Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Undie Wankers

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  • Marcus Turner,

    But it can also lead to a desire to hide the actual problems from sight in order to preserve a good image.

    I think so, too.

    It often seems to me that the cleanness and greenness of this country aren't a result of any particular awareness, on the part of the population, of environmental issues.

    I think I see more evidence of genuine public awareness of green/sustainability issues in Germany and Denmark than I do in New Zealand.

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    I think it's because image has a common currency. I know many business- and enterprise- oriented people who don't share my values but do understand the business advantage of arguing to preserve the "green image" of New Zealand.

    Working to maintain the "clean green" image can also work to the genuine advantage of the environment.

    Yes, being pragmatic is good. Get as many people on the waka by hook or by crook.

    But damn, the complacency! Mine included (so I am going to ban myself from takeaway coffee as penance for my righteous indignation ;-)

    Re students. Imagine if students were burning couches and throwing brinks for some politically motivated reason. That would make the country sit up and notice, well until Shorty started I guess.

    I agree with Russell about the privileged little couch burning f&%ers.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    I think I see more evidence of genuine public awareness of green/sustainability issues in Germany and Denmark than I do in New Zealand.

    German and Danish people that I know pull no punches when it comes to how they perceive our clean green image. Essentially they call "bullshit" on that one.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Piers Scott,

    If I went home tonight, got drunk, set fire to my sofa in my quiet suburban street and threw bottles and bricks at any police officer that turned up to quell the situation, I would be arrested and would no doubt have the law book thrown at me.

    Any protestations of police provocation or heavy-handedness would be laughed at, as would any calls for leniency.

    So why should there be different behavioural standards for uni students?

    My wife, who is from Europe, is always dumfounded that we are so lenient on drunken, irreverent, privileged kids.

    If political violence is a crime, POINTLESS violence is surely a worse crime!

    Since Jan 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    If political violence is a crime, POINTLESS violence is surely a worse crime!

    Hell yes.

    Especially looking at the anti-terrorist raids and who got caught up in them here in this country.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    A long time ago, in my mis-spent youth, I went to a few minor music festivals, a couple of them uni celebrations and they were so peaceful by comparison. Quite sure there was plenty of drugs & alcohol about, but a totally different atmosphere.

    Where has all the aggro come from? And if you want to get totally trolleyed and burn a few things, why not go camp at a deserted beach and build a bonfire?

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    It's hard to fault the police for going in hard when you consider that the suburbs in question have been the scene of attacks on fire fighters, in recent times. It sounds like the cops may have been somewhat, err, enthusiastic with some of their actions, but history is not on the side of the students when it comes to the police decision to treat it as a hostile environment from the outset. If there's no respect for fire fighters, why should the police give the benefit of any doubt?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Urquhart,

    I was in Dunedin for the weekend, attending an unrelated party. One of my passengers was a 1st year engineer from Canterbury going down to attend the Undy party on the insistence of some girl he knew down there.

    He reported that the event was relatively small and the police contained it in Castle street (compared to the multi-street parties of other years). Other reports I have from Canterbury people I know involved in the Undy indicate that things started to get ugly on the Dunedin side as soon as the bulk of the Undy (i.e. 'the excuse') arrived in town, but that's only hearsay.

    I was waiting for dinner earlier on the Friday when a badly painted van of very loud Canterbury students passed down George street, and at that moment I might not have admitted to being from Christchurch if asked. But that wasn't actually any different from some of the behaviour I've witnessed on other occasions when I've had the misfortune to be down at the same time as a significant sporting fixture.

    Another longtime university friend from Dunedin told me over the weekend that part of town is where the students who are only there to get a degree and don't care about where they live or much else really tend to end up. Having driven Hydes? Street after dropping my passenger off I'd add "In houses owned by landlords who don't care about anything but the money". A couple of bulldozers and some urban renewal could make a huge difference.

    - 2 bits of obsolete denomination

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2009 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    But South Auckland is not a red herring when you bear in mind the leeway that's been shown here over the years. There are a lot of kids who endure police attention for a lot less than two nights of deliberate and dangerous rioting.

    Couldn't the issue actually be the lack of leniency shown toward the poor kids rather than the leniency shown to rich ones?

    The kids have acted like dolts but the cops did bill it like a celebrity boxing night.

    Any protestations of police provocation or heavy-handedness would be laughed at, as would any calls for leniency.

    Unless of course the facts demonstrated that such protestations and calls had merit in them. No one is ever a lone wolf from the law.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Jose Barbosa,

    Where has all the aggro come from? And if you want to get totally trolleyed and burn a few things, why not go camp at a deserted beach and build a bonfire?

    I think Mr Anthony Burgess has an answer:

    "But youth is only being in a way like it might be an animal. No, it is not just like being an animal so much as being one of these malenky toys you viddy being sold in the streets, like little chellovecks made out of tin and with a spring inside and then a winding handle on the outside and you wind it up grrr grrr grrr and off it itties, like walking, O my brothers. But it itties in a straight line and bangs straight into things bang bang and it cannot help what it is doing. Being young is like being like one of these malenky machines.

    My son, my son. When I had my son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches I had done ..."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The ODT has some pretty striking video of what was going on.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Many of the rioters aren't students.

    Nonsense. 80% of those arrested were Otago students. I sincerely hope both the court and the university gives those arrested the maximum penalties available.
    I hope these immature little pricks get extensive PD sentences and that the university either expels them or suspends them from attending for a year or two.

    I'm normally not this reactionary, but I am sick of morons leaving mummy and daddy's nest in other cities coming here, treating the place like crap, then getting upset when the cops get grumpy, then leaving once they've got their bit of paper.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    A couple of years ago I drove up and down Castle St and counted the burn marks, 102. I couldn't believe it so I counted again. It was pretty close. Its been added too since!

    Can anyone suggest that they did not think it was going to happen? All the media buildup, the postering from the Mayor, Police and Student Prez?

    Pranks, gatherings, pissups, - and riots (read disruption here. See below) has occurred for ever if one has a look through student/uni histories. Lost in the eons of time due to the fact that the rest of the world heard about it the next month or in quiet conversations amongst friends and families. The instant world changes that but it does not change the occurance. In engineering parlance, the control loop is non existent.

    (See Below Here): I remember riding round and round Q St ,K Rd and Sy St on M/cycles pissing off the locals 'cos there were too many of us. Yes, Hoons. It was a great laugh at the time but I suspect we would be run off the road today. An hour later and it was all over. Riding with no helmet and stoned can be compared to the idiots jumping over the burning couches. Nothing has changed there.

    And dare I say this: That "todays" student is a rather more homogenous beast than 30 years ago. In those days we WANTED to go to university. Today one may argue they HAVE to go. It makes for a different mix. They are in debt to the eyeballs so lets show society why we should have a good party on their dollar eh? 30 years ago 6 weeks of work paid for the years bed and breakfast. Not any more.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Burgess' Alex may have been correct for the Anglo-Celtic culture, but other countries with cheap alcohol seem to avoid this sort of carron.

    As Tom was hinting, drunkenness is socially constructed. Plenty of "this flavourless water is vodka" experiments to demonstrate that.

    At some level, in our culture a lot of people think that being smashed gives you a license for activities that aren't ok if you're sober.

    I wonder if it would be more successful to try to spread the idea that macho people can hold their liquor and that vomitous violence is shameful, than trying to persuade people to drink less.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    "carron" = "carry-on"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I wonder whether they'll have another crack at the undie 500 next year. If they do I imagine that it will be a lot more like the real Cannonball Run with the Police actually bothering to stop them instead of pointing them in the right direction to Dunedin...

    Would the cars still hold together in one piece?

    Tom B: Again it brings to mind the Listener article, "The unbearable lightness of being English".

    3410:

    But it can also lead to a desire to hide the actual problems from sight in order to preserve a good image .

    Nicky Hager's next exposé, methinks?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Riding with no helmet and stoned can be compared to the idiots jumping over the burning couches. Nothing has changed there.

    And dare I say this: That "todays" student is a rather more homogenous beast than 30 years ago. In those days we WANTED to go to university. Today one may argue they HAVE to go. It makes for a different mix. They are in debt to the eyeballs so lets show society why we should have a good party on their dollar eh? 30 years ago 6 weeks of work paid for the years bed and breakfast. Not any more.

    Quite so. It's a strange thing how we live in more liberated times but seem to be handling it so badly. A lot of naughty activity went under the radar in the "not-instant" society and, also, some nasty pieces-of-work got dealt to quietly as well. Standards might have been higher and more authoritarian, even, but there seems to have been a lot more leeway - room to let loose occasionally and make a few mistakes. The stakes seem a lot higher now.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    then leaving once they've got their bit of paper.

    It isn't as if they are any good at rugby...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 187 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    And Russell's pickup of Judith Collins talking of "Rich Little White Kids".

    Bizarre that it even came form her of all people. Its something one would hear from way out left like the Socialist Unity Party yonks ago!!!

    Obviously MP salaries are not what they used to be!!!! Victim of the Financial Crisis maybe? Ahhhh......Justice!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    DeepRed: "it brings to mind the Listener article, "The unbearable lightness of being English". "

    Quite, especially when she writes:

    streets have been usurped by half-formed bullies whose boredom mates with self-hate to become destructive anger.

    Kapka lived in Dunedin for quite some time, so she should have seen plenty of Castle St high-jinks, but the current "riots" (and I wouldn't want to glorify them with the name) seem more like the bad English behaviour she said was much worse than anything in NZ. Does that imply that this is much worse than Dunedin booziness from a decade ago?

    There is one difference: I don't see much boredom and self-hate in those crowds, just a gleeful and selfish desire to start a fight as if it were entertainment. It's not as if these are long-term unemployed from Toxteth, full of inchoate anger against an unjust system and fuelled by the mind-numbing boredom of a council estate. These are kids with a rich and prosperous life ahead of them, but maybe they were just the same bullies who were always kicking third-formers for the heck of it. Some people are just douchebags.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    If I had have know university entrants could be this thick, I might have felt better about not attempting my school certificate.

    The last statistic I heard was that 50% of uni entrants did not finish their degrees (although I don't know whether this was "the degree they entered to do", in which case it would include a lot of people who finished *a* degree nevertheless.) However, anecdata suggests this is pretty accurate. Uni is a bit of a dumping ground for the young and aimless these days, and I don't know it's very helpful.

    30 years ago 6 weeks of work paid for the years bed and breakfast. Not any more.

    Also depends strongly on whether you're paying for bed and board during that six weeks or not. If I went home to my parents' and worked full-time all summer I could earn most of what I needed to live for the year. Pity it's just not practical.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    If I organised 500 of my friends to do the same I imagine the cops would stop us by Lincoln and tell us to go home or be arrested.

    And that would be a gross infringement on your human rights, and I'd hope to hell you'd give the cops shit.

    The problem is that the Undie itself is a fine thing --- I mean, watching them all set off, there's skill and ingenuity and fun in the cars; it's the drunken idiots in (and from!) Dunedin that fuck it up, and they should have the book thrown at them, but it really isn't fair to punish Canterbury engineering students because Dunedin has a dysfunctional culture.

    (And seriously, Peter Chin did not handle this well.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Jose Barbosa,

    Graeme Downe puts it partly down to urban planning (via @lawrencearabia)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    The problem is that the Undie itself is a fine thing --- I mean, watching them all set off, there's skill and ingenuity and fun in the cars; it's the drunken idiots in (and from!) Dunedin that fuck it up, and they should have the book thrown at them, but it really isn't fair to punish Canterbury engineering students because Dunedin has a dysfunctional culture.

    They had more police than students at the send-off, and banned egg-throwing and water-guns. Rioting is a problem, but water-guns? There was a certain degree of paranoia there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    although I don't know whether this was "the degree they entered to do", in which case it would include a lot of people who finished *a* degree nevertheless

    In one of the first papers I took, the lecturer said that something like 1/3 of students graduate with a completely different major (never mind degree, and keep in mind that migrating to or from a conjoint constitutes a complete change in the degree) from the one they had in mind when enrolling. So, I suspect that there's confusion between actual drop-out rates and frequency with which minds are changed between enrolment and graduation.

    Thinking about it, there was almost certainly not a 50% drop-out rate over the three years of my degree, based on the distinctly unscientific measurement of me observing people reappearing in lectures or around campus for the duration of my studies. Given that I was enrolled in two distinctly different majors I got to see quite a wide cross-section of students within the faculty, too.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

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