Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Ruling Class

Front page story in Monday's Com-Post:*
A kid at an exclusive boarding school (fees of ~ $17000 / year) died of alcohol poisoning after a school ball. The ball was nominally alcohol-free so the lad loaded up beforehand at a pre-ball party organised by one of NZ's wealthier businessmen. Other members of the elite were also serving alcohol.

John Banks, glibertarian and exponent of personal responsibility, blames a school culture that fosters risk-taking and a "harden up" attitude, rather than parents who send their kids to the school so they will learn risk-taking and a harden-up attitude (i.e. parents such as himself). But our Pry Minister saw no signs of drunkenness when he collected his son from the ball, so it's OK.
Another Anglican Bishop
The Anglican Bishop of Auckland is reassuring the parents with offers of pastoral care, and as a member of the Board of Trustees he defends the school's culture. Same as a year ago after the previous alcohol-poisoning death.

There will be a lot of finger-pointing and a lot of whittering about our National Culture of Drinking. There may be money sent in the direction of advertising agencies for a "Drink Responsibly" campaign. No-one will talk about the much larger advertising budgets spent by two multinational liquor corporations to encourage the ideas that youthful rebellion is best expressed with alcohol, and that drunkenness and stupidity are a crucial part of national identity.

Meanwhile, the main story on page 2 of Monday's Com-Post: the charities that provide food to school children who otherwise go a day or two without a meal (due to lack of ~$17000 / year for fees) are collapsing from over-demand.
Ideally the two stories would have been on the same page but you can't have everything.

* Wellington's paper of note.


Jennifer said...

Needs slapping indeed.

fish said...

They really would get better quality meals at a private school. What is wrong with their parents?

Whale Chowder said...

I have an idea: feed the rich asshole kids to the hungry kids. Get buy-in from their parents by offering a tax break, perhaps amortized over 5 years. They'll have forgotten ol' what's-his-name by then, right?

Win / win / win I say.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Is it really accidental alcohol poisoning, or is it a ritual sacrifice to placate the gods of commerce?

Smut Clyde said...

The prominence of the plight of rich asshole kids in the headlines does not reflect their actual number. Not enough of them to feed all the hungry kids. Providing their parents with their last round of tax cuts required an awful lot of poverty.

In other news, our government is spending $9 million on a "Party Central" structure in Auckland to ensure that Rugby World Cup tourists have adequate access to alcohol. Apparently the liquor industry is in such a fragile state that it needs massive subsidies to sustain its viability and keep people drinking.

Substance McGravitas said...

Sponsoring a child in your own country is awfully sad.

I recommend an Olympics to cure your woes.

guitarist manqué said...

I wonder if they'll build a Party Central in Sochi for Teh Games. One can only imagine the levels of responsibility achieved.