Monday, March 16, 2015

We Live In A Country Where Mediaworks Is More Responsive To Petitions Than Politicians Are

Right. I'm going to get this off my chest: The X-Factor thing is banal. As in, the whole thing.

Although not the righteous outpouring of tens of thousands of New Zealanders being annoyed by what was said on the show, mind.

I happen to rather *like* the idea of masses of Kiwis coming together to *make things happen* and exert their will on a portion of the public sphere (and note with some amusement that everyone from Family First to Tony Veitch to scores of my progressive left-wing friends and colleagues are now apparently on the same side of an issue).

But apart from my own personal and habitual annoyance with that unholy trifecta of reality shows, "talent" shows, and mass enthusiasm for/engagement with same ... one thing really stands out to me about this whole imbroglio.*

It took less than 24 hours for New Zealanders to come together, have TENS OF THOUSANDS of people sign a petition, and get a decision-making body (in this case the producers of X-Factor) to bend to their will and axe the judges in question.

Now quite apart from noting it took MONTHS for people to collect the requisite number of signatures for something like the Stop Asset Sales petition, or any of the less official anti-TPPA/GCSB ones going around ...

... the really big difference here is that when faced with a broad and sweeping tide of public opinion, this privately owned media company didn't stall or try and claim that previous events mitigated the clear weight of public opinion being exercised (as National, for instance, tried to do when proffering a previous election result as justification for ignoring a referendum result on asset sales).

It got in there, and it did something.

I just WISH our Government was just as amenable to listening to the will of the people! As you might expect they'd sort-of have to, in a democracy.

The only evidence I've seen so far of National being in ANY WAY even VAGUELY as responsive to public opinion ... was their announcing ten new bridges pretty much as soon as they saw Winston was beating their Northland candidate in the polls.

You might disagree vehemently with New Zealand First's dual calls for the greater use of referendums, and provision for making binding the results of same  ... but I think we can ALL agree that the day a privately owned media company pushing a Simon Cowell Ego Buff is more responsive to the will of the people than our own elected officials, is evidence of something seriously, seriously wrong with the latter.

Demand BETTER of your government, New Zealand. Your power is not limited to purging pontificating pop-music pariahs.

*Ok, two things. As a man whose trademark appearance on camera is *also* appearing in a suit, with slicked-back hair (we call this #MtEdenVice) ... I'm PERSONALLY ANNOYED at the implication that I might be stealing a style from a man who appears to have plagarized Keith Moon's surname.

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