Monday, February 28, 2005



Hagiography and corned beef

The big news over the weekend has to have been the publication of Brash's biohagiography. Both the Sunday Herald and Sunday Star-Times had large reviews, and it didn't come across too well. As for Brash, he doesn't come across too well either - despite its rather thick attempts at canonisation, the book paints him as a fairly pathetic human being. Though in Brash's case, this is arguably an improvement - even a fairly pathetic human being is better than being a soulless android. And to be fair, we all have our moments of patheticness; but that doesn't stop us from snickering at those of other people. I expect satirists and those wanting to be cruel to Brash will have plenty of material to play with...

The corned-beef, though, I think is revealing. IMHO the struggle over the Treaty is primarily a generational thing (with Brash being the last gasp of the Dead White Males), and one of the biggest signs of generation change in New Zealand has been the change in our cuisine. And there's nothing more "British" (meaning crap) than corned-beef. By their food shall ye know them...

8 comments:

Come now. Corned beef on rye is extremely Jewish. And at this end of the earth, there's palusami!

Now frozen peas, on the other hand...

Anway, nice to see Steve Braunias using his powers for good.

Posted by stephen : 2/28/2005 08:15:00 AM

But this posting of yours is just pathetic in itself Idiot/Savant!

How does a book paint Brash as "a fairly pathetic human being", yet also be a hagiography? You don't make sense!

Have you actually read the book, or are you just making smug comments based on words out of context by reviewers?

Posted by Aaron Bhatnagar : 2/28/2005 09:34:00 AM

Aaron: by trying very hard to be hagiography, but at the same time talking about personal details that are simply embarassing. Though as I said, in the case of Brash, that's probably an improvement; he looks a lot more human.

And of course I'm making smug comments based on words out of context by reviewers. But I think its better than being a cultlike follower trying to deny any hint of humanity in the guy.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/28/2005 11:35:00 AM

Idiot - and your opinion of Brian Edwards obsequious drivel about Helen Clark? You know that NZ's own walking corpse has her own hagiography to don't you?

Posted by Anonymous : 2/28/2005 04:07:00 PM

Generally, I regard hagiography as not worth wasting my time on - unless I'm digging for stuff on an actual medieval saint.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 2/28/2005 04:32:00 PM

Don't you think you might be being a teensy bit racist? You wouldn't write "Japanese, e.g. crap" would you?

Also, food in the UK has been better than most other countries for some time now - I don't see any sandwich shops in Auckland offering crayfish sarnies?

Posted by Rich : 2/28/2005 09:48:00 PM

Idiot/Savant - I don't know how your readership stats have been trending, but from my experience unbalanced vitriol and chest thumping has never been widely appealing.

Now-a-days, when I come here - I know full well what angle to expect - but it has just become too tiresome.

Shame - I used to enjoy a lot of your more thoughtful analysis.

M R

Posted by My Right : 3/01/2005 09:34:00 PM

Rich: the crapness of traditional British food is a fact widely acknowledged - mushy peas, grease, meat and vegetables with the life boiled out of them - ewgh! There's an interesting article by Paul Krugman - Supply, Demand, and English Food (reprinted in The Great Unravelling) - which explores why it got so bad, and why it's got a lot better recently.

As a country settled by the British at the height of their bad food era, we inherited their "cusine". And we kept it for a long time as we were tied to a sense of "Britishness". But the same trends responsible for improving British food - overseas holidays, immigration, affluence - also played out here and created a market and shift to better food in NZ as well.

As for the generational aspect, more or less a whole generation has grown up knowing that there are cheeses other than cheddar, that there are types of wine other than "red" and "white", that bread doesn't just come in "toast", "sandwich" or "loaf", and who view a wok as an essential kitchen implement rather than a sign of foreign invasion. Meanwhile, many of the elderly seem tied to their traditional British stodge. And I think that if you did a study, you'd find an interesting difference of political views...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/05/2005 10:37:00 AM