I have a theory that the Herald employs Shelley Bridgeman, Garth George, Kerry Woodham, Peter Bromhead, Deborah Hill-Cone, Jim Hopkins, and Paul Holmes as columnists only because, while a relatively small team of monkeys on typewriters could spit out much more cogent and insightful pieces well within deadline, the price of bananas these days makes it more economical to fill the space between ads with whatever dross these seven throw-up.
Just yesterday, Bridgeman wrote a piece – for which, don’t forget, she would have been paid something between $500 and $1,000 – about how she had once seen lots of contrails in Barcelona (name-dropping places, people, or products – and long-winded explanations of obvious things is how Bridgeman gets to her word limit) but they didn’t look like normal contrails so maybe chem-trails were real and the governments of the world were engaged in a massive conspiracy involving thousands of commercial aircraft to spray the world in some chemical for some reason and have you heard about HAARP, Wikipedia says some people says it’s an earthquake weapon although the people who made it says it’s just some science thing but understanding science is hard when you’ve had a couple of martinis (and did you know that cloud-seeding is real? Wikipedia says so), but a scientist said the contrails were perfectly normal in given atmospheric conditions, and so maybe chem-trials weren’t real or maybe they were or, maybe, you know, like whatever.
There are those who think that Bridgeman is this country’s best, driest satirist whose work is performance art, mocking both the medium of the newspaper column and anyone who would take a newspaper columnist seriously. The grounds for this is that sometimes she seems to giving you the wink that satirists do by writing something so stupid/bizarre/outrageous that you realise the whole thing is a put on. A bit like when Holmes wrote about his discovery that New Zealand is effectively still in recession because people weren’t buying the luxury olive oil he makes as a a hobby. But I prefer the theory that she’s just a lazy moron whose husband knows someone senior at the Herald.
Danyl at Dimpost invited his readers to submit comments where they take a famous piece of NZ literature and convert it to Bridgeman’s style. The results are wonderful: the educated liberal elite laughing at the vacuous rich elite.
But, seriously, is this the best our national paper can do? This absolute fucken garbage?
Here’s a better idea, dear Herald editors. Get a sub-editor to cruise the blogs (you know they’re doing it anyway) and pick out a handful of the best each week. I’m not just talking political blogs – all kinds. There’s so much gold that washes down the blogosphere river every day, it shouldn’t be hard to pick out a few nuggets (hey – there goes a nice descriptive, coherent metaphor, for example). Once they’ve found a few really good pieces each week, the Herald would then write to the authors and say ‘we’ll give you $100 if we can reprint your article and, thereby, bring a massive new audience to your blog’.
Granny saves money, the blogger gets exposure, and the long-suffering reader gets something worth reading.
So, how about it Herald?