Another student mag under fire

Another student newspaper, Chaff, is under fire from Chinese students. This time for a satirical takeoff of a Cosmo cover.


My initial reaction is somewhat harsh – that people need to understand New Zealand culture thrives on satire, sarcasm and mocking – and it isn’t personal. Chaff doing a spoof of Chairman Mao has nothing to do with the idiots who spout racist abuse.

My second reaction is more harsh – that Chairman Mao killed more people (40 million) than Hitler or Stalin (20 million), so worshipping him as Jesus like figure is pretty fucked up. But anyway, even if he is a Jesus like figure – hell student mags mock Jesus and Christians hundreds of times over the years. It’s the double standards which infuriate me. Does anyone think mockery of a western leader or religious figure in a student newspaper would be an issue?

But there is one point on which I strongly do support the offended students. They pay a compulsory MUSA fee which funds Chaff. It it bad enough to be offended by an article (and I respect the offence is genuine), but when you are forced to fund the publication in question – well that really rankles.

There is no right not to be offended in NZ. The day we have that right is the day we have no humour, no satire and no free speech. However there should be a right not to have to fund student newspapers which offend you.

Oh I did have to laugh at one Chinese students’ defence of Mao by saying “He’s no more a killer than George Washington or George W Bush.” Heh in NZ comparing him to the same level as Bush is not a smart move – most Kiwis probably do regard Bush as a megalomaniac killer.

Hat Tip: Michael Ellis

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