I don’t consider myself the envious type, but there’s a part of me that hurts when I see the good work other people are producing.
I’ve tried my hand at satire, but it’s pretty clear I’ll never be able to match it with the top players. So maybe I’ll just quit.
This revelation came to me as I read the Paul Holmes parody in the Herald today on the topic of welfare. I don’t know who is behind this work of genius, but he/she deserves to have their name published.
The author mocks the ridiculous argument that there are bludgers everywhere. But the words look more like a quote from a Kiwiblog comment. Thankfully nobody in the newspaper commentary business would really say something this daft:
Too many people on welfare in New Zealand, said the WWG. Thirteen per cent of working age New Zealanders. Meaning the other 87 per cent of us are paying their way. And it’s been like this for a long time.
I’m sure there are a lot of bludgers among them. You know it. We all meet them, people about whom we sense that if they put in a bit more effort, exerted themselves a little harder, got round the place a bit more aggressively, they’d be able to find and do some work.
The satirist then makes a point of attacking the sick, depicting them as no better than bludgers.
I’ve been gifted with good health over the years, on the whole, so I have real difficulty understanding, for example, chronic sickness and ill health. I don’t understand how someone can continue to be sick year in year out.
I realise for some readers this will sound ridiculous. But I just don’t understand chronic sickness that drags itself out over years. And I certainly don’t understand bone-idleness.
He/she then continues the demonisation of the sick:
The sicknesses that entitle you to a sickness benefit are the weird ones. Serious mental malfunction is a part of it. When you try to work you have a meltdown, or soon after beginning you will have a meltdown. No one wants to hire such a person.
By lumping those with chronic physical injuries in with the mentally ill, the satirist is depicting an underclass of deranged moochers who are good for nothing.
Having attacked unemployed people because some are bludgers, and slammed the sick because their ailments are “weird” or because they have “meltdowns” and are good for nothing, the fake Holmes then launches a full attack upon the next obvious target: DPB mums.
What people particularly resent is the DPB. There is a widely held perception that young girls of 16 or 17 years, having no direction in their lives, get pregnant even though they have no means of supporting the child, no partner, no nothing, but go ahead with the knowledge the rest of us will pick up the bill.
Forty-five per cent of them will then have another child while on the dole. Our bill goes up.
Such a mother will then remain on the DPB for up to 10 years, never having worked, never having had a job.
Never mind that Christine Rankin who, when it comes to welfare, knows her stuff, says that being on a benefit sucks. That you never have enough money. That you’re always broke. Never mind this. The perception is that young girls go on the DPB because they can. And the rest of us, who get up in the morning and go to work and try to manage our own kids, pay for them.
Yes, and they give the kids these absurd names like Serrendipity Ragamuffin Sunshine or Thus Spake Zarathustra, names we hear when the kids arrive at Starship with their heads stoved in by a recent boyfriend who can’t stand their screaming.
So DPB mums are breeding machines, they’re lazy, they’re all child abusers, and they give their children stupid names. Oh wait, the fake Holmes would say, all I said was that such a perception exists. But, of course, claiming that a perception exists and then doing nothing to question its validity only suggests that the author believes in the truth of the perception.
It’s a wonder he/she hasn’t yet suggested sterilisation. But wait!
That’s where you start to mull upon sterilisation. That’s where you start to mull on granting certificates before pregnancies can proceed. And God knows, parenting is the hardest thing.
This is the bit for me where the satire became slightly less believable. Can we really believe that the real Paul Holmes, broadcasting superstar, hates the poor and the sick that much? Would the real Holmes label all DBP mums as child abusers who should be sterilised?
The praise heaped on the barely competent Paula Bennett was also creepy and implausible, rather than amusing. I doubt many people, even in her own party, would think Bennett was on top of her game.
Still, it’s a pretty good bit of mockery. If the real Holmes believed even half of the nastiness the fake Holmes does then the real Holmes would be a nasty piece of work indeed.
But I’m sure he can’t be.