Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. Now, I'm all in favour of free speech. I'm also in favour of edgy humour in general. I don't think a woman with slight facial hair is particularly funny - but then I imagine that quite a few people wouldn't agree with my sense of humour either. And you know how I feel about nanny state - it's PC gone mad. So the worst I can say about Paul Henry's comments decontextualised is that, as far as humour goes, they were pretty lame.
Paul Henry angered TVNZ viewers with his antics on Breakfast this week when he insulted a guest speaker and implied that she had a moustache.
Anti-nuclear campaigner Stephanie Mills appeared on the show to speak about the compensation awarded to victims of French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Henry then proceeded to read out several readers' comments despite pleas from co-host Alison Mau and his producers.
Mau tried unsuccessfully to dissuade Henry and bowed her head as he began to read the first letter.
"I have no idea what Stephanie Mills was thinking going on telly with that enormous moustache. Wax is cheap, you know," Henry read out.
But in this case context is quite important. I realise that Breakfast isn't exactly Close Up... erm... Campbell Live... OK, so there's really no mainstream New Zealand television show that will make that comparison work. Suffice to say that Breakfast is considered 'infotainment', and not exactly issues-driven - who wants to deal with issues that early in the morning, am I right? But if you are going to deal with serious issues, such as allegations that French nuclear testing caused cancer in observers - please, I'm eating my bagel! - you may want to treat them seriously. Otherwise, just have a movie review or talk to a cartoon character or sing a song about puppies. And, for the gods' sake, if you're going to invite people on and interview them about these issues, you could treat them with a modicum of respect. I don't really care if you think that a woman with a moustache is the funniest thing you have ever seen; surely, if you have moved on from kindergarten, you might see that it was inappropriate in the context of a serious interview on the state broadcaster.
So, and now I'm getting to the point, I went to "Your Views" to find the opinions of some people who had moved on from kindergarten and poop jokes. I was sorely disappointed.
"Do you think Paul Henry's 'moustache' comments were amusing or offensive?"
Greenpeace, of all organisations! They're always having a laugh. But yes, just the other day I called a black guy 'nigger', and he was FURIOUS, even when I said he could call me 'whitey'! Can't we all just get along?
Scott Dawson (Mt Eden): I personally found it humorous and greenpeace of all organisations should be able to have a laugh at themselves. The nation has become too PC, and im sure if Stephanie Mills was to comment on Paul Henry looking like one of the chipmunks with glasses, this would be taken in good humour
And I thought it was the global financial crisis or global warming. When a man can't insult a female guest on the television show he is paid many, many tens of thousands of dollars of (essentially) taxpayer money to host, the terrorists have already won.
Too_soft_NZ (Greenlane): This is why this world is screwed up, we are not even allowed to insult people we dont like anymore freely.
"Wait, this is the thread for 'Did the woman have a moustache or not', right?"
Precious (Te Atatu Peninsula): I thought he was funny. I mean, she did have a moustache .
Yeah, it was just like watching Ricky Gervais. He did that kind of thing all the time all the time on his documentary, The Office.
Tim (Auckland Central): It was amusing. Like watching Ricky Gervais. Paul is the only reason I ever watch breakfast.
And remember that time that you went on live television to talk about the serious public policy issue of 'dealing to crims', and the presenter talked at the end of the show about how your bald spot was 'the elephant in the room' and wondered why you couldn't at least wear a wig on television. That was hilarious. At home, I thought you were a stupid, lonely, balding, fat, self-important redneck bastard - but I kept my opinion to myself.
Deal to Crims (Rotorua) It is the growing number of Kiwis who fail to recognise humour that concerns me most.
Hey - my hair is receding and I get my fair share of jibes but who cares. Some are fat, some are hairy, some are bald some are skinny, some have big noses, but lets see the funny side of it and not be so thin skinned.
Maybe thin-skinned is something we should also take jibes at. The reaction there would be guaranteed.
OK, that's probably enough. If you are feeling unreasonably positive about the prospects for humanity, have a read. If you can't get the Herald site at work, you'll find that picking up the phone, dialling a number and then bashing yourself over the head repeatedly with the receiver has a similar effect.