August 25, 2005

Burning Beard

Mr Neil Falloon writes...

I'm back for the general election, and not before time by the look of things. There have been so many false starts. People talk about phoney wars and campaigns proper; but according to National and Labour, their campaigns didn't even start until Sunday. It's not true, and I know this because I don't trust the mainstream media. I'm so underground I have to dig upwards to get to the hitch-hikers' bodies buried in Antarctic Lemur 's backyard.

There's only one sure way to tell if the campaign has started, and that's to watch that electoral ground-hog, Winston Peters. Once he sets off out of his tunnel towards the Tauranga RSA, it's on, and the outlook is always a long winter of discontent. He's not looking for his own shadow, though; he's checking the ground for vipers.

Labour thinks it's struck gold with its extension to working for families; the ones who have struck gold are the families that the childless are now working for. Labour seems to have found a bunch more money than it had in May, and perhaps that's just because Michael Cullen is eyeing up the tax-receipts for sales of my new co-authored book, Public Addresses: the Comprehensive New Zealand Paedophiles and Bloggers Register. I'm so tired of Cullen's greedy glances I'm suffering from sleep deprivation - just like a working for families recipient, because a family on $100,000 per year is only impoverished in its dreams.

So now the campaign has started, although it's hard to hear over the whining of the New Zealand Party ex-members retirement village, Sir Humpties (the sign at the gate says, "Warning: Some Mature Malcontent") and the teenage recriminations of the left-wing blogosphere who insist on playing in Humpties' yard. They're more hysterical than Michael Cullen's wife at a Radio New Zealand economic debate.

A word to you pretenders. Jordan Carter, you think you can play a joke on your readers by impersonating a shrill, over-sensitive hypocrite left-winger? The joke is on you, but it's on your commentors too – the joke is written over you all like you were the crepe paper in a Christmas cracker. And just like crepe paper, you tear up easily, you little cry-babies. Spend some time on the issues, chumps, like Neil Falloon does.

Some in the media say Don Brash was wrong not to hit Helen Clark when she spoke to him out of turn in the TVNZ debate, but he's a gentleman and he did the right thing. We're living in a police state where even the police get convicted to cover Helen Clark's tracks, which are burned on the road in tyre-rubber.

Do you like that line? Jam Hipkins helped me out with it, the same way he helped out Brent Todd with a few lines before going on-stage at the Nats' campaign launch and making fun of the way local politicians’ names sound. I'm kidding – Brent Todd wasn't at the launch, and Hopkins was only getting high on David P-dealer Farrar’s adulation.

Farrar was live-blogging the whole event and then backed it up by live-blogging Business NZ’s forum on Wednesday, and he thinks he’s ubiquitous. He’s a sell-out. Here at DogBitingMen over the next three weeks we’re live-blogging life. Live. And if I’m too absorbed in my work to notice the Conservative Underground media motorcade getting up past 170kmph, it’s too bad for anyone in our way, because Ian Wishart drives like a madman and he’s still only had half a glass of red wine over lunch.

Start the election.

July 20, 2005

Jury News

Mr Neil Falloon writes...

I'm surprised by the repeated media opportunities afforded the wife of a convicted rapist to rail at her husband's jury. There's heaps of examples to choose from. The most recent was the Sunday Star Times front page: Wife of rape accused stands by her man.

It was followed by a strange feature article that used experts to guess at what the jury was thinking, despite the fact that some evidence remains suppressed.

Why is it that we're hearing so much from this woman? Why, a week after the trial ended, did one newspaper decide she was deserving of the front page? From their treatment of this woman's views, you would think that it was unusual for families of convicted criminals to continue to believe in their man (or woman).

Surely that's not the case. Isn't this woman responding to the conviction just as hundreds of other spouses do every year? She's angry and hurt. Therefore she questions the entire system that found this man and his peers guilty of pack rape.

To me, it would only be unusual, unexpected and newsworthy if the family member declared, "I once believed in this man's innocence, but the fact that he's been found guilty by his peers has changed my mind."

Everybody has the right to question the outcome of a trial. That's a right we should defend.

But should this woman's opinion in itself be news? Again and again? And on the front page? It seems almost like we're only hearing from her because she's media savvy. Most other spouses in her position are not competent at working with journalists. She's literate, eloquent and middle-class.

Some journalists apparently only attended the defence's summing up. It seems interesting that the reporters who did attend every day don't seem to have engaged in the same second-guessing of the jury's motives as other journalists.

This case is made more complicated by suppression orders. The wife's name can't even be revealed. There are key details none of us know.

The twelve members of the jury are not allowed to respond. They sat through weeks of evidence in a gruesome pack rape trial. They cannot tell us how they reached their conclusion.

Should we now expect that every single spouse of every single convicted criminal will be given front-page treatment to criticise the jury?

Somehow, I don't think so.


July 11, 2005

Where have the bears gone?

One of those conversations...

Olivia: So, are we still bloggers or not?

Neil: Is David P Farrar still a member of the Young Nats?

David: He's nearly 40. I'd really hope not.

Neil: It was a rhetorical question, along the lines of bears shitting in woods. The answer is 'of course!'

Olivia: But bears just don't shit in our woods any more. Russell Brown hasn't linked to us in weeks. Even Damian Christie hasn't mentioned us.

Neil: And you know how slutty Damian is with his links.

David: For God's sake, Neil. I'm sure you made that exact same joke the last time we had a group conversation. If not, the time before.

Neil: But it's still funny. Because it's so true. Slutty, slutty Damian.

Olivia: I was crushed that none of us were on that informative Simon Dallow live tax debate. Instead they chose to include the glamorous David P Farrar, the erudite David Slack, and the hard hitting Man Who Wrote A Letter To The Editor.

Ben: Murmur

Olivia: I think Ben is choking.

Ben: Mumble

David: No, he's trying to say something...

Ben: ...well guys ... Actually, Simon Dallow's producer, weak-chinned gay TV icon Simon Pound, called. He, uhhh, invited me on to that debate.

Olivia: And you said no?!

Ben: Ummmmm... I'm not really sure. I might have said no. Or I might have been overlooked for the glamorous David P Farrar.

David: I have to admit - and I have a queer eye for style - Farrar does have quite a mesmerising look.

Olivia: I like it how he took a fake flipper with him to the studio. That showed great class and humour.

Neil: It was like a wink to Russell Brown's beard and middle-agedness - a "don't take me too seriously" message for the kids.

Olivia: Speaking of which, did you see the Metro article by David Cohen about Russell Brown? My favourite bit - by far - was Fiona Rae glancing over at Russell "with slighly narrowed eyes."

David: I always thought David Cohen might be MediaCow. Him or Deborah Coddington...

Olivia: Anyway, are we still bloggers?

Neil: I think we could be if we wrote something. Ben, what's the most interesting thing that's happened to you recently?

Ben: I've been reading a collection of writing in Landfall, including this particular essay that's -

Olivia: - Don't lie. People don't do that.

Ben: Okay, okay. I watched a surreal episode of Beverley Hills 90210 this morning. An escaped lab dog named Rocky was living with the gang, but it had cancer. The gang debated about whether to stay by his side and comfort him, or leave him to rest. I would have thought having the cancer-ridden dog put down might have been another option worth exploring. But anyway, there was a poignant scene where one of the actors put his face near the dog and exclaimed "he's stopped breathing."

(Silence)

Olivia: That's just soooooooooooo sad.

Ben: Uhh, yeah.

Olivia: Ooooooooooooh! What about if we do one of those group conversation things again!

Ben: Those just descend into a list of bold names of people like Russell Brown, David P Farrar, Damian Christie, Simon Pound, and the Man Who Wrote A Letter to the Editor.

Olivia: Yes, and that's what I love about them! And let's remember to mention that Keith Ng. He's a star of morning television. Keith, the morning star. If we get it right, we can become a must-read of the congoscenti again - like Kevin List's "A Week of It" and David P Farrar's weblog.

Ben: I think you mean "cognoscenti".

Olivia: Perhaps.

Neil: So, we just say impolite things about other people.

Beautiful Olivia: It's important to also remember that we're trying to make ourselves sound good.

Ben: I worry we have a perception problem. The eight people who read our blog don't see the enormously constructive stuff we do. Like the column that we write for the NBR, our delightful emails to each other, or Olivia's volunteer work every Saturday morning. They may think all we do is snipe at other blogs. We used to be able to take the moral highground on account of how the rest of what we did was so good - but now we don't do anything else any more.

Neil: True. And at the risk of sounding as insightful as some of those we mock... much of what we now do is very self-referential.

Olivia: But this is really what having a weblog is all about, isn't it? We've cut the chaff, and now we're doing exactly what blogs are meant for. A blog is the safe refuge of the coward. It's the internet equivalent of looking at people "with slightly narrowed eyes."

Neil: Still, I guess we could try to do something to improve our image.

Ben: Guys, guys! Help me carry this poor cancer-ridden dog inside!


June 17, 2005

Stacey Thwarted

MediaCow writes...

Readers of our last post about creative, inventive and special Stacey will be devastated on his behalf to learn that the narrow-minded souls at Trademe have removed his auction for tickets to his flat-warming.

Apparently TradeMe claim this auction breached their terms and conditions. It's not immediately obvious which one - and they didn't say before deleting the auction. Which is rather shoddy of them.

Poor Stacey. Let's hope Shizzle the greyhound has a good race this weekend.


June 15, 2005

All About Stacey

David W Young writes...

Stacey is special. And not just because he has a girl's name, or because he's a morange.

I first met Special Stace in 1998 when we were neighbours in a dodgy set of apartments above MP Tukuroirangi Morgan's party offices in Frankton, Hamilton. Good times were had by all, especially Tuku.

In recent years, after escaping Hamilton and travelling the world, Stace has developed an interest in money.

First there was Shizzle. Shizzle is a greyhound. Stace controls the syndicate that owns and races Shizzle. This was his email looking for co-owners:

"Forget horse racing and the Melbourne cup. Hutt Park dog track and Shizzle on Trackside in the 6th is where the true excitement lies. Do your bit for the community and be the first dog racing supporter who isn't a problem gambler!"


Then Stacey discovered TradeMe. This was like Suzanne Paul discovering the formula to Natural Glow: he knew he would make (and probably lose) a fortune.

Stacey's first advertisement appeared designed to test the gullibility of his audience:

My house and surrounding shrubbery are infested with a particularly large and scary type of spider. I have a paranoid fear of spiders.

Also surrounding my house live a selection of native NZ skinks and geckos and a small kiwi named Jasper. I had heard Jasper at night and hoped he and the geckos would delivery a timely death to the hoard of arachnids about the property.

This has not occurred so drastic steps are needed. I need to purchase a very very large quantity of bug bombs. These aren't cheap and I'm broke.

Therefore I have captured Jasper and am offering him for sale. Reserve starts at $30 (3 bug bombs) and the final purchaser can also have a few gecko's thrown in. Purchase will have to be by pickup as I'm not too sure NZ Couriers deal in small flightless birds.

For those of you interested in Jasper's welfare, no I am not going to eat him (as damn good as roast as he looks like he'd make) and he is currently roaming free in the land around my property. He is easy to catch.

The advertisement was accompanied by a cute photograph of a kiwi.

Several thousand people looked at the auction during the four hours it was up. He received over 200 emails. Some were from taxidermists.

In the end a woman from Auckland clicked the "buy-now" price of $200 and said she would drive to Wellington the following day to collect Jasper. Stacey takes over the story-telling:

Due to the rampant gullibility and insanity of these people I altered the auction. I didn't want to sell a kiwi, merely the amusing idea, so needed a different approach. So I reposted the auction as not selling Jasper but selling "bags of kiwi feathers" harvested from Jasper, who would remain unharmed and happily living in my shrubbery, until I could come up with a better idea.

The auction was removed within an hour by Trademe, and resulted in a near-prosecution from DoC - who actually searched Stacey's apartment looking for Jasper.


So Stacey came up with "The Winston Peters Night Out"

The Auction was for an all-expenses-paid night in Wellington for two. The highlight was dinner at the Green Parrot, and transport would be provided by the same Somaili taxi driver Winston Peters once had an altercation with. (Resourceful Stacey actually tracked down the driver's company.)

This auction was removed by Trademe after about 30 minutes. Two other auctions - "an alibi valid for one year" and "the world's largest collection of stubbies" - sadly failed to reach their reserve.

Finally, Stacey has come up with an idea that DoC and Trademe aren't anxious to stamp upon.

He is auctioning off tickets to his flat-warming. It's this Saturday.

Stacey claims to have "a sophisticated and styley bunch of friends around the 22-32 age mark". I personally suspect this is false advertising. He says there will be 60-100 people attending. It will be, says Stacey, "FANTASTIC." He doesn't break out the capital letters for any old thing.

The theme is "Famous NZ'ers". Stacey would like to see people arrive as:

Precious Mckenzie
The Ingham twins
Tim Shadbolt
Mark Todd
True Bliss
Hudson and Hall
Lorraine Downs
Peter Plumley-Walker
Count Homogenised
Chloe from Wainuiomata
Tim Mckimm Big Save Furniture.

Stacey offers the Trademe winner:

Confidentiality on who you are and why you're there.This is perfect for lonely farmers or those with too little time and too much money.Perhaps you just need a weekend away in Wellington. Accomodation will be provided if you need it.

I promised Stace I'd link to his auction. So, go bid your way in. It'll be like old times. Except without Tuku.

Stacey's Auction of Tickets to His Flatwarming

June 07, 2005

Corrections and Clarifications, and all that that implies

Ben Thomas writes…

Student reporter and internet diarist Keith Ng demands "satisfaction" after a mention of his weblog, Poll Dancer, in this week's Hive Mentality in the NBR (available now, not online).
As strange as it may seem from his two blog entries referring to us, the mention didn't refer to his dress sense, the publication he works for, or even his appearance. We like reading Poll Dancer. Sometimes we agree with Ng. Sometimes we don't.
Ng objects to our description of his tale of a specific instance of homosexuality in the National party as having "the odour of an urban legend". He had ostensibly recounted the story to argue that some topics should stay off limits from media speculation.

That some National MPs in the past, present and in the future may be, have been and will be gay is, as Ng acknowledges, banal (the word he was presumably searching for with when he said 'mundane'). But to use this as some kind of revelation in an online diary entry about suppression of information makes its use (Reporter Reveals Tory is Homo!) overblown and, like most banalities, cliched.

As we noted, this particular story can't be corroborated by parliamentary staffing records: No male National MP has had a male secretary for a considerable time. Ng responds: "The story of the MP with the secretary is rather dated". I first heard a similar story in 1998 as a University undergraduate in Auckland. Maybe it is the same story about the same MP. Or maybe these rumours are ubiquitous in every age. But an aspiring journalist like Ng might want a better source for his news than 'everyone just, like, knows'.

Particularly when using the alleged episode to illustrate how responsibly the Gallery wields its insider knowledge.

Ng states he needs to defend his honour, in light of his belief that "[Hive Mentality was] counting my words towards a 'vicious whispering campaign', with all that that implies."

The words "vicious whispering campaign" referred to a separate incident. However, if Ng's reportage was intended to illustrate a point rather than merely titillate, it seemed jarring to us that he chose to name the political party concerned. If salaciousness was not part of the piece's agenda, why even mention that the alleged secretary was male? (No National Party member opposed the CUB on the grounds that homosexuality per se was wrong, so the 'hypocrisy' argument seems odd. I'm straight and I supported the CUB; David's gay and he opposed it. That doesn't make us 'hypocritical').

Ng's claim that I dress poorly is at least verifiable and accurate. But he got scooped on that story years ago by Olivia Kember and David W Young.

June 03, 2005

The Big Apple

Olivia Kember has just returned from New York...

There’s no point describing New York because it’s been done already already, over and over, in print, paint, film, pixels, for the delectation not just of all the poor barbarians who don’t have the fortune to live there but also for the New Yorkers themselves, who are obsessed with their own city.

All that attention, I think, must be to blame for a common Gothamist characteristic: everyone in the city who isn’t famous has to tell you about all the famous people they know. Immediately.

This is possibly a great big lie, because I was there for only five days (this was after I lost my boogie board bag) and I did only leave Manhattan once for lunch in a part of Brooklyn where the artists are being replaced by account managers... so I guess I may have failed to meet with a representative sample of the highly diverse population of eight million.

But still. Everyone I spoke to was terribly eager to reveal their close personal relationship with an MTV host, a designer of clothes for celebrity slappers, a pre-millennial newsreader, or Kylie Minogue. One man was so desperate to prove his connections he walked me round a bar and told me where all the celebrities usually sat, even though none of them was there. I have seen the imprint of B-list celebrities' rears.


The closest I got to celebrity (not counting pretending to be one by latching on to somebody prepared to pay entry to the VIP bar... in the darkness all VI bar-goers could easily pass as having a small role on a daytime soap, and they also have sufficient “complimentary” drinks and food to delude anyone into believing they’re important) was watching the paparazzi waiting for Gwyneth Paltrow. Sort of meta-celeb spotting.

And in respect to the great citizens of that great city, I’m going to tell you about it.

So, we were having lunch at a café across the road from her house, and there were about twenty cameramen (they were all men) lurking, eight on each side of the road with a few more amongst the traffic. While we tried to spin out small expensive salads, a limo arrived and all the photographers twitched. Some of them even stood up and took aim.
Oh, yeah, I know where she lives. Uh-huh.

Alas, it was only Gwyneth’s sister. She got out, crossed the road and went into the house. The photographers returned to the stoop, but with an added alertness. They even sat up straighter. We sat up straighter too, to be ready for whatever it was that was about to happen.

Passers by paused.

The traffic, intimidated by the cameras, slowed respectfully.

A cameraman edged out into the centre of the intersection, to get a prime view of Gwyneth’s front door. Then the door opened.

Gwyneth’s sister came out of the house again, and this time the paparazzi shot up, because she was carrying.. could it be? – baby Apple! At least I suppose it was baby Apple. It could have been a bag of fabric, but the photographers showed great interest in it, though they snapped and clicked with a slightly tragic air, since it wasn’t being held by Gwyneth.

The guy in the middle of the road ran right up to the pair to get his shot, and backed away again. Another person (perhaps a nanny, we deduced from our vantagepoint) came out. They crossed the road and got into the limousine. And then they drove away, with a few paparazzi trailing behind. And everyone went back to their normal lives, having almost seen Gwyneth Paltrow.

My other New York story involves fish in a bar, so I’ll save it for later.

May 20, 2005

Dr Cullen Kills An African Child

I apologise sincerely to our readers for the fact that absolutely nothing has happened on this site for many weeks.

MediaCow is recovering from rectal examinations during an unfortunate-timed holiday to Waiheke Island.

David W Young and Ben Thomas have been busy writing their weekly column for the NBR. (This week's one is a good 'un. It's not online, so go spend $8.50 on a paper and then go to page 13).

Olivia Kember is on holiday in China with David P Farrar.

Speaking of which, while Farrar was engaged in nude snorkelling this morning, Olivia was staring at murky corners of the internet. She discovered a poll at some pinko blog called Aboutown. The poll asks "Who is the most annoying blogger?"

Unfortunately the Aboutown people mucked up the potential answers (just as they omitted the second T in their title). They forgot to put their own names under the question.

Seriously. The only thing worse than a blog that fails to update (like us) is one that updates far too often with absolute shite.

Since the Budget was read out in a monotone yesterday, we have been busy writing a letter to the child that DogBitingMen sponsors in Africa. We're trying to explain why we are not able to afford to sponsor his little brother until April 2008.

However, we are addicted to polls, and because we like using the word "Cresswell", we have taken time out to write a pundit's guide to the pointless Aboutown poll.

(To those of you who suspect this is self-indulgent and uninteresting: congratulations. You've finally worked out what blogs are about. Or at least ours.)

David Farrah

Reasons he is the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
The "cork counting" competition.
The quality of people who leave him comments.
His evil and dark moods in which he blogs as "Antarctic Lemur" (ostensibly Rodney Hide's illiterate little brother).
That photograph of the top of his head with devil's horns, and the unspoken but heavily implied meaning: he is a horny devil.
The inexplicable addictiveness of the site: we waste hours cramming our wee narrow minds with pointless stories about fictitious women named Miss Ten.

Reasons he is not the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
He is a better writer than Matt Nippert.
The "cork counting" competition was somehow compelling.
He is everybody's best friend.
Some people go to sleep with his blog loaded, just to feel like someone loves them.

Aaron Bhatnagar

Reasons he is the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
He keeps on picking on those poor Nigerians.
He won't quit banging on about the time the car drove into the house.
How is it that he was all ACT ACT ACT and then his friend Rodney became leader and now he's all National? Does he just like underdogs?
Those large vanity photographs are a bit much.

Reasons he is not the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
He sometimes changes his mind - he's less dogmatic than some.
He often changes his photograph. (This provides many of us with fresh material for the Spank Bank.)
Another reason? This anonymous comment, posted after Bhatnagar complained about boy racers: "I hardly think that Aaron is able to make a critical judgement... considering he was the most prolific "Boy Racer" at St Kentigern College in 1990's and was seen on numerous occasions speeding down Remuera road in his yellow Ferrari..." Weeee.

Peter Cresswell
Reasons he is the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:

It's just his general... vibe.

Reasons he is not the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
We've never actually heard of him.

Ben Thomas
Reasons he is the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:

He's such a perfect human being. That can be irksome for those of us who are not.

Reasons he is not the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
Nobody could vote for him. Could they?

Damian Christie:

Reasons he is the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
Have you met him? His chin is even weaker than Simon Pound's. And that's saying something.
He has been annointed by King Russell Brown.
Sometimes his 'blogs' are just copy-and-pastes from his newspaper column. We know this because they have "copyright" written at the bottom.
He is seemingly allergic to anybody with the same initials as him.

Reasons he is not the most annoying blogger in New Zealand:
He doesn't allow comments.
He is a self-described "media whore" which probably means has the clap, and we don't like to pick on sick people.
His opening gambit at school ("The name's Damian. But they call me 'Ice'. Because I'm cool. Like ice.") is so naff it is endearing.
He really, really wants to be the most annoying blogger in New Zealand. Or at least more annoying than David P Farrar.

There you go, folks. Go vote. Anything... to keep your minds off the little boy in Africa whom Dr Cullen has made to wait... and wait.

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