Posted by BE on September 26th, 2009
How can you tell it’s winter? It’s the only time lawyers have their hands in their own pockets.
I was reminded of this hoary old joke by the front-page story in today’s Weekend Herald:
SUSPENDED The lawyer who billed taxpayers $1 MILLION
Nothing wrong with the story. An Auckland criminal law barrister has received more than $1 million in legal aid payments over the past three years. And she has been suspended by the Legal Services Agency for allegedly over-billing.
But why was the story on the front page of the Weekend Herald and why the banner headline? Because lawyers are one of a group of professions and trades that we love to hate. And because being in tune with popular opinion is a hallmark of commercially successful media. So a story which appears to confirm the increasingly common view that lawyers are bilking the legal aid system is a sitter for front page treatment. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 21st, 2009
A week or so back in ABSENCE OF SHOCK LEAVES READERS SHOCKED I suggested that our daily metropolitan newspapers were broadsheet in format but tabloid in content. I’m indebted to The Herald for so promptly providing me with incontrovertible evidence to back up my claim. Today’s front page titillates readers with:
WIN a $60,000 Subaru Legacy
CAN PAMELA REALLY SPICE UP FASHION WEEK?
The dead billionaire, her ‘boy toy’ and the $US4 billion will
Revealed: biggest killers on our roads
And sport of course.
The only thing missing is the Page 3 girl. Though, come to think of it, Pammie is on Page 3.
Hence my new and improved headline: Miracle on Albert Street: HERALD TURNS INTO THE SUN
Posted by JC on September 20th, 2009
The first thing we tell our clients, from politicians to pop stars, is: ‘Be straightforward, tell the truth – and admit your mistakes’.
In general no-one has too much of a problem with the first two principles. However, although pop stars seem to have turned it into an art form, admitting their mistakes is anathema to politicians (unless the mistakes were made by someone else!) and most people have some difficulty ‘fessing up’ that they were wrong. That’s a pity, because concession is a powerful weapon in the media. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 17th, 2009
Photo: Greg Bowker/Herald
I read that New York’s Health Commissioner, Thomas Farley, has said he wants to take the Big Apple’s war on smokers to the city’s beaches and parks. There will be the inevitable cries of ‘Nanny State’ from smokers and possibly even from some civil libertarians. My own view is that the only right smokers have consists in the freedom to very slowly take their own lives, as uncomplainingly and as far away from the rest of us as possible. This may seem harsh, but there really is no difference between the smoker and the heroin user. Both are drug addicts. I hear no argument in favour of junkies having the right to shoot up in public places, whether indoor or out. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 12th, 2009
I’m beginning to feel just a little bit sorry for the President of France. Poor Mr Sarkozy, France’s answer to Ronnie Corbett, is only 5’6″. There, you see, while pretending sympathy, I’m already making an unflattering comparison. But my sympathy is actually genuine. I do feel sorry for him. Being a short man is difficult enough, but being the short leader of a great country is an intolerable imposition.
You can see it clearly enough in the photograph of the French President with his wife Carla Bruni (5’9″), Michelle Obama (5’11″) and Barack Obama (6’2″). It’s not just that you can draw a perfectly straight downhill line from the top of the American President’s head, via the tops of Michelle and Carla’s heads, to the top of Nicolas’s head. It’s not just that Nicolas is so obviously on tippy toes. It’s the desperation in his face and the raised hand which seems to be saying, “Hello. Can you see me? I’m down here. Look at me please. Please look at me.” I find this a very sad picture. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 9th, 2009
Taking a break in Queensland can make you dissatisfied with home. It’s the weather mainly – warm, sunny, reliable. And Queenslanders drive at the speed limit with the result that, paradoxically, you get there faster and with your nerves intact.
And then there are the papers. Or one paper at least. We arrived at our Brisbane hotel on Friday evening and woke the next morning to find the Weekend Australian outside our door.
There is really only one word to describe the Weekend Australian and its weekday siblings – quality. We have no quality newspapers in New Zealand. Our metropolitans are broadsheet in format, but tabloid in content. The experience of reading them is rarely enjoyable, often not even informative. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 3rd, 2009
GRANDCHILDREN AREN'T FOR SMACKING
Really exciting day yesterday. Got a job as an extra on the Russell Brown Show Media 7. It’s my favourite show and Russell is my hero. AND it was going to be all about smacking, and these people who want to smack their kids make me really, really cross. So I turn up at the studio and the nice receptionist asks me who I am and I tell her my name and that I’ve got a job as an extra on the Russell Brown Show and I’m playing a panellist. And she says, ‘Walk this way, Mr Edwards.’ And there’s drinks and crisps with onion dip (my favourite) and you get taken to make-up and everything. And Judy has told me to get the make-up lady to give me some eyelashes, which is sort of embarrassing, but I get the eyelashes anyway. And we go into the studio and are shown where to sit behind the desk. (Just like John Campbell or Paul Holmes) And I’m sitting in the middle, between Larry Baldock (who isn’t my hero) and a reporter whose name is Matt Nippert which I think is really funny. And Russell has to wear this thing in his ear so the producer can tell him the questions and he’s complaining that it’s uncomfortable and is spoiling the look of his jacket. And a lady tells the audience how to clap and somebody says, “We’re recording. Five seconds.” And my heart is pounding. And Russell introduces everybody and I’m going to be on the telly and I can hardly breathe. Then they show a really funny film and Russell starts to ask Mr Baldock really tough questions, which is why he is my hero. And it’s all so real and I’m so cross with Mr Baldock that I forget I’m an extra and start interrupting and asking Mr Baldock questions myself and saying quite rude things. And anyone who’s ever watched Ricky Gervais knows that extras are always trying to hog the limelight when they’re supposed to be seen and not heard and only speak when they’re spoken to. And Russell ignores my bad behaviour and goes on talking to Mr Baldock and the reporter with the funny name. And I keep quiet for a bit, but what Mr Baldock is saying is driving me nuts and I can’t help it and start interrupting again. And Russell is just brilliant and instead of getting cross makes a joke and says, “Maybe you should have your own show, Brian.” Which is a really funny idea. And then the show is over and Judy and I go home. And I’m upset because I’ve embarrassed myself and Judy says not to be silly. Anyway it was still really exciting and Russell is still my hero and I was going to tell you what Mr Baldock said, but the show is on the telly tonight and that would spoil the surprise. Well maybe I could tell you just one thing which Mr Baldock said which was the thing that got me crossest of all and made me forget my manners. Mr Baldock said that he smacks his grandchildren, with their parents’ permission of course. I’ve got ten grandchildren and I could never smack any of them. It’s hard to describe really. It’s just that I think the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren should be different than between parents and children. Grandchildren are there to be spoiled. Grandparents always say yes to everything (unless it’s going to hurt or something’s going to get broken of course). “Granddad, can I…? Nana, can we…? Of course you can, darling.” That’s the joy of being a grandparent that you can be so much more indulgent than you were as a parent. You’re there to lend a sympathetic ear, to be an unconditional friend, an ally. What’s that Helen Reddy song? “You and me against the world.” Being with your grandparents shouldn’t be just the same as being at home with Mum and Dad. It should be better. I can’t see how smacking could make it better. Anyway we’re off to Brisbane tomorrow for a few days. I like Brisbane. The sun is always shining and the buildings are really nice and we always stay at this really neat hotel just opposite the …….