Random Play by Graham Reid

Our people, today

So news readers rather than news makers are making the news. Again.
Frankly, if $800,000 is to be Judy Bailey’s salary then it is absolutely absurd. But if that’s what her people can negotiate, then good on them. Moet for breakfast I assume.

On National Radio this morning some civilians were saying that objections to Mrs Bailey’s salary came from people who were just envious. I agree. I for one am envious.

I wish I could negotiate that much money -- more than a dozen times what I am currently earning -- for reading words aloud that other people write. More fool me I am at the bottom of the totem pole just doing the scribbling. Still, there is a nobility down here where the women’s magazine never come crawling, and you never have to answer that fateful question: Tell us three things about yourself that we don’t know.

So good on you Judy. Spend wisely but often, our economy needs you. It’s the trickle-down theory.

What I find almost more objectionable than Mrs Bailey salary-for-syllables however is this constant reference to her as “the mother of the nation”, a phrase which is now used without any irony or humour. I would love to know who invented that one so I could hunt them down and, in the words of bro’Town, “kill you, and kill you again until you cry from your eyes”.

This “mother” thing conspires to elevate and asexualise, and make Mrs Bailey an emblem of motherhood. It makes her position unassailable and beyond criticism. Have a go at Judy and you are taking on some powerful emotions in the public consciousness because, well she’s just quite nice really and it isn’t fair to pick on nice people.

In other news about newsreaders, I swear that when I put up my last post I had no idea that very day TV3 would announce a new 7pm current affairs show fronted by John Campbell to go up against One and Prime. Just coincidence, but Campbell’s assertions about advocacy journalism had been much on my mind, especially after seeing one of the Queen’s Tour shows.

So will we be seeing some of that hard-hitting stuff in his new programme next year?

Let’s hope so, although his comments in the Sunday Star Times weren’t encouraging.

He and producer Carol Hirschfeld will reflect their love of contemporary New Zealand, he said, and that “the old conflict model is boring everyone shitless. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with celebrating things from time to time.”

Not at all. It’s nice to be nice sometimes.

So news readers have been making the news again, but if you were Kate or Eric or Paul (no, not that one, the other) or one of those who has just watched the gravy train pull out and left you on the platform you might be sorely miffed.

Not something that troubles most of us though.

We can’t afford the ticket, let alone the champagne in the dining car.