Friday, November 04, 2005

Spare A Thought For These Impoverished Pinkos...

There’s been some comment on Russell Brown’s new union, The Association Of Talentless Herald Columnists, and some of the tactics they have used to address their pay dispute. Cathy Odgers has blogged on it--but from now on I am making no further reference to Cathy on my blog. Except for this.

My dispute with Cathy goes back some time. The essence of it is that she is an ideas-stealing bitch. She plagiarises my writing subject constantly. Her writing style is merely a slightly chickified version of my own.

Case in point: this morning I was being taxied to the airport. It was 4:30am, and I had nothing else to do for the hour-long journey. So I was browsing the internet on my cellphone.

My phone is not a particularly sophisticated creature. I use it merely to send and receive calls. But I’d worked out how to browse the interwebby thing, and caught up with Cathy’s blog. That’s when I read this story.

Now, the thing is with my phone is that only a limited number of characters can appear on the screen. So Cathy’s blog takes up 178 pages on the phone. Her Gang Of 14 piece extends to fourteen pages, excluding comments--a nice display of collaboration between herself and Nokia, if there ever were one. The upshot of it was that I could only read a paragraph of her writing at a time, and then wait a few seconds before the next page came up.

So I worked my way down, and had time to think between pages. At one point, I am thinking: “Ah, but there’s no excuse for Colin James to be a party of that bunch of whingeing, socialist losers.” And what is Cathy’s next line, once it finally comes up on my phone? Yes, folks: “I expected more from Colin James but there you go.”


That irritates me because as one strives to be original in this world, it often feels like I have uncovered the proverbial barrel of monkeys that are throwing random letters around, and somehow composing the entire works of William Shakespeare. In this case, I am the bard, and Cathy is the barrel. But I digress. It means that being the literary type, and having uncovered somebody who is revealing my thoughts before I get to express them, I have to outsmart those frigging monkeys.

So I’m coming up here with a few perspectives that Cathy missed out. As I write this, it is 2:30am in Hong Kong, and there’s no way she can amend her post in time to throw me the banana skins on this one.

I agree with Cathy that the Herald has the commercial right to do whatever it likes with its columnists’ work. I concur that this is essentially a pay dispute. But I go further with these points.

For a group of professional writers who compose valid arguments for a living, their complaint is really pretty shoddy. They throw in a range of inconsistent issues: concern about readers’ access to their work, concern that the Herald will lose out commercially in advertising revenue; concern that they weren’t consulted on a commercial decision made by the Herald; concern that readers will not buy the print edition anymore. They way the open letter is pitched, these are the chief gripes that the columnists have.

But that is patently dishonest on their part. If their problems were about readers’ access to their work, how does paying them more mitigate that concern? Are they actually saying that their views can be bought for a price? And if so, doesn’t that make an absolute sham of them expressing their opinions, if those opinions are a tradeable commodity (i.e. if they will shut up about the Herald‘s charging mechanism in exchange for more money, doesn‘t that suggest that every other view they express up for sale as well?).

Next the columnists crank about the cost of the on-line premium access. On the one hand they complain that the on-line readership has fallen off, and that their much-vaunted reader “feedback” has disappeared. Then they argue later that they see that the premium content strategy is likely to “cannibalise the print edition”, due to the substantial savings that readers will have by purchasing an annual on-line subscription. Well, dear columnists, which of the two is it? Those two points are entirely inconsistent with each other. If anything, what you have established is that you are incapable of making judgements on commercial decisions by media companies. While some of your arguments are coherent of their own, put together, they don’t make sense. If you were all running the Herald, you would never be able to form an opinion on anything!

Next we get to the substance of the complaint. That they’re not being paid enough. This is a curious mechanism for a bunch of Socialists: what they have done here is attempt to enter into collective pay negotiations. One of the features of the Employment Relations Act is that only registered unions are permitted to bargain collectively. And correct me if I’m wrong here, but the last time I looked, Russell Brown is not a registered union. He's not even an incorporated society.

The EMPU does have a large cabal of journalists among its membership, but they are clearly not a party to this pay dispute. For one, the columnists’ open letter slags off journalists and reveals to the public that the middle-class, liberal moralising that comes from the socialist media is not based on any degree of poverty on the journalists’ part.

So what we are seeing is a group of pinkos slagging off other pinkos, and in doing so undermining the purpose of the pinko Employment Relations Act by attempting to bargain collectively without the authority to do so.

Next we see the columnists attempt a comparison of what they earn versus feature writers. As Cathy has pointed out, a lot more effort goes into writing a feature than an opinion piece--feature writers interview subjects, get a range of views on a subject, and seek to report the whole story based on a range of facts. Columnists have no requirement to be objective. They don’t interview; they just write what is in their heads. So too did John Manukia--but that‘s a different subject.

But the main difference between a columnist and a feature writer is that one is a full-time employee, while the other is a person of standing or interest in the community who has a range of opinions on different issues. They have full-time employment elsewhere. Kerre Woodham, for example, is a well-paid talkback host. Bryan Gaynor is an economist. Tapu Misa is a freelance journalist--by choice, she does not wish to be tied to a single media company. So too is music writer Graham Reid. Through the Herald, they are given an additional forum to express the points of view that they form in their daily lives.

It is not a primary occupation. It is a bonus, which all the columnists involved benefit from in their non-columnist lives through the extra profile they receive from the Herald.

Finally, the complaint seeks to blame the Herald for the columnists’ own naivety. They confess their ignorance of copyright law, by signing it away to the Herald. Well, boo-friggity-hoo. You ignorant tossers entered into a commercial agreement with a company, and you want public sympathy for your stupidity? Cry me a frigging river!

As the monkey-barrel has pointed out, these are not star columnists. People do not read the Herald so that they can catch up on a Kerre Woodham column. They might read her column because it happens to appear in the Herald, but she doesn’t have any commercial pull of her own. And there is no shortage of interesting and qualified freelance writers who could replace them.

Compare the gang of 14--who are so individually insignificant that they feel their only means of addressing their pay dispute is to act collectively, with this guy. The Sun and the Daily Mail are currently in a legal wrangle over the employment of star columnist Richard Littlejohn, who was poached by the Mail for £ 1.2 million.

Bet Richard Littlejohn didn’t think of acting collectively for better pay.


Anonymous said...

The Bard now? You're arrogance is really quite amusing - its why I keep coming back.

Rob Good said...

Maybe you and Cathy should marry?

Anonymous said...

who would do the fucking?

Anonymous said...

Who can blame the feckless fourteen?

Of course they're trying it on: it may well work. The prevailing view in this country is that people should get paid what they "deserve" rather than what they're worth. I.e. if you want to spend your whole time painting pictures with sheep droppings then someone's got to pay you for it.

Richard Littlejohn - now there's a columnist. He was the third best reason to buy The Sun (Lucy from Colchester of course being reasons one and two).

Cathy Odgers said...

It would actually be very funny if I was accused of being IP as well as writing under my own name, would it not IP?

As I have been.

I cannot possibly comment further.

Andy Soprano said...

Kerre Woodham?

Hmm, she had commercial pull once upon a time...straddled on a barstool in Paradiso during the 90s. She had more interesting things to say back then too...

I like Colin James. His columns are available online at - & I reckon he's worth a helluva lot more than Granny Herald will ever pay.

Anonymous said...

her best party trick was to gargle cum

Cathy Odgers said...

Did she swallow or spit?

Yes, this is important.

Rob's Blockhead Blog said...

Ahh - from journalists' pay rates to the nitty gritty of oral sex in eight posts....Where else but on this blog?

Blair said...

I'm just horrified anybody let her near their penis in the first place.

Insolent Prick said...

Have all of you fuckers missed the frigging POINT?

These clowns are independent contractors. They choose to be so because they do not wish to be bound to APN as a full-time Herald journalist.

What Russell Brown is attempting to do is unionise them. They want to completely change the relationship they have with the Herald; not satisfied with the sad choices they have made in life, they clearly want parity with full-time salaried employees.

They want all the benefits of salaried employment--including the right to negotiate agreements collectively. They're a bloody sham: a muddled bunch of socialists who have poor individual negotiating skills, have signed away copyright and decent money for their shitty opinions, and now want to hold the Herald to ransom.

Russell is stretching credibility when he says that the prime motivator is the columnists' desire to get feedback on their work. That is disingenuous hogwash.

It's unionism by stealth.

Cathy Odgers said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cathy Odgers said...

No one cares about that anymore as we all know Public Address is really a union front and these idiots deserve all they got.

Such is the pace of internet journalism. And everyone read about it first on my blog anyhow.

The issue now is whether Kerre swallowed or spat after the gargle?

That should be your focus as it is the one original piece of information on this issue left on your blog.

Insolent Prick said...

If she spat upwards, would she have given herself a full facial?

CutFoldGlue said...

Ffs, get a room already.

Andy Soprano said...

Guys...I think "anonymous" is pulling your chain.

Ms Woodham was a well-known Courtenay Place booze-hag, which possibly explains her retarded columns in the Herald.

As for this salacious gossip...I distinctly recall pecking both cheeks a couple of times, so perhaps a quick trip to the Listerine bottle is in order.

Rob's Blockhead Blog said...

Both cheeks?

Upper or lower???

Andy Soprano said...

Refer IP's "facial" comment & take your pick.

Getting back to the real issue...I agree with IP; the so-called Gang of 14's negotiating tactics are nonsense, BUT I'm still pleased they've raised the "premium content" policy.

The Herald has miscalculated here, the current model is flawed. I'd be happy to debate their options with management.

Insolent Prick said...

The fact is, Andy, the Gang of 14 have sabotaged the Herald's premium content. People aren't going to subscribe to the premium content--which is mainly the columnists' pieces--if they believe either that the plan isn't going to proceed, or that it's basically unfair--which is what the columnists are saying.

That pinko commie Russell Brown misses the frigging point again. Of course, on introduction of a new premium service, there is going to be initial resistance. But it is hardly doing the Gang of 14 any favours by pointing out that they're not a drawing card for the premium service.

And nor should the Herald be looking at paying the columnists more until they're able to be a draw-card to the premium service.

The Herald management should fire all its current columnists, and enlist people that readers are actually prepared to pay to read. And then the Herald can pay them well.

Simple solution, really.

Andy Soprano said...

You're right, they have sabotaged the new arrangements - & if I was the boss, I would probably terminate their contracts (which is what the Gang is asking for anyway).

My difference of opinion is with the mechanism adopted by Herald management to generate revenue. At the very least, these "premium content" items should be made available online to all current NZH print subscribers free-of-charge.

Your pay-per-view idea doesn't need to make it fly - any individual or group can do as you suggest...the internet is a great way to generate wildfire word-of-mouth, so the only platform / barrier to success is content.

On the subject of Russell B, check out

In your opinion, is it appropriate for his partisan website to be promoted by a taxpayer-funded initiative? I don't understand why a link to was deemed acceptable.

Anonymous said...

sorry IP, no self facials, as it was protein feast.
what would your interpretation of the facts be now IP and Cathy. (I understand you are 2 separate people, and so expect 2 answers)

Insolent Prick said...

What the fuck? You expect me to comment on a chick swallowing another guy's jizz?

I'm a straight guy. The concept of thinking about another guy shooting his load into Kerre is quite foul, from so many angles.

Anonymous said...

fall call, shall I reword it...IF it were you who had just witnessed a chick currently on the telly gargle, and the swallow your load, what would your opinion be of her and her party tricks?

Anonymous said...

Um, probably the same as if she wasn't on telly. You know they are real people too. And, maybe, regardless of what you all think of Kerre what you are discussing here is in pretty poor taste, no?

Anonymous said...

no, not at all, so fuck you Anon 11.8. I personally think that it is her only redeeming feature, now that she is openly a anti-capitalist commie foamer

Kerre Woodham said...

I actually don't want or need to be paid more - I just didn't think people should have to pay to read my stuff - any more than the cover price of the newspaper - as befits an anti-capitalist and commie foamer. Oh and to the correspondent who was talking about gargling - please! Take one hand off your pud and the other off Penthouse letters - I don't believe it would be physically possible, would it?

Cathy Odgers said...


If you want to reach an audience and don't care about being paid then do us all a favour and just get a blog.

If you wrote in a more right wing style and therefore cut down the "anti-capitalist commie foaming" I would actually expect the blog to be pretty bloody good as is witnessed here in your reasonably cutting retort.

You can actually be jolly funny.

Anonymous said...

You're telling the story Kerre, in the past, a litlle implausibility and potnetial impossibility never stopped experimenting.
what method do you use to gargle mouthwash? Do you do it straight from the bottle, or take just a capful then do the bizzo?
Do think that the audience at this site are as gullible as the ones who tune in to your slot?