Monday, July 4, 2011

Controversy: A Publisher's Dream

There is a biting article by Paul Little in today's Herald on Sunday about how the controversy over Ian Wishart's book on Macsyna King will in fact likely generate more sales. There are many angles to come at this deeply troubling case and its aftermath, including who gets to benefit.  I like (and cringe at) Little's description of Ian Wishart as a 'controversialist.'

Some of the aspects of the media's role in this case are beginning to remind me of the dark satire Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre, about the aftermath of a school shooting in the United States and the frenzied selling of the story as commercial artifact. In that frenzy all emotional traces of the deaths (and lives) of the victims became fainter and fainter.  

Here is a link to Paul Little's full article.

This whole issue opens up enormous questions of how we illuminate and investigate tragedy, and the processes by which we can actually learn something. When thinking of this case I always think of Pita Sharples' response when asked if the Kahui twins (at their tangi/funeral) looked peaceful.

He said simply, 'They looked dead.'

1 comment:

  1. The response I've found most heartening to one of these tragedy's is the formation of a Stop Child Abuse group by brave woman Cherie Kurarangi Sweeney after the death of her neighbour's six-month-old baby Serenity in Ngaruawahia. The media then starts focusing on her efforts and what can be done instead of turning the whole thing into a show.