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September 28, 2009 | by  | in Online Only |
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Op Ed: I Don’t Know Why Sometimes I Get Frightened: Thoughts on Max and Alan

The spectre of VSM crouching in the corner like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a curious anomaly. Should it slink its way into the walls of student associations up and down the country, those in charge will find unprecedented gluts of transformation shoehorned into an already packed work calendar. Current VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle told the VBC last week that she pines away approximately 120 hours of work a week in the dungeons of the Student Union Building; an absolutely astounding figure, and one even the most foolhardy of company executive would cock a brow at.

What cannot be underestimated is the appalling state of affairs VUWSA was in following the departure of the grossly incompetent Joel Cosgrove last year. VUWSA is certainly in better health than it has been in a great number of years, thanks in large part to Freemantle’s efforts, but it still finds itself stammering about the forest like so many lost bear cubs. Freemantle’s decision not to seek re-election may have come as a surprise to some, but her endorsement of short-term Admin VP Max Hardy as a successor aroused surprise in many.

A cursory examination of Hardy shows he’s got the smarts. A law, history and theatre student, and a dedicated and productive execateer, he has the makings of a perfectly adequate student politician. His talents in finance have been established, with the association sporting a more streamlined financial structure, the efforts of which will be realised upon the arrival of VUWSA’s new website. But he is young, so very young. And new, so very new. The crux of the year’s financial doodlings was more or less completed with the departure of Alexander Neilson, and while Hardy has no doubt brought change, it is by no means indicative of the squalor he will almost certainly encounter at the bow of VUWSA’s ship. He has yet to wear the taint of VUWSA’s incredible propensity for absurdity, and while this may or may not be a good thing, it stands to reason a leader should have at least one or two scars from battle.

Hardy has made a concerted effort to learn about VUWSA. His knowledge of what the organisation does, what services it provides, what kind of socio-economic climate it sits in, and what cogs in its financial mechanics need oil must be acknowledged. That knowledge will almost certainly expand in the top job, but Hardy realises many decisions will be played by ear. One has little choice but to say he has arrived a year or two before his time.

One cannot fault Alan Young’s enthusiasm, or at least his propensity to convey that through florid gesticulations. What one can, however, find fault is his astonishing ignorance and painful lack of interest in the position he has waved his hand up for. As the interview quite clearly shows, Young has absolutely no idea what it means to be the president of VUWSA. His comically inarticulate responses to the most mundane of questions are just pieces in a jigsaw of eye glazing, ear bending insanity. It is literally a case of a person looking at an advertisement for a job and saying, “I might like a go at that.” Although the office of president hasn’t lent itself well to professionalism in recent times, it is an office that demands some modicum of respect. At least Cosgrove knew what NZUSA was.

Perhaps Young would be better served plying that moxy of his in a position where he can serve students, as he clearly longs to, while learning about an organisation he has little to no understanding of at present. A 19-year-old could do much worse.

Overall, it is moot. This interview will do little to stem the tide in favour of one candidate, or stammer the inadequacies of the other. It is important to remember that come hell or high water, one of these two will be overseeing an organisation with a $2 million budget, and may perhaps be charged with facilitating (with the Association Manager, lest we forget) the change to voluntary student membership. You know, itty bitty things.

Whether the storm of 2010 can be weathered by a couple of near-enoughs remains to be seen. For their sake, let’s hope so.

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Kia ora, biography box, kia ora.

Comments (16)

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  1. AnneofGreenGables says:

    What happened to Guy Williams?

  2. Jeeves says:

    Pulled out. His plans for next year changed. Might be going overseas.

  3. AnneofGreenGables says:

    Is there going to be a revote for president then?

  4. Jeeves says:

    He didnt withdraw his nomination early enough so has to remain on the ballot.

  5. He’s essentially “No Confidence.”

  6. Guy Williams says:

    I’m sorry for all the confusion surrounding my candidacy, I got the news that there’s a place for me overseas next year the friday before the election started. I tried to pull out as quickly as possible but they decided they had to keep my name on the ballot for constitutional reasons… I’ve tried everything (aka 1 facebook status) to discourage people from voting for me. (I wish salient would mention it.)

  7. Saladin says:

    I’m going to personally hunt down stare at in a deeply disapproving manner anyone who votes for Alan Young, I swear to Christ.

    I don’t blame Young, I blame his oft-mentioned “supporters”. Unless this is all some sort of sick joke on their part, in which case – touché, you inglorious sons of bitches.

  8. Matt says:

    Yes, who is this Young fellow, and how did he get to be so stupid? He kinda reminds me of a certain girlfriend of a certain dog in a certain cartoon television series set in a certain town in Rhode Island, which played on TV last week. I wish I could be more specific, but I fear Godwin’s law….

  9. Gibbon says:

    lucky there’s a family guy

  10. Emily says:

    Oh lawdy. Michael Oliver, this article suggests to me that your interview with Young & Hardy was A REAL INTERVIEW. Whut? If ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, then I congratulate Alan Young for avoiding such a large quantity of potential shame.
    Also, Max Hardy may not have been tainted yet, but if he is the dude who came up to me while I was scoffing my nachos during the last AGM and asked me to pretend to be paying attention for quorum, then he has been at least tickled lightly with the absurdity brush.

  11. I sure hope it was real, ‘cos if my subconscious dreamed that up…

  12. Mikey says:

    I can do a Freudian analysis if you like.

  13. Hank Scorpio says:

    lol family guy

  14. Nestor Makhno says:

    Jasmine does not work 120 hours a week guys, come on. That would mean she works 17 hours a day, 7 days a week. She works hard, but not that hard.

  15. Liam Nub says:

    ahhh I think you’ll find she works when she sleeps she dreams of vuwsa sweet vuwsa

  16. Jemima says:

    I heard Jasmine proposed she get a civil union with the VUWSA.

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