Posts by Tom Semmens

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  • Hard News: How about that cricket, eh?,

    This has been quite a different sort of tournament from a rugby world cup.

    The All Blacks go into world cups with the burden of the expectation of the nation they will be victorious, baring their being undone by unspeakable acts of perfidy by dark combinations or being guilty of a gross dereliction of duty.

    The Black Caps on the other hand are in a tournament where any one of four teams could win it and on their day any one of six or seven teams are capable of an upset. In a sense, this is much more like a soccer world cup where there are several genuine contenders and each step along the path is all the sweeter until the final sugar rush of the final.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    There’s still a massive gulf between broadcast and online audiences.

    I would bet a Jamie Curry youtube video is viewed by a bigger audience than the X Factor, and she has never received one red cent of taxpayer's money.

    Maybe she should? She is funny, engaging, and very, very New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement, in reply to dcrobertson01,

    Clarkson might have the "she has got a moustache" brigade rallying to his cause, but in the UK itself as far as I can tell everyone who counts from right to left in the political spectrum basically think he's cooked his own goose. It is impossible to defend someone (or criticise his employer for suspending him) who engaged in an unreasonable, drunken workplace physical and verbal assault, especially when that person was on his last warning.

    My pop-psychology theory is Clarkson is burnt out and bored of the show and is (sub-consciously?) pushing the boundaries to see how much it takes to get himself sacked.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Villainy and engagement,

    I like the UK MasterChef, because it is a reality TV show that doesn’t forget it is about cooking. Apparently, the Australian version, which I stopped watching when it turned into a soap opera targeted at high school kids, suffered a big ratings drop until it also returned to its knitting and re-focussed on food last season. I reckon reality TV comes in three flavours. I guess that for a large chunk of the audience reality TV is acceptable as long as it subordinates the soap opera to the ostensible objective of the show. I call this “highbrow” reality TV, be it (in the granddaddy of them all for reality TV) the Antiques Roadshow or talent shows or cooking or models or Naked and Afraid (I have a weakness for that show) or gold mining in Alaska or whatever. The next step down is “celebrity” reality TV, which the E! channel basically is, which again only works as long as it is more about the frocks and being famous and fabulous than being nasty, cruel and (fatal in America) snobby. Then there is the “real trash” – TOWIE, Geordie Shore (both nothing more than an extended sneer of British class snobbery), Big Brother, The Batchelor/ette – that is always going to rely on audience manipulation, psychological cruelty, stupidity and exploitation as the engines that drive there dramatic arc (such as they are).

    Moon and Kills made the mistake of taking “highbrow” reality TV, with its feel-good pretence that it really is about unearthing bew talent, and taking the show down to the level of the “real trash”. They were told to be cruel, but only in the “being cruel to be kind” and “this is hurting me more than it is hurting you” fake sincerity way that Simon Cowell has got down pat. There were sincerely cruel, and being real on reality TV is fatal.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rugby has a problem,

    There’s the odd clip of old amateur-rules rugby on youtube, it’s a great game

    Rugby could have evolved in an entirely different direction. It used to be a much, much more kicking game – you could kick out on the full from anywhere and get the territorial advantage AND the throw in! The game was positional, about kicking to using the pack to set up shots at goal. It isn’t to imagine a counter factual where rugby ended up looking a bit like Aussie Rules.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Rugby has a problem,

    The Blues have had around seven coaches in the last 15 years. No one can coach effectively in what has become the least professional of the NZ franchises. It is corrupt organisation, if you define corruption as riddled with patronage, nepotism, jobs for the boys, and elitism of the unearned sort. Take the Blue’s “Auckland Rugby’s High Performance Academy” AKA talent spotting and recruitment. It has been a miserable failure for years (Fekitoa, anyone?), yet key staff keep their jobs without quibble presumably because they are old boys of the right schools and they needed a job back in the day. Any decent organisation with the Blues money buying power would have fired the lot of them years ago and head-hunted a decent NRL guy for the job.

    Personally, I don’t think there is much wrong with the game. There is just to much of it, and familiarity is breeding contempt. When I was a wee lad, the representative season started around Queen’s Birthday, you were lucky if the All Blacks played four home games and everyone started breaking out the summer sports gear after Labour Weekend. People were gagging for some rep footy by June, and keenly looking forward to next year by Xmas. Nowadays, in NZ rugby is massively over-exposed, going for about ten months most years. No one is interested in rugby in February, especially in 2015’s endless golden summer, world cup year, and when the last season only ended just before Xmas. Add onto that a proper cricket program and the sort of crap the Blues are dishing up and of course no one will go. The problem is the NZRFU needs all the money it can get, or the hollowing out of the player base will just get worse. Personally, I think they are getting close to killing the golden goose with a big drop off in interest in everything except the All Blacks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    I see Key is going to the cricket together on Saturday, presumably so his presence may steady the boys. John key is surely a parody of Henry Newbolt.

    There’s a breathless hush in Zealandia to-night—
    Ten to make and the match to win—
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
    But his Prime ministers hand on his shoulder smote
    “get some guts! get some guts! and play the game!”

    The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
    Red with the wreck of a deployment that broke;—
    The Hummer’s destroyed and the SAS dead,
    And the veterans maimed from shrapnel and bomb.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And Zealandia’s far, and Honour a name,
    But the refrain of the prime minister rallies the ranks:
    “get some guts! get some guts! and play the game!”

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    Sunni, Shia and Kurds harmoniously sharing power and working together in Iraq.

    John Key forgot to add “and ponies for everyone”.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why all the fuss over six trees?,

    There is certainly a sense among many commentators that unelected officials have been given far too much power…

    Welcome to the neo-liberal state. Rodney Hide didn’t create the CCO abominations for them to be democratically accountable and consultative organisations working with the people of Auckland, they were created to be gift-wrapped privatisation presents for the rapacious Auckland business class.

    And if you haven’t noticed that centralised authoritarian solutions to problems is pretty much the Key government’s solution to any problem created by alternative values or thinking, then you’ve been asleep for seven years.

    It’ll be the same with the RMA reforms – They’ll get rammed through, a compliant media will talk about couples bonking in public and in a year everyone will sit around wailing about how powerless they are to stop a Chinese corporation building a mega-resort at Cathedral cove, and wondering why that nice Mr. Key could possibly have let it happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Works in progress,

    Physical separation by a barrier is better but cycling lanes that are just marked are still a good start. Where they occur I’d usually rather have them than not have anything.

    I agree, separation can be as simple as a line of those orange knock down lane marker thingies with the reflectors on them stuck every 5-10m on the traffic side of the painted cycle way.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1870 posts Report Reply

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