Tag Archives: Media

Whale Oil

Review: Margie Thompson (2019) Whale Oil Nelson: Potton and Burton ($39.99)

The line ‘Whale Oil Beef Hooked’ brought a snigger among sixteen-year-old schoolboys when I was one, and perhaps it still raises a laugh among a certain diminishing demographic where Irish jokes seem clever. Certainly Cameron Slater, whose once highly subscribed right-wing blog is thus named, has been known to deal in racism and would cast himself as a fearless opponent of political correctness. Self-promotion and marketing are part of the product that he purveyed. The rest is lies, quarter-truths, voyeurism, scandal, scuttlebutt, and subcontracted political spin, as this book amply shows, though Slater has few customers for that any more.

Margie Thompson’s book, Whale Oil, a surprisingly riveting read, assiduously researched, is only partly about Slater (those interested in the ‘principles’, ways and means of this character should read Nicky Hager’s (2014) Dirty Politics, also published by Potton and Burton, a work that inspired Thompson in her remarkable endeavour). The cover of Thompson’s book, by Darryl Sean Parsons, has a marvellous caricature, showing not a whale, but another sea creature, a many-tentacled bottom-dweller that squirts ink, an ugly octopus-like monster of uncanny resemblance (‘Here be monsters’ warns Thompson on p.119). Whale Oil, however, is more about the long-term determination and courageous standing up to this bully and his paymasters, at enormous personal cost, of the book’s main protagonist, businessman Matt Blomfield.

Once an investor in, and driving business-plan force behind, the then highly successful Hell Pizza chain, Blomfield fell out with his former business associates when he would no longer do dirty work for them. Someone then set out concertedly to destroy his personal and professional reputation, and ruin his life as well as his business, feeding Whale Oil the hacked and stolen means, and motivation. Slater’s hireling defamation blog lied that Blomfield was a paedophile, pornographer, thief from a charity organisation, fraudster, illegal drug-user and more. That this was lies in its entirety was eventually, insistently and painstakingly, proven in courts by Blomfield, as Thompson’s book sets out in gripping narrative. Yet ink, like mud, sticks. The book is a tale of redemption, but Blomfield’s painful (and expensive!) recuperation of his honour is a work in progress. Continue reading Whale Oil

Still Silent Objects

On Tuesday 16 April 2019, Professor Jan Jordan and colleagues launched the results from a three year Marsden study at a symposium in Wellington. The work – encompassing significant police file analysis, media analysis and interviews – examined women’s representations, contemporary pornography, and criminal justice responses to rape.

The symposium was live-recorded. You can watch all the main talks here – just click on the title of each talk below.

Please be advised that much of the material is challenging and deals directly with issues of sexual assault and objectification. Continue reading Still Silent Objects

Constructing Rape

What can the Scott Kuggeleijn rape case teach us about how we think about sexual violence?

New Zealanders love sport. Cricket and rugby are two sports in particular that are afforded considerable status and occupy a position of national prominence. However, while our professional athletes are revered for their impressive sporting talents, they don’t always all behave in exemplary ways, as some of the evidence presented in the recent trial of Cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn suggests.

The acquittal of Kuggeleijn on rape charges and the discourse surrounding the trial reveals a lot about how we think about sexual violence, the narratives that frame our societal understanding of it, and raises important questions for the future if we are to move toward a safer society for women in particular. Continue reading Constructing Rape

Public Criminology: Tim Newburn Video

Prof Tim Newburn

Last week the Institute of Criminology at Victoria University of Wellington hosted the fourth annual NZ criminology symposium. The theme was public criminology. Several academics recorded videos for us, reflecting on some of the themes covered.

Prof Tim Newburn from the LSE talked about his project ‘Reading the Riots’ undertaken in collaboration with the Guardian newspaper.

The video is available to view on the Criminology Collective FaceBook page. Click here to be transported at hyper-link-speed to that very place!

A Woman’s Words: What are They Worth?

lipno2New Zealand newspaper reporting on rape presents some grave concerns in relation to how women as victims are discussed, objectified, and silenced. The 2016 trial of ‘Northern Districts’ cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn has showed this all too clearly.

Kuggeleijn took to the stand after a woman alleged that he raped her, at her Hamilton flat in May 2015. Comments from The New Zealand Herald and Stuff showed little progress from sexist attitudes towards women, and the abhorrent culture that surrounds rape and sexual violence in this country. Stating that the complainant was dressed “very provocatively” with her “breasts out” and “quite revealing with a short skirt and pink top” (Feek, 2016) only serve to remind us that women, and their appearances, are, in some way to blame for rape (Feek, 2016).

Kuggeleijn’s defence lawyer suggested that the cricketer acted as any other man would when he tried to have sex with a woman after she had earlier said ‘no’: “If I said to you that 100 men who have been in that situation and tried again you would have a forest of hands. There’s nothing horrible about that, it’s just a reflection of life really, and what was Kuggeleijn other than one of these men?” (Akoorie, 2016). Continue reading A Woman’s Words: What are They Worth?