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Yesterdaze: Barry Soper’s magic trick

Yesterdaze, James Elliott's column wrapping the news of the week, wonders if Barry Soper has the powers of a magician 

Illusionist David Copperfield was in the news this week, being sued by an audience member who was injured during one of his magic tricks. Copperfield is often described as the world’s greatest illusionist but he was surpassed this week by the double-act of the New Zealand Herald and Barry Soper who created half a week’s news out of thin air. First there was Monday’s “news report” that Soper was banned from travelling through the US due to a visa issue. Then there was Soper’s own piece as to why he was baffled at the reasons for the travel ban. Then there was a further piece from Soper as to why he was baffled at the social media reaction to the story, most of which was bafflement at it being a news story in the first place.      

Also baffling was that SoperturnedawayatthegateGate was the second illusion of creating news out of thin air in one day. A political poll was released on Monday showing that - and you’re going to need to sit down for this - some political parties were down a bit and some other political parties were up a bit. Maybe it’s hard to get excited about political polls because Paddy Gower’s no longer around to tell us that they’re explosive, shocking and game-changing. Or maybe it’s because a poll of 1000 people - that’s 0.00021 percent of the population - a couple of months into a new Parliamentary term showing up a bit and down a bit is somehow even less relevant than debating the colour of a Kardashian dress.

Recognising that some people have been reduced to living in their cars, clamping those cars in a permanent spot could also help reduce the housing shortage. That would be a win for both the Transport Minister Phil Twyford and also the Housing Minister, Phil Twyford.       

Besides, the poll that really counted this week was Andrew Little’s Twitter poll as to whether he should keep his beard. And in what could be an explosive, shocking game-changer … he is! It was a follicular landslide with a winning margin of 2016 votes – that’s 0.00043 percent of the population.     

And from the world of illusions to escapology, this week Transport Minister Phil Twyford signalled that car clamping regulations are on the way. Hot on the heels of the fuel tax hike, some fear this means that car clamping is going to be expanded and formalised as a means of reducing traffic congestion. Or more radically, recognising that some people have been reduced to living in their cars, clamping those cars in a permanent spot could also help reduce the housing shortage. That would be a win for both the Transport Minister Phil Twyford and also the Housing Minister, Phil Twyford. In fact the proposed regulations will target a reduction in the number of car clamps, no doubt because they’re going to be needed to incapacitate those banned offshore oil exploration rigs.

Ardern's whirlwind European tour felt like she was a cramming in an OE before the responsibilities of parenthood arrive. But to be fair if you went overseas and left Kelvin Davis in charge you’d make it a quick trip too. 

Doing some offshore exploring of her own this week was PM Jacinda Ardern. Her whirlwind European tour felt like she was a cramming in an OE before the responsibilities of parenthood arrive.  You can’t see all the sights in a week so it makes sense to pick a theme, in this case meeting European leaders whose names begin with “M” – Macron, Merkel and May. But to be fair if you went overseas and left Kelvin Davis in charge you’d make it a quick trip too. 

Oh and Syria got bombed this week. That’s not newsworthy of itself because bombs have been going off in Syria for about seven years. What was newsworthy this week was that it wasn’t the usual bombing of Syria by Syria, but rather the bombing of Syria by not Syria. This was because Syria had apparently not been bombing itself correctly, using chemical weapons instead of conventional high-explosives to butcher its own civilian population. Our Government’s position was that we “accepted the reasons” why France and the UK supported the US in bombing Syria for bombing itself with the wrong bombs. It makes more sense to assume that the real reason for the bombing strike was that President Trump wanted a distraction from the fact that his personal lawyer Michael Cohen had his home, office and hotel room searched by law enforcement on grounds of probable criminal activities.       

We did stress the importance of trying to secure a UN-mandated solution to the Syrian crisis but noted just how hamstrung the UN Security Council is due to the permanent members’ right of veto. The Security Council is and always has been like a car with clamps on all four wheels, and the spare, which makes you wonder why we spent all that time, effort and money under the National government to sit in the driving seat for a bit.        

Also bombing, again, this week was Australian rugby player Israel Folau as fallout continued over his social media comment that hell is God’s plan for gay people unless they repent their sins. As the week progressed and other rugby players started to speak out against him one sensed that there might be a more immediate purgatory plan for this hypocritical homophobe.             

Have a peaceful weekend.

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