Posts by Tze Ming Mok

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  • Hard News: Launching into raunch,

    that was sort of the upshot of the story

    Indeed, the Sunday Star-Times was unable to articulate a satisfying feminist theoretical analysis of why it thought this was all kinda freaky. I don't expect much inductive feminist "political meaning" coming out of the SST. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Maybe what you meant was that actual feminist theorists with something to say about contemporary culture seem increasingly underground, because domininant media voices pretty much just mock them when they say perfectly obvious things like: 'Sportscafe is kinda dumb and sexist.'

    As for saying "I don't buy either extreme of the argument" - yes, the reality is "prosaic" and variegated. That does not mean that the reality (of both porn and public sexualisation of women) is not deeply and inextricably embedded in power relations - and all power relations need to be analysed and challenged. Eliminating that analysis through characterising it as either side of an unrepresentative political-theoretic 'extreme' [yes! porn/bikini waxing empowers! no! porn/bikini waxing exploits!], and relegating everyday manifestations of capitalism appropriating our mammary ducts to the 'trivial', doesn't do women any favours at all.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Launching into raunch,

    But I'm not sure the whole thing answers to a classic feminist critique either. Perhaps we shouldn't be looking for political meaning in scantily-clad promo girls because perhaps there isn't much of it to speak of.

    Hmm... if you are seriously implying that there is no political meaning (or point in finding political meaning) in the use of mostly-naked female bodies to sell consumer products (whereas using babies bodies to do the same is bad, m'kay, because you, like, had babies once, but not girl babies...) well, that's pretty bizarre, coming from someone who spent all that time in that emasculating feminist squat in radical 80s London.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'classic feminist critique' either... something along the lines of...

    Classic (liberal?) feminist critique: this will all be fine as long as equal numbers of men in the Burger King workplace are also paid $12.50 an hour to parade in jockstraps, getting grease-burns and sexual harassment from customers. Until then, it does nothing for the gender-pay gap or workplace equality audit.

    Classic (Radical Marxist?) feminist critique: Perpetuating the commodification of women's bodies is dehumanising. Girlfriends need to join the union and charge a helluva lot more to be sexually commodified.

    Classic (actual old-skool Critical Theory style Third Wave rather than weird shallow history-less Third Wave?) feminist critique: There is no kicky sexualised emancipation in earning $12.50 an hour to be a Burger King bikini girl. Girlfriends would be in more control stripping, and would definitely earn more. If girlfriends were really serious about not being pawns of the fascist patriarchy but still committed to getting their emancipatory Third Wave gear off, girlfriends should set up own independent feminist porn studio collective with fantastic health insurance, daycare, and an ethical investment plan; but not kid themselves that the rest of the industry is like that, no matter how much Russell hearts Suicide Girls (um, ew). Also, Britney, get your shit together - you are not in control anymore and you are embarrassing us, and Madonna.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Auckland Earthquake - Some Mistake Surely?,

    Was in De Post Mt Eden catching up with a mate who had been working on the Global Witness Blood Diamonds campaign for several years as the civil society rep on the Kimberly Process policy negotiations. We were trying to figure out whether some political process are so completely dominated by corporate interests that there is literally no difference to be made in engaging with policy and institutional power structures, even if it sounds very impressive to be the civil society representative for the Kimberly Process policy negotiations. Mobile rang. Dad in Mt Roskill: "Ming! Did you feel the earthquake?" Me: "...No?"

    All the neighbours came out onto the street, apparently, and they all gossiped for ages. It was big in Mt Roskill.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Yellow Peril: Oink,

    I don't know what I did to deserve this thread... oh that's right, I called Che a 'big cracker'! This must be his bleached flour-based revenge.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • The Edmund Hillary 'Kiwi Kids' Weetbix ad,

    What bugged me was the stereotypical Englishmen - Hilary was on a British expedition, and flew the Union Flag!

    He sure did. I thought I'd leave the English to be bugged by that!

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • The Edmund Hillary 'Kiwi Kids' Weetbix ad,

    The sound is a bit crap, but you probably remember all the dialogue anyway. "Where I come from Tenzing, there's no such word as asumpowtcha!"

    Any Nepali speakers able to verify that?

    When my dad was a kid in Malaysia, his Indian schoolteachers always made the usual unsubtle postcolonising inferences that Tenzing had made it to the top before Hillary, or that he had to step aside at the last few feet for the white man, but that revealing the truth would of course would have led to the fall of the British Empire.

    It fell anyway.

    True or not, this ad, although uncompromisingly adorable, grated a little on my SEAsian postcolonial dad, in its portrayal of Sherpa Tenzing as being terrified of the journey and wanting to turn back.

    Our heart may be with Hillary in this canonical narrative, but some of us are always going to be wishing better times for that generically brown kid symbolising the sidekick tag-along of the postcolonial partnership.

    You'd be hard pressed to find a more stirring and representative slice of this classic form of New Zealand nationalism though. My brother still eats Weetbix daily; it's always kind of made me gag a little.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: You are what you eat,

    The way I see it is that New Zealand has a bunch of stores that sell international varieties of food, gadgets or housewares. We happily buy them, we display them, we talk about them, and we use them to demonstrate how global and hip we are, but underneath the veneer is the same old monoculture.

    Now before I go getting any hackles up, how many of you reading this speak a language other than English? How many of you have lived in a non-English-speaking country for more than a trip to 'see the sights'.

    uh... 我? (moi?)

    20%+ of Auckland and *at least* 30%+ of Auckland respectively? I take your point - Auckland (and Wellington) are a bit crappier than Melbourne in terms of 'mainstreamed' multiculturalism, but I think your comment says more about the readership and System-participation base of Public Address who you're writing for (the assumed monocultural 'we' in your blogpost, which obviously includes 'you', you big cracker, but doesn't include... me?) than whether the population of Auckland is 'monocultural'. You're the expert on whether Pakeha or white Australians are more deeply or shallowly 'multicultural' than each other... but I think rather a lot of people here don't buy 'international' food to prove how global and hip 'we' are. We buy it because that's our food. You big cracker.

    Disclaimer: Che Tibby has repeatedly referred to himself on his own blog as a "big cracker". Use of the epithet "big cracker" to describe Mr Tibby is cross-referentially ironic and not intended to offend.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Yellow Peril: The thing you can't stand on.,

    D'oh! An oversight - yep, I like that one too. And of course Daniel Malone's one is difficult to draw... Malone's is interesting in that it keeps the Union Jack in an acknowledgement of the original Treaty partnership. Some Maori, ten, fifteen years ago, were interested in preserving a visual representation of that - although I'm sure plenty of younger ones today, and republicans, wouldn't care for it that much. And I think plenty of Pakeha probably resent having to be reminded that their ancestors are from somewhere other than here... as implied by The Pakeha Identity Thread That Would Not Die.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: E Tu, Bill?,

    I understand that the Foreshore and Seabed Act does make provision for judicial determination of customary rights to the foreshore and seabed.

    Stephen is right; the FSA 'foreclosed any further exploration on that front.' It removed the common law rights of Maori to seek declarations of customary title to the foreshore and seabed in the Maori Land court, providing a different system to seek “territorial customary rights” and “customary rights orders”, which are about customary use of land, which are not equal to property rights. Customary title implies ownership.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bob each way,

    I never visited Mad Ave, but I increasingly get the impression that comparisons between it and McGehan Close are preposterous. The major reason for its namecheck seems to be that it is in Helen Clark's electorate.

    I only mentioned Mad Ave as part of a joke - I agree, they don't compare well at all, and any actual comparison does a real disservice to the proactive and positive community forces at work in Owairaka.

    But yep, as pointed out by dc_red, Owairaka may be indisputably cradled in the armpit of Mt Albert, but McGehan Close itself is part of the all-devouring Roskill electorate (we used to be a *borough*, knowwaddi'msayin?). Owairaka was the name of Helen Clark's electorate in the random re-drawing/gerrymander(?) of 1996 which 'disappeared' both Mt Albert and Mt Roskill, possibly just to annoy her and Phil Goff. So perhaps Key got a little confused in the attempt to find the rot at the heart of Red Territory, or maybe just got lost on the way to his South Auckland of the Mind.

    Ultimately though, Roskill & Mt Albert are the Red Belt for the same reasons as South Auckland is - because of lower middle and working class non white people looking out for their interests. Forgetting the ludicrous plays of the PR war, and the race to find the next 'worst street in the country', there's nothing misleading about residents pointing at a street in the neighbourhood and saying - 'well it's a bit crap here actually. Civilisation isn't collapsing or anything, but we could do better. Isn't that why we vote Labour?' Of course, I doubt they're so stupid as to think the National Party is going to offer them anything better (selling the backs of their babies heads for corporate sponsorship space to pay for their breakfast perhaps?).

    But hell, I've just seen I/S on norightturn defending the Labour Party's poverty figures against National, despite when the Social Report came out last year, him leaping on the same rise in the 'extreme poverty' figure that Key is weilding, and bashing Labour round the head with it (as did I in the SST). I'm actually fairly pleased with this week's 'work for dole'/'underclass' punts by the Maori Party and National, because at least it's bringing these issues to the fore for (if we're lucky) parties to compete over on policy points. Maybe it'll make Labour try harder. We can only hope.

    SarfBank, Lunnin' • Since Nov 2006 • 133 posts Report Reply

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