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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Darth George and the art of laziness 

So, what does the dark lord have in store for us this week?

His column starts promisingly enough with a five-paragraph tribute to the late Sir Ed, although like many others Darth tries to politicize the issue: first by raising a long-standing conservative gripe about the demise of recognizable titles like "Sir", and second by characterizing the idea of an additional public holiday as, essentially, an invitation to sloth. Sir Ed's life was, Darth notes (accurately), "energetic, active, adventurous, useful and hard-working." What he fails to note is that for many people it's hard to be energetic, active and adventurous when you're tied to a desk, a telephone, or a supermarket checkout. It's much easier when you're on holiday.

As for the first claim, titles like "Sir" are certainly distinctive in a way that prestigious honours like "ONZ" are not. This seems to be true and is unfortunate. But as for the claim that "he appellation Sir carries weight no matter where you go" ... well, you can't get it in Australia (finally ceased in 1986; highest award: Order of Australia), Canada (generally discontinued since 1919; highest award: Order of Canada), the United States, Ireland, South Africa (discontinued 1952), or too many other countries where English is widely spoken as far as I can tell. Except Papua New Guinea of course - perhaps that's what Darth means by "international".

Darth even means to slip in a reference to "the new National Government we will get later this year" ... for fuck's sake man, the death of a most distinguished and likable New Zealander is no time for this pathetic carry on.

But five paragraphs of a inappropriately politicized and ill-considered tribute to Sir Ed doesn't stand up to ... (drum roll please) ... 16 paragraphs (424 words) considering "a few rare gems" Darth has received via email. Yes, Darth has rediscovered the cut and paste function on his computer. Take this "gem", versions of which are readily found on the internet.

The next time you feel as if God can't use you, just remember: Noah was a drunk; Abraham was too old; Isaac was a daydreamer; Jacob was a liar; Leah was ugly; Joseph was abused; Moses had a stuttering problem; Gideon was afraid; Samson had long hair and was a womaniser; and Rahab was a prostitute.

Jeremiah and Timothy were too young; David had an affair and was a murderer; Elijah was suicidal; Isaiah preached naked; Jonah ran from God; Naomi was a widow; and Job went bankrupt.

Peter denied Christ; the disciples fell asleep while praying; Martha worried about everything; Mary Magdalene was ... well ... you know; the Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once; Zaccheus was too small; Paul was too religious; Timothy had an ulcer; and, if you please, Lazarus was dead.

For fuck's sake man, what does this have to do with anything? You're too lazy to even do your own proselytizing, so prefer instead to cut and paste hackneyed lines pointing out the foibles (including "divorce" apparently) of the key characters in the book? Why? And there's some obscure characters there too: I can't recall ever hearing of Rahab or Zaccheus. And the word he was looking for to describe Mary Magdalene was "prostitute". Just like Rahab.

Who pays this chump? At least hand his column over directly to the National Party. There's evidence that Bill English has a sense of humour - "The trouble is that New Zealanders are leaving the country in planeloads, and Australians are coming here in kayaks." Assuming that's an original line, it's bloody funny. Originality and humour are not things that Darth seems well-acquainted with.

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