ListsOctober 9, 2016

The best of The Spinoff this week


Compiling the best reading of the week from your friendly local website.

Tim Murphy: A final Pokarekare Ana and a punch in the air: post-mayoricide, Len Brown goes out on a high

“This is not a tabloid story, taking things out of context and boasting a headline like:

‘Sex Scandal Made Me a Better Mayor’ – Len Brown

But you could see how it could appear under that title.

For, in a more nuanced, reflective and brutally self-aware way, that is what Len Brown said, when we sat down for an exit interview this week to mark his retirement today from six years as head of this Super City and three years before that running Manukau.”

Hayden Donnell: Some key learnings from the Aaron Smith sex toilet scandal

2. People who film romantic experiences in public toilets are the very worst

Aaron Smith would’ve gotten away with his secret romance if it weren’t for a pair of self-appointed toilet sleuths. When two witnesses saw the halfback heading into the cubicle with a woman, they refused to do what most people would do and head to another stall. Instead they stood outside for 10 minutes with their young child, making a secret phone recording of All Black sex sounds, then handed the recording over to Stuff.”

Toby Manhire: If China is so bad, why would we want to build a wall like they’ve got, and other questions for Hillary and Donald


“Countries such as New Zealand and The Vatican have been plagued with violent Islamic rule, so it’s little wonder that Geraldo wants to know what you plan to do about it.”

The Spinoff: Spinoff Comics present: The Generation Game

‘It’s always been challenging for young people to buy a house,’ says John Key – but how true is that? Using historical and contemporary data, and with the help of comics artist Michel Mulipola, we look at the experience of two generations of the same family in their quest to own a home.

Josh Drummond: The time Colin Craig threatened to sue me, and why I’m not thrilled by his defeat

“Not long after the piece went to print I got a phone call from a person at the Waikato Times. Colin Craig’s solicitors had sent a legal letter alleging defamation in the piece. The argument was, broadly, that I had said that Colin opposed homosexual marriage for religious reasons. He said that he did not. Rather, he opposed it for scientific reasons.”

Steve Braunias: The journalist and the liar: Steve Braunias on journalism’s fear of fiction

“There are the occasional spectacular cases where a journalist has knowingly and deliberately made shit up. Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair were busted for their respective falsehoods at the New Republic and New York Times. John Manukia was sacked by the Herald on Sunday in 2005 for writing a story based on an interview that never happened. All were guilty of the gravest sin in journalism: imagination. A kind of dark thrill surrounds their work; they tore up journalism’s contract, they ran free, they were demonic. Actually they were just liars.”

Moata Tamaira: How did Christchurch become Parks and Recreation’s Pawnee? A Spinoff Investigation

“Once upon a time the best you could hope for in terms of pop culture references to Christchurch were some Exponents lyrics or a snarky “Crimechurch” jab during an episode of Outrageous Fortune. But no longer.

For now, thanks to the Internet and Amy Poehler, Christchurch’s claim to fame (other than earthquakes) is that we are map-twins with Pawnee, Indiana, the setting of one of the best sitcoms ever made, Parks and Recreation.


Toby Manhire: The Uncountables: NZ can’t set a target on child poverty, unlike just about everything else

“‘It sounds airy-fairy but it’s the advice we get.’

That was the prime minister this morning on RNZ Morning Report, in response to questions from Guyon Espiner over the government refusal to set a target for reducing child poverty. Unlike the predator-free New Zealand or smoke-free targets, said John Key, the issue of child poverty was not so “binary” and therefore not so objectively measurable, something-something, advice they get, something-something.”

Hayden Donnell: An emotional salute to the suffering heroes of the Colin Craig jury

“It could have been any of us in that dour courtroom, withering away under a barrage of increasingly harrowing testimony. The jurors were selected from a potential pool of every adult in Auckland. Whittled down through a process of legal selection. By the end seven men and five women remained.

One man left almost immediately. The rest stayed to suffer.”



Ethan Sills: Holy Double Standards, Batman! Examining the false diversity in modern comics

“The big question is whether there’s actually any hope for comics as a genre. When you look at it, elements of conservatism and peddling to straight male interests run throughout the eighty-year history of Marvel and DC. Comics are essentially stories of spandex-clad Adonises generally doing the ‘right thing’: saving the day, rescuing civilians, defending the world (though mostly New York) from ‘bad guys’, whoever that may be.”

Keep going!