John Key’s common-sense criticism of the one trick pony Government’s lockdowns deservedly received wide-spread support.
But a couple of exceptions stood out. First, came the social media infantile demand for Key to advise how many Covid deaths he would trade for freedom.
If deaths are the all-important criterion then let’s ban motor-vehicles, swimming, mountaineering and so forth. But they’re not. Covid mainly kills the unvaccinated and as we know, there are large numbers of anti-vax nutters who are happy to chance their arm. That’s their choice but the rest of us should not be punished.
The most amusing criticism came from the Dominion-Post’s editor, Anna Fifield. In the short time she’s been in the saddle she’s presided over the greatest collapse in subscriptions in New Zealand newspaper history. Her judgment is appalling and she showed it again in response to Key’s common-sense proposals. Picking on his reference to North Korea, which to the meanest intelligence was not meant literally, she wrote a garrulous 1500 word boast-fest about her knowledge of North Korea.
I feel for the handful of competent Dom-Post journoes under her watch. It’s long overdue for them to be paid embarrassment money for which there’s a precedent. In the late 1970s Truth, then the nation’s largest circulation newspaper, paid embarrassment money to their staff. Their political writers then pressed their luck and tried, with some justification actually, to negotiate danger money for attending the Social Credit Party’s annual conference. The Party was a magnet for madmen and a huge source of humour.
Here’s another more interesting aspect to the soul-destroying and economically devastating lock-downs.
Vikram Seth achieved international fame for his novel “A Suitable Boy”. But for my money his “Beastly Tales” published in 1992 is his finest work.
This comprised a fresh take in verse on ten famous animal fables and the one applicable to our current monastic, spiritless lockdown approach is his Aesop’s “The Hare and the Tortoise”.
Seth presents the hare as a fun-loving, utterly irresponsible and hugely popular female. On the other hand the tortoise, “when he rose, daily counted all his toes”… and further on, “Buy your own house, don’t pay rent, save your funds at six per cent. Major in accountancy, and grow up to be like me…you be slow – but you be steady”.
The race duly occurs; the tortoise plods off while the hare has fun, knocks herself senseless on magic mushrooms and much more.
The tortoise wins but it’s the hare that captures the attention. “Stories of her quotes and capers, made front page in all the papers.
Soon she saw her name in lights, sold a book and movie rights…
Soon the cash came pouring in, and to save it was a sin” … and finally.
“Thus the hare was pampered rotten and the tortoise was forgotten”.
Seth turned probably Aesop’s most famous fable on its head, from its moralising prudish approach preached to millions of children, to an opposite outlook, in my words, that you only live once so make sure you enjoy it, a lesson this government would do well to take on board.
Dullards will continue to hide terrorised under their beds but as we’ve always suffered, watch over the next few years as Kiwis with a get up and go zest for life, get up and go for nations with adults in charge.