From A Smug Hermit Kingdom


Surveying my hermit kingdom,

I feel entitled to a little smugness.

The flowers from the Silk Tree

Are floating like pink paratroopers

Into all the corners of the garden.

Clematis blooms, her spiked earrings

Drooping languidly above the mown lawn.

Being locked-down here is hardly a hardship.

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Of course, the hermit bit is all wrong.

In this kingdom I have not been alone.

A wife, a daughter, a solipsistic cat

Have kept me company right through.

And when we got to the traffic lights,

There were old friends to greet,

And food to eat, and the thrust and parry

Of much-missed conversation, face-to-face.

One name, Jacinda, rose out of

All this agreeable contention.

But in my little kingdom, if not in others,

It was spoken kindly, with forbearance.

Occasionally, with just the tiniest edge of asperity.

Elsewhere, it is spat out in anger,

And anguish, and wild desperation.

Not every kingdom is as calm as mine.

So, maybe, we all deserve the taunt of smugness.

A small people, distracted by small causes,

While beyond our fortunate borders the Plague rages.

Perhaps, all things considered, we have earned the rebuke.

Still, there are worse things to be called.

Smug suggests pride in a job well done,

And the grim satisfaction of knowing that

There are much worse kingdoms to be locked-down in.

Chris Trotter

23 December 2021


Wishing all the readers of The Daily Blog a very Merry Christmas and a Happy (Covid-free) New Year! – Chris Trotter.



  1. Thank you Chris for all your thought provoking work over the year, and a merry Christmas to you too.
    Interesting that you chose that title today. I think the prize for total smugness should go to the one who coined ‘smug hermit kingdom’. We all know who that is.

  2. Excellent stuff @ CT.

    So? Jonky has called me, by default, a smug hermit has he…
    Well, I’ll call him a sanctimonious hair tugging bully-punk pervert then. I’ll also call him a worthless, useless barbi sausage chugging sociopath with as much use as an ugly ornament. He’s a little and now old hook nosed riche man ( and I use the word ‘man’ advisedly) who’s only talent is pocketing the money of others. His reign of pointlessness has yielded our AO/NZ nothing unless lying and stealing our money to put into the pockets of the already rich is something. Aye Sir fat fuck pete?
    Jonky is really not much more than a spare pair of high heels at the wedding party where the couple already hate each other. He’s a snoot looking for a cock. A drab, dreary little thing with as much charm as a sick rat with fleas. His grasping legacy here has seen him rise to just above the sludge of humanity because not even the sludge wants him.
    The nasty little fucker slunk off during his tenure because he could see the writing on the wall. Mainly, because he wrote it. He, and his mates sunk our AO/NZ under the weight of their crass greed and I’m certain, there was a real and present risk that something was up that’d a buried the wee prick and his mates.
    ( How about jonky’s accountant bestie just across the street who made millions over night from the death of the owner of South Canterbury Finance Allan Hubbard? South Canterbury Finance. Bailed out by you and me to the tune of $1.6 BILLION ! )
    “South Canterbury Finance was New Zealand’s largest locally owned finance company when it collapsed in August 2010, triggering a $1.6 billion bail-out of investors deposits by the New Zealand Government;[1] almost $1b was recovered by receivers.[2] ”
    Recovered by receivers. Was it? And where is it?

      • ‘hook-nosed OLD”… Many men’s noses become hooked in old age, and most witches are portrayed as old, hook-nosed women with a wart or two on that nose..
        No overt suggestion of anti-semitism that I can see. Is that what you were fishing for, Houtman?

    • “Man”?
      CB A surfeit of lampreys! I just throw that in after your discourse, which is a bit rich in adjectives and exotic terms. If you would trim them down with editing your brain bursts they would make a record of our times.

  3. That was very interesting!!

    What is in store for us for 2022, I wonder. If Jacinda doesn’t develop a game plan next year to diligently put herself forward as a serious contender for the 2023 election, then the election will be won by Christopher Luxon, Nicola Willis, & their caucus.

  4. “Food parcel demand up 504% in a year as lockdown pushes families to the brink. 3000+ tonnes, 11 million+ food parcels … but ‘my’ people are $400b wealthier this year!”

    If only I was joking about this. Even then it wouldn’t be funny.

  5. It doesn’t matter how nice the prison is, if you don’t have your basic human rights in tact you are still in prison.
    I’m sure there are plenty of people in North Korea who think their prison is lovely too.

  6. Merry Xmas Mickey Mouser’s. A few lines from Charles Bukowski, a real, down to earth German-Yankee poet;
    Born like this
    Into this
    As the chalk faces smile
    As Mrs. Death laughs
    As the elevators break
    As political landscapes dissolve
    As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
    As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
    As the sun is masked
    We are
    Born like this
    Into this
    Into these carefully mad wars
    Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
    Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
    Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
    Born into this
    Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
    Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
    Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
    Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
    Born into this
    Walking and living through this
    Dying because of this
    Muted because of this
    Because of this
    Fooled by this
    Used by this
    Pissed on by this
    Made crazy and sick by this
    Made violent
    Made inhuman
    By this
    The heart is blackened
    The fingers reach for the throat
    The gun
    The knife
    The bomb
    The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
    The fingers reach for the bottle
    The pill
    The powder
    We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
    We are born into a government 60 years in debt
    That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
    And the banks will burn
    Money will be useless
    There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
    It will be guns and roving mobs
    Land will be useless
    Food will become a diminishing return
    Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
    Explosions will continually shake the earth
    Radiated robot men will stalk each other
    The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
    Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
    The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
    Trees will die
    All vegetation will die
    Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
    The sea will be poisoned
    The lakes and rivers will vanish
    Rain will be the new gold
    The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
    The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
    And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
    The petering out of supplies
    The natural effect of general decay
    And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
    Born out of that.
    The sun still hidden there
    Awaiting the next chapter.

    • After all that I’ve lost my will to live. Was that the intention KP?
      I did want terminally ill to have the right to decide when they wanted to die but NZs can’t cope with individuals having thoughts of their own, different than their cohort.
      If I have the opportunity to decide I want to die it would be good to go in my own way while I can still appreciate nature while I enter it. Here are some pretty flowers.
      And a bit more nature which is rather sweet – Pentatonix Winter Hymnal
      That is rather cheering I think. Happy break for those who can take the time off.

  7. “Smug Hermit Kingdom” will likely be Sirkey’s epitaph, atop the steaming pile of blighted lives and damage his kind have created since the 80s.

  8. If you are in a nice prison temporarily actually more like being in a mountain hut sheltering from a storm, are alive and well, feeling grateful should be an initial and lasting emotion. Thanks Chris for your warm piece rejoicing in our good things in difficult times.

    Reading about NSW, I feel sympathy and concern as we could get to where they are. We must not snappily object or sneer at our leaders and guardians against the pandemic, as some who have taken the trouble to pass on their negative, gloomy thoughts have done here.
    mandatory restrictions are re-introduced.
    In the latest 24-hour reporting period, to 8pm yesterday, 94.9 percent of people aged 16 and older had had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while 93.5 percent of those in the same age group had had two doses.
    Yesterday the state announced a record 5715 new cases.

    NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the decision to re-introduce health mandates followed National Cabinet and health expert advice.
    But he said there were too many people in hospital who had not received a vaccination against the virus.
    Toole said the difference for unvaccinated people in the hospital system had been stark.
    “People who have been double vaxxed have been staying out of the hospital system
    which is very promising,” he said.
    “But what I am very concerned and upset about is the fact that we’re still seeing high numbers of people who are unvaccinated that are ending up in these ICU beds putting pressure on the system.”..

    The state government has introduced mandatory restrictions to curb the increased case numbers, including mask wearing indoors – except in residential settings – density limits and limited QR code measures.
    The mask and density rules will be in place until 27 January.
    The wearing of masks indoors and the use of QR code check-ins were largely scrapped on 15 December, ..
    The health system is being affected by the loss of 1500 staff members who are unwell or isolating.

    Victoria – Victoria has recorded 2095 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths…
    As of 11:59pm last night, [23 December] people aged over eight must wear masks in all indoor settings, except private homes.
    Perth – (One visitor has become similar to a suoper spreader, they are limiting movement.)
    The 25-year-old French man flew into Perth from Queensland on 12 December, just before WA introduced a hard border to the sunshine state. It is suspected he has been infectious since 16 December.
    Premier Mark McGowan said the man had been in contact with hundreds of people and was likely infectious with the Delta strain.
    “… he’s a backpacker who went out to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, museums and things … that’s why we’re so concerned … there’s been lots of interaction in proximity,” he said…

    Scott Morrison is a ‘cowardy custard’?
    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia must move past “the heavy hand of government” and authorities must stop shutting down people’s lives with COVID-19 lockdowns, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, as daily infections in the country shot up to a new pandemic high.
    COVID-19 cases have been breaking records over the last several days, the surge fuelled by the more transmissible Omicron variant, but Morrison insisted thatlimiting the spread of the virus comes down to personal responsibility.

    More info from researc: =
    (NSW politicians debating whether to charge unvaccinated patients for their hospital treatment!)

    • Through this pandemic one thing I can’t understand is the desire to make money at any cost, what do these people want. If they had had their way New Zealand would now be a waste ground of illness and decay, once again though the wealthy would survive in their underground secret bunkers. Don’t these people understand we are at war with a very clever enemy not with the PM or the scientists but a virus who will destroy us given the chance. Do the rich want us to be collateral damage for their cause. From my happy little smug hermit kingdom a very merry Christmas stay well and safe in these uncertain times .

  9. I believe most people interpreted John key’s quote differently to how he intended it. John Key was a wealthy businessman before becoming PM of NZ. Most here see him as your typical greedy rich prick who was bored with his rich life and so thought he would fill in the time being top dog of our little country. Of course we know that’s really nonsense but we say it because we don’t like him anyway. We know John Key believes if you let the business do better there’s more growth more jobs more trickle down. He believes that even though we know it doesn’t work for those at the bottom. In my opinion he also believes that as a trading nation we can’t survive forever with the doors shut. I believe his “ hermit kingdom “ comment wasn’t a nasty vindictive comment but one made out of exasperation for the situation as he saw it. Like everything we see and experience it can be good or bad depending on your point of view. So when you line up JK and JA what have we got. We’ve got JK who is passionate about creating growth and wealth which he wrongly believes will be beneficial to everyone, or do we prefer JA who seems passionate about the social degeneration of our country but knowingly continues to run the show in the same way but with the added bonus of wanting to centralise and increase this government’s size. Even though we know they are inept). JK believes he’s right but is wrong. JA knows what’s right but doesn’t do it. I think JK wins by a nose because he did what he believed even though he was wrong. JA knows it’s wrong but keeps doing it anyway. Maybe the smug hermit kingdom isn’t far off the mark. Have a great Xmas day Chris and everyone.

  10. Some random tweets from the provocative Slavoj Zizek.

    Slavoj Žižek @Slavojiek·
    Jul 20, 2018
    Postmodern deconstructivists are the useful idiots of capitalism.
    Slavoj Žižek @Slavojiek
    Sep 19, 2018
    It is traumatic to accept that life is not just a stupid process of reproduction and attaining pleasures, but that it is in the service of a Truth.
    Slavoj Žižek @Slavojiek
    ·Aug 5, 2018
    There is more truth in the mask we wear, in the game we play, the fiction we obey and follow, than in what is concealed beneath the mask.

    For balance, after a heady surfeit of hedonism, gravity will bring you back down! Greywarbler

  11. we are not so smug that we keep out of space exploration, being into rockets and not just on Nov.5th.
    Now the Webb telescope takes over from Hubble.’ The $10bn James Webb telescope has left Earth on its mission to show the first stars to light up the Universe…
    Engineers working with the US, European and Canadian space agencies have built the new observatory to be 100 times more powerful, however.
    “Lift off from a tropical rainforest to the edge of time itself, James Webb begins a voyage back to the birth of the Universe,” said American space agency (Nasa) TV commentator Rob Navias at the moment the rocket left the Earth.

    If you look into the eyes of another person you see an artifact whose emergence dates far enough back in time to awe anybody,; small insects that have lived for millenium etc. It’s all here and so exzciting, spend your money here on the Earth’s theme park you over-endowed brain-farting money-making financiers!

    Sage words from one of the space engineers:
    This won’t be easy, conceded Nasa administrator Bill Nelson: “We have to realise there are still innumerable things that have to work and they have to work perfectly. But we know that in great reward, there is great risk. And that’s what this business is all about. And that’s why we dare to explore.”

    Can we spend the same amount on helping to get the earth blooming, and people learning how to cope with each other and ourselves – our obsessions and perversions, which are mostly things taken to excess and hard to control. In people there is great reward, and great risk, that’s what we have always been about! Let us learn to apply a modicum of control, gain reasonable balance, that is most of what we need to thrive. Leave space to the present inhabitants of Mars.

  12. Well said Chris, any pandemic visited on humankind brings with it a set of challenges. Relative to the Covid gig we as a country have become of age. Reflecting, its so refreshing that politicians shut up shop and celebrity broadcasters and journalists go on holiday and leave us smug little hermits to get on with living life well.


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