Change and Cheese

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS -

I hope you’ve come to this is­sue of Sun­day in a ro­bust and open frame of mind. There’s a lit­tle in these pages that might shock the del­i­cate of sen­si­bil­ity. Let’s start with the in­side back cover (if you’ll just turn to it quickly and come back to me – thanks). The ad sales team po­litely told me I could have an al­ter­na­tive ad that was less “con­fronting” than a cute lit­tle calf and its lov­ing mother be­ing torn apart for the ben­e­fit of those of us who like to scoff meat and cheese.

I thought about this and de­cided the Sun­day reader was tough enough for the ad­vert. I mean, ei­ther you’re a ve­gan or you’ve made peace with the fact that we sep­a­rate cows and their calves for our own culi­nary pur­poses. (And to be clear, I’m sip­ping on a flat white as I write this…) If you’re go­ing to eat meat and cheese, why draw a veil over where it comes from?

But draw­ing veils over things is some­thing we do bril­liantly, as a so­ci­ety. An­other ex­am­ple is the sex in­dus­try – which con­tin­ues to carry a stigma, although it’s been le­gal for al­most 15 years. On page 14, you’ll find an in­ter­view with Jennifer Souness who ran es­cort agen­cies in Auck­land and Welling­ton for over a decade. She en­coun­tered many judge­men­tal at­ti­tudes to­wards her busi­ness, although it was de­signed to of­fer pro­tec­tion to those work­ing in a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous in­dus­try. De­spite the law re­form, pros­ti­tu­tion con­tin­ues to oc­cupy a crim­i­nal space in many peo­ple’s minds.

Change is slow, but even­tu­ally it hap­pens. Just check out Adam Dud­ding’s ac­count (on page 16) of play­ing pi­ano for drag per­former Di­a­mond Lil in the 90s. The show’s jokes (about race, about rape) make us shud­der now, but in the 90s they were still send­ing Kiwi au­di­ences into gales of laugh­ter.

Change is good.

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