Family First, everyone’s favourite reactionary lobby group, put up this little Facebook page called Protect Marriage NZ, ostensibly as a forum where the merits of same-sex marriage could be debated in an open forum. As the screenshot above may indicate, that didn’t last very long. Now it’s nothing but the very finest of echo chambers, where members can post “Praise God, Bob,” or variations on same when Bob McCoskrie posts yet another link. Usually to stuff like this, which is getting quite genuinely distasteful.
It’s still kind of funny. Okay, scratch that, it’s hilarious. It’s the exact same rhetoric that got bandied around for homosexual law reform, then for civil unions. Both times, it was cried that the wrath of Heaven would follow the incremental increase of rights for a marginalised swathe of the population. Unless you count the claims of the wackier Christians who reckon that the Christchurch earthquakes were evidence therof (and I find it hard to comprehend how someone can suffer so medieval a worldview in 2013) this didn’t happen. So now they’re reduced to claiming that “civil unions are enough”.
Well, they’re not enough, and happily, the majority agree that equal rites (see what I / Terry Pratchett did there?) are desirable. Which means that we’ll probably see Marriage Equality pass, and Family First will have to deal with a wave of Schadenfreude such as they have never seen before.
When that time comes, I encourage all and sundry to offer your commiserations to Mr McCoskrie and his team. Or, if you’re not feeling trollish, you could go and Like these otters. Everyone likes otters.
So I decided to colour that lineart and get myself used to Paint Tool SAI, a program a bunch of people have recommended at me. It’s amazing. Awesomely intuitive interface and controls, hilarious Engrish dialogues. Also it loads in seconds and hardly takes up any memory at all. Why can’t all programs be like this?
Felt like sketching. Might tidy it up a bit and colour it later. Not actually based on anything but I think Dream of the Astronaut Girl by Little Bushman is appropriate. I’d link to it but can’t find a decent track anywhere. Buy it on iTunes? Or look it up on Spotify? All their stuff is on there, and I think it’s awesome.
Dear To Whom It May Concern, Who I Assume Is Hannah Judd of hannahjudd.com
Regarding your amazing TradeMe advertisement: I am applying for the position of Travel & Tourism Article Writing at – well, you don’t actually say what the company is. Your advertisement mentions a “boutique marketing company.” Cool! I worked for a boutique marketing company when I was employed sending out emails on behalf of the Prince of Nigeria. You don’t get much more boutique than that. So I’m sure I’ll be familiar with the work environment.
Right. Your article begins with the question: “Want to get paid for writing about awesome travel destinations and adventure tourism?” At the risk of being overenthusiastic: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DO WANT THAT I WANT IT SO MUCH. Now to read more of your advertisement.
“We’re looking for someone to write weekly articles describing some of the amazing tourist activities and locations within New Zealand, Australia and the USA…” Alright, brilliant, with you so far, where do I sign, now to continue reading… “You don’t need to have personally visited the locations or even have taken part in the activities.”
YES. This is the opportunity I’ve been after my entire life. I’m happy to report that I hate actual traveling, but I love Imagination Traveling. I have a super-active imagination. As I write this, I am imagining myself bouncing from a bungee in Queenstown, losing grip of my laptop on which I am writing while I bungee, watching it plummet towards the turbulent waters, SPLASH…
Damn. Lost a perfectly good Imagination Laptop. That’ll set me back like $1500 Imagination Dollars! Okay so that was slightly crappy Imagination Journalism but I’m sure I’ll do better next time. You say you want 10 articles a week minimum? Sure, I’ve got nothing better to do with my time. You want them to be 500 words a pop? You want to increase to 20 articles a week over time? Sure, that will only require about 80 hours a week of incredibly hard work. A bargain at that price! Wait, what is the remuneration? I’m sure it’s generous! Allow me to skim-read the rest of your ad. Hmm… primary skills Blogs and Journalism… yep, got that, I’m blogging right now, and I write for newspapers and magazines… ah, here’s the moneyshot!
“Our rate is $15 per 500+ word article, which we would like to see you spend about 30 minutes to research the topic and then 30 minutes to put your copy together and submit to us. Initially we need 10 articles a week, every week, this will very quickly grow to 20-30.”
Wait. 3 cents a word? OH MY GOD! I’ll be able to buy at least four packets of instant noodles a week on that kind of money! Now admittedly this is about 30 percent of the lowest freelance rate paid by the lowest-paying newspapers in New Zealand according to this handy EPMU survey, but I won’t let that stop me. Nor will I worry about the fact that the idea of allowing only one hour to research and write a 500 word non-plagiarised article makes me laugh and laugh and laugh until I snort my precious instant noodles out my nose. No. I am keen. Sign me up right now. I’ll Imagination Journalism so damn hard that it will be like I was really there and being paid actual money for it.
Postscript: I had a quick squiz at hannahjudd.com and hot diggity damn but that is a legit website! Four lines of HTML text? That’s some serious postmodern minimalism right there. Oh, look – you’re the “owner of the New Zealand candidate blacklist report used by thousands of NZ agencies?” I have no idea what that is, but it sounds serious. I’m sure it’s every bit as legitimate as your website and job offer. The fate of God knows how many New Zealand jobseekers in your hands? More power to you!
Dear Sir (I am assuming you are a Sir because I hate Political Correctness almost as much as I love smoking)
I am applying for the job of Press Relations and Regulatory Affairs Manager at British American Tobacco NZ. I’m also interested in your (formerly) advertised role for a Hamilton based, entrepreneurial Trade Marketing Representative. Well, you’re in luck. I am both Hamilton-based AND entrepreneurial. I write for various media, which qualifies me for the Press Relations bit. Admittedly I don’t know what a Trade Marketing Representative or a Regulatory Affairs manager is or does, but I’m sure I could pick it up quickly enough. Other qualities you’re after include being outgoing and self-motivated. Well, I’m definitely outgoing. Look, I’ll go out right now.
I went out just then. You’ll have to take this on faith because this is a letter, but I really did do it.
In support of my application, please observe my video resume, in which I take it upon myself to spread awareness of your suspiciously delicious, curiously addictive (albeit cancer-causing) products, through the medium of dressing up as a large ambulatory cigarette, who I shall call B.A.T-Man. I trust this will meet with your total approval. As Freud didn’t say: “sometimes, a man dressed as a large ambulatory cigarette is just a man dressed as a large ambulatory cigarette.”
I have obtained some excellent references from the Rt. Dis. Hon Keith Ng and Sir Jackson James Wood, who praise my transferable skills vis-a-vis body-cavity cigarette-smuggling and shitting all over the target of a smokefree New Zealand by 2025, respectively. Also, as detailed in my video resume, I possess neither a conscience nor a soul of any kind. I trust these skills will be an asset to your organisation.
I eagerly await your reply confirming that I have obtained the positions advertised, as I’m clearly the best possible candidate for the role.
Joshua Drummond BA, BSocSci (Cigarettes)
This is a video I scripted and voiced for the phenomenally talented video production folks at Indiefilm Productions, Hamilton. The motion graphics on this video are nothing short of awesome – a huge congratulations to Borden Li and his brilliant team. I love it when I get the chance to work with these guys.
This was meant to come out last week in the Waikato Times, but sadly, it didn’t. Ah well. Thanks to the magic of the internet, I get to put it up on my blogomablog! If you enjoy it, please drop me a line (in comments or @josh_drummond on Twitter) to let me know. Cheers!
One day while I was power-walking my two pet chihuahuas Sonny and Bill behind Mike Hosking who was walking his pitbull terriers down a sunny street made of asphalt, I found a stick on the ground. It was a Y-shaped stick, so I knew it was a dowsing rod.
I consulted my smartphone. Wikipedia defines “dowsing” as “a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), without the use of scientific apparatus.”
“Dowsing rod,” I commanded, “find me a drip.”
It pointed straight at Mike Hosking.
“Hello, Mike Hosking,” I said,
“Hush,” said Hosking. “The sky is speaking to me.”
“Dowsing rod,” I commanded, “find me the sky.” It pointed at Mike Hosking’s cellphone.
Mike Hosking said to the cellphone, “I’m sorry Sky City, I can’t talk about my special ambassadorial relationship with you right now, as an impartial journalist is near me.” He tried to hang up. His smartphone switched to camera mode. He thumbed wildly at it, then threw it to the ground and jumped on it.
“I don’t much like cameras,” he explained to me.
“Mike Hosking,” I said, “as perhaps New Zealand’s single greatest interviewer and journalist, perhaps you’d like to talk to me about why you don’t think we need public television, unlike essentially all of the developed world.”
“Well,” said Mike Hosking, “it’s like this. You see, not enough people watch public television to justify spending money on it.”
“I see,” I said. “Could that be because we’ve degraded our state-owned television to the point where the only thing on it is cooking shows and reality shows about patrolling dogs?”
“People like patrolling dogs,” said Hosking. “It speaks to them. It sells. Look, I’m patrolling mine right now.” His pitbull licked its lips. One of my chihuahua’s legs dangled from its mouth. “I’m thinking of enrolling it in that new show about troubled dogs that get beaten by their owners to become less troubled,” he said.
“That sounds absolutely horrible,” I said.
“But it’s not! It’s not!” Mike Hosking cried. “There’s so much on commercial TV, so much to see, so much to enjoy! At 6:30 on Two there’s a re-run of Friends! You’ve seen it before, so it’s comforting, like someone from high school who has gained more weight than you! Then there’s Shortland Street – so many plots, so little plot! After that there’s Police Ten Seven – it’s about the dregs of society! You feel so superior! Oh, and Last Chance Dogs! It’s about vicious dogs, and their horrible owners. Will the dogs get put down? Find out! Over on One, there’s Coronation Street! It’s like a sleep drug! And before that, on Close Up, there’s ME! Good old unbiased Sky City Ambassador me!”
“But what about TVNZ7?” I asked. “It’s practically public television. Quite a few people watch that. There’s a big petition to save it.”
Mike Hosking’s face darkened. “Look,” he said. “Unlike my popular and competent show on Newstalk ZB, no-one watches TVNZ7.”
“Mike,” I said, “you can’t watch radio.”
Mike Hosking thought about this for a couple of hours. His pitbulls finished off the chihuahuas and gnawed at each other happily.
“Maths!” he announced. “I will use maths! See here. If each of my fingers is a TVNZ7 viewer, and – let me just take of my shoes – all of my toes are the cumulative viewership of the channel, then if I subtract by the number of limbs I have remaining…” He demonstrated by lifting both legs off the ground, and sat down abruptly, looking forlorn. His pitbulls licked his face.
“I just don’t like publicly funded television,” he said, looking down at the asphalt. “It doesn’t have doggies.”
“Dowsing rod,” I said, “Find me the cause of Mike Hosking’s unhappiness.” It pointed at the asphalt. I consulted my smartphone. Wikipedia defines asphalt, also known as bitumen, as “the sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits; it is a substance classed as a pitch. Until the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used.”
I turned back to Hosking to show him what I had learned, but his pitbulls were rapidly finishing off the last of him. A TVNZ van was pulled up next to the curb: an excited crew from “Last Chance Dogs” was filming the spectacle. Filming them was a crew from the show “Police Ten 7,” and behind them was the news, filming the filming of the filming.
I filmed them all with my smartphone, uploaded it to YouTube, and walked on, trailing my empty dog leashes behind me.
Joshua Drummond is a Hamilton freelance writer who thinks Chihuahuas look delicious.
So yeah. It was us all along! It’s been a mildly glorious secret to be sitting on. This must be how Peter Parker feels all the time. If you don’t know what I’m on about, have a look at the press release Jackson and I co-wrote.
At the risk of spoiling the joke, here’s how it went down.
Jackson started it, so he deserves the credit. I figured it was him early on – I was an early fan of his stuff when he was Editor of Salient, and Brash’s mad, hilarious tweets had just a hint of Jacksony goodness about them – so I asked, and he ‘fessed up. At first, my involvement was limited to sending Jackson a few tweet ideas now and then. Shortly before the election Jackson got in touch and asked if I could take the account over for the duration. No worries, said I. Actually I was hugely worried. I had no idea if I could keep the funny going or if I’d be able to emulate @DrBrash’s signature style.
Jackson gave me the keys and I took the Doctor for a drive. No-one noticed the switch. Indeed, apparently some other person in the know emailed Jackson to scoff at the idea that he’d given the account to someone else, which was excellent. The rest is history. I ran the account for the duration of the election, (mostly in my work breaks by using a bit of tweet-scheduling software) and after it was done Jackson and I ran it evenly between ourselves. So if you want to know who came up with a particularly funny thing, too bad. As far as I’m concerned, after the election we were a hive-mind. Buy me a drink and maybe I’ll tell you.
One ridiculous thing I want to claim as entirely my own idea is the #FurChickens hashtag. When I was editor of Nexus I occasionally wrote a filler column called Granny Smith, which was ostensibly authored by a mad old bat who peddled terrible ideas. Not terribly far from the real Dr Brash. Granny Smith was the first to advocate the trapping and eating of Fur Chickens (which are cats, in case you didn’t know). I thought the idea, and the columns, were hilarious, but I had no idea if anyone else did. When I took over Dr Brash I thought I might have found a receptive audience, so I floated the idea of beneficiaries being forced to take in excess SPCA kitties for sustenance. Turned out people liked it, so #FurChickens was born. I realise it’s one of the stupider things @DrBrash came up with (among many, many other things) but I still giggle at it each time.
It’s been a blast. We’ve been incredibly rude to some people who clearly deserved it (sewer-dwelling blubber-bloggers, rogue MPs, tobacco lobbyists) and some who clearly didn’t (poor Arun Soma – I hope #TVNZStoryIdeas didn’t do any lasting damage) and hopefully handed out some laughs along the way. The best part was being regularly mistaken for “real” Brash. That never stopped being funny – or immensely worrying. That someone could mistake someone as clearly mad as @DrBrash as a real person speaks volumes about ACT and Dr Donald Brash himself, in my opinion. It’s also, at the risk of pointing out the obvious, why the parody succeeded as well as it did. That and the hilarious green zombie-Brash profile pic.
Now, with ACT (and their current bizarre paleo-conservative parody of a leader) teetering on the edge of what looks like a long-overdue oblivion, it’s time to say goodbye to @DrBrash. Perhaps his doom is symbolic? After all, ACT are just as parodic as @DrBrash ever was.
“E tu, @DrBrash? Then so falleth Banksie!”
Or something like that.
The indomitable Ryan Sproull, former editor of Auckland student rag Craccum and current proprietor of the excellent Born On State Highway One, created me this fantastic LinkedIn recommendation.
“In the autumn of 1993, I was called in by my superiors after a period of recuperative leave. One of the satellites had picked something up, a spike in Mosgiel, of all places. I figured it was going to be a routine scan, probably just confirming it was another false negative.
The signal had been unusually strong, however, registering up to 8.3 Ickes at its peak. Back then, we’d never seen anything like that before. I had been deemed fit for service, but I wasn’t going in alone. I was paired with a young Theta-level Purificator who specialised in Herpetological Counter-Insurgency. Apparently the Infinitarchs had been watching his progress for some time. That Purificator was Josh Drummond.
While I had my doubts about Drummond, given how little experience he had in the field, he soon proved his weight in gold. Over the course of the next week he worked tirelessly to track down and ret-herp no less than three Reptilian Shapeshifters who had insinuated themselves into the seedy world of the Mosgiel Borough Council. Naturally, I pulled my own weight, but if it hadn’t been for Drummond’s sharp instincts, I would never have suspected the existence of the hatching chambers, let alone found and Thermed them. I still sometimes wake in the middle of the night, hearing the keening screeches of the reptilian young boiling to death in their own hatching pods. The sounds were bad enough. But the look… The look on Drummond’s face as he watched them burn, cold features illuminated in the last flickering light of the thermite…
For a moment I imagine he looked a little reptilian himself.
I heartily recommend Joshua Drummond for any Herpetological Counter-Insurgency roles, and wish him the best in his future career.” February 22, 2012
If you’re on LinkedIn feel free to track me down and find this recommendation for yourself. It suddenly occurs to me that I never wrote Mr Sproull a recommendation in return. The offer is open, should he ever want one. I could write about this one time when we pooled our corporate synergies into the quest for the mighty Summoning Orb of Becoming…