Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hair today, gone tomorrow

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My father had a wicked sense of humour. Literally. His great party trick was to pinch women’s bottoms. Not that they ever knew it was him. He would wait until another male was strategically placed behind his victim then he would lean over and surreptitiously pinch the derriere, look the other way and swiftly walk off. As a youngster I saw this happen often and was full of admiration for my wayward pater. The perpetratee would inevitably swing round and naturally blame the man directly behind her.

There were as far as I remember three possible reactions. The lady would laugh, frown or tell-off the nonplussed and entirely innocent non-offender. Through my rose coloured glasses of the time my memory is that on most occasions they weren’t that annoyed. But then again that was a different era; a time when the hand that rocked the cradle ruled the world, women were chaste and a bottom pinch was often viewed as a bit of fun.

Fast forward fifty years and if my father was the Prime Minister today he would no doubt be hung, drawn and quartered.

Oh how I long for the good old days.

Here’s what we know about the beat-up that dominated the news last week by a sensation-seeking media intent on ensuring John Key doesn’t get a fourth term. The incident(s) took place some time ago. The complainant did not go to her employers at the time or subsequently, but decided instead to wait a while and then relate the tale to extreme left wing blogger Martyn Bradbury. The couple she worked for told the New Zealand Herald that she had “strong political views”. John Key had recognised her distress, and had apologised and given her two bottles of wine.

But today we exist in a culture of victimhood which is taking on a sanctity all of its own. You must not touch or tug a woman’s hair in case she suffers for ever and ever. This looks like an instance of “convenient offence” because it suits the offendees own agenda. As a result it undermines deserving cases of discrimination and abuse.

I see the actions of the prime minister as being silly, and he himself has admitted it was foolish. And to be fair there was a power imbalance here, as there often is between a man and a woman and certainly there was in this instance between the most powerful man in New Zealand and a waitress.

My own attitude comes of course from being of the male gender and we often totally misunderstand the hurt caused to the female of the species when they consider their bodies are being violated. Too late I’m afraid to point this out to my father.

And so an annoying hair-tugging event, meant to be playful, but made out to be the crime of the century, may be just that if you are on the receiving end of the offence.

Compare this however to events that occurred when the election campaign was on. Key had to suffer death threats, rants made at him by an unruly mob chanting “F…John Key” egged on by a dubious German, effigies of him burnt, slurs made about his daughter and the lead singer in a popular counter-culture band talking about raping his daughter and his son during an interview on National Radio.

There was little sympathy for these actions at the time with some politicians actually encouraging that sort of violent and threatening behaviour.

Key’s widely-publicised misdemeanour took place in a public cafe full of patrons when he was visiting for a cup of coffee with his wife at his side. The luvvies from the left were so incensed that Laila Harre wrote that the Prime Minister’s antics were akin to those of serial sex offender and paedophile Rolf Harris.

More than a slight exaggeration, surely?

The real political story of the week was the Roy Morgan poll out last Thursday that showed Labour’s popularity had dropped 3.5 percentage points to be at just 27.5 percent. Ironically Labour has always claimed that the Roy Morgan polls are the most accurate. Their strategists will be looking askance at Andrew Little who has all but disappeared off the radar of late and will be wondering if they haven’t made another regrettable leadership choice.

This information was largely ignored by the news media as they continued day after day with a pointless crusade against Key with some opposition members even calling for him to stand down.

Key should take coffee and cake at home.

“The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” - H. L. Mencken


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