TVNZ has received a number of complaints about Paul Henry, following his making fun of Greenpeace’s Stephanie Mills for her facial hair. But this champion of free speech is unrepentant and refuses to apologise to the many people he has offended and upset.
In his capacity as a maker of profound social observations, Henry also added, “The thing that interested me wasn’t the fact that she had facial hair. It was the fact that everyone can be amazed by it, everyone can be thinking about it, everyone can see it as an interesting thing, but no one can say anything”. Good stuff, Paul. Thought-provoking. Could it be that most people, by the time they reach adulthood, develop a sort of filtering mechanism that stops them from saying every single dumb thing that pops into their heads?
The highlight of the linked article is the beautifully understated comment of the University of Otago’s Dr Annabel Cooper, who said of Henry, “They should get grown-ups to host those shows”. But the thing is, if someone’s made it to Henry’s age without working out why belittling and hurting other people is a bad idea, there’s really not much hope for them.
Could the women on the right of the political spectrum please educate this chump before he digs himself further into a hole? Sure, he represents a strain (well a stain) of misogynist opinion that supports this type of attitude. It really hurts the National party that he is so fond of (he stood for National in 1999 but lost to Georgina Beyer).
As a supporter of the left, I’m happy for that. As a supporter of women entering public roles, I think that it is a strong inducement to avoid putting yourself up for the type of public policy debate that Henry accurately reflects. Don’t engage with the issues, resort to whisper campaigns and denigration, especially against women.
David Farrar at Kiwiblog has just been pointing this out in relation to the long whisper campaign against Helen Clark and Peter Davis, but with the usual inevitable misogynist, homophobic and fact-free reaction. David put a great effort into moderating the ‘debate’, so it is almost readable. But I get the impression that Paul Henry would fit in well on the sewer.
You’d have thought that this type of thinking disappeared long ago as women entered into public roles. But then, you could always rely on Henry to faithfully reflect the sewer to get ratings.
Update: Julie at the HandMirror points to a roundup on this issue (and my post errors). She has some specific actions that you can do to correct this travesty of broadcasting.