Out Now: Werewolf 57: Big Data Welfare, Trump vs Fun

Published: Wed 23 Sep 2015 11:46 AM

Enter the ‘Wolf
Hi and welcome to the 57th edition of Werewolf. This month’s cover story takes a critical look at the government’s belief that Big Data can identify and predict families at risk of child abuse and neglect, to a level where interventions may be targeted in ways that could prevent the abuse from happening in the first place. This vogue for using this ‘predictive risk modeling’ as a tool in social welfare delivery has already made New Zealand a pioneer in what is fast becoming a global growth industry in predictive child protection. That explosive growth seems partly due to the fact that a targeting tool for social spending is entirely consistent with the neo-liberal vision of a limited and highly conditional welfare safety net. Oh, but the big problem we found? The predictive tool doesn’t actually work.
Elsewhere in this issue, we consider the legal and operational issues involved in airlines coping with the growing number of passengers with serious food allergies. We also deplore the corporate world’s faddish embrace of ‘disruption’ and ‘disruptive technologies’ – and conclude that the term may well have passed its ‘use by’ date, if it ever meant anything much in the first place. Another story in this issue rebuts the recent claims by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about Uber’s operations and the level of its driver pay rates. It's not news that Donald Trump is a clown, but it took Werewolf’s Richard McLachlan to find a Trump family link to the old and iconic Coney Island amusement park…which Richard celebrates in this issue. In his film column, Philip Matthews treats the death a few weeks ago of horror film director Wes Craven as reason to celebrate the instant classic It Follows, which remorselessly walks in Craven’s footsteps while taking teen horror to places it's never been before. We have several music stories this month. Deerhunter’s new album Fading Frontier inspires us to take a trip through Werewolf’s back catalogue to an encounter in 2009 with the band’s likeable leader, Bradford Cox. Elsewhere, we compile our own list of the best of the pre-Tallahassee decade of John Darnielle’s vast and teeming musical output. In a music-related story inspired by the Straight Outta Compton movie, we also look at the aesthetic yearning of white hipsters to be black, baby, with the devastating life and career of jazz musician Art Pepper as a cautionary, inspirational tale of where all of that can lead. In his satirical column, Lyndon Hood goes way beyond flags, and uses the fall of Tony Abbott as a platform to rewrite Australia’s national anthem.
Thanks to Lyndon for – among other things – helping me post this issue online. If anyone out there ever wants to be involved and talk over some story ideas, contact me at
Gordon Campbell
Editor, Werewolf

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