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Open mike 03/03/2012

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 3rd, 2012 - 80 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post. For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

80 comments on “Open mike 03/03/2012 ”

  1. http://whoar.co.nz/2012/scientists-shocked-to-find-antibiotics-alleviate-symptoms-of-schizophrenia/

    “…Chance discovery of link between acne drug and psychosis may unlock secrets of mental illness..”

    phil-at-whoar.

  2. Today’s ODT editorial looks at ‘Tackling the costs of welfare’.

    …it would be a pleasant surprise for many New Zealanders were the parties to get round the table and form a consensus approach on how to tackle a severe and escalating problem.

    The starting point for just such an approach could be a simple and overriding position: welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life. This is a philosophical rallying point around which most reasonable people could assemble.

    Is this a reasonable starting point for a cross-party approach for a Universal Welfare Philosophy?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The starting point for just such an approach could be a simple and overriding position: welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life.

      Why is work the only acceptable ‘way of life’?

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        I don’t think it suggests that, it’s referring to welfare as not a way of life. There’s other options to work, and variations to what ‘work’ is.

        • Uturn 2.1.1.1

          If welfare exists to sustain life, then isn’t welfare an option as way of life? Once you move past the small perspectives of NZ, is there a rule that says humans cannot attempt to stay alive in any way possible? Is a human obliged to starve themselves for a moral position they are either unaware of or do not accept? Who has the right, by universal law, to enforce a moral postion on another person? Yes, man can create laws and enforce them with guns, but that is legal, not moral. They have no moral superiority to enforce their choices on another person.

          It is all a question of control: those who wish to control others for their own gain; and those who don’t care, or control themselves, try to survive and let others be.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.2

          The problem I have is that your simple ‘working definition’ excludes the most powerful solution to the entire welfare/tax system problem … the UBI or GMI.

          A Guaranteed Minimum Income recognises that all people are entitled to a certain basic income to allow them to feed, clothe and shelter themselves. In pre-industrial times most people had some access to the resources (land, crops, stock, wild foods, etc) that enabled them to achieve this for themselves.

          But the modern world locks up most of these resources into private hands, or makes access expensive and limited. In this world the principle means of survival is a paid job (some people survive ok outside the system, but it’s not an accessible option for most.) This fundamentally alienates people from the means to survive, the right to survive, in the absence of a job.

          The GMI idea restores that fundamental right; it says that in return for privatising the means of basic survival into the hands of a few, then society pays with a universal basic income to recompense for this.

          • Olwyn 2.1.1.2.1

            @RedLogix, in response to your initial post about UBI or GMI: I love these ideas, and agree with your points in support of them. The difficulty though is in making them sacrosanct.

            “In pre-industrial times most people had some access to the resources (land, crops, stock, wild foods, etc) that enabled them to achieve this for themselves.”

            Yes, but since pre-industrial times, and occasionally even before then, capitalists and industrialists etc, have sought to undermine these conditions. The land clearances, for example, which robbed people of the subsistence farming option and left them with a choice between the factory and the poor house. This continues in various ways in the present day. I have read of people opening a mine in a subsistence farming area, and lobbying governments to impose the relevant taxes, so that the farmers will need to work in the mine to pay them. In another case, introducing booze to an area, so that the subsistence farmers would work on their project to buy it.

            Our own neo-liberal revolution is a version of the same kind of thinking: close off other options (like the public service, etc), so that people are forced to work under whatever conditions are imposed, at whatever price is imposed. There is a minimum wage, sure, but it is far from being a living wage.

            The hard bit with the UBI would be maintaining its value under pressure, so that it was not reduced to nothing at the behest of the capitalist minotaur.

        • muzza 2.1.1.3

          I have respect for most people, but very few of them seek power over others, or pretend they care about the greater good to try disguise their power cravings. Generally speaking I have zero respect for the politicians who run our cities and country, there are a few minor exceptions, sure/

          Lower than politicians, but still at base level, are those who hang off them, and aspire to be them, they are fluffers of the political world!

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.4

          Petey you neglect to mention the group of beneficiaries who present by far the biggest threat to the affordability of social welfare.  This is a group whose number has increased dramatically and their numbers will continue to increase for many decades to come.  

          And yet this particular class has an expectation that the benefit will be available for them.

          They truly see it as a lifestyle choice but this Government, the coiffured one included, have refused to so anything about the problem.  In fact some of the decisions made last term will make the situation far worse.  And the PM has refused to do anything about eligibility.

          Yes Petey these people are the retired.  Everyone would be best if they focussed their efforts in dealing with this particular group. 

          • Pete George 2.1.1.4.1

            I didn’t mention a lot of things. I was quoting an editorial and looking for reaction to that.

            I agree (and have often said) that National are dragging the chain on Super. But I don’t think Labour had the right approach last election either, especially for their supposed working class consrtituency, and I think they knew that, they didn’t push their ‘just raise the age’ policy very hard.

            UF had a quite different approach to any other party on Super and some form of graduated option giving people choice is worth a better look from the other parties.

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.4.1.1

              But Petey these people are “aging for a business” if you apply Jrationales thought processes on beneficiaries.

              Labour was the only party that had a coherent policy in the area.  This government, add ons included, clearly does not.  It is walking blindfolded over a cliff and taking us with it.

              UF’s “grand plan” only further confused things by totally ignoring the issue.  It’s “solution” did not solve a thing.
               

            • mickysavage 2.1.1.4.1.2

              But Petey these people are “ageing for a business” if you apply John Key’s thought processes on beneficiaries.
              Labour was the only party that had a coherent policy in the area.  This government, add ons included, clearly does not.  It is walking blindfolded over a cliff and taking us with it.
              UF’s “grand plan” only further confused things by totally ignoring the issue.  It’s “solution” did not solve a thing.

              • Greg, the UF proposal addressed up front a major deficiencyin Labour’s half hearted attempt.

                When Labour got a bollocking for clobbering those like the weak (after a life of hard physical labour) and sick in their policy they quickly included addons that crudely moved it towards a similarity to the UF proposal.

                • Petey this has been addressed a number of times.  Workers who are unable to work would be entitled to other benefits and would not miss out.  You have been told that repeatedly.  You have also been asked repeatedly about how future generations are going to afford to continue superannuation in its current form but you have never addressed this properly.

                  Given the coiffured one’s support for this Government I can understand why. 

                  • ” You have also been asked repeatedly about how future generations are going to afford to continue superannuation in its current form but you have never addressed this properly.”

                    No one has addressed this properly. To do so would require serious cross party discussion looking for a consensus long term plan. Especially with Super the nit picky politicking approach is failed practice.

                    I know you weren’t a fan of Shearer for leader but if you want to genuinely want to help Labour rebuild you should try to follow his lead.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No one has addressed this properly. To do so would require serious cross party discussion looking for a consensus long term plan.

                      1) Labour did address the affordability of retirement issues in the 2011 election campaign. National and UF ran from them.

                      2) Are you saying that UF will hold talks with Labour over a long term consensus over NZ Super?

                    • Petey you are still avoiding the question and trying to change the subject.

                      There is this meteor hurtling towards us and it is called the retirement crisis.  Our current leaders, the haired one included, have got their heads in the sand and are ignoring it.  Whenever you are asked about it you talk about something else.

                      In the interests of the country’s future don’t you think that politics as usual is not acceptable?

                    • In the interests of the country’s future don’t you think that politics as usual is not acceptable?

                      I’ve been saying that for quite a while now.

                      I’m not avoiding the question, I just don’t have the answer to how we should make Super more affordable and remain fair. Neither does anyone else have an overall answer, just partial possible solutions.

                      I’m only speaking for myself here, but I think all parties should agree to work together on this – and find a consensus solution. That John Key doesn’t appear willing to do this has been one of my strongest criticisms of him for some time (since before I connected with UF).

                      Any consensus solution will have to involve compromises.

    • just saying 2.2

      The fact is, with structural unemployment and no sign of that changing, it has to be “a way of life” for many. There are also those with significant disabilities including many elderly people.

      So, welfare is necessarily a “way of life”. The alternatives are crime and starvation.
      What we have a choice about is whether we poinlessly harrass and torment those who are forced into the position. I know what choice you’ve made, Pete.

      • Bill 2.2.1

        A simple and quick cure to structural unemployment is to put the bill for welfare squarely on the shoulders of business through a progressive levy or tax.

        I appreciate that some working people feel aggrieved paying tax to support people without jobs while they themselves are compelled to get up every day for the sake of a shit job. I don’t think that’s right.

        And it’s only a slight variation of ‘user pays’ to hold that those who benefit from current economic configurations ( ie business) should be the ones who pay for the welfare of those who they exclude.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          put the bill for welfare squarely on the shoulders of business through a progressive levy or tax.

          1) I feel that it is important to distinguish between small businesses, many of whom are at marginal viability because of the continuing economic circumstances and the large corporates who are making a killing ticket clipping on our core economic infrastructure.

          2) Your proposal needs to be modified IMO to capture those who have structured their affairs to hold large amounts of asset and property wealth but recognise very little earnings from that wealth.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.1

            I agree that small businesses shouldn’t be hammered. That’s why I used the term ‘progressive’. Far greater minds than mine could work out the details of a fair system, but in basic terms…

            Divy up the relevent facets of the welfare bill (allowing for exemptions) by the number of businesses in NZ (470 000 as at Feb 2010). In each year, the tax levied on business would be to cover the cost of the previous year….so a simple floating %age working on a retrospective basis.

            And make it a progressive regime based on, for example gross or net profit or number of employees or some combination of those factors.

            And whatever the finer details of the final structure, the government would know the exact amount it was seeking to recover from business…the previous year’s welfare bill….and therefore be able to set a precise tax without too much difficulty.

            If it inadvertantly took too much, that could be off set in the following year. If it took too little, that too could be taken into consideration in the following year.

            Point is, it would suddenly become cost effective for business to ‘soak up’ any reservoir of ‘jobless.

    • mikesh 2.3

      Perhaps we should adopt Gareth Morgan’s suggestion (in his book The Big Kahuna) and pay every adult person $11,000 pa., giving them the choice of either living on that, or supplementing it with earnings from employment. That would be fair and equitable since the $11,000 would be paid to everybody.

      • rosy 2.3.1

        Agreed… Link for Pete, because some very smart people have been thinking about this for a long time The Big Kahuna The Big Kahuna is just one iteration of the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income, but is significant because it’s a New Zealand solution.

        All people should be provided with the means for survival, and these days, that means money… RL (2.1.1.2) says it well.

      • RedLogix 2.3.2

        More importantly the GMI idea treats everyone exactly the same and gets rid of all the stupid distortions that are inherent in the existing system.

        What people forget is that everytime the system targets a benefit or tax in some way; it automatically creates high marginal effective tax rates everytime you migrate out of the target group. The GMI system gets rid of this distortion.

        It also amounts to an effective job creation incentive. At the moment there is not a huge difference between for a family being on a benefit and working in a below median wage jobs, and along with the ‘stand-down’ periods, it creates distortions of another kind.

        With a GMI and a flat PAYE tax rate, for every dollar earned the same fixed 65% after tax is always kept. This means that regardless of how part-time or low paid the job is… you are always better off working. This has to be the very best ‘incentive’ for both employers and workers.

        I’m totally past fiddling with the existing system. It’s obsolete and no longer meets our needs as a society. Time to ditch our preconceptions and make the changes that Gareth Morgan and Susan Guthrie have described.

        • Colonial Viper 2.3.2.1

          Yeah pretty much. You’d think that a simpler system with much less overhead to administer which encouraged people to work and not stay on a benefit would be exactly what National would want to implement. Except for the fact that it would kill a whole lot of the tax rorts their mates are relying on presently.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.3.2.1.1

            IMO, Another reason why NAct don’t like it is that they wouldn’t be able to force people to work for shit bosses in atrocious conditions. People would have the choice of going to work or telling the boss to fuck off.

            • the pink postman 2.3.2.1.1.1

              Unemployment is the best way the Tories and their friends are able to keep wages down .Plus its the weapon they are able to use to make sure unions are short of members. The political Right are also masters at manipulating language, note how they have changed Social Security to the insulting word of welfare , We people of the Left should revert to using social security instead of the degrading word of welfare.

              • Colonial Viper

                Agreed. We cannot let the Right control the use of terminology as they have been. And people must understand that NZ’s social security system comprises a far more comprehensive system than just benefit payments.

              • Vicky32

                The political Right are also masters at manipulating language, note how they have changed Social Security to the insulting word of welfare , We people of the Left should revert to using social security instead of the degrading word of welfare.

                Absolutely right! I said that some time ago, the use of the word ‘welfare’ is recent – the last 8-12 years? Since then, state houses have been defined as ‘welfare’ (they never were before about 2000) and then there’s the coinage ‘workfare’, which has existed in the USA for some time, the UK for maybe the last 3 months, and is apparently coming here…

                • felix

                  Yes, the insertion of the word “welfare” into NZ usage has been a very obvious and deliberate campaign by the right.

                  I’ve even heard that the Nasty Nats have gone as far as changing the bank statement references for benefit payments, so where a payment from winz used to appear as “Work and Income Benefit” it now appears as “Welfare”.

                  Perhaps someone could confirm if this is true.

                  • Vicky32

                    so where a payment from winz used to appear as “Work and Income Benefit” it now appears as “Welfare”

                    Mine still says W&I benefit, but someone who has been on a benefit for a shorter time, may find that theirs is different…
                     

            • the pink postman 2.3.2.1.1.2

              Unemployment is the weapon the political Right use to keep,wages low and to lower work conditions. It also reduces Union membership and power. They are also master at manipulating language , Note how they have changed Social Security to welfare. Its time people of the political Left refered to the Social Security system instead of the degrading word welfare when refereing to the needs of people who are in unfortunate circumstances. Oh for compusory unionism .

        • KJT 2.3.2.2

          A GMI makes total sense.
          1. Simplifies welfare. A lot of the present costs of determining eligibility and entitlements is removed.
          2. Gives effect to the principle, @ Redlogix  above, that everyone has the right to food and housing. Once we all had access to commons to grow basic necessities. That common right has been grabbed to make a few wealthy.
          3. Encourages entrepreneurship. Can have a go at a business without worrying about your family doing without if it fails or takes a long time to succeed.
          4. You are always better off working. As employers need to pay a wage above the GMI to get workers and 120% abatement rates are removed.
           
           
          Though I think the rate should be about the equivalent to NZ super.
           
          So no one in NZ is in poverty.
           
          Paid for by progressive taxes on very high incomes and wealth.
           
          Very high incomes and accumulations of wealth are socioeconomically dysfunctional, as we know.

          • Fortran 2.3.2.2.1

            Have you tried living on Govt Super, with particularly local government taxes continually rising, along with seasonal food prices ?

            • RedLogix 2.3.2.2.1.1

              Kiwisaver should bridge the gap between the GMI and the current National Super.

              In addition the Gold card system can be extended to a wider range of essential services to ensure those costs are held.

            • KJT 2.3.2.2.1.2

              What I am trying to say is that, like super, a GMI should be enough to live on.
              Equal to the present super would be a good starting point.
               
              And, unlike the UB, super is enough if you have paid off your mortgage.
               
              Anyway, since national super, poverty amongst the elderly is about 3% compared to over 20% amongst children.
              http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/super
               
              Got to get the principle established first.

              • RedLogix

                Agreed.. there are a number of forms it could take. Personally I’d prefer to start with a system that set the UBI at around the current Unemployment Benefit, a flat PAYE tax rate of 30%, a GST of 15% and a moderate Capital Gains tax of around 15%.

                Often overlooked in this discussion is the aproximate $1b of costs around the administration of WINZ and IRD that would be eliminated as well.

                1.Treating all taxpayers exactly the same eliminates all the distortions and resentments that undermine and derail the current system. It prevents special interest groups from exploiting them for their own political purposes.

                2. A progressive tax recognises that the wealthy are the ones who have most benefited from society, therefore owe the most in return.

                3. A flat marginal tax eliminates all the high marginal tax rates, fiscal drag and poverty traps that the current system is riddled with.

                Remarkably the UBI/GMI system combines all three features at the same time! I first became aware of this idea over a decade ago (and it is of course much older than that).. and there really is not a single problem with the existing system that is not solvable if we made the change. It isn’t of course immune to the politics of the day.

                From a right wing perspective they might want to lower the UBI and lower the PAYE rate, while a left wing perspective might push in the opposite direction. But these are very plain and open changes… it would not be hard to write legislation which required the system to be self-funding /revenue-neutral and for political parties to clearly signal and commit to their tax plan before each election.

                If a government/central bank needed to do a spot of ‘quantative easing’ (like the USA does) then all that would be required is a small increase in the UBI; and the opposite if the economy was overheating. Far more direct and efficient than mucking about with interest rates. Again any such changes would be a plain and totally transparent transaction to the entire electorate; as it would effect everyone in exactly the same way. No government could afford to anger all voters simultaneously by either reducing the UBI too much or increasing the PAYE/GST rates too much. It’s more or less self-balancing politically.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  1.Treating all taxpayers exactly the same eliminates all the distortions and resentments that undermine and derail the current system.

                  So, would you get rid of all tax deductions or, considering that going to work is a business, extend them to everybody?

                  Personally, I’m leaning towards the former for two reasons:-
                  1.) Tax deductions are where tax avoidance loopholes originate and
                  2.) If extended to everyone then determining what is a legitimate business expense (breakfast, lunch and dinner with $200/bottle wine etc) and enforcing them becomes far too complicated and thus expensive.

                • Vicky32

                  Agreed.. there are a number of forms it could take. Personally I’d prefer to start with a system that set the UBI at around the current Unemployment Benefit,

                  IMO it would have to be much higher than UB! I am surviving on UB only because I have savings from when I last worked 3 and a half months ago, they’ll run out soon – and can use them to pay phone, power etc. My nett UB is $190.90 -50.00 rent, $140.00 a week for food, cleaning products, and anything else that comes up – bus fares for job interviews, mobile phone etc… $140.00 a week.

            • Vicky32 2.3.2.2.1.3

              Have you tried living on Govt Super, with particularly local government taxes continually rising, along with seasonal food prices ?

              Hey, I’d love to live on Govt Super! It’s considerably higher than Unemployment Benefit. I am getting $190.90 a week, (because of a debt that ought to have been paid off a year ago, and possibly was, I am just scared to ask). Seriously. They seem to have forgotten I exist, but if I remind them, heaven only knows what they might decide to do to me…
               

    • Kevin 2.4

      Getting around the table for another chat about welfare is pointless. Invariably these discussions are inittiated by people who are basically petty and vindictive.
      The solution to welfare is to get the economy moving, breaking into new markets with our primary products, and by attracting investment.

      • Bill 2.4.1

        Don’t you understand what the term systemic or structural levels of unemployment is referring to?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.4.2

        Can’t possibly work:-

        1.) Every country is capable of massively over producing which means that there aren’t enough “markets”
        1a) We need to cut down on the production of primary products so that our rivers and lakes recover from the pollution that is presently killing them
        2.) Peak Oil means that we won’t be able to cost effectively export
        3.) Foreign investment is a delusion as all we do when we get it is work from the resources we have here already

    • lefty 2.5

      Welfare is not a way of life desired by anybody. It is a way of surviving for people who have no other choice.

      There should never be agreement around the sort of nasty and untrue assumptions and stereotypes about people on benefits Peter George is putting forward.

      His undisguised hatred of beneficiaries absolutely disgust me and every other hard working,fair minded, taxpaying New Zealander.

      I have a counter proposition though.

      It would be a pleasant surprise for many New Zealanders if the parties were to get round the table and form a consensus approach to how to tackle a fast growing and escalating problem.

      The starting point around which every fair minded person could rally would be a simple proposition that we can no longer afford to let thieving capitalist bastards and the various other types of pricks in suits steal the fruits of the labour of decent Kiwis while others go without.

    • millsy 2.6

      Despite what the right might think, I doubt that it would be possible to lead any sort of ‘way of life’ on $200-300/wk.

      It wasn’t for me when I was a WINZ client, years ago (a period in my life I would rather forget, for reasons far greater than my unemployment).

      And forcing those on benefits into low wage insecure jobs (and lets face it, they will be) while providing dodgy looking baby farms (laudanum is complementary) for them to put their kids in isnt going to fix anything, probably just create a lot more misery.

      • Colonial Viper 2.6.1

        Despite what the right might think, I doubt that it would be possible to lead any sort of ‘way of life’ on $200-300/wk.

        $300 pw yes possible for an individual but tough – but probably not in AKL. Ideally you would want to be in a situation where you were not paying rent, or sharing rent with others. If you have children – $300 is no way.

    • Foreign Waka 2.7

      Tackling to cost of welfare…..for me this means that many people who, for the first time, apply to enter the workforce and/or trying to get a job after being made redundant will loose their pride, their will and dignity to became cynical, disengaged and demotivated to change their dependency. The true cost of welfare is therefore the human cost that has been bought with commercial profit. Regardless whether anyone is on the political right, left in the middle or in the sky for all that I care, it is a RIGHT to sustain oneself, be it through growing crops or holding down a job. Any other option would imply that some people are not worth a dime and ultimately should be just put on the scrapheap.

    • QoT 2.8

      No it’s not, and if you were intellectually honest you’d acknowledge it. Clue: the framing is bullshit.

      Kinda like if someone said “Here’s a reasonable starting point to discuss the future of United Future: the party should have actual principles, and not be a home for failed candidates wanting to push conservative, classist bullshit under the guise of “common sense”.”

    • Vicky32 2.9

      welfare should be a safety net, not a way of life.

      Begging the question! It has never been established either that ‘welfare is a way of life’ or that there are people who think it is or should be! 🙁

      • Pete George 2.9.1

        Sue Bradford was on Breakfast (TV1) recently saying people should have a choice and shouoldn’t be “harrassed” into looking for work.

        I know people who have turned down jobs because they didn’t like the job, and I know someone recently say they would stay on the benefit until a Polytechnic course because they didn’t think it was worth working for just few months. And a woman who’d been separated for 8 years but didn’t think she was yet ready to go to work.

        Many people know of beneficiaries by choice.

        As there are many reluctant beneficiaries who would take any half decent job offered them.

        • McFlock 2.9.1.1

          Well pete, two of your cases were using the dole short term for possibly very good reasons, even if they didn’t choose to communicate those reasons to you. The last case suggests that maybe you know less about her situation, and particularly mental health, than you think you do.
               
          But feel free to judge, anyway.

  3. Uturn 3

    Here are a couple of questions for those who are interested in discussing art. The question isn’t posed as a the “truth”, so calm yourself. Calm? Good.

    Let’s say a person listens to some music. They enjoy/like the tune, they hear the sounds of the musical instruments themselves; they hear the lyrics, and include them in the definition of a musical instrument of sorts. The listener does not understand the lyrics because they are written by a person who has a particular style of speaking, or they are a form of obscure poetry. They hear the words, but the meaning is different to the literal meaning of the phrases in the lyrics. This is not unusual in modern/pop music. For example, a person sings about licking an ice cream and what they really mean is they enjoy oral sex. Or they sing about malted milk, and really they’re singing about getting drunk on whiskey. The lyrical codings get more complex from there.

    If the listener does not understand the meaning of the song/art work, but is attracted to it anyway, why is that? If the artist, on investigation, is the kind of person that moves in circles that the listener would never enter or would be excluded from by the artist should they meet, how is it the listener can be attracted to the artist’s work? For example, let’s say the artist is a NY hipster, moving in circles of designers, musicians and avant guard thinkers and the listener is a middle class chino and light blue shirt wearing IT professional with dreams of owing his own house, who also enjoys listening to the Eagles, Phil Collins and growing tomatoes in the summer. Is there any relevance at all between the conscious, real life of the artist, and the artwork?

    Let’s say the music now is not some higher definition of art. Let’s say it’s is a manufactured boy band, singing by-the-recipe, bordering on gibberish pop songs, or a youngster who’s father owns a recording company singing things such as they like Friday afternoon. Apply the same contradiction of realities between singer/manufacturer and listener. Now a NY hipster is listening to it, and “likes it”. How could they enjoy the music? What are they really listening to? How is it that a person can hear something completely at odds with the intended message in a lyric or tune? Is there any rule that says an artist will create a tune, that matches the lyrics, that matches some aspect of who they are in real life. Will a dark tune always attract dark lyrics, from the mind of a artist with a tendency to express dark things – no matter what they might try to do.

    If we remove the idea of post-modern “anything means anything you want it to”, “you can like anything for any reason” , what answer do we get? This may be the question, does art have any structure, at all? Which is probably as widely scoped as asking what is the point of life on earth. But I’d like to hear some ideas.

    When a musician creates a tune and sells it to a recording company and they send it down the marketing chain and it ends up on commercial radio as filler between advertising, would a percentage of listeners who cannot hear the intended message actually be eavesdropping on private communication between the artist and the artist’s intended audience? Is it necessary to know the intended true message of music to honestly – on all levels – tell yourself you “like it”.

    What do you think?

    • Descendant Of Smith 3.1

      Whether art or music or sculpture or a speech etc the first consideration is I either like it or I don’t.

      If there is some substantial meaning and intent behind the work I might likely  appreciate it and if the two come together I have a much stronger emotional involvement with it.

      Like may come before I know meaning and intent and meaning and intent may come before like. Either way I might seek out the other.

      It’s one of the reasons I enjoy “making of” programs. To see what was intended.

      It’s also one of the reasons I might hunt out artists I have not heard of – cause the story is compelling.

      It will still ultimately get back to I like it or I won’t though and a good story won’t make me like something I don’t – though I might appreciate the effort.
       
       

    • fender 3.2

      “If the listener does not understand the meaning of the song/art work, but is attracted to it anyway, why is that?”
      Music/art work can affect the central nervous system and even if you don’t want to like it on a conscious level it can get to you anyway.
      Some people choose to like a certain music if they feel it fits in with the image of themselves they wish to portray to the wider world.

      “How is it that a person can hear something completely at odds with the intended message in a lyric or tune?
      Universal meanings/interpretations is natural as everybody is different and the artwork is seen/heard through their filter of feelings and life experiences.
      A great work will often have that universal meaning in abundance (even though the artist didn’t intend it that way)

      “If we remove the idea of post-modern “anything means anything you want it to”, “you can like anything for any reason” , what answer do we get?
      There doesn’t have to be a reason, its attraction can be as primal as an attractive scent.

      “This may be the question, does art have any structure, at all?”
      Like you say, very wide scoping!
      Good artwork is well structured in its ability to touch/reach ones/our sensibilities by the artist.
      Art in its totality has no structure other than it’s like a multi-streamed flow of creations that come together like a braided river.

      ” Is it necessary to know the intended true message of music to honestly – on all levels – tell yourself you “like it”.”
      No.
      Art works best when the conscious mind is not giving instructions to the viewer/listener. Let the subconscious and central nervious system decide what you like and leave it to them to tell the conscious mind it’s liked. Although in the case of lyrics the conscious mind is needed to decide if there’s validity in the words being used (from your point of view of course).

      Well those are my thoughts for what they are worth Uturn.

  4. ianmac 4

    An artist paints according to his view of things. It means something in particular to him. But the moment he puts it out for others to see, it is open for any interpretation the viewer wants, and the artist loses “ownership” of his view. Art, Music, writing. Some creators get cross if you don’t “get it” but that is the nature letting others see it.

    • fender 4.1

      The artist might lose his/her exclusive interpretation, but he doesn’t lose ownership of it.
      Everyone who sees/hears etc it becomes the owner of another interpretation.

  5. Te Reo Putake 5

    Reasons to love Morrisey, No94: The Islands Formerly Known as the Falklands.
     
    And, in case youse guys missed it, Heaven Knows John Key is Miserable Now. How good is David Shearer, eh? Despite the whingers, he’s getting the job done.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      How good is David Shearer, eh? Despite the whingers, he’s getting the job done.

      In any future Left leaning coalition, the contribution of NZ First and the Greens to the outcomes our country needs cannot be safely ignored by Labour supporters.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        You’re not wrong, CV. The good news is that Labour have good experience at stitching together coalitions, and even though Winston has previously baulked at going with the Greens, I suspect he’ll be on board this time round. I also think there will be less talk of ‘junior partners’ from Labour in the next Government and it will be a more inclusive cabinet.

    • Morrissey 5.2

      Reasons to love Morrisey, No94…

      I see you’re a Private Eye fan, Te Reo.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1

        Too right! My writing style (and politics) owes a lot to both PE and the punk era NME. Got the latest airmailed issue of the Eye here. Perfect day for reading on the couch, while my personal assistant and occasional masseuse, Rita Chevrolet, stokes the fire …

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      NATIONAL (45.5%) MAINTAIN BIG LEAD, BUT LABOUR (31.5%)
      IMPROVES FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT MORGAN POLL

      That headline is rather interesting as previously they’ve consistently referred to the government and not the main party in the government.

      If a National Election were held today the National Party would be returned to Government.

      Looking at the numbers, that doesn’t appear to be true.

      Labour 31.5
      Greens 13
      NZ1st 5
      Mana 1
      Total 50.5

      National 45.5
      Act 0.5
      UF 0.5
      Maori 1.5
      Total 48

      That’s just the percentages, if an election was held today I would be surprised if Act and UF got back in at all. So, why is Morgan Polls saying that National would be returned to government when that, according to their own numbers, would be unlikely?

      • McFlock 5.3.1

        NZ1 abstaining is my guess.
          
        But it’s early days yet

        • Jackal 5.3.1.1

          Isn’t the Roy Morgan on average 7% out in favour of the right? But that’s OK because polls don’t win elections.

          • McFlock 5.3.1.1.1

            yeah, but remember that it’s still two and a bit years until the next election campaign…

  6. Morrissey 6

    Malvinas Islands belong to you, Morrissey tells Argentinian fans
    British singer is latest artist to support Argentinian sovereignty of south Atlantic islands as diplomatic tensions rise

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/falkland-islands-belong-argentina-morrissey

    The singer Morrissey has become the latest celebrity to endorse Argentina’s claims over the Malvinas Islands, telling a crowd in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, “we know the islands belong to you”.

    Diplomatic tensions between Argentina and the UK have been mounting ahead of the 30th anniversary of the invasion of the islands by Argentina on 2 April 1982. Last month British diplomats accused Argentina of trying to isolate the Malvinas by putting pressure on Chile to end flights there. On Monday, two British cruise ships were prevented from docking at an Argentinian port.

    Morrissey’s comments follow similar endorsements by the US actor Sean Penn and the Pink Floyd bass player Roger Waters. “The Malvinas Islands, everybody knows they belong to Argentina,” Morrissey said from the stage of the Orfeo stadium in Córdoba. “So please don’t blame
    the British people, we know the islands belong to you.” The comments brought enthusiastic cheers from the crowd before he launched into the 1984 Smiths track “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”

    Morrissey’s support for Argentina’s claim, contested by Britain and the 3,000 British inhabitants of the islands, follows an interview broadcast on Friday on Argentine and Chilean television in which
    Waters said the Malvinas “should be Argentine”. The musician, who is playing nine sold-out stadium concerts in Buenos Aires starting next week, said Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron had used the Falklands question “for narrow political ends”.

    Penn was the first major artist to come out in favour of the Argentinian position, after a meeting with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in Buenos Aires two weeks ago. He criticised Britain’s “ludicrous and archaic commitment to colonialist ideology” and the deployment of Prince William to the islands on a tour of duty as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

    “There are many places to deploy the prince,” Penn said. “It’s not necessary, when the deployment of a prince is generally accompanied by warships, to send them into the seas of such shared blood.”

    The pro-Argentina statements have come as Kirchner has increased pressure on the islands. She announced on Friday that she wants to start direct flights between Buenos Aires and the Malvinas, to replace the current flight linking the islands with the mainland via the
    “neutral” Chilean port of Punta Arenas.

    “Our main concern is that we keep our link to Chile,” said Nigel Haywood, British governor of the islands. “We’re in the middle of a current Argentine policy which seems to be to isolate the islands and to dictate to them what they should be doing – from harassing fishing vessels to closing ports to cruise ships. At a time when every act that Argentina takes towards us seems to be a hostile one, I’m not too sure why we should view this with any degree of enthusiasm.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/falkland-islands-belong-argentina-morrissey

    • millsy 6.1

      There seems to be a lot of speculation recently about another conflict in the Falklands, usually by journalists looking for attention grabbing headlines.

      Neither side would be willing or able to bear the huge financial and political burden that a Falklands War II would require, especially not for some barren islands, even if they were sitting on shitloads of oil.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Reading the history would indicate that they don’t belong to Argentina.

      Sovereignty over the islands became an issue in the second half of the 20th century, when Argentina saw the creation of the UN as an opportunity to pursue its claim. Talks between British and Argentine foreign missions took place in the 1960s but failed to come to any meaningful conclusion. A major sticking point in all the negotiations was that the inhabitants preferred that the islands remain British territory.

      If the people who live there want to be British then that’s their choice. Of course, governments aren’t noted for listening to the voice of the people they’re looking at conquering.

      • Vicky32 6.2.1

        If the people who live there want to be British then that’s their choice. Of course, governments aren’t noted for listening to the voice of the people they’re looking at conquering.

        Seconded!

  7. marsman 7

    More of Bill English’s bullshit ides exposed as just that, bullshit.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6516437/2500-jobs-gone-but-state-service-saves-only-20m

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Annual savings should easily surpass $100M. The fact that the savings are so low is very suspicious – where have the predicted savings in salaries and overhead gone to?

      • Campbell Larsen 7.1.1

        Paying ‘downsizing’ consultants? Redundancy payouts? Just another exercise in trickle up.

      • mik e 7.1.2

        When you look at the increase in spending on consultants[Nationals mates] of over a $100 million
        .Another broken promise conjob

    • seeker 7.2

      @marsman@11.37am

      Could this be the reason that Bill English resorts to BS so often. I read this comment in the Herald today:

      “…..Is he (Key) pandering to his goldman sachs bosses? You can betcha. The events since he has hi-jacked the political landscape is evident, he installed english as the stooge finance minister the real finance minister is Philip Borkin an economist with goldman sachs ltd in auckland, this would explain english’s vauge knowledge of policies, his confusing statements, because simply he hasn’t been informed on the facts of what is afoot financially.”
      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-government/news/article.cfm?c_id=144&objectid=10789575

      Is this Philip Borkin the reason New Zealand is being kneecapped by National??

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Good dissection of NActs kick in the goolies welfare reforms for those on the DPB.

    When are we going to start investing in our families? Really investing. Not just Working for Families schemes, not just minimal paid parental leave, not “flexible, family-friendly workplaces” in principle, but tangible support for people who don’t happen to have investment accounts. Support that doesn’t come with a close-your-legs-clause, or a time’s up countdown, or an allowance for only one parent to take time out of work. Support that says hey if we’re going to suddenly get really worried about this country’s children we should probably invest in them and their families, huh?

  9. Kotahi Tane Huna 9

    Stuff reports:

    “FARMS OFFERED FOR SALE INDIVIDUALLY IN ASIA

    Potential New Zealand buyers were told the 16 Crafar farms could only be sold profitably by bundling them together but the Star-Times has now learned the farms were advertised for sale individually in China and Singapore.

    The advertisements, in the South China Morning Post and Singapore’s Straits Times, emerged in documents released to the Sunday Star-Times by the Overseas Investment Office under the Official Information Act.”

    Nail, meet coffin.

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