Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blissfully Unaware of the Real World

Sumner Burstyn. Pic courtesy of Herald Sun
We all saw the media hype around comments made by Sumner Burstyn about her take on New Zealands involvement in Afghanistan and in particular some pretty cutting and offensive comments made about Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, a medic, killed with two colleagues in a roadside bomb incident.

Facebook groups generated a fast and furious reaction to her comments with many thousands expressing their disgust. I myself found it pretty offensive that someone could make such comments at a time Jacinda's family was having to deal with such an overwhelming situation. It wasn't so much the naivety or the fact she obviously has no real idea about how the world works, but the timing of her attack.

Just as the family's of our soldiers killed in action are about to reunite with their loved ones, we have this side show ambush us from a fellow New Zealander. Similar view points I might add tend to come from young people yet to experience the world or extremists. Shameful I call it!

An opinion piece in the Herald Sun (link here) quickly puts her stupidity into perspective and summarises the comments she made. There has also been a classic piss take from Steve Braunias (diary: Link here) and a more serious NZ Herald Editorial (link here) which talks about that good old requirement for news articles called "fact" or elements of fact at least!

Now those in the communications world advise that there is no such thing as bad publicity but I'd challenge that theory in this case! Many speculate that the whole situation is motivated by some master plan to lift her profile for her future movie/documentary projects. I don't credit her with the ability to be so savvy.

Burstyn is one of those sad simplistic individuals who enjoys the freedom to have an opinion that she imposes freely on others as if they are fact. Tragically she doesn't even realise that the fact she can express a view freely in a free press is a priviledge. In fact one actively defended by people prepared to stand in harms way and deal with groups and organisations who threaten that. Alliances are insurance policies that we actively participate in and committing resources (be they funds, troops, aid or diplomatic means) is the way we pay our annual premium as a country.

Ms Burstyn is blissfully unaware of the real world and is gobsmacked that she is not taken seriously when she complains to the Police, another organisation who protects our way of life. The good thing is that by the time she does work it out we will have long forgotten who she was! Enough said.

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