Thrilling news! Tom Cruise sails on New Zealand America's Cup  boat! Meanwhile, in Brazil, the people have been out on the streets protesting about the ballooning cost of another extravagant sports event...

If you have been near either TVNZ's or TV3's news bulletins at six o'clock in the past few  weeks you would of no doubt seen something of the Louis Vuitton Regatta - which will decide who will sail against Team Oracle USA  for the America's Cup (I'm yawning even as I write these words).

This rich man's event (and it is  just  wealthy white  men who play 'America's Cup') has descended into an epic farce with yachts - or rather  catamarans -  sailing  against themselves. The whole thing descended into madness when the Italian team Luna Rossa raced against themselves but were so slow that the race should of been abandoned.

Of the 13 races in the round-robin phase – two remain -- nine have been uncontested. Only four have involved more than one boat. Given that an important element is missing here - namely competition - it is hard to even describe the Louis Vuitton Regatta as sport.

The official website for this farce describes the Anericas's Cup as 'great entertainment. TVNZ has the exclusive rights  to screen  this 'great entertainment'. It clearly would like to  whip up jingoistic fervour for this event but  the days of red socks and  Peter Sinclair and co  singing 'Sailing Away' have long gone.  I doubt that even a mighty rendition of 'Loyal' by Dave Dobbyn could revive this clunker.

The circus entered  a new realm of weirdness when another wealthy white man, actor Tom Cruise, was invited aboard the New Zealand  catamaran. This momentous occasion was duly one of the top stories on yesterday's six o'clock news bulletins.  For both TVNZ and TV3 it ticked two of the most important boxes for a major news story - sport and celebrity.  Unfortunately there was no sleazy crime angle to also pursue but two out of three ain't bad, eh?

There were the inevitable references to Top Gun but no references to Scientology. 

For most folk this yacht race is as  irrelevant as a Jesse Mulligan 'commentary' on Seven Sharp. It only intrudes because the corporate media, which has a financial stake in the farce, keep trying to shove it in our faces.

What is of much more relevance is that ordinary New Zealanders have been soaked for $36 million in the way of a contribution to this play thing for the rich and famous.

The government can find the millions to throw at this rich man's 'sport' but for the rest of us we're expected to accept thin gruel and more  cutbacks. But at least you can relax in the full knowledge that, thanks to you, Dean Barker and his crew are being paid the appropriately large salaries consistent with their lifestyles.

Meanwhile in Brazil the people have recently been protesting in the streets over the costs of the 2014 football World Cup. Over 300,000 people marched in the streets of Rio de Janeiro  alone  just a fortnight or so ago.

Protester Yasmine Gomes, 22, said: 'What I hope comes from these protests is that the governing class comes to understand that we're the ones in charge, not them, and the politicians must learn to respect us,'

Protesters have decried the more than $10 billion that has been  spent on 2014 World Cup  preparations, saying that the money could have been better spent elsewhere -such as on public housing and welfare services. The protests have been backed by many of the players in the Brazilian football team itself.

Like their football team, the Brazilian people are a class act. We should learn from them.


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