Saturday, February 7, 2015

More pressing questions for our turbulent times

(First published in The Dominion Post, February 6.]

Three failed prime ministers in a row – shouldn’t Australians be getting worried?
Looking forward to another day of joyous celebration at Waitangi?

Fed up with the daily bombardment of conflicting advice about healthy diet and lifestyles?

Easier to shrug your shoulders and ignore it all?
Does anyone outside politics and the media really care exactly when prime minister John Key learned about former MP Mike Sabin’s problems with the police?

Having said that, wouldn’t Key save himself a lot of trouble if he was a bit more honest and up-front?
An inmate dies after trying to smuggle drugs into Otago Prison in his stomach and his mother reckons it’s the fault of the prison staff? Really?

So Ngapuhi leaders are squabbling over a Treaty settlement – who’d have thought?
If and when they resolve their differences, can we hope they’ll manage their finances better than the Tuwharetoa bosses whose $66 million “Treelords” settlement magically evaporated in five years, leaving just $16 million?

Tired of reading about craft beer?
Could pompous, eccentric and ineffectual Prince Charles be God’s gift to the struggling republican movement?

Given that Andrew Little has barely put a foot wrong since taking over as Labour Party leader, why risk hiring a spin doctor who might screw it all up?
Is the dearth of quality free-to-air television proof that programmers have given up trying? Or have they simply delegated the job to the office tea lady?

The Rugby Sevens – yesterday’s sensation, today’s yawn?
So what’s the next diversion for a society suffering from mass attention deficit disorder and constantly craving new excitements?

When did police give up bothering to enforce the cycle helmet laws?
So cinema admissions in New Zealand last year were a record high. But hang on – wasn’t the advent of television in the 1960s supposed to mean the death of films?

Is it a condition of employment by the University of Otago that its academic staff constantly lecture the public on the wickedness of their ways and deplore everything that popularly elected governments do?
Hyper-inflation, empty supermarket shelves, media censorship, political prisoners – is Venezuela the latest advertisement for the glories of socialism?

Tony Blair – the most contemptible Western politician of our time?
Amid all the chortling and sniggering over the couple filmed having a “sex romp” in a Christchurch office, has anyone given a thought to the potentially devastating personal consequences?

Speaking of which, what exactly is a sex romp?

Do New Zealanders really cut down tall poppies, as Eleanor Catton claims, or do they simply object to preciousness and petulance?
Thousands died at the hands of the prophet Mohammed, but how many people did Jesus Christ kill?

Tired of reading about house prices?

If the British really regard us as “family”, as Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond claimed this week, how come we have to languish in queues at Heathrow while French, Romanians, Greeks and Estonians get fast-tracked?
Anyway, isn’t Hammond’s patronising “we’re all British” shtick just a bit 1970s?

Having said that, what civilised country can say “not our problem” when barbaric jihadists are burning people alive, enslaving women and committing genocide?
Monetise, blog, podcast – has the Internet contributed some of the clunkiest words in the English language?

When people complain about New Zealand being anti-intellectual, aren’t they really grizzling that no one pays enough attention to the Left?
Nigeria may be Africa’s richest country, but is its army the most useless in the world?

Wilson Parking – New Zealand’s most disliked company?
Why has a perfectly good word – “censored” – been jettisoned in favour of the trendy “redacted”?

Why do vacuum cleaners suddenly look like something out of Star Wars or Doctor Who?
Has “so” now replaced “look” as the word politicians and bureaucrats use to preface every statement when interviewed on TV and radio?

Has any computer systems upgrade in the public sector ever been completed on time and within budget?
Why is it that in remote places, the only radio reception is from Christian and sport stations – the latter carrying compelling broadcasts of Australian greyhound racing?
Big Brother – the most grotesque television programme of all time?

1 comment:

kassto said...

Greetings Karl

Agree with a very large percentage of your list.

The bit I don't agree with is your comment on Tony Blair. The loathing of him among the chattering classes (of both left and right) I believe is based on lies, smears and distortions. The highly regarded British political journalist John Rentoul, who made it his career's work to observe Blair closely over the years, who knows more about him than most and who wrote a biography of him, continues to find the Blair hate bizarre and ill-founded. I had an email discussion with him about it once – he attributes it to a kind of self-loathing among the British, but how you explain it elsewhere, I don't know. Media distortions of practically everything he says and does just astound me with their bias. I'm really losing respect for my own profession. Anyway, here's one short piece Rentoul wrote recently on Blair hatred.

Kathy S