Go-getters turn to trivia

RUSSELL HARDING
Last updated 14:25 13/01/2014
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PROFILE: All Nigella Lawson needs now is a great brand manager

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Russell Harding

Beware those who strive to obscure the truth Rescuers from all directions The New Zealand elite are doing nicely, and now we know why Not-so-sweet dreams of slippery poles Choose carefully when airing your opinions Date with The Boss takes fans to promised land Move housing debate from grand to smart Rock star role feels like small change She may be old, but she's still a beauty Go-getters turn to trivia

As I type, I am tweeting about my typing. Which is difficult, because I am also taking a duck-face selfie of myself typing and tweeting at the same time.

For good measure I would like to take a selfie of myself simultaneously twerking over the keyboard, but I've run out of hands. Such is life in the year 2014.

If you don't know what tweeting and twerking and duck-face selfies are, don't be in any hurry to find out. Your life is not lacking. Spare a thought for those of us whose lives are afflicted with an understanding. It is we who lack.

It's all to do with standing out. Getting noticed. As social creatures, there seems no end to man's inventiveness when it comes to showing off. As Cath said to Kim, "Look at me . . . look at me . . . look at me".

My thinking has been pushed into this rather dark place after reading one too many stories about Bevan Chuang. It's my own fault.

No-one made me read stories about Ms Chuang. My finger did the clicking. I'm to blame.

As a modern person, I bathe in trivialities as much as the next. You may indeed call me a hypocrite.

In the post-Christmas news vacuum, the former mistress of Auckland Mayor Len Brown is in the papers yet again. "I think I can use this profile I've got now to do something good," she said.

Which is fair enough. She probably can. But isn't there something magnificently perverse about this?

How a person gets a "profile" seems to matter not a jot. That they have a "profile" may be all that matters these days.

Take Robert Bruce Ford. The 64th mayor of Toronto in Ontario is set for life.

If this Canadian plays his cards right, he could travel the world living off his ample "profile". Currently he is one of the planet's most well known politicians. Mr Ford argues he is the best mayor Toronto has ever been blessed with.

A large part of a mayor's job is to draw attention to their city. Getting noticed is again what it's all about. On this count, Rob Ford is the bees knees.

But the man who stood on the platform of reducing the "gravy train" of government expenses and taxes, who has already faced a conflict of interest trial, and who has promised to "continue doing the job he was elected to do," sees no problem in how he gained such a spectacular "profile".

Despite getting sunburnt on a daily basis by the intense media spotlight, Ford believes admitting to public drunkenness and illegal drug use is no reason to stop him in his quest to quell the gravy oozing out of Toronto's City Hall.

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In today's world, getting noticed is what it's all about. It doesn't seem to matter how.

Nigella Lawson can tell you about that. The wreckage of her personal life has only improved her "profile" and in the hands of a good "brand manager", will only improve her career.

Which is all rather sad is it not?

It's in this sort of climate that businesses and politicians have to survive. As a result pulling stunts to get noticed, is serious business.

Just ask Greenpeace. In this age of trivialities, what should they do to draw attention to serious and complex issues? Should they post pictures of members taking selfies next to smoking car exhaust pipes and post it on Facebook hoping for spontaneous environmental change?

How do you express your views when those in power know better than to engage in complex debate and legitimise dissent?

Do you look to progress the debate on Seven Sharp? What about a face to face encounter with a government minister on Campbell Live? Both would appear wasted effort and rather old-school.

In the case of Greenpeace, one of the Seven Sharp presenters would probably refer to you as a "tree hugger" before asking whether you walked to the studio or drove. When it comes to the crusading Campbell Live, no government minister would front, citing bias as reason for the no show.

So we are left to chew over Bevan Chuang, Rob Ford and Nigella Lawson. Meaty subjects all of them.

Or Colin Craig. Flippantly saying you have doubts Neil Armstrong walked on the moon is a masterstroke. Comments like that only lead to more invitations to appear on radio and television and explain yourself.

Like Chuang, Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig has "profile". All he has to do now is polish it. Come election time, it should be nice and shiny.

The Age of Narcissism deepens, and there seems little to bring us back to a more balanced and empathetic reality. Today, trivialities seem to carry an importance way beyond their standing.

In the meantime, I will post this curmudgeonly column on Facebook and cross my fingers for Likes.

- Nelson

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