Monday, September 06, 2010

Satellite of love

If NZ has learned any lesson over the weekend, it is that the story of the Three Little Pigs is arse-backwards. Brick houses might keep the wolf from the door, but they are completely shagged in earthquakes. A House of Sticks would bend sufficiently to accommodate the vicious birth of new land, but a House of Straw would absorb even more shock.

In spite of early media reports of looting after the Christchurch Quake, there are no wolves in NZ. To date, reports of "looting" amount to two separate incidents of sole opportunists, and maybe a house burglary, which is par for the course in Christchurch anyway. Hell, it is probably the plot of this week's Outrageous Fortune episode. It's not beyond the skills of the kiwi Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of Falani and Eric.

On the contrary, NZ pulled together to help where they could. Twitter was spewing out news like a telegraph wire. Photos, status reports, severity indications, flood notifications. NatRad had Kim Hill giving advice on how to poo in plastic bags.

The impact of it all was apparent on Q&A. It was landmark television, along the lines of the Walker-Muldoon interview or Campbell's Corngate interview with Helen Clark. It was utterly devoid of PR spin and media office platitudes alike. It was a show made in NZ.

Therese Arseneau was visibly upset, raw with stress and fairly bruised. She had been at the Reconstituting the Constitution conference in Wellington the two days prior to Saturday morning's earthquake, and still managed to fly up to Auckland for Q&A while her family remained down south with the aftershocks. Paul Holmes and Bob Harvey rightly got an earful from her over the Bollard interview later on and fair go. Today of all days, she was not going to listen to their complete bullshit.

Tim Watkin best summed up Bob Parker's commentary over at Pundit. And yes, Parker (not Harvey) deserves all the credit for getting out there and daring the sky to fall on his head.

New Zealand, like Australia, is home to the black swan. What works in the northern sphere might seem ludicrous down under, and vice versa. It might take guns and Jesus to make USAers be nice to one another, but down this way, all we need is each other. She'll be right.