Friday, November 16, 2012

A dose of plain speaking...

Karl du Fresne is of a similar vintage to our elder brothers. And he is a product of rural New Zealand. The legacy of that is that he speaks and writes with a healthy helping of common sense.

And that is to the fore in his latest Dominion-Post column.Under the heading Key's 'gay' comments hardly a slur du Fresne opines:

Acute sensitivity disorder has broken out again. The latest outbreak was touched off by Prime Minister John Key's comment that a radio interviewer's red jersey looked a bit "gay".
As predictably as Pavlov's dogs learned to salivate at the sound of a bell, the gay lobby rose up in anger.
Protesters labelled it a slur against gays and took to the streets wearing red tops as a gesture of solidarity. Sir Ian McKellen, perhaps mistakenly thinking his on-screen aura of Gandalfian wisdom has somehow carried over into real life, went online to register his dismay.
I suspect most New Zealanders would have viewed the fuss with an air of worldly resignation. They have become well-accustomed to minority groups rearing up on their hind legs at every imagined slight.
If the gay rights lobby is to be believed, Mr Key's statement was likely to excite prejudice against gay men. But what's more likely to generate a backlash is the fuss gay activists make every time someone says something that might be construed, however tenuously, as an attack on them.
In many people's eyes, it reinforces the impression – am I allowed to say this? – that they are a bit precious. We live in a robust, liberal democracy. People say things every day that could cause upset if the maligned parties were of a mind to take offence. Most of us manage to ignore it and get on with life.
In Mr Key's case, he was merely making an attempt to sound blokey in order to connect with that radio programme's audience.
No-one can seriously accuse him of being anti-gay. How quickly his critics forget that he has ingratiated himself with gay men, too – for example, by speaking at the Big Gay Out rally in Auckland last February and posing for photographs with transvestites.
That's what politicians do: pander to whichever group they happen to be addressing at the time. But surely there are far worse things a prime minister could be accused of than trying to be one of the boys. 

Karl du Fresne is right on the money here. This was a storm in a teacup, and just another excuse for those who despise John key or those who are jealous of his continued popularity to have a swipe at him.

The net effect though is that those who made an issue out of Key's "gay red shirt" comment actually did more harm to the image of gay men than John Key did. For every action there is a reaction, and in this instance, the reaction was completely out of proportion to action.

The Farming Show is indeed a "blokey" type of radio programme. Host Jamie Mackay indulges in banter with his guests (who include Ele from Homepaddock) and his producer, and even those with no interest in farming are likely to be entertained. On that basis, Mackay and du Fresne are kindred spirits!

The Roy Morgan poll released yesterday showed a rebound in support for National. One can't help but wonder whether this storm in a teacup played a role, as others who are similarly inbued with common sense to du Fresne  expressed their opinion about the latest Much Ado About Nothing.


Edward the Confessor said...

Yeah, the Prime Minister should be able to use the term "gay" as a slur. THat's what leaders do! Anybody who complains about it is a poofta.

Bunk said...

No worse than Clarky calling John Campbell a creep- just think of all the journalists who sought counselling after that!

Lofty said...

No worse than the bully boy calling the attorney general "tinker bell" in our House of Representatives.

Keeping Stock said...

Check this out Edward:

   [gey] Show IPA
adjective gay·er, gay·est,
of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues: a gay organization.
having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music. Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful, happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively, vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful, jaunty, sprightly, blithe. Antonyms: serious, grave, solemn, joyless; staid, sedate; unhappy, morose, grim; sad, depressed, melancholy.
bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments. Synonyms: colorful, brilliant, vivid, intense, lustrous; glittering, theatrical, flamboyant. Antonyms: dull, drab, somber, lackluster; conservative.
Slang: Often Disparaging and Offensive . awkward, stupid, or bad; lame: This game is really gay.

Key's "gay red shirt" comment meets two of five definitions of the word "gay"; numbers 4 and 5. The homosexual meaning is but 20% of possible meanings of the word.

Cam Korda said...

Explaining is losing.

Cam Korda said...

Key called Beckham "Thick as ...shit." And he said it to a group of school-girls.
Very Prime Ministerial.
What an oaf.
Blokey-oaf though, aye!

Cam Korda said...

Imagine if Helen Clark had called Sir Colin Meads "thick as pig-shit" - we'd all be slapping each other on the back and congratulating ourselves on our down to earth Prime Minister, aye! And if she'd drawn her hand across her throat when Key was talking in the House, we'd be backing her, aye! That's how New Zealand Prime Ministers should behave, aye!

Tax and Spend said...

But Colin Meads isnt thick as bat shit.

Addy Ose said...

John Key and Sky City are thick as thieves!

Cam Corder said...

Tax and Spend - nobody said he was.
Key might though, if the school-girls look as though they'd thrill to that sort of talk.

Keeping Stock said...

Actually Cam Corder, I remember a McPhail and Gadsby skit way back in the day where they did a take-off of Pinetree with a fence post over his shoulder saying "Tanalised fence posts; they're nearly as thick as I am"

How times have changed; we used to be able to laugh at ourselves.

Cam Korda said...

Yes, KS.
Now our Prime Minister slags-of foreign football stars. What a dork he is. That's funny, aye, calling Key a dork, the kind of thing we did in the past and what Paul Henry still does, remember "Dik-shit"?
Bloody funny that.
Dik-shit! Dork!

Becks said...

But I am as thick as shit. Mr Key has done me a huge favour, now I understand why people snigger behind my back. I can get the help I need and divorce this crazy talentless woman who tells me she's the mother of my children.

Edward the Confessor said...

"No worse than the bully boy calling the attorney general "tinker bell" in our House of Representatives."

So Key's as bad as you think Mallard is, Lofty? Interesting you should think that. You're full of loathing for Mallard.

Bunk said...

Well pointed out Edvardo - Mallards personal attack on the Attorney General is much worse than Key criticizing someone's poor dress sense and pointing out the truth about an average over exposed footballer