Brian Edwards Media

Archive for March, 2015

Australians: Bad Losers; Worse Winners

AP, Getty Images

AP, Getty Images

It would be tempting to attribute the character of the professional Australian sportsman and sportswoman to that of their nation’s first arrivals. But that would be racist, another area in which we cannot compete with our trans-Tasman neighbours.

The Australians see themselves as a sporting nation. And in one sense they are. The Aussies are very good at sport; they win a lot of games. But in the other sense of the word “sporting” – characterised as sportsmanlike conduct, fair-minded, generous – they are considerably less adept. In that sense, whether in cricket, netball or rugby, they are an unsporting people. It is perhaps the one area in which we have nothing in common.

The difference between the two nations can be seen exemplified in two photographs in this morning’s Herald. In one the gracious Grant Elliott is seen helping a distraught and weeping South African player to his feet after his country lost the semi-final against the Black Caps. In the other, three Australian players – Brad Haddin, James Faulkner and Pat Cummins – are seen sneering and laughing at Elliott, as he walks away after scoring a brilliant 83 in last night’s World Cup Final. And that was merely the culmination of the sledging to which they had subjected Elliott throughout his innings.

These are not sportsmen. They are thugs. The word comes from the Hindi “thag”, meaning a “thief” or “rogue” and specifically a member of a confederacy of professional assassins who travelled in gangs throughout India for several hundred years. Of course that is not what we mean by the word now and I would certainly not want to suggest that this sneering trio deserve such a comparison. They don’t. Today the word suggests something along the lines of an uncivilised, offensive, ignorant, aggressive, nasty and thoroughly unpleasant individual. So that will do quite nicely to describe these three Australian “sportsmen”.

As I said, “It would be tempting…”

 

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Ten Ways To Lose A By-Election Without Even Trying

Ballot box

  1. Assume, as you have always assumed, that voters who have tribally supported you in the past will automatically do so again now.
  2. On that assumption shamefully neglect the infrastructure and social needs of the electorate for years.
  3. Choose an uncharismatic, overweight candidate whom no-one has ever heard of on the basis that he or she can expect no real opposition from anyone else.
  4. Be totally unprepared for any real challenger to that candidate to emerge.
  5. Be totally unprepared for strategic voting by other parties.
  6. In the event of a high-profile, hugely charismatic, popular, extremely well-dressed and well-groomed opponent appearing from nowhere, panic.
  7. Insult the voters in the electorate by assuming that their votes can be bought with a humungous and patently transparent bribe, essentially consisting of all the infrastructure and social items you neglected to provide in the past.
  8. Insult the voters in the electorate further by assuming that all that is required to change their minds is the opportunity to catch sight of the Prime Minister in their electorate, presumably with the prospect of being able to kiss the hem of his garment. And possibly that of a couple of overweight cabinet ministers as well.
  9. Undermine the confidence of your remaining supporters by conceding publicly that you could well lose the seat
  10. Repeat 1 to 9.

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A Response to “Euthanasia-Free New Zealand”

8am Sunday. Just opened the following news release from an outfit calling itself “Euthanasia-Free New Zealand”:

“Application  for a change to New Zealand Law on assisted suicide and euthanasia is not in society’s best interests.

“Lecretia Seales is a courageous woman, afflicted with a terrible disease. It is impossible not to be moved by her tragic situation. Yet her application to the High Court for a ruling on whether current N.Z. laws in respect of euthanasia and assisted suicide breach her rights under the Bill of Rights Act, although intended only to relate to her case, will, if successful, in the long run adversely affect the rights of many others in our society” says Professor David Richmond, a spokesperson for Euthanasia-Free New Zealand.

“Ms Seales’ request is superficially a simple one based on personal choice and autonomy. Unfortunately the issues are far more complex for society than that”, he said. “Current laws were drawn up to guarantee citizens the right to life. If Ms. Seales’ actions were to lead eventually to the decriminalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide as she apparently hopes they will, citizens will be guaranteed the right to State sanctioned death – presumably at the hands of doctors. Our observation of how these things work in Holland and Belgium where euthanasia and assisted suicide are legal does not encourage us to think that significant abuses, including being killed without a specific request, will not occur”, he said. “There are compelling reasons for leaving the law as it is whilst concentrating on providing every care possible to relieve suffering in dying and upholding the dignity of those close to death.”

“Euthanasia–Free New Zealand hopes that this court action will result in a fresh impetus in our society to uphold the right of every citizen including the most vulnerable of us: the elderly, those with disabilities, the dependent and those near the end of life, to respect, care, support, honour – and life.
ENDS

:”CONTACTS: Professor David Richmond MD FRACP. Phone; 09 5705458, Email: d.richmond@clear.net.nz
Renee Joubert, Executive Officer. 021 167 4042″

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9am Sunday: Replied as follows:

“I suggest you visit my website brianedwardsmedia.co.nz for a contrary view. Type “euthanasia” into the Search box. The arrogance of your view that the decision of a person of sound mind to end a life which is intolerable to them should be in your hands not theirs never ceases to astonish me.”

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“Lecretia Seales is a courageous woman, afflicted with a terrible disease. It is impossible not to be moved by her tragic situation.”

On the contrary, Professor Richmond, it’s entirely possible for you not to be moved by her tragic situation. Indeed, far from being moved by it, you have now put your name to a petition whose effect would be to make that tragic situation even worse. It would deny her hope. And not just Lecretia, but every other person whose life has become intolerable to them and who wish to end their misery.

But that, according to you, is not their decision to make. It is yours because it offends your personal morality and the morality of those who would support your application.

Your Hippocratic Oath requires you to do no harm. Perhaps the definition should include  the harm of denying those whose lives have become intolerable to them the right to end their suffering in a peaceful and dignified way and not in one of the horror scenarios available under the current law.

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Judgement Day for X-Factor judges – my pennyworth!

Natalia Kills and Willie Moon

 I’ve just been invited to sign a petition to take Natalia Kills off The X-Factor. The invitation and the petition are now de trop, since Ms Kills and her husband Willy Moon have already been dumped from the show. An excellent decision by TV3, if I may say so.

I have watched The X-Factor occasionally. Real talent can emerge from the competition. Benny Tipene and Jackie Thomas spring to mind.

Talent among the judges is a rarer commodity. The qualifications for the job appear to be that you should be pitch deaf and have the depth of personality of a stone. I will except Melanie Blatt from this unkind assessment. She is both beautiful and bright. Stan Walker occasionally reminds me somewhat of the Harry Enfield character Tim Nice-but-Dim, but that is an unfair and inaccurate judgement of a likeable personality who tempers honesty with mercy in his assessments of The X-Factor’s invariably trembling seekers after fame. Read the rest of this entry »

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Some free media advice for Dean Barker: Ditch the sad-sack look!

 Dean Barker

I read that my friends and esteemed colleagues in the media-training business, Bill Ralston and Janet Wilson, have been employed, in media guru John Drinnan’s words, “to handle the Barker overboard debacle”. Drinnan notes that Janet “recently completed two videos on the Team NZ Facebook page, and interviewed Grant Dalton about what blows his spinnaker.”

He goes on: “But methinks much more will be needed before he has a warm and cuddly image like Spot the Dog.”

I disagree. The last thing a Team New Zealand Manager needs is “a warm and cuddly image”. Quite the reverse. Ambition, strength, drive, determination and perhaps a degree of ruthlessness might be more appropriate, and my impression is that Dalton has those qualities in spades.

Nor do I find too much wrong with his image: amiable, firm, no-nonsense, a man willing to compromise but unwilling to yield on the core issue, in this case Barker’s fitness to lead New Zealand to victory in the next America’s Cup.

Dalton has spine.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Jiminy Cricket! Now Rachel is really, really huge as well!

Rachel Smalley

Jiminy Cricket! Now Rachel is really, really huge as well! Yes, Rachel Smalley now commands a full-page Newstalk ZB ad in today’s Herald. It will no doubt be followed by a half-page ad, and the campaign will perhaps roll on until every NewstalkZB talk-back host has been made really, really huge.

Rachel is already really, really tall. She is also the best radio/television interviewer in New Zealand by a country mile. No exceptions.

So I’m hoping that Rachel didn’t write the trite, overblown copy for this ad, which has all the purple prose hallmarks of an advertising copywriter. Have a taste:

A JOURNALIST’S NUMBER ONE OBLIGATION IS TO GET TO THE TRUTH AND EVERY TIME I ASK A QUESTION, EVERY TIME I BEGIN AN INTERVIEW, THAT’S MY MOTIVATION. GET TO THE TRUTH, GET OUT THE INFORMATION, CUT THROUGH THE SPIN, AND GET TO THE FACTS.

JOURNALISM IS A TRANSACTION. IT’S ABOUT GETTING INFORMATION FROM ONE SOURCE AND PASSING IT ON TO ANOTHER. IT’S ABOUT KNOWLEDGE. IT’S ABOUT BEING A WATCHDOG. FOR A COMMUNITY. FOR A COUNTRY. FOR THE WORLD. AND IT GIVES A VOICE TO THE VOICELESS.    Read the rest of this entry »

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Sufferin Succotash – Mike Hosking is really, really huge!

 

FullSizeRender

 

Sufferin Succotash – Mike Hosking is really, really huge! Well, Mike is so huge that his employers can’t fit him into anything less than a full page in the Monday to Friday (tabloid) Herald and half a page in the (broadsheet )Weekend Herald.

Mike is so tall and rangy in the tabloid that you could imagine he might dwarf Clint Eastwood. Which is appropriate because he’s got a sort of cool cowboy, dropped-hip stance and is wearing a don’t-mess-with-me, all-in-black outfit: jacket,  jeans and pointy turned up boots. The jeans are appropriately too small width-wise and too big length-wise so that they furl up at the knees and concertina over the top of the shiny black boots. Except for the fact that he appears to have lost his left arm in the picture, which may or may not have some sort of semiotic significance, the dude looks great.

He’s half-cut to the waist in the broadsheet picture so the cool cowboy look is lost, but you do get to see his bright, shiny eyes, his pearly white smile and his alabaster-smooth forehead. He still looks huge, but the cropped close-up really makes you feel that he’s smiling at you.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Extra! Extra! Read All About It! Small Table and Chairs Get Reprieve!

Ponsonby Hair

 

Following yesterday’s post “Shock! Horror! Local Hairdresser breaks law with small table and chairs!” Ponsonby hairdresser and all round good guy Ken Beguely,  owner of Ponsonby Hair, this morning received a gracious apology from an Auckland Council manager, an assurance that no further action would be taken to compel him to remove the small table and two chairs outside his salon, and an invitation to contact the manager at any time if he had further problems.

Now that is great news and I congratulate the Auckland Council manager on his eminent good sense in abandoning an ill-considered course of action.

Only thing is, Judy and I were kind-of looking forward to “THE SIT-IN”, as the table and two small chairs, Judy strapped into one, Brian into the other, were hoisted by crane into a waiting Council dump truck, against the chanting of a thousand angry Herne Bay, St Mary’s Bay and Ponsonby  yummy-mummies, “We’re as mad as hell and we aren’t going to take this any more! Save our salon!”

One can only dream.

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Shock! Horror! Local Hairdresser breaks law with small table and chairs!

Ponsonby Hair

The shop in the photograph above is Ponsonby Hair, located in Jervois Road, unsurprisingly in Ponsonby.

The Ken referred to on the sign in the window is Ken Beguely, the owner of Ponsonby Hair.

The feet and legs reflected behind the sign in the window of Ponsonby Hair belong to Brian Edwards and Judy Callingham, Ken’s faithful clients.

Brian and Judy think Ken is a great guy. Their haircuts are testimony to the fact that he is a brilliant hairdresser. So are all his staff.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Ken had an unexpected visit from a a representative of the ACBDD, the Auckland City Business Discouragement Department.

Ken was cutting a nun’s hair at the time. (No, this is not a joke!)

Now no self-respecting hairdresser will abandon a client in the middle of a cut. And certainly not a nun, God forbid. So Ken continued with his work, while the ACBDD official talked to the back of his head. Ken was in serious breach of a local body by-law.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Catch 22 and the war on terrorism

image

Some days ago I wrote a post in the form of a short story. In the story a young man walks into a New Zealand Army recruiting office. He’s 23 and his resume makes it clear that he’s the sort of candidate the Army would welcome with open arms. The recruiting officer can’t believe his luck. This kid is officer material for sure. He tells him as much. But the ideal candidate expresses a reservation about signing up. He wants an assurance that he will never be placed in harm’s way, that he will never be asked to go to war. The recruiting officer is astonished. With as much patience as he can muster, he points out that it’s the New Zealand ARMY the young man wants to join – a fighting force. Armies go to war. Soldiers are trained to fight. Though he might never be required to risk his life, the assurance he seeks clearly cannot be given.

“I know all that, of course,” the young man says, “I thought there might be exceptions. Thank you for your patience.”

Two weeks later a hooded gunman mows down 15 people at a Westfield mall. CCTV footage will  show him  hacking off the head of a late-middle-aged man with a serrated knife before running from the complex. In less than 12 hours Isis has claimed responsibility for the slaughter.

Within 24 hours the young man reappears at the door of the Army recruiting office. The recruiting officer looks up from the papers on his desk. “You’re back!” he says, “What changed your mind?”

Read the rest of this entry »

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