No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Chris Trotter

The MSM through the ages

with 13 comments

Well the 20th and 21st centuries anyway.

As usual our former National Defense Minister has proven to be a goldmine for … interesting comments… in this case about the MSM coverage of the current nastiness in Ukraine:

However, BBC (I know, part of the dreaded and corrupt MSM) has been able to find satellite photos that show the bodies have been lying in the streets for at least 10 days. BBC, NYT, CNN have huge numbers of staff able to undertake this sort of research, they have teams of journalists, not just one or two, on the ground. And unlike some on this site, I don’t think the journalists employed by these outlets are corrupt and venal dupe

And later…

I know some commenters here view TV1 as simply the propaganda arm of Labour, but I am not one of them.
.

Okay. While I’ve long thought that Putin was an un-reformed KBG thug (and have argued with the likes of Andrei on this point across multiple platforms over the last decade), and while I think his invasion of Ukraine is total bullshit… (throat clearing done)…. Andrei is not entirely wrong about what goes into the MSM coverage of the conflict.

Which is to say that while they’re more than happy to diss Russian propaganda, they’re a lot less likely to do this with Ukrainian propaganda.

Here’s Ye Olde Leftie Chris Trotter – a self-confessed “Tankie” , who pretty much sides with Russia and China whenever they’re against the West and especially the Great Satan, but to his credit has said that Putin has committed a crime in launching the invasion – unloading on the MSM coverage of the war here and here. But it was that last from which I’ll pull a quote:

What you are watching is a carefully constructed narrative which, in its essentials, does not change from broadcast to broadcast. We are supplied with a cast of heroes and villains to cheer on and condemn. An occasional nod in the direction of fairness and balance may be inserted, but any serious challenge to the dominant narrative will be contradicted more or less immediately. Nothing is permitted to blunt the emotional impact of the coverage. The journalism to which we are nightly subjected is not intended to supply information, it is intended to be affective – that is to say it is aimed almost exclusively at arousing our feelings.

I’ve already responded to this, pointing out the parallels that could be made to the NZ MSM’s coverage of the whole Chinese Lung Rot story for two years now – with his full approval of all the things he condemns in that paragraph. But since Chris has a habit of dumping my comments with no explanation I’ll put this here.

This is nothing new. The Narrative is what’s been taught to journalism students for decades now: the idea that even before starting to write an article, a story must be created, a narrative the reader will receive, after which anything that goes against The Narrative – facts, witness testimony, anything – gets dumped, while the same things that support The Narrative are included.

But it’s even older than that. Here’s Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff in 1979, writing about the US MSM coverage of NASA’s Mercury astronauts:

It was as if the press in America, for all its vaunted independence, were a great colonial animal, an animal made up of countless clustered organisms responding to a single nervous system. In the late 1950’s (as in the late 1970’s) the animal seemed determined that in all matters of national importance the proper emotion, the seemly sentiment, the fitting moral tone should be established and should prevail; and all information that muddied the tone and weakened the feeling should simply be thrown down the memory hole.

In a later period this impulse of the animal would take the form of blazing indignation about corruption, abuses of power, and even minor ethical lapses, among public officials; here, in April of 1959, it took the form of a blazing patriotic passion for the seven test pilots who had volunteered to go into space.

In either case, the animal’s fundamental concern remained the same: the public, the populace, the citizenry, must be provided with the correct feelings! One might regard this animal as the consummate hypocritical Victorian gent. Sentiments that one scarcely gives a second thought to in one’s private utterances are nevertheless insisted upon in all public utterances. (And this grave gent lives on in excellent health).

They/Them certainly does, and in fact the training of The Narrative in journalism schools plus Post-Modernism, PC, Identity Politics, and Woke has pushed the singularity collapse further and faster. “White male power structures”, “objectivity is bullshit”, “advocacy journalism” and so forth. Insert those viruses into the Gent and we certainly have something from the Victorian era – Mr Hyde.

Later in the same chapter Wolfe gave a specific example of how this narrative control worked in a situation when facts confronted the proper emotion, in this case when one of the greatest American test pilots (and a rocket pilot), Chuck Yeager, casually screwed the MSM’s message:

As a matter of fact, today, in Phoenix, what was it the local reporters wanted to ask Chuck Yeager about? Correct: the astronauts. One of them got the bright idea of asking Yeager if he had any regrets about not being selected as an astronaut.

Yeager smiled and said: ‘No, they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, to fly the X-1 and the X-1A, and that’s more than a man could ask for right there. They gave this new opportunity to some new fellows coming along, and that’s what they ought to do.’ ‘Besides,’ he added, ‘I’ve been a pilot all my life, and there won’t be any flying to do in Project Mercury.’

No flying?

That was all it took. The reporters looked stunned. In some way that they couldn’t comprehend immediately, Yeager was casting doubt on two indisputable facts: one, that the seven Mercury astronauts were chosen because they were the seven finest pilots in America, and two, that they would be pilots on the most daring flights in American history.

The thing was, he said, the Mercury system was completely automated. Once they put you in the capsule, that was the last you got to say about the subject.

Whuh! –

‘Well,’ said Yeager, ‘a monkey’s gonna make the first flight.’

A monkey?-

The reporters were shocked. It happened to be true that the plans called for sending up chimpanzees in both suborbital and orbital flights, identical to the flights the astronauts would make, before risking the men. But to just say it like that!…….Was this national heresy? What the hell was it?

Fortunately for Yeager, the story didn’t blow up into anything. The press, the eternal Victorian Gent, just couldn’t deal with what he had said. The wire services wouldn’t touch the remark. It ran in one of the local newspapers, and that was that.

And so it ever has been.


Written by Tom Hunter

April 8, 2022 at 6:30 am

A young Maori Speaks

with 4 comments

If you spend any time around blogs like those of Chris Trotter or The Standard, you’ll know that one of the Big Things the Labour Party and their activists push is … anything Maori – as well as constantly bemoaning the terrible situation of Maori in NZ, but without actually changing anything meaningful that might help, like a healthcare and education system that works for Maori at the coal face. The basic drive is to constantly reinforce the point that they’re not racist, but everybody else is.

I should note that Trotter does get the vapours about things like He Puapua, but only to the extent where he think it might hurt Labour, which is why he’s flip-flopped from worrying about Nasty National using it as a wedge to win in 2023, to thinking that Labour needs to get on with it pronto before 2023. If that doesn’t strike you as particularly coherent well, welcome to Trotter-world, where a love of florid language beats coherence every time.

Instead what we get is a whole bunch of cosmetic, bureaucratic shit that’s merely designed to keep Maori voting for Labour by pretending to care about them. The current blathering about changes to the Healthcare system that will “give Maori a greater voice” is just one example, with “problems” about the Maori uptake of the vaccines constantly given as one of the reasons for such changes.

But in fact Maori vaccination rates for those aged 65+ were right up there with Pakeha and even Asian figures for the same age groups. Sure, extra effort had to be applied in remote regions of NZ, like Northland and the East Coast, but it was done and it worked.

Where it didn’t work was in the younger Maori age groups. Their vaccination rates continued to lag those of the older group, and other racial groups, quite significantly. That doesn’t seem to be racial to me, but more a product of young Maori feeling that they weren’t particularly at risk from the Chinese Xi Snot virus. Whether that was based on them looking at overseas stats, or whether it was just the usual bullet-proof feeling of youth I don’t know but again – given the vax rates in older Maori – I can’t see how it could be claimed to be down to systemic racism in our healthcare system.

And then there’s young Maori guys like this. If his attitude is anything to go by then Labour may find themselves losing the Maori vote a couple of decades from now. His impressions of Jacinda are brutal.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 22, 2022 at 2:53 pm

WOTS CHRIS TROTTER BEEN UP TO?

with 3 comments

I regularly access Chris Trotter’s Bowalley Road blog to see what the other half are thinking. You don’t have to agree with him but his posts are well constructed and generally play the ball and not the person. OK, he’s unashamedly a class warrior. He truly believes in the ‘them and ‘us’; there’s no sitting on the fence with him, you get what you see and see what you get.

And so it is with some surprise that trying to access Bowalley Road this morning my Nortonlifelock comes up with ‘Dangerous Webpage Blocked‘ and ‘This is a known dangerous webpage. It is highly recommended that you do NOT visit this page.

So Chris, what have you been doing to piss Norton off?

Written by The Veteran

November 17, 2021 at 12:06 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with

Generational Toxicity

with 3 comments

Over on the Bowalley Road blog Chris Trotter has really been letting the words flow wildly in relation to the news of the AUKUS pact that has been announced, with two articles in one week on the subject.

They’re the usual combination of themes one would expect from his Lefty age group: pro-China, anti-US, anti-nuclear, fears of a new Cold War, fears of NZ getting sucked back into another “Anglo Saxon Imperialist” world and so forth.

But it was actually this passage that intrigued me:

It is also quite possible that, by 2023, the United States will be embroiled in domestic strife bordering on civil-war. 

Followed by a lot of ignorant guff about the USA and the Republican Party. Now I’m not averse to the arguments about a possible second Civil War in the USA: it’s increasingly being discussed in non-fringe circles on both the American Left and Right. Even in popular culture I saw the “comedian” Sarah Silverman talking the other day about the nation splitting up because Democrat and Republican voters increasingly cannot stand dealing with eachother.

But there’s another aspect of this that should be taken account of: the growing war between the generations. Specifically between the Baby Boomers and … every other generation: Gen-X, Millennials and Gen-Z. Admittedly this more of a US thing than elsewhere: I don’t think NZ Baby Boomers ever fitted the label of being the “Me Generation” after Tom Wolfe’s famous 1976 article.

I’ve already covered some of this in two posts, Ok Boomer and Hand over the $35 trillion, you old fart, but a recent article by a Baby Boomer in the New York Post should be more of an eye-opener for Boomers, Millennials’ extreme hatred for Baby Boomers is totally unjustified:

Baby boomers who cried “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” during the Vietnam War should be scared to death of millennials. Because, at least among the Twitterati, they hate us — they really, really hate us.

Last week I took a beating from younger readers over an essay I wrote lamenting the decline of the “power lunch.” Although it only partly blamed the phenomenon on millennial habits — e.g., preferring avocado and kale to beef and baked potatoes — hundreds of thousands on Twitter either posted or retweeted such insults as “Old man yells at lunch table” (I’m 69), “What’s it like to be an antique?” and “We’re the ones doing the actual lunches while you’re having three-martini lunches.”

Millennials (and to some extent their Gen-X and Gen-Z brethren) hate their elders with a ferocity never before seen in our culture.

Generation gaps will always be with us. Historian Marc Wortman found a generational split over sending young men off to war way back in 1941. But unlike those of us who came of age in the 1960s-early 1970s, who merely disapproved of our elders’ “colonialist” wars and shag rugs, millennials (born between 1980-1994) can’t stand the air we boomers breathe.

Young hippies outdoors.

To some extent? This guy should go to some of the chat areas of Reddit and other non-FaceTwit Social Media.

He’ll quickly discover that Gen-Z are right up there on bringing the hate and Gen-X even more so given their proximity in time. Few things piss off X’rs more than being pegged as Boomers by being born in the 1960’s, as if we remember Woodstock and “Free Love”.

Unfortunately the article then delves into the reasons why and thus demonstrates even more how Boomers just don’t get it.

But if they spent more time studying actual history, which can’t easily be found on iPhones, they’d know that boomers were, and remain, the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known.

FFS. He thinks this is because of Greta Thunderhead and her influence on 16 year olds re Climate Charge.

Oh no, dear fellow, there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s only one sentence where he alludes to just one thing stemming from that wonderful “socially conscious” generation:

Maybe too much so — our universities’ overwhelmingly “progressive” agendas originated in the 1960s and have become more dominant ever since.

That’s because the Boomers who were the radical students of the late 60’s/early 70’s now dominate those universities as professors and administrators, and are hard at work teaching the next generations the same stuff, without any opposing arguments or ideas.

Being “the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known” isn’t an excuse or a defense, it’s an unwitting confession of guilt.

What this guy and the millions of Boomers like him miss is that this shite has now spread into every other part of the USA: the MSM, entertainment, government, bureaucracies and even corporates and the military.

I know of no American member of the younger generations who thinks that Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid will be there for them in their dotage of the late 21st century. Or a military that can actually win a war either. Not to mention housing costs, energy costs, career progression, jobs in general or the chance of getting married and raising a family because it’s so bloody expensive in more ways than just dollars.

What he also misses is that these younger generations, or at least a good chunk of them, might be objecting to having had these institutions trashed by the ideas of a generation that aggressively devalued the traditional things on which they rested, even as there are members of Gen-X/Millennial that have learned from their forebears and joined in with the trashing, as this guy points out:

As a college professor for over 35 years, I’ve gotten to know three generations of students: Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), the Millennials (1981-1996), and now Gen Z (1997-2012). And because I teach rhetoric, I’ve read thousands of their papers, providing substantial insight into the way they think.

In general, however, I found that Millennials presented unique challenges. They were, as a group, the most entitled, judgmental, and arrogant of all the students I’ve taught, often basing an inflated sense of self-importance on scanty evidence.

Essentially, they are the “participation trophy” generation, the unwitting victims of countless artificial “self-esteem building” experiments by the education establishment, not to mention their own parents.

Ouch. But there is hope:

There is another generation of bright young people — Gen Z — following right on their heels and therein may lie our temporal salvation.

In comparison to their Millennial predecessors, my Gen Z students tend to be more open-minded, more interested in facts and logic, more inclined to question the status quo…

That partially explains the Fuck Joe Biden chants that have swept across college football stadiums in the last few weeks and even spread to the Yankees-Mets game in NYC of all places.

They also take a more nuanced view of history and are inherently distrustful of ideologues on either side. 

Let’s hope so, and that inheritances will add up to avoiding a different type of American Civil War.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 21, 2021 at 1:09 pm

A fatal lack of political awareness

with 15 comments

The new blog site from Bassett, Brash and Hide has barely gotten underway when Don Brash reveals the unworldly naivety that destroyed his political career.

In his column, The US is in a dangerous place, Brash, after waxing lyrical about his times in the USA from when he was a young man to when he was working there, ended with a flourish:

What depresses me is not that Trump is an evil bastard but rather that there are still tens of millions of Americans who think that he is God’s gift to creation, and that he is the last bastion against communism. The US is in a very dark place.

As one of our commentators noted after reading this:

I find Brash’s lack of empathy for Trump especially galling.

I had to chuckle about that, given that much the same people who despised and destroyed Brash are among those who hate Trump, and for much the same reasons. Ever the academic, Brash never was much of a politician in making such judgements and as a result will be mystified by Chris Trotter’s latest column, Trump’s Surprisingly Large Army Of New Zealand Supporters, where he speculates on where the dangerous Brash would have taken this country had he won the knife-edge election of 2005:

Brash could very easily have become prime minister. And what a prime minister he would have been! The National leader and his party were committed to returning the Treaty of Waitangi to history’s glass case. The Maori seats were marked down for abolition, and all race-based references were to be expunged from the statute books. In the parlance of present-day “progressives”, Brash’s would have been a “ neo-colonialist”, “white supremacist” government.

Not to put too fine a point upon it, all hell would have broken loose.

It does not require too large a slice of the Devil’s imagination to envisage Brash and his allies being left with little alternative but to mobilise their “silent majority” of supporters against the fury his policies had unleashed in the streets. Protest action that resulted in serious property damage or, even worse, to loss of life, would have left him with even fewer choices. Calling-in the military to support the civil power would likely have become necessary quite quickly – with all-too-predictable results. A snap election, called to provide ex-post-facto validation for the emergency powers taken by the government to quell the unrest (as happened following the 1951 Waterfront Dispute) would, almost certainly, have delivered National a stunning victory. New Zealanders would have struggled to recognise the angry mess their country had become.

Chris’s lurid imagination always flies back to 1951 when talking of NZ, in exactly the same way he can never escape his teenage Boomer joy at Norman Kirk’s election and his horror about Pinochet. And I note that this is his second post in row to bang away about the potential threat of Trumpism in NZ. Ironic given how often Trotter has warned of the dangers of the Left abandoning the traditional working class.

Meantime, poor old Don will eventually read that Trotter piece and be left sputtering at his being compared to “an evil bastard” and classed as the now inevitable “White Supremacist“. But that was always Don’s fate, he never realised it and he apparently still doesn’t. In a world where he claims that you should see past skin colour and not judge people on that basis, Don has not realised that in the Nineteen Eighty Four world of Critical Race Theory such is what is now described as racism.

Could be worse. He could have been compared to You Know Who. Most other Right Wing politicians are sooner or later.

Projection – in IMAX, with Dolby Surround

with 4 comments

Hat tip to the great Bernard Black of Black Books for that quote.

There has already been some discussion on our usual Friday post about one of dear old Chris Trotter’s latest outside loops of fancy flight regarding the 1st Adern-Collins debate.

But his latest post is even funnier in having a crack at the various fears that GOP voters in the USA have of a Biden victory. Naturally in any discussion of Trump the context is Hitler. I’ve already left a comment but since he does not always post mine I thought I’ll put something up here instead.

Trump is your President

What I’ve pointed out to Chris is that this is projection of the most obvious kind. The last four years have seen the most hysterical, insane reactions and attacks on any US President in my lifetime. Far worse than the years of BushChimpHitler. Off the charts combinations of conspiracy theories, hidden figures pulling the strings and the scorched earth destruction of all that is precious and holy to the American left.

As just one early example, here is a clip of an episode opening from the US TV series, American Horror Story. When my kids showed this to me I at first assumed that it was merely a brilliant parody.

Sadly no. The writers, director, producers and actors were absolutely serious and really thought all of this – and still do. Watch it; you’ll be laughing for the rest of the day.

I should probably drop the link to Chris.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 25, 2020 at 10:55 am

History never repeats?

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Oh yes it bloody well does, and with more than rhyming Mr Twain.

In The Vet’s post the other day, What Has Louisa Wall Done To Offend?, he made the point that her being challenged for her seat from within the Labour Party was a mystery given that she ticks so many boxes for them: Maori, Female, Lesbian, smart, high achiever in sport, academia and now politics…

Amidst much discussion some points were made about Chris Trotter’s constant raging against the Identity Politics Warriors like Wall messing up his beloved Class Warfare purity that he thinks Labour should return to. I was reminded of a piece of satire that Danyl McLauchlan wrote a few years ago on his old blog, The DimPost. Once he started writing serious stuff for places like The Spinoff he made his blog private, but thanks to The Wayback Machine, a commentator’s suggestion, and more searching than I usually care to do, I found it: Chris Trotter on Party Central (2010):

So “Party Central” is no longer central to the party that is central to the party at the centre of our party politics. 

Am I the only Kiwi who experiences tightness in my jaw and a numb feeling in my left-arm when I contemplate the disarray that has befallen Auckland governance?

we have all supped from the golden poison chalice of satanic robot run regional and local government only to find ourselves regaining conciousness yet again in our neighbour’s toolshed with our clothes drenched in urine.
 

Danyl really should try satire again, although it may be that he can find no one to pay for it. But it was the next section that I remembered the best:

It was the radical right-wing feminist government of William Massey that spread open the labile pink floodgates of change and swept away the egalitarian order in a wave of capitalist frenzy, separatist Maori entitlement and so-called-women who threaten to press charges because that is what their liberal puppetmasters at our elitist universities have brainwashed them to do. 

Like most real New Zealanders I yearn for the days when our great little country was ruled by stocky, moustached trade-unionists but I fear that those days are gone forever, swept away by a great wave that swept everything away like a wave.

During my history search I found a 2014 article by Trotter advocating pretty much the treatment that Wall is getting, Labour’s Caucus Still In Charge, where he admiringly quotes Matt McCarten from 1988:

“So we should call a special conference of the party and expel them … The Labour Party made a mistake selecting these people so sack them. Throw them out and let them stand against us. They’ll lose and the Labour Party can rebuild itself.”

To be fair, Chris appears to now be in total thrall to “the labile pink floodgates of change“. Funny how  winning elections and obtaining a measure of power can do that.

Speaking of which, during my search I also found an old comment of mine from Kiwiblog in 2011, in a thread which dealt with us losing people to a more successful Australia and DPF’s lament that we need to boost productivity and lift wages.

Shorter message: Vote for us because we suck less than the other guys.

Actually that’s the entire National message as NZ slowly reverses into the 21st century. And it’s an effective one as they undoubtedly know; the smug, cynical response being who else are you going to vote for? 

And they’re correct.

As far as the media coverage is concerned I say to all lefties, welcome to our world circa 2000-2005. The shallow, pathetic coverage of stories combined with gushing over various aspects of [PM Key] is really very little different than in Clark’s time. Sure, there are the blogs but they aren’t there yet in supporting a narrative the way the old MSM still can. 

But don’t worry. National and Key will tire sooner or later, Labour will find some “new” material as candidates and even a fresh leader, the pendulum will swing and you will find yourselves benefiting from exactly the same uselessness of media coverage. 

Yeah. History repeats all right.
 

Written by Tom Hunter

May 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm

The cracks are beginning to show

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People are beginning to notice that things are not going as well as claimed by our Beloved Leader and her worshippers.

Economist Michael Reddell follows up on his previous piece – Hopeless and Complacent, about the problems with our bureaucratic and politcal leadership – by looking at our choices and decisions which will be made by the same people.

As it is, the government has already failed us.  What other conclusion can we reach when much of the country is in lockdown, officials and ministers are deciding by the hour whose businesses will and won’t survive, with no apparent exit strategy?    There appear to have been alternatives (see Taiwan and South Korea).  It isn’t as if this virus became an issue in New Zealand with no notice –  Taiwan drew it to the attention of the WHO in December, Wuhan was locked down two months before our own lockdown, and so on. 

Far Left mouthpiece, The Daily Blog unloads on both Clark and Faafoi and in doing so reveals the terrible truth:

If the Left lose Jacinda, we are doomed because there is no one and nothing else who could lead within the Caucus or wider movement.

True, although it’s good to see that Clark has obviously been sent home to Dunedin to do the gardening while his Ministry officials get on with the job of running the country. And in the case of Faafoi I’m glad he’s another incompetent, given that Bradbury wants the government to take over Bauer’s publications. To be fair you would likely notice little difference in the coverage of Adern and in any case Bradbury is talking only of elections when he speaks of Adern’s value.

Even eternal Lefty squish Pete George takes notice with, Dominant Ministry of Health, weak Minister – and weak Government.

Is the Minister of Health, David Clark, too weak, letting his Ministry run the show? If so that would also implicate a weak Prime Minister and Government.

Well duh! But he still believes.

There are growing calls for a clear indication from Government as to the plans for the near future in dealing with Covid, and in particular how and when more business activity and work is phased back in before the already substantial negative impact on the economy is too great.

Then there’s the testing stuffups,

Healthcare workers say coronavirus tests are being withheld because of limited supply, despite the prime minister’s insistence clinicians have both the resources and permission to test.

Which are ongoing:

GPs contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday said changing governmental criteria defining who could be tested had led to troubling confusion including test material being refused. This was because up to 50% of swabs were being rejected by laboratories for failing to meet the latest guidelines.

Amazingly even the NZ Herald and Stuff are beginning to think there might be problems escaping the clutches of the autistics at the Ministry of Health:

…across the ditch in Australia, the economy has not gone into full lockdown – it is more akin to New Zealand’s so-called Level 3. People ought to socially distance, work from home if possible, and large gatherings are banned. Pubs, hotels and restaurants are closed, as is the border

the Government cannot – and should not – prioritise health considerations, even including deaths, above all else.

As Ele Ludemann puts it in her usual mild way, confusion and disconnection undermine confidence.

And then there’s this from Grant Robertson:

“The New Zealand private sector was robust and strong and full of innovative people coming into covid19, and it will be on the other side.
I think what we have learned out of this is that having a robust public sector is vitally important when you have a crisis like this, and so that will be important.“

Robust? Any system that to survive requires you to lock down everything else is by definition far from being “robust”. In fact that’s the definition of being a weak link.

The same URL gives you a taste of the usual Great Leader worship that goes for most on the Left:

While I have utmost respect for the gentleman and the hellish job (matched only by our own Wonder Woman, Prime Minister Ardern),

Woah. I bet his testicles tightened when he wrote that. Wonder Woman FFS! As I have often said, these are the same people who will tell you earnestly to your face that there’s no way a modern Lenin, Stalin or Mao could arise because the Left would never make that mistake again.

============

I confess that I don’t know why anybody – outside of the magic circle of the Jacindamaniacs – is surprised by these revelations of weakness and incompetence. The housing fuckup. The child poverty fuckup. The road-building company fuckup, partially corrected only just recently. And that’s before we look at the Ministry most closely associated with this current crisis; several fuckups in a row on vaccines and the like. Clark should have been fired long before now, but let’s face it, who would Jacinda replace him with?

And yet there are many, many New Zealanders who still trust these people after all these management … mistakes. Or, like the Daily Blog clown above, are actually awed by them.

Looking at these CV’s you would not hire any of these people of your own free will, and if the regulations around hiring “special people” were applied you’d reluctantly accept them – as long as you could put them under special supervision.

When you have people who have done nothing in their lives except politics – from teenage university political activist to being a minion in a political office to advisor to an MP or PM, and then finally progressing to the thing itself with votes and elections – it should be no surprise at all that they don’t know what to do and simply cling to the advice of bureaucrats.

The namesake of this blog, the 1980’s British TV comedy Yes Minister, was brilliant in showing all this.

Real work-life experience outside of the political bubble is what teaches people about the limits of “experts”, systems, processes, models, plans and all the people behind them. It teaches you how to manage people and those systems, including asking the right questions and trusting your own management judgement, especially during SHTF moments which hopefully start small before getting larger as one moves along in life.

Those of us who do have that experience saw right through Jacindamania from day one – and especially through the shallow shower that is most of the rest of the Green-Labour-NZ First MP’s from whom Cabinet has been selected.

I’d be willing to bet that few, if any of them, asked any real hard questions of their “experts”; they likely just let the various bureaucrats fight it out in front of them and then went with the consensus result. More likely they just shat themselves when the MOH showed them those models and tens of thousands of deaths.

How else to explain the casual attitude towards so much of this, right up until the last moment when we found ourselves moving from Level 3 to 4 in just 48 hours.

Shallow. Lightweight. Incompetent.

But it’s to be expected. It’s evolution: the natural result that arises from living creatures and natural selection happening inside the artificial environment of politics and bureaucracy. Just in case anybody makes the mistake of thinking I’m being partisan here let me make it clear that National is only a little further back down the path.

And Now For Something Completely Different

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That old line from Monty Python is entirely appropriate to this Op because the Python’s used it to mock the culture of Britain as a bunch of conformist old farts, or even conformist young farts, such as the announcers on the British kid’s show Blue Peter.

In this case it’s an Old Fart, Chris Trotter, complaining about yet another dying aspect of New Zealand culture, Radio New Zealand (or RNZ as the young marketing gurus have it). Chris unloads with his piece, Integrating Seamlessly With The Lowest Common Denominator, and starts with the  recent in-house marketing presentation of how RNZ sees its audiences – The Ten New Zealanders – which they rather foolishly decided to make public.

To be fair this is what marketing is all about and always has been; the professional, semi-rational, semi-mathematical slicing and dicing of humans into groups for the purposes of selling them products and services. Something we all do every day instinctively, as explained by George Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham in Up In The Air:

Ryan: Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left…

Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip-on shoes. God love ’em.

Natalie: That’s racist.

Ryan: I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster.

Anyway, Chris goes on of his by-now-familiar riffs about our changing nation, particularly when it comes to changing our government institutions, like RNZ:

Professionalism is not highly valued in these presentations. Rather, it is not-so-subtly suggested that such considerations might actually be part of the problem with RNZ. Certainly, there is a fairly obvious prejudice against the high-culture featured on RNZ Concert. Such programming seems to be regarded as evidence of Pakeha elitism at work. In the material presented to the board, this is framed as being, if not a “bad thing”, then most certainly as “something to be avoided”.

High Culture“? Dude, that be a trigger word. Of course it’s to be avoided in RNZ’s brave new world.

… the rolling-out of its “Music Strategy” was something between an old-fashioned Soviet purge and an old-fashioned Bolshevik coup. The quiet and deeply knowledgeable professionals at RNZ Concert headquarters in Wellington were to receive the career equivalent of a bullet in the back of the head, while the Auckland studios of RNZ were to be taken over by the woke graduates of the nation’s “communication studies” courses…

I actually feel a little sorry to be laughing at Chris a on this matter, because I quite agree with him.

But so what?

The reason I’m laughing is that this is such a classic example of how future socialism fails Old Socialists. The problem he refuses to see is that this is always what happens to their beloved Government Institutions over time.

For a start, they’re supposed to be “public” and serve everybody, but they fail to do so because such a utopian thing is as impossible to achieve as 100% energy conversion.

Second, they always get captured by a sub-set of the population. In the case of RNZ’s Concert Program that sub-set was the 200,000 or so people in this country who love Classical music and they’ve had a pretty good run over several decades. Now they’re about to be replaced by another sub-set, a larger and younger one, who are going to take it over and replace it with “their” music and people. Yet another subset of the problem all democracies wrestle with: reflecting the will of the majority.

Third, the new group, or perhaps the generation just ahead of them – Gen X’rs – are going to also use the platform to push all the social themes they approve of, in this case probably all the “woke” themes that already provide such a rich diet of daily insanity for our amusement.

All three things are what happens to government institutions, especially ones focused not on basic matters like defence, law enforcement and even health but “social goods”. Chris’s definition of such a good – “high culture” – is not accepted as such by the younger voters, tax payers, and listeners, and they’ve already made that clear for decades in the private sector world.

I’m also sorry to go all Libertarian on Chris – especally since I have some fundamental disagreements with them – but in this case and many others their criticisms of Big Government are right on target. The bigger, more powerful and more dominant the government institution the more important it becomes to control it “politically” in ways and meanings far beyond a mere matter of the partisanship of who controls the Treasury benches.

If you don’t want to get “a bullet in the back of the head”, don’t give said government institutions so much power, even if you start off thinking that you’re doing it for the good of everyone. That’s how this goes on matters large (USSR) and small (RNZ), deadly (NKVD) and obscure (Classical Music).

In the case of RNZ it’s time to privatise it and place it beyond the control of such groups of we-know-best technocrats working “for the public good“. You may not like the resulting production out of the free enterprise interplay of music producers, distributors and consumers – God knows the average Classical listener has made it clear over the last fifty years that they really don’t – but clearly you’re going to like what you’ll soon be getting from RNZ even less than what you’re getting now.

And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that your tax dollars are not going to support the likes of rapper Tom Scott singing about raping Key’s daughter.

Welcome to my world.

This is an argument that Chris and company have dismissed because it’s very much a Right-Wing idea, and the sneering claims about the qualitative superiority of RNZ National have always been accompanied by the sly dig that the Left have the numbers and there’s nothing the Right can do about it. Also Lefties are forced to support the NZ military so “suck it up Righties” is the message: you want to change RNZ, get the votes (MUHAHAHAHAHA).

But of course what we’re seeing here is the classic case of one’s own ox being gored, with at least one group of Leftists unhappy that one of “their” institutions is being taken over by people of whom they do not approve but who have the votes. And who are on the right side of history no less, as the “Youf” always are.

Chris and others voted to create this institution and support it with tax payer money. Did they really think that other voters would not one day appear, grow in numbers and political power, slide into the grooves of power controlling such institutions and use them to their own ends while waving goodbye to the past preferences of the likes of Chris as the older generation slips beneath the earth?
It would seem so. He mentions Stalin but never thinks of the obvious parallels.

Written by Tom Hunter

March 14, 2020 at 5:11 am

WAKE UP CALL

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Chris Trotter’s latest post on Bowalley Road here will not be received well in the Beehive … let ‘she’ who has eyes let her read.    

But will she take it on board?

Written by The Veteran

February 26, 2020 at 10:46 pm