So insufferably precious

So insufferably precious

Precious – the movie that had champagne socialists all gooey in 2009 – finally found its way to my DVD drive the other night. It was disappointing. I like realism. There are lots of bad things going on. We should examine and talk about them. They need to be seen and discussed. Film, television, literature and the arts can do that. Precious, however, was just too precious. Inexorably, like all American crap, it descended into an uninteresting “Great Satan” versus “Truth, Justice and the American Way” narrative. The title character, Precious, is a 16-year-old girl in 1987 Harlem. She is kicked out of school when she is discovered to be pregnant for the second time. To her father. For the second time. She and her mother live together on...

I so miss them

I so miss them

I saw Carey Marx at the comedy thingy a few weeks back in Auckland. He was funny.  He made me laugh. “I can always tell when the woman I’m fucking is about to….die.  She usually stops struggling.” “The sign said ‘keep off the grass’.  Someone said ‘hey!  Can’t you read the sign?’  I said, ‘yes, I can.  I’m already on the grass.  You need a sign that says ‘get off the grass’” Those were funny. But by and large it was a derivative review of Richard Pryor and George Carlin’s almost-best-ofs. And man how I miss Richard Pryor and George Carlin. They died so close together. I miss them more than my own grandparents – and not just cause they were slightly...

Must have an irony deficiency

In an old Looney Tunes cartoon, Daffy Duck, playing a sheriff, holds a gun to a crim’s face who proceeds to bite the gun in half. “Must not have had his iron today,” Daffy says. He pronounced iron EYE-run. That always made me laugh. So I would like to talk briefly about our country’s irony deficiency. I fear it may be getting critical or pathological. In his book “Letters to a Young Contrarian”, Christopher Hitchens says something about irony. Had I more time and not lended the book to my sister-in-law I would reproduce exactly what he said. Suffice to say that Mr Hitchens — and I with him — believes that irony is important. Irony simply means to say one thing whilst actually meaning something else. (Dramatic irony...

We don’t really know

Last Sunday at around 6pm I was sitting in a fish and chip shop in Tairua waiting for my order. It was humid and everyone in the place was wilting.  A few flies buzzed around.  The late day sun was pouring in through the front window making me sweat. A group of people entered the shop. The first guy I saw was wearing a yellow T-shirt with white gym socks pulled up just under his board shorts.  Then there was a guy in the baseball cap and wrap around sunglasses.  He was standing next to the balding guy with huge eyebrows. Each of them was standing with a woman, all of them pretty in a safe, kind of American sitcom way. Who are these people, I thought? Eavesdropping is not a gentleman’s pastime, but they were sitting close to me on the bench against the...

A person, albeit a man, states his case.

The recently published “New Zealand Law Style Guide”* states at paragraph 1.1.1(a): Avoid gender-specific language unless it is necessary. In particular, avoid terms such as “man”, “men” or “mankind” to refer to people in general. Do not use “he” or “his” to describe people who may be male or female or male pronouns to describe grounds that may be made up of both men and women. “Gender-specific language” are weasel words like “non-judgmental” or “work-place change consultant“. Were I to follow this prompt literally I would have to say, “My mum made up its mind,” or “Helen Clark gave me Helen Clark’s phone number“. Even...

Governor General Michaëlle Jean

Canada’s Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, gave this address on January 13th 2010 in response to the Haitian earthquake. Jean was born in Haiti and lived there until the age of 10, when forced to flee to Canada as a refugee. Canadian press outlets are saying that 1,400 Canadians are presumed dead in Haiti. Haitians comprise the biggest immigrant population in Quebec. In Creole, Jean says, “Ayisyen Ayisènn. Pran couraj. Pa lagé.” which translates as, “Haitians, take courage, don’t give up.” Canada’s Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, gave this address on January 13th 2010 in response to the earthquake. Jean was born in Haiti and lived there until the age of 10 when forced to flee to Canada as a refugee. Canadian press...