The Dim-Post

September 26, 2009

Théâtre de l’Absurde

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:14 am

johnkeyWatched Key’s Letterman appearance this morning and laughed quite a lot, not because it was especially good – or really all that bad – but because it was so deeply weird. I don’t think it was a terrible idea – it cost us nothing so if it convinced even one of Letterman’s viewers to visit it was worth it, but it was a pretty strange thing to do.


  1. Im not sure what it was, but when I watched it started going red with embarrassment. It kinda feels like we (New Zealand) are this little slightly nerdy kid at school who is trying so hard to be up with the cool kids, when if we played up our nerdyness we might have a lot more credibility. This just seemed a little desperate, particuarly when David Letterman obviously didn’t give a crap he was there.

    I think the worst aspect was that the late news (didnt catch the 6pm) on both TV3 and TVNZ led with this. Is this really the most important news that there is?

    Comment by jumpingonabandwagon — September 26, 2009 @ 8:56 am

  2. Meh! Advertising for NZ is kinda in his job description.

    But wait, there is nore!

    Mr Key took wife Bronagh and children Max and Stephie to watch him on the show and also had them at his side on a tour of his old stomping ground, Wall Street, where he rang the bell on the closing of the stock exchange.
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    It was a first for Mr Key even after his years as a money trader in New York. He had never visited the stock exchange floor before.

    And as a profile-raising exercise, it put Letterman in the shade the moment when the bell rings on the close of trading is watched by an estimated 120 million people.

    But it may have left him hankering for his old life. Asked if returning had started him off thinking about another change, he answered: “Not in the short term.”

    That one slipped under the celeb horse race style obsessed political media radar.

    Comment by andy — September 26, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  3. I think Key did quite well, given the circumstances…. but it’s pretty sad to see the Prime Minister of a soverign nation reduced to the level of a performing seal jumping through hoops for this Letterman character and smiling good naturedly as he and his country were laughed at. Letterman didn’t even pretend to have any interest. He was reading from note cards and at one stage he asked his fucking BAND LEADER “why is he here?”!!!

    I realise of course that we are quite insignificant players on the world stage, but really, who does this arrogant self-important cunt Letterman think he is? OK, he might have a huge American audience… but if this is the level of their comprehension and engagement with the world, then this says volumes about their culture. If there was one glaring example of why many people in the world hate and despise the USA, then this has to take the cake.

    Actually, at one point I began to have sympathy with Al Qaeda. The moment passed pretty quickly, but it was there just for a second or two.

    Comment by Dave Mann — September 26, 2009 @ 11:17 am

  4. I was wondering how I would have reacted to seeing Key not on the Letterman show but the Daily Show. But you know, I think Jon Stewart would have shown more respect to the leader of US ally and the PM of a proud democracy.

    In my view, the Letterman appearance demeaned the dignity of his office and by extension, the dignity of the people of New Zealand.

    Comment by Tom Semmens — September 26, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  5. @ Dave Mann

    well it’s not so much self importance when Key’s appearance on the show wasn’t treated by our media as if he had been granted an audience with the pharoah.

    Key acts like a kid being taken to Disneyland and being all excited about meeting Mickey Mouse. He comes across as a small-town hick in the city for the first time. Can’t blame Letterman for behaving the way he has behaved fronting that show for the last thousand years, it would be better if we had a PM with some kind of dignity and poise.

    It’s funny the way Key gushes about Obama because it’s clear he has a long way to go to achieve that sort of decorum.

    I agree with Tom that it demeaned New Zealand but it’s Key’s fault not Letterman’s…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 26, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  6. @ nommopilot I agree with you about Key behaving like a kid being taken to Disneyland. I wasn’t defending him. I have seen this Letterman idiot a couple of times on Triangle TV and he has always seemed to me to be an obnoxious goon.

    I think John key was poorly advised to have anything to do with this crass cultureless moronic programme in the first place. He has demeaned our country and his own position.

    Comment by Dave Mann — September 26, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  7. Hmmm … so Obama and Clinton demean themselves appearing? Other leaders? I happen to think that it was a creative and low-key (no pun intended :-)) way of promoting New Zealand. And given the way Key was mobbed on the street afterwards by people wanting his autograph was interesting.

    And for all of you who felt it was demeaning … gee whiz, guys! Lighten up! It was FREE publicity reaching 4 million US residents! And JK _is_ the Tourism Minister.

    Comment by David in Chch — September 26, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  8. Obama and Clinton can handle Letterman no problem because they are used to TV and goobers like Letterman and won’t come across as a giddy teenager.

    A streaker gets free publicity, now there’s an idea for a memorable UN appearance that could put NZ on the map…

    Key’s appearance gave me the same kind of cringe I got when executives tried to perform skits for we lowly worker drones at corporate pep rallies. thank god those days are behind me…

    Comment by nommopilot — September 26, 2009 @ 3:21 pm

  9. You obviously cringe easily.

    Comment by David in Chch — September 26, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  10. And might I also suggest that you are taking it all too seriously?

    Comment by David in Chch — September 26, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  11. Just think … we could live in Italy and have Berlusconi as PM.

    Comment by David in Chch — September 26, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  12. asked his fucking BAND LEADER “why is he here?”!!!

    I thought that meant ‘why is he in the country’, but mmm probably not.

    Comment by StephenR — September 26, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  13. He comes across as a small-town hick in the city for the first time.

    I thought he came across as disarmingly genuine – which must be a nice change from US politicians. Kiwis are seen as overwhelmingly nice by people I’ve met overseas and Key came across as a living example of that. I say good on him for showing he’s a Prime Minister with a sense of humour who is willing to have fun while promoting his country.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 26, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  14. But he didn’t promote his country, did he?

    He just read out a Letterman script. There was nothing in there about the various reasons tourists visit (and generally like) New Zealand, or why New Zealanders feel fond of their homeland.

    It wasn’t some fantastic, free ‘100% pure’ ad. He could have been talking about Denmark or Slovakia. He was just there to play a role for Letterman, and he did it. So please forgive some of us for being underwhelmed.

    He did promote Cinnabon though. Now that *was* a free ad.

    Comment by sammy — September 26, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

  15. …except that there isn’t a Cinnabon outlet at Auckland Internatonal Airport (or so I have been told).

    Comment by Leopold — September 26, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

  16. Lol Dave Mann, give yourself a hand shandy. The late Show is all comedy you dim-wit, the Top 10 is a procession of jokes you numb-skull, the whole situation is of piss-taking and jibes, thats why everyone was saying beforehand that Key better have his wits about him. You are a laughable ass, Letterman was completely fair and reasonable.

    Comment by Paul Henry — September 26, 2009 @ 8:18 pm

  17. Well, Paul… if that crap is what the average American calls ‘funny’, then why would New Zealand bother to promote itself to them? Honestly?

    Much as I disliked David Lange’s politics and his government, just contrast his gripping debate at the Oxford Union with Key’s stupid ‘aw shucks’ performance the other night.

    We have exchanged a principled, articulate, witty and acerbic presence on the world stage which punches above its weight for a simple-minded country bumpkin image. Is this progress?

    Comment by Dave Mann — September 26, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

  18. Context, DM, context. Lange’s debate was appropriate for its place and time. JK’s Top 10 was appropriate for this place and time. While I can decry the lack of sophistication in the Letterman show, Key pitched his “performance” well for the tone of the show. He was simply trying to “sell” New Zealand as a tourist destination to the US. And JK seems to have a better handle on his government that Lange had on his, at least so far. Lange was very bright, yes no doubt about that, but not a manager, which really in a sense is what a PM needs to be.

    But that is slightly off topic. JK’s “performance” was just that, and was in line with the nature of the show. So as I said before, lighten up.

    Comment by David in Chch — September 26, 2009 @ 10:51 pm

  19. Oh how the socialist intelligentsia go into a tutting chin stroking frenzy over nothing.

    I guess they’d rather the dour wooden performances of comrade Clark, a far better role model in austerity for the Apparatchik eh.

    Comment by expat — September 27, 2009 @ 3:20 am

  20. Lange was very bright, yes no doubt about that, but not a manager, which really in a sense is what a PM needs to be.

    No way would Key let Sir Roger Dotard get away with the kind of crap he used to pull while Lange was off strutting his Fine Mind. These days, the old buffer is kept on a very short leash indeed.

    Comment by joew — September 27, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  21. But he didn’t promote his country, did he?

    OK swap ‘promote the country’ to ‘raise people’s awareness of New Zealand’s existence’.

    It was American humour aimed at an American audience. Just getting millions of them to hear the name ‘New Zealand’ and associate it with good-natured humour is a win.

    Comment by Ataahua — September 27, 2009 @ 7:54 am

  22. Don’t give up the day job john!

    (Errrr… on second thoughts…)

    What a brilliant comic genius that guy is!

    Comment by Adhominen — September 27, 2009 @ 9:04 am

  23. Contrast that with Kevin Rudd’s performance in New York and Pittsburgh this week.

    Comment by George Darroch — September 27, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  24. expat, I don’t think simply labelling people and then insulting them en masse according to the labels you have given them is really helpful in a debate is it?

    Comment by Dave Mann — September 27, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

  25. I agree, DM. I had simply ignored the comment because I wasn’t sure how or where I fit into expat’s mythical description. I think that more and more such labels are becoming irrelevant and not useful or accurate.

    Comment by David in Chch — September 27, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  26. I just keep telloing myself I am not the target audience.

    He was coming in on his cues quite well by the end.

    Comment by lyndon — September 28, 2009 @ 8:33 am

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