Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: Citizen Key With A Vengeance

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  • Russell Brown,

    I can still remember my first morning at Burnside High ...

    Oh God. You do realise that people believe everything they read on the internet, don't you?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    Okay. Getting in right away: D Slack, pupil, Feilding Agricultural High School 1973-77. Member of debating team. Never attended Burnside High, but did possess Values Party 1975 manifesto.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Hmm. "Farther". Subject to imperialist US educational influence. Given to excessive photochopping. Noted and amused.

    As for The Book, isn't it curious that the leader-to-be appears to have known nothing at all about matters a leader should be aware of?

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Toot toot chugga chugga
    Big red car
    We travel near and we travel fa-a-ar
    Toot toot chugga chugga
    Big red car
    We're gonna drive the whole night through.



    An excellent suggestion for the Dr's next job.

    But will he really get into a red car?

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    David quoted:
    [Clark]'s been so across everything we now expect that in a leader - but why? I think Key will redefine the role - and we may find that refreshing. Wouldn't it be nice to have a leader that wasn't in control of everything?

    The short answer: Yes it would, but it would also be nice if we didn't crucify political leaders for not having a perfectly crafted, focus group-ready soundbite on demand. I don't necessarily think it's a flaw for someone to respond to a question with "I don't know" or even (shock! horror!) "You know, I thought I knew and I was wrong." It's all very well to "absorb the minutiae" of any subject (or think you do) and be able to rattle off bullet points at a presser, but a little intellectual modesty - and good grace when you get things wrong - is a mark of leadership too. Very smart people aren't immune from holding really dumb opinions and saying stupid things.

    And while we're working up wish lists: If John Key ever feels the need to issue an apology, could he avoid the 'I've very sorry you're offended' passive-agressive mode?

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

  • Alex Coleman,

    And while we're working up wish lists: If John Key ever feels the need to issue an apology, could he avoid the 'I've very sorry you're offended' passive-agressive mode?

    Oath.
    That annoys the hell out of me, and so I have taken to demanding a second apology for annoyng the hell out of me.

    That is, I will if someone ever pulls that schtick in person.

    People only dare be this weaselmouthed through intermediaries

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    Years ago, when I was doing a degree, as what is euphemistically called a 'mature age student', I met Kathy the nun. Kathy was a nun (there's a surprise) and she was about the same age as a group of us mature age students. Given that we had gotten over the need to shock people and gratuitously give offence, we were always somewhat restrained in our behaviour and language around Kathy, until the day when one of my friends said, "Yadda yadda yadda yadda but...", and Kathy leapt in very promptly and said:

    Everything before but is bullshit.

    She was right. Listen carefully to how often people say 'but'.

    "I'm sorry that I upset you, but..."

    "I know I was wrong but..."

    "I really like so-and-so but..."

    Any apology with the word 'but' isn't an apology.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Manakura,

    I don't necessarily think it's a flaw for someone to respond to a question with "I don't know" or even (shock! horror!) "You know, I thought I knew and I was wrong."

    It seems like almost everyone agrees with the above, I would go even further and say the esteem in which I hold someone (esp. a powerful someone) is likely to increase if they got the ability to admit fallibility.

    So, whydon't our evil robot overlords (or ERO for short -aka MPs) ever seem to do this? I did a quick trawl thru the net and couldn't find a single clear admission of being wrong or ignorant.

    Found a LOT of "to the best of recollection" memory failure. Maybe that is ERO speak for "I am guilty"?

    Whaing─üroa • Since Nov 2006 • 134 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    The ERO is not fallible.

    That is the basic axiom that drives all ERO programming.
    When presented with a situation that is dissonant with that axiom the ERO restructures reality so as to concur with the axiom.

    This is the purpose of the "to the best of recollection" patch

    The infallible (axiomatic) ERO does not recall event X therefore X cannot be true.

    "I am guilty" is not a grammatically possible sentence for a properly functioning ERO unit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Craig:

    I don't necessarily think it's a flaw for someone to respond to a question with "I don't know" or even (shock! horror!) "You know, I thought I knew and I was wrong." It's all very well to "absorb the minutiae" of any subject (or think you do) and be able to rattle off bullet points at a presser, but a little intellectual modesty - and good grace when you get things wrong - is a mark of leadership too. Very smart people aren't immune from holding really dumb opinions and saying stupid things.

    I'd like to see that too. As a teacher we are in the position of not being able to answer questions constantly as the kids ask some pretty random stuff about whatever it is we are studying (alongside the completely random like them holding up a real estate picture of a house in Swanson and asking how much it might be worth in the middle of a lesson on the second world war). Of course on occassion we bullshit an answer but its a damn sight more sensible to simply say "I don't know, that's a good question I'll try and find out the answer or get back to you after I've thought about it or researched it". People (and kids) tend to see through the fake crap. But there tends to be too much pride at stake for most people anywhere up any ladder in society. We are in an age where there is soo much going on and information changing so quickly that it's perfectly normal to become lost on issues at express pace unless you are following them every waking moment. To be able to do that on political issues is a total and utter impossibility. It's like asking the principal to come in and teach a lesson in each of the 40 different subject areas in the space of a week.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Please for the love of all that is good and holy, don't say when John Keys is Prime Minister, say when!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    To echo Yamis' points: part of my job is to bring along new researchers as well as contribute to research myself. One of the things that needs very subtle handling is showing new researchers (typically PhD students) that they are truly in an environment where they are safe to have ideas, talk to people about them, modify them, discard them if they turn out to be bad ideas that don't work etc. By "safe" we mean: no one will ridicule you, get angry with you, shun you, steal your good ideas and so on. The reason, of course, is that having truly new ideas is really, really hard and anything which makes bringing them out into the open for discussion, further study etc. unlikely means the end of progress, the end of science. Building such a supportive envoronment, and "training" people to believe in it and perpetuate it, takes time, resources, people and is so central to what we, as researchers, are about. It is also easy to destroy essentially over-night. The point, though: such environments are clearly precious, and such attitudes are clearly needed to make progress. To work in an environment that is not like this (which politcians seem to have to) cannot, in my experience, be conducive to ideas emerging and good ideas surviving and growing.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    This is intriguing - I heard that the yellow wiggle skivvy was up for grabs & I'd be in, except that I cannot dance, sing & my feet & knees are shot.

    But should Dr Brash not score that gig, he should remember that a new Dancing with the Stars is being cast right now.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Rumour has it that the yellow Wiggle purposely stepped aside to provide an opening for Don. Apparently Don is impressed that they are the highest paid entertainers in Australia. At the same time Wiggle management are keen to merge the comedic (and wiggle) talents of the two brands and create a new Wiggle environment called WiggleDon.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Dr Wiggle?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Yes, that's it!!

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Governor of the Wiggle Bank!

    BTW - has anyone else ever considered that the term "banker" might be rhyming slang?

    Apologies to any er... bankers out there.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    stever wrote:
    One of the things that needs very subtle handling is showing new researchers (typically PhD students) that they are truly in an environment where they are safe to have ideas, talk to people about them, modify them, discard them if they turn out to be bad ideas that don't work etc.

    Well, yes, and I hope debate over those ideas is framed at a slightly more thoughtful pitch than, "well, you would say that you lying whore of special interests - go peddle your secret agenda somewhere else." And, sadly, distasteful as that kind of politics is - it works, and I don't know how to change that.

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

  • Don Christie,

    Kathy was a nun

    Deborah, sorry to burst your bubble but I am afraid that your "nun" sounds much more like a managenent consultant in mufti...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • The Doctor,

    The point, though: such environments are clearly precious, and such attitudes are clearly needed to make progress. To work in an environment that is not like this (which politcians seem to have to) cannot, in my experience, be conducive to ideas emerging and good ideas surviving and growing.

    Damn, that's an interesting comparison. I guess there's some effort to try and allow for that by making policy advice to ministers (in theory) confidential, but I guess you still end up with a situation where accountable = risk-averse. Ah, the ironies of democracy ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Here's an extraordinary thing from Dr. Brash from yesterday:

    Asked what the difference was between him and Mr Key, he said: "He's got more money than I have. That's an important difference."

    In the context of being leader of the Nats, what does this mean? What is he saying here?

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Kent Parker,

    Speaking of democratic representation of ideas. What gets me is how little Brash actually represented the policies and interests of the team that he stood for. National needed Hager's book to blow the lid of that.

    At least Key, by being relatively 'policy neutral' may be better able to democratically represent the ideas of his team and create an idea-friendly environment.

    Hawkes Bay • Since Nov 2006 • 36 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    In the context of being leader of the Nats, what does this mean? What is he saying here?

    That Key need not accept money from corporate backers to finance a National campaign, because he has enough of his own. And the corollary is that Brash did need to.

    Which is a damning admission on Brash's part, I must say.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I'll just add my support for what Craig said.

    Though it might take a while for the media to stop screaming that it's a problem every time a leader tries acting like a sensible human being.

    One of the lessons of performance improv, which from the above appears to be bourne out in the rest of life, is that you can't have good ideas if you're terrified of being wrong.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    BTW - has anyone else ever considered that the term "banker" might be rhyming slang?

    Apologies to any er... bankers out there.

    "Merchant banker" is indeed part of modern rhyming slang.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

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