Monday, September 25, 2006


From PC:


Song(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being
  • You're Beautiful - James Blunt
  • Porcelain - Moby
  • Get Your Freak On - Missy Elliott
Musical artist(s) That I Loathe to the Core of My Being
  • Michael BublĂ©
  • Celine Dion
  • Eminem
Rolling Stones Song(s) I Like
  • Midnight Rambler
  • Sympathy For The Devil
  • Angie
Beatles Song(s) I Love
  • Helter Skelter
  • Back In The USSR
  • Across The Universe
Who Song(s) I Love
  • The Punk And The Godfather
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Who Are You (Damn you, CSI thieves...)
Dylan Song(s) I Love
  • Tangled Up In Blue
  • Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat
  • Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
Lou Reed/Velvet Underground Song(s) I Love
  • White Light/White Heat
  • The Murder Mystery
  • Walk On The Wild Side
Reggae Songs I Love
  • Problems - Horace Andy
  • DubAddisAbaba - Dub Syndicate
  • Fire Down Below - Burning Spear

Country Song(s) I Love
  • I Walk The Line - Johnny Cash
  • T.N.T. - Hayseed Dixie
Movie Soundtrack(s) I Love
  • The Proposition
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Pi
Cover Song(s) I Love
  • Electricity - NOFX
  • Hot In Herre - Tiga
  • Stagger Lee - Nick Cave (Not exactly a cover, but oh well...)
Contemporary Top-40 Artist(s) I Secretly Love
  • The Black-Eyed Peas
Song(s) That Bring Me To Tears
  • Heartbeat - The Knife
Rap/Hip Hop Song(s) I Love
  • Cold As Ice - M.O.P.
  • Lady Don't Tek No - Latyrx
  • Sound Of Tha Police - KRS-1
Novelty Song(s) I Love
  • Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous - Flight Of The Conchords
  • Business-Time - Flight Of The Conchords ('Business hours are over baby!' ...aaah, the laughs...)
Soul/R&B Songs I Love
  • Super Bad - Idris Muhammad
  • Hot Barbecue - Jack McDuff
  • I've Got Dreams To Remember - Otis Redding
Power Ballad(s) I Love
  • Go Your Own Way - (NOFX covering Fleetwood Mac)
  • More Than A Feeling - Boston
  • Wind Of Change - Scorpions
Pre 1950s Song(s) I Dig
  • My Bucket's Got A Hole In It - Louis Armstrong
  • I Should Care - Julie London
  • Life Is So Peculiar - Louis Armstrong
Singer/Songwriter Songs I Love
  • Pearls On A Train - Paul Ubana Jones
  • Jersey Thursday - Donovan
  • The Weaker Soldier - Will Oldham
Song(s) I Still Love From When I Was Fourteen
  • Aces High - Iron Maiden
  • TV Party - Black Flag
  • Bodies - Sex Pistols
Song(s) to Have Sex To
  • When I Fell - UBQ Project
  • Honey Molasses - Jill Scott
  • In fact, any Jill Scott or Erykah Badu...
Drinking Song(s) I Love
  • Victoria - The Exponents
  • Ace Of Spades - Mötorhead
  • Stop, Drop And Roll - The Deceptikonz

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Matters Of Opinion

- "Should Labour pay back the money it spent on pledge cards before the election?"

Unequivocally, yes. There exists no mandate to continue stonewalling, but even if there was, the electorate has spoken. If Labour continues to attempt to brazen this out, they risk playing to the right-wing caricature of blind power-hunger.

-"Should Don Brash step down as National Leader following allegations of impropriety?"

On principle, no. His private life is his own, and he is free to gad about as much as his wife lets him get away with as far as I care. I don't see that he has realistically compromised anything that he said during the election campaign in terms of fidelity, however his assault on Helen Clark's conception of marriage now seems dreadfully unfortunate. Even given the massive upswing in the latest (right-leaning) poll, it strikes me that the near future has more misery in store for Don...

-"Are National justified in using the term 'corrupt' in relation to the Labour government?"

No. Corruption. Misuse of governmental powers for illegitemate purposes, in a nutshell. I take a fairly nuanced view, given that Labour set out to do the same thing it had done in previous elections with the pledge card - and in previous elections this had been perfectly acceptable. Labour argues that they were unaware of the changes, which is negligent to say the least, but to prove a case for corruption - that Labour deliberately misused money it knew it wasn't entitled to, for the purposes of 'personal hain' (in this case perpetuating their incumbency) is almost impossible. Added to this Brash's ridiculous assertion that this government is the 'most corrupt NZ government in history,' and one begins to understand how parliamentary conduct slipped so low.

-"Should National sever ties with the Exclusive Brethren?"

Yes. The Brethren's veil of secrecy has been lifted and it is now patently clear that they will attempt to discredit the government in whatever way they deem necessary. On the one hand Brash loudly decries 'mudslinging' and personal attacks; on the other, he refuses to dissociate himself from a group that is engaging in the assemblage of a comprehensive 'dirt-file'.

-"Do Labour have the right to rescind labour law exemptions currently extended to the Exclusive Brethren?"

In my understanding, yes. It seems the exemptions are predicated around the fact that the EB do not participate in mainstream politics. It is now clear that not only is this not the case, but they have a nebulous and far-reaching plan to discredit the government. Dodgy as all hell.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Brash Fracas

Well - what a crazy couple of days for the Brash family, huh.

It appears that Don has been unfaithful again, but the question to pose is: of what import really is it? The general public's prurient interest comes out to play again...

First of all, I think it is entirely reprehensible that Labour brought it up in chambers, but then the shit-slinging free-for-all by both Labour and National over the past few weeks has been a joke and a disgrace. Using marital infidelity as a red rag for the media to distract from the overspending issue is low. This is not, of course, to say that National's own rhetoric has been particularly laudable.

What right do we have to pry into the Brash marriage at this point? I would say on personal principle 'none' - but this is unfortunately qualified by the fact that Brash has gone out of his way to make 'mainstream New Zealand' nuclear-family values a cornerstone of the National Party ethos, and as the figurehead of National, he has to be judged by his own standards.

To restate: I think it is reprehensible and shames our parliamentary system that this bit of news has made it out into the public arena. Having said that, now that it is unfortunately out there, Brash will have to suffer the consequences - he made this particular rod for his own back. He himself is the author of his own misfortune - not Labour, or Brian Connell, or anyone else.

He chose to cheat on his wife, and it is with her that the public sympathy should rest, until the facts are known. It is unfortunate that Brash should have his private life trawled out for the public to pick at like vultures, but it would have been easily avoided by not actually cheating on his wife in the first place - a bloody risky venture for such a public figure.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can art be judged by 'objective' standards?

In a number of opinion pieces over at ‘Not PC,’ Peter Cresswell has articulated a fairly outrageous position on what constitutes art, to the extent that I felt moved to respond at length.

In essence, he began by ridiculing Alan Gibbs for buying art that he claimed was a ‘con’ and entirely devoid of merit. As argument with several commenters on his arrogant position wore on, he appealed to his own intellectual authority in stating that he could discern real art as he was ‘someone with a mind’ who ‘knows what art looks like’.

The argument took a further twist when I challenged him on the subjectivity of art, and he announced that ‘subjective [taste] could be judged objectively’.

So, here follows an attempt at distilling the actual argument from the deluge of words that PC has poured out on the subject.

- Not all that is claimed to be art, is in fact art
- What is art can be determined by appeal to certain objective principles
- These objective principles can be known and defined
- The manner in which they relate to the ‘art object’ in positively defining it can be known and quantified

In order to make an objective value judgement of the kind PC claims to be able to make (ie “This is art” – “This is not art”) all of these predicates must hold true. My position is that this is ridiculous.

The ramifications of such a position are huge! We could quickly isolate what was art and what was not, biff a whole lot of newly-discovered non-art on to giant bonfires all around the world, and start retraining our aesthetic palates. It is, of course, a crock.

But what is my position? Quite simply that art is art because we ourselves make a personal judgement that it is – it speaks to us in some way. This will vary from person to person, culture to culture, and individually shift and migrate over time as our personal history and knowledge base changes and shifts. There is nothing within this schema that confers authority to state objectively that something definitely is or definitely isn’t ‘real’ art. This is a judgement we have to make for ourselves.
You can relax and let PC tell you what has artistic worth and what has none and for what particular reason, or you can undertake your own journey, form your own opinions, and enrich yourself with art that fulfils your own personal wants and needs.

The challenge to PC is to respond to my formulation of his argument, and defend it if he agrees, or explain which predicates I have miscontrued, and what he actually means, in as succinct a way as possible.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Nazi Nutter Buggered Off

After some tough words from the pinnacle of the Aryan nation's cognoscenti, Nic Miller:

Will Red Watch NZ Be Intimidated? appears that he will indeed be intimidated. To the extent of crawling back under his little rock, and hopefully staying there. Sustained pressure from the usual sources (FDB, Punkas, etc) and even the super-heavyweight of NZ blogs, Kiwiblog have seen Miller taste some of his own hateful medicine.

Good bloody thing too.

Architecture - Art

I'm going to be posting up five buildings over the next few days at PC's blog.

The whole thing has come about over his conception of 'art' as something which can be objectively assessed, and categorised absolutely by an outside arbiter as 'good' or 'bad'. This is something with which I disagree heartily, as I imagine would most people involved in creative disciplines.

Even though it's years since I did Philosophy at university, I am (hold your breath) going to attempt a break down of PC's argument by predicates, by way of some sort of 'disproof'. Should be good for a laugh anyways...