Monday, May 14, 2012


(First published in the Dominion Post, May 8.)

Continuing the relentless quest for truth on the most challenging issues of our times, I pose the following questions:

Are children with bizarre, unpronounceable names statistically more likely to die an early death from abuse by a caregiver, being hit by a reversing vehicle or wandering off unnoticed to drown or be struck by a car?

Had enough of Sonny Bill Williams?

Ever get the feeling that the more council chief executives get paid, the more things their councils manage to stuff up?

On a similar note, is it true – as some commentators have conjectured – that the rot began to set in when they ceased to be known as town clerks?

Tired of the media love affair with Sir Ian McKellen?

In fact, tired of the entire hullaballoo surrounding The Hobbit?

Get the feeling that the government has forgotten about the Pike River miners and their families? Just too hard, perhaps?

What’s with this new word “deconstruction” (as in the case of the Christchurch cathedral), and why is it suddenly deemed preferable to “demolition”?

How come, when the ancient Greeks were so wise, the modern ones seem so feckless?

When did “disconnect” become a noun?

Does anyone believe John Key when he claims that an increase in the number of pokie machines at Auckland’s SkyCity Casino will actually reduce the number of problem gamblers?

Does anyone still take professional boxing seriously?

In the effort to make sense of atrocities perpetrated by killers such as the Norwegian Anders Breivik, do we overlook the unfashionable possibility that some people are simply evil?

Feeling like a loser because you don’t have 33,000 Twitter followers, 1800 Facebook friends and several hundred people to whom you’re connected on LinkedIn?

Is Maori Television now the only channel where viewers feel they’re in New Zealand?

Still not convinced by John Banks’ attempts to convince us that he’s a born-again Act convert?

Why are so many official positions filled by English immigrants? Is this a lingering symptom of our infamous cultural cringe, or do New Zealanders just lack ambition?

Alternatively, is it because a certain type of Englishman (and woman) is genetically programmed to behave officiously?

Will broadcaster Mike Hosking ever win back his credibility following the disclosure of his cosy relationship with SkyCity?

Ever noticed that professional sportsmen who think nothing of maiming and crippling their opponents on the field are acutely sensitive to even the mildest verbal slight?

Still trying to figure out how the ugly wharewaka on the Wellington waterfront managed to win a major architecture award?

Further to that, doesn’t it reinforce your suspicion that many awards – whether for architects, writers, artists, chefs or whatever – are of dubious credibility?

When did people start having “surgeries” rather than operations?

Is Gareth Morgan in danger of overplaying his role as New Zealand’s leading (if not only) capitalist with a conscience?

Speaking of Gareth Morgan, whatever happened to the noble notion of anonymous philanthropy?

Ever wondered what God makes of honey-tongued, patrician American televangelists whose Sunday morning programmes are always followed, oddly enough, by an appeal for “gifts”?

In all the hand-wringing over Christchurch’s Anglican cathedral, has the fate of the much more attractive Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament been ignored?

Doesn’t the former cathedral’s demolition provide the perfect opportunity to finally correct the unsightly hodgepodge that was Christchurch’s famous Square?

Feeling ever-so-slightly queasy about disgraced sports broadcaster Tony Veitch’s return to the airwaves in a role that sometimes has him moralising about other people’s behaviour?

If Greater Wellington regional council can’t get the management of the existing suburban rail network right, can it be trusted to commit vast sums of public money to its future expansion?

When did New Zealanders start wearing rucksacks instead of backpacks?

Does this mean the parka will soon become an anorak, trucks will become lorries and we’ll soon be eating supper rather than dinner?

Is the Greens’ charmed ride in the opinion polls largely down to the fact that their righteous policies have never had to be tested in government?

If Heineken can buy off James Bond with a $45 million “product placement” deal, what next? Will we see him eating a Big Mac rather than pate de foie gras?


Mark Hubbard said...

Pretty much agree with all of these, except have to pull you up on Morgan: after his Damascene win at Trade Me, he stopped being a capitalist and became that pernicious agent of freedom's demise in the West, namely, a promotor of forced altruism at the hands of the brute, unknowing State. (Generosity is good, forced altruism is societal suicide, as we are finding out. The economic/political branch of this cult is Keynesian socialism).

If I were being less charitable, I would also say he's becoming a tyrannical, micro-managing, arrogant little snipe. Mind you, I wouldn't be feeling that charitable to a man who wrote twice to my wife, one of his customers, to call her a drop kick and a w*^ker ;)

I've often wondered about 'deconstruction'. It's a word taken from post modern literary criticism (ironically a form of aesthetic suicide), but must be being used here with a quite different meaning. I think they're using in the context of 'demolition in view of imitative rebuild'. Which sounds fine until you realise that's also a definition of demolition.

JC said...

Regarding the pokies.. the number has steadily reduced by 30% over the past few years.. so we have fewer addicted gamblers and a much reduced budget to fight the addiction.. yes?