My good friend Brian Edwards has stuck his oar in on the Catton debacle. Â And he thinks that low ranked talkback hosts like Plunket should be ignored.
Eleanor Catton will have learnt [a]Â lesson the hard way. The Man Booker Prize winner, only the second New Zealand writer to claim that prize, had, it seemed, committed the unforgivable sin of biting the hand that had fed her. She was, according to her most vitriolic critic, broadcaster Sean Plunkett [sic], âan ungrateful huaâ, a term he later translated as âungrateful scoundrelâ. She was also, he said, âa traitorâ to New Zealand.
Catton was evidently piqued at The Luminaries not being awarded the main prize at this yearâs New Zealand Post Awards though her novel did win the Fiction category of the awards. âWe have,â she said, âthis strange cultural phenomenon called âtall poppy syndromeâ; if you stand out you will be cut down.â
A couple of things particularly interested me about this episode. The first was Plunkettâs emphasis on Cattonâs âindebtednessâ to New Zealand society, her âingratitudeâ for everything her country had done for her. Read more »