Jim Hopkins, NZ Herald, Treatygate

Straight-faced wind claimants make satirist redundant

The irrepressible, irreplaceable,  irresponsible, indefensible, indefatigably plausible Jim Hopkins is no more.

At least, not in the Herald.

His column’s decommissioning is the biggest blow to the Kiwi funny bone since Bob Jones pulled the plug on his Tuesday column in the Evening Post.

Or at least since Paul Henry was marched by state TV for a racial slur against the GG that rated about 3.6 on the Harawira scale.

But I suppose I can see the Herald editor’s point. All the comedy we’ll ever need is now being supplied on a daily basis by the jokesters of corporate Maoridom.

With iwi extortionists having mastered the art of keeping a straight face while demanding our flora, fauna, water and wind, all satire is superfluous.

Even Billy T in his prime couldn’t match today’s amateur kaumatua comedians for bare-faced cheek.

Was Jim sacked for writing this column perhaps? Or did he write it as a parting shot?

Either way, it was music to my ears:

Very soon, the baby boomers will lose their grip on our institutions and attitudes as they doddle into their dotage.

Eventually— probably sooner rather than later— all the bollocks we’ve foisted on the world will be put aside and dismissed as a nullity.

You won’t have to listen to twits asserting that some people, genetically advantaged people— however polyglot that advantage may be— actually own the wind.

Or have privileged and preemptive access to its benefits.

Under today’s rules, in today’s ideology, such expansive, expensive, fanciful racial capitalism is not only permitted but encouraged.

Jeers aren’t allowed.

Unless you’re willing to be labelled a redneck or a racist.

Don’t dis the dogma, dude. It doesn’t pay. Them as makes the rules aren’t listening.

Here’s the proof.

Ten days ago, 80 parliamentarians— each possessed of a privileged and superior conscience— solemnly declared themselves in favour of equality.

Equal rights are essential, they said— in the matter of marriage.

We will brook no discrimination, they said— in the matter of marriage.

A week later, we’re banging on about access to water being a matter of racial preferment.

A week later, the well-paid Chair of a gratuitous and unnecessary Statutory Board— created by the same parliament that’s just declared its solemn commitment to marital equality— announces a $300,000,000 wish list of services and facilities allocated on a racial basis.

A week later David Rankin insists his tribe has a Treaty right to inherit the wind.

Illogical, illiberal, corrosive, preferential, guaranteed to inspire delusional aspirations, this is a social sore, as divisive and discriminatory as those laws that once allotted seats on buses and places in school.

Yet no parliamentary champion of equality— not one— has stood up and said so, at least not credibly, not yet.

Alas, Jim then soils his nest by suggesting that the Maori Party might perhaps be that champion.

Which suggests to me that Jim may be, to use his own delightfully alliterative allusion, doddling into his dotage.

A sad end to a stellar satirical sojourn.

Hopkins Half Minute

Those who’ve had the pleasure of being one of Amy Brooke’s Summersounds Symposiasts (more recently held not in Summer, and not in the Sounds), will have fond memories of Jim as the maniacally witty, 100% PC-free MC.

One of the highlights of my advertising career was collaborating with Jim in a series of radio ads promoting Shell’s coverage of cricket on Radio NZ Sport.

It was a labour of revenge.

You see, as a child, cricket had, to use the inverted responsibility technique much beloved of Griever Maori, failed me.

The system had let me down. Badly.

The cricket coaches at Waterloo School and St Paul’s Cricket Club had neglected to cater to my special needs. (The need for talent being the most obvious.)

With cruel disregard for my self-esteem, a succession of stoney-faced umpires insisted that my every journey to the crease be a round trip, punctuated only by a flail of willow, a clatter of stumps, and a long, languid levitation of the index finger.

I was not allowed to bowl.

Ever.

Even getting the ball to the bowler was problematic, given my feeble throwing arm, coupled with my permanent fielding position patrolling the most distant of boundaries. (I think they called it long-on.)

With this history as a victim of physical and psychological abuse, when Radio NZ asked me to write and produce a series of ‘trailers’ for their client Shell’s sponsorship of cricket, I saw it as a golden opportunity for utu.

I would send the game up rotten.

And my vocal vehicle would be that Lytteltonian loon Hopkins, whose comedic skills placed him second in my Kiwi comedy pantheon to the mindboggling John Clarke.

I called the series Hopkins Half Minute, after the famous Hancock’s Half Hour and wrote sixteen scripts in a weekend – lightning fast by my painfully slow standards.

With Jim’s expert help, the ads won awards.

I remember one about cricketing initials, which began:

The MCC is a cricket club in Marylebone,
while the MCG is a cricket ground in Melbourne.
The SCG is the Sydney version of the MCG
and MSG is monosodiumglutamate…

A lot of painstaking crafting went into those four lines.

Trouble was, I had no ideas for the last four.

So I did what any self-disrespecting copywriter would do. I prayed that my exorbitant Cantabrian talent would improvise an ingenious ending in whose glory I could bask.

And sure enough, into the studio marched Jim, and when he got to my yawning gap in the script, out came…

…Meanwhile an ECG is what you have
when you’ve had too much MSG at the MCG.

You see?
Gee!

Thanks for all the laughs, Jim. May you pop up again somewhere very public very soon.

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4 thoughts on “Straight-faced wind claimants make satirist redundant

  1. Hopkins’ style has always seemed rather hit & miss to me; often with too many disparate thoughts stuffed into any one column, with the end result lacking focus and therefore often somewhat inclined towards losing its way – and its main point. Which is a great shame, because on a good day he is way more than capable of skewering the mealy-mouthed, self-serving, cowardly words and absurd (non) actions of those who are paid to serve us infinitely better than they actually do. All of which of course meant he had to go; the Herald has become the bland, utterly predictable organ of the opinionated, brainwashed and infantile nincompoops who infest academia and our society, and who increasingly now “represent” us in Parliament. And they cannot stand to be challenged by anyone who actually thinks – especially when the thinking is uncomfortably different from their own. In other words, they are a collective disgrace. But tomorrow actually does belong to them – and tomorrow is now.

    I think his suggestion that the Maori Party could be the ones to turn around the insane backward rush to apartheid is actually his challenge to them, not at all a real expectation that they alone possess the fundamental qualities of decency, courage and fairness that would be needed for them to really act bigger than ever before, and for the benefit of the whole country. Of course they are way too small and self-serving to respond to that challenge in any way that would be useful to NZ as a whole, so his challenge will have fallen on very stony ground indeed. I am fairly sure Hopkins knows this, but has given them a chance anyway. He will be disappointed. Welcome to the club, Jim.

  2. John Phillips said: “I think his suggestion that the Maori Party could be the ones to turn around the insane backward rush to apartheid is actually his challenge to them, . . . ”

    I agree with you John, thats how I read it aswell.

    However if there was any intention of turning things around the Maori Party would have done it long ago.

  3. I agree with both John Phillips and Trina as far as Jim’s challenge to the Maori Party is concerned especially the part about our disappointment.

    In my view it is very obvious the Maori Party is only out for what it can gain from the rest of us for ‘Maoridom’.

    I actually think they are smiling at us behind their hands at how weak and foolish we are. They regard us with disdain, certainly not respect, but will use John Key for as long as he will allow himself to be used and then they will find someone else equally as foolish.

  4. I agree that Jim was challenging the Maori Party, and not expecting them to take up the challenge.

    But that’s a bit like challenging the Taleban not to execute Muslims who convert to Christianity – so ludicrously unlikely as to be a waste of words.

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