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The Voice

Entry 132, on 2005-02-18 at 15:17:14 (Rating 1, News)

A major controversy has recently blown up between New Zealand and Australia regarding whether the 80s rock singer, John Farnham, should be able to sing at commemorations of the World War I allied landing at Gallipoli (a battle where many Australians and New Zealanders were killed because of an error in choosing the landing site).

Originally a high ranking member of the Australian military thought it would be a good idea, but the prime minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, vetoed the idea because she felt that having a pop/rock performance would compromise the solemnity of the occasion.

Not unexpectedly, many Australians see it as a deliberate insult to them personally, although Clark claims she would reject any similar suggestion and doesn't even know who Farnham is. Also, a New Zealand act has also been cancelled making it fairly clear its not just "Aussie bashing".

Of course, the leader of New Zealand's opposition has waded into the argument and made a complete fool of himself, as is typical. He claims it is a good idea to encourage young people to participate. The fact the Farnham was popular before many young people were born seems to escape his logic. And I can't imagine Brash supporting this under normal circumstances given his generally conservative philosophy - its rather obviously just a chance to take a shot at the government, which has probably backfired.

An interview this morning was quite revealing. All the people interviewed, including a young person who has been to a previous Gallipoli commemoration, a Returned Services Association member, and an entertainer who knows Farnham as a friend, all agree with the prime minister that it is not a good idea.

On an apparently unrelated note: last night New Zealand was involved in its first international 20 over cricket match. In my opinion, an example of making the great game of cricket more palatable to the mass audience by robbing it of its personality and soul. The fact that New Zealand lost had nothing to do with it! But with the modern trend of bowing to the mass taste and the lowest common denominator in all things, its good that at least with the Gallipoli commemoration, we maintain a little bit of dignity and respect for the history of the event.


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