Brian Edwards Media

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On Mike Hosking – Don’t Say I Never Warned You

 

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Hi, my name is Brian. Edwards to be precise. You may remember me. I used to be on television. Started in Christchurch on a magazine show called Town and Around. Went North to Wellington to audition for a current affairs show called Gallery. Knew bugger all about politics and stuff and was even less interested. Bluffed my way through the audition.

Cut a long story short, got the job, got famous and thought I was the bee’s knees. (Hazard of the job really – being up yourself.) Fast forward: Left TV, did this and that. In no particular order: unsuccessful Labour candidate for Parliament, trade union worker, school teacher, TV game show host, polytechnic lecturer, Saturday morning radio host, media advisor and media trainer with wife Judy Callingham. Clients included PM Helen Clark and Labour Party ministers. Today semi-retired media consultant and occasional broadcaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Metiria Turei and the Quality of Mercy

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The quality of mercy, according to the Bard, ‘is not strained’. Though I got the gist of it, I’ve never actually known precisely what ‘strained’ meant in this context.

Enter Dr Google. ‘Strained’ means ‘not held back; freely given’.

I have journalist Barry Soper to thank for this enlightenment.

Like every other hack in the country Soper has taken the cudgels to Metiria Turei. In an online Herald editorial entitled ‘Now you can understand why Helen Clark never embraced the Greens’, he clinically dissects the former Green Co-Leader’s revelation of her criminal past and her subsequent behaviour.

Like most of the recent comment from the Fourth Estate on this topic it’s self-righteous and unkind.

Two photographs of Turei accompany the text. In one she looks relatively cheerful; in the other utterly despairing. I can’t say who chose the two pics, but they seem designed to illustrate the story of Turei’s downfall. Read the rest of this entry »

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On Relentless Positivity

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The new Leader of the Opposition has undertaken to be ‘relentlessly positive’ between now and the Election in September.

If her appearance on yesterday’s ‘Q & A’ with Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis is anything to go by, his role is to be ‘relentlessly negative’.

‘Relentless’ is generally a negative term: ‘relentless rain, relentless suffering’ etc. One would not commonly refer to ‘relentless good weather’ or ‘relentless happiness’. The same is true of ‘relentlessly positive’. It sounds incongruous, fake.

To illustrate her relentless positivity, Jacinda Ardern smiled relentlessly during her interview with Jessica Mutch on yesterday’s Q &A. That seemed incongruous too, with ‘fake’ not far behind.

Between now and September Jacinda will be relentlessly feted by her adoring supporters. It will be tempting for her to hear little else. I would counsel against that. That dry, laconic, southern man currently running the show comes pretty close to the Kiwi version of the ideal joker. He wouldn’t have looked out of place in the front passenger seat with Barry Crump.

Cheers.

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On Whited Sepulchres

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I’ve been trying to find a suitable term to describe the army of self-righteous Kiwis who have emerged from the swamp of primarily anonymous online and talkback comment to take aim at Metiria Turei. ‘Hypocrites’ came close but just didn’t seem adequate to fit the bill. Frankly I wanted something stronger, something that would convey my disgust at the lack of honesty, self-awareness and common humanity displayed by these writers and callers. And by some of her colleagues in Parliament. I needed something biblical.

And there it was: Matthew 23:27:

‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.’

‘Whited sepulchres’! It fitted the bill nicely. Read the rest of this entry »

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You Can’t Win, Baby.

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It’s been interesting, if not exactly cheering, to note that, within hours of her winning the job of leading the Labour Party, the possibility that Jacinda Ardern might conceive a child while in office has been advanced as an impediment to her ability to be an effective Prime Minister.

Precisely the opposite argument was advanced by the Right about Helen Clark when she entered Parliament and as she rose to prominence as a potential party leader. Her choice not to have children was not only held against her but interpreted and expressed in the most cruel fashion as evidence that she was an unnatural woman and, in all probability, a lesbian.

One might have thought that Helen’s subsequent career might have put paid to this level of chauvinistic prejudice but it seems not. As the French have it: Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. The more things change the more they remain the same.

You can’t win, baby!

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My White Car Theory

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Judy and I drive quite a lot. Most weekends we head for the bach in Leigh. There and back a couple of hours in total.

In the process I’ve developed a theory about people who own and drive white cars. They are almost invariably selfish, irresponsible and reckless drivers. Within this group there is a subgroup of even worse drivers – the owners of white SUVs.

I have some understanding of the mentality of the SUV driver. For a time I owned and drove a geriatric blue Mitsubishi Pajero. I quickly became intolerant of every other driver on the road, frequently driving up their bums, the horn blaring. Why? Well, I think the answer has to do with one’s elevated viewpoint. I looked down on them!

This goes some way to explaining the mentality of white SUV drivers, but what about the rest of the white car drivers?

I can’t really answer my own question beyond noting that white reflects the most light and stands out more than any other colour. If you want to be seen, go white. Read the rest of this entry »

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On being Mates with the Aussies

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Spent some time in Brisbane recently visiting our son and daughter-in-law who is ‘with child’. I say ‘our son’ which is technically inaccurate, but I’ve been on the scene so long that what’s hers is mine, and vice versa. Love’s the same either way.

We had a really nice time. They’ve chosen to live in Australia, have a lovely home, good jobs and the weather’s great.

But I worry. We like to think of the Aussies as our good mates across the ditch. But it’s an uneven relationship, something less than a partnership. Generally speaking, I don’t think the Aussies give a stuff about New Zealanders. All that ‘mateship’ rings pretty hollow when it comes to being a Kiwi and living and working in Australia. A child born to New Zealand parents in Oz will wait a decade before it can become a citizen. That’s a longish trial period. And really we’re not that welcome.

We need to take our blinkers off about the Aussies. What we have in common is sport and a history in wars that a majority of us can barely remember. Or not at all. We like them and they sort of like us. As long as we both stay on our own side of the ditch.

I’m up in Leigh, lying in bed, looking out at the sea as I write this. Wouldn’t be anywhere else. We’ll pop into Matakana a bit later for lunch. Everyone knows us round here and we know everyone. I’m reminded every day that coming to New Zealand was the best decision of my life.

And Australia?

Nice place to visit.

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Oh What a Tangled Web WeWeave…

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Have you seen this?

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One of the most concerning and extraordinary political scandals I’ve encountered in some time. Go to: www.newsroom.co.nz

 

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America’s Cup Heresy

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Generally speaking I’m not into sport. This is primarily because I’ve never been good at any sport and suffered ridicule at school as a result.

Boys attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (“Inst”) could choose between playing sport or joining the school cadet force. Doing neither was not an option.

I was a wimpy kid and terrified of any activity that might conceivably cause me even minor pain. This clearly ruled out rugby, leaving me a choice between cricket and the school cadet force.

I opted for the cadet force, perhaps imagining myself as an officer attracting the lustful glances of pretty German girls as I strode down the streets of Heidelberg, my swagger stick under my arm.

There was no swagger stick; the uniform consisted of uncomfortable brown serge and heavy black boots which you were required to polish with nasty, greasy stuff called blanco. The jumped-up little shits who had made it to corporal or sergeant were horrid and shouted at delicate flowers such as me, revenge no doubt for my being teachers’ pet in German, French and English classes and starring in all the school players. Poofter! Wanker! Suck-Up!

Then there was a ten-day camp. The poofters, wankers and suck-ups had their genitals smeared with blanco by the nation’s finest in the overheated nissan hut on night one – a prelude to a real wanking competition by the aforesaid “officers”. There were nine days and nights still to go.

There was a route-march on day two. Full uniform, heavy backpack, rifle: walk, run, drop to the muddy ground. “Keep up Edwards for fucksake!”

I burst into tears. “I want to go home, sir.”

A teacher drove me back to school where I was left to study in an empty classroom. The shame of it!

My mother wrote me a note, asking that I be allowed to quit the school cadet force.

That left the cricket option.

I won’t dwell on this too much. I could neither bat, bowl nor catch a ball. Bowlers used me to see how many times they could get me out. And I had a new nickname which I wore with just a hint of ironic satisfaction – Hat Trick Edwards!

Now where was I? Oh yes, the America’s Cup. It’s probably heresy to say this, but those things aren’t really yachts, are they? I mean, a yacht is a type of boat, isn’t it? A boat with one or more sails. And it has a hull. And about a third of the hull is under water. So these machines really aren’t yachts. They’re low-flying aircraft.

Just saying!

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Second Thoughts on “What Next”

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Tossed and turned during the night. Couldn’t sleep. A bad conscience will do that to you. Had I been too harsh on What Next? What would I say to John Campbell if I bumped into him at RNZ when Michelle and I were on The Panel? Not a violent man, thank heavens. Probably shake my hand and say, “No hard feelings, Brian.” But that would just make it even worse.

Trouble is I’d watched last night’s show and found no compelling reason to change my opinion. And there are still three episodes to go!

So here’s a more temperate analysis of what I see as the programme’s flaws.

*No contrary opinion is expressed anywhere on the show. On the core issues which the show addresses all the studio guests and all the people in the video clips are in fundamental agreement.

*This does not make for riveting viewing. On the contrary, the worthiness which the programme conveys is likely to turn viewers off.

*More importantly, it may invite the suspicion that this is a programme generally reflecting the views of the Liberal Left – people like me!

*New Zealand On Air funded the series to the tune of $1,219,288. That’s not excessive for a five-part series but it ought at least to buy decent pictures and high quality sound, not Stygian gloom and muddy audio. [Irony Warning!!!] Maybe that’s only in Ponsonby/Herne Bay of course.

And finally this: If you cared to look back on the posts on my website or on Facebook, you’d discover that I’ve been a longtime fan of John Campbell and, despite an early post entitled “I do not care for Nigel Latta”, of that gentleman too.

Damn! Another sleepless night coming up.

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Review of an Unnamed TV Programme


What Next?

My name is Brian and I’m a television addict. My addiction began when I was 10 and holidaying with my Aunt Jessie and Uncle Donald at their maisonette in Bromley in Kent.

Donald and Jessie’s TV had a 12-inch screen and delivered a rather muddy black and white picture. A rather bluish black and white to be precise, resulting perhaps from the limited luminance which the set was apparently capable of delivering. Drawing the curtains helped and added somewhat to one’s viewing excitement.

The first TV programme I ever saw was a stage production of Beckett’s Waiting For Godot. I have to say that this is not my favourite play, if indeed ‘play’ is the word. Not to put too fine a point on it, I would rather eat worms than sit through another performance of Mr Beckett’s renowned oeuvre. Call me philistine if you will. I don’t care.

But at the age of 10, I was transfixed, not by being kept waiting for Godot, but by the flickering images on the screen in front of me. “Hooked” would be a more accurate description. A lifelong addiction to the box had begun. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Parasite on the Body Politic

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There are very few people whom I actively despise. Being far from a model citizen myself, let alone a paragon of virtue either in thought or deed, I’m in no position to pass judgement on my fellow man or woman. But there are some public figures whom I do actively despise, without necessarily being able to specify what it is about them that sticks in my craw.

Peter Dunne is one such. I can’t stand the fellow. He reminds me a little of Tim Shadbolt whose unashamed motto was ‘I don’t care where, as long as I’m mayor.’ But Shadbolt was at least capable of self parody. He mocked himself. Dunne doesn’t really care which political party or group wins an election. The very fine balance in political support between the major parties which MMP has produced has made it possible for a minor party, even a party of one, to enjoy a degree of power entirely disproportionate to its numbers. And to introduce and quite possibly to see passed legislation which a majority of Kiwis might not support. Such is the case with Peter Dunne. Read the rest of this entry »

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Out for a Duck

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Duck shooting season about to start. Human versus duck. It would be a fairer contest if the ducks had guns and could take aim at the assholes who take pleasure in shooting these beautiful creatures out of the sky.

In an interview some years ago I put this suggestion (rather more politely) to the Duke of Edinburgh, then a keen hunter. We went on to discuss ‘the hunter’s melancholy’, a passing sadness which hunters apparently feel when they make a kill. His Royal Highness was familiar with the feeling and, if memory serves, suggested that hunting served a useful purpose in controlling the populations of certain species.

I wasn’t aware that we were about to be overrun by ducks in Godzone or that population numbers of lions, tigers and elephants were out of control in Africa and other tropical climes. But I left it at that. It would have been neither appropriate nor acceptable to harass the husband of the Queen. And actually I rather liked him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thoughts on Andrew Little

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I’ve previously written a couple of posts about the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little. The first was extremely unflattering and noted that someone had credited Little with having “a dry wit”. I observed that “arid” might have been closer to the mark. To his credit, Little found this amusing.

I was kinder in the second post, observing that the Leader of the Opposition might bring to the Office of Prime Minister a degree of personal integrity all too rarely evident in party politics.

That second post was, I now think, a fairer summation.

But, as a media trainer who has advised several Leaders of the Opposition and a couple of Prime Ministers, I know all too well that integrity is no guarantee of success in politics and that how you ‘come across’, your ‘image’, is a significant factor. Read the rest of this entry »

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This is Driving Me Nuts!

Here is the first sentence from an Associated Press report which I’ve just finished reading in the online edition of today’s Herald:

“WikiLeaks has offered to help the likes of Google and Apple identify the software holes used by purported CIA hacking tools – and that puts the tech industry in something of a bend.”

Now I don’t know who penned this story but it wouldn’t surprise me if the author was a Kiwi.

Why? Because “the likes of” has almost entirely replaced “like” , meaning “similar to”, in New Zealand journalism and, I fear, in everyday speech. Read the rest of this entry »

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Profile of Leader of the Free World

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Donald Trump, President of the United States, leader of the free world, dangerous psychopath. No need to go on. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

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Keep it simple, Stupid!

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More than half a century ago, when I was a lecturer in German literature at the University of Canterbury, I was myself taught a lesson about effective pedagogy: Never use a long word when a shorter word will do. Keep it simple, Stupid!

I was lecturing on the Czech/German writer Franz Kafka, some of whose nightmarish novels and short stories you may be familiar with: The Trial, The Castle and The Metamorphosis whose central character wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a beetle.

What did it all mean? Well, if you’ve got a lifetime or two to spare you could read all the scholarly books and articles that have been written on that topic. But basically it comes down to this: some people think the books are religious allegories; other people think they reflect Kafka’s relationship with his domineering father. I belong to the second group. Read the rest of this entry »

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Farewell to Sir Bruce Slane

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One of the finest men I have ever encountered has died. Sir Bruce Slane was a gentle, unpretentious, decent, life-affirming proponent of the very finest human values, the whole leavened with an infectious sense of humour, I am just one among thousands who will celebrate his life and mourn his death.

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Mind your head, mate!

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When I’m writing a post to appear on my site, I take great care to ensure that what I’m writing is factually  correct. I may then draw certain conclusions based on those true facts. The truthfulness of the facts will not, however, guarantee the correctness of my conclusions. Reaching those conclusions requires logic and independence of mind .

Those same qualities are required of those reading what I have written if they are to fairly assess or judge my argument. Race and gender are areas in which logic and independence of mind are most threatened by illogic and mental bias. This is scarcely surprising since those areas also provide the best/worst examples of prejudice against and mistreatment of one social, national or racial group by others.

In everyday conversation and debate, however, I am less likely to be so scrupulous. A conversation in which one weighed every word, sentence or statement of opinion before delivering it would be very stilted indeed. My experience of having given literally thousands of off-the-cuff interviews to journalists, whose editors then decided which bits were interesting or newsworthy and which weren’t, has led me to the firm conclusion that fairness and accuracy are most at risk in the reporting of ad lib chats with journalists on the phone. Read the rest of this entry »

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