Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Swine flu, terror and Susan Boyle

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  • Just thinking,

    That we allow Police to use force & even kill is a cultural construct. That no crime has been committed due to the lack of intent is a cultural construct. It is pretty clear that American shooting is a murder, by our shared cultural construct.

    We simply pick and choose as fits our culture at the time.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Personally, I can't for the life of me understand what the interest is in the likes of Survivor or The Apprentice -- they seem dull and nasty -- but I accept that decent people can actually enjoy them.

    Loathe survivor and apprentice. The amazing race just didn't grab me (although some friends love it). Dancing with the stars makes me want to gouge body parts, not necessarily my own.

    BUT

    Really hooked on NZ's next top model (not interested in any of the other versions), like project runway. And occasionally watch a random cooking one.

    I even think I have a slightly greater appreciation of modeling as a job than I used to, eek.

    I think the point is there is such a variety of them, the almost everyone will be interested by one of them for a while.

    Of course Iron chef isn't reality TV it's a genuine sporting event and so doesn't count :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Project Runway and Top Chef are both truly fascinating. For one thing, the contestants are often very weird, interesting, passionate, talented people who desperately love what they're doing. They create amazing things with limited materials at high speed. I am often quite awestruck at their skill. Plus, as an audience member, you get all the fun of being in on an intense competitive experience, with all the conflict/joking around/romance/impromptu musical numbers that entails.

    (I love The Amazing Race , but my husband can't bear it. He's very sensitive to the whole 'Americans travelling the world yelling at people' issue.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Ah, Swine Flu.
    Actually this is the only thing I have found Wolfram Alpha useful for, a running total of infections and deaths (we still only have 9 infections and 0 deaths but globally it don't look that great). On the other hand Anthony Douchbag still seems to think

    The launch a fortnight ago of WolframAlpha, hailed by many as a new Google, has set the technology world alight.

    Now that, sir, is an act of jounalistic terribleism
    As for Susan Boyle, even the most cynical amongst us, yes I mean me, shed a little tear of unexpected joy at the original clip and still get pissed off at the media's insistence on calling her frumpy or hanging some other derogatory label on the poor woman. She gave it a go and good on her.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Russell. If you can point to the pro-life organisations that are celebrating Tiller's murder then you might be justified in linking the pro-life label to terrorism. Perhaps if you could find someone who said unequivocally that "This was not a murder, it's just a very late term abortion", then you might have a point.

    If you're going to compare Tiller's murder to things like Islamic jihadist murders then you're going to have to find the pro-life groups that do not say, "I do not condone the murder of George Tiller". You're going to have to find the ones that start dancing in the streets at the idea of their enemies' deaths.

    Until such a time, and, who knows, you might even find such a group, you are being very irresponsible to suggest this is anything like what should rightly be called terrorism.

    When you do find evidence of leaders, organisations and groups celebrating Tiller's murder I will happily join you in condemnation of those groups.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    and concluded with an amusing shouting match over the "Big Little City" ad campaign

    After watching last week's Media 7 (which I greatly enjoyed) I have actually stayed in the room for the Big Little City ad and I wonder why anyone would come all this way for a little slice of France (which they may have trouble locating anyway - was it really filmed in Auckland?) It makes us seem locked forever in cultural cringe.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Until such a time, and, who knows, you might even find such a group, you are being very irresponsible to suggest this is anything like what should rightly be called terrorism.

    So, it's not terrorism until someone issues a media release ?

    When you do find evidence of leaders, organisations and groups celebrating Tiller's murder I will happily join you in condemnation of those groups.

    There are, of course, groups who will not condemn the murder.

    You don't need an organisation behind you in order to carry out terrorism. And terrorism doesn't require cheerleaders, either.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    I was not attempting to define terrorism, Mikaere. It is just profoundly disingenuous and dangerous to start painting entire groups of people as potential terrorists on the actions of one man.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Grant: Randall Terry of Operation Rescue said that Tiller got what he deserved (that's how I read "reaped what he sowed") and then suggested going out for beer and hot wings. I'd call that both condoning murder and celebrating it. linky.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    If a person thinks there is such a thing as a good reason to kill a born human being, then they can't really quarrel over the reasons others conjure up for themselves.

    Approving of Tiller's killer while deploring Osama Bin Laden is purely and simply hypocritical. Such a person is clearly in favour of murders they approve of, the debate then become about whether you approve or not and is removed from the realm of killing being inherently wrong.

    Is abortion killing? I do not think it is in the first tri-mester. After that the situation becomes more grey and ambiguous.

    But whatever one's views may be, killing someone who is unambiguously human muct be wrong in any context - including capital punishment.......or we simply return to the debate about excuses.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    Project Runway and Top Chef are both truly fascinating. For one thing, the contestants are often very weird, interesting, passionate, talented people who desperately love what they're doing. They create amazing things with limited materials at high speed. I am often quite awestruck at their skill.

    The latest series of Top Chef was interesting - possibly even an evolution in a slightly different direction for that style of contest-based reality show.

    Early on in the series, it became apparent that the contestants were basically a bunch of people who could be competitive without being nasty. So the amount of contrived tension/aggression/schism that normally gets edited into these shows dropped off. Instead, they played up the (relative) warmth and good-sportingness being shown. I thought it made for a more satisfying viewer experience.

    </waffle>

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I take it you never watch sports on TV, then ?

    If sports is the study of humans under pressure, surely this would cover most reality TV shows. Reality TV shows, like drama and sports shows, are about conflict.

    Really? Pressure? I recall the words of Australian cricketer and ex-WWII fighter pilot Keith Miller when asked by Michael Parkinson about pressure on the cricket field:

    "pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not".

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Russell. If you can point to the pro-life organisations that are celebrating Tiller's murder then you might be justified in linking the pro-life label to terrorism.

    Does it really matter whether the man who killed (sorry, allegedly killed) Tiller was part of an organisation that advocated the killing of abortionists? Even if he acted alone, how does that make it any less a terrorist act?

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Approving of Tiller's killer while deploring Osama Bin Laden is purely and simply hypocritical.

    Can you point to one source that is saying any such thing?

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I really liked 'Paradise Hotel', which was an early reality TV show that quickly took the entire premise of the form to it's logical conclusion: a dozen hot, shallow, stupid out of work actors were shipped off to a luxury hotel in the Bahamas. They were given unlimited amounts of alcohol and filmed 24 hours a day. What were the rules? There weren't any! What were the prizes? No prizes! Just the threat of being kicked out of Paradise Hotel, which fans of the show quickly renamed 'Drunk Asshole Hotel'. Each episode consisted of 45 minutes of smoking hot stupid people groping each and making out, interspersed with hysterical screaming matches. It was like a soft-core porn movie in which the pool cleaner and the cheerleader have a bitter, ugly breakup at the conclusion of each sex scene. God I miss it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Does it really matter whether the man who killed (sorry, allegedly killed) Tiller was part of an organisation that advocated the killing of abortionists?

    No, it doesn't matter what group he was part of.

    Even if he acted alone, how does that make it any less a terrorist act?

    Then every single murder every day is the act of a terrorist and you've just removed all meaning from the word.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Somehow terrorism got redefined overnight. It now excludes actions (possibly) carried out by only one person.

    Boy the Unabomber is going to be pissed. All that effort, doesn't even get the label.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Then every single murder every day is the act of a terrorist and you've just removed all meaning from the word.

    Nonsense. Whether an act is a terrorist act by any definition will usually depend on the intention of the person committing the act, as well as the consequences of the act. It has nothing to do with the number of people involved.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I see our pet troll is back and implying murder is a good thing, if the sky fairy says so.
    The more the fool uses words, the less they mean.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    'Drunk Asshole Hotel'

    That show was hideous/glorious! I remember it well. Who was the 'token nerd' guy they brought in? Dave? All the hot, shallow, stupid out of work actors looked at him as though he was an alien from another, less evolved planet. Hilarity.

    Flavor of Love and Rock of Love give me similar joy.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Timothy McVeigh, anyone?

    All the same, one should consider the moral culpability of the people who ranted against the guy for years on end. Even a lone terrorist (if that's what the killer was) isn't bred in a vacuum.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    Nonsense. Whether an act is a terrorist act by any definition will usually depend on the intention of the person committing the act, as well as the consequences of the act. It has nothing to do with the number of people involved.

    OK. But I'm not interested in trying to define terrorism. Tiller's murder might well rightly be defined as such. However it is grossly unfair and dangerous to paint all pro-life people as groups potential terrorists on the actions of one man.

    If you can find groups who celebrate or condone (failure to condemn might even qualify) then I will gladly join you in rebuking such.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    I see our pet troll is back and implying murder is a good thing, if the sky fairy says so.

    Could you get any more stupid? Or are you only interested in libel?

    Grow up, little child, and try to discourse with some honesty for once in your miserable existence.

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    the contestants are often very weird, interesting, passionate, talented people who desperately love what they're doing.

    Exactly Danielle. While the weirdness is certainly carefully selected (are there really no male designers who are not flamboyantly gay?) and it is amusing at times - it is the talent that these people genuinely possess that is compelling for me. Of course that doesn't explain NZ top model [looks embarrassed].

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    However it is grossly unfair and dangerous to paint all pro-life people as groups potential terrorists on the actions of one man.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall anyone here doing so.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

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