Two Dimensional Culture Devalues Society

A couple of issues currently being debated in the New Zealand media suggest why as a nation we struggle to think outside the box. It also illustrates how we are failing miserably to deal with a selfish and deeply ingrained culture of alcohol misuse that continues to plague our society.

Proponents of street racing in Christchurch have suggested that the best way to keep intoxicated young drivers off the street is by providing a burn-out pad adjacent to a residential suburb away from the city centre. The disadvantages of this idea will be immediately apparent to local residents who will be required to endure hours of engine revving, tyre squealing and the stomach churning stench of burnt rubber associated with this mindless “sport”. Construction of a burn-out pad therefore simply legitimises what is already a highly anti-social form of behaviour.

At the other end of the country there is much public hand-wringing and a media feeding frenzy over the lack of progress to develop the Auckland waterfront into “party central” in time for the predicted influx of visitors to the Rugby World Cup (RWC). But nobody has yet questioned whether there exists a real need. A quick survey of Princes Wharf and surrounds reveals dozens of existing bars and restaurants, many of which seem to be struggling to attract any custom at all outside of the traditional boozy weekend nights. Surely the basis for “Party Central” already exists.¬†On the other hand, given the rugby playing community’s poor track record in treating alcohol responsibly, perhaps the Police would prefer all of the RWC drinkers to be corralled into a large centralised holding pen, as is being suggested.

The most disturbing aspect of these two debates is that the focus seems to be on providing a solution that caters for and indeed promotes boorish behaviour as a cultural norm rather than addressing the prevailing values in wider society. In a nation that seems overly self-obsessed with a two dimensional culture of sport and binge drinking, will we ever truly be able to nourish and grow an environment of creativity and innovation?

5 thoughts on “Two Dimensional Culture Devalues Society

  1. Sigh… Proponents of the Christchurch street racing scene fail to recognise that the point of ‘street’ racing is to be on an actual street, and be anti-social, dodge the cops and generally piss other drivers off. Boy racers are not interested in the sanitised, legitimised scene.

    As for party central, you’re right, all those places down the Viaduct lay empty most of the time. Mind you, they could make party central a booze cruise every night, and maybe the worst of the worst of the binge drinkers (and the vomit) could just be washed out to sea…

  2. Rather an ugly scenario isn’t it.

    I’m not suggesting that ALL car enthusiasts are drunk boy racers or that ALL rugby spectators are pissheads. But the reality is that enough of them are to make it a social problem.

    It’s bad enough that we tolerate it, but it’s a lot worse that when we actually invest resources in facilitating it.

  3. Wouldn’t Auckland harbour look fabulous if we just turned the proposed world cup commercial area into a big green field with some palm trees like on a real pacific island !
    A green field is what rugby enthusiasts dream about…..Imagine, the Auckland waterfront 2011, a big screen, a big green field with a few palm trees and a view of the harbour.
    Now that’s world class.

  4. I had to laugh when Auckland Mayor John Banks fronted on TV this evening. His latest political soapbox involves bitching about the new Mt Eden prison that his own council officials consented. It might come in handy as a remand base during the Cup.

    If he was really worried about the deleterious effect crime is having on his city then why did he sign up to host 50,000 intoxicated fans? White collar drunks are more socially acceptable I guess.

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