The Eleanor Catton Saturday Series: Part IV

Today we’ve seen my good friend Brian Edwards explaining Catton’s views away as totally justified and not requiring the kind of response we would give an All Black who, after being part of a World Cup winning team, turns around next year to say the coach was crap and he never really got much out of the process of being an All Black.

That of course ignores the problem that Catton attacked the government.  This was political, and had very little to do with a writer not being allowed to criticise the country that claims her achievement as part of their national identity.

But I get it now, Catton doesn’t want to share the reflected glory with any of us. ¬†She did all the hard work. ¬†We “New Zealanders” did nothing, and as a result, as a bit of a pseudo-New Zealander in her own mind, Catton feels uncomfortable when having to speak “as” a New Zealander or “for” New Zealanders.

At best, we can say she isn’t dealing well with fame. ¬†After all, writing is a solitary inward looking pursuit, not necessarily suited to someone who is then asked to go on a huge publicity circuit where she isn’t just there for what she wrote, but because she’s assumed to be there as a¬†New Zealander.

Where she made a mistake was to politicise her frustrations by attacking the uncaring right-wing government. ¬†As we’ve seen from the Tax Payers Union, it is demonstrably untrue. ¬†Catton has received more financial and career development support than I could possibly have expected. ¬†In fact, given a different slant on the situation I would have pinged her for being a tougher.

Explaining is losing, and her own public statement simply confirms her initial intent was to attack the government – never mind that the facts don’t support her assertions.

Basically,¬†She’s just a stuck up liberal elite bludger on the whinge. A¬†Canadian ungrateful; for all the taxpayer support, she can kiss goodbye to¬†getting any more. ¬†Whinging tart.

A perfect example of why subsidies are evil, and the following truism holds:

“Things given for free have no value”.

But the whole issue would have been worth a serious discussion. ¬†There is something to be said about putting people on pedestals and countries taking ‘ownership’ of achievements that they haven’t really earned themselves.

It would have been a good point to deliberate, if Catton hadn’t just turned it into a toxic left-versus-right Government bashing opportunity.

BG2: Focus on what you eat, not the exercise

8 5 13 tired BackwardsPhysical fitness is very good for you, but don’t expect to drop much weight just because you go for a long walk every day.

I have a pretty sedentary life in general, and I can lose weight sitting here at a keyboard. ¬†Over the last few days, I’ve been extremely active, I’ve been up and down stairs hundreds of times, and I’ve been really pumping the heart for hours on end.

Weigh-in today? ¬†0.2 more. Read more »

Mental Health Break

Should Turei quit too? Absolutely

Photo Ross Giblin, copyright Dominion Post, Fairfax.

Photo Ross Giblin, copyright Dominion Post, Fairfax.

Fran O’Sullivan writes in the NZ Herald:

If the Greens are intent on becoming a mainstream political party with sufficient cachet to be a credible Government partner they should persuade Metiria Turei to join Russel Norman in resigning. Norman’s resignation – announced with a great deal of dignity yesterday – has switched the focus to Turei.

Norman is by far the stronger of the two co-leaders. He is the one who publicly pulled the Greens back from the brink of being marginalised by running a far Left economic agenda instead of leveraging their valuable green political brand.

Norman led the change away from some of the more disruptive policies that neither the party’s main prospective political partner Labour, nor National would really have a bar of. At the 2014 election the Greens did roll out some interesting policies particularly with innovation: 1000 new tertiary places for students of engineering, mathematics, computer science, and the physical sciences; $1 billion of new funding for R&D. They got it that innovation was “one of the best ways to add value to our exports, raise wages, and better protect the natural world we love”.

And frankly this is an area where New Zealand still needs a great deal more focus and urgency. Unfortunately for Norman – and Turei – the policy changes came too late to build a groundswell of support. The Greens didn’t achieve a strong enough focus on their own brand, instead wandering too much away from the centre line they need to occupy if they want to have an influence on a future government by getting into bed with either of the two main parties.

And there just hasn’t been enough policy consistency in place for long enough for a new image to bed down.

If Turei remains the senior co-captain of the Greens it will be harder to get that image change embedded.

Read more »

Map of the Day

Sponsored by What Power Crisis, click here for this week’s Solar Deal


  map of where you would end up if you dug straight down

Map of where you would end up if you dug straight through


Read more »

I’m just going to leave this with you

Discuss.

Tagged:

Of course he shouldn’t apologise, they are scum

There are calls for John McCain to apologise for calling some protestors scum.

He’s not having a bar of it, presumably because they are…scum.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says he has no regrets for calling protesters “scum” after they interrupted a hearing on Thursday.

‚ÄúNo, because they are that,” McCain told Fox News’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” hours after he exploded at the protesters. “Anybody who would do that kind of behavior is guilty of it. It was terribly upsetting to me.”
The protesters from the group Code Pink were calling for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to be prosecuted for war crimes related to the Vietnam War and other issues. Kissinger was testifying at McCain’s panel.

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told them “Get out of here, you low-life scum,” as they were escorted out.

He told Cavuto the protesters had threatened to harm Kissinger. ¬† Read more »

Another dodgy deal under the spotlight at Auckland Council

It’s fantastic to see that the Auditor General has filed her teeth and is focussed on how bad local government is.

Of course Auckland Council has to be the worst of them with its continual excessive spending and mounting debt and some – quite frankly – pretty dodgy deals done by its City Transformation team.

Out West the team has been a focal point for a while.

Investigate magazine raised the issue of what deals the Council did with Westgate developer NZRPG, but that fell on deaf ears. Until now…

Auditor-General Lyn Provost has begun an inquiry into Auckland Council’s involvement in a new town centre at Westgate, which is costing ratepayers about $200 million.

The inquiry follows concerns raised with the Office of the Auditor-General about the way the project was established by the former Waitakere City Council and is being managed.

The Westgate town centre at Massey North is a $1 billion public-private partnership between New Zealand Retail Property Group (NZRPG) and council, first mooted in 2002.

It is said to be New Zealand’s biggest new town centre, equivalent to a new Manukau or Albany, set on a 56ha site at the end of the Northwestern Motorway. ¬† Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Joergens.mi

Photo: Joergens.mi

Sleeping Beauty

A Mystery of Eternal Love Read more »

The Eleanor Catton Saturday Series: Part III

Eleanor Catton has had a few days to reflect on what she has said, and how the matter has been analysed and discussed.

Here is her written apology to the government and the people of New Zealand in general

In the past twelve months I have travelled to England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Spain, Canada, the United States, Australia, Brazil, and most recently India, attending literary festivals and helping to launch foreign-language editions of The Luminaries. To be read and received in different contexts around the world is an unbelievable privilege, one that is constantly shaping and reshaping my relationship with New Zealand, with my book, and with myself. My Maori character‚Äôs storyline took on a new significance for me after reading to First Nation elders in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I thought about the Hokitika gold rush differently after exploring the Brazilian coastal town of Paraty, where Brazilian gold, dug by slaves many miles inland, was once shipped out by the ton to Portugal. Talking about astrology in India, and about the nineteenth-century novel in Sweden, and about fiction born of philosophy in France, altered my sense of how¬†The Luminaries fits in with other literary traditions and cultural histories around the world. I have seen also how the novel itself changes according to context: its social and sexual politics, its formal preoccupations, its attitude to history, its language, all become more or less audacious, more or less difficult, more or less successful, more or less interesting, in different parts of the world. The degree of familiarity that international readers have with New Zealand culture and history varies greatly, but one thing remains a constant: everyone I meet who has a personal connection to New Zealand will make sure to tell me all about it, sometimes at length and into a microphone of which they will not let go. I love these moments of connection and the conversation they bring. I am proud that the book is read by people whose lives do not resemble mine, and I am grateful for the opportunity to speak publicly about reading and writing, two of the things I love most. Like everybody I sometimes say things I don‚Äôt mean and mean things I don‚Äôt say, but throughout the hundreds of interviews that I have conducted since The Luminaries was published I have been conscious of my role as an ambassador‚ÄĒof my country, yes, but also of my gender, of my generation, and of my art. ¬† ¬† Read more »