Pink & Peterson
I remember years ago, cruising around Milton and Dunedin in the back of Dean Weir’s Mitsubishi GTO, with Randy Stonehill’s quite excellent song “Stop the world, I want to get off” cranked up to full noise.
It's easy to become nostalgic when looking back at our formative years, isn’t it?
All of us, once we get a few years under our belts are prone to come out with the same old well-worn clichés that our parents used, sayings like “Those were the good old days” and “Things were simpler back then” spring seemingly unbidden to our lips as we gaze with misty eyes into the distance.
My teenage years were tough, with few fond memories, so I am not one to look back misty-eyed at the past but given the rubbish (sorry, I tried to think of a better word and couldn’t) that has been spouted off by some so-called “social justice warriors” this week, I have found myself thinking that we could do worse than “Stop the world and get off” before stupidity destroys it.
The “rubbish” that I mentioned earlier has to do with two quite innocuous events that happened here in New Zealand the last few days.
Firstly, a visiting Canadian psychologist named Jorden Peterson arrived on our fair shores to have a chat and secondly, Whittaker’s released a chocolate bar in blue or pink as a fun way to announce the gender of a baby and raise a few funds for Plunkett in the process.
Now, none of those things are a particularly big deal in my opinion.
Peterson, while not to everyone’s taste, has a huge following, is a well-respected intellectual and has some interesting and well thought through opinions on a large number of issues.
There is a media beat-up that he is controversial, especially around gender equality, but I have read him and watched many hours of his videos and he seems quite middle of the road to me.
I disagree with some of what he says but he seems a perfectly pleasant fellow.
Whittaker’s and their blue/pink chocolate approach is nothing that parents haven’t been doing since Adam was a cowboy and it beggars belief that some people have now such a disconnect with reality that they are blurring the lines between ideology and good old fashioned practical common sense.
I have no issues at all with who people wish to define their gender differently, more power to you all I say and I genuinely mean it. Just don’t expect me and the vast majority of people to throw away a definition of gender, that’s been developed over millennia and has thus far served humanity quite well, just because you think we should.
But by far the most interesting thing to come from the furore over these two events is that it shows those that are on the far sides, whether left or right, usually make the noise, spout the rubbish and refuse to listen to those on the opposing side, while the rest of us, who occupy the middle ground, just get on with our lives, provide for and look after our families, support our communities and try to just get through life as best we can, hopefully leaving it a better place than we found it.
Stephen Fry who is one of my favourite celebrities, a self-confessed milk-sop hand-wringing lefty liberal and quite frankly one of the smartest guys on the planet; recently said something along the lines of “the left and right scream at each other across the great divide, with neither group able or willing to still their voices long enough to hear what the other is saying, while the rest of us live out our lives in the middle, hearing only a dull tiresome noise.
Bertrand Russell once famously said “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and the wiser people so full of doubts”.
Good old Bertrand. He sums it up well!