Home' Greymouth Star : December 14th 2013 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, December 14, 2013
Nigella Lawson blemished but unbowed
J M Hirsch
When celebrity chefs cut themselves,
how much they bleed is a matter of brand.
Case in point: this year's messy public
eruptions around two of the food world's
most powerful women, Nigella Lawson
and Paula Deen. Both made unsavoury
admissions about their pasts after being
accused of unsavoury acts. Both found
themselves at the centre of a whirlwind of
negative publicity and lawsuits. And both
had two big things to lose --- fortunes and
But while Deen seemed helpless and
shocked as her empire crumbled in June
after a racism row, Lawson has remained
stoic and mostly unscathed after recent
revelations, and her image among loyal
fans could even be buoyed in the longer
term. And the di erence tells us much
about the power of personal brand in
We love the spectacle of o -screen chaos
in stars' lives --- the sex tapes, the arrests,
the divorces, the boozing, the a airs. Stars
are there to entertain us, even when they
do not intend to.
Food celebrities are a bit di erent.
ey seem more accessible and, however
falsely, we bond with them. eir books,
shows and tweets purport to bring us into
their kitchens and connect us to their
traditions in service of that most intimate
of activities --- sharing food. And we bring
them into our kitchens, too, turning to
them to help feed our families. So when
they step out of line, how they have sold
themselves to us matters, probably far
more than they expected.
United States chef Deen was on the
losing end of that lesson. is is a woman
who urged fat-conscious America to
embrace butter and all things fried.
And she led us to the trough with a
sassy grandmotherly vibe, a hard knocks
coming-up story and tales of an amiable,
genteel South. It was enough --- barely ---
to insulate her in 2012 when she revealed
she had both diabetes and a lucrative
endorsement deal for a drug to treat the
condition she had until then hidden.
It smacked of opportunism and
dishonesty, but it was not completely
at odds with her public persona. People
en the Food Network star became
embroiled in a legal dispute with a former
employee who accused her of racial
discrimination and sexual harassment.
e case, which ultimately was dismissed,
got little attention until this year when
depositions were released in which Deen
acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.
It was an admission glaringly contrary to
her homespun brand of Southern charm.
Coupled with a clunker of an apology,
that admission upended her brand.
Endorsement deals fell apart. e Food
Network cancelled her. Appearances
dried up. People did not want that sort of
language in their kitchens.
Now Lawson, a British culinary icon, is
going through a wringer nearly as rough.
It started with tabloid-worthy photos of
her husband appearing to choke her. en
two former employees accused of using
the couple's credit cards for more than
$1 million in fraudulent charges claimed
Lawson had sanctioned their spending to
hush them up about her heavy drug use.
Lawson's now ex-husband, Charles
Saatchi, piled in, saying those startling
photos of him with his hands around her
neck were shot as the couple argued about
her drug use.
In a London court for the employees'
fraud trial last week, Lawson recounted
it di erently. She said Saatchi lunged at
her after she mentioned looking forward
to having grandchildren and he said
she should be paying attention to him
instead. She denied giving the employees
permission to spend the money. And she
denied having a drug problem. She did
acknowledge using cocaine and marijuana
a handful of times, but said she was not an
e damage to Lawson so far? Looks
While Deen's deals imploded rapidly,
Lawson's career remains stable. Her
admissions did not derail this weekend's
launch of her Cooking Channel series,
Nigellissima. United States network ABC
is going ahead with January's second
season of e Taste, a series in which
she stars with Anthony Bourdain. And
Britain's Channel 4 is standing by plans
for its own version of e Taste --- with
Lawson and Bourdain --- for next year.
Much credit for that goes to her carefully
crafted brand --- a persona built not on
Southern comfort and innocence like
Deen's, but on a rapturous, even naughty
exploration of the sensual side of the
kitchen. Lawson revels in her ample
curves, gives long, knowing glances at the
camera, poses with sweet syrups dripping
from her body, and ... well, you get the
Simply put, when misdeeds get exposed,
the more out of sync they are with your
brand, the worse you fare.
Giving evidence this week, Lawson
de ected the brunt of the accusations by
owning them. She has used drugs, just
not to the extent of which she has been
"I promise you ... regular cocaine users
do not look like this," the curvaceous
Lawson said. " ey are scrawny and look
She came clean with the sort of panache
and humour her fans have come to love.
And that is the power of her brand. --- AP
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
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Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1542 - Following the battle of Solway Moss,
James V of Scotland has a mental breakdown
and dies; his daughter Mary Stuart goes on to
accede to the throne at the age of one week.
1799 - Death of George
Washington, rst president of the
United States (1789-1797).
1861 - Prince Albert, consort and
husband of Queen Victoria, dies of
typhoid at Windsor Castle.
1900 - Max Planck rst publishes
his Quantum eory: that radiant
energy comes in small indivisible packets and
was not continuous as previously thought.
1911 - Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen
becomes rst man to reach South Pole.
1918 - Women in Britain vote for the rst
time in a general election.
1945 - Josef Kramer, known as "the beast of
Belsen," and 10 others are hanged in Hameln
for crimes committed at the Belsen and
Auschwitz Nazi concentration camps.
1947 - Death of three-times British prime
minister Stanley Baldwin.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Nostradamus, French astrologer and prophet
(1503-1566); James Bruce, Scottish explorer
(1730-1794); Roger Fry, English artist
(1866-1934); King George VI
(1895-1952); Morey Amsterdam,
US comedian-actor (1914-1996);
George Furth, US actor-director
(1932-2008); Lee Remick, US
actress (1935-1991); Hal Williams,
US actor (1938-); Patty Duke, US
actress (1946-); Cynthia Gibb,
US actress (1963-); Rebecca Gibney, New
Zealand-born Australian actress (1964-);
Leland Chapman, US bounty hunter (1976-);
Michael Owen, English soccer player (1979-).
"You can close your eyes to reality but not to
memories." --- Stanislaw J Lec, Polish author
"And this is the victory that conquers the
world, our faith." --- (1 John 5:4).
First coal production
from the new
Rewanui State mine
is planned to start in
mid-January with the resumption of district
colliery work following the holiday break.
"Our intention is to transfer some men
holidays and this should mean there will be
coal production from early in the new year.
at is our plan anyway," said the district
manager of mines Mr J W Glendenning.
ere was to be another union meeting
between shifts today, with the miners not
satis ed with the new conditions to apply for
the opening of Rewanui No 3, the Evening
Star was informed. e miners had been told
that if they do not accept the conditions, the
management will not employ them in the new
colliery, it was reported.
Negotiations have been completed for the
private sale of the two-storeyed wooden
tearooms building adjacent to the famous
Pancake Rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki.
e auctioneer engaged on the deal, Mr B F
Connors of E V Arthur and Son, Greymouth,
announced today that the newcomers will be a
middle-aged Christchurch couple, Mr and Mrs
A Welshman who entered the mines of his
native Rhondda Valley at the age of 12 and
who, at 78, is still working in the Waikato
coal eld, has a distinctive sporting record. He
is one of only two men to win a New Zealand
professional boxing championship on three
He is Jim Mitchell, who worked in West
Coast and Buller coalmines from 1909 to
1916. It was while a Millerton resident that he
achieved the distinction.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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Colin Craig thinks that his
days of being typecast as
"whacky" are numbered.
"I think it's just a little
phase," the Conservative
Party leader tells the
Herald. "It's not going to stick because it's
just not true to who I am and I think that
will become apparent next year as we head
into an election year."
Yes, people had had a lot of fun with it.
"But at the end of the day I am actually
a very serious person and a very successful
person and I think my track record proves
that I'm not the least bit whacky."
Craig has had a knack for attracting
publicity this year, in inverse proportion to
the success of Prime Minister John Key's
e more trouble John Banks, Peter
Dunne and the Maori Party have got into,
the more relevant the Conservative Party
and Colin Craig have become as potential
players in a future government.
Key talked up their prospects a few
months ago as a potential partner.
Now Key is nding ways to explain some
of Craig's daft answers to questions about
the moon landing, vapour trails behind jets
and former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.
He suggests it could just be Craig
"winding up the media".
Craig's reasoning is that he is not going to
take a de nitive position on something he
has not researched.
He has stuck to the "don't' know " line
on vapour trails in an interview with Paul
Henry on Radio Live this week. Try as
Henry did to school the political newcomer
on the perils of not outright dismissing
the possibility that the Government could
be conducting a secret mass-poisoning
campaign against its citizens, Craig did not
"I'm actually very comfortable to say I
don't know about things because that's
honest," Craig tells the Herald. "You can
always learn about things but I have no
intention to go and learn about conspiracy
theories because what use are they, really?
In an otherwise serious inter view, it was
tempting to get his reaction on just one
conspiracy, one with relevance given the
50th anniversary of the assassination of
President John F Kennedy.
Had anyone asked about the conspiracy
theory surrounding the assassination?
"No," he says. "I don't even know what the
theories are. is is part of the problem."
e conspiracy theory --- at least one of
them --- was that there was another shooter
on the grassy knoll.
"Oh, okay. I've heard of the grassy knoll.
But I have no idea what these theories are.
I nd myself far more comfortable saying,
'Look, I don't know about that', rather than
making a comment."
Craig's credentials as a serious politician
were further eroded when he was reported
recently as saying he admired Sarah Palin
--- one of America's most whacky.
He objects to a suggestion it was
wholesale support. He says he was only
talking about the way she had stood up to
oil companies --- to extract greater taxes
" at was probably her major
achievement as governor and that gets
turned into a headline which says, 'Colin
admires Sarah Palin'. No. I found one
thing in her life I could admire and I could
probably do that with most people."
In fact, Craig's political heroes are
nowhere close to the cut of Palin: British
Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and
Margaret atcher and German Chancellor
It is not that he is modelling himself on
Churchill, he says, "but there's something
about the grit and determination about him
that I admire".
On atcher, he says he loved that she
related politics to people in practical ways.
"You go to the supermarket, you've got
a cheque book, here's how much money
you've got --- talking about the nation's
economy like it was a corner dairy. I felt she
was in a pretty tough position and had to
do some pretty tough things, but she pulled
it o .
"If the worst criticism was that the poor
got richer at a slower rate than the rich but
everybody got richer, I think that was a job
He said that as a history fan, some of his
historical heroes went even further back.
"Bismarck, who uni ed Germany, is to
my mind one of the greatest statesmen who
"He took wildly divergent duchies and
uni ed them into Germany and Germany
became a nation that had huge in uence
on the world from that point on. He would
be someone I think displayed outstanding
Colin Craig was being interviewed in
He made the trip south after accepting
an invitation to the parliamentary press
gallery's annual Christmas party.
Herald political correspondent John
Armstrong last week described Craig as a
"media junkie" but Craig prefers to treat
it as a reality rather than the criticism
"But aren't all politicians media junkies?"
"I thought this was the game. You've got
to be in the media to be alive," he said.
A good merlot is his drink of choice.
He is not the wowser many may think,
although there is a Pollyanna side to
his character --- or at least to his own
assessment of himself.
"I'm healthy. I exercise. I eat well. I don't
drink to excess. I don't go out there and
behave stupidly and I try to act respectfully
even if I disagree with someone horribly.
"I'll disagree in a relatively polite and
intelligent way. I'm not a guy who will ever
do road rage."
Craig cannot remember the last time he
went to church, although he has promised
to take his young daughter to a carol service
ere was no one is particular he wanted
to meet at the gallery party although he
noted he had never met David Cunli e.
at was not possible this year because
Cunli e was in South Africa with Key at
the Nelson Mandela memorial ser vice.
Colin Craig was in the third form at
Macleans College in Bucklands Beach,
East Auckland, during the 1981 Springbok
Tour, so asking what side he was on, pro or
anti-tour, is not as relevant as it is to Key's
"I was totally oblivious to the issues."
e strongest memory he had of the
tour is of watching the
Auckland game on
television with his father
and seeing the pitch
being our-bombed by a
Cricket is his sport
of choice, a game he
played at school and at
where he got bachelor of
commerce and bachelor
of arts degrees.
"I was a fast bowler.
great batsman but the
averages don't support
He does not have
Sky TV so he does not
watch a lot of sports on
television other than at
Craig was the oldest of
His father taught
history and geography
at Pakuranga College.
ey lived on the single
income and the family
car was a Holden
"Wealth-wise we were
class but those were
good times in New
Zealand and it was safe.
Everyone just walked to
"I like my upbringing," says Craig. "I am
very pleased to have been in the family I
was in. It was a very loving family but we
were never very well o ."
His rst new clothes were his school
uniform for college. "It was all hand-me-
downs. We lived frugally and that is what
we had to do."
Craig said he realised when he was older
some of the sacri ces his parents had made.
ere were some ash glasses but they were
golf prizes won by his father.
"Looking back on it, I realised suddenly
that this was something he gave up because
his eldest son thought he wanted to be a
Over summer he will be spending as
much time as possible with his wife, Helen,
and young daughter and getting in some
reading, probably history books.
He will be steering clear of political
reading, which he has been doing all year,
among them 23 books on the Treaty of
Both of his parents are alive and are
supporting him in his political pursuits,
which began with his contesting the
mayoralty in the rst Auckland Super City
election in 2010, and continued when he
formed the Conservatives in 2011 and
contested the Rodney seat.
e issue of leaky homes politicised him.
As the owner of property management
company Centurion Management, a
company with more than 6000 clients, he
came across hundreds of people whose lives
were ruined by leaky homes and he was
appalled at what he saw as an inadequate
response by the Government.
ere is no decision yet but Craig is most
likely to stand in East Coast Bays, his own
electorate under the draft boundaries.
It is a choice that requires no colluding
with National. It is his home turf and it
would give National the option of pulling
high-pro le local MP and Foreign Minister
Murray McCully from the contest and
putting him only on the list, a decision that
would be made much closer to the election.
Craig says with endless requests to speak
at meetings and people joining every day,
the Conservatives have momentum, more
than he expected.
"It's good for us if we can continue it into
next year. I did not expect us to succeed and
do as well so quickly. It kind of got a life of
its own and it has not stopped."
Colin Craig on:
Increasing oil and mineral exploration
"It's almost criminal to be so well vested
with resources and not use them. I wonder
at the logic of that. I nd it fascinating that
if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you
are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the
gold out of the ground and plant a forest,
suddenly you're an eco-terrorist. ere's no
consistency in that. I do think we should
make sensible use of our resources. I'm
not so keen, however, on letting foreign
corporations take the lion's share ... Norway
did it well."
Sky City national convention centre
"It was not a good process. e Auditor-
General said it wasn't illegal but it was a
bad process and I don't believe it was the
best deal for Auckland. I'm con dent if it
had been an open tender with everybody on
the same level playing eld with the same
information, I don't think Sky City would
have got it." Charter schools
"I like the partnership school model. I
think it will work very well. I think the
results will be fantastic and given the
number of students who are lining up to go
into it, I think that speaks volumes. People
want it and I think their results will stack
Labour's target to get
50% women MPs by 2017
"I don't believe positions should be picked
on the basis of whether you are a man or a
woman. I think it should be merit. I'm not a
politically correct person. I despise political
correctness because what it actually really
does is just keeps people quiet. I would
rather live in an environment where we
could freely debate things."
Trans Paci c Partnership
"I don't know enough about it to
comment but I don't like the fact it is not
" e only way a constitution works is
if it's requested, endorsed and supported
by the people of the country and I don't
see this as a process that does that.
is is a political process. It has been
initiated politically. Great constitutions
are something that come from the people
themselves and the people buy into; I think
we're a long, long way from that.
On the Maori seats and
the Treaty of Waitangi
"We think the Maori seats served a
purpose at a time; that time is over. ey
don't serve that purpose any more so
we need to move forward and moving
forward means getting rid of the Maori
"I lectured in nance and economics in
the Maori studies department at AUT ...
I generally found you've got to avoid real
extreme comments on the issue of where
we are with the Treaty. I think it's naive to
ignore history too. e idea of "parking"
the Treaty is not realistic. We've got a
history and you've got to work from a base
of who we are and where we have come
from." --- New Zealand Herald
Remember when you rst learned
how to write your address and would
take it all the way out to the universe.
You know --- Lynette Hayes, 90 Bright
Street, Cobden, Greymouth, West Coast,
New Zealand, e World, e Universe.
It speaks to us of the di erent levels of
belonging we have and challenges us to
think about how we engage with these
di erent levels.
Our ideas and thinking about God
challenge us to do the same thing.
How do we best express God/love ---
personally; within our homes and our
neighbourhoods; in our community; in
our region; in our country; in the world;
and out into time and space.
We are in the church season of Advent
--- the time of waiting and hoping; of
expectation and anticipation; the time
of the coming of God into the world
as we know it. e time when, with the
birth of Jesus, God's hope for the world
was best realised, God's love for the
world made real. Jesus' work on Earth
was to demonstrate God's hope for
humankind --- the hope for inclusiveness
and embracing of the outsider; the
hope for healing and restoration of the
damaged; the hope for honest and helpful
relationships. e hope for making whole
what was fragmented. A whole-maker.
And not without risks and consequences.
Nelson Mandela was a whole-
maker. A person who in his living, also
demonstrated an ability to look beyond
the immediate out into a future and
commit himself to this. To bring together
di erence and hurt and inspire healing.
We mourn his passing and celebrate the
results of his work, and hope that we too,
can be whole-makers within our places of
belonging. Realising that, as with Jesus,
as with Nelson Mandela, there could well
be risks and consequences that come with
such hopes put into action.
Let us, at this time of looking back to
the time when the promise was made
real, look for ward and work towards
making the potential real.
Greymouth Uniting Church
Realising our potential
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