Sunday, November 15, 2015

Questions that demand answers

(First published in The Dominion Post, November 13.)
Urgent questions for our times – the latest in an occasional series:
■ So why do bureaucrats and academics now begin every statement with the word “so”?

■ Four and a half million New Zealanders, four and a half million opinions on the flag?
■ Is it true Wellingtonians are prone to panic attacks if there are no cafes within sight?

■ Why do highly paid government department CEOs (Ray Smith of Corrections, for instance) refuse to be interviewed on current affairs programmes? Shouldn’t it be written into their job description?
■ How hard would it be to pass a law requiring soft drink manufacturers to place a simple symbol on cans and bottles showing how many teaspoonfuls of sugar they contain?

■ Police keep urging us to “drive to the conditions”. So where are they?
■ According to the “One News Now” promotional campaign, we need our news instantaneously. But which is more important – immediacy, or accuracy and depth?

■ Why are there so few women surgeons?
■ Could the answer to the previous question have anything to do with the attitudes of some male surgeons?

Go Set a Watchman – a contender for the 10 worst book titles of all time?
■ Why do smoke alarm batteries wait until the early hours of the morning before announcing that they’re running low?

■ Had enough of the haka?
■ Remember the days when it was touch and go whether your car (usually British) would start in the morning?

■ Are “devices” taking over your life?
■ Why do sports reporters refer to someone winning a “famous” victory only moments after it happened? Doesn’t it take time for something to become famous?

■ Fed up with pointless stickers plastered on every piece of fruit you buy?
■ Why are there so few women chess players?

■ Time to ease off on that hackneyed phrase “the perfect storm”?
■ State houses haven’t changed. The weather hasn’t changed. So how is it that people who live in state houses are suddenly getting sick, supposedly because of mould?

■ Saint Dave Dobbyn?
■ Shouldn’t someone point out to Winston Peters that addressing opponents in parliament as “Sunshine” – presumably channelling Jack Regan of The Sweeney – is just a bit 1970s?

■ Given up trying to keep pace with technology?
■ Solid Energy goes belly-up, at enormous cost in money and lost jobs, and the men who presided over its collapse walk away unscathed – something wrong here?

■ Why are there so few women orchestra conductors?
■ When did photographs become “images”?

■ Big men endlessly lumbering back and forth from one end of a court to another – is there any sport less interesting than basketball?
■ Are there any sociologists who aren’t Marxist?

■ Isn’t it time we dispensed with the tired (and just plain wrong) cliche that it’s every New Zealand boy’s dream to become an All Black?
■ Why do radio and TV interviewers insist on straight “yes” or “no” answers when there may be none?

■ When did we start calling lessons “learnings”?
■ Do people with British accents not see the irony in phoning talkback shows to complain about the number of immigrants?

■ Saint Don McGlashan?
■ Graham Capill, Brian Tamaki, Colin Craig – is there some immutable law that says leaders of socially conservative political parties and pressure groups have to be a bit creepy?

■ That term "social media" – shouldn’t it really be anti-social media?
■ What did New Zealand do to deserve Phil Rudd?

■ When did we start being bored “of” things, rather than with them?
■ Do we make far too much fuss of our poets? I mean, how many people actually read them?

■ Where is this place called New Zelland that John Key keeps talking about?
■ Why do so many left-wing crusaders – Jane Kelsey, John Minto, Professor Doug Sellman – have a desperate, haunted look? Is it because they carry the terrible burden of having to save the world from itself?

■ Is Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy a bit thick, or is that just the impression he gives?
■ Saint Nigel Latta?

■ What does it mean, exactly, when newsreaders say a journalist is “across” the story?
■ In American movies about men suffering a mid-life crisis, why does the main character always drive a Volvo?

■ Why does ACT MP David Seymour keep wearing his little brother’s suits?
■ How do you feel about being described not as a reader, viewer or listener, but as a “consumer of content”?

■ Exactly when did we start pronouncing route to rhyme with out?
■ Would you want Julian Assange as a house guest?

■ Whittaker’s Chocolate has nearly half a million Facebook followers. Why?


Jigsaw said...

How is it that Chris Trotter doesn't sink under his own pomposity?

Jigsaw said...

Not sure just why David Seymour is the only one you have noticed wearing tight suits-most of the male TV journalists are as bad - perhaps the continual hand gestures have made you not notice. Shame that my comment on Trotter got censored.

Karl du Fresne said...

It puzzles me that you should think I'd censored your comment about Chris Trotter. Why would I? The simple explanation is that I've been away for three days. I'm not on duty 24/7 ....

Jigsaw said...

My apologies - I jumped to the wrong conclusion- there is a lot of it around these days well both - censorship and jumping to wrong conclusions....

Michael Wynd said...

■ Just call it anti-social media based on your experience - the only problem is that people mistake the echo chamber of social media for fact - drive people crazy, don't use social media

■ Can we export Phil Rudd to Christmas Island?

■ About the time we substituted image for photograph

■ We need to make a fuss of our poets otherwise they wouldn't exist - that of course doesn't mean we have to read them. After all how many really have read the Catton book or The Bone People all the way through to the end - I think only English students read them, but then they have to.

■ Where is this place called New Zelland that John Key keeps talking about?

■ I have a theory, they are all thin and thin people are miserable - they amy also be haunted because they know that the work they do is actually nonsense. Carrying this terrible burden is their martyrdom

■ I've met him in person and Nathan Guy is a bit thick

■ No, oh god no! Saint Nigel Latta?

■ I take it mean that they are being stretched by their bosses and are working 24/7 filing for the website, paper edition and editorials - in other words overworked

■ Because it is a film cliche to use a Volvo

■ Yes, yes he does or he just buys ill-fitting ones

■ Ugh, I hate this term,

■ I haven't noticed that - but there are some Americanisms beginning to creep into NZ speech patterns

■ No, maybe he can go live with Edward Snowden?

■ Because a lot of people love Whittaker’s Chocolate - I am not one of them.

Some questions for you:

1. Is Kim Hill as clever as she thinks she is?
2. Saint Peter Blake?
3. Has the tributes to Jonah Lomu being over the top and in excess?
4. Why do our media always have to try to find a NZ angle to an international story?
5. What does the media do when someone who is killed does not have a social media presence?
6. When did reporting tweets on Twitter become news reporting?

Michael Wynd said...


Some answers in sequence

■ Because they are lazy thinkers and speakers

■ About 2000 individuals & associated media types have a strong opinion, the other 4,398,000 don't care

■ Who cares about Wellingtonians panic attacks outside of central Wellington?

■ Public servants being paid in six figures you would think have a moral, ethical and contractual duty to front the media

■ Not very hard to put a symbol on, but can you ever see it happening?

■ That is confidential to the Police

■ One News thinks we want immediate, but what we do need is accuracy and depth and to stop running video loops where there is no new developments.

■ Having dealt with male surgeons they are the problem as to why are there so few women surgeons?

■ Yes it is the one of the worst book titles of all time

■ Because they hate you

■ I have had enough of hakas being performed everywhere and at any event - its embarrassing, rude, presumptuous in some cases - cut it out please

■ No. I'm not that old.

■ Yes they are taking over my life - mainly keeping them charged

■ Because it is lazy sports journalism - although an upset win over a highly favoured opponent can be an instant “famous” victory so it does apply some examples

I hate those stickers

■ Because chess seems to be a male dominated one?

■ Yes, eliminate this from your vocabulary

■ It has to come down to those living in State Houses - do we have a generation of people living in a State house who are woefully ignorant of basic home cleanliness?

■ No to sainthood for Dave Dobbyn - if they can stop playing 'Welcome Home' that would be nice too

■ I don't think Winston has moved beyond the 1970s

■ Just be a late adopter, get the tech when it is running smoothly

■ The Directors of Solid Energy need to be prosecuted but also the Minister responsible but it will never happen

■ Another example of a male dominant profession?

■ When did photographs become “images” - easy, when they moved from film to digital - all museums now use the term image over photograph but yet we still call them photographers and not imagers?

■ Yes, soccer is way less interesting than basketball - at least they score in basketball

■ I have a friend who is a sociologists - he's a bit lefty and Green but not out and out Marxist

■ Yes, not everyone wants to be an All Black - in an age of professional sports across the major ball codes there are options

■ Lazy journalism combined with limited time and a desire for black & white answers

■ About the same time as we started using the term image and business schools made the term popular in management theory teaching

■ There are irony-free zones

■ See for Dave Dobbyn - Don McGlashan is a great songwriter and lyracist but I don't know if he is Saint Peter Blake level

■ I think the non-creepy types do not get a chance to lead - I don't find Brian Tamaki creepy, and rather than creepy Colin Craig is more crazy