Member log in

New Zealanders OUTRAGED

This is an OUTRAGE!

If we are to believe the papers, the radio and television news, New Zealanders live in a perpetual state of outrage. The nation’s blood pressure is never less than 180 over 110, so outraged are we by the egregious sinning of our fellow man and woman, at home and abroad. Our outrage can be singular or plural. An individual may be outraged by a neighbour’s cat walking across his lawn and want to damn the breed. In response an entire community of cat-lovers, numbering millions,  may declare themselves outraged at such a perfidious suggestion. Occasionally the entire nation is said to be outraged, most commonly by something said or done by an Australian. An under-arm ball comes to mind.

The connection between the seriousness of an action and the public outrage it occasions is tenuous at best. Where outrage is concerned, actions need no longer speak louder than words. Indeed, as sources of outrage, words seem to have surpassed actions altogether. 

The most recent example of words leading to general public outrage (as defined by the Fourth Estate) was a passage from an article in Investigate magazine, penned by New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser. Mr Prosser wrote:

“I will not stand by while [my daughters'] rights and freedoms of other New Zealanders and Westerners are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan.

“If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines …”

Now my assessment of Mr Prosser is that he is blithering idiot because only a blithering idiot would paint a target on his forehead, while carrying a sign with the words “please shoot me” in neon letters, and distributing loaded firearms to passers-by. God knows, one would have thought being a member of Winston Peters’ raggle-taggle caucus was ignominy enough without revealing oneself as a suicidal maniac.

Mr Prosser deserves our pity, not our outrage, but our outrage he has got and it runs to tens of thousands of column inches and millions of spoken words.

I am reminded of the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” They were never entirely true of course, but these days they could not be further from the truth. While we tolerate man’s inhumanity to man in so many areas, national and international, we mount our high horses more commonly over what is said than what is done.

In the process the currency of  the word itself has been debased. We should express “outrage” in the face of real outrages, not merely when we think something said or done is bad or offensive or stupid  or insensitive or neglectful or unkind.  We have words for all of that – annoyed, angry, pissed off, ropable, furious, horrified or that old journalistic standard “shocked”.

When I recently wrote what amounted to a favourable obituary of Paul Holmes, I was faced with the ire of many readers (still) outraged at a handful of  ill-considered words spoken in the course of a 40- year career of live broadcasting, and at my praise of a dying man, seemingly rendered beyond redemption for having given verbal offence.

I’m more inclined to be outraged by what is done than what is said, though one can of course lead to the other. Off the top of my head I’d rate poverty, unemployment, discrimination, child-abuse, torture, cruelty in all its forms, the absence or denial of justice or free speech, the subjugation of the weak by the strong as outrages, and the tolerance of such evils as outrageous. You can make your own list.

Anyway if you think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, count the number of times in a week that the words outrage, outraged, outrageous appear in your local rag, favourite mag or on radio and TV. You’ll be shocked by what you find.

Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards blogs at Brian Edwards Media

More by Brian Edwards

Comments and questions
28

Brian--I am OUTRAGED by the fact that that stupid male MP was given air time and column space AND also by the fact that we taxpayers are paying him. That's OUTRAGEOUS !!!!!!!

he only said what a lot of us think

If you think such thoughts, you shouldn't. More people have been killed by planes by white people dressed as technicians who through apathy or ignorance have wrongly tightened a bolt or ignored metal fatigue or just ticked the boxes rather than properly inspect a plane. Do we restrain them from flying?

No, because they aren't a threat while they're in the plane. In fact, they should be in a plane at all times for our safety!

Then you're a bigot

Its outrageous.

"Outraged","shocked", so and so "calls for",how does it feel?,talk us through that,what do you say to the people who say?,do you accept...
The average hack in this country seems to have the vocabulary of a chimp that does sign language.How do they feel about that?

What's OUTRAGEOUS is the attention given to Prosser the Tosser's cr*p by media which has no function, apparently but to titillate and amuse. HEAVEN FORBID THAT IT SHOULD ENDEAVOUR TO INFORM. It must be true, we get the media we deserve. What is the general level of intelligence in NZ society?
Brian, another word you should consider is HERO. Surely that word is more devalued than any. It seems that anyone in a uniform is nowadays automatically a HERO. Even the slightest act of civil conscience or duty qualifies the doer.
Ah, now there's another one - RIGHTS. I was taught and have always beleived that rights arose out of the performance of DUTIES. Unfortunately, those who are loudest about their rights seem rather reticent about their duties!
Ah well, I'm an old fashioned b...... and I often find myself "p*ssing against the wind". So be it!.

Thankyou Michael . I agree with your entire piece--NOT only the fact that you agreed with my comment about what IS outrageous.

March on !!

Love it!

My blood pressure is fine thanks Brian - I stopped reading newspapers and watching television some years ago on the advice of Dr Dennis Dutton who pointed out the outrageous mis- use of these media.

Great article Brian. I mean GREAT. So factual. The Media has, for far too long, sensationalised standard news. What is wrong with Journalists/Media reporting the facts as they are and leave the decisions on how to react to it to the receiver of the news. Are they not capable of intelligent decisions? Jeeeeez.
Why does the Media have to dramatise the News.
Again, keep this story going Brian. Reign in the drama queens.

"Cheeky darky"

Unfortunately, Mr Prosser has a point. Taking just Pakistan as an example; the country has tens of millions of uneducated young men who will never have a paying job and therefore will never marry. Angry and frustrated, an increasing percentage are drawn to extreme Muslin groups. Go figure!

Thank you for putting perspective into things. How true! We are all far too easily outraged over things SAID than things DONE! Wouldn't it be good if we all tweeted or whatever, our outrage over child a use, torture, poverty etc and savedthat word for those things and used peed off, angry etc for anything lesser. Poor old Prosser-still eating humble pie long after he gave a sincere apology for his diatribe. Remember the outrage everyone had over the politician who only stated the obvious, namely that women don't her as much work done when they have babies or are in menstruation? People would have lynched him if he hadn't resigned. I think folk feel powerful if their " outrage " can get some one the sack : its a pride thing.

Well this is an outrage and the government is trying to cover it up. How about it NBR?
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1301/S00065/complaint-lodged-with-sfo-over-turitea-wind-farm.htm

Come to think of it, Winston Peters is kind of muslim looking, or would be to the average redneck outside New Zealand (who couldn't tell him apart from other tanned folks, given the lack of ignorance of the world), so his own boss couldn't fly based on his criteria. So lets see, all Latin American are out, all Africans are out, certainly all Asians are out. That pretty well means only white people should fly. How convenient.

Meh, I'm basically in a perpetual state of outrage.

This is an excellent article by Brian Edwards - and I agree with him. There is a perpetual state of outrage. And NZers especially are people who take notice of NZ's media [excluding NBR and RNZ, the only decent media in NZ] and big mouth, egotist political types never seem to be satisfied unless they're angry, depressed, being pitied or otherwise on the defensive 24/7. In part understandable - but it's all talk and no action. It's the action behind their outrage most never bother with [unless its poorly organised, ill-thought through time wasting]. The Prosser panic is an example of the sort of scary moralistic weirdness that seems to emanate frequently here at the ass-end of the planet.

This is an excellent article by Brian Edwards - and I agree with him. There is a perpetual state of outrage, especially people who take NZ's crap media seriously [NBR & RadioNZ are the only serious media!] - and notably egotist political types - who never seem to be satisfied unless their angry, depressed, being pitied or otherwise on the defensive. In part understandable - but the radical action behind their radical outrage that ought to take place - people almost never bother with - unless its poorly organised, ill throught through, self-promotional time wasting. The Prosser panic is an example of the sort of scary moralistic weirdness that seems to emanate frequently here at the ass-end of the planet.

Article nailed this for me. An overused word used to try to make humdrum stories interesting. Goes with the dumming down of stuff.co.nz for example. On a par with stories about 'celebrities/stars/nobodies'......

Mr Prosser and his type are the problem, not the solution in our now global society and expanding multicultural populace. His conceited contempt of others is born out of inferiority, ignorance and fear. One can only feel pity for them and their hate, not outrage.

I feel outrage that he is allowed in a political party in this day and age and that supposedly educated editors print his bigoted narcissistic views!

Moreover, Mr Peters better stand in an electoral seat next election, cause he sure isn’t going to get the party vote this time round going by the public disgust of his inaction to sack the loser.

I would rather Winnie stood on his head--in a bucket of water..
His middle name could be "inaction" except for posturing times and that insincere grin. Also, only a superannuitant in Auckland could love his goldcard. For those outside of there it is not worth carrying. And I will not be renewing my one year membership of GREYPOWER-which seems to me to be the unofficial prayermat/forelock tugging fan club of W.P.

Remember him holding the country to ransom and his baubles of office denial??? The KINGMAKER ?? Gawd 'elp us

I agree with some of your sentiments ... and yes, Prosser, is an idiot but why do we in NZ think we are somehow better equipped to deal with these scenarios than larger, better-equipped nations who can't?

I would never characterise myself as anti-Muslim, but I would characterise myself as pro-democracy, pro-woman, pro-gay, pro-straight, pro-secular, pro-Christian/Hindu/Buddhist/Jew!

“Democracy, freedom, secularism, the parliament, all the MPs and the presidents, all the kuffar’s ideas, everything the people worship, we have to believe that they are bad and we have got to reject them". Muslim preacher urges followers to claim 'Jihad Seeker's Allowance': http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9875954/Muslim-preacher-urges-followers-to-claim-Jihad-Seekers-Allowance.html

A large part of the problem is the limited vocabulary of the media,sportsmen and other commentators, meaning that terms are overused, e. g: awesome, outraged.
A wider use of the English language would help.
liberte

Why don't we all just poke our heads out a window somewhere and shout "I'm as mad as hell and am not going to take it any more!"

Outrage?

Prosser's comments; I creased half an eyebrow, maybe.

Alasdair Thompson also outraged the media when he said 'some women sufferr terribly with monthly sickness problems ( periods) and that can affect threir productivity'.
He was sacked for stating what tons of research backs up. Google it and see what I mean. Brian Edwards upset quite a few people when he said Mihi Forbes' presentation of 4 minutes of a 28 min interview she did with Thompson was 'dishonest journalism'. It sure doesn't take much to outrage some people.
Prosser is silly, weird - a tosser. The electorate will deal to him even if Winston does not.
Outrage at the holcaust, the Cambodian killing fields, the gang rape of a young Indian woman in a country whose judiciary thinks woman probably bring on their own rapes; where very few are convicted of rapes which continue as part of daily life... Now that's an outrage. Thankfully, Indians in their hundreds of thousands thought so, too, at last.