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Thursday, September 3, 2015
Brilliant comment on NZ flag proposals
The massed yawn continues. Our millionaire ex-futures trader prime minister is determined to go out with (a) a knighthood, and (b) the massed approval of his business roundtable mates and (c) the reputation of the bloke who changed the New Zealand flag.
First he budgeted $26 million to the project. Then was appointed a committee to have a look at lots of designs. Please note this committee does not have a single vexillologist. Lovely word. It means an expert in flags and their designs. Which the committee thinks it can do without. It makes you think of the old saying that a camel was a beast designed by a committee.
And now they have come down to the shortlist of four. Pictured above. Please note that it is really a shortlist of two -- the fern vs the koru, the last of which is going to look really strange when frayed. As flags do. Our PM, described above, wants the fern, so he has been given a choice of three. Is this democracy?
Opinions, all negative, abound, but Dominion Post columnist Rosemary McLeod published a particularly brilliant commentary today.
"OPINION: They are not alone. I, too, could have had truly lousy ideas for a flag," she begins.
"I could have doodled kowhai blossom in a blue sky, a lactating cow peeing into a murky river, or that wretched buzzy bee we trot out as a Kiwi invention."
So what does she think of the Final Four?
"The designs aren't even amusing; $26 million wasted is not a parlour game. They demonstrate exactly why we've never done a new flag since adopting the current one in 1902, and shouldn't do it now. And think of what $26 million could have done for kids in need."
And now for the nitty-gritty.
"I assume this elaborate prank was the brainwave of rich businessmen, among whom the prime minister moves, whom he thinks are in touch with the mysterious thing called real people, and who are enchanted with branding.
"Branding used to apply to businesses and products, but now applies to human beings, like the All Blacks, who have become not sportsmen so much as marketing tools in underpants. We are sold market forces, and their friend branding, as rational things and therefore good. And with them comes that awesome thing, the printed business mission statement. You see it everywhere, stuck to the office wall while staff beneath it yawn and pick their noses.
"Well, market forces made little kids chimney sweeps in the 19th century, because they'd work 15-hour days for next to nothing, and if they dropped dead it didn't matter. Market forces had women crawling through mines half-naked to drag out the coal, and yet more tots employed to open and shut trap doors for the loaded coal carts.
"Women were cheap labour. Even hookers earned peanuts, because there were so many desperate competitors. Starvation is a great motivator, as well as a great market force I dare say."
Brilliant. Read it all.