News Heroes and Villains: Three Cheers for the TPPA!

Clockwise from top right, Tim Groser, protesters and Janis Powers.
Clockwise from top right, Tim Groser, protesters and Janis Powers.

This week's News Heroes and Villains, featuring a provocatively optimistic take on the TPPA and an even more provocatively cynical take on lions.

A lot of people are down on the TPPA. But how can they be? They have no idea what’s in it! In line with its approach to housing policy, the Government has decided the less we know about this policy area, the better. Mystery is exciting. I choose to believe the TPPA is full of free chocolate, one million party balloons, a kitten, and the raw essence of joy. Three cheers for the TPPA!

But maybe we shouldn’t be so quick with our trust in authority. Huffington Post blogger Janis Powers this week revealed that New Zealanders born free are everywhere in chains. She was caught speeding near Timaru. A police officer ordered her to wind down her window. He gave her a ticket. Then, impudently, he held out a breathalyser and told her to state her name and address.

Powers said the situation brought to mind the experience of Sandra Bland - a black woman who died in custody after she was pulled over by traffic police in the US - despite there being no discernible parallels between the two events. It was maybe the stupidest thing ever written.

She is our news hero for leaving the country. Now if she could just pay that speeding ticket…

Let’s face it, lions aren’t exactly the Steve Carrells of the animal kingdom. They spend a lot of time crouching in long grass, looking for sick baby zebras or injured buffalos to rip apart with their teeth.

Each year, sharks kill 30 to 100 people, and we treat them like they shoot Ebola from their eyes. Lions kill 250. We wind down our jeep windows to get closer to them, and flock in our millions to watch YouTube videos of their relatives fighting watermelons and flying through space on butt rainbows.

A dentist would kill, what, one or two people a year? And yet, they are so much worse than lions. Even a lion wouldn't stoop to paying $50,000 to go to someone’s house and shoot them with a crossbow for fun. Walter Palmer would. The North Carolinan dentist’s life became a living hell after he killed Cecil the lion this week. He later explained that he didn’t realise Cecil was famous, and going to the houses of endangered animals and shooting them with crossbows is just “one of his passions”.

This is pretty typical dentist behaviour. In your interviews with your high school career counsellor, you probably said you wanted to be an artist, an astronaut or a butterfly. Dentists said they wanted to desecrate the insides of people’s mouths with sharp metal. They are the news villain now and forevermore.