All my life I’ve known that one day I’d be either rich, powerful, famous or (most likely) some combination of the three. It just seemed obvious, really. My lack of ambition, talent and intellect has never disturbed this conviction – clearly I do have some incredible (possibly supernatural?) power and this will become manifest in the fullness of time. And when you are destined for eternal greatness you can’t help but spend some of your spare-time speculating about your future biographers and how they will treat you.
This kicked in today when I was in the supermarket buying dinner. We have a guest coming round tonight so I bought wine and ingredients for a more lavish meal than usual. I have a FlyBuys card – I fought against it for years on the grounds that you are compromising your right to privacy and giving away vital marketing data about yourself virtually for free but gave in when I found out that if you got enough points they give you an XBox.
Anyway, it suddenly occurred to me that all the data about my shopping habits will be a godsend to the countless generations of scholars who will pour over each line searching for insight into my incredible acheivements (whatever they turn out to be). Tonights pasta and salad ingredients might be spun out into an entire thesis, written by some brilliant, strikingly attractive yet achingly lonely young historian many centuries from now.
It’s nice to know that even when I’m buying dinner I’m giving something back.
NZPA have a story up on the Herald site about the Labour’s parties latest exercise in electoral suicide, their Emissions Trading Scheme. It has emerged from select committee with more than 1000 amendments. Labour’s strategists now have two options:
- Rush the hastily amended, highly complex legislation into law by buying off the Greens and Winston Peters, paying a high political price now and ensuring at least six months of dire headlines as horrible mistakes and unintended consequences in the law are bought to light repeatedly embarrassing the government right in the middle of an election campaign they’re already losing.
- Admit the bill is dead and face a couple of days bad news focusing on the failure (which you can mostly blame on National).
Scenarios like this are when Clark’s ultra-competitive personality undermine her own self-interest and that of her party – she’ll press for a parliamentary victory even if it is spectacularly pyrrhic one.
The New York Times has a rather curt, abrasive interview with an 82 year old Gore Vidal.
In 1968, during the Nixon-Humphrey race, you became the voice of liberalism in a series of televised debates with William Buckley. Any plans to be a pundit at the coming presidential conventions? No.
How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year? I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.
You live in California , where last month the State Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage . As someone who lived with a male companion for 50-plus years, do you see this as a victory for equality? People would ask, How could you live with someone for so long without any problems of any kind? I said, There was no sex.
Were you chaste during those years? Chased by whom?
Are you a supporter of gay marriage? I know nothing about it. I don’t follow that.
Why doesn’t it interest you? The same reason heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to interest me.
If we look at the situation apart from you — It’s my interview, so we’ve got to stay with me.
Vidal claims that America is his ‘subject’ but I’ve feel that his historical novels about the US are vastly overrated – to be honest I’ve never managed to finish one, although I’ve attempted most of ’em. But I can’t recommend Julian, his book about the life of the apostate Roman Emperor highly enough. His essay collection A View from the Diners Club and his first autobiography Palimpset are also fun.
Or should that be Thomson and Thompson?
The Sunday Star Times had an amusing story yesterday about the private detective agency Thompson and Clarke, who produce ‘intelligence reports’ for government agencies and state owned enterprises. The reports cost $1000 per month and the article – written by Hollow Men author Nicky Hagar – describes them as:
unreferenced material from the internet and rough summaries of open sources, interspersed with sarcastic comments about the community groups.
Thompson and Clarke were last seen trying to pay members of various community groups (such as Save Happy Valley) to act as informants within their organisations and supply information of interest to government owned company Solid Energy. The informants took the money and then went to the media.
My big problem with this story (and the other stories that Hagar has written for the SST, including the fraudulent ‘Operation Leaf’ article in which Hagar and co-writer Anthony Hubbard incorrectly alleged that the SIS were spying on the Maori Party) is that Hagar is not an objective journalist – he’s a political activist. The SST story is important and he should be interviewed as a primary source but having him write the whole piece is no different from having a lobbyist like Roger Kerr (from the Business Round Table) writing their political news.
As National coasts to victory here in NZ I find my attention drifting to the US where things are not such a forgone conclusion, despite the early polls indicating a significant lead for Democractic candidate Barack Obama.
The lastest NBC poll has Obama six points ahead of his rival John McCain, which the Democrats have to be happy with – although any poll this far out from the election is largely meaningless. And in the US it’s not the popular vote that counts it’s the electoral college – that’s where electoral-vote.com comes in. The site is updated every day as new polls come in and (based on my experience in 2004) becomes a frightening addiction as the election draws near.
Obama clearly has an electoral lead based on current polling, but again the fight has barely begun. The opening hostilities indicate the democrats are off to a running start (deliberate mixed metaphor):
in these first few days of the general election, in addition to McCain’s and Obama’s fundamental qualities as candidates, I think it is increasingly evident that both campaigns are hitting the ground at very, very different speeds. Clinton gave Obama one hell of a run for his money. He’s been campaigning and fighting at a fever pitch — as has his whole campaign — for months. And it shows.
On the contrary, McCain’s operation is simply a wreck. Flabby. Disorganized. Sometimes comical. And one big reason for that is that McCain hardly won the nomination. It defaulted to him. Looked at with some distance and perspective the Republican race fell out as follows: Rudy imploded because of the combustible force of his own militant ridiculousness. Then Huckabee gutted Romney. And since Huckabee was too out there (ironically, simultaneously too sane and too looney to pass Republican muster) that left McCain. With the rest of the field flopping around like fish on dry land, McCain was able to sew the nomination quickly with pluralities in the GOP’s winner-take-all contests.
No discussion of this race would be complete without reference to the many damaging factors that are beyond McCain’s control — the collapse of public support for the Republican party, the Iraq War, the deep unpopularity of President Bush, etc. But when you see trainwrecks like the McCain camp’s lame effort to upstage Obama on his victory night with that lime green speech clunker, it becomes evident that this campaign just hasn’t had a chance to go head to head with a real competitor. And it shows.
Meanwhile, in a time of warfare and economic crisis the US wingnut blogosphere tackles the real issues:
Kos Tries To Pass Off Obama’s Birth Certification As Birth Certificate
The comments are pretty funny too.
Several times a week I’ll be at a social event with my wife, I’ll cheerfully introduce myself to someone and shake their hand and they’ll respond through gritted teeth that we’ve met before, actually. Dozens of times.
So I was excited to read this snippet on Andrew Sullivan’s site:
Back when I lived in Washington DC, the Congressional candidate whose campaign I worked on explained that in politics you meet so many people you never say “Nice to meet you” when working a crowd. Odds are you’ll say that to someone you had previously met, but don’t recognize, and they’ll feel insulted. Instead, you say “Nice to see you,” because that covers both the folks you’re meeting for the first time and those you’ve met before.
Nice to see you. That’s so fucking sweet.
Ian Wishart is disappointed in the media reaction to his book Absolute Power: The Helen Clark Years, a serious, meticulously researched examination into whether our first elected Prime Minister is secretly an evil muderous psychopathic dyke.
Before the book was released various right-wing bloggers debated on whether Wishart’s book would see Clark executed for treason or would she merely resign and disband the Labour party? Wishart predicted that he would be arrested. Certainly the political landscape would never be the same.
Now Ian has a new post up on his blog lamenting the lack of reaction from the media but consoling himself that the book is a hit with the people.
I was stunned to discover from a reader last week that at that time there was a waiting list at the Auckland region’s libraries for Absolute Power in excess of 700. It fluctuates rapidly because bestsellers are lent out for only a few days, but Auckland Public Library listed nearly 100 holds at the central library alone on Monday.
Curious to see if the book is also this popular in our nations highly politicised capital I logged onto the Wellington City Library web-site – where Absolute Power has no holds and 2 copies available for lending, one in Karori and one in the Central Library.
Its possible that Wisharts unnamed reader is one Ian W of Christchurch, a notoriously unreliable informant who often misleads the well-meaning but gullible Mr Wishart. Or maybe those DOC arial sprays a few years back had a greater effect on the good people of Auckland than we were led to believe, despite Helen Clarks assurances to the contrary. Isn’t that just like a lesbian?
Posted without comment because, really, what can one say?
Reader mikeb sent through an advance review of this controversial new book by former Labour Cabinet Minister Michael Bassett. Here’s mikeb’s review in full.
Dr Michael Bassett is widely considered by experts to be the most important and influential historian of his generation so it is most apt that he has chosen as his subject former Labour cabinet MP Dr Michael Bassett, who is widely considered by experts to be the most important and influential political thinker of his generation.
The subject of this book is the 1984 Bassett government – or as left-wing Orwellian revisionists have dubbed it, the Lange government. Bassett draws on the detailed notes Bassett wrote about Bassett’s crucial role in the Bassett government, casting great light on the relationship between Bassett and his loyal political apprentice David Lange.
The sections of the book in which Lange is seduced and then destroyed by his speech writer, suspected Stasi agent Margaret Pope are some of the most moving passages Bassett has ever written in his long, remarkable glittering career – it is clear why many highly respected and important experts consider Bassett such a highly respected and important political historian.
Bassett does an excellent job of reminding us what a worthless little whore Pope really was. She wanted Bassett too, of course. Gagged for it. Begged. On her knees. Like a dog. A bitch in heat. They’re all like that you know – desperate and clutching and evil. But she couldn’t have him. Not Bassett. Not Bassett.
The book also sheds light on dismal nobody Helen Clark, who is vicious and cunning enough to get ahead – in that way that woman are – but essentially just as worthless as Pope and all the rest of them.
Bassett also touches on some of the other dimensions to his fascinating and brilliant subject and dispels all the malign gossip and rumours you’ve heard about his private life which are totally not true, no matter how many emails and digital photos that snake Nicky Hagar claims he has.
This is a fitting start to the decades of work that lie ahead of us in studying and understanding the work of this historic statesman. The ungrateful sheep-like people of New Zealand owe Bassett a debt they can never repay.