In case you hadn’t noticed, the Americas Cup is underway, and once again some strange sense of distorted patriotism is at work.
Not the red socks, or the black heart this time. Instead, it’s a not so subtle twisting of the names of the yachts taking part to reinforce a narrative that, really, New Zealand are the only pure force in this competition.
Here is one example, but it is pretty much everywhere across the New Zealand media.
Of course the Team New Zealand v Oracle is at best mischievous. Take your pick. It is Fly Emirates New Zealand v Oracle USA. Or Team NZ v Team USA, NZ v USA (at a pinch), or Fly Emirates v Oracle.
But see what they did there? By making it a country v syndicate contest you develop the idea that it is good old fashioned New Zealand, sailing away, against that evil US based multi-national who represent all that is wrong with the Americas Cup. The evil empire turning this wholesome event in the rich man’s ego-fest.
On one hand there’s plucky little New Zealand, and its little yacht of 4 million, with Tim Finn singing about the boat just called New Zealand. On the other hand it’s that nasty hard-nosed billionaire and his cheating ways. Corporatising a much loved event along the way.
Of course this is complete tosh. The Americas Cup has been the plaything of rule benders throughout its entire history. And when we get nostalgic about the Freemantle campaign, it’s worth remembering that a couple of years later found some ancient loophole in the deed that resulted in a one-on-one playoff that also ended up with a catamaran getting involved.
So NZ Media; cut the cheap shot in the reporting of the event. OK; it’s the Americas Cup but you don’t need to be tacky.