Saturday, August 27, 2011

The river under the Amazon and other stories

That was the week that was and what a strange one it has been at the New Zealand Herald. There, a decision seems to have been made - after years of favouring photos of jumping sharks over news stories - to abandon news almost entirely, in favour of human interest stories and dumb commentary. So, while Tripoli burned, Herald readers were told, as front page leading stories about the dangers of sunbeds, about a family killed in a house fire and about a sports commentator who was killed in a surfing accident. Some might call me a heartless brute for saying what follows, but these things do not really matter; they may be interesting, they may be moving, but they are not important. They do not deserve to fill the front page of New Zealand's biggest daily paper. House fires are terrible things but this one happened in a far away country of which we no nothing - Australia. Surfing accidents are terrible things and no doubt the sports commentator was much-loved by his legions of fans; but again, it doesn't matter. And of course sunbeds should be banned, if only because there are people who are sufficiently vain and stupid to use them.

But what of the columnists? Well, it is like this: Brian takes the bus; Eric parks in the bus lane. There is variety at least in the columns of the New Zealand Herald. Brian Rudman knows everything worth knowing about Auckland and takes the bus, which is a good way of learning a lot more. Eric Thompson, on the other hand is a prick. To expand upon this argument, here's Eric:
I don't often venture south across the bridge and, as such, am quite unaware of bus lanes, clearways and tow-away areas and other such revenue-gathering streams.

I parked in the city. When I went back to my car I found it had disappeared. I thought it had been stolen.

Then I noticed a couple of guys in official-looking jackets. I wandered over and asked had they seen a silver Toyota parked at the front of the bay.

Without so much as a blink, one of them turned to me and said he'd just had it towed away. My jaw dropped. "Why on earth did you do that?" I said. "I paid the money to park there and put a ticket on the dash."

He agreed I had done just that but the clearway towing time was 4pm and it was after 4pm. He pointed to a sign I had not bothered to read.
I think we can all see what happened here. Eric was too vain and stupid to read a sign. But it is all somebody else's fault. Bus lanes and clearways are revenue-gathering streams; towies are brutes. But then, so is everybody who gets in the way of Eric, especially pedestrians and cyclists; and binmen; and children. Next week: Eric goes to the supermarket and takes on the shopping trolleys.

Meanwhile, what is happening to Shelley? She read something about bad bosses; so she tells us about how awful it was for her being a manager:
My previous career entailed working in the marketing and advertising departments for retail companies such as L.V. Martin & Son, The Warehouse and Progressive Enterprises. For twelve years I held such job titles as advertising manager, brand manager and communications planning manager.

The maximum number of people I had reporting to me, from memory, was about eight.

Once the novelty of being able to say "Get your people to call my people" wore off, I discovered that being responsible for staff is overrated.
The combination bragging and whining is what we have come to expect from Shel, but this time I think we should hear from HR. What was it like working with Shel? Come on, 'fess up: secret Santa prize for anyone with a story to tell. And perhaps the Herald can explain what it is like to employ a columnist who condescends to her readers thus:
My first boss, the late Alan Martin - best known for the television slogan: "It's the putting right that counts" - used to talk about the Peter Principle which, as defined by Wikipedia, states that: "[I]n a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."

Basically, it means that people continue to get promoted until they're elevated to a position that's essentially beyond them.

They're no longer doing a good job so they aren't promoted further and ironically remain in the very position in which they perform poorly.
I think we understood the first time, Shel. It is not that difficult.

But now Shel has competition from the Herald's newest columnist: the little old lady on the bus.
My son's so close to it that he'll have his road blocked off. He lives on Planet Rugby,but can't afford the tickets to step across the road.

And my daughter's flat is a bit further the other way. She's not that fussed about it all, but a couple of Saturdays back, while just mooning around home, she was taken by a sound coming through the window in waves - the rise and fall of a distant roar ... Eden Park ... the All Blacks and the Wallabies ... So she turned on her radio to hear how it was going.

I had my radio on too, wondering about the score. I've got Sky but not Sky Sports (checked with the remote). Got a good screen to hunker down for the big matches, free on Maori TV, I know that much. Love the haka.

No doubt about it, there's that rivalry with the Aussies - because we know them only too well. They pinch our players and coaches and anything else going loose.
Yes, very interesting; I think this is my stop.

But one more thing: in all this excitement the Herald forgot to mention the river under the Amazon.


Psycho Milt said...

Gee, I wonder what message Alan Martin was trying to get across to Shelley when he used to talk to her about the Peter Principle? I guess it'll forever remain a mystery...

Russell said...

There is no river under the Amazon. It's just more bad reporting.

Stephanie said...

The Ozzie house fire I can accept - eleven Tongan and Samoan people lost their lives and are likely to have close relatives in Auckland, given that A is the largest polynesian city we know. Its a bit like a front page story about a death on the Southern Motorway. Otherwise, I agree with you as I usually do!

Anonymous said...

Man you talk some crap.

Paul said...

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