Waking up last Sunday (23/07/2023) before 8am I turn on the radio. What is this strangely plodding narrative? Oh, the kids’ show is going on RNZ National. Phony enthusiasm from phony adults about a phony scenario with phony kids saving a native bird or whatever it was and some tedious anticlimax related to the environment/climate change. It was so predictable, I can’t remember at all let alone exactly what it was, but oh my goodness gracious kids, what bland shite, eh, don’t you think? A radio version of the super-straight School Journal circa Wash Day at the Pa. The patronising, credulous tone would be just as repulsive to the child demographic as it is to the adult surely. What sort of monochrome child would be satisfied listening to this tedium? The future monochrome adult RNZ listener.
What happened to the Wild Palomino and Molly Whoppy and Roald Dahl’s grotesque characters from the ZB 1080 club? Do bFM still do a show? They were old school. What happened to the horrors and excitement of gangsters, sailors, soldiers, cowboys and Indians? Jeremy and Hine who save the tui nest are never going to compete with the old style noire characters based on someone like Joe Pesci or where the kids have to confront facts and situations that aren’t just some type of contrived environmental multicultural bourgeois melo-drama.
In the old style adventure stories it would go something like this… the remaining kids who survived the forced march hatched a plan to bayonet the Jap guards to take over the ship so they can ram it into the aircraft carrier as it lies vulnerable in Manila harbour aiming to kill all two thousand on board in revenge for the Japs torturing their parents to death in the basement of the Mindinao Military Hospital. The cold steel of a bayonet wielded by a terrified ten year old forced clean through the throat of an evil enemy, his buck-toothed splutterings turning to coughing spits of blood as his life of barbarous cruelty for the God-Emperor ends… . It wasn’t just all Noddyland, Follyfoot, teddy-bears’ picnics and cheerios back in the day. It wasn’t just about community activities and gay feelings it was about trauma, about body counts. It was about adversity and not necessarily overcoming it either; but how to die, to die well or well enough, like the light brigade, like at Rorke’s Drift, like at Gallipoli, like a Kamikaze, like a Klingon, and yes, like Captain Cook.
Who is the hero now, the same PMC peeps as twitter? Some whiney know-it-all nark is an insurmountably repellant character cast as a hero. And forget the anti-hero, that’s too sophisticated a concept for the Rainbow/Nazi dichotomy. Derring do is definitely derring don’t. Irony is political and humour is a danger – pervasive, insidious, weaponised male rhetorical devices to overpower and undermine the disadvantaged – so these too must cease. What are we left with? What is the threshold for worthy?
How worthy exactly? And the problem with Anne Frank’s Diary is for all the dramatic tension of harrowing claustrophobia with existential dread the interesting bits like pubescent self-awareness and cursing people have been redacted, so ‘Day 241: ‘smoked fish again, watched him dress fish, fingers of fish in under 5 mins.’ was actually ‘smoked again, watched him undress, fingered to end in under 5 mins’ and ‘Day 325: Narked that ugly bitch Greta off to the Gestapo today. She’s screaming as they haul her off. Scream harder bitch. Her green dress fits me like a glove. No regrets!’ But they ripped out those pages didn’t they because she wasn’t a saint. We are only left with the dreary bits of G rated material to fill 10 – 12 minutes of children’s hour.
It’s ok for the evil witch to shove the little kids in the oven. The kids are cool with cannibalism, down for dungeons, they are. Not so keen on the wolf being a rapist as in the charming German version, but that’s the neighbourhood where the Joseph Fritzles hang out so the ghastly tales are clearly based on local personalities and maybe we need to wake up and smell Dr Cosby’s qualudes and get real about shit.
Probably the reason there don’t appear to be any serials anymore is the absence of compelling characters or situations. Nothing triggering can ever occur therefore nothing to sustain interest could ever occur. Would Hine’s anxiety over incorporating Te Reo and NZ sign language into her school play performance and Jeremy setting up a tui nest protection Go-fund-me page be much of a cliff-hanger compared to the fate of emaciated, inconsolable 12 year old Rory, at the helm of a hijacked Japanese merchant ship, his broken body draped over the wheel, a tear-stained picture of his parents in a locket stuck to his chest with dried blood, hand clasped on the throttle ahead full, barricaded in the bridge by dead Japs wedged across the door levers, thunderous flack fire from the Yamamoto strafing the foredeck into splinters as the range narrows, and he can see the small kid’s lifeboat making out through mines, under heavy machine gun fire from the Takishima, for the Swedish-flagged neutral ship – their only hope of freedom. That’s right, with all due respect to middle-class Wellingtonians and their pretensions and with all due respect to the Embassy of Japan and the Japanese people, on behalf of the children of New Zealand, a lot less of Hine and Jeremy’s indulgent tweenage Mansfieldesque performative pseudo-crises and a lot more dead Japs please.
Merv Smith – the host of the ZB 1080 club – was a character in his own right; so who’s the character host for this show? Well there doesn’t appear to be anyone, just whoever is on duty at the time. Is it even a real programme then? Dick Weir was the old host last century and pops up randomly in recordings. He was just an over-enunciating weirdo so at least he’s not on creeping out another generation by hosting the thing. It was infantalising and lacking. And speaking of infantalising and lacking…
So the kids’ safe space of anti-septic political correctness was over, the news bulletin and then a warning: the following programme may be triggering, it’s about violence and it’s not suitable for children. Yes, not suitable for children. KIds will need an adult present. So RNZ schedules a documentary about violence that isn’t suitable for children straight after the kids’ show. How profoundly idiotic.
From the same RNZ that gave us the atrociously biased ‘Boiling Point’ which sought to demonise the parliamentary protesters, exonerate the Speaker and whitewash the police action on March 2, 2022 what can we expect? Sanctimony at the least. This will be the most predictable documentary series ever. We can all guess the institutional people, the government people, the academics, Spoonly, the NGOs, the authorities, the perps to be interviewed and the blurred figure/distorted voice interviews of the insiders and the trackers.
The series is subtitled: Misinformation in Aotearoa. Let’s address the hypocrisy of that immediately.
In the Boiling Point documentary made by RNZ and set chronologically through that day using select on-air RNZ audio they omit key events from that day on RNZ National, most egregiously they do not even refer at all to the incredible live eye-witness account of a man shot by a sponge round/rubber bullet. It was gripping radio and was quite lengthy, five minutes worth or more. It was as if it never happened.
All the footage of cops striking non-violent people never made it in. The footage of a female cop lining up an old man, a kaumatua, who had his hands down and was not a threat, and then with a full closed fist throws a straight right punching him in the face and then he staggers and collapses – that footage never made it into the doco. The footage of the eye-gouging cop, that was memorable, never happened apparently. Not information. Uninformation.
It doesn’t matter how many angles of how many violent acts of the police on that day that are available only footage of police as victims appears in that documentary as is the tenor of the entire narration. It is strictly a government account – there is no shred of journalism only a pretense of it that is laughable to entertain, and to give this institutional state propaganda an award is risible.
Worth noting in the recent crying about dawn raids and the shock-horror performance from Labour is that on March 2nd 2022 hundreds of cops started to attack, physically removing peaceful people sleeping in their tents just before 6am (when sunrise is at 7:03am so we are clear) being therefore the biggest and most violent dawn raid since that term has been in use. Oh sure, violently hauling off Islanders and Rastas and wrecking all their stuff in the process at six in the morning is terrible, terrible in the 1970s, terrible today, terrible in principle, terrible right up until the point where the marginalised humanity is a non-conformist flavour you fear and detest, and then it’s special circumstances and just desserts when that flavour of underclass get the Soweto treatment from the baas. Those indigents are clearly defined ipso facto as enemies of the rightful order so they aren’t entitled to the ordinary rights of being heard or of reply – so they are not heard and they have no reply according to government journalism. They are one and all Nazis so they get no airtime for their Hitlerspeak, they have no names, they have no stories. They’re mental cases who need therapy, they are delusional and there’s no value assessing the delusion, just turf them off the lawn before lunch like how Trump did with La Fayettee square to visit the church opposite the White House. Without their story there’s more time to focus on the hero cops, the suffering local power elite, the hard-working officials, the dedicated media and the brave politicians who refused to resolve it any other way than overwhelming force and resulting complete mayhem on the streets of the nation’s capital for the next 12 hours.
Lilting Scots voice of a middle-aged female who is being very serious says this is the first episode of 7 – with an extra episode planned to focus on RNZ’s supposed disinformer rogue pro-Russia journalist (yes, it’s laughable, he was the only one trying to balance the pro-Ukraine NZ government line while the RNZ CEO denounces “pro-Kremlin garbage” when RNZ has run pro-White House garbage non-stop every day since the Japs bombed Pearl Harbour). A breathless, lurid, paranoid chasing of sinister shadows around the mullberry bush perhaps. A Hager-type hyperbolic method of describing commonly understood and banal matters in lurid terminology and in concerned intonations perchance. It will be for RNZ a continuation of the state’s war on the dissident elements assumedly under nefarious foreign control – just as Boiling Point was a propaganda piece. RNZ fuels a McCarthy atmosphere of accusation and pre-emptive cancellation. Tolerance is no longer seemingly regarded as a virtue by many people who implored it for the sake of their own benefit not so long ago.
The premise is political violence comes from disinformation. Does it? Is Marx and Fanon disinformation too? Just saying, because the only one I see exhibiting false consciousness is RNZ as an agent of the capitalist class. Most manifestos aren’t so much false in facts as the conclusions are unpalatably revolutionary.
Interesting that the voices dominating from the start are foreign – a Scot and an Indian. A colonial entity where the voices of authority on state radio about the evils of foreign conspiracy theories and not to believe your own eyes and ears turn out to be a cross section of immigrant settlers in jobs funded by the government.
The beginning examines how people post unfunny memes to facebook and stuff. Racist people are on the internet. So far so what? All the host has done is the equivalent of gone into a public toilet and read out some of the yucky graffiti on the door. Conspiracy or extreme opinion had been there from the start, so really the point of this series seems not to be about that but about trying to link the parliamentary protest to conspiracy theory networks. Is that what this exercise is attempting?
There’s ‘community-bridging’ and ‘cross-posting’. Well BFD, and the Hager-type finger wagging lecture continues. There’s a veritable word curry of jargon from the academic; but the counter – the Indian elephant in the room – is what false narrative and false version of the world has RNZ and the mainstream media presented during the Covid-19 emergency and before? They regurgitated the government lies from the PRC that the virus was unrelated to the Wuhan lab, you don’t need masks then you do need masks and whatever fiction was handed down from Hipkins’ podium of truth in the Beehive theatrette. It wouldn’t cross their minds to assess the spectrum of information fairly because they are mindless.
Jo Cox MP was assasinated. More Pommy voices. “It’s terrifying”, oh yes, “it’s terrifying”, oh I know, it is terrifying, “I don’t know what to say to that…” Around and around, winding themselves up, upsetting themselves, just as forecast, to an anticlimax. The entropic hysteria that men don’t suffer from on full display, sadly. Does it get more pathetic. Go to the worst case scenario and wallow gleefully in it without wanting, let alone being able, to work out a solution.
James Shaw was punched on Lambton Quay by a nutter. Remember that? That’s the extent of political violence against MPs of the current lot that wasn’t self-inflicted (like Trevor and Tau going at it in the lobby a few years before). The attacker cited the UN. The editor of this blog is clear that the guy was an anti-abortionist nutter not an anti-UN nutter so what class of conspiracy/disinformation turd was he I don’t know and at this point nor do I care. Shaw is ‘increasingly worried’ about social media ‘destabilising democracy’ – however he wasn’t talking about violence particularly by the sound of it. Some sly cutting going on there to amp it up.
So, a hype job. Chasing the funding no doubt. Will have to see if the other seven episodes mention all the political violence against the Tangata Whenua meted out by the colonial entity, but that would really run counter to the flow.