The best of The Spinoff this week

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website.

Emily Writes: What does a rapist look like?

“I have devoted so much of my life to working to dismantle this culture we live in where we victim blame and apologise for ‘good blokes’ who were just ‘not sure’ whether someone was consenting – and here I was, looking for answers when there were none. I was beginning the process of minimisation unintentionally. What kind of reaction would I have had if it wasn’t a clear case? I absolutely hope beyond anything I’d hold fast to my Believe Women stance, but would I?

I knew that I wanted to see a monster. This was a monstrous act. He must be a monster.

I realised the biggest fear isn’t the monster, it’s the dark. It’s not knowing. We think we can spot abhorrence. We think people who rape are evil. Because the idea that they’re our teachers, our doctors, our colleagues, our uncles, our friends … Well, it’s too much to think about isn’t it?”

Jihee Junn: The bizarro world of the very young, very rich Jake Millar

“Media company, tech platform, events organiser, content marketer – what exactly is Unfiltered? Any one of these could be an apt descriptor, and in fact, even Millar isn’t completely sure himself, admitting that “honestly, I’m still working it out”.

At first glance, Unfiltered’s vast and impressive range of video interviews gives the impression of a media company like ForbesWall Street Journal, or the NBR. And like a lot of modern media companies, one of the ways it makes money is by producing and distributing sponsored content on the side, which isn’t too dissimilar from what The Spinoff does with partner content or what NZME or Bauer do with sponsored pieces.

But Millar is adamant that what Unfiltered does is different, the difference being that none of the content Unfiltered produces is actually journalism. There’s no distinction between ‘advertorial’ or ‘editorial’ because in the Unfiltered universe, such concepts don’t exist. Journalistic principles simply don’t apply: if a subject doesn’t like something they’ll happily cut it out, and if they want to see questions in advance, they’ll gladly supply them.”

Madeleine Chapman: Praise Be: A definitive ranking of the best church bangers

God may have created all of his children in his image, but the same cannot be said for his hymns. Some church songs are good, some are bad, and some are absolute bangers. Madeleine Chapman ranks the best of them.

Emily Writes: Should summer school holidays be only four weeks?

“To suggest the fix for the problem of not being able to care for your children during school holidays is to just not have holidays is absurd. That’s like fixing a crack in a window by just smashing the window out. Children need as much time as they can have with their families, but families also need time with their kids.

Any parent who has seen their kid in the last week of school at the end of a year knows just how much children need a break from school. School is hard work for them. It’s exhausting – they are physically and emotionally going all day, five days a week. They’re learning so much – not just class skills, but social skills. They need downtime. They are shattered. And if they’re wrecked, imagine how teachers feel?”

Danyl Mclauchlan: Why a public vote is the wrong way to determine drug policy

“We seem to be entering a period of cultural reaction against the legalisation of cannabis. See, for example, Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker. Some of it feels hysterical; some of it reasonable. I think widespread availability of pot will cause a lot of harm but I think this because the drug is already widely available, despite its illegality, and thus already causing harm, and the harm is compounded by prohibition. Profits from sales of the drug go to criminal organisations who pay no tax while most of the costs – both of the drug’s harm and enforcement of the drug laws – are inflicted on poor and vulnerable communities who can least afford it. Meanwhile members of the middle-class – ie me when I was a kid – ignore the law and smoke it with basically no risk. But the more I think about it, the more I believe a referendum is the wrong direction for drug policy, and the wrong way of thinking about the problem.”

Toby Morris: Laneway in pictures: An illustrated review by Toby Morris

First rule of choosing a party costume is you’ve got to think through the whole event, not just getting a laugh when you show up. Will it stay on? Can you hold a drink? Can you sit down? Will the cheap polyester mean you sweat so much that you get so red and shiny that you look like the cooked boars they eat at the feasts in Asterix? (That caption should say ‘Sweaty banana boys’. Whose thumb is that blocking it?)

Alex Casey: Why is Sensing Murder’s Sue Nicholson flaming mad at Seven Sharp?

It’s official: Sue Nicholson is mad as hell and not going to take it any more. Best known for her recurring role on TVNZ’s Sensing Murder, where she can frequently be found orbiting a paddock in a blindfold, the psychic medium has lashed out online following a joke made about her during an Oscars segment on Seven Sharp.

Beth Messenger: How to properly take the pill

The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill has been in the news lately with Britain changing its official pill guidelines to reduce the risks of unplanned pregnancies. The new British guidelines state that it is safe to take the pill continuously.

For many people who have always been told they must take their placebo or sugar pills each month, or should only “skip” a bleed when absolutely necessary, this came as a shock.

It wasn’t a shock to us here at Family Planning. For more than five years we have been encouraging people to take the contraceptive pill continuously.

Jihee Junn: Ten more of the best ad complaints rubbished by the ASA

In a classic blasphemy-related complaint, J. Earwalker argues that:

“[The] Noel Leeming Advertisement using “Techmas” instead of Christmas denigrates the religious status and origin of Christmas and is highly offensive”

What was the decision? The Chair said “the likely consumer takeout of the advertisement would be in relation to the gift-giving element of the fictional word ‘Techmas’, rather than any religious connotation”. Final ruling? No grounds to proceed.


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