The Dim-Post

January 28, 2015

Literature and politics collide!

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 11:42 am
  • I agree with some of what Eleanor Catton said. I’m not particularly outraged by Key’s response because if you accuse the Prime Minister of being a ‘neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politician’ while speaking on the international stage he’s going to hit back.
  • I do disagree with pretty much everything Sean Plunket said when he called Catton a traitor and an ‘ungrateful whore’ for criticising the government, partly because Plunket is a horrible clown, but also because almost everything he says about her is partly or completely wrong.
  • EG. Catton wrote the bulk of The Luminaries in Iowa when she was an adjunct lecturer there, not ‘moonlighting on a government salary’ as Plunket claims.
  • But yes, Catton is currently ‘paid by the government’. She teaches creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology where she is, I suspect, the lowest paid Booker Prize Winner in the world. It’s a bit like having Mark Zuckerberg teaching programming down at the local polytech. The employer/taxpayer isn’t really in a position to demand people like that keep their heads down and their mouths shut if they want to keep their jobs.
  • Besides which you don’t really employ people at universities to buy their silence and political consent. That’s not how it works. Or, actually, unfortunately that is mostly how it works, but universities are supposed to be bastions for free speech and criticism.
  • Plunket himself was ‘paid by the government’ for a very long time when he worked at TVNZ and Radio New Zealand, and he was extremely critical of the government (at least while the government was a Labour government.) Why was that okay for him but not for Catton?
  • At about three minutes in Plunket calls Catton ‘an ungrateful whore’, for which he should, I think, apologise or be suspended or sacked, because really?
  • Since Plunket is so outraged about this issue of conflicts of interests, it would be a good time to clear up the question of whether he himself has done media training for, or provides communications advice to the National MPs or Ministers he interviews or reports on, and on whose behalf he is so wroth with Catton today – a question he’s always dodged in the past.

Update: It’s been bugging me all day. Plunket’s ‘hua’ pronunciation is Ralphie from The Sopranos!

79 Comments »

  1. He called her a WHAT? What a fucking nasty, sleazy, cowardly, misogynistic bully. Would he say it to her face? Not on your life. The guy richly deserves the only correct response – a punch in the face. And then to be sacked. But he won’t, because to be one of the masters of the universe in the shallow gene pool of what laughably passes as our media means you never have to suffer the consequences.

    Which is all the more reason for a punch in the face, now I think about it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 28, 2015 @ 11:52 am

  2. It’s been pretty obvious since he started on tailback that Plunket does not like women. So he had a faulted relationship and it seems to have colored everything he does since then. Easy answer is don’t listen or comment on him. The Tories are welcome to him.

    Comment by Ron — January 28, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  3. “he’s going to hit back.” – sure, but its telling that keys first and favoured response is to denigrate on the most childish terms possible and doesnt even address the actual issue till after hes had his little pissy fit

    thats not the mark of a confident adult person – its what insecure children do

    and just like plunket its another case of people who should be able to argue their corner a dam sight better than calling people loonies or whores

    Comment by framu — January 28, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

  4. Sean Plunket? Yuk. No calls on the switchboard syndrome.

    The disappointing thing about Eleanor Catton’s tirade is the endless parade of cliches that could have been uttered by an embittered left wing writer at any time in the last 100 years. All are instantly recognisable to anyone who has had any acquaintance with NZ writing now or in the past. Browse Landfall or the NZ Monthly Review to read this stuff by the yard. The only new element is labelling the powers that be neoliberal. Otherwise it is very much same old, same old. It really only should be news when writers say something liberal rather than the standard reactionary party line.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 28, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

  5. I was disappointed to hear her trot out complaints about the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, which is a tired old cliche our elites tend to repeat when they feel they’re not universally beloved enough. Like when our business heroes get accused of fraud, or sports heroes are arrested for rape they’ll always vent about ‘the tall poppy syndrome’. On the other hand, she was just making comments at a literary festival. I don’t think this was a big premeditated thing she put a lot of thought into.

    Comment by danylmc — January 28, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  6. Like when our business heroes get accused of fraud, or sports heroes are arrested for rape they’ll always vent about ‘the tall poppy syndrome’.

    Ummm… not only are those not ‘tall poppy syndrome’, they’re also not real examples of people defending their actions with the TPS-defence.

    The only legitimate one I can think of (vaguely) recently is Russell Coutts heading over to the Swiss syndicate fore the America’s Cup.

    Comment by Phil — January 28, 2015 @ 12:53 pm

  7. This is quite funny:

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/50HansD_20131016_00000004/motions-—-man-booker-prize-2013—eleanorcatton

    John Key: “It is exciting and inspiring that our ambassadors in the arts and culture who right now hold the attention of the world are fiercely intelligent and ferociously talented young women” …

    … but could they please just concentrate on looking nice?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 28, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

  8. Let me rephrase that more clearly.

    I have literally not heard anyone try to defend rape or fraud by claiming TPS.

    Comment by Phil — January 28, 2015 @ 12:55 pm

  9. re: tall poppy – yes that is a bit sad. Ive long held that TPS is more about how the tall poppy behaves not how successful they are.

    eg: its easy to find some one ripping hotchin a new one – not so much our hillary’s

    Comment by framu — January 28, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

  10. Saying she votes Green – good news for both Key and Little.

    It was a little clichéd – though perhaps a touch more literary than FUCK JOHN KEY.

    Comment by NeilM — January 28, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  11. “On the other hand, she was just making comments at a literary festival. I don’t think this was a big premeditated thing she put a lot of thought into.”

    Yes, I don’t think she has her literary festival patter down properly yet. If she is going to make a habit of political commentary she needs to have a point of comparative advantage, like Arundhati Roy, so that it can at least be interesting to her listeners.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 28, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

  12. Her point about absence of literary manifestos is pretty true though. We don’t have a tradition of Ezra Pound types running around telling everyone what art is supposed to be. That’d be fun.

    Comment by danylmc — January 28, 2015 @ 1:18 pm

  13. @Danyl

    What about that Bill Manhire?

    A.

    P.S. Plunket should be fired IMO

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

  14. “Who-ate-all-the-pies” Plunket sure knows how to steal the newspaper headlines just when his greatest idol is trying to justify flogging off state assets. Nice own goal for the right there.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 28, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

  15. ungrateful hua, not whore. crikey, get your ears cleaned out.

    Comment by Andrew — January 28, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

  16. Apparently Plunket called Catton a hua, not a whore. Not that this makes his other comments less bullying. Catton was right on the, er, money when she called John Key’s government ” neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, very shallow, very money-hungry politicians who do not care about culture”.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — January 28, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

  17. Oh, yeah, because Sean Plunket is such a lover and fluent user of te reo.

    Comment by danylmc — January 28, 2015 @ 1:35 pm

  18. Herald beat-up re Catton’s comments (surprise, surprise); Plunket’s employer says he called her a “hua” not a whore – Maori slang for “egg”. Of course all his listeners are familiar with Maori slang and would not have mis-heard the comment.

    Comment by MeToo — January 28, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

  19. Hua or whore? Maybe if he didn’t sound like he was finishing the fag end of a half G of voddy for breakfast we would know conclusively.

    God forgive me, but I think Alan Duff hit the nail on the head: “…In my opinion we’re a cultural wasteland which you can see reflected right across our media. A garbage-strewn land ruled over by mediocrities fiercely and ruthlessly possessive of the high ground they’ve seized…”

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 28, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

  20. *snap*

    Comment by MeToo — January 28, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

  21. “Oh, yeah, because Sean Plunket is such a lover and fluent user of te reo.”

    Its quite a common slang term in this country. Thought you may not have noticed.

    Comment by Andrew — January 28, 2015 @ 1:38 pm

  22. @Mikaere

    Fire him anyway!

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 1:39 pm

  23. Definitely sounded like “hua” to me.

    @Antoine do you condone his abusive name-calling, inaccurate allegations and sneering, smarmy and patronising tone then ?

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — January 28, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

  24. It is NOT a common slang term. I’ve never heard it before. These people are WhaleOil/Carrick Graham trolls out to defend their mate.

    Comment by Daphne — January 28, 2015 @ 2:24 pm

  25. hua might be NZ slang – but plunket slang? – nah

    Comment by framu — January 28, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

  26. He only said “hua”, in the same way that when somebody says “Mr (pause) CO-hen, a (pause) money-lender”, he’s only saying a surname and an occupation, isn’t he? What could be wrong with that? Nobody could possibly ascribe any unpleasant motive, at all. Not to a talkback host, the arbiter of reasoned debate.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 28, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

  27. @Mikaere

    no! That’s why I’m saying he should be fired!

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

  28. A few years ago I had a Scottish girlfriend and this is exactly how she pronounced “whore”. It just feels like plausible deniability so Plunket can say “I didn’t call her a whore”, when it’s patently obvious to all that this is exactly what he did say.

    “hua” as Maori slang? Pull the other one, unless of course it’s Maori slang for whore.

    Comment by Mike Meyers — January 28, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  29. so WTF does “hua” mean in this context, if it isn’t a slightly veiled way to call her a whore?

    Comment by Andrew Llewellyn — January 28, 2015 @ 3:03 pm

  30. According to the Oxford NZ Dictionary “hua” is a variant of “hooer” which is a variant on “whore”.

    It was a common slang term in rural nz but because I heard it in mostly rural pakeha/Maori contexts I had never connected it with an actual meaning until I was adult. It was just another all purpose swear word. My reaction was a bit like my youngest son when I informed him of the meaning of bugger.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 28, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

  31. Maori slang for “egg” apparently. I have never heard it before either.

    Comment by MeToo — January 28, 2015 @ 3:48 pm

  32. On the Tall Poppy thing though, it’s pretty funny that she has received so many ‘who does she think she is?’ type responses. Ungrateful. She should stick to what she’s good at. What do novelists know about society, hurrumph.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 28, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

  33. “it’s pretty funny that she has received so many ‘who does she think she is?’ type responses”

    And it nicely illustrates the very points she was making, about our national antipathy to thought.

    Richie McCaw says “John Key, top bloke” – fine. But if Richie McCaw says “I take issue with the current monetary policy” – stick to rugby, maate!

    Have friends, but not ideas.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 28, 2015 @ 4:42 pm

  34. Is it relevant that one of the main characters in the Luminaries is a sex worker and is frequently referred to as a whore in the text?

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

  35. “nicely illustrates the very points she was making,”

    It does indeed. All day.

    Also ““profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry politicians who do not care about culture”

    *Gasp* How very dare you, after we gave you sweet sweet money. MONEY for gawdsakes! Pay back our money this instant.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — January 28, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

  36. Hua is most certainly a Maori slang term, which usually means “egg” in a derogatory sense.

    Examples of usage:
    “Stop being a bloody hua !” (as in don’t be an egg).
    “Did you see that deer ? I was a big hua !” (in this case it means item or example).

    In my experience, hua is applied to males more often than females, so idiomatically it does not mean whore. However, I have also heard “hooer” (which is phonetically close, but not identical to hua) as a corruption of whore and to my ears I heard Plunket say hua not hooer, but YMMV and I don’t have a lot of time for him and after being such a patronising prick in his diatribe, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was dogwhistling a whore reference and using hua as his plausible deniability.

    Comment by Mikaere Curtis — January 28, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

  37. Frankly, I am unhappy with both of their comments. We could have lots of discussion about a lot of this, but if we look back through history, the arts tended to be supported not by governments but by patrons. The works could be purchased by the more well-to-do members of the public, and museums and galleries could have exhibitions. Catton was lauded all up and down NZ when she won. Yes there isn’t as much money as most would like to support arts, but we all have to live within our means. She is taking only one viewpoint here.

    As for Plunket – I don’t listen to him or watch him. I can think of lots of terms for him, but I won’t repeat them here. He does not dignify himself with his comments.

    Comment by David in Chch — January 28, 2015 @ 5:40 pm

  38. For anyone who has been to ireland ‘hooer’ is another name for whore. Thinking of Plunket he is probably more likely to go for Irish than Maori slang…

    Comment by max — January 28, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

  39. Isn’t it ironic that Plunket has used a word that so many on here have never heard of? Plunket cannot be accused of cultural cringe…

    Comment by Ross — January 28, 2015 @ 6:46 pm

  40. Have friends, but not ideas

    But it works both ways. If John Key gave an erudite and critical review of The Luminaries, he’d be told to stick to politics. His views would be dismissed because of his position, irrespective of whether they had any merit.

    Comment by Ross — January 28, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

  41. Well, we’d certainly want to know who wrote it for him, given his professed indifference to reading books.

    But you’re wrong, I think. A politician who has an independent mind and genuine intellectual interests outside work (as opposed to those invented by his PR team) would be a breath of fresh air.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — January 28, 2015 @ 7:03 pm

  42. So you think Key had someone script his comments on this matter? I tend to think they were his – I don’t think you can’t accuse him of not thinking for himself!

    Comment by Ross — January 28, 2015 @ 7:24 pm

  43. Love the comments and i wouldn’t waste any air for Sean as that is the whole idea of his shtick. Can’t help think that Catton does sound pissed off for not taking out Mansfield as well.

    Comment by Stefan (@stormdude28) — January 28, 2015 @ 7:27 pm

  44. @Ross,

    If John Key gave an erudite and critical review of The Luminaries, he’d be told to stick to politics. His views would be dismissed because of his position, irrespective of whether they had any merit.

    Well, that’s a fundamentally unprovable assertion, because he’s never going to do it. But like sammy 3.0, I think your basic claim is wrong.

    What is more, there are examples of other politicians who proffer their critical judgment of stuff like books and music without being told to pull their heads in. See, for example, here: http://www.offthetracks.co.nz/five-albums-im-loving-right-now-grant-robertson/.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 28, 2015 @ 7:32 pm

  45. I don’t imagine Keri Hulme is an especially well-paid Booker Prize winner. Other than that minor point of order I think it’s so weird we live in a country where the Prime Minister is asked to respond to comments an author makes at a literary festival, and does.

    Comment by Teensy — January 28, 2015 @ 7:34 pm

  46. You’re right Teensy. Winning a Booker is hardly a one-way ticket to material wealth. Ben Okri’s not exactly rolling in cash, either.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 28, 2015 @ 8:16 pm

  47. Catton comes across as typical of EQ not as elevated as IQ.

    Comment by Grant — January 28, 2015 @ 9:15 pm

  48. @Grant

    I highly doubt it – Luminaries is full of insightful character portraits which suggests a pretty sophisticated understanding of her fellow human beings

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

  49. Antoine, oh come on, the Luminaries is full of cliches.

    Comment by Grant — January 28, 2015 @ 9:31 pm

  50. Drawn out tedious cliches.

    Comment by Grant — January 28, 2015 @ 9:32 pm

  51. OK I admit it was quite long🙂

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — January 28, 2015 @ 9:38 pm

  52. I don’t presume to lecture artists on what they should say but given the opportunity to express their views as an “artist” to a wide audience it would make sense to put that to some good use.

    Here we have an artist expressing a grudge over not getting a prize and dressing it up with a few cliches that could be seen on any left wing comment thread.

    The last election ended with the robust and heroic Fuck John Key and so far Key is still winning.

    Comment by NeilM — January 28, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

  53. I don’t presume to lecture artists on what they should say …

    It’s lucky you said that, otherwise a reader might say that’s exactly what you just did. I know – let’s get Eleanor Catton to tell Neil M what to write on comment threads! Then we’ve reached peak cray.

    Comment by Flashing Light — January 28, 2015 @ 11:04 pm

  54. At least we don’t have Russell Crowe humbly pointing out truths about our society,

    Comment by NeilM — January 28, 2015 @ 11:43 pm

  55. When I was a young Bimlet living out on the East Coast, “hua” had the primary meaning in Te Reo of “any part of kaimoana which no self-respecting pakeha would eat (e.g. the gizzard of a pipi)”… with the secondary meaning — when used by pakeha — of “any brown-skinned person with less fastidious culinary standards”. In other words, it was a racial epithet (often preceded by “dirty”).

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — January 29, 2015 @ 12:24 am

  56. Mikaere Curtis:
    Hua is most certainly a Maori slang term, which usually means “egg” in a derogatory sense.

    Examples of usage:
    “Stop being a bloody hua !” (as in don’t be an egg).
    “Did you see that deer ? I was a big hua !” (in this case it means item or example).

    That’s the usage I’m familiar with. The only writer I know of who regularly uses the word is Patricia Grace, e.g. “useless hua” and “a big hua of a party”.

    Comment by Joe W — January 29, 2015 @ 1:14 am

  57. …the Luminaries is full of cliches.

    Every book is full of cliches. It’s in the nature of storytelling. This right-wing blog comments meme of “Catton isn’t even a good writer” is pretty funny, especially when you consider the literary quality of the comments.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 29, 2015 @ 6:30 am

  58. If John Key gave an erudite and critical review of The Luminaries…

    Stop, I’ll wet myself.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 29, 2015 @ 6:51 am

  59. @44

    Andrew, I am not sure how Grant Robertson raving about his favourite bands compares to what I said. If he were to say that Lorde sucks, then I suspect he’d get a strong response.

    Remember that Catton’s award winning book has been criticized by come in literary circles, including by CK Stead. I recall Catton’s response wasn’t very classy. She has recently gave backhanded criticism to the judges here who didn’t award her the overall prize in the NZ Book Awards. She seemingly forgot that her book was awarded the top prize for fiction. Ungrateful seems quite an apt moniker.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/c465775c-109e-11e3-b291-00144feabdc0.html

    Comment by Ross — January 29, 2015 @ 7:18 am

  60. If he were to say that Lorde sucks, then I suspect he’d get a strong response.

    I’m sure he would! But it wouldn’t be of the “you’re only a politician, what do you know?” variety. It would be along the lines of the comments to this (hostile) review of Lorde’s first EP: http://www.offthetracks.co.nz/lorde-the-love-club-ep/

    Remember that Catton’s award winning book has been criticized by come in literary circles, including by CK Stead. I recall Catton’s response wasn’t very classy.

    Really? What, in your memory, was wrong with it?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 29, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  61. Statist circle jerk. 1 million didn’t vote last time. That will be 1.2 million next time. Keep it up.

    Comment by Simon — January 29, 2015 @ 8:03 am

  62. Andrew

    My memory is that she played the man, not the ball. I recall an anti male comment, which seemed weird because some female critics had panned her book. She doesn’t seem to respond well to criticism.

    Comment by Ross — January 29, 2015 @ 8:27 am

  63. You probably mean things like this:

    And then there is the question of her youth. Though generally well-received in Britain, The Luminaries, she said, was subject to a “bullying” reception from certain male reviewers of an older generation – particularly in her native New Zealand. “People whose negative reaction has been most vehement have all been men over about 45,” she says.

    “One of those things that you learn in school about any kind of bullying is that it’s always more to do with them than it is to do with you. I don’t see that my age has anything to do with what is between the covers of my book, any more than the fact that I am right-handed. It’s a fact of my biography, but it’s uninteresting.”

    But I’m starting to lose the point of this exchange. Is it that if you don’t take criticism well, you’re not allowed to give it out? In which case, doesn’t Key’s response to Catton mean that he know isn’t allowed to say rude things about the Greens anymore?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — January 29, 2015 @ 8:49 am

  64. People whose negative reaction has been most vehement [toward The Luminaries] have all been men over about 45

    Observation bias?
    I suspect the vast majority of literary reviewers are ‘men over about 45’.

    Comment by Phil — January 29, 2015 @ 9:38 am

  65. While in my view Eleanor Catton may not have much future as a political analyst I am very grateful to her for the fascinating views on the meaning of the epithet “hua” that the discussion about her views has generated, on this forum and elsewhere.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/65519922/being-called-a-hua-no-big-deal

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/…/radio-host-sean-plunkets-lets-rip-about-eleanor-catton

    I am particularly amused and interested in the wide range of interpretations of a word that I (and my peer group) used quite frequently as a kid and a teenager without much thought to a specific meaning.

    Comment by Tinakori — January 29, 2015 @ 10:32 am

  66. Whether or not it’s also a Maori word for the shitty part of an egg is beside the point. It was pretty clearly chosen as a word that sounds and is very commonly used to mean whore. I’ve heard it lots of times in American film, particularly cowboy movies. Backpedalling to say he was using a Maori insult is a bit like him calling her a “Kant” (famous German philosopher) on the radio, a word that is pronounced “Cunt”. Fucking everybody will hear what he really meant. To split hairs about this really is being a Kant.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — January 29, 2015 @ 12:14 pm

  67. I don’t think public intellectual means anything more than “someone I agree with”. Or perhaps Gareth Morgan is a public intellectual. Either way, despite what Eleanor Catton thinks, there does’t seem to be any great lack of Kiwis glamouring for our attention with their firm political beliefs.

    Comment by NeilM — January 29, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  68. Maate…you do live in a rarefied academic cloud. Down in the boonies there are hua’s everywhere….dirty hua’s, sneaky hua’s, rotton hau’s and even lousy hua’s. Like my old man used to say…..always keep an eye out for them hua’s…..worse than dogshit on your jandal

    Comment by Greg — January 29, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

  69. Eleanor Catton has gone from saying that NZ doesn’t have a culture of shallow literary backstabbing in one sentence to exhibiting some. She was presented with a softball question as to how she didn’t win the NZ prize and basically said it was due to us not respecting greatness, instead preferring any-old-thing as a way of avoidance.

    The Big Music by Kirsty Gunn won the NZ Book Awards in 2013, beating out The Luminaries.

    Maybe it would be reasonable for us to suggest that The Big Music might actually be a pretty good literary work?

    Comment by unaha-closp — January 29, 2015 @ 3:46 pm

  70. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sean Plunket meant to tell Eleanor Catton to puss off and go fork herself.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — January 30, 2015 @ 1:27 am

  71. I haven’t read The Luminaries, but I’m always a bit suspicious when a writer starts equating people giving their book bad reviews to “bullying”. OK, perhaps the people she’s talking about were not limiting their comments to the book’s literary merits, but still…

    Comment by kalvarnsen — January 30, 2015 @ 5:47 am

  72. Eleanor Catton’s response, for those who hadn’t already seen it.

    Also reported on by the Herald and by Stuff.

    Comment by izogi — January 31, 2015 @ 7:17 am

  73. Eleanor’s coming yo!

    Comment by Gregor W — January 31, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  74. So what’s her beef? Since time immemorial, man (and woman) has scratched a living everyday, struggling just to put food on the table for one more day. She thinks that the govt should be able to tell which citizens will be amazing writers (insert art of choice) in the future, so should absolve them of the need to scratch a living… by taking a little bit of the food off the table of those who will never (in the govt’s assessment) be an artist and are thus confined to scratching a living for the rest of our lives?
    Please: most NZers struggle to pay the rent and buy food, with little left for luxuries or retirement saving, wtf should they be forced to pay the rent and buy food for artists?
    Catton write her book while holding down a job. Most of us achieve stuff whilst holding down a job, whether it be remodling our garden, raising a family, playing representative softball.
    Don’t get me started on taxpayer funding for elite sportspeole, it’s EXACTLY the same issue.
    Why do people think that the history, of making sacrifice to achieve great things, has changed?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 3, 2015 @ 3:22 am

  75. You can make an argument against state funding for culture because of opportunity cost, taxpayers scratching a living etc. But we have really very lavish state funding for horse racing, and yacht racing, and rugby, and other types of sport. Dean Barker doesn’t have to scratch out a living and hold down a job to race his boat. The taxpayer pays his mortgage on his mansion. Given that writing is a much more enduring form of culture than, say, yacht racing, it seems fair that novelists and other writers should get a fraction of the funding that other forms of culture attract.

    Comment by danylmc — February 3, 2015 @ 8:41 am

  76. The taxpayer pays his mortgage on his mansion

    The taxpayer “pays” some of the mortgage. The gov’t put in $36m for the 2013 campaign, out of a total budget of well north of $150m.
    The previous campaign, 2007 in Valencia, was estimated to bring $75m in direct benefit to the NZ economy, so it’s not exactly throwing money down a toilet.

    Comment by Phil — February 3, 2015 @ 9:17 am

  77. “throwing money down a toilet”

    How dare someone say we don’t care about the arts?😉

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — February 3, 2015 @ 12:13 pm

  78. Did the toilet bray?

    Danyl, I said “don’t get me started on elite sports people, it’s EXACTLY the same issue”. That’s a clue that I don’t think elite sports people should get taxpayer funding. If the sport doesn’t earn enough in sponsorship, then perhaps they could take a slight pay cut.
    Then you get all the “minority” sports (fucking SOCCER a minority sport, WTF) putting their hands out because they “can’t compete” with rug/cric/yach for sponsorship.

    Phil, $36 million taxpayer funding for a return of $75 million seems pretty piss poor to me, especially as I’m (say) paying the $36M and you (say) are pocking the $75M. How TF is that fair or reasonable? (Okay, so there’s probably INDIRECT benefit as well, but meanwhile, there are women in NZ who can’t get breast reconstruction because there’s no money available.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 4, 2015 @ 1:31 pm


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