I think the easiest way to clarify thinking about VSM is to imagine that they were dominated by ACT on Campus and the Young Nats, instead of Young Labour, and that they protested and advocated for things those groups believed in. Asset sales. Mining in the conservation reserve. A flat tax.
Now how would you feel about being compelled to join that association and fund the political activities of all those young ACT and National student politicians? I'm guessing you'd feel pretty damn angry. And the ACT and National students would defend their associations with statements like, 'But we're advocates for students! We are societies conscience!' Would that change your mind about compulsory student unionism?
one service I can't see being easily replaced by institutions is that of student advocacy,
It won't be replaced by the institutions, but I predict we'll see pretty much the same people advocating on behalf of students after VSM as we do now.
My impression is that 'editorial resources' aren't particularly squeezed. Both big newspapers seem to have loads of editors, deputy editors, web editors, news editors etc. It's the actual journalists that are thin on the ground.
Armstrong occasionally writes some interesting stuff, but it has been clear for some time now he is completely besotted with Key at a personal level and all his irritating assumption he knows what voters think is complete tosh.
Armstrong just loves whoever is powerful. You should go back and read some of his columns back when Helen Clark was flying high in the polls - sycophantic doesn't even come close. And he gets really excited when politicians do crazy, irrational things - he thinks it shows 'strength'.
Only a few pages in, but I liked this quote from the introduction:
Military soldiers should not talk about soldiers dying to protect freedom and democracy on the battlefield if they are not prepared to defend those ideals when they brief politicians, take a call from a journalist or receive a request under the Official Information Act.
anyone who thought we sent the SAS there to help build houses is seriously deluded.
Did anyone think that? I really doubt it.
It reminds me of an interview I heard with Bart Ehrman, who's a biblical scholar based in the Southern US specialising in copying errors in the New Testament. And he gives talks to general audiences about translation errors and redactions and medieval additions to the gospels, and religious people in those audiences have various extreme reactions: they cry, or get angry or have crisis of faith or angrily denounce his work.
And then he gives the same lecture to priests of any denomination - who preach at the churches attended to by the very freaked out people in his lay audience - and they shrug and say, 'Yeah yeah yeah, we learned all of that stuff at seminary. So what?'
There was a similar response to the Hollow Men - which contained rather astonishing revelations about the marketing and funding of political parties, and journalists like Jane Clifton yawned and replied, 'But we ALL knew all that.'
Danyl, my Dad was about 23 when his first child was born, and 54 when the youngest was born. (1940-1970 in case you're wondering, were his years of childbearing). Because of his youthful spirit and joie de vivre, it was never a problem.
Youthful spirits and joie de vivre? Great - but how does that help me?
Sorry Russell - I didn't mean to derail the thread, even though it looks like that's exactly what I've done. My point was that telling a guy he's 'mansplaining' is analogous to telling a women she's 'being hysterical.'
Modern is a funny concept. The whole early 20th century hygiene movement technologised and dehumanised things in a big way, but it also brought infant and maternal mortality down a lot. Women in Queen Victoria's day, including the Queen herself, fought for the right for anaesthesia, which was opposed by many on the grounds that childbirth pain was Eve's punishment for eating the apple. Yet twilight sleep and ether, the only things available at the time, were risky and had bizarre side effects (twilight sleep kept you up and about but made you forget it all).
The twilight sleep episode of Mad Men (actually, all episodes of Mad Men) made me wonder how the next generation down the line will view our current culture and especially our approach to childbirth. What do we do that will seem absurd to them?
If I had to guess I'd pick the widespread late age of childbirth. I feel vaguely terrified that I'll be in my mid-50s by the time my child is a teenager.