Posted by BE on October 26th, 2012
Archive for October, 2012
Posted by BE on October 23rd, 2012
I was intrigued by a recent story in the Sunday Star Times, headed ‘Musical send-offs rock funerals’. It seems that ‘mourners’ are increasingly moving away from sombre music to see off their friends and rellies and opting instead for pop and rock music. They’re also choosing their own favourites rather than the deceased’s.
I think this is a healthy development. Uncle Fred may well have loved Barry Manilow singing I don’t want to walk without you, but he (Uncle Fred not Barry Manilow) is dead now and unlikely to be upset by the living rejecting his appalling taste in music in favour of something less offensive to their ears.
And even if Uncle Fred’s favourite song was Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Light, hearing it played at his funeral might raise questions among those familiar with the lyrics about what precisely was going through the 82-year-old’s mind in his later years:
Ain’t no doubt about it
We were doubly blessed
Cause we were barely seventeen
And we were barely dressed
Not to mention the effect on his widow, Auntie Nora of:
I’m praying for the end of time
It’s all that I can do
Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you! Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 20th, 2012
I was watching Rachel Smalley talk to Hone Harawira on The Nation this morning. This was a quite extraordinary interview for two reasons:
First, Smalley is now without peer in New Zealand as a current-affairs and political interviewer, an accolade I would previously have given to the hugely talented Duncan Garner. I would go further. Smalley is up there with some of the finest television interrogators in Australia (not difficult), the United States (quite difficult) and the UK (very difficult). She is enormously well-informed; her questioning is challenging without being interruptive, aggressive or rude; her delivery is impeccable; her interviews are models of intelligent debate.
Because New Zealanders have grown used to noise and impertinence as hallmarks of the effective interviewer, when in fact these are indicators of lack of real talent, Smalley’s brilliance has perhaps not yet been fully recognised. But I have absolutely no doubt that, with a little more experience, she will rank alongside interviewers of the quality of HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur.
Second, Hone Harawira is in my view the most effective political communicator in New Zealand. His reputation among Pakeha and some Maori is probably that of a loud-mouthed Maori shit-stirrer, a reputation he has from time to time deserved. And the name Harawira has not helped. His mother Titewhai, while liking to be seen arm in arm with white-skinned Prime Ministers at Waitangi, is to me the embodiment of anti-Pakeha sentiment in this country. And Titewhai is often in her son’s ear. This is how I expressed it in a previous post: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 15th, 2012
One of the pleasures of our daily morning walk around Ponsonby/Herne Bay is stopping and chatting to other locals enjoying their long blacks and flat whites outside the numerous restaurants and cafes. Politics is the most popular topic with left and right more or less equally represented. There are few arguments and, remarkably, few disagreements. While we each have our loyalties and preferences, none of us is one-eyed. This also goes some way to explaining why Michelle Boag and I rarely disagree when we’re on Jim Mora’s Panel. Reasonably intelligent people… an example of false modesty, since I actually think I’m hugely intelligent and Michelle is quite smart … reasonably intelligent people are likely to agree on most things.
Until recently the talk has been around David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party and his chances of being our next Prime Minister. The left/right consensus has been that Shearer is the wrong man for the job, but if he survives beyond mid-2013, he’s likely to get it anyway. A Labour-led coalition will win by default.
But the really interesting development among the Ponsonby/Herne Bay political intelligentsia is the number of right-wingers who expect John Key to stand down in the middle of next year. While I’m not going to risk $5 on iPredict, I’m reasonably sure there’s a more than 50:50 chance that they’re right. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 12th, 2012
I’m going to keep this reasonably brief. It’s a plea to the bosses at TVNZ and TV3 and to their Heads of News.
Do you watch your own news bulletins? If you do, do you watch with the sound turned off? That is the only possible reason I can think of why a majority of your female field reporters have such ghastly, such appalling, such unlistenable voices.
And no, I am not talking about their Kiwi accents. I think we should embrace that aspect of our culture. (Though I could do without ‘Wallington’ and ‘talyvision’.) No, I’m talking about the fact that most of these young women sound as though they have permanent head colds, that the noise they produce is a high-pitched nasal whine that compares unfavourably with chalk squeaking on a blackboard. THEY ARE AWFUL! Read the rest of this entry »
Julia Gillard disembowels Tony Abbott – A lesson for our MPs and party leaders on how to make a political speech!
Posted by BE on October 12th, 2012
Posted by BE on October 10th, 2012
Browsing through the TV channels in our hotel room in Singapore I came across an interview with Lindsay Tanner, a former Finance Minister in Kevin Rudd’s Labour Government, who resigned from parliament when Julia Gillard deposed Rudd in June 2010. Much of the interview concerned public criticisms which Tanner had recently made of the Gillard administration, but what interested me most were his comments on the trivialisation of politics by the media and, in particular, the media and public obsession with the image of political leaders rather than the substance of their parties’ policies and record in office.
He’s right of course. It would be much better if we interested ourselves in policy and performance rather than personality when deciding which political party to support and vote for. But it isn’t going to happen. Television and, to a much lesser degree, radio have seen to that.
As late as the year 1BT (‘Before Television’’), which in this country was 1959, most voters’ familiarity with politicians was limited to hearing them speak in Parliament, seeing their picture in the paper or attending a public meeting around election time. The voter had, if you like, a fairly long-distance view of the people running the country. Television, both literally and figuratively, would reveal them in ever more extreme close-up. Personality politics was born. Read the rest of this entry »
“The Rumble” Bill O’Reilly versus Jon Stewart: Republican v Democrat; Right v Left; Conservative v Liberal – Great fun and great viewing!
Posted by BE on October 9th, 2012