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Issue 2, 2018

Volume 81 Issue 2: Too Jaded to be Faded

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News

  • The Party Line

  • South Africa Moves to Confiscate White Owned Land

  • Young Nats Interpret “No” as a Violation of Their Human Rights

  • House Fire Started and Extinguished by Local Boy

  • Eyes Turn to Lebanon

  • Judge Becroft Calls to Lower the Voting Age

  • New Zealand’s Uncertain Role in Iraq

  • Union Rail Strikes Resolved

  • Rally Against Sexual Violence to Occur at Law School

  • Trump’s AmeЯica

  • Eye on Exec

  • 20 Things Older Than 20yr Old VUWSA President Marlon Drake

  • Anytime Library: Does Anyone Know Anything?

  • Wellington Hosts NZIIA Conference

  • Possible Gender Affirmation Surgeon Surfaces

  • Rejoyce as Steven Steps Down From Politics

  • Last Surviving Officer of the Māori Battalion Dies

  • Green Party to Oppose Perks from Non-Governmental Organisations

  • Kelburn Campus Traffic Forecast

  • Victoria University Lecturer Accused of Spreading Misinformation

  • Features

  • Website-Cover-Photo

    The Pity and Pleasure of a Shit Asian

    “You’re the worst Asian I’ve ever met. What are you going to tell your parents?” Tom said, laughing. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise when I received my year 12 report card. All through high school, my fears lived in a square, dimly lit classroom, filled with poorly aligned posters. Algebra, calculus, geometry: I […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo4

    Getting to Know Grant Guilford

    A few Fridays ago, I asked around the office, “anyone got dirt on Grant Guilford? I’m about to do an interview with him.” Kii, the Station Co-Manager, says, “I’ve heard he can be a bit of a…” he trails off. “I’ll go and see what I can find.” Ruby, our designer, says, “ask him if […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo3

    Denim Overalls are My One Weakness

    It’s pretty cool being black. I mean most of the time apart from the stereotypes about fried chicken, ice cold grape soda, my baguettelong-schlong and my eight girlfriends who I can’t pay child support to. Other than that it’s pretty smooth sailing, right? Haha. Fuck no. Take an average Friday night for example. I get […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo2

    Raiders of Lost Property

    I was 10 when I fell in love with materialism. Specifically: a pair of Nikes. Rebel Sport had just set up in New Plymouth and it was, literally, the talk of the town. This was the first sports store that didn’t sell guns and ammunition next to their running shoes. No, Rebel Sport had all […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo1

    Scenes of Debauchery at Laneway 2018

    Now don’t get me wrong. I loved Laneway. The opportunity to see a vast array of some of the best acts in the world all in one of our most beautiful central city parks is overall a great experience. However, when any enormous gathering of people comes together, a darker side of humanity is brought […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo

    The Pity and Pleasure of a Shit Asian

    “You’re the worst Asian I’ve ever met. What are you going to tell your parents?” Tom said, laughing. It shouldn’t have come as any surprise when I received my year 12 report card. All through high school, my fears lived in a square, dimly lit classroom, filled with poorly aligned posters. Algebra, calculus, geometry: I […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo4

    Getting to Know Grant Guilford

    A few Fridays ago, I asked around the office, “anyone got dirt on Grant Guilford? I’m about to do an interview with him.” Kii, the Station Co-Manager, says, “I’ve heard he can be a bit of a…” he trails off. “I’ll go and see what I can find.” Ruby, our designer, says, “ask him if […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo3

    Denim Overalls are My One Weakness

    It’s pretty cool being black. I mean most of the time apart from the stereotypes about fried chicken, ice cold grape soda, my baguettelong-schlong and my eight girlfriends who I can’t pay child support to. Other than that it’s pretty smooth sailing, right? Haha. Fuck no. Take an average Friday night for example. I get […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo2

    Raiders of Lost Property

    I was 10 when I fell in love with materialism. Specifically: a pair of Nikes. Rebel Sport had just set up in New Plymouth and it was, literally, the talk of the town. This was the first sports store that didn’t sell guns and ammunition next to their running shoes. No, Rebel Sport had all […]

    by

  • Website-Cover-Photo1

    Scenes of Debauchery at Laneway 2018

    Now don’t get me wrong. I loved Laneway. The opportunity to see a vast array of some of the best acts in the world all in one of our most beautiful central city parks is overall a great experience. However, when any enormous gathering of people comes together, a darker side of humanity is brought […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • American Vandal

    Who knew one long dick joke could be so satisfying?

    Coming onto Netflix in the later part of 2017, American Vandal proved to be a surprising success. The show is essentially a true-crime mockumentary, though it takes itself seriously enough for the viewer to buy into the format and story as something real. Two members of Hanover High School’s AV club take it upon themselves to uncover the culprit and motives behind a crime that has shaken up the school: Who spray-painted dicks on 27 cars in the teacher’s parking lot? After the prime suspect of the crime, class clown and school oaf Dylan (Youtube’s Jimmy Tatro) is found guilty and expelled, the main documentarian Peter (Tyler Alvarez) and his partner Sam (Griffin Gluck) become interested in exploring the crime, and Dylan’s potential innocence, to its fullest extent. The two release their investigation as a weekly web-series being aired in real time, which goes viral, affecting the nature of the investigation.  

    Set in a realistic and relatable high school environment, Peter gathers information through social media and student gossip, to try discover who was behind the crime. There is an episode dedicated to unpacking the reliability of the crime’s key witness, after rumours surface that he received a hand job from the school’s most popular girl; another episode deconstructs an alibi that rests on an Instagram post.

    The show employs the same high level of detail we would expect from a genuinely serious true-crime series; think Making a Murderer or the 2014 podcast Serial. But instead of murder, we’re dealing with balls on a bonnet. Much like the crime, the investigation itself takes a different path, through the analysis of Snapchat videos from the weekend, the deconstruction of text messages, and interviews with the carefully characterised student and staff bodies. As ridiculous and outlandish the theories become, the show still feels grounded. The mockumentary’s high-level analysis and deadpan approach clicks with audiences who love seeing a crime unravel; you feel genuinely invested in what is a clearly a ridiculous crime.

    If all American Vandal aimed to do was mock the tropes of true-crime TV, the show may still be good but would in no way be a success. As audience members will realise, the series sets up a wider examination of themes involving censorship, immediacy of information, journalistic integrity in the Internet age, and identity in high school life. This is enhanced by the real-time progression and evolution of the episodes; the episodes we see are, in the world of the show, being seen weekly by the students and staff of Hanover High School. This causes reputations of key characters to change, students to become more involved in the investigation and further revelations to come to light. All of these combine to create a story where we never really know if all the facts and theories are fully outlined or true, keeping viewers guessing up until the final episode.

    American Vandal triumphs because the show’s characters present themselves, and the juvenile crime at issue, as seriously as, and at times better than the true-crime documentaries that it’s satirising do. The show is so much more than just dicks. It’s a refreshing take on an arguably limp genre which will no doubt satisfy true-crime and comedy fans alike.

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  • Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

    Call Me By Your Name is currently breaking the hearts of movie-goers around the world, including mine, so I decided to extend my agony and heartache by reading the 2007 novel by Egyptian author André Aciman that the film is based on.

    The world within Call Me By Your Name exists within a pocket of ambiguous time and space, as the entire plot takes place within a six week period in summer at some point in the 1980s and in an unknown town in Italy. Within it is 17 year old Elio, and the novel follows his journey of self discovery that is full of obsession, lust, love, and heartache over Oliver, the 24 year old graduate student who stays with Elio’s family during this timeless summer.

    The highlight of the novel is the setting constructed around Elio and Oliver. The Italian summer seems like an idyllic dream, and Aciman constructs a rich and beautiful vision of a rural life in Italy. From small piazzas, to Rome’s cathedrals, to the coffee shops and the secret riverbed hideaways, the world within the novel feels expansive, vibrant, and alive.

    At the heart of Call Me By Your Name is the emotional connection between the two characters, as the majority of the narrative is dominated, and progresses, through Elio’s bouts of intense feelings of lust, love, hatred, anxiety, denial, and sadness over Oliver. However, there is arguably too many emotions. The novel follows an endless repetitive cycle of Elio expressing his feelings, then his interpretation of Oliver’s feelings, then a re-interpretation of both of their feelings and on and on and on. This feature makes the novel quite difficult to read, and my annoyance with it did not abate as I read through it.

    This same feature also makes Elio and Oliver difficult characters to like. While you want them to get together, their insistent emotional anxiety and drama around each other becomes tedious after a while. By the end of section one, it’s like… “come on lads, stop brooding and just bloody get on with it…”.

    But when they finally do get on with it, it is magical. But then it ends, and the world crumbles, and you have to take a time out to recover. Call Me By Your Name is an emotional rollercoaster, and I quite enjoyed reading it, but I doubt I will want to read it again any time soon.

    It is also with a heavy heart that I have to say that the film is better than the book. While both the novel and film equally capture the picturesque beauty of Italy and the intensity of the relationship between Elio and Oliver, the film (because of the format) is able to remove the repetitive narrative style that dominates the novel, making the characters far more likeable and their story more compelling and emotional.

    My expectations were perhaps too high for the book because I loved the film so much, so it fell short and I was disappointed. I recommend reading the book first if you have not seen the film yet, because your expectations will be low to begin with and then blown away by the film.

    You also get to look at Armie Hammer and Timotheé Chalamet for two hours as a bonus, and I do not know anyone in their right mind who would complain about that.

    And never fear, Aciman and director Luca Guadagnino are working on one (and possibly two) sequels together, so there is more heartache and sadness to come.

    Oh and by the way, in the copy of the film tie-in version that you can get from BookDepository for $12, the peach scene is on page 146.

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  • Everything is Recorded

    Everything is Recorded is the brainchild of Richard Russell, the owner of XL Recordings in the UK. Over the years, XL have produced massive records by the likes of FKA twigs, Gil Scott-Heron, The xx, Vampire Weekend, Radiohead, King Krule, and Adele’s 19, 21, and 25. Not a bad track record at all.

    Naturally, Russell has built an array of networks with some of the most talented indie musicians associated with his label, and Everything is Recorded finds a home for many of them. The list of contributors features man-of-the-moment Sampha, Syd, Kamasi Washington, Peter Gabriel, Ibeyi, Wiki, and Giggs – to name but a few. Sampha is the heart and soul of the record, as his vocals pop up on a third of the tracks here. Sonically, Everything is Recorded does fit the mould of Sampha’s Process, in that it channels Sampha’s stellar tenor to navigate quirky and idiosyncratic melody throughout these songs.

    In terms of a general sonic palette, Russell borrows from many styles of music, with the use of dub style rhythms and old soul samples being the most notable running themes across the album. Promo single “Mountains of Gold” sees the dub style utilised in tandem with Ibeyi’s jarring vocals, Wiki’s abrasive verse, and a rip-snorting Kamasi Washington solo. Sampha’s call-and-response hook is really the glue here, as the track jumps from style to style before returning to the welcome familiarity of a crisp melody.

    The scope of this album is impressive. Russell taps into the individual ethos of each of his artists, and collates that into a cohesive project. Some tracks are certainly better than others – “Be My Friend” and the title track end the album with a brilliant one-two punch, which makes up for the slight lull in the middle third of the album.

    A great project, which serves as a glowing appraisal of Russell’s ability to get the best out of his collaborators.

    3.5/5

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  • Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel

    Talking about relationships, particularly the romantic kind, is frequently understood to be a “feminine” activity; in other words, something only women do. And arguably because of this labelling as “feminine”, the discussion of emotions and relationships is  often framed as unimportant or self-indulgent. Esther Perel’s podcast Where Should We Begin is dedicated to breaking down this misconception and creating a non-judgemental space for emotions and relationships to be discussed.

    Perel is a renowned psychotherapist who has written several novels on the topic of love, relationships and sexuality. However, her work extends far beyond this; she presents talks, creates informative videos, works as a therapist, and in 2017 launched her podcast with Audible. Each episode of Where Should We Begin? is a recorded couples therapy session conducted by Perel with a different anonymous couple each time. The recording of the session is mixed in with voice-over commentary by Perel which offers further insight into the workings of her mind as a therapist.

    The couples who feature have (on the surface) vastly different experiences and difficulties. “Trauma Doesn’t Like To Be Touched” is about creating safe spaces in a relationship while acknowledging past trauma,“Motherless Women” dissects the relationship of two women who struggle to balance their roles as mothers and as partners, and “The Addict” explores how addiction has affected a relationship over 40 years. Although the content of each episode varies greatly, I am always able to find something to relate to.  Listeners are welcomed into the most private sphere of people’s lives, and by the end of the each session it’s hard not to feel a bond with the participants.

    On her website Perel explains that through her work she seeks to “take relationship advice out of the exclusive female market” and encourage people to “question themselves, to speak the unspoken, and to be unafraid to challenge sexual and emotional correctness”. This is the power of Where Should We Begin?. It is unafraid of exploring the taboo, the ugly, and the complex facets of relationships. There is something refreshingly brave about hearing people speak on difficult matters so honestly and publicly. We are reminded that our emotions do matter, do need to be discussed, and that there is no shame in doing so. To quote Perel: “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.”

    Where Should We Begin? really does make you feel all the feels. Joy, sadness, anger, humour, all facets of human emotion are covered. It can be an intense podcast to listen to, but it has allowed me to feel a sense of unity with others that surpasses age, race, gender, sexuality, and culture. And that is a powerful, wonderful thing.

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  • The Thirteen Beautiful Films of Manifesto

    Cate Blanchett reads out thirteen different text assemblages, combining a mass of artistic manifestos, rearranged by Julian Rosefeldt for his project Manifesto. These text assemblages are every callous or triumphant sentiment that art has spat out in our last century. This project is split over thirteen different screens, hovering panels in the Auckland Art Gallery, all lasting for around ten minutes. The performances are layered over each other, so Blanchett is omnipresent. There is a moment in each loop where they all synchronise, and multiple versions of her jolt from their manifesto, and then continue in some sort of transcendental chant. It is hyperreal, but immaculate, and Blanchett, under Rosefeldt’s direction, melds into thirteen equally flawless characters to personify the work she performs.

    Each persona she takes on is an absolute archetype. These manifestos were created when the ideas that they espouse were of the fringes, not the mainstream. Thus, to collapse them into formulaic characters is the antithesis of their original conception. When Blanchett becomes the perfect punk— slurring, snarling, thick eyeliner— she is a paradox. The outsider cannot be made into a stereotype. They have a dissonant experience of life, where their identity does not slot easily amongst a normative social cast, or between codified social signs. Other roles that Blanchett takes on are also from the margins, like the garbage plant worker, or of characters who take on behaviours of the outskirts: the teacher, the mother. To categorise those who are not often represented in this reductive way also dismantles the relationship of the original texts with their authors, readers, or audiences. In attempting to fabricate this intrinsic relationship, it is instead hollowed out. The performances that Blanchett gives become a chimera, entirely a real thing, until they are not.

    Rosefeldt notes that the ambition of every manifesto to triumph over the future— to proclaim what the future will, or should become— is not a forward-looking exercise at all. The texts that have been compiled in Manifesto were mostly written when their authors were relatively young (Manuel Maples Arce was 21 when he wrote A Strident Prescription, Andre Breton was 28 for the first Surrealist Manifesto), and this is affirmed in the language used. Their radicalness is about enacting in the present a desire for revolution in the future, rather than hosting the revolution. The eccentricity of Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto is a real-time agitation, where time is made to seem like it only exists up until the last word that was said.

    This potential is what was significant in these manifestos’ original publications; a charge, possibility. There is an expiration to this potential though. There is an absence of consideration of what a contemporary manifesto looks like, and how principles of architecture, science, art, and social relations have shifted. Amy Howden Chapman performed Architecture and Ideology: The Last of the Glass at the Adam Art Gallery last year. Hers is an essay that is relevant here and now, in New Zealand and with our present architectural concerns around disaster resilience and modern Antipodean design. Architecture and Ideology is an example that could have sat alongside Rosefeldt’s Manifesto, to offer a perspective that is more specific to the time and place that the exhibition is positioned in, and to reinvigorate the concept of the manifesto. The loss of potential energy in Rosefeldt and Blanchett’s collaboration in favour of revisiting the past is not necessarily a criticism. It is an interesting chronicle on display, and these are seminal texts, but it is a transplant exhibition that has dimmed over its geographic and social transmission.

    Manifesto is currently showing at the Auckland Art Gallery for a charge, or you can watch the clips for free on Julian Rosefeldt’s website.

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  • Alex Cameron in Wellington: Unexpected, Nonsensical, Groovy

    Artist: Alex Cameron with Roy Molloy

    Opening act: Jack Ladder

    Latest album: Forced Witness

    Venue: Meow

    Rating: 5/5 groovy stars

    Here’s the thing: the act shouldn’t make sense. Objectively, no one should like Alex Cameron. He plays the character of a sleaze. He looks like a deadbeat dad, with his slicked back hair, donning a wife beater under an unbuttoned half-sleeve orange shirt. To be completely honest, he looked like my ex. Yet, despite being innately unappealing to most audiences, the gig was ace. People of all ages showed up to see Cameron, an Australian synth-pop artist. There were hipster teens in Hawaiian shirts, normie young adults, middle aged divorced women, and couples of all ages.

    Every person in the crowd was having fun. Everybody was dancing to their own beat – there was no right, wrong, normal, or abnormal way to groove. Never have I seen a performer with so much charisma and positive energy. There were five musicians onstage. Alex Cameron was the lead. Roy Molloy was the very silent and seemingly judgemental saxophonist (think substitute teacher who sets his chair in the middle of the class and says “I’ll wait,” in the most defeated and disappointed tone), an electric guitarist, who looked like a stereotypical math nerd; he wore square-rimmed glasses and a half-sleeve white checked shirt tucked into brown dad-pants. If every geek from Freaks and Geeks got together and created a middle-aged electric guitarist, he was it. Jack Ladder was the opener. If Fabio and Kevin Bacon got together to create a hybrid musician who was even more heartbroken and had even more luscious hair than the two, that would be Jack. When he was on stage, he was singing/crying into the mic, with a three-legged stool next to him on which sat a glass of red wine, his phone, and a moleskine notebook. Like, that’s how much of an absurd 80s heartthrob he was. The final musician was a keyboardist named Holiday Sidewinder. She was beautiful and powerful and so talented. She’s incomparable. I seriously think I’m in love.

    Despite the full stage, Cameron was playing off the audience’s energy. He embodied what seemed to be a perfected act of a full-energy performer. He gave Wellington 150% of his energy and we gave it all back to him.

    He talked about his album Forced Witness being an account of all sorts of characters, pointing fingers at issues like privilege and misogyny. The crowd favourite was Marlon Brando. Everyone seemed to know the words and were chanting the lyrics back to him. I’ve never experienced such a euphonic performance.

    When the keyboardist and Cameron sang Stranger’s Kiss together, the audience were more engaged than ever. The artists were singing to each other and, to them, no one else existed. She sounded beautiful and he brought his grooviest moves.

    The set included about 13 songs, and as soon as the act was over there were chants for an encore. When the musicians came back on, it was as if they never left. By this point of the show, everybody was sweaty. So sweaty that clothes were sticking to bodies. In such tight quarters, other people’s sweat merged with your own. Objectively, we should all have been annoyed. We should all have felt gross, but we weren’t. Everyone was grooving and nobody cared. The performance allowed for everyone to simply exist in the moment. It was the kind of gig where you just forgot to pull your phone out and send a snap to your friends. You forgot that there was a world beyond the venue. We all left knowing that we’d experienced something amazing, and we all left feeling beyond satisfied.

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  • Women in Film: (For Women’s History Month)

    TW: sexual assault

    The Old: Into the Forest (2015)

    4/5 stars

    By Emma Maguire

    The saying, “this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper,” seems especially relevant in regards to this film. Set just after the destruction of the world’s power grid, Into the Forest takes us to the end of the world through the eyes of two women. Nell and Eva are two sisters stranded in the middle of a forest when the power fails. Once their father gets killed in an accident, they have to make it on their own.

    Into the Forest is not your “standard” end-of-the-world film. There are no explosions and very little violence. Most of it is just pure survival. It’s a more-indie, wankier version of the apocalypses we know and love.

    While parts of this film are gruesome (see the warning above), it depicts femininity honestly and without prejudice. It is so rare to see women portrayed on screen grossly, without makeup, or sans a veneer. Into the Forest gives us a reality of an apocalypse, without all of the flashy parts.

    The New: Red Sparrow (2017)

    3/5 stars

    By Meg Doughty


    Whatever you do, don’t go into Red Sparrow pumped for another Atomic Blonde. The premise of the unstoppable female spy is tempting feminist bait. But I assure you as a woman and feminist – difficult, sickening, disturbing, and ultimately desensitizing are the words I would use to describe Red Sparrow.

    Dominika, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, begins and remains literally a sexual object, who is emotionally, physically, and sexually abused by men (including her uncle). She is controlled through her body, told to use her sexuality as a weapon – perpetuating the idea that a woman gains power only when she uses her sexuality to manipulate men. She is not shown to be given any field training in combat or self defense. She is tortured because she is not believed. Throughout the film she changes her appearance to appeal to whoever she needs to, because that is what she has been taught.

    You gals out there at this point might be thinking, “hang on! This all sounds just like life”, and you’d be right. In a twisted and dramatised way this film shows the plethora of sh*t that women have dealt with, and continue to deal with, in everyday life. It also made me think that Jennifer Lawrence was smart to take the role.

    Dominika’s experience reflects not only the experience of women, but also Lawrence’s own experience in Hollywood. We are all aware of the private photos leaked of Lawrence, and that as a young actress she was pushed into a naked line up for a role, and has been asked to lose weight for roles many a time. Lawrence has been vocal about how she was empowered by the nude scenes in Red Sparrow after the photos incident. This was the redeeming quality of the film, it was a taking back for Jennifer Lawrence, which is fantastic. As a film, however, it wasn’t enough to justify the level of onscreen violence.

    Then the credits came, and it all made sense. Male directors, writers, and producers have made great stuff, but they aren’t the ones who should be telling the stories of women’s perpetual sexual (or other) abuse. In the heat of the Me Too and Times Up movement, this film just came out a bit tone-deaf, and the marketing is even worse; being called a darkly seductive spy thriller” by 20th Century Fox’s Facebook marketing team.

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  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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    Editor's Pick

    This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

    : Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided