Relief is at hand! The Rugby World Cup is, thankfully, nearly over.
I am very proud to say that I have seen mere glimpses of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) on my television. I say that I'm proud because the local media has done its damndest to insult my intelligence with some banal RWC related story. But I'm a gun-for-hire when it comes to the TV remote and I've happily flicked away from the rubbish to something more interesting.
Apparently there is so little happening in the world that both TVNZ and TV3 can devote large chunks of their already insubstantial news bulletins to rugby. Apparently it was a game of two halves but rugby was the winner on the day.
On a day when the Prime Minster admitted that poverty has grown under his Government, TVNZ's Mark Sainsbury, possibly the stupidest man on television, was asking trite questions of another All Black. God, these 'ABs' are so dull that they make Wendy Petrie seem interesting and perceptive.
The fact that John Key has no answers to the chronic level of unemployment and the growing level of poverty other than yet more punitive welfare measures has gone completely unexamined by a media which thinks the state of McCaw's foot is of more importance
I resent the way that political and corporate interests conspire to drive so many people into investing so much of their identity and self worth into a game that long ago became the domain of the fat cats. How many working class New Zealanders have been able to pay the exorbitant ticket prices that the RWC has demanded? But yet the myth persists that rugby is the people's game and that the All Blacks are the symbol of the nation. That's right - a group of wealthy rugby players are representative of a nation where 240,000 children live in poverty.
The symbol of the nation is a food bank - but you can't sell the television rights to this.
But the Prime Minister will get his photos with the All Black captain. This is the same Prime Minister whose government have cut food grants to needy families by 20 per cent, driving driving record numbers to seek food parcels from charities instead.
I can't stand all the boasting and flag-waving, the belligerence of pseudo-nationalism. New Zealand is a country in crisis led by politicians who have no answers but the alcohol-fuelled chauvinism of the RWC is supposed to give us the sense of community that neoliberalism shattered long ago.
Hell, Graham Henry - quoting from his Bumper Book of Sports Cliches - tells us that the job has yet to be done and some commentators froth at mouth and quote him endlessly as if he is has expounded some great truth! If he had something to say about the crisis of late capitalism then I might be interested in listening but I'm not buying from the Establishment-approved 'Isn't Graham Henry Wonderful? ' Mythmaking Department. Try next door and don't call again.
New Zealand is a desperately directionless country that has betrayed by over three decades of neoliberal policies that would, we were told, lead us all to the promised land. Instead they have led us to the wasteland of high unemployment, low wages, increasing poverty and ever more savage attacks on what remains of the welfare state.
We have been failed by the parliamentary politicians but a good dose of pseudo-nationalist tubthumping makes everything just dandy apparently.
I reject this engineered national pride, the product of media companies and advertising agencies, and I'm not going to pretend that I have any kind of enthusiasm for the RWC.