There’s been nothing more mindless than the fashion this year of politicians having a weirdo gesticulating and face-pulling alongside them when addressing the television cameras. This absurdity supposedly caters for the tiny handful of stone-deaf people whom I’m damn sure would prefer captions.

Several points arise.

First, if it’s such a good idea why have politicians never done it before? Obviously, someone as screamingly wet as Canada’s Trudeau would have, probably with two, one gesticulating in French and the other in English, but God help us all if he becomes a standard setter.

The answer of course is fashion. Fashion by definition is fickle and certainly never rational. Furthermore, the politicians are stupid because it’s a huge distraction from them and their message.

Secondly; why are these spastic performers so bloody ugly and in many cases, positively gargoylish? People like me who have had a massive head start in life by being so outstandingly good-looking can only imagine the answer.

I suspect there’s a government agency catering for unemployable ugly buggers, training them for this hugely unneeded task instead of say becoming shepherds or night watchmen out of everyone’s sight. Filling the latter role would certainly be a huge deterrence to burglars.

I mentioned this puzzle to Wellington poet John Boyd who said the Italian Prime Minister has an ex-beauty queen putting on this writhing performance. That’s even dumber as she’d draw all of the attention.

So credit to Trump who seemingly alone among politicians has not succumbed to this nonsense. Cynics would say that’s because he wants to hog viewers attention, which if so, shows he’s smarter than the others.

However, I don’t agree. Trump is an outrage, breaking every political norm, and certainly never a fashion follower. It may well be it’s for precisely that reason his support base remains so solid.



I think we need to have sign language in Maori, Samoan Fijian and English, we could fill the whole stage and what a way to keep people employed.

    How truly stupid … I thought. Sign language must surely be the same in every dialect. Why would, for example, the ‘signing’ for, say, picking one’s nose, need to be different in, say, Hindu to that of English … as I clicked to Google search for confirmation of my endless knowledge.

    Hmm, not so. Fount of knowledge wrong. Again. “… somewhere between 138 and 300 different types of sign language …”. 138, kind of obvious, I guess. “… for example, British Sign Language (BSL) is a different language from American (ASL), and Americans who know ASL may not understand BSL …”. Duh! Of course. It must be, more or less, like the difference between English written English and American written simplified (pidgen) English.

    ‘Let’s do it’ then. Let’s embrace ‘universal’ signing. 300 (odd) (pun not intentional) signers onstage with every politician. ‘Find YOUR language’. Modern reality TV entertainment (?) at its very best.

Trendy lefties Bob. …and being incredibly precious. Oh how wonderful.

Off subject a bit , the government is thumbing their nose at the engine room when they say they are actually considering more public holidays at present !?! aren’t they …surely . They’re having a laugh about wonderful Jacinderella’s mega-star performance….and so decided to tease the already stressed conservative engine room….that’s the fashion wouldn’t you say ?

    I see we may receive more public holidays as a “reward” for being so good. It just shows what she thinks of us.

      @codesnz: While I appreciate the gist of your remarks, perhaps one needs to consider who the “Us” actually are.
      Ms Ardern has,apparently, a million followers on Instagram,her facebook posts are overwhelming liked by lots,many if not most of whom, have not a clue who Prebble and Douglas,let alone Muldoon were.
      Those of us who remember the Muldoon years and the New Zealand party,likely as not do not feature as part of the demographic to which Ms Ardern hopes to appeal.
      Hence the smiley but vacuous nature of most of her public pronouncements.

Sir Bob tackles the BIG QUESTIONS of the day; Like,…

Will Trump follow the latest crazy fashion in…. whatever.

How about something with a little more punch.

How about “UNPRECEDENTED MIRACLE: At the height of the uncontrolled Covid epidemic (Jan. 10 to Jan. 23) FIVE MILLION Wuhanians travel to all parts of China (for the New Year celebrations) but don’t spread the virus. Thank you GOD for saving China.”

Too bad about the rest of the world.


I have an iPhone which converts my voice to words instantly on screen. the same could be used And save a lot of gesticulating and face pulling.

Few insults are more damning than to languidly raise an eyebrow and compliment a person on how fashionable they are…

I’ve had a really crap day and you’ve made me laugh Bob. Couldn’t agree any more. Thanks

The facial expressions that accompany sign language put tone and emphasis in the signing, just like our voices put tone and emphasis on our spoken words.

Unemployable ugly buggers. Shepherds. Night watchmen (except the cricketing ones of course, they play a pivotal role). Out of everyone’s sight. Pure gold

Complete agree. Captions would be more useful for everyone – and the hand dancer is a truly irritating display. BUT it does prove how caring and virtuous government is.

This is bizarre !
What’s next , sponsoring dwarf throwing ?
Regarding the Trump reference.
I’ll bet Trump doesn’t have signers at his speeches for the same reason he doesn’t have braille on the control panels in the lifts of his hotels.
He doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.

markscreaminggoosearmstrong May 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm

Ha ha…they select ugly people for the translators, Bob, because that way they can’t possibly make themselves look worse than they already do. Not even when they are the facial contortions they are required to do to express themselves to the deaf.

It has amazed me throughout this whole pandemic 1pm performance that its all talk and writhing performers(How many people in NZ actually care about politics and need the signing stuff. ie can not they read).

In this modern day and age. Why cant they put up numbers and major points on a screen.
If one looks at New York’s daily briefings. They have all the relevant information on a screen!!
While the talking heads do their thing. Its not rocket science.

And NZ Govt wants NZ to be IT leaders and innovators??? Joke of the week.

I wonder how many people can understand sign language but not read English captions? Would there be even one?
100% political posturing.

    “I wonder how many people can understand sign language but not read English captions? Would there be even one?”

    This seemed like a reasonable assumption but a quick google that it isn’t true. English and sign language are completely different languages, apparently, with different grammar and word order. It is apparently difficult to teach deaf people to read as most of us learn by sounding out the words in our head, a skill obviously difficult for a deaf person to learn. One webpage I read (and I was only interested enough to read one so maybe all the others say something different) suggested that only 5% of American deaf people can read English.

Great! I thought that I was the only one who was turned off. I find that by holding my hand up and squinting at the screen I can block out the posturing. Thanks for the post.

The term mindless brought me here.

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