This is hardly optimal. It turns out that excellence in news-rage journalism is not strongly correlated with top-notch time-management skills. I'm going to have to think this through - send your guest editor applications to james dot coe at gmail dot com. Unpaid internships are available.
Elephants: I'll keep this short. Here are some pertinent questions:
- Do we really need or want zoos?
- Do we really need or want elephants - intelligent, expensive and social animals - at zoos?
- Do we really need or want more elephants at Auckland Zoo?
- Do we really need or want the Auckland councils to spend $13.5m on more elephants?
- De we really need or want the Auckland councils to spend $13.5m on more elephants in the middle of 'The Worst Recession in Living Memory'?
- Do we really need the Herald to publish an article so uncritical of such a ridiculous idea? Where is the outrage about such a flagrant waste of money? The Herald likes to complain about the council raising rates for just about anything. Maintenance of sewage pipes? No way! Dinners for the homeless free of asbestos? Outrageous! I guess it's up to Your Views to lead the way on this issue.
Laughing at youths: It's tough being a youth in New Zealand these days: you can't vote; old people hate you; all of society's ills are blamed on you. If things weren't already bad enough, now Christchurch 'city' council wants to scare you away from the places you in which you congregate with the music of that walking, talking cliche, Barry Manilow. And if things weren't bad enough then to make you want go and cut yourself, the Herald thinks the whole concept is hilarious. Now, I'm no huge fan of youths - frankly they scare me, and I am pretty sure that last night I dreamt about 'them' throwing buckets of water at me. But they are still people - they just happen to be people who invariably don't have their own houses or places of business where they can hang out. They're not allowed to go to bars or gentleman's clubs. They're not welcome at members' clubs or debating societies. So - surprise surprise - they gather with their friends in parking lots, town squares, that kind of thing.
Now, this sometimes results in some unsavoury behaviour, to be sure. But does no one remember being a teenager? Of course there need to be boundaries - I'm not saying that we should just let them do what they please - but can we please remember that we're not dealing with an infestation of vermin. They're people too; annoying, short, poorly dressed people, to be sure, but people nonetheless, and as such they ought to be taken seriously by the media, not alternately dismissed with a laugh and held up as the Devil incarnate. If they are causing damage to public property with enough regularity that something needs to be done, that's a public policy problem, not a joke. Where will these kids go once they have been driven away from these public areas? If the councils think that they will just go home, say their prayers and go to sleep I imagine they are mistaken. So there are definitely problems with this as a solution to the issue. But this is a news-rage blog, and I suppose my main objection is simply to the tone of the article and its place in the bad-cop/cop-who-laughs-at-you dichotomy of media treatment of youths.
Here's today's readers' poll:
"Which music would you use to scare hoons?"
- Barry Manilow's?
- Kiri Te Kanawa's?
- Bob Dylan's?
- Kings of Leon's? [Hey, look at me, I work at the Herald and I've heard of a band that kids like! And for some inexplicable reason I have shoehorned it into this poll!]
- Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture?
Ha! That's so funny! Youths crack me up. Oh, except when they're stabbing me and stealing my icecreams.