Monday, July 27, 2009

Bad poetry, baby

I’m made in a lab, but not like you think
I can be made under the kitchen sink
In your child’s closet, and even in the woods
If this scares you to death, it certainly should

I have many names, but there’s one you know best
I’m sure you’ve heard of me, my name is Crystal Meth
My power is awesome, try me, you’ll see
But if you do, you’ll never be free

I am sure that Paul Holmes has been through a lot, but there really is no excuse for this. It doesn't scan, it doesn't make sense and it makes the preferred drug of morons seem really scary - which will make more rich and stupid people try it. I am sure there must be a down-side to rich and stupid people getting destructively addicted to a drug; and when I think of it, I will make the appropriate noises and facial gestures to suggest an appropriate sense of gravity and concern. In the meantime, kids, just say no to doggerel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Call me, Ishmael

A couple of hours later, Cameron Slater returned to his Manukau office to watch the reaction to his scoop unfold. The 40-year-old's distinctive, dark locks described, in an annotated photograph anonymously faxed to him last month, as a "permed afro", but probably closer to the wet look of a Jheri curl were still damp from the workout. (The fax, with its scribbled critiques of Slater's appearance during a Close Up interview, appeared to have originated from outside his fanbase, noting as it did his "shifty, untrusting eyes", "puckered little liar's mouth" and "fat bastard chin". "Water off a duck's back," says Slater, who claims a professional immunity to the sting of personal denigration.) He wore the same raglan T-shirt he'd worn during that television appearance, in which he had spoken as a National insider on the Worth affair. The shirt, which can be purchased through his website for $28.90, bears his blog's cartoon logo: a snarling orca, flexing bulging fishy biceps.
it is not exactly breaking news but I was so horrified and fascinated by the profile of the blogger known as Whaleoil in the Sunday Star Times, that it took me a week to compose myself for a response. It is not merely that Mr Slater reveals himself as a character who might have been created by Steve Coogan or Sacha Baron-Cohen, it is the details of his life that are so compelling; details such as:
Heading home from a weekly yum char lunch with a close group of fellow right-leaning, Seventh Day Adventist-affiliated mates, Slater takes a call about a proposed visit to Fiji, as a supportive guest of the regime, to interview Frank Bainimarama. The Commodore has not been granting interviews with the New Zealand press, but one of his deputies is a Whale Oil reader.
Could this be true? Is Mr Slater a cereal-munching Sabbatarian, or does he just hang out with foot-washers? And is Commodore Bananarama so short of friendly copy that he is prepared to whisk Mr Slater off on a whirlwind tour of his island paradise? I think we should be told. And, while we are at it, is an Orca a whale, or just a ginormous dolphin with anger-management issues? And who wears raglan shirts? And are Adventists allowed to eat yum char?

And what of such statements as "Slater claims recent posts he wrote were talking points at Lockwood Smith's wedding." Leaving aside the fact of Dr Smith's wedding being a talking point in itself, did they have nothing better to discuss? And then there is:
Asked if he ever experiences offline blowback from his blogging activities, Slater glances admiringly at his torso, then smirks. "I do boxing training, I talk about it on my blog. I weigh 100kg, but I'm not super-fat. A lot of it's muscle. My shoulders are wide. Buck, my personal trainer, is a monster."
A lot of it is muscle. A fair amount is just weird, such as Mr Slater's campaign against someone called Pearl Gooding, a young woman who has endured a year of cyber hell, at the hands of Mr Slater. But why? Why does Mr Slater persecute this socialette so? Is it because she is a protege of Rachel Glucina, former arch-rival to Mr Slater's friend Bridget Saunders in the gossip game?

And why the [fashionable phrase of the moment follows] sense of entitlement? "Each month, the blog to which he devotes his full-time energies earns $147.68 in advertising revenue, and costs $220 in server expenses." And your point is? He makes no money from his blog, just like every other blogger. That's the thing about blogs: they are free. People would not pay money to read them and they do not want to read the advertisements. They do not want the raglan shirts, either. It's the web, stupid: everything is free.

Mr Slater has achieved what he could expect from his blog: he has been on television and in the papers. He has many readers, angry white men like himself. He feeds them the indignation they desire. They reward him with readership stats. Journalists call him for his opinions on matters of politic. What more could a beneficiary in South Auckland with a tattoo expect?

I could go on, but that would involve giving libertarians the lesson in free-market economics which they sorely need. Blogging is about writing and self-promotion.There is no money in it.

By the way, we still have some articles in stock, including the Atletico Fundy Post away strip, available in S, M and L sizes. Please send a postal order for 12s/6d (includes P&P) to the usual address. Delivery may take up to 21 days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Can't explain

Man came on the radio to tell me that the task of welfare provision for Maori should be taken from the state and put into the hands of iwi and churches. Said man was Rob McLeod, who runs the Business Roundtable. He was talking about one of said Roundtable's many reports, this one written by one Lindsay Mitchell. I was stunned. It was too early for this sort of thing - the lead story starting the week on Nine to Noon. It was like waking up to martial music on the radio and the sound of tanks and marching feet.

An aside: the report apparently is written by Lindsay Mitchell; Here, for the benefit of younger readers, is an example of the incisive analysis for which Ms Mitchell is famed:
Phil Goff wants the dole paid to people whose partners are working. What a hypocrite. It is Labour's pursuit of means-testing egalitarianism which has left New Zealanders with a tax-funded unemployment insurance system which rips half of them off when push comes to shove.
Makes no sense whatsoever, does it? Anyway, back to the chase.

But why, you may ask (I know I did) is NatRad doing this sort of thing? Is this report urgent, important, innovative, unusual? No, none of the above. It is the same old bollocks that the Business Roundtable has always been producing at the behest of its corporate sponsors. Here is how it goes: the problem is the state; the solution is the private "sector." In between problem and solution is some analysis, a bunch of self-justifying hyperbole, dodgy statistics and sweeping assumptions, all wrapped up in Friedmanite rhetoric.

How do I know this? I don't. I am just guessing. All the other reports have been like this, so why not this one? In any case, where is this one? It all seemed terribly important and happening when Ms Ryan was talking to Mr McLeod about it, but can you find it? I know I can't. I looked here and I looked there and there was no mention of it, not even on the Business Roundtable site. Where can it be?

So why is Nine to Noon giving this space cadet so much valuable airtime to spout? Really, why? This report is neither interesting, relevant nor new; it may not even be real. So why give him another opportunity to talk the same rubbish that his mob have always been talking? Doesn't Nine to Noon have more important things to talk about?

Things like new research into ADHD, which followed hard on the heels of Mr McLeod; or, even better, the story of a man who bonded with his father when his mother had cancer, by cooking with him. Yes indeedy, cooking, cancer and intergenerational bonding all in one story; for Nine to Noon, which has descended to sub-Listener levels of mawkishness in recent months, this sort of thing is like the perfect alignment of planets: it has heartbreak, father-and-son stuff and recipes.

And wait, there is more: with its usual sensitivity, Nine to Noon today included both an item about urban foraging ("using the internet to share spots where people can find free fruit and other produce") and its usual pretentious foodie stuff: today's recipe was Roasted Fillet of Fish on Caramelized Onion and Fennel, Roasted Beetroot and Garlic with Warm Tomato Vinaigrette and Aioli; followed by Semifreddo Nougat Ice Cream with Grilled Pineapple. Yes, it has something for everything, rich and poor, young and hypochondriac.

Of course, some of us pine for the days when Nine to Noon did not come with all this heartbreak and self-indulgence, when it was about intelligent conversation rather than true-life stories of triumph over adversity; but then we are no longer in the target demographic.

And here's another thing which bothers me: how everyone is prattling on about how absolutely marvelous were Michael Jackson's promo videos. No, they were not; they were just expensive; gaudy, vulgar, and opulent. What follows is a great (and possibly the first) promo. Clearly it was made for about 2s/6d and, equally clearly, the makers only knew two girls. But everybody is cool, and that is what counts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun with Facebook

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Before you dash off your application, it may be worth noting that the Auckland Swingers Facebook group has three members, all of them men. Still that is two more than Auckland Singles, the single member of which is, presumably, single and "looking for people who want to go out for a good meal and meet new people."

Maybe they could all hang out with the Auckland Ideal Organisation, where the Scientologists show what aesthetic horrors they will commit at Whitecliffe. Then again, there is always the distinguished company of the Auckland Media Mafia.

Monday, July 13, 2009

John the Explorator

You couldn't make it up, really you couldn't. Not only has that nice Mr Key revealed that the job-creating, recession-beating National Cycleway will be somewhat more modest than originally envisaged, he has also admitted that once it was a more ambitious-for-New Zealand project than any of us had known. According to One News, "a race like the Tour de France had been planned and was to be named the Sir Edmund Hillary Explorator."

He has a way with words, that Mr Key, his own particular way. I have no idea what is meant by an explorator, nor why it should be named after that famous cyclist, Sir Edmund "Spokes" Hillary. Whether I shall ever find out is in doubt, although Mr Key says "there's still potentially over time a possibility," which is about as clear as he can be. After all, "we are just building the cycleway a bit like a patch work quilt;" you see, "Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is the New Zealand cycleway going to be."

It is a journey you will understand, through the English language and Mr Key's various fantastic visions; a journey going forward, and downward. Potentially over time there is a possibility it will end like this:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Just like Pagliacci did

Apologies, gentle readership, for my failure to blog of late. I have been busy suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous relationships. Within a few short weeks, I have experienced not one but two catastrophes of romance, the gory details of which I will spare you. The highs and lows (low, low, lows, since you ask) of these attachments have hindered progress on the writing front.

I shall resume the more emotionally fulfilling task of blogging shortly. I might also start work on my magnum opus, Paul Litterick's Big Book of Dating Disasters.

However, there is good news. Harvestbird is with harvestchild, this blog is on Mr Hatherley's list and I have the honour of a new blog follower: the Farhenheit 451 project of the Pelham Public Library, Fonthill, Ontario.

And when Smokey sings, I hear violins: