Hard News by Russell Brown


Case Studied

I'm very pleased with this week's Media7, in which the panel discussion focuses on the news media's handling of the Mangatepopo canyoning tragedy, which seems likely to become a case study because the of Elim Christian School's extraordinary openness in the wake of the drownings.

Herald on Sunday editor Shayne Currie and or own Graham Reid made useful observations and I was particularly grateful for the energy of the Sainzer.

For reasons I'm too weary to go into, there was quite a lot that isn't in Simon Pound's report on The Listener's legal run-in with Hot Topic, but it's still an interesting piece.

The show is already up on TVNZ ondemand, as Windows Media clips on the main TVNZ site, and in the MP4 podcast.

If you're looking to embed any of it, the clips are also up on our YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, students of the form will doubtless have been enjoying Ian Wishart's press releases about his awesome new book, Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years. Although he seemed to leave the word "please" out of the title of the one headed Go ahead...sue me.

The comments under that broadside include a classic exchange between the tireless Danyl Mclauchlan and Wishart over the author's justification for his obsession with the Prime Minister's sexuality on the basis that she had "repeatedly" raised it in her own biographies. It starts here. (Warning: thread contains dad4justice.)

Meanwhile, The Standard published a literary review of Absolute Power based on the excerpt published by the noted philosopher Cameron Slater:

In the much better exposition of madness that is Nabokov’s Pale Fire the insanity is introduced gradually through ever expanding annotations to a fictional long poem made by its crazy protagonist until finally the reader is overwhelmed by the madness and it’s done beautifully. In The Sound and the Fury the main narrator is a man/child named Benjy who is, through some form of intellectual disability, unable to distinguish between past and present. The narratives of his passages are entirely associative and yet they can be mapped out and with the contributions of other narrators can be made sense of. Sadly although Wishart’s narrator is clearly mad we are not brought into it gradually and so cannot appreciate a Nabokovian “knight-shift of the mind” and his logic, which also seems to be associative, offers no decodable sense or meaning as Faulkner’s does.

Poneke also covered Wishart's "tawdry" new book, noting that Wishart's endless predictions that the book would be suppressed under the Electoral Finance Act have come to nought, and drawing this potted review from Danyl in the comments that followed:

I speed-read through Ian’s book in Borders yesterday - my first impression is that it reveals a lot more about Wishart than it does about Clark. The Acton quote, his conviction that his book is a ’spiritual successor’ to Unbridled Power, the (certainly fabricated) opening story about Clark drowning kittens and his lengthy, confused and elaborate explanations of why he is so obsessed with the sexuality of Clark and her husband . . . All of this sheds little light on Clark but throws the author into fairly stark relief.

Public Address readers who fancy a turn at reviewing the book should feel free to do so. In fact, I'll come up with some manner of prize for a particularly good effort.

Meanwhile, via Grant McDougall, someone on Trade Me is being a bit too ambitious in his pricing of a used copy of Sneaky Feelings' Send You. Yes, it's a classic, but …

Simon Grigg gives Gray Bartlett a bit of a serve. It's about time someone did.

And, finally: have a good Anzac Day, however you mean to observe it, and a fine long weekend. My darling and I are heading to Wellington to see friends and attend Vodafone Homegrown (big thanks to Camilla for the tickets!), which I will blog -- I even have the famous deadpossum in on photographic duties. Should be way cool.

And if you're not doing that, you might want to check out Public Address Radio, 5pm Saturday on Radio Live: we have an interview with Jeef and Lisa from Mukuna, a chat with comedian Joslie Long, Craig venting over the Kiwibank ad campaign -- and the first of Damian's reports for us from Pakistan. I'll have them up on the podcast (which I'm really trying to get better at stoking) early next week too.

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