Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Winning the RWC: it's complicated

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Apocalypto...

    ...that it's about more than physicality

    ...hopefully it doesn't involve some sort
    of national psyche sacrifice - like,
    if we win, National gets back in?
    Oh the choices...
    We need a sign...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5061 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to 3410,

    More specifically, half of the Peoplemeter households? Whether they accurately represent the diversity of the NZ poulation is a moot point. I think not--most would have been tucked up in bed long before the game began.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2318 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Shand,

    Most people I know streamed the rugger from the internet ... does the internet get TV people metered?

    auck • Since Aug 2008 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver, in reply to izogi,

    I'm loving the World Cup - I've got my rugby mojo back! Hooray!

    I'll be a nervous wreck on Sunday though. Never underestimate the French - even tho they've been mostly shit so far this time.

    And can I also make a (slightly off-topic) point?

    It's fine for it to be culturally important and I enjoy seeing a good game too. I'm just not sure how healthy it is when the entire national mood, election outcomes, crime rates and particularly (so I hear) domestic violence fluctuate depending on whether a particular rugby team is having a good season.

    Domestic violence does not increase as a result of a team having a bad game or season. A bad game can be used as an excuse for domestic violence, but the abuse is always a choice made by the perpetrator. If his team hadn't lost, it would be that you burnt the dinner or looked at him funny. There's always a convenient excuse, and it's important to make that distinction.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 329 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    More specifically, half of the Peoplemeter households? Whether they accurately represent the diversity of the NZ poulation is a moot point. I think not–most would have been tucked up in bed long before the game began.

    And if you assume they do - well, anything that half the country turns out to watch *is* clearly something with a cultural impact. It doesn't have to impact every single person individually for that to be generally true.

    I've been really pleasantly surprised at how our weekend World Cup watching nights have turned into the social highlight of the week - our American friends come over, they laugh, they cry, they have a Steinlager, they practically decide to adopt Israel Dagg. It has, in a very serious way, been a really great opportunity to introduce them to New Zealand culture. And next week we get to do yet another part of the Traditional Kiwi Rugby-Watching Experience: the crucial game played at a god-awful hour of the early morning. It's gonna be ace.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • HackneyKiwi,

    I think that's true not only because the All Blacks are historically world-beaters at what they do, but because their success embodies a combination of virtues that speak to national character.

    Sure, that's all undoubtably true but the other side of that is we're often far too quick to beat ourselves up (or join others in beating us up) over what's perceived a an unhealthy obsession with the ABs.

    The domestic violence thing being a case in point. Seems it goes up whether they win or lose, and therefore it's really nothing to do with rugby but a lot to do with alcohol. I imagine the exact same pattern is repeated in Australia or the UK, for the same reason it's probably higher on a Saturday than a Tuesday, yet somehow we'll happily let ourselves be labelled as those crazy Kiwis who's national mood is entirely dependent on a sporting result.

    Living in the UK for a while I don't get the sense they're any less obsessed by football, the difference being is their national teams are often pretty rubbish. If England are ever reguarly the No1 football in the world you'll soon notice the levels of obsession are pretty similar.

    London • Since Oct 2011 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to webweaver,

    Domestic violence does not increase as a result of a team having a bad game or season. A bad game can be used as an excuse for domestic violence, but the abuse is always a choice made by the perpetrator.

    No argument whatsoever.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 433 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to HackneyKiwi,

    Living in the UK for a while I don't get the sense they're any less obsessed by football, the difference being is their national teams are often pretty rubbish.

    It's been interesting living in Australia for a while now and experiencing some differences. I'm sure there are complexities below the surface, but I've had the impression that whereas New Zealanders are sometimes ultra-obsessed specifically with rugby and seem to get overjoyed or depressed with some kind of correlation (or at least media portrayal might have you believe this), Australians are just ultra-obsessed with backing whichever sports team or individual happens to be winning at the time. Anyone who's having a bad day just gets shrugged off and ignored for a while because they're no fun to be around.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 433 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    but because their success embodies a combination of virtues that speak to national character.

    Hey I dont mind if people want to indulge in a bit of reflected glory, or as an excuse to party.
    But anything else is a real (as is said) "bit of a stretch".

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1230 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to izogi,

    I’m just not sure how healthy it is when the entire national mood, election outcomes, crime rates and particularly (so I hear) domestic violence fluctuate depending on whether a particular rugby team is having a good season

    I’m afraid whatever amphetamines the Herald’s sub-editors are putting in their coffee at any given moment don’t really signify when it comes to my “mood”. Last time round, I did a pretty sharp Public Address Radio piece when Anton Oliver compared the AB’s getting knocked out at Cardiff to the “stench of death” at Passendale. At the time, Russell (who was in the studio for the recording) asked “a bit harsh?”

    No, really I didn’t think so. And I probably wouldn’t have poured on the burn if, a few months before, our nation hadn’t been represented well by Helen Clark at Tyne Cot, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces from any war.

    Yes, I’m it was as disappointing for the AB’s as not winning the Man Booker was for Lloyd Jones, and I'm no stranger to hyperbolic over-enthusiasm. But damn...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Shand,

    Most people I know streamed the rugger from the internet … does the internet get TV people metered?

    Because they didn't have conventional TV sets? Or just didn't have aerials for their TV sets?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    Domestic violence does not increase as a result of a team having a bad game or season. A bad game can be used as an excuse for domestic violence, but the abuse is always a choice made by the perpetrator.

    No argument whatsoever.

    It does annoy me sometimes when people just declare it to be true that family violence spikes on the night a team loses, when the evidence is unclear.

    That said, the It's Not OK TV campaign began a two week re-run on Sunday evening.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to andin,

    but because their success embodies a combination of virtues that speak to national character.

    Hey I dont mind if people want to indulge in a bit of reflected glory, or as an excuse to party.
    But anything else is a real (as is said) “bit of a stretch”.

    I think I explained my point well enough, but feel free to disagree.

    I've written about the practical-creative thing before, at some length. It's a common characteristic of New Zealand achievement.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP,

    The science of superstition.

    Keith Quinn warns us via Teh Herald

    "Being overconfident could seep into the bones, into the psyche, of the nation and even the All Blacks."

    It's a funny thing this impression we have that what we do, as both individuals and a collective, could have an influence on the outcome of the game. Perhaps it could. The whole 'Weepu's got this' meme was a laugh, but did it start to play on his mind, increase his nervousness, and affect his game? Not as much as the passing of his Grandfather or the onset of the flu I would wager, but still, you never know.

    Then again it is this superstitious irrationality that stopped me posting Black Sabbath Iron Man on Sunday, had me telling the commentators to 'shuddup' every time Weepu was taking a kick, and is making me ridiculously nervous about the whole French resistance. (War analogy unintended). We should win this easily. But would I bet my house on it? Not today, but then I haven't read the astrological charts or consulted the cow so I'll have to get back to you.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2144 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It does annoy me sometimes when people just declare it to be true that family violence spikes on the night a team loses,

    Sorry, Russell. It seems I threw in a bad and hasty example and didn't intend to mis-lead. I really just meant to allude to how invested New Zealand is in this one sport.

    I don't believe for a second that most New Zealanders get unusually depressed or elated according to rugby fortunes, but people could be forgiven for thinking so. There's just so much infrastructure and investment throughout the media, heavy sponsorship, private companies, public entities, and constant reminders compared with any other sport or activity. It's great to enjoy a game, but when things are bad that juggernaut doesn't stop chugging.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 433 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Like+++

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2318 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to HackneyKiwi,

    Seems it goes up whether they win or lose, and therefore it's really nothing to do with rugby but a lot to do with alcohol.

    I don't have the reference but I read something reputable years ago that concluded family violence levels are actually higher when the supported team *wins*. And as you say that's likely to be a combination of basic emotional arousal and our immature relationship with booze and ourselves.

    Whether the game is signifcant to any one of us, it has certainly played a role in the country's culture (and not a uniformly helpful one by any means). The added corporate cheerleading has stuck in many a craw.

    the practical-creative thing

    Our old friend, number 8. Richard Florida has been mapping the concentration of different skill types in the US - and concluding that social ones are strengthened in larger cities.

    For centuries, the specific geographic advantages of cities tended to obscure their underlying social role. When agriculture powered economic development, cities grew near fertile soils. In the industrial age, access to raw materials and ports became critical, along with the presence of enough physical labor to run large factories. But as those factors become less important, we can see more clearly what has arguably mattered the most all along.

    Cities are our greatest invention, not because of the scale of their infrastructure or their placement along key trade routes, but because they enable human beings to combine and recombine their talents and ideas in new ways. With their breadth of skills, dense social networks, and physical spaces for interactions, great cities and metro areas push people together and increase the kinetic energy between them.

    As highly skilled people concentrate in these places, the rate of innovation accelerates, new businesses are created, and productivity—and, ultimately, pay—grows. Wages generally increase with city size, as opportunities for specialization and interaction multiply.

    He tangata, etc.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to izogi,

    I really just meant to allude to how invested New Zealand is in this one sport.

    Case in point: 40% of PAS is written around the RWC right now.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6269 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Better example - main TV news bulletins on both channels leading with 15 minutes of the latest game before the "other news".

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Case in point: 40% of PAS is written around the RWC right now.

    Yes, but it is the Rugby World Cup and it's happening in NZ right now, for the first time in 24 years. It's the biggest tournament of it's type that has ever happened here. It doesn't really reflect a love of rugby so much as an acknowledgement of a big event in a small country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It does annoy me sometimes when people just declare it to be true that family violence spikes on the night a team loses, when the evidence is unclear.

    Snopes summarises where these claims come from back in 1993 around Superbowl.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    And, as far as I can tell, all the Aussies want us to win. I'm pretty cool with that.

    Yes, it shows a kind of class that we could learn from.

    I'd go so far as to say that at this point, it seems like everyone except the French support the All Blacks.

    As for our mad levels of rugby support, I think it's more that kiwis are traditionally reserved and it's one of the few things that fires some of them up. People like to see that, it indicates that we're human, and gives an easy angle for a connection.

    Which turns into a feedback loop. When people want to project a relatively harmless national trait onto you, you often will just go with it - if it helps them to remember you, and gives them a reason to talk to you.

    I often felt in Australia that the projection of me being mad about rugby was their way of dealing with the insane level of obsession they have about sport. It made me like them, to think of me reading the sports column in the paper, scouring for the rugby, or sitting up late at night watching the Super 12 (or whatever number it is now), or going out to kick a rugby ball in the park with my kids. The fact that I did none of these things, and only ever watch the All Blacks, and then only in the big games, didn't stop them, even when the most casual questioning would elicit that I didn't know who the players in the team were, where they were touring, who they had played recently, etc.

    The idea that my actual sporting obsession was playing it, and that I spent upwards of 6 hours a week doing that, and a further 6 hanging out with my sporting mates, was lost on them. It didn't compute that a 30 year old computer programmer was a talented athlete who didn't get much of a buzz talking to middle aged fat guys about how Collingwood were doing this season. To find that I actually did give a flicker of a fuck about the All Blacks solved the enigma (they thought).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8592 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to izogi,

    Sorry, Russell. It seems I threw in a bad and hasty example and didn't intend to mis-lead. I really just meant to allude to how invested New Zealand is in this one sport.

    No probs -- I didn't mean you! But there is a tendency to declare that men beat their wives when the All Blacks lose, even when it's not clear that actually happens -- although the risk of family violence clearly rises at times when alcohol is consumed: see Christmas.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Case in point: 40% of PAS is written around the RWC right now.

    Yes, but it is the Rugby World Cup and it’s happening in NZ right now, for the first time in 24 years. It’s the biggest tournament of it’s type that has ever happened here. It doesn’t really reflect a love of rugby so much as an acknowledgement of a big event in a small country.

    And it’s interesting in so many ways. This has been a very significant time for Auckland; lots of projects have have come in to meet the deadline posed by the tournament itself. I'm fascinated by it all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18969 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    a talented athlete

    is there any other sort? :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

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