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Viewing entries tagged with 'politics'

An Hobbitual reflection

Posted by Philip on 1 November 2010, 6:30 pm in ,

(Take 2) I’ve held off putting my two gold coins’ worth into the “Ring” about The Hobbit until now, fearing being impaled by a spear in the didactic and dualistic argument being hurled from either side.

However, in conversation with people over the last week or so, my thoughts have been affirmed.  So, here goes.

In short, I think that the outcome of the dispute was fine – but how it came about was not.

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Smoke free prisons and the peer mentor

Posted by Philip Patston on 29 June 2010, 3:02 pm in , , , , , ,

It's Leadership Week! So, in celebration, let's ponder whether banning smoking in prisons an example of the Nats falling prey to political correctness and explore a potential trend away from young people wanting to learn from their elders...

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Remember when Wayne Mapp was National's “Political Correctness Eradicator”?

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BP's gush wreaks human havoc

Posted by Philip Patston on 24 June 2010, 10:07 am in , ,

As I watch BP's oil gush into the Gulf, I can't help but feel slightly impotent. I'm not usually one to confuse my manhood with world events.

There's something paralysing about watching the reckless, ravishing waste in my living room each night. It makes me want to stride into somewhere with manly authority, sort it all out and make it stop.

But I can't and that makes me feel limp with inadequacy.

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Dreaming of better MP stories

Posted by Philip Patston on 15 June 2010, 1:17 pm in , , ,

On Sunday afternoon while discussing with friends the week's political credit card revelations and other minor happenings, I said that anyone who volunteers for political office proves, by the act of volunteering, that they shouldn't be a politician.

That night I dreamt that I had been elected MP for Wellington. I saw myself on the streets of the capital city, being congratulated by people young and old. They assured me I would make a difference, change the world and watch lots of porn.

Actually I made up the bit about the porn, but the rest really happened – it was a perplexing dream.

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Brainless categorisation and creative inclusion

Posted by Philip Patston on 1 June 2010, 12:40 pm in , , , , , , ,

Two high profile news stories caught my eye last week. First, radio station The Edge's "Hug a Ginga Day" and then World Cup ambassador Andy Haden's "darkies" comment.

Both have fuelled debates in the media, as well as the lounges and lunch rooms of the nation. The arguments ranged from accusations of racism and even terrorist intent, to justifications of harmless fun and political correctness. Mitigations have come thick and fast: the use of similar terms like "honky" for Europeans and the commonplace acceptance of blonde jokes make ginga-hugging and darkie-calling okay.

I'm not going to wade into the dialectic exercise of deciding whether either were right or wrong — to be frank, I think both debates are trivial in the scheme of things. What interests me is that both issues exemplified our obsession with characterising ourselves and each other visually and, specifically, by reference to colour.

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Is common sense good enough?

Posted by Philip Patston on 18 May 2010, 2:30 pm in , , , ,

I struggled last week to to form an opinion about John Key's gaff with Tuhoe, where he joked that he could have ended up on the menu had he been dining with them and not Ngati Porou. Like many others, I could see the wit in the quip, but, as Te Ururoa Flavell so rightly pointed out, it was Key's timing that let him down.

They say that comedy is tragedy plus time. Sadly, Key just didn't allow enough time for Tuhoe's tragic loss of their hopes of getting ownership of Te Urewera National Park to become a laughing matter.

But there is something else in the mix here. Many might say that it would be common sense for Tuhoe to see the humour in Key's throw-away remark and attempt to be clever. Common sense, however, in this sensitive context, is not enough. Common sense draws only half of the dynamic that operates between people – our sense of normality, similarity and the ordinary – which favours mainstream, middle-class and middle-aged values and ideology.

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I love LA

Posted by Philip Patston on 14 April 2010, 1:17 pm in , , ,

"I’m very pleased to call LA home. Little Auckland, that is."

Written for 3news.co.nz | 14 April 2010

Last night I caught up with a friend who is back for a week between travels to Vancouver and London. It reminded me how great it is to live in Auckland. There have been times that I’ve returned from a trip abroad and felt decidedly dissatisfied with the place, itching to be off again. But these days I’m very pleased to call LA home.

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If society were an iPad

Posted by Philip Patston on 8 April 2010, 7:54 pm in , , , , , ,

"Society without money couldn't possibly work. How would we control things, how would we counter greed?"

Written for 3news.co.nz | 8 April 2010

One of the things I've always loved about Apple products – and the company itself – is how they rethink technology. They have the knack of continually introducing fundamentally new concepts to inspire people to change how they work, play and interact with each other.

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The cost of noteworthy difference

Posted by Philip Patston on 1 April 2010, 4:30 pm in , ,

"What dollar value do we put on comfort and communication for Margaret Page?"

Written for 3news.co.nz | 1 April 2010

There are some things that just have to be done, whether or not they make "good economic sense". Paying well people who support disabled people is one. Supplying disabled people with the equipment and resources they need to have a life worth living is another.

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For crying out loud, let's not get emotional

Posted by Philip Patston on 23 March 2010, 9:14 am in , ,

"What do you call an Irish Catholic priest? No better than the rest."

Written for 3news.co.nz | 23 March 2010

Catholic priests have been at it again, this time in Ireland, which of course begs for a joke:

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