Brian Edwards and the Republic of (E)ire
Provocative TVNZ breakfast presenter Paul Henry is in hot water for racist comments about NZ’s Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand, who is of Indian parentage and whose term is about to expire. “Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time,” Henry asked of Prime Minister John Key, who was appropriately taken aback, “are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?”
Paul Henry’s reputation revolves around saying precisely this kind of outrageous thing. He called Susan Boyle “retarded”, for example, and made fun of a female Greenpeace activist for having facial hair. You get the picture: champagne comedy.
The GG slur has dominated headlines in NZ for the past 24-hours, and much outrage is ensuing.
Veteran broadcaster “Doctor” Brian Edwards, an Irishman who moved to New Zealand when he was deemed to have an inadequate sense of humour, was interviewed in the NZ Herald about the Henry comments:
Dr Edwards said he was a good friend of Sir Anand and found the comments “doubly offensive” for that reason. “He couldn’t talk about a more delightful, charming and wonderful born and bred Kiwi.”
Dr Edwards said TVNZ should look at itself and ask whether it was worth keeping Henry. “He’s offended a whole lot of people before, but they weren’t in the same calibre as Sir Anand.”
I am outraged by two aspects of Dr Edwards’ outrage.
- Edwards is “doubly” offended by Henry because the GG is a good friend. I am fuming at this vile favouritism! In effect, Edwards admits he would be only 50 percent as outraged if the offended person were a stranger. This clearly discriminates against the nearly 4 million Kiwis who are not friends of Brian Edwards and yet could conceivably find themselves offended by Paul Henry.
- And how about Edwards’ suggestion that this is a worse-than-usual crime because the people usually insulted by Henry are “not in the same calibre as Sir Arnand”? In Brian Edwards’ sick mind, the level of anger he feels at Henry’s aspersions is directly related to the calibre of person at whom they are directed. According to this formulation, Henry can insult low-calibre types — Susan Boyle does creep into mind here — to his heart’s content without risking the ire of Edwards or his ilk. It seems that only when Henry directs his attention to high-status individuals — especially when those people are on the Edwards Xmas card list — that Edwards will find cause to summon a conniption. This unequal application of fury by Edwards is sickeningly elitist.
As a low-calibre-Kiwi-non-Edwards-friend who is not at all “delightful, charming and wonderful”, I am offended.
Doubly, triply, multitudinously offended.
Edwards should resign, from his golf club if necessary.