Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Swine flu, terror and Susan Boyle

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  • Angus Robertson,

    so we cannot call someone a murderer until they're convicted, ergo we cannot yet call it a murder

    We are entilted to make accusations of murder, for sure the guy who shot Tiller could sue us for slander but his burden of proof is going to be kind of difficult to overcome.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    I guess strictly speaking it should be 'homicide'. More to the point, isn't derailing a discussion by harping on narrow legal definitions called 'trolling?'

    And Brickley: Just because the New Zealand government decided not to define something so that they can maintain an arm of violence against the populace without implicating themselves in it doesn't mean that we can't possibly have a definition for the thing. In this case, the use of violence to inspire fear in a population to achieve political or other ideological ends seems perfectly useful, and decidedly applicable to this situation.

    With you on Susan Boyle, though. What a terribly boring episode in the history of entertainment.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It is interesting the different cultural constructs we have create that allow us to kill.

    That's drawing a very long bow indeed. I'm not aware that it has been suggested at any time that the policeman deliberately killed Naitoko. It's not a "cultural construct", it's a completely different series of events.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    "deliberately killed" = cultural construct

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1147 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    We are entilted to make accusations of murder, for sure the guy who shot Tiller could sue us for slander but his burden of proof is going to be kind of difficult to overcome.

    Sub-judice doesn't apply in this case. The US doesn't recognise the doctrine, and the matter's not before the NZ courts. So slander away, my good man! (or, more accurately, libel away!)

    Yorke of The Atatu • Since Feb 2009 • 791 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Obama selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor should be interesting, choice hangs in the balance on the Supreme Court, the last two major choice-related cases were decided by a 5-to-4 margin.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Doesn't first year law get harder at some point soon? Somebody needs their time occupying...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4501 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I often think that I will go off on a big rant about the greatness of certain parts of 'reality' television during these discussions. There are often pure, crazed moments of utter surprise and weirdness - a little kid pulling a face, the strange machinations of groups of people trying to assert power over each other - that keep me watching.

    But there isn't any point to my rant, because everyone who watches 'reality television' is stupid, and all the shows are crap. I keep being told this, over and over, so it must be true.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3665 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    There is no definition of it, that's my point.....I still don't like the word 'terrorism' because it really doesn't have an accepted definition.

    No definitions?

    Here's two.

    If you're going to get all pedantic about a strict definition of 'murder', then you should probably be as picky about unequivocally stating that there are no definitions of 'terrorism'.

    Sauce for the goose and all that.

    Now, if you meant that there is no strict legal definition, or that it is a term that is, in a legal sense, difficult to define, then you might have a point, and the Wikipedia article acknowledges that.

    However, as both definitions broadly state that terrorism is either: 'the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes', or that it is 'a policy or ideology of violence intended to intimidate or cause terror for the purpose of exerting pressure on decision making by state bodies', and this example clearly fits easily within either of those definitions, I don't really see what there is to argue about.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    One thing I don’t get about Boyle story is that she’s meant to have been entering such (presumably smaller) competitions for 10 years.

    Surely she’d have done quite well in them?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    "deliberately killed" = cultural construct

    I'm sorry, you've completely lost me there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    But there isn't any point to my rant, because everyone who watches 'reality television' is stupid, and all the shows are crap. I keep being told this, over and over, so it must be true.

    May I reassure you Danielle, that you certainly aren't! "Reality TV" is one of those lazy descriptions used to dismiss a huge range of television sub-genres--from Pioneer House to NZ's Next Top Model.


    As far as Susan Boyle is concerned, I think it is much less to do with television than the venial and vile red-top British press, (The Sun in particular) who once again are displaying their finely-honed hypocrisy.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2345 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    As far as Susan Boyle is concerned, I think it is much less to do with television than the venial and vile red-top British press, (The Sun in particular) who once again are displaying their finely-honed hypocrisy.

    I think so. The Sun got wind that she was cracking under the pressure and made a cold decision to try and get a story out of further traumatising her.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Geoff, most thinking people who talk about reality TV are not thinking about Time Team or The Antiques RoadShow. They are thinking about Survivor or those silly ones where a bunch of ignorant egotists are stuck in a house or on an island forever. The difference is one sort is all about the excruciating banality of the ordinary and the exploitation of fools for a voyeuristic audience only one step removed from the baying mobs of the Roman circus and one sort isn't.

    "Reality" TV is an oxymoron. Any reality is edited out. It is cheap, manipulative TV for stupid people who get given what they deserve. It mostly burns off anyone one with a brain.

    The amount of "reality" TV that most people have been subjected to over the last decade or more amounts to exercise in mind warping that has completely skewed people's values. The reason why TV news resembles the E channel is because people are now convinced the Susan Boyle is as important as the budget or an act of terrorism.

    A quote I read over at Steve Price's blog that seems appropriate here:

    From the third season of Northern Exposure:

    Maurice Minnifield (local magnate and Cicely’s newspaper proprietor): You give ‘em what they want. That’s the role of journalism.

    Joel Fleishman: No, Maurice, that’s the role of professional wrestling

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1825 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Our own Terrorism Suppression Act doesn't define it. In fact, I think it repealed a provision that had previously defined it.

    I call bollocks.

    5. Terrorist act defined

    An act is a terrorist act for the purposes of this Act if—
    (a) the act falls within subsection (2); or
    (b) the act is an act against a specified terrorism convention (as defined in section 4(1)); or
    (c) the act is a terrorist act in armed conflict (as defined in section 4(1)).

    (2) An act falls within this subsection if it is intended to cause, in any 1 or more countries, 1 or more of the outcomes specified in subsection (3), and is carried out for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause, and with the following intention:
    (a) to induce terror in a civilian population; or
    (b) to unduly compel or to force a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.

    (3) The outcomes referred to in subsection (2) are—
    (a) the death of, or other serious bodily injury to, 1 or more persons (other than a person carrying out the act):
    (b) a serious risk to the health or safety of a population:
    (c) destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss, or major environmental damage, if likely to result in 1 or more outcomes specified in paragraphs (a), (b), and (d):
    (d) serious interference with, or serious disruption to, an infrastructure facility, if likely to endanger human life:
    (e) introduction or release of a disease-bearing organism, if likely to devastate the national economy of a country.

    (4) However, an act does not fall within subsection (2) if it occurs in a situation of armed conflict and is, at the time and in the place that it occurs, in accordance with rules of international law applicable to the conflict.

    (5) To avoid doubt, the fact that a person engages in any protest, advocacy, or dissent, or engages in any strike, lockout, or other industrial action, is not, by itself, a sufficient basis for inferring that the person—
    (a) is carrying out an act for a purpose, or with an intention, specified in subsection (2); or
    (b) intends to cause an outcome specified in subsection (3).

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    "Reality" TV is an oxymoron. Any reality is edited out. It is cheap, manipulative TV for stupid people who get given what they deserve. It mostly burns off anyone one with a brain.

    I'd just like to say that I'm not offended in the slightest by your comments.

    Because obviously, as a person who occasionally watches 'reality TV', I'm too stupid to realise what it is and enjoy it anyway, without having my brain burnt off.

    (Danielle is likewise afflicted by lack of brains, so won't be offended either).

    Since Nov 2006 • 6227 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    But there isn't any point to my rant, because everyone who watches 'reality television' is stupid, and all the shows are crap. I keep being told this, over and over, so it must be true.

    On the contrary: I find that I cannot watch more than two minutes of reality television without reaching for a spoon with which to gouge my eyes out, but find the fact that so many intelligent people dig it to be quite sobering. I'll accept it's something I don't see (especially after the gouging, obviously.)

    That said, I agree it's a misnomer and, when directed to the Susan Boyle clip by this very blog, I found the very badly acted fake surprise to be quite revolting, and the whole piece nothing but manipulative.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    That said, I agree it's a misnomer and, when directed to the Susan Boyle clip by this very blog, I found the very badly acted fake surprise to be quite revolting, and the whole piece nothing but manipulative

    Well said.

    There is just something so contrived about the story, and the dramatically simplistic way it’s been reported (and not only by the Red Tops).

    From village dwelling recluse to Scotland’s answer to Amy Winehouse within a month.

    Wow

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'll accept it's something I don't see (especially after the gouging, obviously.)

    Phew. Otherwise I'd have been faced with preventing my darling watching Project Runway, for the sake of her, um, brain.

    Truth is, I think quite a few people know very well what "non-scripted drama" (as it's called in the industry) is. Personally, I can't for the life of me understand what the interest is in the likes of Survivor or The Apprentice -- they seem dull and nasty -- but I accept that decent people can actually enjoy them.

    That said, I agree it's a misnomer and, when directed to the Susan Boyle clip by this very blog, I found the very badly acted fake surprise to be quite revolting, and the whole piece nothing but manipulative.

    Yes, but they did the same thing every week -- selective editing, the set-up of expectations -- and they didn't procure anything like the same result. At its heart, Boyle's story was actually real, and she has been trying to get in to these competitions for years.

    As I noted above, the producers are not so clever that they can actually stage a global YouTube phenomenon (if they'd been expecting that, ITV wouldn't have been caught short without a YouTube channel), or get a British talent show contestant on Oprah.

    There have been TV talent shows forever. They just haven't been quite as scary as this one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Re Susan Boyle. I see this as an example of exploitation of disabled people, possibly the modern equivalent of the freak shows of the past. She appears to be a nice ordinary person with a learning disability (or a mild intellectual impairment) with a particular ability in singing. She should have had staunch supporters - caring professionals - with her throughout this whole process to keep her safe from the media and the international fuss, and support her at all times. The stress was inevitable, particularly for someone as vulnerable as her, once the 'celebrity' thing and the wolves got her.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2169 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    "Reality" TV is an oxymoron. Any reality is edited out. It is cheap, manipulative TV for stupid people who get given what they deserve. It mostly burns off anyone one with a brain.

    I take it you never watch sports on TV, then ?

    If sports is the study of humans under pressure, surely this would cover most reality TV shows. Reality TV shows, like drama and sports shows, are about conflict.

    I really don't see watching reality TV as being very different from watching a sports telecast. Sure, you have a lot more context with a sport (you know more about the rules, and more about teams and their current form), but other than that you are watching because you like the context and you want to see how the conflict resolves itself.

    Me, I've better things to do than watch reality TV, but I certainly find people who sneer at reality TV, yet watch sports TV, are perhaps being somewhat inconsistent.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 461 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    She should have had staunch supporters - caring professionals - with her throughout this whole process to keep her safe from the media and the international fuss, and support her at all times.

    I suspect they know that now, but, again, no one could have predicted that her story would go so big, so quickly.

    The stress was inevitable, particularly for someone as vulnerable as her, once the 'celebrity' thing and the wolves got her.

    It seems that the incidents that set The Sun on its path were really relatively minor. The Sun's decision to pursue them was just frightening.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I really don't see watching reality TV as being very different from watching a sports telecast.

    I was about to make the same comparison, but you've saved me the trouble.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    By the sounds of things, the world's getting closer to the Running Man than we think.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    As I noted above, the producers are not so clever that they can actually stage a global YouTube phenomenon (if they'd been expecting that, ITV wouldn't have been caught short without a YouTube channel), or get a British talent show contestant on Oprah.

    No, but every once in a long long while surely they are bound to get lucky. I'm not denying that Susan Boyle herself is a genuine contestant in such talent shows, but her transparency doesn't make the spectacle itself any less manipulative. Or fraught with danger for somebody like her.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7412 posts Report Reply

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