Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm out of touch

My age is beginning to betray me. I seem out of touch with the new kind of gung ho approach by politicians. The fostering of solidarity and admiration among an audience that is most impressed by seeing them as 'good sports' and 'a laugh' and 'one of us'. Perhaps they figure that is the best they can do in a recession and a positive contribution to the countries morale is better than nothing.

A newish comedy show screens on TV3 called 7 Days. It's a stock in trade competition between two teams of comedians responding to leading from a adjudicator. It had me laughing out loud on Friday night. Then in rolled the Minister for Social Development (I suppose a new comedy show is a form of social development). Rolled because she had to roll in her own seat and sit in the middle. She then participated in that old game whereby you must never answer a question with 'yes' or 'no'. Probably not much of a challenge for a politician. Questions like "Have you ever done it in the back of a Holden?" answered by, "Who hasn't?". At which point I had stopped laughing and began using all my energy trying to process what I am seeing and figure out why 'we are not unamused'.

It's not very dignified. So what? Stop being such a pompous twit Lindsay. But aren't we supposed to take this person seriously? She is in charge of the government's biggest spending portfolio. In which case she is allowed to have some fun for a change. Give her a break. But I spend so much of my frigging time worrying about welfare and she's positively chirruping. In which case she has a better work/life balance than you and you could do worse than take a leaf from her book. But what would an overseas visitor make of it all? Who is that, they would ask. Oh that's just the government minister in charge of child protection services, the disability sector, care of the aged and reduction of family violence. She must be up to the job because she can make people laugh.

So my discomfit is without foundation. It doesn't stand up to scrutiny. It can only be explained by my age and the expectations I have because of it. I am a dinosaur with an attitude that says there is a time and a place; portraying a level of discipline publicly is important; maintaining a certain distance and anonymity is desirable; but above all, when there is serious, urgent work to be done there is no time for personality parades.

10 comments:

bez said...

I didn't see the show, but clearly recognize the cringing feeling, which I admit having regularly when viewing interviews with politicians, or indeed reading their comments on blogs. In the end it shows us with great clarity that a democratic system that allows the transposition from popular vote to serious office has some severe drawbacks.

Shane Pleasance said...

Perhaps they could just limit their input to tomfoolery? Happy to keep them and their influence out of my life, and I can change channel.

KG said...

It's not your age, Lindsay--it's the expectation that those charged with doing serious work at the taxpayer's expense will adhere to a set of standards.
That expectation has been eroded and the standards are almost optional nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Those politicians enriched to oversee our welfare are supported by a gaggle of advisors who are constantly seeking ways to portray their charge as having a human face.

Appearing on television programes which are avidly watched by the gullible mass (no disrespect to our host) are a good way to cement the notion that Paula is one of us and its not her fault.

Dirk

Lucy said...

Sorry but I dont want 'one of the guys/girls/blokes/blokesses' governing the country I live in. I want someone who takes the role seriously. Some one who understands that there is a certain amount of decorum required to carry out the role.

Does this mean they cant have a sense of humour? Of course not. But I do not believe they have to go out of their way to play the fool because of some misguided idea that this makes them one of the guys/girls etc etc etc.

Anonymous said...

I cringe at the thought of Keith Holyoake playing the fool to Brian Edwards straight man.

Dirk

Peter said...

This is one aspect of our much-vaunted egalitarian culture. We want politicians to be "one of us". We would be offended if somebody had the temerity to run for office who appeared to be wiser, more dignified or learned than the average guy in the street.

Amnion said...

I cringed. She looked so low-rent and all I feared about the hand on the reins was reinforced....

Anonymous said...

I have seen that show a couple of times, every time the politician on it has come across very poorly. So I agree with you and I'm sub 30 years old so I don't think you can blame your age, that segment of the show is just really tacky!

MrTips said...

Lyndsey
I agree with your assessment. But I don't think you are out of touch. I suspect that a ethical/moral switch got turned on when Paula Bennett made that comment - because its the backs of cars in West Auckland that feed the welfare state, and for a minister to be appearing to laugh that off is well...stupid.