This might seem a little off-topic, but I want to make that kind of opening statement a more regular feature of this part of the site. The blog. In addition to boring announcements of new songs I’ve done, how about some opinions and reckons that don’t rhyme?
They won’t even come with fuzzed guitars, drum machines or bad vocals either, so maybe someone will even pay attention. *shrug*
Anyway. This whole flag debate we’re having at the moment. It’s absurd, isn’t it? Not just the ‘why’, but the ‘how’, the ‘what’ and the ‘who’. The ‘where’… well, it would be difficult – and even stranger – to have it somewhere else, so everyone’s pretty much agreed we’re doing that in New Zealand. That’s not so controversial – I’m not following anyone on Twitter that insane, anyway. They’re bound to be out there. Maybe on Tumblr?
Let’s start with the ‘who’. You better you bet there’s not a single person on the panel that’s choosing an alternative design who’s an expert in flag design. And yes, they exist – they’re called vexillologists. The idea that someone could make a living being an expert in flags makes me llol too. It’s not as if countries are changing their flags every day – maybe if it didn’t cost $26 million…
On the panel of 12, we have a guy famous for tackling people and kicking balls, a woman good at throwing disc-shaped lumps of rubber and another who got rich by making (IMHO) rubbish TV. And people thought the idea of letting kids vote on the flag was dumb… not taking anything away from their achievements, I just wonder how it makes them qualified to make this decision. How about a graphic designer? Or a crappy indie musician? (Are there any countries out there with GUITARS on their flags? You want it to be unique, right?)
The ‘what’ – welll, there will be four alternative suggestions, three of which I guarantee you will be a koru, a silver fern, and the Southern Cross. The fourth is the wildcard – though I doubt my suggestion will make the quarter-finals.
Can’t we just cut to the chase and vote on those three already? We all know people will gravitate to whichever looks the closest to the All Blacks’ fern, the Air NZ koru and the Southern Cross design on our current flag. Familiarity.
The ‘how’ I think is where I differ from most of my friends/internet people. Much criticism has been levelled at the two-step process, in which we’re first asked which alternate design we like, before choosing between that and the current flag. Why not vote on whether we want to change first? Because it would be stupid beyond belief to vote to change the flag without knowing what you might be changing it to. Pretty simple, really.
The motivations of those who want that vote to come first aren’t really about saving the money – they just don’t want to change the flag. That’s a valid opinion to have, but it’s a bit cynical to couch it in budgetary concerns. Under that scenario, a lot of people in favour of changing the flag will vote not to, just in case the alternative flag chosen is I dunno, a rugby ball wrapped in a ponytail. Maybe an oil painting of a three-way handshake, or Thingee’s eyeball. At least the chosen two-step system is largely definitive.
Now, the ‘why’. I don’t particularly like the current flag, but you know what? I don’t really care to bother with changing it. It really is a gigantic waste of money. Sure, if we get a better flag that’ll be nice. But you know what will be nicer? Feeding hungry kids. Funding mental health. Getting parliament’s cleaners off zero-hour contracts. Fixing the housing crisis. Funding education properly. Paying back the debt the Govt’s run up in the last few years. I dunno. Buying everyone in the country one of them Burger King combos with the ice creams.
I know this isn’t the most intellectual or eloquent takedowns of the stupid flag referendum, and it’s about 2000 words longer than I planned it to be, but them’s my reckons. It’s late by my standards now though, and I have some Stargate: Atlantis to watch, so that’ll be all…
Now go buy my album, or something? (Is that what other songwriters do after they’ve had a big off-topic rant? I need more practise at this.)