Alf’s attention has been drawn to the sacking of a Sunday Star-Times scribbler who looks remarkably like Alfred E Neuman, the iconic cover boy of Mad magazine.
The sacking is neither here nor there to Alf, but he delights in pointing out to his constituents that the sacked scribbler would qualify for featuring in Mad magazine on account of his exchange of execrable e-mails with – of all people – a female police prosecutor.
Down in Wellington, during the week, a few people were sufficiently bothered to conjecture on what the columnist might have done.
Here in Eketahuna, we couldn’t give a toss but one of Alf’s mates – the only one who has ever read Braunias’s stuff, it transpires – said he would have sacked the bugger long ago for failing to write in a language he understands, which turns out to be the same language that got the columnist the sack.
The columnist himself acknowledges that a mutually abusive email correspondence between himself and a reader precipitated his departure.
We can learn a bit more about what happened from TV3 (if we care).
An abusive email exchange has seen Sunday Star Times columnist Steve Braunias axed from the newspaper’s Sunday magazine.
Editor David Kemeys would not confirm the reasons behind Mr Braunias’ exit, saying the matter was “private”.
“Columnists come and columnists go,” he said.
Indeed they do.
And if Alf were the editor, he would have sacked the bugger too, because it turns out he is a very stroppy sort of fellow with a vituperative streak, because
… Mr Braunias wasted no time ripping into his former boss, whom he says has wanted to axe his column for some time.
“Editors come and editors go,” he told the National Business Review.
“I expect the paper will soon enough despatch the mediocre hack back to where he came from – which I understand is nowhere.”
It turns out that Braunias won’t be deprived of an income, because he is also a features writer for North & South and Metro and has appeared as a panellist on a television books show, The Good Word.
Last year he received a $35,000 grant from Copyright Licencing to publish New Zealand: The Biography.
His last column in the Sunday magazine will run on February 5.
Or it would be ho hum but for the role apparently played by a police prosecutor of the female persuasion.
The story has already provoked an interesting online debate, with some readers claiming it was an email sent to a police prosecutor that lead to Mr Braunias’ dismissal.
“From what I understand, he called the reader in question the C-word,” writes Stephen Stratford.
“Possibly justified, possibly not. But the first rule of journalism in my book is that you don’t insult the reader. Even if they write in green ink.”
Dunno if Alf would call it a debate.
Rather the issue is being aired at Quote Unquote and Stephen Stratford is among those who have added their comments (one of them quoted above),
Cactus Kate (Alf is a big fan of her stuff) gets in on the action, too.
She says –
It’s a bit disappointing if in responding to (probably rampant) abuse that as a writer you cannot use the “c” word.
Lets hope Steve used the “f” word in front to get value for his dismissal.
… perhaps he would like to forward a copy of the readers comment and his reply for non-censored republication either on Quoteunquote or Asian Invasion. I would gladly oblige.
Broadcaster and spin doctor Bill Ralston has made the contribution which really grabbed Alf’s attention.
I am given to understand the reader had already emailed him describing him, quite accurately but somewhat rudely, saying “you’re an ugly f—er” to which he replied “and you’re a c–t”.
What makes it interesting is the reader, a woman, is a police prosecutor who sent the email from a Police email address.
Can you say c–t on the police server?
And why complain to that lickspittle editor when you started the obscene language exchange.
This needs inverstigating!
Then Stephen Stratford had another go.
Thanks CK and Bill – I did know that Steve had been provoked with those words.
It is extraordinary that a police officer would address a journalist in that way. What on earth could they have been discussing, and how quickly did the tone descend?
Wouldn’t we all like to see a transcript of the preceding conversation – a sort of Vagina Dialogue, perhaps.
Mrs Grumble’s dip into Wikipedia dug up the fact that Braunias was born in Austria, which suggests his mother tongue (which he might be advised to use in future instead of the c… word) is not English.
He grew up in Mount Maunganui – not one of the intellectual high spots of this country.
His favourite reading was Roy of the Rovers, a comic book. This presumably means he needs pictures to aid and abet his communicative skills.
Maybe sending a picture of a c… instead of using the word would have been the smarter way to go in his run-in with the police lady.
He should have sent a picture of a really big one, come to think of it, like the one Alf helpfully has posted here.