Yes, we’re small-minded.
How small-minded are New Zealanders?
At a time when the world is collapsing in an orgy of European and American debt, our second-largest city lies in ruins and the Rugby World Cup has arrived on our shores to lift our spirits, most New Zealanders are eager to find enough time amongst it all to get incensed about a comedian impersonating an airline pilot. (“Send them to jail!” “A serious security threat!” “I need to get a life!”)
If you’re one of those people, please ask yourself: “Is this really the best thing I can be doing with my time? Seriously?” After all, nothing came or was likely to come of it, and if anything it showed airport security was working well enough to stop him before he tried to fly your Grandma to Timaru.
Aren’t there enough real things to get irate about, without creating them out of nothing?
Even with the Rugby World Cup right here in front of us, instead of just getting enthused about the tremendous outpouring of excitement we have seen, too many people are concerned instead about too many other people being out enjoying themselves, about the state of the trains, and about England players (gasp) having a few beers after a game—not to mention the colour of their jerseys during it.
“My God! They’ve stolen our jersey!” “They shouldn’t be allowed to disrespect our jersey!” Etc. Ad nauseum. It seems both the English, with their black jerseys at this World Cup, and the French, with their dark-dark blue at the last, both spotted how easy it is take a small-minded NZer’s eye off the ball.
As have the Australians in times past. Just remember how incensed everyone got when David Campese had the temerity to disrespect the haka! Yes, folks, that was right before he helped his team dismantle our team at another World Cup while you were out filing a complaint with the Race Relations Commissioner.
And Lord knows there’s enough hakas around to disrespect right now. You can’t turn a corner for the sight of someone slapping their thighs, rolling their eyes, and bellowing incoherently into some imagined opponent’s face. Since this is rapidly becoming our default form of greeting visitors, seemingly spilling over now into even less savoury forms of sledging, it’s no wonder some of our cousins over the ditch are starting to get concerned about us.
It has always been this way. We focus obsessively on the small and unimportat while the large goes on around us unnoticed. Just ask Alasdair Thompson, or Paul Henry --- both of whose employment status instantly became a Matter of National Importance when they … when they what? Can anyone even remember now what seemed so important then?
Our penchant for small-mindedness while the world burns around us is perhaps our small country’s way of handling being small in a world where bigness seems to count. But it’s not one of our most attractive traits.
There ought to be a law against it.