Salient lessons this week.
Sarah Dowie left Parliament in a verbal blaze of glory outlining the pitfalls, weaknesses, and sheer misery that the career can bestow upon you. At the same time William Wood, who is yet to experience that aforementioned trauma but wants to, got an early taste of what he might be in for.
Salient lesson number one is it appears a mugs game. You could probably toss in Paula Bennett's valedictory as well. Even a seasoned successful and robust operator like her talked of the punishment the job hands out. She balanced it, as did Dowie.
Bennett said they sign up for it, Dowie said part of her demise was, of course, a result of her own actions. So the bits that needed owning, got owned.
But the rest, the really venomous bits are the bits they didn’t deserve and in Dowie's mind a good slice of that lies at the foot of the media. And in that she is right.
William Woods, who apologised quickly and in doing so showed maturity with it, was largely defended by Judith Collins who called it nasty bullying. She is also right, and once again the media is to blame.
Salient lesson number two, the media has a lot to answer for. Is it any wonder we end up with the ordinary, when the extraordinary, the ones we really want running the place are smart enough, or weary enough, to stay the hell clear of the cesspit that is Parliament.
Dowie said it best when she talked of her desire to be there, to knock down any door, scale any height. And most of them start out that way, they are there for the best of intentions. But how quickly do you think someone like William Woods gets beaten down when he sees himself the lead story on Newshub for something he did as a 14 year old?
People far older, allegedly more experienced, and wiser than him are essentially acting with the same stupidity he did.
The ultimate irony of the media is its full of luvvies, hand wringing, virtue signalling, pick a cause a day, do gooders who say one thing, and do another. Not all, of course, but the media of 2020 is about agendas, vendettas, attack headlines, leaks, clicks, and gossip.
Another irony, this is all happening as they plead for fiscal mercy in these difficult days. They write column inches, produce PC pieces about balance, diversity, and fairness. And yet when it suits, they destroy a character, a reputation for ratings. That’s called being a hypocrite.
The great hope with lessons, like the ones from Dowie and Wood this week, is those who need to learn them recognise themselves in the stories, and actually learn.