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The best of The Spinoff this week: Sunday 3 July edition

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

Geoffrey Palmer: The political elites foisted a new system on ordinary Brits. Little wonder they’re grabbing it back

“So when the people have an opportunity to decide they reject it. Their fear about jobs and their sense of insecurity about immigration are entirely understandable. They may be wrong and the economic implications at least in the short term will be considerable. But remember there is an old saying in politics that the people are never wrong.”

Leah Damm: The real life problem with body shaming a cartoon Polynesian

“Clearly, the issue at hand revolves around Disney’s Maui being a big dude. And that’s a problem because it’s not just historically implausible and inaccurate, but it’s also a stereotype of Polynesian people – both of which are legitimate concerns. But the troubling stereotype of big Polynesian people is rooted in our overrepresentation in poor health and mortality statistics; diabetes, heart disease, obesity. And yet as a social problem, there’s more to these stereotypes that Polynesians are ‘big’ people.”

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Steve Braunias: Eleanor Catton’s nightmare: CK Stead interviewed by Steve Braunias

“The idea I grew up with, or in to, was that literary criticism was almost a moral responsibility. You had to be clear in your mind about what you considered to be good and less good and perhaps even bad, in literary writing, and make it clear to yourself, and on occasion (either teaching or writing) to others.”

Eric Crampton: How to fix a crisis: An Auckland housing manifesto

“Consider it from Council’s side. If the Council’s infrastructure costs for servicing a new development eat up most of the potential new rates revenue that the new residents would bring, and if allowing new development buys every councillor tons of aggravation, why encourage development? Local residents can vote out sitting councillors long before anybody might be able to move into any allowed new terraced housing.”

Tim Murphy: John Key states obvious, admits Government isn’t doing enough to help the homeless

“It was as sceptical an audience on housing policy as a National politician is likely to find, but Key confronted the homelessness issue head-on.

‘There are many and varied reasons for it. The responsibility to try to resolve it has to rest with the Government, which has the resources of the public. I do not think we can shy away from that,’ he said.

John Key in c

Paul Williams: Is television hiding the next James Bond?

“10 years and four films later, it’s rumoured that Daniel Craig is hanging up his holster and turning in his license to kill. Who will replace him? Well isn’t that the question of the day?

I decided to take a look at a few of the candidates and use a very confusing rating system to rate their chances. 007 = a sure thing. 000 = No chance.”

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Richard MacManus: Blindsided by the Brexit result? Blame the ‘filter bubble’ of social media

“The Filter Bubble, a term coined by Eli Pariser in his 2011 book, has always been an issue with our social media technologies. We only see what we choose to see. We befriend and follow people who think like we do. We ignore the 52% who don’t share our worldview… well, except when we want to laugh at them or insult them.”

Roger Horrocks: Why are New Zealanders so fucking intolerant of anyone with a brain, ie intellectuals?

“How many New Zealanders have ever willingly described themselves as intellectuals or applied that term to others except as an ironic putdown? I could not find the word “intellectual” or the phrase “intellectual community” in the index of any of the country’s main histories or reference books.”

Paul Litterick: Stick this in your pipe, Roger Horrocks, and smoke it: your ‘anti-intellectual’ essay sucks

“It seems nobody was talking about Gramsci or Foucault, Paul de Man or Maurice Merleau-Ponty. I had hoped to quote from Bill Pearson’s Fretful Sleepers, since that is what intellectuals in New Zealand always do.”

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