i have the radio on, in my office at work. when i heard this item from ABC (aussie) played on radio nz at lunchtime, it sent my blood boiling. not at the comments by mr michael smith, but by the fact that this was even news.
mr smith is a talkback host in australia, and decided that the burqa is offensive. i won't elaborate further, you can read the rest from the link. i just couldn't believe that radio nz was playing this - what is newsworthy about this in any way? leighton smith makes comments like this, if not once a week, then pretty regularly. so do plenty of others, to the extent that you can find them in any pub or talkback show around the country.
i hate it when people like this are given any kind of publicity, thereby spreading the nastiness to a much wider audience. i remember when bob clarkson made similar comments a while back to (as i recall, i can't be bothered checking just now) about 10 men in wellington, and it ended up in every news outlet in the country. to what end, i still can't figure out.
giving publicity to stuff like this gives the speaker more of a public voice, as he gets interviewed across tv, radio and the papers. if anyone dares criticise what they've said, they get to play the victim and complain how the PC brigade won't even let them talk any more. it's a cheap way to get free publicity, and is ideal for low-level politicians or others seeking a media profile.
so, i'm sitting there fuming away silently, when i get a call from the sydney daily telegraph. i'm on their books because i did a piece* for them after certain comments about raw meat by one sheikh taj al-din al-hilaly. they wanted me to do a piece about this latest incident, providing a muslim woman's view. the woman was quite apologetic about the fact that they were covering this at all, but felt they had to once the retail association got involved.
i could have refused i suppose, on the basis of not adding fuel to the fire. but i'm loathe to give up any opportunity to get an alternative view out into the media, especially when this guy and his supporters have been getting maximum coverage. so i've written the piece which will be going into saturday's paper (ie tomorrow). i'll put up the link on sunday evening (i'm away from the internet most of the weekend) if it goes online.
*i can't find the one that the telegraph published, but this is a longer version that russell brown kindly agreed to put up on public address.