Monday, 22 April 2013

Lift Your Game, Dominion Post

There’s nothing like seeing someone or something that you know turned into media cannon-fodder, to realise just how seedy journalism can get.

Garage Project’s Death From Above is not for sale anywhere yet and won’t be for a month. And it’s not being advertised anywhere, unless you count the brewery showing the artwork to its subscribers on social media.

That branding and artwork was actually the result of a forced change, after the beer’s intended name turned out to conflict with an existing brand. The intention all along was to make reference to the 34 year old movie Apocalypse Now. The beer in question has some ingredients with Vietnamese connections as well as being packed with American hops. It will no doubt be quite a mouthful. So in craft beer land an allusion to Robert Duvall’s Ride of the Valkyries-playing airborne cavalry is really, really apt.

Now to put things in perspective, Apocalypse Now has for years been the name of more than one bar in Vietnam. (Even more amusingly, Phnom Penh has a bar called “Heart of Darkness”.) The Apocalypse Now in Saigon has a surfboard on display with the slogan “Charlie Don’t Surf”.

But today must have been a slow news day, because someone at the Dominion Post saw fit to make calls to the RSA, a couple of Vietnam-born New Zealanders and a university academic to try and stir up some offence from people who would almost certainly not have heard of Death From Above if the reporter hasn’t called.

I don’t know much about the use of napalm, but it sounds as though it was a complete blunder to associate the airborne cavalry with the dropping of napalm, as the Dominion Post story did. But I guess if you only know Apocalypse Now from sound-bites, it is Duvall’s character who professes affection for the aroma of napalm.

Now as if the actions of Dominion Post, Stuff and Fairfax weren't sleazy enough, try going on Stuff and making a criticism of them for running this nonsense story. Will it get past their moderators? No. Make a really silly, reactionary comment wishing ill-fortune on Jos and Pete and, sure, they’ll publish.

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