Saturday, July 24, 2010
The Case for Kiwi Culture
New Zealand has come a long way.
An amalgam of local Polynesians and recently arrived Europeans got together to make a nation for good keen men (and women). As the 20th Century dawned, the Man Alone ethos (the John Mulgan sort) continued to be held as the epitome of the "sweet as" Kiwi (as opposed to the "fair dinkum" or "true blue" Aussie).
Then, after the second World War, and abandonment by Mother England when she ran off to start a new family with those swarthy Europeans as part of the European Union, things changed. Sure, there had been signs of progress, in women getting the vote, and increased interest in Maori and Pacific Island rights - major steps definitely. But things went a bit mad, with anti Apartheid protesters, Whale warriors, Nuke busters, homo-normalisation, bra burners, anti smackers, prostitute legalisation, and the election of our the first transgender Mayor and Member of Parliament... well, what a deluge.
But, at heart, New Zealand still seems to pride itself on its good keen man (and woman), nuclear nurturing family, and tolerant but still apart image. How else can one explain the fact Michael Laws is still allowed to roam free, and indeed hold a relatively high office?
"Wanganui will win the Shield because the Stags are too poofy", indeed.
I am not sure that "poofiness" is, by definition, mutually exclusive of athleticism and the instinct and ability to win rugby games, and the fact the All Blacks are, these days, better looking than most male models (although these days an All Black may, by definition, be a male model), but one should obviously not let logic get in the way of a good stereotype...
Verdict: Oh. Mr Laws. Here's hoping the poofs win. Or perhaps the more poofy ones. 3 pairs of gumboots out of 10.