The Listener doesn’t love larrikins

“How do you feel about streakers at football games?” Rachel Smalley asked recently in the New Zealand Herald. “A bit of fun? Or idiots after their moment in the sun? Or worse, perhaps?”

She was responding to an Eden Park streaker who was, he says, punched several times by a security guard once he was out of sight of the crowd. 

Her response?  “Why should you – or your children or grandchildren – be exposed to an adult who wants to flash their bits about? … now we’ve found ourselves in the ridiculous situation where this streaker has laid a complaint because he believes he was assaulted. It is he who has surely committed the far greater crime. I think Eden Park should ban him for life. Sod him … It is hard, surely, to find an ounce of sympathy for this man.”

Its hard to see how streaking in front of tens of thousands of people, with full knowledge your are going  to be tackled, hard, by security within seconds, can be equated with sex attackers preying on small children but this is precisely what Smalley is implying. Essentially streaking is a disruption of the carefully managed spectacle of professional sport. It is anarchic and mischievous and not especially macho. The nakedness of the streaker is not a threat but a vulnerability, which, one suspects is the reason people get a thrill from it.

Josie Butler, who playfully threw  a dildo at Steven Joyce, is another larrikin to field a brickbat from the bourgeois media this week, with the Listener’s editorial deploring “physical assaults on politicians”. it is all too common on the radical left, the Listener editorialises, to attack politicians. Poor Paul Henry was “jostled, menaced, abused and spat on by a screaming mob purporting to be concerned about child poverty” when he attended a charity lunch at Sky City last year, Don  Brash was hit by a clod of dirt at Waitangi, and an Act MP was anointed with a lamington in 2009. To underline the seriousness of this, the Listener quotes Jon Oliver: “If you threw something at a politician in this country [the US], you’d be dead before the dildo hit the ground.”

The dildo throw, she says, “constitutes an as sault on democracy itself”  and “conflicts with most New Zealanders’ views about how public life should be conducted” tarnishing the whole of the left as “angry zealots parade their intolerance”. The Listener sees Josie Butler as an angry zealot assaulting our Minister, and not just someone passionate about politics playfully making a point by pricking the pomp of a puffed-up politician. It’s the Listener that’s on another planet – Planet Key. Most working class people, we can be confident, are on the same one as Josie.