Tonight on 'Citizen A': Martyn Bradbury recalls the rotten documentary series he made for TV3. Then he and Chris Trotter compare facial hair growth. Hilarity ensues. This show is better than 'Melody Rules'!
Chris Trotter, 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator' (Paul Henry), is fully engaged in the New Zealand political arena. Are you thrilled yet?
Chris Trotter, political commentator and loyal Labour Party supporter, has been criticising me again. I can assure you all though that I am happily immune to Trotterism. So you can still visit this humble blog safe in the knowledge that you won't be confronted with posts nonsensically defending the Labour Party.
I view Trotter's politics in much the same way that Rosa Luxemburg probably viewed the dismal politics of Eduard Bernstein. But I'm not, of course, suggesting that I'm of the same intellectual calibre as Luxemburg. But Trotter, given his political buffoonery, may be of the same intellectual rank as Bernstein. Poor Chris.
But in one of his recent criticisms of me Trotter suggested that my politics prevented me from being fully engaged in the New Zealand political scene. I might add that Trotter meant the bourgeois political scene. I have many friends and comrades within the left, both here and overseas.
But this is what Trotter said specifically:
It's your incapacity to deal with the real that limits your contribution to NZ politics, Steven, and which leaves you only the barren alternative of indulging in a ceaseless and unconstructive criticism of all those who refuse to participate in your political negativity.
That's telling me, isn't it? Take a 1000 lines, Mr Cowan - 'I must not limit my contribution to New Zealand politics by criticising the Labour Party all the time.'
In contrast to me living in my state of unreality, Chris Trotter thinks he is usefully contributing to New Zealand politics. He does this apparently by writing newspaper columns, talking on various radio and television shows and, of course via his blog. As 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator' (Paul Henry) Trotter is a man whose opinions are sensible enough to safely air in the corporate media.
But when Chris is not being erudite with Duncan Garner, he is busy shining his light of wisdom on what remains of the Labour Party. 'Never fear, Chris is here.' he calls out into the darkness. 'Solidarity forever - but only if you are not a bloody socialist'.
Trotter, you see, also views his role as alerting Labour's 'rank-and-file to any possibilities for radical change that their MPs may have missed or rejected.'
I would of thought that the possibility of Labour advocating radical change was about as likely as me joining the National Party but, then again, Trotter's idea of 'radical change' is promoting David Cunliffe to Labour leader. But then, Dave Shearer showed that he might be radical about the power companies but then Labour's deputy leader spoiled everything when he said that the party didn't believe in interfering with market forces. So maybe Dave isn't radical anymore. And the other Dave is. Probably. Maybe. But that might change again. Possibly. Chris hasn't worked it out yet. It sounds like an episode of that old sitcom Soap, doesn't it?
But seriously. Chris's favourite revolutionary leader (can you guess who it is?) once observed:
In ordinary times, the state, be it monarchical or democratic, elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business--kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists.
Does this not apply to Chris Trotter? There he is, above us all, making history with his specialist mates like Duncan Garner, Martyn Bradbury, Wendy Petrie, Ali Mau....Danny Watson. There goes dear old Chris - 'fully participating' in New Zealand politics on Martyn Bradbury's Citizen A show. Gosh.
Are the rest of us consigned to be just mere participants while political giants like Chris Trotter make history on low rating television shows?
Am I depressed? Yes I am actually. I've been downcast about the awful season my beloved Newcastle United have had but I don't break out in a cold sweat at night worrying why I've never been invited on to TV3's Election Night specials.
It was Trotter's favourite revolutionary hero who wrote that ordinary folk were not permanently doomed to be mere participants while history was made by their so-called 'representatives':
But at those crucial moments when the old order becomes no longer endurable to the masses, they break over the barriers excluding them from the political arena, sweep aside their traditional representatives, and create by their own interference the initial groundwork for a new regime...The history of a revolution is for us, first of all, a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny.
Encapsulated here is an absolute refusal to capitulate to the political establishment and his unshakable belief in the capacity of the downtrodden to struggle for their own emancipation and construct a new society.
I believe in that and always will. Chris Trotter doesn't and never will.