Monday, 4 October 2010

how bad does he have to get to be fired?

paul henry's comments on the governor-general's position have been covered pretty widely on the internet & facebook, and there's not too much to add. a quick round-up of links:
  • here is the response from the race relations commissioner
  • excellent intial post by the sprout here at the standard, and a follow-up here by irish bill on the non-apology.
  • the dim-post has a series of posts, this one showing the original clip if you really want to see it, but also this, this, this and especially this.
  • john drinnan at the herald puts up a good piece, and for once the comments section there is not particularly puke-inducing (although a couple are)
  • i'm particularly impressed by the stand taken by ben gracewood, who has resigned from the breakfast programme. you can read his views here.
  • grant robertson posts on red alert here.
  • pablo chimes in with some pertinent questions at kiwipolitico here.
  • the ever-acerbic idiot/savant has this, this (love it!), and this at no right turn.
  • and of course, there's the facebook page here.
i'm sure there's more out there, and more to come. feel free to add links in comments. i've sent a letter to the heritage hotel group, who advertise heavily on the breakfast programme. i'll hopefully be getting a formal complaint in to tvnz this week, but given the total lack of appropriate action we've seen from tvnz on previous complaints, i think it would probably be more effective to target the advertisers (more contact details here).

i'd like to echo julie's comment on facebook (hoping you won't mind me metioning it here) that its sad that there appears to be more opposition to comments against a member of the establishment than there was to his unacceptable comments about women. as others have said, it's strange that racism seems to be viewed as worse than sexism.

being a person to whom both racism and sexism often applies, rest assured that both feel equally crappy when one happens to be at the receiving end. this latest episode from mr henry was quite depressing. it seems that no matter how much i contribute to this country, there are people out there who are happy to tell me that i will never belong. and those people have a much bigger profile, a much bigger audience, than i can ever hope to achieve. still, all the links above made me feel a lot better as the day progressed. thank you to all the people who are standing up and telling tvnz that mr henry is not actually saying what "everyone" thinks. not by a long shot.

for those (and i'm sure they'll turn up) who are going to tell us to harden up & get a sense a humour, let me head you off at the pass & give you the response i've put up elsewhere: how about you soften up and get a sense of empathy.

update: tvnz has grown a little bit of a spine, and now mr henry has been suspended without pay until 18 october. still not enough as far as i'm concerned. he's had plenty of chances, it's time for him to go.


Craig Ranapia said...

If this was CNN, implying your employer (like the rest of the Jew York media elite) is controlled by Christ-killers does the trick.

Paul Henry? God only knows, and I'd rather he kept it to himself.

Carol said...

There's something going on here with this Henry case (never watch the guy, he doesn't say what I think), that seems indicative of a regressive shift in power & NZ culture back towards white middleclass males.

In the Henry case, it seems to be white males defining NZ identity. (With Key and Goff failing to articulate the offense to NZ's diverse community and culture).

Meanwhile, there's a big issue about another (white male) Kiwi "icon", Peter Jackson, built up in the media as the epitome of the "average" kiwi - and he's done this by producing films that repeat quite a masculine form of white middleclass colonialist culture, reworked within US Hollywood parameters. And to his defense (riding Jackson's popular reputation, for their own political ends) come those people of power, Brownlee, Finlayson, Key....

And the main political commentators on TV continue to be.... white males (Espiner, Garner etc). I thought our most recent governor generals were indicative of the shifts in NZ towards a more diverse and inclusive culture.
All very depressing.

And shame on Goff for not being quick to criticise the offense Henry's comments have made to a large section of New Zealanders.

Hugh said...


I don't necessarily disagree that Jackson's being built up as an icon is pretty objectionable stuff but I think you're doing his films a bit of a disservice - do you really think that Heavenly Creatures repeats a masculine form of white middle class colonialist culture?

AnneE said...

Bad as Henry's remarks were, I am even more appalled by Key's non-reaction. He should have walked out. Instead, although he looked uncomfortable, he simply tried to make a lame joke about jockeying for the position (of G-G). Absolutely spineless. Whereas Labour has been quick to condemn Henry. Whereas TVNZ had the effrontery to excuse him as saying what people think!!!

Carol said...

Hugh, no I rate Heavenly Creatures and was referring to Jackson's LOTR work and after. I feel sad he didn't stay with his earlier, more NZ based stuff. Also, Heavenly Creatures was more Fran Walsh's project, but somehow, as Jackson has gone multinational, Walsh has become more of the subordinate partner, and his work has been more masculine-focused. Certainly, with respect to his Kiwi iconic status, it's all Jackson, and Walsh's contributions are in the background.

Boganette said...

I'm really shocked by what the TVNZ spokeswoman said - it pretty much translates to "Oh come on! We're all secretly racist". I mean what the fuck?

Hugh said...

@Carol: I don't know enough about the dynamics of the Walsh/Jackson writing partnership to comment. To me it's always been something of a black box. I do hope they would make more films like Heavenly Creatures, though. I was hoping the Lovely Bones would fit the bill, and I guess thematically it kind of was, but unfortunately it was also badly written and badly acted.

@Boganette: What I find surprising is not that the TVNZ Directors seem to feel we're all secretly racist - on some level, that's probably true - but the appropriate way to deal with this fact is to reflect it uncritically, rather than exposing it and encouraging people to question it.

Julie said...

No problem Anjum with referring to my FB comment. I can do some FB stuff easily from my ipod but Blogger is impossible due to the word verification. Hoping to get my laptop set up again over the next few days to get back to blog. So thanks for sharing my comment :-)

nznative said...

The national party operates using negative sterotype smears.

John Key uses them.

He would have walked out if a focus group told him that was the most popular thing to do.

Paul Henery is an ex-national party mp who lost a previously safe national seat to Georgina Beyer.

I bet ya Paul thinks she's not a real New lander either.

And unles she's got a lot of money Key wouldn't rate her.

Hugh said...

nznative, I don't know where you got that information from. Georgina Beyer's predecessor as MP for Wairarapa was then Deputy Prime Minister Wyatt Creech, not Paul Henry, who has never been an MP for any party.

James said...

Hugh said...

Huh, how about that. I stand corrected.

(Still not technically true to say he is a former National MP, but I see what you were getting at)

James said...

True. Yeah, I wasn't too sure of the details but it sounded vaguely familiar.

nznative said...

I used the wrong term for the national party man Paul Henery.

I should have said national party candidate, as opposed to mp as of course Paul never made it into Parliment.

Georgina did.

Also From my memory there was some apalling behavior involving someone high up in the Wairarapa National party.

It involved a National party man being unfaithfull to his wife and family.

It ended with this mans wife committing suicide by drowning herself in the bath ( yeah right ), this left our National party man free to live it up with his misstress.

I'm not 100% sure on the timelines, but I think this screwing around and then the death of the person who was wronged negativly affected the Nats in the wairarapa