Island Life by David Slack

Get a grip

Dear Island Life

I have just finished reading the latest instalment in Mr Gordon Pundit's occasional series of alpha-male chest-beatings. I must say the beating going on in this one was first rate. He certainly knows how to line himself up with the coarser types and put us effete liberals in our place.

I have always felt somewhat insecure in my manhood, I must confess, and this sort of thing, I find, is very good for stiffening myself up and getting my orientation restored to the position nature intended, namely: a Man should at all times affect a world-weary intellectual languor laced with a touch of Hobbesian menace, should not feel in any way conflicted about his Madonna-whore perspective upon the fairer sex, should uncritically and unreservedly applaud all manifestations of Pax Americana imperialism, and should generally manifest an unquestioning and slavering enthusiasm for testosterone-intensive pursuits.

All this, of course, is more easily said than done. I find myself braced by his occasional writings, but it is sometimes a little long between drinks, and I wonder if you can suggest any technique one might employ to sustain one's resolve?

Yours, self-loathing lefty of Ponsonby.

Dear SLL of Ponsonby - may I call you Ponse?

Your anxieties are well-founded. As Mr Pundit himself has observed, he is the nation's biggest hawk and there can surely be no finer commentator in New Zealand on US policy, and debunker of the arguments of the anti-war left. To follow in his steps is to walk in the shadows of greatness. That, Ponse, can be hard work.

There will inevitably be moments when you feel the need to harden yourself up, and Mr Pundit will not be there with the words you need. Regrettably he cannot always be at the keyboard. He may be at Mitre Ten gaining the respect of his crew in the trade section, or he could be out shopping for apples.

What to do while you wait? If you cannot dwell on his words, perhaps this image might suffice. It could serve as a screensaver, perhaps, or a laminated poster. You will know what suits your purposes best. The point is that you are sure to feel reinforced by this image of austere and rugged manliness.

This technique of reinforcement by photographic reminder is not without precedent, it must be said, but what works for the Poms can surely never be sufficient for those who aspire to genuine Southern Manliness. Good luck, and remember boy, she's a hard road finding the perfect guru.