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Fundy Post: On Hunger, Politicians, and Piffle

This Fundy Post dispatch comes to you from the front line of the war for civil unions, on the the eve of the final battle, tomorrow's vote. Fighting has been relentless all week. I am authorised to report to you that our forces and innocent civilians have faced a deluge of weapons-grade tosh, such as the suggestion that this is the most important event in New Zealand's history since the defeat of Hitler and the equally lame accusation that the PM is a hypocrite for bringing home the Unknown Soldier when that man was fighting for Biblical Values; of course he never went to one of those brothels that thrived in First World War France, no sir.

In the interests of accurate reporting and flippant entertainment I will try to cover as much of this piffle as I can. Please forgive me if I leave anything out; it has been a very busy week for gibberish-watchers. Under emergency regulations, there will be no headings.

The fast by Mr Paul Adams MP, reported in last week's post, is beginning to take its toll. Last Thursday he spoke on bFM, after a week without food. As a stranger to starvation and a friend to the fridge, I expected him to be lying in a darkened room while he spoke, but it soon became apparent that he was conducting the interview on his cellphone while driving. Someone else who used a cellphone while driving was legendary drummer Cozy Powell; his phoned last words were "Oh, Shit!" Fortunately no harm came to Mr Adams, but by Wednesday his reasoning was seriously impaired. In a speech that will go down in Parliamentary history, he tried to say that babies were born as boys or girls, not as gays or lesbians; he claimed he had scientific evidence to back up this non-sequitur. Today he added something about apple trees and orange trees; obviously fruits are on his mind. At tomorrow's vote, his colleagues should be careful to not let him wander into the wrong lobby or drift towards the canteen.

Meanwhile, our friends at Maxim are really grumpy that the vote is being rushed through under urgency, seemingly heedless that the life of Mr Adams and several other fasters depends on it. In a surprisingly lucid press release, which avoided the use of the phrase 'neo-marxian', Greg Fleming said "There is no justification for passing significant social issues like this under urgency. MPs need time to consider proposed changes which is why the committee stage exists." No, pass it quickly - Mr Adams needs to eat.

Some at least have the sense not to talk on an empty stomach. A self-styled "kiwi family" have found enough in the housekeeping jar to pay for a full-page advertisement in the Dominion Post, inviting opponents of the Bill to make a silent protest outside Parliament. They claim to represent the silent majority, which has made a lot of noise lately. While being uncharacteristically quiet and not saying a word themselves, they will be carrying banners which will state "Say No". This use of paradox suggests the influence of Situationist detournement, an unashamedly neo-marxian approach to politics - soyez réalistes, demandez l'impossible! Rumour has it that a counter-demonstration of mime artists is being planned.

The Fundy Post can reveal exclusively that the ordinary kiwi family's cellphone number belongs to one Tony Collis, an organiser of Micro Churches in Wellington. Here's a tip for next time, Tony: if you want to conceal your identity, buy a pre-pay cellphone; don't use a number that can be found on your website at www.followersnetwork.org.

One group who should learn that silence is golden is the Campaign Against Civil Unions, or the Support Good Morals Campaign or whatever they are calling themselves today. As reported last week, their odious diatribes bear the stylistic influence of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards and some are taken directly from that fine body of communitarians. On the other hand, their frontman is one Garnet Milne (don't smirk, it's unseemly) who runs the Reformed Church in Wanganui. The Reformed Church of New Zealand has both liberal and conservative wings when it comes to the question of homosexuality: the liberals merely want it to be illegal, the conservatives want it to be a capital offence. On the other other hand, their latest media release was attributed to the SPCS by Scoop. Who knows who they are? Differing groups of Fundyologists, known as the Henderson and Palmerston North schools, each have their own opinions. It may be a mystery beyond the reach of science.

As this edition of the Fundy Post goes to press, more news comes in. A letter has been sent to MPs at the last minute, by a group that includes Dick and Diana Hubbard, Auckland's cereal-king mayor and his Light And Right wife. Also adding their names are John and Alma Sax of something called the South Park Corporation ("Oh my God, they killed marriage!"), Ian and Mary Grant of Parenting With Confidence, Alan Duff of Books In Homes and Ralph & Pam Norris of Auckland (which they probably own). What, you may ask, is their original contribution to the debate? It is yet another strikingly irrelevant list of claims about the effect of marriage break-ups on children. Tacked on at the end, as always, is a statement saying that civil unions will lead to more of the same. Thank you Dick; that will be all. We have heard all this from Maxim for months now and it still doesn't make any sense. Doubtless this was all thought up at some Remuera dinner party. Doubtless as well, some of their best friends are homosexuals and there is that lovely couple who own the floristry shop, but Enough is Enough. It is a shame Dick forgot to tell us about this before he ran for Mayor.

There is material for a psychology thesis in the insecurity that members of the Christian Right obviously feel about their marriages. Men don't come into it. It's all about lesbians. It seems that all it takes is one change in the law for the good Christian mothers of New Zealand to abandon their families and take solace in the arms of women in sensible shoes. Maxim were circulating a video which raises this very fear. After an introduction which makes some wartime analogies, we go to a suburban living room, where Darryl Bloke is telling his wife that he sees nothing wrong with civil unions and what about that nice lesbian couple up the road? Cheryl Bloke sternly warns him that if this law is passed and she leaves him for another woman, he will never see the kids again. As she says this, she gives him a look that suggests he is bit lacking in the trouser department and that the pleasures of sapphic love would do very nicely, thank you. Can somebody please tell me what is going on here? Does this happen a lot in fundamentalist households? Perhaps it is true. Perhaps all these men who are convinced the Bible tells them to be heads of their households are losing their wives to tennis professionals.

What more can be said? Loads, but it will have to wait for next time. I had promised you a guest contribution, but that too must wait. We all must wait for the morn and I must wait for the bottle of Bellamy's Chardonnay which Chris Carter donated to Judith Tizard's wine auction and for which I successfully bidded. I hope to be toasting the victors tomorrow. For the meantime, this atheist is in a foxhole.

One other thing: if you are in Auckland on Tuesday night, come along to Rationalist House for another fun-packed DVD evening. We are now going to watch a series about life in the next few thousand years. Here's the fun part: humans don't figure in it. Tea, biscuits and satire will be provided.

And one more thing: all the planets will line up on Friday. It must be a sign.


Paul Litterick
New Zealand Association of Rationalists & Humanists (Inc.)

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