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History repeats, part II

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, November 13th, 2007 - 13 comments
Categories: Media, spin - Tags: ,

There’s a famous line from Joyce’s Ulysses in which the main protagonist Stephen Dedalus states “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” and when I opened the Herald this morning I suddenly understood what that can mean:


Now look at this one from a little ways back:


Spot the difference.

It seems the Herald has decided to nail its flag to the mast nice and early (as my comrade Tane has already mentioned) but really? “Reds under the bed”??? I’m not surprised by their political angle but I would have thought that the brains trust at “the country’s number one daily newspaper” would’ve been able to come up with something a bit fresher than this. I mean “Helengrad”? – have they employed the kiwiblog crazies as subs or something?

13 comments on “History repeats, part II ”

  1. Susan Deare 1

    The Herald have really taken in the right-wing nut opinion as their very own. That cartoon is simply preposterous.

    Obviously the profit-driven corporate fat cats at APN are desperate to preserve their traditional election year advertising revenue.

  2. Today’s herald cartoon has some strengths and weaknesses. It’s essential point about the Labour Government attempting to clamp down on political activity is a good one and very accurate. The EFB is definitely an attempt to regulate and reduce the political activity of civil society – ie ‘ration democracy.

    But the use of Lenin probably isn’t a good one – suggesting that the Labour Government’s anti-democratic proposals are in some way left-wing is just crazy. There’s absolutely nothing leftwing about the EFB. It has more in common with conservative authoritarian governments than genuinely socialist democracy.


  3. Robinsod 3

    Bryce – nobody except third year pol sci students do close readings of political cartoons because that’s not the point of a cartoon. The Lenin comparison is far more important than the political statement being made here because the point of spin like this is to associate Clark with Lenin. This cartoon is not about transmitting a message about the EFB – it’s about taking nearly a century of negative associations about Lenin and attaching them to Clark. By trying to unpackage this in terms of actual content rather than recognising it as a deliberately false metaphor you’ve totally missed the point. Are you sure you’re an academic?

  4. Robinsod – we may have to agree to disagree on this one. My points were nothing to do with a close analytical reading of the cartoon. Quite simply it showed Helen Clark morphing into what the Herald (and many other people) see simply as a dictator. This is how most people would read the cartoon. Nonetheless, I agree that using Lenin isn’t the best metaphor, because the EFB and Labour’s motives are in no way leftwing.

    I don’t think I’ve ever claimed to be an academic on this blog, so I can only assume you bring this up out of pettiness. It would be helpful if you could learn to argue the point not the person.


  5. Robinsod 5

    Bryce – I argue the person and the point because they are inextricable. Your politics are a direct result of who you are. And I’ve got no interest in being “helpful” (though I’d be interested to hear your view on who I’d be helping and why I should do so).

    When you say “I agree that using Lenin isn’t the best metaphor” you’re not agreeing with me at all. I think that given the purpose of the cartoon Lenin is a fine choice of metaphor – especially as it ties in with the label “Helengrad” (not because of any historical connection but simply because all that “Russian commie” stuff is mixed up together in the popular mind).

    Once again Bryce you’re applying a rational analysis to a world that it is clearly not suited to. If you want to say anything pertinent to the real political discourse (rather than doing a bit of ivory tower trainspotting) you’re going to have to figure that out.

  6. TomS 6

    A quick look at Mr. Edwards incredibly sour and bitter little bit mocking of Chris Knox should tell people all they need to know about his view of Labour.

    An ivory tower academic left winger who seems to still blame Labour for expelling John A. Lee.

  7. insider 7

    It was a pretty lame cartoon IMO, and I agree with parts of its sentiment.

  8. Tane 8

    The Herald really has gone off the deep end in the last couple of days. Yesterday they were comparing Clark to Hitler, today it’s Lenin.

    What a way to shoot your credibility in just 24 hours.

  9. TomS refers to my not-so-serious blog post about Chris Knox’s song, “It’s a Bitter Way with Labour”, but he forgets to include the url link, which is:

    In the comments section you’ll also see that the leftwing activist and musician Don Franks has added in the missing lyrics that Helen Clark asked Chris Knox to remove from the song. Enjoy.


  10. Robinsod 10

    Yeah Bryce and here’s dad4justice’s submission on the EFB
    So what’s your point?

  11. “There’s absolutely nothing leftwing about the EFB. It has more in common with conservative authoritarian governments than genuinely socialist democracy”

    Sounds like Lenin was actually just the right chap to use then, eh?

    By the way – went and had a look at the sneering about Chris Knox in the linked post above. Er, yes – “bitter” is the word that springs to mind, but not to describe Chris Knox…

  12. Mary Collins 12

    Are the UK and Canada conservative authoritarian governments? They have the same law…but more stringent. So some really believe that the best democracy money can buy is about freedom ?

  13. john 13

    The ironic elements about this media sponsored “smear’ are:
    1. A Collins mentioned; this Law not considered as a Leninist authoritarian law in countries that are about as antiauthoritarian as they come in this world, the UK and Canada. So WHY here?
    2. Those that hold the “real’ power; the wealthy, transnational corporations, international investors and the media (also in NZ mostly subsidiaries of transnational corporations) have power that is indeed authoritarian. They are even less accountable than government. No one votes them out.
    3. The Herald is not a democratic organization by any means. It is a business and a subsidiary of a transnational corporations run by a conservative editor beholden to conservative advertisers.
    4. What would happen if Key was consistently caricatured as Mussolini or painted green as with Cullen. How would this be seen as affecting democracy? The 4th estate does certainly have inordinate power able to manage democracies here.

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