Other than referring to a female dog, a rare enough occasion since we’re cat people, “bitch” has been a taboo word in our house pretty well since the first time I used it within earshot of Judy. She doesn’t like it. And I’m comfortable with her not liking it. I’m not a swearing sort of person myself; I think comedians who pepper their material with “fucks” are properly insecure in their comic genius; and, as reported elsewhere on this site, I have on numerous occasions approached total strangers to remind them that the f-word is unacceptable to others sharing the same public space.
But sometimes… Well sometimes… Sometimes “bitch” is quite simply le mot juste. Anything less offensive simply won’t hit the mark.
I find myself in the improbable position of coming to the defence of broadcaster Mike Hosking.
Winston Peters has called Hosking “a National Party stooge whose jowls are up the Prime Minister’s cheeks”. I take this as some bizarre rephrasing of the common term “cheek by jowl” intended, I presume, to mean that the broadcaster and the PM are close buddies. Winnie will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong.
Meanwhile the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, has accused Hosking of “making no attempt at objectivity”. One might have expected a more robust critique. I’m told the words “right wing little prick” have been simply flying down the corridors of the Opposition Wing to describe Mr Hosking. Read the rest of this entry »
Now this is unusual. There are a couple of things I’ve never been good at: apologising and eating my words. But yesterday morning I put up a post about the first edition of TV3’s new programme Story which plays in the slot that was Campbell Live.
It was a pretty negative piece of writing that neither the programme nor its presenters deserved. It was picky and hypercritical. And, as I say undeserved.
The thing is I broke the first rule of reviewing – never review the first programme in a series. It’s on that programme that things are most likely to go wrong. Nerves usually. So you have to allow any programme to bed in before you put pen to paper. Read the rest of this entry »
Here’s a free piece of media advice for you: if you or your company are in the gun and you’re invited to appear on a live TV current affairs show like Fair Go or Seven Sharp or Story, either politely decline the invitation, preferably without giving reasons for your decision – that’s giving an interview! – or, if you’re pretty confident you can handle it, agree to be interviewed “live” in the Auckland studio or not at all. The airfare will be worth it.
Don’t agree to be interviewed “down the line”, which can involve standing in the middle of a paddock or sitting behind your office desk with a hearing-aid thingee occasionally falling out of your ear as you try to talk to some extremely hostile person you can’t see. TV interviewers are most courageous when you aren’t sitting directly opposite them. And least courageous when you are. Well, it’s so much easier to cut someone off or talk over them when you’re the people controlling the switch. Read the rest of this entry »
You will have read that, following his unceremonious dumping by the Board of TV3, John Campbell is to join his close friend and former producer Carol Hirschfeld at Radio New Zealand where he will host Checkpoint. He’ll do the job very well of course, but the visual dimension will be lost. John’s face told you as much as, and sometimes more than his words. His approval or disapproval of a guest was invariably patent.
And then of course there was his ENTHUSIASM!!! That too will be missed.
Campbell may nonetheless be more suited to the hard-edged current affairs that Checkpoint offers than the high-rating, soft-serve confections that apparently turn the TV3 Board on. But I’ll still miss him on the box! Read the rest of this entry »
Since 1964, when I arrived in this country, I’ve mostly, though not always, voted for the Labour Party. My core political belief is that in a caring society the haves have a moral obligation to support the have-nots. I see progressive taxation as the only reliable mechanism for bringing this about. “Trickle Down” won’t cut it. Little or nothing “trickles down” and the concept smacks of charity. Nor can charity itself ensure social and economic justice for those at the bottom of the heap. Charity is capricious and unreliable. So the rich have to be compelled to do their part. That includes me.
If you want to give a name to it, I suppose you’d call this Socialism. I see myself as a Socialist. Not surprising, you might think, since I was an only child raised by a solo parent in a council flat in Belfast. Though John Key had a not dissimilar background.
Bit different now. Judy and I have a nice house, a nice car, a bach up North and a few dollars in the bank. And of course we both get the pension. But I’m still a Socialist. That’s more about principles than party politics. And not complaining about paying tax. Read the rest of this entry »
Mike Hosking is an opinionated chap. He’s paid an enormous sum of money to be opinionated, not only as a breakfast talk-back host on the ZB network, but as a Herald columnist and the co-host of TVNZ’s Seven Sharp. So you can’t really blame him for being opinionated. It’s his job after all.
It was only after the sacking of John Campbell as host of the programme named after him that I took a look at Seven Sharp, the shape-shifter of prime-time current-affairs programmes.
After watching the programme for a couple of weeks and reading his columns I’d had enough of Mike’s opinions and had reached that critical mass of the emotions where I was in danger of putting my foot through the screen and cancelling our subscription to the paper.
I was suffering from what I suspect may be a common complaint in this country: front-person-overload, the medical term for which is Hosking’s Disease. [Note: This can sometimes be confused with Pitt-Hopkins disease, a genetic disorder whose symptoms include developmental delay, a wide mouth, distinctive facial features and intermittent hyperventilation.]
It’s a real disease. Trust me, I’m a Doctor.
Mr Hosking’s role on Seven Sharp appears to be that of lecturer. His class currently comprises only one student, a bubbly and attractive young woman who hangs on his every word. The lectures are, however, telecast to a much larger group of students. The TVNZ calendar lists the lecture series as “Seven Sharp or Everything I Know About Everything – an enthralling series of 2,000 half-hour lectures by one of New Zealand’s most admired long-form interviewers and commentators.”
Having now watched Seven Sharp for two weeks and read several of Prof Hosking’s treatises in the Herald, I am now the trivia king at our local pub quiz. But Judy says I’ve changed – I’m arrogant, up-myself, a bad listener and a pretentious bore! And I speak warmly of John Key.
She’ll get over it!
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