual assault and consent and it’s also much easier to demolish the careers of those who are already outsiders. With so little LGBT+ representation in the music industry, it is hard to see artists that are unabashedly queer and gender variant, and who do things like request gender neutral bathrooms in the venues they play at, be taken down in the way that they have, while many other straight, cis perpetrators of such abuse and worse still have flourishing careers. The fact that the current president of the United States is a known sexual abuser is a testament to this, and a list of famous perpetrators could fill out all the pages of this magazine, with those like Chris Brown, Woody Allen, and Casey Affleck among them.
However the fact that PWR BTTM are queer, and have actively tried to empathise with victims and to promote the fact that they create “safe” spaces for their fans, makes this all the more of a betrayal. It also exposes the inherent problem in assuming that because a space is queer and transfriendly, it is automatically a safe space.
Safe spaces are an idealistic concept. It’s clear that no space can ever truly be safe for everyone. That’s not to say that safe spaces aren’t an admirable endeavor, it’s just that, in a lot of music scenes, including Wellington’s, mechanisms to support safe spaces are created and dealt with in a very tokenistic manner. A promoter or collective will state that they don’t tolerate racism or homophobia and that if anyone feels uncomfortable, they should talk to a specific person. They then feel as if they’ve discharged their duty for making that space safe. However, there is very little commitment to actually addressing underlying issues of, for example, the often-internalised misogynistic attitudes that lie at the heart of many parts of the music scene, and are often covered by a veil of faux-activism
and wokeness. When assaults occur, repercussions often come far too slowly and without the necessary severity. The inherent problem is when safe spaces are set up by cis, white, heterosexual men, who aren’t really aware of what it truly feels like to be unsafe at a gig — how are they supposed to provide spaces that feel subjectively safe to those who experience unsafety and discomfort regularly at bars and gigs?
Emma Hall-Phillips, a Wellington-based electronic musician who DJs under the moniker Aw B, recently set up a collective called Moments that prioritises women/femmes, LGBT+ people, and people of colour when booking artists, and puts on awesome electronic music nights. At their most recent gig there was a phone number that people could call and people who would really listen if anyone was uncomfortable, and a diverse crowd, which created a really lovely, queer-friendly, and respectful vibe. She creates a safe space by holding the musicians she books accountable for their actions (one of the acts who was billed for the most recent gig was taken off the lineup because multiple people came to Emma with accounts of abusive behavior from him). Emma also identified how spaces can be made unsafe through the attitudes of bar staff at venues. They often won’t take any action against an alleged assault unless there is some kind of concrete proof, which is very difficult to provide in these kinds of situations. A potential remedy for this would be more rigorous training for bar staff in terms of how to adequately respond to these kinds of sensitive issues.
However, HEX, a well-established Wellington rock band made up of women, point out that safe spaces can undermine the fact that abuse isn’t site-specific — it exists wherever people exist. Having safe spaces can be seen, in a way, to legitimise the fact that most of the world is unsafe space, and remove the collective social responsibility to try to create safe spaces wherever we are. HEX believe that the conversation needs to focus on creating safer communities, which is
a much harder issue to tackle. This is obviously not to say that safe spaces aren’t important and useful, just that they are often used as an empty piece of terminology. The focus needs to shift to being more transformative of the current, dominant culture. There needs to exist a strong sense of responsibility for the creation and maintenance of safe spaces, and transparency and open lines of communication need to be present when undesirable things happen.
This is one of the great failings of our modern culture: silence. We are so willing to sweep bad stuff under the rug when it happens, as this is easier than dealing with the social censure, discomfort, and embarrassment that can come with actively calling out harmful behavior. However, we need to take responsibility for the shitty things we do and say, the way our own behaviour makes other people uncomfortable, and our complicity in the behaviour of those we choose to surround ourselves with when we let them get away with something like yelling lewd comments at a stranger without reproach. Cis men especially need to be aware of the way in which they take up space and move through it, and how this can be very much exhibitive of their privilege. In this way, often without even being aware of it, they can make others feel uncomfortable or even threatened.
Solo artist and DJ Alexa Casino points out that safety, for her, is being around people she feels comfortable with, and this generally doesn’t happen when you’re surrounded by white guys. “I feel when you bring in performers and artists who are gender minorities/people of colour/ queers, you also invite their fan bases, meaning that crowds are more balanced and it isn’t just a sea of fish who all look the same.” We need to acknowledge our own privilege, and as Alexa says, if you don’t understand why someone else feels unsafe, that doesn’t make their feelings invalid; it only affirms that you have the privilege not to share the experience of minority class
oppression. She argues that instead of providing simple consequences for behavior that has been normalised by patriarchal structures, we need an overhaul of the current culture of a nihilistic lack of responsibility and hedonism when we go out, so that safe spaces aren’t special, they’re just expected.
PWR BTTM is the first account in modern times of the appropriate response being made to allegations of sexual abuse. Although it’s difficult that this was done to a queer, non-binary band, it at least shows that the music industry is starting to commit to attempting to stamp out sexual abuse and unpack the patriarchal structures that it stems from. The fact that these abuses occurred in purportedly “safe” spaces makes it all the more problematic. It shows that we as a society need to commit to creating a culture of being more socially responsible for our own actions and the actions of those we choose to surround ourselves with, rather than just employing very surface-based mechanisms to attempt to make a space seem safe. As HEX believe, “creating safe space is like vacuuming in a dust storm. It’s not addressing the actual cause of risk, which is, of course, people and our behaviors.” — Lauren Spring
Elis James and John Robins on Radio X is a superb podcast. Elis and John are two stand-up comedians who present a show every Saturday on the UK "indie station Radio X. Guided by the mysterious Producer Vin, the show features lots of fun regular segments and text-ins, such as Humblebrag of the Week, where the hosts despair over boasts "disguised as moans on social media, and the Keep it Session Sessions, where they recommend their favourite music. However, the essence of the show is the wonderful dynamic between Elis and John. The success of a podcast lives and dies in the chemistry of the hosts; shows like No Such Thing As A Fish and Babysitting Trevor are great examples of this. Elis James and John Robins on Radio X particularly stands out in this regard. They became friends over ten years ago when they were both starting out as comedians, so they have lots of funny stories about each other to draw on. Like the best comedy duos, they bounce off each others’ differences to maximum effect. Elis likes football, history, and Adidas, and is generally cheery; John likes Queen, snooker, and poetry, and is often plagued by a melancholic yearning for the past. It’s a laugh, I promise! Although the crux of the show is the friendship between Elis and John, the community they have created among their listeners is also important. Listeners are encouraged to email, and three years of broadcasting have created an extensive lexicon of silly words and catchphrases that make listening in feel like you’re part of a special club. The show also discusses issues in their listeners lives, particularly mental health, or “the darkness.” Although the ability of popular culture to discuss mental health issues is improving, often it can be heavily signposted. It is a reflection of the reality of mental health for many that it is a theme that slips in and out of the show as it comes up, as a common issue. As we approach exam season, do yourself a favour and tune in to Elis James and John Robins on Radio X. It’s warm, intelligent, moving, and, above all, very funny. — Annelise Bos
PODCAST Elis James and John Robins on Radio X
59 59 59 Monday: Spike Fuck with Womb & SUNGRL — Spike Fuck is a Melbourne-based artist who has created her own genre, Smackwave, a mix of new wave and post-punk, and is thus obviously Noisey’s darling. This show promises to be brash, beautiful, and glittering; the perfect concoction for your Monday night. From 8.00pm at the Pyramid Club. Wednesday: Joyce Manor and Braves — If you’ve been wishing you could return to the simpler days of abundant side fringes, where the only emoji that mattered was ‘xD’, then Joyce Manor has the emo delights you’re looking for. They’ll be bringing the feelings from 7.30pm at Valhalla. Friday: Yayne and Band — Wildly talented vocalist Yayne is coming to MOON on Friday and bringing her friends along to bathe us in sweet, smoky, soulful tunes. Starts 8.00pm. Saturday: The Comet is Coming — As part of the Wellington Jazz Festival, The Comet is Coming to Wellington this weekend to serve you buck wild space-jazz realness. If jazz is something that tickles your tits, check out the festival programme as they have events on all week. Be absorbed into the cosmos at the Opera House, from 8.00pm.
CROSSWORD: â€˜THIS PARTY IS DEAD'
Sudoku difficulty: Hard
LAST WEEK'S SOLUTION
Make as many words of three letters or more as you can. Each word must contain the letter in the central square. Target goals: Good: 8 words Great: 10 words Impressive: 12 words
1. Word that's both a synonym and antonym of 'blow' (4) 3. Displaying ostentatiously - it's a term employed by those awful pick-up artists* (10) 10. Draw in (7) 11. What a robot is, generally speaking (7) 12. British Christmas dessert* (4,7) 14. Age (3) 15. With 17-Across, location for rafting* (5,5) 17. See 15-Across 20. Short promise of repayment (3) 21. 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' fairy that made Bottom's "eyes water"* (11) 24. An extreme amount (3,4) 26. Like some DVDs with titles written on in Vivid (7) 27. 1998 techno-thriller by Tom Clancy... or a good description of the suspects in the starred clues? (7,3) 28. Coloured part of the eye (4)
1. It was an 'A' affixed to Hester Prynne* (7,6) 2. Pet part that has toebeans (4,3) 4. "Dig in!" (3,2) 5. URL concluder, often (3) 6. Desert flora (5) 7. Cupcake topping (5) 8. Climate change agent, named for its effect* (10,3) 9. Japanese theatre (6) 13. Morning moisture (3) 16. Greek letter between two letters that rhyme with it (3) 18. It's measured by Geonet (6) 19. Batman villain that I'd really love to have seen get the Christopher Nolan treatment... Jim Carrey could still play him, though (7) 21. ___ Land March (hikoi led by Dame Whina Cooper) (5) 22. Damp ___ (failure, slangily) (5) 23. Site of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (5) 25. "In what way?" (3)
If you don’t want to write for us — write to us! Salient welcomes, encourages, and thrives on public debate. Send us your honest feedback, be it praise or polemics. SUBJECT: YOU CAN PICK UP BACKISSUES FROM OUR OFFICE M8 To my darling publication, How may I express to thee my adoration for your majestic pieces of art. Truly, when I see a new issue in stands every monday (10.00am after you’ve done your rounds), I get shivers down my spine. The hairs on my neck stand up when I retrieve one of your gorgeous issues from the loving embrace of thin metal, before I find a quiet place to be by myself to read what your no doubt incredibly attractive writers feel I should know more about. I have taken to cutting the covers off for my own personal scrapbook. Inside, I paste my favourite pieces, though usually it just ends up being the whole magazine pasted messily into my treasure trove. I only wish that one day I could enter your hallowed office. I once stood outside, but was far too nervous to knock. Someone (who I will note, was VERY attractive) walked past me and inside, and I caught a small glimpse of that mystical world within. I was green with envy, though I am sure one day I shall find myself residing within your sanctuary. Please send me more copies of issues 9/10. I was so excited cutting out Dan Kelly’s words that I slipped with the scissors, and as such the piece was no longer perfect, as I bled my unworthy blood all over it. I needed six stitches, but I feel this was an appropriate price to pay for not cutting in a straight line. I remain forever yours in love. SUBJECT: THIS IS MAYBE BRILLIANT? Dearest Salient, I am writing to Salient magazine in the style of the Salient magazine’s literary critic. I suppose I should get onto the letter, but first, let’s talk about me — that’s what we’re all here for after all. Was it my destiny to write a letter in this style, or is that simply a bland cliche? Am I rebelling against rebellion? I hope that sentence is deep enough — its inherent contradiction will suffice, of course. Camus spins in his grave. That’s unrelated to this letter, but I want you to know that I know who Camus is; I am incredibly clever and you should
know this. It takes a lot of hard work to do a better job than Brent DiCrescenzo in his (in) famous Kid A review in every single paragraph but I am sure I have exceeding expectations. Oh, Salient magazine? I don’t see myself reading it, but Salient is the weekly students’ magazine of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Salient was established in 1938 and originally published in newspaper format, but is now published as a magazine. Yours faithfully, an excellently intellectual critic of critics. SUBJECT: BUT THINK OF THE TREES “It’s an outrage! It’s a scandal!” You know I’m well and truly pissed off when I use the words of the OG Rubeus Hagrid to describe my mundane, thoroughly unmagical, daily university life. But if there’s one thing that compares to Vernon Dursley’s story, that Lily and James Potter were killed in a car crash, on the total-and-utterbullshittery scale, it’s the recent removal of the paper towel dispensers in the Easterfield toilets. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?! I am SO goddamn triggered. I’m a guy of simple pleasures: I like my toast to be slightly under done, my weekends free from work, and my hands sahara-fucking-dry after I use the toilets. To me, a toilet without paper towels is like a beer without any alcohol content. Old-fashioned hand-dryers are, as far as I’m concerned, the greatest waste of money since cigarettes (yeah, you triggered now, dartmunching community?). Hand dryers do nothing to dry your hands and make a great big racket just to double down on inadequacy. I’ve been informed by an anonymous source that the reasoning behind this egregious toilet decision is simply “the bins were overflowing too often.” NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Buy bigger bins, double the pay of the hard-working cleaners, arrest the twat freshers using twelve paper towels to dry their piss-soaked fingers. I don’t care, just bring the paper towels back. This is some grade A bullshit. — Slightly Damp & Totally Pissed.
63 VICTORIA ABROAD — STUDENT EXCHANGE OPPORTUNITIES
Why wait to go overseas after finishing your degree? GO ON EXCHANGE! Study in English, earn Victoria credit, get StudyLink and grants, explore the world! Find out more on our website: http://victoria. ac.nz/exchange Enjoy past students’ experiences and photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ VictoriaAbroadNZ/ Information Sessions: Every Wednesday at 12:50pm, Level 2, Easterfield Building. Drop-In Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday: 1:00pm–3:00pm, Thursday & Friday 10:30am– 12:00pm, Room EA 232 www.soupkitchen.org.nz Pop in at 132 Tory Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, or call (04) 385 9299.
CEILIDH WITH VIC FOLK MUSIC CLUB
Come and get your groove on with the Vic Uni Ceilidh Band to celebrate the last day of the trimester. Friday 9 June, 7.30–10.30pm at Aro Valley Community Centre, 48 Aro St. $5 for students, $10 general admission. Live Celtic tunes and all the dances are called, no experience or partner required.
GRADUATE ROLES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE!
RED CROSS MOVIE FUNDRAISER
ASB – Start Me Up Graduate Program — for Computer Science & Info Systems graduates Beca Graduate Landscape Architecture – for Architecture Graduates Clemenger Group Graduate Programme (Advertising) — for any graduates Finity Consulting Actuarial Graduate Program — for Actuarial Science graduates Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Engineering Graduate Opportunities — for Computer Science & Physics graduates Ministry for Primary Industries Graduate Development Programme — for Science & Commerce graduates Ministry of Education Policy Graduate Programme — for any graduates Vodafone — Discover Graduate Programme — for any graduates To find out more about these companies/ opportunities (plus many more!) go to: www.victoria.ac.nz/careerhub
Red Cross New Zealand is holding a movie fundraiser on June 29 at Lighthouse Cinema. Tickets are $20 a piece and all proceeds will go towards refugee resettlement activities in Wellington. The French movie Monsieur Chocolat is being screened. There will also be lollies, snacks, raffles and other goodies available for purchase. To purchase a ticket, email wellingtonbranch@ redcross.org.nz. For more details go to the Red Cross New Zealand event page on Facebook. We hope to see you there!
CALL FOR CONTRIBUTORS Salient is going on a little hiatus during the mid-year break and we’ll be looking for new writers. Please get in touch if you’d like to write a:
eview Art r Whether you’ve been published before or have only written in the privacy of your diary, we’d like to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in a few words your ideas. If you’re keen to join our news team send an email to email@example.com. on
Have a lovely break!
OPI N I
I S S U E T W E LV E
E H T
ISS U E