Tim Walker’s Cancer II

There was no way we could leave it there – cancer is killing us.

By now some will have picked up on the clever little metaphor; the aforementioned ‘Cancer’ doubles as a symbolism for the New Zealand, and indeed the world, media corporations.

I am quite certain most people will go through their lives believing that the actions they take and the choices they make are decisions they have made largely of their own volition; most people will be happy to admit to succumbing to influences resulting from the word-of-mouth of friends or family members but the notion that their lives are being more or less dictated by what they see and hear through various media forums, preposterous.

This is the ignorance of people, but in fact if not for that ignorance, media hype would likely have little effect upon our lives. That’s right, our lives; because in no way am I, or in fact anyone, impervious to this form of remote manipulation.

It’s utterly reprehensible to think that an organisation would disseminate erroneous information for the benefit of another, equally high-standing, organisation; yet that’s what appears to be happening.

Going back around ten years, my father would spend any number of hours a day standing with his 80cc, 24 inch bar chainsaw in his grasp; operating that machine at full revs as he cleared a wind-damaged shelter belt or other stand of trees. If it was winter he’d wear track-pants, a flannel shirt, and leather work-boots; in summer it’d be more like stubbies, singlet, but still with his work-boots. No eye protection other than a thick set of eyelashes, no hearing protection to speak of, and certainly no ‘hi-vis safety clothing’ which, thanks to someone deciding that hard-men ought to have uniforms too, has become so very fashionable…

Now, thanks largely to OSH or some other hyper-cautious organisation, every dick-wit out mowing his lawn on a Sunday with his ‘whisper quiet’ four stroke mower dons a pair of bloody earmuffs. This is a fine example of media propaganda. Realistically unnecessary yet that’s what we’re told to do, therefore we do it. All operators of heavy machinery must wear hi-vis clothing I guess to ensure that everybody in the office can see the figure as it steps down from its loader straight into the path of an oncoming vehicle; similarly every man on a logging site must wear a similar form of flamboyant attire so the dude swinging the logs from the skid to the trailer can be easily identified when an errant log jumps the bolsters and crushes him.

…For the record my father never sustained chainsaw-related injury and furthermore, both his hearing and eyesight are as good as ever. Generally mishaps occur when operators are neglectful in their safety conduct – I’m reminded of the Waikari digger driver who perished under a lime quarry landslide, who was likely wearing his hi-vis shirt at the time – where no amount of protective or safety equipment will alter the outcome.

Fashionable conversation, fashionable clothing; fashionable etiquette, fashionable people; fashionable music, fashionable slang; fashionable locations, fashionable pastimes; fashionable food, fashionable restaurants…

That list could continue indefinitely, in part because it’s continually changing but mainly because of the magnitude in which each and every form of modern media has a firm hold on our lives.

More probably needs to be said on this.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Mia D Ah

Photography by Con Trawl



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *