The Listener magazine is a regular addition to our weekly shopping cart. It is a good read – just enough substance to set it apart from the vacuous Woman’s Weekly or New Idea. But not so serious that it fits into a shelf alongside the British Medical Journal or The Economist. In fact, three members of our family have appeared in the Listener. I received the best advice from any New Zealand journalist when Joseph Romanos wrote the Listener’s sport page. I appreciated his knowledge and honesty. He was not always kind, but very often, as things turned out, absolutely right. My daughter Jane and wife Alison have had several letters published in the Listener. In fact, I believe they are yet to submit a letter and have it rejected.

I do hope my admiration for the Listener is not about to change. You see, this week’s Listener has a “Profile” article called “Kerre, quite contrary”. It is three pages written by Michele Hewitson about Newstalk ZB morning host, Kerre Woodham.

The story has no place in the Listener. It is badly written about a bad subject. Surely the Listener has access to good writers who can write 1000 words about an interesting and inspiring subject. This rubbish might just make a Woman’s Weekly cut-off. On second thoughts the Listener masterpiece makes the Woman’s Weekly look like a candidate for the Noble Prize in Literature.  

Readers of the Listener are not interested in what Kerre thought when she was photographed in her togs with a turtle. Keere is described as a “huckery sheila from Hamilton”. That is probably true. Roget’s Thesaurus tells me “huckery” means disagreeable, unpleasant and objectionable.  So why devote three pages to the subject? Victoria Street (the main street in Hamilton for those geographically challenged about New Zealand) had told us all we needed to know. And as for the portrait of Woodham “blissfully happy now,” sitting alone with her “red feathered lampshade” and “deep green velvet” chairs. Wow that’s important. I bet every reader of the Listener couldn’t wait to read that stunning news.

No Woman’s Weekly story would be complete without a deep and detailed description of a relationship breakup. And Woodham doesn’t disappoint. “Her celebrity was a problem in their relationship”. I bet it was. Coming home to read this stuff about togs and turtles would break the best of us.

I had to laugh at her in-depth political commentary. She says, “I thought Jacinda Ardern was a very pleasant young woman with no detail”.  Wow, the “huckery sheila from Hamilton” thinks Jacinda has no detail. Look in the mirror, Kerre – that’s what no detail looks like.

And then the Listener bombshell. The former general manager of Newstalk ZB defending an accusation that the station was too right-wing, “retorted that you couldn’t say Keere Woodham was right wing”. What? He can’t be listening to the same station I have on when I leave swimming training most mornings. Woodham is right up there with Hosking, Franco of Spain and du Plessis-Allan – as far right as the eye can see. She has the politics but lacks the brains to sell it as well as the other three.

Anyway if you have nothing to do, avoid the mistake I made of reading the article. You will end up, still with nothing to do, but needing a shower to wash-off that feeling of having wasted 15 minutes that you will never get back. The “huckery sheila from Hamilton” and author Michele Hewitson are not worth the effort. Finally, on the subject of Hewitson, I see she is a contributor to the Muck Rack website. She sure has scored big this time.

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