Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Compelling questions for troubled times

(First published in the Curmudgeon column, The Dominion Post, August 30.)

More pressing questions for our times:

Billions have been lost in finance company collapses, but the big question remains unanswered: where did all that money actually go?

Is there a British actor still standing who hasn’t been found a role in The Hobbit, even if it meant ignoring the source book and creating one?

Further to the above, and with all due respect to the paper that kindly publishes this column, would it cause you any grief if you never read another word about Sir Peter Jackson’s latest work?

Is Titewhai Harawira mad?

When will disgruntled Jetstar travellers get the message that budget airlines are cheaper because they offer lower levels of service?

Given all this “breaking news” on TV and radio, isn’t it time someone fixed it?

When did the rugby jersey become a “strip”, and why?

Are the Greens a more likeable party for being rid of angry Sue Bradford?

When will TV3 shout its Christchurch reporter Jeff Hampton a new sportscoat?

Do you lie awake at night fretting that you might have missed out on something important because you’re not on Twitter?

Was the answer to the previous question: “Er, no”?

Had enough of Nigel Latta?

When did journalists drop the perfectly good phrase “gun battle” in favour of the dramatic-sounding but erroneous “firefight”?

Why are so many sports programmes on TV and radio introduced with pounding, thrash metal-type music when most of the listeners are of the Mantovani generation?

Ever wondered why there are no Scottish restaurants?

Why do we now pay down debt when we used to pay it off?

Should all emails that start “Hi guys!” – especially if they come from businesses seeking your custom –be deleted without a second glance?

Why does All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen, when talking to the media, always give the impression he has just been shaken awake from a deep sleep?

Ever wondered why so many believers in man-made global warming angrily demand that the media stifle the views of sceptics, but never the other way around?

Puzzled by Paul Holmes’ increasingly effeminate mannerisms on Q&A?

Would Remuera be such a fashionable Auckland suburb if people knew that the name means “burnt buttocks” and commemorates the eating of a Maori chieftainess?

Have Tui’s Yeah, right ads done their dash?

Why do so many women drivers tailgate?

Still waiting for a glimpse of the leadership potential that press gallery journalists keep insisting they see in Labour MP Shane Jones?

Is there now a rule in television that says no programme worth watching can start before 9.30pm?

Had enough of the Rugby World Cup yet?

Teachers planning routine school trips have to file comprehensive “risk assessment” plans, historic churches are required to install unsightly handrails outside, yet coalmines can get away without even rudimentary safety measures. Something wrong here?

Would cooking goddess Nigella Lawson have made it past first base without those breasts?

Is there anyone on earth whose appearance was enhanced by a tattoo?

Should New Zealand troops be risking their lives propping up a regime that tortures people and threatens them with execution for the crime of being Christian?

How hard can it be for TV news bulletins to put captions under talking heads so that we know who’s speaking?

Matamata, Kerikeri, Whatawhata, Katikati, Ongaonga, Pekapeka – is it possible these places were named by a rangatira with a bad stammer?

Was there ever a more pointless big boy’s toy than the jetski?

Could the American songwriter Stephen Foster have had any inkling of how the language would change when he wrote the line: “’Tis summer, the darkies are gay”?

Was anything ever more grievously misnamed than the express lane at the supermarket?

Is “going forward” the most superfluous phrase in the English language?

Had enough of rugby team promotional shots portraying players as brooding, mythic gods?

How come television and radio journalists insist on referring to “fay-talities” on the roads? Are they graduates of the Ozark Mountains Academy of Speech Training?

Considering all the synthetic fragrances at their disposal, how come aerosol companies appear unable to come up with anything that can overcome the vile dunny odours that nature produces?

Has the fatuous phrase “spot you later” finally died a deserved death?

Fed up with contrived on-screen banter between newsreaders, weather presenters and sports reporters? Can’t they just read the news and leave it at that?

Why does Phil Goff (like Helen Clark before him) wear a permanent smile, even when he’s talking about something serious?

2 comments:

Bearhunter said...

Some pertinent questions indeed. With Scottish restaurants it all depends on your definition of Scottish - Gordon Ramsay is Scottish and, if you go back far enough, MacDonald is a fine old Scottish name...

As for newsreaders, the main reason I watch One News at 6pm is because one day Andrew Saville will leap, wolf-like, from behind his desk and throttle the ineffably smug Simon Dallow for making a crack about Sav's weight or fitness. It's bound to happen and I don't want to miss it...

maungakiekie said...

I *love* your questions, Mr du Fresne! Thanks for the laugh. I needed it, after reading Matt McCarten's latest Herald column.