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May 12, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Absolute Bollocks

I must preface this by saying that as a person who is deeply physically attracted to Helen Clark, obsessed almost, this book painted a new picture for me: a dirty picture, a Helen who was doomed to the eighth circle of hell.

I also must disclose the fact that I occasionally wander into bookstores and pick up Investigate magazine. It is a guilty pleasure that I indulge in when no one is looking. It is a kind of intellectual masturbatory experience. I remember my first real flirtation with the writings of Ian Wishart in early 2005 when he broke the John Tamihere interview. I saw its pages waved around in the house by opposition MPs. Next time was on the radio, when I accidentally tuned into hear him ranting on about some shit.

So when the chance came for me to review his latest book Absolute Power I jumped gleefully at the thought I would be able to get some cheap laughs, as well as a deeper insight into the psyche of Helen the “political machine” Clark.

One of the only amusing things about the book was that most chapters are prefaced by quotes from Yes Minister, which made me think deeply about the 5th Labour government. Really it did.

Wishart cannot be faulted at all on his meticulous research. He has obviously gone to great lengths to research this book, and put it together. Point in case is that he has yet to be sued over any evidence in the book. So you can be assured that any evidence you read in there is true. What one can fault Wishart on is the conjecture he brings to the book. In some places it goes beyond the pale of investigative journalism and right into the realm of mud raking. In the first chapter he sets up his arguments for delving further into HC’s private life than most journalists deem ethically allowable. One thing he forgets though is that the role of a journalist is to provide truth. So even though he is presenting facts, he frames them in pure mud raking. It is the paperback version of Fox news.l_helecovwb.jpg

Examples of ground breaking journalism:

‘expat kiwi businessman Owen Glenn is a lot more colourful than the daily media have revealed, and some of his associates allegedly have names like “Guido”, “Luigi”, or “Tony”.’

The use of the weasel words like: ‘purporting’, ‘suggesting’, ‘alleges’ and other such phrases 7 times in the first four pages of chapter fourteen is a clear indication that when you read Absolute Power you are only getting one side of a complex story.

He entitled his book Absolute Power after the quote by Lord Acton, he claims that HC et al have become corrupted by power. I challenge that Wishart has let the power of being a journalist corrupt him. Journalists play such a large role in the way that we gather information about our politicians so having someone who so ardently is anti-Labour, although refreshing, does not do anything to raise the level of discourse.

Some other reviews have compared Absolute Power with Hager’s The Hollow Men. The main difference in the two books is that in Hollow Men you can read the facts and come away with a picture of a series of errors made by Brash and those close around him. When you read Absolute Power you come away feeling slightly dirty, and I indeed needed a long cold shower with much exfoliating after I finished it. You cannot just read the facts because they are inexorably linked to poorly worded and blatantly biased opinions and rest upon a foundation of homophobia, sexism, and reactionary hypocrisy.

I do not recommend that you purchase the book as this would only fuel Wishart’s ranting and inflated self sense. If you can steal a copy do so. If you do happen to find yourself reading it, I suggest you read it with the thought in mind that it is election year, Wishart is avowedly anti-Labour (even though he claims not to be, see how many times he has attacked Labour and ignored the blunderings of National) and the book is not so much an experiment in journalism, but blatant attack on HC and Labour. I intend to use mine (which I was kindly sent for free) as a test of my physical prowess by attempting to rip it in half later.

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About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (7)

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  1. Ben Paul says:

    Thank you for this refreshing review, I read the first 3 chapters and almost threw the book on the fire. A bad book, follow the reviewers suggestion and do not buy it.

  2. Somchai Wongsawat says:

    Ian Wishart is a cunt.

  3. jonno2 says:

    “If you can steal a copy do so”

    I once stole a copy of the Free Radical, which is just as shit

  4. Brunswick says:

    Thank you for putting the words “Jackson”, “shower” and “exfoliating” next to each other in my brain.

  5. Jackson Wood says:

    Not to mention the image of my rippling muscles as I shreaded Absoulte Power with my superior upper body strength after said shower and extented exfoliation expedition.

  6. Mr Magoo says:

    Shredded.

  7. Jeeves says:

    You are spot on, big boy. It’s the tory equivalent of Nicky Hagar’s monstrosity – aka “I have some emails, now lets infer from those emails lots of bad bad things which I am predisposed to believe”.

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