Guest Post – A guide to the indefinite article

It is Waitangi Day and I am not going to the celebration in Waitangi. There are several reasons, one being that, according to early morning radio, the Deputy Prime Minister has already made her speech.  She must have got her dates mixed up because I have it on the authority of the NZ Herald that today,  Monday, is Waitangi Day.   Another reason for me not going is that I did not receive an invitation from the Treaty partners who control things up there. Another reason is that today is my hair washing day.

So, instead of going to Waitangi I am reading the NZ Herald. Not the print version of course, which you have to pay for, but the free online version, which I find is good value for money. It has a couple of articles on Waitangi, headlined as follows: “The day to forget the day” and “A day for us all to come together”.  These seem to be contradictory but unfortunately, the subject matter is not quite interesting enough for me to bother finding out what the Herald is on about.  

A more interesting headline is “Will in-flight movies become extinct?” Some say that the print media have had their day but this article shows surely that the NZ Herald is at the cutting edge in addressing challenges that confront our nation. The existence or otherwise of in-flight movies is an issue which should concern all right-thinking New Zealanders and something which, I am sure, we all feel needs to be addressed.

Another intriguing article in today’s Herald is headlined “Why you should flex your happy muscle”. Some fifty years ago my mother taught me that flexing your happy muscle makes you go blind and it seems she was right. My sight is already failing, so I did not read the article. My mother obviously knew better than the Herald’s writer, a woman as it happens, so her knowledge of the happy muscle is obviously not firsthand (to coin a phrase).

Also in today’s Herald is an article headlined “Lost paddleboarder rescued in harbour”. I did not read the article because it always annoys me reading about irresponsible parents not closely monitoring their children when at the beach. Nor have I read the article headlined “One Love crowd join in sing-along” or “Viral video shows huge crowd singing waiata” because reading news about people singing always make me sad that I was not there for such a momentous occasion.  I can well imagine how a video of a crowd of people singing would go viral.

On the other hand, I did start reading “Little welcomes Jackson at Waitangi” under the mistaken impression that Michael Jackson was in New Zealand and being welcomed to Waitangi by Andrew Little (I did not realise Mr Little was Maori). It turns out however that it was another Jackson altogether and, so my wife informs me, Michael Jackson is no longer in the land of the living. I am scrupulous in keeping up with the news so I cannot imagine his demise escaped me. I suppose that makes his singing group “The Jackson Four”.

But enough of this pointless scrawling. I have just come across another headline that demands my time and attention: “We haven’t told our parents, how can we?” I love these so-called “blind headlines” that give no clue as to what the article that follows them is all about. But I am guessing it has something to do with the writers’ happy muscles.

 

– via email

 


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