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New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener Issue 47 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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52 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
biden: his time

There’s so much to celebrate with the United States leadership now transferring to the hands of the moderate, multilateralist team of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Outgoing President Donald Trump, with his politics of vilification, division, protectionism and withdrawal from global leadership responsibilities, has lost this critical battle. Much of the damage he has done – not least to the American psyche – can now begin to heal. It would be a mistake, however, to assume that with the Biden presidency, Trump’s vengeful populism has been vanquished – either in the Republican Party or in the electorate. The Democrats’ victory was decisive, but not overwhelming. Nor did it conform to conventional assumptions about identity politics. Despite his unabashed racist overtones, Trump drew surprising support from Latino and African-American voters. Trump’s appeal did not…

10 min.
ta-ta trump

President Donald Trump has not been “the problem”. Yes, unstable denier Trump is a dangerous person to have in such a powerful office. But he is a symbol and symptom of a deeper and wider malaise We are in the “post-truth era” in which denial has become mainstream. Now, decades on since it became known, the reality of climate change has reached mainstream consciousness to the extent that the massive and fundamental changes required to create a new sustainable, survivable world have sunk in. So far, the visceral terror arising from this recognition has led to a not uncommon human response of trying to find reasons to disbelieve reality. Hence, we have climate deniers holding on to their exploitative world view (similar to the colonial attitudes of white supremacists), even those who…

3 min.
democratic blues

For about a decade, there lived one vividly conservative Republican in our otherwise exclusively liberal neighbourhood. She had a “Rush (as in Limbaugh) Is Right” sticker on her car bumper, and even though our sons carpooled to ice hockey together, I refrained from ever asking “about what?” as I assumed to her mind he was and is right about everything. When my Listener column about my desire to move to New Zealand appeared (“The mother of all Plan Bs”, October 24), a friend posted it on Facebook and our resident Republican replied as follows: “It sounds nice. Why don’t you just move there? Do they have immigration laws that they enforce or can you just waltz right in like you can in the US?” She and her family moved a few years…

3 min.
goodness graceless

All those parents asking themselves whether teaching their kids appropriate codes of behaviour is worth the effort need only look at Donald Trump’s bad grace at losing the US presidential election, to say, “Yes, it is.” It’s not as though once the result was finally called anyone expected the respective presidential campaign teams to line up in the White House rose garden, shake hands down a conga line and say, “good game”, “good game”, “good game”, and “three cheers for CNN”, followed by an invitation to Presidentelect Joe Biden to come in to measure up bedroom curtains. Still, of all the astonishing Trump tweets over the past four years, “I WON. BY A LOT”, after he lost the election, has to be in my own top-five favourites. Right now, though, I have…

3 min.
maga comes to ponsonby

Early in the tediously protracted US election, a young woman on Auckland’s Ponsonby Rd saw a vehicle drive past apparently flying “Donald Trump flags”. Whatever they may be. She followed it to Hoppers Bar, rallied some supporters via social media and they entered the bar rallied some supporters via social media and they entered the bar. Inside, she discovered five people wearing MAGA caps. For the uninitiated, these are red baseball caps with the trite Make America Great Again slogan stitched on the front that are oft en worn by President Trump and his supporters. Because she apparently believed the slogan, “like the Nazi swastika”, embodied values she objected to, namely, sexism and racism, the woman and her friends challenged the hat wearers in the bar. It was not, I suspect, a…

5 min.
covid sets fur flying

It’s said that bad news travels fast, whereas good news takes the scenic route. Sure enough, just as Rachel Hunter foretold, the Covid vaccine didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Also stopping at all stations on an agonisingly meandering journey was the confirmation of the election of a new, non-ranting, non-tweeting, Covid-believing US president. after a harrowing week in which various countries locked down again against resurgent Covid spread and parts of the US threatened riots, it finally seemed the sun had come out all over the world. News of a viable vaccine and the Biden bounce transfused the financial markets, in particular those invested in travel and hospitality. The vaccine’s no sure thing. It won’t be rolled out quickly and its storage requires more dry ice than an Elton John world…