APRIL 23 RD 2012
FOREIGN ISSUE. 06
LIZARD-PEOPLE STEALI STEALING NG YOUR
K I W I M I LK PG. 13
‘ALL THE NEWS THEY TRIED TO HIDE’
THE TEAM Editors: Asher Emanuel & Ollie Neas email@example.com Designer: Racheal Reeves firstname.lastname@example.org News Editor: Stella Blake-Kelly email@example.com Arts Editor: Adam Goodall firstname.lastname@example.org Film Editor: Gerald Lee Books Editor: Kurt Barber Visual Arts Editor: Rob Kelly Theatre Editor: Neal Barber Chief Feature Writer: Elle Hunt Junior Feature Writer: Fairooz Samy Chief Reporter: Nicola Wood Chief Sub-Editor: Carlo Salizzo CONTRIBUTORS Matthew Bayliss, Hilar y Beattie, Shilpa Bhim, Ryan Brown-Haysom, Rose Burrowes, Nick Cross, Richard D’Ath, Uther Dean, Andrew Donnelly, Martin Doyle, Harriet Farquhar, Reed Fleming, Stephen Gillam, William Guzzo, Aaron Harland, Roxy Heart, Amy Hodgkinson, Bridie Hood, Patrick Hunn, Cruz Johnson, Prudence Lovelock, Molly McCarthy, Hamish McConnochie, Callum McDougal, Chris McIntyre, Hugo McKinnon, Duncan McLachlan, Phoebe Morris, Udayan Mukherjee, Livvy Nonoa, Sam Northcott, Megan Nunns, Sam Phillips, Jessica Rapana, Will Robertson, Curwen Ares Rolinson, Michael Sergel, Rajneesh Singh, Patricia Sullivan, Pam Ward, Michael Warren. CONTRIBUTOR OF THE WEEK: Richard D’Ath. Queen of sass. CONTACT Level 2, Student Union Building Victoria University PO Box 600, Wellington Phone: 04 463 6766 Email: email@example.com ADVERTISING Contact: Mark Maguire Phone: 04 463 6982 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ABOUT US Salient is produced by independent student journalists, 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 funded by Victoria University of Wellington students, through the student services levy. It is printed by Printcorp of Tauranga. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of those of ASPA, VUWSA, Printcorp, or anyone at all now that we think about it, but we at Salient are proud of our beliefs and take full responsibility for them. OTHER Subscriptions: Too lazy to walk to uni to pick up a copy of your favourite mag? We can post them out to you for a nominal fee. $40 for Vic student, $55 for everyone else. Please send an email containing your contact details with ‘subscription’ in the subject line to editor@salient. org.nz
THIS ISSUE IS DEDICATED TO RADIO NEW ZEALAND. YOU’RE TOO GOOD FOR THIS PLACE. WWW.SALIENT.ORG.NZ
‘Just don’t check our sources.’ ISSUE. 06
APRIL 23 RD 2012
ASHER & OLLIE
“Dear Sir, The recent council spending on the flash new public lavatories is quite frankly a god awful waste of hardworking ratepayers’ money. Firstly, the lack of nearby parking is a total bother to mature residents such as myself. This is not to mention the completely unnecessary construction of a ramp device next to...”
of the mainstream to set the agenda arise. With the increased attention of a generation committed to diversity, this content may in time gravitate back towards the mainstream, and the word ‘quality’ might once again be able to appear in the same sentence as ‘newspaper’.
But that’s not the world we’re living in. Each major New Zealand city has, in reality, only one daily newspaper. Moreover, aside from the rogue (and essentially irrelevant) Otago Daily Times, all of New Zealand’s key newspapers are owned by two companies: Fairfax and APN. Even our dear old Dominion Post is the precious property of Fairfax. Like all institutions, Fairfax and APN have agendas– but ‘agenda’ is perhaps too dramatic a word. What we’re really talking about is a cozy duopoly in which quality is determined by who can print the most fearsome shark tales and most heart-wrenching anecdotal tragedy.
P.S. We’ve also included some photos of baby animals for your amusement. Of course.
This. This, and a collection of ‘human interest’ (read: about pretty pets) stories dominate a significant portion of the media presented to us each day. we hate to sound like the letter writer above, but–quite frankly–this kind of candy-floss journalism seems to be getting worse. The Dominion Post recently introduced a regular section called ‘Pet of the Week’. Vital, certainly. It would be nice if we had the choice to read this–if we so wanted– but also to be treated to something with more... substance.
Perhaps though, there’s still light at the end of the tunnel. No, not Jesus. THE INTERNET! You may have heard that this new technology weaves miracles. Well, my friend, this is no lie. Media has changed. There are changing forces. You’ve heard all the buzzwords. There is excellent journalism out there in New Zealand, but too often it is relegated to the blogosphere and neglected by mainstream outlets. It is with the new communication platforms of social media however, that new opportunities for those operating outside
4. 4. 4. 11. 6. 11.
THE LOL News on the March News The Week That Wasn’t Eye on Exec Overheard At Vic
18. 19. 19. 20. 21.
Film Theatre Visual Arts Music Books
TABLO ID ISSUE HATE IS IN THE AIR
ALL HAIL THE MEDIA BARONS!
THE MARTYRS OF MEDIA
13. THE GREAT REPTILIAN MILK ROBBERY 14.
ALL THAT TWITTERS IS NOT GOLD
GRANNY WAS RIGHT
STUFF THAT DREAMS AREN’T MADE OF
The aspiration of this week’s Salient is to take a hearty jab at our vastly more powerful and moneyed media peers–some serious, some in jest. We’ve printed in tabloid format to lend it that authentic exploitative, sensationalist feel (admittedly, a tone we are fond of). Hopefully, you’ll find it a case for change. Our frontpage this week is a homage to the tired techniques of the current media orthodoxy. Spice without meat. And you can’t make a meal with spice alone.
TEN ROUTES TO A
CAREER IN MEDIA ☞ CARLO SALIZZO
TEN PURE STEALTH
NINE THE COLUMNS
8. 8. 22. 22. 22. 23. 23. 23. 24. 24. 24.
Partisan Hacks Political Porn with Hamish Mulled Whine With H.G. Beattie C.R.E.A.M Obscure Historical Oddity of the Week Things You Already Know But Just Need To Be Told Roxy Heart Philosoraptor On Campus Nothin’ But Net Eat Your Fucking Greens
REPRESENTATION & SERVICES
24. 25. 25. 25. 25.
Ngai Tauira Presidential Address VUWSA Trea$urer Student Health Bent
EIGHT STUFF.CO.NZ COMMENTING
FIVE STRATEGIC HUMPING
FOUR BODILY AESTHETICS
THREE CRYSTAL METH
TWO BCA (MARKETING)
ONE STUDENT JOURNALISM
☞ MOLLY MCCARTHY
LOL ‘TIL TWEET DO US PART
Pennsylvanian resident Mike Duerksen took live-tweeting to the next level when he shared his proposal to his girlfriend with the world in 140-character updates. Using the hashtag #MikeProposes, Duerksen kept his followers up to date as he took his girlfriend on eight dates in eight locations over a 12-hour period, finishing up with a proposal beside a bonfire at his family home. As well as regular updates as to the couple’s current location, Duerksen also treated fellow twits to a brief history of their relationship, including “[stalking] her for the rest of the conference”, where they first met.
Although Duerksen’s finacee is not a Twitter user, she did become concerned at his constant phone use during their date omnibus, even asking Duerksen to put away his mobile. But still he managed to keep tweeting.
Finally, twelve hours and a few weather hiccups later, Duerksen ecstatically tweeted, “Folks, she said yes! #MikeProposes”, which earned 47 retweets and eight favourites. Slightly creepy, quite romantic—whatever your take, let’s just hope Duerksen doesn’t do the same come childbirth.
THE WORLD THIS WEEK ☛☛ In a salacious lapse of secrecy, US Secret Service agents are caught soliciting the service of Columbian prostitutes as President Obama attends the Summit of Americas. As three agents are forced to resign in shame, it seems that–while willing to take a bullet for the President– the secret service is not willing to pay for a little bit of secret service.
☛☛ Not content with only being Earth’s youngest state, South Sudan is making moves to become its cheekiest after capturing (northern) Sudan’s most prized national treasure: the Heglig oil fields. Naturally, Sudan is pissed, vowing to recapture the national pride and obliterate their younger sibling.
RATINGS FOR DOGTV THROUGH THE WOOF Television’s about to get pretty damn exciting if you have four legs, a tail, and excess body hair. Following a successful two-month trial in California, a cable channel made just for dogs—creatively named DOGTV—is ready for online distribution.
Created especially for dogs that have to stay home alone during the day, the channel promises dogs “that they should never again feel alone”. Dogs can enjoy advertising-free programming which has been especially filmed just for them. Sound, colours and camera angles are especially aimed at canines, and the channel mainly features footage of other dogs.
“They love watching other dogs being active on the screen, and other animals,” said Beke Lubeach, head of marketing.
Once DOGTV settle a distribution deal, the channel will be available to subscribers and their pooches for just $10 a month.
to make your booking
04 931 6161
166 Wills Street, Wellington
☛☛ The fragile ceasefire in Syria is on the verge of collapse as both government and opposition forces refuse to respect the UN imposed obligations. As is common with little power-hungry old men, President Bashar al-Assad is still claiming that its all the dissents’ fault, not his. ☛☛ India successfully launches a long-range ballistic missile, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, successfully joining the elitist fuck-off-I-have-nukes club, which includes other arrogant and similarly deranged global powers. Meanwhile in North Korea... ☛☛ In spite of recently installed non-slip tiles, a 7-year-old Blenheim boy slips over at the local aquatic centre, bumping his little wee head. Pool staff respond authoritatively though, placing a highlyvisible, bright yellow sign next to the pool to kindly warn patrons of the latent watery hazard.
UNIVERSITIES’ GAMES BROUGHT TO AN END ANOTHER VICTORY FOR SALIENT ☞ SHILPA BHIM The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is considering changing the rules of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF).
The proposed rule changes are the result of ongoing allegations made against universities, including Victoria, who have been accused of “gaming the system” in order to gain a higher PBRF Average Quality Score. A PBRF consultation document released by the TEC suggests that the reporting framework be restructured to exclude certain staff from the calculations that determine a university’s quality score.
TEC General Manager Strategy, Planning & Information David Nicholson stated that “while the Average Quality Score does not affect the amount of funding a tertiary education organization receives from the PBRF the scores are used by individual organizations for marketing and promotional purposes.”
The TEC commissioned KPMG to carry out an audit of the PBRF system. The audit confirmed that subterfuge has been occurring. Mr Nicholson has said
that the TEC is taking the issues raised in the audit seriously.
TEU national president, Sandra Grey, who has previously voiced concerns, is pleased with the TEC’s announcements to attempt to change the system for the better. “TEU has consistently and publicly lobbied the commission about the issue for a long time and we are glad to see that our concerns have been recognized,” Grey said. “I hope that this review and consultation on performance based research funding will mean that good teachers and emerging researchers at universities can have more job security.”
‘We haven’t been to journalism school.’
HOT TIP? Send any pertinent news leads or gossip to email@example.com. Salient never sleeps.
APRIL 23 RD 2012
RESIGNATIONS RATTLE VUWSA contribute to protecting, revitalising, and taking the association to the next level,” she said. “Post-graduate study is quite taxing and I really wasn’t managing my study work-load well at all, so it was time to leave.”
Departing amicably, both Va’oga and Zhang only had positive things to say about her time at VUWSA. Though she raised concerns over the future of VUWSA’s role in providing welfare assistance to students.
“Student welfare is fundamental to a supportive learning environment and I think largely VUWSA has done this well, particularly in the last two years, but [they] will find it increasingly harder to manage with less funds,” she said.
UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON VUWSA EXECUTIVE ☞ STELLA BLAKE-KELLY The sudden departure of two VUWSA Executive members has left the student political world in turmoil and the everengaged student body crying out for stability. Both executive members succumbed to the pressure of academic study, as the strain of balancing university work and the hours expected of VUWSA executive members became too much. Speculation is rife as to whether the University intentionally inflicted the academic burden upon the two. Vice-president (Welfare) Ta’ase Vaoga was
the leading lemming to jump, followed shortly by International Officer Debbie Zhang. Current Welfare Officer, Rory McCourt has been co-opted into the role of Vice-president (Welfare) by the rest of the executive, until a by-election can be held at a later date. VUWSA is constitutionally required to fill the vice-president position, but can leave general executive positions empty following resignations. The exit of Va’oga has left President Bridie Hood the only executive member with
any experience in VUWSA prior to 2012. Despite this, Hood wasn’t concerned with the resignations.
“I’m not worried because [the resignations] didn’t signal any underlying issues in VUWSA, [rather] it was about personal commitments that they resigned,” Hood said. Va’oga said that, though she was passionate about VUWSA, her “priority [needed] to be study.” “VUWSA needs someone in that role that can do all the day-to-day stuff but is able to
Speaking on the association’s upcoming governance review, Va’oga thought it was important that should the executive downsize, VUWSA keep welfare roles in order to provide representation for groups which the soon to be established Student Forum are neglecting. As previously reported in Salient, the Forum is set to become the new primary representative body on campus by authority of the University.
“If the Student Forum is to exist exactly in the form the University proposes, then I think it would be important to keep those general executive portfolios like Queer, Womens, and International to ensure that those groups have a voice on campus,” she said. “That is not to say that they won’t at all if the positions don’t exist, but given that they are equity groups that the University is choosing to ignore, VUWSA should continue to support them.”
MUSEUM NEEDS NEW SUGAR DADDY CITY COUNCIL TIRES OF DEMANDING YOUNGER LOVER
☞ CARLO SALIZZO Wellington icon Te Papa may be forced to charge admission to certain areas under proposed cuts to funding from the Wellington City Council. The Council signed off this month on a draft long-term plan, which included a proposal to slash funding for the museum from $2.25 million to $1 million, a decrease of 55 per cent.
Besides charging for admission to certain areas such as the child-focused Discovery Centre, it has been suggested that the museum may be forced to lay off staff and reduce exhibit changeovers. An ad hoc submissions board has been erected in the museum under the familiar slogan of “Save our Services”, with visitors invited to
add their thoughts via yellow post-it notes and ballpoint pen. These messages will be collated and sent with the museum’s submission against the proposal, which closes on May 18.
Support for Te Papa in the face of the cuts has, somewhat unsurprisingly, been gathering on Facebook. A group entitled ‘Wellingtonians for Te Papa’. After a mention in a Dominion Post article, the group, spearheaded by Salient’s political columnist Hamish McConnochie, had amassed 469 ‘likes’ at the time of printing, and almost as many testimonials from Wellingtonians expressing their support. McConnochie says that the decision to cut funding to Te Papa is counterintuitive to the Council’s. “When Te Papa is our city’s second most
popular tourist activity after “walking around the city streets”, attracting over 75,000 domestic and international visitors who list Te Papa as their primary reason for visiting, per year, every year, cutting the funding is bad for Wellington,” he says
“It’s bad for the retail and hospitality sector, at a time they’re already struggling due to the economic climate and state sector cuts. We need to be supporting assets which bring tourists to Wellington, an asset which generates $59 million worth of tourism related spending.” One of the key fears of the group is that the proposed cuts may lead to the museum moving to Auckland – a paranoia with which fans of the Wellington Phoenix and the local film industry are all too familiar.
CRACKS AT CRACCUM STUDENTS OUTRAGED BY DYKES ☞ MICHAEL SERGEL The future of an Auckland student magazine will be decided on Thursday afternoon, as members of the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) vote on a motion of no confidence in Craccum editor Thomas Dykes.
The twenty students who petitioned for the Special General Meeting claim that the magazine is unrepresentative, irrelevant, humourless and overtly leftist. Some, posting on Facebook, accuse Dykes of bullying tactics against prospective contributors. Dykes stands by his decision to make the university magazine more political and intellectual, and dismisses his opponents as a vocal minority.
“The fact people think Craccum is left wing is merely a sign of how far right the centre has become.
“Laughing at cock jokes all day while people starve is also a political act. The humour in Craccum these days might not be immediately obvious. A little harder to find than a hairy scrotum or a guide to date rape.”
The controversy threatens the reputation of the publication, which has previously been edited by Jonathon Hunt, Sir Owen Woodhouse, Bomber Bradbury and Tim Shadbolt, and is read by thousands of students every week.
AUSA President Arena Williams says that Craccum is “a democratic platform for the expression of students’ views” and students are “entitled to have their say” on who controls the publication. Editors are democratically elected each year, and must balance the competing demands for crude parody and serious commentary. The current motion, like a previous motion in 1989, is the result of an editor’s perceived failure to strike that balance.
Petition spokesman Kirk Jacinto describes Dykes as a “friend” but believes he must stand down.
“Craccum has become like someone standing on a soap box in the street and shouting at us with a megaphone. There is a complete lack of comedy and no references to student culture.” Jacinto, who contested Dykes for the editorship last year, will be putting his own name forward again for the by-election if the motion passes. He says whoever is editor of Craccum must “improve it and weather the storm that has come”.
Dykes says he will be happy with any outcome that is the result of a democratic process. “If people want nothing but a plethora of cock jokes surrounded by inane dribble let them roll me. At least then I can get on with my Masters.”
THE WEEK THAT WASN’T
BLINK 182 IS PLAYING EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME— DEAR GOD WHY WON’T IT STOP? ☞ HUGO M c KINNON Students returning to Victoria University following the mid-trimester break were surprised to hear the song ‘Mutt’ by rock band Blink 182 playing over loudspeakers everywhere they went. It is playing constantly in tutorial rooms, lecture halls, in all the bathrooms and throughout the libraries. The motion to extend the university’s loudspeaker system and have ‘Mutt’ play on loop—all the time—without end—was pushed through by Vice-Chancellor Nat Malsh after he saw American Pie: Reunion two weeks ago. In his office and wearing a “Malshinator” t-shirt, Malsh said “It really was the warm apple pie of cinema. After the movie, I immediately rented the rest of [the American Pie films]. I’m addicted.” Many are disgruntled with his decision. “He’s gone absolutely crazy” said one student “I’ve heard rumours that he pauses while shaving and tells himself that he is the bomb”. Malsh explained that this is part of a new initiative to create an American college atmosphere. But University Council minutes reveal that other members were worried the
choice of song would encourage students to take spontaneous road trips during term time, without considering the impact they could have on their academic performance. At least one student has already embarked on a road trip, but Malsh is adamant Blink 182 did not inspire it. He speculates the trip is the result of the male student trying to recover a home made porno he sent to his long distance girlfriend of himself and another girl. Malsh did concede that perhaps another song could be added to the playlist, suggesting Matt Nathanson’s cover of ‘Laid’ as the best possible choice. Malsh told Salient that “this bed is on fire with passion and love. The neighbors complain about the noises above”. Those with offices below Malsh’s admitted that the noise from his office was irritating at times but “it is mainly his singing” that is most bothersome. “He doesn’t even have a bed up there” said one staff member. Malsh wanted Salient to make it clear that Mrs. Malsh does not make him mess around with gender roles nor does she dye his eyes and call him pretty.
EYE ON EXEC SHAKE-UP OR BREAK UP
☞ STELLA BLAKE-KELLY Reminiscent of Obama’s campaign trail, hope was in the air of April’s meeting of the VUWSA Executive, with discussion of making good on President Bridie Hood’s election promise. VUWSA resolved to have a governance review. It will be guided by the principled buzzwords of engagement, accessibility, democracy, accountability and efficiency - all aspects of the association that have received criticism from Salient, though not always fairly, at some point in time.
It is not known when VUWSA last undertook a review of this nature, but questions can surely be asked why it took the introduction of Voluntary Student Membership for VUWSA to take such a good hard look at itself. The executive meeting saw the passing of the review’s terms of reference outlining the process. Part of which is the establishment of a Working Party, which will critically review and evaluate the current governance structure, and will be seeking feedback from students about their views in a staged consultation process. Clubs Officer Reed Fleming raised concerns over the composition of the party – which is to include Hood, two VUWSA alumni, two VUWSA Executive members and two students.
Explaining how he was concerned that the composition of the party didn’t have enough representation for VUWSA’s members,
Fleming said that students should have “a stronger voice in a grass roots organisation like VUWSA.” “For a party reviewing something at the very heart of our organisation, our members should have a strong voice,” he said. With only two executive members expressing a desire to be involved in the Party, Activities Officer Andreas Triandafillidis and acting Vice-President (Welfare) Rory McCourt were appointed. Only one student applied to be allowed into VUWSA’s exclusive party, but Hood has reassured Salient that there is some other girl that they are in the process of coercing in. Competition is hot.
The first consultation document will be released next week, and should give a good indication whether the executive will seize the opportunity to make progressive change, or just stick with the status quo and orthodoxy. The question remains, will Hood pull the Obama trick, promising change, but delivering only pretty words? All proposed changes will be put to students at VUWSA’s Annual General Meeting in August, where they will have to be voted on to be accepted. More information on the review and the stages of student consultation are available at vuwsa.org.nz
DUNNE BACK FLIPS ON POLICY
OVERHEARD AT VIC
OVERHEARD ON THE 5TH FLOOR OF THE LIBRARY: The construction workers singing opera. Emily Gott
OVERHEARD ON ONE STUDENT’S FIRST DAY AT VIC: Student: Where in America are you from? Me: Los Angeles. Student: Cool, is that near California? Justin Arroyo
LOSES WHAT’S LEFT OF SPINE IN PROCESS
OVERSEEN AT BOYD-WILSON FIELD:
50 something-year-old man using a leaf blower.. in nothing but shoes and speedos Hineana Todd
☞ JESS RAPANA Graduates hoping to take a holiday from responsibility during their OE will no longer be able to leave the woes of student debt behind, following a reduction in the loan repayment holiday.
Led by Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, recent amendments to the current student loan legislation are the Government’s latest attempt to tighten the system, as they work to make the scheme more financially sustainable. Major changes include travellers with student loans now being required to make repayments after only one year of being overseas. They must also provide Inland Revenue with a contact who can be used to track down the borrower should they default on payments. The repayment holiday, introduced by Dunne in 2007 as part of the previous Labour-led Government, was originally three years as it was said to acknowledge that many graduates on their OE will travel with every expectation of returning to New Zealand. However the amendment aims to bring obligations of borrowers on their OE in line with those who remain in New Zealand and have to make repayments throughout.
After initially supporting the Bill, Labour withdrew support when the Government refused to negotiate over the repayment holiday period. They proposed only reducing
it to two years in order to meet the usual travel patterns by graduates.
OVERHEARD ON LEVEL 5 OF RANKINE BROWN:
Two guys discussing girls who wear headscarves: Guy 1: “Yeah I’ve always wondered” Guy 2: “-how they shower without taking them off?!” Anjali Dahya
Labour Tertiary Education spokesperson, Grant Robertson criticised the reduction to one year, labelling it an “arbitrary decision” that “makes no sense at all.”
“The advice it has received from both Treasury and the Ministry of Education is that it will not improve student loan repayments. In fact, it is likely to increase debt held by overseas borrowers and therefore discourage them from returning overseas,” Robertson said.
OVERHEARD ON THE FIFTH FLOOR OF THE LIBRARY:
“My 12 year old cousin thought sex was like a really big hug. Yeah, I told him otherwise...” Gemma Mcilroy
OVERHEARD IN SUMT LADIES TOILETS:
Overseas borrowers currently owe about $2.5 billion—approximately 20 per cent of the current $12 billion student loan debt.
Dunne has received criticism for changing his stance on the repayment holiday, as he led the original legislation through in 2007. At the time of its introduction, he told the House that “we needed to take a pragmatic way through this.”
“Being someone who places great virtue on pragmatism, it struck me that the logical course of action was to derive the solution that we have: to extend the holiday period for three years, recognising that young New Zealanders take that extended period overseas.”
Girl in cubicle takes a dump and then immediately begins enjoying what I can only assume was a bit of solo happy fun time stress relief. Phillie Holmes
THE CHANGES: ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴
Student loan holders who go overseas long-term must start making repayments after one year. They must apply for the repayment holiday as it is no longer automatic. Those who underpay with have catch-up deductions taken from their pay. Borrowers must provide IRD with a New Zealand-based contact, though they will not be liable for the loan. From 2013 IRD will be able to obtain loan holders’ contact details from Studylink.
OVERHEARD IN SPANISH LECTURE:
Spanish lecturer explaining ‘gustar’ (‘it pleases me’): Student: “what if you are pleasing...someone?” Lecturer: “...I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that.” Odyssey Posimani
OVERHEARD AT VIC:
Casual before lecture convo girl: is this seat taken? guy: nah.. but im feeling really gassy today so i wouldnt sit there girl: oh ok.... walks off Olivia Hutchinson
OVERHEARD AT TEPUNI:
“is easter when jesus got married???” Emma Berry
OVERHEARD IN MUSIC105:
Lecturer, right before handing out a test: “Mat the odds be ever in your favour.” Jason Senior
OVERHEARD IN STATS TUTORIAL:
Stats tutor: “Any questions? I know some of you are probably quite shy... I’d come over and tickle you but I’d probably lose my job...” Milli Montague
OVERSEEN ON WHITEBOARD IN RM 203, 85 FAIRLIE:
A Haiku: This board looked lonely So I wrote some words on it I think it’s fine now Anon Undergrad Elodie Green
OVERHEARD BY KEOGH:
Two girls outside Murphy building: “He was taking ages to cum and I was like oh my god, class is in twenty minutes!” (other girl nods knowingly) Kris Nielsen
OVERSEEN @ VIC:
A young lad pretending to use magic powers to open the (automatic) doors into Cotton. Hannah Shirer
OVERHEARD IN MUSC352/252 BEFORE A TEST:
Lecture: Have you any questions with the test? Apart from what’s on the test? Student: Do we have lifelines in this test? Rachel Shand Overheard in Hunter: “Wearing so many layers... I make onions proud!” Nina Schotanus
the STV system. It promotes thought and discussion, something which the postal vote and its candidate booklet with 200 word blurbs doesn’t. E-voting has the appeal needed to attract those disinterested with the current political and electoral process. It’s the shake up our local governments need more than any other suggestion that’s come from the Beehive. Evidence shows it works too; the Canadian municipality of Markham, Ontario adopted the e-vote in 2003, resulting in turnout increasing by 48 per cent at its next election.
There are issues around security and accessibility. After all, it is fine for me to say we need e-voting, but what about others who are not as e-savvy? The solution to accessibility is to continue to allow electors the option to cast their ballot via the post.
FOR THE REGION, THE NATION, AND OUR GENERATION, THE PICK IS A MODERN UPDATE TO OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM ☞ HAMISH MCCONNOCHIE Recently, many have been submitting to the Electoral Commission as part of their review into MMP. The Commission is seeking submissions from wide cross-section of society, advertising the review through a variety of mediums, with public hearings to be held up and down the country.
When I thought about personally submitting, I thought about how to change our electoral system for the better through three lenses. I’ve thought about which changes would be best for the Wellington region. I’ve thought about which changes would be best for the nation. Finally, I thought about which changes would be best for our generation—a generation that is clearly not engaging with the political process as it stands. After careful consideration, it has become clear that the best option for all three is electronic
voting. That’s why I will be submitting in support of, and encouraging others to do similarly, a trial of e-voting by Porirua City Council.
As part of a government initiative, councils are being invited to request to take part in a trial of e-voting for next year’s local body elections. This month, the Porirua City Council are calling for submissions on whether the council should request to be a trial city for electronic voting during next year’s local body elections. Online, or e-voting, will provide an additional method of voting, alongside the current postal ballot.
With last year’s record low 68 per cent turnout for the general election and the traditionally low turnout for local elections, something needs to be done to facilitate greater engagement in democracy. Forget changing
the threshold or abolishing electorate seat lifeboat, it’s e-voting has the greatest potential to see citizens return to ballot box, even if that ballot is online.
An electronic voting system that could allow people to vote via desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile, integrated with apps and social media puts voting into the realm of generation-Y. Most people my age rarely get mail, they do everything online, why shouldn’t they vote online as well? Facebook tells me that my friends have read something on the Guardian, why shouldn’t it tell me that my friend has just voted in the City Council elections and invite me to do so? Integrating online voting and social media brings voting to people’s attention. It makes voting easy and accessible. It prevents people from making errors when voting using
In terms of security, this is a legitimate and serious concern. However, all electoral systems are susceptible to security issues. Nobody knows, for example, who exactly is posting off the ballots currently. My identity was never verified at the polling station on November 26th. The online voting system will undoubtedly be tested to a rigorous standard to ensure no election is compromised. Many are arguing for online voting to be trialled; the Green Party, the Electoral and Justice Select Committee are just two examples. Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett has been vocal and pushed the agenda, something which must be praised. Time, however, has come for the rhetoric to be put into practice. Time has come for the e-vote to be trialled. *the title to this piece was inspired by http://is.gd/MwDg0g.
HAMISH IS GENERALLY WRONG. TELL HIM WHY ON TWITTER: @MISHVIEWS
PARTISAN HACKS ACT ON CAMPUS
SALIENT ASKED, “IS THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA FAIR AND BALANCED IN ITS POLITICAL REPORTING?” THE HACKS RESPOND...
New Zealand has a large variety of great reporters and journalists. However, some are misleading and have been known to tweak facts to get a more eruptive story. Journalists must conduct their work around accuracy and fairness. ▷Michael Warren
GREENS AT VIC
There is no such thing as a fair and balanced media in New Zealand. Like all organisations there is a mixture of left and right opinions but quite often, more one than the other. In the case of NZ media, it is often the case that we see a lean towards the left. But at the end of the day, someone has to take on the role of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.
Well, it’s better than Fox, which devotes itself to deliberately distorting reality and rewriting history for political gain. Ours seems to accomplish much the same thing without anything like the same degree of intent or coordination evident at just about any level of the journalistic process. While we have produced quality independent journalists like Gordon Campbell and the late Bruce Jesson; our largely foreign owned political media is excessively prone to favouritism and sensationalism.
Ensuring fair, balanced broadcasting is difficult in a sphere dominated by private media outlets. One way to ensure New Zealanders can access free, balanced reporting is through public broadcasting. TVNZ7 is to stop broadcasting at the end June, bringing to an end a range of shows including the popular Backbenches and The Court Report. Labour is committed to fair, balanced, free public broadcasting as part of healthy democracy. ▷ Reed Fleming
On the whole, New Zealand has a media which presents balanced and fair political reporting. Significant reform is still needed however, of a system in which, the majority of our media is under foreign ownership, there is a near duopoly of print and radio, only three significant competitors in free-to-air television, and an increasingly centralised process of news-gathering and reporting. These are all factors which threaten our access to balanced reporting, and must be addressed.
▷Curwen Ares Rolinson
HATE IS IN THE
AIR HOW THE
MEDIA GIVES BIGOTS A VOICE
✏ PATRICK HUNN
LET’S PLAY PRETEND FOR A LITTLE BIT. I AM A RACIST. I AM IN A RACIST CLUB AND DO A RACIST JOB AND GO OUT WITH MY RACIST FAMILY ON THE WEEKEND TO BE RACIST. SOMETIMES I LIKE TO SIT IN A DARK ROOM WITH NO WINDOWS AND JUST THINK RACIST THOUGHTS AND SMILE TO MYSELF. ONE DAY, I DECIDE THAT I AM GOING TO WRITE AN ARTICLE IN A NATIONAL NEWSPAPER ABOUT HOW PEOPLE THAT DON’T LOOK LIKE ME ARE NOT AS GREAT AS I AM.
“IF I WAS COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF HER SUBJECT MATTER, I WOULD IMAGINE THAT TRANSGENDER PEOPLE WERE UNHINGED PSYCHOPATHS WHO WOULD MINCE INTO MY LIVING ROOM AND EAT MY BABIES.”
omething in the system, however, will stop me. It might be a preventative law, or the policy of the newspaper, or it might just be someone saying “hey bro. Stop being so racist.” In New Zealand many of us assume that we have a mass media which do their job in the appropriate way. After all, we aren’t Americans. When we look at America we see the crazies on FOX, with their unsavoury fixation on female genitalia and with how you’re having sex, and their fondness for crinkly old white men, we think how much better things are over here. Is that true, though?
When someone does express an overtly nasty opinion in the media here, we are usually quick to pounce. For example, let’s look at Rosemary McLeod’s essay, ‘Why I feel for the kids of the ego-trippers’ published in the Dominion Post in February. It doesn’t really bear summarizing, but the gist is that McLeod just really doesn’t like transgender people and thinks that she has the right to talk about it like her opinion is somehow sacred. If I was completely unaware of her subject matter, I would imagine that transgender
people were unhinged psychopaths who would mince into my living room and eat my babies. Rosemary McLeod is, of course, not an awfully influential or important person (she also apparently reeeally likes Paul Henry, but hey, no judgment. (See that, Rosemary!?)) Instead, McLeod, and those like her, are a symptom of the much more serious nastiness that pervades the media.
Think about it: what is it about that article that makes it so shocking? It’s because it’s so obviously designed to do just that. Its only purpose is to provoke one of two hyperbolic actions; either (1) you’re filled with righteous fury, or (2) you agree and think you’re better than transgender people and give your genitals a reassuring pat, because hey, you’re lovely and normal. As soon as people get upset, she’s done her job. McLeod writes under the feeble canopy of ‘opinion’ journalism, which is an important part of public discourse but here seems tragically anachronistic. It’s not hard to tell that she bizarrely thinks that she’s writing what her readers must feel. She is giving a voice to all those people who find transgender people and
anyone not quite like themselves dreadfully anxiety-inducing. It’s like she’s writing for a time when bigoted vitriol was acceptable because it’s the ‘50s and hey, them there transgender folk are weird, y’all and them blacks should get back on the plantation.
Even if McLeod herself isn’t worth the time of day, her writing is. Wellington-based rights activist group The Queer Avengers, who staged a delightfully raucous protest in the Fairfax building, hold that “the editors of any privately-owned journal choose what to publish and what not to publish. And that in choosing to publish oppressive and hate ideology they give that ideology a certain level of respectability and validity,” which is a succinct way of understanding why people like McLeod have to be taken seriously even if they are really completely ridiculous and have silly haircuts. Victoria University Associate Professor of Media Studies, Tony Schirato, explains that the “way people understand the world is predicated on the way they interact with the media.” Which rings with eerie truthfulness; in many ways, the media is what teaches us how to associate with those we have no immediate experience with. “So, if there’s something in the media that naturalises a certain condition, or worse, denaturalises a certain condition, or…makes a condition seem to be less than normal and, therefore, less than valuable, then that will basically affect the way people understand the world and behave towards people.” Thanks, Tony. Way to undermine my faith in everyone.
When it comes to McLeod specifically, he is quick to point out that even if her writing were to be read by only a small number of people in Wellington, “it … is a symptom of a much larger problem, which is the way in which the media at large normalises certain gender identities and in doing so suggests that people who don’t fit into these categories are somehow lesser. So yes, this is important.”
“PEOPLE LIKE MCLEOD HAVE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY EVEN IF THEY ARE REALLY COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS AND HAVE SILLY HAIRCUTS.” Also an important consideration to make is that in many ways, there is almost no incentive for the media to encourage public debate because they have so many tools at their disposal if they want to push an agenda influenced by, say, pressure groups or corporate interests. It’s all very insidious. For instance, one group of researchers at Stanford University, headed by Professor Lera Boroditsk, performed an experiment where two groups of people were given a communal problem to solve, presented in the same way, but with the descriptive metaphors changed slightly for each one. The first described the problem as a ‘beast’ ravaging a town whilst the other described it as a ‘virus’. The ‘beast’ group instituted increased police presence
and detention centres and other hard security measures whilst the other group opted for after-school care programs and communityoriented things. Essentially, you have almost exactly none of the control over the way you interpret things as you probably think you do (well, sort of). Spooky. This is obviously dangerous in many ways. McLeod’s article, for instance, drips with language which divorces transgender people from normality. Her sneering use of double pronouns (she/he) says to the reader; these people are not like you. They are different, and difference is scary.
McLeod’s piece is best described as a trembling boil on the surface of the media. An apologist would find this regrettable and argue that the media at large is probably fine, right? Bound by the knowledge that they’re performing an important public service they strive for the ideals of a free and fair press. Schirato argues something altogether more depressing; “the media now more or less occupies the place of the public sphere—where questions, issues and ideas are explored and discussed. What society sees as right and wrong. The media now is the only real game in town, so if anyone wants to push an issue or idea then they basically have to do it in the media. Secondly, the media is driven by… the logic of spectacle. Its foremost consideration is… how they can get people’s attention by running something. So in some ways there’s no motivation for the media to engage with the complexities of, say, gender politics. So stupidity, violence and prejudice are often the preferred sensibilities simply because more people are likely to pay attention to that.” Putting together these things basically make for a volatile cocktail of overall crapness. Because of the way the system is organised, the media can’t care about what it reports on. It’s hard to know if there’s a happy way out of this; it seems like a completely barren and hopeless situation. Mass suicide is probably the only option. Schirato offers a slightly sunnier position, that if we observe the changes made at the legal level, rather than just in the media we can identify that progress can be made. Outright hate speech is illegal, for instance. He opines that the expansion of these issues away from purely a critique of the media towards a much more general context can see changes that regulate and protect those that need it. Maybe, one day, we will weed out the Rosemary McLeods of the world and rejoice. Change is not going to come about because of the media because that, as a general rule, works against their own vested interests. Even a news network with a reputation for having liberal views is not functionally any different from, say, the Fuck The Poor News Network. They’re still just after numbers, because they have to be. I hate people, sometimes. ▲
he media’s a dirty business, but should it be? When did newspapers become all about celebrities and political slandering? And most importantly, who’s to blame? Media scholars have long been pondering the answers, but the clearest perpetrators are the media barons. Media barons are wealthy, savvy businesspeople who own and control the information that we, the masses, use to formulate opinions. Inadvertently or not, they exploit the media’s wide reach in their efforts to make friends and influence people.
Modern-day media barons have William Randolph Hearst to thank for establishing a precedent of salacious gossip and ‘yellow journalism’. Hearst was a controversial and complicated character–so notorious that Orson Welles used him as the inspiration behind his 1941 classic Citizen Kane. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s about the demise of a megalomaniac newspaper magnate who dies a wreck, alone in his mansion named Xanadu. But Hearst wasn’t always a diabolical tycoon. In 1887, he took over The San Francisco Examiner, a broadsheet his father had bought, and turned it in to a reputable and wellwritten newspaper that dominated circulation in its area. His next attempt at journalistic success was the flailing New York Morning Journal, which he resuscitated and pitted against the best-selling paper of the region, Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World.
This is where things got hairy. With his paper lagging behind and the US on the brink of war with the Spanish, Hearst saw an opportunity to differentiate himself from the competition. He took advantage of the public’s need for displays of American bravado by advocating for outright war, writing scathing (and unfounded) editorials, and concocting stories about villainous Spaniards that had no basis in truth. And it worked. Circulation went through the roof, the public pressure forced the government to make a stand, and Hearst’s ‘standing-up-for-theworking-man’ rhetoric masked his ulterior motives.
Unlike other newspapermen of the day, Hearst bucked the principles of objective reporting and balanced coverage, and his continued exaggeration of the issues (each tainted with his own opinions) didn’t win him many fans among the political elite. Despite this, he tried (and failed) to win political office three times. His reign over public opinion didn’t waver. Hearst was the first to realise the media’s potential as a mass manipulation tool–and he rightly suspected that people believe everything they read. But the svengalilike techniques that he wielded so successfully eventually led to his demise. By the 1930s, other papers were beating him at his own game. Their pictures were racier, their politics more sensational, and each headline was more outrageous than the next. Hearst has lost his competitive edge. But his real legacy is that he established a journalistic tradition built on two ideas: that media is a moneymaking enterprise and that the editor is always right.
M ED I A B A RO N S ! A
✏ FAIROOZ SAMY Harmsworth and his brother Harold are credited with revamping British newspaper publishing and heralding the era of trash journalism. They popularised the practices of outspending their competition for leads, offering prizes and promotions, and running publicity stunts–all of which proved to be winning formulas. Harmsworth also pioneered the strategy of targeting female readers with their own daily sections, laying the groundwork for women-oriented gossip rags. Since Harmsworth and Hearst established the order, there’s only been one modern-day tycoon that’s really made the realm his own— his name is Rupert Murdoch.
Robert Murdoch needs no introduction. What does merit explanation however, is the way that he’s managed to build an empire that is so clearly ideologically biased, yet is so effective at dominating the market. Murdoch’s empire began with an Australian media conglomerate inherited from his father. Craving more influence and success, he took his operation global, acquiring News of the World, The Sun, and The Times. In 1979 he founded News Corporation, which is now the world’s second largest media conglomerate and the holder of media heavyweights like Fox News, Twentieth
“HEARST WAS THE FIRST TO REALISE THE MEDIA’S POTENTIAL AS A MASS MANIPULATION TOO–AND HE RIGHTLY SUSPECTED THAT PEOPLE BELIEVE EVERYTHING THEY READ.” Alfred Harmsworth was Hearst’s British counterpart. In 1896 he launched The Daily Mail, which is currently famous for being the second largest-selling newspaper in Britain and for repeated accusations of misogyny.
Century Fox and The Wall Street Journal. Murdoch built his company to serve three purposes: the advancement of the free market, the realisation of his vision for Western public policy and bringing about the demise of a perceived liberal media bias—many of which
he’s managed to achieve. This is all the more impressive considering the blaring subjectivity of Fox News and The Sun, whose extreme right-wing stances have been denounced by almost every reputable media scholar in the business. So how does the egocentric eightyyear-old do it?
It isn’t charm or charisma. It’s money and influence. In Britain, his relationships with political movers and shakers are unprecedented. From his long-time friendship with Margaret Thatcher–whose harsh policies
editorial integrity and making sure the staff get paid a living wage. Integrity is something Murdoch lost during the News of the World scandal. The much-publicised affair revealed that its journalists had used unethical methods to gain illegal access to the private phone messages of as many as 7000 people. Almost as nefarious was the evidence that came out about Murdoch–who claimed he was innocent of any wrongdoing–using his clout to convince Labour Party MPs to back off. Luckily, both Labour and the British public had had
“MURDOCH BUILT HIS COMPANY TO SERVE THREE PURPOSES: THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE FREE MARKET, HIS VISION FOR WESTERN PUBLIC POLICY, AND THE DEMISE OF A PERCEIVED LIBERAL BIAS...” he backed–to sharing staff with David Cameron, Murdoch’s fingers are in every political pie there is. In the US, his $65 billion net worth–and control over 40 per cent of the world’s media–is enough to secure him a seat at all the right tables. Influential newspaper The New York Post regurgitates his preferences for the Conservative Party, and his flagship channel Fox News has long been the subject of debate and ridicule. He’s had no fewer than four potential Republican presidential candidates on his payroll, has dodged allegations of misconduct when backing Rudy Giuliani, and has even given Sarah Palin a home studio (for free). Murdoch’s influence raises important questions about whether news media should be for profit or the public interest. The public have the right to be informed, but blank objectivity doesn’t attract advertisers, and it can come down to a decision between
enough, and like Hearst, the questionable tactics that were once so popular turned poisonous as the breadth of the affair became known.
The phone-hacking scandal may have been the final straw for Murdoch, but it also begs the question: just where should society draw the line on issues of terrible journalism? Can the media ever be trusted, or is it as Chomsky says, all about “manufacturing consent”? There are those that would say we’re overreacting. They argue that the changing media landscape of the twenty first century will override the abominable practices made acceptable by men like Harmsworth and Murdoch. Nevertheless, one only has to look at any Fox News coverage to know that’s not true. The media matters. It’s precisely because of its power as a political and social tool that it’s appealing to those who are least committed to the public good. With that in mind, we have to wonder, who’ll become the next media baron? ▲
MEDIA STORIES OF THOSE
WHO HAVE PAID
✏ MEGAN NUNNS
ince the year 2000, 348 journalists have paid the ultimate price for bringing us our news. They have revealed crime, political corruption and human rights abuses, which have ultimately led to their deaths. Despite the ongoing efforts of organizations such as the World Press Freedom Committee and the Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists that have been assassinated in the past 20 years has been steadily increasing. The slaughter of journalists is by no means limited to certain countries and continents; it has occurred all over the world—here are a few of their stories. Veronica Guerin, a wife and mother, was a well-known investigative journalist before being killed by the people she was trying to expose.
Guerin was a crime reporter for the Sunday Independent, specialising in writing about the Irish drug trade and its violent gangs. Her aim was to reveal this underworld and ultimately bring it down. The first threat made against Guerin occurred in October 1994 following the publication of her story about a murdered crime boss. Bullets shattered windows in her north Dublin home. This did not deter her and she continued writing. Three months later she answered her doorbell to find a man pointing a revolver at her head. He shot her in the thigh before disappearing. After recovering from the shooting, Guerin arranged an interview with a well-known Dublin drug lord as part of her investigation into an unsolved murder. Soon after arriving at the arranged meeting place, she realised that this drug lord had no intention of being interviewed and with the help of his accomplices viciously beat her. The next day she received a phone call threatening that her young son would be raped if she wrote anything about the drug lord who attacked her. These threats did not stop Guerin—she continued writing until her assassination. On June 26 1996, Guerin was driving through Dublin, unaware that she was being followed
by two men on a motorcycle. As her car stopped at traffic lights, the motorcycle pulled up alongside her car. The pillion rider pulled out a gun, shooting her six times. There were many arrests after Guerin’s death, however only three have been charged in relation to her murder. One was acquitted, another had his conviction overturned on appeal and the other is currently serving a life sentence. American born Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was a regular writer for the investigative magazine Novaya Gazeta. The majority of her work criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin and the human rights abuses associated with the Chechen wars. Her fight for justice and her willingness to speak out resulted in her mysterious death.
the Chechen war. On 7 October 2006, at 4.10pm Politkovskaya entered her apartment building carrying bags of groceries in each hand. She entered the lift and once it had reached her floor, the doors opened to reveal a man waiting for her. He stepped into the lift and shot Politkovskaya at point-blank range. Surveillance videos show that the killer placed the gun next to her body and left the building. Politkovskaya’s murderer has never been found. Her death is one of many suspicious deaths of Putin’s critics. Ironically her murder occurred on Vladimir Putin’s birthday.
The most deadly massacre of journalists occurred on 29 November 2009 in the Filipino town of Ampatuan.
Local figure Esmael Mangudadatu was a preparing his candidacy for governor in a local election in Maguindanao province. Mangudadatu was required to file his candidacy papers in person but he had received threats that if he tried to do this he would be kidnapped. Instead, he sent his wife and sisters to file the papers on his behalf, accompanied by a large contingent of local media and supporters. As they were travelling, approximately “HE STEPPED INTO THE LIFT AND SHOT 100 armed men forced POLITKOVSKAYA AT POINT-BLANK RANGE.” them to stop and ordered them out of their vehicles. The group was taken to a nearby how many of their fellow villagers had been mountainous area where the kidnappers beaten, raped, electrocuted, and moved to slashed the men with machetes and shot them. concentration-like camps by Russian troops. The women were raped and then beheaded. Upon leaving the village, Politkovskaya was The bodies were then placed in a mass grave. stopped by soldiers who interrogated her A total of 58 people were murdered, of over a period of three hours. She was then whom 34 were journalists and media support led outside into darkness to be executed. workers. Politkovskaya was unaware that this was a mock execution. As she stood waiting to die, World Press Freedom Day is an annual a soldier let off an explosive to imitate the event celebrated on 3 May. Its purpose it to sound of a firing gun. Politkovskaya fell to highlight and reinforce the importance of the ground in shock, much to the amusement the freedom of the press. It is also a day to of the on-looking soldiers. Undeterred, remember and honour journalists who have Politkovskaya continued her criticism of been murdered in the course of investigating the Putin regime over the next five years and reporting of our news. ▲ including publishing books about Putin and
DOB: 05/07/58 Murdered: 26/06/96 Nationality: Republican of Ireland A crime reporter for the Sunday Independent
In 2001 Politkovskaya received a letter from a village of 90 families in southern Chechnya about their treatment by federal forces. They asked her to help them leave the district and migrate to Russia where it would be safer for them. Soon after receiving this letter Politkovskaya visited the families in the village that had wrote to her. They told her stories of
DOB: 30/08/58 Murdered: 07/10/06 Nationality: Russia Writer for the Novaya Gazeta
MAGUINDANAO MASSACRE 58 people murdered, 34 of which were journalists Date: 23/11/09 Location: Maguindanao, Philippines
ilk, long a staple of New Zealand breakfasts, has increased in price by 42 per cent since 2007, putting the squeeze on many struggling kiwi families. In this special investigative feature, Richard D’Ath asks how the price could possibly go up, whether the Government is doing enough to help those in need, and whether there is really something more sinister at work.
RO B B ERY
When I met Maryann Prior† in her Hataitai home she was struggling to find the money to pay her milk bill. “It used to be less, but now it is more. You can’t explain that. How will my kids eat their sugar-frosted corn balls without fresh milk?”
Maryann’s stress is being felt across the country as middle New Zealand kiwi battlers face milk prices that some consider out of control. A recent online poll of 43 respondents, conducted by this magazine in January, found that 9 out of 10 New Zealanders felt the price of milk was higher than they would like, with only 10 per cent of the population thinking the price was fair. Are kiwi consumers tired of being ripped off? Opposition spokesperson Mike Munroe agrees:
“It is disgusting that while John Key holidays in Hawaii the average family are being rippedoff by his rich prick mates. If Labour were in power, something would be done.” National’s associate Minister for the Dairy industry, Stella Richie, wouldn’t comment at 3am on Easter Monday, but later emailed noting that while the John Key Government did recognise New Zealand’s concerns, John Key’s Government had no immediate plans to intervene in the dairy industry, as prices seemed to reflect the underlying economics. ▲▲▲
Was the situation as simple as “economics”? Or was the Labour party right yet again? That was the question I posed to Fonterra’s Community Engagement Liaison, David Bovis. A large, scaly and rather boisterous man, he was immediately on the offensive.
“Well, you see, it’s an oversimplification to say that the price of milk has gone up, because while it has, milk still represents excellent value to the average Kiwi consumer. Do you know how many bananas you’d have to eat to get the same amount of potassium found in a two-litre carton of milk? “Four?”
“Eighty-six! Now try and tell me that milk isn’t worth $3.84 for two litres.”
What Mr Bovis needed to explain, though, was why milk used to cost $2.50 and now cost more than that. How could that be if it was just the same milk? “Well, you see, we sell milk on the international market, and sometimes that price goes up, and that means New Zealand consumers have to pay more.”
This answer seemed to make a bit of sense, but something didn’t quite ring true. Some second opinions were needed.
✏ RICHARD D’ATH ▲▲▲ Ronald Cheice of Labour Voters for Dairy Equity (a non-partisan dairy think-tank), was excited to see me, and particularly excited when I described my meeting with Mr Bovis. “Ah yes, that’s David for you, running those classic lines about the “international market”. Tell me, when you fly to Auckland, is it an international flight? Of course not, it’s a domestic flight. New Zealand is the domestic market, not the international market. It just doesn’t add up.”
of our beautiful rivers?”
I sheepishly admitted I never had.
“Exactly, and now you can’t because the dairy industry has six million shit-beasts defiling them every day.” I asked what this had to do with the price of milk.
“Everything. New Zealand only exports milk because the dairy industry is subsidised by the killing of our country’s future. If we made farmers pay for their pollution, they wouldn’t
“WE ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD THAT IT’S THE CHINESE WHO ARE BUYING OUR MILK, YET EVERYONE KNOWS ASIANS ARE LACTOSE INTOLERANT.” Indeed it didn’t add up. Some intensive research on the Google revealed that while international prices had gone up, New Zealand was producing more milk than it ever had. A few back-of-the-envelope calculations reinforced my initial suspicion: when supply increases, prices should go down, not up. I went back to Mr Cheice with my observations. It turned out, while I had been away researching, he too had reached some startling conclusions. “Riddle me this, my good man: we are constantly told that it’s the Chinese who are buying our milk, yet everyone knows Asians are lactose intolerant. What does this tell you?” I wasn’t sure.
“Someone else is buying our milk. Someone the government doesn’t want you to know about. Tell me, what do you know about the Freemasons?” ▲▲▲
Greenpeace’s Alice Arbor met me in their new Queen Street offices. Smelling slightly of hemp, she started with a question: “When was the last time you drank from one
be able to export their milk, and our kids wouldn’t grow up with rickets”.
Surely, though, we needed export income?
answers, but only had one more name on my list: a controversial right-wing economist, Nick Crampon. He was noted for writing in support of the failed policies of the 1980s, and just this week had blogged against raising the minimum wage. Still, I presented my findings to him for comment.
“Ummm...” He said, looking confused and uncertain, “Ummm... none of those claims really make any sense...” He then proceeded to draw a number of graphs which I found hard to follow. Mr Cheice was not impressed.
“Well, he would say that, he’s an economist, a discredited pseudo-scientist. He even once said in his blog that Roger Douglas had done some things right. Absurd. Everyone knows that the Reptilians do nothing for the common man, only for their Lodge-mates!” ▲▲▲
“Hah, that’s just what global capitalism wants you to think. See my iPhone 4S? I don’t actually need it, or even want it; I was just tricked by consumer culture into buying it. Same with my Diesel jeans and my Ray-Ban glasses. We should be freeing ourselves, and Greenpeace’s opposition to the dairy industry is just the first step. Now excuse me, I have to take a call.”
Ultimately, though, it was Maryann that needed to be impressed, and for this swing voter the explanations simply weren’t enough.
Mr Bovis seemed too dismissive of Miss Arbor’s concerns.
For John Key, then, the Maryanns of New Zealand represent an unpleasant political truth: has brand Key finally been tarnished? With the election only 28 months away, it seemed that this question may be one firmly on the minds of middle New Zealand.
“It’s all human environmentalist claptrap, son. Cows don’t pollute the environment, they are the environment! Haven’t you seen that documentary about the lion? It’s all interlinked in the circle of life. Also, have you ever been inside a cow?” I had not.
“Well if you had, you’d know that they are very clean. Now excuse me, I have a Lodge meeting to attend.”
At this stage I still had more questions than
“All this talk of ‘exports’ and ‘efficiency’ won’t put milk in the bellies of my children. I think it’s time John Key’s Government came to realise that people voted for a brighter future, not the advancement of the Masonic Reptilian agenda by selling of state assets to the Chinese”.
For Maryann, the answer was simple.
“Yeah, I think Key is tarnished by this milk crisis. I am thinking of voting for that other lizard, what’s his name? Goff?” ▲ Richard D’Ath is a freelance journalist and unregistered chiropractor. †
Not her real name.
SALIENT ON TWITTER
@OllieNeas one of the magazine’s two co-editors for ’12 @AshersEmanuel the other one @_stella_bk news editor
@louderthoughts chief sub-editor @mishviews political reporter @Nicolaaarrr chief reporter
@mlle_elle chief feature writer, co-editor for ’11
@AdamGoodallYes arts editor @roldy445 film editor
@utherlives co-editor for ’11
@rarahsobson editor for ’10
@juliettewanty designer for ’10 @molliotti news editor for ’10
TWIT T ERS
@_jjw_ editor for ’09
I S N OT
G O LD FINDING FAME
✏ ELLE HUNT
SALIENT CHIEF FEATURE WRITER ELLE HUNT LOOKS TO THE STARS FOR WHAT NOT TO DO IN HER PURSUIT OF INTERNET FAME ON TWITTER.
tweeting nonsense (“i had a long day+ im falling sleepies. princess xena of xanaxland has lil secrets in her inbox…I wanna be the first to show u anyway..”).
“...JAY ELECTRONICA LIVE-TWEETED THE BIRTH OF HIS FIRST CHILD... “WATER BROKE. I CAN SEE THE HEAD, IT’S COVERED IN HAIR.””
y desires to be internet famous and also gainfully employed have often conflicted. My Twitter account, in particular, is something of a liability, with the snark, profanity and in-jokes of my stream of consciousness likely serving as a disincentive to hire me. Or hang out with me.
But last week, the hurt and anger I felt at my omission from the New Zealand Herald’s list of the country’s top 50 Tweeters (who are, by coincidence, largely Herald staffers) tipped the balance in the favour of fame. After adding “opinions are my own” to my bio as a catch-all caveat, I made my account public. Within an hour, I’d gained ten new followers (okay, so one was a VUWSA exec member I’d previously blocked. Whatever) and been retweeted by @2degreesmobile. I tweeted about eating a promotional JAZZ Apple, sent to the media, for the media, and @ JAZZAPPLES_NZ responded, hoping that I “enjoyed [my] media JAZZ Apple!” It was exhilarating.
To hell with what prospective employers might think of the “impudent” tone of my #worktweets, I thought, giddy. My new-found internet fame could lead to no other future than a TV series on HBO about my groovy lifestyle, establishing me as the voice of my generation. Take a picture, ca-chiiiiick. My confidence in my imminent celebrity was only reinforced when @NICKIMINAJ jumped ship from the site and closed her account (“Like seriously, its [sic] but so much a person can take. Good fucking bye”)—an indirect acknowledgement that as long as I am in the game, she’d never win.
“...THE SITE IS AT ITS BEST WHEN USED TO DISTRIBUTE MEANINGLESS BUT AMUSING DRIVEL, AND NO-ONE DOES THIS BETTER THAN AMANDA BYNES.” I’m only partly joking. Loath as I am to resort to such 100-level Media Studies clichés as “the rise of Twitter has benefited democracy”, the rise of Twitter has benefited democracy—kind of. Its chief advantage in this regard is that it represents a level playing field: there is, in theory, scope for mere mortals such as you and I to take up some of Minaj’s slack. But in theory, communism works. In theory. More often than not, Twitter serves to elevate further those who already have a platform. Lady Gaga, the most popular person on Twitter, has more than 23 million followers. Think about that for a moment. Twentythree million. And this is despite her largely
Gaga seems to appreciate that Twitter enables her to let loose without the supervision of her minders—a rare privilege for a celebrity, even one (or perhaps because) of her stature. Most interviews given by such media personalities are arranged, overseen and to some extent shaped by public relations personnel; manning her Twitter account herself enables her to connect directly with her fans, with some degree of authenticity.
Sometimes too much authenticity. Music producer Jay Electronica live-tweeted the birth of his first child to musician Erykah Badu: “Water broke. I can see the head, it’s covered in hair.”
Many celebrities who tweet, however, seem to fail to realise that this goes both ways—that Twitter makes them accessible to both their fans and their critics. Minaj is the latest to abandon the site in a huff over less-thanpositive ‘@’ replies, treading in the footsteps of Chris Brown, Kid Cudi, James Franco, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Sinead O’Connor and professional train wreck Courtney Love, among others (many of whom have since come crawling back).
The petulance of some positions them as being too thin-skinned to function in the public sphere; others, such as Matt Lucas of Little Britain, are given legitimate provocation. He closed his account after a 16-year-old teenager “thought to live in Northern Ireland” (try as it might, the Daily Mail fails to penetrate the veil of internet anonymity) joked about the suicide of Lucas’ former partner. Of course, the flip side of this is that it reinforces how some celebrities need minders. As @aplusk, Ashton Kutcher was the first of what can generously be dubbed the ‘A List’ to make his mark on Twitter, but he was recently forced to quit the site red-faced. He’d expressed outrage at Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s being made redundant (“… #insult #noclass … I find it in poor taste”), without knowing that Paterno’s assistant coach Jerry Sandusky had allegedly raped a number of children. Kutcher deleted his original tweet and apologised for the misstep, but it was not enough to assuage his outraged followers— especially after, earlier in the year, he’d described September 11 as “the greatest day of the year”. (It’s the start of the football season.)
“A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted,” he wrote, omitting the #humblebrag hashtag. “I feel responsible for delivering an informed opinion and not spreading gossip or rumours through my twitter feed.” @aplusk is now in the safe hands of Kutcher’s management.
Twitter is a great platform for holier-thanthou celebrities such as Kutcher who feel that their appearance in mainstream romcoms and a subpar television series gives them credence as commentators. Say what you will about the socalled ‘Twitter uprising’ and its contribution to democracy: the site is at its best when used to distribute meaningless but amusing drivel, and
no-one does this better than Amanda Bynes.
The Easy A and She’s The Man star deleted her Twitter at the end of 2010 after announcing her retirement—with the expository hashtag #retired—from “acting” at the tender age of 24. (About a month later, she tweeted, “I’ve unretired”.) But fans of her rambling ‘vlogs’ were overjoyed by her triumphant comeback last year with @MsAmandaBynes_. Her tweets provide a fascinating look into the psyche of someone in the throes of a quarterlife crisis, if not an undiagnosed mental illness: I’m on my couch and in that movie at the same time. whoa. 2:10 AM Feb 13th via txt
i’m in that movie. it was crazy… I watched it and saw myself in that freaking movie 2:09 AM Feb 13th via txt I totally just watched Hairspray on ABC. 2:07 AM Feb 13th via txt
In the world of Twitter, this shit is gold— and could well be enough to reinvent Bynes’ ‘acting’ ‘career’.
“If a celebrity’s Twitter is entertaining enough, it can make them relevant again. It’s possibly one of the most powerful tools in the industry today,” wrote Thought Catalog’s Ryan O’Connell of Bynes. “If you’re not starring in any noteworthy movies and your agent is screening your calls, just make Twitter your new job.”
And then O’Connell articulates what I felt at my core when I got tweeted at by an apple company: “If you tweet enough of your insane thoughts, you could very well be back on top again.” ▲
A SELECTION OF
AMANDA BYNES’ BEST TWEETS
I’d date a guy that has a kid or kids if we’re in love
I take back that I’m only into dating guys that don’t have kids
I’m into getting married and having kids with my husband
only into dating guys that don’t already have kids
I enjoy reading and writing love quotes
I love tweeting quotes, some I find and some I write
i always wanted to get married on 11/11/11 but i will be happy whatever day i get married. it doesn’t have to be that day.
i will immediately twit pic my engagement ring and show everybody
i like dating someone i like but i can’t wait to be “off the market” & call my boyfriend my husband.. lots of people are getting engaged….
i only like love when it’s deep
God’s always watching
Magic mushrooms seem exciting
SO quit hating on me because I’m VANILLA and I like CHOCOLATE, ok? Because it just makes you look like a hater :) thanks so much, bye!!! :)
FYI if any girls are mad that I like “chocolate” they need to seriously get OVER it. Sorry, you can’t have all the chocolate for yourself :)
I like black men I’m very attracted to them just fyi
Legitimate newspapers and magazines etc only print the truth and that’s why I read them
I think jeans look good on everyone they are just plain sexy to me
R I G HT LESSONS LEARNT
PROLES WHO READ A1
✏ DUNCAN M c LACHLAN
he Dominion in front of me reads, “Man killed in hunting accident”. The Daily Mail on my friend’s laptop exposes a new rape case in Liverpool. The Herald adds another number to the homicide count in Wanganui.
On all these covers, the details are crucial. Gruesome anecdotes of death and dislocation: a friend that mistook his mate’s camo for the horns of a stag; gang violence that goes awry outside the local meth lab. Pictures are a necessity, and in many cases sufficient, condition of these articles. People want to see it; smell it; imagine themselves in the gumboots of the victim. But not I.
These stories bore me. They are banal, plain, and uninteresting. I snub them and their sensationalism. The front page may sell to the Plebeians but not to me. I reject their paper because of its cover. That ain’t ‘real’ journalism. It’s just a piece of school creative writing where they don’t even have to think up the characters’ names.
York Times to recontextualise my view of the drug war, if I’m feeling a bit more bipartisan. Ideas matter and big ones matter the most. Don’t worry me with hometown strife. Data is not the plural of anecdote—if only the riffraff would realise.
As bizarre as it may seem though, I believe these common readers possess some feeling “I CAN’T HANDLE THE SUFFERING SO I VACCINATE or character trait that MYSELF FROM IT. I HAVE BECOME APATHETIC TO I lack. The populist THE NEWS ON A1.” journalism manages to evoke within them a profound sense of emotion for the victims in Sensationalist bullshit isn’t journalism. It these tragic tales. I am in awe of my Granny won’t win them a Pulitzer. Me, I prefer the real deal. I’ll peruse the Guardian to reexamine and all the other readers of A1. They are able world famine. I may even gander into the New to empathise directly with individuals and
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stories distant from them. They are not tied to them by family, friendship or geography. The victim did not go to their school or live around the corner–but this doesn’t seem to matter. Their empathy has no boundaries. They are just shocked by the actions of other human beings. To them, a murder is not just a statistic. It’s not a result of government policy, which funds gangs and subsidises violence due to the prohibition on drugs. To them, it’s one individual being killed by another: human beings with family and friends and fear. Who cares about the distant, tangential cause of their death? They died. That’s what matters.
I don’t consider myself callous. It’s not that I don’t care about their stories. If I just had to read one story a month, or even one a fortnight, then I’d be fine. It’s that it engulfs me everyday: another death, another rape victim, another freak accident. I can’t handle the bombardment of suffering so I vaccinate myself from it. I have become apathetic to the news on A1.
But my snobbery must not extend to its empathetic readers. They become distraught day, after day, after day at a new folk tale of pathos. I hide behind statistics and broad policy reasoning, numbed by the continual attack of anecdote.† Their empathy is admirable. My reading of The Guardian is erudite but it becomes so abstracted, so theoretical that any policy conclusion is too distant from the real issues. My Granny gets it more than I do. She and the millions of others who voraciously consume mass media and anecdotal journalism have a connection to individuals which you and I often lack. We may feel that we ‘get it’ but our drive to abstract and hypothesise blinds us from an appreciation of what is most important: those who suffer: the pawns in our utilitarian chess game to achieve ‘global prosperity’. A hunting accident is more than just an example of the need for greater gun control and a rape victim has relevancy beyond helping me understand the causes and nuances of rape culture. A1 is average journalism but those who read it should be admired, not snubbed: even you, Granny. ▲
note: Duncan, this is why you are still single.
t’s April 7th, 2012. A report on the American economy shows stable commodity prices, lifting the spirits of 350,000,000 Americans and calming global markets. Meanwhile, on stuff.co.nz– New Zealand’s most read online news source– the front page lead article is about New Zealand beauty pageants. Back in the real world, the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority has ruled out reviewing the redzone status of 7,000 properties, affecting 20,000 Cantabrians. Let’s look to Stuff’s front page: “Christchurch Gay Club Overrun by Straight People.”
If you’re a consumer of online news, there’s a strong likelihood (85 per cent, in fact) that what you’re reading originates from Fairfax. stuff.co.nz is Fairfax’s online news portal, claiming 18,000,000 daily browsing sessions and 5,000,000 unique visitors. Chances are, you’re one of them. As is clear, Stuff fails in its editorial prioritisation. Placing vacuous articles in prime locations where millions will see them undermines the salience of the important news articles, which are harder to find thus less widely read. Stuff’s overwhelming share of the NZ media market means it has a responsibility to do a good job. The sensationalist headlines and insubstantial lead articles show Stuff dangerously verges on tabloid status, yet it continues to market itself as a legitimate news source. More important things are happening in the world than Stuff would have you believe.
As part of the Fairfax media circle-jerk, much of Stuff’s content is recycled from other Fairfax outlets, like The Dominion Post. We should be thankful Stuff is primarily a portal, not a sole journalistic entity. Left to its own devices, a bemusing, creepy Stuff emerges; a mockery of what a news service should be.
Let’s start with the peculiar John Key love affair: headlines include “Claws are out already” (John holds a kitten), “Key’s new puppy adviser” (John holds a puppy), and “Move over Bieber, John Key a hit with tweens” (John holds off a mob of future POLS students). For the sports-minded, Stuff has provided rippers like “Faces of Dan—Which face will Vettori show? Dan Vettori’s beard changes like the wind. Which look will he pick tonight? And what will it mean?” An accompanying opinion poll asks: “Which is Daniel Vettori’s best look?” (Spoiler: ‘Beard’ (42.9 per cent) edged out ‘Clean Shaven’ (42.4 per cent).) Not content with dabbling awkwardly in the realm of gossip rags, Stuff is a pig in the trough of shitty shock journalism. Headlines about Day After Tomorrow-esque 35 metre tsunamis and token “Quake would cripple
MADE OF ✏ CHRIS M c INTYRE
IMPLYING THAT THE STANDARD OF JOURNALISM IN NEW ZEALAND IS LESS THAN EXEMPLARY
YES, WE ARE
the speculation was their own. While print media such as newspapers regularly publish corrections the next day, the fluidity of online media allows Stuff to edit articles with no acknowledgement of error. Liberties cannot be taken with fact-checking.
Perusing the Stuff blogs is largely an exercise in vapidity. A range of standard blog topics are touched on with varying degrees of success, and Stuff also treats us to a perplexing range “STUFF IS A PIG IN THE TROUGH OF SHITTY of commentary; the SHOCK JOURNALISM.” point of which can be hard to distinguish. Wellington” / “Big Wellington quake could For example, Blog Idle, which claims to be “an result in bill of $15b” / “Capital not ready unholy mash-up of whimsy, cynicism and wry for the ‘big one’” alarmisms are the kind of observation,” has not only murdered whimsy, brazen conjecture to which Ken Ring touches cynicism and wry observation but left them himself. out in the sun to rot. Take these samples: While Stuff is very good at ‘breaking’ news– “Another thing that happened this week was they update from 5am to 1.30am–their that my crush on David Duchovny…ground to speed comes at the detriment of grammar, an abrupt halt”; and “We’ve made it to another syntax, spelling, and sometimes accuracy. The Friday. A virtual high-five for everybody! In aforementioned shock headlines are arguably other news, I just wanted to reassure you all misleading, but sensationalism is a common that my neck is feeling much better and my media technique. So what about the headlines ponytail is now as swishy as it ever was.” Any that aren’t just misleading, but are–in fact– aspirations towards substance have been left at false? the door. In February 2011, Stuff reported the Stuff introduced opinion polls circa 2003, remains of missing two-year-old Ambertangential to top articles. Example: “Is it Lee Cruickshank had been found, ending more important for a school to excel at the 18-year-old mystery surrounding her sports or academics?” (Worryingly, 12.3% of disappearance. Shortly afterwards, the respondents fundamentally misunderstand remains were confirmed to be the bones the purpose of a school); or “What would you of a sheep. Less than 6 hours later, Stuff buy if you won $26.5m?” The gaudy bar charts edited the story, stating “speculation was rife generated from these exercises in imagined that the remains were potentially those of importance achieve little. Headline idea: “Stuff Amber-Lee Cruickshank”, ignoring the fact discovers individuals’ preferences are unique.”
Everyone thinks their opinion has relevance, and people can espouse these opinions through Stuff’s polls and comment sections. Unfortunately, people – generally speaking – are fucking stupid.
I browsed the Stuff Facebook page to illustrate my point; it didn’t take long. The first link, to an article about a transgender Miss Universe pageant candidate, attracted the following comment: “Thats [sic] just wrong, there are not standards in this world any more [sic] … Fagots [sic] are alowed [sic] anywhere, now we have trannys [sic] in Mss [sic] Universe........”. Scarily, similar blather was not uncommon. Is this the kind of public opinion we want informing and interacting with our media? It’s enough to make anyone sic. The fact is that we (the public) tend to know little about much, yet hold strong opinions on a lot. Stuff’s ongoing encouragement of interaction is aimed at cultivating a two-way relationship with users. Relationships are valuable for Stuff not as a content provider, but as an advertising mechanism. Stuff suffers as a news outlet primarily because it has
revenue. One day’s buyout of the homepage’s entire advertising space costs $15,000 – it’s big money. To grow revenue, Stuff has diversified, attempting to be a one-stop shop for news, opinion and lifestyle content. It has succeeded by being wildly popular with the masses, providing amalgamation of various content for those who take news at face value. However, Stuff has failed by not providing high quality, responsible journalism; instead aiming low, targeting the common denominator by parroting press releases with a distinct lack of critical insight. The de facto critic and conscience of society to most people is the media, which manifests as Stuff for 3,000,000+ New Zealanders. Should the media be a reflection of society, or should it better the every-man’s working knowledge?
If Stuff continues to encourage and report on public opinion, it becomes a clusterfuck to the detriment of directed, informative commentary. When elements of public opinion are placed alongside actual news, it can provide legitimacy to what is crowdsourced infotainment; placing (what’s reported as) fact next to what is purely opinion gives undeserved “AS PART OF THE FAIRFAX MEDIA CIRCLE-JERK, MUCH credence to the opinion. OF STUFF’S CONTENT IS RECYCLED FROM OTHER
FAIRFAX OUTLETS, LIKE THE DOMINION POST.”
few aspirations above being an advertising service. Its content is worth nothing more than the numbers of views it provides to the advertisements sharing the page. The incentive for Stuff to be a quality media outlet comes second to generating maximum page views, ergo commanding maximum advertising
To say there is nothing wrong with Stuff is to accept mediocrity. The disastrous editorial prioritisation, subaltern original content and pandering to public opinion which has come to be expected of Stuff is an indictment on the state of the media today, and we all deserve better. ▲
FURIOUS FILMMAKING ✏ GERALD LEE (FILM EDITOR)
Every year, thousands of eager filmmakers compete in what is arguably the most hectic film production contest known to mankind. Many sacrifice sleep, hygiene and sanity in an effort to produce truly innovative pieces of film within the miniscule timeframe of 48 hours. Some will fail to meet the looming 7pm deadline, but for most, it is an exceedingly enjoyable experience which gives them a firm grounding in the ordeals of the filmmaker. THE
The competition traces its origins back to the Becks Incredible Film Festival. It began in 2003 as a sidebar to the main festival, with 44 teams around Auckland taking part. Nowadays it is a nationwide event, with thousands of teams taking part every year. The key dates
Perhaps you are considering registering for this filmmaking Mecca? In that case you need to be register for the event by Tuesday 1st May, and have paid the required registration fee for your team. This is in just over one week, so pause that re-released version of Taxi Driver and get onto it! As its name suggests, the competition itself takes place over a 48 hour period, from Friday 18th May to Sunday 20th May, during which you plan, shoot, edit and submit your film. WHY
Maybe you’re thinking that “I don’t know how to make a film.” Don’t be absurd. The V 48 Hour Furious Filmmaking competition caters to people of all skill levels. It makes no difference if you’ve never held a camera before, or if you consider yourself a Peter Jacksontype filmmaker; V 48 is the ideal environment for all aspiring filmmakers to hone their craft, rather than merely theorising about it in FILM101 (or in a magazine’s film section).
THIS WEEK GERALD LEE REVIEWS: Our Idiot Brother and The Swell Season
SALIENT TALKS TO Need more encouragement? Salient was fortunate enough to secure an interview with an award winning team from the 2011 competition, the Couch Kumaras. Their film Sketch won multiple awards and was selected as a national finalist. I sat down with Finn O’Connor (director, editor, and cinematographer) and Conor Cameron (composer), to get a sense of what the V 48 Hour experience involves.
Coming into the 2011 competition, the Couch Kumaras were relatively inexperienced, although enthusiastic, filmmakers. Their previous works consisted of an earlier entry in the competition and a couple of experimental videos. However, the competition changed that. After V 48, the team spent most of 2011 producing a series of short films. When asked whether the contest spurred them to make
THE COUCH KUMARAS
conditions, something the team quickly realised. By the time they reached the location, the incessant New Zealand rain had already begun to fall. Worse still, the day was growing late and only a few hours of light remained. “We are really bad at starting filming early,” Finn pointed out; “we film quite late and it ends up pushing into nighttime.” To complicate matters, they had left a crucial boom pole behind, meaning that they faced a delay of one hour before they could even start. The team’s advice for filming: be organised and get to your location early so you have time to deal with any issues that arise.
Much praise was given to the film’s rich and evocative score, which was especially impressive in light of the team’s limited resources. Initially, Conor had compiled a number of pieces to fit different tones. Unfortunately, none of these fitted the musical “THEY WENT FROM BEING AN UNKNOWN GROUP OF direction he was after, WHANGANUI BOYS TO WINNERS OF PRESTIGIOUS which meant starting again from scratch NATIONAL AWARDS.” “not a good feeling.” more films, Finn responded “Definitely. In Thankfully, he was able to work quickly the space between now and 2011, we’ve done with his software to create a variety of piano quite a few films thanks to V 48.” pieces inspired by a minimalist composer. Lacking a sound department and an immense Part of the impetus for continuing to make budget didn’t preclude these filmmakers from movies was the recognition and acclaim that producing an accomplished soundtrack. they garnered. Through V 48, they went from being an unknown group of Whanganui boys to winners of prestigious national awards. Sketch picked up two awards in the national final: Best Cinematography and Best Musical Score. Ant Timpson, founder of the V 48 Furious Filmmaking Festival, even said he “expects big things from [these] guys down the line.” Indeed, their success has also seen them branch out into commercial filmmaking; during 2011, they made a few films for the Whanganui Council in order to “make some money and come to uni.” Like any film, shooting provided its fair share of trials and tribulations. The entire shoot took place near Makara, just outside of Wellington. As an outdoor environment, it was naturally difficult to control filming
Whilst many see the competition’s rules as limiting, the Couch Kumaras found it helped focus their creative efforts. Certain criteria have to be met by teams when constructing their films, such as inserting a certain line of dialogue, a particular prop and a specific camera technique. Conor pointed out that “many people see it as limiting your choices, but I don’t.” The restrictions forced them to adapt to elements of filmmaking that they might not necessarily be comfortable with, encouraging innovative thinking in the group. Far from feeling overwhelmed, the Couch Kumaras relished and embraced the challenges the rules present. For anybody looking to enter the competition, the team has some simple, yet important,
advice—no matter how hopeless the situation seems, don’t give up. At one stage, the team got to a point where they felt their concept simply wasn’t working. According to Conor, they “were questioning the quality of our idea.” However, out of that intense pressure, they were able to create a film that exceeded their creative aspirations; despair acted as a motivational tool. Moreover, despite all the stress, they both saw the experience as incredibly exciting, as opposed to daunting. You may need strong friendships that can endure the strain the contest invariably creates, but in the end, what you achieve is worth the pain. They plan on having another crack at V 48 this year, and with their considerable experience, they will make formidable opponents. Beyond that they aim to keep making films within their tight-knit group, a group that looks to have bright prospects within the realm of film. Check out the Couch Kumara’s myriad videos at YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/ CouchKumaras?feature=watch
LAST WEEKS WINNER! To celebrate the spirit of speedy cinema, Salient is heartily proud to announce the winner of last issue’s competition for an entry registration into the v 48Hours Furious Filmmaking. Entrants were asked to dream up an alternate ending to a famous film. Callum McDougal exhibited his narrative construction prowess in writing the winning entry: an alternate conception of Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope... “The escape pod containing C3P0, R2D2 and Leia’s message is shot down. Luke Skywalker does not join the Rebel Alliance, and subsequently, the Rebel assault on the Death Star fails. The remaining Rebels, along with the ice planet Hoth, are vapourised by the Death Star. The Jedi Order goes extinct as the Emperor consolidates his iron grip on the galaxy. Luke Skywalker lives out the rest of his days, incest-free, as a sand farmer on Tatooine.” - Smashing stuff, Callum!
THEATRE a “medieval mystery play,” and, surprisingly, he’s not far wrong. Like the popular drama of late-medieval England, this one has stockvillains—for ‘Herod’, read ‘George W. Bush’ (boo hiss!)—and all the predictable litany of trite moral instruction. Unlike medieval miracle plays, however, Other People’s Wars is not a meditation upon the great mysteries of human existence, but simply an examination of the sordid realities of imperialism and warfare.
OTHER PEOPLE’S WARS ✏ RYAN BROWN-HAYSOM
The Western dramatic tradition has many faults, but grovelling humility is not one of them. Ever since Shakespeare remarked how nice it would be to have a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention, playwrights have demanded the privilege of addressing the biggest themes in the political life of nations: war, corruption, tyranny, and the abuses of power. This desire to tackle weighty subject matter creates a problem, however: no playwright—then or now—can boast a kingdom for a stage, princes to act, and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. Somehow, the sweeping action must be scaled down to fit into the space and medium of the theatre. Playwrights and directors need to curb their ambitions in order to reduce military and political maelstroms to intelligible human dramas. Unfortunately, producing an intelligible human drama does not seem to be the main priority of Dean Parker’s play Other People’s Wars, which prefers to use the stage as a pulpit and a platform to expound
a particular version of the history of New Zealand’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
Other People’s Wars is freely adapted from the book of the same title by investigative journalist Nicky Hager (who was among the audience on opening night Tuesday). When it was released last year, Hager’s book attracted a storm of controversy and denials—John Key described the book as “a work of fiction” —which largely eclipsed serious discussion of the actual claims Hager made. Strangely, most of Hager’s claims don’t actually make it into the play either: his intriguing assertion that “the military and bureaucracy used the war on terror to pursue private agendas, even when this meant misleading and ignoring the decisions of the elected government” is barely touched upon. Instead, Parker has used the play format to present a kind of pantomime-history of American imperialism in the era of the ‘War on Terror.’ Director David Lawrence compares this production to
Believe it or not, I really wanted to like Other People’s Wars. I’m sympathetic to its political outlook. Moreover, I suspect there’s a really good play buried in Hager’s book. With the right degree of ironic detachment and moral nuance, the tragic farce of New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan could make a really compelling show. If the action of the narrative were focussed on the political intrigues in Wellington (and superficially fictionalised), we could have our very own In the Loop—the best, angriest, truest, funniest screenplay about contemporary politics I’ve ever seen. But, sadly, good politics doesn’t necessarily make for great entertainment. Other People’s Wars is sententious, scatter-shot, directionless, and dismally uninspiring. That’s not the greatest tragedy of our involvement in America’s wars, but it’s a lost opportunity and it’s one to be mourned.
ADAPTED BY: Dean Parker from the book by Nicky Hager DIRECTED BY: David Lawrence PRESENTED BY: the Bacchanals CAST: Diana Aurisch, Kirsty Bruce, Joe DekkersReihana, Blair Everson, Alex Greig, Julia Harrison, Brianne Kerr, Hilary Penwarden, Jonny Potts and Paul Waggott. VENUE: BATS, 17 April, 8pm
Other People’s Wars runs until 28 April (no show 23 April), 8:00pm. Tickets: $20/$14
WHATS ON ABOUT TOWN
BATS Other People’s Wars Adapted by Dean Parker from the book by Nicky Hager. Directed byDavid Lawrence. The Bacchanals bring Hager’s controversial book about New Zealand military pandering to foreign interests. Controversy, war, and America. What more could you want? Runs until 28 April (no show 23 April), 8:00pm. Tickets: $20/$14
That’s So Gay Devised and Written by the Crew. Directed by Toni Regan. Toi Whakaari and School’s Out, Wellington have teamed up to bring you community theatre that interrogates what life is like for our queer youth. Runs: 21-28 April (no show 23 April), 6:30pm. Tickets: $18/$13 CIRCA Shortcut To Happiness By Roger Hall. Directed by Ross Jolly. Dancing is a shortcut to happiness. Will this play by our most successful playwright help you find your own shortcut to happiness? Runs: Until 26 May, Tuesday & Wednesday 6pm, Thursday to Saturday 8pm, Sunday 4pm. Tickets: Adults $46, Students $38, <25 $25 DOWNSTAGE Live at Six By Dean Hewison & Leon Wadham. A news anchor fucks up and two networks race to create the “official” story. A technicallyheavy mix of pre-recorded footage edited on the fly and live-action. Runs: Until 28 April, Tuesday & Wednesday 6:30pm, Thursday to Saturday 8pm. Tickets: $46/$25 TOI PONEKE GALLERY Lucrece: An Adaptation of Shakespeare’s the Rape of Lucrece By Binge Culture Collective. An art exhibition and performance art combined into one. Lucrece examines the female body and, particularly, how we respond to it in the flesh and on recorded media. Runs: Thursday & Friday until 11 May, 6:30pm. Tickets: Entry by koha. Email bookforlucrece@ gmail.com
VISUAL ARTS their consistency over time, works perfectly for the medium of the footpath hoarding because most passers-by will not actually be stopping to read these posters. The real effect comes from the saturation of these images throughout an urban landscape, to the point that any one pedestrian will have seen the image over 100 times in a week, even if they don’t realize this fact. Still to this day, whenever I hear a song from that titular collective, the fern imagery unfurls in front of my eyeballs and the fantail flits away mischievously. “...PAPER, PASTE, GRAFFITI, GUM, AND DIRT AND GRIME... This is not a result of any great attention I AND SNUFFED-OUT CIGARETTE BUTTS, MAKE EACH OF THESE paid to the artists, the SITES A WORK OF SCULPTURE.” concerts, or even their advertising campaigns. It is just a symptom of the condition of living almost any free wall, lamppost, and even in one place for a prolonged period of time occasionally footpaths, to my eye serve as alongside an artistic project such as ‘Fly My an essay in self-interest and self-promotion. Pretties’. But in order for this medium to live up to its full potential, the individual pieces From the perspective of the art critic, the have to be aesthetically pleasing. As well hoardings are fascinating in a capacity that as clearly communicating information, the goes beyond the individual postings. The pasted posters have to pack a punch; the built-up layers of paper, paste, graffiti, gum, viewer’s expectations require that this form and dirt and grime picked up from exhausts of advertising be visually pleasing as well as and snuffed-out cigarette butts, make each of persuasive. these sites a work of sculpture in their own of the Tabloid, it is appropriate to look at a form of art that could also be considered Tabloid; the intoxicating and surprisingly aesthetic world of temporary poster hoardings. By terms of definition, the world of poster hoardings is inherently tabloid, serving as a way to concisely disseminate information in a brief and populist format. This element of these posters is important because they do serve a utilitarian and commercial purpose; they are a form of advertising and of raising awareness. The hoardings that spring up on
✏ ROBERT KELLY (VISUAL ARTS EDITOR) The mind is a curious beast, and the way it approaches and interprets the senses is often a complete mystery to its owner. The act of looking at something and assessing its merits—or its shortcomings—is controlled almost completely by the subconscious, and this means our expectations of what we see are governed by our previous experiences. In the field of art appreciation, this set of preconceptions is capable of rewarding the viewer, but the more common outcome is that it poisons the viewing experience. One
salient example of this is the notion that art has to sit inside the four walls of a frame, or inhabit a gallery space; it must, in some way, have some sense of permanence, in a space reserved for art of its kind. As we move into a world dominated by the internet, and thus the almost completely free and open way in which images, videos and soundscapes can now be communicated, this expectation is beginning to change, but there is an old-school approach to impermanent art that often goes unnoticed. In the spirit of an issue investigating the form
The motifs featured on posters do tend to stick in our minds, a result of being constantly bombarded by their images on a daily basis. ‘The Fly My Pretties’ concert posters, the ones that appear to form organically on the bollards of Cuba St biennially, have evolved constantly over time, but are always variations on one very simple and effective theme; the motif of the fluttering fantail, accompanied by highly stylised fern-like adornments. The very simplicity of these visual images, and
right. The urban environment in Wellington would seem blank and off-putting without them, but right now, when they are on almost every surface in the central city, we hardly notice them at all on a conscious level. So keep your eyes open and be aware of the media that’s being pushed on you every day. The reality is that people have been posting things on other people’s walls well before social media erupted, and they haven’t stopped yet.
MUSIC THE VBC 88.3FM
TOP 10 KIWI SONGS THE MEDIA
TOLD YOU TO LIKE 1. THE FEELERS
NO NEED TO WORRY Yes, they’re still around apparently.
2. TIKI TAANE
OVER THE RAINBOW Adding some kiwi flavour to The Wizard of Oz for Mercury Energy.
3. MIDNIGHT YOUTH
COME ONE COME ALL Truly awful music.
ONLY TO BE Kiwi BBQ reggae.
SUNDAY’S BEST CLOTHES Kiwi cafe del mar.
6. MIDNIGHT YOUTH
WHO SAID YOU’RE FREE Young and angsty number.
DON’T FORGET YOUR ROOTS “Six60 has a song called Don’t Forget Your Roots - it doesn’t actually identify what these roots might be. One would assume that Barnaby Weir and Jack Johnson being remixed by a rope-headed pot-smoker with two turntables and a mixing desk is Six60’s ideas of Roots; their idea of going way back, maaan!” - Simon Sweetman
SWEET AS Encapsulating the chillax kiwi spirit.
9. DANE RUMBLE
EVERYTHING (TAKE ME DOWN) Some more feel-good kiwi music.
UNDERGROUND Includes anti-climactic guitar solo.
“There’s this thing called ‘kiwi’ music and it’s not the same as New Zealand music. The kind of music that’s being sold to New Zealand as a cultural expression [is what’s] acceptable to commercial radio programmers. That baldly is how it works. I’m not saying that’s wrong and ought never to be done, but somebody’s got to be prepared to put a bit of money aside towards people who are prepared to do things for artistic reasons.” Bruce Russell (Dead C) in Mitchell
I THINK TOMMY ILL IS A PRETTY COOL GUY, EH KILLS ALEINS AND DOESN’T AFRAID OF ANYTHING ✏ ADAM GOODALL
“CRITICS SAY ‘TOM, DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB’ DIDN’T, DICKHEAD, WHERE YOU THINK I GET MY PAY FROM?”
I met Thomas Young, aka Wellington rap sensation Tommy Ill, during his lunch break at his 9-to-5 day job. When I asked him about this, with specific reference to the above lyric from ‘Coldest Summer’, a (now-removed) track on his recently-released mixtape Nostalgia, Zebra, Young mentions that he’s been part of the rat race for five years. “It’s getting harder and harder to balance with the music,” Young says, “but I’m lucky to have a job that understands, and quite a few people I work with quite like my music, so it’s quite helpful. They let me take days off every so often when I need to disappear and do a show.” It’s a good thing he has an understanding workplace, because Young is developing into one of the most interesting and entertaining voices in modern New Zealand music. Since the release of 2006’s Toast and Tea Kettles EP, Young has been carving out a name for himself as our foremost purveyor of alcoholdrenched indie rap, music about the pursuit of happiness through parties, nightclubs and bottles of alcohol, music for the boozedrenched twenty-something crowd who wake up in the morning wondering what the hell they’re doing with their lives. Young’s latest album, New Hat and a Haircut, sets these stories to significantly bigger beats than his previous releases, in part a result of his signing to major label EMI last year. “We’ve had EMI’s support and we’ve had a wee bit of an advance in money to spend,” Young explains, “but at the same time, they didn’t force us to do it any way we wouldn’t have done it otherwise...We bought an amazing microphone and James Goldsmith,
our sound engineer, was housesitting for his mum at the time and we set up a live room in her walk-in wardrobe, so I did all the vocals in a wardrobe with dresses and things.” The lack of interference from EMI has also allowed Young to explore a fully collaborative production dynamic, with interesting aural results. “With the earlier stuff, it was mostly my production, a little bit of the other guys [Goldsmith; Kelvin Neal; and Buck Beauchamp, who doubles as hypeman],” Young elaborates. “With this record, I sort of did a third of it, and the other guys did a third each. So there’s all of our influences in there, which has been fun, because Kelvin’s more a dance music kind of guy, and Buck is really into heavy metal, and I’m more into my Northern Soul and Motown.”
already crafted for himself—“I think the next thing we do is just going to be completely different from anything we’ve done before that,” Young enthuses. However, it’s not as easy as just full-on rejecting that style—“Part of the problem is all the music is samplebased, and I kind of want to get away from that in the future, but that’s a sound that I love, and having that limitation of working with a sample...holds you back in some ways and also forces you to do interesting things as well in other ways. Lots of happy mistakes.”
Besides, the now offers its own ‘happy mistakes’, such as an unsuspecting TVNZ hitting Young up to perform on their midmorning lifestyle show, Good Morning. “I was behaving myself,” Young explains, laughing. “Buck and Kelvin were dry-humping each other. This is the night “...MUSIC FOR THE BOOZE-DRENCHED TWENTY-SOMETHING after we’d had a sort of party at EMI’s offices CROWD WHO WAKE UP IN THE MORNING WONDERING WHAT for the album...we were THE HELL THEY’RE DOING WITH THEIR LIVES.” a little bit bleary-eyed. It was really strange, we were all jumping around and they were This development of his distinctive sound - a getting a little too close and dry-humping each mix of big band brass music, ragtime piano, other and doing things to microphone stands classic soul samples and modern dance beats and stuff. And it was after our first song we - isn’t the only notable thing about New got told to tone it down, but then other people Hat and a Haircut. Young’s rhymes have were telling us not to tone it down...Then we also undergone their own transformation, delivering fully-formed raps on his pet subjects did our second song and I accidentally swore, I think, the presenter called us Tommy Lee that are often just as hilarious as they are by accident...Hopefully we’ll be able to put it introspective. But his development away from the ‘parody rap’ his critics have (often unfairly) on Youtube, but I don’t know if they’ll give it to us, because they didn’t put it on TVNZ On accused him of plying hasn’t been a conscious Demand.” one, necessarily. “The music I’m listening to now, and just the fact that I’m a little bit older, probably shows in the songs, but it’s never been an ‘I’ve done this, now I need to go and do this other thing’ deal,” Young explains. It’s always just been whatever music came out, whatever we got. It just sort of happens.” Young also has big plans for the future, and they’re not necessarily set in the style he’s
Tommy Ill’s New Hat and a Haircut is out now in local record stores and on iTunes. He will also be playing Bodega on May the 5th, with support from Bang Bang Eche and Golden Axe. PS - Tommy Ill prefers ‘Call Me Maybe’ to ‘Boyfriend’.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH ✏ P. A. M.
We trawled deep into the Salient vaults for this week’s book section. The following review was first published in Salient on the 27th of May 1940. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of Wrath are stored, He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword, The truth is marching on.”
It was these lines of the Battle Hymn of the Republic that gave John Steinbeck the inspiration for the title of his tremendous indictment of the present rotten economic system. The insignificance of human life where profits are concerned is brought out in all its starkness. People who dislike the message of the book may cavil at its obscenity, but few people could fail to be impressed by this passionate, white-hot indictment of the system which condemns millions to a life of poverty and squalor, which starves men, women and children with delightful impartiality, and which brands as “Reds”, “foreign agitators”, those who attempt to band themselves together to secure the bare minimum for a tolerable existence. It tells the story of a Kansas dust-bowl family forced off their farm by big business, who are lured by inviting leaflets to trek to the “Sunshine State”, California. These leaflets distributed by the thousand by big Californian farming interests, promise abundant and well-paid labour picking fruit in Californian orchards. In reply to a leaflet promising work for a few hundred people, thousands of refugees from the dust and drought stricken areas flock to California. When they try to get work they find that anyone who will not accept the employers’ terms may starve, and watch his wife and family do the same. The Joads, who set out with such high hopes, are terribly disillusioned. Casey, a former itinerant preacher who has accompanied them on their long trek, attempts to organize a strike against a wage which, in the words of one of the characters, “you couldn’t starve on”, has his skull smashed in by a pick-handle, wielded by a drunken deputy upholding the interests of law and order. Tom Joad does the same by the deputy and becomes a hunted criminal. Although this book does not end up on a very hopeful note the author has all through indicated that capitalism is digging its own grave. And perhaps the most significant passage in the book is that where he predicts that one day the workers will “stop praying…”
BOND ST HELL ◊ SITUATED IN LOVELOCKS SPORTSBAR ◊ 10-12 BOND ST ◊ 04 473 5149
YEAR 7 HEALTH CLASSES ARE A PRIME OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH GIRLS ABOUT THEIR UPCOMING BREASTS. Hopefully in the nine or so years since I partook, the education system has begun to reflect on the wonders of oestrogen in plastic bottles and rightly aims this ‘pre-emptive strike’ at seven-year olds. Needless to say I wasn’t really engaged with this particular facet of my education. (No teacher is going to tell you that in a few years when you attain menarche—look it up—your father will sing ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ at the dinner table and you’ll bargain with Thor to tie your tubes right then and there.)
time. Your malodorous kitchen should therefore not be visible from the lounge if you have either a rudimentary knowledge of feng shui or—as I do—anal retentiveness that precludes you from getting on with things when there’s a big fuck-off pile of dishes that someone else should really do sitting on the bench for ages and ages and Goddamn it my palms. Are starting. To sweat.
Clever-dick passive-aggressives can display their aggression in non-aggressive ways. This could look like procrastination, sullenness, resentment, or failure to accomplish requested tasks for which responsibility is theirs. Sadly, nearly everyone is like this nearly all of the
perhaps be embraced after all. Passivity is unsatisfying and aggression is tiring. And the kid that called Harold the giraffe a retard in year five got asked to leave the caravan. I don’t think I have seen him since.
At home, passive-aggressiveness is characterized by such casually posed questions as “Oh, did no one make it to the vege market?” Sorry, better-looking-than-me flatmate, but you are being quoted. The fridge is clearly empty. I had work. Shall I piggyback you to Metro and buy you a $15 avocado or would you prefer fisticuffs at dawn? That most
I think the more important lesson was buried away somewhere between that cartoon video of the boy with the boner on the diving board and the equally educative Life Education experience. I remember this worksheet detailing the differences “SHALL I PIGGYBACK YOU TO METRO AND BUY YOU A $15 between passive, assertive and aggressive AVOCADO OR WOULD YOU PREFER FISTICUFFS AT DAWN?” behaviour. Assertive is the optimal one, or so you’re told at eleven, clichéd form, the passive aggressive note, is to try and stop you saying to unfortunates, a relative rarity at our house. Following last “Let’s play sardines—off you go!” (My past year’s nadir, which saw “can someone please abounds with subtleties.) This was wrong. go to the supermarket, as we don’t have any Assertiveness is productive, but in no way is it food”, pinned to the fridge. Er…da fuq? as fun as the select combination of passiveness Confront! Don’t shirk the catharsis of giving and aggression that first-formers are yet to somebody what for. I grudgingly concede discover. that mature—assertive—confrontation should
Consider this issue from the perspective of a landlord who is neither racist nor sexist, but wants to make a profit. Unlike many goods and services, the ability to make a profit from renting out a flat depends heavily on the behaviour of your tenants. Landlords have to rely on their tenants to be able to pay rent for the entirety of the contract (usually at least a year), comply with noise control and other laws, and not damage any property in the flat. Getting good tenants may be the difference between making good money or losing your life savings (e.g. meth lab gone wrong), and whilst there are remedies for breach of tenancy agreements these are costly and time consuming.
CASH RULES E
V E RY T H I N G A R O U N D M
HOW ECONOMICS EXPLAINS ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION ✏
Last week the Herald reported an Indo-Fijian landlord who advertised his $400 per week property exclusively to ‘European’ tenants. 56% of Herald readers answered ‘Yes’ to an online poll next to the article asking Should landlords be able to specify the ethnicity of desired tenants? I know several people who were outraged by this and viewed this as clear evidence of New Zealand being a fundamentally racist country. On the surface
it’s not hard to see why. But I don’t believe discrimination of this type is driven by racism.
Firstly, consider that ethnic discrimination is not the only type of discrimination that goes on in New Zealand’s rental market. I’m informed that landlords in Dunedin have a strong preference for female over male tenants, yet no one could accuse the rich and powerful in this country of hating men. What explains this behaviour?
This might not be a problem except for the fact that landlords know very little about the tenant or their personality when they sign the contract. They must rely on self selected referees, and the extent to which they can pry into your private life to determine your likely future behaviour is very limited, so they never know what you might be hiding.
There are however two things you cannot hide from a landlord: Your gender and ethnicity. From this landlords can make guesses about your character, and unfortunately they do. Most people know that ethnic minorities are statistically more likely to commit crime and be unemployed. The profit-seeking landlord is therefore less likely to want to accommodate them. Similarly there is a perception that a flat with a female presence is less likely to cause damage in an out-of-control party. Gender and ethnicities are not the best predictors of risks, but when this is the only solid information you have it is weighted heavily. I suspect most of us intuitively understand this in respect of a preference for female tenants, but the fact that discrimination against an already disadvantaged ethnic group can be rational has troubling implications.
OBSCURE HISTORICAL ODDITY OF THE WEEK FELIX FAURE ✏ H. G. BEATTIE Felix Faure was a Frenchman who was blown to death. Born to humble beginnings in 1841, our Felix rose the social ranks as a tanner and a merchant. So, thus far we have obscurity and history: an excellent start. At the age of 40, he was elected to the French National Assembly on the basis of somehow now knowing a whole lot of shit about economics, railways and the navy. By 1895, due to continually exhibiting the virtue of being “inoffensive”, Felix had been thrust into the omnipotent role of President of the Republic. But then, four years later, our hero’s moment of forgotten glory came. One fine eve, he was being fellated by a woman twenty years his younger when–suddenly–he was snatched by the talons of apoplexy and promptly expired. As if we needed any more proof that being left-wing gets you laid.
23 more things in common than things that separate us. That is how empathy works.
YOU ALREADY KNOW BUT JUST NEED
TO BE TOLD
Why you need to be told this over and over again, is because ignorance to the commonality of our experiences has so many negative implications. The rejection of your narrative-as-universal, doesn’t just have the already discussed negative side effect of making you look like a dick, talk like a dick, and shoot sticky white love-piss out of your head like a dick.† It also can also negatively affect not only how people see you but the terms on which you will seek help. We refuse to talk about or share our problems because we think they would mark us out as freakish or wrong or other. But your biggest problem when it comes down to it, when we are discussing your childish insistence on your own glowing separation from others, is a combination of the two already discussed. You see, you think it is your problems, your issues, your neuroses that make you special. And by ‘special’ you mean better. You think that you are a perfect alchemy of brain-kicks that has resulted in the one person who can really see how things really are. Bullshit.
YOU STILL NEVER ASK FOR HELP EVEN WHEN YOU REALLY NEED IT ✏ UTHER
DEAN (CHIEF SAGE)
If you’ve been keeping up with this column so far you will already be thoroughly aware of your own lack of specialness. You are an individual insofar as you are not biologically conjoined to any other fully autonomous being. Beyond that, you and me and anyone else who has ever feebly gasped the stagnant air of this dying world, are basically the same. You know this. You know that we have many
Bullshit bullshit bullshit.
You don’t share your real problems not because you don’t want to be a burden to someone else, but because you think that any true revelation of self will expose your secret. There is a reason you don’t like sharing no matter how hard you try, and it’s because, really, you are too good for all of this. And by ‘too good’ you really mean ‘really scared that if
anyone helps you everything will be a problem and you will be fixed and then you won’t be you’. You don’t want to be fixed because, you think that will make you not who you are. It will make you—gasp, scare chord—normal. You do it to other people, you know that. A hammer makes everything a nail, a calculator makes everything an equation, and empathy makes everyone a twisted knot of neuroses just waiting to be unravelled. So no doubt people will do it to you, and then what?
Who will you be if you’re not your current mess? You know how sometimes you’re sad when your cold goes away because you liked what it did to your voice? Well that’s true for bad habits, little mind shits, and mental illness too. Except your voice is your personality and only you think it’s doing you any good. It is almost impossible to ever really comprehend how vast the gulf is between how you think you present yourself to the world and how the world actually perceives you. But it is massive. Really huge. Think about the amount of people you have ever resented for seeking help for anything, from opening a jar to a successful intervention? If it was anything other than ‘no one’ you really aren’t my target market. You do not judge change of any kind in other people so why do you judge it in yourself? Because you think you’ll stop being special? Grow the fuck up. This humble mag being made by and for students, I apologise for taking until my seventh column to refer to any aspect of fucking. I will seek to remedy this in the fuckture.
you like shit just because you do it. Still, eww.
To be clear though, all of the above is based on the assumption that you are just a normal guy who happens to have a kink for what’s shown in “rape porn”. If you begin to notice any problems with how you treat women in real life, or hear about bad behaviours you might have, particularly after a few drinks, it’s important to take stock. Destructive impulses can be combated; it’s just a matter of recognising when they’re genuinely there. My gut instinct is that here, they are not.
Trigger warning: Please note that Roxy often deals with sensitive subjects and is this week discussing rape pornography.
Roxy I have a problem. I am a young man studying at Vic and I’ve got a secret. You see, I have discovered that I am really into rape porn. Like, seriously REALLY into it. While it’s not the only thing that gets me off, it’s definitely the hottest stuff I’ve found. I’ve also started having rape fantasies, and this is really bad, some of them are about female friends I know. Am I a shit person? Should I stop doing it? I know I’d never actually act on my fantasies, but it’s still really scary. Help, Scared
There are quite a few issues here, so Roxy’s going to spend some time pulling them apart. But rest assured, Scared, that you’re not a “shit person”: an actually bad person wouldn’t be having the grade-A freak-out you are having about enjoying rape porn. Anyway, let’s start with the fantasies. The whole point of a fantasy is that it is a form of sexual experience founded entirely on the unreal. They are, by their very definition, fantastic: they involve idealised situations where only the “good” part of the sexual act is experienced, a fact that is always in the back of our minds. People can have fantasy sex with their mothers without the risk of freaky-incest babies, or with horses without the threat of getting their heads kicked-in, or with their POLS101 lecturer without the threat of social ostracism. These are things we would never do in real life, but are happy to do in the idealised, sanitised, unreal spaces in our mind. People also seem generally pretty good at separating fantasy from reality. For example,
you have probably had violent daydreams without ever actually going out and being recreating them. In a fundamental way, then, fantasising about raping someone is not a genuine expression of a desire to rape: it can just be the manifestation of desires for dominance, control, BDSM, or myriad other elements of the “rape scene” that don’t involve breaching the consent of a living, breathing human being. In other words, rape fantasies and rape porn don’t mean you’re a rapist.
However, the fantasies about your female friends are going to be much more controversial. Roxy is of two minds on this. On the one hand, including your female friends in your sexual activities (even if it’s just you and your hand) is kinda nasty, and probably a bit abusive of them. On the other hand, as far as abuses of other people go, nasty fantasies probably rank lower than gossiping about them, or calling them a bad name while drunk or any of the other shit things people do to each other a regular basis. Really, you should stop it, but Roxy isn’t going to treat
Oh, and a final comment on rape porn generally. Roxy is a pretty liberal gal, and so while rape porn is kinda tacky and gross, she doesn’t have a raging feminist hate-boner for it. That’s not to say that rape culture is not a serious societal issue, but Roxy is not convinced that the tiny minority of porn that depicts “rape” contributes much to that culture compared to the negative depictions of female sexual agency that pervade every aspect of mainstream culture. Roxy <3
Prudence is no more. The column was birthed in controversy, bringing both the queer and religious communities together in mutual antipathy, and has now run its course (and been run out of town). Prudence would like to thank his (because, yes, Prudence is actually a gay man) fans who have enjoyed some occasionally successful humour about taboo topics. A final thanks goes to Salient for their support of an author surprised by the impact of his words. Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit. Xoxo, for the last time, Prudence. If you have issues or concerns that you wish to discuss privately and confidentially with a professional, rather than a magazine columnist, Student Counselling Service can provide a safe place to explore such aspects of your life. The service is free and confidential. Phone 04 463 5310. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Mauri Ora, Level 1, Student Union Building.
Imagine a man alone in an empty room. All he has for amusement is a special book. No, not like that, you perverts. This book has a set of rules that matches up any string of Chinese symbols with an appropriate and intelligible string of symbols in response. This sadistic setting is the backdrop for a thought experiment by John Searle which seeks to show that Artifical Intelligence is impossible. Imagine that a native Chinese speaker finds the room and decides to start scribbling messages on a piece of paper and sending them inside. The man inside the room accepts this message with glee. He then looks up the symbols in the book, produces a response and sends this back to the Chinese speaker. In principle, the Chinese speaker could continue this conversation ad infinitum, sending messages in and getting messages in response seemingly written by a proficient Chinese speaker. From the outside, the room is passing the Turing test for artificial intelligence, which is the ability of a machine to fool a human into believing that they are conversing with another person. But here's the catch: the room produces a remarkably proficient simulation of understanding but it lacks one crucial ingredient. Inside the room, there is only symbolic manipulation—inputs, outputs, a complex series of if/then rules, and a mindless homunculus which handles the data. But true understanding requires a semantic component as well, which attaches meaning to the symbols. If the room lacks any of this, it lacks a true understanding of Chinese. Searle takes this to mean that mere information processing is not enough for thinking, and thus that a machine can never be conscious in the same way as a person. Heavy. Perhaps there is some spark of human essence that computers will always lack. I, for one, would welcome this conclusion if it prevented us from being subjugated by our new robot overlords.
CAMPUS PROFILING SYLVIA ENGLISH ✏
Sylvia is in her third year at Victoria, studying towards a biomedical science degree doing a double major in molecular pathology and human genetics.
At first she wasn’t set on med school, but since she went to Uganda in the recent summer holidays, helping out in hospitals and assisting in surgeries, she has her heart set on it. Her trip involved watching the circumcision of a five-year olf boy, whose anaesthetic was tranquiliser, performed by an 80-year old man who cataracts who could barely see–meanwhile a nurse had fainted. Sylvia tells me how much she loves living
in Wellington and its endless possibilities. She enjoys the various events such as the New Zealand International Film Festival, interesting plays and political involvement which all make Wellington more lively than other cities
This year Sylvia joined the Science Society as the communications officer. She goes to lots of events and helps link the student body to potential employers and the outside world.
Absolutely committed to the idea of using science for good, Sylvia would love to go back to Africa to continue to help strengthen the health science aspect of development. “I love
NOTHIN BUT NET
THE CELEBRIFICATION OF ATHLETES ✏
Everyone has someone they put on a pedestal. That person may be an actor, a politician, an athlete, a Salient columnist (hint hint) or any other kind of figurehead that you would get kind of excited about if you bumped into them on the street.
Really, there’s nothing wrong with heaping this kind of adulation onto someone you have
probably never met. It’s human nature: insert something about tribes, respect, leadership, survival and evolution or something here.
I know I’m going to sound fairly clichéd here, but we live in a society where someone can get famous and earn a shitload of money for being able to run fast, hit someone or throw a ball in a particularly skilled manner.
SYLVIA WEARS: ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴ ▴▴
Polka-dot culottes with tights from Glassons Burgundy woollen sweater from Country Road Collared shirt from Andrea Moore Meadowlark bat necklace for 21st Won Hundred scarf from Vienna Bag from Croatia Timberlands Boots
meeting people and travelling, and if you can do something intellectually stimulating at the same time it is just perfect.” We revere our athletes perhaps a bit much for what they can do. If I got a girlfriend, that wouldn’t make the national news bulletin (well, it might...) yet look at the press Sonny Bill got for his stint with some lady (I mentioned SBW: drink).
The results of this are fairly obvious. People do what their icons do. Don’t believe me? Watch a kids’ soccer game. The handshakes are an integral part of the game, and it’s cool because the big boys on TV do it. Conversely, diving and arguing with the ref over trivial bullshit are also both prevalent. A good mirror of society is the people we admire. These guys are placed on pedestals because we love watching the fruits of their hard work and take an interest in their lives as a result. Remember what I said about captains a couple of weeks ago? This is something similar. That’s also why the social checks placed on them are all the more intense. Tiger Woods learned this the hard way, but even Zac Guildford’s media lampooning for something pretty common in New Zealand society is an indicator of this.
EAT YOUR FUCKING GREENS
WHO ARE YOU?
In a world where there are so many forms of media everyday people are now exposed. Are you bold enough to open your life up for the world to see? Will you take off the veneer and show yourself?
Now that our lives are open to so much scrutiny we have learnt how to work around this, techniques have been developed to cover ourselves. We all have problems to deal with and sometimes it is a good thing to cover them up. We still need to acknowledge these things and deal with them but we need to stop focusing on negative issues. There are people who are forced to hide despite the fact they do no wrong. They are doing good things but they are forced to hide for fear of being brought down. This is a problem.
If you achieve great things then don’t be afraid, these things encourage others to achieve excellence. Sometimes all it takes is someone else to take the lead. I see stories come up on my Facebook news feed, simple things that my friends are doing in their life. I enjoy seeing them living the life they want to live. There is the sweet scent of freedom in their actions and their openness. These are people who have decided that they will not live with a chip on their shoulder, people who have decided they will not get into a fight but have decided to do what is right. It’s the positive people that bring light into the world. Te Ao Marama
Every year during Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori we publish a magazine. This year is no different and we would like to invite you to contribute. This year’s theme is Arohatia Te Reo – Cherish the Language – for this we would like to celebrate not just the language but all things Maori. We want to hear from tauira from all around the country. We want you to tell your story.
If you are interested then come by the NT office at 10am Monday the 30th of April for a discussion. If you are interested and can’t make it at this time you can drop by anytime for more information.
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS ✏
Hi everyone! Welcome back to the second half of Trimester One. Hopefully you all got to have some time off study and work and made the most of your break. I spent a few days over Easter soaking up the sun in Pukerua Bay and drinking a bit too much Pimms – twas grand. Congratulations to those students who spent some of their holidays competing for Vic at the 2012 Uni Games. Overall Vic came 3rd, behind Auckland and AUT. We picked up gold in debating (for the 14th year in a row), basketball and ultimate frisbee as well as silver in volleyball and our other ultimate team got bronze. Despite the weather turning for the worst midweek, everyone had a goodtime and it was great to see students from across the country coming together to compete for the Uni Games Shield. But now it’s back to Uni. Back to writing essays, attending tutorials and waiting in line for 20 minutes to get a computer at the library. Alongside all this regular excitement this week, you will receive an email from the University inviting you to participate in the 2012 Student Experience Improvement Survey. This survey, in its second year now, is a way for the University to find out how students think they are doing at providing a well rounded student experience. Vic wants to know your views on the current services that are provided to you. What is working well, what could be improved and is anything failing miserably?
Student feedback from the last survey has helped to make some significant changes at Victoria, such as making the enrolment process easier and changing the enrolment deadlines to give students more time to decide
In my last column, I defined why VUWSA is imperative to a quality education—it gives students a say over their education. I admit it was an ideological explanation as to why—one VUWSA executive member referred to it as ‘horribly cliché’—but sometimes the most cliché adages are the truth; what we needed to hear. Today, though, I want break my vision down into a more concrete model. The first topic— why am I in the position of treasurer?
Being fiscally sustainable is an essential part of achieving VUWSA’s outcome of giving you, the students, a bigger say in your education. This year, we are in a financially volatile environment. This in turn leads to some hard choices about where we want to be. Where we are going? What do we want our VUWSA to look like? Do we want a VUWSA that encourages clubs, societies and a vibrant student community? Do we value our voice being heard?
I have a suggestion. We need to be prioritizing our student voice ahead of anything else. We need to ‘get back to our roots’ *cue Six60*. Victoria University Students’ Association’s first action was to lobby the University
on their study options. Student responses have promoted Vic to make changes such as ensuring that there is a greater number of and more visible staff and student helpers around campus during orientation. And thanks to last years results the University have now bought an additional ID card machine to reduce the wait for ID cards at the start of Trimester 1.
Often it can fill like you fill out surveys and questionnaires and nothing ever happens with the feedback. But these changes are a direct result of what can happen when students engage in feedback processes. We get university systems that seek to make our experiences easier and more positive. Having a say in this survey will make a difference. And, better yet, if you complete the survey you go into the draw to win one of ten $100 New World vouchers.
And finally, VUWSA has accepted an invitation from the Wellington City Council and Wellington Returned Services Association to lay a wreath to commemorate ANZAC Day this Wednesday. I will be laying a wreath on behalf of VUWSA at the Citizens’ Service of Commemoration and Wreath Laying ceremony, which will begin with a service at Wellington Cathedral at 9.30am with the wreath laying at the Cenotaph on Lambton Quay at 10am. I wish you all the best for your first week back. Try to get back on top of those readings, avoid sleeping in class if possible (you are paying to be there remember) and fill out the Student Experience improvement Strategy. Oh and don’t forget – only 7 more weeks and some exams till you are back on holiday again! GOT A QUESTION, SOME FEEDBACK OR A WITTY ONE LINER – GIVE US A TWEET @VUWSA
Council on the establishment of a library. It was a defiant stand against the University on an issue that would affect our education.
IS MY ASTHMA ‘WELL-CONTROLLED’ OR IS IT CONTROLLING ME?
PATRICIA SULLIVAN RN BN, ASTHMA NURSE EDUCATOR
TAKE THE ASTHMA CONTROL TEST™ BELOW TO FIND OUT! Winter is fast approaching and for many people, especially for people who have asthma, this can be a difficult time. Wellington’s damp and changeable weather patterns plus seasonal colds and respiratory infections can trigger symptoms of asthma.
World Asthma Day is on May 1st and Asthma awareness week is from April 30th I thought it would be a great idea to talk a little about our free education service, and to see if we can help any of you with partially controlled or uncontrolled asthma.
To do that, we need to make our student voice a priority financially. Soon, a service review of VUWSA will be put out for discussion. I would like to note that this is a document to promote discussion amongst the student body. Certain areas in particular have been highlighted, but in all honesty this shouldn’t be as a threat or an assault on your view of VUWSA. This is an opportunity for you to tell me where you want VUWSA to go and where you think we hold the most relevance. Forums will also be held by myself in regard to this. Come along. Agree with me, get angry with me; let your thoughts be known. I know two things. Firstly, VUWSA will make it through its current financial difficulties and continue to be a relevant organization. The second point is essential to the first—we need you to have your say. It’s time VUWSA got back to its roots: you.
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WHAT IS ASTHMA? Asthma is an ongoing
condition of the airways inside the lungs, whereby the airways are oversensitive and easily irritated.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE LUNGS? The airways become inflamed and swollen and the muscles surrounding the airways tighten. These two processes narrow the airway passages and can make breathing difficult at times. SYMPTOMS OF ASTHMA
Cough – Usually dry and persistent. Often worse at night, and after exercise. ▴▴ Wheezing – a high-pitched whistling noise, usually heard on breathing out. ▴▴ Shortness of breath – Breathing fast and shallow. Unable to get enough air into the lungs. ▴▴ Chest tightness – The chest ‘feels’ tight and unable to expand freely when breathing. Symptoms may come and go, but a level of irritation can be constantly present in the airways (chronic inflammation). If this worsens it can cause an acute attack which can be very distressing and escalate out of control.
COMMON TRIGGERS ARE: Dust mites, moulds, exercise, pollen, stress, cigarette smoke, perfume, pets (e.g. cats) some medications (aspirin, ibuprofen and other antiinflammatories) cockroaches, chemical fumes and air pollution.
Understand as much as possible about asthma Identify your triggers and avoid them if possible Know about your medications, how to take them correctly and how they work. Take your ‘preventer’ asthma medication daily, even when well. This reduces the inflammation inside the airways and works slowly over time. Always rinse your mouth afterwards to avoid oral thrush. Know what to do if you symptoms worsen - Use your self-management plan when needed. (get from your doctor) Monitor your Asthma with a peak flow meter and get a regular review at Student Health Service
AN ACUTE EPISODE IS RECOGNISED WITH THE FOLLOWING SIGNS:
In 2012, we need to remember where we, as generations of students, have come from, and where we are heading.
At some point of your university career, classes or programmes could get cut. You will, invariably, encounter a terrible lecturer. You might even have moments where you have to stand up to a choice made about your education and say “that’s not right”. VUWSA needs to be there to help you make that stand.
Difficulty Speaking - through increased shortness of breath Breathless and raising shoulders – muscles at front of neck stand out and abdominal muscles draw in. Blueness around the mouth. Because of less oxygen to the body. Wheezing – becomes louder. If wheezing then disappears and symptoms remain the same, this is a sign of great urgency to get help.
Take the Asthma Control Test™ and discover how well you are preventing your asthma symptoms. ☞ http://www.asthmacontrol.co.nz/
Is it controlling you? Ask the nurses and doctors at the Student Health Service about our free Asthma Education Services or email us on email@example.com Patricia Sullivan RN BN Asthma Nurse Educator Asthma Wellington Tel: 237 4520
eighteen months while using well-lit main thoroughfares, this is a justified fear.
THE BLOOM IS OFF THE IVY
Wellington mourns the loss of an iconic queer* venue. Club Ivy, Wellington’s rainbow nightclub since 2008, has officially closed its doors for the last time. Co-owner Greig Wilson and his team have long been loyal supporters of UniQ Victoria, and this announcement deeply saddens us. Where will we hold our annual Traffic Light Party now?! Seriously, though, that cramped room on the second floor at 13 Dixon Street has firmly cemented itself into the heart of queer* Wellington, and will be sorely missed. Since November 2011, when it was announced that Ivy would shift premises early this year, rumours have abounded that the club would be closing for good. This reporter also heard vague mumblings about a relocation to Forresters Lane, just off Tory Street . This announcement was met with marked disapproval, including concerns regarding the safety and reputation of the street in question. Given that at least five members of the GLBTQ community have been physically attacked in the last
So why is Greig calling it quits on Ivy? In a recent press release, he tells us that he husband Leon Magowan-Wilson have ‘chosen to focus on other business opportunities’, it having been impossible to locate a space which would allow both Club Ivy and Terrace Bar to realise their full potential. UniQ Victoria hopes to maintain its working relationship with Greig and Leon and keep you updated throughout the year. Venues like Ivy are a fundamental part of the rainbow community. They offer us the hope and friendship which often seem to elude us in the outside world. Events like UniQ’s Silver Anniversary Ball and Mr. Gay Wellington are excellent ways to spend an evening. What’s more, Ivy always knew how to attract a diverse crowd without excluding our straight allies. One of my best memories is from my first year at uni, when at least 15 people from my Hall of Residence—all genders and sexual identities—went to UniQ’s Pride Week Coming Out Party. So we bid a fond farewell to Club Ivy. Goodbye, two flights of stairs. Goodbye, bar staff. Goodbye, round pool table. Until we meet again, please join me in raising a glass to one of the coolest little bars in the capital. Cheers, queers!
LETTER OF THE WEEK EXACTLY. It’s come to my attention that around the campus some bloody over-concerned bastards have been smoking the figurative air full of naïve remarks about my love affair with cigarettes. Well, how about this… Imagine a pillar of white, fluid yet floating, drifting skyward on rays of sunlight. Captured by its ethereal beauty you reach out to grasp it, only to find it has slipped through your fingers. Then suddenly! A first year, filled with self-righteous fury from the prospects of his arts degree, let’s out a spluttering cough and you gaze back into his cold, judging eyes. Turns out he was passing for just a moment, but inhaling your waste smoke will surely cut his life down three seconds, which – totally unbeknownst to him - so happens to be much less than the effect of giving a fuck. It may be tobacco he scorns you for now, but he’ll cry out about me smoking heroin in the graveyard and how it’s getting people addicted soon enough. Heroin’s not even addictive, the cunt. He’s gone now, but he’s ‘wondering’ why you even smoke in the first place. So I raise a question, why masturbate? Smoking’s a reward you can blow off in public, and one that even the Catholic Church won’t crucify you for. The beauty of a thick creamy sliver of fantasy shooting across the cold exterior of this PC world, that’s smoking. So if you feel a bit more educated, great! Otherwise, fuck you. Regards, Barely Journalism.
HOLY SHIT, SOMEONE DISAGREES! Dear Salient, I have a few problems with Richard D’ath’s article ‘Welcome to Dystopia’ (issue 4). I feel like the author has taken his polemical point of view too far. I’m sure the state of scientific knowledge in the New Zealand public is lackluster, and that the media doesn’t do a good job of presenting scientific ideas, but his conclusions as to the way forward are indeed chilling and I think misguided. His classification of all social groups into ‘the Baptists, the bootleggers, and the politicians’, is a massive oversimplification. His term ‘bootleggers’ seems to group together all activists into a quasireligious, paternalistic, and conservative front, which completely overlooks the diversity of social groups in a pluralistic society like New Zealand. Yes, some religious groups are on street corners talking about the coming apocalypse, but there are also groups like Generation Zero that are trying to achieve what they see as worthwhile social goals. I find D’ath’s discussion of the limits of science especially troublesome. From my understanding it is true that many experiments are conducted with 95% confidence intervals, with a 5% chance of false positives, and that ‘many, many published research findings are, in fact, false’. The important thing to recognise is that most scientists understand the limitations of statistical analysis, and that although many research findings may be false, the vast majority are in fact correct. Therefore, to dismiss science as we know it is not the answer. What we need is scientists capable of communicating complex scientific ideas to the public in a easy to understand way. A rejection of science is probably a quick path to dystopia, and it is a path which we can choose to avoid. Cheers, Harry C Eds’ note: this letter has been abridged.
TO CONFIRM: SCUMBAG STEVE IS SINGLE! FOREVER. To the fans Firstly, the notion that I am in any way misogynistic is completely off the mark. In fact I love all women and only ever intended to do them a kindness by writing that letter. In regard to Betty Draper, the answer to all your questions lies in your namesake. The wife of Don Draper never needed to ‘reveal some tits’ to be beautiful, her allure showed through in the effort she put in. No skin required. On a side note if you look anything like Mrs Draper you should give me a call some time... As for ‘Gossip Girl’. If you can’t see the genius in my writing then your level of intelligence is obviously on the level of that show. So you stick with it. xoxo Steve The Visionary
TRY WAXING YOUR PRIVATES, STEVE.
An open letter to Steve Cones, I’m going to explain something to you in simple terms, because you so obviously have misguided ideas on how the world works. Women have no responsibility to look good for your enjoyment. None. If I want to wake up an hour earlier and style my hair and coat myself in make up in such a way that it doesn’t even look like I’m wearing any, then that is my business. And when I do this, I am doing it for myself, because it can feel good to look like an enhanced version of myself sometimes. This is the part where I could imply that maybe the boys could try harder too, but then, I’m actually a decent human being and know that that’s their business, not mine, and power to them. Because I’m a firm believer in natural beauty. I don’t need make up to look good, and I look fucking great. I wonder how you would feel if you had to endure the pressure put on girls everyday to look a certain way. When society decides that boys need to shave their legs, pluck their eyebrows, wax their privates and wear make up just to measure up, you can make broad comments about how we don’t try hard enough. Until then, maybe you should keep how much of an asshole you are to yourself.
Dear Salient, I read an article in your love edition about a coming out story. I too, am a guy. People assume I like dem bitches but actually I am wondering about what the guy who just walked past in the library is like in bed. Yes, we live in Wellington, a liberal city, quite pretty at dusk. Congrats to Jon on an easy coming out, but you are the 1%. I tell my mum I like guys, she throws chop sticks in my eyes and smashes my head into the wall (metaphorically). No we are not an asian family (the chopsticks thing, not the head bashing thing). Bound by religion and exposed to nill gay personalities, coming out was the hardest thing I have ever done. Depression to the max. So many depressed LGBTQ in the hood. I have friends who still can’t tell their family. I see people who are too afraid to come out. I see ‘discreet’ I see ‘straight-acting’ I see ‘lowdown’. I know people who don’t know how to deal, get drugged up, get thrown in jail, hide in fear, take their own lives. And it’s all a bit shit if you ask me. So let’s not pretend it’s all gee ‘cuz for most LGBTQ, coming out is not a good time. Wellington is fantastic, but there could always be more support. So let’s not say ‘most of the works been done’ because I reckon there is still heaps more to do. Chur
But just like you (and I can only assume here, although your lack of intelligence seems rather evident), we are here to learn. NOT to put on a fashion parade so you can have some mental fap material. Sorry we can’t all look like the girls you jack off to in front of your computer every night. And by the way, Vic is teeming with wonderful, beautiful girls, but sadly for you, you don’t deserve a single one of them. Sincerely, Have fun with your hand,
WE REVIEW RESTAURANTS NOW, TOO. Dear Shit-Wok. Due to your exorbitant prices, this was the first time I had tried you. I now regret. You made me expel my insides from every orifice possible. Perhaps, Hot-Wok, if your food were actually hot, and cooked, I could have avoided your dirty salmonella. Love, Crappy Customer.
A FEW CROSS WORDS. Dear Salient. My cross word. Why? Why are there no numbers? Why is Aphrodite now so very long? Why do things not match up? I’m in danger of a word crisis. Please, only you can prevent Pixie-breakdowns due to impossible cross words. Also, I approved of the cheeky snippets of Elrond/ Legolas purple prose smut last week. Did you find that on Livejournal, or did some intrepid soul on your staff write that especially for you? <3 Pixie Eds’ note: our ‘in-house’ literotica was not published due to ethical concerns. Dear Salient, I love crosswords. When crosswords don’t have numbered clues, or don’t quite make sense, it’s a bit shit. I’m not volunteering to write better ones, because I probably couldn’t, but please suss this for next week. I don’t have the internet at home yet and so print crosswords are my only hope. Thanks in advance, Q.P.
PEOPLE CAN STILL DREAM. Dear intellectual discussion-ient To the lass who wrote in last week suggesting articles on TILFs and possibly LILFs (Lecturers)....I know that this type of ‘conflict of interest’ thing will forever go on a little at Uni, despite seminars and warnings about the power dynamics, ethics, etc,... but does the name Clayton Weatherston mean anything to you? Yours Ethics-bunny. PS; I picked up that the letter seemed to be written by a female from a few comments in the letter, e.g., about the focus tutor being male and that they should be ‘man and wife’.
Eds’ note: For those interested, the VUWSA Queer Officer has established an excellent new programme that sets up Victoria University Students with ‘buddies’ who specialise in gay, lesbian, trans*, bi, coming out and relationship issues. To get in touch, email queer. firstname.lastname@example.org.
FINALLY, SOMEBODY WRITES A WORTHWHILE LETTER! dear sicklient being sick is shit... being sick an dhaving a test is even more shit... game of thrones is amazing! Steve Cones comes off as a complete tool. regards atleastillbehealthyfortheholidays-lient
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RECRUITM EN T 2012/13 INTERNSHIPS AND GRADUATE JOBS! CareerHub CAREERHUB.VICTORIA.AC.NZ Get your CV ready—attend workshops, CV checks…
Applications closing SOON: ORGANISATIONS
Microsoft, Asia NZ Foundation: Berlitz, KPMG (Vietnam)
ANZ, Bank of New Zealand (Agribusiness)
Tonkin & Taylor
Datacom, PKF Martin Jarvie
CAREER EVENTS BOOK ON CAREERHUB: ANZ
Allied Telesis NZ
*Careers in Focus Seminar: Law – Overseas Postgraduate Study in Law* 26 April, 5.30-7.00pm Law students: RSVP on CareerHub For more/full details/RSVP, go to CareerHub: careerhub.victoria.ac.nz email@example.com, (04) 463-5390
VEG*N S @ VIC VEG*NS @ VIC BAKE SALE THURSDAY 26 APRIL, 11AM-2PM, KIRK FOYER Come devour our sweet treats!
TERRIBLE. JUST TERRIBLE. So I quite often travel with Jetstar, and only because they are usually cheap. Generally, I hate it - the staff are usually pissier, the food sucks, the planes are a bit dirty, you have to put up with a lot of lame as in-flight promo, the seats aren’t comfy, shitty leg room, flights are often delayed or cancelled... You know, just normal things to expect with a low budget, shit version of anything. I usually feel sorry for the staff the most—the ones who have to deal with the justifiably annoyed customers. Imagine sitting at a check in desk when two flights have been cancelled, assigned with the task of telling people they have to sort their own accommodation for the night because they chose the ‘Fexi-Saver Plus’ option. Fuck that shit. I got an email today. It was asking me to take part in their ‘short’ survey. Maybe win $500. I thought ‘Great, get to have a rant at someone and maybe win $500.’ WELL. It took about half an hour. That’s fucking ages. I made sure to give an honest and careful answer to every question (multi-choice or 1-10 selection). I thought ‘Well, at least if it’s super long then others are less likely to so it, so I’m closer to that five hundy.’ They didn’t ask any good questions, nor give me a chance to elaborate on any of my points. It was simply- “QHow satisfied were you with the cost transparency? A- 3/10.” NOW FOR THE BEST PART. When I finally got to the end of the survey, I am told this... “NOW you have a chance to COMPETE to get the prize. Please tell us in 25 words or less what Jetstar could do to make you likely to recommend us to your friends and family. The most INNOVATIVE answer will be chosen.” I was fucking furious. It was absolutely implied that you got entered in a draw for the prize. Instead, at the end and after all my answers, they ask me for free PR advice, and I am supposed to come up with something kiss-ass yet actually smart, all to probably not get $500? I wrote: “Oh my good God. I thought it was a draw! Bad form, Jetstar. Cheeky, which is what I have come to expect, mind. Innovative enough?” Unfortunately I am not in a position to boycott the flights. I simply can’t afford it usually, plus they have little lastminute options. My only power as a consumer is to give feedback, and today they dangled that carrot, only to snatch it back and laugh in my face about it. Dicks.
STUDENT EXCHANGE VIC OE – VIC STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME ▴▴
Upcoming Deadlines: For Tri 1, 2013 exchange - July 16th, (UC May 29th) ▴▴ Weekly seminars on Wednesdays, Level 2, Easterfield Building, 12.55pm - 1.05pm ▴▴ Why not study overseas as part of your degree?! ▴▴ Earn Vic credit, get Studylink & grants, explore the world! EMAIL: VicOE@vuw.ac.nz FIND OUT MORE: www.victoria.ac.nz/ exchange VISIT US: Level 2, Easterfield Building DROP-IN HOURS: Mon & Tues 9-12, Wed-Fri 10-12
Salient welcomes, encourages and thrives on public debate—be it serious or otherwise— through the letters pages. Write about what inspires you, enrages you, makes you laugh, makes you cry. Send us feedback, send us abuse. Anything. Letters must be received before 5pm Tuesday, for publication the following week. Letters must be no more than 250 words. Pseudonyms are fine, but all letters must include your real name, address and telephone number. These will not be printed. Please note that letters will not be corrected for spelling or grammar. The Editors reserve the right to edit, abridge or decline any letters without explanation.
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VICIDS SPEAKER EVENT:
Dr Ramon Das - “Humanitarian intervention and the American empire” MONDAY 23 APRIL, 5:15PM, COTTON BUILDING ROOM 304, KELBURN CAMPUS Dr Ramon Das (Senior Lecturer, Philosophy) will be discussing aspects of the ethics of humanitarian intervention. In recent years it has become common to speak of an ‘American Empire.’ The talk will explore some of the implications of that empire for questions of ‘humanitarian intervention’ in places such as Kosovo, Darfur, Libya, and Syria.
12PM - 2PM
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INDY BITS & PIECES
2PM - 4PM
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EMMA & BELLA'S
JAMES & HARRY
SUPER CUTE HANGOUT
7PM - 9PM
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TURN ON, TUNE IN & DROP OUT
THE SPOTLIGHT SESSION
HOLLY & STUMBLE
9PM - 11PM
9PM - 11PM
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8PM - 10PM
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THE VINYL COUNTDOWN
MICKEY & PETER
DUBSTEP / HIPHOP WITH JACK & BRYN
VBC METAL SHOW
KIM & NIC
DR THOMPSON, KIM POTTER, DHDFDS & THE CAT & SOCK, THE GRACIOUS MOTHERS OF GENTLEMAN DEVIANTS DARKNESS CALLERS
MIGHTY SAN FRANCISCO BATHHOUSE
BECKS MUSIC SHOUT LIVE
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JOHN THE BAPTIST
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MARA & THE BUSHKAS BIG DADDY WILSON ACOUSTIC DUO HARMONIC CULTURE
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The collection on Level 3 of Rankine Brown will be moved from the north to south end over the next six to seven weeks. The collection needs to be moved to enable redevelopment of the north end of the level. The bulk of the moves will be done during the weekends - so as to minimise interruption to library users. The move will start with the three day loan and reference material which will be moved to the other end of the level between April 20th and 23rd. All material will remain available during the moves and roving staff will provide assistance to Library users. As part of clearing the north end of Level 3 - the oversize collection will be moved to the north end of Level 5. For further information please contact Sarah Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or on ext 5227.”
12PM - 2PM
COLLECTION MOVES, LEVEL 3 OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY
12PM - 1PM
NICK & HENRY
C O L L ECT I O N M OV ES
12PM - 2PM
4PM - 7PM
VICIDS PANEL DISCUSSION: ‘DOES MOST INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERING CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD?’
12PM - 2PM
PAN E L D I S C U SS I O N MONDAY 30 APRIL, 5:30PM, COTTON BUILDING ROOM 304, KELBURN CAMPUS Speakers - Eliza Raymond (Global Volunteer Network), Vicki Soanes (former ATD Fourth World Volunteer Corps member), Sam Buchanan (activist, sometimes development commentator and former international development volunteer) Interested in international volunteering, its potential impacts or the ethical issues behind it? Come along to hear three speakers with experience in the area of international volunteering tackle these issues. Promises to be an engaging and challenging panel for anyone with an interest in this area, regardless of your perspective.
PEARCE & DUNCAN
MICHAEL & GUESTS
1.Keep going! 7 singers have a funky beat. (4,4,6) 2.Pronoun with French equivalent will be source of entertainment and procrastination. (7) 3.A popular tipple at the RSA, or a leprechaun’s source of energy? (5,6) 4.A few thousand buried in this battlefield. (5) 5.What was used before 2 Down? (3) 6.Wrestling moves to city in the south (7) 7.Entrance test for first years? (9,5) 9.Sound like brave girl uses drug. (6) 12.First, giant Y is constructed by layering rocks. (11) 16.The year Nero Claudius Drusus died by falling from a horse. (4,2) 18.Stain caused by train crash on State Highway. (7) 20.Finished a royal meal initially, in bowl, unlike Australian? (7) 23.One’s alarming and alluring? (5) 25.Egyptian god of infinity. What? (3)
1. Sunshine not spent? How times change! (8,6) 8. Feed despite refusal when you are 1. Be quiet! (7) 10. Ghost from Prom Night 2 (7) 11. Return shoes untied to Scarfies, for example (11) 13. Dolphin of Pacific origin, initially (3) 14. Bengalese roti commonly contains something hot and spicy (6) 15. Bob Marley - A star is made! (5) 17. Thomas returns, providing theme (5) 19. Piece of lamb is trodden on in small restaurant (6) 21. Incomplete verb to go in another language. (3) 22. Resurrection may be speciality in this building (11) 24. In three moves, there’s no choice between alternatives (7) 26. Where, oh where is O’Hare? (7) 27. Article on famine matches movie on death match (3,6,5)
Puzzle 1 (Medium, difficulty rating 0.57)
6 7 4
Generated by http://www.opensky.ca/~jdhildeb/software/sudokugen/ on Thu Apr 19 15:53:39 2012 GMT. Enjoy!