New Zealand has jumped on the band wagon of critics calling for Ben Affleck’s head on a platter.
While that could improve Affleck’s acting ability tremendously, decapitation is not always the answer.
But, according to some New Zealand commentators, Affleck must answer. Following on the heels of Canada, and everyone who sat through Pearl Harbor, New Zealand critics demand an apology, not just for the bulk of his on-screen career, but because of how New Zealand is depicted in Affleck’s Oscar winning movie, Argo.
Patrick Gower of TV3 explains that New Zealand diplomats didn’t turn away hostages, but assisted Canada in sheltering them. Which is not what the movie portrays. As Gower explains in a recent opinion piece:
The New Zealand diplomats didn’t turn the hostages away at all – in fact we played a key role assisting the Canadians to shelter them.
Affleck defended himself, saying some of his best friends are New Zealanders. He qualified his statement by adding that even though he didn’t like the idea of eating kangaroo meat, he still thought “that sea-shell-y opera house is kind of cool”.
Personally, I don’t understand what the problem is. As an American who has not seen the movie himself, I think I have a lot to say on the subject.
I didn’t think New Zealand minded being shat upon by the American entertainment industry. If John Key can trample civil rights on behalf of Hollywood and Big Music, and if John Key can recruit the taxpayer as an uncompensated producer of The Hobbit, to the tune of at least $67 million, what’s so bad about being depicted as impotent and feckless? (Even if that is a distortion).
It has been a tense five days since the Oscars, with talks between New Zealand and Ben Affleck reaching an impasse. Affleck threatened to recall his ambassador, while New Zealand said ‘go on, then’. If not for two New Zealand companies, Grabaseat and Air New Zealand, inviting Affleck to “come and see New Zealand for himself”.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea. And I want to do my part to make this happen. That’s why I’ve created a cheat sheet for Ben Affleck if he decides to come for a visit. This handy item, which Affleck can print out and laminate and wear around his neck from a lanyard, gives Ben Affleck all the basic information he needs to know about New Zealand, without having to google it himself. This list is guaranteed to impress his hosts, and demonstrate that Affleck is willing to do his homework.
Basic information that Ben Affleck needs to have for his trip to New Zealand
Country: New Zealand
Motto: “Not as useless as tits on a bull.”
Population: Several dozen
Gender distribution: 52% male, 48% wool
National flower: Mildew
Major exports: paper, paper towels, stationery, paper tigers, paper moons, newspaper, wallpaper, fly-paper, fly-on-the-wall-paper, tis’Shue paper, paper bags, paper airplanes, paper boy, pepper, wrapping paper, scrap paper, drawing paper, graph paper, re-cycled paper, pre-recycled paper, timber
Prime Minister: Sir Peter Jackson
Common phrases: “Hey there, chief”; “Badda-bing, badda-bang”; “it don’t taste great, doesn’t taste bad. But it’ll make a turd”
National holidays: Thursdays
Opening hours: New Zealand is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, except Thursdays. If nobody is here when you arrive, just wait. They probably just went out for a fag.