Long time readers of this column may recall that I have a special place in my heart for New Zealand. It’s mostly just the feeling that it looks like a safe haven, what with being surrounded by all that water. I have to admit, though, when I found out what bad earthquakes they’ve had, I thought maybe there’s no great difference from here. Coasts, check. Interior mountains (high), check. Earthquakes, check.
The latest news out of New Zealand is the government has a new tourist campaign asking tourists not to imitate other tourists’ Instagram shots with New Zealand scenery backdrops. They want people to come up with new Instagram shots incorporating various scenery, presumably so it doesn’t start looking like the country only has the same five or six big rocks, or the same two or three big looming mountains. And so not to bore the rest of the world with the same poses.
I’m guessing if I managed to go there and send off an Instagram of myself doing my bearded grandfather Mick Jagger pose, they’d be horrified because probably old bearded tourists do that one every day. All on the Hobbiton Movie Set.
The campaign ads specifically mention the famous beach shot of hot dog legs. Don’t repeat that. They’re really getting tired of the hot dog legs. Stop.
No, I wouldn’t do any of that. If I got to move to New Zealand, I wouldn’t want to do anything touristy. I’d want to just find a place to live in a city like Wellington or Christchurch and keep my head down. Like I said last week, I want Wi-Fi, good affordable heating and to be within
walking distance to a proper supermarket.
There is one minor problem with the government’s campaign to get tourists to be more creative in their Instagram posting. They don’t have hardly any tourists. The pandemic has got the country shut down to most tourism for now.
I think you can still go and be a tourist if you don’t mind a long stay in quarantine first. That’s not much to ask from someone who’d want to live there permanently, but it’s not a great way to spend a vacation, especially if you only had two weeks off from work to begin with.
With New Zealand so hard to get to, I sometimes contemplate other places I might escape to if the civil war breaks out. Maybe Uruguay is a possibility. I keep reminding myself to get a passport, just in case. And a serious refresher course in Spanish.
Speaking of civil war, I am very happy that it has been put on hold long enough for us to get the next $1,400 round of stimulus money. I love being economically stimulated.
It will be very interesting to see if Texas and Arizona secede from the Union. Interesting as in “may you live in interesting times” interesting.
So far, the Eastern Washington group that wants to split off from Washington to become Liberty State has been surprisingly civil. They’re just asking the rest of the state and the U.S. Congress for permission, which is very polite and politic of them. It’s even downright liberal.
The trouble will come when and if Texas or Arizona secedes, and succeeds in seceding, and then residents of every little pocket of red on the map will want to join Trumplandia or whatever they’ll decide to call it. Some of those pockets of red are precincts. Some of them are cul-de-sacs. There could be battles of cul-de-sacs against housing projects. Condominiums against apartment buildings. Sort of like what we have now in Belltown, but uglier and meaner.
Or, people could just keep their heads, and realize that civil wars aren’t worth much of anything. They are vastly overrated.
Republicans could just wait four more years and they’d have a good chance of getting another president. And not have to go to all the bother of seceding house by house, street by street, precinct by precinct. They could wait and hang on to the whole shabang.
Remember what happened in 2016? The Democrats didn’t call for secessions. They whined a little while at Trump’s win, but accepted it within a week or so and started thinking about a comeback in 2020. Isn’t democracy great? We could go back and forth like this for a hundred and fifty years, easily.
Let’s try. Let’s keep this ping pong ball in play.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more of the Feb. 10-16, 2021 issue.