Monday, October 11, 2010

Shame, shame, shame.

For the last...oh year now, I've been meaning to post another, well, post up here at my Whisky Bar. Relocating, life in general, living the good life and returning to print media has enabled me to procrastinate.

Timely then, that it is the media (and as it happens Ali Booth's and Eugene Dupain's kind words) that has finally had me go from tipping point to beating procrastination, jumping on the bandwagon and writing about, yes, Paul Henry.

I think the important thing when incidents like this occur is to try and separate emotion from argument: Paul Henry wasn't being emotional when he made those comments, he was rambling. It's easy to have an opinion, but take your opinion from the equation and it can be an interesting thought process.

The number of Facebook groups that have cropped up with Save Paul this and Bring Back Paul that and Boycott Breakfast etc etc must be heartening to Paul, if he in fact cares at this point in time. While it's a shame emotion drives people to comment rather than thinking, or at least attempting to think, objectively, I think it speaks volumes that the Paul Henry case is just the latest in what seems to be an ongoing saga of closest narcissists successfully bringing down someone who dares to push the envelope, who is unashamedly human with sometimes completely outrageous and against the grain views, someone who, overall, love him or hate him, did his job very well.

Ok, so my use of the word narcissists may or may not place me in the same non-objective group, and Paul Henry displays those tendencies as well, but unless you are the picture or piety, even if you are, you're human. You indulge every now and then. But alas, here is what I think, me, just one person, in a nation of circa 4 million:

1. The media (used here on in as a general term purposefully) have turned their back on one of their own in order to sell, gain ratings, and be part of a witch hunt. It's like we've travelled back to a place where religion dominates and if one doesn't agree or dares to be different they're burnt at the stake!

2. The media have capitalised on the fact that a little bit of knowledge is dangerous for the majority of people who take news items purely at face value. They also are very aware that people who are advocates for any kind of group/belief/stance will have the loudest voices, though not necessarily represent the vast majority of opinion.

3. The media are just as small minded. Three pages, the first three pages no less of the New Zealand Herald one day last week were full of Henry related news. It's a vicious cycle! I'm all for knowing about national news, but current affairs globally do also have a relatively high level of importance. Dare I say it, a little more important than a radical news anchor. Further to the three pages of news on the affair, it is worth noting the following:

i.Paul Henry has worked in some devastating areas with World Vision.

ii.He has worked as a foreign correspondent in conflict areas of the world. He has seen some appalling human behaviour. Such behaviour that would put misplaced comments at the back of anyone's mind.

iii.Henry travelled to the Republic of Congo to search for a New Zealand hostage. Anyone who researches merely by typing in Google "jungles of Congo" will read about terrorists and militia that frequented those joints.

4. Paul Henry said things that were wrong to say on public television watched by thousands of all walks of life. Fact. They were comments of a racist nature and were inappropriate. Fact. But Paul Henry is also the kind of person who, despite making/because he made outrageous calls, did his job above par. Made people smile. Made people wet their pants with laughter. Forced politicians to answer directly. Showed that he had no time for people that behave cold heartedly. But most importantly, the reason why Paul Henry made outrageous comments about others is because he knew full well he could laugh at himself. He knows what people think of him from one end of the spectrum to the other. I ask you this- if you are well educated, have enriching life experience, and can laugh at yourself as well as accept that others are going to laugh at you or disagree with your points of view, then aren't you the best kind of person to spark debate, make others think, make people stand up for what they believe in as opposed to pig-headedly bringing others down purely because they don't conform to what some people believe to be acceptable?

5. Paul Henry is a middle class white guy. Middle class white people make ridiculous comments that are thoughtless. Is this an exclusive generalisation? Of course not! Regardless of who you are, your ethnicity, your beliefs, there is no excuse for it. But when have middle class white people ever been the subject of racial ridicule? When Carthage was a world power?! When travelling to places like Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, India, middle white class people may be stared at, pointed at, laughed at. Not to be ridiculed, but out of intrigue. The study of other humans that don't fit what you deem to be 'normal' is intriguing business.

6. There are people around the world who thrive on protesting, arguing, bringing people down, smugly enjoying the falling of one's reputation. It's hard to stomach the thought, but it is true.

I might be wrong about it all, but it is one opinion here, one set of thoughts. If Paul Henry turns out to be an openly proud racist bigot, I'll admit I was wrong and eat my hat.

See you later!

PS. From Paul Henry's diary in Tibet, and fitting I might add for the current news:

In order to expedite the scribing of my daily mytherings I have created, and intend to patent a very clever and never before thought of scale. On my scale of 1 to 10, 1 is always shit and 10 is always marvellous, thus 5 becomes the average state of mind for a very dull but painfully satisfied human being. (Please God never let me be a 5).

Diary quote from:

1 comment:



Think this is a dram worth recommending?