Brian Edwards Media

Archive for October, 2017

Argument Wecomed, but keep it Civilised.

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For almost two decades now I have railed against the excesses of social media. I have done so on radio, on this website and on Facebook. The general tenor of my complaint has been that, across these media, intelligent debate has been replaced by frequently anonymous personal abuse.

My complaint about Bernard Hickey was not that he was a supporter of MMP, but that he derided the opinions of those who weren’t or had expressed reservations about it. They were, apparently, mere whingers and moaners. I think in this essentially fair minded country of ours we call that ‘playing the man and not the ball’. Or, if you want to be posh about it, ‘an ad hominem attack’. It was to that that I took exception.

As for MMP, my post was scarcely an onslaught, it was an expression of reservations: ‘not entirely persuaded; not entirely happy, disquiet many New Zealanders feel…’.

I’m writing this because, among many reasonable expressions of disagreement with what I had to say in the post, including several by good friends of mine, there is a sprinkling of the sort of personal abuse that I find unacceptable. I turn 80 in just over a week, ladies and gentlemen, but there is bugger all wrong with my brain.

So here’s the deal: I welcome spirited debate. I don’t welcome ad hominem attacks on anyone whether because of their age, gender, nationality or the colour of their skin. And that includes elderly male, white skinned, Irish curmudgeons.

Right! Time for a lie-down.

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Whinging and Moaning about MMP

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Just read a piece by Bernard Hickey in Newsroom in which he takes to task people like me who aren’t entirely persuaded of the merits of MMP or entirely happy with the result it has delivered in this year’s general election.

I know Bernard and am something of a fan. But I share the disquiet that many New Zealanders feel when the party that is preferred by more Kiwis than any other fails to win the election. More importantly, I do not expect to be treated as a numbskull for feeling that disquiet. It is, at the very least, both understandable and defensible.

So I take strong exception to the final paragraph in Mr Hickey’s piece. He writes:

“Job done, and let’s hope that’s the end of the whole whinging and moaning about MMP for at least another three years.”

That “whinging and moaning” is what we call ‘democracy’, Bernard. Let’s hope we aren’t at the end of it yet.

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Pretty Boys and Bangable Faces

Pretty Boy Floyd

In her excellent Sideswipe column in the Herald Ana Samways today takes a look at.some ‘untranslatable’ words from other languages. They include the German ‘Backpfeifengesicht’ which apparently means ‘a face that is begging to be slapped’.

Despite having been a lecturer in German literature, I’d never heard the word. But I can tell you that when I was at school in Belfast we had a shorter and equally expressive word for certain unfortunates among our classmates. The word was ‘bangable’. Some people just have bangable faces. Faces that invite you to hit them.

Now you don’t have to remonstrate with me for making this observation. I don’t applaud the instinct to assault people with bangable faces. Indeed I condemn it with every fibre in my being. I merely observe that such an instinct exists. And it’s better to acknowledge such instincts and expose them to the light of reason than to let them fester in the dark of denial.

After all, some of the world’s most violent criminals have gone under the moniker ‘Pretty Boy’. Say hello to Pretty Boy Floyd. (Don’t stare though. Pretty Boy doesn’t take well to people staring!)

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Is this Democracy?

As I write this Winston Peters may or may not have made up his mind whether to go with Bill or Jacinda. How many brain cells to you have to lose in order to regard MMP as a workable and satisfactory form of democracy. One egotist – I would have used a stronger term but my wife says it would be defamatory – one egotist is offered the keys to the kingdom and gratefully, if not graciously, accepts. And this is the third time it has happened.

This is not democracy; this borders on autocracy. Only the names of the powerbrokers change. When the leaders of the two largest parties in the country have to go cap in hand to the joker in the pack in order to govern, something is very amiss with the system. This might not be the case if the joker in the pack were motivated by altruism on behalf of the citizenry. But that really is stretching credibility.

It’s fun though. No denying Winston really is a hoot. So that’s all right then. Isn’t it?

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Power, the Aphrodisiac

Power is an aphrodisiac. Fame, often power’s companion, is an aphrodisiac. Anyone who has enjoyed power or fame will know this to be true.

The aphrodisiac qualities of power and fame are to a large degree unrelated to the physical attractiveness of the powerful or the famous person.

Whether your name is Trudeau or Muldoon the aphrodisiac qualities of power will apply, differing only in degree. In my career as a television interviewer I have observed this at first hand on numerous occasions.

Trouble arises when the powerful person fails to recognise the connection between their power and their attractiveness. They fall victim to the delusion of their own inherent and irresistible appeal to the opposite sex. They can neither understand nor accept rejection. Down this path lie inappropriate advances to women and rape. Think Harvey Weinstein and armies of rich and/or famous men.

And you, Brian? Well, my father was a womaniser who abandoned me and my mother and did prison time for bigamy. Sometimes it’s quite useful to have an appalling role model. Teaches you what to avoid.

Cheers!

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