New Zealand Listener Issue 32 2021

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.

New Zealand
Are Media Pty Limited
52 Issues

in this issue

3 min
french lessons

Our new pandemic threat is from a most unexpected new variant: vaccine complacency. The shockingly sluggish response to the launch of the long-awaited mass-vaccination push at the weekend suggests this country is a candidate for some Gallic-style tough love. French President Emmanuel Macron has just grounded his population of vaccine resisters indefinitely, saying they will face heavy restrictions until they are fully inoculated. Here, the Government is still trying to jolly people into vaccination, and it’s not working. Just days before its weekend launch, only 3000 of an anticipated 15,000-plus eligible Aucklanders had registered for the three-day jab-athon at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau. Poor communications and timing may have been a factor, but the event designed to be a rousing curtain-raiser for mass vaccination has instead highlighted an outbreak of apparent…

11 min
knowledge and science

The authors of the “In defence of science” letter (July 31) use their privilege to perpetuate a cherry-picked history of science, advancing an argument that suppresses rather than promotes science education. Invoking the lineage of science from Mesopotamia to Europe is a retroactive continuity created by Europeans; many of the discoveries from this lineage were replicated elsewhere in time and place. Aztecs, Inca, Iroquois, Bantu and Māori (to name a few out of thousands) all developed advanced knowledge and culture independent of this lineage, but were never invited to contribute to the Western institution of science at their zenith. Western science classified these cultures as indigenous, trivialising their knowledge and enabling their peoples, lands and waters to be consumed by colonisation. Their taonga were stolen to be stored and displayed in…

1 min

Caption: “Virgin Galactic crew after locating new tax exile.”– Anita Arlov, AucklandCaption: “Space cadets incarnate.”– John Smythe, WellingtonCaption: “Crew get high on rocket fuel.”– Marie Curran, DunedinCaption: “Sir Richard Branson celebrates moving all of his finances to an off - planet trust.”– David Beck, ChristchurchBeth Moses: “We have given him an enema of bubbles. He should launch any second now!”– Andrew Gordon, WaipukurauSir Richard Branson: “You’ll never believe what we saw on Earth– heaps of tractors driving along.”– Hans Zindel, Palmerston NorthBeth Moses: “The heights that some people will go to to get a drink!”– Mike Lynch, Upper HuttBranson: “That’s one small hoist for a man, one giant hernia for Branson-kind!”– Simone Stansfield, WellingtonSirisha Bandla: “Great flight, shame that Virgin sent my luggage to Sydney.”– Paul Kelly, Palmerston North…

1 min
quips & quotes

“Our team lives hockey, it dreams hockey, it eats hockey. Now if it could only play hockey.”– Milton Berle, quoted on the Olympic Games“I don’t think the discus will ever attract much interest until they let them start throwing them at each other.”– Al Oerter“I can’t have a bank account because I can’t remember my mother’s maiden name.”– Paula Poundstone“I chose to pursue a career in physics because there the truth isn’t so easily bent.”– Angela Merkel“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half of the wars of the world.”– Thomas Jefferson“We have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. In 2001, American entrepreneur Dennis Tito became known as the world’s first … what? ❑ Facebook visitor ❑ Whole-eye transplant recipient ❑ Space tourist ❑ Cryonically preserved human 2. Which of these is extracted from a tropical orchid that blooms for a single day and must be hand-pollinated? ❑ Nutmeg ❑ Cinnamon ❑ Saffron ❑ Vanilla 3. Which of these animals is not part of the canine family? ❑ Hyena ❑ Jackal ❑ Fox ❑ Coyote 4. Daruma dolls are typically round and red and depict a bearded man. In which country are they traditionally made? ❑ Japan ❑ Scotland ❑ Russia ❑ Thailand 5. Who wrote the best-selling novel The Name of the Rose, which was made into a film starring Sean Connery? ❑ Hilary Mantel ❑ Umberto Eco ❑ Ken Follett ❑ Kazuo Ishiguro 6. Which 1990s film provided a breakthrough role for Australian actress Toni Collette? ❑ Babe ❑ Muriel’s Wedding ❑ The Castle ❑…

3 min
the power of one

When I was in my late twenties, I got what should have been my dream job: senior editor on a proposed 20-volume set of books about baseball, the love and language of my childhood. Instead, because of one poorly placed, horrifying human, it was like a low-budget zombie apocalypse film. I learnt a lot in those two years, including to be sure to look for signs during job interviews that your future boss may be a sociopath. But I also unearthed a sadly universal truth: one wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time can screw things up for a lot of people. Today’s look at single-source wrecking balls focuses on Senator Joe Manchin. Despite hailing from coal-rich West Virginia, the Trumpy-reddest of all 50 states, he is a…