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New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener Issue 42 2020

New Zealand Listener is the country’s most respected general interest magazine, bringing you a wide variety of news, stories, columns, reviews, plus TV listings, every week.

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Are Media Pty Limited
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52 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
dissing discourse

‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear,” wrote George Orwell in Animal Farm. Apparently, he shouldn’t have. The BBC is being assailed with protest for displaying the quote in its foyer as a mission statement. The venerable state broadcaster has long set a globally influential benchmark for quality, in-depth and comprehensive reportage. But its renewed drive for journalistic balance is being bitterly opposed by objectors, including those who regard the Orwell quote as licensing hate speech. As with the movement that seeks to “cancel” historical figures whose conduct, works or beliefs would offend today’s society – from Shakespeare and Dickens to Rhodes and Cook – so the very definition of freedom of speech is in danger of being upturned. Orwell’s writing…

1 min.
winning caption

Simone Standfield FINALISTS Boris Johnson: “What, I’m father to all three of you as well?” – Jonathan Jepson Johnson: “No, you may not call me Boris Minor. I got enough of that at Eton.” – Dean Donoghue Johnson: “They always said I was backward.” – Sorrel Bovett Schoolgirl to Johnson: “That’s funny, your Covid plan is the same as mine – a blank page!” – David Field Johnson: “Is that how you spell E U?” – Dianna Rule…

3 min.
it’s all relative

Paul Kelly (Letters, October 10) says nations will ultimately judge their leaders on how they handled the coronavirus. New Zealand is already being compared to Taiwan, which saw just 0.03 deaths per 100,000 people and, because it remained more open while doing better than us at testing, tracing and isolating, had only a 1.4% fall in GDP in the second quarter. New Zealand suffered 0.5 deaths per 100,000, but in the second quarter its economy shrank by 12.2%. Chris Wilson(Auckland) ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Congratulations on the impressive array of economists you consulted for your October 10 issue in addressing the crucial issue of how we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic (On the money). However, there was little consideration of overcoming the failures of past economies in generating inequalities, overconsumption and environmental degradation. The standout exception was…

1 min.
quips & quotes

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.”– Mark Twain“Donald Trump thinks the Bill of Rights is just one more invoice he doesn’t have to pay.”– Christian Britschgi“Go ahead: try defeatism. Won’t work.”– US academic Eric Jarkokinksi, quoted in the Guardian“Just as there are no atheists on a sinking ship, there are no free marketeers in a pandemic.” – British journalist Jonathan Freedland“The trouble with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings.”– Oscar Wilde quoted in Prospect“A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skills.”– astronaut Frank Borman, quoted in the Times“The word listen has the word silent quietly sitting within it. That’s what it means – be silent.”…

1 min.
10 quick questions

1. Lee Kuan Yew is considered to be the founding father of which state? ❑ Indonesia❑ Malaysia❑ Bhutan❑ Singapore 2. What does the phrase “theatre of the mind” refer to? ❑ Fiction❑ Psychology❑ Radio❑ Debating 3. True or false? The Eagles’ song Hotel California is about a group of devil worshippers. ❑ True ❑ False 4. True or false? There’s no real difference between a road and a street. ❑ True❑ False 5. Which British TV series featured the catchphrase “I don’t believe it!” ❑ One Foot in the Grave❑ Blackadder❑ Black Mirror❑ Black Books 6. The famous Elgin Marbles, now on display in the British Museum, were removed from what structure? ❑ Luxor Temple❑ The Parthenon❑ Lighthouse of Alexandria ❑ The Colosseum 7. Which classic film features an evil preacher with the words LOVE and HATE tattooed on his knuckles? ❑ The…

3 min.
hypocritical holidaying

It’s a conspiracy, the taxi driver in Athens tells his passengers. “The big travel companies and the budget airlines – they forced the European governments to open the borders.” He nods grimly. His customers – holiday-makers just arrived from Berlin – mutter sympathetically. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to get into politics with a Greek cabbie. The irony of the situation may have been lost on our taxi driver – after all, he’s profiting from this fare from the airport – but some of us are only too aware of the hypocrisy involved in travelling in Europe during a pandemic. Our trip to Greece is the result of several months of serious contemplation. Since mid-June, European borders have gradually reopened. Tourism makes up about 10% of the EU’s economic activity; in…