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Issue 23, 2018

Issue 23, Vol 81: Confessions Part III

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News

  • Updates on Kylie Jenner’s Baby

  • Daylight Savings, Level Up

  • Bird of the Year 2018: What’s the Pecking Order?

  • The Hypocrisy of the Older Generations

  • Residential Advisors to Receive More Training and Support in 2019

  • NZUSA Sells Office, Escapes Debt

  • Prison Laundry: Spin Cycle Over

  • We’re Here, We’re Queer, and the Uni (Finally) Cares

  • Hardship Fund is LGBTQIA+ Inclusive

  • Features

  • Bad Memes is Closing Down

    As I am held at gunpoint forced by both Bad Memes and Salient to write this article, all I can say is one thing: Bad Memes for Suffering Victoria University Teens is, was, and will always be, an absolute shit show. That isn’t a new concept, or even particularly interesting or surprising, all things considered. […]

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  • The Fine Line of Cultural Appropriation

    I grew up worshipping a Hindu God called Lord Ganesha. He’s commonly known as “the one with the elephant head”. When I was four, I watched my father and others from our community build a temple to him from scratch, and spent many hours praying there throughout my childhood years. I learned his significance in […]

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  • Why I Gotta Be Misogynistic Every Time We Kick It

    My phone was connected to the bluetooth speaker in the kitchen playing the new Cozy Tapes Vol. II over the sound of a boiling kettle. I don’t often take in all the lyrics from A$AP Mob. They don’t deliver any Deltron 3030 or Kendrick Lamar lyricism that I have to dissect for weeks in between […]

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  • Bad Memes is Closing Down

    As I am held at gunpoint forced by both Bad Memes and Salient to write this article, all I can say is one thing: Bad Memes for Suffering Victoria University Teens is, was, and will always be, an absolute shit show. That isn’t a new concept, or even particularly interesting or surprising, all things considered. […]

    by

  • The Fine Line of Cultural Appropriation

    I grew up worshipping a Hindu God called Lord Ganesha. He’s commonly known as “the one with the elephant head”. When I was four, I watched my father and others from our community build a temple to him from scratch, and spent many hours praying there throughout my childhood years. I learned his significance in […]

    by

  • Why I Gotta Be Misogynistic Every Time We Kick It

    My phone was connected to the bluetooth speaker in the kitchen playing the new Cozy Tapes Vol. II over the sound of a boiling kettle. I don’t often take in all the lyrics from A$AP Mob. They don’t deliver any Deltron 3030 or Kendrick Lamar lyricism that I have to dissect for weeks in between […]

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  • Arts and Science

  • Quick Reads to Get You Through the End of Trimester

    It’s getting to that point of the trimester when there’ll be at least one person crying to their parents on the phone whenever you’re in the library. Kia kaha, my friends — we’re so close to the finish line. Reading is a far superior stress coping mechanism than tagging your friends in Bad Memes for Suffering Teens (although I wouldn’t oppose a mixed-methods approach). Not only does it offer a way to counteract your increasingly bleak moods, but ~science~ has also shown that reading is an ideal study-break activity — apparently it keeps your brain at an ideal level of stimulation to maintain productivity. Having said that, no one has time to embark on a 400 page novel when they have 3 assignments to hand in on the same day. So here, I present to you, a list of short-but-sweet texts that’ll keep your mind sharp and your heart full during the hand-in-period-hustle.
    How to Find Fulfilling Work, by Roman Krznaric
    Are you nearing the end of your degree, and becoming increasingly existential about your career options? This text is part of The School of Life book series, which invites academics to write short books on topics that should have been taught in high school. Titles range from How to Be a Leader to How to Think More About Sex, and they’re some of the few self-help books which draw from credible academic sources and offer up genuine substance. How to Find Fulfilling Work discusses the changing nature of the modern workforce, and the various ways that employees can make it fit for them. Portfolio careers, freelancing, starting your own business – there are heaps of alternatives to the 40 hour work week our parents know. Give it a read, and chill out about finding your dream job straight out of uni. It’s a process.

    Ko Taranaki Te Maunga, by Rachel Buchanan
    Everyone loves a book from the BWB text series. They’re ideal for learning just enough about a topic that you could discuss it over a glass of wine, but not enough to articulate it after 7 standard drinks. Ko Taranaki Te Maunga tells the story of the battle of Parihaka, which is an event that every New Zealander has a duty to know about, really. The battle is increasingly seen as a symbol of our insidious colonial history. The Taranaki village of Parihaka was founded in the 1860s in order to peacefully resist Māori land confiscation, acting as home for up to 2000 displaced Māori. In 1881 thousands of British troops invaded the village in an attempt to quell its protest campaigns, pillaging it so violently that the event was suppressed from Government records for many years. It’s time to remember Parihaka.
    Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
    Persepolis is a memoir in the form of a graphic novel, portraying a woman’s journey through childhood amid political struggle during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The arresting illustrations marry with Satrapi’s subtle and emotive command of language to produce a deeply thought-provoking text. If you’re interested in Middle Eastern politics but find them hard to get your head around, this book uses a human story to explain the complexities in simpler terms. Persepolis has won multiple awards for its role in challenging authority and offering up a counter-narrative to the passive way that Middle Eastern women are portrayed in Western media. It’s pretty badass.

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  • Room 25

    Generally by September/October, I feel like the race for Album of the Year has usually run its course. Yet, every year without fail, some phenomenal project will pop up and complicate my list. Noname — of the flourishing Chicago scene, and collaborator of Chance the Rapper, Saba, Smino, and more – is one of my favourite rappers anywhere. Her 2016 mixtape, Telefone, should be considered in the canon of great hip-hop albums of the last few years and, in a way, it came to define a certain part of my university experience. She exuded charisma, humour, and a sharp turn-of-phrase – likely emanating from her previous work as a poet.
    Room 25 moves away from the sunny vibes of Telefone in favour of darker, jazz/neo-soul arrangements, while maintaining and building upon Noname’s engagement with prevalent issues in society. “Self” opens the album, as Noname questions criticism of her rapping ability and discusses feminism in rap. “Blaxploitation” showcases Noname’s wit, and the heartbreaking neo-soul cut “Don’t Forget About Me” is a touching contemplation on mortality and legacy, where Noname spits, fittingly, over a D’Angelo-esque instrumental.
    “Ace” serves as the posse cut on Room 25 – a tradition following on from Telefone standout “Shadow Man” – and, for me, it’s probably the stand-out track again. Here, the dream team from that first cut (Saba and Smino) returns, and again showcase everything they have to offer. Smino’s sung hook is catchy and befits the general mood of the record well, and I think his sung-rap style is hugely unique and captivating – I don’t think there’s anyone out there that sounds like him. Noname’s verse follows, and again features some of the stronger lines on the album (“And globalization is scary and f**kin’ is fantastic / And frankly I find it funny that Morgan is still actin’”). Saba finishes the song, and absolutely bodies his verse. Flow-wise, Saba could go toe-to-toe with any rapper around currently (I don’t think that’s too hyperbolic).

    Particularly in the second half of the verse, Saba’s speed and charismatic delivery really steal the show. One of this album’s strengths, and where it builds from Telefone, is in its musical strength — often Telefone worked as a poetic piece with mood music, whereas Room 25 is more expansive and technical as a musical whole. Noname’s rapping ability has really tidied up – OCD rhythm-inclined listeners will be happier with the incorporation of polyrhythms alongside her reliably complex rhyme schemes. They seem to co-exist alongside Noname’s slam-poet esque style of rapping – a style which dominated the first mixtape.
    In addition, Noname has built on her engagement with politics and gender issues on this record in an organic, vital, and topical way. I think Room 25 is an incredible work – funny, charismatic, sharp, and heart-wrenching in equal measure. If you haven’t heard Noname’s music yet, I urge you to get on board now – I think she’s well on her way to becoming one of the most adored names in rap. She’s much more than the “anti-Cardi B”, as Twitter would have it. She’s exactly the sort of voice and personality that all sorts of listeners can get behind. Awesome record.

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  • American Vandal Season 2: The Shit Show That is Anything But(t)

    “There were two types of different poop. One was kind of a clay mixture that was used in the re-enactments (…) then for the cell phone footage of the brownout and stuff like that, it was a conversation with our production designer where we looked at different types of poop on the Bristol scale, some more runny than others, and we picked kind of a variety.” –Tony Yacenda, programme creator

    (don’t google the Bristol scale).
    Who would’ve thought the mockumentary about graffitied penises would end up being one of the most creative and well thought out Netflix shows of 2017?
    It’s hard not to sound stupid when calling American Vandal a masterpiece to someone who hasn’t seen it, but in reality it’s one of the smartest shows out there. At its core, the first season was an emotional story of one man and his quest for innocence, told by found-footage Snapchats and NSFW 3D graphics. It had everyone shouting at their screens with the agonised call of “who drew the dicks?!”, leaving Season Two with a lot to live up to – and holy shit, it might even be better.
    Who is The Turd Burglar?
    A question that haunted me for the whole three days it took to binge the second season (pacing myself, of course). This time, the story focuses on a Catholic School in Washington that is being plagued by a prankster with a passion for poop. After the cafeteria lemonade is contaminated with laxatives, causing “The Brownout”, the AV crew is called out to solve the case. Over the course of eight episodes, Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) and Sam Ecklund (Griffin Gluck – which is honestly a great name that they should have just let him use) get to work on identifying the vandal.
    Over anything else, American Vandal is a comedy, and it shows. The first half of the season is definitely more laugh-heavy, with one-liners delivered in deadpan pieces to camera by “students” with great names and even funnier stories. The commitment to the ludicrous nature of the situation is awe-inspiring, as is the seriousness with which the characters take the case, often causing viewers to have to remind themselves that what they’re watching isn’t real. One thing lacking is the presence of an emotional investment in the story from the documentarians: whereas Peter and Sam were directly linked to the scandal at Hanover High, here they are outsiders brought along for their skill. The repercussions they faced towards the end of the first season for the trauma they had caused their classmates was a highlight of the series, but a change was needed, and their separation contributes to Season Two’s overall much darker story.
    As the episodes go on, it becomes clear that The Turd Burglar is a much more serious criminal than the Dick-Drawer (yes, it does feel silly writing that). This season isn’t afraid to confront society and goes balls to the wall (no pun intended) with the level of detail used in deconstructing it. The characters featured all have social media presences and are some of the most accurate teen representations in the media right now. With the acknowledgement of Netflix as a funder, the show takes on the full tropes of the true crime genre – using re-enactments and field experts as interviewees. From analysing language use to emoji choices, Peter and Sam take no shit (pun fully intended) in their investigation.
    The season concludes as a powerful commentary on how social media is used nowadays, forcing you to confront the part you play in the online sphere. It is an exposé disguised as a barrel of laughs, that manages to leave you reflecting on your role in society more so than any “real” documentary has achieved in recent years.

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  • Reviewing a Film I’ve Never Seen Before

    Three days after I was born a witch cursed me and said, “If you ever watch an Adam Sandler film, you’ll fail all your university exams.” I’ve never watched one, and I’ve never failed. See, it works!
    (The miniscule amount of uni exams I have had over the years may or may not have something to do with that.)
    Pixels is a film that came out in 2015. It was a defining moment of my university life, if I’m honest — my friend won tickets to it from VUWSA, tried to make me go see with her and I refused.
    Sometimes I wonder if my life would have been better if I’d gone to that film screening.

    Somehow I doubt it.
    Pixels is yet another one of Adam Sandler’s ensemble movies. He gets a bunch of his mates together, makes up some bullshit, sells it to theatres, and everyone hates it.

    I think.
    I don’t know — I’ve not actually seen this movie. I have, however, watched CinemaSins’ Everything Wrong With Pixels more than 10 times, so I’m basically an expert in the subject.
    Adam Sandler’s character — whose name doesn’t matter — is a Gamer Boy as a child, and loses a Massive Important Gaming Competition to another Gamer Boy. This defeat sticks with him for at least thirty years.
    Thirty years later, there’s some conflict. I believe aliens come down to earth and issue a Gaming Challenge — or something like that. Adam Sandler and a bunch of his mates: including Kevin James (who plays the literal president of the US), and Peter Dinklage (being a total effing Chad) must beat the aliens at their own game to get them to go away.
    Adam Sandler saving the world, huh? I’ve not seen someone so un-suited for their job since Trump became president.
    There’s also sexism, awkward comic machismo, and all the Sandler-esque nonsense that one could ever want. It reinforces all of the stereotypes about gamers that you hate while not even attempting to subvert the tropes we know so well.
    As I said above, I’ve not actually seen this film, but I do know that Josh Gad hooks up — and has babies — with Q*bert. The video game character. From 1982. I’ve not SEEN this film and I know that.
    What an impact on the cultural consciousness this piece has made, eh?
    I could live without that thought in my head, to be honest.
    It’s been described by many as one of the worst films of all time. I’d politely like to direct those critics to the wonder that is Birdemic — and all of Netflix’s shitty sci-fi/horrors — before passing judgment, but I do understand their complaints.
    I doubt Pixels is a good film — or even, a passable film — but at least it’s still a film.
    Some people don’t even get that far. A lot of creators set out to make a movie and can’t find distribution, or don’t even make it past the scripting stage.
    Is mocking films like this punching down? Are film critics just beating a dead horse? Should we just let Sandler fade into obscurity?
    I don’t know.

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  • Interview With the Asian Law Students’ Association

    Nathan Tse is a fourth year law student who is the current president of the Asian Law Student’s Association. This year ALSA launched a student-run podcast.
    For those not in the know, what is ALSA? Who are you guys and what do you do?
    The Asian Law Students’ Association (ALSA) is a law faculty student representative group with the aim of providing a friendly and inclusive support network for students of a shared cultural background. The fact is that the legal profession is a historically white, male institution — meaning that not only is law school an intimidating environment, but there are very few networks for minority groups to use. We’ve been around since 2014, when we were first registered as a club at VUW and are developing new initiatives each year. Currently we host a range of social events, educational workshops, career and speaker events.
    How did the ALSA podcast start, what sparked the idea?
    Over the summer I was brainstorming about things ALSA could introduce next year. I had been really keen on ALSA producing content to raise awareness about the group. Originally I thought this would involve something like ALSA members writing opinion pieces about racial identity or something similar. At a similar time my sister and her boyfriend had just started producing their own podcast , The Tony Club — a podcast reviewing past winners of the Tony Awards. Something clicked and I realised there was no VUW law school podcast and this could be something ALSA could introduce this year. I posed the idea to the rest of the incoming ALSA executive and no one was totally against it, so we went online, bought a Blue Yeti microphone and the rest is history!
    Could you give a run-down of the podcast content?
    The ALSA podcast, albeit produced by ALSA, is targeted at ALL law students — whether part of ALSA or not. Although we may tackle issues to do with race and identity — the podcast should be relevant for most law students at VUW law school.

    We have four different podcast series:
    Prima Facie
    Prima Facie is a (roughly) 5-min podcast that summarises upcoming law school events and local political and legal news. The podcast is released weekly, with an episode coming out every Monday.
    LAWS One-to-One
    LAWS One-to-One is ALSA’s interview series, where an ALSA member interviews someone who VUW law students would be interested in hearing from. The podcast aims to be around 15 – 30mins. Interviewees include Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party MP and Māmari Stephens, Senior Lecturer at VUW Law School.
    Lex Talk About It
    Lex Talk About It is ALSA’s discussion panel series. The purpose of this podcast is to record interesting discussions around pertinent issues that law students may be interested in. For instance we have produced a Women In Law discussion panel featuring female leaders from Ngā Rangahautira, the Pasifika Law Students’ Society, VUWFLS (Feminist Law Society) and VUWLSS.

    The Respondent

    The Respondent is a longer (40-60min) well-researched, investigative podcast where ALSA members research and present findings on a broader topic to do with law school or the legal profession.
    What has been the most rewarding part of creating the podcast?
    The most rewarding part of creating the podcast is seeing (hearing) the final product up on SoundCloud! I am extremely proud of the ALSA executive to have put 22 episodes of Prima Facie out this year — one for each week of teaching. The interviews have been very popular and I am very thankful that we have had the talented Jack Liang as our go-to interviewer for our LAWS One-to-One series. Hearing positive feedback from those who have listened to the interviews and having the likes of Golriz Ghahraman share our podcast on her FB page was a very rewarding experience.
    What do you think is unique/ important about the ALSA perspective?
    Although the podcast is targeted to all law students, ALSA has the luxury of shaping the narratives that are told. We will often highlight issues to do with immigration, race, and representation in our episodes of Prima Facie. Likewise the interviews taken as a part of LAWS One-to-One have (so far) always involved questions about race or identity. I think it is necessary to expose all law students to these sorts of issues, whether from a minority group or not. The more discourse there is around the experiences of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, the more understanding and empathetic people will become.
    What has been the most challenging part of the process?
    Running four different podcast series has been challenging to fit in around our own study schedules. It has been particularly difficult to get the research and interviews done for our longer podcast series, The Respondent, which itself has required a team of 9 people. We have addressed this issue directly by creating a new Podcast Manager role to our ALSA executive. Maintaining a strong listener-base has been difficult for Prima Facie, as the novelty of the podcast has worn off over time. However we have a number of loyal listeners that still tune in every week!

    What do you think sets podcasts apart as a medium?
    Podcasts are great because they can be interesting and informative, yet not onerous in that you do not have to dedicate all your focus to the podcast when listening to it. You can easily listen to a podcast on your bus ride to uni without dedicating any more time out of your day. Podcasts are also awesome because anyone with a microphone and a laptop can make one!
    Are there any exciting ALSA podcast episodes in the works that you’d like to shout out? (or are there any previous episodes that you’d recommend in particular)?
    Currently a group of ALSA members are working on a new episode of The Respondent, titled “Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Profession”. This will be a really interesting investigative piece, and has involved interviewing a partner at Chapman Tripp, a solicitor at tech law firm Simmonds Stewart, a senior AI and the law professor at Auckland University and the Dean of VUW Law School Mark Hickford.
    Any general advice about starting a podcast from the ALSA podcast team?
    Find a team of people who are committed and passionate about the cause and everything will flow from there!
    The ALSA podcast can be found on iTunes and SoundCloud (“Vuw Alsa”). To find out more about ALSA or get involved, head to their Facebook page, “VUW ALSA 2018”.

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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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