Thursday, November 11, 2010

More pressing questions for our times

(First published in the Curmudgeon column, The Dominion Post, November 9.)

How come, when tragedy strikes a small town, it’s always described in the media as a tight-knit community? Are there no loose-knit communities out there?

Should Hone Harawira be getting counselling for anger management?

Why do so many New Zealanders drive grey cars, and what does that say about us?

Why does the government spend millions on aviation security when all a terrorist has to do to create mayhem is set off a bomb on a suburban bus?

Fed up with new products and services being “rolled out”? Isn’t that what you do with pastry and barrels?

Was your life made complete when you finally found out who the anonymous test driver known as The Stig was, or did it take all the fun out of watching Top Gear?

If the answer to either of the previous questions was “yes”, do you still have all your old Matchbox toys lovingly arranged on your bedroom shelves, and does your mother still choose your clothes for you?

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

Why do police rarely, if ever, intervene when large, intimidating Maori men in dark glasses illegally occupy private property and deny access to the rightful occupiers? Do we have a rule of law or not?

Remember when the word “offshore” meant an island or a reef, and foreign countries were “overseas” or “abroad”?

Why is it apparently essential for fashion models to be not only emaciated, but knock-kneed and pigeon-toed as well?

Can anyone think of a good reason why the head of the Transport Agency is paid more than $550,000 a year?

Given up watching television yet?

The world’s meanest streets: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Detroit, Michigan; Manukau, South Auckland?

Why is it so difficult, even in classy bars, to buy one of New Zealand’s many excellent craft beers? (Actually, I know the answer – it’s because the old brewery duopoly still stifles competition.)

Why are shooting victims always reported to have been “gunned down”? Doesn’t anyone just get shot anymore?

Was the election of a left-wing mayor in the Auckland super-city the voters’ unsubtle way of telling Rodney Hide they don’t entirely trust him?

Why does the government treat the shadowy Iwi Leaders’ Group – a tribal elite with no democratic legitimacy or mandate – as the voice of Maoridom?

Has the heat has gone out of the global warming debate?

When will someone stumble on the secret graveyard where all the television reporters over 40 are buried?

Confused by a government that keeps telling us public spending has to be curbed, yet seems to have no trouble finding grants for non-essentials such as literary awards, high-performance sport, new museums and suchlike?

Fed up with voice-prompted “help” lines that provide an option for every problem except the one you’ve got?

Wellington Airport’s chief executive proudly describes his new terminal building as “edgy” – but isn’t it possible to be edgy and aesthetically pleasing at the same time?

Tired of hearing silly expressions like “game on” and “from the get-go”? Can anyone even explain what the “get-go” is?

Has anyone in government thought of instituting a nocturnal emissions trading scheme?

Paul Holmes and cheeky darkies, Paul Henry and Mrs Dikshit – what is it about television hosts with the initials PH?

Lain awake at night worrying that you might have missed something important because you’re not on Twitter?

Has TVNZ finally realised it has alienated its most loyal audience by screening wall-to-wall trash, and does this explain the re-appearance of quality drama in prime time on Sunday nights?

Further to that last question, is it way too late?

Do political journalists make the mistake of assuming the public shares their fascination with whatever political scandal du jour is exciting the press gallery?

Further to that last question, does politics become less important the further you travel from Wellington?

Why are there no great female rock guitarists?

Do Sir John Anderson and Dame Margaret Bazley, New Zealand’s Mr and Ms Fixit, ever lose track of what boards and committees they’re on?

Grateful to accept $13 an hour for your cleaning job at Fonterra, knowing that 2547 of the company’s executives get more than $100,000 a year?

Does anyone still believe anything the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says?

Are once-respected brands such as BMW and Moet-et-Chandon now hopelessly contaminated by association with the ostentatious nouveau-riche who judge everything by its label and price?

Is a flash flood one that looks smart?

Puzzled by emails from people who sign off with the words “talk soon”, even though you’re not a close friend and hardly ever see them?

Fed up with road signs that advise you to slow to 50kmh because of non-existent road works?

Does modern weather forecasting technology simply mean, as a cynical friend of mine says, that the MetService now gets it wrong faster?

1 comment:

Baz said...

All very pertinent questions but I would like to enlarge on one which is a pet peeve of mine...Omnipresent Grey (or silver) cars. Their owners show a complete lack of imagination and creativity. They show that Gordon McLauchlan's Passionless People still abound. i wonder if car dealers have two brochures for their new models, one with assorted imaginative colours and the other with a couple of versions of grey. What is wrong with yellow or pink or Kermit green, like mine? Oh might be safe to cautiously flick on the teev, now that Outrageous Fortune has been banished.