Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Looking for Monsters

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    On another topic entirely, viewing Hamish Keith's The Big Picture has filed me with joy.

    Isn't it brilliant? I really like how the works of art are just presented square on, on your screen. There's not a lot of hand-holding, just gentle nudges along the way. It's inspiring.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    There was a man in the pool in a suit and tie, which I thought was quite odd.

    Well, yes. Any explanation?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I'm sure Annette King was speaking in good faith when she said that the Electoral Finance Bill would be amended to remove what amounts to a new ban on advocating through a megaphone. I don't think the select committee majority really meant to do this -- as Graeme Edgeler pointed out in comments here yesterday, it would rule out meet-the-candidates meetings, and Metiria Turei says it was actually intended to cover those irritating car-mounted loudhailers.

    Keith Locke said the same thing as Metiria at a Green Party meeting that I attended last night.

    My thoughts are that even this half-pai version will deliver a more equitable campaign than the opaque free-for-all spendup we had in 2005. It would be so nice if the Greens could conduct a campaign that wasn't ambushed at the last minute (__Seeds of Distrust__ in 2002, Brethrens in 2005).

    This bill has been a fiasco from the start, and I hope Metiria and Russel (who I understand are working together on it) are able to continue moderating it into something both workable and sensible.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Well, yes. Any explanation?

    Pictures were being taken with a waterproof camera, but not one that looked especially professional.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Once while walking in the Rose Gardens I stumbled upon a pron video set...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    When I watched a select committee hearing on the EFB, I was very imprssed with Turei's constructive approach, asking every submitter how they would like to see the bill amended, and whether a change in the definition of "electoral advertising" to remove the odious s 5 (1) (a) (iii) would substantially address their concerns (to which the answer was usually "yes").

    The National Party MPs OTOH tried to scaremonger, with Chris Finlayson asking questions such as "did you know a sermon would count as an advertisement under the bill" (which is false, BTW). Unfortunately, they seem to be continuing this approach.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1717 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Pictures were being taken with a waterproof camera, but not one that looked especially professional.

    A Cybershot in a ziploc bag?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    My thoughts are that even this half-pai version will deliver a more equitable campaign than the opaque free-for-all spendup we had in 2005.

    Yes. Like I said, I found looking at the work of the British Electoral Commission quite encouraging. Their regulatory system is quite complex (and harsher than the EFB in some respects -- non registered voters can't donate to parties at all) but it seems to work.

    They even run a site with tools and advice for people who want to get involved in the democratic process.

    This bill has been a fiasco from the start, and I hope Metiria and Russel (who I understand are working together on it) are able to continue moderating it into something both workable and sensible.

    Here's hoping. You don't need to be a blogger screeching about the onset of a fascist state to be unimpressed with what's gone on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    half-pai

    pun-tastic

    must use it

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's true that most of these things will be honoured in the breach anyway -- as Graeme's COG colleague Steven Price noted this morning, no one's actually going to be prosecuted for not having their name and address on a placard -- but that's hardly the point. And the legislators have created this problem for themselves with their approach.

    Well, I never thought anyone would be charged with sedition -- let alone convicted and sentenced to prison -- in my lifetime... but here we are. If Graeme and Steven ruled the word (or this particular corner of it), I imagine there would be a fair amount of obsolete, strategically ambiguous, poorly drafted or downright dodgy legislation off the books in short order. But they're not, and I think it's a reasonably sound notion that they best way to prevent abuses of power is not to give it to anyone in the first place.

    I'm not one of these people given to much paranoid frothing about 'judicial activism' nowadays - instead I feel a hell of a lot of sympathy for judges who have to try and make sense of bugger's muddles like this. And I feel sorry for the judge who is going to have to make a call in what will be, by its very nature, an intensely political and politicised context.

    Isn't it brilliant? I really like how the works of art are just presented square on, on your screen. There's not a lot of hand-holding, just gentle nudges along the way. It's inspiring.

    Yes, but I think you have the problem Robert Hughes identified about presenting art on television - what you can't convey on television is the scale of an artwork. And television is not a contemplative medium either, something Hughes considers essential to the experience of art.

    I've seen reproductions of Jackson Pollock's __Blue Poles__ hundreds of times, but standing before the physical object in the NGA is over-whelming. I spent over half an hour sitting in front of it, peering at details, stepping back to catch the whole sweep... What was valuable about the experience is precisely what television doesn't, even cannot do, while you're being hurried through a narrative.

    Having said that, I do The Big Picture is valuable as a reminder that art is a human activity. And while I wouldn't put Hamish Keith in quite the same class as Hughes, Simon Schama or 'Lord Clark of Civilization' (as Alan Clark facetiously nicknamed his father in his diaries), he still conveys an informed enthusiasm I find attractive.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    As Brent Edwards pointed out on Checkpoint last night, an amendment already signalled by King will actually give third-party lobby groups considerable leeway. It will shorten the deadline for third-party registration to three months, meaning that such groups will be able to bang away on issues for most of the year, then register and switch to a more partisan campaign message for the three months till polling day.

    Okay, I'm gonna start by pointing out, I haven't listened to Checkpoint (it's downloading now, I hope the interview is in the "best of" they make available), but I suspect you mis-heard the position (or I've misunderstood your take). Limiting third party spending caps to the last the three months would be pretty major and would shut just about everyone up except the National Party.

    It was there, and Brent Edwards (who noticed that it was three-four weeks) got it completely wrong, conflating about four different aspects into one.

    An individual/group has to register before they spend $12,000 publishing election advertising (as defined in the EFB) nationally, or before they spend $1000 in an electorate.

    People/groups who spend more than this publishing election advertising without having registered break they law.

    The law as introduced (and as reported back) forbids people/groups from registering as a third party after the formal beginning of the election period ("writ day"). That is, a third party is forbidden from registering in that last six weeks or so. Anyone who hadn't registered is limited to $12,000/$1,000 (rather than the higher $120,000/$4,000). Nominations don't even open until writ day, so a local group who might have wanted to spend more than $1000 opposing person X's campaign for local MP, would have had to register before that person had been nominated (more likely, it would prevent a residents group from spending more than $1000 attacking a known candidate based on a position previously unknown that they had adopted during the final weeks).

    Annette King is proposing to cut the time in which registration as a third party is prohibited from the four~six weeks beginning on writ day and ending at the election, to the approximately three weeks beginning at the close of nominations.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've seen reproductions of Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles hundreds of times, but standing before the physical object in the NGA is over-whelming. I spent over half an hour sitting in front of it, peering at details, stepping back to catch the whole sweep...

    I had a similar experience in the presence of Mark Rothko's paitings for the Four Seasons, now in their own room at the Tate Modern. It was a moving and contemplative experience for a Sunday morning, and I had the room to myself for most of the time.

    Actually, I'm sure Hamish would agree with you. But his social history via visual art is still a good use of the television.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    The National Party MPs OTOH tried to scaremonger, with Chris Finlayson asking questions such as "did you know a sermon would count as an advertisement under the bill" (which is false, BTW). Unfortunately, they seem to be continuing this approach.

    Misleading, yes. But not entirely false. A sermon that takes a position on voting (say from a Catholic priest urging members to consider parties positions on the protection of unborn children when voting, which I think happened at the last election) is an election advertisement. It's just that absolutely none of the regulation in the EFB kicks in until it was published, which didn't include speaking in a church.

    Of course, thanks to some hurried drafting, it probably is now included. Arghh!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Name and address must be visible on pulpit...this message comes to you from,
    Big White Bearded Guy
    Address; From Up On High

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Actually, I'm sure Hamish would agree with you. But his social history via visual art is still a good use of the television.

    And to be fair, <i>The Shock of the New</i> and <i>Civilization</i> are, IMNSHO, great documentaries - so even mentioning Hamish in that company is a compliment in my book. And while I quite liked Simon Schama's series, those bloody re-enactments had me grinding my teeth. Do hope we're going to spared the sight of an actor 'doing' McCahon or Rita Angus.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    46 seconds in there's *something* that the jet has just bombed... Looks like a big grey Emu to me.


    And then there's the Clover field trailer....

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    But we shouldn't be depending on the whole-of-house committee to fix new and remaining problems over a few days in Parliament.

    Agreed. On this topic, have a look at the new section 55B:

    The following persons and bodies may not publish or cause or permit to be published any election advertisement:
    (a) the chief executive (however described) of a department of State or a Crown entity:
    (b) a department of State:
    (c) a Crown entity:
    (d) a State enterprise (within the meaning of section 2 of the State Owned Enterprises Act 1986) or a Crown owned company:
    (e) any other instrument of the Crown.

    I'm not sure, but would this prevent TVNZ from broadcasting any of the parties' election advertisements? TV3 might not mind that, but I'm sure it wasn't intended.

    The way this is going, I don't think I trust parliament to remove more errors than they're going to introduce. If they reduced the regulated period to a uniform 90 days, they wouldn't be in so much of a rush.

    Tim
    <><

    P.S. Graeme, I'm looking forward to reading your blog post on this.

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 126 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Tim - I haven't completely thought it through, but I think you're right (or at the very least this clause of the EFB and sections of the Broadcasting Act are in direct conflict).

    I'll add it to my list :-)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    I'm a big fan of Cloverfield's hand held approach - I'm calling it 'The Blair Godzilla Project' from here on in.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm a big fan of Cloverfield's hand held approach - I'm calling it 'The Blair Godzilla Project' from here on in.

    Shaky-cam? Well, I'm the last person to complain about high-functioning alcoholics in the workplace but Gads man... if you can't hold that camera level, perhaps you need a new career. Or a nap. Whatever - anything that doesn't give me a migraine is A-OK.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'm not sure, but would this prevent TVNZ from broadcasting any of the parties' election advertisements? TV3 might not mind that, but I'm sure it wasn't intended.

    That would be a wee hiccup if you're correct ;)

    Increase TVNZ viewership next year though, everyone would switch over just to avoid the terrible adverts.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It was there, and Brent Edwards (who noticed that it was three-four weeks) got it completely wrong, conflating about four different aspects into one.

    Just listened back to it myself. He did.

    Annette King is proposing to cut the time in which registration as a third party is prohibited from the four~six weeks beginning on writ day and ending at the election, to the approximately three weeks beginning at the close of nominations.

    Gotcha.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Graeme Edgeler pointed out in comments here yesterday, it would rule out meet-the-candidates meetings

    I asked this question before...how does it rule out these meetings?

    Given Graeme said this I am willing to believe there is a reason even if I have not grokked it yet. But a lot (most) of the commentary about the bill seems to be based on selective quoting of bits without also quoting the context and caveats.

    I still don't believe (having read the quoted bits) that megaphones are covered by the attribution thing and even if they are, transparency in a democracy is good, right?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    There was a man in the pool in a suit and tie

    It wasn't John Campbell, was it? Thinking back to A Queen's Tour.

    I had a similar experience in the presence of Mark Rothko's paitings for the Four Seasons, now in their own room at the Tate Modern. It was a moving and contemplative experience for a Sunday morning, and I had the room to myself for most of the time.

    I've had the same experience, and the sense of blossoming as one's eyes adjust to the dark is quite breathtaking. It's what prompted me to reply to one of my UK colleagues when he asked whether I was missing NZ and it's "wonderful lifestyle": "In NZ, I can't walk across the bridge in my lunch break and sit in a room full of Rothko's". I do get sick of the idea that "lifestyle" equates to running around in the bush and jumping off things: for many of us, the chance to live in a great world city isn't just a chance to save up some cash while gritting our teeth and dreaming of summers at the bach; it's an end in itself.

    On a slight tangent, does anyone have any opinions on whether the Wellington City Gallery's lighting treatment of the recent Bill Hammond paintings is brilliantly complementary or just plain tacky? I can't quite decide myself.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    And television is not a contemplative medium either, something Hughes considers essential to the experience of art.

    I've been watching the BBC series The Genius of Photography (as recommended by Fake Fiona), and it has many moments where the soundtrack becomes silent and the photo under discussion is presented simply and plainly in front of us.

    And yet I kept hitting the space bar to pause the action, so I could contemplate the image for longer than the few seconds the programme was giving me.

    It's hard to do that on live TV, but technology lets us add another dimension to the experience.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

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