Monday, February 15, 2010


Amazing column by the notorious Deborah Hill-Cone today. Most of us have written something late at night, sent it off, and re-read it the next day, hungover, only to feel that shudder of awful realisation: it's awful, and quite possibly laden with racial and sexist epithets. Then again, most of us don't get that piece published in a national newspaper.

But isn't the best part of Conegate, as I've dubbed it - Danyl from the Dim-Post having mobilised at 5.30am to deal with the offending piece - that she's an opinion columnist, and therefore the most ridiculous and unnecessary species of expert extant? Or does it just make her one monolithic vox pop?

Answers on the back of a postcard.

PS My second favourite part is how the end of the column reads like a promo for The Secret.


  1. "Perhaps if we tried to use thoughts to encourage us to have more positive feelings we would achieve more."

    Yes, 'cause "positive feelings" is what'll eventually lead to the unravelling of the worlds' mysteries.

    My favourite bit is the whole lovely piece; how it starts nowhere with an attack on RB for expressing common sense. Then meanders, in a seemingly unconnected manner, through a nonsensical discussion of economics (I think…) to quickly end at an inconsequential conclusion about peoples feelings.

    However, the woman did name her child Mungo.

  2. I had to go back and read her other recent columns - they all seem equally incoherent and rambling.

    This is the first one that tackles so many in-depth topics though - scientific uncertainty, elite vs popular opinion in media, intuition vs reason etc etc. Most of her columns are musings about herself and whichever self-help book she's just read.

    I'm totally sold on the "tuning in to our emotions will solve autism where science has failed" conclusion that seems to be the common thread in the whole mess :-)

  3. I'm not quite sure where she's heading to - it doesn't matter how much the crude masses believe we're the center of the universe, the facts refute it.

    She conflates the idea of 'facts' with 'mathematical reasoning'. Modern economics is about more than "crunching numbers" because it has extended the range of facts it considers - not because it listens to soccer moms about how a deficit works.

    (she does also sound like a bit of a dogmatic know-it-all, but maybe that's an intentional irony)

  4. Easy to blame it on irony. I don't think she's that clever. Else she would get a real job.

  5. I don't mind how positively Ms Hill Cone wants to think. She can have all the good feelings she wants, and encourage others to share them, with my blessing. If she wants to organise her friends to sit around in a darkened room burning incense and chanting "om" to make the problems of the world go away, that's fine by me.

    But there is such a thing as science, and it'd be nice if the country's leading daily paper could at least pay it some lip service, not rubbish it openly.

  6. They're always going to be pushing the 'value' of the vox pop. After all, they have a vested interest.

  7. Wow that was truly awful, how can she possibly conflate science's quest to empirically test all things rather than resting on the laurels of accepted 'facts' with "let's ask a bunch of ignorant fucknuts what *they* think causes autism instead of looking at the evidence"? It wouldn't really matter so much if it was a poll of something like "what do you think stops the moon crashing into the earth?" but giving the anti-immunisation crowd another public forum can actually have serious consequences for all of us. *And* it was completely rambling and poorly-written. Great work from the whole Herald team!

  8. I've been wondering for awhile now if anyone would notice if DHC just fell of the face of the planet?
    From the point of view of the species, I can't figure out what purpose she serves.

    The herald really is beginning to look dated too. They have assembled a group of columnists who would not be out of place at a local freak show. There's Jim, the bespectacled weird one, Garth, NZ's very own Clampet and Deborah with her new porno look (bring back the novelty glasses, Deborah). What next, The Bearded Lady comments on the flag debate or The Strongman castigates Rodney Hide over the Super City? And then there is the B-league of Sullivan, Holmes, Rudman, etc.

    At least it's not our daily national broadsheet.

  9. I would notice. In the same way one would notice that the chlamydia infection they've had for weeks has had finally cleared up.

  10. I think alhough there has been some strong competition, the sports reporters have to take the prize for the week's most vapid article. Today's 'Top 10 Beards in Sport' really does scrape the barrel. Amazingly, it took 2 reporters to come up with this hard-hitting analysis of facial hair.

  11. Anyone else startled by DHC's performance on The Panel on Friday?