Hard News by Russell Brown


Chocolate elitism

Someone else has covered off the death of consumerism today. This leaves me free to talk about chocolate. I really like chocolate. I do not like big-bar commercial chocolate, so Cadbury's recent decision to make its chocolate even worse (and even more ethically dubious) by putting palm oil in it will not affect me personally as a consumer.

Cadbury's stated reason for adulterating its chocolate with palm oil -- that its customers have expressed a desire for chocolate that is even more soft and greasy -- does, however fill me with dread. The flagship Dairy Milk chocolate contains only 21% cocoa solids in the first place, putting it well on the road to wtf-is-this Hershey Hell anyway. And now they've made it even more mucky.

So I do think that Whittaker's has a point in its attack advertising against Cadbury, even if its marketing director Philip Poole should never be allowed on Close Up again without some media training (Philip: "We believe we have a better product" might be a good marketing line. And stop closing your eyes on television). Whittaker's is the best of the big-bar chocolate brands, and the Peanut Slab has an undoubted iconic appeal.

But really: when there is the choice of a number of fair-trade brands (including the sub $5 Scarborough Fair range) and in a city where Phillippe's hand-crafts slim, shiny slabs of 70% cocoa heaven, I don't understand quite why people prefer the mucky stuff. You can't even use the "dark chocolate is full of life-giving antioxidants" rationalisation. I suppose this makes me part of the chocolate elite.


I recently got an advance peek at some of the Moving Image Centre's Homegrown programme for the film festivals, and was impressed by what I saw. So I'm happy to say that I have some double passes for Homegrown screenings in Auckland to give away.

I have a pass for each of the Drama on Video programme screenings at the Sky City theatre (tonight at at 6pm, Sunday 19 July at 11.45am and Wed 22 July at 4pm). Click "Reply" and email me with Drama on Video in the subject line. Preferred sessions will be first-come-first served.

And I have a double pass per session for the Animation and Experimentation on Video programme at Sky City (Friday 24 July at 6pm and Sat 25 July at11.15am). Same deal: programme name in the subject line, we'll sort out who gets what session.)

Stay tuned in other centres: I'll have giveys for those too.


On a completely different note, last night's Media7 programme is up for viewing online.

The programme opens with an interview with Kristin Dunne-Powell about pursuit by media. The degree of intrusion she suffered was troubling (not only at her home, but at her place of work, where she was given an indoor car park to protect her privacy), not least in the sense that it could serve to deter other women in her position from speaking up about abuse.

I also feel I need to address comments I've heard from a couple of other journalists: to the effect that it was a bit rich for her to complain about media intrusion if she was going to give interviews. The 60 Minutes interview that screened this week was recorded two months ago, and held back until things had calmed down. And she did not seek to be on our show -- I asked her after seeing that programme, because her experience spoke directly to the theme of our show: the media and privacy.


NZ On Screen's Screentalk section has a good interview with a friend of this site, Outrageous Fortune co-creator James Griffin:

It's available to view, distribute and remix under this Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial licence.


The Gregory Brothers are back with another instalment of Auto-Tune the News. This one is notable most of all for the revelation that not even the auto-tune can render any musical quality into Sarah Palin's voice. It's actually quite amazing:


Very nice remixes of Mylo and Kraftwerk, lighting up the Hype Machine right now.

Via various folks on Twitter David Bowie's mug shots. As Brenda says: You will never be this cool.

Jonathan Ganley's Point That Thing photoblog continues to provide gems from his archive. Here, for example, is Grant McLennan from the Go-Betweens playing a few records and talking up at bFM in 1985, with Debbi Gibbs at the controls and Martin Phillipps pottering about in the studio.

You can keep up with Jon's updates on Twitter. Actually, I don't think I've mentioned that you can also keep up with me on Twitter.

(All the cool kids are doing it! Actually, apparently they're not.)

Via @Mukuna_GigGuide, The Mint Chicks have a very cool bandwidth-straining thing on their home page.

And with that … have a good weekend, y'all.

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