Many Kiwis today will probably fail to see neither the humor nor the satire in US comedian John Oliver’s remarks about their country’s mission to change their flag (everyone watch the above video, Kiwis may prefer to turn away if they are easily offended).
Reference HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, November 2, 2014.
The video starts off with an interview with the astonishingly inarticulate Prime Minister of New Zealand. John Key doesn’t find it amusing to be be seated under the Australian flag (unlike the audience) nor did he like being unknown at the Mandela Memorial ceremony.
Unfortunately changing the flag will do nothing to improve his ecksint or increase his personal magnetism.
Rising Sun and ISIS
Key’s original design of a silver fern on a black ground was likened by Oliver to the ISIS flag. An interesting contrast to Key comparing it to Japan’s Rising Sun.
In Kiwi eyes, being mistaken for an extremist terror state is possibly not as bad as being mistaken for Australia. But there are potentially fatal consequences with the former, while the latter is simply a matter of pride and marketing.
Oliver went on to comment on Key’s “bloody horrible” revised design using more traditional colours. Then suggested a few of his own, based on uniquely Kiwi motifs. These included a bungy jumping sheep, a Kiwi bird having sex with a hobbit, or the most apt “We are not Australia.”
For years New Zealand has struggled to differentiate itself from its bigger influential neighbor, Australia. The two countries share remarkably similar flags and outside of the local geopolitical arena are often perceived to be the same country, much to Kiwis’ eternal chagrin and Australia’s indifference. This was made evident by the outrage caused by the All Blacks recently receiving the ultimate ‘honor’ of being referred to as Australian.
One solution to this perceived dilemma is to change the New Zealand flag to something uniquely, instantly recognizably Kiwi. Perhaps Oliver’s suggestions are more apt?
Of course, there are many commentators who say that the flag debate is merely a distraction to remove attention from more pressing issues (TPPA, Dirty Politics, Child Poverty, hacking away at workers rights, troops fighting overseas, the great brain drain – all the usual political hot kumeras).
As usual, the best examples of New Zealand cultural indignation were found in the comments section below the YouTube video. Roundly haka’d up comments spewed out of boringly predictable xenophobic homophobes. Who knew New Zealand was such a testosterone saturated, patriarchal society? For example,