Random Play by Graham Reid

Oh, what a tangled Web we weave . . .

A few weeks ago my website was mentioned in a dispatch by a columnist in a Sunday paper. Not favourably of course, but more of that later . . .

First, a follow-up to my last post on Mr David Benson-Pope and the spin he was putting on the matters beleaguering him.

The response to what I wrote was overwhelmingly of the “damn right” kind, and it was interesting to note the number of former teachers and those still at the whiteboard’n’overhead projector who were resounding in their condemnation of this man’s actions.

And let us be clear here: not one person who responded mentioned the “allegations”.

Everyone -- without exception -- was commenting on the man’s evasions in the House.

The consensus on the issue of whether he would have remembered the complaints or not -- as opposed to what he said he didn‘t remember -- was along the lines, “Oh c’mon! Of course you remember such things“.

To say otherwise is to admit to Alzheimer’s or worse, to be a liar.

The consensus was that Mr Benson-Pope was a liar. That he remembered all right.

There was one, just one, respondent who advanced the line that like, “every other pointless commentator” I had now had my say, but really, “Who cares?”

He added -- after some analogies about worse things like Muslims blowing each other up, schools short of money and lack of treatment for heart patients -- that all these politicians (he mentioned Rodney Hide by name) play fast and loose with the truth.

Maybe that’s a point, but this was my white-heat, intemperate, poorly spelled and woefully punctuated reply:

“Well obviously i care and i have never bought that spurious argument that we shouldn't worry about something because there are all these other problems
which are much worse. to me that smacks of cynical indifference because you can just say 'oh that's not so bad, what about . . ."

okay you are right, muslims are blowing each other up so ....?obviously you think that is more important so what are you doing about that?

i have previously written about muslims under siege in thailand (no one talks about that one huh? and if their PM goes down which is looking likely then who knows what will happen there, and what will happen to our cheap holiday playground if the besieged muslims in the southern provinces say 'we ain't gonna take it any more) i have also written about korea and various other topics which i guess you think might be more wortthy than B-P. but i think there is quite a lot at stake with B-P.

are you so cynical as to accept that your elected representatives will play fast and loose with the truth? ie you expect them to lie? sad day mate, unless you hold these people to account for their actions. remember, watergate began with a bungled burglary and the first world war
started after some little know archduke was shot by a disgruntled disident. so it's sometimes a little hard to say 'well that ain't important, this thing over here is much more so'
i had my say on this one because i felt i had some personal experience in the teaching realm -- and the feedback from teachers to me has ben 'damn right' this guy is bringing is into disrepute and he KNEW what went on.' so there you go, there's my pointless reply.”

Hilariously absurd response I know (World War I! Must have been the schnapps!)

Since then things in the Benson-Pope “saga” -- and have we redefined saga to mean about a week? -- have spiralled into control.

The man did what all politicians and celebs do in such circumstances -- he appeared with the wife and kids Tamihere-style to engender sympathy and divert attention -- and finally did a couple of carefully calculated interviews. The media dutifully covered all this.

Jesus! I don’t want to sound like the Council of Elders who wanted to turn television back to the days of Close to Home and I Love Lucy, but where was the hard-boiled cynicism that journalists pride themselves on?

Otherwise sensible columnists took their eye off the ball and weighed in saying there had been a media beat-up and to leave the guy alone. (??) Then letters to the editors said much the same: like, these allegations happened a long time ago and things were different in schools back then.


My reply to that -- and to all those who say these are “historic allegations“, or whatever bullshit code words politicians and social workers use for things which have happened in the past -- was simple.

If you want to focus on those allegations -- which I don’t -- then okay, let’s do it.

This last lot didn’t happen in the 60s -- although Mr B-P does look like he’s stepped out of that blazer and bamboo cane era. They happened in the very late 90s. We had decimal currency then, folks.

These are not ancient things being hauled up, not things beyond human recall. Shortland St was on the telly. Had been for five years!

Aaaaanyway, that was not the line I went down.

My point was simply this: Mr B-P said in the House he was not aware of any complaints against him when he was a teacher.

Well, that’s a position impossible to maintain. (Unless he is going for the Alzheimers Defence and then he and we have a whole other problem on our hands).

Nope, I stand by what I said. I don’t believe him. He knew. He didn’t tell the truth to the House. He lied. To you. To me.

Other politicians have rightly paid the price for that.

But in a footnote I have to say I was amused that he managed to pull this line at the end of last week and not one single interviewer, inquisitor or columnist that I was aware of questioned it: He said that it seemed to all depend on the interpretation of the word “complaint”.

Actually, no it didn’t. It depended on HIS interpretation of “not aware”.

Think about the consequences of that defence.

Righto, finished with him.

He’s going to survive -- nice those folks in his electorate weighed in his side, the subtext of which is, ‘We are comfortable with the fact our MP lies’.

We will all be the richer for Mr B-P’s presence in the House. Punchlines for months to come.

Back now to the Sunday paper columnist and my website .

The gist of the column if you didn’t see it was that people create personal websites for self-aggrandisement and to get the love and respect they don’t get from the real world.

It’s an interesting point and one that I don’t entirely disagree with.

I’m not going to leap to my own defence -- I am of the old school of “never explain and never complain” -- but am only going to say that nothing on my website is fabricated or untrue.

(Although maybe that rests on your interpretation of the word “not“ and mine on the word “untrue?” Ho-ho!)

Nope. My website is what it is.

Although more truthfully, it was what it was.

The whole shooting works has undergone a major overhaul and my sincere thanks go to Daniel of interactivepulse.co.nz who has done the upgrade and added the additional stories, music, pages of witty anecdotes and photographs and so on.

There is small tweaking to do -- Dan is looking at the compression and looping of the music my son AB and his friend Troy did to make it sound as they recorded it -- but it should be there for your consideration about now. Or tomorrow. Update: it's done!

But as Mr Benson-Pope, Bob Dylan and poor bastards like me who live a leaky building know only too well ........ tomorrow is a long long time.

I’m quite excited about the possibilities Dan has made available and am promising weekly updates of amusements and information. I hope it is enjoyable and/or informative. Or just a diversion when you have downtime in the office.

Righto, I’m off to fill in the Census form (dunno why, I’ve never seen any evidence of forward planning in this country, have you?)

But I think I might put myself down as a “New Zealander”.

Just to piss off liberals and make bar conversations or dinner parties more volatile.

I wonder, why don’t they have a category for, “From Elsewhere“?