Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Grateful for 'Rain'

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    The political subtext of all this - especially given Key's careful cultivation of his supposed rags to riches life and his views on state housing in his Helensville electorate - should be obvious.

    Gee, Tom, I thought the entirely apolitical text is that John Key (like everyone else, I hope) would like to see any and all reasonable precautions taken against anyone being mutilated or killed by a shark. Even dirty Labour-voting peasants who, as far as I'm aware, still have access to Omaha Beach.

    And I do hope you lefties are as supportive of the unfettered rights of humble fisherfolks to make a living when they get busted for poaching or exceeding quotas designed to preserve populations from extinction. Won't hold my breath waiting though.

    Still, Tom, I've got to admire you for being perfectly balanced - chip on both shoulders.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    An idiot I may be but you guys are still writing about me. So who is the idiot now.

    c'mon cameron, you can do better than "i know you are you said you are..."

    And I do hope you lefties are as supportive of the unfettered rights of humble fisherfolks to make a living when they get busted for poaching or exceeding quotas designed to preserve populations from extinction. Won't hold my breath waiting though.

    craig, for the life of me i can't see how that first sentence relates to a political figure making downright incorrect assertions about crab fishing.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    It may be a beautiful pad and a crap photo.

    Could be, could be...

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    I'm not saying it is a beautiful pad. I don't really know, and I think no one else who is commenting here does either.

    If you judge it in terms of modernism then it's not a beautiful pad and that photo tells you all you need to know. I love modernism and with enough dosh it would be bauhaus and scando heaven at my place but if you take some of the key tenets of modernist architecture such as simplicity, practicality, space, proportion etc... then that place stinks. What it is, is a cheap imitation of modernism, an ugly hat-tip to modernism that destroys what it is trying to mimic.

    Hey, if Key doesn't give a stuff and he likes the place, all power to him, he paid for it after all. But it ain't the Barcelona Pavilion.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    There's a thesis to be written about the house as the last respectable locus for Kiwi snobbery and class consciousness

    In Alain De Botton's The Architecture of Happiness book and TV series, he has a theory that people build that which represent what's missing. So in England that means that former farmlands turned into sprawling suburbs have houses that are a pastiche of a ye olde farm cottage style.

    I've been trying to figure out what this means for New Zealand. It's interesting that we get all these old villas that are renovated into uber sophisticated homes that scream "Look at me! I'm all modern and shit!!!" Fear of being accused of being a backward country cousin?

    And then there's the curious case of the Britomart Transport Centre, the interior of which seems to be trying very hard to not be a train station in a metropolis and instead being a lush, green native forest. It's almost like there's some sort of guilt for having to build a train station there in the first place.

    I don't even want to think about how this theory would apply to John Key's beach box.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And I must say, this all reminds me not to engage with these people at all.

    It's a bit like arguing with Christians at the door? Horribly tempting, and always a waste of time. I'm perfecting my non-engagement script - last time:

    "Hi there, we were wondering if you'd heard of Jesus Christ?"
    "Yup"
    "Are you a Christian?"
    "Nope"
    "Is there a reason for that?"
    "Yup"
    <uncomfortable silence>
    "Is there something we can help you with"
    "Nope"
    <uncomfortable silence>
    "OK then, bye"
    "Yup"

    I have to say you hung the equivalent of "Any Christians wanting an argument, I'm right here" on your gate for Slater. OK, he did the same with his cretinous post on Minto, but as with most brawls, who started it gets lost in the question "And why didn't you leave then?".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I have to say you hung the equivalent of "Any Christians wanting an argument, I'm right here" on your gate for Slater. OK, he did the same with his cretinous post on Minto, but as with most brawls, who started it gets lost in the question "And why didn't you leave then?".

    I know, I know. I just end up feeling ill every time. And the D4J stuff on The Standard is definitely creeping me out.

    It's all interfering terribly with my Big Day Out mojo ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (This is in the 'gentle joshing' end of the spectrum, Craig, in case my tone isn't clear. I find you very entertaining.)

    Josh away, Danielle. Don't want Snowy adding misogynistic disdain for uppity women to my 'pathological' traits. :) And I do like 'cant', because it drawm a useful distinction from hypocrisy that William Hazlitt put rather nicely:

    If any one really despised what he affected outwardly to admire, this would be hypocrisy. If he affected to admire it a great deal more than he really did, this would be cant. … There is a cant about Shakespear [sic]. There is a cant about Political Economy just now. In short, there is and must be a cant about everything that excites a considerable degree of attention and interest, and that people would be thought to know and care rather more about them than they actually do. Cant is the voluntary overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment; hypocrisy is the setting up a pretension to a feeling you never had and have no wish for.

    I don't think there's been much, if any hypocrisy on display. But a hell of a lot of "voluntary overcharging or prolongation of a real sentiment" -- as well as media coverage that confirmed Shaw's view that a newspaper can't tell the difference between a bicycle accident and the end of civilization? Yes, I really do.

    I think that's what really pissed me off about Snowy's little essay in telepathic psychoanalysis - because being curmudgeonly for its own sake is another form of cant and intellectual/moral dishonesty. Sometimes the wisdom of crowds is the real deal, but just as often it isn't.

    And Sir Ed deserves better; everyone does. If anyone's life was remarkable enough it didn't need hyperbole like the Sunday Star Times' hyperbolic full-page MAN! GOD! ICON! effort, it was Edmund Hillary. And Lady June certainly doesn't need some scummy tabloid patting her on the head for being 'staunch'. How impudent and patronising that how she grieves for her bloody husband is turned into a matter of public comment, as if she's a circus animal who's just done a neat trick.

    Would it really be so terrible if a whole nation wasn't mourning? Somehow, I don't think Sir Ed would feel in any way disrespected if most of us didn't bunk off work to watch his funeral on Tuesday, but would rather see people going about their lives and making it just another ordinary miracle. And if I can get the garden looking a little less like a tip, that's miracle enough for me.

    I'm glad to be entertaining, Danielle. But I do hope it comes across that I'm trying to make a serious point, and making it in good faith.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    If you judge it in terms of modernism then it's not a beautiful pad and that photo tells you all you need to know.

    I'm not sure why I should judge it in those terms. It looks to me like John Key's hat tip to wanting to have a nice time at the beach, and it looks like it would serve that purpose admirably.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    craig, for the life of me i can't see how that first sentence relates to a political figure making downright incorrect assertions about crab fishing.

    Well, che, perhaps you could enlighten me how we ended up at John Key's one man class war at Omaha Beach. It's perfectly obvious to Tom, so I must be missing something. I must also admit to lacking expertise on the dietary habits of sharks (don't think Jaws is the most reliable source of information) but that doesn't seem to be stopping anyone else.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Craig, many of us, along with our parents and grandparents were and are inspired by Hilary's example. That is a fact.

    This is no "Lady Di Queen of Hearts" outpouring of grief, just a simple acknowledgment of that inspiration. A time for appreciation. There is nothing I have seen or read so far that suggests people and NZ or going over the top, but you do seem to be suggesting that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    And God, can people stop obsessing with Key's taste in houses and crabs. Talk about snobbishness.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Snowy,

    There's no need for telepathy to see the psyche you lay bare on these pages Craig

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    And the D4J stuff on The Standard is definitely creeping me out.

    Ewww, never had the displeasure to visit before. It seems to work as a lightning rod for trolls?

    I wouldn't get too freaked by either Burns or Slater. There is no doubt an enormous number of people already who feel creeped out by both of them, and I guess it's a good thing to know about them if only to steer clear. Don't let the mojo leak on their lame accounts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, many of us, along with our parents and grandparents were and are inspired by Hilary's example. That is a fact.

    Never doubted that, Don. As I said, I've an enormous admiration for the man myself and while scaling Everest is what put him in the history books, its the least of his achievements in a sense.

    You might want to grab your smelling salts here, but you've sidewise made another fair point. Whatever issues I have with the media coverage (and I don't resile from finding much of it outright distasteful) its an unfair stretch to extend that out to your average person. If your average Kiwi was as cretinous as your average news bulletin, we'd be in very deep shit indeed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Hi Russell,

    Thanks for the Tuwhare links - much appreciated. In some ways Hone's real influence here was much more real than the Hilary one.

    As the Man himself wrote

    O tree
    in the shadowless mountains
    the white plains and
    the drab sea floor
    your end at last is written.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    can people stop obsessing with Key's taste in houses and crabs. Talk about snobbishness.

    In principle, I agree. In practise, Paul Litterick makes me cackle (actually some of the comments in his post are also priceless) to the extent that I am inclined to admire the performance before I condemn the meanness.

    I'd hate to be on the wrong end of Paul's Lampoon-o-matic.

    Apropos Tuwhare: it bugs me that what's going to make me go out in search of a collected works is his death. But that's how it goes with artists.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Tuwhare - love him very much. And as for Sir Ed, I did shed a tear when I heard he died. Not for him, really, but because it reminded me of my dad's death. Silly as it may seem, Craig, all this eulogising, as much as he may not have liked it, is really something that his family will appreciate, in the future. You may think that some of the stuff written in the national media, has been a wee bit over the top. Possibly, that's somewhat true. But it never hurts to let people know what you think of them, and when someone dies, it's nice for the family to hear how that person affected others, and what others thought of them. You know, the good stuff. When Dad died, they ran an item on the news about his death, and covered his funeral. That made us feel good. Not everyone is in a position that their death is newsworthy, but I would argue that everybody likes to hear nice things about their loved one who has just died. It's comforting. Good for you for supporting the Himalaya Trust - absolutely that's what he would have wanted. There's no harm either in letting his surviving daughter and son and wife know how we all felt about him. IMHO.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Well, I've just got to comment on architecture.

    What it is, is a cheap imitation of modernism, an ugly hat-tip to modernism that destroys what it is trying to mimic.

    The sad thing is that the great modernists all received classical training and a sense of proportion and detailling was ingrained into them. Even when they rejected the overt forms of classicism, the spirit was there. This... abode... is not even modernist in any sense, it's a postmodern mish-mash of symbols of columns, cornices and so on all reduced to crass, lumpen, banal caricature. Even Donald Trump could do better - or pay for people who could do better.

    (Not to say that postmodernism is all bad - Charles Jencks' home is a witty and literate compendium of details... though others may disagree.)

    I blame the architecture schools - and I should know, because I teach in one. Last year, I had to explain to a colleague who teaches construction what an Ionic volute was. To this day, I still don't know why I didn't beat him senseless (it may be something to do that I'm only on contract while he inhabits the Olympian realms of tenure and ultraviolence in the staff room won't help my case much).

    And God, can people stop obsessing with Key's taste in houses and crabs. Talk about snobbishness.

    As the Dude would say, 'Well that's, like, your opinion, man.'

    I have opinions on crabs myself, but Frank Lloyd Wright observed that doctors can bury their mistakes, but all an architect can do is recommend that the client plant ivy. There's a wide streak of aesthete in me and I think that as a matter of principle architecture should have a duty to include plenty of venustas along with the commoditas and firmitas because it's the most public of arts and the hardest to avoid.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    The aspect of the modern "bach" that I find most striking is that they have lost any respect for their environment.

    The one I find most striking is how much they've turned into McMansions. The classic batch, is, after all, something that it looks like dad and a few mates put together with the assistance of some dodgy tools, a few slabs of beer, and a council inspector willing to look the other way.

    Most of the newer ones are moments to excess. There's a whole microcosm of less desireable aspects of New Zealand's culture change of the past 25 - 30 years.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    erratum

    I have no opinions on the Key/crab connection.

    Typo.

    Thank you for your attention.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • jb,

    On behalf of the 800,000 strong Kiwi diaspora - thank you, TVNZ, for marginalising us .

    Hone Tuwhare is OUR Te Mata Poet Laureate.

    Hone Tuwhare is OUR Icon Artist

    He's not YOURS exclusively.

    Shame on you!

    PS Can someone please Youtube this for us?

    a.small.town.in.germany • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh, it's practically Pavlovian at this point, Kyle.

    True. But Pavlov worked with (ie, did horrible things to...) dogs, so it's clearly a training issue. In my instance, that means a squirt with the water bottle, so stand still Craig. You play nice, you'll get cut up sizzlers as a treat.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Snowy,

    woof woof

    Wellington • Since Jan 2008 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    And God, can people stop obsessing with Key's taste in houses and crabs. Talk about snobbishness.

    C'mon, Don. We've gone from agreeing it's a bit crap to discussing Ionic volutes. It's PAS in action.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

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