Posts by Andre Alessi

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  • Hard News: The March for Democracy,

    A broad-church approach to grievance and the vilification of elected leaders are also, of course, hallmarks of the "tea party" movement in the US.

    That's actually quite an interesting comparison. I'd never really thought what teabagging would look like Kiwi-style (unfortunate mental image most definitely not intended!) but it does appear it looks like a bunch of disgruntled but polite people with vague disaffections towards "politicians" and "bureaucrats" for the most part.

    I first heard of the march from a poster up in the staff tearoom here, and read it twice trying to figure out where the reason for the march was hidden (answer: nowhere.) I was particularly amused to hear two coworkers discuss the matter-a 40-something Pakeha fellow regaling his Chinese friend about how NZ democracy was "a sham", only to be shot down by, "What are you talking about? I haven't been shot or teargassed by the police once since I arrived here!"

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: I'll Take Actium and Trafalgar,

    Funny, I've often had the same "media attention is aggro" thought in the past, usually about people I personally disagree with, but see the value of their viewpoint to the wider debate.

    With that in mind, I guess talkback punters and Stuff commenters are the trash mobs of political discourse. They aren't important enough to spend time on except that they prevent you from getting at the bosses.

    Which is why nobody I'm aware of is criticising the BDO's right to determine their own content by "disinviting" Beenie Manl.

    But unlike Charles Chauvel, I don't think we should be restricting anyone's ability to enter New Zealand because he (or the Immigration Minister) doesn't like what the person concerned says. IMO, that's setting up all kinds of slippery slopes I'd rather not cede to the government, no matter what colour rosette it happens to be wearing.

    This is very much where I sit on this situation, too. I am friends with one of the other instigators of the campaign for the BDO to withdraw their invitation to Beanie Man, and the line I draw is between his right to enter the country regardless of his views and his promotion by a music festival I feel a personal connection with.

    Oh, and slightly off topic, but my girlfriend has belatedly discovered WOW. I got her into LOTRO (via Oblivion and Guild Wars) which she still loves and has played with me for well over a year now, but she's finally seeing what a polished product Blizzard put out and loving it.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: “Thank you, you’ve been a…,

    That pitchfork again? Or was that a different thread?

    Completely different. This was a salad fork. I don't know where that sits on the rock'n'roll scale, but I imagine it'd be quite low down.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: “Thank you, you’ve been a…,

    I don't think I've ever been to a gig that was actually, genuinely too loud. However, in my younger, wilder days, I did seem to fairly consistently allow myself to be shunted towards the speaker stacks. Probably a function of my inherent politeness, I can't mosh because I have to apologise and move out of the way every time I come into contact with anyone, no matter how lightly.

    I remember in particular an orientation week gig at VUWSA in '95 (Law Students' toga party, if I remember correctly) where I was deafened in one ear for a week after having myself pushed up against the stack while South Side of Bombay performed the extended version of "What's the Time Mr Wolf?". A similar thing happened a couple of years ago at the Mars Volta's set at the BDO.

    Most of the concerts I've been to have had extremely well behaved crowds, come to think of it. Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie tour stands out as being an absolute highlight for me-thousands of hyped up, happy people lapping it up, and a band that seemed to be doing the same (even when the Supertop leaked and dripped on top of Jimmy Chamberlin.) About the only "rowdy" part of the night was a guy standing next to me with a fork (why a fork? I have no idea) as the person in front of fell backwards into him. Very minor injuries resulted, but all was dealt with in good humour-although I distinctly remember reports of a "stabbing" in the Herald at the concert days later. I always wondered if they'd been talking about the forking.

    Funnily enough, a Shihad gig during the Fish album tour at the Powerstation was the only time I ever found myself in physically hurt at a concert-a guy who wanted to go crowd surfing decided to jump up without warning anyone and kneed me in the nose. We laughed about it afterwards...

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Unusual Democracy,

    Russell Brown wrote:

    Lisa Lewis's vision of mass bikini-streaks just sounds idiotic and tedious.

    I don't know. I'd have to see a few myself to make that call.

    It's interesting that the term "election fraud" in the States can mean two vastly different things. You have the questionable outcomes and inherently partisan nature of the electoral machinery that results in outcomes that can't be trusted as being legitimate (even if they are, which is the sad thing.)

    Then you have all the individual voters prosecuted for "voter fraud" for things like registering to vote (but not actually voting) when one is ineligible, or electoral workers registering "ghost voters" (who are never actually going to go into a polling booth, obviously.)

    The former seems to be predominantly a Republican issue, while the latter is generally restricted to Democratic voters. And despite the first being reasonably able to significantly influence election outcomes while the second could never add more than a few thousand illegitimate votes nationwide, they both receive the same airtime, and the same emphasis, muddying the waters significantly.

    In fact, the current "Attorneygate" dramas swirling around AG Gonzales are fairly significantly tied up with investigations into the latter kind of fraud. Via TPM, there's a great rundown on the connection from McClatchy.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Stories: Life in Books,

    I had the good fortune to get an after school job working in the local library when I was at high school, so I read everything I could get my hands on.

    The one book that changed how I viewed books was Demian by Hermann Hesse when I was 16. I'd just begun to explore Jungian psychology and Gnosticism, and was going through my own teenage growing pains, so reading about another "special" youth (and don't we all think we're special at that stage?) also struggling with the works of Jung (and ultimately rejecting them as not going far enough in their mystical elements) was magical.

    In many ways, that was the first time I had been confronted with the idea that I could approach Jung critically, and take or leave the elements that didn't seem to make sense to me. It also opened me up to this idea of the "Western Mystery Tradition" (i.e. the occultism of the Golden Dawn and Crowley) as being a path of self-discovery and adventure.

    I've quite dramatically drifted away from all that over the years; I'm now a heartless atheist and materialist, and think that Jung is pretty silly. I went back to try and read it again a few years ago and ended up being sullenly disappointed. It all seems so trite and mannered, with such overtones of the Übermensch, that I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be that 16 year old who loved it so dearly. But yes, at the time I was reading it, I was in a dialogue with an author who understood where I was coming from like no other.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They faked those moon…,

    Paul Rowe wrote:

    But it is quite fun to call the Righties "fascists" and sit back to watch the righteous indignation fly.

    I had a rather "lively" discussion with a couple of American friends in the wake of the Don Imus hoohah about whether there was a word that would offend white people as much as the word "n*gger" offends black people.

    We pretty much all agreed the equivalent was "racist".

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They faked those moon…,

    Hadyn Green wrote:

    Why do people believe conspiracy theories?

    I often wonder if maybe it's actually a secret, stubborn hope that humanity in general isn't as dumb as it appears.

    Virtually every conspiracy theory requires the belief that the people involved are secret geniuses, manipulating current events and the media the way a chiropractor manipulates subluxions.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: They faked those moon…,

    Robyn Gallagher wrote:

    Don't let PA System become one of those forums.


    Oh come now, you get better at getting the first post the more you practice!

    We could always do what does and have "First post" filtered to "Boobies" and twelve hours added onto the timestamp of the post.

    Russell Brown wrote:

    Nice to see Mr Wishart's onto it.

    I must admit, I chuckled to see this:

    Or will we still be intoning 'there were no WMDs in Iraq' when the Islamic bomb goes off?

    I don't even know if that's a metaphor.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Aggregate me, baby!,

    Argh, sorry for the rant, I'm all hyper about seeing Dimmer and Jakob tonight.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 838 posts Report Reply

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