Thu, 20 May 2010 11:20a.m.
By Philip Patston
I struggled last week to to form an opinion about John Key's gaff with Tuhoe, where he joked that he could have ended up on the menu had he been dining with them and not Ngati Porou.
Like many others, I could see the wit in the quip, but, as Te Ururoa Flavell, so rightly points out, it was Key's timing that let him down.
They say that comedy is tragedy plus time. Sadly, Key just didn't allow enough time for Tuhoe's tragic loss of their hopes of getting ownership of Te Urewera National Park to become a laughing matter.
But there is something else in the mix here. Many might say that it would be common sense for Tuhoe to see the humour in Key's throw-away remark and attempt to be clever. Common sense, however, in this sensitive context, is not enough. Common sense draws only half of the dynamic that operates between people – our sense of normality, similarity and the ordinary – which favours mainstream, middle-class and middle-aged values and ideology.
What John Key needed was a bit of "unique sense". Unique sense could be described as the second dynamic that connects us – our sense of abnormality, difference and originality – which does not exclude mainstream, middle-class and middle-aged values and ideology, but combines it with non-mainstream values and ideology.
Tuhoe had a unique sense of the situation and Key failed to anticipate that.
This week Diversityworks Trust launches our Unique Sense Project, which seeks out the perspective of young people as the future leaders of society. We aim to build a collection of short films (3-5 mins long) aiming to add diversity to common sense. The films will capture images, words and ideas about diversity and human rights and present them in an inspiring and creative multi-media mix of still images, moving images and sound.
You can check out the project at www.uniquesense.net
Perhaps we'll send a copy to John Key, to ensure he avoids eating parts of himself - namely his feet - in future.