Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Guest Week Day Three: Gen on Voting and His- or Her- Story

Gen may or may not be the glamorous singer and front-woman for international pop idols "Gen and the Holograms." We can neither confirm nor deny this, but the fact that they have never been photographed in the same place at the same time is telling.

When not duelling with the Misfits in the charts, Gen does freelance web design. Having recently returned from living in Australia, Gen has strong feelings about why she voted, and how.

     Voting makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than me, my life and I. In all honesty I get a buzz from the experience. I enjoy the tiny bit of power I’m given every three years and I take it very seriously. It has always baffled me that so many people choose not to have a voice when it comes to the direction of our country - particularly when we live in such a tiny nation that has in the past made such big political stands that many of us are so fiercely proud of.

Members of the Campaign Against Nuclear Warships (CANWAR) stand aboard the yacht Phoenix in Wellington Harbour while awaiting the arrival of the USS Longbeach in 1976.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Guest Week Day 2: Worker Ant on Manufacturing.

 I first met Worker Ant through a guy I went to high school with. We were talking politics, the minimum wage, and free trade. Below, he summarises his thought on why he voted, and how he made his choice.

This post has only been lightly edited to preserve his unique voice; any words in bold have had an emphasis added by the editor.

Manufacturing: It’s buggered

     Ok I am going to get this out there in the open strait for the word go this is my first attempt at a blog so if this is an epic fail so be it, I’m going to at least feel better venting the anger I have built up inside, even if in the process of doing so I take five minutes of your life that you will never get back.

     I start by letting you all know for me when it comes to politics in the last three years my views have changed somewhat and that would be the birth of my son. Before that I had a cavalier attitude towards it all yeah I rocked on up and voted but there was never any real thought that went into it but as soon as my mini me was born I realised that my vote didn’t just affect me it would affect my son in the years to come and I think that’s where we as a generation are letting the side down somewhat. You see we are a generation of right now there’s no waiting we want it all right now and in doing so we fail to look at just what those decisions will affect not just next year but ten to twenty years from now.
Cartoon commenting on Canada's Free Trade Deal with the U.S.A

Guest Week Day 1: Isa Ritchie on Voting

From the Innovation Diaries (404'd) via Social Media Today (see end of post)
Isa Ritchie is the executive producer of the popular and influential TV series "The Key To Youth" and "Food on a Budget with John Key," where the beloved Prime Minister explores what it is like to be young and poor in New Zealand/Aotearoa. On her personal blog, she often talks about what she sees as the big picture here in New Zealand. Below, she discusses her passion for voting and what the low voter turnout in the 2011 General Election in New Zealand means to her.

I come from a family that votes, that watches the election with more fervor and anticipation than the rugby.  I have memories of champagne being popped when results became clear at one particular election during my childhood. Perhaps that is why I've always voted, given the opportunity, but if family socialisation is the whole explanation, why would we have such a low voter turn out?

     I am a big-picture person. I like to think about things outside of my own micro-reality and reflect, because it gets boring just having one lens on everything. Perhaps the large number of non-voters could be explained by people being more isolated in their own little worlds - cut off from wider communities, affiliations and concerns by an overwhelmingly capitalist society where we are bombarded by advertisements for make-up and new cars, where we are taught to want things for ourselves and to feel unworthy because of what we don't have.

     It is a world that none of us really understand.  It's scary and complicated and the bigger your perspective, the bigger the mess.  I have always struggled to understand the human tendency to construct the safest possible version of reality - and then exclude or dismiss everything that doesn't fit - whether it is constructed around a religion or a scientific fundamentalism.  Perhaps, for the 1/4 of New Zealanders who didn't vote, the world is safer if you don't think too much about it.

Don't Call It A Comeback, We've Been Back for Hours

Welcome back, everyone!

The MemeSpree NZ Admin Team needs to take a week to sort out some things, both In Real Life and to do with the site. During this time we will be looking at what we did, how we did it, and how we could do better next time.

During the next week, we are announcing an open call for guest blog posts on the theme of "voting" - Did you vote? If so, why? If not, why not? We are NOT interested in WHO you voted for and you don't need to disclose that if you don't want to. You don't even need to tell us who you are.

Just write as much or as little as you feel like on the theme of 'voting' and we'll post it, at least one per day over the next week.

There's even a little treat in it for you: If you submit a post of 500 words or more, then C. Arthur Monteath-Carr will give you as many words as you submit back. It could be on any topic you care to name; it could be a business project, research for your homework/thesis/assignment/whatever, some fan-fiction, a quick-and-dirty editing job, you name it. You can even tell him to write 1500 words on why Neo-Conservative Economics is a good idea and he will do it, provided that you, too, wrote 1500 words on why you did or didn't vote.

Just send your submissions to and they will be posted at a rate of at least 1 per day for every day this week.

Thank you for reading MemeSpree NZ this election. I hope you found us entertaining, and stay tuned: We'll be back, new and improved.

-C. Arthur Monteath-Carr, aka Owesome.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Notice of Temporary Suspension of Service, sorta

In line with the Electoral Commission guidelines for socially transmitted media, Arthur Monteath-Carr has disabled comments from now until 7pm, 26 November 2011, or thereabouts, or whenever I can be bothered turning them back on after dinner tomorrow.

I plan one last post on the blog after this before going to bed tonight, and that will be that until after the election. I may or may not be tweeting during results, depending on whether I can get to the computer be bothered get excited enough to, which is quite likely; @memespreeNZ is who to follow if you're a tweety bird, and I think that #voteNZ is the hashtag of choice; but then again, I'm still new at this twitter stuff.

For the record, I heart the electoral commission and believe they do very good and important work. The sanctity of polling day is a long-held tradition in this country for good reason, and one that I respect.

The Facebook page will (probably) be open for comments; I humbly request that people refrain from posting pro- or anti- party or campaign or policy stuff there until after polls close at 7pm tomorrow (Saturday 26th). Let people make up their own minds, and respect other people's right to a free, beautiful, unfettered vote.

By [Owesome], AKA C. Arthur Monteath-Carr

Vote With Your CD Wallet

MemeSpree NZ is proud to announce a new way to thinking about your vote: Vote With Your CD Wallet!

Ever herad the phrases, "Vote with your feet," or "Vote with your wallet," or other similar catchphrases from people trying to tell you what to do? What if your feet are sore from wearing cheap shoes that fell apart a month after you bought them? What if the only thing left in your wallet are your receipts?

Well, here's another way to think about your vote this election.

Look back over your record collection, CD collection, or MP3 download folders. Keep an eye out for those decisions you made when people weren't screaming at you for your vote, and see if you can spot any patterns.

"Maori Boy" by JGeek and the Geeks, released one year ago today.

A Clarification

Any images or memes or macros created by "Owesome" are, in reality, created by C. A. Monteath-Carr, who can be contacted through

Please note that Real Life and related issues have gotten in the way of our regularly scheduled snark, and normal services will resume as soon as is practicable. For any enquires, please email

Don't worry, everything's cool. We just gotta sort some stuff out.

In the mean time, please please please turn out to vote tomorrow, no matter who you're gonna vote for. I seriously mean that.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

F.A.Q #1: Why aren't there more pro-National/Act Jokes?

Question arose on the Facebook page about why all the pics and macros are generally left-leaning. Therese Monteath-Carr managed to say all of the following in about a tenth of the wordcount, so if you like simple answers in complicated language, please, by all means, read after the cut.

Trev Garrett: I just don't understand why all these political jokes are pro-labour.

Owesome:: Fair question, and one that deserves an answer. This will be a bit long, so brace for a Wall O'Text and extreme earnestness.

Mr T pities the fool, suckah or thug who forgets to vote and runs home crying to his momma!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I Was At The Royal Wedding

Whipped these up quickly last night and didn't have time to cross-post them on the blog; but, for context: During the TV3 leader's debate, John Key quipped that he couldn't possibly have had anything to do with the Don Brash coup in the Act party as he was at the Royal Wedding.

Gag pinched from the #IWasAtTheRoyalWedding tag on Twitter
So here's a couple of other important duties he's had to put on hold on account of that august event.

Making Conservatism Hip?

I've been holding off on doing a post about the Conservative Party for two reasons. Firstly, I wanted to know where the money came from and was waiting for a reply from the party itself; I got one tonight, which basically said what the article said: A few small donations that don't need to be disclosed (and fair enough too) with the bulk of funding from Colin Craig's own pockets.

Secondly, it's because they're one of those parties that I kind of don't want to give any oxygen to because once you get past the surface, they're actually kind of batshit insane. Not quite into the Tinfoil Hat Territory that some bloggers veer into, but they've got some... weird ideas, mixed in with their centre-Right populist policies.

Living in the Kaikoura electorate (which being farming country is a True Blue seat all the way) I've received a lot of their leaflets and mailers in the local newspapers. They are pretty slick documents; glossy, well designed, with lots of positive upbeat messages and lots of photos of Young People.

Here's a link to their Website and to .pdf's of their mail-outs so you know what I'm talking about. But I think I can sum up their chief point of difference with a simple graphic:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Disposition Testing for Teachers? WTF?

Edit: Labour-leaning blog The Standard has a semi-serious, slightly less paranoid article on the same topic.

So I was going to try and hammer out another "alignment system" post but I feel that I've left it too late for that; they require a bit of work and I've left it a bit late in the day. So, instead, I'd like to talk about a few different things, starting with National's recently released education policy. Which includes setting personality tests for teachers.

Uh-huh. Yeah. That's not going to lead anywhere bad.

Who is number One? You are Number Six.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Leader's debate recap

Don't let former National candidate Paul Henry tell you otherwise.

Blue tie? Nope. That's Key's blue-blooded scalp right there.

Now, Kiwiblog will tell you that the "worm" panel was stuffed with Labour shills. So far, they've identified 3/65 through Twitter. (Actually, two of those are Greens fans, either way...)

UPDATE: TV3 retorts.

Which in a round-about way only proves my original point that the Worm is a terrible device and a bad idea. But either way, ignoring the Worm entirely, Goff was on point the entire time, landing hit after hit, while Key looked more and more rattled about actually being confronted with the hard facts that he has made NZ a worse place for many people.

Under the cut is my stream-of-consciousness notes as I live-blogged the debate on my Bookface.

The Worm Has Turned

As I type this, it's roughly an hour and a half until the TV3 leader's debate featuring the Roy Morgan Reactor (also known as "The Worm") and I'm really scared.

I'm scared because MediaWorks, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to release a smartphone application to gather data from the public on their 'emotional response' to the candidates as they speak.

The last time technology like this was used in a leader's debate was on TV1 in 2002. Peter Dunne received a phenomenal boost in support following that debate due to a surge in the Worm whenever he uttered the words 'common sense.' This lead to his party returning 8 MPs to parliament, whereupon they did absolutely nothing.

Oh, that's a slight exaggeration. They did establish a "family commission." Whose first act was to rule that a family in modern New Zealand didn't necessarily mean the "Mother, Father, 2.5 Christian Kids" that United Future was hoping for. I think it's been scrapped since? I haven't heard about them for a while.

Regardless, it took 3 years for kiwis to realise that the Peter Dunne Revival Show wasn't exactly what they thought they were voting for, and the party hasn't returned that many MPs since.

But this time, I'm scared because John Key is a smarmy git, popular even though his headline policy of asset sales is unpopular. I'm scared because Goff's face isn't as symmetrical as Key's, and that's a factor in how people think. And I'm scared because smartphones are expensive, and as such, Mum and Dad Millionaire are more likely to have them than Labour's traditional voter base of people who cannot afford smartphones.

I'm scared because more people will hear about this debate than watch it.

Under the cut is a copy of a complaint that I laid with the Broadcasting Standards Authority on the 10th of November and with the TV3 complaints department on the 11th. It'll be interesting to see how much of what I fear comes to pass.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

MemeSpree NZ 2011: Service Pack 2

Here's the macros for week 2 of our sprint to the finish. Next week, join us Monday where Owesome rants incoherently about why the Roy Morgan Reactor/"The Worm" is a terrible idea (HINT: Poor people do not have smart phones, and more people hear about debates than watch them), Tuesday for (hopefully) part 2 of the Alignment System, and some other stuff on other days. We'll see what happens!

It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Full Credit to the Other Team

When I started this project, I set myself two goals: Listen to people who thought I might be a dick, and try to present a balanced view of things for people to decide things for themselves.

So far I think I've been doing OK on point one, and not so great on point two. I've tried reading a few right-leaning blogs like WhaleOil (the home of the blogger who breached a name suppression order in the case of the television comedian who was charged with child sex offending) and Cactus Kate (a Hong Kong based lawyer, staunch feminist, and former ACT party president who may or may not be the Catherine Isaac that Winston Peters claims is Key's preferred ACT Party leader, I'm not sure on that point). I've actually found it really, really hard to find a right-leaning internet media outlet that isn't a rabid weasel house of tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorists who wave their biases around like bollocks on a bullock.

If anyone knows of any, please, please send them in to me. There's got to be a rational voice on the Right, otherwise, how can they get so much traction? Right?

One blogger that I've been reading is one David Farrar, a National Party statistician and propagandist who has a column with the Herald (who also give airtime to a Labour-affiliated blogger whose name escapes me right now).

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Towards a Political Alignment System 1: Red vs. Blue

In fiction, it's usually pretty easy to tell the "Goodies" from the "Baddies."

Whether the cowboys are wearing black hats or white hats, or the Jedi are wise and noble warriors or wizened husks of men kept alive only by machines and spite, books and movies have developed an array of tricks and techniques to let the audience know who they should be identifying with.

Real Life, however, is much more complicated. And in politics, every party spends a lot of time trying to tell everyone that they are on your side, regardless of what your side might be; this is what all the baby-kissing is about, why John Key swans into a factory and pretends to be interested in factory work.

Wouldn't it be useful if there was a way to classify parties like you could classify characters in movies?

Like many people of my generation, I have spent some time playing video games. Maybe too much time. But one thing that I have picked up from role-playing games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age, The Witcher, and Dungeons and Dragons is the idea of an "Alignment system," a scheme whereby one can gauge one's actions in the virtual world in an objective context, whether that be "Good" vs. "Evil," or "Law"- being in favour of an organised society- or "Chaotic," believing more in the freedom of the individual.

I'd like to work towards a similar system for politicians.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Teabagger Tapes

MemeSpree NZ has (not) been provided with a copy of the controversial "Tea Party" tapes by an anonymous source. Unlike the so-called 'Legitimate' Media, we are not afraid to release the contents!

As you can see, these quotes prove that the tapes are a 'Game Changer'- from the endless merry-go-round of Monopoly that the election has been so far, to a cut-throat family round of Scrabble. MemeSpree NZ calls upon the two Johnnies to release the full content of the tapes so that these controversial statements can be put into context for the New Zealand public.

Seriously though, the whole thing? So it's OK for the police to conduct warrantless covert surveilance, but when it's directed at you, it's tabloid tactics? Like I've always said, having double standards just means you've got twice as much standards as anyone else.

Monday, 14 November 2011

MemeSpree's Initial Public Offering

Welcome to MemeSpree, your home for irreverent and topical political humour and commentary for the 2011 New Zealand referendeum, and where you too can contribute!.

The co-creator of the popular "Ghost Jobs" image macro/meme is proud to present MemeSpree NZ 2011: Laugh Share Think, the political views you can actually use.

MemeSpree NZ is an amateur, non-funded, crowd-sourced place to share ideas, humour, and opinions on the Very Serious Business of the 2011 New Zealand/Aotearoa election.

If you find that politics is too long, too complicated, welcome home. MemeSpree is the home of TL;DR (Too Long, Didn't Read) politics.

Got an idea? Tell a mate! Together you can probably whip something up that'll go right around the Internet and back again.. After all, that's how Ghost Jobs got started.

Pics will be cross-posted to the official Tumblr account and Facebook page; those will also have links to the blog when it updates. The loose update schedule is:

Monday: "Spin Cycle Classes," a series of blog posts looking at the way the "story" of the election has been taking shape so far.
Tuesday: "Towards a Political Alignment System," a series looking at the different ways of labeling parties and politicians.
Wednesday: Real Life day. Go play in the sun, you've earned it.
Thursday: What next? You decide! A chance to vote on what the next series of memes and macros will be about.
Friday: MemeSpree! We release a bunch of stuff to the web and see what sticks.
Saturday and Sunday: Filling in the gaps, where we go back over the last week and talk about stuff.

Interspersed with these will be other articles and posts on political topics as they come up. We'll see what happens.

Please see the Many-FIST!-O for more on the aims and methods of this project. Please spread these images and ideas as widely as possible, and stay tuned for more!


Saturday, 12 November 2011

When Was The Last Time Someone Said That You Might Be Wrong?

(Hi all- I know I'd said I'd be starting my series on "Towards a Political Alignment System" today, but I wasn't able to get it finished in time; instead, here's a post I have finished. So, y'know. There's that. [Owesome]).

In the 21st Century, there are more media outlets than ever before in history; however, they're all ultimately owned by the same five to seven companies.

BBC,  TV 1, TV 3, Prime, Sky News, Fox News, Al Jazeera, National Radio, Fairfax Media, Newspapers Ltd, CNN, ABC, etc, etc, etc, are all constantly pumping out important information that they think that you Need To Know Now or you are Missing Out on Important Issues.

And when there's no big news to report, they're sitting down and talking about all the Really Big Important Things That You Just Saw, and telling you What It Really Means.

I don't know about you, but I feel exhausted just typing that sentence, let alone trying to keep up with all the big events of the day..

And that's not even going into talking about the New Zealand Blogosphere, or any other site staffed by enthusiastic people with a passion for something who are keen to share their ideas and views with the world (he says, somewhat self-referentially).

Just putting it out there.

In Corporate Speak, the marketplace of ideas is over-saturated. You'd have to be obsessive-compulsive to take it all in. So, instead, the modern internet-enabled-MySky-owning citizen will choose one or two news outlets that they relate to best, and follow those exclusively. If a friend shares an article they found interesting on a different outlet's news-site, they'll read that, then go back to their happy place.

That's normal. We only have so many hours in a day, after all, and if you tried to read everything, you'd never have any time left for the real world. The trap, however, is that you will only ever read stories written by people who think exactly like you, written for people who think exactly like them.

Think Like A Child, Vote Like a Grown-Up

They say that if you don't lean Left when you're young, you have no soul; but if you don't lean Right when you're older, you have no brains. Why can't you do both?

In popular media, it's always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The good guys will be dashing, bold, witty, brave, loyal, gallant: in short, heroic, larger than life characters who make things better and fight for Truth, Justice, and that other thing.

The villains will be cowardly, sniveling self-serving distorted monsters; faceless Others like the Empire's stormtroopers, coweled Magical Neo-Nazis who would crush the Muggles beneath their pointed slippers, or otherwise disfigured, ugly monsters who deserve no better fate than to be dispatched in hordes before the main character's moral fortitude.

In an election, however, each side has a vested interest in telling you that the other guys aren't like you. That if you support Them, They will do terrible things to the world. They will let criminals loose on the world; They will destroy the Economy (which, frankly, no-one outside of a small elite even understands how it really works anyway) which will in turn destroy everything you've worked so hard to achieve in your long, hard struggle with life.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The MemeSpree NZ 2011 Many-FIST!-O

For immediate release to all media, socially transmitted or otherwise.

MemeSpree NZ 2011: Laugh, Share, Think.

From the co-creator of the popular "Ghost Jobs" image comes more election views that you can use: MemeSpree New Zealand, or MemeSpree NZ.

MemeSpree NZ 2011 believes that every New Zealander already knows enough to vote, but politicians spend millions of dollars trying to convince them otherwise. It's hard to think when every media outlet has a vested interest in keeping you locked in to their channel, or buying their paper, or watching their adverts. Which is why we thought we would re-format the election into byte-sized chunks that most kiwis can understand.

MemeSpree NZ is loyal to ideas, not ideology.

MemeSpree NZ believes that sometimes you need to shout to be heard, and is commited to giving every person the tools to do so.

MemeSpree NZ thinks that politics and morality are basically the same thing in different languages.

MemeSpree NZ is committed to big ideas in small words.

MemeSpree NZ is not for MPs, it's for you.

MemeSpree NZ provides your newsfeed with a vital service: translating what political candidates say into ideas you can actually understand. Nobody has time to wade through all the different media outlets and come up with a view that really takes all the information into account. So why not let MemeSpree do it for you?

MemeSpree NZ is also committed to collecting all the information out there into one easy to use place, so that everyday people can judge for themselves how they want to vote.

MemeSpree NZ: Your Election in a Nek Minnit.

To achieve this, MemeSpree will follow the following loose schedule:

Fridays: 24 Macros in 12 Hours, where we post as many funny images we can come up with over the course of 12 hours for public discussion. Feel free to share these as widely as you want; permission is granted to everybody except for John Key to have these on their hard-drive.

Saturday and Sunday: Filling In the Blanks. Then we spend as much time as we can spare over the weekend going back over those pictures and talking about them with you. We promise to listen.

Monday: Jump-Start the Spin Cycle with free Spin Cycle Classes. A series of blog posts in Normal English, Academic English, and Corporate English designed to high-light the ways in which politicians lie to you (aka Obfuscating the Truth through deploying elitist language, aka increasing shareholder value by dynamically releasing information relevant to shareholder interests).

Tuesday: Towards A Political Alignment System, or, Why Isn't There A Sorting Hat for MPs?; a series of blog posts where, together with you, we work towards a system of tags (not labels) that you can apply to any political candidate so you can understand where their ideas are coming from.

Wednesday: Real Life Day. Get off the internet and play outside; you've earned it.

Thursday: What Next? You Decide!: Your chance to put forward ideas for the MemeSpree team to re-mix and re-use.

How can I participate?

MemeSpree will be puttting together tools and templates for you to make your own funny pictures. Think of it as LolzMPz instead of LolCats, and you're not too far off. We will also point you to easy to use How-To FAQs if you need help.

If you're worried that your boss might fire you, or if Paula Bennett will leak your benefit details on the telly, email them to with [NoEgo] in the subject line. We will upload them on your behalf. This way, MemeSpree Admins will know who's clever creation it is and can pass on feedback we receive about how cool you are to you without you getting blamed for it.

Or you can post it to your own FaceBook page or Tumblr, and we'll make sure to put up a link giving you full credit/blame for your creation.

If you think you're not ready to take the step of creating a meme or macro or image or video yourself, become a MemeSpree Recruitment Officer! All you need to do is look at your friends list on your social media of choice and bug them until they make something funny. In New Zealand, everyone knows someone who knows someone, so there's bound to be at least one musician, artist, or photographer on your FList. Hassle them until they give in.

Not got the time? MemeSpree NZ is the home of Too Long, Didn't Read politics. Here's an example:

TL;DR: MemeSpree NZ is a place to share political parody and opinions.
TL;DR: MemeSpree NZ Makes Politics Ezy.
TL;DR: Commit to ThoughtCrime. Think For Yourself.
TL;DR: MemeSpree NZ: Power to the People, and Ban The Fucking Bomb.