New Zealand projection

Consider the following two recent news summaries and then read the story below. "Projection" is seeing your own faults in others

No dating, thanks, just sex: "Dating culture is dead - instead, young New Zealand women are regularly getting drunk and cruising around in packs looking for men to have sex with. That's one of the findings of a TVNZ Sunday investigation into the sexual behaviour of New Zealand women. The programme makers did the story after Kiwi women last year topped the Durex Sexual Wellbeing Global Survey as the world's most promiscuous. They are reported to have an average of 20 sexual partners, double that of their Australian and British counterparts and almost three times the global average of seven. TVNZ Sunday correspondent Janet McIntyre said there was anecdotal evidence from the five women on the show that the Durex survey findings were valid. "There's a new kind of mating ritual sex is the point of entry into the relationship." If the first-up sex wasn't any good women weren't prepared to waste their time progressing the relationship. "There's no dating culture any more." In candid interviews about their sexual experiences some of the women who are all in their twenties felt empowered by having sex and wanted to celebrate and enjoy it. McIntyre said all the women who had experienced one-night stands had been affected by alcohol, a term described by at least one expert in a report as "getting pissed and hooking up".

Tricky New Zealander: "A KIWI fugitive infamous for his tricky evasion of police has inspired a new range of "Where's Wally" -style T-shirts that make a joke of his failed capture. William Stewart has been on the loose in New Zealand's South Island since February 10, attracting endless publicity with his thefts and evasion stunts, including blasting through police cordons on a farm bike. The self-styled criminal captured the imagination of fellow Kiwis when he stole dinner from a farm kitchen and etched a thank-you note in the table signed "Billy the Hunted One''. He captured the imagination of property developer Barry Toneycliffe, who has started selling "Where's Billy'' T-shirts online, fetching as much as NZ$60 ($47) a piece. Mr Stewart, 47, a long-haired, unkempt Michael Bolton lookalike, has been described by police as a dangerous, methamphetamine-addicted loner. They believe he sleeps rough in rural areas during the day and moves at night in his latest stolen vehicle with two shotguns at his side. He has been sighted robbing stores in several small towns, all of which feature on the T-shirts with their names obscured. A South Island freezer worker has also been inspired by Billy, penning a song in his name after hearing about it at his small town pub. "He's a bit of a legend in this place at the moment ... and he's obviously got a lot of followers out there,'' Robbie Robertson told the Timaru Herald. But the police say it's no laughing matter and have warned the public not to help the fugitive. "This guy is a scumbag thief, a career criminal,'' said Sergeant Stu Munro, who insisted police are not embarrassed by his evasion."

AUSTRALIANS have been made an international laughing stock by New Zealand's blockbuster comedy duo, Flight of the Conchords. The pair have gone to town on Aussies in their second TV series, which is being watched by millions in the US and hundreds of thousands in New Zealand. Australians will get their chance to see it soon, with SBS confirming yesterday it had bought season two and plans to screen it later this year.

The series, bankrolled by American TV giant HBO, continues with Jemaine Clement and Bret MacKenzie playing two bumbling, down-and-out Kiwi musicians struggling to make it as a novelty folk band in New York.

Enter an intriguing Aussie character who conforms to every stereotype ever thrown at an Australian, much to the delight of New Zealand and American audiences. Shy and awkward Jemaine picks up a woman at a nightclub and goes back to her place only to discover in the morning that she is, shock horror, an Aussie.

Keitha - she's named after her father - is a rough broad with slobbish habits, a family heritage steeped in crime, and an accent so thick not even the New Zealanders can understand her. Jemaine realises the mistake he's made on waking in a room covered in posters of a koala, Uluru and Men at Work, not to mention the Foster's empties and Australian flag doona cover.

Keitha, played by actress Sarah Wynter, produces lines like, "I've got a tongue like a badger's arsehole" and exclaims that she'd rather "root" than talk.

Jemaine is hopeful she might not really be an Australian, but she proudly assures him: "Mate, you couldn't get more Australian than me." "My great-great-grandfather was a renown rapist," she says, adding that her great-great grandmother was a prostitute, while her mother was, you guessed it, a panel beater.

Kiwi film and cultural specialists are light-heartedly nervous about what Aussies will make of it. "They'll be shocked, I'm sure, because every stereotype they've ever heard about themselves is there, as plain as day," said Misha Kavka, a senior media lecturer at the University of Auckland.

Australian social history specialist Professor Peter Hempenstall, of the University of Newcastle, said it was clear the script writers had delighted in the cultural stereotypes, with Australians coming off second best. "It's all there, the convict stuff and the stereotype of the loud, raw, assertive, sexually-aggressive women," Prof Hempenstall said. "It's almost as though the New Zealanders have adopted the high moral ground here."

But Dr Kavka said this wasn't the Kiwis taking a swipe. Written for the US market, Conchords was a Kiwi take on what Americans know about the world Down Under. "You have to remember it's actually a bit of a compliment to Australians," she said. "At least Americans know something about Australia, even if it is about their convict past. They know zilch about New Zealand."

But she said New Zealanders do take "a little bit of pleasure" in precisely how reductive the Australian depiction is. "I'm not surprised it's been such a hit (in New Zealand), and I'm sure the Australians, with their good sense of humour, will enjoy it too." "After all, it's very, very funny."

Americans, for their part, have definitely got the joke about trans-Tasman rivalry and they're playing along.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see TONGUE-TIED. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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