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Issue 22, 2018

Issue 22, Vol 81: Trouble’s a Brewin

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News

  • Declaration of Election Results

  • Goodbye, Honorable Spiny-backed Friend

  • “It’s Not an Eviction” – VUW

  • Queer Coverage: Local, National, and International LGBTQIA+ News

  • First Young Feminist Hui Hits Te Papa

  • International Student Zapped With Obscene Electrical Charge

  • Name Change Clapback

  • All Good Things Take Time (and Begging)

  • Your Fees Are Going Up Again, Big Surprise

  • VUW Students Perfect Their Work-Life-Study Balance

  • Very Few Sexual Misconduct Incidents Recorded by Universities

  • International Enrolment Skyrockets

  • “Know Your Mind” Shown the Door

  • Student Services Levy Set to Slide Up

  • Brad’s Bread Beats Budget

  • Features

  • Hunting for Katango

    Katango was one of thousands of bands in the 1980s. Their members were effeminate young men who wore make up. Their fashion was loud and garish. Their songs were vomit-inducing saccharine pop, shooting for a one-hit-wonder. But there is one thing that singles Katango out from this crowd of brazen auditory vomit: They ripped off […]

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  • Deep Space

    The Grateful Dead began touring in the mid-1960s, and the fans who dedicatedly followed them around the United States included not only deadheads and groupies, but also volunteer medics. They provided care for music-lovers going through crises, sometimes induced by psychedelic drugs. At concerts and festivals in the US and around the world, groups of […]

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  • Digital Militarization: The Rise of the Manosphere

    The internet has given us communities like we’ve never seen before. But what are the consequences? Katie Meadows investigates. CW: the shit parts of the internet. Discussions of suicide, eating disorder, incels, and Donald Trump. When did you first get the internet? When was the first time you realized you could be whoever you wanted […]

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  • What’s the Tea?

    My mother’s favourite saying is, “I’m gasping for a cuppa tea!” This usually means she’s had a very long and stressful day, and can’t wait for the warmth of a steaming mug of English Breakfast in her hands to mimic the feeling of human contact, without the annoyance of said human contact. However, I have […]

    by

  • Hunting for Katango

    Katango was one of thousands of bands in the 1980s. Their members were effeminate young men who wore make up. Their fashion was loud and garish. Their songs were vomit-inducing saccharine pop, shooting for a one-hit-wonder. But there is one thing that singles Katango out from this crowd of brazen auditory vomit: They ripped off […]

    by

  • Deep Space

    The Grateful Dead began touring in the mid-1960s, and the fans who dedicatedly followed them around the United States included not only deadheads and groupies, but also volunteer medics. They provided care for music-lovers going through crises, sometimes induced by psychedelic drugs. At concerts and festivals in the US and around the world, groups of […]

    by

  • Digital Militarization: The Rise of the Manosphere

    The internet has given us communities like we’ve never seen before. But what are the consequences? Katie Meadows investigates. CW: the shit parts of the internet. Discussions of suicide, eating disorder, incels, and Donald Trump. When did you first get the internet? When was the first time you realized you could be whoever you wanted […]

    by

  • What’s the Tea?

    My mother’s favourite saying is, “I’m gasping for a cuppa tea!” This usually means she’s had a very long and stressful day, and can’t wait for the warmth of a steaming mug of English Breakfast in her hands to mimic the feeling of human contact, without the annoyance of said human contact. However, I have […]

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • Spring Cleaning

    There is an ache to spring that I feel when I notice the flowers starting to bloom along the Hutt highway. Falling towards the sun. First swim of the season, when it’s not warm enough yet. You get a haircut. Here are some things to fill the afternoons that get longer.
    The Future is Death at Toi Pōneke, until 13 October
    Taupuruariki Brightwell, Leala Faleseuga, Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho, Rex Paget, Janice aka Hy-bee Ikiua Pasi-Taito
    curated by Leilani A. Sio
    This exhibition considers the fragmenting of connections between tangata whenua and tangata o le moana that have been caused by colonisation. Shifting between different media, this exhibition moves away from a linear temporal perspective. These artists imagine a future for the Pacific that is not structured by a colonial past.
    Edit for Equity: Art & Literature at Adam Art Gallery, 13 October, 12-4pm, entry free but registration required
    The contributions of women, trans, and non-binary people to Wikipedia account for a minority of entries to the database. Consequently, the information on Wikipedia is largely shaped by male perspectives. This event aims to increase the visibility of people that aren’t cis males who edit or write online entries relating to art and literature in Aotearoa. People of all gender identities and expressions are welcomed.
    Body fluids are poetic, not slime but nectar at Window Gallery online, http://windowgallery.co.nz/exhibitions/body-fluids-are-poetic-not-slime-but-nectar

    Hana Pera Aoake
    Body fluids are poetic is an interactive text, a heartbreak text. Spring is for hanging your washing out in the sun for the first time in months and crying. Produced in response to Georgina Watson’s project Larks in the dawn, Aoake writes about the trauma of colonisation and modes of grief.
    Can Tame Anything at The Dowse, until 25 November
    Ruth Buchanan, Alicia Frankovich, Mata Aho Collective and Sriwhana Spong
    Concepts of body, site, objects, and language thread through this exhibition. The intersections between these things are what I am most interested by. How does language feel? How does the presence of a body in space transform a work? How can we visualise the production of knowledge?
    Mother and Daughter on Hiatus at MEANWHILE, opening 5 October
    Claudia Edwards
    Edwards’ painted friezes explore the tensions that are often present in the relationship between a mother and daughter. Often these arguments are like intense sporting matches, but devoid of a referee, left to reach a bitter or entertaining stalemate. These paintings preserve this rivalry so the viewer can be the final witness in the gallery.

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  • Christopher Robin

    Christopher Robin’s most memorable quote, delivered by a sweetly melancholic Winnie the Pooh, popped to mind as I left the cinema: “I would have liked it to go on for a little while longer.”

    The premise of Christopher Robin, Disney’s live-action movie featuring Pooh and the other denizens of the Hundred Acre Wood, is simple. Christopher Robin, played by Ewan McGregor, has left Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood behind; first to boarding school, then to the Second World War, and finally to a struggling luggage company in London. Along the way he has built a family and become a workaholic. Robin is very much an adult now, and not a fun one. Pooh must step in to save Robin from himself.
    It is a straightforward premise, and Christopher Robin’s plot does not get any more sophisticated as it goes along. The inflection points — the obnoxious Woozel-like boss instructing Robin to miss a family holiday to focus on an imminent deadline, Pooh’s unintentional reemergence into Robin’s life, the rush to get Pooh home, and Robin’s gradual realisation of his misplaced priorities — are entirely foreseeable.
    But Christopher Robin never hangs its hat on its plot. The true delight of the film is in the innocently playful, sometimes melancholic, and always nostalgic interactions between Robin and Pooh. For instance, in Pooh’s game of “Say What You See”, which deeply frustrates Robin in his attempt to get work done on the train and is bound to be copied by mischievous younger viewers. Or when Pooh leads Robin back into the Hundred Acre Woods only for Robin to get stuck in the magical doorframe — a subversion of Pooh’s classic habit in previous literary and cinematic appearances of getting stuck, whether in Rabbit’s doorway or in the entrance to a beehive.
    These interactions are sure to make audiences chuckle; both those in the know about Pooh’s past adventures, and those who aren’t. Similarly delightful is watching Robin interact with a world he thought he had left behind for good — holding his nose and diving into a river that is now only up to his adult shins, or fighting an imaginary Heffalump to convince his plushy friends of his credentials. Eeyore, the depressed donkey, plunged the audience into hysterics over his morose and self-loathing commentary — but even he couldn’t help but smile as he saw adult Robin regain some of his childish wonder.
    Most surprising is the film’s extraordinary effectiveness in delivering a message which has been delivered a thousand times before — a carpe diem-esque plea to stop, smell the roses, and have fun just doing nothing. Jim Cummings, who has voiced Pooh since 1988, perfectly conveys Pooh’s innocent naïvete — making his platitudinal wisdoms deeply and unexpectedly compelling.
    The main target of those platitudes, Robin, is perfectly played by McGregor. He is convincing in his physical comedy, charming in his alternating exasperation and excitement at Pooh’s reemergence, and distressingly effective in his wistful interactions with his frustrated wife and disappointed daughter.
    Christopher Robin certainly has its shortcomings. It is gratuitous and ineffective in its use of overdone plot points, such as the tragedy which befalls young Robin at boarding school, which which the film never touches on again. It also makes little use of Hayley Atwell and Bronte Carmichael, who play Robin’s wife and daughter respectively, never developing their characters into anything more than cookie-cutter cliches.
    Yet the movie is shockingly, surprisingly, and satisfyingly moving. Robin and Pooh’s interplay, shown through beautiful cinematography that makes regular use of perfectly framed landscape shots of the Hundred Acre Woods, makes the journey toward the film’s inevitable conclusion deeply enjoyable.
    Christopher Robin is not a sophisticated film. Yet it still manages to evoke emotional reactions of all kinds — from euphoric nostalgia to tearful reflection. For that experience alone, it is worth watching.

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  • Kims Convenience

    Kim’s Convenience is a clever Canadian sitcom following the lives of a Korean Canadian family running their convenience store. The Kim family’s interactions with its diverse neighbourhood of customers is interwoven with family centric plotlines, where Umma and Appa try their best as immigrants to raise their children to have a better life than their own. It’s a hilarious and often heartfelt show. The convenience store setting is a perfect backdrop for this multicultural story.
    In a world of Asian side characters as nerds, lotus blossoms, kung fu masters, and dragon ladies, this show provides necessary relief for diasporic Asian audiences. It feels real, in a way that I have personally never seen on screen before. It is truly what we want when we ask for representation. Conceived by Korean Canadian author, Ins Choi, the plotlines and cultural nuances feel authentic and relatable rather than tokenistic or stereotyped. Umma’s insistence on feeding her children despite Jung not living at home, and her interference in Janet’s love life to find her a “cool Korean Christian boy”, coupled with Appa’s utter stubbornness to ever admit he actually cares, are undeniably relatable situations for many Asian and immigrant kids.
    The show is aware of itself and the society we live in. It acknowledges serious issues like racial profiling, privilege, and stereotyping in such an easily digestible way for a wider audience by poking fun at these issues, thus undermining their presence. There is a scene where two young Muslim girls enter the store in hijabs and another customer asks Appa how he can tell them apart. He prides himself in his ability: “it’s not hard, just have to care for customer”. The girls approach the other customer and admit “he gets it wrong 50% of the time, but he tries”. The show is filled with these wholesome and good natured interactions.
    For Asian diaspora living in Western countries, this show truly hits close to home. Plotlines about the reality of strict or overprotective parents are developed and even subverted throughout the series. As Asian kids, we eventually grow old enough to understand why our parents restricted us: they simply wanted what was best for us, and this understanding is apparent in Kim’s Convenience (no offence Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls).
    The character of Jung, who is estranged from his father due to going to juvie as a teen, and his struggle with the resentment he feels towards his parents, coupled with his efforts to shake his estrangement, is a unique and poignant choice. Jung’s character helps us second generation migrants understand our parents’ loving but frustrating reasons for restricting us socially in order for us to do better in schooling and have the kind of success that they couldn’t have.
    Beyond its importance in our current media landscape due to the utter dearth of Asian characters on screen, Kim’s Convenience nails the family sitcom in a way that our generation has never seen before. The whole cast shines with their comedic timing and authentic interactions, while representing an often unseen family unit that is universally relatable in its strengths and struggles, even here in New Zealand.
    This is a show wholly deserving of recognition. There is a feeling that Hollywood and mainstream media are ever so slowly beginning to change in their issues with representation of minorities, and Kim’s Convenience is pushing us forward. In an industry which has historically rewarded white people for portraying Asians over actual Asian actors, it is crucial that we recognise and celebrate a show like Kim’s Convenience, and strive to present more Asian stories on screen.
    Now streaming on Netflix with a third season on its way.

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  • Calypso

    Books by David Sedaris almost always contain what can probably be best described as “collections of personal essays”, and the latest of these was recently published under the title Calypso. Once again, he’s written what makes for a super funny (and yet also sad) book which reads in true Sedaris style. That is to say: Sedaris’ books are unique, and thereby kind of hard to define. He has reinvented the memoir game, in that these essays he writes often read as fiction, but the stories he tells are all (apparently) true and based on his everyday life.
    In one of the essays found in Calypso, Sedaris gets angry at a family member when she suggests that the day-to-day tales he recounts for the people around him are embellished. And while reading his books, it can sometimes be pretty easy to see where she comes from, as many of the scenarios he describes seem too bizarre to be entirely true (a solid example of this in Calypso being Sedaris’ account of a time where he fed a lipoma cut from his own body to a snapping turtle).
    But after reading a couple of his essays, one will probably start to find that Sedaris is just a bit of a weird guy, and reading his writing is fun because he doesn’t shy away from his idiosyncrasies. Calypso in particular is startlingly truthful in terms of Sedaris’ exposure of himself, whether concerning light-hearted matters or not (one of its taglines being: “it’s impossible to take a vacation from yourself”). This honesty and self-awareness makes Calypso really funny, occasionally dark, and moving – sometimes all at once.
    And in this way it is much the same as every other one of Sedaris’ books. The laughter mixed with sadness found in stories about his family, his travels, his bickering with his partner Hugh, and his constant use of self-deprecating humour can almost be put to a formula by this point. But this doesn’t make Calypso boring or unoriginal: one of Sedaris’ greatest gifts is his endless astute observation, not only of himself but of the world around him, and here he uses this ability to tell wonderfully insightful stories better than ever.
    In Calypso, these observations are, as always, largely fed by Sedaris’ close relationships with his siblings, but this time also by his purchase of a holiday house at the beach where they used to stay as children, by the current political climate in the U.S., by his getting older, and by his younger sister’s recent suicide. The chapters involving her can be really hard to read, as Sedaris unflinchingly discusses their strained relationship and her mental illness.
    So, if you’re interested in reading about topics including: eccentric families; the mixed feelings of disappointment and hope experienced by queer people and leftists in this hellish world; and the many interesting strangers Sedaris comes across and probes for detail – all as seen through his misanthropic yet somehow also affectionate view of the world – then Calypso is for you. Only David Sedaris can have you laughing out loud on one page (such as when he describes the lengths he goes to avoid spending too much quality time with his siblings when they come to visit) and in tears on the next (when he hugs their used sheets to his chest after they leave).

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  • Courtney Barnett – Wellington Opera House, 30/08/2018

    Performing at the sold-out Wellington Opera House, Courtney Barnett demonstrated her international success and experience: blending dreamy indie-rock with a punkier sludge, supplemented by plenty of energy and volume. The third and final show in the NZ leg of her international tour, Courtney rocked the venue for two hours, and left us wanting more.
    Since her Auckland Laneway festival performance in 2016, Courtney has received a received worldwide acclaim, including a Grammy nomination. Earlier this year she released her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel and it is clear she has matured sonically and performatively in the past three years. The new record’s shift to a darker, more anxious tone was well realized in performance, while the strengths of her debut, Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, remained with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and catchy jammy sound.
    The four-piece band was tight and versatile; dropping into a slow, psychedelic groove before launching into intense head pumping rock. Courtney’s voice was never lost under the band, which was impressive considering her spectrum, from sweet folkish singing to borderline screaming, and important given her witty and thought-provoking lyrics. Dressed in jeans and a white shirt, Courtney had the rare quality of seeming really down to earth but still super cool and talented. A highlight was her ripping solo during Small Poppies, contorting herself and the guitar around the stage with awesome energy.
    Chat was minimal between songs, with Courtney politely asking how we were enjoying it and thanking us for being an attentive audience. I would’ve liked to have seen Courtney in a stand-up venue — instead, those who wanted to get up and dance had to do with the side-aisles. Otherwise the Opera House served well, providing lots of space, sound, and good lighting.
    Reflected in the crowd’s mix of age-groups, there is a timelessness in Courtney’s music; grounded by her strong musical roots in folk and alternative rock alongside her genuine style and refreshing talent as a writer. Emerging to calls for an encore, Courtney did a beautiful solo cover of Gillian Welch’s “Everything Is Free”, captivating the audience. This is an artist who’ll be sticking around, so don’t worry if you missed her this time.

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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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