Why does Bridget Saunders, About Town gossip columnist, this week quote extensively from a rather uninteresting blog post by Cactus Kate about the very uninteresting Charlotte Dawson? Did Bridget not have enough tittle-tattle to fill the spaces between the photographs? At least she has the good grace to flatter Kate by describing her as an evil genius, when Kate is obviously neither adjective nor noun.
Must every gossip column in New Zealand mention Rachel Hunter? Why did no-one tell her that naming her swimwear range Lola is inadvisable, given the song by The Kinks of the same name about a boy who gets off with a transvestite?
When did Ms Saunders, the former lunch partner of Don Brash, start believing she is Joseph Addison? Take, for example this piece of political wit:
"John Key (rhymes with Vote 4 ME!) even did a fashion shoot for Remix magazine the other week!"Or is she employing teenage staffers, as the txt spk, ignorance of scansion and overuse of exclamation marks suggest?
Could those cryptic and irrelevant bits of gossip in the We Live In A Small Town section be motivated by a fear of defamation lawyers? Why else would we be asked questions such as
Which cheerful local celebrity's motto may as well be "Accentuate the positives, medicate the negatives"?Go on Bridget, tell us who it is. After that, tell us how many syllables are in the word "medicate."
Does Bridget Saunders think of herself as a political insider when she writes:
What on earth was Taito Phillip Field thinking when he invited a certain attractive MP, who has posed for a calendar (with lifesavers in swimming trunks), "to come out of the closet"?So what are you implying about Lockwood Smith, Bridget?
Does Bridget employ teenage subs, who don't know where to put quotation marks or when to use capital letters?
Should this section of About Town be renamed "We Have Small Minds?"
About Town has always stuck in my craw, not just for stealing its name from the site where I got my first blogging job, but also for being consistently air-headed. Recently, however, it has been upstaged in the froth department by Sunday, another of the many advertising containers that so easily fall out of the SST into the nearest bin. Whilst About Town makes no pretension of being anything other than puff pastry, Sunday has delusions of journalism. Not only does it have feature articles on such compelling topics as the hen night and the girl crush, it has an editorial, which summarises these in-depth investigations for readers who do not have the stamina to read Deborah Hill Cone's eloquent prose.
Sunday also has a letters column. Amazingly, readers bother to write to the Editor and, more surprising still, she publishes their ramblings. Unfortunately, the readers cannot write. Here is an example which continues to perplex me:
My letter ["Sunday - a love story," February 18], subsequently printed, referred to the Braunias-Simpson relationship. It lost context when Emily took leave.I can only assume this is some sort of code. At least it reminded me that Sunday has Steve Braunias as a staffer. New Zealand's funniest writer is now serving time with a back page article that is a cruel shadow of his Page 94 in the Listener. Readers will no doubt remember that Braunias had been removed from the Listener and replaced by an utterly unfunny writer called Joanne Black, as part of new Editor Pamela Stirling's descent-into-bathos policy. I assume he has now offended someone else; or perhaps being a good writer is a quality the SST management now feels deserves punishment.
I suppose this ersatz magazine is designed for women who are presumed to find reading the broadsheet SST too tiring on the arms and taxing on the brain. Instead they are comforted by articles about shoes.
Perhaps it is all an in-joke, designed to encourage the useful idiots in advertising to spend more of their clients' money, while having a good laugh at the readers' expense. Evidence for this thesis comes among those crushingly pompous letters to the editor, where a glimpse of the fourth wall being broken can be seen this week:
Your mag is utter rubbish, along with the entire Sunday Star-Times. I have persisted for years to keep buying same, but no more. There is no substance in anything you write and it is an insult to the media in general. From now on I will just read a good book.