Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Wrong View

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed I'm not fond of ideologues, whether of the left or right variety (they don't seem to like me much either, but that's of little relevance to the present post).

A classic example of the right-wing variety is Richard Long, who regularly spouts ugly bulshit in the Dominion Post in his column "The Long View." Of course, nobody except Redbaiter's an ideologist 24/7 - when not acting as an apologist for the ideological extremism of 80s and 90s NZ govts, he goes off on some very weird tangents, today being a fine example.

The headline "Rename Egmont Mt Hillary" should give you a reasonable idea of where I'm going with this - which is, to that automatic, unconscious racism that seems to afflict Whiteys of Mr Long's generation.

Here's the unconscious racism of white gentlemen of a certain age, example 1: they call it Mt Egmont. Long:

It was named by Cook to appease his sponsor, the Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty, so the name has no great historic significance.

Actually, it was named Taranaki, rather a long time before Capt. Cook clapped eyes on it. Cook, of course, had no basis for knowing what its actual name was, so no blame can be laid at his door for giving it one himself. We however, are well aware that its name is actually Taranaki, and there seems little reason to continue calling it "Mt Egmont," beyond a steadfast determination that darkies don't count.

So why, we may wonder, should Taranaki be renamed Mt Hillary, rather than one of the South Island mountains Sir Ed actually used to go climbing on? Here we come to the unconscious racism of white gentlemen of a certain age, example 2:

The vast ice face of nearby Mt Tasman and the peak of Mt Cook- Aoraki are the spectacular sights, but their names have huge historic significance.

Er.... well yes, to Whitey they do, sure. Is it really that much of an impossible stretch to consider Taranaki might just, possibly, somehow conceivably have just a small jot of historical significance to certain other people? The non-white ones? The really inconsequential, inconvenient, unimportant ones, in Mr Long's book? The ones that have lived within sight of Taranaki for rather a long time? No?

I was chuffed to see that most people responding to the Stuff poll on the issue could see the point. Ideologues rarely can.


Adolf Fiinkensein said...

PM I have to confess to be all 'Hillaried out.' I'm disappointed that he was burnt. It would have been far more appropriate for him to have been frozen and planted at the summit of Mt everest, or even at the foot of Mt Everest, where he did most of his incredible good in this sad world of ours..

Psycho Milt said...

Agreed. Sir Ed may have epitomised all that was great about NZ blokes as they used to be, but the media coverage of his death seems to have epitomised everything that's gone wrong with us since then. Basking in reflected glory while boastfully declaiming how modest and unassuming we are - cringe-making.

Seán said...

Psycho - I agree with the above comment, and also your post.

Who calls it Mt Egmont these days anyway? I also notice he calls our highest peak Mt Cook-Aoraki, when I usually see it referred to Aoraki-Mt Cook (I could be wrong here - is there an official version?). I always get annoyed by the ignorance of those who pronounce 'Whangarei' as 'Wangarei' - for goodness sake you hicks, grow up!!

Anyway, I also don't like the idea of Mt Olivier being renamed as that had a genuine naming. Pick a mountain that has an irrelevant naming, like one named after some governor or earl from the 1800's. Surely there are plenty of them around, and hopefully one that has some significance to Sir Ed.

Anonymous said...

Must admit that Mt "Hillary" doesn't do much for me. The Hillary Range might be a bit better, but the likelihood of the name sticking isn't all that good. After all, if Cape Kennedy has reverted to Cape Canaveral what was achieved by the fleeting name change?

Statues would be good. Ed was fucking larger than life anyway and a hulking statue of the man in just about any setting would do the trick of reminding us all of what a man he was.

Fifty years ago this was a huge man, huge ego, massive fitness and strength and generosity to go with the image of the last 25-30 years ago.

I mean, what do we really want to celebrate about him.. his deeds of a half century ago or the old kind man of the last couple of decades?

Lets not have him remembered in a far off mountain but as someone amongst us who like the song, was a "Big.. big man.. Big Ed".


Clunking Fist said...

I ilke the way all the politicians made it to the funeral. H1 was close behind the casket, as if some of the greatness of the man could, by a process of osmosis, transfer to our Dear Leader.

Politicians: where is the value-added, I ask you.


As one of your favourite ideologues PM, I agree with you.
As for MT Taranaki , I had some misgivings about it as there was already taranaki Region/ district , etc, and you wouldn't want everything to be the same.
At least there remains a town called Egmont.
A bit like the proposal to rename Hamilton Waikato City some years back.
You need to find something original.
There must be a suitable peak down south suitable for renaming.
Now, there's a statue to Sir Ed in Hillary Square, Orewa. Must find out what his connection is to the place.
As for Whangarei Sean, many locals up there still pronounce it Wangarei, sometimes even Maori.
I have heard the Maori language has its own dialects and accents and wh is not always pronounced f as in the official version of Maori pakeha are taught.

dad4justice said...

Hey psycho mitty pus bar where is this filth from ;
"Yes, it definitely would. I favoured “Fuck off, cunt,” but then I do tend to verbosity."

Is that your standard comment on Tane's liarbour party sewage plant blog ? What a vile twisted creep you are !!!

You need a straight jacket you insane terp !!

PM of NZ said...

Sean, some, like myself, of a certain vintage and of the demographic you allude to will always refer to that volcanic cone as Mt Egmont.

In a similar vein, agreeing with Fairfacts, I do not know where the recently named towns of Fongaray and Fonganooee are in New Zealand. Since when did Mt Cook become Mt Cook-Aoraki or vice versa? What the recent upstart Aotearoa?

A big no to renaming any landform, but I do think scattering his ashes on the sparkling waters of Orklund's great harbour from the aptly named Spirit of New Zealand is indeed fitting.

Psycho Milt said...

Is that your standard comment on Tane's (...) blog ?

No it isn't, Dad4Justice/Pearl/Chemist Peter, but at this rate I can envisage it becoming my standard comment when encountering you...

Psycho Milt said...

...some, like myself, of a certain vintage and of the demographic you allude to will always refer to that volcanic cone as Mt Egmont.

Our culture leaves all of us behind sooner or later. The view that Taranaki is called Mt Egmont will end through natural attrition within a few decades, so I'm not much bothered.

Anonymous said...

Sean Mt Egmont had another name in pre European days,it was Pukehaupapa and the translation meant "ice hill".For reasons not known to me, that name seems to have disappeared and the radicals and liberals have chosen to call it Taranaki.
Wangarei was the name of the town now called Whangarei in the 1830s.I have proof of this on abith certificate of my grandmother.It seems there is no f in Whangarei.Who is really the hick Shorn(Sean)

Seán said...

FFM - I haven't come across that before but I don't live in Whangarei. I'll have to take your word for it.

PM of NZ - I agree with Psycho Milts response. Natural attrition. To answer your question about Aoraki/Mt Cook, I looked it up on Wikipedia:

Following the settlement between Kāi Tahu and the Crown in 1998, the name of the mountain was officially changed from Mount Cook to Aoraki/Mount Cook to incorporate its Māori name, Aoraki. As part of the settlement, a number of South Island placenames were appended with their Māori name. Signifying the importance of Aoraki/Mount Cook, it is the only one of these names where the Māori name precedes the English. Under the settlement the Crown agreed to return title to Aoraki/Mount Cook to Kāi Tahu, who then formally gifted it back to the nation."

egmont - well if you are right you better fix the Wikipedia page! Their reference points out that 'tara' means Mount so that indicates to me that it was the name used pre-European settlement. I stand to be corrected though.

"For many centuries the mountain was called Taranaki by Māori. Captain Cook named it Mount Egmont after John Perceval, 2nd Earl of Egmont, the First Lord of the Admiralty who promoted Cook's first voyage. It appeared as Mt Egmont on maps until the 1980s, when it was ruled that the official name is Mount Taranaki or Mount Egmont, although most regard the two names as interchangeable. The Egmont name still applies to the national park that surrounds the peak. The name Mount Taranaki is linguistically redundant, since the word tara means mountain peak. Naki is thought to come from ngaki, meaning shining, a reference to the snow-clad winter nature of the upper slopes. Geologists refer to it as the Egmont Volcano."