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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trotter Apologises for the Left

Foreward: I don't usually go for "attack" blogging. I have a general belief that consensus is built on well reasoned argument and earnest discussion. Trying to hammer someones beliefs to mirror your own doesn't work and only inspires a more staunch position from your opponent. However, certain comments from other blogs have goaded me into coming off the sidelines. I don't feel good about it but I like the comments, tone and thoughtlessness even less.

I admire Chris Trotter. You only have to read his commentaries in a range of publications nation wide or his blog to understand that he is well educated, a historian and can argue his case really well. And he uses words that are really big. I mean, massive! When I put the words into the online dictionary, you can physically hear the internet groan with the effort of trying to remember what these words mean. So when Chris throws out an article entitled "Oh, for a Well Mannered Left", I take notice.

The essence of his article, if I understood the definitions of some of the heavier words correctly, is that the Right has the ability to be courteous, magnanimous and generous in places because the right has it all already. They are the ones who have the power, the money, the education and the wherewithal. The Left, by and large, is a product of it's history: aggressive, combative, sometimes rude and in your face and generally a great deal more unruly due to the proletariat nature of its uprising (I can use big words too). Chris and I have even debated the nature of this before here and here. Ah, the good times.

But sometimes the Left just pushes it too far.

I've been lucky enough to have been, by sheer coincidence, not among the rubble last Tuesday in Christchurch. The site that I was working on was shut down on the Monday due to concerns about it's stability. When I was in there on the Wednesday just after, the places was a mass of bricks and splintered wood about 2 feet high. I also choose to live on a farmlet just outside Christchurch that is solid, has it's own well and has missed the predication's of the Earthquake that has razed my city and left thousands displaced. For the immediate week afterward, I was working night shifts with Civil Defense shoring up buildings and removing hazards to allow the USAR teams to do their job. It's been rewarding to help with the skills I have available and awful in its scope to see first hand the results of the "Earth Fart". I've enjoyed blogging as a relief from that work but to see the medium twisted in such a way and when people start to use the the situation to further their own agenda, I get pretty steamed.

The Standard has led the way in this.Cactus Kate has called them on it here, Inventory 2  and David Farrar at Kiwiblog has similarly joined the fray. And they're right. Marty G has outdone himself in restraining the impulse to be quietly humanistic however the opportunity has got to him and his fellow commentators to put the boot in with no thought for whats happening on the ground. Normally this is the cry from the left - that the rich bastards in power with the neo-conservative agenda ignore the plight of the average man, woman and child on the street.

A great example of this was Marty's post Shock Doctrine. He can't resist the temptation to politicize the event to spew forth a bunch of assertions, guesses and plain fantasy based on no evidence whatsoever. They are the Ken Ring's of blogging - jumping around, arms waving, scaring people into agreeing with them (bully tactics when you think about it) with no evidence or logic to back it up at all! Christ, even the book from which his post is derived is not exactly known for its rationality, balance and well reasoned argument (MacDoctor takes the book to task in this piece).

Similarly, two days after the quake, the bully boys went to work with a post entitled "Rebuilding" that had no other purpose than to try and slay the bloke who has been gifted the lucky job of overseeing the work at a macro level. Well done, lads! What a way to get behind the guys on the ground. What a way to get behind the country.

And it's not just the Standard bloggers and commentators. The eponymous and unique Greenfly/Village Idiot/robertguyton can't resist a swipe from the sidelines either at Keeping Stock.  His own brand of logic and reason is some of the best examples from the blogosphere as to why the left struggles to hard.

This country was built with egalitarianism as one of its core values. When push came to shove, you could depend on your worst enemy to drop tools and give you a hand when you really needed it! The stories that have come out of the city in the hours and days after the event, the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things has been amazing. It didn't matter what colour collar you wore. It didn't matter what ideology you follow. We were in the shit and we were just people helping other people. And thats a truer socialism that the gents over at the Standard don't seem to understand.

I am not saying that all are like this. I'm not saying it has been constantly like this. Many over at the Standard have been the most strident in gifting help, support and information. Likewise, some wacky Righties have been upholding their reputations as complete morons. And I do believe that it's right to talk about things like how we are going to respond, rebuild and how to pay for it.

But to lash out when there are people's bodies not yet cold, to bark from the soapbox when people are trying to get a handle on the situation, to lacerate the leaders when no one has had a chance to give it a go yet - well, thats just cold. And disrespectful. And Chris is right to apologise on your behalf.

Chris ends his piece with the following:

"I can’t help thinking that the revolution would come a lot sooner if the Left set about achieving its own radical objectives with its conservative opponents’ infinitely better manners."

 I can't help but agree. If you've gotta problem with that boys, get down here, I'll put a shovel and a hammer in your hands and we'll have a yak about it.

Update: Now they've mad the Whale mad too. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

With the greatest respect to Auckland...........

.....I'm glad Len Brown didn't sing solo at todays memorial service.

We've all suffered enough.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Help Needed!


Please help these guys keep flying. They are flying in food to Christchurch residents who have none. For some, it is the only hot food they have had.

But they are running short on money to pay for fuel for the choppers. Help keep them in the air by donating to the effort.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Surreal is an overused word these days.

If someone uses the word "surreal" again, chances are that I will nod affirmation, and quietly and intently survey my boots.  Not because I've discovered second hand Wrigley's clinging to the toecap or that I haven't cleaned them in an awfully long time (read: never) but because I don't want to snap and say "Of course it's bloody surreal. Do you think you're the first person to say that?"

It's 5am. I've had a few hours sleep and everything seems a wee bit dreamlike. Everytime I look at the telly, disbelief rises. Surely this is footage cobbled together from 9\11 and Haiti - not Christchurch. Stuff.co.nz reports 113 dead - it is just a number. Until I see a picture of one of them; a woman I used to work with who was in the CTV  building.

Reality and sur-reality seamlessly fade in and out and you are never quite sure where you are one minute to the next. Text messages that were sent days ago arrive at times. These are replies to messages frantically sent in the minutes and hours immediately after the event and time and technology mean that they are only getting through now. You feel a bit guilty when someone replies and you realise that you had forgotten that you'd text them at all.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to help out. Twice I've been called in and both times gives you an opportunity to ground yourself (a silly expression given the circumstances) in work - good, hard, physical work. Sometimes you look up and around but it's best to keep going and focus on the job at hand because the word "surreal" just doesn't begin to cover it. It's at times like these, when you stop and take a moment that it hits home what a strange place we live in.

A week ago, we would have said "Oh gosh but the September 4 quake was awful !" We didn't really know what awful was and now a great many of us feel naive. Our city was tested in that first quake but the fabric remained. Now, that fabric has been well and truly shredded, cut and burned. The security blanket that was Christchurch as we know it has been ripped away and people now walk around with that dazed look that only the self medicated seem to enjoy.

Perhaps I need to rein in my temper a bit. Everyone needs to talk about it and despite "surreal" being an oft used word, perhaps its being used just enough. After all it's all true.

It is very surreal.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I just can't believe this!

Some people are either demented, sick or in need of a hiding.


 This, along with robbery whilst people are out of their damaged homes is callous, cruel and inhumane.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Christchurch: A CIty on Edge

The sun has appeared this morning in Christchurch. After three sodden days, its fantastic to see blue sky. It's chilly however. The gauge outside says 8 degrees and dew tips the grass outside like pearls of twinkling light.

Choppers fly overhead continually and the constant "whop whop" when you wake up instantly remind you that its not an ordinary day.

After coming back from town last night, I dropped into the local to catch up with friends I hadn't seen since before the 22nd and it was a relief to see all of us and our families are ok. We decompress, have a drink and swap stories that all begin with "Christ, did you see........" or " I heard that such-and-such is trapped....... ".

An argument breaks out between the local village idiot and another bloke and a scuffle ensues. The twits are separated and dressed down for their behaviour over a trivial matter. Both gents (both are in their 50's and should know better) however continue to mutter in their respective corners.

And that's what its like over the city. Beneath a veneer of calm and control, anger and frustration seethes like oil on water. People in town struggle to maintain calm and civility while waiting for loved ones to be found or rescued or to go back to work clearing rubble. Sadness is written on every face but it only takes a wrong word or some misunderstanding to turn those features into anger.

And it's understandable. Everyone is on edge. Everyone is waiting for something. Whether it's for a loved one to return, a body to be unearthed, a cup of water at the welfare station or a building to collapse, we are all hanging on by our fingertips.

And sometimes you've just gotta wave your arms.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worse than I thought.

Have just got home from securing a building site and  it's even worse than I thought.

I've seen bodies crushed by rubble awaiting collection not to mention the devastation to buildings. Bricks and mortar, however take a backseat to life lost. And the cost there is horrific.

My city has gone.

In it's place, a scene from a world war two remains. Crater like holes in the road with mass destruction to buildings that are demolished make it look like parts of London in the Blitz. 

My thoughts go out to those who's fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters won't be coming home.

Earthquakes. And why they should stop.

I'm lucky. I have the good fortune not to be able to sleep at this time of the morning. Others don't have that luxury anymore.

I live on the outskirts of Christchurch and, being removed from the centre city, thought it was just another aftershock (albeit a serious one). I heard the rumble (I don't care what they say: I know I can hear them!) and with cavalier indifference kept working at my computer. It started, I waited for it to stop. It didn't. It got worse. I got up. My house went up! Then down..... then started along movements generally associated with the wash cycle of my agitator washing machine. This was a different feel from the September 4 quake last year and we knew this wasn't good.

I managed to get through to a workmate who was near the building site where I was meant to be working. The site that I was meant to be on at the time has gone from two storeys high to 2 feet high - rubble and bricks, dust and splintered wood. So I'm lucky. Others are not.

It's frustrating having skills that could be useful and sitting at home while the city that I have lived and worked in for a great period of my life is hurt.  I'm frustrated and angry that I can't do anything.

But I guess I have that luxury while others don't.

Thats why these earthquakes can stop now.