Pump Up the Volume


This page written circa 24 February, 2024.

Why don't guys get their own "classic, sexy emoji"? Lips, usually lipstick red, or perhaps the mark such lips leave on skin or paper, form an emoji whose meaning is absolutely clear... love, lust, or longing, on the part of a female. Sadly there is no equivalent for a guy to send to a girl. Try to imagine one and you get something about as classy as photocopying male genitals. Search for "sexy" or "love" and you get either "unisex" images, or ones for girls to send to boys, not the other way around. Search for "lust", at least on an iphone, and you get squat.

Pump Up the Volume is a film about a local pirate radio station in small-town Arizona, run by a bored young Christian Slater voicing dissatisfaction with the local school and general environment for the pupils. His broadcasts are crude and angry. He becomes very popular. As a person, he is too shy/anxious to hold a conversation, but as an anonymous DJ with a disguised voice he can say what many kids feel. It transpires that the headmistress, teachers, and the school councillor are controlling, tight-arsed, neoliberal, autocrats. Confrontation ensues. Managerial malfeasance is detected. The film receives praise for the chemistry between our hero and a smart girl, aided by the actors having an off-screen relationship. Whoever censors emojis for Apple is on a par with the school management, unlinked from any reality visible just a week ago.

It occurs to me that Waikato U needs a pirate commentator such as Christian Slater's character. There are lots of parallels... neoliberals in charge, no perception by management of what the mass of people think or need, gaming the system to pump up the institutional reputation, ethically dubious tactics, decreasing morale, and a sad, regional location. The thing is, there's no confrontation likely to ensue.

The latest Waikato atrocities have affected me. Last year the university made their entire remaining commercialisation staff redundant---in the middle of filing the third patent from the Battery group. The research office then committed to filing 11 large MBIE grant proposals. Come this month, after Godfrey and I had each put in a month's work, pro bono, they realised that they no longer have the administrative resources to support 11 proposals, and ours is one getting held over. They do not anticipate paying to keep the patents alive. Some might say that makes asking for NZ$8M, to commercialise this IP, a waste of time.

Sex, or embarrassment around it, is a big issue in Pump Up the Volume. It felt to me, watching the film, that this issue fitted into the story correctly. Lack of communication is portrayed as interfering in all facets of life there. For all I know, there might be equally little lovemaking going on at Waikato as Slater's school, which would add to the pall.

As for the original question, why no classic guys' emoji, I do not know the answer. Ladies, there must be something better than an eggplant that you can suggest?

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