Title: Comment: Conservative Smut? Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 29th September 2006 - 12:00pm1159488000 Article: 1432 Rights
What lies beneath Ian Wishart's unhealthy obsession with the private lives and alleged pasts of the Prime Minister, her Cabinet and her husband? Does Wishart want to be a Starr in his own mind? Remember, Ian Wishart is a self-confessed fundamentalist, and New Zealand fundamentalists usually source their twisted alternate views of reality from US fundamentalist media, websites et al, in order to create a wholly blinkered worldview. Mainstream New Zealanders may not realise how dependent on these US media sources their fundamentalist counterparts are, including their interpretation of the surrounding world, political tactics and strategy. Most New Zealanders ignored the vindictive posturings of Republican-aligned "Independent" Counsel Kenneth Starr, who recorded President Clinton's infidelity with Monica Lewinsky in prurient detail, and produced something like an erotic media storyline. All to no avail, as President Clinton emerged unscathed, the federal Republican Congress suffered electoral setbacks, and Hilary Clinton seized the opportunity to amass public sympathy and launch her own senatorial career. Today, the Starr Report moulders in remainder bargain bins, or in contemporaryish politics shelves at used bookstores. That is, apart from New Zealand fundamentalist bookstores, some of which still have smear videos/DVDs and publications from that era. However, originality has never been one of Wishart's strongpoints. His approach to political pseudo-journalism seems based on the same premises as the Starr Report. In the case of the Prime Minister's husband, Wishart aches to record whose body did what to whom. However, as Clark and Davis have been happily married for the last quarter-century, there are no such bodies to expose. Frustrated, Wishart asked his fundamentalist and conspiracist sycophants to provide an excuse so he could stage his own cheap, derivative knockoff version of the Starr Report. However, there are no skeletons rattling in the vicinity of the Ninth Floor of the Beehive, and so he decided that he 'had' to target the Prime Ministers husband instead. For social conservatives, such antics serve as a sanctioned equivalent of smut. The Prime Minister was quite correct when she condemned Wishart's lurid and unfounded accusations, but she may not realise how accurate she was. Therein lies the twist. You see, court case descriptions and governmental report descriptions satisfy fundamentalist addiction to smut through simpling giving the content a leather or glossy newsmagazine cover. If Wishart can cite media references, then here's one for him. I have my own fond fantasies about Wishart, involving a rehash of the closing scene from that classic film noir, in which Gloria Swanson (Norma Desmond) descends the stairs after having shot her lover and script editor, and declaims: "I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr DeMille." Actually, no, Gloria Swanson is far too classy for the likes of him... Recommended: Lauren Berlant and Lisa Duggan (ed) Our Monica Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and the National Interest: New York: New York University Press: 2001. Alan Dershowitz: Sexual Macarthyism: New York: Basic Books: 1998. Phil Kuntz (ed) The Starr Report: New York: Pocket Books: 1998. Fedwa Malti-Douglas: The Starr Report Disrobed: New York: Columbia University Press: 2001. Craig Young - 29th September 2006    
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